How to Go From Solopreneur to a Business That Can Run Without You

Want to go from working 20, 30, 40 or more hour per week while doing one deal a month to working an hour per day while doing over 100 deals per year?

Mike Simmons, a wholesaler and fix-and-flip investor who Theo interviewed on the podcast, was able to go from a solopreneur to operating a business that runs without him by following one simple trick.

For nearly five years, Mike worked 7:30am to 4:30pm in a W2 job. After work, on weekends, and sometimes even during his lunch breaks, he would work in his fix-and-flip business. Since it was just him, he did it all. He found the deals. He negotiated the contracts. He attended closings. He managed the contractors. Overall, he spent 20 to 30 hours on his business each week, resulting in one deal per month. 

Flashing forward to present day, Mike almost never sees the houses that he buys. He doesn’t attend closings. He doesn’t find deals or buyers. Yet, he completes over 100 deals per year.

His secret? Every step in the flipping and wholesaling process is automated, and he has hired an employee who is responsible for overseeing each of these processes.

When to Hire?

The first step in going from solopreneur to a business that can run without you is knowing when to start delegating. In other words, when do you hire your first employee?

The answer depends on how quickly you scale your business. 

Here are three examples of when you should hire your first employee.

You identify a bottleneck. Mike’s first bottleneck was the process of ensuring a wholesale transaction is completed once a deal is under contract and an end buyer is identified. He spent more time on this part of the process and less time finding deals and finding buyers (among other things). So, his first hire was a transaction coordinator to oversee this step in the process.

Your business is generating enough income to pay the salary of an employee. Mike paid his first employee $12 per hour. So, he was generating at least that much income in his business

There is something you really dislike doing or are really bad at. Another reason why Mike’s first hire was a transaction coordinator was because he had poor attention to detail skills. He needed an employee who was detailed oriented.

Who to Hire and In What Order?

As I mentioned above, you hire your first employee when you’ve identified a bottleneck in your real estate process and/or when there is something you don’t like doing or are not good at. Also, when your busines generates enough income to pay an employee’s salary.

After you’ve first hire, who do you hire next?

The decision on who to hire next is similar to deciding who to hire first. Either there is something else you don’t like to do or are bad at, or a new bottleneck is created by the previously hired employee.

Mike’s second hire was a salesperson. Mike thought of himself as a decent salesperson. However, he didn’t like it. After hiring a salesperson, not only was he able to focus on aspects of the business that he enjoyed more but he was also able to complete more transactions due to the higher level skills of this new hire. 

Mike made his third hire based on a newly created bottleneck. The salesperson was responsible for answering the phone calls for income leads. This took time away from the salesperson getting in front of potential sellers and negotiating contracts. To remove this bottleneck, Mike hired a person to answer the phones. That way, the salesperson could spend more time negotiating contracts and less time on the phone qualifying leads.

Now that Mike had a dedicated person to answer the phones, he had the capability to handle more leads. Therefore, he hired a marketing person to generate more leads to keep the person who answers the phones busy.

Overall, the order in which you hire new employees usually starts with tasks you don’t like doing and eventually evolves into alleviating bottlenecks created by a previously hired employee.

Doer vs. Leader

When you are a solopreneur, you are wearing all the hats in your business. You are working in your business.

Once you start to hire employees, you slowly work less “in” your business and more “on” your business.

When you work in your business, you are a doer. When you work on your business, you are more of a leader.

The skills required to be a real estate doer are different than those needed to be a real estate leader.

One tip Mike provided about how to be a better leader to your employees is to document a process prior to hiring someone to oversee that process. A bad leader hires an employee for a role and says, “just get it done.” A good leader hires an employee for a role and says, “here is what you need to do in order to be successful.” But rather than telling them what they need to do, you can provide them with documentation with the step-by-step process for how to successful in their role.

 

To go from a solopreneur to operating a business that runs without you requires hiring employees. To ensure that the business runs successfully without you, make sure you are hiring employees for the right reasons and in the right order. And as you hire more and more employees, make sure you are improving your leadership skills.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.

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Joe Fairless