Transcript: How to Build a Self-Managed Team, with Theresa Loe

July 25, 2019


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Hey, there. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield, and today, we are talking about building a self-managed team. Now, it doesn’t matter if you are a solopreneur, or maybe you have a V.A., but that’s the only team member that you have, or maybe you have a few people on your team. No matter where you are in the journey, this episode about building a self-managed team is for you.

Now, before we get there, last week I talked about my biggest regret over the last ten years of building an online business, and that regret was not learning how to be a strong leader years and years ago, even before I have the team I have today, even before I thought about building a small-but-mighty team. I wish I had put the focus on educating myself around what it means to be a strong leader and how I need to show up and what it means to cast a vision and communicate that vision with the team and how to empower a team so that they are a self-managed team. I wish this had been a focus of mine years ago when the business was smaller because today I would be able to jump into this bigger team I have today with full confidence and I know how to empower a team so that they are excited and passionate and running full force ahead. Now, I think we're getting there—thank God my team is patient with me—but I haven’t always shown up as a really strong leader.

Truth be told, I've put my focus into my students—all of you. I've put my focus on how to support you, how to be a better educator, how to build stronger systems and bigger marketing initiatives so that I could grow my audience and get out in front of the people that need what I have to offer the most. And that has served me well. Definitely. But when I look at my team, I've realized that I've neglected some key areas that really are important for me to get to where I want to get to. In terms of those big, scary goals that I've set for myself this year, I need to make sure my team feels empowered, that they feel that they could manage themselves and their initiatives without me getting in the way. So that’s what I've been learning. It's been a hard lesson, something I wish I had learned years back, but you don't know what you don't know, right?

If I could offer you a piece of advice, if you are just starting out, put some focus into learning how to be a stellar leader, a powerful leader, a leader that leads with compassion and also knows how to cast a vision so that your team is excited. Learn that now before you get bigger. It’s going to serve you well.

So with that, I wanted to continue this conversation of being a better leader and really get into talking about your team today and talking about hiring smarter and finding the right kind of people and making sure that you don't get in the way. My guest today is Theresa Loe. Now, Theresa, I'll let her tell you a little bit about her background; it's very interesting how she got to where she is today. But she is a team-building and leadership coach for digital entrepreneurs, and she has literally cracked the code on how to find, grow, and lead a self-managed team, and she's sharing her secrets with us today.

The reason I invited her on the show is that I know that you're likely doing the work of two, three, even four people. And I also know that that is not sustainable. Believe me, I've been there, done that. I bet you've been thinking of hiring for your business, but the thought of hiring and training people just adds to the feeling of overwhelm and stress that you're already feeling with other things in your business. Can I get an amen? And then, probably, that voice starts to kick in where you're saying to yourself, “How am I going to find the right people, and how am I going to afford these people? What if I hire them, and they don't help me make more money, and then I'm really screwed,” or, “I don't even have a process for hiring.” So there's probably a lot of negative chatter in your head around hiring and finding the right people if you've never done it before. And if you're already feeling stressed out just by building the business, adding this layer can feel like a lot.

And so I want to help ease you into it. I want you to start learning about what it means to find, grow, and lead a self-managed team and how it can take a whole lot of stress off yourself and it can empower people to do their best work. It is very doable, and you're going to hear all about it today, because the truth is if you're going to build a scalable business, if you're going to be here for the long haul, it's not a matter if you're going to hire, if you're going to have a team; it's when and how. The when might look like adding one person to your team right now to help you just for five to ten hours a week. But believe me, when you get a little taste of support, you're going to start thinking, “Whoa, this is nice. This is awesome. I want more of this.” So that's why I want to talk to you about finding and growing and hiring and all that good stuff that will make you a better business and allow you to step into that visionary, that CEO role, so that you can do those big, bold things that you've set for yourself this year. Good? Okay.

So, before we get there, a quick listener shout out. This shout out is from Maria ATI, who wrote:

“Amy, thank you for creating a podcast that is crisp, clean, and inspiring, with essential information that I always put into practice immediately.”

For the record, you know I love my action takers.

“You never waste my time. The combination of your warm, but high-energy and great information has literally picked me up during difficult days and given me immediate tools to keep moving forward in my business. Wishing you continued success in every aspect of your life.”

