Small team 20 in online fashion early stage. Key time to succeed. Need to hit targets to pay bills— Can't afford to make the wrong decision. There are time constraints on this decision. Time & pressure is not helping.
Feeling burned out is never a good sentiment. Being pulled in different directions is not much better. Sounds like you are a bit overwhelmed by the unsatisfactory decisions in front of you. Sorry about all those negative feelings. I have lived them myself and no amount of empathy can help. Only answers make us feel like we are digging ourselves out of all this. Well, I have answers if you are interested.
Finding someone who is your clone will be near impossible. Your #2 doesn't seem to fit this requirement and neither does anyone else within your organization otherwise you would have mentioned them. Hiring from outside is a hit or miss proposition unless they come highly recommended from someone you trust. Since you are asking for guidance from complete strangers on Clarity there must not be someone who fits that bill either. That leaves only one person you have enough trust in to do your job: you.
i know. I know. You didn't have to post this question online to get this answer. Nor can you imagine how you continuing to fulfill the responsibilities of this position will help you dig out from under all this. No worries. I'm not a complete idiot. I have an answer to all your concerns. You have to be a better leader.
A leader is someone who is part of a community but just happens to have a few of that world which allows them to see how it can be less uncertain for themselves and the other members. By sharing this view with the community some members will be motivated to cooperate and collaborate with you and each other to make it a reality for all or some of the remaining members of the community.
This definition of leadership is important because it recognizes that everything can be on your - the leader's - shoulders but requires the cooperation and collaboration of a good number of the community in order for uncertainty to be reduced for a great many people. You have one set of community members, your 20 member team. But there are others: your vendors, your clients, your family and friends, investors (if any), charities (if any), peer group (other business owners in or outside of your industry), and so on. By improving your leadership skills you can learn how to be supported by this community you've developed thus, with time, not feeling overwhelmed by everyone and everything.
Of course, this doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and training. But more importantly, it requires learning how to make decisions about yourself and your community, setting expectation, and then holding everyone - including yourself - responsible and accountable.
That's where I can help you. As a leadership coach, I work with business leaders such as yourself to help them develop their decision-making skills. With regard to their business, this starts by identifying the processes by which your business communicates its uncertainty reducing proposition to its community, inspires and motivates them to cooperate and collaborate, and then captures the value created so that it can be shared with all the stakeholders. Once this process is clear to you, you will be able to know where it is important for you to focus your decision-making, and where it can be delegated to other stakeholders. By holding everyone responsible and accountable for their own area of decision-making a feedback loop is created that keeps everyone working in the same direction. More importantly, in this situation, you will become a much more effective leader able to focus on those areas where your decisions really counts. You will feel relieved to have less on your plate and be much happier. The negativity will fall away allowing your life to become positive once again.
However, as I stated above, this is a process which takes time. The amount of time depends entirely on your motivation; what you put into it. Consequently, if you don't have the time or the motivation this may not be a solution for you.
But I'm really good at what I do. For 98% of my clients in three weekly one hour sessions their understanding of their business has entirely changed and they are starting to make better decisions for themselves and their community of stakeholders. The other 2% are focus too much on their egos that they will never have a successful business: it's not about you. So if you have $600 to invest in yourself for 3 hours of coaching time over three consecutive weeks I am happy to work with you. After these three initial sessions, you can decide if you want to continue, or not. Its not a big risk from a monetary point of view but it is a big opportunity to see yourself and your business from a completely different point of view and grow. Opening your eyes to the real world of business can be a scary experience for some.
Exciting times. When I read between the lines having faced a similar decision on more than one occasion, I see all the missed opportunities from having been too busy personally to be as effective as needed. The good news, there is but one weakest link in any system and that includes your business. Is it the lack of a talented partner? Perhaps. Is it a failure to delegate? More likely but not a given. Hiring is the most complex function in business and a wrong or misstep could be very expensive in time and money. I have hired over 500 people and helped organizations hire even more. It may not be obvious that I spent years in retail, most in men's fashion and in another life built several online businesses. I would be happy to learn more about your unique challenges and offer some insights from my more than 10,000 hours of experience at the front lines in each industry. Schedule 30 to 60 minutes at your convenience, but as you point out, the clock is ticking.
Step back for a moment to assess the situation. Do you need a partner or a remote team to help you achieve more?
Write down all the projects that need to get done on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Then prioritize them based on which require your knowledge, talents or skills to complete. Anything else you can DELEGATE.
Delegation is simply telling someone else how to help you achieve a goal. Outsourcing is just asking for help from someone outside of your business. No big deal.
Once you have the task list , look to find freelancers to help you complete it. You have plenty of choices. You'll find independent freelancers on sites like Upwork and Fiverr. These platforms are best for short term projects.
If you want a dedicated VA and a liaison to help you manage, look on sites like TasksEveryday or 24/7 Virtual Assistants. You'll buy a block of hours to use over the course of a month with your virtual team.
The key to getting a great results is planning and communication. What steps go into the task? What will your freelancer need to be,have or do to complete the task to your satisfaction.
Be sure to write the steps, your instructions and any needed info into a document for the freelancer. That document then becomes your Legend, the story of how you do that task which can be shared with future freelancers.
If you want to dive deeper into your specific details, feel free to schedule a call with me.