Between writing a great business plan and preparing yourself for success, you can do a LOT to mitigate the risks of starting a business.
Free Business Launch Checklist < Link to Free Business Launch Checklist >
5 Field Tested No Bullsh*t Principles To Make It In Any Field < Link To 5 No BS Principles Lead Magnet >
But, here’s the truth: Things are going to go wrong.
There’s no way around it. There will be challenges during the start-up and growth phase that you could have never anticipated.
Building a rock solid team is a crucial piece of the success puzzle.
80% of startups fail. Why? Because getting started is hard.
Even entrepreneurs who set out with a co-founder or a great advisory board soon realize they just can’t do it all themselves.
By now, you know I’m a HUGE fan of getting entrepreneurs to both plan and delegate.
Still not convinced you need to build a team right from the start? Check this out and discover how delegating can help you leverage both your time and talent for success HERE. < Link To “To Do Or To Delegate >
Your team is going to do more than just free up your time. Successful entrepreneurs know the right team is essential for handling
Social Media Outreach
Growth Strategy & Scaling
Before we get started, I should tell you that every type of entrepreneur is going to face a different set of mental barriers to building a great team. If you haven’t taken my Queen Quiz yet, click HERE < Link To Queen Quiz > first before reading this article to discover what kind of entrepreneur you are.
I believe building a team CRITICAL to your success. So, I’m covering a lot of ground in this guide. If you need specific advice right now, here are the hot links:
Three Success Tips for Building Your BEST Start-Up Team
Yes, a great team will make your life easier.
But, building one? Maybe not as easy as you’d think.
It takes time, money, and effort from you to make sure you get set up with the right people for your vision.
In my own ventures, I’ve come down to three fundamental tips that get the whole process started out right.
Here they are,
#1. Take a Hard Look at Yourself
This means, taking a hard look at...
It’s time to take a look at your long list of talents...and an even closer look at what’s missing from that list.
If you’re going to build a great team, you need to have a clear objective on what needs to be done.
Often, that means leaving some very important tasks in the hands of someone else. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses means coming to grips with not being able to do it all- and trusting someone else’s professional advice.
We’ll dive more into how to weed out the posers from the professionals later in this article.
For now, step back and be honest with what you are not good at so you can focus on what needs hired out first.
Your Personality Type.
Being honest also means understanding your own personality...and what types of personalities are going to be best for you and your vision.
Do you need someone who can take orders and just get shit done without a lot of management?
Are you looking for someone who’s skills compliment yours? Or someone who is willing to push back on your ideas?
And what about energy? As a high-velocity go-getter, you might want a more no-nonsense VA who can keep a level head while you’re bursting at the seams.
Likewise, if you’re more of a behind-the-scenes type, a bubbly extrovert will be a better choice for a VA handling your media outreach.
A new business is all-consuming. Success means working closely with your team, so make sure you’re hiring people you enjoy!
“I can’t afford help right now!”
It’s easy to get hung up on budget when talking about hiring.
Yes- it’s good to know what you can afford now. But your current bank account isn’t the best monitor for what you need to hire first.
Instead, you need to make the best choices for your time and energy. Answer this one question instead: What is going to give you the best ROI (return on investment)?
In economics, this is called “opportunity cost”. Your time is the only thing you can’t get more of...so unless you have the budget to hire everything out all at once (!), you’ve got to determine what opportunity (or in this case, which task to hire) will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
A word of caution: this doesn’t mean hiring out more tasks at a cheaper cost just to get them off your plate.
Rather, look at your lists of weaknesses and determine:
What’s essential to your business start up that you CAN’T do yourself.
What will free up the MOST time for you.
What will make your business EASIER for you to manage.
It’s a little tricky.
That’s why coaching can be so useful to first-time entrepreneurs. Schedule a free 15 min phone call with me HERE < Link to Consult Call > and I can help you sort out what your need to hire now...and what should wait until your business is producing a solid revenue stream.
#2. Do Not Hire Your Friends
Tip #2...don’t hire your friends or family.
The people who love you are NOT the best place to get good feedback.
They’ll either want to support you so much that everything you say will be a “great idea”...or they’ll discourage necessary risks because they don’t understand your vision.
And, do I have to mention what happens when you butt heads?
It’s tempting to hire friends or family to either help them out with a job or take advantage of some cheap labor… but take my advice:
Don’t sabotage your start-up!
Hire professionals YOU respect and trust so that YOU have the support you need to succeed.
