Working Below Your Pay Grade
Start-ups deserve credit for all the work done to get a business up and running. As the owner, you fill all the roles. By the end of the day, you’re exhausted. You’re working below your pay grade, but lack the resources to get those tasks off your plate.
Eventually a new challenge emerges. Because your business has grown, you’re busier than ever. Now you’re dealing with a productivity challenge. Do you continue to do it all yourself? Or, do you find help?
How long do you continue working below your pay grade? That’s when you do tasks which could be outsourced at a lower rate than what you charge.
I desired complete control. Is that true for you, too?
No one else could maintain my standards. So, I continued to do it all.
The tasks outside of my expertise slowed me down. As a result, I frequently worked into the evening or on weekends. The pace was not sustainable and something had to change.
Know When to Let Go
If you spend too much time on lower level tasks, you risk burnout.
A vicious cycle gradually develops. Growth causes you to choose, especially as your responsibilities multiply.
You find yourself facing an upper limit challenge. To earn more, you’re forced to sacrifice your personal time and interests. Is this what you signed up for?
Accounting professionals consistently hear about work-life balance. What does it really mean? And, who defines balance? Similar to anything else worth pursuing, your work-life balance is rarely a consistent, tidy 50-50 split.
Carving out time to work ON your business becomes difficult when you’re already stretched thin from working long hours IN your business.Carving out time to work ON your business becomes difficult when you’re already stretched thin from working long hours IN your business. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
I faced this challenge, too. Time is a limited resource. I finally decided to review all my responsibilities. A select few activities topped the list for revenue and growth.
In the early phases, my business structure limited those strategic activities. Lower level tasks prevented me from giving these growth activities the attention they deserved. My fear about delegating tasks below my pay grade was costing me money.
What to Keep and What to Delegate
Spreading yourself too thin contributes to overwhelm. Although you’re not good at all of them, you firmly hold onto all the tasks. Let’s be honest, the dull, boring tasks you’re not good at seem like punishment.
Some of the work you do is below your pay grade. Other tasks lie beyond your skill set. What if you had someone eagerly take those responsibilities off your plate? That was a novel thought for me, too. Gradually, I opened my mind to the possibility.
Follow these four steps to identify what to delegate first.
1. Unique Abilities
The tasks in this category come extremely easily to you; they don’t even seem like work. These activities charge you up. In fact, you lose your sense of time when you dive into these things.
They’re commonly known as unique abilities, superpowers, zone of genius, natural gifts or areas of brilliance. Maybe it’s challenging negotiations, integrating technology into your client’s business or solving difficult problems. These talents are your highest value. No one else in your firm does them as well as you.
Let’s take a different perspective. Some of my unique gifts include asking great questions, identifying frameworks, turning a negative into a positive and the ability to reframe how to approach something to get you out of your own way.
What things do you have a knack or natural talent for?
Devote as much time as possible to these activities. This singular action aligns your heart with your mind. Meaning, once again, returns to your work. Gradually the dullness is replaced with rich enthusiasm.
2. Areas of Excellence
You’re better than most at these activities. As a result, your clients frequently ask you to do these things.
It’s important for you to set boundaries. Learn how to respectfully say “no.” Otherwise, you end up doing too much work outside of your unique abilities.
With these tasks, your interest lasts about 30 minute. At that point boredom starts to creep in. Here’s an advanced insight: move onto something else once you lose interest.
The skills you’re average at fall in this category. For example, if you love bookkeeping, then you’re probably up to date with managing the financials. Out of necessity you developed a working knowledge about sales tax. Since you’re not a tax specialist, you want to outsource tax advisory.
You may offer some accounting because you possess adequate skills. However, you’re not the expert. Dealing with sales tax requirements interferes with your higher level work.
The tasks in this category feel like punishment. You don’t enjoy them and you struggle to do them correctly. Secretly, you wish they’d simply disappear. Because of that, you spend more time than necessary attempting to do these things.Doing work below your pay grade feels like punishment. Secretly, you wish they’d simply disappear. Read full post to discover how to fix that. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
When I first started sending newsletters, I did everything myself. Back in 2009, I struggled to format the newsletter perfectly. Sometimes Steve took the kids out of the house, because I got so frustrated.
The filled out template looked great on my computer. Every time I sent a test email something appeared out of alignment. I spent many Saturday’s getting my ezine to look pretty.
Finally, I caved in and hired a virtual assistant. She completed the task in one hour, sometimes even less. That’s because she had the right software, which I didn’t even realize I needed. Plus, she did this for all her other clients.
Passing this forward freed up my Saturdays once again. Rather than sit alone in front of a computer unable to figure out the solution, I reclaimed the day with my family. I learned a valuable lesson about working below my pay grade. Now, I happily surround myself with others who play at the things I struggle with.
Divide and Conquer
Everything you do falls into one of the above four categories. Set time aside to figure out your superpowers and where you excel. Get brutally honest about the areas where you struggle most.
Then revamp your agenda. Focus primarily on your unique gifts. As Dan Sullivan suggests, the most successful business people focus on their unique strengths.
Stop Doing Punishing Tasks
Delegate your incompetency’s first. Since you aren’t good at them, they drain your energy. Holding onto these, like I did with formatting my ezine, is inefficient and ineffective. Yes, these tasks need to be done. But, you no longer need to be the one doing them.
Your competencies are the next category to delegate. Find assistants with unique abilities at doing these tasks. This frees up time for activities which really need your attention and highlight your best work.
Build a team of people who enjoy doing the things you struggle with. They’ll be delighted to take your incompetencies and competencies off your plate. Ideally, you want to devote eighty percent of your time to your unique gifts and areas of excellence.
Delegate Tasks Below Your Pay Grade
It’s possible to lighten your workload without sacrificing your standards. Don’t continue to hold onto tasks below your pay grade. Time-consuming busy work sucks up your time; limiting your growth. Your initial enthusiasm gradually turns into a grind.
Delegation is a lesson in letting go. Other people will happily do the tasks you struggle with. Refuse to waste your time on lower level tasks.
Follow these recommendations for your business to be successful, and grow while keeping your passion alive. Are you tired of doing work for free because you don’t know how to charge for it? Discover how to get paid what you are worth and attract clients who understand your value. Right NOW claim your FREE RESOURCE to create value based pricing.