Systems

Growing your team right and hiring for your business

Business is great. You are getting more clients than you thought possible. You are doing work that you love. Well, mostly. You have a million things to do, but that’s okay. This is your dream. Your business. Your baby is finally coming together.

So you work the 10-12 hour days. You hastily say goodnight to your child, because you still have “some stuff left to do.” You are tired, but blissfully so. This was what you’ve been hoping for all these years. For the business to have a waitlist. To have your plate full. To have a thriving business.

But you are tired. You are drained and find yourself getting a little impatient with your clients, though you know it isn’t their fault. Not really. You don’t have time for that family movie night anymore, because “sorry honey, I really gotta get this done tonight.”

Sound familiar?

So often business owners work themselves into the ground, because they don’t have a plan. Well, they do, but it’s often getting the business off the ground. Beyond that, they don’t really have a plan. So you work yourself into the ground and convince yourself that it’s fine, it’s temporary and you will find a way around it. But deep down you know that there’s no way around it. You’re maxed out.

But hiring is scary. Can you really do it? Can you really trust someone else with your business - your baby? After all, you’ve worked so hard on it. You know your business.

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The truth is, you know you need help. But who? How? Where to start? What to expect? And those are all super valid questions. It’s hard to bring on someone else. Here are some tips to make it easier. 

Case Studies

To get you inspired and encourage you on growing your team, here are what some other business owners have to say about their first hire and how that helped their business grow.

>> Insert 5 case studies <<

 

Start with an Organisation Chart

It’s your turn now, but where to start? I understand how overwhelming it can be, and want to help you get started on the right foot. So often, we start hiring only when we’re in over our heads and we are desperate. So we hire to fill the gaps. But this can be disastrous. We want to hire intentionally and know that it will help us grow not only our team, but our business.

If you’ve read The E-Myth Revisited, you would’ve heard of this concept. Basically, start by envisioning the future of your business, whether that’s your end-goal or at least 5 years into the future. What does your business look like?

In order to facilitate that dream business, what roles and departments does your business need to have? What support do you need?

Download the Organisation Chart below to help you out:

Start with yourself as the CEO, then, map out all the roles that is required to support your dream business. Then, see yourself as the employee of all these roles. Yes, you can even pen your name in every box.

This exercise is what I do with my coaching clients all the time to help them determine the roles they need to hire eventually to help support their dream business. Without this organisation chart, you will more than likely hire to fill the gaps instead of being intentional about it. What that does is you end up hiring help that isn’t crucial to your business and takes from your company, instead of adding to it.

A great hire not only takes things off your plate but helps generate income, directly or indirectly.

 

Hire Intentionally, Step by Step

With your Organisation Chart in hand, first ask yourself this: What roles do you absolutely hate your name next to? What do you know is needed in your business, but you really dislike doing? Circle those with a red pen.

Then, ask yourself this question: Which roles seem easy enough to outsource very cheaply (think the US$5-20 per hour virtual assistants)? Those that are mundane and repeatable, and don’t require your micromanagement? Circle those with a green pen.

Lastly, ask yourself this: Which roles can be automated or systemitised? You don’t have to know the exact way you’re going to systemitise it, but you know of a tool that can take this off your plate. Circle these with an orange pen.

These are the roles you can focus on eliminating, first. By allowing yourself to avoid the jobs you absolutely dislike, you can focus on your genius zone and be more productive. By outsourcing simpler tasks, you can shave precious time off mundane tasks and free up time to work with clients. And lastly, by sitting down and spending time to set up a system, you can automate processes with very little money spent.

After these questions, if you’re still up for it and want to grow even further, start to circle with a purple pen the roles that generate sales or are supporting sales efforts. By pinpointing these roles early, you can start first to record down processes and SOPs (standard operating procedures) so that once you have the ability, you can outsource these roles first.

By focusing on income-generating hires, your hire becomes an investment and not an expense. You start on the right foot and each hire produces even more income, either because it frees you up tremendously to do the work that grows your business, or because it simply brings in more business.

Tips for making your first hiring process smooth and easy

  1. Make a list of the things you want done, pertinent to each role. Just brain dump it and organise later, if that’s easier for you.

  2. Set your budget and research what you can get for the price. Different price points will get you assistants or contractors of different skill levels, so set your expectations and apply that budget accordingly.

  3. Find a specialist instead of a general assistant, if you can help it. There are many great assistants out there, but a specialist one can help you do the things you want done faster and with better quality.

  4. Trial first. As they say, hire slow, fire fast. I don’t completely agree with that statement, but it is good to trial your assistants or contractors first with a smaller project, before you entrust them with a proper role in your business.