#3. Don’t Build Your Team For The Start-Up Phase
When your budget is tight, it’s hard to walk that line of “What do I need?” vs “What can I afford?”
Hiring inexperienced help can look like a great deal...but buyer beware.
Really take a close look at their situation. When they say “new to freelancing”, do they mean they have years of experience and are just striking out on their own?
Or are they in their first semester of graphic design?
Big difference, right?
Later in this article, I’ll break down the most important questions you need to ask when interviewing a freelancer.
For now, let’s just say...make sure you hire people who have the talent-level to scale with your business as it grows.
So, you’re ready to get started.
….You know what your strengths and weakness are….
….You aren’t going to hire your bff's daughter to design your website…
...and you’re committed to building a team that can handle your business as it grows.
Before we dive into who you need to hire and how, there are SO MANY different types of roles to think about. Mentors, coaches, consultants...what exactly do they all do?
Freelancers, Employees, Consultants, Coaches & Mentors…What’s The Difference?
You are surrounded and supported by your team.
Some of them will be experts who know more about a specific part of your business than you.
Some will be guides or colleagues...people who have been there before, who support you during rough times and help you find the best path to success.
Others will be people you hire out, lead, or coordinate to create growth day after day.
You need all of these to succeed.
When you’re building your team, having some idea of what each role is called and what they do can help you find the right people for the job.
Here’s a quick break down on the difference between the types of relationships successful entrepreneurs cultivate to create amazing businesses.
What Is A Mentor?
A mentor is usually a seasoned entrepreneur. Someone who has “been there”, made mistakes, found success, and can give you insight into the growth process.
Another advantage? Mentors can introduce you to a network of people who might normally be out of your reach.
It takes time to create a relationship with a mentor.
Their time is highly valuable, but usually they are giving it to you because they want to “pay forward” the people who helped them find success. Because you aren’t paying for their time, your access to them can be limited by what energy they have available.
Mentors are great, but you can’t always get the immediate responsiveness you need when you run up against a problem. They might not have the amount of time you really need to get your business on solid footing.
That’s where having a great coach comes in.
What Is A Business Coach?
Hey! That’s me.
I’m a business coach and I absolutely LOVE it.
Think of your business coach as your guide. Just like a sports coach, business coaches are there to
Help you assess your talents.
Create a strategy for success that’s unique to your business.
Keep you on track along the way.
Unlike mentors, a coach is ALWAYS there to back you up.
Some coaches specialize by industry (tech, fashion, brick and mortar, etc), business phase (start up, mid level, enterprise level), or by demographic. I specialize in helping women create successful businesses both online and brick and mortar.
What’s the difference between an employee and a freelancer?
An employee is someone you’re hiring as a business. You have a position (cashier, secretary, etc.) that is always going to need to be filled and they fill it. You pay taxes on their work, usually through a payroll company, and issue them paychecks, W-4s, etc.
A freelancer might work with you long term...but they also can be project-based. Freelancers are specialized. Think graphic design, content writing, VA, etc. When hiring a freelancer, you negotiate cost, either per project or per hour, and they are responsible for their own taxes.
Freelancers can run as little as $10-20/hr (for a VA) to $65/hr (for a social media manager) to $150/hr (for a content manager). It just depends on their experience, skill level, and the results they historically deliver to clients like you.
What Is A Consultant?
A consultant is a highly specialized freelancer that can help you with a specific problem.
Does your email list only have a .05% open rate? You would hire a conversion consultant to help you fix the problem.
Are you creating a secondary product to reach a new market in your line? A brand strategist or brand consultant can help you seamlessly tie the new product into your existing brand.
Before we dive into the “how-tos” of hiring, let’s look at what your BIGGEST challenges are going to be for your entrepreneurial style so you know how to create your best team.
Haven’t taken the Business Queen Quiz yet? Go ahead and click HERE < Link to Quiz >
The Biggest Challenges For Your Queen Type
Hiring out can be a tough-choice for Alpha Queens.
You’re not only a natural learner but a doer who just wants to get shit done...that means you’re used to “just figuring it out” on the fly.
And hey, it’s great that you can “figure it out”. But that skill is a double-edged sword. Alpha Queens are at the HIGHEST risk for failure due to burnout.
But you know that already. You’ve been experiencing the stress of “doing it all” since you were assigned your first group-project in grade school!
The combination of never sitting still, being a gifted learner, and the extreme ownership you have of your vision is going to make it difficult for you to build your team.
But you need one.
