AMY PORTERFIELD: “Having a team is a beautiful thing, and it allows me to scale my business and do things that I never, ever have been able to do on my own. So I owe a lot to the team that I have and the team that I've had over the last fourteen years.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: I want to tell you about a podcast that I think you should check out. It's called Marketing Against the Grain. It's hosted by Kipp Bodnar and Kieran Flanagan, and it's brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. So, because I know you market for your business, if you want to know what's trending, what's ahead, and how you can lead the way, this is the podcast for you. The hosts, Kipp and Kieran, they are going to share their marketing hot takes like nobody does. So, I love when they talk about things like how to turn problems into opportunities or dive deep into A.I. and marketing. Ah, so good. So be sure to check it out. You can listen to Marketing Against the Grain wherever you get your podcasts.
Hey, there, friend. Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy.
I wanted to check in, see how you're doing. Like, if you had to choose one word that best describes how you're feeling today, what would it be? Like, say it out loud if you're, like, alone in the car or on the treadmill or on your walk or whatever you're doing. Like, what's one word that best describes how you are feeling today? So do that. Okay. Say it in your head or out loud or whatever. And then, here's the twist of that. If it's a word that makes you feel good, great. Go on with your bad self. But if it was overwhelmed, stressed, confused, mad, angry, resentful, whatever it might be, if it was one of those words that doesn't make you feel so good, then can you at least dig a little bit deeper and say, “Okay. I am feeling those things, but if I was going to put a positive slant on this, if I was going to look for the good, if was going to be grateful for today”—don't roll your eyes at me. Come on, stay with me here—”What word would you choose if you gave equal airtime to what's good in your life right now?” Like, equal airtime to what's good, what word would you choose? I don't know. It just, I think it's important that we kind of—if we're feeling all that frustration, overwhelm, stress, there's some good. There's still some good. Just remember that.
Okay. So at the time of this recording, I'm nostalgic because I recently hosted a Q&A for my Momentum membership. The only way to get into Momentum is if you've already gone through DCA or you have access to my program DCA, Digital Course Academy, and then I invite you into my exclusive membership after the fact. And so shout out to all my Momentum members. I love you to the moon and back.
And one of my students recently in Momentum asked me a question that went something like this: as a leader, if your team is underperforming, when do you know if you're the problem or if an individual on your team is the problem? I thought that was a good question. How do you know if you're the problem or if an individual on your team is the problem?
And it got me thinking about all the ups and downs I've had on my team-building journey. It's wild to think that I have over twenty employees on my team right now, all over the U.S., and some have been with me for over five years, which I think is pretty dang amazing. And I really am always asking myself, “Do I have the right people in the right seats?” I learned this from my EOS, entrepreneurial operating system, process that I use. The book Traction, the book Rocket Fuel, you can learn more about EOS there. But this idea of right people, right seats is something I'm thinking about all the time.
So today I thought we'd explore strategies and best practices that have worked for me in creating a team that's deeply committed to our company's vision and values. And whether you're a solopreneur looking to hire your first VA or a CEO managing a team, I've been in your shoes. I know your challenges and your fears and your dreams when it comes to building a team. And I want you to know it's all worth it. I cannot wait to share what I've learned over the years, because having a team is a beautiful thing, and it allows me to scale my business and do things that I never, ever have been able to do on my own. So I owe a lot to the team that I have and the team that I've had over the last fourteen years. And so with that, I thought we could dive in a little bit deeper today.
So first of all, I want to remind you that building a loyal team is a journey. Seeing my team members come together and build upon the foundations of my company values over the last few years, all while bringing their own unique strengths and skills to the table, has been one of my most-proudest business accomplishments and one of the toughest things I've ever done.
I literally was on the phone with a team member today, and we kind of joked, out of our frustration probably, of, “Geez, it's so hard to hire really great people and know that they're right for the team. And it's hard to troubleshoot when someone's not working out.” Like, I still have the issues. I will have them till the day I don't have a business. But I can navigate them so much more strategically now.
So this episode is not to make all your hiring and firing and everything in between team-building issues go away—they're never going to go away—but you can absolutely navigate them more strategically when I share some of these details I'm going to share with you.
So you're probably thinking, “This is great, Amy, but how have you actually created a loyal team?” And here's my secret: I think of my team members not as employees, but instead, as intrapreneurs. So you're in good company, if that's a new word for you, because it was for me just a few years ago, so stick with me here.
But on my team, I have the following departments: operations, customer support, marketing, content, and community. And each department has a director who is responsible for hitting their quarterly rocks. But how they accomplish these rocks, these goals, that's really entirely up to them and their team. I don't know all of the details about how they're going to accomplish their goals.
So, for example, marketing, one of their goals is to hit a specific revenue goal every quarter for our evergreen funnel List Builders Society. I do not know everything that they're doing to hit those goals. I know the overarching strategy, but I do not know all of the details, and that is totally fine by me. So when I say, you know, it's entirely up to them and their team how we're going to hit it, this structure helps me empower a team who thinks and acts like entrepreneurs within my company, hence the word intrapreneur. So by giving my team members the freedom to explore new ideas and experiment, I've seen them become fiercely engaged and motivated. So don't be afraid to let your team take the reins and see what they can do.
In fact, I just had a quarterly leadership retreat not too long ago, and two of my marketing directors—because I have co-marketing directors. Every other department just has one director. But since Chloe left, about a year ago, we actually have two directors that have taken her place—and they came to me with an idea of how to fully change up the experience of my webinars for Digital Course Academy. Like, it’s a whole different experience. And it was, like, when they came to me, I'm like, “Whoa, that's different. That scares me a little bit.” And then they made the case of why it's important that we change things up this year and try something new. And I was like, “All right. Let’s see how this goes.” And so that was all them. I did not come up with that idea. And I hope it works really great. If you follow along in September, you'll kind of see it all unfold. But I'm excited to try something new.
