Humans are a wonderful mix of extraordinaries. We are extraordinarily good at some things (laughing, bipedalism, for example…) and extraordinarily bad at other things (multi-taking, drinking lava, and many other things come to mind). Those of you who are digital agency owners are much the same way – you might be terrific at strategy or sales or creative – but no one is great at all of the things we need to be great at to help grow our digital agencies. This is, of course, the reason for the owner-operator trap. You, dear agency owner simply cannot do everything, so those places where you experience friction personally become the places where your agency comes to a grinding halt. (Here is a quick story – in my 1st agency INVOICING was a big issue for us, because I had to gather so many reports to be able to bill based on various result sets – and there were multiple months where I didn’t get the billing out until well after the next invoice was due…I killed our cashflow – and thereby killed the agency.) It is imperative for those of you who are intent on breaking out of the owner-operator trap remember that there is stuff that you suck at. Think about it for just a minute – I can name 10 things that I am absolutely terrible at – so I need to compensate for my own suck or everything comes grinding to a halt.
Hey gang, it’s Tim. So this morning I’m dropping my dog off at training, because he needs some help, but I was going to be late for training, and I’m trying to call the owner of the dog training place. I started calling at 7 in the morning. I couldn’t get in touch with him. I finally dropped the dog off, and the poor guy is behind the desk at his business, papers flying everywhere, two phone calls going, and I said, “Dude, you need some help.” He said, “I know, but I can’t hire anybody.”
And so, I was having a rough time. I had a bad customer experience with him, because he couldn’t hire somebody to take over sort of the administrative details. I don’t know what his deal is, but it made me think of a couple of clients that I’m working with right now, that are in the same spot. Both have low million dollar businesses, and they are stuck. Their clients are having bad client experiences because they’re totally 100% stuck in doing everything themselves. They are, they’re the hub of the machine. Everything touches them, billing, customer service, it all goes through them and they’re miserable. They’re totally, completely miserable.
I’ve been encouraging them to find a number two. To find somebody who can keep the machine running while they celebrate their own brilliance because they are really great, unbelievably great, at doing billing, and creating process and whatever else that needs to be happening, bookkeeping. Especially if you’re an agency owner, you’re encouraging businesses to outsource a particular skill set to you. If you’re in the owner/operator trap, where you are stuck doing everything and your business cannot grow because you’re the limiter , and trust me, I’ve been there. I understand this so well because you are the biggest accelerant and the biggest blocker in your business. You need to find a way to get that number two or that half a number two to help smooth out the things that you suck at, to be honest, because your customers are the victims of your suckiness. Your customers pay the price for the things you can not do well. Your business suffers because of the things you cannot do well. It gets stuck or you get stuck.
You need to find a way to create the machine that you don’t have to be a part of. You need to be the machine operator, not the machine itself. That’s such a crucial, crucial part of being able to grow your business from six figures, to seven figures, to eight figures and beyond because you cannot be the thing that holds your business back because your business happened because of you so, it is time for you, as an agency owner, to figure out how to get out of the business’ way. You are awesome at so much stuff, you suck at a lot of stuff.
You’ve got to find a way to support your own suck. Find a bookkeeper, find a lawyer, find an office admin, find a virtual assistant who can take over some of the stuff that you’re not good at because you have more important things to do. You’ve got to create your business. You don’t have to run your business, you don’t have to operate your business, you have to create it. You need to get out of your own way. Don’t get stuck, reach deep, admit what your bad at, find a solution for it, and then go do the things you’re good at.
That’s it. Have a great day.
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