The Hype About Hiring￼
Hire before you’re ready. Your team is the key to scale. You’ve heard it all before when it comes to hiring and how it’s a magical solution to growing your business. It sounds good on the surface, but is hiring everything it’s cracked up to be? And should we really be following the guidance of celebrity entrepreneurs as we chase scale?
That’s what we want to tackle in today’s episode of Duped, where we’re diving into all things hiring, including the seedy secrets behind these brands.
When Maggie thinks about hiring, she has a vivid memory from last summer of driving while listening to a podcast. The advice being dished up was that in order to scale, you need to hire and that it’s a proven method.
She ended up yelling back in frustration and then ranting at my business friends once she arrived at the destination.
The root of her frustration was the way this individual made hiring sound like a slam dunk way to quickly scale your business.
Because that’s so far from the truth it’s laughable.
Hiring has been incredibly rewarding, and we’ve done a lot over our years as business owners. But here’s what no one wants to talk about. Hiring is hard.
And getting team members to the point where they’re helping you grow? Even harder. It’s possible, but not in this add two people, 5x your revenue way that online business pitches.
We could literally do an entire 100-episode run on “hiring and team”, but today we want to get into a few specific issues for you to consider, both as someone doing the hiring, and then as someone who may be hired. Plus, you’ll hear how I’ve been researching this episode for well over a year, as this is a topic that gets me fired up.
First, let’s look at a few common hiring myths or bad pieces of advice that are dripping in toxic and terrible business practices.
Hiring Myth #1: Hire Before You’re Ready
We’ve all heard this one before. You should hire before you’re ready. Maggie definitely fell for it, and guess what, that VA she hired didn’t have much to do, but she was encouraged by a coach to “free herself up”.
Maggie talks a lot about capacity planning and management with her clients, so believe her when she says, you need to be able to figure out when you actually have the work for someone to do, and not to hire aspirationally. And you also need to ensure you’re not hiring when it’s too late.
Everyone has a different level of risk tolerance, so it’s a matter of assessing what you really can afford, and what you’re willing to invest. That goes for a contract role, right through to a full-time one.
Hiring Myth #2: Hiring is the Ticket to Scale
This next myth is closely aligned with the one we just talked about, which is that hiring is the ticket to scale. Celebrity entrepreneurs talk about hiring as a way to build your business faster and make more money.
If only it was that simple. Like we talked about with speculative spending on your team a second ago, this myth drives a lot of people to really overspend and over-extend themselves quickly.
They hire thinking that having that extra help will lead to scale based on this business advice. That’s not how it works.
Hiring Myth #3: The All-Purpose Unicorn
Maggie has a confession to make. For well over a year now, she’s been cataloging the job descriptions of celebrity entrepreneurs as part of her research on the industry.
And let us tell you, there are a lot of things we really have issues with these job descriptions, but hands down one of the biggest ones is this idea that you should be able to hire someone to be this all-purpose unicorn that can do what are really five different roles in your business.
If you’re going to hire, please get specific on the role. Don’t try to hire a VA who’s a social media manager, customer success coach, copywriter and bookkeeper, along with your personal assistant.
This brings us to the next part of the discussion which we want to get into, which is about hiring practices. This is where the job description part of this comes in handy. We’re going to talk about this from a consumer advocacy point of view, and so you as a potential employee or contractor don’t get sucked in.
Company Red Flags
Before we talk about some of the company red flags to watch for, we want to give you a quick tip. If you want to learn about what a company is really all about, start reading their job descriptions.
It’s telling. You can learn what they’re really about from their values, to how they operate to how they treat their team.
We could literally dedicate an entire episode to each of these red flags, but there are a few that come up in job descriptions that we want you all to watch for.
These are ones pulled from my research, so they’re real-life examples, but may have been paraphrased slightly:
- You’re high vibe.
- Being part of a tight-knit family.
- You have a sense of urgency.
- We work hard and play hard.
- We’re on a mission to help women get wealthy.
Also, special shoutout to the fact that these job descriptions are 1000s of words long. This to us is a red flag as they’re not clear on what they want or their expectations are way too high.
No conversation about hiring would be complete without a discussion of the level of exploitation that goes on in the online business world.
The biggest issue is that companies that claim to be committed to “changing the world” and “doing things differently” actually pay worse than the average corporate job.
We guess world-changing wealth is only for company owners, and it’s okay to exploit everyone else? (Yay for capitalism?)
In looking at a lot of these roles, the compensation is far below the industry average for comparable positions. And in many cases, they’re not even paying a living wage – which (by the way) should be even higher now thanks to inflation. It costs a lot of money to live, and paying someone less than that is beyond exploitative.
Of course, a big part of this discussion is how many business owners hire overseas as a way to “save” money. We talked about this last season in our episode, The Freedom Paradox.
Finally, we want to share one last exploitative practice from a job description someone sent to Maggie that she’s never stopped thinking about. It was to be a “coach” in a program, and this business owner claims to be making well over 7-figures.
The demands for this position were specific, including that you must be available Monday to Friday, for a period of four months. You’d also be needed for weekly team calls, and calls with clients every week. And you needed to attend the live events.
Newsflash: This is an unpaid position. They don’t even pay for your travel for the event.
This is a program about helping women make money and live incredible lives, unless of course, you’re one of the unpaid coaches.
Hiring: What to Watch For
To wrap up, here’s a quick rundown of what to watch for with hiring as a business owner, and as a consumer, contractor, or potential employee.
- Hire when you’re ready: Don’t believe the hype, you’ll know when you’re ready both from a leadership and financial point of view. This also will depend on your level of risk tolerance.
- Hiring isn’t a fast track to scale: Avoid falling into the trap of thinking that hiring will grow your business. It’s a lot more nuanced than that, and you need to have the clients coming in the door to make that a reality. No hire is a magic fix.
- Be specific: If you are looking to hire, don’t look for a magic unicorn as you’re going to end up with someone with a broad range of skills, but that specializes in none of them. Prioritize based on actual needs in your business right now.
- Watch for red flags: Read job listings, even if you’re not looking for a job. You can learn a lot about a company from how they treat their people.
- Beware exploitative hiring practices: One of the biggest ways we’re all being duped is by people talking about running these world-changing businesses, who are actually exploiting their way to wealth.