Sometimes, starting is the hardest part

Change is hard. I get it. Sometimes even starting small is hard.

I am a bonafide, dyed in the wool, type-A personality, perfectionist, control freak. And I fly that control freak flag high.

So, you can probably imagine what happened when my bookkeeping practice grew to the point I couldn’t handle all the work, plus the administrative things that go along with owning a business, on my own.

My personal life went right out the window, and 60-hour work weeks became the norm.

My family was not amused.

Honestly, I wasn’t amused, either. But, being the control freak I am, I couldn’t see around my predicament. I had to be the person who handled my clients’ bookkeeping, start to finish. No one else would understand how each client’s business worked. I had to be the person who handled my emails, because I was the only one who could answer my clients’ questions. I had to be the person who answered the phone, because…well, I didn’t really have an answer for that one.

I had a conversation with a friend who is a business coach, and she recommended I delegate one administrative task that took me away from my “genius work” and that was getting ignored because I didn’t really like doing it, anyway. My clients and I communicate via email for the most part, but from time to time several will call. I had found that I was letting most of the phone calls go to voicemail, and then I dreaded listening to the voicemail because that meant I would have to return the call. I had also found that I was spending way too much time in my email, and for the most part it was just routing messages into Evernote for later reference.

At that point, the answer became clear: I needed to hire a virtual assistant to help me with some of these things. I got a recommendation from a fellow member of the Between Wall and Main Facebook group and took the plunge.

After a couple of weeks of my VA handling phone calls and emails (when I would stay out of her way long enough to let her work,) I was ready to delegate a task I had been putting off for far too long: setting up a CRM. Now that the CRM is complete, I am trying to decide what to delegate next. Not because I can’t think of anything to keep my VA busy, but because I have come up with a huge list of things she can do better than I can.

Did you read those last few paragraphs and think, “Big deal?” I did. In fact, I almost deleted this entire article because I’m a little embarrassed about making such a huge deal over such a small thing. But this column is all about the small changes that make a big impact over time, and when you are trying to grow your business your time is just as precious as money.

In retrospect, it is obvious I needed to hire someone to help me manage these parts of my business. When I was in the thick of it, though, I couldn’t see a way to make that happen. Maybe you are feeling the same way. If so, my recommendation to you is simple.

Just start.

Find one thing you can take off your plate, and then do it. It helps if you choose something you aren’t particularly good at doing in the first place. When things don’t go as planned, do not take that thing back into your own hands. Do the work to keep it off your plate. Then repeat the process with another task. I promise you, with time it does get easier.

You might even start getting your weekends back.

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