Am I Ready to Build My First Team?

Am I Ready to Build My First Team?

Achieving your lifestyle creative business can be a heady rush! Yet before too long you may realize that there are downsides to being the only one that can make your business work. Watch this video to discover how to tell if you’re ready to build a team. Know the biggest mindset shift you’ll need to make it work.


Hello, hello, hello! Welcome, welcome, welcome! Stop, turn on your sound, and get listening, because we have this week's show, all about creative success, and I want you to increase your levels of creative success. So, what are we talking about today? We are talking about, am I ready to build my first team? And so, the thing is that sometimes, people can end up with a bit of a disaster if they try to build their team too soon, or maybe too late as well. So we're going to be talking about some of the criteria, what to look out for, and also what's really important are what are the mindset shifts that you need to be making to make this work for you? Because it is very different from, maybe, the way that you've been operating before. So it's one of the biggest changes that you make in how you think, and the way that you operate.

0:55 -

Okay, so listen, just in case you don't know who I am, let me quickly explain that my name is Una Doyle. I'm a business development coach for creatives and their teams, and I'm all about helping you to be successful, helping you to understand how to run your business your way. That's what we're here about today, is understanding what's best for you.

1:17 -

All right, so one of the things that I often talk about with creative business owners is the feast and famine cycle, so this idea where you have, you know, sales are coming in and you're like, "Yay, I've got enough sales!" And then you have the famine where it's like, "Oh no!" And so, that's obviously something that, you know, if you're still experiencing that, you're not ready to be building a team just yet. But there is another cycle that can happen as well with people, where they get past that feast and famine cycle, but they then go into a boom and bust cycle. And so what happens is that they grow, so the business is booming and they grow the team, and then, because things aren't kind of quite right, they start falling apart a bit, and then they end up contracting again. So it's kind of like boom and bust, and boom and bust. And quite often, people would think, "Oh, well, this is because of "the economic cycles that are going on." And yes, while that can have an effect, there's more to it than that, okay? So I want you to listen carefully and, you know, get something to make some notes with as well. And by the way, I'll talk about this more at the end, but for those of you who want to explore this a bit, I've popped a link into the comments where you can book a free, short consultation with me, just a quick chat, so we can have a look and see, okay, well, is this right for you? Are you in the right position to move on and start growing your team, or what do you need to be looking out for with that? So, give me a shout about that. Okay, great. Oh, and thanks for sharing out the video as well. If you're watching, please share this out. We want to have as many creatives experiencing this, because even if they're not ready right now, it's good to know what to kind of look out for, and kind of where you're going, and what you need to be thinking of, once you've kind of got to that stage.

3:11 -

Okay, so here's how you know that you're ready to start growing your team. Now, when I say team, you might be thinking, "Well, does she mean freelancers "when I'm outsourcing to people, "or does she mean employees?” And what I would say is, for the most part, you want to do the outsourcing first, and then when it becomes, that seems like, oh, actually that's more of a problem than if I actually have somebody in my company, at that point you probably want to take whatever that is and bring it in-house, okay? But you've got to get to that point first. So, you absolutely have to know how to package, price, and position your offering. But more than that, okay, because that will get you to one level. But, in order to be ready to bring a team on, you have to know how to run promotions effectively. And the reason is that knowing how to package, price, and position your offering, that will allow you to get your income to a certain level. But after that, it's still very kind of ad-hoc, maybe a bit random. You might be depending a lot on word of mouth, and on social media. And you can kind of get to the point where you're like, "Well, I don't know how to grow this "without cloning myself or killing myself in the process." So if you're in that position, you need to be looking at how you're going to scale your sales, not how you're going to grow your team. So, hey, Andrew. Oh my gosh, I think the heat is getting to my head. Hi, Andrew, nice of you for joining us, and thank you for commenting, because I have no way of knowing that you're here and watching unless you comment as well, because I quite often bump into people and they're like, "Hey, I've been watching your Facebook Live "show every week." And I'm like, "Oh, wow, I never knew you were there." So cool, nice to hear from you.

