When I started out with my online business in 2010, I was a one-woman show. I messed with the backend of WordPress to make new pages on my site, I duct-taped graphics together using Keynote, I wrote all of the content, I did all of the bookkeeping, I sent every email, I responded to all customer service.
Most of us start out in business wearing all of the hats, but if we keep them all on for too long, we’ll eventually stall out.
8 years later, we have a small but mighty team of people who help us run our 7-figure online business. Over the years I’ve identified what I and only I can do and what I truly love doing (one of those things is writing to you like this), and now someone else does pretty much everything else it takes to run our business.
There was a lot of transformation and trial-and-error over the 8 years in between, and today I’d love to share some of the lessons we’ve learned the hard way about growing a rockstar online business team so that hopefully I can save you some time and angst.
Lesson One: Hire before you’re ready.
I get it. Paying someone to do something can feel scary, especially when you’re not making that much money to begin with. But you will not be making that much money for waaaaay longer than necessary if you keep doing it all yourself.
Fact: Freeing up your time to do higher leverage things requires outsourcing.
Spending more time doing higher leverage things will increase your revenue.
When you begin outsourcing the things that aren’t as high leverage and pay someone less than you could make an hour doing your high leverage things, the math just makes sense.
Hiring someone before you feel ready jumpstarts your revenue, and while the numbers may not make sense on day one, sooner rather than later your increase in revenue from your not being face-down in minutiae will justify the hire.
The mistake most people make is that they wait until they feel ready to hire someone, and then they end up waiting forever with subpar results and revenue that feels paltry compared to the amount of time and effort they’re putting into their business.
(If you know in your bones that you’re not ready to hire yet, at least start making a list of things that someone could do for you now so that when you do hire someone, they can begin to take things off your plate immediately. But I would encourage you to have a little “come to Jesus” with your bones to find out if you’re just letting your fear get in the way.)
Lesson Two: Interview multiple candidates before hiring someone.
I know this one may sound like it’s coming from Captain Obvious, but if you have Golden Retriever-level enthusiasm like I do, it’s easy to fall in love. Fast. And then hire someone too fast without really giving it enough thought or considering all of your options.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before: Hire slow. Fire fast.
You’ve heard it before because it’s true. When it comes to hiring, slow your roll.
Lesson Three: Over-communicate to the point of being annoying.
Be clear. Be clear about how this person will get paid and how much. Be clear about her/his role and responsibilities. Be clear about your expectations. Be clear about when those expectations aren’t being met.
Despite my deep belief in psychics and the power of intuition, no one can read our minds, especially not our employees.
So if you want something, ask. The clearer you are up front, the less cleaning up of mistakes you and your team have to do in the long run.
Lesson Four: Don’t hire yourself.
Surround yourself with people who have different skill sets than you do. Yes, it may feel compelling to hire people who are just like you because you feel an immediate sense of kinship with them. But that won’t do you any good. Your business already has a you. You need people who can do the things you can’t do, or at least the things you don’t want to do or aren’t very good at. And if you hire someone just like you, they won’t want to do or be very good at those things either.
Look for complimentary team members, not clones.
If you follow those 4 tips you won’t waste all your time and money hiring (and then firing) the wrong people. Instead, you’ll be able to build a team that supports your vision exquisitely and makes you feel honored to work with them every day!
You’ll get a lot more traction with a team than by yourself.
Do what you can to get help as soon as you can, so you can help more people.
OVER TO YOU:
Which of these lessons is most helpful to you? What other questions do you have about building your team? Let me know in the comments!