AMY PORTERFIELD: “If youre hiring and youre new to hiring or youre just starting to grow your team, if you dont hire someone whos going to help you drive traffic as their main focus, I really do believe youre missing the mark. So this is something to think about. When you start driving more traffic to your business, your email list grows, your social following grows, and when you have more people on your email list and on social, you can then convert more people into paying customers. So the two, of course, go hand in hand. So when youre actually interviewing, ask yourself, ‘Is this person going to help me drive more traffic to my business?’”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasnt all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and youll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If youre an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, whos looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, youre in the right place, friend. Lets get started.
AMY: Real quick, I want to tell you about a podcast called No Straight Path. Its hosted by Ashley Menzies Babatunde, and she sheds light on the stories behind shiny resumes, social-media highlights, job titles, and she aims to humanize success. Featuring guests from all walks of life, No Straight Path inspires conversations around the nuanced perspective of success. Start by checking out her episode titled “Success is Maximizing Happiness,” where she talks about defining yourself by the positive impact that you can make versus your profession.
Hey, there, friend. Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy. I hope you are having a wonderful week.
Listen, before we get started, I was curious. Have you ever shared this podcast with a friend of yours, either somebody whos still in a nine-to-five job and you know they want to start their online business; or somebody whos starting a side hustle, and they could use some tips and tricks around marketing and entrepreneurial mindset and all that good stuff? Well, if youve never shared it, would you be so kind to do so? Just grab the link for the podcast and text it to a friend or two. My goal is to help as many entrepreneurs as possible, and Id be so very grateful.
Okay, so lets get to todays episode. Listen, I hear a lot of talk about hiring in my community and for good reason. Hiring can be scary and exciting, but it can be scary, and it can feel like youre heading into the unknown. Ive certainly had my fair share of hires over the last thirteen years, and Ive learned a thing or two about hiring. Ive learned these things because Ive messed up many, many times along the way.
So in this episode, Im going to share a couple of things that I feel I did wrong over the past years when hiring, along with the things I feel I did right. And my hope is that you can avoid doing the things I did the wrong way and lean into the things I did the right way. And I promise you, if you really pay attention to my lessons learned, it will make your hiring process more fun and exciting and can transform your business.
Okay, so lets dive in. And I got to be honest, the first thing Im sharing is something I would love to have helped my younger self avoid. And that was waiting far too long for my first full-time hire.
Now, as many of you know, Chloe, or Cho Cho as we call her, was my first full-time hire about seven years ago, almost eight years ago now. But to be honest, I struggled for a good year and a half before that, just trying to do everything on my own and completely running myself ragged. Like, can you relate? And this took time away from my family and time away from my self-care and just time away from really focusing on what I should have been focusing on, like, you know, our zone of genius. And I found myself not having the energy to be fully present with my family and my students and my audience in general, because trying to do too many things in your business and trying to wear too many hats is exhausting, both physically but also mentally.
So if I were to give someone advice about hiring as an entrepreneur, the first thing Id say was hire before you think youre ready, whether that be a full-time employee or even a contractor that you lean on heavily, and maybe that contractor over time becomes a full-time employee. Hire before you think you absolutely need that hire. Because I get it: we can easily talk ourselves out of actually hiring someone, right? Youve probably already done it. Thinking its too soon, or how can I even afford this person?
Like, I remember—Ive talked about this a million times—when I made my first full-time hire, or lets even back up, when I hired my virtual assistant, which was the first hire I did, but she wasn’t a full-time employee. She was five hours a week. And I remember thinking I might not be able to afford her. And, of course, I could afford five hours a week. I was, like, one year into my business, I think, at that time. But it really started to come up when I hired Chloe. It was just such a big commitment, and I was scared. But I had crunched the numbers. I had figured things out. I knew at the end of the day I could afford her. And remember, the goal here is that the people you are hiring help you make more money, not always, but in many cases.
