How to Build a Team of “A” Players

You really can’t do it all alone. No small business becomes a big business with a single person at the wheel. It takes a team of experts to scale your efforts.

The problem is, building that team brings its own stress.

How can you know who to trust? Where will you find the time to train? What if you can’t afford to outsource?

These and other questions are what prevent entrepreneurs just like you from turning a good business idea into a 6- or even 7-figure empire. Here’s what to do about it.

Know Your Personal Work Style & Preferences

Not everyone works in a similar style. Some people love to touch base by phone, while others prefer email. Some people require lots of direction and step-by-step guidance, others work better when they can figure it out on their own.

No way is right or wrong, but if you’re a phone person and you hire an email lover, there’s going to be conflict.

Look for team members who are a fit with your preferred work style, and you’ll be much happier with the end result.

Commit to the Effort

Hiring a team takes time. Not only do you have to spend time looking for the right person, interviewing several candidates, and onboarding your final choice, but you also have to train your new team member.

Remember, no matter how skilled she might be, she’s never worked in your business, so there will be a learning curve. Encourage her to ask questions, and take the time to answer carefully. Expect mistakes—at least in the beginning—and build enough time in your schedule to allow for fixing them.

The effort and time you put in up front is well worth it when you have a team you can count on.

Don’t Be Afraid to Cut Ties

Not everyone you hire will be a good fit. As a business owner, it’s up to you to do the right thing for your business growth (and your own stress levels) and sometimes that means moving on from a relationship that’s not working.

Remember, it’s business, not personal. Sometimes even the best-looking applicant turns out to be all wrong, and that’s okay. Take what you’ve learned from the experience, and use that knowledge for the next hire.

Finally, start small.

While you might dream of working two hours per day and taking entire summers off, it’s unrealistic to think you can go from 12-hour days to stress free entrepreneurship in a few short weeks.

Start by hiring one person to take on the tasks you most dislike, then slowly grow your team and their responsibilities. Eventually, you’ll be left with only the work you truly want to do (and that you enjoy) and your business will run even more smoothly.

 

How Many Hats Are You Wearing?

It’s inevitable. As a small business owner, you will wear many, many hats.

Marketing manager.

Bookkeeper.

Content developer.

Coach.

Technical support staff.

But while this type of task juggling is to be expected, you have to be aware that not all of your hats are created equal. Marketing outweighs bookkeeping, for example, because without marketing, there will be no cash to manage.

Not only that, but you have to consider how much time you’re spending in each area as well. If you spend all day tweaking the design on your website and put off sending an email to your list, what have you gained?

Sure, you might have a prettier website, but you lost an opportunity to drive traffic to your offer.

In an ideal world, you’d simply put on your CEO hat and delegate the rest, but here in the real world, we don’t always have that option. Instead, we have to work smarter, and take care how we’re spending our time.

Prioritize Your Daily Tasks

We all have different skills and sweet spots when it comes to the tasks we want and need to do. You might love customer support and hate bookkeeping, while someone else enjoys the numbers game and doesn’t like dealing with the help desk. But regardless of your personal preferences, one thing is certain: money-making tasks should be at the very top of your to-do list.

That might mean product creation, email marketing, client outreach, webinar development, or something entirely different. Identify those money-making tasks in your business and be sure to prioritize them every single day.

Know the Difference Between Important and Urgent

In his classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey recommends prioritizing tasks based on a time-management grid. Every task is assigned to a quadrant of the grid, based on whether it is urgent, important, both, or neither.

Once you know where a task falls on the grid, you’ll immediately know what you should be working on. For example, marketing and planning are important but not urgent. A ringing phone is urgent, but not important. The sales page for your new program, which is launching tomorrow, is both urgent AND important.

So before you prioritize your daily to-do list, think about where each of your tasks falls in the quadrant, and schedule them accordingly.

Will you always be working on the best task for right now? Probably not. Nor will you always use your time as wisely as you could. But by making a conscious effort to organize and prioritize your days, you’ll find it’s a lot less stressful and overwhelming to manage your small business.

Stay in Your Own Lane

Overwhelm is a real thing in online businesses. There is always more that could be done. More products to create, more blogs to write, more opt-in pages to build, more clients to connect with, more, more, more.

And one of the biggest contributors? Shiny object syndrome.

Every time you’re tempted to buy that new, must-have tool, or to test out a new marketing method, or even to switch business models entirely, you’re falling victim to this business killer.

Here’s the problem with shiny object syndrome. It prevents you from achieving success by shifting your focus away just when you’re about to hit your sweet spot. It’s true. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. A promising startup just begins to make sales and gain a following, and then out of the blue, the owner does a pivot into a completely unrelated niche or business.