5:06 -

So yeah, so you need to know how to run promotional campaigns as well, and that allows you, then, to be able to level up your income, because when you're able to have bulk sales, you run promotions, you're able to reach a lot more people at the one time, and then that means you have the capacity and income to be able to bring in your team. Because the thing is, it's not enough to have enough money to pay to outsource, or to have enough money to pay an employee. You also have to allow for the fact that when you start delegating, you need to allow the time for that person to get up to speed, even if they already do this for other people. You are going to have to spend time teaching them about your business. You're going to have to spend time communicating with them so they understand you, your brand, how your business operates, your clientele, all of those kinds of things. And that takes time, and that means there's quite the possibility that your profits will take a dive. Now, it's only a blip. If you do it the right way, then that won't last, and you will then be able to have even higher profits because you get to spend more time doing value-added work, right?

6:28 -

Now, so you need to make sure you've got enough money coming in, and this is the second thing is that you have that consistent income. So it's not enough to kind of, "Oh, well I've run one campaign, and I got some money in." But it's like, can you do that on a consistent basis? So I would say, ideally, and you might be outsourcing a little bit. Maybe you have someone helping you with a bit of social media, or a virtual assistant, or, you know, people doing your books for you, or whatever it is, they're managing your Facebook ads. So, whatever it might be. But you need to know, I know how to run a campaign, and boom, I'm able to bring in tens of thousands of pounds, or dollars, or euros, whatever currency you're in, you know, whenever that's required.

7:14 -

The third thing is that you've probably begun to start outsourcing, and so, you know, you've had a bit of that experience of what it's like, and also, particularly if you've not run a team before. Now, maybe you've had a job before you've had your own business, and so you know how to run a team, you know how to delegate. Well, that's brilliant, but for a lot of creatives, I mean, they have never been taught this. You know, they went and learned how to be a photographer, or a designer, or a performer, or whatever it might be, but they've never actually been taught, well, how do I run a team? How do I make collaborations that work for me? So, you know, that's good experience to start doing it in a small way. And then it also helps you to find the right people. And this is the thing, is that you've got to get really clear on where do you add the most value, and what are the things that you can give to other people to do that they are going to do faster, cheaper, and probably better than you can do them yourself? And sometimes it might be, well, maybe they won't do it exactly the way that you would, but it will still get done, and done is better than perfect, particularly if they are things that you've been procrastinating about. A lot of the time I'll, you know, meet people and they're like, "Oh, I want to do this, and this, and this," and they have all these different ideas, but actually turning those into reality, you know, they're only one person, and it's going to take more than one person to make all those things happen. And I do think it's really important to get very clear on, you know, not just the tasks and activities that are more suited to you, that help you to be in flow, you know, to achieve that creative flow, to be in the zone, but also that you're really clear on, well, this is the best business model for me, these are the best strategies for me to use. And it doesn't matter whether you're a photographer, or a designer, or you're in fashion, or you're a performer. You know, there's always different ways that you can go, and different things that you can do. So, for instance, somebody who's a performer, their strategies might be, well, it's all about building a community and relationships. Someone else is like, "Actually, no, "it's all about me creating my own work "and getting that out there.” And actually, I can make an income from that. "I don't need to be depending upon "having relationships with casting directors "and people like that." It could be that, as a photographer, you might decide to set up a stock photography site, and you have a very particular niche, and very particular people who want to use those types of photography, photographs. For somebody else it might be, "No, no, no, I want to do fine art photography, "and so I'm going to, you know, "my photographs are going to be bought by collectors "and people who invest in art." And so, they need to do things very differently. And then you could have somebody else who is all about wedding photography, and so it's very much about the service rather than the product. So, do you see what I mean? You got to get really clear on these things, because then that helps you to understand, well, where are the gaps? You know, where are the things that you are challenged by that are your natural weaknesses? And by building the right team around you, you could make your weaknesses irrelevant. You don't have to think about them, you don't have to try and fix them. You can focus on your strengths, and that's really what you want to be doing.

10:45 -

So here's a couple of tips for you, particularly for those of us that are more creative, like people like you and me that can be a bit head in the clouds, have loads of ideas. So what do you need to do in order to make that shift from it just being you to actually having that team around you, even if it's just one or two people to start off with that you're outsourcing to, and then eventually maybe you want to have one or more teams that are actually, you know, the business is running and you don't even need to be there as much, it doesn't depend on you anymore.

11:16 -

So, the mindset shift that you need to make that is so important is from independence to interdependence. Independence to interdependence. So, if you're in a position where you're not yet making enough sales, there's probably a feeling of being dependent. So maybe you're dependent upon a small number of clients or agencies that give you freelance work, or maybe a job because you haven't gotten to the point where you've been able to launch your business yet. And then when you get to the point where you have a successful lifestyle business, you are independent. You know how to take certain actions and boom, the money comes in, you're doing work that you love, and that's all fantastic.

