Like most consultants and many entrepreneurs I have wrestled with scaling my business and determining how to proceed with reaching the next level. Thus far the science on cloning is not really where I think it needs to be to duplicate myself. And let’s be honest, does the world really need more than one of me? Don’t answer that. No, of course it doesn’t.
I’ve had the privilege and pleasure to work with Linh Tang, which has set the bar incredibly high. Linh shares my values, my work ethic and has extraordinary integrity. When it came to bringing on another consultant, I didn’t have to look very far when Carolyn called and said, “I’ve been offered a new job, but I really think I would prefer to come and work with you.” Carolyn was a friend who became a sometimes client and eventually a member of my family. She is also a superb sales person, a self-starter, a great champion of my work, and all around fabulous gal. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. “Ann marie don’t you bring on your friend, don’t do it girl!” Well, here’s the truth. She is one of the best sales people I know and wants to grow and learn. Carolyn sold software to court systems before joining us, and she is no stranger to building a market from the ground up.
I always tell people that I’m not just interested in building a business, I’m interested in building a life. Carolyn and Linh are colleagues and family now. I am deeply invested in their success and financial freedom. My dreams extend beyond me and include those who become part of my business and family.
In addition to adding Carolyn, we have finally said yes to an intern. I’m contacted frequently by people wanting to intern for me, but being a real mentor takes time and I wanted to be sure that anyone I said yes to isn’t just walking my dogs and organizing my desk, although that sounds really good so any of you who wish to walk my dogs and organize my desk, please feel free to e-mail me. At any rate, I wanted to be sure that I could devote the time that is required to develop someone professionally and give them work that helps them to grow. There will always be boring tasks to complete, but I want anyone who interns for me to get an education. Melissa is smart but she is also a doer and loves a challenge. Welcome Melissa! We are so happy to have you.
As consultant or entrepreneur you will face the decision of how to grow your business. Here are some things to consider:
1. Choose people who have integrity – it’s more important than experience. If you choose well, you will only need to choose once.
2. Getting it in writing. Contracts are very important and if you’ve chosen well, you’ll sign them, file them, and never have to look at them again.
3. Don’t bring people on BECAUSE they’re your friend or family. They really have to have something to contribute. Relationships are destroyed everyday by the idea that it would be “fun” to work with you best friend or sister. There has to be reciprocity for the arrangement to work.
4. If you choose to use interns, make sure that you can actually develop them. Interns shouldn’t just be used to do crappy work no one else wants to do. While interns will certainly get their share of crappy work, keep in mind that internships should be an education.
5. Have fun. No, really. Everyone has a choice. Why in the hell would you bother to work together if it isn’t a pleasure? Work hard, but understand you set the tone for your organization, no matter the size. Whether you are a company of one or one thousand, choose to lead an inspired company that treats problems as puzzles and obstacles as opportunities.