The Phases of Hiring a Team

Photo credit: wisepreneur.com

Photo credit: wisepreneur.com

One of the most challenging things you’ll ever face in your business?

Building a team.

If you want to grow your business, you’re going to see things get more complicated.

There will be more details, more moving parts, more clients, more fires to put out, and more to manage.

It sounds dire, but this is exactly why you need a team.

Entrepreneurs are high idea generators by nature, which means we love to launch new projects and often chase bright shiny objects. That also means we’re notorious for not finishing what we start.

This is just one reason why having a team in place can be so powerful.

But what is the path to having that team? Clearly, most of us don’t have 5 or 10 or 15 employees right off the bat.

You may not even want your business to look like that at all, and that’s ok.

However, there are phases that you will typically go through. In the beginning, you’ll likely be doing everything, feeling like there is simply not enough of you to go around.

You just want to do your thing and bring in the money, but soon you’ll see that administrative tasks and minutiae are taking over your life.

In the next phase, you’ll bring on your first assistant. The first person I ever hired was a virtual assistant who worked five hours a month. Her main duty? Handling my email newsletter.

Typically, this first hire will be taking care of scheduling, emails, customer service and the like. As your time becomes more freed up to focus on revenue generating activities, you’ll be able to bring on a second assistant and perhaps a bookkeeper.

The third phase is where business owners often hire a manager to oversee their team. For some entrepreneurs this can suffice for a good while. But if the business becomes more complex and there are more people to manage, at some point it may make sense to bring on
full time employees.

Going this route is not for everyone, but for those who do, it’s a surefire way to be propelled forward fast. The support and shared commitment to your company’s vision and mission is like nothing else.

So, take a good look at where you are right now. If you’re honest, is it time to bring on help? Or, maybe it’s time to hire additional people.

Whichever phase you’re in, know that building a team, no matter how ultimately big or small, is a business challenge that’s always worth it.

How What You Tolerate Affects Your Business Success

tolerateHave you ever asked yourself what you’re tolerating in your life?

I never really did, until I joined a program several years ago with an intake questionnaire that included that question.

I recently looked back at it and chuckled, as I’ve long since tackled much of what I had listed. (In all honesty, there are still a few stubborn things I continue to work on. And of course, as time goes on, we all pick up new tolerations we’ll eventually need to ditch!)

At that time I wrote things like:

I work from the couch instead of at a proper desk in my office, because I hate that room.

I keep paperwork and business-related stuff in messy piles around me.

My sleep schedule is wacky.

My productivity level kinda sucks.

I often don’t treat myself to things because I feel guilty.

Truthfully, I used to tolerate A LOT in my life and in my business. Now I tolerate very little.

At some point I made a decision that I only wanted to do things that feel good, and involve myself in things that feel good.

That’s a somewhat recent shift for me, because I think I truly forgot I had a choice.

It was a little bit of an epiphany.

Oh, duh! I can choose only the things that make me feel good in this life.

It’s empowering.

I now also have all the students in my Impact Academy make a list of what they are currently tolerating in their life and business.

Why? The idea is you can begin to eliminate what you are putting up with by first getting crystal clear.

Maybe your list includes a ratty piece of furniture. Bad habits. Disorganization. The town you live in. Certain relationships.

These things wear you down and zap your energy. They are like little energy leaks that are chipping away at you.

Do you see how that could affect what you accomplish in your business? Do you see how it could trickle down and affect your income?

The first step to remedying the issue is to get your tolerations on paper. Doing this shines a bright light on what’s been lurking beneath the surface, eating away at your productivity, your confidence, even your sleep.

Don’t hold back, and list out as many as you can think of. (I’ve known people whose lists numbered in the hundreds.)

Then, give yourself some timeframes. Make a note next to the ones that are feasible to stamp out immediately, then in the next 1-3 months, then 3-6 months, and so on.

As you eliminate these energy-sucking tolerations from your life, notice how you feel, and note the effects on your business.

It’s very likely you’ll feel freer, lighter, and much more in control.

And that’s a very good thing for business.

A Two-Step Process to Getting Started With Sponsoring

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Sponsoring is an often-overlooked strategy when it comes to maximizing offline marketing, likely because most business owners don’t know where to start.

I teach the students in my Impact Academy a two-step process that makes it simple.

First, determine the who and the where. Who are you trying to reach? Where do they hang out?

For example, people sponsor my annual three-day live event and all of them spend a significant amount of money to do so.

Why?

It’s a room full of their ideal clients, so that makes it incredibly worth it to them–even if it means taking three full days out of their busy work and family schedule.

I myself was recently a speaker-sponsor at an event in New York, where I spoke but also had a table. I used my talk and my table to promote my live event and I came away with eleven registrations for it.

Worth it, don’t you think? Absolutely.

So, where can you find opportunities for sponsorship?

