When you think about delegating work, do you ever think, “But I like doing this!” It’s very common as you begin making the transition from implementer to CEO to feel uncomfortable. After all, you built your business by doing the work, but it’s not a long term solution.
In this episode, I’m sharing the mindset shifts you need to make to move from implementer to CEO and how you can begin to think creatively about delegating client work instead of taking the work on yourself.
You’ll learn the habits you need to change as you step into the CEO role and the power of pausing before immediately jumping back into client work.
Download the Episode 80 Transcript
You’re listening to the Scale Your Way podcast, where we share simple, proven strategies just for done for you service based companies. Here, you’ll learn how to scale your business on your own terms so that you can have more time, money, create a bigger impact and a better life. I’m your host, Nicole Jackson Miller. Let’s dove into today’s episode.
Hey, everyone, Nicole, here today we are going to be talking about doing the work inside of your business versus being the CEO, and if this is something that you have struggled with, if you feel like you’re really good at doing implementation work and not so great at being the CEO and you’ll definitely want to listen in.
Before we dove in. Hello, my name is Nicole and I helped done for you service providers step into the role of agency owner and really provide a great atmosphere for all of their people. And I look at lots of different people when it comes to your business: your clients, your team and yourselves too. So we want everyone to be able to thrive. And I have seen a lot of businesses that prioritize one group of people over the other, and that’s not what I’m all about. And a lot of the clients that I work with, all of the clients that I work with are on the same page with that and really want to create a great team culture. They want to create great quality of services for their clients, and they also want to enjoy themselves along the way.
So let’s dove in what to do when you feel more comfortable doing the implementation work inside of your business versus being the CEO. So when it comes to delegating work, have you ever thought? But I actually like doing whatever it is that you do. For example, when I had my project management agency, I kept telling myself, but I really like creating project plans. I don’t want to delegate that. And so depending on the business that you have, insert whatever that is. So for example, if you do bookkeeping, is it doing the bookkeeping, categorizing expenses, if you do hiring? Is it the hiring service, PR pitching, podcast editing, editing, website, design services? Do you like designing? Have you ever told yourself? But I really like doing this, but it’s easy for me to do this. So when you say these things to yourself and sometimes to maybe a coaching community that you’re a part of, this comes up frequently inside of my groups. It may lead you to believe that you’re not meant to delegate the work out. It might lead you to believe that you shouldn’t really step in and grow a team because what you’re doing is something that you enjoy. But what I want you to know is that it’s very common for something that you’ve been doing over and over and over again to feel quite comfortable.
And so it’s very natural that if you are shifting away from doing something that feels so comfortable and natural to you, to really stepping into running a business that has team members doing that, that it can feel a little bit like a stretch. So I would love to know from you if this is something that you resonate with. Please reach out and let me know. But when you think about comfort level, it’s interesting because sometimes in the moment we can feel like doing the implementation work is what’s comfortable. But deep down, I’m sure that you know that the work feels really good until several things happen until you have way too much on your plate, until you realize you’re now in a position where you can’t even step away from your desk because your business would fall apart until you have an issue with a client that you maybe don’t want to work with or something that popped up. And now you have to deal with that, right? Because you’re the one who’s doing that work.
So I always tell clients, if it feels good to do, you’re allowed to do it for yourself, but not as a service offering for clients. For example, if you want to be categorizing expenses, if you want to be pitching, if you want to be creating project plans like I did do it for yourself, but don’t build your business around it. So there’s a few things that you need to do to get out of your comfort zone a bit to be able to run a business and lead your team, which is ultimately deep down what it is that you want to do.
So the first thing that you need to do is make the decision that you are ready and committed to stepping into the CEO role. So in order though, to do this, your thoughts need to shift. So when your thoughts shift, you start taking different actions. So if you’re telling yourself like I did, but I really like creating project plans, I really like editing. I really like doing web design for clients. You’re not going to take the actions that you need to be able to hire a team to train the team, potentially to actually be able to deliver for clients. Instead, you’re going to be stuck in the in-between. And so maybe you’ll bring in team members. But if you’re still thinking that you’re the one that you’re the best person for the job. Or that you’re comfortable doing it or that you really like doing it. It’s not going to fully and truly work well. And then what oftentimes happens is that then things don’t work well, and then you use that as evidence that it doesn’t make sense to delegate out this work, right? And so you just stay on this hamster wheel. So we want to get you off of that. So in order to do that, we need to be able to shift the thought. And so instead of thinking, Well, I’m really good at this. What I really like is this. I’ll just take this on myself, just this one time when you’re faced with a problem. Instead, I want you to think I will no longer do the work right. The solution is going to be different.
So maybe in the past you’ve said, you know what, I’ll just do this work instead. How can I make this work without being the one to do the work? Right? Because when you think this way, you start thinking outside of the box, you start coming up with creative solutions that you’ve never come up with before. So for example, let’s say you have an account manager on your team that has been managing your clients, and for some reason they need to leave. Maybe they’re not the best person for the job, or maybe they find another job and they put in their notice. If you are in the mindset and thinking the thoughts of like, you know, I’ll just take this on, I’ll just do this work. But I really like doing this. I don’t mind communicating with clients, right? You’re one solution is like, Well, I think I just have to take this back on. But if now you think, how can I make this work without me being the one to do the work right, you start thinking a little bit differently. This is what I challenge my clients to do. So instead of being the one to jump in, what would another solution be? Another solution could be that you hire another account manager and you make the transition right. And so that can be a great interim solution. Or you know what sometimes happens to you can tell your team that you’re hiring a new account manager and maybe there’s someone on your team has always wanted to do account management, but you never knew it and there would be a perfect fit for the position. This happens more often than not, and how amazing if you have somebody who’s already on your team that enjoys doing it right, they have so much more knowledge going into that position, you know, as long as they’re a good fit for the position. So I would highly make sure that they still go through the job interviewing process, which I teach inside of my program agency, which I going to tell you more about in a little bit.