  5. Have a contract and be clear on everything, including your tasks. Especially for virtual assistants, a clearly laid out task ensures a better result. Make them concrete so it’s a one-and-done, not a back-and-forth job, since most of them charge hourly rates.


Let me know

Are you prepping to make your first hire? If so, who are you looking for? :)


How To Choose And Work On Your Best Ideas

As an online business owner trying to make sure you’ve got the handle on your marketing, content, finances and all other tasks that come with being an entrepreneur, it’s so easy to try to  focus on doing all the things.

And let’s face it: you and I both know that it isn’t possible.

Deciding to work on or focus on something means having to sacrifice something else or put it on the backburner, because you have limited time, energy and resources. And there are some things you just cannot outsource or contract out.

But with all the ideas seeming like good ideas… how do you decide which to work on first? How do you know if it’s the one you should be working on? How do you know if it is a good idea or a great one?

Do a brain dump and organise by category and time budget

As with everything to do with decluttering and making sense of an overwhelming task at hand, the first thing to do is to brain dump all your ideas and thoughts on paper.

This might seem like a duh move, but this serves two purposes, one, to clear your mind from residual tasks that are taking up brain space, and two, to make sure you never let a good idea slip away. Sometimes (or a lot of the time) we forget stuff because there’s just so many ideas and we don’t write them down.

Brain dump everything on your mind, including to-dos, ideas for products, and ideas for blog posts or marketing content. Just clear your brain from all the ideas you’ve been hoarding.

After that, go one step further and organise these brain dump ideas by both category and time budget. There’s a handy-dandy Idea Catcher Template I created for you, just sign up below and you’ll get that template for free:

Get the Free Idea Catcher Templates!

You'll also get free weekly tips on branding and systems. No spam, ever!

Organising by category is a two-step process. First, categorise them generally - so whether these ideas are just to-dos, improvements you want to make, a blog post, a content upgrade, a freebie, or a product or service.

Then, sub-categorise them into topics that pertain to your business. What are the key topics or content people come to you for? You should have 2 to 4 main categories that you regularly write or talk about. Organise these ideas into their respective topics.

For example, a social media marketing expert can write about expanding blog post reach with Pinterest, maximising Facebook Ad budgets and the best ways to utilise Instagram stories. A health coach can have topics like juicing recipes, latest health news and tips to use essential oils.

If the ideas don’t fit into any of these topics, place them into the “later” column. You’ll just safekeep them until you have a bigger time budget or you want to work on something new.

Next, go ahead and determine the time budget you have to work on an idea right now, and then classify each idea by the estimated time needed to complete the task.

What this step does is give you a bird’s eye view and content vault of all the ideas that you have, so you can zoom in on the ones that are most relevant and also take you the shortest time to complete. So whenever you have some time to work on content, you know exactly which idea to pluck and execute immediately, skipping all that time spent contemplating and trying to sort out ideas from your brain (it won’t work, your brain doesn’t have folders!).

 

Determine which idea(s) will give you the most results

Not all ideas are created equally - so while an idea can be on-topic and fits into your time budget, the idea might not actually produce the best results.

When deciding which idea to work on, you can look down your consolidated Idea Catcher list and quickly sieve out the ones that will work in your time budget. Then, go through this quick list of questions and see if you answer “yes” to every one of them, or at least 3 out of the 5. If you do, that idea is good to go - it’s relevant, time budget-friendly, and will get you your best results.

  • Can you have a quick win?

  • Does it generate more sales / traffic (or whatever main goal you have in your business right now)?

  • Have previous similar ideas produced good results?

  • Are people talking about / having frustrations around this topic right now?

  • Is it in your zone of genius?

Basically, we are trying to figure out the time to result ratio. The higher the ratio, the more likely the idea will give you the best results for your time invested. Like the best bang for your buck!

I made a handy template here for you to use, get it now for free here:

Get the Free Idea Catcher Templates!

You'll also get free weekly tips on branding and systems. No spam, ever!

Create an intentional to-do list

Doing the validation test with the questions give in the last tip again and again will help you quickly build a to-do list. Not just any to-do list, but one you can prioritise easily by listing them from highest ratio to lowest. This way, whenever you get some time to work on content, you immediately have the next best thing to work on.

No time wasting trying to figure it all out or just throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping that it sticks! Nope - you have a clear and concise to-do list every single time.

Just one small reminder: you have the option to pivot at any time.

If you start working down your to-do list and realise that some ideas take longer than you initially anticipated, go back, modify the Idea Catcher document, and then relist the item according to the time-result ratio. Or, if an idea wasn’t as much in your genius zone as you thought it initially was, move on to the next one and archive it till you have more time!

Also, if business goals or focuses change, just update your Idea Catcher list and to-do list accordingly. It is THAT simple!

