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A business friend of mine got to attend the Copyblogger Authority Live conference last week, where internet marketing genius Seth Godin was one of the keynote speakers.
She told me that one of the most powerful things he said, for her, came during the Q&A session, not during the keynote itself.
During his speech, he had said, “Freelancers get paid when they work; entrepreneurs build something bigger than themselves,” (powerful on its own!). Someone then asked him how to go from one to the other in the follow up Q&A.
His answer? “Hire someone as soon as you can to do the things someone else can do.”
That’s a pretty strong call to stay in your zone of genius.
So many times business owners do everything – because they can (they know how to use social media, write a sales page, build a website) or because they feel like they have to for financial reasons.
But stay in that mindset too long, and you may find that the thing holding your business back… is you.
You are the weakest link
And not only in the area of doing tasks outside your zone of genius.
One of my business mentors says “A business will never outgrow it’s owner.”
If you think about that, it’s really big. Your level of education and understanding about business directly affects the success of your business. The more you learn and get guidance on actually running the business, the more your business will grow.
Many businesses hit a ceiling and generally that ceiling is simply created by the knowledge of the owner (or lack thereof).
If you look at great entrepreneurs, they are generally people who seek out mentorships, invest in courses and coaching, and work constantly to improve themselves. No one is just born knowing what to do.
Overcoming your weakness means investing in getting stronger
If your knowledge, your insights, basically YOU are the weakest link in your business, then the easiest and most effective way to improve your business is to invest in yourself.
But so many business owners I know don’t see it that way.
In my experience, many business owners struggle way too long by themselves without looking for help. Either because because they think they have to do it all themselves or because they are worried about the cost.
But when you think about it, the cost of the business you may be losing by not getting help is even higher.
Where should you invest first?
In my opinion, a business coach is the best investment you can make. A coach helps you become more successful faster because she has already walked the path you’re on – usually on her own and with many clients – so she can help you avoid the pitfalls. She can also tell you which tasks you no longer need to do yourself.
Many of the details you might think you don’t have to be worried about may in fact be crucial. I for example when I was first starting tried to avoid getting professional photography done for my website – massive mistake! My wonderful coach at the time explained how the quality of the image I present sends all sorts of signals to potential clients, including how much I value myself, my work, and therefore, them. Thank God I listened :-)
A coach is also probably the one person in your life solely focussed on your success. Other people in your life may have other motivations; they may want your time, or just want you to take the safe road, and they may not have had the experience to be able to advise you well.
You should be learning from those who are living the kind of life you want to lead. The kind of coach you need will depend on where you are in your business. Do you need a startup coach, like me, or someone who specialises in taking businesses from five to six or even seven figures?
Taking the investment plunge
When you’re serious about your business, you’ll realise that you won’t be able to do all of the work yourself to a level of quality you are happy with. Which means you need to invest in getting help, plain and simple.
Starting a business isn’t free, and it is a lot of many different kinds of work. If you invest in getting some things done that are outside your “zone of genius” then you are going to achieve a higher quality result and have more time to focus on the thing you do that no one else in the world can do.
This was number 4 in the 6 part blog series – How To Start A Side Business
Here is the complete series:
1. why starting a side business may be the secret to your success.
2. 5 qualities you must cultivate to be a successful entrepreneur.
3. the single most important skill you need to run a side business.
4. why YOU are the weakest link in your business (and what to do about it).
5. the tools I use to run my online business.
6. starting your own business: not as hard as you think!
Now I’d love to hear from you…
What are you doing right now that someone else could handle?
What tasks are taking you out of your zone of genius?
Have you had coaching to sharpen your business skills and get your business firing on all cylinders?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!