I am stupidly excited about today’s episode because this is something we’ve kind of talked around for the last few months as we’ve talked about the importance of having a strategy and a plan and bringing in help and things like that. Today, I want to talk about what that process kind of looks like because when you haven’t been through it yet, it can feel a bit daunting, it can feel kind of super overwhelming. And so I want to break down some sort of big chunks, some abstract pieces, and dig into them a little bit.
Now, I will say before we get too far down the road, this can be 100% unique depending on the kind of your needs and who you’re hiring in that process. I just did an interview that’s actually going to air in the second week of January of 2019 with my friend and client, Tara Newman, and we talked about the process she and I went through in working together. It’s actually a conversation she and I had over on her podcast, which I’ll link to in the show notes. But if you haven’t listened to The Bold Leadership Revolution, our team produces it for her, she’s fantastic. It’s a great show, check it out.
We work through a lot of different phases and kind of met her where she was and fit her needs as we went down the road versus having this sort of whole show hand-off thing being the only option and that you had to start with that because not everybody is ready for that at every phase.
I certainly know in hiring and other ways, there are things that I’m still like, “Wow, yeah, no, I can’t. I can’t” that’s not where I’m at right now. I need something that is more bite-sized maybe than that. I can just smaller bites. That’s not something I can chew just yet. And so as I’m talking through this, realize that some of these things may be a bit different depending on how or who or what you’re hiring. But there’s going to be some themes that work in this process no matter what. They’re going to be some pieces that are just kind of the way it is, okay? And so let’s dig into that.
The first one, and this is going to be sort of one of those universal things, the process has to start with finding out what you want and then finding someone who does that.
Now, that’s at a super abstract, and it’s kind of just where everybody has to start is a bit abstract. If you don’t yet know how you want help or what you need, spend some time with that. Figure that piece out. And I will say that sometimes figuring that outcomes from hiring the wrong person.
Hopefully, it can come from just having the wrong sales conversations because I’ve found that to happen with clients where we’re talking through something, and they’re like, “Yeah, we want to outsource all of our marketing. Great, here’s what that looks like, here’s what that process is, here’s what we need to have in place in your business for that work.” And we’re like, “Oh, wow, we don’t have that,” or, “Oh, yeah, no, that, we don’t have a budget for that.”
It’s like, “Okay.” Then really maybe where you’re at is this. And it’s like, “Wow, yeah, that would be perfect. Can we do that?” We do that, and we get them to a place where they go, “Okay, we want to hand everything off to you.” Again, that’s a conversation I had with Tara Newman on her podcast. There’s a link in the show notes.
But figuring out kind of where you’re at and what you need right now. So do you need a strategy that you and your VA or just you can implement? Do you need somebody who you can talk to once a month to kind of help guide you as you’re figuring out some pieces, keep you accountable for implementing some things? Do you need a training, that way you can just figure out how to do things or put your VA in it and she’ll figure out how to do things? Or do you need to contract someone to just do this work?
Figuring out that component is critical because then you can start having actual conversations with those types of people. You can start having conversations with those kinds of service providers so that you know you’re getting the information you need. One of the things to consider when you’re doing this when you go working through this is how you best work. If you’re somebody who needs somebody to help you keep your butt in the chair if you’re somebody who does not work through coursework particularly well, joining something like a course or a program or even like a Backstage, like a membership site is probably going to get you where you need to go. Now, we’re talking expense, not investment. That’s a problem, right?
Then maybe it’s looking at, okay, I can’t hand this off all the way right now. I don’t have the pieces in place for that. Whether that’s budget, whether that’s systems. Maybe that’s a solid understanding of your ideal client or what you offer. You need some flexibility that can only really come with DIYing it. And there’s nothing wrong with that, let me just emphatically say that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that if that’s where you’re at. Everybody’s there for some season of their business. And occasionally, it swings back around because you bob, and you weave, and you ebb, and you flow, and you cliché, and you cliché, but that’s okay. Nothing wrong with that.
But what we need to do is be really clear about that, have an understanding of that’s where I’m at right now. Great. Then maybe it’s I need to meet with somebody monthly to keep my butt share and help me move through testing these things, tweaking these things, showing up, doing this work consistently. Maybe it’s I have an amazing VA in place who can really rock this stuff out if I give her ownership of it. We just need a plan in place so that she can take ownership of it. Great. Talk to a strategist. Have them build you a plan. Have me build you a plan. You know whatever and do that. Or if it’s someone that calls, find a coach who has a specialty in marketing.
