Ah the life of a solo entrepreneur… no-one to answer to, no-one to worry about, total freedom to do what you want, when you want and (hopefully) see your business start to take off.
Of course, when it does start to take off you can quickly find yourself buried in work, and it can be hard to manage both the volume and scale of ‘things that need doing’ yourself. You might find yourself thinking that you need someone to help you, but how do you do that in a way that doesn’t cause you more work and actually elevates your business?
The decision to bring someone into your business – whether that’s on an adhoc, part-time, intern, or outsourced basis – is a big one. After all, it’s your baby, right? You’ve lovingly conceived, created and nurtured your business through its first milestones, so introducing a new party could be risky. What if they don’t do what you need them to do? What if they do things you don’t want them to do?!
These are valid concerns, but just imagine what you could do if you had more time… What would it be like to be able to focus on the aspects of your business that you love and have the space to plan what comes next. Thankfully, you can take steps to make sure you bring in or partner with the right person.
HERE ARE OUR SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT TO DO:
1. Start by working out what you need help with. It’s important to consider everything that needs to be done in your business (including the stuff you like doing) and seeing what could be delegated to someone else. You should hold on to activities that give you joy and energy, but there are plenty of aspects that could either be automated or delegated. Start with this, rather than starting by saying you need an intern or VA.
2. Once you’ve figured out what kind of support you need, you to think about who will fit right into your business. This is really important: plenty of people will have the skills and experience you’re after, but not everyone will get you and your brand. Think about what you’re like to work with – how would you describe your style? How would you like it to feel working in your business? This is your culture – the way you do things, the way you behave, think, act, speak etc – and defining it clearly will help you know whether a person is going to be right for you.
3. Having made the choice on who to bring in or partner with, the next step is to get them cooking on gas quickly. The key thing here is to provide clarity as early as possible, so take the time to discuss business priorities, your priorities, their priorities and how you’re going to work together. Set short-term goals for them, and then communicate everything they need to know to be able to achieve them. That might include things like talking through processes, sharing systems and tools, and outlining where you want to make decisions versus where they can go ahead independently.
4. Think like a leader and create the conditions for both you and them to flourish. The simplest way of doing this is to keep the dialogue open: talk about progress, talk about challenges, talk about successes and ideas. If it helps, carve out time for different types of conversations rather than feeling like you have to cover everything in a daily or weekly meeting. Practice trust on a regular basis: you’ve brought someone in to create the space for you to work on things that matter to you, so let go of the need to control everything. But also recognise where you might need to be a bit more hands-on if you are concerned about focus or output. Recognise and give praise often: make it specific and explore the impact so that you encourage more of the same.
It’s important to realise that when you first bring someone else into your business you are likely to find yourself busier than before! That’s because you’ll need to share a lot of what’s in your head about how you and the business work in order for them to feel confident and work effectively. But if you’ve chosen someone who fits your culture, you’re clear about priorities and expectations, and you learn to let go more, you’ll soon find that together you’re working to make your business flourish.
Establish your culture, delegate & flourish
The Hustle House are here to flourish you and your business by helping you to employ the right people with the right skills!
If you want to take your business up a gear, it often means looking for additional support to take on some of your activities – whether that’s a VA, an intern, or more experienced specialists. Bringing new people into your world can be daunting and tricky because you want to ensure they enable you to elevate your business and fit into your brand and ways of working.
Fiona and Carolyn
About your author
Carolyn has been helping organisations all over the world invest in their employees at both a strategic and practical level in Talent, HR and Learning & Development roles over the past 18 years. With a specific passion for developing leaders and managers, she brings a fresh combination of humour, energy and common sense to even the toughest of situations.
Managing relationships with the world’s leading Investment Banks, Fiona has spent the last 10 years focused on driving client satisfaction and product adoption while managing teams in both London and Hong Kong. Through her client work, she played on the intrinsic link between the people experience and client experience, knowing the positive impact one can have on the other.
You can find out more about The Hustle House here.
I’m Samantha Jameson, the Founder of British hand, bath and body care brand, Soapsmith.
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