Every business starts with the owner ‘doing’ everything – doing every job from bookkeeping to toilet cleaning (I remember those days well especially when I owned my retail store).

As a business owner, you are wired to get stuff done; to ensure that the business gets traction.  So, you learn the technical stuff; you learn how to serve your clients; you learn how to sell; you learn and do everything.

And then, all that doing becomes a curse because YOU become the bottleneck in your business.

And now you’re probably asking …. But Diana, how is that possible?  Let me explain by sharing a couple of examples.  Janice, Cynthia and Corrine (not their real names) are examples of the curse of the doer’.

Janice came to me as the owner of a multi-million dollar business, with numerous employees, and yet she was consistently doing simple administrative tasks such spending her precious time making travel arrangements for multiple conferences.   Her time was not focused on being the visionary leader that her business required for its next level growth.

Cynthia, the owner of a multi-six figure professional firm, was reading EVERY email that came into the office even though she had half a dozen employees.  She had no time to lead her business to the next level.

Corrine, the owner of a 7-figure business with 3 employees and who outsourced her bookkeeping, was staying late at the office to input orders into the system.  She was doing everything; leaving no time to grow her business.

Each of these women had fallen into the curse of the doer. Despite having significant success at one time or another in their business – they were now stuck. None of these business owners had learned to step into their role of CEO – they were still in ‘doing’ tasks that they should have been delegating.

Let’s use the Growmetertm to explain in further detail.  You see there are basically 4 stages of business growth which I call employee, manager, CEO, Legacy.

Growmeter - Diana Lidstone

Employee stage is where the business is in survival mode; and there is only one employee – the owner.  So, the owner does everything or as I like to say the owner is the Chief Everything Officer.  You will be doing all the administrative & operations tasks; sales & marketing; customer fulfillment; and customer service.  If you have time, you might do some business growth & development.

Manager stage is where the business is finally making some money so the owner can hire or outsource. I call this stability mode as it’s the first opportunity you have stable enough revenue to delegate some duties off your plate.  Usually the first type of tasks hired out are administrative & operations tasks such as bookkeeping.  But the ultimate goal is for you to work in your zone of genius – to delegate everything else.  The goal is for you to lead your company to further growth.

CEO stage is the stage where the business is starting to scale; and there is a team of employees. In this stage, the goal is that YOU focus on those activities which drive the growth of the company — this could be that your main role is to write books, content or speak to drive the growth.  The job of the owner/CEO is to be the visionary and to point the business in the right direction. It is NOT the job of the CEO to be doing administrative tasks, customer service, or even customer fulfillment – these are tasks which can be delegated or hired out.

Legacy stage is the success stage of the business where you have brought your business to realize its potential. You might be thinking of selling the company, or even diversifying.

The curse of the doer starts happening at the manager stage but really manifests itself in the CEO stage.  What happens is that although the business is at the CEO stage of scaling, the owner is still at the employee stage of doing administrative tasks or even customer service tasks when they should be focused more on driving the business forward.

So how can you avoid the curse of doing:

  1. clearly understand YOUR role as CEO and embrace it
  2. decide which tasks the CEO should focus on to drive the business
  3. delegate the other tasks to employees & give them the responsibility to make it happen
  4. spend time strategizing the big picture growth for your business

Sounds simple right?  Not really but those CEOs who want to scale & grow their business will look for support to implement those four steps.


Do you know a business owner who is overwhelmed with day-to-day tasks and stuck in the ‘curse of doer’ but has a passion to grow and scale?  I’d love to be able to support them.



Other blogs on similar topics:

Promote Yourself to CEO: https://dianalidstone.com/blog/2019/06/11/promote-yourself-to-ceo/

Employee, Manager or CEO: https://dianalidstone.com/blog/2019/04/09/employee-manager-or-ceo/

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