Cobblers' Collective: The Mistakes Jar

So today we broke out the mistake jar! 

You may remember in July we decided to empty our mistakes jar into the fire during the goal burning.  It was exceptionally cathartic; however the jar was empty!  So today we added new ones and started working on them. 

That’s the great thing about mistakes, it’s easy to make more! 

The way the Mistakes Jar works, is everyone gets 3 slips of paper to write out some businessey mistakes, anonymously, and throws them in the cookie jar.  Then we pull out a few, read them, and come up with some solutions.

Mistake one: Taking on too many tasks & stressing rather than calling in help
Mistake two: Taking on too many projects that don’t align with my goals or objectives

We all take on too much.  Taking on too much is a super common problem for entrepreneurs regardless of their industry.  I think that is one of the most fascinating things about the Cobbler’s Collective, we are all in different industries but have so many commonalities in our problems.

So some solutions:
Pre plan.  This is really the answer but it takes on a couple of forms.

Pre plan A: Have a stable of subcontractors or freelancers you can outsource to when you get overwhelmed.  Sometimes that could be outsourcing your actual work and sometimes that could be outsourcing some life stuff (like housekeeping or childcare) so you can buckle down & do the work.

Pre plan B:  Limit the number of clients or projects or boards or whatever it is you can quantify.  Know your capacity and stick to your guns about those numbers.

Pre plan C:  Know when you should give yourself more lead time & build that into the client expectations.  For instance, tell everyone you’re coming back from vacation later than you are.  Build in some time to empty your inbox and prep for client work without clients breathing down your neck.

Pre plan D: Have a phrase at the ready to use when some asks you to help out or take on something else.  Like “I have to check with my office manager before I commit to anything, let me get back to you.”  No one has to know your office manager is your cat! 

Pre plan E:  Know the values & goals of your business.  They are probably similar to your own but, I would bed they’re slightly different.  You personally might want to go work for that political campaign or that religious organization, but does your business?  Maybe, maybe not.  But that decision is not one to make in the heat of the moment, it’s something you should consider a head of time.

Mistake three:  I hired the wrong employee and don’t know how/want to fire them

Ah, employees.  Everyone wants them, till they get them. 

The big answer is you just have to do it if it needs to be done.  You are not doing anyone any favors by keeping them in a job they aren’t suited to.  The long term answer is to set up a good onboarding process where the employee knows from the beginning what the expectations are, how they will be evaluated, and what happens when the expectations are met or not met. 

There should be a LOT of feedback in the first 90-180 days.  And that feedback should go both ways. 

We also got some great topics to talk about in future Cobblers' Collectives.  Including another session practicing saying "No."  We'll see you next Thursday at 8:15 for another meeting!