So this team mentality of running their own race, doing their own thing in their departments, it's helped foster a level of trust and respect where my team isn't treated like just another employee, but instead, like a leader and, more importantly, like a human being. They're not just an employee. I hate to say someone works for me. It's important, when I say that, I catch myself. They work with me. We are doing this together. That's important to me.
So before we move on, I think it's important to note I didn't say that we treat each other like family. So you haven't heard me say that. Like, “My employees are my family.” Oh, you've probably heard me say that, you know, a year ago, many times throughout my episodes. However, I recently did an episode about the dangers of calling your team members a family. So that's episode 553 if you want to tune in, and I think it's a pretty profound episode. I'm basing it off an article I read that really resonated with me. So anyway, I do not call my team members my family anymore, really out of respect for them, and I'll just give you a hint, the pressure that puts on somebody. So episode 553, amyporterfield.com/553. Go check it out.
But what I mean by treating people like human beings is encouraging your team to bring their whole selves to work. So, for example, if they're a mother who needs to breastfeed their baby in the middle of the day, my team knows they don't need to hide that. They’re welcome to step away and do what they need to do.
This is also why I love offering my team a four-day workweek. I want them to enjoy their lives and fill their cup up outside of work, because selfishly, I know that when they come back to work, they're more joyful. They're more restful or rejuvenated. They feel more creative, and they have a fulfilling life outside of work, which means they're better when they are working. So that's important to me.
Okay. Next step, because starting a new job can feel a little alienating and a lot of scary, building loyalty begins from day one. So on their first day, I send a new team member flowers, and I also send them a set of my favorite business books. So these may seem like just little gestures, but it helps people integrate into our culture really quickly.
Now, I love the site Farmgirl Flowers. I just think their selection and quality is incredible. So usually, if you're a new employee, you're going to get a bouquet of flowers from Farmgirl Flowers, letting you know we're very excited you've joined us. And some of the book titles we include: Free to Focus, Michael Hyatt; Radical Candor, Kim Scott; Traction, Gino Wickman; and Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. And then, of course, we've just added another one, Two Weeks Notice. So this helps build a loyal team by fostering a shared language and understanding, like, this is how we do business. These are the books that we use in our systems and processing and our processes. And it really does kind of just set the culture up from day one.
Now, on their first day, their department director will also jump into Slack, which is our internal communication tool, and send a welcome message to introduce the new member and make a call for the team to welcome them as well. So we have a Slack channel. I think the Slack channel’s called, like, Employees Only, because we have a lot of contractors as well. So we go into that Slack channel and we'll say, “All right, everyone. We are welcoming Kim to the team. Let me tell you a little bit about her,” and we just kind of all jump in there and welcome her and let her know how excited we are that she's joined.
We also use a channel for, like, different work anniversaries or birthdays and things like that. So we like to shower people with love. So we do a lot of that.
Speaking of, as a perk, I give everyone on my team their birthday off, just to remind them that I'm grateful that they were born. Now, if the birthday falls on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, they get to take a week day off of their choice, so I think that's fun as well.
I have other perks, like a continued-education/personal-development budget so they can attend conferences, purchase online courses, or hire a life coach. So these benefits go a long way to ensure my team knows I see them as a person, not just as an employee, and that I'm invested in them for the long term.
So those are some things that I do just to kind of encourage an entrepreneurial spirit on the team.
So to end this episode today, I want to revisit the question that my student asked me that I brought up in the introduction. Again, as a leader, if your team is underperforming, when do you know if you're the problem or if an individual on your team is the problem? And what I'd say to that is, no matter how many perks you offer or how much you invest in an employee's success, sometimes it's just not the right fit. No matter how hard you tried to make it work, no matter how much due diligence you did in their interview process, sometimes—and it's happened to me multiple times—the person gets on your team, they start working in their thirty days and their sixty days, and it is obvious they are just not a good fit for the team. That doesn't mean they're not incredible. That doesn't mean they're not super talented. But to me, culture is everything. And so if they're not a good fit, they're going to struggle, they're not going to be happy, and we're not going to be happy as well. Or maybe they're just not a good fit because they really can't do the job, and that just, for some reason, wasn't obvious in the interview process.
But here's where the power of a loyal team comes in. The rest of your team will rally around you, going above and beyond to ensure the business doesn't miss a beat, when there is someone on the team that you just missed the mark, and they're not a good fit. I've seen that, too, where we've had to let someone go, and now there's this big gaping hole, in terms of responsibilities getting done, and the team will step up, and we will rally around each other because we're all in it for the right reason.
So remember, my sweet friend, there are bound to be bumps in the road, and building a loyal team will be filled with learning and growing. But if you're on this journey right now, keep pushing forward. I promise you it is so worth it. Sometimes I go to bed at night and think, “I am so freaking lucky to have this team.”
About a week ago, my entire marketing team was in town for the StoryBrand training with Don Miller and J.J. Peterson, on his team. And I looked around at that table and I thought, “I love these people so much. I feel really lucky.”
But I also have my hiring challenges, so I don't want you to think you're alone. It happens to all of us. But more importantly, what you do about that matters most.
I hope you love this Shorty episode. Thank you so much for hanging out. And if you've never given me a review on my podcast, would you consider doing so today? I would greatly appreciate it. It really goes a long way. So wherever you listen to this podcast, you have an opportunity to leave a review. Please do so.
All right, my sweet friend. I'll see you on Thursday for more entrepreneurial goodness, same time, same place. Can't wait.
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