Setting Future Goals
So let's talk about setting some future goals. We're gonna look at a case study where someone decided to bring on an employee and talk about how that interacts with your life and your company's goals. All these things we did from the beginning. What are you loving? What do you want your day to be like? So I told you, my goal is the four hour workday. I want to have time to travel. So I'm here, I'm traveling. That would be really hard for me to do if I was still running the kind of business where I was shipping thousands of packages. You just can't take that kind of time away. But I love the traveling. So that's one way that I adjusted my business. I travel probably once a month, sometimes more. And I'm away for a really long weekend. So let's say a Thursday to a Monday most of the time. It's incredibly difficult to run a business that needs you at home five or six days a week and also do that kind of traveling. So I have gone a bit less physically intensive, shipping, to doing work whe...
re I can just check in on email on a Saturday night. What's your best day? Where do you want to be in five years? And then the really important thing. Are you taking the concrete steps you need to get there? Because it's not good enough to just be like, "Yeah, it'd be really nice "to only work a couple hours a day," and then twiddle your thumbs. You have to be taking the actionable steps of streamlining your business, delegating responsibilities, to actually get there. One example with a photographer is maybe your goal is to do two weddings a month, and you want to make your living only doing two weddings a month, or only doing one wedding a month. And maybe that means only doing a certain kind of client. Or maybe that means that wedding is like holy cow. You fly to Jamaica and it's like, the hardest 20 hour weekend you've ever worked in your life but then you take two weeks off. So we all have different kind of time commitments and goals, and we have to keep adjusting them. The good news is the longer you're in your profession the more you start to see opportunities to do things kinda differently. So someone who has been doing something for 20 years might have more opportunities than someone who just started yesterday. So it's up to you to take those opportunities. All right, I'm gonna look at a case study for hiring an employee. So I alluded to this one a little bit earlier. I actually have two. So I have SpaceCadet Yarn and Yao Cheng Designs. So let's look at them. Stephanie Alford, I talked to you about here. She dyes yarn. There's some yarn. She dyed it. Dying yarn is an incredibly physical process just by nature. You have to take the yarn. It's white. You put it in this pot of dye. There's different colors of dye. You have to stir it around, you have to take it out. You have to dry it. You have to skein it to the quantities. So there's kind of no way to do a yarn dying business without having labor to dye yarn. It's just kind of how it works. And her goal has always been to create-- She loves the yarn, she loves the colors, but also her goal is creating a family friendly business that women can work in. So have that kind of in the backdrop as you're reading this, that her goal wasn't to have the fewest employees possible, which is kind of my goal. But to create an environment where people can work collaboratively, getting the product out, making money, obviously but also providing women with an opportunity to work flexible hours doing the business. Which is really awesome. And I'll be teaching a maternity leave class, and I'm also interviewing her there for family friendly businesses because what she does is really great. Because it's so physical, she needs employees. Or people. Let's not call them employees yet. They're people, either contractor or employee. So it has to be a separate studio space. Because we talked about these workman comp laws. You can't just do this level of dying in your kitchen sink and have people working in your home. So there's that also financial investment too of a separate studio. So she said a few years ago, "I desperately needed help "but I was really frightened of the all the red tape "involved in hiring employees," I hear ya, "and very worried about the commitment. "Could I afford it long term?" So remember back when we were talking about employees. An employee is someone you have a regular commitment to. You can't just say, "Oh, I have money this month. "No money next month." It's something you're really committing to long term. So this was in 2012. So she hired a contractor. So it meant no commitment in terms of hours. She just hired someone to come over and do some help. And the contractor was responsible for her taxes and it was much less overhead work for her. Okay, so things evolved. Stephanie has three different clubs. I don't know how she does it. Whatever. She has a Mini-Skein Club, the Premiere Yarn Club, The SpaceMonster Mega Yarn. Like, it's a lot of yarn flying out of the house. And she just keeps getting more and more popular. Problems, solutions. Mo' money, mo' problems. So anyway, at some point a lawyer friend, nudge nudge, was like, "Your contractor is looking a little employee like." Because the person was in a premises without large control over the processes they were doing. You know, whatever the background definitions are. So she hired a lawyer. She hired a payroll company. And she brought an employee on. The roles change. You now know how to delegate. You can delegate to finding someone who can help you do that. And note, an employee doesn't have to be full time to be an employee. She has a couple part time employees. And she says, "In truth, it