with Aliza Sherman
If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.
To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.
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I’m just looking over the contract to hire an independent consultant whose official title will be Project Manager. She’ll work remotely as a virtual overseer of the projects I’m working on and help keep track of all the moving pieces including other consultants who come onto projects on an as-needed basis.
So now instead of having to spend a good portion of my time keeping track of the details and checking the status of tasks, I can let it all go and rely on her.
There are the operative words: Let Go. One of the biggest barriers to growing my company is my tendency to hoard tasks. But I’m at the breaking point. If I don’t let go of some of this load, something else will have to give - my sanity, my quality time with my family, my high standards in the quality of my work.
By hiring this person - who I’ve known for years and am looking forward to working with - I may be spending more money than I have in the past, but with her help, I’ll be able to bring on more projects without dropping any balls at all.
1. The Brain Dump
The first step is for me to tell my new project manager everything I know about what needs to be done for my clients and projects. Communicating what is in my head tends to be very stream of consciousness. I’m far from a linear thinker so I’m hoping she can rein in all the disparate pieces and make a clear picture and roadmap for us to follow.
2. The Assessment
My new project manager provided me with a spreadsheet to fill out that details each ongoing project and any pending projects. She also asked what the specific tasks were on the project to fulfill it and what type of person could handle each task such as a high level strategic person, a writer, a designer or a coder. I also had to fill in the hourly cost of each of those people - many of whom I already have on my virtual team. She will take the spreadsheet and help me assess where my business is profitable, where I’m losing money, and when I’m overcommitted and need to either scale back on projects or ramp up on additional resources.
3. The Workflow
I’m relying on my new Project Manager to keep an eye on workflow. I even told her that I needed someone who was not afraid to tell me when I’m causing a bottleneck by failing to handle my tasks in a timely manner. I need someone to nudge me, remind me and stay on top of everyone else for me so I can focus on producing strategic plans and multimedia content.
4. The Collaboration Tools
I’m bringing my Project Manager into Basecamp with administrative powers so she can issue tasks, track progress, and correspond directly with the rest of my virtual team. She is also partial to Microsoft Project software and I’m willing to have her conduct her own project plans using that tool even though it isn’t online. At some stage, if we are big enough, I can see upgrading to a more robust tool than Basecamp such as LiquidPlanner, however, for now, that would be too pricey and eat up our profits.
I’m looking forward to having things running smoothly with my business without my constant and direct attention. Having someone on board who I can trust makes all the difference in the world.
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