How do I make the jump?
Running a business solo can feel both empowering and overwhelming. Maybe you’re considering bringing in some help. Going from Solopreneur to CEO can feel like making a big jump between two boulders with a giant abyss underneath. We can sometimes feel frozen with an inability to move forward into the next stage of growth.
So, how can you know when it’s time?
Let me tell you a secret. There’s no cut-and-dry formula. It’s going to be different for every business or non-profit because your strengths and abilities are unique to you. However, I will let you in on a couple of secrets that will help you go from solopreneur to CEO- while still making the best decision for you and your business or non-profit.
Take inventory of all you do as a solopreneur.
List out all the things that need to be done to make your business run. Don’t think a lot about it, just get it down. Nothing is too small to add to the list. If you need to do it, put it down. You’ll need to move these around into two categories later, so keep that in mind.
Divide the list into two categories: CEO responsibilities vs. everything else.
The two categories should be 1.) ONLY things you can do, and 2.) things someone else could potentially do. For example, you’re the only one that can attend a networking event as CEO of your business. Most other things can probably be handed off to someone else. Try to be honest with yourself – sometimes activities that we like doing are harder to give up.
Rate each activity according to the amount of energy exerted.
Another way to put that would be, “how exhausted are you after completing said task?” In each category, rate each activity according to the amount of energy it takes you to perform it. Think about how you feel after each task.
For me, big in-person meetings or presentations wear me out and use a lot of energy. Writing a blog or social media post or working on designing a website for a client takes concentration, but little energy.
Narrow down the tasks a potential employee would have.
Once the activities in each column have been rated, circle or highlight any activity in the second column (someone else can do) that is a high-energy activity for you. For example, if handling your accounting feels exhausting, overwhelming, and takes a ton of energy, rate it higher. If you enjoy doing your books and it takes little energy, rate it lower.
SOP stands for “Standard Operating Procedures.” These are instructions, usually in PDF format, for your team to understand how a specific task within your business should be carried out. SOPs facilitate the training process for new hires.
Make a goal to complete a certain number of SOPs per day, week, month, or quarter. Take a bit of extra time and create a SOP next time you perform a routine task in your business. It doesn’t have to be a long document- shoot for a page. If you start out with one or two and add it to, over time you’ll have a manual of very useful information and a huge time-saver. For a more detailed guide, check out How to Write a Standard Operating Procedure.
Start Interviewing and step out of your Solopreneur shoes, and into your CEO shoes!
Consider looking for someone who can take on some of the tasks on your list that fall under the “high energy” ratings of the second category (things in your business others can do). Get feelers out there and start interviewing prospective employees. Going from solopreneur to CEO may take time, these tips will help you to cut through the overwhelm and get a better idea of who you’re looking for to join your team. Consider posting job openings at your local college if you have one, or on sites like FlexJobs, Indeed, LinkedIn or Facebook. If you’re not ready to commit to hiring someone full-time you can always consider hiring a part-time contractor.
If these pointers were helpful for you, or if you have some to add, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!