By Kate McKnight, CDMP
Sounds impossible, I know.
But it’s actually a philosophy that the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, creators, and business owners all have in common.
By following the guidelines laid out for you in this post, you’ll discover how you too can focus on the things you love, provide more value to your clients, maximize your income and impact, and start getting more done in your business – all by doing less.
Let’s get started.
Ever Felt like You Spent the Whole Day Spinning Your Wheels?
Feel like you’re constantly doing stuff but never actually getting anything done?
Are you so consumed with working on your business that you don’t have the time, energy, or headspace to work in your business?
The key to changing all that starts with this simple advice:
“Focus on Being Productive instead of Busy.” – Tim Ferriss
As success-driven solopreneurs, co-founders, and business owners of all kinds, it’s easy to fall into the trap of busyness.
Whether you’re hard-headed (and maybe a bit of a control freak) like me, or you just want to keep costs low, you’ve probably found yourself making a valiant effort to do EVERYTHING all by yourself.
You create checklists, plaster to-do lists all over your walls, fill up your calendar with appointments. You might even feel some weird sense of pride telling all your peers how insanely busy you are.
But there’s a good reason best-selling author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss warns us busybodies to stop and refocus our efforts on productivity.
Being busy keeps you spinning your wheels. Being productive, on the other hand, keeps your business moving forward.
Think about it: How many hours of your average day are spent being busy vs. being productive?
When you’re busy, you spend the day bouncing from task to task. If you’re anything like me, you feel like a ball of stress because nothing is finished.
But when you’re focusing on being productive with your time, instead of wasting energy on busywork and tasks you could delegate to others, you end the day feeling accomplished. You feel good about the work you did – no matter how little or much it was – and you can rest easy because the most important stuff in your business is done.
Trying to do everything kills productivity and puts a giant brake on your business’s growth.
If you want to start getting more done while doing less, really think about how many minutes you waste being “busy.” Then, get out a piece of paper. Write down the number 1440 on it. And tape THAT to your wall instead of another to-do list.
Always keep in mind there are only 1440 minutes in a day. Make each and every one of them count.
The next step is to:
Recognize Your Weaknesses (but Don’t Dwell on Them)
Nobody wants to admit they’re not good at something. You’re admitting that you have a weakness, a flaw. But sometimes admitting those weaknesses is where the most progress can happen.
Here’s what I mean:
When you’re trying to handle everything in your business on your own, whether it’s to save money or to maintain control, you end up bogged down in busywork. Along with pursuing your real passions, you also take on the tasks you don’t enjoy or you’re no good at.
And if you’re anything like me, you try everything in your power to improve those weak spots instead of just asking for help.
For example, as a copywriter, I love writing sales letters. It’s my passion.
But emails? Not so much…
So, I did the only logical thing there was to do. I kept writing more emails. I studied hours of email copy training materials. I hand copied countless emails from artists like Perry Marshall and Ben Settle. Then I realized that it’s okay if I’m not fantastic at email copy. It’s not my true passion.
Because I don’t love it (and I’m not freakin’ fantastic at it), it takes me a long time to sit down and write an email series. I don’t have as much fun writing an email as I do a long-form sales letter. And frankly, email is not where I add the most value to our clients.
This is exactly why our agency has a team of writers who each specializes in the area she or he is the most comfortable and skilled in. Not only are we able to be more productive with our time, but we’re also able to offer more value and make our clients happier.
The same is true for you. Take 1 minute right now and ask yourself:
Where am I spending my time in a way that is NOT adding the most value to my clients?
Go ahead and recognize those weak areas, but this is important:
Don’t try to fix them!
The world’s smartest woman, Marilyn vos Savant stated, “Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.”
Instead of wasting precious hours doing the things you’re not great at, why not increase your productivity and provide more value to yourself and your clients by first admitting you’re only good at a few things?
