How Entrepreneurs Can Get Themselves “Over the Hump” and Become Better Leaders

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Many owners and entrepreneurs find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to scaling your business. Taking a startup from a one-man-show, where you as the owner are the main producer and revenue generator, to a point where you can be focused more on making executive decisions and growing the firm. This is the first big growth hurdle I call, “the hump.” Freeing up time and finding guidance at this place between “too big” and “not big enough” can be a challenge. It comes down to you changing as a leader.

1. Delegate What You Can, Especially the Parts You Don’t Want To-Do

You might feel buried and alone under that 3-page checklist, you are but you don’t have to be. Tasks like calling the cable company, recruiting new employees and checking emails can all be delegated. Some tasks you might not be the most qualified person to do anyway. Tasks like accounting and marketing are likely best left for the pros, so outsource! More menial tasks can be delegated through a personal assistant.

If you don’t think you justify your own personal assistant, try sharing one with another leader in your organization or using a virtual personal assistant from a developing country. Delegating medium to large projects can develop people in your organization that you plan on investing in and prepare them for more complex tasks later on.

2. Learn From People Who Have Had the Same Problems

You’re not alone, many other people have faced the same problems you have. Sometimes it’s a matter of knowledge, where other times it’s a matter of perspective. Leadership development groups can help connect you with other people that run businesses similar to your own. They might have the solution you are searching for, or perhaps just a fresh set of eyes to your unique problem. Joining networking groups are a good way to find a mentor, or peer with similar issues.

3. Take a Step Back and Reevaluate What’s Next

Maybe you’re just burned out. Don’t be afraid to admit it: by the time you have gotten your business to be sustainable you are probably a few years and few late nights in to this journey. It’s time to refresh and refocus, take a break. Some might be thinking, “the mountain of work I’ll come back to will be way worse than any temporary relaxation I might find on vacation”. Shawn Achor explains how to avoid that mistake on the Harvard Business Review. 

Take a break, decide if you’re still in this, plan out your next move to you get you over the hump and coasting in to a higher quality of life with more success.

4. Find Someone to Help You Shoulder the Load

Some of the most lucrative tech companies in the world were cofounded by two people. Hiring top level talent can be risky for you and the employees, keeping them engaged and well compensated in the early years can be hard when cash flow is tight. By sharing your big idea with someone else you might be giving away some control, and potentially earnings when your company really starts to rake it in. However, when things are hard and the best interest of the company is on the line, you know that your partner is just as involved in the project as you.

Finding someone who compliments your weaknesses is a smart idea. If you’re more of and operations guy, maybe it’s a good idea to pair up with someone who has a marketing brain.

5. Restore work-life balance

Most Entrepreneurs that just read that headline probably laughed at the idea of work life balanceand said It’s a pie in the sky idea. After reading, “The ‘Real Winners Of The World’ Don’t Have Work-Life Balance, They Have Work” which highlights the idea that you have two options, being successful and having a life outside of work.

Marty Nemko makes these arguments, and while he is trying to highlight the fact that if you don’t want to be working 70 hours a week then you are probably in the wrong field, it is a dangerous slope most people have already began to slide down. Working long hours is fine to meet external deadlines or power through a big project but it shouldn’t be the norm.

  • For your family and loved ones

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The American Journal of Family Therapy shows that workaholics are 40% more likely to have marriages that end in divorce. That’s a pretty powerful number, although it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that it can put strain on your marriage however, it may surprise you how it can affect your children.

Tuck T. Saul, Ph.D., says,” Children of workaholics work hard to please their parents and others, but are not able to experience the rewards of their labor…[they] often do not know how to have fun. They turn fun into a work event and/or a competition. Again they must achieve and/or win in order for them to feel satisfied.” Your work habits can not only effect your family by your absence but also by teaching your children your bad habits.

  • For your business

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Believe it or not your employees want you to have a better work life balance too. They want you to be able to focus and see you setting a good example for all of them. If you’re jeopardizing your personal life for a company they may view this company as a place where they do not want to be working. If you haven’t been able to attend important parts of your children’s lives recently your likely going to be performing at a high level, mentally and emotionally.

6. Don’t Find Yourself in Purgatory, Solve Your Current Issues and Move On

Whatever it takes to get yourself over the hump, do it! It is an awkward, and uncomfortable place to be. If you get stuck there for too long you might find yourself lacking the motivation and drive to keep moving forward. Most people can only juggle so many hats for so long before they have had enough. Get to the root of the issues that are taking up most of your unnecessary time don’t just put a band aid over it.

About the author Jared Gardner

Jared is a digital marketer at Red Door Interactive in San Diego. Originally from Utah, he graduated from the University of Utah with a BS in communication. He enjoys snowboarding and attending concerts.