Maria, right back at you. I’m cheering you on, and I just wanted to thank you for such a nice message, and if I could be there on a difficult day for you, that makes me feel so good. So thank you for sharing that, and good luck in all you do.

Final thing before we jump into my interview with Theresa Loe, I wanted to let you know that this episode is sponsored by my free master class all about how to get started with list building. So here's something interesting. Imagine if you hired a V.A. to take on five, ten hours a week so that you could be freed up to work on the projects that you know you need to get to but are just always on the back burner. I bet one of those projects is list building, building that foundation so that every day you could be growing your email list. Remember, the energy of your business—the revenue, the impact—the energy of your business is directly tied to the strength of your email list, not the strength of your social media—your email list. That is an asset you own. You must have an email list that is thriving in order to thrive in this online world. And so if you do not have an email list or if you're struggling to build it, you've got to get on my free master class. I'm going to show you how to get started, how to kick-start your list-building efforts for free so that you can start building a foundation in your business that will help you make a bigger impact and more revenue. Get on this free master class. One more time,

All right. I won’t make you wait any longer. Let’s get to it.

Hey, there, Theresa. Welcome to the show.

THERESA LOWE: Hey, thanks for having me, Amy.

AMY: Oh my gosh. I’m so excited to talk to you today. And I already told my listeners a little bit about you and the fact that you are a team-building and leadership coach, but you have such an interesting background, and I would love for you to share a little bit of how you got to where you are today in your business.

THERESA: Oh, thanks, yeah. So, I do have kind of an odd way that I got here. I started out as the co-executive TV producer for the top organic-gardening series on PBS, and basically that means that you are second in command. So I was executing on the vision of the show for the producer of the show, and I had to really hone my ninja project-management skills in order to handle all of the episodes that we were filming, the production team while they were out in the field, and then post-production afterwards. And I did that for nine years, and I loved it.

But I went off about four years ago and started my own business, Living Homegrown, which is all about living farm fresh from your backyard. And from that, I ended up coaching, over the last three years, people in the food and garden industry and then people in our masterminds, that you and I have been in together. I helped them with getting their management skills in line because what I discovered was most people who start out in the online business, all of us start as solopreneurs, but as their business starts growing, they end up still trying to build that business on a solopreneur framework. So in other words, they still had their hand in everything. And I had these ninja project-management skills, so part of my coaching practice was helping people streamline and clean up the back end of their business and get their teams all in line.

AMY: So funny how it just kind of comes together. And you had such a diverse background from what you're doing now, but it all really fits, and I have no doubt that you are so good at what you are doing now because of that experience. And so I guess I just wanted to bring that up right now because a lot of my listeners might be wanting to make a pivot, and the pivot might feel really out of left field for some people, but if you can show where your skill set fits into what you want to move into, it starts to make sense.

So I've known Theresa for a while now; we were in a mastermind together. When I heard that you had moved into this world of being a team-building and leadership coach, I thought, of course you have. This is so perfect for you. So I'm really excited for what you're creating and what you've been doing. And you and I got to talk a little bit a few weeks ago, and we started to talk about this idea of a self-managed team. And right when you said it, I just latched on and I said, “That is a really good topic. I want to talk about what that looks like, how you create a self-managed team, and you are the perfect person to have this chat with.” So let's start at the top. Talk to me about what it means to have a self-managed team. What does that look like?

THERESA: Well, basically, we have to put ourselves in the CEO position, and we want to have people under us who are all responsible for their own projects. So that means that then we as the CEO can literally come to our team and say, “Hey, I've got this great idea,” and the team will execute on that and make it happen without us micromanaging every little task. And that may sound like a really hard thing to do, but what we're doing is we're stepping into building a real business after being the only one doing all of the things. And so it really does involve building perfect people into your team that are aligned with you and letting them take on the responsibilities that you have in the company so that you can stay in your zone of genius and just be the visionary, the idea person, and the face of your brand.

