In podcast episode number 231, April chatted with Theresa Loe, founder of streamlinedandscaled.com and a leadership and business coach for overworked entrepreneurs. She helps business owners streamline their operations and build self-managed teams so they can finally get their time back and scale with ease.
Theresa chatted with April and offered advice to help you get over the issues that may be stopping you from scaling and growing your business to the next level; how to get over your fear of hiring people.
So first of all, let's talk about why this is even a fear. What is the deal? What is the matter with us?
I have struggled with management over the years. It's not my strength. I have had to work very hard to learn, to become a better leader and manager and delegator.
As entrepreneurs we have all these ideas in our head and we think it's so much easier or it's so much faster if we just do it ourselves, but I'm going to tell you that, and I learned this the hard way, your business is not going to get to the next level until you know how to create systems and delegate tasks and, most importantly, find the right people to help you to do just that.
You know that you need help. You have probably been doing most of the work in your business and it's definitely time to focus your skills where they are needed so you need a team, or at least one person, to begin your delegation process but you also need to eliminate those mindset blockages that hold you back from taking action.
You might be saying things to yourself like "I can't afford to hire help", or "I'm uncertain of exactly who to hire and what role they should fill", or you might be thinking, "wow, I don't even know how to help them onboard!".
This is not just an early in the entrepreneurial journey problem my friends, this is a problem that even my multiple six-figure clients face.
It's definitely something, as I said, that I have struggled with over the years and I've had to force myself to work through.
So if you're thinking about these things, you are not alone.
Theresa, will you please share with everybody a bit about yourself?
"Absolutely. Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me.
I help people, entrepreneurs, who are overworked, stressed and stretched to the limits to streamline the back end of their business so that they can get their time back.
I also help them to build self-managed teams, and it doesn't matter if you are just starting out or you are at multi-million dollar status, you always want to have your team be self-managed so that you're not doing all the managing and you can, instead of wearing all the hats, just wear the most important hat, the CEO hat.
We all start out with our laptop and a dream, and we start out doing all the things and wearing all the hats, well, the sooner you can bring in a supportive and self-managed team, and have everything streamlined, the sooner you're able to scale.
One of the things that we often run into with new businesses is the fact that they either don't know when it's time to hire, or they think that it might not be time to hire, but they're really dealing with some mindset issues around hiring, talk to us about what some of those mental blocks maybe? What is the mindset of an entrepreneur who's ready to scale?
You know that it's time to get help when you are stretched too thin, you're overworking, or you're sacrificing yourself for the business. You're sacrificing your time, your health, your marriage time with your family,
your weekends, your evenings.
We all have these ups and downs in our business where it might grow, and we experience those times of increased pressure, but when it goes on for long periods of time, that's when you absolutely need to get more support and structure in your business because you didn't start the business to be working 18 hour days. That was not your goal or your dream.
Yet people get stuck in this position because they don't know how to fix it, and it's a mindset issue.
There are different ways to hire; you can hire someone overseas if you are really strapped on money, you can hire a virtual assistant that's part-time. It can be a working mom who may be used to work in corporate and has incredible skills and now that her kids are in school she wants something that she can do in those other hours.
When you are a multi-million dollar company you might need a full-time employee, and that can feel super scary.
You can get stuck thinking too small trapped by saying to yourself that when your business gets to the next level then you will bring in the help that you need...and I want you to flip the script on that.
The truth is that you're never going to feel ready to take it to the next level, that feeling doesn't just magically happen when you wake up one morning, so you have to start thinking differently. You have to step into your future self and start making strategic decisions.
Rather than just waiting for the next level to happen and then bringing in help, you need to bring in help to get to the next level.
A great place to start is with a daily list of everything you need to do.
It makes you realize that while you're working on those smaller activities, those things that you could actually hire out for, you're not spending your time (and skill!) on the, maybe 20%, of activities that move your business forward.
In fact, you're so busy that you have a tiny 1% little sliver of time in your day in which you're trying to fit all those CEO activities and that's why I started with this one; You want to be the CEO of your future so everything that you do needs to be aligned with that so that you can reach your goal."
So what's next after we do that?
What's another way of overcoming beliefs that can hold people back?
"So the analogy I like to give here is if I were to come to you April and I were to say, I'm going to open a hotel and I just want to tell you all about it, and you're like cool, tell me all about the hotel, And I said, well, I am going to be the person who checks people in at the front desk...
And then I'm going to help everyone carry their luggage up to their room...
I'm going to be the maid. I'm going to do the cleaning. And then when they come back down, I'm going to be at the restaurant and I'm going to take their order. And I'm going to cook the food and deliver the food and then run back out to the front desk for the next person.
You would think I was nuts!
You'd say that I can't do all those things well and you can't grow.
Yet that's what we do in our businesses because we started with just us and we were doing all the things and we kept getting spread thinner and thinner and thinner.
When you're saying, "I can't afford to hire a team", what you're really saying is that you aren't putting yourself first and you don't want to grow and what I want you to do is realize that there are different ways to hire at different levels.
The truth is that you can always hire. It's a matter of finding the right person for the right seat to do the right things so that you're not wasting your time or your money."
