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We introduce a new 3-part series on growing your business. In part 1 of this series, you’ll learn how to recognize superhero syndrome. We talk about determining the value of your time, embracing 90% perfection, finding the tasks you should NOT be doing, and how to replace them with systems or people while still maintaining quality.

We reference the principles in this video throughout:

Show Notes
  • FIRST: Establish the Value of Your Time
  • 01:51 The meeting that inspired this 3-part series.
  • 04:46 Ben and I met for our bi-weekly accountability meeting and got to talking about consulting.
  • 05:12 Establishing the value of your time.
  • 06:03 How I knew that $250/hr was not worth it to me: I would rather have that hour than the money. What is your time worth to you?
  • 06:18 Because I have separated myself so far from the Scarcity Mindset (Related: e056 Eliminating Scarcity Mindset & Recalibrating Your Perspective), my time has increased in value. My vision is longer term. I’m thinking, “How could this hour be spent to build something up that could last a long time and bring returns far into the future?”
  • 07:07 You shouldn’t just base your hourly rate off of the income you’re making today. You’re making the income you’re making today because of investments that you made a long time ago. The amount you’re making now is actually indicative of the value of the time you put in way back.
  • Your time is worth more than what you’re currently making. It’s worth what you’ll make in the future if you invest that time. Charge for it accordingly.

  • 07:21 The time you’re investing today is worth a lot more because of the returns you’ll see from it in the future. It’s not about matching what you make today, it’s about trying to match what your time investment today is going to be worth for you in future returns.
  • 08:15 Dealing with arbitrary, mental rate thresholds. What rate would make you feel silly to charge? Why?
  • 08:45 Feeling like a certain rate is silly is often a result of going off of what you think other people will think or what other people will be willing to pay instead of what your time is actually worth to you spent in other ways.
  • 08:52 $300/hr was a mental rate threshold to me. It sounded silly. But I know that even if I did charge that rate, I still would not feel as though it was an adequate use of my time. I said, “Ben, I know that even if I didn’t feel silly charging $300/hr, it still wouldn’t make a difference. It wouldn’t even make me want to do it over building something else long term.”
  • 09:07 Ben said, “Silliness aside, is there a number that would make it worth it? Is there a number that you feel like would be a good investment or reason enough not to be working on something else or building something else?”
  • 09:24 I said, “Ok, silliness aside, I’m thinking $500/hr or $600/hr.”
  • Then Ben said, “Make it $1,000/hr.”

  • 11:14 The biggest question is: “Can you provide that much value for somebody in that amount of time? Could you generate $250 worth of value?”
  • 11:23 Immediately, I said, “Oh, no doubt. I could provide $250 of value for someone in the first 15 minutes. Easy.” And then the basic math clicked for me: $250 in 15min = $1,000 an hour.
  • The Gut Check
  • 12:06 Imagine if you got a job request at a certain rate. You’re super busy, and you’ve been saying no to a lot of things because you’re super overworked. You’ve been trying to set standards, but you’re tempted to compromise here. You’re tempted to work overtime, and sacrifice relationships, and not go to events, not be with your friends, not have free time, not relax, not sleep.
  • Think about whether you would feel good if you took this job.

    Imagine that you took the job as it is, with the details that you know, and how do you immediately feel?

  • 12:59 When I thought about myself setting aside an hour to consult with someone for $250, I immediately didn’t feel good. I immediately didn’t want to do that. I immediately imagined this item being on my calendar and dreading it. That’s how I know that I should not be doing something.
  • Recognizing Superhero Syndrome
  • 15:33 Let’s say you feel that your time is worth $250/hr. If you are doing things that you could pay someone else less than $250/hr to do, you are lying about the worth of your time with your actions.
  • 16:40 The type of work that got you into the game is what you should be doing. If you’re making products, you should not be handling the shipping and fulfillment. You should be building more products. The part that only you can do is what you should be doing.
  • 17:03 Recognizing superhero syndrome:
    • Do you want to handle every aspect of your business?
    • Do you feel like no one else can do good enough work?
  • 17:55 Here’s the reality: Others won’t care as much as you. The quality will come down from perfect. That’s reality.
  • The best version of your business is one where you are doing the things that only you can do.

