Hey and welcome to another episode of the podcast, where I’m gonna cover a topic I’ve never discussed before. And there’s a reason why. I’ve never done it before.
I’m talking about hiring. And whether it’s a full-time employee, a whole team, or a part-time contractor like in my case, there are some things to consider before you do that, there are decisions to be made, and there are some underlying principles to follow to make sure you do what’s best for the business.
Tune into the episode below:
- [2:42] How and when I finally took the decision to hire someone
- [5:55] The 1st thing you need to consider if you’re thinking of hiring
- [7:49] A powerful exercise to figure out what needs to be outsourced
- [9:14] How much responsibility are you ready to handle in your business?
- [11:22] How to be the best employer/client you can be
- [13:46] One of my main rules in business
- [14:33] Why I’m hiring a woman
- [16:40] Why you should hire someone smarter than you
- [18:41] An easy way to be more inclusive when hiring
I gathered all the information I’ve heard and read about hiring (cause you know, every business book, podcast, course, shares a bit on that too). In the last month, I also listened to the exact podcast episodes by my favorite entrepreneurs and mentors where they share how they built their team, how their first hire went, what mistakes they made, and what their advice is for anyone out there hiring for the first time.
From all that, I took what resonated, as well as relied on both intuition and logic, to start outlining my exact hiring process and taking decisions in advance.
So far it’s going well. I actually learned more about business over the course of 1 week than I did in months in the past. That’s because I got out there and:
- published the job post saying exactly who I’m looking for
- let people reach out to me
- heard what they had to say
- we chatted a bit, which led to having my first impression of them
- I created a Google form with the right questions so I can narrow down the candidates
- checked out the websites, social media and packages that some of them offer
- and outlined my next steps.
I’m not used to working with people but I really felt ready for this. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, but it wasn’t till I got back from my spontaneous vacation in Spain, totally recharged and with a new perspective, that I said to myself: ‘No more thinking about hiring. I’m doing it. It’s a step-by-step process and I start by deciding what I want to outsource first, who I’m looking for exactly, what that person can bring to the table, how I can offer them the most amazing long-term collaboration, and where I should post about the offer so that others who’ve already decided they like my business and want to work together can reach out to me.’
Before my vacation, I was scared, overthinking, and not really taking any actual action. I let fear guide me.
After this so-called mini retirement, where I took a step back from all business activities and could clearly see what I’ve been afraid of, I took decisions that weren’t based on fear. They were simply what’s best for the business.
Because I’m now ready to take more responsibility, even if that means some of my freedom will be taken away. I have a lot of it now and I’ve enjoyed it all these years. But I’m ready to play a bigger game, and getting other people involved, with contracts and monthly payments that I will make no matter what, is a big deal.
The moment I decided I am hiring, I took responsibility for anything that this can lead to.
It wasn’t about me anymore, it was about the business. Because for the past few months I’ve been wondering how to act as a CEO before being one.
What I run now is more of a lifestyle business. It’s a small business, the income is enough to provide me with the lifestyle I love so much. I’m staying away from certain steps and activities because they are bigger in many ways and I was scared.
But the truth is you need to act like a CEO before you’re actually one. For me, that includes outsourcing anything that is essential to the business but which I don’t need to do. Either because it’s not my zone of genius, or I don’t have time for it, or it’s just an activity that can be done by someone smarter and better than me.
We should also outsource our weaknesses. But there are important decisions to make before that, such as what you can automate first and what you can remove as it’s simply not moving the business forward.
I’m now going to share more about my realization and decision that it’s time to hire, how I became unapologetic about it, left emotions behind and focused on taking the next step. I’ll share my take on when you might be ready to hire if you’re in doubt.
In the second part of this post, I’m going to share the rules I followed and am still currently following as I get on calls with potential candidates and decide who’s the best fit. These were my guiding principles and it was really important for me to decide them in advance. This way, I’m not giving away my power, I’m not going to be distracted by let’s say a few people I really like but who don’t have the skills I’m looking for, and also some ways in which I made sure I’m being inclusive.
