Adam & Amy: The Hard Truth About Delegating For Your Startup

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Delegating work is important for any business but what if you delegate the wrong things at the wrong time?

Change Creator co-founders, Adam and Amy, have been there and learned hard lessons that they share in this talk about delegation.

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Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

Hey, what’s up, everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host, Adam fours. Hope you had an amazing New Year celebration, holiday break, spend time with family, all that good stuff, maybe a little time off to recoup and get ready for the 2020 year. Amy and I want to kick it off this year, having our first conversation to talk about delegating for the year because, you know, we had a conversation about this before in our community, people were not necessarily as concerned about finding the right people. I mean, that’s very important. But also, are you delegating the right things at the right time? Are you doing more harm than good? Because we’ve been down that road with Change Creator, where we did bring on teams for PR and marketing and other things that we delegated. And we made some big mistakes and so you know, we recouped since then, thankfully, and we want to share some of those experiences. With you have so you can have a solid 2020 as you guys are trying to scale your impact businesses. If you did miss our last episode it was before the holidays here it was with Jessie whose last name I will not try to pronounce because it’s a tough one. But we did talk about selling and tech and things like that. And it’s a really good one because he has a lot of sales experience. And so if you missed it, swing back through, you’ll get some good sales nugget nuggets out of that. We’ve made some good updates on the website, we just put some fresh content out there for you to check out. There’s a really great in feature story we put together with prime roots. They just raised $4 million, and they’re in the superfood space. So we talk about climate change. We talk about healthy foods and that industry, investors are chomping at the bit guys to get in on that space when it comes to vegan foods and that type of stuff. So you might want to check that out. Last but not least, don’t forget to stop by Facebook. That’s where we’re hanging out a lot. So check us out on the Facebook page follow us and if you want to take your conversation to the next level. Talking about your business and learning about, you know, really making it profitable. Well, that’s where we want to stop. Have you stopped by our group it is for the profitable digital impact entrepreneur so you could check us out over there. All right, guys, I’m not gonna hold you up any longer. We’re gonna dive right into this conversation with Amy and I and kick this off. Okay, show me the heat. Hello, guys. We are going to talk a little bit about delegating today. Because you know, when you’re in the first several years of your business, you start thinking about, you know, where are my weaknesses? What do I delegate? So you know, delegating for your business is important. But what if you’re delegating the wrong things, and you’re actually hurting your startup? So what would those things be and why we want to get into some of that today?

Amy Aitman 02:46

Oh, that’s great. Yeah, we’re gonna get into that. But first, I want to ask you guys who loves watching Netflix? I mean, I think everyone, right? Yeah, look, I’m a love Netflix and there’s a show that I’ve done. discovered recently, it’s called million pound restaurant. It’s a fun one. And the premise is, these new restaurant owners get to pitch their business to investors. And then they get to open their own restaurants and see if they get the million pound investment, which is really exciting. And one of the things that restaurants do is what’s called a soft launch. So they opening night, they have their new concept. Some of them have started like street vendors, and then they go into their own restaurants. So it’s their first chance to really sell to this bigger audience in this new location. And imagine that you have this or you have started your own vegan, sustainable restaurant, you really care about the environment. You are an amazing vegan chef to make vegan food tastes like amazing food that even there’s a lot of and it’s soft launch night and there’s so much on the line and a soft launch night so Instead of, but instead of cooking your signature dishes and mingling with the crowd and working your dream, this is your night to shine. You hand the keys over to Gordon Ramsay. And you say to Gordon, now Gordon Ramsay is an amazing chef, and I’m sorry, Turner. I’m sure he’s, I mean, I know he’s really great at running his restaurants. But he comes in with, it doesn’t take the time to get to know what you’re doing. He looks out and he says, I think I’m going to make the steak a steak restaurant because he’s like, I’m going to start to serve steak. So we go then he changed the menu. He changed the stuffing. He does whatever he wants, because he says I’m going to make this a success. And so your vegan your sustainable restaurant becomes the Steakhouse and your customers that came in looking for the best vegan dishes are suddenly getting this menu with hunks of meat with steak on it because Gordon Ramsay is running a restaurant But you’ve been told that you need to outsource this and Gordon Ramsay to the best. So then your soft launch is a disaster. People aren’t really happy even though he’s an amazing chef. And then you get Gordon Ramsay’s bill. So now not only are you broke, you’re not selling the product that you wanted to, you’re not selling your vision. You’re and Gordon says, I’ve set you up for success and he leaves so your business is like that restaurant is like you. A lot of us do this. We have this really strong vision for our company for our brand. But when it comes to actually opening night soft launch trying to make the sale time to get to know the customers we hand the keys over to Gordon Ramsay because we think he could do it better. Yeah, but he can’t always do it better.

