DREAM | Organizing for Team Success

The other day, I was just regrouping with my project manager after taking a few months to get my life together. That same night, I came across Siobhan of BeFree Project who shared an article entitled The Big O, Outsourcing. Everything in this article was exactly what I just experienced in branching out to bring someone onto my team last year and it was hilarious. So I want to talk today about the need for organization when bringing someone onto your team!

Organizing for Team Success

You will come to a point where you know that you need help. Listen, blogging, event planning, writing books, and more is A LOT of freaking work. A lot of people really don’t understand all that goes into operating a consistent, well groomed blog. As I was growing, I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to keep growing without some help. But I had absolutely no systems in place that would have made that an easy transition. I was so used to doing everything on my own that I didn’t really know what to delegate in the beginning.

The difference between stressed success and smart success lies in delegation.
— Chalene Johnson

God bless Edie King, who started out as my “intern” of sorts but definitely has transitioned  more into a Project Manager. What I love about Edie is that she was able to endure the ride of me figuring out exactly how to work with another person. As Kimberlee describes in the aforementioned article, you have to know how to get your business out of your head in order to be able to work with someone else. That’s exactly the trouble that I first had when bringing Edit on board to assist. And many of us as solopreneurs have a difficult time letting people into our worlds and more importantly trusting someone with it. 

The great thing about bringing Edie on board was that she was already an avid consumer of WriteLaughDream. So I am sure that helped her on some days when she was like “What is this woman doing?” LOL. So I think it’s really important that when looking for help, that they may be somewhat familiar with your brand and supportive of it. Now, the competencies are first and foremost, can they do what you are asking them to do? But, it doesn’t hurt to have someone who also admires what you do, especially in the beginning when most often you are unable to compensate them as handsomely as you may like.

Click to Tweet/// So I think it’s really important that when looking for help, that they may be somewhat familiar with your brand and supportive of it.

So after floundering and figuring it out last year, I started this year with a whole new outlook on how to maximize the great help that I had. And it started with really writing down the tasks that I am able to delegate. Now a lot of people have all these cutesy terms for what you can delegate, but I am giving it to you straight. Whatever doesn’t take a lot of your personal brain capacity, you can delegate. So tasks like scheduling social media or creating some of your graphics from templates, or managing customer service are all things that you can hand off to someone else. Especially if that someone else is competent. But you have to have things like templates in place if you are going to have someone step in in those areas. Which brings me to the main topic of this post!  

Organization! I worked on a lot of personal organization last year, but I also needed to get organized in a manner that could accommodate someone else. For instance, Edie will be assisting in formatting the blog posts that I write. I now have to be on a way better schedule of writing for her to actually be able to help with this. No more 12am blog writing and posting sessions the night before it’s scheduled. In order for that to be effective, I will need to be ahead of my posting schedule to give her the time to do that for me. Although in the beginning it will be a major adjustment, not having to spend extra time formatting after I write, will give me the opportunity to move on to the next thing in the world of WriteLaughDream. You know there is always a ton going on here.

I also had to create some shared space and shared documents, so that Edie could be in tune to my calendar and posting schedule. I also have to be on top of sending a weekly update at the top of each week. These are things that you don’t have to think about at all when it’s just you and your laptop, but it’s essential to keep those on your team read into the overall picture of your business.  When we have one central space for everything, no one will be able to say, “I didn’t know,” because it’s all right there.

As I mentioned, I created templates. Edie also helps with formatting and scheduling my monthly newsletter. So Instead of keeping her guessing, I created a template in my mail server that she can just pop everything right into, schedule and be done. I try to make it as easy as possible for her to assist, sometimes even writing out emails that I would like her to send for projects regarding WLD.

I remember at my full-time job, someone who worked in production said, “You know you’re doing a good job if for whatever reason you couldn’t come to work for weeks, you have enough systems in place that someone could pick up right where you left off.” Well, it’s similar with our own businesses. If we never put practices and documents together on how to do things, who in the world would be able to pick up where we left off? I know, I know, in a small business, who would be doing the job but us, but you get my point. It’s so important to document your work. I have taken that advice both for my work on and outside of the job. Hey, when business finally takes off, I want to be able to drop a binder off to my replacement and say, “Peace!”

To revisit some of the steps in this process: 

  1. Write down a list of tasks that you do on the consistent basis. Separate that lists into two deciphering what you need to keep on your plate and what you can delegate. 
  2. Create shared workspace so that your additional staff can see your calendar, or any joint projects, etc. Try Google Drive, Asana, or Trello. 
  3. Plan ahead. The only way you'll be able to get help with tasks is to make sure that you are ahead of schedule. It will take extra time to actually pull your staff into the task. 
  4. Create templates. Especially if you have someone helping with graphics or anything else that is similar and just changes text or photos. Even email templates can be helpful. 
  5. Keep track of how you work. in creating literal documents and guides of your processes. Could someone else step in and do your job for you if needed?  
  6. Lastly, trust your decision. No one likes a micro manager. So if you have selected someone that is capable, after a trial period of course, give them the opportunity to do the work. Maybe even to give suggestions. To grow, you have to be willing to let people in to create a dynamic team. 

It will take you extra time in the beginning, which I know is hard to afford. But I know that it will pay off in the long run. Once I have her settled in processes, she will also be able to help others as our team grows! Set up your team for success. I am so glad I got that lesson and that my lovely Edie has hung in there while I figured it out. HA!

Click to Tweet/// It will take you extra time in the beginning, which I know is hard to afford. But I know that it will pay off in the long run.

Tell me in the comments, how do you stay organized to make working with your team easier? If you don’t already have a team, would you easily be able to integrate someone into your process?

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