12:04 -

What you then need, and this is the bit that can be really hard for creatives, you have to let go of your control freakery. That's what a client called it the other week. I thought it was hilarious. And control freak is a word that many of my clients describe themselves as. So if you feel like that, you are not alone, believe you me. And this can be one of the hardest things just because, you know, for those of us who are more, you know, creatively minded, we tend to think and move really, really fast. And when you move that fast, the chances are you might be leaving people behind. So, you have to slow down in order to be able to delegate properly and get other people up to speed. And you have to understand that the chances are, if you're delegating something to them that you're not so great at, and they're really good at, they're probably moving at a much slower speed than you. Accuracy, detail is going to be really important for them. Excuse me, I'm just getting my water here. They're going to really want to be sure of what they're doing. They're not happy to do things kind of flying by the seat of your pants. So, yeah, you absolutely have got to be able to, you know, work with those people and let go of some of that independence and actually build trust with these people. That's what's necessary for you to become interdependent, where you've got, it's not just you, there's the other person, and you're there, and you trust them, and they trust you. And that's what you want to be building. So yeah, Steve, "Am I right in thinking that "we should aim to go from dependent to independent, "and then to interdependent?" Absolutely, yes, that's what I was saying.

13:49 -

Yeah, so detail people. Some people who are great at doing the detail, they're actually more concerned about harmony than they are with certainty. Other people who are more analytical and perhaps more introverted, they really love certainty. And so, the thing is, so often for those of us who are more creatively minded, we can create these beautiful castles in our mind, but then to actually communicate that to somebody else, to us it would feel like massively over communicating. Look, let's be honest, have you ever thought you communicated something to someone, and then later you discovered, oh no, I just kind of thought about doing it, and then I thought I'd done it, but then you never actually had? I know I have. So, you know, this is the kind of thing you need to be looking out for. So you got to build the right structures in place in how you're working with your growing team to make sure that they get the information they need when they need it, and they understand where they fit into everything, they want to know that context. And look, you know, when you look at a certain situation, and you're like, "Well, that's really obvious," it isn't obvious to them. It needs to be explained to them because they have a different perspective from you. Think of it this way: you're like an eagle flying up in the sky. You can see for miles around, but not just in the sky. You can look down and you can see towns and villages, and of course, all the buildings and the vehicles and people are, you know, they're all quite small. But you can see all of that, and you have that bigger picture. But someone who's on the ground, they can only see what's around them in their immediate vicinity, so they need you to share the bigger picture and where everything fits in.

15:44 -

So, okay, I'm going to leave it there. I've got to run, unfortunately. If you have any questions or if you want to share your experiences, please pop that in the comments, and I will come back and answer those. And don't worry Andrew, you did not throw me. I might've sounded like it, but I was fine on the inside. That was just my mouth having problems, so don't worry about that. So yes, I'd love to hear, you know, what's your single biggest challenge about growing a team? Because I can do some more shows on that. You know, do you want to hear about, well, what does effective delegation look like? Well, how do I find and attract the right people? These are the kinds of things I could be sharing if you want me to. So if you want me to do that, pop the details in the comments or send me a message, and I would love to hear from you. And so, here's the thing as well. If you're feeling like, "Okay, yeah, "I really resonated with what Una's saying, "and I need to be looking at this." I'm not sure if now's the right time "for me to be building a team, "or if there's other things "I need to put in place first," or maybe you're already in the process of it and maybe you've got stuck, or you just simply want to do it better and do it faster. So, if any of those things apply, click the link in the first comment and you can book. You can book straight into my diary for a quick 15 minute chat. And, you know, I guarantee you that you will go away with one ah-ha, insight, tip, strategy, something that is going to improve your situation, no charge. Okay, have a fantastic day, week, and month. I'm back here same time next week, so 4:30 GMT every Wednesday for shows on creative success. Okay, have fun everybody, bye!

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Una Doyle

About the Author

Una Doyle

Una is a Business Coach & Strategist for Creative Services Providers (Design, Animation, Marketing/Digital Agencies, etc.). She helps them to stand out from the crowd confidently & profitably so they can attract high-level, 'Ready to Invest' clients, doing creative work that fills their hearts with pride - WITHOUT selling their soul or adding extra workload.

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  • […] PS If you are still flying solo and feel like a hamster on a wheel, check this out first: "Am I ready to build my first team?" […]

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