Ronda Nelson: Well, hello again, friend. It’s another week and another episode of The Clinical Entrepreneur podcast. I’m your host, Ronda Nelson, and I’m so glad that you are hanging with me again. If you haven’t had a chance to listen, be sure you go back and listen to last week’s episode, which is episode number 50.
Today, I want to talk to you about another pain point, and that is how to know when it’s time to hire help. How do you know when it’s the right thing to do? I’m going to talk about why we get so bogged down in the minutia, all of the things that it takes to run a business, and how we can start to leverage that so we know when the right time is to hire.
We know that when you are initially growing a practice, you’re the one-man show. You do the invoicing, the ordering, and the follow-up to make sure they come in. So, you’re just scraping by, right? You’re doing everything you can to try and make that little practice grow. And as you’re growing, you’re able to get in and figure out what your rhythm is. At some point though, we start to grow and get busier. Pretty soon, we don’t have the capacity anymore to be able to do it all so our rubber band gets all the way stretched.
Now, we spend the weekends cleaning the office, catching up on bank statements, ordering or making follow-ups, or doing notes, whatever it is. That is no way to have a life, right? We become Jack of all trades, but the proverbial jack of all trades, master of none, that’s where we end up. It’s just what happens when we get started, but it doesn’t have to always be that way. We sometimes think, well, it’s going to take me longer to show somebody else how to do it so, forget it, I’ll just do it myself. And I could have very easily just hired someone to clean my office but at the time, I didn’t know that. Like I didn’t know. I just thought that unless you had the cash flow, you just have to do it yourself.
Why would I not hire someone to come in and clean my office, which gives me an extra hour, of something that I could be doing to create more revenue to pay for that? It’s bad business to just be doing it all yourself, but in the beginning, I get it, that’s what we have to do. The other thing that happens is that your patient follow-through might start dropping or you forget to order a product because you’re so dang busy, and you can’t keep all the plates spinning. Then patients start to not come back and your follow-through is not good. The whole thing just becomes a big train wreck, and then we say, okay, I’ll just keep doing it, it’ll be better. I’m here to tell you that it never gets better.
How do you know when it’s time to bring those people on? That’s where we’re going to dive into, but first, we have one thing to get clear on. I’ve worked with hundreds of practitioners coaching them in their practices and I have found that everybody always says this. If you’re going to hire someone, we automatically hit the button that says, I have to hire full time, and that is not true.
Thinking about hiring from a different perspective is going to allow you the freedom to grow your business without financial stress. When you realize that you are spread way too thin, and you just can’t handle it. Most of the time, practitioners, especially solo practitioners, can very easily hire someone virtually for part-time. They may not need anyone in the office. Now, this does require some systems, and we’ll touch on that in a minute, but you can hire a virtual assistant part-time to do things like order the product at the end of the day or place all the product orders. They can invoice the clients like if you have Stripe or some other payment processor, your virtual assistant could go in and charge the patient. They could make follow-up phone calls. They are going to act as your assistant because they are.
That virtual assistant might only be needed for an hour a day, five days a week. You’re going to pay a virtual assistant, maybe $25, $30 at the time of this recording anyway, for a good one. And it’s really pretty basic work, but you could hire someone and that would save you so much time to be able to outsource that. Not only time for your mental well-being because you’re not working until seven at night, but you also can be freed up to work on your business as the CEO. Whether you’re a physical practice or a virtual practice, consider that hiring doesn’t mean full-time. Hiring can mean that you are looking at someone part-time, which is what I recommend, especially if cash flow is a little bit tight.
Now, let’s dive in. What are the five signs that you’re ready to hire some help? Number one, you are all work and no play. You’re working yourself to the bone. Weekends, you’re at the office or you’re doing stuff at home. You’re not spending time with your family because you have to get it done. You don’t have good self-care, and this is one of the things that slip when you’re all stretched out. Another one is we focus on survival rather than growth, and I think this is very important. Indeed, we’re trying to survive, but your practice has to grow and you have to have your foot on the gas. If you’re so busy and caught up in all the minutia, you’re not going to have that time to get your practice growing. The number one reason you know that you’re ready to hire is when you are all work and no play. There’s no room in your life for much else.
