Plan for a business that survives you having (… getting) a life. Part 2

What to expect

Whether you're a company of one or the head of the conglomerate, sometimes it's hard to ...get over yourself. If this is a struggle for you, check this out.

Plan for a business that survives you having (… getting) a life. Part 2
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Duplicating Yourself – And Developing Your Business

Last part of this 2-part series, we talked about replacing or duplicating yourself to let your business keep running smoothly while you transfer your energy elsewhere. Building a you-robot can sound like an impossible task, but with a bit of flexibility, you can actually get pretty close to the doppelgänger dream with nothing but the current technology.

Know Your Value

Before you can copy yourself, you have to figure out who YOU are at your organization. What, exactly, are we looking to duplicate?

1. List everything that you do.

Some things on this list will be more easily replaced than others. Include all of it. The difference between “replacing yourself” and just “hiring an assistant” is that you are hiring someone – in addition to yourself – who will be doing real, revenue-generating work within your business.

2. Figure out what it would cost to do “everything” if you paid someone else to do it.

Some tasks are going to be easier (and cheaper) than others. Remember your “zone of genius,” the stuff that you and your company do better than anybody else, the stuff that brings customers to YOU. That’s going to be the hardest to let go of.

3. Figure out whether your current pricing structure actually covers all that.

Spoiler alert! It probably doesn’t.

Duplicating yourself is going to cost real money, and it’s going to affect many of the other aspects of your business. Whether or not you can afford that right now is a decision you have to make. But making that move is going to require examination of what you charge for your work.

The Problem’s In the Pricing

One way that we get over-extended and set on the path to burnout in our businesses is not knowing – or not admitting – our true value. If you’re looking at the list you made of all your tasks and thinking, “It’s way too expensive to pay someone to do all that!”. You have a pricing problem and your rates are not covering the real cost of the services that you provide to your clients.

Because someone is already doing all that.


If your business model is largely one-to-one and even small group the idea of scaling has to be coupled with business growth. If you want to take on new clients (and this is a big IF that we’ll come back to later) you will need to hire more of you: more people with your expertise and skills, more people you feel comfortable allowing to do all that stuff that you used to do. You have to have confidence in their ability to serve your clients the way you have been. And that will probably be expensive. It might mean that you need to raise your prices, and THAT will mean that you have to show your clients all the value they are getting out of your business.

What Does Growth Mean to You?

Businesses grow. It’s what success looks like, right?

Well… maybe.

It depends on what growth means to you. If we define growth as just taking on more and more clients, then it isn’t sustainable and can be really destructive for your business (and your happiness, and your employees’ happiness, and maybe your clients’ happiness). Taking on more clients and being able to do less for them is definitely not good growth. With fewer clients – and higher price points – you can provide more in-depth services, spend more time on each client, and really get them what they need. You still might need to duplicate yourself, but you don’t need an army of imperfect knock-offs, just one, really trustworthy clone – er, employee – who can maintain relationships with clients and provide the kind of individual service they require, just like YOU.

This type of growth isn’t expansion, it’s development.

Your business may not get bigger, but it will get better.

Replacing yourself – or sharing the load of doing the brilliant stuff that is at the heart of your business – can give you the breathing space you need to be you. And it can help your business become its best self, too.

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