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Hiring Help for Your Creative Business

NOTE: This post originally appeared in my Musepreneur column on the Wishstudio.

As a creative entrepreneur you probably wear many hats – from creator and writer all the way to bookkeeper and scheduler. I bet you love doing your craft, blogging, or painting, but you probably loathe the more left-brain business tasks. Believe me, I’d rather be drawing colorful doodles than drawing up dry legal contracts. But just because I loathe those left-brain details doesn’t mean I can ignore them, even if I desperately want to bury my head in the sand.

Maybe you’ve reached out for help before and you feel like you’ve gotten burned. I’ve had that happen more than once and it can be very frustrating and discouraging. But before you vow that it’s easier to just do it yourself, ask yourself what are you truly passionate about? Why did you start your creative business in the first place? Chances are you’re passionate about everything but those burdensome details that are driving you crazy! You started your business to bring beauty and creativity into the world, not to be buried in bank statements or endless administrative to-dos.

When I first started out, I handled most of the business details (and my hubby helped, too, with all things techie and research-related). Soon enough I realized that in order to help my business grow (and for me to stay sane!), I needed to invest in some help. Since then, I’ve slowly expanded my “virtual team” to include an accountant, bookkeeper, virtual assistant, and when needed, a lawyer and graphic designer. They help me focus on the things I enjoy and they get to focus on what they enjoy. It’s a win/win for everyone!

Here are some tips for when you’re ready to start working with someone:

  • Be clear about what you need help with. List the tasks that you want to delegate. Even if you don’t have an ongoing need, perhaps you have an upcoming project that could benefit from expert advice or an extra pair of hands. Maybe you’re launching a new website, developing a new workshop, or preparing for a big art show.
  • Be clear about whom the perfect person would be to help you with these tasks. What qualities and experience does she possess? What are her values and how do they align with yours? Get out your journal and write about this perfect person as if you’ve already been working with her for a while. Describe what you enjoy most about your partnership.
  • To find potential people, ask friends and colleagues for referrals, network and talk to people, and search online.
  • Interview at least two to three people so you can get a feel for who would be the best fit. Ask a set of questions to help you gather the information you need. Inquire about their process, turn around time, rates, and anything else you need to make your decision. You might even want to ask to speak to past or current clients.
  • Do your homework, but also make sure you follow your gut. You want to have a good feeling about working with them.
  • When you decide to hire someone, spend some time during your first meeting to get to know each other and learn about each other’s working style and expectations.
  • Keep the lines of communication open so that both of you can give feedback and raise any concerns before they snowball. If things can’t be resolved after having conversations, don’t be afraid to move on. It may feel like an awkward or uncomfortable “break up,” but be willing to start looking again if it’s not working out. Don’t settle. You’ll be much happier when you find the right person!
  • Continue to develop your working relationship with your outside partners. Show your appreciation for their good work. Let them know how much they are helping you and what you love about working with them. Help them expand their business by referring them to your friends and colleagues.

If you’re not ready to hire outside services, check out these other tips for getting help so you don’t have to go it alone.

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  • Ariane Benefit November 26, 2010, 8:19 am

    Excellent article! Advice I really needed to hear right now…thank you for sharing your wisdom! p.s. Your blog/website is beyond creative…it’s absolutely brilliant and gorgeous…love the ideas, artwork, writing, organization, everything about it says “genius” at work. Congrats on your book coming out! Can’t wait to read it. Would love to be part of your virtual book tour if you do one. : )

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The Right-Brain Business Plan®

The Right-Brain Business Plan®