Your Official Solo-Business “Not-To-Do” List

Written by Christine Kane

Woman Releasing FilesOf course you’ve got a To-Do list.

But have you ever sat down and created your very own “Not To Do” list?

No?

Well, for the record, every time you set a new business goal for yourself or your income, the first action step is to get brutally clear about what must be removed from your plate.

Maybe it’s bad habits. Maybe it’s the seemingly minor stuff you do. Maybe it’s an old limiting mindset.

It doesn’t matter what it is. It matters that you begin with awareness.

If this sounds like you, here’s a place to start.  This is my own list of top 10 NOT-TO-DO’s for entrepreneurs who are ready to Uplevel…

#10 – Bookkeeping

Yes or no:

A] Do you toss your receipts in little piles, telling yourself you’ll get to them soon?

B] Are you often running around in early April swearing you’ve got to keep better track of your invoices?

C] Are you considering taking a QuickBooks course at your local technical college?

If you answered yes to ANY of these, then we gotta talk!

You need a bookkeeper.

The reason you stink at this stuff is NOT because you’re a procrastinator.  The reason you stink at this stuff is because YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO!    If you were meant to be a bookkeeper, you’d be one!

#9 – Customer service

In the beginning stages of your business, it’s good to connect with your peeps and directly respond to them.   However, if the routine emails and calls swallow up hours each week, let go and hire someone to take over.  Yes, it takes time to train someone to do this work. (It’s very important work!) But the time you CREATE in the long run is valuable.

#8 – Running errands

One of my Platinum mastermind clients is a successful realtor. She recently ran a “quick” errand to put a lock box on the door of a house. With traffic, this errand took 90 minutes.

This is a classic case of:  “By the time I show someone how to do it, I could just do this myself.”

Maybe so.

But let’s say you do this activity once a week.   That adds up to almost TEN 8-hour days of high ROI work you could be doing each year.

Will it take you 10 working days to show someone how to run your errands?

#7 – Housecleaning

The simple act of hiring a housekeeper can save marriages, heal relationships with teenagers, and make you believe in God.  Nuff said.

#6 – Being a Unique Snowflake

“Ah, Christine, but my business is different. I couldn’t possibly follow your advice.”

“Yes, but I’m very particular about exactly HOW I want my house cleaned.”

“You don’t understand, Christine. My customers are special.”

These pronouncements (and yes, I’ve heard them all) are symptoms of a disease I call Unique Snowflake Syndrome. (USS)

The truth about Unique Snowflakes is that they are scared. That’s all.

Scared of taking action. Scared of being clear. Scared they won’t find what they want. So, they find the most convenient excuse available: “I’m more different than you.”

The only cure for USS is to take action in spite of the fear and be amazed at what happens.

#5 – Assuming your prospects know what they need

Steve Jobs said, “It’s not your customer’s job to know what they need.”

So true!  And yet, when we are feeling entitled or insecure, we forget this truth. We think our prospects should just “get it” and hire us already!  (HINT: This is why you aren’t making money.)

When you truly understand marketing, you know that it is a service that educates your prospects.  Stop making excuses, and learn how to do it well.

#4 – Assuming your clients remember why they’re your clients

When you make a sale or get a client, do you get complacent?  Do you assume your clients remember why they’re working with you, or why your members even signed up?

If so, you may lose them.

As a business owner, you are a leader.  As a leader, your job is to consistently realign your clients with their desires and intentions. Keep your clients connected to their WHY in addition to their daily work and they will thank you for it with loyalty.

#3 – “Drive-By” Delegation

Here’s a 7-Act Play in one paragraph:

Hire someone. Be excited. Tell him a few things to do. Get busy the next day. Forget to show him other things to do. Get frustrated because he didn’t do what you wanted. Call friends and complain that you can’t find good help these days.

Sound familiar?

Well, then you’re what’s known as a “Drive-By” Delegator.

Try this instead:

When you hire someone, tell him EXACTLY what you want him to do. Lay it out in step-by-step format with desired results and timelines spelled out clearly.  Take time each day to continue the training.  This requires consistent clarity and focus. And it pays off.

#2 — Looking at your unsubscribes

Sigh.

How many times do I have to tell you to stop doing this?

Your unsubscribes are none of your business.  Turn off that freakin’ unsubscribe email alert NOW.

Then, hire someone to manage your list and keep an eye on your unsubscribes.

(And yes. I’m sure she will inform you the day your whole list decides they don’t like you anymore and collectively makes a mass exodus. In the meantime, the three people who unsubscribed this week can go out for cocktails together and talk about you.)

#1 — Taking the word “solo” literally

Solopreneur means that you run your own purpose-based business. It does NOT mean that you should “go it alone.”

Dude, you can’t succeed without support from someone who is already successful at what you want to do.  It’s time to reach out, hire a coach, get a mentor, or surround yourself with other successful entrepreneurs.

Now, share with me!

