Too Many Hats

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By Jennifer E. Goldman, President

As business people (or as human beings in general) we often wear “many hats”. Sometimes we wear too many hats. It just “is what it is” in our fast-paced Age of Information.

I can remember when my children were little, I thought I’d topple over from the sheer weight of all the hats I wore. I was the cook, the maid, the chauffeur, the scheduler, the shopper, the tutor, the disciplinarian, the nurse, and the organizer. And I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few hats; selective memory at this point, I’m sure.

I willingly wore all those hats because I was sure that I HAD to wear all those hats. No one else would take those responsibilities. No one else was as good at handling those responsibilities. There wasn’t enough money to pay someone to handle any of the responsibilities.

As I formed a small business, I took on the same attitude. There isn’t enough money and no one who can do things quite like I do.

It didn’t take me long to realize I didn’t want my eternal business card to read “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer”. I didn’t have enough hours in a day to accomplish all that I wanted my business to do, if I handled every task on my own. I also realized that I’m not the most capable person for certain tasks. (Shocking self-realization!)

As I began planning how my business would grow, and the best methods for guiding it in that direction, several things became clear:

  1. I have BIG plans for my company and I can’t do it alone. No woman is an island, right?
  2. I have a few, very distinct specialties; the areas that aren’t my specialty ARE someone else’s.
  3. If I want people to value and pay me for what I specialize in, I need to return the favor.
  4. In order to grow a business, you have to learn to trust the capability and integrity in others.

I also realized that I never intended to be my own worst boss; working myself 24/7 just wasn’t good for anyone. Me, myself and I considered going on strike for the long, insufferable hours without overtime pay or additional benefits.

I quickly started shedding hats. Paying a graphic artist to design my logo. Hiring a web designer to create my web site. Allowing a social media specialist to handle my growing number of accounts. Contracting a part-time person to help identify new marketing opportunities and more modern apps and platforms the business should be utilizing.

Was I spending more money? Without a doubt, yes. A lot more money. Did it offer me additional benefits? Absolutely! I was no longer working round the clock. I was no longer doing things that weren’t really my forte. In the end I started making more money since my time was being spent strictly servicing my clients and seeking out new ones. And the ultimate benefit: my limited number of hats and I have a lot more time to enjoy ourselves and participate in life –  and THAT’S why I went into business for myself.


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