Dream Smarter Podcast Ep35 - How To Hire & Level Up Your Biz


Dream Smarter Podcast Ep35 – How To Hire & Level Up Your Biz

Below are the show notes/summary for this episode. Please listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify for the full show! Xo, Alex


So today, I will talk about hiring because hiring was really daunting to me. To me, it was the scariest part. I could do everything on my own. I don’t have a problem doing it on my own. I don’t have a problem figuring stuff out. But having to hire, figure out where to hire, when to hire and what tasks to give the hire, that was so stressful for me. It was one of the hurdles that I really had to overcome as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, as a founder. I want to share all of my little tips and tricks today on how you can level up your business by hiring out outsourcing.

When should you outsource? 

It’s going to look different to everyone, but to me, you should outsource when you’re feeling like you’re so overwhelmed. You’re like, I can’t do this anymore.

I mean, for me, I just had so many clients coming my way, and I was doing creative sprints. I was working with three different clients a week, doing all the creative work. I was doing all the development myself. I was doing all the back end, like sending the invoices. I was doing all the Instagram the social media. I got sick because I was so overworked. I was so stressed out. I didn’t have anything else going on in my life. It came to a point where it was like, I no longer have the time for all of this. For me to move the business out, take it up a notch, make more money, take on more clients, I have to outsource.

I have to hire someone because I cannot sustain this for much longer. For me, I’m a huge believer in basically doing everything yourself when you can. I had bosses that would hire me, and they would have no clue what I was doing. And then they would ask me to do things where I was like, I can’t do that. That’s not my expertise. Or like, that’s way more work than you think it is. And they’re like, oh yeah, it’s really easy to just like, do X, Y, Z., And you’re like, you do it. They don’t have a clue.

And you’re asking me to do it as if it’s like nothing. When in reality, it’s stressful and hard. I don’t feel like I’m getting any recognition. I’m a big believer in knowing what all of your employees are doing and being able to do it yourself. Of course, not as good as them because you want to hire people who can do it better, who have specialties in whatever you’re hiring for, but being able at least to have compassion for them and empathy for them. So that’s why I do everything myself. Even right now. I’m in the process of learning web flow. Do I need to learn web flow? No, I probably have better things to do, but I know I will be hiring developers. I know I’m going to be expanding the agency, and I want to make sure I know what web flow all is.

I can’t speak on platforms if I have never had experience in them. Some people start their business, and they immediately hire a team. I am somebody who’s like do everything that you can until you can’t anymore; until you realize like, I have the potential to make more money, but I can’t make more money until I have until I hire someone. So that’s my thought process on that.

Outsource things that you’re not good at

I do want to make a little note. I talk about outsourcing this podcast, and you should outsource things that you’re not good at. For instance, photography, videography, copywriting, accounting, an attorney, whatever. Specialty, things like that, you need to outsource. But this episode is about hiring more employees for your business, things that push the needle, not specialty tasks, like the other things that I mentioned. Obviously, I can’t just pick up a camera and be a photographer.

But I do want to note that some people are also really good at multiple things. Like there are a lot of brand designers I know who photographers are also. People who have gone through our programs people who are going to offer multiple services. So obviously, if you offer photography, do your own photography. I mean, you can’t do like photos of your face, but as all your flat lays, you should be doing those yourself.

And that’s another thing, too, just like a little mini lesson within this episode. It drives me crazy when I get brand designers or designers who are wanting me to design stuff. If you are a brand designer, you should not be outsourcing brand design. That makes no sense. If you can’t do your own, how are you going to do other people’s?

It’s just so fraudulent to me. If you’re a videographer, you should have your own videos on your site that you shot, not videos that other people shot of you.

Who can you hire?

So anyway, today is all about hiring more employees under you. There are many different people you can hire; interns, contractors, people who own their own businesses. For instance, a lot of VA’s have their own business. You hired them for a certain number of hours a week, similar to how you would hire a photographer, videographer attorney, whatever.