After you can look in the mirror and admit you’re a normal human being who isn’t a rockstar at everything, take the next step forward:
Double Down on Your Strengths
When you build upon your weaknesses, you just make yourself busier. But when you build upon your strengths, you’re doing what you were put on this planet to do. Ultimately, focusing on your strengths and forgetting your weaknesses will make you more successful than you could ever imagine.
Entrepreneur, author, speaker, and social media sensation Gary Vaynerchuk puts it this way, “90% of the world is already focusing on your weaknesses… Everybody’s got weaknesses. I think to win, you need to be your biggest fan. You need to focus on your strengths.”
If Gary Vaynerchuk had decided to stop being a self-proclaimed “crap student” and hone his skills in areas he wasn’t good at or even remotely interested in, Vaynermedia likely wouldn’t exist. The #AskGaryVee show wouldn’t be teaching millions of people how to step into who they really are and leverage social media to build their dream business.
If Gary Vaynerchuk had gotten a tutor and gone to an ivy league university instead of selling his own way, I’m willing to bet he would never have become the powerful thought leader and multi-million-dollar businessman he is today.
Most importantly, people like you and me all around the world would be missing out on his unique insights, experiences, and outlook that drives them to achieve more than what the world says they can.
The fact that you are really only good at a few things is exactly what makes you so attractive to your clients. But you can only deliver your maximum, one-of-a-kind value if you’re dialed into your strengths.
That’s why the next step is to ask:
What Are Your Skills and Talents?
It could be as easy as reflecting on why you created your products or services in the first place. What are you passionate about and KNOW that you’re good at?
Maybe you know that you’re a healer who does powerful, transformative work in the lives of your clients. Or maybe you’re a talented business coach who empowers men and women every single day with your unique perspective and expertise. Maybe you have a way of speaking and connecting with an audience like no one else can.
Think about it. Then write it down. There’s something about pen to paper that makes whatever is inside your head more concrete, more real.
Secondly, besides these more obvious strengths, you also possess unique character traits and leadership qualities that add value to the world.
So ask yourself this:
What Qualities Make You Extraordinary?
Maybe your greatest strength as a leader is your vision. You are passionate about what you do and this has fueled a crystal-clear vision of what you want to accomplish through your business. Vision is critical for any leadership position. Without an overarching reason why you do what you do, your day will be reduced to time-consuming tasks and tactical maneuvers.
But by staying focused on your biggest strength – in this case your vision – you are able to stay on track to reaching your goals more easily. You’re also able to guide your teams more effectively and serve your customers better.
Think about it this way: If you’re the person everyone looks to for inspiration, motivation, and transformation, you don’t want to be stuck writing blog posts, learning SEO, or designing your logo. It’s smarter for you to focus your time and energy on what you do best while letting others handle the tasks that promote your vision.
Are you starting to see how recognizing your weaknesses and doubling down on your strengths not only reduces your own stress and burdens but also keeps your business moving onward and upward?
Now, here are those resources to determine your strongest traits…
Resources to Assess Your Strengths:
If you’re struggling to figure out what your strengths are before you can hone in on them, here’s a few suggestions:
- Make a list of the things you hate doing in your business, then make a list of the things that bring you joy (also make note of how many times you find yourself doing stuff you hate and ask yourself if there’s a way to offload or delegate it).
- Ask your most reliable and honest friends, co-workers, or family members what your strengths are.
- Rummage through old emails or awards to search for things you received consistent praise for. You’re likely to find a pattern that reveals your strengths as an entrepreneur, business owner, and leader.
- Take an assessment. I recommend the Clifton StrengthsFinder online assessment. It’s more of an in-depth personality test that reveals your strongest traits and how these are assets.
If you take one of the online assessments available, you might find that you’re really good at processing and synthesizing complex information in order to spark new ideas and monetization strategies. By knowing this about yourself, you can create the time and headspace to utilize this strength and grow your business.
Maybe you need to block off a certain percentage of your day to writing to help you process.
Maybe you need to start spending an hour on the treadmill after lunch just thinking things through.
