How it started
I was ready for help a long time ago but kept pushing the idea away. I didn’t trust someone else to run my business and take some of the day-to-day decisions and tasks away from me. The longer I put it off hiring. The harder a decision it came to make until I made the decision to launch a new business The She Brief. Running Style Lobster Ltd and my talent roster as well as starting a new business was not feasible as a one-woman band.
My first hires
I took the plunge and hired someone to help start TSB. I needed help implementing the processes I needed to take my one person desktop style of working online; flesh out a Google drive and with solid processes and infrastructure a business requires to scale. It was an amazing move and really gave me the support I needed. To tease out the big vision from my head and start getting it on paper. Liberating!
My second hire came a few months later when The She Brief development was underway and more and more of my time was devoted to that. Style Lobster started to suffer. I wanted to show up online as much as possible and needed more support there to ensure everything was getting enough attention. I put out an ad for an assistant on my Instagram stories. After months of interviews and trials, I had hired my right-hand woman. If you’d like a blog on this process specifically then let me know in the comments!
Now with a dedicated person for each side of my business, it gave me way more room to sit at the top of the pyramid. Space to think about the bigger vision and freed up the room for me to make the bigger decisions.
So are you ready for help?
Do you never get to the end of your to-do list? Find yourself jumping from admin task to creative task as soon as inspiration hits, meaning you end up with a ton of unfinished projects? Do you end up dedicating more time to getting the end of your inbox each day than creating and developing your product? Do you work late more than half the working days in a week?
Answering yes to any of these questions means, you’re probably ready for help!
Where to start
Start by writing out a list of things you think are essential to running your business. These can be things that you either don’t have time for or no longer want to do. Now think about how long it would take to complete this list of tasks every week – 1 day? 2 days? Now you know roughly how many days you need to hire this person for – leave room for training if required.
Now, look for themes in your list. Is it quite admin based? You need a VA or a PA. Is it mostly social media – get a social media intern or assistant. CRM? Yuck! A CRM specialist. Hate doing your website updates/SEO and keep putting it off – a digital or CRM specialist. Is the list a bit of everything like mine was? You need a Generalist. Generalists tend to be the most common types of “first hire” for solopreneurs.
Generalists tend to be the most common types of “first hire” for solopreneurs.
I had a lot of applications for my assistant with specialities. I ended up hiring based on personality, drive, creativity, a good attitude and good writing skills. Also, the fact we had aligned passion and visions. Knowing I was hiring the personality not the CV I knew I would have to spend some time investing in them to teach them what I needed them to work on. This suited me because I see my generalist assistant as a long term hire. Yes, it’s more work in the interim but the pay off should be epic and I hope they grow and develop within my company. Hopefully, to the point where the second assistant comes along in a year or two.
Good places to look for your first hire: Task rabbit, Virtual PA sites, LinkedIn, posting an ad on Instagram. If you’re after an assistant with creative qualities, websites like The Dots or Arts Council UK are great.
Hiring does not mean paying someone a full-time salary. Diving into the deep end could leave you with financial strains and also having someone with not much to do. There is no shame in taking baby steps. You are running a business after all and the point of hiring help is to free up your time. So you can set your eye on the big picture and immerse yourself in more executive-level decisions and get your head out of the day-to-day.
Investing in your employees
Is it fair to expect that they will be your carbon copy and able to do the exact same job as you? Probably not, especially if you are hiring at assistant level.
The way for your new hire to have the smoothest immersion into your brand as poss is having good systems in the backend of your business. No, they are not you and never will be but with processes and systems in place they can follow procedures and complete tasks you’d normally do but need to delegate. It will take time for them to learn how you like this done and suss out the vibe but with these processes. But if you have this framework in place they should pick it up quicker and shorten your training periods.
Get fully digital
Teaching and implementing digital systems and making sure everyone follows these diligently so everything is traceable and trackable. This is important in a non-pandemic world but ESSENTIAL when your team is mostly remote because of lockdown.
This was a huge learning curve for me this year. Working alone as a one-woman band I had developed some pretty bad habits of saving things to desktop folders and using my inbox as a revolving to-do list. It worked to a point but it’s not smart when you have others helping you. Things become inaccessible and also if my laptop died tomorrow I lose everything. Also, using your inbox as a To-do list means it’s constantly refreshing itself and adding more tasks! I now use Trello for my team’s to-do list, as well as my own so everyone can see when things have been completed.
2020 was the year of making Google Drive my betch. It has truly opened my eyes to how amazingly efficient you can be at running a company. Especially during a pandemic with a mostly remote team.
Hiring was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done for my business.
Scary, but worth it!
Hiring was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done for my business. You are dealing with real-life people with feelings, hopes, dreams and ofc their own ideas. Many people suffer the dreaded imposter syndrome when hiring thinking that they aren’t deserving of the role as “the boss” or help in general. I think I had a bit of this. I am a bossy mutherfucker but when I was laying down the law, it was with clients I only had fleeting or sporadic relationships with.
Now I deal with the same faces every day and finding a balance between teaching, authority and nurturing can be tough. I always hope that my employees enjoy working for my businesses. There was a lot to learn for me in this role as an employer too. However, it has been an essential step in scaling and so far I have zero regrets and doubt I ever will. In fact, we are so efficient as a team it’s hard to think back to how I used to work. Hiring has also made me a lot more productive because I have people needing things from me. Questions needan answer so I have to be accessible, accountable and professional. A leader and an authority.
Eventually (most likely this year) I will have to hire again and this time it will be more specialised roles like CRM manager or a BDM.
Once you get a taste for the growth you can achieve with more women power you’ll want to keep on expanding.
Let me know if you’re planning your first hire or you can resonate with any of these words in the comments.
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