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  • Kelsea Koenreich

The Process for Easier Hiring and Building a Better Team

Let's be honest, one of the most uncomfortable realities in entrepreneurship is realizing you've hired the wrong person or that the challenges in your business or team are your fault.

Hiring and mastering effective leadership are often overlooked aspects of running a business, especially for those of us who started solo and then expanded operations. You begin by hustling solo, doing everything yourself until the workload demands assistance. But when you finally bring someone on board, the challenge isn't just finding the right fit; it's also about effectively leading them.

Navigating this terrain can be daunting. You're juggling your own responsibilities while teaching someone else how to do what you've always done, often finding they don't do it quite like you. Then comes the internal questioning: "Is this the right person?" It's a lot to handle, especially when you're also balancing parenthood.

Many entrepreneurs delay hiring because they look at it as a daunting task. They wait until they're drowning in work before seeking help, making the hiring process feel like a second job. I vividly remember in my first few years of business as a solopreneur, I was hiring from a place of desperation. At the time I was an athlete competing in figure powerlifting, I was overwhelmed, and was getting so many inquiries that I found myself being frustrated because my inbox consumed too much of my time, and I realized I needed help immediately.

Desperation often drives bad hiring decisions, a scenario common among many women running businesses who find themselves overbooked. Rapid business growth can make this situation worse, leaving you feeling stretched thin and rushed to hire quickly. But hiring out of desperation rarely produces the desired outcomes.

So, you brought somebody on and now you’re thinking- how do I lead them?

In my experience, learning to lead effectively was trial by fire. In the beginning, I didn't realize the importance of how I was delegating and leading. Like many aspects of entrepreneurship, I learned through trial and error, adapting and often failing to see what doesn't work. However, this journey taught me valuable lessons that I now share with my clients, drawing from 12 years of entrepreneur experience running multiple businesses.

How to Hire, Strategically

The key to streamlining the hiring process and reducing headaches is to hire before you feel overwhelmed. Delaying it until you're drowning only compounds the challenges. Strategic hiring should focus on roles that directly contribute to creating more revenue OR more time. Whether it's hiring a coach or expanding your team, the goal should be a tangible return on investment.

To make sure you are hiring correctly, be that a coach or somebody on your team should make you money or get your time back. A lot of people, including myself, have worked with coaches and had relationships that did not provide the ROI. I think a lot of people have been burned by that. 

But there are coaches like me who hold themselves to a certain standard of being able to provide a ROI be that in higher profitability, getting your time back for yourself and your family, or all of the above. It's important for us to be clear when we work with clients on what the expectations are. 

Effective communication is vital. Setting clear expectations fosters a culture of transparency and accountability. My personal approach involves investing time in building relationships with my clients, which not only strengthens trust and loyalty but also leads to referrals.

However, hiring isn't just about filling roles; it's about finding the right fit. Clarity is crucial before extending an offer. First, getting clear on what you need is important. Before crafting the role and responsibilities, ask yourself: 

What are you seeing in the business? 

What growth do you want to see? 

What gaps do you have in the business? 

Where are you losing time?

Where are you losing money? 

Getting clear on those things can narrow down, do you need a marketing person? A social media manager? If you don't have clarity on that, then you're probably gonna hire the wrong role and you're going to be frustrated because you're not getting the results you wanted.

Crafting Your Dream Team

Once you’re clear on exactly what you need help with and what your expectations are from getting this help, you can build out the role and responsibilities. Write down and define the roles, responsibilities and desired strengths they will have. To do this, some questions to ask are:

What is the role? 

What are the responsibilities going to be? 

What are the tasks going to be on a recurring basis on a project basis?

Get really clear on those things. Then ask yourself, 

Based on what I’m looking for, what strengths do you need from this person? 

Next, clarify your non-negotiables. When we're hiring, we think a lot about the role itself, we gotta think about the person behind the role. It's important to decide what traits does this person need to have in order for them to do this type of work well.

For example, I need ambitious, go-getters, creative thinkers on my team because I run my business very collaboratively. I want each of these people in their zone of genius and be able to express their creative ideas because that fuels the business. To find out what your non-negotiables are for working on your team, ask yourself,

What's important for your team culture? 