Adam G. Force 05:53

Well, and it may not be it see you know, you have a certain intention behind that business right like something that’s meaning To you, so if you are doing a vegan restaurant, you probably care about the environmental, you know, correlation to that kind of, you know, meat consumption, all that stuff. So you know that intention can change and nobody’s going to have that passion and intention, like, like the founder does, right? And so for, you know, it’s a great fun example with Gordon Ramsay coming in and changing things up because his mindset would be, well, we’re here to sell, make money and get it done. So we got to do what works, right? I, you know, he’s not gonna feel and appreciate the intention that you have, you know, when you’re the as the founder writes, it’s just not the same. So handing the keys over at the wrong time to somebody like that could really in reality, like throw your business in a direction that you may not be happy with? You know, like we most of us had heard the advice. I mean, I would say anybody in the entrepreneurship space, you know, you know, if you aren’t good at certain things like we don’t we all were we’re like a jack of all trades in the beginning. We try to do everything and but at some point We got to start delegating the things that are our weaknesses, right? Mm hmm. And so you know, you hear both sides of the story. And the question becomes, well, what do you delegate? And you know, what if you hire somebody that is going to hurt your business more than actually helps your business. So that advice can be misleading for those reasons. And it can make you end up actually delegating the most important part of the business that really you need to own. Okay? And we really want in business today more than ever, with the way that the digital environment is evolving. We really want to build authentic relationships with our audience. I mean, that trust is so important. And it starts with the founder and the core team of like, why they even started this business. And again, no one’s going to be able to speak to those intentions, which really do differentiate your business, the way you can write as a founder. I mean, you can consider somebody like Tom’s And I think, you know, he started this with an intention of helping children that don’t have shoes because there’s so many issues that stem from that. And it was kind of like an overwhelming, you know, sensory overload for him when he came across this situation in Argentina. And you can imagine from the get go him switching it up with them and they go, you know, he actually a great point is like when I interviewed him he was he told me as a response to my question, which was, what would you do differently if you started today? Tom’s and the one thing he said is I, you know, when I brought in the executive team, I was I would take a very different approach, because what he learned is that people come with habits that may not serve the original intention of the business. Okay, not that they’re bad people or, you know, they have malicious intentions themselves, but they have different beliefs, different habits of what it looks like success. So all of a sudden, they changing the business intention, start changing the way things have to happen because they’re going after a bottom line. It’s kind Like you have this social impact business but you’re going to bring in like somebody on Wall Street character

Amy Aitman 09:04

who’s going to go right and could you imagine if he had led that vision go or hadn’t kept driving that vision throughout his so even he’s saying like I might have hired my executive team differently, but even when he did hire people, he had such a strong vision for his company that he could keep pushing that so that’s when when you know, we would never imagine a Tom’s without Blake but it’s because it’s not because he’s the face of the brand because he’s the driving force of his sales of his vision of those intentions that he’s always had the company that’s a really good example.

Adam G. Force 09:40

Yeah, and that’s what’s going to earn a lot more trust is there to see Well, this is the guy that started it, this is why he started it. It also makes him different than other people. So you know, he’s not necessarily competing on price and all these other things. So same thing with Ivanova Patagonia amazing products. Their intention is just threaded throughout everything they do. They do additional programs they do charities, every piece of clothing is, you know, with intention for the environment and all this stuff. So, you know, he is that driving force, and he is he is the face of his brand as well. You know, so staying true to that intention is really important. And we don’t want to delegate it to somebody that might start shifting us away from that, and it might happen slowly to might not be a dramatic thing. And then all of a sudden, a year or two goes by and you’re gonna look back and say Holy crap, like, Where is this gone? You know, like, what are we doing?

Amy Aitman 10:29

So true. And as business owners, we are the one like we have to not only you know, work on our the passionate part of our business and things that we love doing our business, but we have to run our business to Yeah, and we have to be we have to be the driving force of our sales of our marketing. It’s just you can’t you can’t, you can’t pick and choose you have to do both, and to be success. You really do.

Adam G. Force 10:52

I agree. I and in the earlier years and Listen, I’ve done over, I don’t know, hundred 200 150 200 interviews and I asked I started asking people I feel I’m like, you know, you need to be like the sales of your business is what gives you control options, the ability to be a contributor in life, you know, to do good things like this is you need that money to do these things. And you need to actually, this is so important to the business, you don’t want to just delegate that out of the gate, like you need to become the number one salesperson for your business. And that means learning and talking to who your customers like learning who they are by talking to them intimately learning like, can you get on the phone and actually sell a product? Right? I mean, if you can’t do that, you know, you’re going to struggle digitally, especially when you want to go at scale. You know, so these things are really important to consider and you’ve got to build that strong foundation. Now that’s not to say that we never delegate there’s a time right you can do the wrong things at the at the at the right time or the right things at the wrong time. And so you know, if you don’t become the number One salesperson, there’s a couple things that come to mind of what happens. So like what happened? No, firm this up yourself and learn how to talk and sell these products. Yeah, aside from missing out on really getting to know your audience, and really what makes the business tick, yeah, you’re gonna miss out on sustainable growth and sales, right? Yeah. And you’re going to burn out at some point because you’re going to be competing on price and features and those types of things, versus that intention that’s very attractive to people, and that differentiates your business. And then you’re going to have maybe people saying

