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How To Create Operational Leverage & Buy Back Your Time

On creating leverage, hiring, and reclaiming your time & energy

You’re reading Create Leverage, a weekly newsletter sharing tips and tools to help coaches and experts turn their expertise into leverage so they can work less, make more, impact lives, and enjoy life.

Creating leverage is the name of the game.

It took me over 5 years of entrepreneurship to realize this.

And now it’s all I focus on because leverage makes everything else easier, better, and more fun.

You have your Dharma, your soul’s mission and calling, and you’re here to play it all out. To share the medicine that’s on your heart, to impact more lives, and to create the life you want while doing it.

But you’re also human so your time and energy are limited.

So “playing it all out” requires you to create leverage—to stay within your zone of genius.

I talk about 3 types of leverage you can create:

  1. Financial Leverage - money that creates more money for you

  2. Operational Leverage - systems and labor that create more time for you

  3. Energetic Leverage - beliefs that create more energy for you

I share how I create leverage (and how you can too) in my community, Dharma Labs.

In today’s letter, let’s talk about the second one: creating Operational Leverage to buy back your time.

Today At A Glance:

Creating Operational Leverage

There’s a silent role every entrepreneur plays.

Some realize it, some don’t.

When you do, how you operate starts to shift.

Alongside the role of being the entrepreneur, creator, and operator… you’re also playing the silent role of an Investor.

Seasoned entrepreneurs play this role more loudly, they invest their profits to create more profits.

Early-stage entrepreneurs who don’t have the financial leverage yet, play the investor role by investing their time, energy, and knowledge.

When you realize this, you’ll start to notice that every second, minute, and hour of your time and energy is being invested.

As an investor, you get to ask yourself: “is this investment yielding what I want based on my investment goals?”

If the answer is no, then you get to look at “how can I better invest my time, energy, and knowledge?”

Investment 101.

There is radical honestly you get to practice here by looking at where your time and energy are being invested and if it’s in the greatest service of your business, your dharma, and the life you want to create.

Radical honestly, then radical acceptance—especially if your answer is no.

Then radical responsibility is what follows.

To shift how and where you’re investing your time and energy.

And taking that a step further, to create operational leverage by buying back your time and energy to invest more in what matters most.

The 2 best ways to create operational leverage:

  • Hire to create labor that buys you back your time and energy

  • Create systems that replace labor with optimized efforts

Let’s talk about the first one: hiring.

The first question I hear a lot is “when should I hire?”.

When To Hire

I see many entrepreneurs following the traditional path of hiring when they feel their business needs a certain role.

Ex. when their marketing scales, hire a marketing person.

I’ve learned that the right time to hire is when your time and energy can be better invested in what it’s currently invested in.

Hire to buy back your time and energy.

If most of your time and energy is spent on administrative and operational tasks but could better be invested in marketing, then hire to buy back your time from admin tasks.

If it’s spent in marketing but could better be invested in creating better client results and experience, then hire for marketing to buy back your time.

The next question I hear is: “how do I know who to hire first (or next)?”

Who To Hire

Look at where your time and energy is currently being invested.

More specifically, look at where it’s being ineffectively invested.

Hire the person who can replace you there.

A tool and practice I get all my clients to do is the Time & Energy Audit. Grab the free tool here.

This will quickly tell you who you need to hire next.

If you don’t have a team yet, I recommend your first hire should be your EA (executive assistant).

To take off all the administrative and operational tasks off your plate.

Allowing you to invest your time and energy on tasks that grow your business.

How To Hire

This topic can be a whole newsletter on its own.

I’ll just make it easy for you, here’s a comprehensive Hiring Guide I created for one of my clients and partnered company, Atlas Assistants.

Which btw, if you need an EA, they’re the best in the game at training and staffing assistants.

And they’re the sponsors for today’s newsletter.

I’m supporting them with a pilot program we’re starting on Monday, March 4th and we’re looking for 10 Founders or Executives who want to turn their EA into an absolute rockstar.

We’ll train your assistant FOR YOU and have them install 11 proven systems that top entrepreneurs like you are using to get back 10-20 hours a week.

If that’s you, reply with the word PILOT PROGRAM and I’ll get you the details.

How To Set Up Your New Hire For Success

This is where operational leverage is created.

Sadly, most entrepreneurs fail at this stage.

Hiring someone, alone will not create operational leverage. You need to set them up to successfully help you reclaim your time and energy.

Here are some best practices I’ve used to help my clients build and scale 7-figure businesses with lean and self-managing teams.

Create Alignment on Role Expectations

If operational leverage is the goal, then it is the expectation.

Expectations can only be well met when they are well communicated.

Create alignment on the role expectations by clearly defining role responsibilities and key outcomes.

You can do this by creating a Role Scorecard for each role you hire.

