by Kaya Singer

Most small service-based businesses begin with the following scenario. You get an idea, bing, and it begins to take hold. At some point it turns into a passion. You think, “Wow, I can make this into a business.” You get your business cards and start trying to drum up clients.

Before you know it you are working 14 hour days and 6 day weeks.

Vacations become a thing of the past and after dinner you are back on your computer again. Sound familiar?

At some point you realize that you could try out for a job in a circus because you have become a master at juggling.

It is not supposed to be like this. One of the main reasons that so many small service based businesses fail is the lack of a team approach. Solo business owners decide to do everything themselves in order to save money. In truth, the real reason is the lack of good systems in place to allow you to hand over a job to someone else.

Early on in my business when I was full on into the juggling scene I had a student approach me about a job. She was willing to work 2-3 hours per week for $10 an hour. It would have helped me immensely. I said no to her offer, and decided I couldn’t afford it. I was lying to myself. In truth the money was an excuse. I could have paid out $20 per week and it would have been a great help, maybe.

The real reason was that I was so used to juggling that I didn’t know how to integrate her in. I had not created any job descriptions. I had no written systems for my tasks. They were all in my own little head. My excuse was that I didn’t have time to create the system. What a mess I had created.

One of my clients admitted that she hired employees and then ended up paying them to file their nails, or play on the computer while waiting for work to do. Sound weird? Not really. If you have no system in place it is easier to do the work yourself than to explain it to your employee, even if in the long run it will save you time. In this scenario she was paying someone to watch her work, but unintentionally.

What I finally did a year later was hire another assistant and her first job was to help me create the system for her job. It was a joke, in that in a way, I did pay her to watch me work, but it was intentional. I had her sit next to me with her laptop and take detailed notes as I did the work. At the end of the 90 minutes she had it all in writing, one step at a time. The next time she was able to do it all by herself without my supervision and I was assured she would do it correctly, as she had the system to follow. The best part was that even after she left I had the system for this one task all in writing so anyone could do it.

So ask yourself:

Do you have each job system in writing so someone else can step in and do it?

Can your business work without you?

Can you get your employees to work without your constant interference?

Remember, the purpose of your business is to serve your life, not the other way around.



Kaya Singer, MS owns Awakening Business Solutions. She helps small business owners and solo-entrepreneurs turn their actions into successful business ventures and attract the right clients. She teaches that is possible to have purpose and prosperity.  She can be reached at 503-493-1199.


© 2008 Kaya Singer