When I was a child, all I wanted from life was to be able to play every instrument under the sun. Pretty lofty goal, right?
I spent a couple decades learning numerous instruments, a couple I mastered; with many of the instruments I considered myself an average player, but that was ok – at least I could do it! Years went by, I kept learning new instruments, and I was very proud of myself.
One day, I decided it was time to learn the drums. I started with the snare drum, and I was fair at playing that. Next, the tri-toms, the bass drum, symbols, and so on. Being the overachiever that I am, I decided one day to get a drum set. I worked on it, day in and out, striving to make some sense out of this set of drums. I banged on them endlessly, struggling to find my beat – to make them all work together while in my hands. My father, being a kind soul, walked in on me playing my drum set and said, “You know, you look like a maniac flailing around over there.”
Skip forward several years later. I still have that drum set (in my shed), and I still play it occasionally. No set of lessons, books, or study seems to teach my feet and hands to move as they should with the drums. My beats end up half-witted, and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that 1) I can’t do it all myself and 2) If I need a drummer, I might as well hire a professional.
The moral of my story is, I know what I can and can’t achieve. The drums are not my ‘cup of tea’, but I know of several individuals who are very good at the drums. This is true in my business as well; while I can keep my books and do my personal taxes, when I put all of the accounting/bookkeeping together, I end up flailing like a maniac once again.
Many business owners seem to be under the assumption that they can do it all, that they can be the catch-all support that their business needs. In my experience, this is only not true, but can also make your business look very unprofessional. Your ability to say, “I’m not a web designer” or “I’m not an accountant” or “I don’t know my head from a hole in the ground in regards to [fill in the blank]” will set your business apart from the crowd. I can give you a great for instance: I know next to nothing about real estate. I know it has something to do with houses, mortgages, listings, and showings; but what good does that do me? However, I know a friend of mine has ample experience in real estate, and this is her niche market. Thus, every inquiry I get about real estate I send to my friend.
We all forget at one time or another that we can’t do everything, and take on projects we are blatantly not qualified for. It is imperative that we not only find our niche market, but also figure out what we cannot accomplish successfully, and pass it on to someone who does.
I cannot play the drums, but I am a master at the flute and trombone. I cannot do bookkeeping/accounting, but am a whiz at marketing and design. How about you?
Erin Banister is the president of TrinityJacobs – Your Personal
Virtual Assistant. Erin’s expertise includes marketing and
desktop publishing, amongst other administrative specialties.
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