Knowing When it’s Time to Ask for Help
How many times have you despaired of ever figuring out that tech issue that’s been plaguing your website for weeks? Or refused to ask for help on the bookkeeping that has needed to be done for months? What about ignoring the very obvious need for more team support to get client work done?
I know I have experienced this. I’ve seen my clients struggle with it countless times as well.
One of the dirtiest 4-letter words many business owners shy away from is HELP. That’s right, it feels like the kiss of death to entrepreneurs to ask for help, so much so that they run themselves ragged to avoid it.
There’s such a culture of hustling and bootstrapping in the entrepreneurial world that it never even occurs to most entrepreneurs that they can and should ask for help (dare I say some might even feel ashamed to do so?).
It’s seen as a badge of honor to be a jack-of-all-trades and to be able to do it all on your own.
Look, I get it. “Doing it all” is a sexy way to play, but the reality is that the ability to ask for help is essential to successfully running and growing your business.
Help lets you focus
When you ask for help, you are better able to focus your attention on the critical tasks you need to do to grow the business. These CEO tasks are very often revenue-generating tasks that only you can do. But it’s easy to spend all your time on other oh-so-important tasks if you don’t ask for help. While it was necessary for you to do it all at one point, as the business grows, that becomes impossible. This is especially true if you are trying to get to the next level – whatever that level is. The strategies that got you to 6-figures, for instance, very likely won’t cut it if you’re trying to scale to $250K or beyond.
Here’s how to start: Pick one time-consuming but not a revenue-generating task that you could pass off right away. Then, make a plan for how you can use that time to increase your revenue. Whether it’s something you outsource to a specialist like a bookkeeper or a generalist like a VA, you are only freeing yourself up to do the work that will help you propel your business forward.
Asking for help makes you more productive
When you try to do it all yourself, so often, you’ll become overwhelmed and with an unmanageable to-do list every day. This generally leads to being reactive rather than proactive. It often also results in all kinds of multi-tasking tendencies and constant context switching.
Both of these drastically reduce your effectiveness and productivity each day, week, or month. But when you have the proper support in place, it becomes much more realistic for you to structure your time to increase your productivity.
Oftentimes, it’s easy to focus on the initial dip in productivity when we very first get help rather than the long-term gain once it’s established and routine. I call this the price we pay for getting that task off our plates.
It is more time consuming to record a screen flow of how to complete your newsletter set up rather than to just do it yourself — this one time. But, once you record it, you can pass the task off and very quickly you’ll never have to do it again. The extra 20 minutes you add to this one time will pay off in productivity gains forever when you no longer have to remember to set it up, test it, and schedule it every time going forward.
The proper help will prevent burnout
Many times, when someone is struggling with burnout, it is because they were doing too much for too long. Generally, if we look at everything they were doing, a lot of it is things they could have gotten help with.
In the long run, burnout is going to be way more detrimental to a business than asking for help. I’ve seen so many entrepreneurs lose months and months of potential progress because they were too burnt out to make strategic choices and do the work they want to do deep down.
No matter how much you want something, if you’re burnt out and exhausted, you’re less likely to accomplish it. But lack of motivation and the mental and physical fatigue that accompany burnout make it nearly impossible to move forward in any productive manner. If you need some ideas on how to recover from burnout, be sure to check out a great Facebook live from one of my clients, Courtney Johnston of The Rulebreaker’s Club here.
What does it all mean?
If any of this sounds familiar, consider what help you could ask for right now — as well as this week or this month. If you’re not in a place to pay for help, get creative, and see if you can barter or trade for the help you need. For instance, if you need more childcare during business hours but can’t afford it, see if there is a babysitting co-op you could join. Or ask a mom-friend if you can swap childcare to get what you need!
Everyone wins when you start asking for help.
So, I challenge you to find three things you can ask for help with this week. Then rinse and repeat. Even if they seem silly or small, practice asking for help, and soon it will be much easier to identify and ask for what you and your business need.