Building your team as a creative entrepreneur
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a creative or an entrepreneur — a combination of both, or something in between. People in this realm often struggle with hiring.
And yet, one of the top regrets most experienced entrepreneurs have is not hiring sooner. So, it’s clear that building a team makes a difference.
But overcoming your fears and taking that leap of faith can be scary. Simultaneously, growing your business is going to prove difficult if not impossible unless you grow with it.
So, here are some ideas on how you can overcome your objections and fears around hiring.
Why Hiring Can be a Struggle as a Creative Entrepreneur
Art is often created in isolation.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But it does mean that you’re probably used to working by yourself.
I believe one of the best uses of your time as a creative entrepreneur is creating.
But there are a lot of things that can take away from your creative time as your business grows — bookkeeping, administrative work, sending emails, posting to social media, and a great deal more.
Many creatives just grit it and bear it. And, even when their personal bandwidth has reached its limit, they insist on doing everything themselves.
Why is that?
Many creatives feel like no one could do what they do as well as they can. I can tell you right now that this is simply not true. Not only are there people that are good at tasks you aren’t, there are also people that love tasks you don’t.
But if I were to boil this resistance down to a single cause, it would be fear. Creative entrepreneurs fear the costs of hiring, the training process, whether they can trust someone else to handle a specific task, and so on.
It’s Okay to Begin Simply
Just because you need a team doesn’t mean you need to create 10 new job postings today and allocate ad spend to them.
If you’ve never hired before, and don’t have much experience working with others, it’s okay to begin simply.
There are a lot of great sites out there — like Upwork and Freelancer — that allow you to post jobs and hire freelancers for one-offs or even ongoing work. Fiverr can also be helpful, but because service providers are working on the cheap (i.e. $5 plus add-ons), you won’t always get the quality of work you’re looking for without spending more.
I’ve hired freelancers often enough to know that it can be beneficial to leverage hired help in this way, especially if it allows you to focus on high level tasks.
I also have one freelancer who I’ve kept on over the long haul. She’s my transcriptionist. Her responsibility is to create transcriptions for my podcast episodes. She is not required to do anything else.
And, she always has a steady workload, because I publish new podcast episodes on a weekly basis. Even if she transcribes all my podcast episodes, I would still have other things for her to transcribe.
It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to be feeling overwhelmed by the time they’re ready to hire. And, if you’re overwhelmed, you may not even have the mind space available to be thinking about who to hire, how to train them, what they need to know to do their job and so on. So, there’s nothing wrong with hiring freelancers to take a load off.
Outsourcing Works Too
Laganson Graphic Design is responsible for putting together the book cover design for my last mini-book, The Essentail Guide to Music Entrepreneurship. And, I will hire them for future designs too.
I still do quite a bit of design work myself, but if there’s something specific I’m looking for, I will get Laganson to work on it for me.
Whether it’s posters, infographics or book covers, there can be a lot of pressure on you as a designer when you’re putting together a design for material that will be seen by a lot of people. Getting an outsider to work on your design can be helpful, because they will come up with ideas you probably wouldn’t have.
Regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish, you can probably find on-demand service providers, agencies or outsources that can help you. Though it’s not the same as having someone in-house working for you, having a go-to person for different tasks and responsibilities can lighten your load and make your life easier.
Building Your A-Team
Your ultimate goal as a creative entrepreneur is to build your A-Team.
If your business is growing, you don’t want to be working alone or just hiring freelancers forever. You want to bring on people who can help you expand your vision full-time.
You may come across great talent as you hire and work with freelancers, outsourcers, service providers and so on. And, in some instances, you might be able to bring them on as full-time employees when you’re ready.
The goal at this stage is to find people who can fit specific roles and excel in their given role. These people should complement your talent, experience and skills. You’re not looking for people who can do what you do, unless you’re trying to create a backup for yourself.
Your A-Team should be made up of people who are sharp, competent and capable. You should have buy-in from them.
When building your team, communicating your vision will prove critically important, because that’s what tends to matter most to people these days. They want to know what you’re about and whether they resonate with it.
If you’re good at what you do, eventually you will be able to make yourself redundant in your company. Now, if your endeavors involve making art, then there probably isn’t any replacement for you as an artist. But you could free yourself to just create, wouldn’t that be amazing? I know plenty of artists that want that.
Multiply Your Productivity
As a solopreneur, your productivity is going to be capped. There’s going to be a limit to how much you can do and take on.
And, if you’re always at capacity with no end in sight, you’re probably going to burn out at some point. If that happens, you’re not going to be able to sustain the same workload.
Don’t get me wrong — you can still have a great business as a solopreneur, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In some instances, that may be the ideal setup.
But there is a lot involved in creating, marketing and selling art that has nothing to do with the art itself. There’s bookkeeping, managing your money, paying your bills, administrative work, data entry, answering calls and emails, and a great deal more.
Building a team can free you from having to wear so many hats and managing every aspect of your business.
And, as I’ve discovered, working with someone just as committed as you won’t just double your productivity. Your productivity can easily triple, quadruple and even multiply well beyond that.