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Get the Hell Out of the Hourglass – Part 2

Posted by Amy Lynch on January 9, 2023

Most new business owners have the same dilemma. I had the hourglass problem for a long time. I was the blockage in the bottleneck, lodged in the hourglass; I bet you can relate. It looked something like this:

I liked to solve problems. It felt good, and I got some dopamine out of it. But, of course, that only lasted a second because I had more problems to solve. I was constantly solving problems, and I couldn’t get ahead. So I did task after task after task, all the time worrying about not making payroll this week. I focused on have-to-dos, not want-to-dos. And above all, I believed that if I wanted things done right, I’d have to do it myself.

Like most business owners, I started as a technician. When working as a technician, I focused on the task at hand, and all I could think about was getting the job done. There was no multitasking! Focus is a good thing for a technician on a project, but as a business owner, I now have many other responsibilities.

When I started my own business, I was stuck doing everything and wearing all the hats. That’s normal. Picture an organizational structure chart with the word me in every box! I was stuck there and couldn’t find a salesperson or an operations person. Sometimes I had ‘help,’ but they were poor performers, so I still needed to do those jobs. So I was stuck tight in the hourglass, trying to multitask when the job required single, focused tasking. I was burned out.

I’d arrive home at the end of the day and attempt to greet my wife, Mary Fran, and our four small children. She was exhausted after chasing around four kids (all under five years old!) all day. After only three minutes at home, I could see why. So I’d help with dinner and bedtime routines before sitting at my desk to return work messages, write estimates, send invoices, order paint, and plan the following day’s schedule!

I always felt that I was dropping balls, which also stressed me. I’d dolefully think, “It never ends. Tomorrow, I have to spray a house, get to another job to do some carpentry, and finally, stop for an estimate on the way home.” Once, I remember doing an evening estimate after a day like that. The customer made a yucky face and said I smelled ripe. I never got that job.

As you read this, many of you feel like you’re looking in the mirror. The hourglass is normal, but this sort of ‘normal’ has to change for your business to grow and thrive.

Determine right now that you are on a mission to get out of the hourglass and build some muscle in your organization. The kind that will make it grow strong and last a very long time. Build muscle.

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