As someone who runs a team of 15 women and has had a team since 2016, I get asked a lot of questions about building a team. As service providers, support from team members can be SO beneficial, so it’s no wonder you’re curious about this! But it can be a scary leap to take, so you may be asking yourself: “Am I even ready to hire a team?”
Honestly, if you’re even at the point where you’re asking yourself that question…you’re probably ready! 😂 But I get it — building a team is a BIG decision and can be a little overwhelming. You want to make sure you’re in a good position to hire a team and not making a huge mistake.
The truth is that we often don’t know if we’re ready to do something only because we feel unprepared. In my opinion, the real question is less “are you READY?” and more “are you PREPARED?”
Because, at the end of the day, I truly believe that all service-based businesses (if you want to scale to 6+ figures) NEED to hire a team eventually. And I also believe that the sooner you do it, the better.
I was able to scale my own business to 6 figures in less than 2 years! (While I was still working my full-time job!) And a HUGE thing that helped me do that was choosing to hire a team early on in the process.
Hiring a team allows you to:
- Save time AND get more done
- Work with more clients (or do more work for a small number of clients)
- Deliver higher-quality work
- Have a built-in support system
- Take time off when you need it
- And more! 💃🏻
So, in this post, I’m going to walk through some questions that you can ask yourself to see if you’re prepared to hire a team. It will also walk you through all the things you need to do before you make your first hire!
Are You Struggling to Get Everything Done?
One BIG sign that you’re ready to hire a team is if you constantly feel like you have a LOT of work to do, but not enough time to get it all done. But just because you feel like that doesn’t automatically mean that you should hire a team.
There are two other things that can help you solve this problem. I would recommend trying these things first before you hire a team. Once you’ve done these things, you will be in a better place to bring on some team members!
Raise Your Rates
If you’re at your maximum capacity, it likely means that it’s time to raise your rates. This means that you need to (a) increase the prices on your sales pages AND (b) raise the rates on all of your current clients.
Before you do this, know that raising your rates may result in losing a few clients. It could also reduce your number of new client inquiries. But those are GOOD things! You are stepping into your zone of genius and charging what you’re worth. If you have so much work that you can’t keep up with it…it means that people value your expertise and want your help! Make sure that your prices are in line with that.
All service providers need to do this eventually. And although it might be a little nerve-wracking (the first time I did it, I was SO nauseous 🤮 ), it’s a necessary part of growing your business. I’ve raised my rates quite a few times over the years, and I can honestly say that I’ve never once regretted it.
It’s kind of the best thing ever! Raising your rates will free up more of your time. And it also means that you’ll make more money for the work that you do have time to do. Although it may seem like you’re limiting yourself by raising your rates, it will result in INCREASED revenue (not less).
Improve Your Time Management & Efficiency Before You Hire a Team
Another big thing that can help you get more done before you hire a team is to work on improving your time management skills and becoming more efficient. Honestly, this is a life-long challenge for most people and it’s something that you’ll probably have to work on forever. It’s not a one-and-done solution!
But if you’re thinking about building your team, NOW is a great time to start improving your time management and efficiency. It’s important that you have at least some control in this area. That way you’ll be in a secure and confident place when it comes time to start delegating.
I talk a lot about different systems that you can implement in your business to get yourself more organized and make your business easier! Now might be the time to make sure some of those things are in place.
It looks a bit different for everyone, but some things you may want to focus on are:
- Implementing a client onboarding system
- Having a set daily or weekly schedule
- Setting boundaries with your clients
- Using a project management system for task organization
Do You Have a Service Delivery System?
If you plan to hire a team to help support you with client work, it can quickly get really overwhelming if you don’t know what to delegate, who to delegate it to, or if your service delivery looks totally different for every single client.
Before you hire any subcontractors, you’ll want to get to a place where your service delivery is at least somewhat systemized. I recommend that you fully package your services if you want delegation to go super smoothly.
I dive deep into how to package your services in The Systems Society because it’s SUCH an important part of being able to scale your business. But even if you don’t have packaged services yet, you should at least have some type of service delivery process when working with clients.
You may do occasional custom client projects that require you to delegate some stuff out without a process. But make sure you’re charging top dollar for custom work like that! And create packaged services (or at least have service delivery processes) for everything else.
For example, if you’re a web designer, you should have a service delivery process for building out your websites. Most (if not all of) the steps should be the same every time, like:
- Designing a logo
- Setting up the navigation bar
- Creating a footer
- Building out the contact page
Even if the outcome of some of your steps is slightly different (i.e. the logo won’t look the same every time), the steps themselves should be exactly the same for every single client.
Use a project management system like Asana to build out a workflow for each type of service you offer. Having workflows like this allows you to get more streamlined and efficient with your service delivery!
When you’re building out these workflows, set up ALL the steps that you need for each type of service. Each step should include a tutorial or standard operating procedure (SOP) so that it can be easily delegated to your team member(s) in the future.
Then, when you’re actually going through the workflow while delivering the service for a particular client, you can add in specific directions or details to each task as needed, before you assign it to a team member.
Do You Know What Role You’re Hiring For?
I talk a LOT about choosing the position of your first team member in my post on creating a Team Onboarding System. Definitely go check that out! But my main point is that, if you’re a service provider, the best route to go when building a team is to hire a SPECIALIST first.
So, using that web designer example, maybe you hire a graphic designer or a tech expert. Someone who can take some specific tasks off your plate in one designated area. That way, it’s super obvious what tasks get delegated to whom. Plus, since they’re a specialist, you won’t have to do much skills training with them (if any!).
For example, you should just be able to give them a task that says “Design a logo.” And as long as they have the necessary background information about the client and the direction you want to go in, they will come back to you with an amazing logo. You don’t need to teach them how to actually do the graphic design part.
This will make delegation a LOT easier for you. And that’s the most overwhelming part about having a team!
Go through your service delivery process(es) and try to identify one specific area that you could easily delegate a bunch of tasks in. That will be the first position you hire for!
Related: What Types of Employees Should You Have on Your Team?
Do You Have a Team Member Onboarding System?
I go into that WAY in-depth on this in my post about creating a team member onboarding system. But, before you jump in and hire someone, it’s important to map out what your onboarding process is going to look like.
I’m not gonna lie: Building your team can be an overwhelming process.
But my goal is to help you avoid as much overwhelm as possible and feel confident about your decision to hire a team!
Getting all of these things in place FIRST (like your onboarding system, service delivery process, etc.) is so helpful. Once your first team member is actually on your team, they will likely have some questions and you’ll have to learn how to manage them. Especially if you’re like me and had never managed anyone before! It’s a process.
You can make it easier on yourself by putting in some upfront effort to make sure that everything you can do ahead of time is done BEFORE you hire a team. This will make it so that, once you’re actually in the trenches with them…you’re not distracted by all of those other to-dos, and can really FOCUS on them and being an amazing team leader.
Got more questions about if you’re ready to hire a team?
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