Friday, July 03, 2009
Does Your Business Need a Helping Hand?
This week I welcomed my intern, Dana, into my home. She’s a rising senior and is very interested in pursuing a writing or communications career. As many of you know, one of my many passions is helping young people who want to engage in a writing career. So this new arrangement is a total win-win for both of us! I get to help Dana, she gets to help me, plus I’ll be able to offload some of my marketing work to be more productive and creative.
Back in April and perhaps before that, I was feeling the pinch. You know, it’s a place where you can’t seem to get everything done that you want to do, you’re just barely making your deadlines and you are afraid of going to sleep because if you do, you may not get everything done and folks will be disappointed in you….(just writing that run-on sentence was stressful and made me out of breath!) I wondered how I could grow my business when I was spending all of my time doing small, yet important marketing tasks like calendar posts and newsletter updates. Should I let some of my marketing go? But if I did, then my participation numbers would severely drop, and so would my income.
I asked my business coach what I should do and he told me to get an assistant. I told him I couldn’t afford an assistant just yet. He then looked me in the eye and said something like, “Don’t worry, you’ll find a way.” Two days later I was getting coffee at Wake County Public Schools’ 9th annual Xtreme Beginnings Career Fair McKimmon Center. I had volunteered to participate in a round-table discussion about writing. The purpose of the fair is to give students an opportunity for students to gain exposure to an array of educational and career opportunities. One of the school leaders and I struck up a conversation and then she asked me if I would be able to sponsor an intern. You all know what my answer was!
After a couple months of ironing out the details, Dana started working her six hours a week at my house in the afternoons. She even has her own office upstairs, while I work on my laptop at the dining room table. I know she’s a good fit since both of my kids like her. In fact, 18-month-old Erin gave her a running hug after first seeing her enter the front door and Daniel, my rising second grader, bounded upstairs and introduced himself to her before I could. Already I feel my load has lightened and as she continues to learn more about me and my business, I know that I’ll give her more and more responsibilities. Wow, I could get used to this after working by myself for more than three years. In fact, three years ago, I was someone’s assistant!
As your business grows, you must think about delegating and hiring help, or at the very least, outsourcing work that eats up your time and makes you less productive. You have to ask yourself, “What am I doing on a daily basis that’s not generating income for me right now?” Let go some of that work, so you can get back to enjoying your entrepreneurship. Tap back into your creative energies so you can be prosperous and not tired, rundown and headed for a burnout. Get creative in finding your help. Here in Raleigh I know that NC State has a strong intern program, as does Meredith and Peace. Go for it and enjoy your life’s work again!