One thing you find owning a digital based business is that you don’t get out much. Of course, that’s assuming that if you have staff they’re not in the same office as you working.
Everyone who works for our company work from home (or whatever country they happen to be in at the time).
Over the years I’ve considered getting an office numerous times because I feel that it would help to bring a bigger feeling of community to our business. However, not only have the costs not made sense to do that (being based in London rates are pretty high) but nobody wants to either.
One of the reasons they like working for a digital company is that they can work remotely. We have no fixed holiday policies. We employ people to do a job, as long as the job gets done on time and to a high standard then I don’t mind if you’re doing it from your home or from the Borneo jungles.
It makes no difference to me, in fact I’m often one of the ones travelling, and I believe that it’s important to be in control of your life. And, for me, the most important thing you should have complete control over is your time. After all, it’s your life.
Anyway… that’s all a very long-winded way to say that around 11am every morning I take the dog for a walk.
There’s a park just opposite our apartment and I know pretty much everybody who walk their dogs in there.
In fact, most people turn up at around the same time each day so we can have catch-up while the dogs are exercising themselves 🙂
Well the other day I was chatting to one of the other dog owners who is a very successful business owner. His company designs the interiors for luxury and super-luxury hotels.
About six months ago one of his members of staff decided that they were going to go out on their own.
Six months down the line they were phoning him to see if he had any work.
The problem is, this guy isn’t just good at his job, he’s great. One of the best. But… he’s not good at owning a business.
Because owning a business is a very different skillset to being able to do the work that the business performs.
And with that in mind, there is a huge difference between owning your business and running it.
It’s something that I’ve been coming to terms with over the last six months or so. It’s a complete shift in mentality and approach.
And, to be honest, it can be pretty scary.
But I’ve come to realise that there is absolutely no way to go from the six figures a year to seven and eight figures without going through this mental shift.
A lot of business, both digital and offline, are started by either one person or a small group of people.
The service, or product, that the company sells is based around the skillsets that those founding people have.
And the founding members are the ones who do the work to grow the company.
You’ve probably experienced something similar.
A year or two after you start your business you find that you’re doing a huge amount of work. I mean so much work that you’re working 16+ hours a day for seven days of the week!
You’re still not finishing everything!
The problem is that you are running the company, you’re not owning it.
If you’re too busy running the company to own it, then you can’t focus on growth. And that means you’re never going to get further than you already are.
There are two primary causes I have found of this myself.
The first is making the mistake of thinking that you should do something to spend money. After all, you can do it and if you pay someone else to do it then you’re going to earn less.
Well yes that’s true.
But you’re also going to be able to have time to actually enjoy time with your family and friends.
It’s advisable to get someone else to do the work if you can afford to even if it means reducing the amount you pay yourself. Do this and you’re setting up a structure that is capable of expanding.
The second big mistake that I made was trying to find someone who can cover a range of the jobs you do yourself.
And of course this comes back down to money. The thinking behind it, although I didn’t realise this at the time, was that if I could find someone who could take over a number of my roles then it would save the company money in the long run.
The chances are that you’ve built up an unusual set of skills whilst building up your business. Skills that someone wouldn’t normally have together. And if they did, they’d probably be starting up their own business.
What you need to be looking for our people who excel in specific areas, people who can take over specific parts of your work and most likely do them better than you.
No, they won’t be able to do everything and yes it will mean employing more people and spending more of your money.
But, in the long-run you’ll end up with a team of people who are all experts in their specific areas and combined are doing a much better job than you could ever have done.
Taking this plunge can be scary because we tend to live a lifestyle that matches our income and your income may well drop with the employment of more staff.
However if you do this it then you’re going to stop running your business. The day-to-day work will be done by others and that means… your time has been freed up to own the business.
And as a business owner you have one primary focus, growing the business. Of course I’m not saying you shouldn’t be doing anything else, you need to take care of your staff and make sure things are running smoothly. But that will take significantly less time than running the business.
In one swoop you will have put yourself in a position where you can focus on growing your company to the next level and freed up your time and relieved the stress of trying to maintain everything.
Once you come to terms with the fact that doing this is a necessary cost of growth, you’ll find the move isn’t as bad as it at first seems.