There are part-time people that you can contract out as full-time contractors. And then there are full-time employees. I do want to note that I am not an accountant. The whole LLC, S-corps, full-time versus contract, I’m not getting into that today. That’s something that you need to talk to your accountant about. And there are many different reasons why you should be an LLC versus an S Corp and stay as a contractor versus whatever. I’ve been talking to my accountant. For instance, I’m looking to buy a house. And we’re trying to prolong the S-corps situation, this is what they’re advising me. I have no idea what they’re talking about, but I trust them, hire people you trust; that’s another tip. My full-timers or even just contract right now, and there are rules for contract employees versus full-time getting benefits employees; obviously, there’s payroll involved.

There’s a bunch of stuff that I don’t want to deal with it. My accountant deals with all of that, and they just basically tell me what to do. They have my back. And I listened to them. I will do my research, of course, if I’m confused, but you get what I’m saying. So today is all about hiring people for your team, not specialized bits, like photos, video, all of that. We’ve already established when, when you should hire. And of course, again, everybody’s different. This is just my opinion. When you feel so overwhelmed, and you realize your business cannot make more money, but now I’m going to get into how to prepare yourself to hire.

How to prepare yourself to hire

I think that’s something nobody told me. And when I needed to hire someone, it was so stressful. I do want to mention it because people don’t talk about this. When you hire someone, there is a period between you hiring them and understanding what they’re doing that is difficult and takes a lot of your time as the founder or business owner because you need to teach them how you do things. There’s always time in between. You’re paying them, but you are kind of babysitting them a little bit. And of course, everybody comes with a different skill set, but you still have to teach them how you want to do things in your business because your business is different than other people’s businesses. They had kind of have to figure out your processes, all of that.

I would say two to six months after you hire someone, then the overwhelm goes away because you’re no longer teaching them. They can do things all independently, and everything’s flowing, but it takes a while to flow. That’s why high turnover is not a good thing. And you look at big corps and stuff, when they have high turnover, it’s like, oh, God, that must suck. But there’s something wrong going on with the business. As a business owner, my goal is to create an environment that I didn’t have as an employee.

I want my people to feel heard, seen. I want them to feel like they are not just a number. I want them to feel like they’re a part of the company, that I genuinely truly care for them, that they are a part of moving the needle forward. Just create a cool, dope working environment where they never want to leave. That’s ideal.  Unless they suck, and then I have to fire them. But that’s a whole other thing. To prepare yourself to hire, first things first, you want to write a huge list of things you do in your business and things you wish you did in your business, and future things that you want to do in your business.

You want to sit down, and you want to dream big. Where do I want this to go? Do I want to be running a giant agency where we have a studio here in Los Angeles? I have big plans for High moon studio. You should have big plans for your business. I have big plans for my future business that I’m in the middle of creating. You want to make a list of everything that you’re doing, everything you wish you did.

If you had all the hours in the day, and just forget about the money, what do you wish that you could do? Where do you see the business going? Make a list of literally all of these different tasks. Then what you want to do from there is you want to create what I’m calling employee folders. So, these people aren’t on your team yet, but you just want to create them. If I could have any employee in the world, who would I have? What would their titles be basically?

You’re going to create these employee title folders. And within those folders, you’re going to place all of those tasks that you just created. For instance, if we go back to the blog post, maybe you’re hiring a copywriter, and then you’re going to have the copywriter write the blog post. So that task would go into like write blog posts would go into the copywriter folder. Maybe you have you want a social media manager. So that’s the social media manager folder. Put them on in all these folders, and you start organizing your business’s flow up before it even happens. So basically, what you’re doing right now is you’re manifesting; look it up.

Once you do all of that, these are all really good exercises. Just for a business plan. So now you have all this stuff, right? You have a plan. You don’t have the money for it yet. Or you don’t have the bandwidth for it yet, but it’s there. And this is also something I wish somebody had taught me is you want to start recording your processes and systems that you are utilizing right now.

