When it comes to delegating client delivery and ultimately scaling your business, are you standing in your own way? It’s time to break those habits that are keeping you from spiraling up.
In today’s episode, I shared the #1 thing you need to do to get out of your own way. You’ll hear about the strategic and mindset shifts you may need to make for your business growth and the importance of grieving your outdated identities as you move from done for you service provider to agency owner and CEO.
You’ll hear some of the biggest obstacles agency owners face as they spiral up and my tips for breaking the habits that are holding you hostage.
Welcome to the Scale Way podcast episode number 96.
You’re listening to the Scale Your Way podcast, where we share simple, proven strategies just for fun 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 dive into today’s episode.
Everyone, welcome, welcome. Today, I’m going to be talking about the one thing that you need to do to get out of your own way and finally grow your agency beyond yourself. For those of you that don’t know me. Hello, my name is Nicole, and I help done for you service providers step into the role of agency owners. And finally lead a team that they love that delivers excellent client results and really focusing in on creating a great experience for all of the people in their business, their clients, their team and themselves too.
So often we see that, like one group is prioritized while the other group is not being prioritized, and we want to create businesses that support all people. All right. So let’s dive in.
I wanted to do this because any time I ask new clients what the biggest obstacle that is getting in the way of them delegating client delivery, the number one answer I hear is that they are that they are the reason and they usually will laugh and I will laugh because I get it. I understand. I have had an agency myself. I understand what it looks like to be in the journey, the spiraling up journey of growing your business, getting more clients, growing your team and having a lot of resistance and stress around it that will prevent you from being able to actually get out of your own way and be able to move your business forward.
So some examples of what I hear from people is that they are taking on more work themselves even when they have a team to deliver, and they keep saying that they want to be removed themselves from client delivery. But they keep on having, you know, new leads or clients coming to them and being like, “Oh, this sounds like a fun project, I’ll just take it on myself.” It could also be not taking the time to actually finish an SOP that you started and hand over to your team.
There are many people I work with who it’s like they have half done. I suppose they know that they could get this work off of their plate, but for some reason they just have never actually finished it and actually handed it off. It could also be creating packages that aren’t scalable. So if you were doing sales inside of your business and you’re talking to prospects that are coming in and maybe you’re creating packages for them that are very customized, even though you told yourself that you were going to do this again, I have been there or it could also be avoiding giving team members feedback because you feel burnt out and it’s like, I’m so exhausted. I know people are waiting on me, but I just can’t right now.
And this is all OK. It’s all OK because I think it’s really honest to see what it is that we’re doing in the first step is to have this self-awareness. So if you feel like the number one reason why you’re not delegating kinder livery is because of you and either actions that you are taking or not taking, then it’s great that you have that awareness, right?
And so if you’re here, you’re probably wanting to know, OK, that’s great. I have the awareness now. What do I have to do something different, right? We have to change what we do so that we get different results. And I’ve had a few people share that they feel like they’re on this hamster wheel and it’s like burnout cycle and that they get momentum, but they kind of keep getting back into the same place. So there’s some things that need to shift and change in order for you to be able to get out of that cycle. So here’s the number one thing that I recommend doing, or the number one thing that you have to do.
And that is you have to start breaking habits that you have created, which have served you up until this point and you have to replace them with new habits. So this might seem like it’s such an easy thing. It’s because it’s so simple, but it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to implement, right? Because habits are something that can be so ingrained that it can be really challenging to break them and shift them. And it takes a lot of practice and it takes patience. And I know many of you just don’t have the time, probably or feel like you don’t have the time to be patient, but it is something that takes time.
So I’ll give you an example. That’s not business related. OK, so a habit that I have, and it might be helpful for you to think of a habit that you have that’s outside of the business space. So a habit that I had is that I any time I am like sitting down to basically do anything, I’m like, I need a cup of coffee, which is fine. You know, when it’s the morning and I’ve had one cup of coffee, I’ve had two cup of coffee cups of coffee, but now it’s like one or two p.m. and I like one another cup of coffee, and I know that I should not have another cup of caffeinated coffee. I know that if I drink caffeine after a certain time of the day, I am usually awake at night. I know that I get dehydrated and I know that I haven’t had enough water and that I really should have water and sometimes I just drink the darn coffee anyway. And so for me, the habit that I want, you know, to shift and change is stopping after drinking two cups of coffee and instead the new habit is I want to drink more water, so I also will negotiate with myself. So I’ll say like, OK, well, if I have a second or third cup of coffee, I’m going to have it before one p.m. and I’m going to make sure that I drink, you know, three cups of water afterwards.
