One of the big problems of working for yourself and running your own business is that you will often believe that you are the one to do anything and everything in your business. If you are still in the first few months of start-up, there is no doubt that you are doing almost everything yourself. From answering your emails and sending out letters and brochures, through to writing your blog posts and maybe even creating your own website, you will have started your business journey being a one-person show.
As you grow your business and start to take on more clients and sell to more customers, delegating often isn’t a natural talent. Some of you are self-confessed control freaks and like to do everything yourself because you want it done ‘right’.
Others of you genuinely don’t know how to hire or how to find the right person, so it always feels easier to keep doing it all yourself until you find yourself so busy that you are too busy to find the time to recruit.
The question I am asked again and again is ‘When is the right time to hire someone?’ My answer is always the same; ‘Three months before you need them.’
There’s a common misconception about hiring people in your business that the day someone starts, is the day you suddenly get more time. But the truth is that if you hire someone for ten hours a week, you don’t suddenly get those ten hours back in your week.
What actually happens is that your workload can often double for a week or two (and sometimes longer depending on who it is you are hiring and what job they are doing) whilst you spend time explaining what you need doing and training them to understand your business systems. Even with technical contractors or marketing assistants who should, in theory, be bringing a level of expertise into the role, time is still needed to get them up to speed and understand your business and the customers you serve. For longer-term hires, expect three months before you fully see the return on investment from their contribution to your business.
But don’t let this put you off. If you genuinely want to grow your business and play a bigger game, then your People Growth Pillar is instrumental to your success.
Who are your dream team?
Your dream team are the people you need to help you achieve your Big Vision. They are the people you hire, as well as your strategic partnerships, your suppliers, business buddies and supporters. You may even find that you need to include people who can support you in your home and personal life, particularly if you are a single parent. I’ve often seen my clients need to include a housekeeper to enable them to manage their home, as well as their business.
Your business will have specific needs, but there are three core areas where I believe you need to focus on. As I take you through each one, use the image in Figure 2 to write down the names or profile of the person you feel you need in each of the hands. There are nine hands there; you may need more hands, but you certainly won’t need less so it’s important to recognise the level of support you will need for your future growth. If you want to download this worksheet, you can find a copy in the True Profit Business Workbook that accompanies my book, True Profit Business. Here’s the link to access it.
PA and administrative support
This is usually the first area in which you may wish to hire in your business and they generally fall into these three categories.
- Diary and email management: not only does a personal assistant help save you time in doing your admin, but their presence also helps with your positioning. For example, if you are a consultant working with larger organisations, having someone else confirm your meetings, agendas and send follow-up paperwork can help with your professional image. In addition, having someone act as your gatekeeper helps you avoid unnecessary sales calls.
- Invoicing and financing: bookkeeping, VAT returns and invoicing are all administrative tasks that you, as the business owner, should not be doing as your business grows.
- Client management: if you run group programmes or run events, having someone take control of the day-to-day communication can free up your time and mental energy hugely. Th ere’s always going to be someone else who is far better at managing email follow-ups and producing client reports than you will ever be.
Marketing and sales support
If the first person you hire is a personal assistant, don’t make the mistake of assuming that whoever you took on can simply take on more tasks in other areas of your business. The skillset needed to run marketing and sales support for you will be different from that of someone you’ve hired to proofread your proposals, organise your diary and hire meeting rooms.
Plus, you don’t really want to rely too heavily on one person to do everything for you. You run the risk of abdicating responsibility, rather than delegating, and if the relationship goes sour or they move on to another opportunity, you’re left with a huge gap to fill.
It may be that you need more than one person in this category, too. Again, you can’t assume because someone is great at researching and writing blogs that they will be good at managing your social media sites. Be very clear on what skills you need to bring into your business, as well as experience in the digital tools you use.
- Creating consistent content: researching and writing blogs, as well as writing and sending out email marketing broadcasts.
- Social media management: scheduling posts, images and blog posts, as well as potentially managing a busy Facebook group. This role is different from hiring an ad specialist. If you plan to run advertising campaigns, do hire at the right level because of the skills and expertise needed to run high-quality campaigns are often far more then a social media admin manager can offer you.