You need one just as much...if not MORE...than the other queen types.
Because you’ve got everything you need at your fingertips to get your business off the ground...but you DON’T have the unlimited resources of time and emotional energy you need to make it really succeed.
This means: If you fail, it’s going to cost you MORE than an entrepreneur that fizzles out in the startup phase. You’re at the highest risk of failure during your business’ growth phase...which means failing harder both financially and emotionally.
If you could only add TWO people to your team, here’s who you should hire:
#1. A Coach
You need a business coach or mentor who can
give you insight into the what you do best
and help you channel your energy to create the best ROI.
Discovering where to put your time is KEY to keeping you healthy throughout the rapid growth of your business. A great coach will help you make the most of your talent.
#2. A Virtual Assistant (VA)
Alpha Queens feel energized when they feel like what they are doing has a purpose.
Answering emails, scheduling customers or clients, and processing sales can be fun...until it’s not.
Avoid the monotony that leads to the signature Alpha Queen frustration and burnout. Use your skills instead to create a streamlined framework for your business processes- and then hire out their management ASAP.
Protip: Look for a VA who’s personality type fits the brand of your business so they can act as the “face” when you aren’t there.
You are 100% about fulfilling a greater purpose and willing to do whatever it takes to bring your vision to the world.
But...what will it take?
To a Lifestyle queen, the step by step process can look a little muddy. You don’t know exactly what to do next, and that’s frustrating!
A Lifestyle Entrepreneur is at a high risk of failure due to, you guessed it: never getting the vision off the ground.
You are so good at understanding the greater purpose that your vision gets muddy when you try to get people on board. It’s easy for you to inspire others, but you need concrete help to get real results.
It’s time to call in the pros. If you can only add two people to your team, here’s where you should start:
#1. A Brand Expert
This could be a coach, a content writer, or a visual branding expert- depending upon your industry.
You need someone who can listen to your story, understand your message, and...no offense… “translate” it into something less-dynamic people can wrap their heads around.
You have all the passion you need to succeed. Now get someone on board to help you create a strong brand vision for your business.
#2. A Conversion or Sales Expert
Again, this position could have a lot of titles depending on your industry.
If you’re selling tools or product online, you’ll want to find a conversion copywriter. If you’re working in-person, find someone who can coach you in creating a great process for one-on-one sales.
In the end, you need someone who can help you create the revenue you need to sustain your passion.
You’re ready to smash through barriers and astound the world with your mission. You’re a BIG PICTURE thinker and you have a sixth-sense when it comes to knowing exactly what it’s going to take to get things done.
The problem is, unlike the Alpha Queen, you need to be 100% in your element to thrive.
Yes, you can do it all. But should you?
As a vision queen, your biggest risk of failure comes from abandoning a business when it starts to intrude too much on your personal space.
You’re fine with leaving things behind because you value yourself...but that can also mean leaving your best opportunities on the table.
You are all about control. But you NEED to let go. Delegation and automation are the keys to your lasting success.
If you are just starting to build your team, you definitely need:
#1. A Strategy-Oriented Coach
Find yourself a coach who specializes in automation right from the start.
They can guide you on,
Which of your talents will have the biggest impact on your vision.
Where to start hiring out.
A coach who specializes in business strategy will be able to connect you to the best software, programs, and tools for your vision- as well as point you toward what services you need to hire out first.
Are you ready to start building your business’s dream team? Check out my 2019 Quick Guide that gives you my favorite platforms to find great help now HERE. < Link to 2019 Quick Guide >
How To Interview a Consultant or Freelancer for Your Start-Up
Whether you start an online business or a brick and mortar, at some point you are going to need to turn to the virtual world to find the best talent for the task at hand.
But all of those listicles on “25 top interview questions to ask”? They don’t work when hiring online.
Unlike hiring an employee for a job, you don’t need to know if the person is a morning person, if they fit into your business culture, or if they can count the money in the cash drawer.
There’s only ONE THING THAT MATTERS when you go to hire a freelancer or consultant,
You want results.
And you need to ask questions that will help you choose the best person to get what you want.
While the questions you ask might change depending on the job, here are the three best questions to ask when interviewing a freelancer,
#1: Can I See Samples Of Your Work?
Most freelancers keep a running portfolio or project roll and are happy to showcase previous projects. Do me a favor and ACTUALLY look through them!
Just like calling references when hiring an employee, you should always review provided samples of work!
Keep in mind, some freelancers have to work under NDA. This is especially true for people who specialize in certain industries (medical or nutritional supplements, government), or certain sized companies (large corporations).
