Invisible work

As a founder you wear a lot of hats. Sometimes the jobs you have to do are not always evident to the whole team.

Jobs like deciding on a name for a new project, deciding on the next project to focus on, deciding on who to hire next. Often with these jobs, the team don't see anything until they're complete, and the result is often as small as a single sentence, perhaps even just a single word.

Unlike those who are full-time developers, or full-time designers, or sales people, as a founder some of your toughest work – some of the jobs that require the most time and energy from you – can be almost entirely invisible to the rest of the team.

Just as an iceberg is almost entirely invisible to a boat on the surface, your team likely only see the tip of most of the "admin" work you do – the decisions that come from hours, days or weeks of thinking, planning and sketching.

What makes invisible work difficult to communicate is it's often not terribly clear how close to completion it is. Unlike designing a web page, or working on a sale, showing your progress on tasks like deciding on a new direction for the company, or figuring out your next major feature can often be impossible until they're 100% complete.

My one suggestion would be this – write it down. Even if you have nothing to show for your progress, write down your thoughts and feelings at the end of the day based on your findings towards the task at hand. Even better, run those thoughts by a colleague or co-founder.

Some of the hardest work you do as a founder is invisible until it's complete. Finding a way to quantify it and get feedback on it can help make that work more visible. It seems the more visible you make the task the closer it gets to completion.

James Gill

CEO and co-founder of GoSquared.

London, UK