The second sign that you’re ready to hire is that your quality of care with your patients starts to suffer. You get exhausted because you’re doing all the work, and then, sure enough, that patient care starts to slip, and the patients feel your distraction. They know you’re not 100% present. You’re distracted instead of being able to focus hardcore on that patient and serve them to the best of your ability. Then the patients leave and they’re looking for someone who’s going to take care of them and listen. That’s another sign.
The third sign that you’re ready to hire is that you’re afraid to let go because you’re afraid to lose control. You feel like no one else can do it as well as you. And you know what? You’re probably right. No one is going to do it as well as you because no one cares as much as you do. But here’s the thing, when you hire the right person and you put the right person on your bus, and they are so happy there, they are going to bring a new set of eyes. They may have insights and things to say like, “Hey, how about we do this?” This might make this process even better because it’s something you didn’t even think of while you’ve just been stuck in your rut. It’s not difficult to train someone, but you have to have forethought about what you’re going to do to be able to train them. We don’t want to let go because we get afraid. What if something doesn’t go right or what if they make a mistake? And, so, what if they do? It’s a moment for them to learn.
I always tell my new staff members right in the beginning, we know you’re going to make mistakes. And I want you to know it’s completely okay with me, I get it. Part of learning is making a mistake. What I don’t want is for you to make the same mistake over and over again. We don’t get mad at a one-year-old because they’re learning how to walk and they fall. We know that falling and getting up is part of the process of learning, but we don’t want to let go because we don’t want to lose control. Well, my friend, that’s a dead end. We need to get that handled.
Now, in my former life, I started this journey being a bookkeeper and an accounting assistant. I didn’t want to go to school to be an accountant, but I love numbers and I love things that balance both columns, I love all of that. That was where I started. I worked with small businesses to help get their accounting set up, get their business structure set up, and help them get a system so that they could hire. I’ve been doing this for a while.
I remember that when I did that, I found that some of these businesses I would work with would want to just hover over me all the time. I always ended up letting them go. I just said I don’t think I’m the right person for you because I knew that I wasn’t going to do everything perfectly, but I did know that I was going to do a really good job. And if they needed to hover over every little thing that I did, then I wasn’t a good fit. Consider looking at letting go and making sure that you have done your work in creating those systems and processes that are going to help the person that you give the responsibility to be able to execute it.
Number four. A big sign is that you’ve lost your passion, and the honeymoon is over. You want to be a practitioner, but you don’t want to own a business. You’ve lost your mojo. I call it being beige. We didn’t go to school to learn how to be business people otherwise, we would have business degrees, but we don’t. It’s not very often that I see a practitioner that’s good at business and also a really good practitioner. Most of the time, those two skills do not go together. So, when you’ve lost your passion and you feel like, yeah, I’m not loving this anymore, I’m not happy, I don’t like working this hard and I’m not doing what I want to do, it’s time to hire someone.
The last one, and this is a big one, is the thought or the assumption that you can’t afford it. Here’s what I would say. Number one, are you willing to continue living like this? Being so strung out and busy that you’re doing all the things? You, my friend, as the practitioner, need to be doing the high-level stuff. The stuff that brings income into the practice and grows the practice. Instead of asking and thinking, I can’t afford it, what’s your trade-off? The second thing, ask yourself, do these tasks that I’m doing have to be done by me, or is there someone else who loves to do them?
Here’s a good example. My background, as I said, is in accounting and business so when I started my practice, I thought I would balance my own bank statements. I know how to do that, I can handle all that. And then, I always got payroll done, but then one month would go by and the bank statement didn’t get balanced, and then another month goes by and it didn’t get balanced. Pretty soon, it was 16 months later and I had not balanced one bank statement. Now, what if there was some crazy charge on there? I wasn’t even looking at it because I was this person that I’m talking about. I was so busy, and I was booked out six, eight, sometimes 12 weeks, so I couldn’t take a day off because I didn’t have anywhere to put these patients. It was a prison and I did not like it.