So what’s something else that might pop up? One thing that I hear often is that maybe your client wants you to take on more work at the last minute. And so something I’ve heard from my clients when this comes up is that it’s like, Well, I don’t really want to put this work on my team, so I’ll just be the one to do it right. And they think that they’re doing this nice thing for their team. But it’s really not because what you’re doing is a few things here. One, you’re training your client to to expect that if they want to add something in last minute that it will get done. And it’s not their fault for thinking that because that’s what you’re doing, you’re teaching them that. And then on the flip side, if you have a team that’s delivering and you are out of it and then all of a sudden you are stepping back into being part of the delivery process, it can be quite confusing. You would be surprised how many times you were actually messing up the workflow that your team already has in place and you think you’re being helpful and you’re actually not. I had a client who spoke to her team member recently and said, Are you sure you’re OK with me stepping out of this one area? And the team member was like, Please go, please get out of here, you’re holding us up. So sometimes and most of the time your team can actually function better without you in there. And so you step in thinking that you’re doing this nice thing when really it’s not, it’s not benefiting anyone, and sometimes it can actually be holding people up. So what’s an alternative solution, right? If you’re thinking, OK, how can I make this work without me being the one to do the work? Maybe instead you reach out to your client to say, Hey, this is outside of our scope of work. I’m going to check in with the team to see if they have availability to do this. And if so, I will let you know and let you know of what arrangement would work for us, right? And then you can talk with the team to say, Hey, do availability for this and then maybe you charge the client a rush fee and you give your team a bonus for taking on something super last minute. There’s lots of options, right?
But if you go into these situations with the thought and mentality of, I will just do this myself. You don’t even get the opportunity to think outside of the box. You don’t get the opportunity to come up with some creative solutions. So your work is now changing. Your work is going from being the one to do the work to actually being the one not to do the work and not doing the work is sometimes so much harder than actually doing the work. I just recorded a podcast episode on this. I don’t know. When it’s going to come out, but for myself, I love, I have the ability and I have the energy to do a lot. It’s something I talk about with my friends, with my husband. With people, I just have the ability to go, go, go, go, go. Eventually, I totally hit a wall and that’s a problem. But what’s harder for me is not doing the work is saying no, pausing before I commit is actually stopping to think like, Wait a minute, is this the smartest thing for me to do right now? Are there other priorities? Oh my gosh. I went to clean the other day and I am cleaning one room and then I walked into the other room, I think, to go to the bathroom or something, and then I started cleaning the bathroom. And then this other room was still like a mess from I like, started cleaning it and never finished. So sometimes the work for me is actually pausing before I go and do the next thing right? And the same thing goes for the work inside of your business is that it changes. It changes from being the one doing the implementation to really practicing stop and stop doing it to practice, not checking the email. When you know that you have a team member covering it to stop and not check in when you know that you have a check in with your team member next week and you don’t need to have the information right away, right? It’s really changing some of these habits that you’ve developed from being, you know, the one doing the work, doing the implementation work. And so that’s a habit that you can slowly shift with practice and with the right support.
And in order to do this for your business, you need a few things in place. The first thing that you need is a business that is actually set up to have a team deliver. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see agency owners making is that they hire and all of these team members, but their business foundations are not actually set up to have a team deliver. And then it doesn’t work OK? The second thing that you need is the right delegation strategy in place, right? What you need to delegate next and and when you need to delegate it, because if you try and delegate something too soon, it’s not going to work out well, too late. Doesn’t work out well, either, right? We need that strategy in place. And then the third is a method from shifting, from managing and leading yourself and your clients to managing a team to manage and lead your clients, right? So we need a way to shift that.
And so this is everything that I cover inside of my program agency. We are now open for enrollment starting in October. If you are ready to delegate at least 50 percent of client delivery in 12 months or less and really start to ditch this burnout cycle. I definitely recommend that you apply. You can learn more by going to nicolejacksonmiller.com/apply. Spots are limited for this next round. And if it’s something that looks good, apply. If you have any questions, please reach out and I will see you next time.
Thanks so much for tuning in. If you are ready to stop settling for being a done for you service provider and really fully step into the role of agency owner and CEO and lead a team that you love that just delivers excellent client results, then you have to check out my new program called Agency, which is specifically designed to remove you from at least 50 percent of client delivery in 12 months or less, so that you can have the time in the space to be able to run your business. And, you know, to take a tech free vacation, too. That’s always nice, right? So if you’re interested in learning more, head over to nicolejacksonmiller.com/apply. You can learn more about the program. If it looks like a good fit, then apply and we will send you before our call. We’ll send you a free business assessment that will really explain more about the framework that we use to remove you from client delivery, and it’ll give you an assessment that you can take to really show where you are now and where you’re going. We’ve had so many people get a lot of insight just from taking that assessment, so I can’t wait for you to check it out.