June 13, 2014
Over the past couple of weeks, I made a huge discovery about myself. This discovery has been decades in the making. It took several businesses, some successful, most unsuccessful, to come to the realization that I was a solopreneur, not a CEO.
Even though my “official” title for several of my businesses was CEO, as the chief cook and bottle washer, I wasn’t really a CEO.
I was doing all the work…wearing all the hats. That’s what we call a solopreneur. Calling myself a CEO or President was mostly for my own vanity, and it was totally inaccurate.
You may be wondering, what’s the difference? Isn’t it just semantics? Who cares what your title is, anyway?
Well, I’m here to tell you there IS a difference and it’s a HUGE difference!
When I started OnlineStir a couple of months ago, I made the conscious decision that I wasn’t going to be the chief cook and bottle washer anymore. I was ONLY going to be the chief cook, the CEO, and leave the bottle washing to someone else.
As the CEO, I decided my job was to build the business. That meant first and foremost, building a team of top-notch people to row while I steer the ship.
During my initial test of the OnlineStir business concept, I made a special offer to a group of entrepreneurs. My offer was to do a website conversion analysis and give them some ideas for how to get more paying customers from their websites. Five people immediately took me up on the offer.
To put this in perspective, I was the only person on the ship at the time. I just wanted to test the concept to see if there was interest before I proceeded.
Even though I could very easily have done those conversion analyses for five people, I immediately went home and found a few people who were already offering those services and paid them to do it.
As a result of those “tests,” I found my very first team member, Darren. He created by far the best videos of all the people I found. After doing several conversion videos (that many of you have seen), I realized Darren has a lot more potential, so now he’s also doing project management for me.
In addition to Darren, I also hired a Virtual Assistant (Jenny), a graphic designer, two writers, a web developer, and last but not least, Amelia is going to help me with sales in her spare time.
I have team members in the US, the UK, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. The sun literally never sets on my business!
While I was sitting in a leads group meeting the other day, I took a moment to appreciate that three of my team members were actively working on my business at that very moment. That’s the power of a team!
Of everyone on my team, my VA is the only full-time salaried member. The rest are brought on as needed, depending on the project. I’ve negotiated rates with them so I can give accurate quotes to clients without a lot of back-and-forth. Eventually, I’ll have more full-time employees, but contractors are perfect for now.
My team has freed up my time to work “on” my business…to grow it, to define the service offerings, to find new clients, and to create the systems that’ll make it all run like clockwork.
That’s the difference between a CEO and a solopreneur. It’s much more than semantics…it’s a different business paradigm that removes the limits of your growth potential.
For the first time on my long entrepreneurial journey, I finally understand why some entrepreneurs are extremely successful while others continuously struggle. Successful entrepreneurs don’t row, they steer.