It's Time to Hire an Assistant When….
For many years I did MOST of the work in my business myself. I didn't trust other people to run my business the way I wanted them to do it and I thought the only person who could do it the way I needed it to be done was me. Allow me to say, that will KILL YOU… and I know MANY black entrepreneurs who are burning the candle at both ends as you read this stuck in auto work mode and never freeing themselves up to enjoy life or to reap the benefits of their hard work. We are in business to ENJOY our lives not to wear ourselves out. Here are a few tips to let you know that you are doing way too much by yourself…. Enjoy and best in business (click “NEXT” above or below to see next section of the story)
You Find that you are the Go-to Guy for Everything
This can be EXTREMELY exhausting after giving 110% of yourself to your business already. This is certainly the time when you need to create two of you and we make it MUCH more difficult that it is. There is always someone out there who can do the job and eliminate a large part of your daily stress. It may take you a while to find them but you will. I have a friend who is literally stressed out everyday because she can't find a good manager for her business. She keeps hiring the wrong people then she keeps firing them and then she has to retrain someone else and go through the process again and again. I asked her what she thinks the problem is and she admits that she does not have the money to pay the person. I told her to eliminate one of her other positions and increase the salary to find the right person OR post what the job pays and see if you can find a good candidate based on that. In this economy, you can get great help for less than you'd expect to pay. The only problem is the person may leave when they finally find something else BUT as least that will give you time to organize the business.
People Call you and want to chat like they have known you for years
I have come up with quite a few strategies to handle this. In my business of entertainment and doing a national blog where I am often open and personal. People really do THINK they know you and they want to call and shoot the breeze about absolutely NOTHING. They talk to you like they have known you for years and figure they can be your friend. At times, it used to creep me out but then I realized the impact what I did had on others. While it may mean nothing to me, it may be very personal for others so I often call people back RIGHT before a meeting and I tell them I have a few minutes to talk and have to go to a meeting or I tell them I have a conference call to make, this is often a great strategy to get them to say what they called for and quite often, they get tongue-tied and don't know what to say because they didn't have anything to say in the first place. I have also learned to call people back and block my cell number if I'm on the go. It's up to them if they don't answer but I don't know them and once people get your cell number, once again, they think they can call you whenever they want and have a conversation with you. I used to wonder why some execs that I know have 3 and 4 cell phones, now I know. One black entrepreneur told me “This is the business phone, this is the family and friends phone and this is the bullshit phone which I almost never answer. He carried 3 cell phone everywhere with him. I am seriously contemplating getting another cell phone myself for the same reason. business and personal calls should be on separate phones in order to keep you in one mode or the other. There is some validity to that.
Potential Clients keep asking for discounts
When I started working with major labels which has pretty much been since my inception, I didn't quite realize my value and I would often be unsure of myself in the early days. This is dangerous because people pick up on it and they may take advantage of it. If they call YOU they NEED you. There is no if, ands and buts about it. Understand who is in charge but still maintain a level of respect for the potential client AND for your value. When you give discounts it's like lying. You never stop. So why do it? Perhaps you need the money. Well one black entrepreneur had a great idea when I brought this up to him, he stated, if they don't have enough money, I never leave it on the table, I still provide them a service, they just get less than I give my full paying clients and I let them know that. That is a great idea. Never give the full package to a particularly paying client. They can certainly get SOME of what you offer but not ALL of it.
Former colleagues or Clients Give Your Cell Number out without Asking Your Permission
This is one of my greatest pet peeves. First of all its disrespectful and second all it takes a minute to call me and ask if it's OK or you can tell the person, I will call Kevin and give him your number to call you. One of my friends who also happens to be a client, who I mistakenly gave a discount to once and it never stopped, gave my number to a woman one day who needed a picture of Whitney Houston. How hard is it to find a picture of Whitney Houston online? apparently it was impossible for her, she told me this person gave her my number and she needed for me to find a picture of Whitney Houston for her. Can you stand it? I actually did it but I let my friend have it. I don't work for anyone, that's why I became an black entrepreneur. You give my number to a stranger who want to put me to work for FREE… REALLY? Now, if I don't know the number I usually don't answer unless it's from a major market. Ironically, most people who call me from NY, LA or Chicago are about business, however they got my number.
People don't respect your time (or lack thereof)
Stick and move. I heard that in a movie and I never forgot it. An black entrepreneur who wants to make a lasting impression does just that, stick and move NEVER linger or hang out. Appear then DISappear to create a lasting impression. It really works. If you want more tips like that let me recommend a great book. The 48 Laws of Power. I must have read that book 10 times. It's excellent for black entrepreneurs.
You decide to expand and you want to free yourself up for ordinary tasks
You won't grow if you don't know. Doing EVERYTHING yourself will get you two things: a heart attack and/or a stroke. You are NOT in business to die, you're in business so that you can enjoy your life. Bit the bullet and hire someone to free you up from the everyday bullshit that you do that you don't have to do. Customer service calls, paying bills, ordering things, checking and answering email, checking social networks. You would be AMAZED at how much time you waste doing this.
You want to IMPROVE your reputation
Free time is ME time and what a great time to take care of yourself and make appearances or take clients out to lunch. Most of your clients are used to people calling them ans saying gimme, gimme, gimme, can you imagine how good they would feel if you were one of the few people who called and said “Let me take YOU out to lunch!” Having an assistant in will help you improve in all of these areas. Good luck.
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