Amy Aitman 12:34

that happened so many times before, too, especially with social impact companies, it’s like when they’re creating their product, they’re taking all those sustainable things really into consideration, their cost per acquisition or their their price points are really are higher, so they have to charge higher, but as soon as they take a step back and say hire a PR team, hire marketing team, get something on e commerce, like You said they missed out on sustainable growth in sales because all of a sudden, the little few little sales they’re getting aren’t coming in. And we’ve seen this with a lot of examples before. And then some expert says we need to lower your price because your if because your, your cost for this T shirt is $35 and every other t shirts $20 but the whole intention of our company was not to sell a $20 t shirt that you know with tons of water waste and by splashing out into landfills your entire company. And so you get stuck between these two realms when really you need to think about what why you started this company in the first place. And you’re gonna get sustainable growth and sales. So you’re gonna have to, you’re gonna need to sell less and not compete on price. If you are the one that’s driving this intention. It’s really important. We have so many times it’s so easy to get caught into that competing on patients temptation. Yeah

Adam G. Force 14:00

For you, there’s so many crossroads, right? And ultimately, honestly, like, if you lose sight of your intention, you start straying. You are you’re gonna have all this competition on price and features, but you’re gonna start lacking fulfillment in what you do. Right? So part of having this intention and a meaningful business is there’s a sense of fulfillment you’re doing something you are excited to wake up for, that you believe in that does something for the people in the world and all that kind of stuff. So, I mean, you don’t want to end up just doing going through motions that feel like a job, you want to live a life right in harmony with, like who you really are. So this makes a big difference in the business. So it’s a major differentiator, those those things differentiate far more than price points and all that stuff that stuff it will it’s gonna be extremely hard road and you’re gonna go broke.

Amy Aitman 14:48

let other people compete on price, exactly what other people do to play those games because that’s not going to work for your business. Exactly.

Adam G. Force 14:56

So I think it’s really important to state that you don’t have Hire a sales team. When your sales are lacking, you hire a sales team when your sales are thriving. That’s when when you’ve already figured out all those things, and you’ve got it pinpoint. And it’s like a well oiled machine. And you know your audience better than anyone, you’ve built the foundation. Now you can get other people trained in everything that you learned from all those conversations and all those sales right?

Amy Aitman 15:25

Now, that’s the best time to hire a sales team, and then a PR team and a marketing team.

Adam G. Force 15:32

Yet there is always a time and a place and you know, you know, will tell the story we did go down this road to but before we get into that, I know Amy, you were mentioning a couple of these like questions that people might be asking themselves and I think they really tee up.

Amy Aitman 15:48

Yeah, I mean, after talking to so many people, they come to us at this point when they don’t know how to implement marketing and they don’t really want to put themselves out there. So if you’re in place right now where you’ve considered outsourcing that’s which is what we’re talking about today. You might be telling yourself, I don’t even have the skill to sell my products, right? Like, I don’t have the skills I’m fabulous like you. I mean, I totally understand that, that could that could be holding you back. And but these are skill sets that you can everyone can not only learn to do and that you can learn to do, but that you have to do, you have to learn these these skill sets. And I know personally with me and with our time here at Change Creator, there was a time that I really loved to be back behind the scenes and to be in the background, not think about sales copy or questions or talking to the audience because digital digitally you could easily do that you can easily take take a step back and it’s really a mindset block that we have, that we don’t have the skills so there’s ways to learn to get those skills and a lot of questions we get from people in our lives. And when they come to us is why would anyone listen to me? I’m not an authority in this space. And I always like to say, you know, when, like started Tom’s he wasn’t an authority in the space either he was a Blake Mycoskie, we all feel like that, especially in the beginning, and we all feel like, you know, we don’t have the authority, nobody knows who you are. But we’re never going to build that authority. And we’re never people aren’t going to find out who we are, or get the intent or hear about our vision for our company unless we put ourselves out there. And we make this such an important driving force of our business.

Adam G. Force 17:35

Yeah, and I think that’s a fair point. Just to add one little comment there too, is, you know, if you know something that someone else doesn’t know, you’re an authority you can help them you know, if you have something that they need, like you could talk about that you can help them so you don’t need to be over a PhD that has all this need to help people that don’t know what you know.

