Hiring A Team: When, Why, How + What Do They Do?

Small Business Advice: Hiring | A Fabulous Fete


The first thing I hear from so many people (including myself 2 years ago) when they aren't sure if they need to hire a team is, "But I'm going to spend more time training them than they'll actually save me! I DO NOT have time for that". Right. And Wrong. Yes, you will 100% have to spend time training them. And it will be 187% worth it. Maybe 287%, I don't know... just take my word for it. It's worth it, and it gets easier each time.

I've gotten these questions quite a few times as well.

HOW did you hire your team?

WHEN did you know you could actually hire and pay someone?

WHY do you need a team, can't you do that stuff yourself?

WHAT the heck do you give them to do (almost) everyday?

Today, I'm diving into these 4 questions... and probably more. So if you are teetering on that fine line of potentially having a mental breakdown soon if you don't get some help, this post is for you. I've been there and I'm going to share with you how A Fabulous Fete became a team of 3, how I take plenty of days off (without panicking) and why I am more inspired now than ever in my business because of them.


Business Advice: Hiring A Team | A Fabulous Fete


WHEN did you know you could actually hire and pay someone?

There isn't an exact dollar amount when you stop and realize it's time to hire someone. And I think that is what I was always waiting for. Instead, I started to look at what I was turning down and projects I was putting on my "someday, but these are actually super important" list. Think about it this way; your new hire is going to take on tasks that are taking up much of your time now, allowing you more time to create and do what you're really good at, in turn (in most cases) making you more money. So while it may not seem like you are bringing so much $$$ that you need to give it to someone else, you will. And your new employee is going to help you get there.

I think that the biggest indicator that you need to expand is when you realize you aren't giving you clients or customers the experience they deserve. That can range from missing deadlines, forgetting to email them back, or worse, having so much pressure on you that you actually can't create for them at the level you've promised.

Don't worry that you won't know what you will have them them working on... they could help you with your emails, draft invoices, order materials for you, even keep your office tidy and stocked so you have a place to create. Nothing is too small. Help is help. There are so many people that would love the experience, whether that's 3 hours per week, or 30. Stop worrying that you have to make this process perfect to fit anyones expectations. All you have to do is make sure it is helpful for you and your business.

HOW did you hire your team?

Instagram! I was lucky enough to get more than enough high quality candidates by just sharing on instagram a few times. You could share your openings on any of your social networks, linkedin would be a great one, tell your friends to tell their friends, and there are even sites that will list creative positions (like DesignLoveFest does here). With social media and blogs it's so easy to get the word out.

Before I announced the news I created a simple form on my site for potential candidates to fill out.

What did I include in my form to apply?

First and most importantly, clearly outline all the tasks of the job. Make sure this focuses on their daily tasks and what they can expect to learn working for you. How many hours can they expect to work weekly? Is it remote or do they need to be in the office? What are traits and skills they must have? And maybe the most important question... do they love dogs? (jk. BUT, I actually did put this in my job listing since I always bring my dogs to work!) I think it's super important to set realistic expectations for what they are going to be doing and the environment they will be in. When I hired my first 2 employees, we were working out of our home. I wanted to make sure they were comfortable with that, so it was clearly stated in the listing.

What to put in your form:

- Name + personal contact information

- Why they are a fit

- A list of programs that they would be using, allowing them to check off each that they are proficient in

- Earliest start date

- Website, instagram or portfolio

- And finally, a question that allows them to get creative (what's your favorite wine? if I let you plan a team building trip, where would you take us?). Make it fun so you can get a sense of their personality.

I gave people around 2 weeks to apply. Once I had my candidates, I went through each and chose those that seemed like the best fit. I sent them each an email asking them any more questions I had and letting them know what the pay for that position was (I don't put the pay on the job listing, what I DO put though is the level of the position). If they agree, we make a plan to meet for an informal interview. At the interview, we basically talk through their answers they left in the form, and I have them elaborate on anything I want to know more about like, how they used photoshop in the past, or what they actually did at their last job. Also, make sure your are cool hanging out with them for most of your days. If they put out any bad vibes, I would just move on unless they are THE PERFECT candidate over anyone else. Don't settle. The process can get long and overwhelming, but having people that you connect with, that inspire you and that are truly excited about helping you grow your company makes being with them, and at work everyday, actually pleasant.