Look for special or annual community events, networking events, newsletters or blogs, fundraisers, non-profits, and even websites to start with.

Second, get clear on your objectives. It’s a good rule of thumb to only invest in sponsorships that achieve at least a handful of the following goals:

  • It builds your database with qualified prospects
  • It provides stellar networking/relationship building opportunities
  • It gets you in front of your target market
  • It helps to increase loyalty in your brand
  • It increases direct sales
  • It provides an opportunity for on-site sales
  • It gives you a platform for a new product or program launch
  • It allows you to showcase, demonstrate or test your products or expertise
  • It allows you to gather valuable research
  • It helps to create strategic partnerships

The businesses that sponsor my live event benefit from many of above, because they get to promote their services with a tabletop booth. Additionally, we allow only one sponsor per industry so they aren’t competing, they get to talk about their business from the stage, they have the opportunity to provide a special offer, they receive an endorsement from me as well as complimentary registrations for guests, their logo is placed on our website and in the e-zine, and they get an ad placed in the event binder.

If you can see how sweet perks like this could grow your business and client base, start seeking out sponsorship opportunities today using these easy tips.

An Exact Process for Intelligent Delegation

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How do you delegate effectively?

This is a BIG question for people.

I personally didn’t automatically know how to do this when I became a business owner.

But once I began building a team within my company, I had no choice but to figure it out.

I had to work at it and learn how to do it more effectively because it didn’t come naturally to me. I still have plenty of room for improvement, and for me it’s a work in progress.

Whenever I find myself slipping in this department, I go back to a process I learned several years ago to get things back on track.

Here’s how you can do this too:

First, start with clarity on what needs to be done. Define it. You won’t be able to hand tasks and projects over effectively if you’re still fuzzy on what exactly they are!

Then, clearly explain to the person you’re delegating to what it is you want done. You need to be absolutely certain that they understand what they’re supposed to do.

After you’ve made sure they’re clear, you’ll want to explain your WHY. Tell them why you want it done the way you want.

This is essentially sharing your method, because otherwise people will often come up with their own way. When that happens, you risk them taking shortcuts that may torpedo your desired outcome.

This is a step business owners often skip, to their detriment. However, I think you’ll find that this empowers others tremendously.

Next, it’s all about showing them how to do what you’re asking without being the dreaded “micromanager.” Teach, be clear, and make sure they understand the process. Confirm it.

Finally, let them know the deadline by which you’re expecting it to be completed. It’s crucial to be clear on this, and ensure you’re in agreement about the date, time and the method by which they will be delivering what they’ve done.

You can’t do it all yourself, and you definitely can’t grow without getting a handle on the art of delegation. Follow this process and not only will you get so much more get done, you’ll keep your profits healthy too.

Simple Stay-in-Touch Ideas to Turn More Prospects Into Clients

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We’ve all heard the saying, “The fortune is in the follow-up.”

And, yes, sending out regular communication to your email list is a great way to stay on your subscribers’ radars.

But what about prospects? The people who have expressed interest in working with you but haven’t yet signed on?

It’s crucial that they be “nurtured” too.

Your first step is to brainstorm a list of all the people you can think of who have inquired about working with you in the last 3-6 months or so. Then, decide how you’ll follow up.

In your follow up, you don’t necessarily need to directly ask them if they are ready to work with you, though you certainly can. It’s more about staying on their radar and simply gently letting them know that you’re there.

Here are just a few ideas:

1. Connect with them on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn or other social media sites if you haven’t already. Send them a personalized message and interact with them from time to time.

2. Send them an unexpected note via a greeting card.

3. Send them a little something that made you think of them, and let them know that. A book on something they are interested in is just one idea. A link to an article that would be of interest to them is another.

4. Send them a link to a short personalized video with a message that simply checks in with them.

5. Invite them to an activity or event that you’re going to. This is also a great way to forge a connection that goes beyond just business.

6. Pick up the phone and call them!

To keep track of your follow up, you can create a checklist of prospects’ names and note which methods of keeping in touch you have used with each.

Bonus tip: these stay-in-touch methods also apply to current clients as well. It’s a wonderful way to let them know you’re thinking of them, or give a boost of encouragement.

Not only that, but when they are made to feel significant it’s much more likely they’ll stay on as a client and refer you to others too.

Should You Be Willing to Take Risks, Fail, and Possibly Look “Dumb?”

riskahead

I absolutely believe entrepreneurs need to be willing to do these three things.

Yep, over and over.

And it’s OK!

In fact, by definition entrepreneurship involves taking risks.

There is no way around it.

You might fail. You might waste time, energy and money. You may feel like you look silly.

It’s all part of the game.

Now, the risks can be calculated and smart. We’re not talking about throwing all caution to the wind.

But the truth is, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.

As an example, I hold intense 3-day live events every year and I have taken MAJOR risks every time.