Like somebody comes to you and they’re like, hey, I want X, Y, Z, you add it to their invoice. Record that process. When you add things into your calendar, for instance, you book a client, you’re adding them into your calendar; record that process. When you are writing a blog post, record that process. Every little thing that you do when you’re adding things to your to-do list. When you’re booking a call with a client, record that process. When you’re taking a call with a client, when you’re creating a proposal, record every single little thing, title them under what tasks they are and start placing those into the folders that you just created. You’re not going to fill up all the folders.

You’re not doing everything that you could if you had a bunch of employees. But for instance, if an executive assistant was an employee folder that you had, you could place like booking calls with clients into that one.

So, you have your folders, you have tasks within the folders, and then you have the folders created on your computer or wherever you want to create them online. And then you start Trello. You create all these things, and then you start recording your processes and systems and placing those videos, naming them, placing them within the folders of which they fit for the employees. So basically, then what you’ll do is you’ll start to these folders, fill up with these processes and systems. And you’re going to know who you need to hire first.

A lot of them are future stuff. You can look at where you’re placing these things and say, so for now, can I just hire a virtual assistant to do all of these things in all these random folders? Is that where I can start? What about an intern? Can you hire a virtual assistant and an intern? What about a project manager? You’re going to start to see where all of these things are being placed. Of course, some of them, you’re still going to have to do it yourself. You have to sit, and you have to say, what can I do myself? And what can somebody else do? So that gets into the next portion of this episode.

Look at what you do to push the needle

I’m going to give you examples for me. I run the Instagram account for High moon studio. Maybe that will change in the future, but it’s in my voice, and people follow it because they like hearing my voice and my perspective, and I like curating the feed. That makes us money, like over 20,000 followers now: it’s just going nuts. I like to control that because it does make us money, and I can return all the DMs. It’s, it’s something that I want to do. That’s not something I want to outsource to a social media manager, at least right now. Things always change.

The other thing is I want to design the main brand and the main like homepage website. People can help me after that step, putting everything together. I have people to help me, but I’m always the one who comes up with the vision. I know that that has to stay that way, at least for now, because people hire us because they like my style. Who would I be if I was just to hire designers and just have them create things? It wouldn’t be in my style.

There are all these other little tasks. Other people can do those. We hired a project manager this year. Natalie is her name. She’s amazing. I wanted somebody to make the clients feel seen and heard all the time during business hours. I can no longer sit all day and respond to clients because I’m doing 20,000 other things. I need somebody to make sure that the clients are heard are seen, are getting their questions answered immediately. I always suggest making that list for you. Maybe you’re somebody who is not a writer or sucks at social media, then you should probably hire that out. Like, do you need to be sending invoices and payment reminders to your clients?

Do you need to be writing blog posts? So, you need to be onboarding your clients and creating their Trello boards? Probably not. Of course, every business is different. I’m just speaking about mine. I always suggest starting with a VA or an intern; an intern was our first hire ever, which was great. I did have them do blog posts and create little carousels for social media. I posted them, but they would create those things, and they would do other little tasks here or there, like random little ones that I needed them to help with. You can hire someone part-time like an intern, and also pay your interns.

If you only need them to work part-time or whatever, have them work part-time but pay them. You could also hire a VA, and there are tons of virtual assistants out there. I’m going to shout out Jessica Hawks right now, which is she was our VA. And then she blew up on tik tock. And now she’s famous. Anyway, I love her. She was a client of ours as well. And she does training for VAs. She has all these VAs, and I speak in her trainings, and I see all these VA’s and asked them what they specialize in.

And every VA specializes in something different, which is super great. That’s what you want. when I was looking for a VA, I was looking for somebody who specialized in creative businesses, specifically brand and website designers. It’s great because they know all the programs you need to use. They’re specializing in that. Hire a VA. It’s amazing. You just got to do a little digging. If you need someone specific, reach out to Jessica Hawks. Consider just hiring someone cheaper part-time and, or just a VA, and the VA most likely will work with multiple clients, right?