All that work… just gone.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Set Clear Goals

The first step toward the clarity and focus you need to avoid shiny object syndrome is simply to know your goals. Where exactly are you going? Do you want to build a six-figure coaching program? Earn a living from your blog? Design websites for offline businesses?

Regardless of your business model, if you don’t know your goal, you will always struggle with focus, and every new strategy and tool will pull you further away from your dreams.

Commit to a Plan

Before you implement a new marketing strategy, change business plans, or even purchase a new tool, ask yourself if you’re truly willing to give it a fair shot at success. Marketing strategies take time to grow legs. Business models can require years to show a profit. And that shiny new tool won’t earn back its cost if you toss it aside next week for something different.

Be realistic with yourself, and make a plan to give your idea the best shot at success. Make a commitment to yourself and your business.

Put on Your Blinders

If all else fails, simply stop paying attention. Get off the mailing lists that endlessly promote the latest and greatest idea. Stop reading the blogs and visiting the Facebook groups. Don’t click on ads.

Focus on what you know works, keep your goals in mind, and recommit to making your business as good as it can possibly be.

HOW NEGATIVE SELF-TALK CAN DESTROY YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE

“I’ve never been good with money.”

“I hate budgets.”

“I’ll never be a 6-figure earner.”

“My market won’t pay premium prices.”

If you’ve ever heard these statements come out of your mouth—or even in your head—then you’re engaging in a damaging habit known as negative self-talk. By telling yourself these lies (and yes, they are lies) you’re reinforcing the beliefs that go along with them.

What you visualize and believe is what becomes true.

Tell yourself that you’re not good with money, and you won’t be. Believe that budgets are horrible chores to be reviled, and you’ll resist creating one. Convince yourself that you can’t earn a 6-figure income, and you won’t.

It’s not “the secret.” It’s a scientific fact. Known as a self-fulfilling prophecy, this kind of self-talk results in poor performance simply because we act as if it’s already true.

If you tell yourself that you’ll never be a 6-figure earner, you will not do the things that 6-figure business owners do. You won’t work to grow your mailing list (“No one reads my emails anyway”), you won’t increase your coaching rates (“It’s not like I’m some top-earning coach”), and you won’t build a brand worthy of a 6-figure income (“A beautiful brand isn’t necessary at this income level”).

By contrast, if you act and think as if you already are a 6-figure earner, you’ll approach your business quite differently. Your confidence level will increase. You’ll present a very different brand to your prospective clients. You’ll go out of your way to connect with those who can and will afford to pay your higher rates.

How to Combat Negative Self Talk

The first step toward changing your negative self-talk is to simply acknowledge that you do it. Tick a mental checkbox every time you catch yourself making negative statements, whether out loud or in your head.

Make a note of the ones that come up most often for you, and identify their origin if you can. For example, if your ex-husband continually berated you for your spending habits, chances are your “I’m no good with money” mantra can be laid right at his feet. It’s time to turn that thinking around.

The next time you catch yourself saying “I’m no good with money,” take a minute to recall 5 instances where you were good with money. Maybe you paid off your credit cards or saved for a house or built an emergency fund. Rephrase your self-talk to, “I used to be bad with money [if that’s true], but now I make smart choices to achieve my goals.”

Just as negative self-talk becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, so does positive self-talk. Reframe your thinking, and your business finances will certainly improve.

GETTING CLEAR ON YOUR BUSINESS AND LIFE GOALS

If there’s one thing that keeps people stuck, it’s a lack of clarity.

You know you want to quit your soul sucking day job in favor of the freedom of self-employment, but you aren’t clear on the steps to take.

You want to take an exotic vacation, but you aren’t sure where to go—or how to make it happen.

You want to grow your business, but aren’t even sure what that means.

The truth is, with ambiguous “goals” such as these, in five or ten years, you’ll still be stuck right where you’re at today.

But with a little clarity, you can achieve any goal you can conceive—and even some you cannot yet dream of. And the first step is to simply visualize what you want.

How Vision Boards Work

A vision board is a planning tool that allows you to unleash your creativity and daydream in a tangible format. By collecting images that represent your biggest goals and keeping them within sight, you’ll be better able to focus on the next steps to take to reach them.

Not only that, but vision boards can serve to keep you inspired when boredom strikes (as it inevitably will), and remind you of why you’re working so hard when all you want to do is take a nap.

How to Make a Vision Board

Creating a vision board is easy—and fun! You can create yours with paper and other art materials, or digitally using one of many online apps, Pinterest, or even Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. While digital boards are definitely more portable, physical boards are often more inspiring. There’s just something about engaging all your senses that makes a tangible vision board more effective.

To create your board, start by collecting images that represent your biggest goals and dreams. Photos from a favorite family vacation, ads for an expensive dress you want to buy, a playbill for a Broadway show you want to see, or even a dollar figure representing your desired bank account balance are all good ways to visualize your goals. Add them to your new vision board.