Business overwhelm is perhaps one of the most dangerous things that entrepreneurs face when they are trying to grow their business. From the countless small decisions to the huge ones that seem all-encompassing, it’s so easy to feel like you’re drowning in tasks, questions, and decisions as you serve clients, build your business, and grow.
When I first start working with a new client, they often tell me that one of the biggest sources of business overwhelm is all the day-to-day necessities that go into operations. They thrive on serving their clients or customers and creating valuable content but struggle to manage all the details as their business grows.
Feeling this type of business overwhelm is a key indicator that you’ve crossed a threshold in your biz and now require team support.
So the question becomes: How do you get all the day-to-day operations off of your plate and put them on someone else’s?
Here are three exercises to get you started:
The first exercise to help tackle business overwhelm
I often start by having clients track where they are spending their time. We use the $10, $100, $1,000 task matrix to identify in a tangible way the value of their tasks. Very often, we find that they are spending way too much time in the $10 and even $100 tasks that could be outsourced with a bit of planning and preparation — things like email management, blog posts, social media posting, or scheduling appointments. These types of tasks are very often a huge contributor to business overwhelm.
While it is critical for you to engage your audience and build relationships through social media, it isn’t necessary for you to be the one actually posting every single item to the various channels, for instance. The brute force labor is a $10 task you can outsource, while the relationship building that follows could be the $1,000 task.
After this exercise, it is easier for clients to see the money leaks in how they’re spending their time and to identify specific tasks that could be outsourced to get themselves out of the day-to-day operations.
The next thing: I hate this
Business overwhelm isn’t always just about the number of tasks on your plate. So, the next thing I have new clients do is to start an “I hate list.” This is usually a favorite because I encourage them to write down all the things they hate doing and would prefer to outsource.
We start with an initial brain dump of 15-20 minutes to generate whatever pops into their head. After that, I ask them to keep the list handy for at least 30 days and add to it as necessary.
Here, the goal is to identify not only time leaks but also energy leaks. There may be things that are quick and easy for you to do, but you hate doing them so you avoid them. Or every time you do them, you’re exhausted and don’t want to do anything else productive afterward.
For me, I find bookkeeping and email sequences to be two things that are a serious energy drain. I am completely capable of reconciling transactions and assigning tax info to everything, but I hate it so much that I avoid it forever. It makes so much more sense to hire a bookkeeper to handle that each month. It is worth every single penny to not have to do it myself and to have up-to-date books. I also see bookkeeping as a huge contributor to business overwhelm in so many entrepreneurs that I think it needs to be one of the first tasks we outsource.
Similarly, I enjoy creating email sequences and writing various emails, but I hate adding the copy inside the actual autoresponder. I generally can’t avoid it because it’s very deadline focused, but every time I do it, I end up feeling so drained that I’m worthless for hours and hours. And this is with the skills to do it! I have seen email sequences contribute to business overwhelm countless times with clients simply because they lack the skills to do it efficiently.
So, take the time to identify these tasks in your business so you can build a plan to outsource them.
The third exercise: Time sucks that are cheap
Next, the goal is to look for overlap between the $10 tasks you identified as a money leak and the “I hate” tasks you identified as an energy or time leak — especially things that are repeatable and recurring. There are usually a few things that fall into both categories, and that’s where to start!
By building systems and processes that document how you want those tasks completed, you can begin to outsource them to a team member. Addressing these sources of business overwhelm is the first step to removing yourself from the day-to-day operations so that you can continue to grow your business.