There's an African proverb that says, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
It's so tempting when starting a new business to take on every task by yourself, especially when you have a strong vision for what you want to achieve. I'm sure every entrepreneur has said at some point in their life, "If you want it done right, do it yourself." However, as the African proverb explains, getting the job done faster does not guarantee success; in fact, refusing the help of others is likely to hold you back in the long term.
During my program Business By Design, I tell my students, "You can't do it alone, so stop trying." Somehow, we all believe the myth that to start an online business, all we need is a laptop and an internet connection. Then, with the click of a few buttons we can start generating revenue. In fact, an online business is not so different from any other type of enterprise. Would you expect a shop owner to run their business all by themselves? It's unlikely. Success is not impossible this way, but potential is clearly limited.
The process of launching an online business requires a variety of skills and experience, as well as a great deal of time and effort. For example, you need to market your business using social media, create an online persona, distribute content and set up the right systems. This is before you even get to the tasks that will provide value to your paying clients and customers. The work required to launch a successful online business amounts to several full-time jobs.
You need to create a strong team to create a successful business. Prioritize attracting skilled, reliable people who will allow you to let go of simple tasks and focus on the things that make a difference – things that only you can do. Otherwise, spending your time on those simple tasks limits your revenue and snuffs out the flame of your passion and enthusiasm.
As the business founder, you need to remain in the idea, innovation and creativity mode, which will help to ensure you still have those same energy levels after six months of work. We don't know the opportunity cost of not delegating and not outsourcing, but if we did, I think all entrepreneurs who try to do everything themselves would change their ways.
I know many of you will read this and say, "I agree, but I don't have the money." In fact, that isn't true, and my own story is proof. You can find qualified virtual assistants from countries such as the Philippines for as little as $2 per hour. I started my business in my parents' basement a decade ago when I had no money and no job. I didn't make any money for the first year, but I scrounged together enough to pay $70 a week to a virtual assistant. That assistant is actually still working for me today. This allowed me to focus on being the CEO.
Don't forget the 5 percent rule: 5 percent of the activities we do have a direct impact on 95 percent of the results we're hoping to achieve. Therefore, we mustn't get distracted by things that don't have the same impact.
We often avoid those 5 percent activities because they put us out of our comfort zone, believing if we focus on the other safe tasks we'll eventually succeed. That is completely wrong. If you're willing to do the scary things, to face rejection, you can work less and achieve more. But if you never go to bat, you'll never score.
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