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Get the Hell Out of the Hourglass – Part 4

Posted by Amy Lynch on January 16, 2023

Decide to wear just one hat. I was talking (more like lamenting!) with my contractor friend, Steve, “I like selling. It’s instant gratification!” 

He shook his head sadly, “Kevin, I don’t think you will ever get to $10 million in annual revenue if you are still selling little bitty paint jobs.”

I pushed back, “That’s how I know I accomplished something today; it all starts with a sale!” 

Steve shrugged back, “That’s fine, but I don’t think you can do both. I don’t think you can be a salesperson and a CEO.”

I sold paint jobs until my early 50s, mostly to repeat customers. On a typical Monday afternoon, I’d sprint out of the office and head out to meet LuAnn first, and then Gus, who are both excellent customers.

I didn’t have the time for this, but I was stuck. They were expecting me, so it was too late to dish this off to someone else. Harried and clammy, I’d get to the appointment and sell the job. Next, I would have to write it up and schedule it, and there would be dozens of details to organize for that job. Then, on Tuesday, the cycle would repeat itself.

Sound familiar? What is a business owner to do? I wanted to scale the company and make it bigger. I had big ol’ plans and a vision for growth, but that sand kept coming, and there is no stopping it. I just couldn’t seem to get to $10 million in annual revenue. It was frustrating because I had been at this for 35 years! I was stuck in the hourglass.

Put down the paint brush! There were so many high-priority things I needed to work on: budget, training, teaching folks how to be good craftspeople, developing true leaders who run jobs from start to finish, scouting great people, marketing, HR, finance, and business planning! This typical scenario in a business life cycle can keep a leader jammed in the hourglass.

As I dragged myself toward home, Steve’s voice echoed in my mind, “That’s fine, but I don’t think you can do both. I don’t think you can be a salesperson and a CEO.”

I decided to become a CEO. Decide just to be a CEO. 

See you Thursday. Build muscle.

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