When you’re building a business, there comes a day, maybe even a month where you’re at the breaking point. Your weekly to-do list for your clients and running the business exceed what you humanly could accomplish in two weeks working 24/7.
You find yourself always in catch up mode, stressed out and thinking, “is this what it really takes?”
We’ve all been there and as the CEO of your little empire, you’ve got options. You can cut back your client workload, you can drop activities, or you can get help. Before you bring up how “bad” you are at managing people and how no one possibly can do it as well as you do, please hear me out.
Those objections are ones I hear from nearly every business owner. The reality is that we’re afraid that getting help is going to create more work.
Enter cloning yourself. It may seem like something out of a sci fi movie, but you can clone yourself like a CEO and regain your sanity.
How to Clone Yourself
When your head is completely spinning and you’re pulling 12 or 16 hour days to try to stay above water, it’s hard to wrap your head around getting help. So the key is for you to start small.
Take five minutes and write out all the tasks that you don’t like doing in your business. Don’t prejudge, just write them out and see what comes up for you. Then look at those tasks and assign them a value in terms of how they help you generate revenue as low, medium or high.
Here’s an example of some tasks and how I’d rank them:
- Low: Scheduling blog posts, managing client intake paperwork
- Medium: Writing a blog post or email copy, setting up an email funnel, FB ads set up
- High: Working with 1:1 clients, new client consults, working with partners
To get started with cloning, look at the tasks in the low category. These are things you don’t enjoy doing and simply aren’t strategic for you to continue doing. Get really clear on this list and you’ll have what you need to figure out the right type of person to help you.
Tasks that generate little revenue are easily outsourced to a virtual assistant, ones with medium priority could be handed off to a online business manager, project manager, or a specialist in marketing, copywriting or technology areas.
Understanding what exactly you need to have someone handle for you is the best possible way to find the perfect for you clone. Avoid the temptation to hire someone out of desperation hoping they’ll be able to handle the tasks you need.
In addition to tasks, look at other key things you want in your clone. Consider things like time zones, availability, how much time you’ll need, personal attributes and more. From there, it’s time to seek out your clone. Start by working your professional networks, because I’m willing to bet one of your friends has a VA they adore who may be able to help. If you strike out there, look at services that can help you find a VA or sites like Odesk. It may take a bit of time, but hold out for the right fit within your budget.
I’ve Got a Clone. Now What?
The biggest mistake people make when it comes to cloning is once they’ve found the right match they fail to lay the groundwork. You can’t throw your clone into your business and expect them to be ready to roll in a matter of a few hours. You’ll need to invest some time and energy upfront to provide what they need to succeed.
What you do with your clone in the first 30 days will determine success or failure, so look at how you want to onboard them into your business. Provide them with not only the “how” of your business and what happens operationally but the big picture. Who are your clients? What do they need from you? What’s the bigger market context?
Helping them understand not only what you do, but how and why you do it, will help them make better decisions in the long run. You may even want to share your operating principles and your mission, vision and values if you have them.
With that foundation in place, you’ll need to create systems for each of the tasks they are going to handle. Love them, or hate them, you’re going to need systems. Look at systems for each task you want them to handle as an insurance policy that increases your odds of things going smoothly. Getting clear on what tools you use, who’s responsible for what and setting up a timeline saves a lot of back and forth later.
Once you get started with cloning, you’ll be on the lookout to create more clones so you can focus on what’s most important – running your business as the CEO.
Amber McCue is a systems and leadership expert and the CEO of NiceOps. She partners with the nicest, smartest CEOs around to help them step into leadership roles and build a strong CEO mindset.