I was so honored to be asked to blog for an amazing group of female entrepreneurs that I belong to, Propelle. Since our business has grown and developed, they were interested in getting my input on hiring your first employee in your sole proprietor business. I hope you find some insight that can translate into your business.
I used to love my job.
When people asked me what I liked to do “for fun,” I always answered with something that related back to my work as a graphic and web designer. But after almost nine years in business, I found myself in a bad place. I was working around the clock and beginning to feel burned out. My client base was growing, and I had some big decisions to make. I either had to grow my business or scale it back.
Something had to give.
Luckily I was working with an amazing creative coach, RaShelle Roberts, and she told me to write down what I loved about my career. The parts of the job that I wish I could do day in and day out. I was surprised when my answers were more people-based than design-based. It turned out that the things I loved the most I was doing the least.
RaShelle had me write down every task I did during my workday. Doing this made it easier to see what could be handed off to someone else. I fully intended on hiring a virtual assistant to help with the busy work that was holding me back. But what I realized was that I needed to step away from the computer and pass off the design. This scared me. I worried that I would be giving up everything that had made Brkich Design what it was. Would the style completely change?
That’s when I hired Mandie, a fresh-out-of-school, highly driven creative with a love for design and organization. I also found Anna, an experienced print designer turned WordPress guru that never stops until she figures it out (just like I do).
But I was a control-freak. How could this possibly work?
Fast-forward to today in “our” 10th year in business. Today Brkich Design Group is doing better than ever, and I am now focusing on the business growth and direction, as I should be as an owner, while the rest of the team is doing what they do best. Our clients are my number one priority, and I’m now able to be there for them when they need me. This summer we launched our new website something I’d been unable to find time for in previous years.
With the help of a few organizational tools and handy apps (i.e. Basecamp, Dropbox and Voxer), I am able to give initial direction to Mandie and allow her the freedom to take the first pass at the print design. The same goes for Anna and the web design. I am still highly involved in the creative process before we show the client anything. The collaboration allows us to keep the quality of our work as high as we can, so the client sees only our best stuff. Working virtually allows me to keep costs low so the client doesn’t see a drastic increase in rates, but they still get all the perks that come from working with a creative team vs. an individual.
My days have drastically improved from just a few years ago. (I don’t have a mouse attached to my hand and keys fused to my fingers anymore.) Now I am able to step away from the screen to give my customers the attention they need and me the time to keep my business improving.
Sometimes you just have to let go to let things grow.
RaShelle Roberts – http://rashelleroberts.com