This year has been my year of expansion. To be quite honest, how I ran things earlier this year is completely different than how I run them now and as I promise to continue to be a source of resource and transparency I want to give everyone a 30-day recap.
Step 1: Always, Always have weekly check-ins.
Often times when we hire people, especially entrepreneurs, we are at a place of being overwhelmed and overworked. We want to just dump a whole bunch of stuff on them and let them do it, they are the expert after all right? WRONG!
One thing that saved me was having weekly check-ins and from the start. Blame it on my experience with Corporate America but having weekly conference calls was a standard thing for me, so naturally, I brought it into my business.
Step 2: Use a project management tool
I did NOT use a project management tool with my first independent contractor but moving forward it is something I will never do without. I am able to write down ALL the task that I need for Average Black Girl. The ongoing task like MCM and WCW down to the one-off tools like sending a press kit to a company I want to feature one of my clients. It helps for me to see how people function on their own, how fast they function if they do the work throughout the week or do they wait until the very last minute to complete tasks. This is a way of managing without micromanaging. The tool I use is Asana but there are so many out there such as Basecamp, Trello and Slack.
Step 3: Create Onboarding Tools
Create onboarding tools such as a document that has all your passwords, best practices, a content calendar so that people can jump right in. You want to be able to add people to different docs and remove them as they see fit.[Tweet “If you are like me, I am paying I am just starting money so therefore I fully embrace that. “]
Step 4: With Feedback: Give more positive than negative
If you are like me, I am paying I am just starting money so therefore I fully embrace that. That means that yes, you could go elsewhere but you are here because you need experience, want to help, cannot get to the top paying gigs yet or you are working your own business and want to have me as a client. What does that mean? It means that I have value and they have value and working together is a mutual benefit. However, it is best to give more positive feedback than good because you want a dope moral and for people to actually want to work with you. Who likes working with a grouch? Not I!
Step 5: Focus on INCREASE
Two heads are better than one so if you have help utilize it. You should be increasing in likes, reach and money. If you bring on people, you should be looking to make money to pay for some or all of their costs. Costs may not always be a sale, it can be an increase in likes, mailing lists, subscribers or views. All of that will eventually lead to more income.
Step 6: BE CONSISTENT
Consistency is key and people do notice. Regardless of what is the comments, people are watching. I went to my college homecoming for the first time in YEARS I am talking 5 years and when I ran into people I was amazed at the amount of people that subscribe, follow or just know what I am doing. To be honest, I used to get frustrated at the lack of support and I would be lying if I still am not by some metrics. I have almost 5k friends on facebook and I am less than 200 shy of 2K likes. If all of my facebook friends would just “like” my page I would be further ahead than where I am and no one has to buy anything. It opens things such as “Famebit” and so many more “influencer” opportunities. It forces me to remove “dead” facebook friends and allow for strangers who have a higher chance of becoming supporters in. Since focusing on becoming consistent, I find myself liking EVERYONE’s fan page that requests. Likes are REAL and their clout carries and no one can tell me different.
Step 7: Here is what I charged
I saw on twitter from Awesomely Luvvie talking about black women entrepreneurs and how we are so used to doing everything on our own and to stop that mindset. She said “even if you are paying someone $40.00 a week” for 5 hours that is something off your plate. I did just that. I had the person working on my brand on Average Black Girl because when I get busy she is the first thing to go as I focus on my clients and the money. It was a good start as I was able to grow my Facebook numbers and Twitter engagement by holding twitter chats. It freed up my time so I can learn what works. Creating posts on social media are great and necessary but they don’t always bring me more money or conversions. What brought me the most was writing blogs like this adding a freebie at the bottom and middle of the blog and sharing like crazy in facebook groups. Facebook groups are where it is at for me.
Step 9: People may not stay
Not much to say here but don’t be so quick to plan your brand around the people you hire. They may not stay. To be honest my first independent contractor did not last throughout the contract and ended the work abruptly and without notice. It left me in a terrible place, I honestly stopped posting on instagram because I hired the person to take that over and refused to overextend myself. Remember, when all else fails, do things that make you money. I was upset, I took it personally and I was hurt. But I refused to make a status, stop my positive psyche or let it affect the brand any more than it did.
Step 10: People are amazingly replaceable.
People are replaceable and that is fact. Running my own business and dealing with all the life lessons of 2017 has allowed me to see just how replaceable we are in corporate america. I decided to hire double in replace of the one I lost and I am still interviewing people to keep on retainer. Why? When that big contract comes I want to already have personnel on call or the two I have now may not work out. It is not personal, it is business. It can be fun, it can be grand but at the end of the day, no one is going to care about your baby more than you do!
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Update: One of my followers Laeh Ragans gave a valuable number ll.
Step 11: W9
Make sure you have a W-9 on file so you can have your 1099’s out on time come tax time!