As an entrepreneur, you are a leader. And as a leader, you take on the weight of the world on your shoulders, but you fall into the trap of thinking you have to do everything. To come up with every idea. You have to drive every project, you have to be the one to have the final say on everything. And as long as everything is going through you, you will never scale or grow your business.
It's a lesson that every entrepreneur has to learn time and again, because we keep getting slapped in the face. We keep making the same mistakes. How many times have you said to yourself, “There are no good people out there. I just can't find a good staff member. I just can't trust anyone. Everyone is trying to just take advantage of me. I have to do everything myself. Why is it so hard?”
We all feel these things. And at a certain point in your journey as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, you are going to learn these hard lessons and you're going to figure out how to overcome them. Based on all the mistakes that I made as an entrepreneur, growing my business just making a ton of mistakes that cost me time. It cost me money. It kept me up at night. And based on the mistakes I've made, I've learned the three things that you have to focus on to get hiring right.
You're looking for people who are better than you at their given role
As the entrepreneur, you're the generalist, you are going to certainly set the vision, set the direction, be the boss, have the final say, but honestly, you can't be good at everything, you're only going to be good at a few things. And so what you're looking to do is hire your opposites.
When I started my marketing firm, we were very focused on video. And while I was a great editor, I wasn't a great shooter. So it's easy to say, “Okay, I can do editing, but I'm looking for someone who's better than me at shooting”. If you're a photographer, maybe you're looking for someone who's better at the post editing skills. If you're a stylist, working on building your own barber shop or salon, maybe you're fantastic at actually the marketing and the team building but you're tired of standing on your feet all day; in cutting hair, you are looking for people who are better than you at their given skill, their craft, their role, because even though you can do a pretty good job, and you know what to do, that person is going to take it to the next level. They can't do everything you can do, because they're not the generalist, you are looking for the person who's going to elevate your business, your company, your services, whatever it is that you do at that given task.
You have to know enough about the role to manage the person
So there are lots of times as a business owner, where you are hiring someone who's going to be better either at a given task than you, or a task you don't know very much about. And if you don't know very much about it, how do you manage them? How do you set up processes? How do you know if they're doing a good job or a bad job?
You are literally trusting them to do their job. How do you hire the person? How do you even know what it is you're looking for if you don't know anything about that? Well, it's easy to say, “You know, I'm small, I know everything about my company, that's not going to happen”. But as you grow and as you scale and start new divisions and come up with new ideas, you're going to find yourself trusting that these people know what they're talking about. You have to know enough about it. You have to get into the software, you have to try and do the service, try and do the skill, try and do it enough to have someone teach you who knows it enough so you can evaluate whether the person you're hiring is good or not.
Or you can bring in friends.
You know, I'm not a great people leader in terms of heart. And so if I need to find someone in a position, who's all about heart, I'm going to turn to my friend Evan. I'm going to bring Louis into the process. We hired someone where we literally had Evan Carmichael sit in on our interviews, because I wanted to get his take on it. We were hiring for a role that I kind of know, but honestly, Evan knows a lot better than me. I asked him to sit in on the stuff he gave me the time he helped me, and wee found a great person, and we have them in the role. He's literally helping me coach this person as well, because he wants to see the company succeed. I'm asking a friend to help the company succeed. And I don't have all the experiences or the skills to evaluate every single step of this. But what I do know is I need someone who's way better in this role than I am. I know enough to kind of help day to day, but I don't know enough to go next level. And so I'm looking for peer mentors. I'm looking for friends, I'm looking for people to help me do this. That's what you need.
You have to manage these people
You cannot just trust that you found a good person who is better than you, that you know a little bit or enough to be able to send them on their way. You have to manage people, no matter how much freedom employees or staff want, they still need direction. They still want to know if they're doing a good job or a bad job. They're still looking for mentorship, they're looking for all of this direction. And so even though people want freedom and they say they want freedom, when you give them ultimate autonomy, they actually don't know what to do with it. They're not entrepreneurs, they don't think the way that we do. And so we can't just expect them to act the way that we act. We need to mentor them. We need to tell them what to do. We need to set up processes and we need to guide our staff.
So I have found in any service based business, hiring an expert in a role, hiring someone who's better than you in a role, will set you up for exponential growth. When I started my company in 2006, it was only me. It was a camera. It was a few lights in a tiny little sublet office. And as long as I was doing everything, the company was only as good as my skill sets. I could be a great video editor. So perfect. The company's known for being a great video editor. I could be really great at strategy or working with clients. The company is known for that. But I wasn't great at directing. I wasn't great at shooting. I wasn't really that good of a camera operator outside of documentary stuff. I wasn't really that much of a creative thinker. I didn't really know that many people, so as long as the company was only me, the company only had the skill sets that I had.
And what I've learned is that if I want my company to grow quickly, all I have to do is invest in the right staff who can immediately give our company knowledge, experience, credibility, know how. o as I grew my business, I was hiring people originally, who could take over some of the stuff, the low level stuff, the really simple stuff, the cheap stuff, you hire people to take over all that bottom stuff. And we saw a little bit of scaling, because now I'm freeing myself up to focus on the high value things but I'm not doing the little things, but I didn't see explosive growth.
Where we really saw explosive growth was when I went the other way. When I looked to hire senior, experienced, expensive people. We don't have the know how, so Monday, they started in my company. They're experienced, they have 10 years of experience. Great. Now the company has 10 years of experience. They have an awesome portfolio. Great. Now the company has an awesome portfolio. They know how to leverage data or campaigns or analytics or whatever it is they have certification. Great. Now the company has a certification. I'm literally buying the experience and bringing people in to give the company know how that I don't know, and that the company didn't have before. And this is something that I've leveraged over the years, as I've grown every time that I've seen a really big boost in my business, in revenue or in growth.
It has come from me bringing in people to give me extra knowledge, extra ability, extra services, or just simply doing things better than I was doing it before the periods where we went from one team to two teams, or from two teams to three teams. We weren't seeing explosive growth, it was organic growth. We were adding more people who did the same things we did before. In the same ways we've done that but every few years when I take the big swing and I bring in new people people to do things new ways, or to offer new services with new experience. That's when I see things take off.
And so as a service based business, hiring an expert, and being comfortable and being trusting and not being insecure that these people have tons of knowledge and tons of experience that that you simply cannot match. Knowing this, respecting this, understanding this and then allowing them to do their job without you getting controlling, will help you grow and scale.