AMY: Okay, so, when I hear you talk about the self-managed team, that is definitely something that I've been creating inside of my own business. But I know a lot of my listeners are tuning in right now, and either they don't have a team yet, and they’re thinking, “Is that really possible? Can I really share my vision with a team, and they run with it and they make it happen?” Or some people listening right now, they have a team, and they're thinking, “Oh, we're not even close to that. I am so in the weeds right now. I can’t even imagine my team members running with it, and I can step out and be more the visionary.” So what do you say to people that are really skeptic of this whole idea of a self-managed team?

THERESA: Well, I can tell you from experience that it is absolutely possible, but you do have to do it in baby steps. And here's the key. You have to lay a really good foundation. And the good news is that you can start this foundation even if you are just starting out. So people ask me all the time, how did my business take off so quickly? And it was really because I understood the value of having help. And when you're starting out, that can feel like an impossibility. But you just start out small, with baby steps, and then you put in some really key strategies in place from day one. And this works for everybody. Doesn't matter if you're a beginner or you're experienced, you can lay down these strategies that we're going to talk about today, and they will skyrocket you as you move forward.

AMY: Okay, so, let’s talk about some of these key strategies. What do you feel is the most important strategy to building a self-managed team?

THERESA: Okay, it's not going to be the one people think, but it's mindset.

AMY: Interesting. So my audience is getting very familiar with me bringing up mindset, any time we're talking about marketing strategies in general. So they're going to pay attention here. Talk to me about this one.

THERESA: Okay. So, we come to the table, usually with the issue of thinking, “Well, I could just do this faster myself,” or, “I can do it better. I don't need to hire someone because no one can do it as well as I can,” or, “I just can't find good people.” And so they come to me with those problems, and they think that the problem is external, that they can't find the right people. And that could be part of the problem. But the real problem is the way they're thinking. So you have to step into really, really thinking as the CEO and have a clear vision of what you want to take your company to.

So I tell people, “Vision is the key to everything. I want you to imagine what you want your day to day to look like. What things do you want off your plate so that you're not doing it?” And then what we do is you reverse engineer to take those things off your plate. So you want to be able to hand those things off to someone else. So it all has to really start with the vision. You can't really work backwards. You have to start with where you're headed so you know where you're headed.

AMY: Okay, so, this is so good because last week's episode I talked about one of my biggest regrets in the whole ten years of building this business, and the biggest regret was not focusing on leadership and building a team and really putting my focus there. It's been a focus for the last year, but holy cow, things could be so much easier right now as I build up my team if I had some stronger leadership skills. And I talked about this idea of understanding what it looks like on your team to win. So if you're winning, whatever that means to you, what does it mean to be winning in your business today? What does that look like? And that is all about the vision. Where we going? What are we doing? What does a win look like for us?

So if you all listen to last week's episode, this is where it's playing a part right here, where Theresa’s saying, “As a CEO, as the owner of your business, you've got to know where you want to go, and then—“ and this is the part I didn't talk about last week that I love, that you're making it so practical. You just said that you want to decide, what should your day-to-day activities look like as a CEO? Now that you’re clear about what your vision is, what it looks like to win, what do you need to be doing every single day in the business for you to be making that happen? And then, slowly reverse engineer how to take everything else off your plate. And I love that.

And if you need extra help with this—I don't know if you've read this book yet, Theresa, but have you read Free to Focus, Michael Hyatt’s new book?

THERESA: No, but I did order it.

AMY: Oh, good. You're going to love it because in there he talks about, okay, getting clear on where you should be spending your time, and then he gives you pointers on how to delegate, how to take things off your plate, how to find the right people to do the stuff that you should not be working on, whether it doesn't light you up or it's not your area of expertise or It's drudgery for you or whatever. So, guys, if you like what Theresa’s saying here, and you want to be showing up as the CEO, the visionary, you've got to learn how to take that other stuff off your plate. But we're going to get into more of that here. I just wanted to point that out that it really ties back to our discussion last week as well.

So in a nutshell, it's all about letting go, and when you do so, you will be amazed as to what your team can do inside of your business. You got to get out of your own way. So, okay. So with that, once we've wrapped our heads around our big vision, and we fully understand what we're working towards, Theresa, how do you suggest people find some special team members who can help us, because this is a big one. This is a big one for my audience. How do we find these people?

