Why, What, and Who? Which is Most Important?

As a business owner in a very complex and competitive industry, you spend a lot of time wrestling, consciously or subconsciously, with why you do the things you do. You probably got into the field driven by some artistic passion, but years of having to deal with the murky detail side of things can erode that if you’re not careful.

By all means, take time every now and then to remind yourself why you are doing what you’re doing.

You’ll also find yourself spending time—probably even more time—thinking about what to do, and more specifically, what you “should” do. What should you do right now? This month? This year? This list can fill a wall of flip charts.

But these two questions, why and what, fall short of the most important question by far, and that is the question of “who?”

Who can do the things you decide you must do after considering what and why?

I encourage you to do what I did about a year ago that has made the greatest change to my business that I can recall. I have a white board to the side of my desk, and one day I went to the board and in big blue letters, I wrote : W H O, followed by a question mark.

Since then, I’ve gotten in the habit of looking at that word as I sit down to perform any task. Every task. And I ask, “Who?” Who else could be doing this? Is this something that only I can do, or would my time be better used elsewhere? (The answer to that is almost always, “Yes!”)

Does that mean you might have to hire throngs of people? Maybe, but guess what? You’d just be hiring them for small, micro tasks and with the unemployment levels today, I’m finding incredible quality for very low rates.

My go-to site has become Upwork, in part because it allows me to filter candidates by location, such as the U.S. so I know the time zones will be workable. They also have a very nice, built-in billing feature where the freelancer enters hour and you approve them. Payment is automatic via registered credit card. There’s a great chat function of course, and I’ve found the people I’ve hired this way (four and growing!) to be diligent and motivated.

Going to my Upwork dashboard, and perhaps setting up weekly Zoom calls, feels very much like having those team members sitting in the room next to me.

Do it! Put the word, WHO?” in plain site, either on a wall or perhaps a Post-it-Note on your computer screen. Then, when you find yourself performing a particularly non-critical task, type that task into Upwork.com and see who shows up. You just may be pleasantly surprised!

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