If you're serious about your handmade business and you want to grow to the next level and make more money while working less, this is the post for you.
Hi! My name is Mei Pak and I help makers, artists and creatives make a consistent income selling their handmade products online.
In this post, I'm going to share with you why you should hire help in your business and the exact steps to do that.
I know you may think, “I'm barely even paying myself from my business, I'm not in a position to hire help.”
That's not true.
With the right kind of help, that's exactly what you need to grow your business so you can pay yourself.
It's kind of a chicken or egg situation, right? You think you have to be making a ton of sales already first before you hire someone.
Hiring help doesn't have to be expensive.
I want you to look at it as an investment into your business, rather than a cost.
It takes money to make money.
You Can't Do It All Yourself
The biggest reason why you need to start hiring help now is because you can't do it all yourself.
From a physical standpoint, there are just too many things to do in your business to keep it running and, more importantly, to get traffic and sales. You literally cannot do it all yourself and if you can, it'll just take a lot of time to do it all yourself.
Physical constraints aside, we all have strengths and weaknesses.
You might be great at doing certain things, like designing great new products, but you might be not be so great at doing things like pitching your products to the media or writing product descriptions for your listings online.
Instead of doing a mediocre job of those things (or worse yet, not doing it at all) you can absolutely hire someone else who is good at doing those things to do it for you.
A great way to tell if you need to hire help for something in your business is if you know a task needs to be done but you've been procrastinating doing it for months, or you find yourself always finding excuses to NOT do it.
When there's resistance, it's time to outsource it to someone else so that it gets done.
Stop thinking that you need to do everything all by yourself. Focus on your strengths and outsource your weaknesses to someone else.
That's how your business can grow quickly and when you start to see more sales and become successful.
Focus on your strengths and outsource your weaknesses to someone else. That's how your business can grow quickly and when you start to see more sales and become successful.
Hiring Doesn't Have to Be Expensive
Hiring doesn't have to be expensive.
I've hired product copywriters on Fiverr for $5 per product description. I pay $120 per month to an assistant to write 20 media pitches for me every month, and as a result, I've made thousands of dollars in sales.
People think that hiring means hiring an employee where you have to pay someone benefits and they have to come to your house.
That's not true at all.
Every single one of my team members works from their own home, and I talk to them through Slack, phone texts, or email.
And all my hires are independent contractors, so I don't have to worry about paying them a salary or their retirement fund.
It's very easy to do! You can literally hire someone to help with your business today.
Before I jump into the steps to hire someone, what is one thing you can outsource in your business? Let me know in the comments!
Steps for Hiring Help
The first step is to understand, with crystal clarity, what you need done and make sure not to block unrelated tasks with each other.
For example, a copywriter might be able to write product descriptions for you, maybe also your email newsletters, possibly your social media captions. But they shouldn't be the same person that helps you do product photography.
Understand how certain skill sets can be categorized together.
Just start by making a list of all the things in your business you need help with and start grouping similar skills together.
It's easier to find freelancers and service providers that way because most of them have specialties. One person might just be a copywriter while another person is just a photographer.
It's more difficult to find someone who can do both.
And if you do find that person, they're either going to cost a lot or they're not necessarily going to do both things at a level of quality that a person who specializes in one skill can.
Write your job listing and put it up online for people to find.
Be very clear and descriptive about the tasks you want done and what you expect from the other person.
Be realistic with your expectations.
My favorites are Upwork specifically for virtual work and Craigslist if you're looking for local help like with photography, shipping or production work.
In your job listing, talk about how you want interested people to apply.
I like to give people a bit of a list for what they need to do, that way if a person misses a step, I know they may not have great attention to detail that I might be looking for (depending on the task).
Once you start getting applicants in your email, start shortlisting those who you want to talk to.
Anyone who didn't follow all my instructions for applying, automatically get disqualified.
I know that sounds kind of harsh and ruthless, but if they can't follow instructions now, before they get the job, it's very likely they'll have problems following instructions later when you do hire them. That makes things more difficult for you because you'll have to micromanage them. Not fun!
Interview your shortlisted applicants.
This can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be.
For some of the virtual work that I hire, I never even talk to the person on the phone. I just chat with them over text chat.
For some things, however, where you might be paying the other person a lot of money, it might be worthwhile for you to schedule a time to meet and ask them questions.
I always have a list of specific questions for my interviews, and how they answer the questions gives me a really great idea for what kind of person they are and whether or not I want to work with them.
When I hire production work for people to make my jewelry, I always do a skills test. Because our jewelry is made by sculpting polymer clay, I bring some clay to the interview and I have the person replicate some simple shapes that I've made. That gives me a good idea for their sculpting skills.
This is the most difficult part. Pick who you want to hire.
If you're lucky, you're in a situation where you have a lot of people to choose from (although that does sometimes make it harder to choose).
To make it easier, create something like a scoreboard. Give each person a numbered score based on how well they did in their interviews. You can score things like:
- Attention to detail
If one person arrives late for my interview, I might score that person lower than another person who arrived early. Or if that person who arrived late actually sent me an email telling me they were going to be late, then I would give them a higher score for communication.
This allows you to make your decision objectively and not based on emotion.
You want to train the people you've hired.
Some people, who are specialists, won't need training. If you hire a product photographer, you don't have to teach them how to take photos, cause they're already the expert in that.
You might still want to give them some instructions for what you expect. Maybe you want 5 different photos for each product, where each photo is a different angle of that product.
Be very clear and communicate your goals and needs with the other person. If they don't know what you want them to, it's not really their fault.