  • 18:30 That is going to mean being ok with all of the minor imperfections that come from you not being hands-on.
  • 18:46 I did a video on this: How To Cure Perfectionism.
  • 19:16 You need to embrace 90% perfection. Because your standards are so high, 90% perfect to you is actually as good or better than most people’s perfection. The problem is that those of us who are superheroes set our standards unrealistically high. But lowering that bar mentally to 90% allows you to grow.
  • 21:02 “I’ve got the syndrome, but is it bad that I don’t care yet?”
  • 21:13 Actually, it’s not bad. This is the perfect time to hear this message. You’re going to eventually hit a ceiling, so knowing that it’s coming can help you prepare for it.
  • 21:49 You absolute should have a hand in every part of your business initially so that you can understand it. You have to at least understand each facet to a degree that you will be able to delegate it.
  • 22:15 Legitimized Fears:
    • They can’t do it as well as me. True.
    • They will mess up. True.
    • Things will go wrong. True.
  • 22:29 But if you embrace 90%, you will allow yourself to grow, to put in systems, or to hire help.
    • They will eventually make it.
    • They will eventually get it right.
    • They will eventually even do it better than you.
  • 23:00 Believe it or not, there are people who love to do what you hate to do. As you allow yourself to be removed from tasks, you enable systems or other people to do those tasks more efficiently than you because they’re able to focus solely. They’re able to do it even better than you possibly could because they’re not spread thin like you are.
  • 23:21 Scaling my physical product business: Packaging, inventory, shipping, customer support, etc.
  • 25:02 “I just don’t want to lose my voice. Outsourcing things makes it sound so insincere.”
  • 25:13 I was afraid that bringing on help would result in shipping the wrong items, or improper packaging, or broken items—in fact, all of those things DID happen. That’s normal. Everything has a learning curve. But eventually, everything was perfect and they were eventually doing things better than I was. All of this was because I allowed the perfectionism threshold to temporarily come down to 90%.
  • 27:06 3 Things to Ask Yourself:
    1. What are things you don’t like doing?
    2. What are things you can’t do, or can’t do well?
    3. What are things you shouldn’t be doing—even if you like doing them?
  • Cons of Not Systematizing
  • 28:59 Let’s say you don’t systematize. Let’s say you take everything on yourself, micromanage all the details and maintain perfection in all areas. In theory: you have a 100% perfect business. So this is great right? Not quite.
  • 29:22 Here are the cons:
    • You will be stuck at a level 5 business.
    • You will work 16 or 17 hour days every day of the week.
    • You will have virtually no freedom—the actual point of running your own business.
  • 29:59 You’re going to be stuck at a level 5 business. If you’re saying, “Well, I want my hand in all areas of my business and I want it to be perfect,” that’s fine. First of all, you’re going to be working 100+ hours a week to maintain that, and secondly, you’re not ever going to be able to get past level 5 on your own. You cannot get to level 6 on your own while holding an obsession with 100% perfection.
  • 30:42 I’m just talking to myself here. This is ME. I’m describing myself to you. I work 16 or 17-hour days most days of the week and I’m jamming the ceiling of level 5 because of my unwillingness to delegate.
  • 30:54 The whole point of running your own business is having freedom. You cannot have freedom if you do it all yourself.
  • You can either have 100% perfection and a limited business, or you can embrace 90% and have the ability to grow and the margin for freedom.

  • Finding Places for Systems In Your Business
  • 31:50 First, get systems in place, then teach people to handle those systems.
    • Break your process down into steps.
    • Document it.
    • Assess the steps.
    • Are there systems that could replace this step?
    • If not, are there people that could replace this step?
    • If not, then it’s something that you need to do.
  • 32:49 Example Process Breakdown. Here’s what’s required for making one podcast episode:
    • Writing Show Outlines
    • Recording
    • Editing:
      • “First Pass” – Editing other person’s track for noise.
      • “Second Pass” – Write shownotes and timestamps. Edit for content.
    • Finalizing Shownotes
    • Coding and Scheduling Newsletter
    • Marketing and Promotion
  • 36:09 Now I have a list of steps—I can begin to look at each of the items and ask myself, “Can I be removed here? Can a system replace this or can a person replace this?”
  • 36:29 I was telling the chat room that as I was writing my notes for this, I was being challenged by it. I was coming to grips with the reality of this and what I needed to do if I wanted my business to grow.
  • 36:48 Some things shouldn’t be outsourced. For instance: Editing, to me, is storytelling.
  • 37:53 Differentiating between mechanical tasks and creative processes.
  • 43:09 Talking about practical systems like TextExpander, streamlining email responses, and conditional logic contact forms.
  • 46:35 An example of hiring someone to build a system that didn’t yet exist to solve a problem and streamline processes.
  • Maintaining Quality
  • 50:14 “How do I maintain quality when no one else cares as much? How do I maintain quality when my attention to detail is what is making this thing so great?”
  • 50:30 You have to ask yourself: What places can you remove yourself and still maintain 90% perfection? If something will dip below 90%, you are irremovable from that position if you care about quality.
  • 51:43 The optimal time to invest is going to be uncomfortable.
  • Every time you level up in your business, it is always going to require a leap.

  • 52:30 You are always going to have to pay to have that ceiling raised so you can grow into it. It has to raise first—that’s the painful part. You have to raise the ceiling before you get there. At every stage in my business where I’ve invested so far, I’ve grown to meet it. The sooner I invest, the sooner I grow into it.
  • 53:14 Focus on investing sooner. Invest when it hurts. Invest when you’re not even there yet.
  • 55:49 There’s value in the quality of what you ship, but what adds even more value is the number of things that you ship that are of quality.
  • How many more things could you ship at 90% quality than at 100% if you allowed your ego to come down?

  • 57:14 If you’re so worried about 100% that you don’t ship, then your audience misses out on that value—and they’re not thinking about value in terms of the quality of what they’re receiving; they’re thinking about value in terms of what you’re shipping.
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