Whether you work in media, marketing or advertising, chances are your scope of work changes at an incredibly rapid pace. In the business of communication, the landscape can (and does) change on a dime. At some point in the past year, you’ve probably wished you could simply clone yourself to help you get the job done. You’re not alone. According to an ABC News report, Americans work more than people in any other country.
Whether you work at an agency or are an independent, it’s a tough balance to scale your business while still adequately delivering on client needs. And sometimes you’re still holding onto the reins a little tightly, thinking that you may be the only person who can get things done the way you’d like them to be. It would be easier if we could just clone ourselves. Unfortunately, the hard truth is that we need to step back and honestly evaluate what is eating up our time. Below are three areas that are worth taking a microscope to. It’s likely that making a few small adjustments can earn you some additional time.
What type of clients/projects are you taking?
Do you find that your processes for clients and projects are repeatable or are you charting new ground all the time? We’ve all taken a client that we know we shouldn’t have, but this is a dangerous mistake to make. Improper fits with clients and projects are a time suck and productivity killer. No one likes to turn revenue away, but it’s important to consider how your other clients could be affected by your distraction of managing a problem client. Even though we like to think that we can, we can’t be everything to everyone. Taking on projects that don’t align with your strengths will monopolize your time. Conversely, saying no will free you up to develop repeatable service offerings that grow your business. Also, don’t forget to regularly evaluate your pricing. While it is good to be competitive in your pricing model, be sure that you are actually charging what you are worth. A small increase in fees can give you the extra revenue you need to enlist more help.
Delegate, and do it right.
I get it – your business and reputation are everything. But if you don’t learn when and how to delegate, both areas will fall victim to negative repercussions. We know we need to delegate; it’s hardly a new concept. If you find that you aren’t doing it enough, chances are you are not setting the right expectations for yourself. Just because something is delegated, doesn’t mean that it will completely leave your plate until the due date. Successful delegation to an employee or contractor requires being very clear and specific. Communicate the start, end and deliverable details. There is a level of training involved if you are just starting to delegate to a certain individual. Over communicate! The overused excuse is that to get something done right, you have to do it yourself. The reality is that if we know what we need, you can still get it by relying upon someone else – but only if your communication is precise. Don’t forget to follow up, but do so respectfully and sparingly to avoid the trap of micromanagement. Delegation isn’t a magic spell; it’s a fine tuned process that starts with you.
Many people struggle with things like hiring a house cleaner or joining a food delivery service. Although to some it may seem like a lavish expense, the reality is that if you look at what you could be billing during those hours, it will make you more money. The secret is to actually work during these times. There is a tendency to look at this time as an opportunity to take a breather. Instead, the time could be used for easy tasks like client research or spending time working on growing your own company. If you have your meals delivered once or twice a week, you could replace that time with a networking event that could possibly land you a new client. Personal needs can clog our processes at times. If you can, find a way to free up some of the everyday tasks that could be billable hours.
A harsh reality is that it would be a bad decision to clone yourself — that person will get tired, too. Instead, make a few small adjustments that will better your work and your processes. Give it a shot and see what you can achieve.