So what comes next, Theresa, after we have gotten over these mindset hurdles that we've discussed so far?
"Another thing that can stop you from hiring people is the idea that good people are hard to find.
There are good people out there, the trick is that you have to hire the right person by looking at their character over their resume.
Many people teach how to go out and hire and they'll tell you to put a post out on a job listing board and then you bring in the person who applied after looking at their resume to see if they have experience.
I actually teach hiring in a very different way. I want people to be really, really clear on the type of person that they want to bring in.
When I'm hiring, I'm looking at character because, the truth is, that if I can get someone who's a go-getter, a problem solver, they're excited about my work and they're excited about my mission, I can teach them anything. They don't even have to have the experience on their resume.
Look for the type of person who can grow with you and can learn, even if they don't have experience if you just feel good about them, because they're enthusiastic and excited, they feel right."
One of the hardest things that I have to deal with when hiring somebody, is the fear of training them, investing time in them, and then they leave...any advice?
"One of the things that I work with people on when I'm helping them to streamline their business is the structure behind the scenes; so that if someone steps out, someone else can step in and immediately into established systems and processes.
Also, when someone is leaving, for me, it's happening for me rather than to me. I want them to grow and go find a better fit because if they felt that my business wasn't a good fit for them they're not going to thrive.
Just like if we take a flower and put it in the desert, that flower might be beautiful somewhere else, but in the desert, it's going to wither and die.
If we have someone on our team who really is not aligned with staying with the team it's better that they go sooner rather than later. Sometimes we'll have signs, and that's something that I coach people through, there'll be little signs that we missed along the way that we weren't really paying attention to, but when someone is going to leave I actually give them some of my coaching programs because I want them to do well because we've built a relationship.
Remember, if someone is stepping out, it's actually happening for you because there's going to be someone else that can step in that will take you even further than that person ever could."
The next fear I'd like to ask for your advice around is the actual managing of a team.
"That is why I specialize in self-managed teams.
If you are managing the team, as the CEO, something is wrong, you should never be managing the team.
You want to be bringing the right people in, who are in the right seats and doing the right things.
The way that you can tell if you are in the management rather than the CEO role is if you are helicoptering them.
We all know what a helicopter parent is, well, there's also a helicopter CEO and it's where you're hovering.
Constantly over them and asking; are they doing it? Are they doing it right?
And some of that can be due to the systems that you have (or haven't) set up. Maybe you don't have touchpoints in place where you can kind of keep your finger on the pulse without being involved in the everyday.
That's something that I help people set up so that they don't have to be constantly around to know what's going on, but sometimes it's really a matter of learning to let go and how to let go in the right way.
We want to be mentoring our team, not managing the team. This means having real clear expectations and results that we're looking for so they have a very clear line of focus and we can simply have 30, 60, or 90-day check-ins and be able to discuss progress.
As long as they know their targets we shouldn't have to helicopter them. They should be able to figure out how to get there themselves."
Is there a favorite team software for communication that you have that you like to recommend to your clients?
"Absolutely. So most of the industry uses Asana and that's great, but for project management, I really like Monday.com.
Monday.com is much more visual and I find it a great fit for entrepreneurs as they, and their teams, tend to be very creative and productive in a visual setting. If you have never used any project management software, and you currently have a team, it's a much easier transition onto Monday than it is to Asana.
Now that said Asana is great, I'm not saying it's bad, if you're already using Asana don't switch! If you love it and it works for you, great, but if you've never used project management software or you're intimidated, or your team is, Monday works really well; it's very intuitive and so it makes it easy for the team to adapt to that.
The most important thing is that you use it, whatever system you choose! So if you try something and it doesn't work, try something else because everyone's brains work differently."
Any final thoughts that you want to leave with our listeners? Any more actionable steps to take to overcome the fear of hiring?
"If we circle all the way back to stepping into being a CEO and thinking like your future CEO self, what I want you to do is start doing a time audit.
You may think that you know what you're doing every day but you're probably doing some things you shouldn't be doing and you don't even realize it.
You keep thinking, I'll just do it real quick myself and it ends up taking an hour, or I can just whip this together and you end up with your whole day totally wasted because you went down a rabbit hole in Canva or something.
I want you to do a time audit on yourself so that you can see, where you are currently spending your time and then put on your CEO hat and take a hard look at that.
Are those the things that I should be doing?
Which of these things do I know I just shouldn't be doing or I'm not very good?
Which of these things could I hand off to a current team member or do I need to bring in a new team member?
Every single morning look at that to-do list and ask yourself:
Make sure that you're working on the right things because we can very easily get busy, busy, busy doing the wrong things and nothing can slow down your growth faster than doing that."
So Theresa, can you tell people how they can connect with you and based on where they are, what phase they're in, what do you have available to get them to that next level with their teams?
"Absolutely. So where people can connect with me is streamlinedandscaled.com, and on the website, they will find a lot of information and free resources."
We hope that this excerpt from the podcast has been helpful to you and let you see that hiring a team isn't as scary as it seems and that actually it's a fear that you need to face if you are serious about scaling your business.
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