How to Bring on Staff for Your Small Business

Building a business is quite an adventure.  You go from idea…to open…to where are the clients going to come from and when?  It is all very exciting.  My business grew quite quickly and I am now at the point where I need a bit of help with certain parts.

I recently attended an Infusionsoft conference.  During one of the sessions it was explained that founder and current CEO Clate Mask has had evolving roles of the years.  When it started all pieces of the business were on him.  But as the business grew, he had to delegate.  For me, the problem is that I love every piece of running my business and building an empire.  So I decided to put some help in place to get me started with projects, a bit organized, and to handle the tasks I despise.  As I have read all the books on running the business I have learned I am right on track at this step.

I am a few months into having some help and I can tell you that at each step I have brought on a new person my anxiety dropped significantly.  The significance of the money I was paying them paled in comparison to the sense of relief they brought to my life.  What happened is that with the extra time I was able to build the business, bring on more clients, and then had the need for more help.

If you are at this stage in your business, you may be worried about three aspects…how to find great people, what should you have them do for you, and how are you going to pay them.  Yes, I struggled with each of these.  As I started to build I was very very clear with who I was looking to work with and as a result the right people started to step onto my path.  I asked around quietly because I didn’t want lots of inquiries and then hurt feelings.  I started to assign work that I didn’t particularly love doing, and after doing my books, committed resources to their salaries so I could pay my bills and have a comfortable cushion.

How to find good people:
Since we know one of my core triggers in life is trust, I had to find people I had confidence in to do a great job.  I was very very clear with myself of the type of person, their skill set and available time.  And each time I was looking the right person appeared.  For instance, I want someone who already has a job, does not need benefits, and is not looking to me as their primary source of income right now.  They need to come highly recommended from another person I trust.  I keep my searches very private reaching out to individuals I trust and also who have no interest in working for me.  I don’t want anyone to say “oh, I would love that job,” if I already know they are not a good fit.

Only 1099 and absolutely have a contract
Not all that long ago I had huge dreams of having a building with my name on it filled with a staff dedicated to helping my clients.  But as the horizon of that reality was slowly creepy forward my business coach stepped in and told me to shelve the dream.  Actual staff brings about personnel type issues which can be time consuming and annoying.  So I 1099 my people.  If you are at this stage, talk with a lawyer first.  I have a standard contract which clearly outlines their non-employment status, generous bonus structure, and our relationship.

Make sure they have something to do!
When you commit to someone you need to give them work.  I tend to farm out chunks of work that I do not want to do, do not have time for or despise doing.  And ya know what?  I have found individuals who like to do what I do not like to do – so it is all good.  This has also been fun to watch my management style evolve slowly showing leadership but based on great appreciation for the effort.

Using others to help grow my business has required me to get hyper organized.  I need to communicate with them regularly, have due dates, have the next set of tasks ready.   I do have to check to see what they are up to and monitor quality.  I listen very closely to them to determine what is working and then we work together to improve workflow.  The best part is I get to communicate and over-deliver to my clients at a high level because I do not have to do everything.  I not only monitor but all work still has my expert eye to tweak.  Letting go has been my springboard to building.