My “Stuff I Should Not Be Doing” List

I’m thrilled to be coached by some mentors that have reached substantial economic success.  One of the ways I have learned from them that allows me to reach and stretch myself to grow my business is by training the little voice inside my head to repeat what they say to me during  my coaching sessions.  Here’s the latest mantra:  As I am doing a task, I evaluate the task and ask myself, “Would this be something that a million-dollar business owner would do or delegate?”  Most of the time, the answer is delegate.

If you’ve ever found yourself saying or thinking any of the lines below, then you probably have a very long “Things I Should Not Be Doing List.”

  • “I can do it faster myself.”
  • “I don’t trust anyone to do this.”
  • “It won’t be done right unless I do it myself.”
  • “We’re on deadline; I don’t have time to train someone.”
  • “I don’t have anyone to do this task.”
  • And the queen of them all: “I can’t afford to hire someone to do this.”

Try shifting your thoughts a bit.  Here’s what I found myself saying right before I had my staffing breakthrough:  “I can’t be doing this when I reach $10 million in revenue.” (Of course, I would still continue to do the task myself.)

But at some point, my pain increased to the point where I was ready to stop holding myself back, do something about it, and get to the next level.  And the next level was much easier than I could have ever imagined.  Here’s why:

  • You can get great help virtually now from anywhere around the world, for as little as a few hours a week.  So there’s no longer any need to have to take the risky jump from zero employees to a full time one.  You can build your team gradually.
  • Because you can hire virtual contractors, you don’t need a big cash outlay for computers, desks, space, and phone lines.   They come equipped.

What Would a Multi-Million Dollar Business Owner Do?

Here are my top tips to avoid becoming the bottleneck in your own company and to leverage your most precious asset – your time – in the best way possible:

1. Make a “Things I Should Not Be Doing List.”  Or if you prefer more positive language:  “Things That I’d Love to Find Support For.”  It doesn’t matter if you’re the head of a Fortune 50 company; you can get a lot out of this exercise if you really think about it.

2. Is there anyone on your team that can do any of these tasks?  If not, develop procedures and a possible job description for these items so you can start looking for the perfect person to support you.  Take at least five or so tasks and just get started.  If you’re hiring your very first assistant, just reach out and connect.  They will train you on how to give them work; that’s what they do for a living, so don’t take hours and hours to prepare for them; they will show you how.  (That’s like the woman who cleans her house before the housekeeper comes.)

3. Connect with multiple sources of talent and keep your connections fresh.

 a. Employment agencies.

b. Networking groups for jobseekers.

c. Lists you’re a part of to get referrals.

d. Craig’s List.

e. eLance.

f. AssistU.

 4. Develop a set of procedures for job screening and interviewing.  These can be elaborate and this is where my biggest learning curve occurred.  In future articles, I’ll provide a sneak peek at some of these details.

5.  As you delegate the tasks, make sure you do a good job of explaining the task.  If the task comes back done wrong, ask yourself what you could have done to prevent it before placing the blame on the employee or contractor.  This will allow you to develop the communication skills you need to become a good boss and to get things done the way you expect.

6. Get help with legal issues like payroll, background checks, worker’s comp, posters, and other liability issues.  If the person will be driving for you and / or doing both personal and business tasks, get a family office specialist in the accounting area to help you get things set up right.

As you build your team, be sure to utilize your freed up time with tasks only a million-dollar business owner would do.

I’d love for you to post your best practices for building a great team and delegating tasks for the first time.  Share your stories and ideas on my blog or on my Facebook page here


1 Comment
  1. Great article. Also is very applicable to anybody (not just accountants) in which a company is growing and requires additional staff. To add one more step to Sandi’s comments is taking a look at all the staffing needs of the company and perhaps shifting functions amongst current staff so that current staff can grow in their current job responsibilities, while shifting their responsibilities downward to the soon to be newly hired employee. Two things are accomplished – current staff is given greater and higher level responsibilities (which most employees want a sense of growth within their position) while the excess staff needs are fulfilled with a new person.