What strengths does this person need to have?

What are non-negotiables for you? 

What are the things that you will not bend on? What are the things that you will?

I personally would always rather have somebody that has a little less experience, but is excited and wants to do their job. Yes, they may be less efficient at first, but they're going to be more effective in the long run because they have an eagerness to learn versus somebody who may have a lot of experience. 

Now it’s time to lay out these roles and responsibilities in a job posting. Crafting compelling job postings is an art. There's a couple specific things that I do in job postings that are important. 

Number one, I always put a section about me, my story and my mission. That is one of the things that I get a lot of feedback on and get a lot of applicants every time I post a job. The right people want to know what the mission of the business is and why it matters. Incorporating elements of your story and mission not only attracts the right candidates but also fosters buy-in to your vision. 

Number two, I put specific instructions to help filter candidates who pay attention to detail.I prefer people that are detail-oriented while also knowing that people are human and they're going to make mistakes. One of the things I do in the middle of a job posting is put specific instructions like, “begin your response with, ________ “ so anybody that doesn't do that, unfortunately, is not an applicant. Filtering people out will help you narrow down your final few people. 

Now, it’s time for the interview process. During interviews, focus on assessing potential rather than just past experience. A lot of times we're asking questions again based upon past experience such as; what platforms have you worked on? Who did you work for? What are the results that you've gotten? And that's great. But we need to ask strategic questions to gauge problem-solving skills and creativity. I will ask something like,

What are your long-term goals? 

What's your bigger vision? 

We have a campaign running and _____ happens, what would you do? 

We're not on track to hit a goal, what would you say we could do?

A collaborative approach tells us so much more about a person and empowers them to contribute ideas and opinions freely.

After I go through the interview process, I will extend an offer and outline the roles and the responsibilities very clearly and emphasize open communication. At the top of the outline, it says our team and we operate with an open communication policy. And what that looks like is that you are required to openly communicate. If you have things that you want to share, not only do I want you to share them, I need you to share them. That is part of our culture is feeling like you can always come to me with anything that you have and you'll be heard. 

Clarity on the front end is going to prevent problems on the back end. 

Sustainable Team Building

In conclusion, hiring may not be the most enjoyable aspect of entrepreneurship, but it's essential for growth and impact. By approaching it strategically and fostering a culture of transparency and accountability, you can build a team poised for success.

If you're experiencing high team turnover, something to ask yourself is, what is a you problem and what is a them problem? There are times that people are just not a good fit and that's okay. Take accountability and ownership for what's yours and ask yourself,

What could I have done better? 

What was it about them that wasn't a good fit? 

What was it about me that didn't lead them well? 

You're just going to keep getting better. Ownership is leadership. No matter how good we are at our work, continue to be a learner and be willing to grow. 

Ultimately, sustainable team building requires self-care and a proactive approach to addressing gaps in your business. Regularly assess your needs, gather feedback from team members, and remain open to evolving roles within your organization.

Make sure you're being preventative by taking care of yourself and that your business is structured in a way where you're not constantly overwhelmed. 

Another part of preventative care is assessing those gaps in your business and creating that specific role. If you can't see those gaps, you might be too in your business and need to step out and assess. You can also gather feedback from your team members. Some things I’ve asked my team before are,

What tasks are you loving? 

What are you hating? 

Not that I'm going to always create a role for that, but I genuinely want to keep my people happy. So, if there's a way for me to have people doing more of what they love and give them space to grow into things they want to, I like to foster that. 

So get clear before you post any sort of position. Make sure you ask questions so that the non-negotiables that you have and the potential of the person in front of you is at the forefront. On board with clear expectations, and make sure you're giving them that emotional buy-in that makes them feel like they're part of something. Take accountability when you fuck up, because you will. People respect that.

Hiring may not be the most enjoyable aspect of entrepreneurship, but it's essential for growth and impact. By approaching it strategically and fostering a culture of transparency and accountability, you can build a team ready for success!

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