You’re not going to be their only clients. They’re going to work with multiple different people. You can generally book them in hour increments. Like 5 hours, 10 hours. Those are perfect people to start with. And you already have all your processes and systems recorded when you hire them. You just say, here you go. Here’s everything I need you to do. Watch all these videos, and then we’ll get started, and you don’t have any downtime. It’s so great. You still have to teach them, but you have it recorded.

When do you know to hire full-time?

This is a question I get a lot too, and when Jess was like, Hey Alex, I can no longer be your VA because now I’m like doing my own thing, which I was so thrilled for her.

I was so happy for her. I wasn’t mad at her at all, but I was like, I cannot have somebody who’s not 100% dedicated to High moon studio anymore. I needed to hire my first full-time person. You can’t hire someone full-time but not have work for them. There’s always work to be done, by the way. You can always figure it out. When you realize you need their full attention, and you have enough work for them to do, that’s when you should be hiring full time.  Once your capacity is at a max, and you realize you’re the VA only working 10 hours a week, or your intern, it just isn’t enough anymore because their head’s not in it.

And I don’t mean that in a bad way because they’re working with many different clients. How can their head be in your business full-on if they’re working with a bunch of clients? I just realized like I need somebody who’s so dedicated to High Moon studio’s growth and is here for the ride. And I’m not just a client of theirs. So that’s when I was like, all right, I’m hiring full-time. And I hired Becca, which she was originally our executive assistant. She is now the operations manager. And then we hired our project manager, Natalie, right after that to be a hundred percent focused on the clients. And I do want to say you want to hire people that have qualities you don’t. I’m going to use Becca and Natalie as my examples here.

I hired Becca because I am a visionary. I am a dreamer. I like thinking super big. And I need somebody who is operational, who is super organized, who can take all that comes out of my mouth and organize it. I don’t think I’m like a completely disorganized person, but it’s about coming up with those steps to make these big dreams happen. If I’m like Becca, we will do a High moon studio retreat with all the employees. She has set up the entire thing. It’s been so amazing. I had this idea, and she’s like, I got you. She came and presented all of these, she and Natalie, Natalie helped with this part too. They presented all these different Airbnb hotel options to me, all around the U.S. like, here’s what we could do here. Here’s what we could do here.

And she’s been planning out every single day. I’m so excited. We’re going to Joshua tree coming up here in like a month, and our main employees are coming, and it’s going to be amazing. We’re doing a photo shoot. We have all these things planned. Becca is planning the whole thing, all the food. She has a private chef coming. It’s so incredible. She’s so brilliant at taking the things that I say and running with them. It’s it always exceeds my expectations. So that’s just one example. She also will do the same with our ad funnels and stuff. She’s operations, and it’s amazing.

I have these things in my head, and then I just tell them to her. And then, all of a sudden, they come to life, and I’m like, oh my God, I love you. It’s just amazing. So that’s Becca. And then there’s Natalie. When I hired Natalie, I’ve said this a million times already, but I wanted her to be a hundred percent focused on the clients. And while I was hiring, I’m the type of person who can be straight up with this. I am a warm person, but I have so much going on. I don’t want to sit and talk to you for hours. Like, get straight to the point. When I’m on calls with clients I’m like, enough chatter, let’s just talk about your website.

When I was hiring for this position, I was like, I want somebody warm, super friendly, super nice. And Natalie was that person. Natalie is a photographer. She came from being a wedding photographer to doing this. It was kind of like a lot because there’s a lot of technical stuff that comes with this role, but she’s learning; she’s learning. And she’s the type of person who will hop on the phone with a client and be like, oh my God, how are you? Tell me about your kids. She’ll stay on the phone with them for a few hours if they want to. So that’s exactly why I hired Natalie because she has qualities that I don’t have and is perfect for working with clients. I can just stay focused on the tasks at hand.

So hopefully, this empowered you and gave you a lot of insight into how to hire, level up your business and not be afraid and just be a bit more prepared for it.

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