I will say when you’re looking at coaches, make sure whoever you hire has an understanding of the difference between a business coach and a marketing coach. Quite often I see business coaches putting on a marketing coach hat, and I see marketing coaches putting on a business coach hat. I am not a business coach, not in any stretch of the imagination. It is not where I thrive. I personally, and this is completely my own thing, I don’t feel like I have the expertise and the knowledge to be a business coach. I can tell you what I did and there’s 100% value in that. But that’s the end of my expertise is what I have done.
I don’t necessarily know that what I have done to build my business over the last seven-and-a-half years is the right way. And I know for a fact that it’s not the right way for everybody in every industry with every niche, for every client group. It’s just what’s worked for me, and a lot of it has been failing forward. And I do believe that a lot of building a business is failing forward, but I don’t feel qualified to be a business coach. I am, however, qualified to be a marketing coach. I can do that all day long and twice on Sundays because I do have that knowledge. I have practical knowledge, I have research knowledge. I have that information. I can 100% get you where you need to go that way.
So make sure when you’re looking at coaching options, you’re finding somebody who’s speaking to your needs.
If you need a business coach, get a business coach. If you need a marketing coach, get a marketing coach. They’re not interchangeable. I will now put this soapbox aways, and we will return to our point.
So figuring out where you are right now and finding the person that fills that role. And don’t be afraid to have a ton of conversation. Part of these conversations, though, needs to be your budget. If you don’t have a marketing budget in your business, it’s not yet time to hire a marketing department. It’s not yet time to hire an agency. It’s not yet time to outsource any of it if you don’t know how much you can afford to spend on it. How much you are willing to invest and for how long you can invest in that without an ROI. Because here’s the real thing that nobody wants to tell you. Very, very, very rarely do we have clients who hire us and get their money back in 30 days.
Now, I’ve had it happen. In the most common ways this happens usually is we end up streamlining other parts of their business and/or tools and/or removing something that was an expense and not an investment that they have previously put in place in their marketing, or in a lot of cases, unfortunately, someone who was in the role who did not do a very good job put in place in their business and they left there. So streamlining is usually the fastest way to an ROI in those first 30 days. Outside of that, you’re usually looking at 90 days to 180 days, so three to six months before you start seeing an ROI on that investment.
So make sure that you understand that for the first three to six months, you are very likely going to be paying someone for results you’re going to see later. Another great way to up-front that is to work with somebody who can help you put together something really cool up front. We did this with a client where we came in and we actually ended up … one of our first big things was a launch which, again, helps supercharge the upfront ROI. But unless you know what those numbers are for you, it’s going to be really hard to have those conversations with any kind of real results and real comfort in what’s next, okay? So figure that piece out because it’s going to be really important. So let’s sort of jump into the next piece.
You have found someone, they’re magical, unicorn-like people. Maybe they’re me.
And you’re ready for what’s next. How do you onboard them into your team? Again, it’s going to depend. For example, a coach, you’re not going to onboard into your team. So now we’re really talking about your hired a social media manager, a content writer, somebody who’s helping you with funnels, maybe a full digital marketing agency or freelancer. It’s going to depend here on whether you hire more like a freelancer or a contractor or an agency. Either way, though, there’ll be some consistency in the fact that they’re also onboarding you as a client. So they should be walking you through this onboarding process.
The thing I find our clients who are most successful have in place is an understanding of what they need to do to be onboarded and to onboard them into their team before they hire. So figuring out your password management system is critical. We’ve really gotten to a point now where we … if you don’t have a password manager in place, like a LastPass or one 1Password or whatever it is, you’re going to have a really hard time making it through this strategy phase with us and into management. Either we will make you implement one in the sense of we’ll be like, “Okay, so here’s where we store passwords, this is what we’ll need to use,” but, yeah, emailing me is no. It’s not secure and it is a symptom of a larger organizational problem.
So get that in place. Make sure that you can simply email through LastPass or whatever. Again, I love LastPass, but one 1Password is great. RoboForm is another one. I’ve heard Brandy Lawson and Fieryfx recommended to me a long time ago. I think she still uses it. I love LastPass. I tried several of them and it was the first one that I could use consistently and really, really love. But it’s a critical part of handing off your social stuff, for sure. Make sure you’ve got that in place.
