Do Less and Make More

Dear Debra:  I absolutely love my work. Being a small business owner demands a ton of hours. In addition to my career, in my personal life, I manage everyone’s schedules, laundry, plus field, “Mom! Honey! What should we do for dinner?” I need another me--or a wife. Advice?  –Overwhelmed

Do you have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, doing everything yourself so it’ll be done right, or to “save” money?  (FYI: Women are 110% percent more likely to answer yes to this question.) Countless ambitious, crazily busy, and successful women do battle within themselves—“I feel guilty; I shouldn’t pay someone to do work I could do. I feel like a prima donna.”

Have you ever calculated how much this is costing you? Time to do the math.

Figure out the real price tag for hiring someone to lighten your load. Let’s say you clear $100,000 a year; that breaks down to $48 per hour. Now let’s say you spend six hours a week running errands that anyone with a car and a sense of direction could do. Plus six hours doing household chores. That comes out to $576 (12 hours x $48/hour). You could hire a competent person to do the same work for $18 per hour ($216). So you’re losing $360 a week by doing the work yourself.

Or say you clear $75,000 a year; that breaks down to $36 per hour. Now let’s say you spend six hours a week running errands that anyone with a car and a sense of direction could do. Plus six hours doing household chores. That comes out to $432 (12 hours x $36/hour). You could hire a competent person to do the same work for $18 per hour ($216). So you’re losing $216 a week by doing the work yourself.

Every hour you needlessly burn up by failing to delegate is time you could be investing in your business, taking on exciting new project opportunities, positioning yourself for advancement, or networking with colleagues, potential clients, and movers and shakers—and it’s one of the key ways women self-sabotage.

I’ve worked with thousands of women who have trouble rationalizing outsourcing—and it doesn’t matter how much they earn.  If you crunch the numbers, however, you’ll have objective figures proving it makes sense to free up your time—and money—for what really counts. Ask around. Find a good cleaning person, a part-time or full-time executive assistant, a computer whiz, and other support people that can complete tasks for a fraction of what it would cost you to do it yourself.

Stop wasting time thinking “I need another me” and spend the money for a “mini-me”.  You’ll end up a lot richer.

Read more advice in my book, Ambition Is Not A Dirty Word: A Woman's Guide to Earning Her Worth and Achieving Her Dreams (Random House / Broadway Books).


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Comments

Debra,
This is a fantastic article. I love the way you break it down. I wonder just how many people do the math like that.
I finally did hire some outside help, because, like a lot of women, I think I can do it all and all it does is add more stress to my already stress-filled life.
Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention!

Sincerely,
Christine Buffaloe

Re: "I finally did hire some outside help, because, like a lot of women, I think I can do it all and all it does is add more stress to my already stress-filled life." Thanks for your comment, Chris. And, as my peeps know, you're one of my all-time top resources for outsourcing social media tasks. You've certainly lightened my load, taking over important functions that just didn't fit in my in box--and you do them so much better and faster. And I'm freed up to do meaningful, challenging work that I enjoy rather than trying to wear every one of the ten or so hats the entrepreneur must wear, or delegate.

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I am a business psychologist, researcher, author, executive coach, and career advisor. I lead workshops and lecture frequently on women’s need to embrace our ambition. I founded the Women’s Business Alliance, a motivational think tank for more than 2,500 women. For more details, see my about page.

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