Wearing Multiple Hats: The Good and Bad
I want to talk about the idea of wearing a lot of hats, the good and the bad.
We all tend to deal with wearing many hats throughout a workday. One moment you might be the project manager, the next you might be handling a security issue, and then it’s on to a client call. It all adds up and weighs on us each in different ways. Some tend to enjoy wearing many hats while others want to do the work where their skill lies.
One part that people tend to like about wearing many is that you feel more control. In my case, since our team is very small, it makes me feel like I understand what is going on in any project at any time. This can give you the feeling of control over everything. This is my Achilles heel.
I enjoy wearing all the hats I can and doing a little bit of everything. Yet, at the end of the day, it does not leave much of the real work done. You end the day feeling like you did a lot without actually help push any project closer to shipping. Part of us trying to grow our business is prioritizing our time. Focusing on where we are actually doing the work that matters for each project. This is where we see the most opportunity to grow our business without growing our team size.
When you begin to automate repetitive tasks, great things can happen. Limit client interactions to certain times during the day. Set up automatic client check-in emails. Streamline your invoicing and billing. Focusing on what actions will be the most productive for the current project frees up more of your time. This allows you to get the work that you are actually getting paid for more often. We get paid to deliver websites, apps, or whatever it may be on time and to spec. Think about the time you spend replying to emails, taking calls, and scheduling meetings. Now think about how much farther your projects would be if you had that time back.
This is not to say calls, meetings, and emails are bad. They should have their time in the workday where you tend to them and also a time where you do not. This separation creates space that allows you to focus on what is important for each project.
The more we do this work the more we learn. A big part of growing our business revolves around optimizing our time. Since we are never adding to our team, time optimization means growth. One great way to do this is thru automation. Do you check in with your clients often? Do you schedule calls over emailing back and forth your available times? Automate these things and can save you valuable time, as it has for us. You can set up a client list in MailChimp in minutes. You can then set up an automation task to auto check-in with them at whatever interval you want. This way you don’t have to remember to do it. Calendly is a tool that can help you manage your calls and availability. You can put your call availability times and have all your calls scheduled thru that system. Simple things like this can save you a lot of time. This time saved opens up larger windows to do meaningful work to push the project forward. The more strict you are on your daily schedule the more you will find that you can get done in a day. This creates growth because you are able to do more work in a day.
This all feeds into the idea of delegation. We all like feeling in control and delegating work can be very troubling. When you delegate, you may feel like you are losing your personal touch on a project or with a client. In fact, the opposite tends to happen. When you delegate, it frees you up to do more of the work you are actually good at. Second, it allows systems to handle processes that you do not enjoy. This reduces your daily stress and causes more benefits than saving you some time.
The reason this topic is a big one for me is because of the double edge sword that wearing all hats seems to be. On one hand, I am addicted to being in control and wearing all the hats, it makes me feel more in control of my business. On the other, it is stressful and causes less work to get done. Part of growing your business is a learning process. There are plenty of tools out there to help you optimize your time. The key is finding the ones that make the largest impact on your day to day work and productivity. Do not drown yourself in optimization to your own detriment. Find a few things that will make a large impact and start there. For us, it was using the full features of MailChimp to decrease how much we had to email our clients. Also, using Calendly to send to our clients to schedule client calls. This gives us control over our schedule. We can limit our availability in Calendly and make sure calls get scheduled at appropriate times. This has been a potent combination for us and has allowed us to find a way to grow and be more productive.
Growth can be a two-way street. Either you want to grow the scale of your company, or you want to grow without growing your team. Whatever your choice may be delegation and automation has its role. Optimizing your time can provide growth in more ways than you may expect.