“When you split an S-corp equally between two owners, does each one bear half the responsibility for the taxes on profits?” my wife asked me this evening.
“I think so, but I’m not sure.”
“You don’t know?”
“Nope. But Mark knows.” Mark is our CPA.
“Shouldn’t you know this?”
“Probably. Along with a thousand other things. Right now, it’s enough to know that Mark knows.”
Should I know these details about an S-corp? Maybe, I don’t know. I’m not sure I want to take the time to think about whether I should know or not, let alone taking the time to figure it out. If my wife thinks I should know, I probably should, she’s usually right about…well, everything. All I know is that as an entrepreneur, I often feel as though I’m juggling a thousand priorities. I’m running a race to get a thousand things done every day, but there is only time for perhaps 50 of them, so I have to prioritize, organize, and then run as fast as I can. I could probably prioritize better. I could probably organize better. I should probably prioritize getting organized. Occasionally I do, and I’m usually not sorry. It might be time to do it again.
I’m all about having an abundance mentality, but as Clint says, a man’s got to know his limits. There are only 24 hours in the day, and I don’t want to work even half of them. I’ve down the road of 90-hour work weeks, and I’m not going back. It’s not necessary. That means I’ve got to set boundaries. And that means I can’t be an expert at everything. But it’s hard to decide where to draw the line. Lots of things feel important. Here’s a partial list of what I feel like I should be an expert at, or more expert than I am.
- Marketing automation
- Conversion rate optimization
- Content marketing
- Public relations
- Website design
- Infographic design
- Print design
- Back end programming (PHP, .NET, MySQL, Java, Python, Ruby, SQL Server, etc.)
- Front end programming (HTML5, CSS, jQuery, etc.)
- Other stuff related to programming and frameworks (Jira, GitHub, WordPress, Drupal, Magento, etc.)
- Rackspace’s web hosting interface and features
- Social media management tools
- How to amplify content for ourselves and our clients using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and their Asia area equivalents
- Accounting (P&L, balance sheet, taxes, s-corp vs. c-corp vs. LLC, stock options, etc.)
- Legal stuff
- Employment regulations (for the US, various states in the US, and Hong Kong)
- Immigration process for hiring in Hong Kong
- Employee motivation
- Venture capital
- Angel investing
- Debt financing
- Working with researchers to increase my content creation capacity
- Personal organization
- Goal setting and management
- Content crafting
- Hiring a VA
Then there are things I don’t necessarily need to become more expert at, but they are things I’m trying to do that take time, things like:
- Talking with team members
- Interviewing potential team members
- Training team members
- Keeping in touch with clients
- Partner meetings
- Reading business books and articles to find out what I don’t know I don’t know
- Writing more for Forbes, Entrepreneur, etc.
- Trying to get into more publications to write more
- Keeping track of 15 monthly software subscriptions and whether they’re being utilized
- Updating financials
- Reading financial reports
- Tracking invoices
- Collecting from clients who have trouble paying on time
- Managing email accounts
- Managing domain name renewals and transfers
- Blogging here
- Blogging on my company’s website
- Interviewing entrepreneurs for pieces I’m writing
- Testing new phone system for company
- Purchasing equipment for team members
- Designing case studies
- Assisting with sales pitches
- Assisting with proposal creation
- Accepting LinkedIn connections
- Sending out LinkedIn invitations
- Scanning business cards
- Scanning business receipts
- Transferring financial bookkeeping in Hong Kong to new company
- Transferring financial bookkeeping to new company in the US
- Exploring speaking opportunities
- Cutting checks
- Putting together slide decks
- Choosing stock photography for articles, websites, slide decks, etc.
These are highly summarized and simplified lists. In many cases items have 20-30 sub-items, like “accounting.” Shouldn’t our books be clean, up to date, and correct in every way? Yeah, and do I have 100 hours to make that happen? Not so much. And of course this is just one part of my life. Every entrepreneur has to balance a list of business tasks and objectives like those above with his or her personal life.
So how does an entrepreneur handle all this and 10x more? Delegation. Prioritization. Organization. Part of that means there are things I just will never be an expert at. I won’t even be an amateur on some things. Anything legal is one area where I’m learning only what I have to. Why? Because it’s too complex and changes too much for me to possibly keep up. My solution is to pay a law firm to stay on top of things. Yes, I could double check everything they do. I could review every document in detail. And if I don’t, it might come back to bite me. But if I do, I might spend time doing something redundant and useless, when I could be writing the next article that helps us land a major account, or interviewing the next team member who will drive the business to new heights next year.
Most of the time I don’t know if my decisions are right or wrong. Sometimes right or wrong is circumstantial. If I hire a law firm and I don’t check their work, and they mess up, did I do wrong by not checking their work? But if I hire a law firm and they do a great job, and I don’t check their work, did I still mess up? My actions are the same in either scenario, and whether the law firm messes up or not isn’t in my control. Maybe the successful entrepreneurs are wise and better at what they do. Or maybe they’re the ones that take all the risks, and they happen to be the ones that hire the law firms that don’t mess up, the accounting firms that get it all correct, and happen to hire the right people at the right time. Maybe they’re lucky. Maybe they just don’t give up so they succeed simply by sticking around long enough. Or maybe they’re smart. Maybe they double check everything. Maybe they work hard to understand lots of things, and they never say “I don’t have time to become an expert at such and such…” I don’t know the answers today. Maybe someday I will. When I find them, I’ll let you know.Liked it? Share it!