Congratulations! You’ve worked your ass off and have clients coming out the wazoo. Now you find yourself so maxed out that you’re actually missing opportunities and losing business.
You’ve successfully achieved exactly what all young businesses do — you’ve completely exhausted all of your resources.
Although this might sound like a bad thing, it’s actually the complete opposite. Every business goes through growth stages, and you have to reach the end of one before you move on to the next.
In your case, you’re now ready to grow from the solo-preneur stage (doing everything all by yourself) to becoming an actual company by bringing on your first employee! You couldn’t get to this point if you weren’t crushing it, so that’s why the congratulations are in order.
To continue growing, however, you need to increase your bandwidth and add more resources. But which activities should you offload, and which should you keep?
Here is where most solo-preneurs have trouble — they’re used to doing everything themselves and are loathe to give up activities they might enjoy. Here’s a formula that might help.
The formula that’ll take you from solo-preneur to growth
In business there are basically two types of activities: revenue generating and revenue supporting. Revenue-generating activities are those that create new opportunities for revenue (strategy, marketing and sales), and everything else gets lumped under the “supporting activities” banner (operations, customer support, administration, etc.).
Both are absolutely vital and couldn’t exist without each other, but there’s definitely an order to them.
If you’ve reached this point in the growth of your business, the odds are that you’re really good at the revenue-generating parts, so those are the ones you need to keep and do more of exclusively.
Now you just need to find someone who can handle the revenue supporting activities. In my experience as a business coach, I’ve found that the most successful individuals are those who efficiently outsource functions that aren’t in their wheelhouse or shouldn’t be.
I like to say that one key to success is to find someone who, “Loves to do what you loathe to do.”
In most cases, that means it’s time to hire an administrative assistant who can handle all of the admin activities so you can focus on strategy, marketing and most importantly — sales.
What’s a great administrative assistant made of?
What does a great administrative assistant look like? I would argue that it has less to do with the things you can see on the surface and more (much more!) to do with the invisible traits you can’t readily see.
Although things like experience and a solid understanding of technology are important, those are also things that can be learned or earned. What truly makes the difference between a mediocre assistant and a stellar one is his or her deep personality traits.
Not the superficial ones (are they friendly and bubbly?), but how they think and make decisions.
At our company, we measure for those deep traits and characteristics that comprise the very best administrative assistants by using personality profiling, particularly the DISC Index and Values Index profiles.
And I can tell you, the profile of a great admin is definitive and very clear.
Behaviorally, the best have:
- Moderate to low level of the D dimension in the DISC profile, which helps him or her make more deliberate and careful decisions with details and tasks.
- Moderately high I dimensional scores, which makes him or her personable extroverts who work well with a wide variety of people.
- High levels in the S dimension, which contributes to him or her being great stabilizers, consistent and reliable.
- High levels of the C dimension, which makes him or her bulldogs for details, neurotic for accuracy and sticklers for making sure everything is done by the book.
From a motivational standpoint, exceptional administrative assistants are:
- Driven by high levels of altruism, and sincerely like making sure everyone is well taken care of and supported.
- Enjoy working inside the lines where there are lots of regulations, policies, rules and structure.
- Always hungry for new knowledge or new ways of delivering even more efficient results.
So, if you find yourself running a million miles an hour, never having enough time to get everything done and most upsettingly missing new business opportunities because you just can’t do it all by your lonesome, perhaps it’s time to think about expanding and hiring an awesome administrative assistant.
Just make sure he or she is indeed awesome with the traits and talents noted above!
Jay Niblick is the co-founder and president of the real estate technology firm WizeHire.com.