​So You Want to Scale Your Wedding Business: The Beginner’s Guide to Growing a Team

So you think you’re ready to scale your wedding business, start outsourcing tasks, and eventually grow a team (even if small but mighty)? Doing so usually sparks one of two feelings for a business owner: extreme excitement or terrorizing fear. You’re either ready to get someone onboarded now so that you can stop doing that thing you hate doing, or handing off tasks to rely on someone else to do is completely nerve wracking.

You shouldn’t find yourself waking up in the morning dreading having to manage all of the things in your business. You started this journey because you love what to do, right? When your task list gets so full that you have to pump yourself with caffeine at all hours of the day just to keep from going crazy, it’s safe to say that it’s time to find an independent contractor to outsource tasks to.

How to Figure Out What to Outsource

If you’re racking your brain trying to figure out what to delegate to a contractor, start simple. What do you dislike doing the most and what do you never have time to give attention to? Maybe your email inbox is getting out of hand, but you dread the thought of having to go through and clean it up. Perhaps, even though you have amazing ideas for social media content, you just don’t have the time to write posts or get them scheduled. Believe it or not, there’s someone out there who’s willing to do all of these things for you.

Independent Contractor vs. Employee

There are two main types of people you’ll be looking at when hiring: independent contractors and employees. It’s extremely important that you know and understand the difference between the two to avoid any misclassification (which could lead to big problems and big money being owed to the IRS).

The main difference between the two all comes down to control. Independent contractors have their own business as well, so you aren’t able to control them in the way that you could an employee. We use “control” lightly because we don’t mean you should be bossing them around, but that’s essentially what it comes down to. For instance:

  • Employees have set office hours that they work. Independent contractors don’t or may not and can work on their own schedule.
  • Employees can work remotely, but they’re usually local and work in person. Independent contractors can (and usually do) work remotely.
  • Independent contractors are able to hire or outsource their own assistants/subcontractors for work at their discretion.
  • Employees can be hired and fired at will. Their are contractual obligations that must be upheld with independent contractors, usually being at least a 30 day notice before parting ways.
  • Employees are usually trained and you’re working with them to expand their skill set. Independent contractors have already done their own education and grown their skill set. Unless you’re wanting to teach them how you specifically like something done in your business, 9 times out of 10, they already know how to do it.
  • You’re providing the equipment, software, or materials for the employee. Independent contractors will have their own. (For example, when outsourcing a contractor for graphic design, they already have the design software. Or when working a wedding, independent contractors will likely bring their own stuff.)

To be sure you have your classification straight before hiring, be sure to complete the IRS 20 Factor test. Here’s a great article that breaks down what the test covers.

Where to Find Your Team Members

You have tons of options when looking for places to cast your net! We’d definitely recommend starting your search on social media, especially since it’s already the place that wedding pros are mostly marketing (*cough* Instagram *cough*). Facebook groups will also be your best friend because there are groups for literally everything. If you want a Virtual Assistant, you can pop in a virtual assistant group– same for bookkeepers, graphic designers, photographers, etc. You can also ask in wedding pro groups for recommendations.

The second place you want to look is within your own network. Let it be known that you’re hiring and explain what you’re looking for. Word-of-mouth goes a long way, and there’s nothing better than getting recommendations from people you trust!

You can also put it on your website by creating a careers section and listing the position(s) there. Just be sure you’re using this in combination with posting on social media and/or asking your network because, unless you usually get super high traffic to your site, it isn’t the best avenue to try solo.

What to Look For When Getting Ready to Hire

The first thing would, of course, be your budget. Most contractors will have their pricing listed on their website, but if not, it wouldn’t hurt to still book a call with them to find out. However, don’t base your decision entirely on your budget. You may get on a call with someone and discover that you both fit amazingly well, but their pricing may be outside of your budget. If that’s the case and you don’t want to spend more than your budget allows, at least you know now that you really enjoyed speaking with them, and you’ll be able to hire them once your income increases.