Don’t just create the Role Scorecard based on the standards of the role title. Create it based on how this role is going to help you reclaim your time and energy.

Then assess candidates and hire based on this operationally leveraged Role Scorecard.

Make sure there is full alignment and commitment to the expectations.

Review the Role Scorecards often and keep updating it to match what you need to reclaim more of your time and energy.

Create a Roadmap for Success

To perform at their best and in flow, people need a balance of safety and challenge.

That means they need a level of clarity (what am I supposed to do and what’s expected of me).

And a level of challenge (what am I working towards that feels exciting and fulfilling).

You create this polarity of safety and challenge for people you hire by co-creating a Success Roadmap with them.

This can be a 30-60-90 Day Strategic Plan that’s tied to their Role Scorecard and your vision and goals for the business.

I recommend creating this Success Roadmap with all new hires after they complete the initial onboarding with you.

Paint clearly what success looks and feels like in this role for them… and for you (your reclaimed time and energy).

Define the Standard for Communication

I see entrepreneurs hiring to get back their time, only to fall into the trap of wasting MORE time and energy ineffectively communicating with their new hires.

We’ve all been there… where you’re hours deep into responding to slack messages and emails and no productive work has been done.

This is where you create operational leverage by having clear frameworks for our communication works.

Define how you want communication to work:

  • How tasks are assigned, received, and discussed

  • How problems are surfaced, discussed, and solved

  • How feedback is given, received, and integrated

  • How support is asked for and given

You do this with structure.

  • Weekly 1:1’s for performance review, feedback, and alignment on next steps

  • Start-of-day, end-of-day, and end-of-week reports

  • Meetings to review goals and progress

  • Dedicated communication channels

  • Tracking issues so nothing falls through the crack

  • Logging lessons learned for continuous improvement

Create a standard for excellence communication and you’ll waste less time and energy on unproductive communication.

Delegate Well & Give Better Feedback

Setting clear expectations is one thing, effectively delegating is another.

Operational leverage is created when you’re effectively delegating things off your plate in a way where they are achieving the results you want.

Many leaders and entrepreneurs struggle with letting go because of the fear of not getting the same results they would get if they just did it themselves.

They’ve delegated before, didn’t get the results they expected, and gave up there.

Personally, I believe this is a lack of radical responsibility.

If you want operational leverage, you need to take full ownership and responsibility for creating it.

That includes getting better at delegating and providing feedback and training.

Yes, this takes time. But operational leverage is created by investing time and energy to create more of it.

Delegate well. Provide feedback and training.

The 10-80-10 method of delegating is a great start.

  • Spend 10% of the time delegating by defining clearly the task and outcome. Paint the DoD (Definition of Done)

  • Spend 80% of the time allowing the person to execute

  • Spend the last 10% of the time reviewing the output. If it meets expectations, explain why and acknowledge. If it doesn’t, explain why and provide feedback and training.

Delegating is more about you than it is about the person you’re delegating to.

  • Are you delegating the right things?

  • Did you clearly define what you’re delegating?

  • Is the outcome and definition of success clear?

  • Have you provided them with everything they need to succeed?

  • Are you providing the right feedback to get the results you want?

  • Are you communicating in a way they fully understand?

Mastering the art of delegation is the most important skill in creating operational leverage.

Leverage is in the Processes

You’ll know you have operational leverage when you’re no longer actively part of processes that operate and grow the business.

And they continue to generate results.

This allows you to focus your time and energy on the processes that matter most in the current season of your business.

Each season will require you to focus on different things.

Operational leverage allows you to shift that focus each season knowing that when you shift your attention, the previous processes will continue to operate and create results as usual.

Setting up your new hire for success includes getting clear on what processes you are expecting them to take over. Not just a set of tasks, but ownership of processes.

I shared my framework for Process Mapping and Documentation in this article.

The goal here is to:

  • Create accountability to results

  • Never solve the same problems twice

  • See where systems and automations will be helpful

  • Create ease in replacing yourself

Better processes will set you free.

Wrapping It Up

As an entrepreneur and business owner, you’re by default an investor.

If it’s not investing financially into building assets that create more wealth and freedom.

Then it’s investing your time and energy to build operational leverage that creates more time and energy.

To reinvest in what matters most to create the financial leverage for the life you want.

If you want to level up your game with building leverage (financial, operational, and energetic)…

Consider joining my private membership community, Dharma Labs.

I created courses in there on building momentum, growing your coaching business, and leveraging AI. Will be launching a new course soon on creating operational leverage with systems and teams.

Plus, our special launch pricing is still on. See you inside!

Otherwise, I’ll see you in the next letter.

Your Pal,


Join the Dharma Labs Community

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To create leverage so you can work less, make more, impact lives, and enjoy your life.

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