If you’re looking to hire the next team member then I’m going to be sharing my hiring and leadership experience in this week’s podcast.
Listen to find out:
– When is the best time to hire your first member of staff
– Who you need to hire
– When is the best time to hire someone for your team
Plus, I’ll be covering some of the considerations you need to make about hiring a team, including whether or not to hire staff or contractors. And I’ll be dropping some truth bombs about some of the advice you hear around hiring a team.
When to hire a team
I’m talking about hiring because I am currently hiring two new staff members. While I’m not a specialist in hiring, I do have a lot of experience in hiring a team, direct employees and contractors. Firstly, I’d like to address when the best time is to hire.
My business partner Andy has always said to hire early. I have learned to agree with this yet would like to warn you that while you need to step out of your comfort zone to grow. If your business has not been validated yet, do not hire. If you struggle to get money into your business, you are simply adding to your outgoings and stresses.
Unless you know you have a product that you can get sales for and have your business foundations in place, you should hold. Except if the hire you need to make is a business coach, as this will help you get those foundations in place. In this instance, a team member doesn’t need to be an employee to support. It can be a different kind of support that helps you put foundations in place. This would be a smart investment.
A business coach was my first investment. I was struggling and not making traction in my business and I knew I could go in circles or get some help. Over the years I’ve worked with several people to do this and I still do hire support in this way.
Find the right help for the right time
Let’s say you’ve got your business help and you’re getting clients and you have your own systems in place to make money. Now, you need to think about the kind of help you need. Consider what you shouldn’t be doing. Think like a CEO. For example, you do not need to do your own accounts unless you want to learn this skill. Get rid of this as soon as possible as it is a time-suck.
If we need something we can’t do ourselves, then we need to hire someone. Let’s say you’re not tech-savvy but you need tech to get moving. Some people like getting rid of the stuff they don’t like doing but consider the stages. What are you not qualified or experienced enough to do?
I’m tech-savvy and I do have help but early on, I did everything myself.
What is necessary right now
Also consider what is necessary right now. A website might not be a necessity at the moment. What is your client generation strategy? Unless your website is a key part of this then don’t waste time on it until you need it. For example, it was imperative for EverTrek to have a website as this is how people would need to buy. Whereas, I was able to build my own website in the beginning, I didn’t need a website. It was an extra piece of credibility.
I could make high-ticket sales without a website and by using social media. It’s about where you put your resources and use them in the right way. And it is frustrating seeing people put their resources into a website at the beginning of their journey when they don’t have the resources, the messaging or the validation for their business.
It’s frustrating when I know I can help with messaging, positioning, and visibility and they want to get their website done first. If you don’t get your messaging sorted before your website then you’ll end up redoing it after your messaging. If you are in this situation, pause and get the messaging sorted first.
Think about the order of things
Consider what order you need to do things in – what is imperative right now? What are the struggles and what challenges do you have?
I didn’t start hiring someone until three years into the business because it doesn’t take a lot of manpower to keep things going. A lot of people try to hire too soon because they believe they need to be constantly visible. This simply isn’t true.
When you have a fear that you’re not putting yourself out there enough, it’s actually about quality not quantity. And it’s about what you’re saying, not how often you are saying it. Look at the strategy about what is needed in your business right now and what you need to hire to help with it.
One of my first hires was for tech. Three years into my business I was making enough money to invest in someone to help with the tech. If you’re starting out then you have more time on your hands to do it yourself. Part of being an entrepreneur is grafting and figuring things out yourself.
Get systems and processes in place first
Hiring goes wrong when you don’t have systems and processes in place. Then you give the job to someone who is under-qualified. If you’re hiring a doer and you don’t know what to do, you are either giving them carte blanche to create whatever – it will become a money pit. Without systems, if it goes wrong and you blame your hire, it is because they did as you told them to and you don’t know why it’s gone wrong. You need the system in place.
You need to know all your systems yourself before you can delegate them to others. And you can be in your business model for years before you decide to scale. Many people hire too early because they want to scale.
A lot of people will say that they don’t like marketing or sales but those are the two things that you need to be close to. It doesn’t mean doing it all on your own – you can get consultants and business coaches to help you – but you need clarity.
