A Ticking Time Tool

Most often, the first hire you should make is an assistant. A great assistant will make your life so much easier. Believe me, I know.  My first assistant was with me before my business even started. She worked with my husband when they both had corporate jobs. After she formed her virtual assistant business, she called me to help one of her clients with their books. My bookkeeping business was born.

She was with me for many years until she retired. I thought for a moment that maybe I should retire with her, but I had more I wanted to accomplish. My next assistant gave it a good try, but our work styles were too different. Luckily when she moved on, I was able to get someone that has my back and can take an idea and turn it into a reality, along with editing my blogs (Thanks Makenzie!). I wish this for every business owner!

The Pain Line

In his recent book, How to Buy Back Your Time, Dan Martell explains The Buyback Principle, which states “don’t hire to grow your business, hire to buy back your time.” The reason this is important is that you can’t outwork yourself to a better business. Doing everything will result in either you, your business, or your relationships breaking down. Dan explains that entrepreneurs keep grinding until they hit their pain line.

“This pain line is a feedback loop telling you to do something different or you will continue the status quo, waiting for something to snap. Once entrepreneurs hit the pain line, they either decide to sell to relieve the pain, sabotage the business by making subconscious decisions so it stays small and manageable, or stall by making the decision not to grow.” To move past the pain line and keep growing with your business, you need a mindset shift. You want to trade in your problems for higher-quality problems. You need time and you need new skills to invest in new relationships and a new mindset that will grow your business. To get that time, you need an assistant.

Time Assassins

The book goes into some detail about the 5 Time Assassins™:

The Staller

The Speed Demon

The Supervisor

The Saver

The Self-Medicator

To eliminate these Time Assassins, you must take proactive steps and audit your time. Our Time Audit tool will help you see how you’re killing your time. Once you see your results, take proactive steps to transfer the tasks if they really need to be done by someone else. Then you will begin to fill your time with higher lever issues until you reach the next pain line and need to reenter The Buyback Loop™.

Also, consider which tasks on your list you love to do vs those that you are good at but don’t bring you joy. Susie DeVille, the author of Buoyant, taught me her Liberation Quadrant and helped me to see that I want to focus my time on those things that I love and that I excel at because no one else can really do them my way. Of course, the first tasks to offload are those that you hate and that you suck at doing.

But equally concerning are those items that you do fine and that you may or may not like. These items keep you stuck in performing mindless tasks or cause you to get burned out. Either way, they rob you of your true zone of genius.  Find some help so you spend more of your time in this zone and you will find your way to success.

When Can I Afford to Buy Back?

The question I hear often, is “How do I know when I can afford to hire?”  From a Profit First perspective, I recommend setting aside the funds needed to pay your first hire, typically starting them part-time. If you can live without that money for three months, you’re ready to hire. Martell suggests The Buy Back Rate Formula ™ which is simple to apply and will also help you understand what you can afford to pay based on your income.

Whatever you do, don’t stay stuck on the pain line. Do a time audit to see where you’re spending your time. Do a little soul searching and figure out what’s keeping stuck and then act.  Get yourself some help with those things you hate and get back to the important work only you can do!

Interested in Profit First?

profit first for ecommerce sellers If your ecommerce business isn’t where you’d like it to be in terms of profitability, check out my book, Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers. It answers important questions about how to implement Profit First in an ecommerce business. Take control of your money and your business, and put Profit First to work for you!

You can also sign up for the Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers Online Course. As a Mastery Level, Certified Profit First Professional, I will teach you why Profit First works so well for ecommerce businesses and the particular challenges for businesses that have physical products requiring inventory management. You will learn how your behavior drives your money management habits for your business and how you can set up your business bank accounts to work with your habits.

Check out all our ecommerce accounting and profit advising services here!


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Post Author Cyndi Thomason

Cyndi Thomason

Cyndi Thomason is founder and president of bookskeep, a U.S.-based accounting, bookkeeping, and advisory firm for ecommerce sellers worldwide. She has a passion for data analysis and process development. She uses that passion to educate her clients and help them structure their businesses to maximize profits.

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