When you started your business you wore all the hats. But as your business has grows you have to give up some of those hats and instead take on the job of the “manager” or team leader. This is one of the toughest transitions for people to make. You have to change what you do, how you do it and how you look at your self.
Managers spend their time differently
When your business grows managing is your primary job, so you don’t get to spend much time “doing the work”.
So if you were someone who was designing beautiful things, you now lead other people who design beautiful things while you go to meetings to provide input and guidance, talk to clients, and resolve issues.
This is the core switch that has to flip to any business owner. Your job is no longer to “make beautiful things.” Instead, it is to make sure that beautiful things get made under your name and reputation. For some that alone is a deal breaker; but for others, it’s liberating. It’s a new set of challenges and things to learn.
Managing has a different rhythm
When you are a “maker” (the person who is doing the thing we are selling) you need long stretches of uninterrupted time to create. This is true of designers, software programmers, or any creative activity, interruptions destroy productivity in creative work.
When you are a manager your job is to interrupt people and have meetings! You need to know where everything stands, and why it’s not moving forward. You need to communicate with clients and make sure you’re getting paid. Your day is a series of interruptions, meetings, and phone calls. That’s what you do now!
Maybe you miss those long stretches of creative time? You can get some of that back through time blocking, but it’s the exception, not the rule.
Managing has different rewards
When you are a “maker” you go home every day knowing that you got things done. You can point to them, they are tangible, and they are “done”!
When you are a manager you go home every day and you got some things off your to-do list, but what did you really accomplish? You sent emails, you made calls, you shuffled papers… But did you do anything?
Managers have to learn to be satisfied by knowing that they enabled the makers to get things done. They may not have designed any beautiful things today, but the fact that everyone else did was because of the work you are doing.
Is this job for you?
Maybe you started a business to design beautiful things and now you figured out your job is sales and managing others. Are you OK with that?
You could go back to being a designer (or whatever you were before you were a business owner). But there was a reason you made that difficult and painful switch to not be a designer and instead run a business! If you don’t want to go back, then you have a couple of choices: you could structure a business that doesn’t need people or sales (there are a few of those). Or you can embrace the change and learn how to become good at this rewarding job that you have.