Business Advice | A Fabulous Fete


WHY do you need a team, can't you do that stuff yourself?

Of course I can do it myself. But, I don't want to. Think about any successful business. They all have teams behind the scenes. In most cases, if you plan on scaling your business, you WILL need a team.

I could spend my days answering emails, designing newsletters, shipping orders or preparing quotes. And that would leave me about 7 minutes in my day to actually do work that is the core of our business (ie. designing wedding invitations, conceptualizing shoots, writing blog posts).

So yes, when people ask me, why can't you just do that yourself, the answer is because it's a waste of how I can best serve my business. But, those tasks are someone else's strong points. And having them there to take over lets me do what I'm good at.

WHAT the heck do you give them to do (almost) everyday?

Make a list of EVERYTHING that needs to get done in your business. Now put those tasks into 3 categories:

Top: Tasks that only you can do and that you are incredible at (ex. hand lettering a wedding invitation, producing a photoshoot for a client, styling for your instagram feed).

Middle: Tasks that you can train someone to do that you are okay at but don't really enjoy doing (ie. social media strategy, drafting blog posts, editing photos).

Bottom: Tasks that you hate, that you are horrible at, and that take you much longer than another person might complete them in (ex. answering emails, pricing out new projects, packing and shipping orders).

Now that you have those broken down. Start at the bottom. These are things that you absolutely should not be doing, and this is what you need to hire for first. This is where I started. Eventually you will move your way up that list until all that is left for YOU is what you are GREAT at. The best uses of your time. But, what is more important is that those tasks that are at the "bottom" for you, are at the "top" of your new hires list. The person that you hire should not necessarily have the same skills or interests as you (in terms of work). When I hired our Production Manager, she proclaimed her love for excel. She's great at it. She knows how to do and make so many things in excel that have increased our productivity that I would have NEVER known how to do. And she get's excited when we have a reason to organize something new in excel. OPPOSITE OF ME. I freaking hate excel and would be okay never looking at it ever again.

Keep in mind that while you might have a solid expectation of what that position is that you are hiring for, it will probably change. You will hire the best person to do the job, and once they are there for a while, traits will start to stand out. I've always made room for this when hiring. My job listings are typically 83 pages long with things I need them to do. But once they've worked with me for a few weeks, I start to notice that they are great at some things, but struggling with others. If you plan on keeping your team on long term and creating jobs that they are confident in, it's great to reassess that position and align it with what they are genius in. Sure, there are things we all hate doing as part of our jobs, but your main work should be something you are great at. If there are tasks dropping off of that specific job description, roll them up into your next hire. You won't find one person that can do it all. That's why most businesses have experts in each department.


Small Business Advice: Hiring Your Team | A Fabulous Fete


Looking at my business now, I couldn't imagine doing it on my own. It would actually be impossible. Hiring a team has allowed me to focus on what I am good at, and where I want to take us. I can confidently say that everything I do has gotten better. I'm not rushing through projects, forgetting to send invoices, or putting things out that I don't believe in. I have a clear head now to concept new projects for us to work on that will take A Fabulous Fete to the next level. Not to mention I have people to talk to and have happy hour with and that's just fun.

In my personal life, I'm probably a much nicer person to be around. I don't cancel on people ALL the time anymore because I am too busy. I'm not a crying frantic mess at home. And yes, if I want to take a few days off for an extra long weekend. It's FINE. We schedule around it, work out far enough that I know what needs to be done before I leave, and I trust my team to handle their responsibilities without me there.

So if you are out there struggling with the decision to hire or not to hire, I hope this helps you.

If you want to ask any more questions you might have about our process, leave them below!