In fact, I was recently doing a training with my friend Stu McLaren, and he said something that really stuck out to me. He said, “When youre preparing to hire, hire someone that is going to help you with traffic.” So that looks like getting traffic to your weekly content, to your podcast, to your blog, to your vlog, your website, your courses, your newsletter; someone who is helping you drive traffic to your business. And I really do think he is absolutely right. He talked about hiring someone to drive traffic and hiring someone that will help you to convert, meaning once you get the traffic, help you to convert those people into paying customers; so traffic in conversions.
Now, he was talking about the fact that someone helping you get traffic, this should be one of your first hires. It doesnt need to be their only job when you hire them. But if youre hiring and youre new to hiring or youre just starting to grow your team, if you dont hire someone whos going to help you drive traffic as their main focus, I really do believe youre missing the mark. So this is something to think about. When you start driving more traffic to your business, your email list grows, your social following grows, and when you have more people on your email list and on social, you can then convert more people into paying customers. So the two, of course, go hand in hand. So when youre actually interviewing, ask yourself, “Is this person going to help me drive more traffic to my business?” All the different areas I mentioned.
And then, of course, theres that second part too, as I mentioned, conversions. So that means that this person on your team, if they help with conversions, that means theyre setting up different funnels. Theyre finding ways to promote your products. Theyre increasing engagement. Theyre nurturing people on your email list so that they will be ready to buy. Those are just a few things that might be part of the task of someone whos helping you with conversions.
Now, I realize that for many, your first hire is probably going to be your virtual assistant. So lets back up, because I guess essentially my first hire was a virtual assistant, but as I mentioned, they were five hours a week. So it feels different than my first full-time-employee hire.
But lets talk about your virtual assistant. I do believe this is a great place to start because virtual assistants can be so incredibly important. They allow you to think for a minute, to have a little white space to figure out, okay, whats my next best move? So if you get a virtual assistant in helping you with customer support and social media and proofing all your blog posts or your emails and helping you with overall communication and putting some systems together on the back end, then you can sit down and say, “Okay, I need to hire somebody for traffic. What would that look like? How would I do that?” and now you have some time to be really strategic.
So, yes, virtual assistant being your first hire, totally get it. And then from there, then you can look at making that next really substantial hire that will impact the business in a big way. So when you’re ready to hire full time beyond your virtual assistant, thats when you want to consider traffic and conversions.
So I did that with Chloe, and this is actually something that I feel I did right. Her role was project manager, and it was to focus on funnels and lead gen and launching a digital course. In fact, the first course she helped me launch was Webinars That Convert, when I still had that program, which is now part of Digital Course Academy. And I told her, “If you hit all of our goals for Webinars That Convert,” which was essentially, I think in the first, like, six months of her job, maybe even the first three months, I cant remember. But it felt pretty quickly into her taking the position, and I told her, “If you help us hit all of our goals, I will give you a pay increase.” And I was specific about what that pay increase was going to look like. So she jokes with me now, like, “I was determined to hit those goals. I wanted that pay increase, and I wanted it fast.” So if you are working with someone who is motivated by different goals like that, it could go a long way.
So again, I know thats how she moved up the ladder so quickly and became my sidekick because, one, she was goals driven. She wanted it just as bad as I did. Like, she wanted to see that success. And, also, she was making us money. She was bringing us traffic. She was growing the business. She was making our business healthier and stronger. And so it was so easy for me to continue to promote her in her position.
She ended up, before she left—as you all know, now shes a contractor with me, and shes working on my book launch, and I have someone new in marketing because Chloe just wanted a change of life—and so before she left, though, her last role was my chief marketing officer. So she really became a huge part of my business over the seven years.
And because her performance was based on lead gen and traffic and conversions, it made it really easy for me to see, one, her value; but also, we together were able to track what was working and not working in terms of what she was responsible for. So thats a huge plus there. Because when you hire someone for traffic or conversions, its very clear whats working and whats not. You can look at your list growth and see it going up or going down or staying the same. You can look at your revenue goals to see, are we hitting these goals? And of course, its not only one persons responsibility. However, if you have a small-and-lean team like I did, theres not that many people who are involved, so the responsibility is very clear. So something to think about.