Well, I started to look at, what am I doing that I can farm out? And honestly, I didn’t want to because I didn’t want to lose control, because I thought no one’s going to do this as good as me, but I absolutely had to for my sanity. Do the tasks have to be done by you, or is there someone else that loves to do them, like bookkeeping and accounting? Another question is, is there someone that I can teach to do just the basic tasks, like ordering, invoicing, and making follow-up calls or emails? I bet you there is and then, how much time is that going to free up for you so that you can generate more revenue? It should free up quite a bit. And then, lastly, ask yourself, honestly, can I actually afford not to hire someone to help me? Is this the quality of life that I want in my practice, or in my life for my patients? Is this what I want to have happened? The answer is probably no.
Here’s my challenge for you as we wrap it up. First, I want you to do something that’s called a Time Audit. Now, I’ve got a resource for you in the show notes, and you can grab it there or you can go to RondaNelson.com/TimeAudit, and you can get this worksheet, but here’s how it works. You can use a piece of paper if you want, but we’re going to write down everything you do for three full days from the beginning of your workday through to the end of the day. I want you to take track of your evenings as well because sometimes we waste a lot of time in the evening. And then, on your time audit sheet, you’ll see you’re going to know which activities can and probably should be delegated, and which ones can only be done by you. You’ll see that there’s a place for you to check that. On the worksheet, once you’ve documented everything, I want you to make a list of all the things that you could potentially delegate and find someone to help you with. Now, don’t think you can eat the elephant in one bite, we’re just going to pick off little things that you think you can delegate. Don’t start with everything, but here’s how you should pick them. I always say, pick the things that you don’t like doing the most. If you don’t like cleaning your office, then hire someone to come in and clean. In other words, let someone else do it.
Once you have your list then you’re going to start your research. You’re going to start looking for someone that can clean, what’s it going to cost, and then go from there. Then, you’re going to say, “I want to get my bookkeeping out.” Then you’re going to start looking for someone who can take care of your bookkeeping, look at the cost, how much is it going to be, etc. I promise you when you start delegating those things out, now, let’s just say with those two things, we’ve got both of those outsourced now. We have someone doing the cleaning and someone doing the bookkeeping. How is that going to feel for you? You’re going to be like, “I can’t even believe how much better this feels,” because it’s just like taking a big breath and you go, “Oh, woah, I don’t have to do that anymore.”
Now, that frees you up to focus on the other things that may not be working well. If you find that you need someone to place orders for you, document how you place the orders. How I recommend that you do that is to create a video that shows the entire process. You can break it into smaller videos, but we use a tool called Loom. You can’t use the excuse that you don’t have time to train anybody because all you have to do is video yourself doing it. Boom, done, checkmark, training over. Get a document, type out basic instructions with links to your video, and you can copy the link inside of Loom and just stick the Loom video in there. And then, basically, your training manual is done. You just document that process, and then let someone have a try at it. It’s amazing how much more you will get done and how much better you feel when you’re able to get that off your plate and start to get some breathing room so you really can go home by six o’clock at night and you don’t have to come in on the weekend.
Ronda Nelson: How does it feel to have a little bit of hope in this conversation about bringing on someone else on your team? I hope that this inspires you and motivates you to start looking at what things are on your plate that you can delegate out. Be sure that you go get that Time Audit form, it’s RondaNelson.com/TimeAudit, and download that free worksheet. And you know, if you’re feeling like you’re the only practitioner out there that’s struggling and still doing things that could be delegated, you are not. This is one of the most common things I see when I’m coaching with practitioners because it’s how we all start. You have to be a one-man show in the beginning, but once those walls start to come in and your capacity gets maxed out, you need a time intervention, a delegation intervention. That’s what we’re doing.
If you need some help getting started, I have got you covered, my friend. Go to RondaNelson.com/Strategy, so a different link, and schedule a free 15-minute call with me. You have me all to yourself. And a lot of times, it ends up being a little longer than 15 minutes because I really am committed to helping you get unstuck and start and have a game plan for moving your practice forward. If you do your Time Audit, and then schedule a call with me, I’ll help you. I’ll brainstorm with you to find ways for us to start to outsource and get a strategy around how we can start to delegate out some of those tasks so that you can be the boss of your clinic, so you can run your clinic the way that you want to. So, RondaNelson.com/TimeAudit for the worksheet, and then RondaNelson.com/Strategy for the strategy call.
That’s it for this week, my friend. I hope to see you over on the Facebook group, Grow Your Wellness Business. Otherwise, I will be back with you next week.