Your systems and methods should be as flexible as your business is, because things change and that’s okay. As my mentor Amber McCue likes to say, test, tweak and pivot!


Now your turn:

What ideas have been hogging up brain space and isn’t getting done? Did you try this process, and if so, did it work for you? If not, what systems best work for you right now?


How to set up Asana for Solopreneurs

As a solopreneur, I have a million hats to wear all. the. time. I'm constantly creating content, then making said content better, then promoting said content, then working with clients, connecting with people on Facebook, reviewing analytics, implementing ads, and let's not even go to the admin tasks like accounting and managing email.

And I need to do all of that while also having a life. Cooking, cleaning, the works. HOW?!

Sure, there comes a time and need for an assistant or just hiring other people to lessen your load. But it's hard to outsource when you don't even have systems in place.

Everything is in a mess.

You have to-do lists on your planner, notebook, Reminders app and in your brain. You have blog posts to write, Instagram images to pick, and Facebook groups to engage in. And because of all that, you're not performing at maximum efficiency. Heck, you aren't even performing at 50% efficiency. Things are dropping off your plate, you find that you're playing catch up all the time, and you just want a space for ALL. THE. THINGS.

I hear you. Being a solopreneur is hard work. You're on your own most of the time, and you have to deal with every aspect of your business. But the good news is, a little organisation and a little systems put in place will make everything so. much. better. I promise.

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Quick Intro to Asana:

Asana is a project management tool that has a crapload of functionality. The kind of functionality you can use to organise not just your business, but your entire life. No kidding. I prefer using a paper planner for my day-to-day life, but Asana is my HQ for all my business processes and tasks. I use it both for my own business and for working with clients, as a client management tool.

I'll start by giving you an overview of the important terms in Asana, mainly:

  • Organisation: You set up your Asana account with an organisation most of the time, and this is where it trips most solopreneurs up. I find Organisation best used if you have a team that you regularly need to communicate with. Here, you can have teams and projects, so you can split tasks and manage your teams accordingly. If you are mostly flying solo, like me, then skip this.
     
  • Workspace: Workspaces are my secret weapon. I love them. I currently have two workspaces, one for The Petite Co. and one for The Petite Homemaker, a home organisation website I am planning to launch. Create a workspace for your main business, and let the magic unfold. Here, you can also have a team, but it is much easier to use Projects to organise a solo business. 
     
  • Projects: I use projects as categories, and also as my client management tool. That way, I have everything on the same dashboard (hallelujah!) and I never have to toggle between areas to view all my work (both internal and client) again. You can invite admins that oversee ALL projects, but you can also invite team members on each individual project. They will not be able to see the other projects in your workspace. This is how I use Projects:
Asana-Projects.png

Admin: For miscellaneous administrative tasks like paying bills, checking up on invoices, refining client systems... Anything on the back end that I need to deal with, that doesn't fit into any specific category. Just the blah work that needs to get done, y'know?

Marketing: I use this for my social media planning. You can see this in more detail later, as I will share another screenshot, but I use this for content creation for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and (eventually) LinkedIn.

Blog: The blog is part of marketing, but because of how intense blogging actually is, I decided to give it a project of its own instead of nesting it in Marketing. It would still fit there though, if I wanted. I use this to plan blog posts and write outlines and ideas.

Design: All my design-related tasks go here. When I am working with clients, I also go in to duplicate important tasks over in my own Design Project area. Because I like to batch tackle tasks, some days I just open the design project and bang it out, so the client tasks get done then, too.

Coaching: I use this mainly to remind myself of tasks I need to do for my coaching clients, as well as to record content I need to create for my coaching program.

VA Work: I use this to keep track of tasks from different clients who are not on retainer, but are just one-off projects.

Templates: These are Kanban-style boards, unlike all my Internal projects, that I've set up to duplicate whenever I have a new client. I duplicate according to the service they signed up for, and then invite them to that Project. You will see more of that later - but this is my client management tool.

  • Sections: Sections are basically dividers for your tasks. Because you can have a looooong list of tasks in each project, Sections allow you to categorise the tasks.
     
  • Tasks: Tasks are the meat of this system! Basically your entire to-do list goes here. I loooove brain-dumping on Asana and then categorising them into sections. I don't miss a thing that way!
     
  • Subtasks: I use these mainly for social media and marketing. Sub-tasks are the outlines, ideas and to-dos for each of my posts. You will see more of this later.
     
  • Tags: I only ever use tags on my Blog project. I tag each task (which is a blog post, again, you'll see more later) with the MM/YY and the category. That way, when I search or click on tags, I can almost instantly find any blog post that I've written. It works as a great archive and resource vault for when I need to pull something up or check on my new ideas.