What is your big goal for next year?  And which one of these items is not congruent with that goal?  In other words, what do you need to stop doing?

{31 comments ... read them below or add one}

Jo-Ann October 17, 2012 at 7:27 am

Perfect for me as I am opening public studio/gallery, grand opening next week. Big goal is success in this new venture, which for me means making paintings about the Everglades that people love and want to own. If I do it well enough, I CAN give up the things on your list that I hate to do, and that others may actually do better. Timely and thought provoking. Thanks.

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Christine Kane Reply:

Jo-Ann — I found that I had to hire people to help me BEFORE I felt like I had succeeded “enough.” I tended to hold the bar so high that there was always a reason I could keep doing it myself. Just want to share that with you in case you are holding yourself hostage to things that drain you! :)

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Andrea October 17, 2012 at 8:36 am

My goal is that I have enough systems set up that I do not need to run in my business, which means: I do know my offers and I have my courses/dates set up in advance. And number 4 is the one I should let go. But I still suffer on the I do not want to disturb them syndrom. See you in november, Andrea

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Christine Kane Reply:

Just start with the awareness Andrea! And see if there are things you can do to create touchpoints and ways to reach out that aren’t about “disturbing” them. See you in November at the Gold Mastermind! Yay!

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Shari Larkin October 17, 2012 at 9:34 am

Terrific article and so timely for me. I am giving my first icebreaker speech this evening for a toastmaster meeting and as much as it brings me discomfort, I must do it anyway. Thank you Christine for the inspiration.
Have a great day!

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Christine Kane Reply:

Go Shari!

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Jessica Marie October 17, 2012 at 10:42 am

Thanks Christine! Many of those things are on my to-hire list. The one that is really holding my back is the USS…If I want to make it happen, I can. My goal for the next year is to have 15 full fee clients per month. To accomplish this , I need to attract people who want my help and forget about the unsubscribes, they’ll come when they are ready. Thank you.

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Deb Prewitt October 17, 2012 at 11:14 am

I probably need to let go of all of these things. :) I guess I have a lot of work to do still.

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Lilieth October 17, 2012 at 11:20 am

I would like to do more in my book-keeping. but I’ll take your advise makeing sure to take the time-out to do just that, thanks for the advised

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Jessica October 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

I just started delegating out some of the tasks in my business, and for a moment it felt like cheating. I felt guilty, like the business was no longer mine and I was selling out. But really no one can take my business away from me even though others may be contributing and helping to move my mission forward. It’s a good thing!

I would love more posts on team building and hiring the right people to help, Christine! I want to foster a company where people LOVE working for me and make it totally opposite from the world of teaching in the public education system from which I came. I knew I couldn’t stay there forever, and just this school year I resigned from teaching to do my business full time! (and I’m making more doing it and can stay home with my daughter).

Recently I had an opportunity to lower prices, because of a strategic business move. I felt like I OWED it to my clients to lower prices because i was getting a better deal internally, but I didn’t. I kept prices the same and at first I felt so guilty, but had to keep remembering that I am providing something of value that is WORTH the money.

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Christine Kane Reply:

Thanks Jessica! I’ll take your suggestions to heart and try to focus in these areas! (It’s always great to get suggestions on article topics!)

You used the word “guilt” here a few times. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard me teach on wealth mindsets – but I talk a lot about guilt being a huge block to wealth (and of course, talk deeper on that too). Start to be aware of that knee-jerk guilt response because it’s NOT the truth and it’s just old negative patterning that is coming up for release!

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Jessica Reply:

Yes, old negative patterns, thanks for the reminder to break free from those!

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Rose Pellar October 17, 2012 at 11:37 am

My goal for 2013 is to have my book launched, start giving tele-seminars and more paid speaking engagements. What is keeping me back is being housekeeper, wife, friend, sole practitioner and not having anyone to whom I can delegate. I need to outsource more of what I am doing – particularly the housekeeping duties.

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Christine Kane Reply:

Rose – Get a housekeeper first. Not only does it free up the time you are doing that stuff. But it frees up the energy of knowing it has to be done and dreading it and resenting it! :)

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Sue October 17, 2012 at 11:46 am

Letting go of control. Believing that the $ money will be there to pay my team. Knowing that when I am working at my best, I touch more people than when I try to do it all. Thanks for a great article and reminder, Christine!

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Joe October 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Great article. I enjoyed it and sent a copy to my wife. We are running a small online clothing business together and there is just to much to juggle between that and 3 kids. The only way we are able to keep our sanity and move forward is to delegate. I realy like the idea of the not to do list. I guess its just as important to choose what to overlook or delegate as it is to choose what to focus on and grow

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Christine Kane Reply:

Joe – Mostly it’s about being deliberate and clear about every single activity you do as a business owner. Can’t stress this enough! Thanks!

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Nneka, Working Mystic October 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm

My big goal for next year is to have my business cover its expenses and my living expenses.

