Today I feel like Johnny Depp in the movie Alice in Wonderland, who plays the role of the Mad Hatter. An entrepreneur in an early-stage startup company has a lot of different hats to wear, and this can be enough to drive you stark-raving mad.
In order to keep my business afloat I need to be skilled with a number of different tasks such as: Marketing (including web, CMS, branding, advertising, social media, desktop publishing, copywriting…), Sales (including distribution models, negotiation, networking…), General Administration, HR & Personnel issues, Engineering, Legal issues, IP & Patents, Government reporting and compliance, etc. The list is endless and each area requires some time and energy. How do you keep from going crazy?
In coaching entrepreneurs I often use a tool called a balance wheel. You start by identifying your most important areas of focus – whether it be with your business or with your life. For example, in my life I might pick the following 6 areas: health, wealth, family & friends, career, and charity. I then give each area a rating from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). I then plot out a wheel with each of the values. Here is the wheel for my current business:
What does this wheel tell me? Nothing that I did not already know, but as with any graph or chart, it illustrates the imbalances between the areas. It reminds me that I need to devote more time to the development of technology, a team and administrative routines. This tool gets really useful when you track changes over time. When I return to this same exercise 3 months from now, it will be interesting to see how I have changed my perceptions and what sort of results I have achieved. This will make for a valuable discussion with my own personal coach.
To avoid becoming a Mad Hatter, I need to keep my focus on balancing all the different aspects of my job. If I am very successful in one area, yet I make a total mess of others, then it will cause me big problems. I need to achieve a good balance and create a wheel that is well-rounded and can be driven at high speeds without bumping or falling apart.
Would you like to try a free coaching session? Contact me today to set it up. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it may help you achieve that balance and avoid becoming an entrepreneur Mad Hatter.