Article by: MaryEllen | Thursday, May 9, 2013

By Brian Edmondson

I was driving to go meet a buddy of mine one day when I looked up at the windshield and realized I was about 500 miles overdue for an oil change.  “Ugh,” I thought. “I can’t believe I missed that again.”

I could have changed the oil myself and saved a few bucks. But the guys at the oil change place are faster and better at it than me.  So I let them do it instead. And while I was waiting I sat in the lobby and read a book that gave me some great new ideas on the next campaign I’m going to run in my business.

Reading books, bouncing ideas back and forth with others, and taking time to develop and refine business concepts are some of the highest leverage activities you can do. But, how do you find the time?

                                            The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma

As entrepreneurs, it’s important that we spend a good portion of our time doing things that will move our businesses forward.  But we’re usually so busy getting the business done that it’s hard to take time to actually sit back and reflect and make the plans that make the business happen.

There are several ways to make sure that we have enough time for the big picture, thinking of high leverage activities that are so vital to business. One of them is to leverage other people – like I did with the oil change; another is to use tools; and a final way is to set up systems (leveraging all three together is particularly powerful). And then there is one other way… and when you do this last thing, then the first three become supercharged.  Let’s take a look at each one.

Leverage other people:
It used to be that to leverage the work of others you needed to hire full time employees. But that isn’t the case anymore. Now you can use websites like Elance.com, Fiverr.com, Microworkers.com, and many more to start leveraging the efforts of other people in your business at a low cost and on a per project basis.

When you are using sites like this, it is important to look at the reputation of the person you hire (most of these sites have rating systems), and to remember that paying a little bit more often results in MUCH better quality. It’s also important to be super clear with the instructions you give.  I recommend creating a “manual” on Google docs with instructions for all projects that are recurring. That way you don’t have to rewrite them each time you give out a job.

Use tools:
There are many tools that can make your life easier as an entrepreneur, but it’s easy to get into the “buy tools and never use them mode”. When I am looking at a new tool – like a new website theme, or a new piece of software – I ask myself a few questions.

1.  Will this save me or my team time?
2.  Will this save me money?
3.  How does this fit into my overall business goals?

I let these questions guide my purchase of different tools to use in my business. If it’s not going to save you or your team time or money, or doesn’t align with your core business goals, don’t buy it.

Set up systems:
I touched a little bit on systems (Google Docs for instructions) in the Leverage Other People section. Many entrepreneurs get by one day at a time and tackle things as they come. But this leads to massive burnout. By having systems in place you can hire people more easily and also fire people more easily – which is nearly as important. People just slot into the system. And no one person will make or break your business.

Strangely, although it seems like creating systems would make people feel like cogs in a machine, it usually has the opposite effect. Most people like to know that they are doing their job extremely well. And systems allow them to know where they stand at all times.

One of the best books for learning how to implement systems as an entrepreneur is The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.  If you’re tired of putting in massive hours, putting out fires on a regular basis, and want to spend more time working on your business instead of in it, this is a must read book. It explains systems with easy to follow stories that any entrepreneur can emulate.

The supercharge factor:
Leveraging other people, using tools, and setting up systems are all great ways to be able to free up time to spend working on your business and doing high leverage activities that will really move your business forward quickly. But there is one more element that will move things forward faster than any other. And that is hanging out with the right people.

This article by Lifehacker explains it really well.
“Whether you want it or not, I believe this is how it works. The people you spend the most time with make you. You are their average.”

You become who you hang out with. If you want to be a successful business owner who spends the majority of their time on high-leverage activities, you need to find other people doing the same thing and hang out with them.

You can do this by joining mastermind groups, business networking groups, online forums, Skype groups, hire a coach, and many other ways. The important thing is to find other business owners that are motivated and moving forward. You want people that you can share ideas with and that will push you forward.  This is not always the easiest concept to wrap your head around, but it is a really important one.

As you grow in business it is super important that you take the time to make sure you are not “doing it all yourself”. This frees up your time so that you can spend it on activities that will propel your business forward. You’ll be glad you did.

About the Author:
Brian Edmondson is an author, speaker, and Internet entrepreneur who helps website owners get more traffic, subscribers, and sales.

After leaving his “Wall Street” job in 2001, Brian found true success and independence through the power of the Internet. He has launched several websites, including one that grossed over $50,000 in sales in the first week and has masterminded many multi-million dollar Internet businesses. He now works full time online from his home outside of Philadelphia , PA (or anywhere he can get his MacBook Air connected to the internet).

Learn more about Brian and download your free copy of his Internet Profit Report at http://internetincomecoach.com