Why would I keep doing that?

Because the rewards are so great. Because the experience helps me stretch myself in tremendous ways. Because going out of my comfort zone is the only way I grow.

There will be times things don’t work out, that you fail, that you don’t hit your goals.

It’s alright because it’s how you learn and refine for the future.

As for looking dumb, it sounds worse than it is.

I’m sure I look dumb to some people. Oh well.

You will have things that publicly don’t work out. You’ll be rejected. People will tell you “No.” They’ll consider you a “marketer.”

This might make you feel dumb.

That’s how it FEELS, right?

Know this: I want you to realize that everyone who is successful—and I do mean everyone—has felt this and goes through it.

They don’t die, their skin gets thicker, and they learn a ton from it.

So don’t fear it.

When things go a different way than I planned, this is my mantra:

A setback is just a setup for a comeback. I have way too many people to help to stop now.

Let that be your mantra.

A 5-Step Approach to Direct Mail That Gets Results (When Everyone Else is Using Email)

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With all of our inboxes looking more crowded than ever, it can feel extra tough to stand out these days.

Yes, email marketing still works, and yes direct mail marketing can be expensive, but a successful direct mail campaign can quickly and easily offset those costs and boost profits. That’s why so many companies take advantage of the direct mail marketing concept.

 
The key to success is in your approach–proper planning goes a long way.

1. The Targeted Mailing List

The most important thing is to know who your audience is so that you are able to target that audience with your mailing.

The two primary ways to get a list to mail to are: 1) your own customer list; 2. purchase a targeted consumer or business mailing list from a reputable company, which will help you narrow your niche so you get the best leads possible. (Two examples are InfoUSA and Melissa Data.)

2. Your Value-Add (In Other Words, Why Are You Mailing?)

You can mail for all kinds of things–paid events, paid classes or programs, free preview calls or webinars, sales of products or services, etc. The key is to give your audience a reason to purchase or watch or listen—like a sale price, rebates or bonuses.

Make the offer time-limited and you can even have prospects redeem a coupon or offer code so you can measure your campaign’s success.

3. Use Great Copy

First, identify with the target audience through features and benefits in your copy. For example, it’s not enough to simply say that a pair of sunglasses has 100%UV protection (the feature). You have to tell your audience that this will save their eyes from the sun’s harmful rays (the benefit).

Second, don’t forget to have a clear call to action.

4. Designing, Printing and Mailing

Consider having a professional graphic designer create your mail pieces. My company has also used elance.com successfully.

Additionally, there are also mailing houses that can do the designing as well as mailing, which can save you a lot of headaches.

As for which medium to use, think about your audience when deciding whether they will respond better to a postcard, brochure, greeting card or sales letter.

5. Follow Up

Will it be a two-part campaign? More than that? Will you follow up with a different medium? A phone call? Multiple touches are so important.

Now it’s your turn: how can you add direct mail into your marketing mix? Start with a small campaign and test your results.

 
You’ll get your prospects’ attention and they’ll appreciate the breath of fresh air!

When the Only Thing Growing is Your To Do List, A.D.D. is Your Solution

todo

When I first heard this concept–the idea that you want to automate, delegate or delete things that take a lot of time but don’t contribute to your bottom line directly–it was a huge a-ha.

I was a typical overwhelmed entrepreneur, frustrated that the only thing growing was my never-ending list of things to do.

I had hit a wall in my business, and it was driving me absolutely crazy.

 

Enter A.D.D. I finally started looking at all the things that were bogging me down, but weren’t necessarily high value..

 

Translation? They weren’t making me money!

These tasks were things like answering emails asking me the same questions lots of others were asking, filling out forms, scheduling, researching and more.

So, I began to automate, delegate and delete. It was immensely freeing, and it’s never too early to start doing this in your own business.

Here are some examples:

Automate: paying your bills, charging clients.

Delegate: shipping items, booking travel, research, bookkeeping, going to the post office. (Delegate everything that’s not your genius work.)

Delete: completely irrelevant business cards you’ve received, email newsletters you don’t read, clutter in your office.

 

The best place to start is to look at exactly what you’re spending your time on. Pick a week or even 3-day period and jot down everything you’re doing.

 

Right before I hired my business manager Dawn I did this myself, and when I saw everything I was still doing I almost cried!

Now, I do this periodically to tighten things up and make sure I’m not slipping—if we see I’m doing too much again, we come up with the plan to take more things off my plate.

I see people still doing so much of everything themselves, and yet wondering why their business isn’t growing.

It’s almost always because they are still carrying the weight of doing the things they can really automate, delegate or delete.

If you feel like you’re constantly busy but it’s not being reflected in your bank account, grab a pen and paper and get everything that you’re doing out of your head. Run it all through the A.D.D. filter and you will be amazed at how productive you’ll become.

