There comes a time in all small businesses where one person can no longer wear all the hats. I tell my clients all the time, find creative ways to outsource the tiny tasks you’re being plagued with. The CEO of a business would never hop on Telegram, ship orders, etc. Okay, Well, A GREAT CEO would do those things, because being a leader is about recognizing you are above no task, but its also about recognizing where your time is best spent.
Once you are at the point of hiring, GET CREATIVE!!!!What on Earth do you mean? Listen, I have this neighbor who has three teenage children. The youngest child has never had a job. So, Guess what?! She is now in charge of KAM snap additions and shipping! She makes $12/hour and averages an hour a day (even on the weekends). She is a very low maintenance employee who has a flexible schedule and gets those two tasks done efficiently. Because of hiring her, I can no use my afternoon answering e-mails before actually “clocking out” for the day, I can knock out a few more pieces in production, or I can take that hour off and spend time with my children! On average, she is paid $85 per week, but her working for $12 an hour efficiently and without interruption means that I save myself close to $300 per week (not including any production I may get completed).
So why hasn’t that one scenario motivated you to reach out and hire someone RIGHT NOW? Because, we are control freaks and we cant hand over tasks! No? Think it through. What if you found a neighbor or put an ad out just for shipping help: How long would it take to find someone? Train them? Trust them to complete the task without you? And how much would you pay them? If these questions sent your heart into panic mode, you my friend, are a control freak! AND THAT’S OKAY!!!! This business is your baby. You are the sole person responsible for its success and failure, and you don’t take that lightly! But I am here to tell you my favorite entrepreneur motto: GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY!
Okay, now you’re listening. Let’s get down to business. What are tasks that you hate doing, and know someone could easily take on for you?
- Social Media
- Adding tags, snaps, etc to pieces
- production (don’t scare!)
- web development
- social media growth
- advertisement (scary one!)
- back office
There are so many areas that we can quickly navigate off of our plate if only we can find the strength to give the control over. I have outsourced all of the above at one point or another. I have since taken some roles back on, but outsourcing meant i was finally able to scale my business, just by getting out of my own way.
We put limitations on ourselves. We are JUST moms who run a business, why would we shoot for the stars and have extreme sales goals, right!? Stop thinking like that! I had a mentor make me run the numbers on $10,000 gross sales a month. That number looked like a million dollars to me. For some, $10k isnt a blink of an eye, but for me it was like that made up number you said all the time as a kid. Once I actually broke down how much I would have to sell and product to get to that number, I actually laughed at myself. That was doable on the current staff I had. So why was I holding myself back? Because I didn’t even think that number was possible. A.D.D. is kicking in. Back to the topic-
It’s time to hire. Now what?
For some positions, it can be as easy as finding a service that handles this for you. From then, it would simply qualify as a business expense for you. For other topics, it can be reaching out to someone you know through social media. Find creative ways of taking things off of your plate, like, I have since hired moms who already shop with me. They earn free products (shop credit) for handling small tasks for me, such as posting to social media, engaging on our accounts and sending e-mails for our company. This means while I might lose a few dollars in products, It cannot compare to the TIME it has saved me. Think about this: you forgot to post this morning. Ugh-Oh! You go to post and maybe you don’t have content lined up! You go on the hunt for e-mails, tagged photos, etc. Next thing you know, you’re sitting on Facebook scrolling and chatting away. Oh no, back to the task, Then BAM you’re answering an e-mail, a text message, and then scrolling away on Instagram. OH!! Don’t you even act like I’m the only one who gets this distracted. I see you, girl! You have now wasted over an hour, and still haven’t posted! YIKES!!! I don’t know about you, but just from a production standpoint my time is worth at least $140/hour! I could have knocked out $140 worth of orders in the time i spent playing on my phone.
I know we all need a break, and there is a time and place for that, but make no mistake that if you had simply gotten creative and found a way to outsource your posting, you would have that extra hour to tackle e-mails, cut patterns, make a few shirts, sew a few items, etc. As a small shop owner, your time is absolutely golden. You are the secret ingredient of your business. So without you doing the things that REQUIRE you, you fall behind and get in an endless game of “can’t catch up”. Am I hitting the core yet?
Now that I finally have you on board, I will walk you through my hiring process. This will be specifically outlined for contractors (seamstresses, production, etc.) since I’ve spoken above about other ways of outsourcing tasks.
1.) Place an ad or call to action for the position
This could be as easy as talking to a neighbor or as complicated as paying for an ad on a site or newspaper.
2.) Conduct an interview
My biggest suggestion, especially with contractors, would be to conduct a group interview. Name a time and location that all interested parties meet. Bring each proper supplies (I’ll explain below) & go over the requirements as a whole. From then, you can do small 1 on 1’s to get to know each applicant, or even e-mail them questions to have answered for you at the interview. Efficiency is key, because this interview is taking time away from other tasks you need to be doing.
3.) Give timeline on samples and contractor packet
Here is what goes into my new hire packets:
- Folder (i stock up in August when they’re .15)
- w-9 (find black online & print multiples)
- Contract (You may find a free template for Independent Contractor Agreement for your state online. I HIGHLY recommend paying a service such as LegalZoom to draft something more tailored that includes a NC/ND agreement)
- Patterns, Instructions, FAQs, etc.
- Box of samples (I make sure its an item I DO NOT NEED BACK!- You’ll be shocked at how many you never hear from again)
From that moment, you’ll give them a deadline for having all samples and paperwork filled out, and schedule to meet with them individually once all are complete. (Again, more than half you won’t ever hear from again, unfortunately!) The few who do contact you within the timeline and have completed your tasks, you will set a second interview for. Meet with them, go over their questions or ask anything you may have thought of. This is my opportunity to get to know them. Do they have children? What is their schedule like? Will they realistically be able to handle the task at hand? Look over the samples they have for you (I suggest making a Facebook page and adding them to it prior to samples, in case they run into any questions about production.)
Once you’ve gone over your business, their samples, their paperwork, their answers and evaluation, you will know whether you move forward. If they are a yes, do yourself a favor and start out slow. I personally like to pay in batches of $100. It makes it easier for me to remember who has what and how much I owe them. I am pretty old school, so a checkbook and spiral notebook sit in a specific drawer at my desk where I keep account of this.
You may find that Susy Perfect actually didn’t have time in the end to finish your small batch of production in the time you specified. You may find that while she took careful time and attention on the samples, she isn’t going to give you that detail every time. You may find she falls off the planet, even though she seemed like a dream come true. You may also find that she took your supplies and started her own business. You may find a lot of things that don’t end up working out and shock you. Prepare for it. Do not give your new contractor important items right away. Things will happen, people will suck. Prepare for it now because I went through the crazy for you!
Are you struggling with outsourcing? Need more tips on hiring? Email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org