You did it. You got to the place in your business where you’re ready to hire. Helllllllll yes, CONGRATS! Celebrate the shit out of that fact! Then… keep this post in mind so that those warm fuzzy feelings stay. Oh and before going any further, I should make it clear that I am talking specifically about contract and part-time creative work (i.e photographers, illustrators, graphic designers, etc) in this post. If you’re hiring full time employees, then I owe you a glass of champagne because that’s amazing. Okay, let’s chat.
So as it turns out, hiring for your business is tricky. As if getting to the point where you were making enough extra money to hire wasn’t hard enough, right? When you put all of your time and tears into something, you very rightfully so become very protective of it. And to be honest, you probably have a vision of perfection in your head that may not even be obtainable. And that’s okay, it’s what pushes you to do better and better. But it’s important to manage your expectations as much as possible to avoid any disappointment. After all, you’re hiring, it’s exciting. It should be a win-win for you and whoever you choose to work with.
I’ve been hiring contract work about about 2 years now. And unfortunately, it really did not go well when I first started. I lost money, I was beyond stressed, and I lost the magic of the moment because of it. In the process though, I learned how to work effectively with others and how to grow a tougher business skin. After thinking about everything as a whole, I narrowed it down to these 5 tips you should follow when hiring:
1. Be VERY clear and upfront about money before the work even begins. The last thing you want is for the project to wrap and you be stuck with a bill you were not ready for. I also recommend you both sign a contract where if you are not satisfied with the work, or for some reason it doesn’t work out, that you know how much you owe the person you are hiring. It may be an awkward conversation upfront, but it will save you so much grief in the long run.
2. Have a mood board and brand vision board. Not everyone you hire will know the nitty gritty details of what your business like you do. A deck, with a style guide, will help you clear that up from the beginning. Make sure you expectations are crystal clear. If you want light, white and bright photos, show the photographer examples. Not only will this help you feel better, but any contract worker will appreciate the guidance.
3. Set deadlines (again before starting). If you need work by a certain date, say that in the initial email. It also helps to set due dates before your actual deadline in case there needs to be a second round of edits or worst case scenario, the work needs to be redone all together. Once you become comfortable working with someone you can be a little more lax, but until you are 10000% sure they are going to deliver the work you need, factor in a few extra weeks time.
4. Know who are are hiring. And I don’t mean personally, but really investigate their work. Is everything a hit or do you only like 1 or 2 pieces? If it’s a smaller sampling of their style you like, let them know (obviously you don’t have to criticize their other work)! Honesty will lead you to the end result you want.
5. Don’t feel obligated to hire friends just because they’re your friends. Of course this one is very hard to do, but you have to really make sure that your aesthetics and work styles align. The last thing you want to do is mess up work for your business and a friendship, so proceed with caution!
I’d love to hear from you too! What rules do you follow when hiring? Or maybe you’re on the opposite end– what do you wish employers did when hiring you?