wasn't nearly as complicated "or as difficult as I had originally thought. "But I'm really happy that I started by hiring a contractor "because it allowed me to dip my toes in the water "without having to commit right off the bat." And I think that's like such a great attitude. You start. You see how it's working. Maybe it grows. Maybe it wouldn't have. You never know. And she says, "The effect it had on my business was incredible." I hear this over and over again. It's this relief, like the burden has been lifted off. So she said, "The first time I handed over a job "I didn't like, twisting skeins," so that's putting the yarn into that pretty little twist, "it just got done and it was amazing." So it freed her up to do the job that she really likes doing, which is the picking the yarn colors, the dying. And she says without her employee she wouldn't have had the time available to develop the wholesale relationships that are now becoming a large part of her business. So it gave her the resources to do other things in her business because now she has the time. So we're talking about more time, energy, money. She spent a little bit of money, and then got the time and energy back. And so now she had two employees who are working with her. And they have skills, and so they're doing things. And so, super exciting. Another person, super similar. Kind of completely backwards but kind of similar. Is Yao Cheng. I'll just go back. So Stephanie has offloaded a lot of the actual physical dying process. Yao loves doing the painting. Like she's all about the painting. So where Stephanie spends a lot of her time marketing, creating relationships, Yao loves doing the painting, and her artwork is her focus. Like, it's gorgeous. And she hired an employee to do marketing and the business end of things. So we're talking about doing the things that you love doing. So she says, "Hiring my first full time employee "was a defining step for me. "It was a game changer by giving me more time "back to focus on painting new work "and doing what I love most. "I could never have imagined how much "it has grown my business, two years in." So her employees, she now just hired a second one to do marketing, planning strategy, things like that. Because she loves the painting. So it's about doing what you love doing, and trying to find someone else to do that other stuff. Who are experts in that other stuff, right? So, "Building a team of folks who believe in my work "and delegating responsibilities can be scary, "but I see it as an investment, "and it's the only way I'm truly able "to do the things I've dreamed about doing." Because like we've said before, there's a huge different between a painter and a business owner. She's still spending most of her day doing the painting, but to be the business owner you have to find-- You have to delegate. You have to get someone to do those other responsibilities so that your whole business can function. So just a couple summarizing thoughts, I guess, on hiring an employee. It feels scarier than it is. It's always a little bit scary. It eliminates, in a lot of ways, the hustle of trying to patch all these components of help together. So like, "Oh, can you come package this thing? "Oh, can you ship this thing? "Oh wait. Let me find someone "who is gonna post something on social media." When you have a person who is there consistently who knows your business, then they're able to take over a lot more things with more regularity. It frees you up to do the work you want to do consistently. You can always hire an attorney and a payroll company to help guide you through the legal things, which do seem pretty scary, still, to me. And it also, it brings in another collaborative force. So now you have a person who is really invested in your company, and they're giving you great ideas too. And again, this is not the stage everyone's at, and it doesn't even have to be your goal. Maybe you never want to have an employee. But just knowing that that's the option let's you kind of judge whether or not it's right for you.
Most small business owners begin by doing it all. But as you grow, you’ll probably find that you need help. But what kind of help? And where do you go to get it?
In Outsourcing Workload to Grow Your Business Stacey Trock will show you how to navigate the options for getting the help you need for your business. From bookkeepers and accountants, to graphic designers, photographers and web designers, to virtual assistants, to production assistants, to overseas factories, to marketing agencies...there is a whole world of freelancers able to help your business run more smoothly!
In this class you will learn the following:
- The range of freelancers that are available, and what role they can fill in your business
- How to write a procedures manual for your business, making the delegation of work as seamless as possible
- How to hire a virtual assistant and streamline your business into tasks that can be carried out by someone other than you
- The difference between a contractor and an employee, and the pros and cons of each
- How to outsource the production of physical items for your shop, including working with local artisans and navigating the process of ordering custom items from overseas factories (via Alibaba)
By the end of Outsourcing Workload to Grow Your Business you’ll learn how to decide what is truly important in your business and what your time is worth. The secret to successfully turning over portions of your business is to structure your workload into systematic and well-defined capsules, which can be handed off to a largely-independent freelancer; freeing you up to do the things that you really love!