Work ON your business, not IN it.

Jon Leger made an insightful and informative post a little while back about the difference between working on your business and working in it. The late Corey Rudl used to emphasize this point too and it’s one that I believe a great many people have a lot of trouble with.

See if this post can give you some insight into it.


I once made the mistake of hiring a company that specialized in handling technical support for online businesses. The single person assigned to my (smallish) account at the time was a member of MENSA. She was a true-blue certified genius with a technical background.

Who could ask for more, right? Wrong! The woman turned out to be completely unable to handle the support for my business, and after a couple of months of fighting and hoping for the best, I fired the firm.

From that point on I became a bit of a control freak about my business. I mistakenly assumed that if a certified genius with a technical degree was unable to handle my tech support, that I just needed to give up and do it all myself.

After about 18 months of that I was at the point where 80% of my time was used up handling support requests. My business stopped growing. I was chained down by support requests, stuck working in my business instead of on it.

Not long after that Mike Filsaime asked me to give him a call, which I did. We had a long conversation about outsourcing things like support requests.

Mike laid the bare truth on me in a way that only he can. “Jon,” he said, “you have two choices: you can burn yourself out doing everything yourself, or you can hire out and watch your business grow.”

“But Mike,” I protested, “nobody is going to be able to give my customers the kind of support I can! I created these products.”

“That may be true,” he replied, “but not even you can do what you do for an endless number of customers without killing yourself. At some point you simply will not be able to handle it.”

He was right, too. I was already at the point of wanting to chuck it all because I just couldn’t keep up with the support requests the way I wanted to — forget about growing my business!

So I did some hard thinking about what I was going to do. Mike told me that he managed to get a very happy customer of his to do support for one of his products in return for a percentage of the profits. That worked very well because the person was not just an employee, but was actually invested in doing a good job.

I decided to give that a try, and ended up hiring Amin Motin, a very active member at one of the support forums I ran. I had already made him a moderator at the forum because of his freely dispensing so much good advice and support to folks there. It seemed only natural to have him do support for my other products.

Amin is also invested in my business. His “salary” comes from a variety of web sites and services which turn a profit for both of us. And you know what? I was very wrong when I said that nobody could give my customers the same level of support that I was giving them. Amin is better than me, more patient and helpful with my customers, and I’ve read more praise directed at him than I have room to share here.

After bringing Amin on board I suddenly had a huge amount of time to devote both to personal and business pursuits. My net monthly income has increased 40% because of being free to work on other projects and toy with ideas I’d had in the back of my mind — and this increase has come despite Amin’s share of the profits and me working fewer hours than I did before (I devote a lot more time to my personal ministry work now).

You see, I had the wrong outlook on my business. I was so afraid to let go of a piece of my business that I had been burned on before that it was strangling its growth (and stressing myself out beyond belief). I also had the mistaken notion that I couldn’t afford to pay somebody to handle the support for me. What Mike helped me to see, and what indeed has proven to be true, is that I couldn’t afford not to have someone else doing support.

Now I outsource everything. My site design, graphics and logos, my support, my content creation. You name it. If it can be outsourced, I try a few folks out until I find the one who fits the bill and I stick with them.

Doing this has dramatically increased not only my bottom line, but also my peace of mind. My family and I travel on vacation, and I’m not stuck doing support tickets in the evening while we’re away. I don’t stress about how support is going to get handled, because Amin is so fantastic at it. I never worry about how my next web site or product is going to look, because the guys at GraphicsGenie.com do such a fantastic job on every product I put up.

You may really not be able to afford to hire out just yet, and that’s understandable. I was in that position at first also. But I promise you, I promise you, that as soon as you can make room in your budget to start hiring out the services that you do not absolutely have to handle yourself, you will find your business blossoming into something much greater than you could possibly make it by yourself.

Added: (By the way, as of a couple of weeks ago my business has grown to the point where I’ve taken on another set of hands to lend support to Amin as well. Growth is not slowing down, and I will continue to outsource the help that I need to run this business successfully. As a commenter stated below, be sure to check in with the folks who are working for/with you to make sure that their work load is manageable. At some point you’ll need to add on even more help, as I have now done.)

Please post your thoughts and questions in a comment below.

Source: Internet Marketing