Even if a freelancer can’t provide you with a project that is exactly like what you are looking for, they should be able to give you a few things to show their level of competency.
#2: What Tools Do You Use?
This is a GREAT question when it comes to software-related gigs. Programs like Infusionsoft, SEMRush, or even Wordpress can have a huge learning curve.
You want to make sure whomever you hire is proficient in the tools you are already using for your business.
#3. How Do You Measure Results?
Or better yet, TELL THEM how YOU want them measured!
Do you expect a certain click through rate from the Facebook Ad they set up? Are you wanting to get to 1,000 subscribers in the next six months? What KPIs are you going to use to measure a project’s success?
Talking about how you want to measure success BEFORE the project begins can help vet out inexperienced freelancers and give the pros an idea of what they need to bring to the table.
Oh, and here’s two more success tips for interviewing freelancers or business consultants:
Be CLEAR about deliverables, terms, and payments BEFORE agreeing to a project.
Are you expected to pay upfront?
Do you need certain file types?
How many revisions are included? Do they charge extra for correspondence?
These are all things you need to wrap up before getting started.
Get YOURSELF Prepared!
Remember, you are hiring professional help and you want to create ongoing relationships with great people. After all, once you find someone awesome, you save yourself the time of posting jobs and going through interviews!
Be considerate of their time and go into the interview knowing what you want.
If you don’t know what you want, pay your coach and get everything together before posting the job.
Finding Your Perfect Coach
Have you ever hired a personal trainer? Or a nutritionist?
Then you know EXACTLY what I mean when I say it’s a little different than hiring someone to design your logo.
For one, it’s personal. Just like having a nutritionist, be prepared to be 100% honest with your coach. Warts and all.
Secondly, it’s long term. You can’t expect a personal trainer to transform your body in a single week, or even a month. The amount of time it takes for you to get to your goals is going to depend on how hard you work and how big those goals are.
And finally, it’s ongoing. Once you have successful habits and systems in place, once you reach those preliminary goals, you’re going to love having the resources and accountability a coach can give you to keep growing.
All of these things make finding a coach a little different than hiring a VA or a project manager.
My advice? Most coaches, myself included, offer a free consult call. In fact, you can schedule a time to talk with me HERE. < Link to Schedule Consult Call >
A lot of these consult calls are short...ten or fifteen minutes. For a new entrepreneur, it can be a LOT of pressure to make such an important decision in such a short interview.
So what’s the best way to choose a coach?
Schedule Consult Calls with Multiple Coaches
Don’t be afraid to schedule consult calls with more than one coach.
Everyone is different. Different specialities, different levels of response, different personalities. Just because you don’t click with one coach doesn’t mean they aren’t the best, they just aren’t the best fit for you.
Remember: You want to find the best fit for YOU and your business!
Are you struggling with sales? Are you feeling overworked?
While on the consult call, let your potential coach know the biggest and most immediate challenges you are facing. Ask them if they’ve helped clients in the past with these problems, or have faced them in their own business.
Set Your Expectations
Prevent disappointment by letting your potential coach know what you expect before you make a commitment.
Expectations can include things like,
Level Of Involvement: How much do you expect them to be involved? Are you going to be sending them daily emails...or hopping on an hour call once a month to keep on task?
Price: Again, be honest with your business’ current financial situation. Hiring a coach might seem like a stretch, but not if you come away confident knowing that you and your coach have a plan for success!
Your Level of Commitment: If you aren’t ready to quit your day job, don’t make it sound like you are. Your coach needs to know your personal level of commitment so they can help you design a plan for success around YOU and YOUR NEEDS. No one is going to judge you if you can only commit to 5 or 10 hours a week to building a new business...but you should let them know upfront!
Finally, Just DO IT.
Trust me. Working with a great coach will be the BEST decision you have ever made for your business. Make the decision to commit to a trial period that’s right for you and still long enough to see results. Then, just do it.
Looking for more info? Check out INC’s 10 Things to Look for in a Business Coach.
Like I said before, being a coach is my passion. I love not only creating great resources for female entrepreneurs to help themselves, but actually having the privilege of guiding them to, through, and beyond success.
These broad articles can be helpful, but at some point you’re are going to want specifics.
If you want to know exactly what hiring a coach can do to help you build your dream team, schedule a 15 min call with me HERE. < Link To Call Schedule > Let’s talk about what we can build together.
Talk to you soon!