THERESA: So that's the magic question, right? Well, the biggest mistake that people make is that they hire someone based on their résumé. So in other words, they're hiring on skills. And people are probably thinking, “Well, yeah. Isn’t that what we're supposed to do?” Well, that's what we're taught to do. But what I want people to do is hire to attributes first. So in other words, our goal here is to get the right person in the right seat within our company. But if we hire two attributes, we can make sure that they're aligned with us and with our vision and with our core values so that they're a perfect fit. And so the thing to keep in mind is that, especially in digital marketing, we use a lot of really weird tools that a lot of people have never even heard of before. And those tools are always changing. So we can train someone to a tool, but we can't train character. So when we are trying to hire someone, I look at character and attributes first, and then the skills second, because I feel like if I get the right person with the right characteristics, I can teach them anything, and they're going to skyrocket.

AMY: Okay. So true. And I was just at EntreLeadership a couple of weeks ago, and on stage, Patrick Lencioni also shared the same thing, that you've got to hire for attribute before skills. So what you're saying, I've heard it a lot from the experts, and I love it. However, here's my question for you, and this is something I genuinely grapple with in my own business. When I'm in an interview, sometimes I don't know what to ask in terms to really understand the attribute side of things. Do you have any tips in interviews or interview style to make sure that you're asking the right questions to really uncover if they are a good fit?

AMY: Actually, I think it needs to start before the interview.

AMY: Ooh, tell me more.

THERESA: I mean, I really feel that it has to happen before you ever even get on a call with them. You have to already know their character and their attributes. So what I tell people to do is you first have to—it's about vision again, right? We're talking about mindset here. So you first have to think of, what is the perfect person on your team, or maybe someone who's already on your team and you want to clone them. If you could clone that person, what would be the characteristics? How would you describe that person? So maybe you would say, if they were your customer-service person, you'd say, “Well, they have really a lot of empathy for my customers, and they're friendly and nice.” So you write those all down, right? Or maybe you want someone for content creation and content management, and they need to be really detail oriented. So what you do when you are going through the hiring process is you put everyone through what I call a gauntlet. So you set up little subtle things along the way of them applying that will tell you if they are detail oriented, for example. Or you have them go through personality tests to see if they show up as being really stable or if they have empathy and are more of a feeler than a thinker. So all of those can be kind of fleshed out before you ever get to the point that you're interviewing them. Does that make sense?

AMY; It does. And you're saying that—did you already mention personality assessments? Is that how you're figuring this out?

THERESA: Yeah, mm-hmm.

AMY: Okay. So which ones are your favorite?

THERESA: So, I love the Myers-Briggs and the DISC. Those are the two that I'm the most familiar with, but there are many different ones, and everybody has different preferences of what they like. I personally like those two because I'm really dialed in to how they mesh together. So Myers-Briggs, the way I describe a Myers-Briggs test is it kind of tells everybody what sort of car you are, how you kind of approach the world. But the DISC shows what sort of fuel you put in the car. So it's more like how you run. And so with the two of those together, you can get a really good picture of how someone is. But on top of that, on top of all of the personality tests that you can give someone, you can also set things up. Like have in the process of hiring that they have to put a very specific word in the subject line so that you can tell if they are detail oriented and they caught that little thing that you put in there. So there's a lot of different ways that you can test for different things, but personality tests are one of the easiest ways.

AMY: Okay, two takeaways that I just got from you here. Number one, no matter what personality test you take—because I mentioned last week we have really gotten into Kolbe, and it's worked really well for us. And like you said, there's a lot of different options here. The key component is, as the person doing the interviewing, as the hiring manager, if that's the role you're playing right now in your business, you have to understand what the personality assessment is doing for you— what kind of information it’s sharing and how that's going to help you. So I think we need to spend some time in educating ourselves, whether it's Myers-Briggs or Kolbe or whatever. And that has been huge for us because before when we started to have people take the personality tests, I didn't really know much about Kolbe. So we got the results back, and I'm like, “Well, these look good.” It was ridiculous how little I knew until I started to drill down. So really understand the tests that you're giving people. And again, there’s so many great ones out there that you can choose which one feels right to you.

