Many of us can say this old adage applies to us, being a jack of all trades and master of none, and many would also say this is just what makes an entrepreneur successful. On the contrary, the most successful entrepreneurs are in fact a master of at least one skill that brings their dreams of running a business to reality.
It’s true, an entrepreneur needs to be versatile and stretch themselves beyond anything they thought would happen. As you’re building a business, you’re going to be tested and put in all sorts of positions where quick decision-making is critical. You’re going to have to juggle many tasks and at times you’ll also likely feel as if you aren’t making much, if any, progress.
Being a jack of all trades has many advantages, but there are disadvantages as well. Let’s take a deeper look at how this might affect your entrepreneurial adventure.
Hire the Jack, Don’t Be the Jack
As a start-up company, you are the boss. The head honcho. The one in charge. This means you are also responsible for all the messes and things that break. Instead of being the jack, hire one. Look for someone who is willing to fill in the gaps and cares about the success of your company. Someone who takes pride in their work, is resourceful and can handle big and little jobs. These are hard boots to fill, no doubt. But it will be worth your investment.
Let’s say you opened an Internet café where you serve all sorts of drinks and sweet treats. If you’re serving coffee, you aren’t paying attention to the finances, marketing and maintenance. Hire a barista. Instead of wasting countless hours trying to handle everything, put your preferred handy man as a favorite contact in your phone for when the espresso machine malfunctions or plumbing problems arise. You’ll save yourself money in the long run.
A business that can’t serve its customers is doomed.
Well-Rounded or Unfocused?
When you are running a business, you’ll find your life experiences, education and previous work history are going to play a big role. However, there’s a big red flag to watch out for: If you look over your life and notice you haven’t been able to finish anything, you might be in trouble.
Sure, you’ve learned a lot over the course of your life. For example, perhaps you are super handy with electronics, can set up a VPN and create a super secure network, which you learned from that time you went to college but dropped out to take that once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity. Maybe you’ve been changing your own oil for years thanks to your short stent with the automotive repair shop while you were licking your wounds from being fired at your previous job. You grew up with several siblings, so your social skills are great (with family members).
All of these things combined might make a great human being, but is business ownership the right gig for you? How are you going to keep things running if you are the runner? Being an entrepreneur is as much about knowing your limitations and using your resources as it is being successful and bringing a viable product or service to the world.
The Balancing Act of Entrepreneur-Life
When you are just starting out, the sheer excitement of having your hands in every single aspect of your company is going to fuel you. Pretty soon though, time will become scarce and you’ll wonder how you ended up spending 12 hours staring at the electrical fuse box and the entire ice cream counter still has no power. You have to balance your desire to be “the all” in your company with the smarts to know when to call in for reinforcements.
It’s a balancing act. Delegate responsibilities. Use your resources. Be a master at running the company while the Jack’s handle the doing. If you’re a control freak and think you need to know everything that goes on every second, schedule staff meetings so you are kept abreast. Don’t think of it as letting go of control; think of it as balancing the duties for long-term results. Eventually you’re going to run out of steam if you are trying to fill all the shoes all the time.
When you are stoic in your pursuits, the life of an entrepreneur is much easier to handle. There are going to be plenty of ups and downs. Don’t make it harder on yourself. A Jack likes to tinker with things. Don’t just tinker with the idea of success; become a master at running your business.