How to Know if You’re Ready to Hire
Can you afford it?
For a start, you need to be able to afford it. That really depends on your financial situation and the stage of life you’re in.
If you have a well-paid job, a family that keeps you busy, and you’re starting the business on the side and looking to grow as quickly as possible, then you might easily hire people from day 1. Although you might lack the business skills, knowledge and mindset necessary to decide what needs to be outsourced, what needs to be done in the first place, who to hire, how much to pay them, how to communicate with them, and so on.
But if you are like me, then you started with no extra money to invest in courses or to even think about hiring people. I started small, really small. I wasn’t even ready to believe I could make $5K/month, or move to another country and design my ideal life thanks to my online business. So I began as a freelancer and my only expense, literally, in the first years, was the hosting for my blog. And it was the cheapest one possible.
I had a million things to figure out, and I didn’t even start investing in courses or quality software until a few years ago. But once I did, I was ready for it. I was really using the tools I paid for, and the programs I invested in and I followed the steps inside them and applied everything to my business in a way I see fit.
So only you know if it’s financially reasonable to hire someone. It depends on what you need outsourced too. If it’s VA services, you can easily hire someone affordable. Their salary also depends on their experience, how many hours they’ll invest in your business weekly or monthly, and honestly, how confident they are and how many other clients they have.
You might also just need freelancers for certain projects and this isn’t a recurring expense.
What needs to be outsourced?
The second thing to consider is what you need outsourced. Now, there are different directions you can go in, and there are definitely mistakes that can be made.
For a start, it might sound cool to hire people and build a team, but if you make the wrong outsourcing and delegating decisions, your business won’t grow. You won’t manage these people well, and you might end up in a worse financial situation than before hiring.
So sit down, put on your CEO hat, and really, really think about it objectively.
- List all your business activities.
- Which ones aren’t helping you grow and aren’t profitable or helpful in any way for your audience?
- Make a plan on how to remove them.
- Then, look at the rest of the items on that list and see what you can automate. Do that before you ever outsource.
- When you finally have a list of specific things your business requires regularly, decide what is most important now, if you’re the one who needs to do it, and if not, what kind of person you need to outsource it to.
This exercise can help you plan your next moves and make sure you’re only working on what’s giving you results. You’ll also be able to come up with the 1 person you’re looking for right now and define the role they will play in your company. As well as a description of that person’s role which will then show you where you can look for them, what kind of job post you can create, and so on.
Are you ready to have more responsibility?
The third thing I suggest you consider is whether you’re ready to handle more responsibility as a business owner.
For example, the moment I really took the decision to hire someone, I said to myself:
‘No matter what happens from here on in my business and personal life, I will keep that person working for me in mind, make sure I show up for them even if it’s just to respond to some messages every now and then, and make the monthly payments.’
Because you know there are moments in life where you just want to ditch everything, leave your phone, and not answer to anyone. Not if you’re a parent of course, but it happens.
Or the way I traveled spontaneously last and this month, didn’t let anyone know, disappeared from social media for a bit. And that was fine because there are no other people involved. I mean, they don’t depend on me.
But now, I’ll be forming a relationship with a person who’s joining my team to help my business grow. That person has their own life and responsibility. I’ve made promises to them and we will create a certain dynamics to make this work for both of us.
So there might be a day when I don’t feel like showing up. Till now, I could afford that because I don’t work with clients and don’t have a team. But from now on, I’ll look at everything from a different perspective.
One of my favorite quotes about money goes something like this: ‘How you manage your first $1000 is how you manage your next $1000, and your $10K, and your $100K.’
Meaning that the amount will change, but the financial principles you adopt from the beginning stay with you at any next stage.
So I believe that how you do your first hire and how you treat that first person in your business sets the tone for the team you will one day have that will help you run a 6 or 7 figure business.
You don’t need to be big yet in order to take that much responsibility. This is part of the inner game of entrepreneurship and as you might know, it’s usually 90% of anything happening in business.
