Time flies when you’re having fun!
My two week vacation in Sri Lanka has come and gone with a blur. I was able to get away from my business entirely (not a single email checked nor tweet sent!) for the entire time – a big success.
Although I had plenty of time to reflect on things, I managed to switch off for the vast majority of the time. Getting away from my business gave me a great deal of perspective, and I have returned with a more concrete idea of where I want to go from here.
If you’re interested to know what I have planned next for my online business, read on!
Automating My Business
Before my vacation, I revealed how I planned to automate my business to an extent that it could continue to operate without me being present to manage it on a day-to-day basis. I somewhat dramatically claimed that this step could change my business and my life.
It may have been a dramatic claim, but I was probably right. Getting away from my business for two weeks not only revealed to me the value of being able to get away every now and then, but also demonstrated that being disconnected from the minutiae of your business enables you to focus more on growth than maintenance.
I’ve been spinning my wheels for so long – earning a pleasing yet generally static figure month on month – that I’d gotten used to it. But getting away from my business has demonstrated to me that I need to get away from the “grunt work” and focus more on strategy. Not only will I find this more rewarding, it will enable me to step away from the business at times and make more money.
I had already done this to an extent by hiring writers for my writing business, but the steps I took in preparation for my trip to Sri Lanka has served as just a preview of what is possible.
My First Hire
So here’s the big reveal for this post: I intend to hire my first employee very soon. That’s right – a real life human being to sit in an office with me and help me run my business.
This is a huge step. I recognize the enormous difference between using contractors and employees. One is a no-strings attached, flexible affair, while the other one ties you down and commits you.
So why am I hiring someone? Simple: I think it’s the best decision, both for me and my business.
Let me explain why. For many months I have been getting progressively more fed up with simply sitting in front of a computer for hours every weekday. It’s simply not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. I want my working days to be more dynamic and varied.
While staring at a screen for eight hours and working with remote workers might be the most efficient way of doing business, I don’t think it’s the most efficient way for me. On the contrary, I believe that working with people in the same physical environment will be of huge benefit in terms of:
- creating a dynamic working environment,
- ensuring that my only means of communication is not just through a screen, and
- make me feel that I’m not alone in my endeavors.
In other words, I crave human contact. Not just sitting with other people in a coworking space (which I already do), but having legitimate cause to communicate with others in achieving common goals.
I want to build a ‘real’ business. I don’t feel that I currently have that. What I have is a bunch of self-minded contractors working for themselves. I don’t mean that to be taken in a derogatory manner – of course they’re working for themselves, as they should! But it is impossible to create a team spirit when you’re (a) just another client, and (b) thousands of miles away.
What Does This All Mean?
Right now I’m making no firm statements, but stepping away from the daily ‘grind’ of my business will obviously result in significant changes on all fronts.
I’m sure I will continue to work with remote contractors in the long term, but I if my first hire goes well, I will seek to expand my ‘real life’ team.
In terms of Leaving Work Behind, at this point I plan to hire a staff writer who will start posting every fortnight, with my contributions coming every other week. Gina did a cracking job while I was gone – both of her posts were well received – would you like to see more content from her?
And while I don’t intend to disappear overnight, getting away from the ‘ground level’ of work relating to my business would eventually require me to step away from writing for the blog on a regular basis (i.e. I would be free to write for LWB when I actually wanted to, rather than feeling obliged to do so). I feel closely attached to this blog, and the prospect of ‘letting go’ makes me feel uncomfortable, but in reality, I believe it’s what I need to do to generate growth in my business.
I’m not sure what the future holds right now. My plan at this stage is hire someone, then figure out what to do with them 😉 But one thing is for sure: the next few months won’t be boring!