Each week, dozens of entrepreneurs tell me their biggest struggles via my Clarity Couch free consulting test drive. Again and again, I hear people crying out for a clone of themselves.
There is never enough time to work on the business, because everyone is too busy working in their business. Sound familiar?
You can’t outsource the big picture genius that’ll push your business to the next level – you have to make that happen yourself. If you’re constantly run off your feet putting out fires and keeping customers or staff happy, you have a problem.
So here’s my guide to cloning yourself.
Step 1 – Delegate learning how to delegate
The problem with the cliched advice “You should delegate more!” is that, frankly, no one has the time.
If your business makes you feel like you’re running around with your head on fire, this tired tip doesn’t feel very helpful. To be able to effectively delegate, not only would you have to find good help, you’d have to stop what you’re doing long enough to figure out how to actually delegate stuff. Impossible!
The answer is to just delegate doing that.
The secret is to hire some ninja young millennial who’s hungry to be a part of something and learn. You know, one of those kids who can type several thousand words a second (since they grew up instant messaging all their friends) and who has never known a world without the internet. They know things, these kids.
Then, all you do is pay that kid for one day. Think of it as an extended job interview. Pay them to follow you around, silently, observing the things you do and noting down things they think they can take off your plate. Tell them that the more they think they can help with, the more likely they’ll get a permanent job.
At the end of the day, let them debrief and pitch you on what their job should be – what they’ll take over from you.
This works because it forces you to look at your day’s workflow through new eyes. This is something you should do even if you don’t intend to hire an assistant.
Instead of buying into the BS excuses you have for your inefficiencies, this kid will look at your fluffing around and cut through the nonsense. Where you see hours of email culling or other mindless drudgery, their eyes will see dollar signs. You inefficiencies are their opportunities – they’ll not hesitate in uncovering them.
Setting this up is as easy as running a short job ad, then bringing the kid in. The day shadowing you IS the interview. It tests for initiative and will not fail you. If it works, you automatically learn to delegate. If it fails, you just worked a regular day with a sidekick. No big deal, try again.
Step 2 – Make a dollar while you sleep
This is the big obstacle to most entrepreneurs scaling their businesses. Freelancers get stuck here because they’re always trading their time for money.
You can’t effectively clone yourself unless you first make a buck while napping. Note that I didn’t say “Make $100k while sleeping!” – we just want to increase your revenue by a teensy little bit. There are very few scalability problems that can’t be solved by a gradual and sustainable 10-20% increase in revenue. That’s our goal here.
The first thing to look at is a metric the retailer industry nicknamed “average basket size” – referring to the bag of loot customers arrive at your checkout with.
Increasing the average basket size in your business is the easiest single boost in revenue you can make. Grocery stores do it by simply putting gum and chocolate at the counter area to inspire last minute impulse purchases. Internet marketers do it with up-sells. Amazon pioneered the famous “People who bought this also bought…”
Having freed up a little of your time with your new helper, it’s time to start strategizing on how you can increase the average spend of each customer by 10-20%. Ask yourself how you can effortlessly add value without increasing a permanent time/energy spend on your part.
The answer will be dependent on your industry, but the principals are always the same.
Step 3 – Fire half your customers, double your prices
Here we get to the radical and crazy advice where you’ll want to shake your head and walk away. That’s okay, but let me ask you something:
How is not doing this working out for you?
The thing about people who are always wishing for a clone is that they’re, without fail, always servicing an underpriced demographic who doesn’t value their product/services enough. Always.
If this is you, you need to make a study of the art and science of marketing to the affluent. This isn’t so you can simply sell things to billionaires (it’s never that black or white), but rather so that you can understand just how much space there is in the market between where you’re at now and the ultra-ultra affluent.
Keep things in perspective by realizing two things: First, that doubling your prices will only lift you into a “slightly more affluent” demographic. Second, the place your prices are currently set is already alienating a few billion people who could never afford that.
I recently pulled some stats for a talk I gave on the psychology of marketing to the ultra affluent. Did you know that there are sixteen thousand people in the USA with a net-worth of $100 million or more? Think how many folks with slightly less than $10 million there must be.
So why are you stuck selling things to people who can barely afford to pay for them?
If we boil down the psychology of the “Clone me!” business owner, we’re almost always left with someone who doesn’t value themselves or their product enough to truly escape the cycle of being overworked. They feel like they have to constantly do things to compensate for not being worth enough.
So the last step, if you need to clone yourself, is to take a good hard look at what your business offers the world. Ask yourself if it’s intrinsically worth a lot and if it isn’t, ask How can I make it worth more?
If you’re the only asset of value, you’re going to have to wait a few hundred years for cloning technology to go mainstream. In the meantime, why not create something that’s worth more than your time.