What kind of employer/client are you going to be?
This goes together with the previous point but is more about you.
How are you going look at that new person joining your team? Will you fall into the trap of micromanaging them?
Because I haven’t been part of the corporate world but I’m pretty that’s not the way to go. You also need to be able to explain things clearly, to be a good communicator, to give autonomy and let people use their talents and sometimes do things at their own pace because that’s ultimately the best for everyone.
You should also give people a chance to grow.
It’s really smart to first learn and do yourself what you’re about to outsource. And then someone might be ideal for a position but there might be a thing or two they don’t have experience with. In that case, you might choose someone else.
Or, if you combine logic and intuition well and are sure this is the person for you, you know it’s a better investment to take your time now and show them how the thing is done. Then let them get better at it, and ultimately, they can bring you faster to your vision than the other candidate who already had experience with this.
This is just one example of the kinds of decisions I was making over the last month. It’s super interesting as I’ve never done it before and yet I sort of knew how to.
I had a good attitude, was excited for this process, and was really just looking for someone that I can give to, not just take from. I can give them a chance to have this awesome collaboration with me, be part of my journey, form a friendship alongside this. I can then recommend them to other entrepreneurs, make sure I’m a really good client and just bring good energy in their workweek.
Okay, so to summarize, if it’s time for you to hire, you’ll feel ready. You’ll have the financial resources to make it happen, you can actually define the role of the person you’re looking for and can set realistic expectations that go well with your business goals.
You’re also ready to commit to this, as it requires responsibility, and you just know it’s what your business needs. Now, let me share the hiring principles I followed during my screening and hiring process.
6 Hiring Principles I’m Following
Don’t hire friends or people from your online community.
One of my main rules is business is to not mix work with personal life. And in terms of hiring, I took this further.
I decided: I’m not gong to hire anyone who is a friend, who I’ve been close to online, or that I have some relationship with already. That’s why I didn’t even mention it to email subscribers. It’s supposed to be a completely new person so we can form a new relationship that starts with business and mutual respect and can of course turn into a friendship.
But the other way around – a friendship to turn into a business – I don’t really want that. Because there are already emotions involved, I like these people and I’m biased so I can’t make a decision that’s good for the business.
Outsource your weaknesses.
I also knew it should be a woman. As I have mostly masculine energy and while in other areas of life I wanna bring more femininity, for business I honestly like it this way.
I am working on the feminine part, which is to receive, to collaborate, to manifest things. But the masculine comes naturally to me. It’s why I enjoy business so much because the masculine energy is also about initiating, strategizing, planning, leading, giving instead of receiving.
One of the best tips in business is to outsource your weaknesses and do more of what you’re best at. Well, feminine energy is one of my weaknesses and because I don’t necessarily want to work too much on that, I’m deciding to outsource.
We have to mention gender equality here I guess, because masculine and feminine traits and energy have little to do with the actual gender. But I began targeting only women as my ideal clients a year ago. I also built this community of women on Instagram, and I’m following women who are my mentors. So obviously that’s what I feel called to pursue. I want to surround myself with like-minded ambitious women online.
Once I set these rules, I was also unapologetic about them. Men contacted me to apply for the job and wondered why it says female in the job description (which by the way only goes to show these exact people don’t really follow the requirements), and I had to explain, without turning it into an excuse. It’s just a fact. They don’t fit the job description.
Also, people closer to me were interested, but I wasn’t.
Let candidates contact me.
Another interesting thing I decided in advance is that I’m not going to directly contact people after posting the job offer. I’ll let them contact me and see what comes my way. From there, I’ll act based on that.
Know the job you’re delegating well.
Also, I made sure that anything I outsource, I should first be familiar with – the process, the platform – and I should have learned it myself and done it many times. Then I can delegate a process and let the person use their creativity and experience.
Hire someone smarter than you.
The next principle I followed is a piece of advice I’ve heard many of my mentors say, and that’s to hire someone smarter than you (in the aspect of business they’re going to be handling for your business of course).
