Before I started WebDevelopIt, I ran a law firm for many years.
My agreement with the lawyer went like this: “I’ll bring in the business, you take care of it.”
Now, “bring in the business” meant me doing everything in any way related to that: build and maintain five websites (one for each niche we served), write the copy and update monthly, blog posts, run PPC campaigns for all the websites, and SEO for all the websites too. And because no one else was around to do so, I managed the office.
I know . . . EACH of those things is practically a full-time job.
I hated it. I lived in a state of overwhelm. Time passed, the office got busier and busier (great marketing, I guess 😉) which meant more employees to deal with, higher bills, and never a proper amount of time to dedicate to each of the jobs I was doing.
So, whenever case intake slowed down, I’d get this sick sensation in my gut. Would we be able to make the next payroll? Or the rent would be due in ten days and the bank account wouldn’t yet have it and money for all the other bills too.
People think all lawyers are rich, but a wealthy lawyer is an exception. Most just make it month-to-month like a lot of solo professionals, and we were located in an aggressive-competitive city for legal work. We dominated on the first page of Google for a ton of our most important keywords (good SEO, I guess 😉), many of our terms at #1 to #3 position.
We did phenomenal, yet, I lived in constant fear that leads would dry up and cases would stop coming in. What if the business failed?
WHY I STOPPED ASKING FOR HELP
I did too many things with too little help and it wasn’t sustainable. Finding reliable freelancers seemed on par with winning the lottery or something, so I stopped trying to get more help. My bad. I knew I wasn’t doing everything as well as I could given more time and fewer tasks. So, I felt guilty too. If cases stopped coming in, it would be my doing or rather my not doing.
Trying to do it all for the business, and also try to find time for family and a social life left me stressed to the max, a rubber band with no more give left in it.
No doubt that things toppled off my overloaded work plate. You’d have found no room on it to add anything more. Think of me as the proverbial mouse in a wheel, too engrossed in running it to recognize that one can get off it. And breathe. And explore. And find enjoyment in work again.
HEAD ON COLLISION WITH MY TO-DO LIST
Then, something huge happened in my personal life. With my psyche already fried to burned-toast level, this event forced me to STOP and take a microscope to my life, my business, and to what I was doing with both.
My life literally depended on it.
The to-do list evaporated from my head from one second to the next. Poof!
In the end, I concluded that I couldn’t do it all, no matter how great my intentions. That I had been doing much too much. I wasn’t lazy, uncaring, and undedicated. No, the thing was that there were only 24 hours in a day, I had to sleep, eat, and couldn’t get to each job in the manner required for ultimate success. If I could take the clock back nine years, I’d do things in a different way.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM OVERDOING FOR TOO LONG
So, after some time and much pondering between me and myself I made an executive decision.
I would leave that business to pursue my true loves only:
- Content Writing
- Creative Writing
- Building Websites
No more dealing with employee dramas, Dropbox or Skype for Business headaches, virtual phone lines with regular glitches in them, setting up new computers, with software that didn’t work as it should, overseeing all the expenses and paying the bills, etc. ad infinitum. No more doing 90% of the marketing stuff (on-page SEO, off-page SEO, PPCs, web development, writing blog articles, creating/managing our social media presence).
Now? I focus SOLELY on what I enjoy and am good at—I guess I’m good at it because I enjoy it: making my clients look good online. I do the writing they have no time for—or don’t enjoy doing—to get their message out to their Ideal Customer or Client (we’ll call this person your ICC) and sell them on products or services before they ever step foot into my clients’ offices (or shopping cart).
Because I quit doing the tasks I didn’t like doing in my business, I’m calmer, happier, have more time for myself and family and friends. I’ve become a better writer too because I have the time to dedicate to it.
If you’re overwhelmed, please, don’t wait until you experience your own life emergency. Run, don’t walk, to get yourself some help with the stuff you have no time to do, or don’t like doing, no matter how difficult finding reliable freelancers seems to be: they do exist. Given the opportunity to start that legal business over, I’d get help right from the beginning rather than wait until an emergency forced me to scrutinize everything.
Your health and the success of your business depend on you getting the help you need.