I've always loved the idea of building a business that runs without me in the mix. It's not that don't want to work or didn't enjoy some of the things I've done, I just enjoy the thought of creating some Rube Goldberg business machine of sorts.
My first attempts was with software as a service, I naively thought that if I build it the money would just pour in. I soon realized that just like everything in life if you want something you have to go out and get it. I iterated and iterated, over how I approached different business ventures until I got a mix that I'm really happy with.
I want to share a little of my findings with you.
This deserves it's own post, but delegation is key... You have to be comfortable with trusting and finding good people to work with. If you're an absolute control freak delegation is probably something you struggle with. I know I did in the past. There was a variety of reasons why I didn't entertain the thought of delegating what I do and want to do out to other people. I used to think that:
- Other people couldn't do it as fast as me
- Involving others would be super expensive
- It was new territory and I had no idea what I was doing
- I didn't have the guts to get rid of someone if they weren't working out
- I wouldn't be able to admit failure to people involved with my crazy projects if I hired them
- and soooo many more....
I'm sure you have a list of reasons of why you "can't" delegate things to other people, but in order to systematize a business you have to willing to do so.
If you're in a business that needs a physical location or bound to a region/location things may be a little difficult for you. If you're just of the old school mentality that you need to have a physical office and need "face time" with people you work with then you may want to get over that.
When you open yourself up to remote workers a lot of great things happen, one of the bigger benefits is that you're opening yourself up to a much larger talent pool. The other benefit is flexibility in work schedules. Not everyone is looking for a full-time position, some people just want to supplement their current income so they'll help out part-time.
This can vary and is totally up to you for the most part. If you use a freelancer marketplace like Upwork you can set to do fixed price or pay people by the hour. You will need to evaluate what you need done and set the price that you're willing to pay.
Remember that lowest price isn't always a good thing. I understand everyone's budget isn't the same and that price may be one of the biggest factors in delegating things out, but you will find out that price is just one factor in choosing who you want to work with.
Focus on bringing in money
As fun as it is hiring people one of the last things I believe you should have others do the work on is sales and a lot of the marketing. My reasoning behind this is that if you don't know how the process goes from end to end then you're paying people to learn and fumble around. Work through a few deals and take notes of objections and other obstacles that you encounter when obtaining customers.
On the marketing side come up with a strategy that someone can follow that leads to results. The plan could be high level, but just like closing the deals you want to take note of what is effective and what isn't. One of the worst things you can do people is bring them on the team and say "figure it out". They want to have a sense of direction and a base level of expectation so they will know if they're doing a good job.
The weakest link in the chain is always you
If things are not working the way you'd expect it, it's you. It's not the people you've put in place to help out, it's you. Don't give room for excuses or place the blame elsewhere.
Take time to evaluate the system you're developing. Do more of what's working and make sure the people you're working with have everything they need to be successful.