Make sure if you currently have any kind of team meeting, you talk to whoever it is you’re bringing onto the team and say, “Hey, we’ve got a team meeting Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. I want you to be a part of those calls.” Maybe it’s not every call they need to be on. Maybe it’s once a month. We have a couple of clients who, that’s what we do. We actually sort of just attend their in-house team meeting on the first Monday of the month or the first Tuesday of the month or whatever it is. We also have clients who have moved their team meeting based on like, okay, well, I do client calls on Tuesday so this is when it would need to happen. And so they have a standing client call with us on Tuesdays because that’s when we do client calls.
So figuring out what that piece is for you as far as meeting your needs, that’s going to be a part of you being ready to onboard them. And then realizing again that they are also onboarding you, so there are steps that you’re going to need to go through upfront that you won’t have to go through every month. But take a little more of your attention in those first 30 days sending passwords, reviewing copy a little more heavily because you’re checking for the tone of voice. Remember, they’re just learning kind of your vibe. Making sure that you are over-communicating during those onboarding days is the most important takeaway. Over-communication is not a bad thing, especially up front.
Now, you’ll find that your communication may ebb and flow based on kind of where you’re at but making sure that those pieces are being communicated from day one that need to be communicated will help make the long-term relationship a whole lot easier, okay? So that’s sort of the rough and dirty of onboarding.
From there, what if it’s not a fit?
What if you go through onboarding and you’re like, “This is horrible.” It’s just personality wise not a fit. This is where, again, I really recommend over-communicating. First, realize that if it’s not a fit, it’s not anyone’s fault. No one has done anything wrong, neither of you are terrible people. It’s just not the right fit. That’s why there are so many people who do what I do for a living because not everyone who needs what I do is a fit to work with me. Doesn’t make me good, doesn’t make them good. Doesn’t make me bad, doesn’t make them bad. It just is the way it is.
I have a lot, a lot of experience where we brought in a client and I’m so excited to work with them, and they’re fantastic people, but we don’t work in the same way. They work at a what I call a panic pace meaning they are people who get an idea and have to run with it right then and then are struggling to keep up with the things they’ve already promised or committed to their audience. They are somebody who is doing the podcast for Tuesday Monday night. I have 100% been there. We’re in a season right now, full transparency, where I’m doing these podcasts a little closer to delivery date than I would like. Now, that’s changing because we’re getting back into our habits of batching and things like that, but we’re coming out of a season where that was not terribly uncommon where I was doing Tuesdays podcast Monday night or Monday afternoon because it’s where I was sort of in my business and really in my life.
But there are people who just best create and deliver in that way. It’s how they prefer to operate. They don’t love batching. They don’t love being too far ahead. They need to feel inspired or whatever. Great. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that. But it makes it really, really, really, really hard to work with my team when that’s the way you operate because my team operates in … we like a four-week advanced pace meaning I’m currently recording episodes you’re going to hear in January. I’m currently recording episodes you’re going to hear in December because that’s November right now.
So figure out how you best work and then over-communicate that. And if you’re not finding that you two work in the … or you and the team don’t work in the same fashion, then it’s okay that it’s not a fit. Say, all right, this isn’t a fit. Here’s what I need to move forward. Either we adjust to this or I need to find someone else. And in most cases, I’m a big believer that in the right relationships, it’s great, let me help, let’s figure out how we can get you transitioned to somebody else. Here are some people I could recommend. Here’s what we need to hand you off.
I always have my clients set up so that they could walk away if they needed to. We have everything documented, we have everything … we could send, literally, we could send our clients a Drive folder and they could put somebody else in place. Not because my clients leave very often. In fact, I’ve got clients we’ve had for years. I have one client who technically started with me when I was a VA. She was one of the first people I offered social media only service to. She stayed with me through Hit The Mic marketing, being a social media marketing service. And really, it was me doing social media work. And as I moved into doing just consulting and strategy, I kept her because I loved her. And now she’s been sort of folded in under our agency clientele. So I’ve been working with her for like six years. I’ve been in business seven. It works really well and it’s never changed. But if she needed to go somewhere tomorrow, I could send her a Drive folder and she could.