OK, so we want to do the same thing when it comes to our business. We want to identify and stop the old habit that’s not serving us, but has served us up until this point, and we want to start a new habit to replace it. So let me go back to my list of examples of things that definitely come up when you are getting in the way of actually growing your agency beyond yourself. So let’s say you were on a call, a sales call and you’re talking to somebody about a project. And it sounds awesome. And you know, you have a delivery team, but you’re like, You know what? I really want to take this on, and perhaps you’ve done this before. And you know, it’s like, feel so good in the moment and you get this like adrenaline rush. And then afterwards you’re like, “Oh crap, now I have to actually deliver this like this doesn’t feel as fun,” right? So this is a habit that we want you to break.
So what I highly recommend is going and getting yourself. I don’t have one around, but like a little post-it note that you have on your computer that says stop, do not take anymore, work on yourself so that every time you have a sales call and you have that like hit of excitement where it’s like, Oh yeah, I’ll say yes, I’ll say I can do this. You say no, right? You stop and pause. So this is the first step in breaking a habit is just to pause yourself before you actually move forward and to remind yourself of what it is that you actually want to be creating.
Is it that you really, really want to work on this project when you know that afterwards you just are going to feel like that regret, right? Like when I drink that third or fourth cup of coffee in the afternoon and I don’t feel energized at all, I actually feel worse after drinking it, right? Is it going to feel like that? And if you know, I’m sure something has come up for you where you know what I mean, it might not be coffee for you. It might be something else, right? Am I going to regret this if I say yes to this right? The same thing goes when you’re on sales conversations, so you can actually remind yourself before the sales conversation. During the sales conversation, you can stop and pause and then either say, You know what? I need to think about this. Let me get back to you with some options, or you can in the moment, adjust what you’re offering and make sure that you sell what your team is actually going to deliver, right? So the first is to replace the habit and to make it easy. And so again, the Post-it Notes, I think, are so, so very helpful.
You know, another thing is not taking the time to finish standard operating procedures or processes. When you already have a team and you have things you want to hand off and you have processes that you are ready to hand off, but you’re like not finishing them and not actually delivering them. And so I think that it’s important to also ask yourself why? Why am I not doing this and get really like, really, really understand that because it could be it could actually be that there needs to be a like. There needs to be a shift, maybe that there needs to be an actual strategic shift in your business. It could also be that you have to shift your mindset into a leadership mindset.
Usually, when I talk to people, the first thing that I hear from them, it’s like, Well, I don’t have time or I don’t have money. And so it could be, you know, we all have limits to the amount of time that we have, and we definitely are all in different financial situations. But there’s usually other things that are happening when we dove in deeper. And I share this because I’ve had conversations with clients recently where they’ve shared that something an offering in their business was not scalable. And after we dove into it, we actually realized that the offer was extremely scalable, that it was a very profitable. And the reason why they actually didn’t want to grow it was because there was one area of client delivery that they hadn’t delegated yet and that it was actually super easy to delegate.
But just taking a moment to really understand why, why it’s something that you like, why you feel like it’s yourself, I think is really important. If your big hesitation between growing the business outside of yourself is like fear of team delivery or not doing the right work, then yes, there’s definitely things to examine in doing that. And so that’s what I mean by like really, really taking some time to ask yourself why. And if the team is like not trusting the team to do quality work as something, then that’s great information, because that’s it might be letting go of control or it might be shifting into a leadership mindset, but it might also be that they need to go back to the foundations of their business and readjust some things so that it actually works with team support. That’s a big thing that I hear when people are having trouble with team members and it’s like, “Oh, I’m having issues with this person in this person and this person.” A lot of times it comes down to a foundational issue where their business is not set. It’s still set up for them to be doing the work themselves, and it hasn’t been revamped to have a team actually do the delivery right. So this is a great example of why it’s important to like, pause and do a time out to see, OK, what part of it is something that I need support with strategically and what part of it is like a habit that I need to shift in doing this? Even just the thought process of asking yourself, Is this a mindset like a leadership mindset thing that I need to shift? Or is this something that I strategically need to shift in your business, right? That is a habit that is a a new habit that we can start practicing. And that’s another thing that you could put on a Post-it note right?
Ask myself any time there’s a challenge like what needs to shift, where is the gap and what needs to change? A thing that I hear also and this is something that I struggled with a bit when I moved from being a project manager to having an agency was that I kind of would make up some when it came to delegating. I would say I didn’t have many issues because I love to delegate. I love to manage. But there was this thing that happened when I would talk to clients on, you know, a call and get really excited about potentially working with them and knowing that I had a team to deliver. But being like, maybe I’ll just take on this project, right? I usually would say that it was because I was excited about the client and the project, but then afterwards, I would have that regret of like, “Oh crap, what the heck did I do?”.
