Do you have employees? If you do, what was the deciding factor to hire and what position did you hire first? If you don’t have employees, do you see that being something you move forward to in the future and why not yet?
"I have three employees, four if you count my accountant, and I hired two people to help in the shop first. I was working in the shop 7 hours a day, five days a week, solo for a long time. I had an unrelated, big project come my way and realized that I needed shop help. It’s been great for the most part, but I do miss connecting with my customers the way I used to. I’m still in the shop two days a week, but it’s not the same." -Erin
"I hired my first official full time salaried employee this past June. Best. Decision. Ever. I want ten more now. I intentionally waited a long time before bringing on permanent help, preferring to do it all myself. It meant more money kept in house (in theory) but it was also wearing me thin. Now that I can delegate (or at least am learning to) it has truly been a game changer." -Meg
"We hire people who embody our core values: women and men who embrace fun, are cheeky, drive change, focus on 10x, are humble. It's really important to hire people who are on the same page as you and represent the brand the way you would." -Aubrie
"I have 5 paid part-time employees (and 3 family members that come and work pro-bono so they can play with my cute baby). I started out with interns, and then hired an admin assistant. Having a team makes everything better for me. As a working mom, I have limitations on time and attention span. Planning my week in advance doesn't always work out. Having a team means I can delegate the day to day and focus on moving the business forward." -Sara
"I don't have employees yet because I keep overhead for the business very low. I haven't had a need for full time help, so I tend to wear all the hats, even when that keeps me very busy. I am excited for the day I'll get to hire my first employee -- it's like choosing a new member of the family." -Erin
"Nope! Unless you count my husband but I don’t because he doesn’t get paid. Ha!" -Kristina
"Yes! 4 amazing women who inspire me daily. My first employee was Gina, who’s now our Marketing Director. I was terrified and all I knew was that I couldn’t’ keep my head above water. She came and sat next to me at my desk one day and slowly started taking things off my proverbial plate. It was wonderful. She’s still with us four years later." -Emily
"We do have employees and we love them! We don't know what we'd do without them, to be honest! Right before we hired our very first employee a business mentor of ours told us to NEVER hire a friend, TRUST your gut and hire on tenacity, ambition and drive. If there is something in a candidate that you like that doesn't necessarily know excel inside and out, but you can teach them, then you've hired the right employee. To this day, I think this advice has stayed true with us." - Lisa
"Having a smart, talented and energetic team is SUPER important for any business. It's also one of the most challenging things to manage. Our team is pretty small (under 10 people) and we all live in different areas, so we have to do a lot of emailing, phone calls, etc. It can be hard not to get that face-to-face time. Pretty much everyone on the team has started working for free in the beginning in some way. I think you can tell a lot about someone's work ethic by seeing how hard they work when they aren't getting paid. You also see what they are motivated by. Every single person on our team has a very strong work ethic. They have to since we don't work in an office. They have to be motivated to create their own hours and get stuff done without me micromanaging them. That's totally not for everyone. So the girls who do that well are the ones who stick around. I also make sure to work with people I admire and get a long with. Talent only takes you so far. It's so much about the attitude. The other thing that is important for me since I don't get to see them often is to make sure to have some sort of personal aspect I can talk to them about and give them fun projects and opportunities. I feel it helps keep the team connected and excited." -Taylor
Photo by Delbarr Moradi. http://delbarrmoradi.com
"I finally realized how much more I can get done with other people here to help! I started first with assembly help - folding and packaging cards. That remains a bulk of what we do every day. It’s been fun and challenging and rewarding to continually get better at being a 'boss'." -Rosanna
"In the early stages of Ladyfingers, we experienced tremendous growth in a very short period of time. We were getting tons of inquiries and thought we had to say yes to every opportunity, and when we couldn't handle the work load, we started hiring friends to operate the presses, help with bookkeeping, manage production and finishing, and head up our wholesale department. Our work duties slowly moved away from the things we loved to do, to just managing our employees. We were so steeped in an overwhelming amount of work that we didn't even have a moment to come up for air and evaluate what we were doing until we got the news that Morgan's family's home had burned down in a wildfire in Colorado.
The reality hit us like a ton of bricks. What were we doing, working 14 hour days, exhausting ourselves, while not even really paying ourselves very much? What was it all for? We realized that we needed to reconnect with what really mattered and offered our employees the opportunity to relocate with us from Rhode Island to Colorado. Our wholesale manager made the trek with us to Colorado but ended up getting into med school so we were back to the two of us, which is how we began. At first we were nervous about how we would keep up with the work, but we started being more selective about the jobs we were taking and raised our prices. Sure enough, our work/life balance has greatly improved, and we actually get to spend time with our family, which is why we moved out here in the first place.
