Want Your Business To Run Better? Firing Yourself Is A Good Start

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How would things go if you just stopped coming to work? What would happen if you decided to fire yourself?

If you went to the airport, bought a plane ticket, and just left?

If your small business is like most, it would quickly grind to a halt…

You started your business so you could be your own boss, have freedom, and maintain control over your own destiny.

The reality is, though, that you are likely more stressed, work longer hours, and take fewer vacations than you did before opening up shop. You don’t own the business – the business owns you.

There’s an easy way to break free:

Fire yourself.


Identify repetitive tasks, create processes for those tasks, and delegate them to others…

If you’re thinking, “I can’t delegate what I do” or “I don’t have any repetitive tasks,” then stop calling yourself a business owner – because you own a job, not a business.

You should be able to create a process for every aspect of your business. If you find something that can’t be processed, then you’ve identified an overly complex part of your business that should eliminated or be simplified.

I know this is true because every major business has already done it…

McDonald’s didn’t get where it is today because of complex systems that are difficult to follow… If you don’t like the hamburger analogy, feel free to replace McDonald’s with Dell, Ford, Ritz-Carlton, Nordstrom, etc.

Thriving businesses flourish through repetition.

Most small businesses are small because they do things the hard way – the way only the business owner knows how to do them… Which can’t be scaled.

Making things simple is hard.

It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. It’s easier to create a long, complicated process with a lot of steps and variables.

Check out our related piece, “What Are The Benefits of Having a Business Coach (By Your Side)?”

In the past, finding a person to delegate to has been a legitimate challenge. Hiring is a big leap, making it difficult to “start small” when it comes to delegation. Today, it’s actually easier than ever to fire yourself.

These days, you can start small by hiring a virtual assistant company, which allows you to purchase a very small amount of someone’s time, and scale up as you add more tasks. This is a low risk way to create and test processes.

Whether you delegate to a virtual assistant or someone already on your staff, remember that delegating and creating processes is a skill… And that means it takes practice.

When a person fails to complete your crystal clear instructions, it can be hard to understand why… And that can be another obstacle in this “fire yourself” process.

Remember that you have the “curse of knowledge,” illustrated in the book Made To Stick by recounting this story of a Stanford University study:

“People were assigned one of two roles: ‘tapper’ or ‘listener.’ Each tapper was asked to pick a well-known song, such as ‘Happy Birthday,’ and tap out the rhythm on a table. The listener’s job was to guess the song.

Over the course the experiment, listeners guessed only three songs correctly: a success rate of 2.5%. Before they guessed, tappers were asked to predict the probability that listeners would guess correctly. They predicted 50%. The tappers got their message across 1 time in 40, but they thought they would get it across 1 time in 2.


When a tapper taps, it is impossible for them to avoid hearing the tune playing along to their taps. Meanwhile, all the listener can hear is a kind of bizarre Morse code. Yet the tappers were flabbergasted by how hard the listeners had to work to pick up the tune.

The problem is that once we know something – say, the melody of a song – we find it hard to imagine not knowing it.

Our knowledge has ‘cursed’ us. We have difficulty sharing it with others, because we can’t readily recreate their state of mind.”

When your process fails to achieve the correct results, remember that you are the tapper, cursed by your knowledge. Question your process before you question the person working through it…

I’ll leave you with this:

The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.” ~ Mark Twain

Consider what it could mean to fire yourself from your business.

In your corner,


what now?

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