Amy Aitman 17:56

You’re authoritarian to right now. If you’re at the point where you considering hiring any kind of marketing team, that you’re already an authority in something because you’ve created a product, you’ve thought about sustainability, you probably put your got your website together, you’ve probably done a lot of stuff. You have your own sphere of authority. And you can build upon that once you’ve already if you’ve already got to that point, and a lot of people that come when they’re thinking about considering hiring a marketing or PR team, this is the point that they’re at. They’re really such great authorities in you know, sustainable fashion company. And they know their fashion. They know the numbers, they know water waste, but then they’re like, I’m on an authority in my space. I can’t get I can’t do my own work. I can’t get myself out there. So yeah, I just kind of like that’s a really great point, Adam, because it’s true. We get this question a lot too. What if I’m an introvert, or I’m shy? should I hire someone who’s a people person to do this and I really feel like this is such an antiquated thing for brands. You hire like somebody else to be the voice of your brand and you hire some celebrity or you hire some influencer? Yeah, I feel like the tides have shift with that. I feel like people do not want some fake person that represents your values and your brand. I really feel it that’s to send and the funny thing is 70% of entrepreneurs say that would say that they’re introverted. So there was a lot of really successful, really successful introverts and people that are because I find to the people that are call themselves shy and introverted, when it comes to talking about their passions and what they’re really their vision. They light up. Yeah, because it’s really mean something to them. So if you’re introverted or shy, I’d say that’s even more reason for you to, you know, get yourself out there and to not hire someone who you think is a people person. We all have people we can offer people person. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 20:02

These are all fear blocks. You know, it’s kind of like how if you’re saying these things, these questions your mind and you’re having these thoughts, you will start finding ways then to avoid coming the salesperson because it’s uncomfortable for you. And all of a sudden that’s where these ideas of delegating sound nice. So you hear the Tim Ferriss and all the other start saying, well, you got to delegate and you go, yep, you’re right, because I’m super uncomfortable doing this important part of the business next time, you know, you’re gonna do what we did. And we’ve been down this road where we were busy, we’re building a complicated business, and we thought to expedite our process of promotions and sales. We would delegate we got a PR team was that a couple thousand a month we got a marketing team a couple thousand dollars a month. And you know, we

Amy Aitman 20:49

we hired a salesperson to even hired we did hire a salesperson, yeah, we

Adam G. Force 20:55

this is where we not only not only do we know from other conversations, And other entrepreneurs experiences and stuff about these challenges we’re talking about, but we’ve experienced them firsthand. And we were like, whoa, wait a minute, we’re spending all this money, the ROI is not there. Whereas the gaps, and one of the major gaps was we need to take a step back and get in a grassroots mindset and start talking to our audience and really learning the sales narrative through these conversations.

Amy Aitman 21:23

Yeah, I can tell you we got zero sales from all of the thousands of dollars. And, I mean, we hired amazing salesperson, but if we don’t know how to sell, we can’t tell him how to sell. And so we really just had to take that step back, like Adam said, and really talk to our customers. And, you know, figure out like, what are the objections were what if we had to do the sales conversations and it is uncomfortable. I mean, it can be really uncomfortable, especially. It’s really tempting to just throw money at the problem is sometimes I say, it’s so tempting to to say Make it rain take care of this for me, it is so tempting to do that and i know i there and I and part of me really wishes that would have worked because like, in the early days and we’d be rolling in dough dough right away because you know if we could just throw money at this hiring somebody else that we would that I would have worked for us

Adam G. Force 22:24

and it didn’t know they have different intentions, they have different agendas. They have different passions than you like it’s just not going to translate the way you want to when you got to build that real core audience up front right it’s just you got to do it and you know, now we have over what 100 videos of sales conversations that we’ve had, you know, some of them in the beginning they’re awful we suck and we listened back right oh my god, I was like, This is terrible. Like No wonder they didn’t want to buy anything, you know? Yeah. And that’s gonna that’s okay. You get out there you know, I read a book so like craziest guy has Like $400 million a year agency, and he’s even in this book, he’s like, you’re the number one sales rep. You cannot delegate this and we’re like, yeah, we learned that. Thanks for now the book comes out.

Amy Aitman 23:13

Yeah, you learn the hard way. And we want to make it you guys the easy way cuz trust me, you know?

Adam G. Force 23:18

Yeah. All right. Listen, let’s wrap this up. I think this is a fun conversation. Hope you guys had a couple lightbulb moments. Leave us a comment. Let us know what you’re thinking about this conversation. Have you experienced anything similar? Do you have any thoughts? love to hear from you? And we’ll catch you on the next side on the next video.

Amy Aitman 23:33

Yeah, we’ll continue this conversation on our private Facebook group. So if you haven’t joined by now, come that’s where we get into the nitty gritty of all this stuff. Yeah. Thanks, guys. Bye.

Adam G. Force 23:48

That’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews and more ways to stay on top of your game. Available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit Change Creator mag Comm. We’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.

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