All right. So are you ready for another one, something I think I didnt do very well? Well, a few years into my business, I had Chloe and a few other people on my team, and then we realized we were really growing quickly—2019, 2020 were huge growth months for us, or growth years, I should say. And so we did a big hiring blitz. We hired six people at once over a couple of months. And it was chaotic. It was not a good idea.
Worst part, we were moving into the DCA launch, so it was, like, maybe July and August when we did this blitz. And then this led to tons of confusion and questions and stress around Digital Course Academy when we got into the launch. Six people I just hired for really big roles, many of them in marketing, had never ran a DCA launch. So its hard to train while youre in the thick of it. And that was a huge mistake. Chloe and I looked at each other, and we’re like, what were we thinking? It felt like half our team was brand new during our biggest launch of the year. Not a great idea.
So in hindsight, heres what I’d do instead. Id hire one person at a time, give them ninety full days to learn what they need to learn. So on my team, we do something called a 30-60-90-day review. So we give new employees a plan. So heres your first thirty days; heres what I want you to do. It might be things like going through the entire Digital Course Academy program, reading the last three years of Digital Course Academy debriefs for our launches, learning our voice—we have a lot of SOPs and documents to help people understand how I talk to my audience and why I do what I do. Like, going through the values of the company and going through all of our goals and our rocks. Like, those are some things that might happen in the first thirty days.
And then, sixty days, we get a little bit more specific depending on the persons role. And then ninety days, they’re really in it at that point, but they’re still doing certain tasks that they need to make sure they get done at a specific period of time. So after the ninety days, they should have a really good understanding of who we are as a company, who we serve, how we serve, how we make money, where are strengths are, where our weaknesses are—this is important.
Well, imagine doing that with all six people, because its not the exact same plan, the 30-60-90 plan. It does not look the exact same for every new employee coming in. There might be some overlap, but its very specific about their role.
And so, also, during the 30-60-90 days and after the first thirty days, whoever their manager is does a review with them and actually rates them on how theyre doing and gives them feedback. And the person that was hired can ask questions and give us feedback if somethings not working. And then we do that after sixty days, and we do it after ninety days. Like, I just finished it with my new VP of marketing since I am her manager. I just finished her ninety days with her.
And what this allows us to do is make sure that the persons a good fit. I want them to feel great being on my team, thinking they made the right decision; and I want to feel really great that I hired the right person. So its very, very known in my business that in the first ninety days it could come to a place that I say, “You are not right for the team.” I will always communicate this, and we try to correct it early on. But we might get to the end of the ninety days, and the person’s not a good fit. Very rare, but we do have that understanding. They can decide at any time were not great for them. We can decide at any time theyre not great for us. So it is something that is very clear to the people that we hire.
And also, if you just hire one person every ninety days, if theres a lot of people you want to hire, you also give that person a lot of support in a big way versus everyone feeling like they get just a little piece of you because youre so spread thin trying to help all these new hires.
So many, many lessons were learned in doing our blitz. The lesson is really we will never, ever do that again.
Okay. So the best way to learn what works for you in terms of hiring is to get into action and just start the hiring process. And I know it can be scary. But taking to heart some of the things that I shared with you today can be instrumental when you begin this journey.
So just to recap. Dont wait too long to hire. In fact, if you feel like you are not ready and youre going to wait, remember that you will never feel fully ready to hire someone in your business. This is something we all go through as new entrepreneurs: being scared to hire and making that commitment. But theres no badge of honor in doing it all on your own. And you are leaving money on the table, and you are affecting your mental health when you try to wear all the hats. Hire before you even think you are ready. So thats the “do:” hire before you think youre ready, The “dont” is do not wait too long. Okay.
