Tips and tricks to balance multiple roles as a small business owner

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As a small business owner you know that wearing many hats comes as standard. 

At first you are the CEO, CFO and COO. The management, the workforce and the tea maker. Over time, you may add members to your team but in the first flush of business it’s not always possible.

So how can you balance all these roles without burning out or giving up?

Firstly you have to get smart about the way you work. If you have a pile of invoices on your desk, three blog posts open on your computer, and a client call in an hour I’m willing to bet that during that hour you’ll flap about, looking at all them, feeling overwhelmed and not getting much done.

Repeat that process a few times a day and you’re losing time, money and sanity. Fast.

So, what can you do to help?

Define your roles

At its most basic you’ll likely have client and non client facing tasks. So income generating and non income generating. Although we’d all love to just do the former category, it’s not possible without the structure of the latter.

So you have those two categories to start with. Better still if you can break that down into the actual roles. For example: content creation and consulting report, and then schedule in time for each them. And when I say schedule it in, I do mean it; put it in your calendar as if it were a client call or meeting, and make these non-negotiable.

Be realistic about what you can achieve and be strict about those time boundaries. If you have your clients hat on, don’t get pulled into emails with suppliers, for example.

Work to your strengths and flow

By this I mean, when do you have the most energy? Are you a morning person or do you do your best work later on? Do you get an energy surge or slump after lunch?

We’re all different so what works for me may not work for you. Most people have never thought about these flows. Take some time over the next few days and jot down somewhere your energy peaks and troughs; you’ll soon see a pattern emerge and it will help you supercharge your productivity and your brain will thank you, believe me.

Once you have your energy map, decide which roles and tasks require your optimum performance and which can be done without too much thought (hint, think repetitive, non taxing things like filing receipts or updating a database) and build your workweek around these times.

The beauty of this is that it will create a habit, which your brain will like. No more sudden panic about what you have to do next, you’ll already know because it’s all planned out for you. Just like always leaving your keys in the same place so you don’t have to look for them every morning, this way of working with rituals and habits allows you extra brain space for actual working. You can read more about it here.

When you’re planning your new, energetically optimised workweek don’t cram all the sessions in back to back. For the best productivity work in chunks and breaks.


Although at first you may not need or have the resources for a full time employee it doesn’t mean you can’t start outsourcing. There are several options for outsourcing admin tasks, one of my personal favourite is Fancy Hands.

Fancy Hands is a super clever, affordable service that allows you to send tasks to a whole army of admin folks who are ready to jump on and sort you out. It’s super easy to use, and there is also an iPhone app version.

And if you’re clever about it, using them can, in fact make you money.

Here’s how:

1. Look at the schedule you created for the different roles you have.

2. Identify which non income generating, admin or research tasks you have on.

3. Hand these over to Fancy Hands or start to outsource some tasks with a VA.

4. Replace that chunk of time with income generating tasks and BOOM, you just gave yourself more money making time, so use it wisely!

There will be times, especially at the beginning, when it all feels like A LOT.

When it does, I recommend checking back to see whether you’re trying to wear all the hats at once.

Step back, breathe and look at where your time and attention are being pulled. Get back on schedule and the feelings of overwhelm will recede again.

Most of all be kind, don’t berate yourself or get cross that you can’t do it all, all the time – no one can!

Jo Gifford mentors solopreneurs to tell their business story online and to work in smarter, creative ways on

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