Last month I was invited to be a featured speaker at an upcoming Perth event. With 15 highly successful, professional women in business as my co-speakers, the event aims to encourage and empower women to re-enter the workforce. My topic is the only one geared towards a different option – creating a sustainable business to ensure a healthy work/life blend.
The invitation got me thinking about why I have been prosperous in this first year of business. I’ve realised it has more to do with my support system than my own talents and a change in mindset about outsourcing and resourcing.
Are you a hit-the-ground running type of business owner? Do you wake up in the morning with a head full of ideas, positively gunning to begin the day?
Some days I feel as if my brain has too many tabs open by 7am, but that’s how I get through the mornings.
(Why won’t someone invent an ideas board for the shower? I’d buy three!)
Do you notice that the more enthusiastic you are about tackling projects, the more synchronised the rest of your world becomes? My new business has meant an increase in productivity at one day a week job and a serious overhaul of our organisational structure at home.
We add to our recipe: a teenager, a tween and a toddler, soccer, netball and Kindy Dance, a crooked house on a block full of trees, a sport loving husband, a mother who visits a lot and a couple of cranky geese. Chuck a disability into the circus and the implementation of a new, sustainable business has meant the requirement of a T.L.R.
Total Life Renovation.
In years past, I have found delegation a bit of an issue. If you are like me, you find managing people difficult because you would rather just get on and do it yourself. Properly. At Midnight.
Take it from someone who worked themselves into sheer unhappiness:
This. Is. Not. Good. For. You.
Keen not to repeat the same mistakes when beginning my own business, I needed to formulate a plan to avoid total burnout.
The answer, I’ve found, is resourcing a team to collaborate with, rather than manage.
At #teamcrispycrow all the “interns” are underpaid. That’s OK, because I am related to them all. They get the jobs like hanging out the washing and vacuuming the floor, taking the toddler to swimming lessons and making school lunches. For my part, I actively ensure that I put down the laptop and talk scooters, read bedtime stories with the wrong voices and dissect 12 year old girl conversations. I am the one that remembers the Grandma’s birthdays and cook the family a dinner when we have a shin dig. I turn up to sporting events and school functions, even if it’s after hassling tired receptionists to tell me “exactly when the 100m A Division race is on” so I can nip in and out. After all, if this level of the Crisp Crow Empire falls apart, the rest is redundant.
The specialists are the next layer of important resource. The accountant, the IT specialist, my Web Developer who speaks SEO, the business strategist, my VA, the writing coach, the content checker of my copy editing, the IP specialist. These guys are the guts of any operation because they are the recipients of our outsourcing. We can’t do it all. I find it important to remember how important they are to my journey (my Web Developer writes code with the ease of making a shopping list) and try to remember to thank them. All the research on Google shows that when you make a team member feel important, their productivity in relation to your business improves dramatically.
In the upper echelons of your structure is you. Now in my ‘you’ there is also a husband because we are a team. For six years there was just me and I did fine, but now I share my family, dreams and life with someone, so have learnt (with some resistance!) to figure him into the equation. When he wanted to go to Uni after we just met and all I wanted to do was breed more babies and bake scones, I supported him. His essays were the most well written documents ever to be turned in. Now that I want him to shoulder some of the ‘roadie’ responsibilities so that I can build something of my own, he takes it in his stride. I am not an expert on relationships by any means and possibly I just got lucky with this one, but we have managed to work out a really good fair-trade agreement so far.
So, if business is all about relationships and good relationships are built on good communication, are we doing enough to maintain them?
Are we freeing up enough brainstorming in the shower, creating a bigger picture business, writing a five year plan time by offloading some of the things we don’t do as well as others?
Are we cutting the mustard with the kids?
I’d like to suggest that we put some of our energies into structuring ourselves, as small business owners, a fantastic team. One where you can trade ideas, skills and resources. A team you have high expectations of and who deliver with flair. Hire a copywriter. (Oh, thought I’d just throw that in there.)
After all, I speak Writing, with a Social Media accent.
Accounting, Google Analytics and Foundations of Business are those languages I’m pleased to receive the translation for.
Brodie’s Notes style.
Jay Crisp Crow
Yep, really my name