Maybe you need to lock yourself in a room and meditate every morning before you start anything.
First, figure out what your unique strengths are, then do whatever you need to do to start effectively leveraging them in your business.
If you can do this, you’ll be able to avoid busywork and make smarter decisions.
Now, it’s time to F.O.C.U.S.
“Follow One Course Until Success”
I swiped this great acronym from John Lee Dumas, creator of EOFire and inspiration to all us hard-working entrepreneurs.
It’s easy to get sidetracked by shiny objects and sparks of new ventures. But that all too often ends with you getting sucked into a rabbit hole with no clue where the last 4 hours went.
To combat what I personally refer to as my “squirrel brain,” I recommend doing what John does: Write the acronym F.O.C.U.S. on a whiteboard, or a sticky note. Put it up somewhere where you’ll see it all day long to keep you on the right track.
Keep your focus on your passions that matter most – on your strengths. You KNOW in your heart what you’re really good at. You know what value you bring to the table regardless of what the rest of the world thinks. Drill into that and that alone and stay on course like your livelihood depends on it (because it does). Let someone else handle the rest.
Which brings me to the next simple step in your journey to getting more done while doing less…
Ask for Help
You can certainly keep trying to improve your weaknesses. You can keep trying to wake up earlier, work on less sleep, and work faster so you can squeeze in everything that needs to be done for your business to be successful…
But you and I both already know where that leads: Frustration, exhaustion, and burnout.
If you want to stay excited about the amazing work you do and boost your income and impact, you need to learn to loosen your grip and ask for help.
“Never do anything that someone else can and will do, when there is so much of importance to be done which others cannot or will not do.”
~ Dawson Trotman
By offloading the tasks you’re no good at or don’t enjoy, you free yourself up to do more of what you truly love. There’s always somebody out there willing to do what you don’t want to or can’t do. But only YOU can bring value to the world in your unique way by doing what you love.
And no, this doesn’t mean you have to go out and hire a full-time employee. Here are 2 smart alternatives if you don’t have the resources or need for a full-time hire:
- Hire a virtual assistant: Virtual assistants can help you with just about anything you need, as long as it can be delivered over the interwebz. From answering emails and scheduling appointments to doing online research, bookkeeping, and even chasing new business opportunities, virtual assistants make it easy to save time and stay focused by managing tasks that used to be all consuming for you.
You can look for affordable VAs to hire on websites like Upwork, a freelancing platform, or work directly with an agency such as Priority VA that will match you up with a screened and qualified assistant.
- Hop on Fiverr: Fiverr is a great, inexpensive resource to get help with all the nuts and bolts that keep your business running smoothly. This includes all your online marketing needs, such as website design and development, video editing, logo design, graphic design, and much more. Best of all, pricing starts at just $5 and you can browse reviews to find the best person for the job.
WARNING: Do Your Due Diligence
Obviously, don’t pick your new helpers all willy nilly. Thoroughly vet anyone you decide to outsource tasks to. If you wouldn’t trust them working alongside you in person on the daily, don’t hire them online.
The last thing you need is more stress caused by hiring the wrong person who ends up wasting your money… or worse… damaging your brand’s reputation.
Finding the right person to fit your personality and the work you do can take some time. But it’s well worth the effort.
By focusing in on your strengths and asking for help with your weaknesses, you’ll be able to:
- Eliminate the time-consuming tasks that used to bog you down so you can be more productive…
- Start doing more of what you love… which will naturally make you feel happier, more energized, and more optimistic about your business…
- Add the most possible value to your clients’ lives so that you can rapidly turn them into raving fans and advocates of your brand who bring you referrals…
- Grow your business more quickly and easily so that you can achieve both the income and the impact you desire… all without driving yourself insane…
That’s how many minutes you have each day.
Every single minute you waste doing something you don’t love is another minute you’re not giving the maximum possible value to your clients and yourself.
Zero in on your strengths and start getting more stuff done today!
P.S. Copywriting Not One of Your Strengths? Get Help Here…
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