- Pre-prospect phone calls: if you hate the thought of cold or warm calling, then hiring someone in this field can have a huge impact on your results. Several members of my Momentum business growth community have done this and they are now regularly securing meetings with organisations interested in what it is they offer. If you work with individuals, then a sales administrator may be able to conduct the initial enquiry call and make sure they are a suitable prospect before you speak with them.
These people are the members of your dream team who have the potential of impacting your growth potential through partnership opportunities.
- Referral partners and affiliates: other people selling what you offer to their own lists can open up huge opportunities for you. Depending on your positioning, you may have to think carefully who you want to be associated with and what the quality of their database and reach is. It’s not necessarily about the numbers. I would recommend you focus on how engaged and connected they are to their own customer base because this usually gets you better results. You may set up a straightforward affiliate commission for each sale or there may be other ways of mutually benefiting from your relationship. It’s important to consider it’s not always about the money, and what you are able to contribute could actually be more highly valued.
- Community leaders and event hosts: what events or conferences are you able to speak or exhibit at? Leaders of online communities or member forums are often looking for experts to contribute content. Perhaps there are professional associations or trade bodies who would love to partner with you?
- Distribution channels: more relevant for those of you with physical products but it’s worth considering if this is a potential in your marketplace. Perhaps one of your offers could be bundled up and included in another business’s offer, which would allow you access to their marketing channels and database.
Your nine hands
Who have you written in each of the hands?
If you’ve still got spaces, keep asking yourself ‘who else?’ until you find your full dream team. It may be that you need to do some work on your Big Vision, an exercise that you can find in Chapter 3 of my book, True Profit Business. This will help you discover potential gaps and ensure you have the right people to help you with your long-term vision. These people don’t necessarily need to be known to you right now, so if you don’t have a name, use a job title or short phrase to help you focus on recruiting or finding them over the coming weeks and months. Once you’ve completed this exercise, you can then take these thoughts and ideas into your 90-day planning process and decide on what steps you need to take to recruit or find one or more of these people over the coming months.
I’d love to know how this article lands with you and how it has opened you up to the prospect of who to hire over the coming year. If you want to find out more about how we can help you with your business growth plans, then book a call with us. Click here to find out more.
Do Less. Be More. Play Bigger.
Everyone doubts themselves at some points of their business journey. Sometimes feelings of fear and doubt can come from nowhere; one day you’re feeling great about your growth plans and then suddenly you’re reminded of an idea or a decision you haven’t taken action on, and you feel cross with yourself.
It’s easy to get triggered by what you see on social media. You’re scrolling down your Facebook news feed and up pops someone pictured holding their new book. Now you may not have *really* wanted to write a book, but suddenly you feel inadequate.
‘How did she manage to achieve all that AND find the time to write a book?’
Everything you have achieved so far gets forgotten. You get frustrated with your progress. You berate yourself for having not worked harder or taken bigger action.
You pull back.
Maybe all that you need is to feel more motivated; to be braver, to do something to feel stronger.
But the truth about using motivation to get back on track is that it is a short-lived tactic.
Getting motivated to combat your fears and doubts and shake yourself into action is like trying to mix oil and water. At first, it mixes. But, in no time at all, the molecules separate and the two layers of fear and motivation can be clearly seen again.
Motivation is a short term fix.
It’s your high energy workshop or weekend retreat. It’s listening to an inspiring podcast. Or seeing the latest Helen Mirren ‘%&*$ Off’ quote pop up in your Insta feed.
They can all give you a boost but it’s short-lived unless you keep giving yourself repeated hits, similar to drinking more cups of coffee to keep you awake; at some point, you’re going to give yourself the caffeine shakes and then feel even shittier the next day.
I have had my fair share of fears and doubts.
They’ve shown up in bucket loads over the years and have often appeared as a gentle tight grip on the inside of my throat; almost like a child’s hand trying to silence me.