Anyone can sell so it’s a cop-out to say that you don’t like selling. If you don’t like selling, go and get a job. The fundamentals of making a successful business owner are getting a grasp of sales and marketing. As you grow, you need to have help with marketing and content.
I have help with content marketing but I have hundreds of blogs where she can get my tone of voice, she understands my content pillars, everything is in place for her to do her job. I’m not saying I don’t like doing content, she is using me as the anchor point.
Understand your business
You have the be grounded and understand your business before you can hire in help. Unless its consultancy to create those systems and processes.
Once you have the systems, get help. You don’t need to be scheduling posts or repurposing content, get someone else to do that. It depends on you as to how you build this team but the goal to build an empire-business is to make yourself redundant from the business and make it sellable.
If you can create standard operating procedures, you can start slotting people into the cogs of your business. Even if you have a lifestyle business, it’s about understanding what you need to create the lifestyle you want. You can’t jump from start up to lifestyle, you need to work up to it.
For me, I am time-poor so need to delegate anything that takes up my time so I can focus on the strategy, being the compass and steering the right people in the right direction.
The right people
Make sure you interview and don’t go for the first who comes along. You also need to understand the skillset. I had delegate to people all over the world and sometimes people hire abroad because it’s cheap. If it’s just scheduling content online then go for it. The problem is when you delegate the whole thing and it doesn’t quite work out.
This has been my experience. When I’ve delegated to people where English was not the first language and then creating content, it was no longer my voice. The skillset was not there in the terms of English level and grammar. And they were not a copywriter. This is not to say you cannot find these skills elsewhere in the world with non-native English speakers, it is my experience.
I now have a content manager as part of team and I trust this person and she is great at grasping a voice. She works across a couple of our businesses and the voice she write in for each business is very different. Fiona is a copywriter and therefore has the skills for this. I pay a higher premium for this service but I can delegate the whole thing.
Don’t try to be too cheap. Think about what you’re getting. The same is true for accountants. I delegated my accounts to someone who was not qualified in an attempt to save some money and it backfired. Think about who you are hiring and if that is your skillset.
Don’t be afraid to interview – many will give a trial and that’s not enough – think about the questions you need to ask to make sure that they have to skills. Also make sure your contracts are watertight and those expectations are set for both of you. Have this in place before you start working with someone as relationships can go sour. If you are a service provider, make sure you have it in place for those you work with.
Often when you are working beyond scope it is because you have not put boundaries in place for where you will go up to. You need to be clear about your service levels. It’s about being transparent and direct.
Also think about how many other clients they work with and do they have the time to work with you? Are you paying for the time or are you paying for the job to get done. I will always pay for the job to get done rather than the time they spend on it.
When I work with a done-for-you service business, I always get them to think about an option about paying for outcome over time. It relieves the pressure of awkwardness. Price your services to account for the time it takes to do a job. You need a level of understand of how long it will take. And you might need to agree a trial but you can use that to create an agreement moving forward.
Employee versus Contractor
The difference between hiring an employee over a contractor is that an employee works solely for you. They have an emotional connection with your business and you. They have more dedication and commitment to you. You will also find contractors, like my content manager, who is completely dedicated to all her clients. She is conscious about her time and how many people she works with. I wouldn’t know she had other clients.
There are people who exist like this but they are rare. The downsides to employment is that sometimes when you are not employing for a contractor or specialist, they might have only some of the skillset you need. You need to invest in this person to train them. What is right for your business at this time? Do you have the time to develop this person? Or is it that you need someone to guide you more?
You need to consider this when employing someone. I would always say that there is a lengthy probation period. I would say six months as I don’t think three months gives you enough time to make a real long-term commitment for both of you. And have a rigorous interview process – at least two of them. Also read, The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Leoncini to get the right team members on board.
You can apply this to both employees and contractors. They talk about the three team attributes that each person should have: humility, hungry to do more, and smart in terms of emotional intelligence. This will help you develop interview questions.
Even then you might make hiring mistakes. We’ve done this before and its part of running a business. I’d say stick with contractors to begin with and then move to employees.
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