Start with Hierarchy

So... Where to start? This is a lot, right? You can do so much with Asana, which is both its blessing and can be its downfall for many people who are just overwhelmed. But take heart, setting up a system is the hardest part. Once that is up and running, everything becomes so eas . So trust me, the time spent is worth it!

First, I list out the different moving parts of my business. For me, those are the categories I named my Projects after. These are the categories most of my to-dos fall into. If you find yourself struggling to find the right categories, you can either start with mine or list out all your to-dos, then try to group them. 

Get the bonus Asana Process Template + Video Walkthrough!

You'll also get free weekly tips on branding and systems. No spam, ever!

    Just brain dump everything in your brain and then sort them out later. Don't filter yourself. It's easier to organise more efficiently if you have everything out.

    Then organise the tasks into each category, and list the type of subtasks that you want to add to these tasks. You don't have to list every subtask or task, just a general description of how you want to use these parts.

    My Asana System for Solopreneurs:

    Because pictures speak way louder than words in this instance, I'll let the screenshots do the talking!

    Admin Project

    Admin Project

    Asana Blog Project: Categories organised in Sections, I brain dump into these categories then move the chosen 4 blog posts to the current month section and set deadlines for each. I use subtasks to map out the key points and to-dos, things I need to create etc. I tag each blog post with a date and year, as well as categories, so that I can always come back to look for them as needed.

    Asana Blog Project: Categories organised in Sections, I brain dump into these categories then move the chosen 4 blog posts to the current month section and set deadlines for each. I use subtasks to map out the key points and to-dos, things I need to create etc. I tag each blog post with a date and year, as well as categories, so that I can always come back to look for them as needed.

    Asana Marketing Project: I have a general to-do right at the top, where I put marketing tasks that aren't platform specific. Then I label each section under the platform. For tasks like "Schedule 5 posts for Week 2 August", I write the general idea of each SM post in the subtasks. Each subtask is one post. These have deadlines because they need to get out at a certain time.

    Asana Marketing Project: I have a general to-do right at the top, where I put marketing tasks that aren't platform specific. Then I label each section under the platform. For tasks like "Schedule 5 posts for Week 2 August", I write the general idea of each SM post in the subtasks. Each subtask is one post. These have deadlines because they need to get out at a certain time.

    Asana Website Project: Similarly in the Coaching and VA projects, this is how I organise my tasks. I have 2 internal sections and one client section. My internal sections are classified under Current or Later. Current are pressing to-dos needed to be done now. Later are ideas that I want to work on but don't have to do right now. The client section houses to-dos that I need to get to during my Design batch day.

    Asana Website Project: Similarly in the Coaching and VA projects, this is how I organise my tasks. I have 2 internal sections and one client section. My internal sections are classified under Current or Later. Current are pressing to-dos needed to be done now. Later are ideas that I want to work on but don't have to do right now. The client section houses to-dos that I need to get to during my Design batch day.

    Asana Kanban Template: I use the Kanban system for my client management tool. I duplicate this Project, and name it after each client. I invite the client to the Project (s/he will not be able to see my other projects) and populated each "task" or card with more info in the description, including links to files and appointment scheduling. This prepares my clients for what's to come, and they know exactly when and what to expect at every stage.  I can also assign each "task" or card to myself or the client, and s/he can also upload related files right to Asana and right to each task. That way, files are never messy and always right where you need to find them. And this saves LOADS of back-and-forth on email as well, since clients can find all the resources with this dashboard.

    Asana Kanban Template: I use the Kanban system for my client management tool. I duplicate this Project, and name it after each client. I invite the client to the Project (s/he will not be able to see my other projects) and populated each "task" or card with more info in the description, including links to files and appointment scheduling. This prepares my clients for what's to come, and they know exactly when and what to expect at every stage.

    I can also assign each "task" or card to myself or the client, and s/he can also upload related files right to Asana and right to each task. That way, files are never messy and always right where you need to find them. And this saves LOADS of back-and-forth on email as well, since clients can find all the resources with this dashboard.

    Get the bonus Asana Process Template + Video Walkthrough!

    You'll also get free weekly tips on branding and systems. No spam, ever!

      I use Asana mainly as a brain dump for all my tasks. For specific, larger business tasks, I sometimes just use my planner and jam it out in one session. But for all the small pesky things that need to be done, it's all on Asana.

      I hope you got something out of this "Asana tour" of my systems backend. Now it's time for you to organise your systems! Seriously, sitting down and doing it will save you so much time in the long run. I know it's not the sexiest thing to do, but I promise it'll become a catchall and you won't find yourself scrambling as often, again!


      Let me know:

      Are you an organisation ninja as well? What is your favourite way to use Asana?

      This post is not sponsored by Asana.