I used to let this feeling in my throat silence me and pull me back, like a bungee cord. I’d come up with an idea that initially excited me; I would let my motivation play with the idea for a short while, maybe for a few days or even a few weeks. But as soon as the motivation wore off, the bungee cord of fear and doubt would snap me back.
Each time this happened I’d either dilute the idea to end up with a smaller, simpler version of it or would decide not to do it at all.
Yes, these bungee cord moments have been frustrating phrases in my business. But these moments have provided valuable lessons to help me learn how to feel into my uncomfortableness; the feeling of vulnerability, shame, guilt and whatever else my inner shit throws up at me every time I’ve wanted to step up and play a bigger game.
What I’ve learnt over the years is to see that gentle tight grip on my throat as my sign that, whatever I was thinking when I felt it, it was actually the right thing for me to do.
The fear and doubts I felt were actually all signs of my potential stretching as I started to feel uncomfortable with playing bigger and thus help me see where I needed to take a risk and step up.
Much of what I teach on business growth focuses on the practicalities of business structure, systems and processes. But in order for you to move forward and grow, you also need to go within and feel into when your fears and doubts appear to realise the power of your potential to play bigger.
Yes, fear is a helpful emotion to help keep you safe at times. If you were to find yourself wanting to take a short cut home, down a dark alley late at night, fear and doubt would probably reason with you that it would be safer to stay to the lit roads. But if you let your fear and doubt help you take only the safe roads when you go about your day to day business, then what potential growth are you missing out on?
Fears and doubts are actually your strengths.
They are reminders that you have the potential to stretch and even though you feel you don’t have the answers, it’s a sign that your heart, body and soul wants to grow.
So if you’ve been using bursts of motivation to try to give you the courage and bravery to step up and grow and wondering why it hasn’t been working, maybe it’s time to open yourself to feeling into your fears and doubts.
Do Less. Be More. Play Bigger.
Get more clients.
It’s the message that many marketers want you to hear.
Making money is, of course, an important function of your business but when the numbers in your bank account may feel smaller than you think they should be, money has this habit of taking up more of your attention (AKA worry, anxiety, feeling of lack) than it should.
It’s why I see, time and time again, go-it-aloners like you get hung up on the ‘get more clients’ marketing tactics and end up spending way too much time and money, learning how to do these new marketing ideas and processes (usually involving digital tools such as social media and funnels) that don’t make you any happier.
Of course, more money in the bank helps a lot with your finances, but have you ever stopped to consider what revenue will make you happy?
Happy Revenue was a phase that came up in one of the 90 Day Review calls in my Momentum group yesterday. At the end of each 90 Day Plan, each member presents their learnings and celebrates their successes.
One particular member was sharing her learnings around her sacking a client. This particular client was, on the surface, a big and important client and they were paying her a substantial monthly retainer. But the problem was that they were turning up to meetings late and sometimes not at all. They weren’t sticking to the project timelines and generally a pain-in-the-arse to deal with so that our Momentum member had found herself in a position of being a servant, rather than being of service. She was bending over backwards for her and it was impacting how she was serving her other clients.
We helped her sack her client gracefully and professionally and the difference this client sacking made was enormous; not only did she create the opportunity for a new and better client to replace her pain-in-the-arse client she also stepped back into her power because she was no longer playing that servant role.
This is how Caroline, one of our founder members, described it.
Why chase the ‘get more clients’ story when actually it’s not MORE clients that are going to serve you.
In my new book, True Profit Business, that’s coming to a book store near you (said in that deep, movie trailer voice LOL), I take you through the four choices you can make to help decide which business model will suit you best.
- What’s the role you want to play in your business; what’s the right balance of technician and manager?
- What’s the optimum number of clients; will you work best with clients 1:1, 1:Group, 1:Many or 1:Mass?
- What’s the best delivery method; what’s the right balance of in-person, virtual or digital delivery that will allow you to deliver your best work, without burning you out?
- Which selling system would suit you best; click marketing, conversation marketing or a hybrid of the two?
These are the four areas in your business that can either fuel you or burn you out. They are your top four potential energy, time and profit drainers and/or energisers in your business and they give you your True Profit.
