Man with six arms holding things, multitasking

Common Small Business Mistake: The Do-It-Yourself Attitude

If you are a successful self-made entrepreneur who has worked passionately every day for your business to grow, then you know that success comes from hard work. But, one of the things that you might have not learned yet is that not all hard work must come from you. One of the biggest mistakes a person can make when starting their own business from scratch is thinking that they should do everything on their own, or the so-called DIY (do it yourself) attitude.

The DIY is an ethic of self-sufficiency through completing tasks without the aid of a paid expert.


From DIY to DIA

The DIY attitude is very common when starting a business. In the early stages, all of us have to do a little bit of everything. We all need to “put on different hats” in a day and do a bit of marketing, a bit of basic finance, administration, etc. But it is very easy to go from DIY (do it yourself) to DIA (do it all) and get so overwhelmed that you don’t have time to do the very thing that is the core of your business.


Woman worried in front of her laptop with too many things on her mind
The stress of multitasking


Running a small business, especially an OPC (one-person company) involves so many different tasks that no person can do them all well. Even if the person perfected their skills and knowledge to be able to perform all those activities, they are still constrained by time. Time is an investment, and every business owner should make sure their time is paying off. You can ask anyone – it is impossible for one person to run a scalable, successful business.

Another issue with the DIY attitude is that while the business owner is the single best person to work on their core business – developing new products, making more sales, etc. – they are often not the best person to work on, for example, administrative tasks.


Who can do it instead of you?

Being a good leader includes making the right decisions: when it is the right choice to take on a task, and when it makes more sense to hire someone or to outsource. There is a balance that can be struck. There’s a time and there’s a place to outsource and a time and a place to put your head down and do things yourself.


A paper with a to-do list for today
To-Do lists are endless


That is why it is very important to learn how to delegate, hire, and outsource to make most of your skills and benefit from outside expertise.

Ultimately, there are three sources of help you can think of: a co-founder or business partner who compliments your skill set, an additional employee in the team, and an outsourcing partner. The last one tends to be the cheapest and most efficient option, as there are so many vendors out there who specialize in freeing a business owner’s schedule to do the work that makes more money.


How to decide which tasks should be outsourced?

It’s crucial that you analyze the work you do and pinpoint the core activities, those that are crucial for the success and growth of your business. These should still be done by you. You should never ever outsource any task that is fundamental to your company. If you are a web development company, then the design and development of websites should certainly be done by you and your internal team. However, it might be wiser to let someone else do your accounting.


These are the questions you should ask yourself before making the decision on whether a task should be done by you or not:


·       Is this something only I can do?

You still know your business best and that is why there are activities only you can (and should) do. These are your critical functions that are closely related to your company’s strategy.


·       Is this something I love doing?

Perhaps you enjoy doing something, even if it is not part of your core activities. In this case, by all means, keep making yourself happy, as long as it does not distract you from doing the main activities. Meaning: do not spend days playing with the design of an infographic that you want to post on your social media account while you could be talking to your potential clients.


·       Is this something I should learn how to do?

There are skills that will pay off having in the long-run. But if you have no interest or long-term benefit from acquiring a particular skill, it’s better to outsource.


·       By not delegating or outsourcing this, am I sacrificing quality?

Know your strengths. Discover what your specialties are and what you do best. Maybe you are really good at analyzing the market, but you are not that great with coming up with a marketing communication strategy. Ask yourself if there is someone out there who could do it better than you and are you putting your business in danger by continuing to do it yourself.

“That’s all great, but I don’t have the money to afford help.”

When startups say, ‘I can’t afford an assistant,’ we ask them to go through the tasks they need help with. Then we ask, ‘If you could pay $10 an hour for someone to do that paperwork for you, would that free up enough time and allow you to bring in more money?

When you look at the economics of it, it really does not make sense to drown yourself in work that does not bring money.


And, most importantly, remember that you are not a superhero.

A man with a superman cape on is tripping and falling
Being a superhero actually makes you more vulnerable

If you are starting your own business, it means you are most probably self-driven, highly motivated, and hard-working. However, sometimes these qualities mislead us to thinking that we can do everything on our own. Before you get too comfortable wearing a superhero cape, stop and think if that is really what you should be doing.


Freeing up your schedule to do some real work is essential for achieving operational efficiency and stable growth. Zenos is an administrative and marketing support provider. We help small and medium-sized enterprises streamline their business by taking care of their non-core activities, at competitive costs, with a flexible and relaxed, stress-free, Zen-approach.

We are that extra pair of hands, that extra hour of the day that you are missing. Get in touch today to discuss if we can be of any help to you.

Zenos: Make time for your business. We will do the paperwork.

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