My approach to work is very DIY.
Admittedly, as a former manager, I had a hard time learning to delegate—to trust people to perform the quality of work you expect, in the time frame you require.
Say nothing of office politics, or the idea that you must invest in yourself just to get slightly ahead.
I was so glad to leave that job function behind when I started my business two years ago.
As a solopreneur, I fell in love with the fact that I could do everything on my own.
I felt a certain satisfaction with taking every project from soup to nuts: From proposal writing, to executing the work and managing the relationship, even invoicing.
When I found out I was pregnant last spring, I started not only to think about the additional help I would need, but also how I really wanted to focus on doing good work—not doing ALL the work.
I knew I needed to invest in myself in order to keep my business afloat.
So I took some major steps, which are starting to pay off big.
I Hired a Business Coach
In March (before I became pregnant), I had decided to sink money into an online platform that allowed me to develop and sell an online course (The Savvy Soloist).
Between running a business and trying to launch a new program, I knew I needed help, and I wanted it from someone I admired.
Luckily, I happened to share a ride to a speaking engagement with Shonali Burke in April.
We got to talking about her experience with a coach and her new coaching offerings.
She talked about how important it is to invest in yourself and how a business coach would help that process.
Soon after, we struck an agreement that she would help me put my 2016 plans into motion.
Her rules were simple: I would set the agenda and she would not do any work or writing for me.
At first, I felt a bit taken aback—what was I paying for? This I would soon discover.
As with any coach, students go in with raw talent and (hopefully) the dedication to achieve their end goal.
For me, it was to become a better marketer, and to run a more streamlined business.
I was astonished by how much harder I pushed myself with her in my corner.
There was no sugarcoating, loads of honest feedback, and every session ended with my being equally proud of what I had accomplished and terrified with what I had to do.
The end result?
My program launched at the end of October, and I have now set-up a system for growth in 2017 and beyond.
There are times when you need that level of personal investment from a seasoned expert—know when that is, and don’t be shy about aggressively pursuing it.
I Outsourced My New Website
I initially started my company on a web platform called Strikingly—an easy-to-use CMS that allowed for mobile-friendly site creation.
The design was beautiful and the on-boarding easy.
It worked swimmingly for the first two years.
Yet as my ambitions grew, along with my desire to scale my community through email and other app integration, I realized I needed the trusty standby we all know and love: WordPress.
I read lots of reviews on how to create sites from scratch using pre-made templates.
I knew I could do it, but I decided not to.
Because there are professionals out there who do this work daily, know the ins and outs of the programs, can anticipate the pitfalls, and easily troubleshoot problems that WILL arise.
In the end it saves times, money, and sanity.
[Sidenote I: For the same reason, I hired a bookkeeper after many sleepless quarters of trying to reconcile my books, and pleading with the staff at Quickbooks.]
[Sidenote II: And it’s the same reason why, as professionals, we know it’s better for us to work on communications and marketing projects rather than the guy in government relations who is “familiar” with social media.]
Now, I have people working for me, and with me, to help me work better.
It’s a beautiful, tax-deductible thing.
When I return to work later this winter, I may need additional help.
As I analyze potential projects, I may decide to bring on a virtual assistant to help me keep focused on doing the type of work where I excel.
Why Should You Invest in Yourself?
(Besides spending money, which my accountant says is a good thing…)
When you invest in yourself, it frees up your time.
For me, it freed up some time to focus on the work I want to do, not the work I have to do, and it allowed me to pinpoint how I want to run my business.
Overwhelmingly, I want what I’ve always wanted: Flexibility in schedule, choice in partners, and the gift of time.
At a certain point, it becomes less and less about money.
In fact, by investing my money into professionals who can help me achieve my goals, I’m finding more joy in my days, increased outputs with better outcomes that matter for my clients, and a more streamlined business model.
Some of this may seem like a gamble—will the website attract more clients; will my product earn more revenue than my initial investment?
All I know is what the stock markets tell us: Investing is a long-game. Likewise, to invest in yourself will pay off, both today and in the future.