Another “do:” do hire early on in your business. Hire someone who can be, of course, a virtual assistant. But also, beyond that, look for somebody who can help with traffic and conversions. And if the persons just good at traffic, you could start there, because giving yourself time to grow your audience before you sell is not a bad thing. But keep in mind, traffic and conversions. This is not something that I was really instructed to do early on. And remember, I was seven years into my business before I hired my first full-time employee. Before that, I had a lot of contractors, but I wasnt thinking in terms of “Hire someone that can help with traffic. Hire someone that can help with conversions.” I think I just got lucky with Chloe because shes a project manager, which lends itself to traffic and conversions, but I wasnt mindful of it. So do be mindful of that.
And finally, do hire one person at a time. Get them rocking and rolling before hiring the next person. One of the biggest mistakes Ive ever made.
All right. So I hope you loved this Shorty episode and found it valuable. Thanks for hanging out with me.
And if youd be so kind, as I mentioned earlier, please invite your entrepreneurial friends to come hang out, too.
Ill see you on Wednesday for some Wisdom Wednesdays, and then Thursday for more entrepreneurial goodness. So youve got me three days a week.
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At the time that this episode goes live, doors to Digital Course Academy®️ are officially open for enrollment, but only for a few more days. So to find out if you and your business are a good fit to create a digital course, grab a seat in my free masterclass, the Three Behind-the-Scenes Secrets to Digital-Course Success. You can get all the details to my free masterclass at amyporterfield.com/masterclass. Thats amyporterfield.com/masterclass. Now, if you miss enrollment, we are not opening up again until late 2020, but you can get on the waitlist so that I give you details the minute the doors open again. So regardless, go to amyporterfield.com/masterclass, and you can get all the details you need.
AMY: Ah, so good. This is just gold. I love hearing it come straight from you and just hearing how your mind works around what you need and what doesnt work and how to move forward.
Okay, so, for the sake of this specific episode, I thought it would be helpful for you to actually hear how these calls go down. And I hear from a lot of my students that making these calls can feel intimidating, and I get it, but youll see that the calls end up being pretty fun, and when you find the right person for the call, it actually gets you really excited to dive in and create your digital course.
So, Jamie, this is a real ICA interview, and were going to pretend I dont yet have a course on Digital Course Academy®️, so Im thinking about creating a course on courses, and I want to learn more from people who dont yet have a course but are thinking about creating a course. Are you good with all that?
AMY: Yes, exactly. So when you think about your clients that youre working with now, what do you think they need the most? Like, where do you think you can help them? If you did create a digital course, where would you help them the most?
I used to have someone manage those but I don’t anymore. We’re going to kind of look at that and see if we want to change it. We also have different people on the team scheduling different things for me.
One of the challenges is that inside of my communities, especially my Insider’s community for my students only, you will ask a lot of questions about Facebook ads. Although I can teach you the basics on ads, because I do that in all of my programs, I have an ad agency now.
Angie manages that group plus my Insider’s Club, which is a private Facebook group for only my students. I do weekly live videos in that group so Angie helps me with all of those live videos as well.
I think this is a good lesson for everything in our life but when it comes to hiring you have to get yourself to that “hell yes”. The way you do it is to have multipole interviews.
I actually have a grand plan to have everybody that’s full time on my team local but then I found Angie and she was too good to pass up. She was in Nashville, which you all know is where Hobie and I want to move to, so I thought, “That’s a sign.”
HOBIE: Every time you called him that it was like, “Mr. Bates, Mr. Bates.” It didn’t really gel.
AMY: I balance it by doing Facebook Lives. That’s a great question. I have a Facebook group called Insider’s Club. It’s for all of my students from all three programs. Once a week, for one hour, I do a live Q&A.
HOBIE: Next question. How long did it take you to feel like you finally made it in your business or at least like you had it together? Were there ever any times before that point where you felt like completely throwing in the towel?
AMY: Oh yeah, I tend to wake Hobie up around 6:30 every morning when he’s home.
AMY: You guys can’t see us right now but we’re sitting very close to each other. It feels very awkward. Last time Hobie was on the show I made him go in the other room and use his own mic because he fidgets the entire time.