I want that to really sit with you because I think it is a great demonstration of why when it’s not a fit it’s not a fit and it’s not a big deal. And a good company, a good agency, a good service provider is equipped to give you whatever you need even if what you need is to walk away. So look at that as you’re going through this. Where is our out? If you have to commit to a year, and there’s a heavy penalty for leaving early, talk to them.
Now, we do sign one-year contracts. We say in our contract that we require a six-month commitment, but we also say you only have to give us 30-days notice to cancel. I say this because if it’s not a good fit, I’m not going to tie you to me for a year because I’m guessing, if it’s not a good fit, I’m not enjoying it either. It’s that simple. And so look at where you need to make sure you know what happens if it’s not a good fit. And if they’re unwilling to have those conversations as you’re going through the sales process, that’s a red flag in my opinion, all right?
Right. Let’s shift through a couple of things as we wrap this up that I want to make sure you remember. Number one, that communication is so critical. Over-communication is key, it’s so, so, so critical. Number two, personality matters. You have to, have to, have to be working with people who you vibe with personality wise. Now, I’m not saying you need to work with only people who you could potentially be best friends with because that’s not always valuable either. But you do have to have complementary work styles, okay?
And the third thing that I want to make sure you get from this conversation is that your needs will change and that’s okay too. If they change to a point at which you need a different service provider, make that move. But also realizing that when you work with a service provider who can work with you in a lot of different ways, you can move through that relationship with that same person. It’s one of the reasons that we have me, Stacey Harris which has Hit the Mic Backstage, and the Backstage Amplifier Mastermind. And we also have Uncommonly More, that has VIP days, and done-for-you strategy services, and done-for-you marketing services because you can absolutely start with Backstage, upgrade to BAM, upgrade to a VIP day, get a 90-day strategy, have me or my team build you a 12-month marketing strategy, and then have our team implement it for you. You can work through that process. We’ve had clients who do it. We have clients right now who are doing it. That may be a really great fit for you.
In other situations, though, you may find that you buy a marketing course, and then you hire somebody else who’s a coach, and then you hire somebody else who’s a strategist, and then you hire other people who you sort of build the pieces of your marketing team out within your own team. Your needs will change. That’s why personality and communication are critical because your need will 100% evolve as your business grows. Okay? All right.
So that’s kind of the process of hiring your marketing team. You’ll see that I’m not talking about working with your marketing team here. That’s going to be a whole other kit and caboodle. What we are talking about right now is a process of finding and onboarding, and then pulling that sort of emergency break if you need to, okay? If you have any questions, head on over to Instagram, send me a DM, leave me a comment on a photo, whatever it is. That’s really where I’m having the most fun having conversations right now.
You can also drop us a message over on the Facebook page, but reach out. If you have questions, I’m happy to talk to you about this. Because here’s the deal, I know this stuff because I’m in it all day. No one else is supposed to know it, okay? You got to get your resources together to figure this stuff out.
All right. That’s it for me today. Again, if you have questions, let me know. I’m super, super excited as we roll into the end of this year to be booking clients for 2019. I know, it’s crazy. In fact, I’m going to be in New York City in February the 6th through the 11th. I have one spot open for a VIP day with me. And then I’m currently thinking about doing a little bit of a live event, maybe get 10 people in a room. We’ll do a strategy together, workshop style, kind of like the events I’m doing here in Southern California. But we’ll do it in New York. If you’re interested in that, let me know and I’ll finalize sort of like how am I going to do this. But I definitely have a VIP day open in New York.
I have a couple of other spots left for Q1 for VIP days. And my strategy calendar opens up in February. So if you want to start 2019 off by getting your marketing house in order, let’s have a conversation now and get you on the calendar. The cool thing about that is by booking now, it gives you the option to break up the investment into a couple of payments. So thinking ahead a little bit can kind of soften the blow.
Also, what’s cool is you can get this investment in this year’s taxes, on this year’s budget and take advantage of it next year when maybe you have a little more time. Not a big deal, all right? Drop by TheStaceyHarris.com to see all of those things until the Uncommonly More site launches in January, in Q1, we’re going to say in Q1 of 2019. I will talk to you very soon. Thanks for listening. Thank you for being part of this community and I hope you have an amazing week.
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