I’ll never forget the day when I cried my eyes out to my husband, saying “I simply cannot do all of this alone anymore.” I was exhausted, overworked, and I had more work than I could handle by myself. Groceries? Forget it. I was just trying to keep my clients happy and get more than a few hours of sleep every night. It was at that point that we decided to move forward with our first hire.
Fast forward five years, and I’m incredibly grateful to have my sanity (and sleep) back! (Well, as long as my two little girls are sleeping well. . . but that’s another story.) There are four of us on the Nancy Ray Photography Team, plus three seasonal interns every year. I love leading, my passion for my work has returned, and it all has to do with the choice I made to hire the right people.
Key words that cannot be overlooked: the RIGHT people.
Today I’m going to share with you three important things I’ve learned in my years of building my team—and how to hire the right people for your brand.
1. How to know you are ready to hire
It’s vitally important that you start here. There are two simple ways to know you are ready to hire:
First, you have more work than you can handle. If you aren’t selling enough products or booking enough services, you aren’t quite ready to hire. But if you are turning people away left and right, and there is work that you can pass off to an employee or contractor (read this article to help you determine which is best: https://www.honeybook.com/risingtide/hire-legally/)? That’s a sign that you are probably ready to bring someone on to help you continue to grow your business.
Second, you are set financially. What does that mean exactly? For me, it means I know what’s going on with my money. It means my accounts are separate (personal and business), and I run everything business-related out of my business account. It means I can pay myself. It means I have some extra cash saved up in my business checking account. Practically speaking, I think that looks like you have saved up enough money to pay someone for at least three months before you actually hire them.
If you have more work than you can handle (i.e. HALP!), and you have some cushion financially to do so, then you can move forward and responsibly hire.
2. Hiring the RIGHT people (aka our intense hiring process)
This is where a lot of creative business owners want to skip ahead. “I need someone NOW!” is the dominating thought, so it’s easy to skip a thorough hiring process.
Believe me when I say, DON’T.
Don’t skip over a thorough, multi-interview, time-consuming hiring process. What you spend in hours on the front end will save you hundreds of hours, dollars, and headaches on the back end.
Find the right people by spending a lot of time with them in the hiring process. We take two months to make one hire. This includes our interns! We host six rounds of interviews when bringing on a new team member. We take our time, and it has resulted in the most unified team where everyone has the same mission. You will find the right people for your brand if you take the time to thoroughly interview the candidates who are applying.
3. Beginning with an intern
This was one of the best decisions I made. Interns are a wonderful place to start. They can provide immediate relief for your mountains of work, and you can do a “test run” with bringing on a team member: from hiring, to payment, to delegating and managing a person. By setting a start and end date to their internship, you can provide an educational experience for them while sharing your workload as well. It’s a win-win situation, and a great place to start. Then after the internship is over, you can plan for a more permanent hire.
In a nutshell, hear this: hiring is a wonderful thing! Bringing on the RIGHT people in your business can elevate your brand by allowing you to serve more people and ultimately make more money. By knowing when to hire, hiring the right people, and beginning with an intern, you will set yourself up to link arms with a strong, like-minded team, ready to grow right along with you.