It’s hard to scale a business when you don’t think that anyone else can do as good of a job as you can.
As a freelancer who matured into a business leader, this was my dirtiest little business secret.
I am great at hustling.
I am great at delighting clients.
I am great at learning the skills I need, from technology to finance to HR.
Accepting and owning my power as a leader?
Understanding that my value comes not just from the work I do but from my leadership?
When it’s just you, and only you
That has been the highest challenge throughout my entrepreneurship journey. For the first 25 years of my career, I was a writer. I worked for myself, alone in a room, and I was the only one putting the words on the page. I was, therefore, limited by how fast I could work and the number of hours in the day. This is the fundamental problem writers (and solopreneurs or entrepreneurs just starting out, in general) have: it is just us.
When I began coaching other writers, I introduced a bit of leverage into the system. I figured out how to manage other people’s projects and creative energy, so I was no longer the only one putting the words on the page. In this way, I scaled up my talent and took advantage of my years of experience, but I was still limited.
I was the only one doing the coaching.
The challenge in scaling a very human-centered business model was that I had to stop being the only one doing the work. I had to create a system to teach other people how to coach other writers.
So, I did just that!
I trained a small group of exceptionally skilled writers to become book coaches. But then I kept second-guessing them. I kept overseeing them to a suffocating degree. I kept thinking that no one else could do as good a job as me. After all, they couldn’t possibly see what I see, and couldn’t possibly help the writers as much as I could.
I kept thinking the solution was to train them more and to train them better, but it wasn’t.
Get out of the way
The solution was for me to get out of their way. To realize that in a human-centered business, I am not promising customers they will get me. I am promising customers they will get a human who is passionate about their work, skilled in their work, and trained to deliver excellence.
“I could do that better and faster than all y’all!”
I admit, stepping away from the writing itself has been painful. My hands itch to make notes on every page of writing I see. My mind constantly says to itself, “I could do that better and faster than all y’all!”
However, the big leap was in realizing that picking up a red pen would be the worst possible thing for my business, my employees, and my customers.
Jennie Nash is the founder of Author Accelerator, a book coaching service that has helped hundreds of writers complete their book projects by giving them the sustained editorial support they need. Jennie’s book coaching methods bring back the powerful and time-tested concept of artistic mentorship, which has been largely squeezed out of a publishing industry hungry for the next big, fast hit. Jennie has spent 30 years on all sides of the publishing industry and is the author of four novels, three memoirs, and one self-help book for writers. You can get a taste for her coaching methods, as well as start your next writing project, by joining the free Blueprint for a Book 6-day writing challenge at authoraccelerator.com/blueprintworkshop.
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