How Firing Myself From My Business Helped It Grow 100% In A Year
Firing yourself is the best way to grow your business.
A year ago, I worked 30 hours a week in my gym looking after marketing, management, administration, finances and more.
Now I spend close to zero time on that stuff.
See, the thing is, If your business relies on you to grow, then it can only grow as fast as you.
And what happens is, as you get busier, your business moves slower. Because the more you have on your plate, the less energy you can give to each part and person in your business. So instead of being valuable, you become the handbrake.
The first few years I owned my gym, we made steady progress, growing at about 5% a year. Then suddenly, in the middle of a global pandemic, we grew 35%, and now we’re on track to grow 100% this year.
I used to think the gym needed me to grow. But as it turns out, I was the reason we weren’t.
When I outsourced some of our marketing to a VA, the penny finally dropped. It freed up a ton of my time to work on the business instead of in it. And the VA did a better job of marketing than me, so we started getting way more leads.
Then COVID happened, we lost all our revenue, went into debt, blah blah blah, and we had to start again.
The COVID reset, if you can call it that, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It gave me a blank slate to work with, and I knew that the less it relied on me, the better it would do when we rebuilt this time.
Now I spend all my time working on the thing rather than in it.
Sounds good, yeah? Well, here’s how I made that happen.
HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF REDUNDANT
Knowing The Value Of Your Work
First, I need to introduce you to the value of the work matrix. Now, this thing isn’t exact, but the point is it should give you a rough idea of the value of your work.
So jobs on the left are bad, the middle is okay, but the far right is where you want to spend most of your time.
In my earlier gym days, I spent 80% of my time in the first three columns on the left and a little bit sprinkled across the rest.
Now I spend 95% of my time in the green.
So what I’ve done over the past 18 months since the lockdowns is methodically remove the work on the left from my schedule and add more stuff from the right.
First, I got rid of the $10 jobs, then the $100 (although I still spend many hours reading), then the $1,000 and so on.
How do you do that?
Defining Your Work
For a start, you have to know precisely what your work is. Meaning it needs to be defined. Undefined work is hard to delegate to other people.
There are three types of work. These are tasks, systems, and roles.
Tasks are simple things like doing the banking.
Groups of tasks strung together are systems. Like banking, paying accounts, sending out invoices, and reconciling accounts could be your cash flow system.
And a bunch of systems grouped is a role. Like ‘administration manager’.
But before you can create roles and delegate systems to a role, you’ve got to define your tasks.
My favourite way to do that is with the 360 delegation method, which you can read about here.
I like to do a job myself before passing it on to someone else for two reasons.
• I know how to do everything in my business, so I’m never at the mercy of someone else (I learned this the hard way).
• Before passing it on, I can figure out the best way to do a job. Which makes my business more efficient.
Organising Your Work
Now you need to organise your work.
I think categorising by business departments is the easiest way to do so.
Like, Marketing, Customer Service, Sales, and so on.
You can refer back to the work matrix to see how work should be grouped. Most admin work sits in the $10 column, most marketing and sales work sits in the $100 and $1,000 columns, and the rest is purely management stuff.
Certain people are better suited to certain jobs. The more specific you can make the role you’re hiring for, the easier it’ll be to find the right person.
There are many good marketers and many good administrators out there. But there are not many good marketers who are also good administrators.
People feel like they have to hire their first employee for 40 hours a week. That’s not true; there are plenty of skilled people looking for part-time work.
We have eight employees at the gym, and only one of them works 40 hours a week. Our cleaner cleans. Our maintenance guy does maintenance etc.…
Here’s the draft template I use for roles at World Fitness. Click file -> make a copy to get your editable copy.
Passing Your Work On
Assuming you’ve got all your ducks in a row, as outlined above.
You’re ready to offload your work.
But first, check if all your work is necessary. I can almost guarantee some of the stuff you do is redundant, i.e. it doesn’t add value to your business.
Get rid of that work first.
Next, is there anything you get a machine or software to do? More than likely, software can handle some of your work for a fraction of the cost of an employee. I’ve written a complete guide about it here.
And finally, you get to delegate.
Even if the role is only 5 hours a week, do it. Our maintenance guy works 4 hours a week – he loves having something to do (he’s well into his 70s), and we love having someone we can rely on to fix shit when we need to.
Even for a small role, if it means you can spend 5 hours doing $1,000 work instead of $100, that’s a fantastic ROI for you.
What Scaling Up Your Business Looks Like
Fairly simple right? It just takes persistence, patience, and reinvesting. When we rebuilt after Covid, we hired as soon as our bottom line allowed.
I paid myself the bare minimum I could afford to live off during this time so we could hire as quickly as possible.
Eighteen months ago, including contractors and employees, we had ~5 staff; now, we have ~17.
Here’s how that progression went.
June 2020 – Me (business manager), Phil (gym manager) & Malcolm (maintenance guy)
September – Hired new group fitness coach
October 2020 – We hired a cleaner
November – Hired another group fitness coach
January 2021 – We hired a receptionist
February 2021 – hired another group fitness coach
March 2021 – we hired a weekend receptionist
June 2021 – We hired a marketing manager
July 2021 – Hired another group fitness coach
October 2021 – We hired a virtual assistant
November 2021 – Hired another group fitness coach
December 2021 – We hired an assistant manager
February 2022 – hired a nutritionist
May 2022 – We hired an office manager
June 2022 – We’re about to hire a pilates instructor.
In June 2020, We were doing $16k in monthly revenue and losing money; now, we’re doing $45k and making $10k a month profit.
My next job is to do the same thing for my business partner Phil. I will shift to the right-hand side of the work value matrix as quickly as possible.
Make yourself redundant to grow your business. The fewer anchors you put on your business, the faster it will grow.
Make yourself redundant by learning the value of your work, defining your work, organising your work, and then offloading your work.