I always wanted to create a business that would outlive me. But I never expected that I’d have to figure out how to pull it off before turning 40.
At age 39, Rachel Luna, a certified master coach to seven and eight-figure entrepreneurs, an international speaker and podcast host, was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer—one of the most aggressive forms of the disease—after finding a lump in her breast three days before launching a mastermind. “A life-threatening illness can destroy your business if you don’t have the right systems in place. Fortunately, for me, my business actually continued to be profitable even while I was away seeking treatment,” says Luna.
Whether you need to step away from your business for mental health, physical health, family care or another reason, you don’t have to worry about it crumbling while you’re away. Follow the four steps Rachel took to keep her business healthy while she healed.
As you implement these steps, remember to give yourself grace. It’s all a process and the more you allow yourself to respect your journey, the more fulfilled you’ll be when you arrive at your destination.
1. Create A Sustainability Model
A sustainable business model is one that can outlive you. Hearing that definition will cause a lot of solopreneurs to think, “No one can do what I do, the way that I do it.” This is true but it’s also an obstacle. It keeps you from playing a much bigger game. More importantly, it’s a major issue if you should ever want or need to step away from your business.
“Remedy this by listing out the major functions you perform in your business and the names or roles of those who might be able to step in for you. For example, can you bring in a certified coach you trust to be a guest expert for your group? Can you hire a copywriter to write a series of nurture and sales sequences to automate while you’re away? Are you willing to hire a virtual assistant and give access via a private password share service like LastPass and allow that person to manage your inbox and social media DM’s?” suggests Luna.
Just these few minor tweaks will keep your business running and your clients served and supported no matter where you are or what you need to do in any moment of your life.
2. Have SOPs In Place—For Everyone
“Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are game-changers and essential for the entrepreneur who wants to be able to have the freedom and flexibility to step away from their business,” notes Luna. They allow for reducing training time while also maintaining brand consistency.
“Creating SOPs don’t need to be an overly complex project. Using a tool like Loom, which allows you to create screen recordings, makes creating a training library simple and effective. Simply record yourself performing a task, give voice over instruction, and then store it in a Google drive. This makes it simple for anyone to come into your business, watch the video, follow along and execute a task as you or anyone on your team would.”
3. Commit to Radical Honesty
One of the major reasons delegating fails, even with SOPs in place, is because the entrepreneur fails to communicate effectively. “It is crucial that you practice radical honesty and articulate to your team what you want and exactly how you want it done,” explains Luna.
“Give yourself permission to potentially offend them in the short term. Coddling and tip-toeing around the truth because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings is a disservice to everyone involved. It potentially sets your team members up for massive failure because there was no clear understanding of what was expected. Being blunt and honest will help provide exceptional clarity and ultimately sets your team members up for success.”
4. Manage Your Energy
Creating a business that allows you to step away requires in-depth knowledge and self-awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses. “Figure out when you are your most productive and energized and only work during those hours,” suggests Luna. “Even when I was undergoing chemotherapy, I was able to get some work done by locating the most productive times of day for me to focus on small aspects of my business. I carried those energy management lessons with me after I recovered so that I could make a big impact when I fully returned to work.”
Having proper procedures in place that will keep things running if life knocks you down, is the best way to create a healthy and sustainable business.