As a female contractor in the home service industry, you might feel it is impossible to escape stress between project deadlines, customers who think they run your schedule, and the fact that there are never enough hours in the day.
To some of you, it might seem amazing that anyone actually prospers at all without massive levels of stress in this industry. But if you want to be in this trade long-term, you're going to have to learn to manage your stress so you can thrive.
And doing it without stress is entirely possible. It just requires understanding some of the common mistakes that other business owners often make in the contracting space.
I find that 3 common themes lead to more stress for female entrepreneurs in the home services. Hopefully, by knowing what they are, you can avoid these stressors and grow a sustainable business!
Women often feel that they can and have to do it all. But that's simply not true. When you try to do it all, not only do you wear yourself out, but the quality of your work also suffers.
Delegation is a key part of growth. Being successful and growing a million or even multi-million dollar home service business means hiring people to take things over.
There's no way to grow beyond a certain point by yourself. You have to learn how to manage and train others in the process. That's the only way to scale.
Sure it might be safer at first to do it all alone, but this can’t last in the long run.
There are two contradictions when female contractors start delegating. On the one hand, they think that no other person can replace them, but on the other, they think they only need to hire 1 individual to take over.
A mindset shift has to happen around both of these things.
1. One person cannot be that magical unicorn who steps into your shoes and totally replaces you (or even just frees up hours and hours of your time).
When a business owner hires 1 employee, thinking that it will solve all of their problems, they set themselves up for failure. They end up spending huge amounts of time and energy babysitting and micro-managing that person.
Then, the employee feels overwhelmed too and ultimately quits because it's not a good situation or environment for either of you.
When you're a solopreneur — you're wearing several different hats:
You're the marketer
And yes, you might be in a position where you ARE literally doing it all.
But that doesn't mean one unique person can come in and magically take your place and free up all of your time. It is unrealistic.
If you want to start working ON your business instead of IN it, it will probably take at least 5-7 different people with different skills in various areas of your business to completely fill your shoes.
And that's where point number two comes in:
2. There is ALWAYS someone better than you at what you're doing in their specific field.
When you think no one can do what you do. You're right. Probably nobody out there can do and learn all the different things you have for your business.
You got used to taking them all on because you had to survive and grow your business and get it to the point where it is now. So nobody can do all these things, or at least they cannot do them all well, including yourself.
You can (and should!) find people that can do things BETTER than you in their specific area. Look for people who can teach you and show you where your business can improve in their area of expertise.
They'll be able to forge ahead and support your vision. They'll also be more empowered to help you grow your business by bringing in fresh ideas and their own talents and skills to the table. It's a win-win situation.
But yes — it will take hiring more than one person to get you there.
When you run a business, it's easy to fall into the trap of shiny object syndrome. Jumping around from idea to idea, strategy to strategy to task. You're just all over the place.
You don't know what steps to take to move their business forward, so you move from one thing to the next, wasting time and money but not making any progress. As a result, you feel stressed out because you have all these pending projects in different places, but nothing really gets done.
There is TONS of information out there (courses, books, hacks, podcasts, coaches, youtube videos, etc.), and all this is great, but it can also lead to drowning in beginnings with no endings.
If you want growth in your business — you have to have a clear vision and goals. Then, you have to make data-driven decisions on what actions to take. And then once you have a plan, you need to commit to it.
If you just keep jumping from shiny object to shiny object, all your efforts are fragmented, and you have no sense of how and what to prioritize.
You need to plan things out in a way that makes sense for your business and then stay committed. That will help you see progress and growth.
Working with a business coach (like yours truly!) can really help you get clarity and focus. A coach looks at your business from an outsider's perspective and can help you prioritize, make good decisions about what's working and what's not, and help you come up with a plan of action that can give you the direction you're looking for.
And even more important — a coach can help hold you accountable to your plan.
There are hundreds of shiny objects out there that promise to fix everything that's wrong with your business.
If you feel like you've tried EVERYTHING in the past but gained zero traction or had really inconsistent results, then it could be because of shiny object syndrome.
The distractions are slowing your progress and prolonging your success.
You need to find focus in your business and have a plan of action, but also benchmarks to measure your success before you give yourself permission to move on to the next thing!
Fast growth isn't best if you want to manage your stress.
Sometimes it's unavoidable — your industry is VERY in demand right now. Home services have exploded in the last few years. During the pandemic, a lot of home service business owners couldn't keep up with the demand and were turning away leads (which is a great problem to have!).
But if you can — try to grow slowly and steadily. And have a plan to manage the growth along the way.
It might look like this:
Putting systems in place so that the work is clearer for you and your team and the results are more consistent for your clients
Taking the time to know the numbers of your business in great detail, so you know where you're profitable or where you should be focusing your energy
Investing in softwares or the right team members as you expand
Niching down. Putting a hold on taking on such a wide range of projects and clients, and instead of finding a specific group of people that's underserved or a unique service and become known for that.
Growing too fast can lead to ill-prepared team members, which leads to client dissatisfaction. You might also stretch yourself too thin and neglect important parts of your business.
It can also leave you sinking time and money into a business that may not be sustainable overall.
Great business owners are great planners. Sometimes growth isn't always possible to do slowly, but manage it wherever you can. You may need to say "no" to some things so you can say "yes" to the right things.
So those are 3 mistakes that I see causing a lot of stress for owners in the trades.
Delegating poorly and the mindset mistakes around that
Getting distracted by shiny objects and prolonging your growth
Not managing growth properly or not having the systems and infrastructure of your business in place to support that growth
And if you can avoid them, you'll be on a better track to growing a business that gives you the results and lifestyle you want with less stress.
One common cause of stress in business is definitely lack of time. We generally feel like we don't have enough time to do everything we want to do in our business. That's why I've put together the Contractors Guide to Saving 30+ hours per week. This guide will allow you to determine areas of your business where time gets wasted and what to do about it. This way, you'll get more time to focus on the things that really matter. Grab it HERE!