I’m getting rid of #5: Assuming that my clients know what they need. You have trained me well. Even in my side gig I see marketing as education. The great part is that I LOVE to educate. I wanted to be a teacher. I always thought that meant in a classroom, but now I know I am always educating people about what I offer, what they need, and then on their solutions. I love bringing out that awareness from someone. This is going to be fun:-)

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Karen October 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Ah I definitely need a Not To Do List! I love it, thank you!

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Janelle October 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm

My big goal for next year is to only do my genius work in my business (coaching, speaking, and content delivery) and turn over all of my business systems to a business manager, my bookkeeper, and uplevel my shopping carts. I’m looking forward to better automation and better systems.

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Christine Kane Reply:

Go Janelle!

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Patricia Burgess-Southerland October 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Christine, as I have said before, you are awesome! My goal next year is to get my start-up off the ground and push, push, push myself because I am so enthusiastic about my clarity and purpose!

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Melissa October 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I just posted on our fb UYB group that I needed a kick in the pants and here it is. I am hiring a va so I can focus on my private clients and content creation.

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Ann October 18, 2012 at 8:42 am

I placed an ad this weekend to get rid of my personal not-to-do. Terrified, but walked up to that wall and walked right through. Wish me luck!

My breaking point was when I had 3 items on my to-do list and didn’t accomplish any of them in a day. Then, I realized each item had 22 action items involved in them. No wonder I didn’t get anything done that day. I had created a 66 item to-do list rather than a 3 item. Who wouldn’t be overwhelmed. Time to be realistic, reevaluate and hopefully pass off some of my less favorite jobs.

Thanks for your support. Keep it up so I can come do Platinum in a few years when my family/work are ready for me to commit completely. Now isn’t the time, but it’s coming!

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Christine Kane Reply:

Go Ann! Keep us posted!

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Stacey October 18, 2012 at 10:16 am

My big goal for next year is to consistently make three clients per month so I can be financially sound enough to leave my “job”!

I love the list – I spent so much energy for months dreading doing my taxes and finally decided to hire a bookkeeper – it was such an immediate weight off my shoulders! Next is to find relief for my husband and assuage my guilt by hiring a housekeeper and to hire a VA for all those little annoying jobs that eat up my time. I think I hesitate to hire a VA because I am not sure I have enough for her to do or that it is “important” enough. But I’ll just work through that and hire the woman anyway :)

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Eveline van Rooy October 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Great to read this. I’m an artist living and working in the Netherlands. For me creating is the purpose. But as I also have to eat every day so money must be made. The most important thing for me is when you wrote: do not to think your clients know what they whant. It is funny, but so true. I already hired a cleaning woman, it is great, and a book keeper, also nice. So I am on my way. The most important thing I want to develop this year is to start (again) with my own art gallery. I know that I have to take steps, do something, but it was a nice eye opener to read that you also have to not do things. Thank you!

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Tina Mammoser October 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Great list! I’m a studio assistant for another artist and am forwarding her this list. Sometimes I try to take things *from* her and she won’t let me! :) I try to explain that only she can create the images, I can’t. I can pack, email, upload, order products, do digital edits, etc. but no new images means no new product or wholesale contracts.

As for my business, one thing I know should be a “Not to Do” is micromanaging my website. I know a lot of other small businesses do it too – thinking they must have total control from the code up. I switched to a templated service and it saved me so much time and pointless faffing about with things that actually don’t have any ROI. (I have a background in web design so get demanding.) I’ve been considering taking all control back and coding it myself again…. GAH! You’re reminding me why I stopped that in the first place. I have 2 equally good choices now. I can hire someone to do it for me, or choose a different templated service that has a few of the features my current one is missing.

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Kylie October 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Love these, especially numbers 4 and 5. I really and truly have found in coaching that the client needs structure and guidance, and an idea of how the process is going to go. I still, of course, believe that the client is the expert in her own life (of course!). But sometimes when people hire a service provider, they’re inexperienced at being served, and it’s our job to show them the ropes.

Thanks for this, Christine!

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Caithe Cameron October 19, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Another great eye-opening post, Christine! Thank you. Your posts always assist me and help me to understand having my own business – clairorator (healing through speaking in tongues, yes, it’s my own word!), palmistry, holistic healing and radio broadcasting. Having worked with the Government as a Teacher for many years, I only knew how to work ‘the system’. Working a business is so much more – in every single way! The regular ‘kick in the tush’ that I receive from reading your posts reminds me of my purpose and my belief in my purpose. Thank you again!

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Raederle December 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm

My goal is the launch my next ebook with all the “bells and whistles” of a launch that attract customers. I know the ebook is life changing because it resolves the wide-spread problem of calcium deficiency and tooth decay without any expensive treatments or supplements.

I just want to ensure that I release it in such a way that people are driven to BUY it and USE it. And hence why I finished writing it months ago but still have not released it.

I actually came to your site today hoping to find ebook release tips somewhere in here.

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