interior designer team building tips

5 Team Building Tips for Solopreneur Designers [Part II]

Now that you’ve accepted the need to hire a team of people who can support you as you grow your (no longer) DIY design business, as outlined in Part I of this two-part series, it’s time to figure out what you want them to do, how to find them, and how to structure the business relationship.

If you already happen to know a group of trustworthy professionals who are able and willing to work with you, great. Sign ‘em up! Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, and hiring family and/or friends can lead to awkward situations that may hurt your relationships with them. Instead, you will need to implement a proven strategy for building your team.

Just as there are areas of running your business that you love and hate, every business owner or entrepreneur has strengths and weaknesses. For your team building strategy to be successful, you will need to outline those things; what you love to do and are good at doing, as well as what you hate and do not do well (those last two things tend to be intimately connected).

This type of self-analysis is difficult for many, if not most of us but, it will be critical to your success when building your team. Here’s a way to make it simpler for you…

For the next week or so, keep a small notebook nearby and create a list of everything you do in a day. Make sure you keep it with you at all times so you write down EVERYTHING. No matter how trivial it is, write it down! When you have your list complete and in front of you, circle all the things that directly generate income.

Place an * next to all the things you HATE to do! Look at the items with an * that do not directly generate income. Now, prioritize those items like so:

  1. Of the * items, what would be the ONE task you’d love to give to someone else.
  2. Once someone else has that task, what next is the ONE task you’d love to give you someone else.
  3. Once those two tasks are taken over by someone else, what is the ONE next task you’ve love to give to someone else?
  4. If this is new to you, the first 1-3 tasks may be plenty to get used to. If you have an existing business, continue to prioritize until the only tasks you are doing are those you love to do and that directly generate income for you.

You may very well be surprised by just how much STUFF sucks time away from the work you love to do, and the stuff that generates income. Remember the 80/20 rule of business – 80% of your income will be created by 20% of the time you spend doing so. The rest, like answering emails, tracking sales and revenue, creating new products or services, etc., is necessary self-support, but has very little to do with actually increasing cash flow to your business!

Once you’ve determined the tasks you’d like to be rid of, it’s time to find the person (or people) who can best support you moving forward. Essentially, you will need to create a profile of the types of support personnel you would most like to have on your emerging team.

Write down the answers to these questions:

  1. Do you want an employee or independent contractor?
  2. Do you want a detailed-oriented person or someone who is laid-back?
  3. Are you looking for a specialist or a Jack or Jill-of-all-trades?
  4. Should they have knowledge in a particular area?
  5. How do you want to communicate with them?
  6. When are they available?
  7. What time zone/country are they in?
  8. Are they an individual or do they have a team available to support you?

Once you’ve completed your profile, you can begin to use your business network to find them; by asking associates, and even clients, if they know of anyone who meets your requirements. Since these are the people who know you best, in a professional sense, they will have a better idea of whom you may be able to work with.

For more on why you should take these 5 team building tips for DIY designers seriously, take a look at this video from a man I respect, Lloyd Princeton, of Design Management Company.

5 Team Building Tips for Solopreneur Designers [Part I]

There comes a point in every business where hiring help becomes a necessity – even for the solopreneur interior designer. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly unending number of tasks that running your own business requires, from the boring bookkeeping and tedious email communication to the far more exciting design work that you love, it may be time to hire some support personnel.

If you're the type of person who likes to keep control of things, this can be tough to do. Who can you trust to do things “your way” and, where will you find them? Without doubt, these are important questions yet, if you’ve been in business for any length of time, you also know that if you try to be all things to all people, you will set yourself up for failure. The long-term stress and anxiety of being and doing everything yourself will lead to physical and mental exhaustion and, eventually, to overwhelm and burn-out.

Instead of going down that road alone, as so many entrepreneurs have done, ask yourself:

  • What can you delegate to others?
  • Which of your business-owner hats can you outsource?
  • Where can you find the support you need that will enable you to focus on your client’s needs, and to take care of YOU?

The first step is Acceptance – the knowledge and understanding that you just can’t do it all yourself any longer. You're not an accountant or an attorney, so quit trying to be. You're not a website developer or copywriter, so quite trying to be. Accept that, much like the clients who hire you for your expertise, you need the help of experts to realize your vision and reach your business goals.

These 5 Team Building Tips will help smooth the process even further:

  1. Are you taking too much time to complete a task that is not your specialty? When the answer is yes, it’s time to get help.
  2. What is your budget? Be realistic, while also understanding that you're making an investment in the long-term success of your business – and in your sanity!
  3. Prioritize the tasks to give up, based on the best return on your investment (ROI).
  4. Remember that you can always try team-building in small doses, first, and you can also make changes later.
  5. Starting NOW (if not already done) create a typed-up process for ALL you do. This way, when you’re ready to give it to someone else, you don’t have to spend a lot of time walking them through a process you that perform without thinking.

Imagine developing a team that not only supports you and your growth, but allows you to step back, JUST do the things you are trained for and love to do, and allows you the freedom to enjoy your family, friends, and free time. By setting criteria for what you need, finding support and building a team can be surprisingly easy.

Building a team of people who will support you will take some time and effort, of course. There may be mistakes along the way. Yet, once you reach a certain point in your business, moving to the next level literally REQUIRES that you find and employ a team to support you.

For more on why you should take these 5 team building tips for DIY designers seriously, take a look at this video from a man I respect, Lloyd Princeton, of Design Management Company.