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Is that a bad thing?
In this series, I’m writing about how to build your business in a way that it will run without you around. The first thing that I want to talk about is the mindset that you need to cultivate in order to begin to either pull yourself out of your existing business or to intentionally build and manage your business with personal freedom as the goal.

First and foremost, you need to determine that you are a business owner, not a manager. What’s the difference? Glad you asked. A business owner works ON their business, a manager works IN their business. As a business owner, you may need to occasionally wear the manager hat … but your goals are usually different. You should constantly evaluate your business from the perspective of an owner looking at it from the outside.

Another way to think about this is that a business owner develops systems and processes that are then managed by roles (people) placed within them.

Any time that a task comes across your desk, you should be asking these questions:

  1. Am I the only person who can do this?
    If you are not the only person who can do this, why are you doing it? If you are the only person doing this, spend some time thinking if that is actually true… and if it is, why? Hire champions who you can trust, learn how to delegate and get really good at it. For the bonus round, learn how to train champions to train champions.
  2. Is this something that can be documented?
    I used to spend a lot of my time supporting clients and staff on things that they really could take care of themselves if they knew how. I have since gotten into the habit of saying ‘Please make sure to document this if it isn’t already’ when-ever I delegate anything. In some businesses a simple FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page will suffice. Other businesses use larger systems like a Knowledgebase or a Wiki. No matter what you use, make sure that your clients and staff know where they can find information that they need without asking you for it.
  3. Is this something that can be automated?
    9 times out of 10 the answer is probably going to be yes. With a little time and effort I am willing to bet that most things related to the daily support of your clients in your business can be automated. If you are in a service industry, you might not be able to automate the actual service … but I am confident that there are many things that can be automated surrounding it. As a quick example… I used to keep track of all the time I spent on every task manually, and then invoice my clients manually after pulling in all of those tasks as line items into invoices within QuickBooks. I have since automated that entire process so that when I start any task, the timer starts automatically. Timesheets are sent weekly to my clients, and invoices are created and sent based on those timesheets. This works for me as well as any of my staff with zero effort. I used to spend hours every week reviewing varied timesheets and invoices sent to me by all my contractors and then placing all that information into invoices to send to my clients. I don’t do that anymore, and now I have more time to focus on working ON my business instead of IN my business.

I hope that this post was helpful and begins to clarify the direction that I want to take you on your own journey to personal freedom! Stay tuned for the next post in the series, and please let me know in comments what you are using to help you develop a personal freedom mindset!

Find out more about projects that I’m working on here, and stay tuned for the next post in the series!