However, what I don’t do is to tell you which choices are going to be the most profitable or easiest for you to make money on.
Why? Because this is the BS that is being fed to us entrepreneurs right now; particularly those of you in the coaching, therapy and transformation professions.
Digital businesses can be highly profitable, hugely scalable and a lot of fun to grow and run. But they can also be hell on earth, drain you of money and burn you out.
The same goes for those of you who may have been told that selling a VIP or premium level of service is what will work for a business like yours; only to find that you are running yourself ragged, trying to prove that you are worthy of this level of pricing.
You, believe it or not, have the choice on what’s going to work best for you, based on your own money goals, time needs, core values, personality and impact you want to make. And when you decide what you feel (and it’s the feel that’s important here … not what you think – more of that in my book) is going to work best for you, you then put in the right boundaries, processes, team and business infrastructure in place to support this. This is what I teach you in True Profit Business.
Let’s tie this back to this phrase Happy Revenue.
I love this phrase and I wish I could credit the person who first came up with it for my client, Caroline, to have shared it in our call yesterday, but it seems that not even Google can give me any clues. (If you know, please let me know – thanks!)
It may become the title of my next book (as another member so kindly suggested to me – thanks for that LOL … it would make a lovely next step in the sequence if I could drum up enough energy to go through that writing process again ha!).
So for now, I simply want to gift these two words to you.
When you work your way through these four important choices that I teach in True Profit, you’ll realise that you can stop chasing the ‘get more clients’ and the ‘10x your business’ headlines… and attract the right clients who give you your own Happy Revenue.
Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.
How often do you consider the impact you are making?
There are three energies that your business can give you; money, creativity and impact.
Money allows you to be profitable and have the time that you want to live your life. Creativity allows you to work in flow and find joy from the work that you do. Impact allows you to be focused on your Big Vision, leadership and your desire to make a difference.
And it’s this energy of impact that I wanted to hone in on today.
I know that some of you reading this may pull back from the thought of being a leader, especially if you are feeling burnt out by your business or confused about the direction you are going in.
But ensuring your business is set up to allow you to step into leadership is important, no matter how small or big you want your business to grow.
If you want to make a difference to the people you serve, the values you stand for or have a strong vision for change, it’s important to pay close attention to what’s needed to fulfil your sense of purpose.
Impact serves you at a deeper soul level which in turn allows you to weather the money storms and find the motivation and desire to find a way forward when business doesn’t go according to plan. If you know you have clients who rely on you, trust you and see you as a partner in their lives, you will naturally do whatever it takes to make your business a success.
Many people think that to make a difference, you have to affect people or the planet on a global scale. The world you want to make a difference in could indeed be the global planet. But your world could also be simply your family, your local community or even the industry that you work within.
Because I know you are probably not in business ‘just for the money’, making a difference is a key part of what it is that you do, isn’t it?
Interestingly though, this is the one area of many people’s business that I see stifled the most. It seems that the change people want to make often gets buried under marketing plans and decisions about what to charge and what products to create because the fear of showing up can pull you back.
I have had my fair share of fears and doubts.
They’ve shown up in bucket loads over the years, often showing up as a gentle tight grip on the inside of my throat; almost like a child’s hand trying to silence me. I used to let this feeling in my throat silence me and pull me back, like a bungee cord. I’d come up with an idea that initially excited me; I let my mind play with it for a short while but then the bungee cord would snap me back. Each time I’d either dilute the idea to end up with a smaller, simpler version of it or would decide not to do it at all.
This is why impact is such an important energy to harness in your business. Yes, making more money is one aspect of growth, but having personally experienced burnout from ‘chasing the money’ and trying to grow by following 6-figure formulas and plug-and-play systems, I know now that I am not motivated to grow for growth’s sake. I value my health and vitality too much for that now.
Your influence on this world is far bigger than you may think possible right now and it doesn’t matter whether you are an accountant, physiotherapist, coach or trainer, the work that you do with your clients can influence and change their lives for the better. Although showing up as a leader may not be high on your list of priorities, deciding how you want to make an impact on the people you serve will help you open your business options.
Please don’t underestimate the ripples you can create by the smallest actions that you take.