And that’s exactly who I’m going to hire. By the way, the position I’m hiring for is Pinterest VA or Pinterest Manager. That might not make sense to some of you if you aren’t in the blogging business, but believe me, after a lot of thinking, this is the one thing I should outsource now.
I know Pinterest well, I learned exactly how its algorithm works (although that changes often). I’ve taken a course on it, I’ve seen results and brought a lot of traffic from there to my website.
If you’re a blogger, you know that other than organic traffic from search engines, Pinterest is our next best friend. And we can make it work as long as we follow its best practices, have good content and create beautiful optimized Pinterest graphics for every piece and share them strategically.
There’s a lot that goes into this but this episode isn’t about Pinterest. The point is that I could hire a VA because many people say this is what your first hire should be. I also need help with email marketing, with launches, and with so much more.
But it’s always going to be like this in business.There will be many things you could be doing. And it’s easy to try and do them all, to put your attention everywhere, to not take calculated risks, and to do something that might sound like a business growth activity, but which isn’t actually getting you anywhere.
So I took a CEO decision, not just something I felt like. It was to hire a Pinterest Manager, to let them do anything related to Pinterest in my business, to grow my blog traffic strategically thanks to that (as traffic is less than lass year) and to meet certain milestones I set, as well as to re-evaluate my Pinterest strategy and all I’ve been doing so far.
Have an inclusive hiring process.
Another principle I had in mind was diversity. It’s such an important topic so let me share what I learned because I didn’t know how to proceed, but I found the right person for it and her podcast.
That’s Tianna Tye, a team dynamics consultant, with a lot of experience in building teams and now helping other entrepreneurs do the same. She has courses on the topic as well as a great podcast called TyePod.
I listened to probably between 10 and 20 episodes in 10 days when I was really deciding how I want to approach the whole hiring thing. It really helped. She has amazing episodes and each covers one aspect of hiring, having a team or being a leader. So you can just listen to what you want to learn more about at this stage of your business.
One episode in particular was about diversity. It’s episode 28 and it helped me look at things from a whole different perspective that I’ve never considered before.
I was wondering how to be inclusive because it’s sometimes so confusing and just often people do things just for the sake of being diverse, but it’s not for the right reasons.
So in this episode Tianna talked about the different dimensions of diversity, the so-called token hires – that’s when a company or individual hires someone only because they fit in the diversity category but that doesn’t make the person feel good. What we need to do instead is broaden the channels we use for posting job offers so more diverse people can have the chance to apply.
I never looked at it this way but I’m so glad I learned it on time. Tianna explained how most people use the same Facebook groups or just ask friends for referrals. But if you take a look at those friends and those Facebook group members, you might notice they are in a similar demographic, and this is not how you can build a diverse team.
I was really happy to see that after I posted the job on Instagram, I had many people reach out to me and they were all different race, age, religion, geographic location, and so on. Also, other people from my IG community shared the post with their network, and that network itself was also diverse. So I seem to have built the right kind of following there and I’m really grateful for that.
This isn’t about who you’re going to hire, but about giving equal chance to all these people to apply and to be treated as potential candidates. So I guess that worked. At the end of course, the ideal candidate is based on skills as well as who I feel called to hire and how our communication is as well as many other factors.
Okay, wow I’ve never talked so much about hiring. And I love it.
This shows how everything in my business happens actually. I do my research, I think about it, I plan it, I overcome the fear and discomfort and do it. Then I analyze and learn from it, and I start sharing my lessons and steps with you, guys. Because my business is about documenting my journey. I only teach what I know and have tried and have a step-by-step process for.
I hope you enjoyed it. By the way, I just had the discovery with the right girl today, and I told her she’s hired. So we are now prepping contracts and deciding others little things so we can start working together as soon as possible.
I guess I’m a different person now. Having to make decisions and having daily tasks related to hiring, which is something that simply wasn’t part of my business 2 months ago. What a journey!