How theming weeks is making me a better entrepreneur

One of my challenges in growing my company has been finding the brain space to focus. I can quickly get into the mindset of “DO ALL THE THINGS AND DO THEM RIGHT NOW”, but then I arrive at the end of the week and I am frustrated and haven’t gotten much done.

That can’t continue, because I will burn out and that is no good for anyone.

So last week, I declared it two things:

  • Notifications week
  • John writes no code week

I didn’t fully keep to the second one as I wrote a tiny bit of CSS in order to get text search live, but I also didn’t work on features that are currently above my skill level that I would previously have (and actually already did) spent hours on while spinning my wheels (but learning at the same time, I guess).

I want to move faster. I want my company to move faster. I want my product to move faster.

And to do that, one simple thing needs to happen which is on my main Trello board:

I need to learn to get out of the way.

The theme of the week being “notification” week doesn’t really matter. It was simply to focus myself and my developer on one thing, which is retention and closing the loop on projects so Credo gets better data on projects closing.

That’s important to my business, but immaterial to what I learned this week

I learned three things:

  1. In order for my business to move faster, I have to learn to delegate;
  2. My time is crazy valuable and my expert skillset is focused, so I shouldn’t be doing other things;
  3. Others love doing things that I hate, and I should let them do them.

Learn to delegate

Many first-time entrepreneurs and managers are control freaks. I have definitely been one and have spoken with many friends who recognized that they have the inability to give up control over certain things in their business.

Ironically, the businesses that tend to do the best are the ones who build a strong team and keep them together. There’s a reason why early employees and cofounders of companies have often worked together at previous companies – they work well together, their skills align, and they have a similar vision for where the new company is going.

Resource: Ramit Sethi on hiring on GrowthEverywhere from 37:17-38:47

I realized three things about delegation this week:

  1. Delegation is different from abdication. You delegate when someone else starts doing tasks you were doing. You abdicate when you don’t check in on them or their work.
  2. You should only delegate to people that are fantastic at what they do and have earned your trust.
  3. Delegation frees you up to do other things.

Both Credo’s account manager, Erik, and the developer I work with, Ben, are great at what they do. I have no problem delegating to them because I know they are going to do it right.

At the same time, I do not abdicate. I check in with them frequently and make sure things are getting done correctly.

When the people you hire are great at what they do, delegation is easy. I’ve definitely been accused of micromanaging in the past with past teams, but as I have reflected on it that occurred when I did not fully trust the person to do their job well.

At the end of the day, for me that means they were the wrong hire for that position.

Time is valuable

We all have 168 hours in a week and 120 in the weekday. No one gets more or less time than that.

You get to choose how you spend your time. I personally do not want to be working 60-80 hour weeks for the next 3-5 years. I like to have a life.

But beyond talking about “having more time” in the abstract, choosing how to spend your 40-50 hours working is equally important. We often try to optimize our time away from work (working 40 hours instead of 80), but how often do we step back to look at what we are spending our time on during the day?

It’s really easy to feel productive by doing a lot of things and yet not actually work on anything of consequence.

A few things I’ve done in the past 6 months to figure out where my time is going include:

  1. Tracking my time better in Freshbooks and “billing” it to myself.
  2. Setting specific times during the day that I will have meetings and time that I will not.
  3. Scheduling specific tasks into my day so I accomplish or at least start the things I set out to do that day.
  4. Using The Five Minute Journal to focus myself early in the morning before everything else starts happening.

I want to be effective, not productive.

Through the above four mentioned tasks, coupled with looking at business revenue and determining how much my time is worth and putting value against specific tasks, I’ve realized what I have spent time on that was quite simply not a profitable use of my time.

So, I figured out what I could afford to pay to make those profitable and get my time back, and have started finding people to fulfill those roles.

Let others be free

One of the biggest paradigm shifts I’ve had in the last year has been this:

Some people love doing things that I hate, and they are happiest when they are allowed to do them.

Say what?

That’s right. I have things that I hate doing and there are (very weird!) people who love doing those exact things.

So why would I keep doing them when others are a) better at them and b) actually enjoy doing them?

Great question. In the last few months I have:

  • Hired a lawyer to redomesticate my LLC from CA to Colorado
  • Leaned on my bookkeepers to help me keep my books straight
  • Leaned on my accountants harder to hold me accountable to things

These are baby steps, I’m well aware. I have a ton more to learn.

But I’m glad I declared Notification week, and I’m glad it taught me some important lessons.

2 thoughts on “How theming weeks is making me a better entrepreneur

  1. Good post, I think it’s also important to learn to say “no” to others and learn to recognize when someone is trying to “give you a monkey” (Google monkey management).

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