One of the ways that I’ve decided to create a ripple and ensure impact energy is fuelling me and my team is to become a partner in the global Buy1Give1 initiative. B1G1 makes it incredibly easy for business owners like me and you to be able to give in meaningful and impactful ways.
One example of how we are using this in my business is being able to give two days of business mentoring to help a woman in Zambia grow her business, and lift her family from the cycle of poverty, every time someone books a True Profit Call with us.
Providing women across the world with access to education, decent work and representation in economic decision-making processes fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large. This particular business mentoring project is managed by MicroLoan Foundation Australia and the on-going training they provide is essential in imparting relevant skills such as financial literacy to ensure that their businesses are sustainable and profitable in the long run, allowing them to contribute to the livelihood of their families.
You can read more about the impact that we’ve started creating with B1G1 here.
These are the ripples that you and I are able to make together.
If you are interested or know of someone else who would benefit from having a call with us to discuss their business growth plans and thus allow us to give another two days of business mentoring to these women in Zambia, please either forward this article on to them and send them this link => www.KarenSkidmore.com/getstarted.
Or ask them to email me directly at [email protected]KarenSkidmore.com.
In the meanwhile, I invite you to take a moment and ponder on the question I started this article with …
How often do you consider the impact you are making?
Please don’t underestimate the ripples you can create by the smallest actions that you take, so I give you this space to decide where you could throw your stone in right now.
Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.
Do you ever wonder if anyone is actually really and truly reading, listening or watching your content?
Today, all our content can be tracked by metrics; number of likes, comments, click-throughs and shares.
But do they tell the whole story?
I was out last night with a group of wonderful women who I’ve got to know quite deeply over the last couple of years. I’ve shared wine with them, lots of laughter and, at times, tears.
We got talking about my new book due out this September and I realised how many of them not only subscribed to my email updates but also read every email.
Now I do look at my email marketing metrics.
I can see that my average open rate right now is at 38.5%, which I know is high for my industry.
But I also know that open rates don’t tell me who actually reads my emails.
It’s one thing having a cookie sent back from their email server to mine that the email has been opened, but it’s another to know that the human being who signed up for my emails has actually read it. That would be a little bit creepy, yes? Having access to your camera on your phone to see if your eyes scan through the copy … too much ‘big brother’, thank you very much.
So to hear from several of the ladies last night that they read EVERY SINGLE email from me woke me up.
It gave me a much-needed reboot and reminder that the impact that we can make from the content we create cannot be measured by metrics alone.
It’s the same with our like counts on our social media accounts.
It’s easy to believe that a post with just one or two likes hasn’t done anything; it’s just slipped through the newsfeed and allowed the algorithm to swallow it up.
But this is simply not the case.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of the ‘right’ people who will feel inspired by your content without reacting to it. They watch, listen and read without leaving any trace, such as a click or a tracking cookie (because more people are switching these off than ever before).
What does this mean to you and me?
Firstly, it is important to recognise that you are here to run a commercial business. If you produce content for entertainment value only or just create content for the sake of creating content (think robotic, automated sharing systems that do nothing but create white noise), you end up with an expensive hobby, rather than a purposeful, profitable business.
But the feedback that I had last night from my buddies, inspired me to see that the content we create can have a greater impact than our metrics tell us.
Whether I get an email from you or not (although a reply to one of my emails boosts me no end – seriously – that quick moment of recognition makes a real difference to me), I am reminded that not everyone has time nor knows what to say to show me that they’ve read, watched or heard my content.
It’s the same for you, too.
If you ever find yourself wondering if anyone is actually really and truly listening to you, take a moment. Have the faith to stick to your plan and the impact that you are here to make. You don’t need hundreds of likes and click-throughs to tell you whether you are a success or not.
And it’s a reminder me, too, to take the time to comment or reply to the content that inspires me. A simple ‘thank you’ may be all that it takes – it doesn’t need an ‘intelligent’ or a mini-blog response that may take a half hour out of my day – but that response is my payment in kind for the content that inspires me and helps me reflect, grow or take action.
Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.