Really spend time viewing their portfolio before booking a call so you’ll have an idea of whether or not you think you could trust this person to follow through with the work you need them to do. Pay attention to their samples of past work and the kinds of businesses that leave testimonials. Do some background research to see if you can discern their character, meaning they’re responsible, dependable, hardworking, etc.

Questions to Ask During the Interview

First thing’s first: Remember that the interview isn’t one sided, and don’t treat it as an interrogation of sorts. As much as they’re selling their skills, you’re also selling the position. You’re both getting to know each other to see if there could be any chemistry there. Now, as for what to ask to help you assess these things, here are some great questions:

  • How do you respond to criticism?
  • Do you prefer to stick to a clear outline of instructions, or are you okay with taking hold of the reins when needed or handling a task that you see needs to be done?
  • What type of work are you best at?
  • What type of work do you prefer not to do?
  • If I asked you to perform a task that you later realized you were unsure how to do, what would your first move be?

And, of course, you should get clear on the standard questions, like preferred method of communication, what their schedule is like (if hiring a contractor), what time zone they’re in (if hiring someone remotely), things like that. Take the opportunity as well to ask some humanizing questions, get to know them and their interests as a person.

Tools We’d Recommend When Building a Team

There are some tools and systems that will make communication and processes between you and your team members so much easier, especially if your team will consist of people working remotely from all over the country (or world!).

LastPass

LastPass is a password vault that will save your login information anywhere. You can also share that information with someone else without them ever actually having your password, which is ideal if you need a team member to have access to an account of yours.

A Project Management Tool

There are many project management tools out there, like Trello, ClickUp, Asana, and Monday, that will help streamline tasks between you and your team members, as well as allow everyone to be on the same page as far as what’s expected of them.

Slack

Slack is a communication tool intended just for members of a team. Think of it as a group messaging tool. You can add multiple “channels” for different topics, and you can add certain team members to those channels. For example, if only one or two of your team members is responsible for graphic design-related tasks, you can limit that channel to only those involved to talk about that specific topic. You can also have a private message thread with another team member or a private group message, in case the circumstance arises that you need to talk about a topic with only a few people that you don’t necessarily need a whole channel for. Slack also has a mobile app, which makes it perfect for on-the-go communication.

Voxer

Some contractors may prefer voice text, which is what Voxer is all about. It’s a mobile app that serves sort of like a walkie talkie. You can group Vox chats as well. It works great if there’s a super long message you need to send that you don’t have the time to type out, but there’s still the option to type messages as well.

Have an Agenda for Team Meetings

Having a Google Doc that everyone can view while on a team meeting can be super helpful in taking that extra step to ensure everyone is on the same page. List out tasks they each person will have on their plate for that week (or month, depending on how often your meetings are), as well as topics that each team member would like to discuss. It also serves to make sure everything that needs to be discussed during the meeting is being discussed.

The Most Important Thing to Remember

You need TRUST! We know it can be scary, especially if you’re a perfectionist, to delegate tasks to someone else. However, the key to a long lasting and sustainable relationship with your contractors is to trust them, and also let them know that you trust them. It can make a world of a difference in how your team members feel about working with you just as much as how you feel about working with them.

OK, we know we said “the” most important thing, but there’s also one more: Know that everything is learnable. How to be a good leader, where to find talent, interviewing, all of those things can be learned over time. Nothing is going to be perfect on the first go-round, and you’ll grow your team building skills as time goes on. All you can do is learn as much as you can, and then dive in head first embracing that things will go astray!

We’re so proud of you for getting to the point in your wedding business where you’re ready to hire help! This is a sign that your business is growing and moving in the right direction. If you want more hands-on help, be sure to apply for our Building Your Team Intensive where we dive in with a small group of business owners over 12 weeks, walking you through all of the nuances that go along with prepping your business, yourself, and your mindset to build a strong, dependable, and efficient team!

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