 

Not only that, but because you’ll now only be focused on the activities that actually make you money… you’ll actually make more money!

 

Pretty sweet, huh?

Why Being DECISIVE Will Move You Forward Faster Than Anything Else

decisive

“You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.” –Mary Morrissey

I recently had the good fortune to have dinner with Daymond John, an incredibly successful entrepreneur, founder of FUBU and star of ABC’s Shark Tank.
 
We spoke on the same stage earlier that day, and during his talk he said with absolute conviction that being decisive was the number one skill that all successful entrepreneurs have in common.
 
I 100% agree, and have seen time and time again that the inability to make a choice and move ahead is what keeps many business owners stuck.

Indecision can show up as many things, including procrastination, laziness and self-created obstacles.

What you have to remember is that it’s either a hell yes or a hell no.

There’s no hell maybe!

Make a decision, and know that you can always change course later. You’ll still be miles ahead of the masses who remain stuck.

If you struggle with this, the first step is to notice where this is happening for you. Where are you using delay tactics? Where are you waffling and being wishy-washy? Are you taking six months to decide on a tagline or website colors, and in the meantime complaining you’re not making money or getting clients?
 
Successful people take decisive action. They don’t waffle.
 
It’s been said that “how you do anything is how you do everything.” If you’re doing this in your life, you are likely doing it in your business too, and vice versa.

Ask yourself, where in your life are you not committing? Where are you letting yourself down?

Make fast decisions, course correct as you go, and keep moving.

Here’s a helpful decision-making process I learned from someone wise years ago, who emphasized that you can still make savvy decisions while also tapping into your intuition.

Ask yourself:

  1. Does this decision fit with my goals? (Long term and short term)
  2. Does it make logical sense? (The “head” part)
  3. Does it feel good? (The “heart” part)
  4. What’s the fear vs. excitement ratio? (Does this excite me more than it scares me?)
  5. Am I making this decision from faith or fear? (Notice where you’re operating from fear and making decisions rooted in fear)

When you don’t get a yes answer for all of these, then the answer is no.
 
It can be scary, but you are opening up the space and taking advantage of a great opportunity if it is a yes–even if you don’t know HOW you are going to do it.
 
I’ve come a long way with this and am now much more decisive, but when I catch myself hesitating and waffling…

“What if it’s wrong?” What if they say THIS?” “What if she thinks that?”

“This is crazy scary.”

I just go through this process and check in with my gut.

If it’s truly a yes I say to myself:

“I’m doing it anyway. I’m doing it anyway. I’m doing it anyway.”

And you can too.

3 “Secrets” to Successfully Delivering Content That Makes Buyers Love You (Before AND After the Sale)

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If you provide paid content in the form of courses and products, you’ve likely asked yourself these types of questions:

“How much information do I include?” “What order do I give it in?” “How do I ensure they get results?”
 
You want knock it out of the park on both fronts: by selling a lot of what you’re offering (because you’ve made it so attractive), AND by getting your customers great results from what they learn.
 
This is true whether you’re selling an e-book, CD, DVD, MP3, home study course, a traditional book, a webinar, a group coaching program, a live workshop or anything else.

Here are some guidelines for success:

First, be aware of the delicate balance you need to maintain when it comes to content. You want to include enough so that people feel they are getting good value, while at the same time making the content easy to consume.

In other words, overloading folks with lots and lots of information isn’t always smart, although you may proudly feel you’re “over delivering.” (I’ve certainly been guilty of this myself!)
 
You can still over deliver while ensuring that people take action by refraining from overwhelming them. After all, people only get results from taking action anyway!

 
Second, as you’re developing the content you’ll be charging for, stay focused on what you’re really promising people in terms of results.

This is not only important when it comes to marketing, but it’s super helpful for getting clear on what “fluff” to leave out. Knowing your ideal client or customer goes a long way here.

Third, think of what you are teaching in terms of a linear timeline. When I create courses and products, I always look at laying out the curriculum chronologically.

Ask yourself, what would someone need to do first, second, third, etc. in order to get the desired result?

I find that this is not only beneficial for those who are learning from you, but it makes my job easier as the creator and “teacher.” Thinking sequentially just makes sense.

Finally, a bonus tip:
 
When it comes to information products in particular, products that appear to have done all the work already for the buyer dramatically sell more.
 
An e-book for example, is a nice way to get started and “test” the market before you spend money having something physical created. There’s no inventory, no shipping, buyers get instant access and it’s easy to update because it’s simply a Word document turned into a PDF. Depending on how meaty the e-book is, these will be priced anywhere from $27 to upwards of $247.

But remember, the real key is to think in terms of making it step-by-step dead simple for a customer. They want to know that what you’re offering is going to be easy to consume, implement and get results from.

Create and market it with that in mind, and you’ll be selling them like hotcakes with NO problem.