Why hiring a team may cost your business
Why hiring a team may cost your business

Welcome to The Rachel Kurzyp Show.

Today I want to talk about hiring a team and why this isn’t always the right solution for creatives, founders and small business owners.

I hinted back in Episode 91 that I let my team go in August last year, and a lot of you had questions, so I thought I’d start by explaining why I hired a team in the first place and how I came to realise that I’d rather remain a solopreneur.

Up until September 2020, I was very much a one-woman show. I was doing everything from admin to onboarding to design to copy to finances on a daily basis in my business.

Now I did hire experts on a project-by-project basis to assist me with tasks outside of my expertise, like my rebranding in September of 2019 and fixing website bugs and updates a few times a year. But I wasn’t paying someone to work in my business continuously.

When I shifted my business to focus on selling multiple online products, courses and programs, I decided I needed ongoing help because I was spending too many hours each week on administrative tasks like sending workshops reminders or rescheduling coaching calls

And I had a greater demand for content and marketing materials such as FB ad designs, workbooks, launch graphics and so on. I felt like I was spending too much time in the business and not enough time looking at the bigger picture.

I also didn’t like having to switch modes multiple times a day – say, going from designing graphics to coaching a client to teaching a live workshop. It was making me feel frazzled and stretched too thin.

So I hired an Online Business Manager within an agency whose role was to manage the daily running of my business and provide recommendations on how I could be more effective and efficient.

The reason I hired an OBM and not a Virtual Assistant is that I wanted to have someone in my business focused on operations. A VA’s role is often focused on completing tasks and not the business as a whole.

I also didn’t want to have to manage multiple people, from designers to FB ad managers etc. So having my OBM look after these different areas allowed me to focus on the strategic and creative side of my business.

It was a huge financial expense, but I felt confident that having this support would allow me to focus on growing my business. And it did work OK for about 6 months, but ultimately, I never experienced the benefits that I expected, such as more time and greater profits.

In fact, having a team negatively impacted the growth of my business. In the end, I was spending more time following up on tasks, putting out fires and redoing work than if I had been doing everything myself from the start.

I think there are 5 reasons why this happened.

  1. I already had a lot of systems and processes in place. I’m really effective and efficient in my business. I’ve been running my business for nearly 12 years now, and I was a manager running a department for years before that. So I felt like I didn’t get much additional value or support in this area even though I’m sure there are things I could be doing better.
  2. I have a strong and clearly defined written and verbal brand. Again, this is my skill set. However, I didn’t always have this documented as well as I should have, and the agency didn’t have a way to capture this either, so I was forever trying to explain why things weren’t at the standard I needed them to be. This resulted in me apologising for the miscommunication with my clients and poor quality of work with my partnerships on a few occasions.
  3. There wasn’t actually a lot for my OBM and agency to do. Especially when I retired all my online courses and programs to offer my 1:1 coaching program. Because I was still writing all the copy, had design templates etc. the only things my team were doing on a daily basis were copying and pasting and hitting publish on my content and editing my podcast. I tried having my team lead other areas of my business, such as pitching me as a guest to podcasts but I didn’t see results. And when I say pitched myself to a podcast, I would see results. Showing me that many of the tasks in my business were best led by me.
  4. Timing was an issue too. My team needed things done ahead of time so they could schedule me around their other clients. I 100% respect that, but it put a lot of pressure on me to create and produce work months in advance. I’ve realised that’s not how I like to run my business. I plan 3, 6 and 12 months ahead, but I like having the freedom to change my schedule and mind based on what’s happening at the time of publishing. I felt like I was always rushing through tasks and not having enough time to let my ideas breathe.
  5. And finally, I felt like we never found our groove working together. We tried using many online apps like Voxer, Asana and Airtable alongside Zoom calls, but nothing really felt supportive for me. There wasn’t a system by the agency to capture bigger picture work as well as everyday tasks so things fell off the list, and I felt like I spent a lot of time preparing for meetings, explaining my ideas and business direction and following up on tasks where I would have liked my OBM to lead this. As a result, I never really could set a task and trust it would be done.

To sum up the experience, I had a set expectation going into the relationship, and it was never met.

There were definitely other factors that would have contributed to this such as my leadership style, my 1:1 business model, my experience in business, running a business during covid and so on. I want to acknowledge that too.

But what this experience taught me was that hiring a team isn’t the right solution for everyone. Yet, we’re always hearing online that the only way to scale, grow and make more money is to have a team. And this just isn’t true.

When hiring help comes up for coaching clients, more often than not, they decide that hiring a contractor is the more profitable and sustainable option.

There is nothing wrong with being a business owner who still does work in their business. I love creating copy and being a part of the branding process, it’s what makes my business unique and allows me to keep these skills fresh for my clients. It also saves me money and gains my time in the long run because I have the flexibility to adapt at the moment.

I wanted to share my experience not to persuade you not to hire support but to show that you don’t have to and, if you do, that you have options for what this looks like.

If you’re considering hiring a team, get your pen and paper ready because I’m going to share some practical actions for you now.

To determine if you should outsource a task in your business, answer these questions.

  1. Is it in your zone of genius? Do you live and breathe this task? Does it light you up? Can you do it with minimal effort?
  2. Can you turn it into a process? Can you break the task down into actionable chunks? Is it something you need to do on the regular?
  3. Can you automate it? Can an app do the task for you at no or cost minimal cost?
  4. Can you hire an expert to do part or all of the task? Can they deliver a higher standard than you can? Will hiring a contractor save you time and money?

If your answers indicate that you aren’t the right person for these tasks, then it’s worth outsourcing because the time, energy, creativity and money you’re going to use to complete the task yourself may take away from other profitable work in your business.

To determine if you should hire a team member in your business, answer these questions.

  1. Can you cover 4-6 months of their wage? Can you put money away for it now? Will your confirmed income over the next few months cover it?
  2. Can an online application do the job e.g. Rev or Acuity? Do your dream clients need to interact with a human?
  3. Will hiring someone allow you to provide a better service to your dream clients? Would you have to learn a new skill set or invest in training to complete the task yourself?
  4. Are you willing to put in the time and effort to onboard and train a person in your business? Do you want to manage people ongoing?

If you answer yes to all four questions, then it may be worth investing in ongoing help so you can focus on growing and maintaining other areas of your business.

I hope these questions will support you in the coming weeks and months as you determine what a sustainable business looks like for you.

If you’d like help in this area, send me a DM on Instagram rachel_kurzyp or an email to rachel@rachelkurzyp.com.au I’d love to share how I can support you to grow your business inside my 1:1 coaching program.

Thanks so much for tuning into today’s episode.

If you’ve found what I’ve shared valuable, please leave a review and hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss when a new episode drops every Wednesday.

Resources and links

Listen to Episode 91 – How to prevent creative burnout

Book your call: Learn how we can work together in my 1:1 Coaching Program

Website: rachelkurzyp.com.au

Instagram: @rachel_kurzyp

Hi, I’m Rachel

I support multi-talented business owners to get clear on what makes them tick and desperately needed in their industry so they can make more money.

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