Now that a year has passed since the relocation, we are currently making some very careful decisions about the way we will grow our business. We may employ some more folks in the future, but we certainly will be doing our hiring in a much different fashion than we had approached it before. Our best advice? Don't hire friends, no matter how much you like them!" -Arley-Rose
"We do, and it was a decision made because of the E-Myth: if I'm busy doing every single job duty in the business, that doesn't leave time to spend on new ideas, creative direction, research and growth. No one can know what I want this company to be but me, and no one can execute that but me, so I found incredibly talented designers (my classmates in undergrad, actually!) and a client coordinator to customize our collection orders and work one-on-one with our precious customers so I can dedicate myself more to the big picture of Lucky Luxe. Without Ben, Katie, Sauce and Molly and our printers Friedrich and Jay, this little business would be nothing. I'm still stuck in the production design role simply because it's so complicated and tedious I haven't had the time to teach someone those duties. It takes less time to do it myself, which is a bad reason to keep doing it, I KNOW!" -Erin
"I remember thinking “I never want to package another card as long as I live.” - so I hired some part time help. At first it was sporadic - just when deliveries came in from my printshop. As my business grew, and those deliveries grew larger, I brought someone on as a permanent part timer. She packages cards for me 2-3 days a week - and also helps with pulling wholesale orders and various other tasks." -Sam
"I do have employees. Starting Packed Party off my bedroom floor (I didn't even have a desk!) and moving into a beautiful office with employees in under two years was a big whirlwind for me. Also, because everyone that works for Packed Party is quite a bit older than me (I'm 25) it was a lot to take in at first. I knew we needed to hire employees when I wasn't able to give customers what we were promising as far as over-the-top customer service, or the best products. I know my strengths and weaknesses well, so hiring had a lot to do with putting people in place to cover my weaknesses and compliment my strengths. I should add timing is everything. Our office sort of just happened, and the right employees did as well. I'm fortunate that I have never had to force anything with Packed Party." -Jordan
"We currently have 13 employees. The first position we hired for was a Production Assistant - someone to help us make the candles. A year ago, we viewed ourselves as artisans that were just hiring assistants to help us make the candles. Now we really see that we are a business, and we’ve promoted and hired to reflect that, making positions for managers in each department as well as department leads. It was hard at first to trust that hiring was the right decision - you’re spending money and time on training, when you think you could be doing it yourself. You can only do so much yourself. I remember when I was hiring for the Office/Accounts Assistant position the first time - I was so scared to let that go, as running our wholesale accounts was really important to me. I let myself get to a place I was worn down, making mistakes, and tearing my hair out before I said, ok, I NEED an assistant. It was instant relief. I would definitely say - don’t let it get to that point, just trust that an employee WILL grow your business, and be ready to change what your role is." -Kristen
"No full-time employees but I do work with a freelance creative team that I’ve built based on my ashtetic and who I want to spend my time with. My goal is to build a company that works for my lifestyle so that I can travel around the country Sparkhuntin’ with my dad. I do not aspire to have an office space with cogs." -Jillian
"My business is set up where me and my business partner are actually separate businesses but we exist under the same roof (and the same name). I run the shop and she runs the salon. It is awesome because we share a lot of the costs of running a business: rent, bills, employees (!!!). We expanded a few years back and she decided she needed a receptionist and I needed to be able to run errands and do random tasks during the day so we hired a few different people to be our shop keeper/receptionist. It has changed our lives. We share the cost of the employees but both have people to do the things that need to be done on a daily basis giving us more time to do things that will in the long run better our businesses." - Dana
"If you have a heart, hustle hard and want to make the world a better place you can work on the TP team. All my peeps live by this mantra and I am grateful to them." -Tiffany
"I do, although all are independent contractors with different compensation packages. My first hire was an assistant who also doubled as a babysitter. She’s still with me and I’ve since added several more people to the team. I have a graphic designer who works for me for a set number of hours a month at a set rate. I have a blog manager who help write, organize and schedule blog posts, who is paid per post. I have a virtual assistant who is paid an hourly rate and I have a minimum number of hours I’m committed to each month. I hired a new CPA recently and am in the process of hiring another assistant who can help with in-person projects and event management. I also utilize a lot of outsourcing platforms such as Task Rabbit, Fivver and Odesk for one-off projects. If I could go back in time, I would have hired help much sooner. My business grew each time I hired help and it freed me up to focus on higher level, revenue generating projects. Most people I coach have concerns about what to delegate and how they’ll afford to pay someone if they hire. Both are valid concerns… but if you do the research, you’ll quickly realize that you can outsource quite a bit and that you’ll be paying that person less than you pay yourself on an hourly basis (win-win!)." -Katie
"At the moment, I only have help one day a week. I could definitely use more help but I struggle with finding the right person, training, delegating, etc. I find it easier to do it myself than to let it go. I know this is a fault and one I really need to work on. I have had some wonderful employees and know how great it is but it scares me to get the wrong person." -Susan
"We have a team of about 50 now and I can't believe it! I always say that I hire people, I do not fill positions! If you hire the right person and they are a good match for the company then they are willing to learn and grow as the needs of the business change! It is my belief that you cannot grow without help!" -Kelly
"I've found that the only skills I really want employees to have are being personable and interested in the environment I've created. Working retail isn't too hard (I had never done it before I opened!), so I truly don't care about past retail experience. I have almost always hired employees based on their coming into the shop and watching how much they love being there." -Emily
"I have freelancers, both freelance contributors and some freelance behind-the-scenes help. I started adding contributors to Oh So Beautiful Paper in 2010 to address topics that I wanted to cover but didn't have the time or skills to do myself. I hired a social media assistant after I had my first child and I've had occasional help prepping editorial submission posts over the years. I also have an accountant that helps me with taxes (best investment ever). I'd love to have real in-house employees someday! There's definitely more than enough work to go around!" -Nole
Thanks again friends for following along on our new series and I truly hope you enjoyed it! Catch question 9, next Wednesday!