Today we have a special interview with Olly Richards of Langpreneur and ‘I Will Teach You a Language.’
Olly’s team has grown and evolved over the years. He remembers how scary it can be to hire your very first team member, but nowadays, he also knows how to find the right high-level employees to help your business grow.
In this episode, Olly gives actionable advice to help you decide when you need to hire a new team member. Having made that decision, he also has a plan of attack to help you through the hiring process.
In this interview you’ll learn:
How to minimise the risk when hiring someone new
The two reasons for growing your team
How to decide on the tasks you need to outsource
Where to look for your next team member
A step-by-step process for hiring new staff.
Start with Freelancers
Olly’s advice; The easiest way to minimise the risk when you start out hiring is to employ freelancers.
A freelancer will do the work, send you an invoice, and you pay them. On the other hand, you will have more obligations if you hire someone as an employee.
That means it’s probably less risky to hire a freelancer to do the job when you’re just starting the hiring journey. You can always bring them on as an employee later if it makes sense.
Before you hire, ask yourself what your business revenue model is
An essential purpose of your business is generating revenue. Without that, you can’t keep serving your customers, pay yourself, or scale to employ others.
Olly says there are two key questions to ask.
What revenue am I generating?
What is my path for making more?
They’re important because they will define whether you need to employ someone at all, and what their role should be.
The theory goes like this: by bringing in someone to do “X” tasks, you will have time to focus on more valuable tasks. Those tasks are the ones that further the core purposes and revenue drivers of your business.
Example: YouTube Channel “Spanish with Olly” making money from ads
What is my business? Selling ads on YouTube by gathering views on my channel.
How do I gather viewers? By creating useful and engaging videos in which I teach people how to speak Spanish.
People expect to see my face on the videos because they enjoy the way I teach Spanish, and they are getting results from it, but the videos are time-consuming to make.
Here, your primary role has to be creating the videos because that is what brings in the ad revenue. That means you probably don’t have time for admin, graphic design, answering comments, posting on social media etc.
So, you hire people for those tasks because none of them is as important as the videos.
Why hire new team members?
“If you know there are things you could be doing that are more valuable to the business and you don’t have time to do it, then that is a very good reason to hire someone.”
Olly says there are two main reasons why people want to hire new staff:
You are already doing the job in your business but need help to do it faster.
In this case, you already have a proven need for the role. It is easier to bring someone in because you already know how to do the job so you can train your new employee properly.
You are hiring someone to take on a new task within the business.
This scenario is harder because you don’t exactly know what’s involved, what revenue it will generate or even how it’s going to work.
Example: A Blogger whose sales are mostly generated after the blogger appears on podcasts.
You have built up your following by writing engaging and useful blog posts.
You attract most visitors to your site and courses etc. when you appear on other people’s podcasts.
Your focus is now on doing as many podcasts as possible, so you don’t have time to write blog posts. Outsource those to someone who can write excellent content in the style and voice of your blog.
Time Tracking as a tool to figure out what you need to outsource
There’s a process to help you decide what tasks you need to outsource. It’s called Time Tracking. Over three weeks, track everything you do in your business. Keep it the records like this:
8:00 – 9:00
Podcast interview with Jan
9:00 – 9:30
Responding to emails
9:30 – 11:00
Writing blog post
11:00 – 12:00
Over time you will gain a clear, objective view of how much time you spend on each task. If there are certain tasks that take up too much of your time and that can be done by someone else, they need to be outsourced.
Where To Look For Your Next Team Member
For creators, often the hardest things to outsource are those that have to be done in their voice.
So, the first place to look is within your community. You could:
Send an email to your mailing list
Post on Instagram Stories
Put out a Tweet
Generally, your followers like you and some would love to be more involved with your work. Your fans will have a better idea of how to speak with your voice than a stranger does.
Olly says there are no guarantees, but some of his best hires have come from his mailing list.
For executive-level positions, such as marketing, you may have to look outside your audience. That’s where you go to Job Boards and places like Linkedin for help.
These are also great places to research job names, descriptions, pay levels and so on.
Hiring Staff: Olly’s Step-By-Step Guide
“There’s a very good book that I recommend that everybody read which is called Who: The Method For Hiring by Geoff Smart and Randy Street. It spells out a very clear process (which can be) quite intensive. I follow that, but we’ve adapted it a bit.”
Part 1: Prepare
Define the name of the role
Create a role profile – exact things you will be doing in this job. Define EVERYTHING that is part of this role.
Create a document that has all those details. Also, include information about the company, about you, why should people work for you etc.
Define your criteria. Ask what the vital parts of this role are? What critical skills and attitudes are needed?
You want to sell the job because the best people are looking for something rewarding and inspiring.
Part 2: Search
Send a specific email designed to capture the interest of the right people on your list. If necessary, advertise the position elsewhere as well.
Set some clear instructions for applicants.
If this is a lower-level job, you may have hundreds of applicants. Give specific instructions in your advertisement e.g.
“Send an email with this exact subject line. In the first line answer the question 9+2.”
If they don’t follow instructions, you can reject them straight away.
Rank everybody according to your criteria
Go through each application and give them a score. That will provide you with a shortlist.
Do short screening interviews to make a shortlist.
Have a team member chat to those on the shortlist.
Do this to check that your prospective employee is a good fit, that they will gel with other members of your team. If your team member felt uncomfortable with any candidate, you can eliminate them now.
Before conducting a full interview, set a task that is representative of the work they will be doing.
E.g. Dear John, I would like to invite you to an interview at (date, time). In advance, please complete the following task related to the work you could be doing.
That will give you a clear indicator of what this person is like and how well they will perform the task.
Conduct full interviews with the remaining candidates.
Have someone else on the interviewing panel besides yourself so you can gain another perspective.
This whole process can be time-consuming, but by following it, you’re more likely to hire someone who can do the job and will integrate smoothly into your team.
There’s so much to learn when it comes to hiring staff for your business. Olly has some final words of advice.
“Don’t get overwhelmed by this stuff. All of these lessons, like everything to do with online business, you learn these lessons by doing it. Everything I’ve said today… Someone told me once, it was advice given to me, but ultimately I learned by doing it. The most powerful lessons are the ones you learn by doing it yourself.”
Apply this philosophy to the information you’ve learned today. You’ll learn, develop and grow, and so will your business.
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