And so what I realized, what was happening is that I was actually grieving my outdated identity. So let me explain. I built my business as being the sole project manager of my business. I was known to be like the go to project manager. I was able to work with clients. I was able to get results. I was able to now navigate challenging situations. I was proud of that. And I knew that I wanted to grow a team and I and I loved having a team to be able to mentor. But there was something about being known as this project manager and kind of being like, I mean, this sounds ridiculous, but being famous like in our in my like small world for being the go to person.
And so because a lot of my clients are people who, I mean, it’s like a request, like I only work with people who are amazing at what they do because I believe that if you want to continue to grow your company and bring on team members and bring on more clients, like the one thing that you have to have to make everything work is you have to have an excellent service offering. And in order to know if you have an excellent service offering, it means that you have clients who want to renew with you. It means that you have a waitlist and you have referrals.
And so that’s the position that I was in. And that’s the position that all of all of my clients when we first start working together are in as well. And so there’s kind of this letting go process and grieving process that happens when you start bringing in a team to support your clients and understanding that you’re bringing in team members who are actually with the process that you create are going to be better than you are. And that kind of fit that can sometimes take a little hit to our ego.
And I remember thinking, like, OK, I see what’s going on. I’m going to like, let go of this. But it took a while. But what was so interesting is that once I let go of this, I was able to be really proud of the company that I created and the clients that I work with are so incredible at what they do, and they have such an incredible service. And I always when I when I talk to them, I’m like, “Yes, more people need this. Like, how do we get your business into a place where you can serve more clients who not just want this but really need what you have to offer?”.
And so what happens is that you start as you were able to shift your identity into becoming an agency owner and kind of grieve right and go through the grieving process. You end up creating something that’s bigger than yourself. You end up creating a legacy and it’s not tied to you anymore. It’s tied to the company that you are building and it becomes something that’s bigger than you. Right? But it does take you going through that grieving process and really making those changes. That’s going to actually get you to be in a spot where you can create something that you are truly proud of, that its able to serve more people. And where you’re able to really create a positive experience for all of your people, right, your clients, your team and yourself too.
If you are interested in building an agency and building something bigger than yourself, right? And that’s going to start with you learning how to delegate client delivery in a way that works and is sustainable, right, and really works for the long term. I highly recommend that you check out my program AGENCY. It’s where I help people actually do this. You can head to NicoleJacksonMiller.com/agency. Inside of the program we go through all of the different phases of what I’m talking about, so we go and we talk about auditing the foundations of your business to make sure that they are not just supporting team delivery, but also supporting you at the level of team delivery that you are at.
So if you are a business owner right now and you hire in maybe what contractors for one off projects, this is going to help you really revamp your foundations to be able to work with more of a dedicated team support.
If you’re at a point where you already have a dedicated team support but you’re still in the day to day operations, maybe you’re still in some of the management, the client communications, it’s going to revamp your foundation so that you’re actually able to delegate the team and client communications so that you are able to remove yourself further from the day to day operations so that you can actually lead your company.
And this also works for you if you already have a manager in place and you want it to work better. Right? We keep coming back to the foundations as we talk about the concept of spiraling up. So as we spiral up, we want to continue to evolve our foundations to be able to support support the business.
We talk about delegation and not just who to hire, but when to hire them so that you can make sure that you’re transitioning your CEO pay from being a direct expense, right? Because you used to do all of this client delivery to being an overhead expense of your company. Right. This is a big thing. I hear from people that they’re hiring in team members, but now they can’t pay themselves right. We’re going to actually walk you through what the shifts are that you need to make and the transition plan, and nothing’s going to happen overnight. But we want to do is we want to identify the gap and then put together a transition plan in place so that you’re hiring the right people at the right time for the right role.
And then we also talk about management and stepping into a leadership role. We talk about managing managers versus managing implementers and some of those changes. And then all of the documentation that you need in order to really manage your organization. So again, we get you out of client delivery. So if you are interested in any of this highly recommend, you check out AGENCY. It’s NicoleJacksonMiller.com/apply.
And if you have any questions in the meantime or would love to connect, please send me a message I would love to chat with you. And happy delegating. Happy growing your agency as you can do this. And if I can support you in any way, I would love to be able to do that. All right, bye everyone.
Thanks so much for tuning in today, if you are listening and know that you are committed to stepping into the agency owner role, whether you are a done-for-you service provider that’s working with a few contractors right now or you have a full team of employees and you’re ready to up level your leadership and make the changes in your business that’s needed to create a better and more enjoyable experience for all of your people, your clients, your team and yourself. Then, I invite you to check out my program Agency. You can head over to NicoleJacksonMiller.com/apply to look at the details and apply if it looks like a good fit. If you are accepted, I will send you a brand new free private training only for people that we’re accepting into the program to share with you the details of how we work and how we help remove you from client delivery and allow you to step into that leadership role of your agency again. The link is NicoleJacksonMiller.com/apply. I look forward to seeing your applications.