I’m back.

Sorry, what was that?  You didn’t know I’d been away?  Good.  I’ve been ill for the last two and a bit weeks, and I’ve hardly been online, but now I’m back.  I’m glad to say that the business didn’t collapse while I was away.

I can see there are a few things to clean up, but mostly, everything continued to work.  I think.  I’ll know more over the next couple of days as I dig in.

Let’s see.

  • Most support tickets have been answered (still the odd one or two that need my attention but I’m working on it – thank you Ava).
  • Articles for my niche sites have continued to be written (thank you Ava).
  • PLR Code Mine has been looked after by James Cunnington, the lead developer (thank you James).
  • Work has carried on with software development for WordPress plugins at PluginGreat.com (thank you Edesa).
  • The new designer has been doing his thing and created 3 new sales pages for PLR Code Mine products and is about to start on some WordPress themes for a new business / pro-blogger WordPress themes site (thank you Ronald).
  • My low cost eCover Actions for Photoshop are almost complete.

Okay, not everything is perfect, but each mistake is a learning experience, and things get better.

I like general posts like this to also be a learning experience for everybody that reads them (thank YOU), so let’s take a look at the background behind all this.

Here’s the premise.

I can’t do everything and neither should you.  I have to rely on other people to do their thing, and so should you.

The downside is, as we take a back seat, and because we apply our personal touch to day to day matters less and less, then things aren’t done in the same way as you or I would do them.  It’s inevitable.  Some are done much better, some are not so good, but the important thing here is that we’re not doing them.

And if we’re not doing them, then it releases us to do other more important things like a bit of planning (aargh) and thinking (ook), and come up with a few new product ideas (aha).

And it also releases some time to come up with ideas for additional income streams, and to investigate and test to see if they work.

If we rely on other people to do the things we used to do, then we can spend more of our time on the really important things to any business.

Now don’t get the wrong end of the stick here, because I’m fairly sure I already know what you’re thinking.

“I can’t afford to take on staff just yet.”

Am I right?  Let’s assume so.  If that’s what you’re thinking, then you’ve got it all backwards.

The thinking for most new(ish) online business owners is that they personally are responsible for making all the money, but this thinking is false and is a leftover from having a job.  I used to think the exact same way, and I believe it’s fairly common.

But when you had a job (maybe you still do), then did the business you were working for operate in that way?  Of course not.

It just takes a little change in attitude and the way you think about your business to realise that it’s impossible for you to do everything.

I can positively say right now if I were starting all over again, the last thing I’d do is try to do it all myself, because that’s what I did, and it’s crazy!

We all have to relinquish control to other, trusted people.

Those people are then responsible for making the money for the business, and we’re the ones who oversee it all.  (Even that can be handed out to someone else if you want.)

So let’s look at the statement above about not being able to afford to do it.  Let’s pull it apart and show it for the nonsense it is, and that’s very easy to do.

Here’s the way you should look at it.

Everybody in your business earns their keep.  There are no passengers, and no free rides.  If you’re at an early stage in your business, then you simply can’t afford to be carrying administrative clutter.

One of my #1 rules (and I have several for different circumstances) is that every project pays for itself ASAP, and by that I mean within 30 days.  Hand in hand with that is that everybody either adds value to the business and is directly related to income, or they’re no longer a part of my business.

I don’t talk about this much, but in the last 12 months I’ve had to fire several people for either not performing, not doing what they said they would by the date they said they would, or not communicating with me about it.  Some have done more damage to my business and reputation than would have happened if I hadn’t taken them on, but the important point is things over all have become much better, and I’ve learned to spot the good staff very quickly, and reward them for jobs well done.

And one of the important lessons I’ve learned that I’d like to pass on to you is to take your time over hiring someone, but don’t waste any time in firing them.  (This idea of firing goes for customers too, but more on that another time.)

If you’ve made it clear what you want them to do, and they say they understand, and then don’t do what you expect of them, then they’re damaging your business and your personal livelihoood and they must go.

This isn’t being ruthless, it’s being focussed.

Either the people around you are helping to build your business or they’re against you.  This is black and white thinking and is not negotiable.  It might even upset some people, but look at it this way.

You can’t afford to hire two people, have one who is great and the other one fail to perform, because the bad one then wipes out the efforts of the good one.

All your staff must be good.  And once you have good staff around you, things really start to change.

(I believe I’ve written before about the importance of only thinking positive thoughts and only taking positive action and dismissing and ignoring all negativity, and this is a very good example of it.  If I haven’t published anything about this yet, then you can be sure I will.  There’s no point in giving negativity the time of day as focussing all your efforts and working towards your personal goals little by little is a key way to succeed.  Some people will unfortunately drain you and drain your business.  You don’t need them.  Most people are just like you and me, and are golden.  But all it takes is one or two jerks to bring you down and suck up all your time.  Most of the time, they don’t even see their own whining negativity.  Learn to ignore them – they won’t be around for long and they’ll become a problem for someone else who will listen.)

It’s an amazing feeling to find staff who are as good as you, and an incredible feeling when you find people who are actually better than you are.  I know that sounds a little egotistical, but from what friends have said to me, a lot of us think that we’re the only people who can do a job properly the way it should be done.  And of course that’s just not true is it?

There are plenty of people who can do any job better than you or I can, it’s just a matter of finding them, and hiring them at the right price.  And having the right staff will even allow you to automate important parts of your business.

If you want to know how I find my staff, and what I look for, then please leave a comment and if there’s enough interest, I’ll write about it here.

-Frank Haywood