Organizing for Help (or why you should act like you’re hiring even if you aren’t)

My business, Megan’s Beaded Designs, is hiring its first employee.

It’s an exciting (and stressful, and scary, but cool) time.

I’m officially a #GIRLBOSS! Craziness!

To give myself the ability to leave on vacations once in awhile (I’m heading to Europe next week!) I knew I was going to need an assistant to take care of things like shipping orders and responding to customer inquiries while I was away. Not to mention the possibility of expanding the reach of my jewelry and hair accessories when I can shift my focus to more revenue-generating activities. Now I can be less tied up with the time-sucking details of which I can pass on to my employee.

(Plus, of course, the desire to sing this song every time I think about my new role.)

But then herein lies stressful part: >>>I<<< knew how to do everything in my business, but how on earth could I entrust/train someone else?

All of my systems and processes have been stored in my head (not exactly the best place, admittedly.)

Sure, I may know where I keep that one tube of blue seed beads, or which tray harbors my miniature teacup rings, but it would be close to impossible to transfer all of this know-how to someone else. I would be a terrible boss if I excepted my new assistant to be able to wade through my disaster of a studio to find inventory, locate the right packaging materials, or even just sort though images from within my laptop’s digital files.

It was time to get serious about organizing.

spreadsheet

I’m going to be completely honest with you, organization and order is not my natural state of being. I will live in chaos until it becomes simply too frustrating for me to bear before I take any action to rectify it.

(I waited until my wardrobe expanded to 4 closets before I bothered to sort by color and my DVD collection is still in the boxes we used to transport them when we moved into our house OVER THREE YEARS AGO.)

So, yes, getting my business organized and systematized was a ton of work.

It took me well over 3 weeks to get it all sorted out. But man, was it ever worth it. Even when I don’t have my assistant processing my orders for me, it is so much easier for me to do it now.

When someone orders a specific pair of earrings, I no longer have to wade through my entire collection to find them. Instead, I check the spreadsheet I created in my cloud-based inventory documents to find out exactly where the pair is stored, where I also keep track of how many more pairs are left in stock forĀ  next time.

As you can imagine, I’m wondering how I ever got along before.

office clips

Again, I am far from what anyone would describe as “OCD.” The desk at my day job is always covered in papers and sticky notes, and the work bench at my home-studio was likewise covered in beading supplies and packaging materials.

It was not an easy task for me to turn things around. But once I did? Life-saving. Or more literally: time-saving.

Before I got my assistant officially on board, organizing for her has prepared my business for growth. Documenting the steps I take within each process of my business, along with organizing my raw materials and completed inventory has my entire operation running more efficiently.

Which is why I’m recommending that you prep your business for hiring employees, even if you never plan on hiring one.

Seriously.

Act as though you will be bringing on help, and that it’ll arrive next month. Now you have 30 days to organize and systematize. Pretend like this imaginary person(s) is going to be handling everything from shipping incoming orders to social media marketing. At the end of the month, you’ll be amazed at how much easier you’ve made running your business for you.

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Comments: 7

  1. Sue June 10, 2014 at 4:55 pm Reply

    Thanks for this! I have a similar method to the madness. You have inspired me to get organised as I know it makes everything simpler. Creating systems makes life better! And congratulations on your hire! It’s a big step.
    Sue

  2. Helene June 11, 2014 at 11:17 am Reply

    I love this idea. I’m not ready to get a VA yet, but I know it’s on my horizon… why not prepare now for the benefit of myself AND my eventual help. xo!

  3. Divya June 11, 2014 at 12:10 pm Reply

    Am new to commercial polymer clay design and i love your article about the organized thing, that will help to get things go straight and smooth. thanks again from Divya, Polymer Clay Jewelry Designer India

  4. Susan Ferraro June 12, 2014 at 4:44 pm Reply

    I help women create lifestyle bizes using the law of attraction and this is SUCH a great exercise! Acting as if. Love it!

  5. Janelle June 12, 2014 at 7:50 pm Reply

    I have seen the “act as if” work for me already. I’m excited to try this one, who knows, maybe I’ll end up hiring after the 30 days of organizing for a helper! Thanks for this post, lots of goodies in here!

  6. Clare J Fitzgerald June 13, 2014 at 1:18 pm Reply

    I was actually having this conversation today with a friend of mine who is currently going through the process of hiring her first employee (a VA)!

    Now that I have read your article, I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something Megan.

    So I’m off to work out how I can start to at least create some google docs on each of my key processes that I can add to over the next few months before I hire my first employee.

    thanks for the tips

  7. […] us in the handmade-realm begin as solo-preneruers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start setting things up for expansion and reaping the benefits of it […]

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