But the other thing that you mentioned about taking this personality test, and Theresa alluded to this, before you give somebody this assessment, get really clear on what you're looking for. So you make sure that before you give them the assessment, here's what you want in the role. And then when you get the assessment back, you can measure against. And I had said last week—I don't know if you have heard this before— but legally, you can't hire based on an assessment, like, you give someone an assessment.

THERESA: Oh, right, right. No, it’s just a guide. They’re not perfect.

AMY: Just a guide. Exactly, they're not perfect. So once you get the results back, you measure against what you're looking for, and then it allows you to have really good conversations in the interview. “I notice in your assessment, it said this about you. Would you say that to be true, or do you have an example of what that would look like?” And so the conversations tend to be richer with that.

THERESA: Right, exactly. And another thing that you can ask that will let people kind of share their personality traits is if you say, “How would people describe you on your last job?” And so, of course, they're going to be putting their best foot forward in saying things, but sometimes there's a lot of insight in how they would let someone else describe them. It kind of frees them up to toot their own horn but also can give you some insight into how they work.

AMY: I love that. We recently asked this question of a content director that we ended up hiring, and her name is Jen. And we said, “What would people that you've managed before say about you?” And I forget exactly the word she used, but it was something along the lines of, I'm tough. I definitely am tough. I have high expectations.

Now, Jen comes from my world of Tony Robbins. She took over my job as the content director. She had that role after I had it. And so I knew what she meant by high expectations because that's Tony's style. And so I said, “Okay, tell me more.” And then she started to share about what high expectations and being tough as a manager looked like, and it perfectly fit with how I want to run my business. And so I loved that she could share some examples.

So it's a really great question: What would other people say about you if you've managed them or worked with them? And then have them give you examples. So I just want to let you know, I use that, it works, so you’re spot on.

THERESA: Oh, good. Well, it definitely lets them, like I said, toot their own horn where they may not come out and brag about themselves. But this gives them the opportunity to say all the good things about themselves.

AMY: Yes. And you want to hear that kind of stuff. Love it.

Okay, so here's the deal. We know we want to hire the right people in the right seats, and that's really important. And I can't stress enough how important it is to get better as somebody who is doing the interviews. Spend time on crafting really good questions and really dialing in those interviews so you get what you need out of them. But let's say we found some really great candidates, and we end up hiring. How do you make sure that that person is going to be a self-managed team member? What needs to happen?

THERESA: Ah, so, the first thing that has to happen is that you have to hand out a responsibility and not a task, and let me explain. I think all of us have experienced, especially with our very first hire, that we have this big, long list of to-dos, and we'll hand off one of those to-dos like, “Oh, why don't you go create this blog post for me?” They go do it. They come back, asking a lot of questions about it, and you have to stop what you're doing and go answer the questions. And then they come back and go, “Okay, I’m done. What’s next?” And you’re like, “I have to stop what I’m doing again and go figure out—“ and so you end up being a manager. You’re a task manager; you’re not being the CEO. That’s not what you want to do.

So instead, I invite people to hand out responsibilities; make everything a project, not a one-off task. So let me give you an example. With the blog-post example, someone, if they were handing out a task, would just say, “Please create this blog post for me.” But if you're handing out a responsibility, you make it the project of content management. So now they're responsible for all the posts going in and out. They're responsible for the deadlines. They have to keep track of what's coming down the pike so that they're ahead of the game. They're responsible for any metrics or analytics or anything else that you need to know about that particular content. So they're showing up at the meetings now, giving reports, because they are fully, 100 percent responsible for the project rather than just going and doing one little task at a time.

AMY: Ah, so good. And I've had that experience in my team where I give someone a project, then they come back and they ask for another one. Give them a project, come back. And last week—it's so good. I actually didn’t even plan it so well, but it turned out that last week, I got to talk about leadership on the show, so I love that we're talking about hiring and building a team today. But one of the things I learned at that EntreLeadership event is that when things aren't working on your team, look at the leader. Look in the mirror. And so if you have somebody keep coming back to you, that is something that you need to fix. Just what you said, we need a different process here.

And so can you help us understand—handing off responsibility can be scary. So if we hand off a responsibility, how can we be sure that it will actually be managed properly? How can we know that there's going to be follow through in delivery, because it's very scary, and I think that's why so many of us leaders tend to have a bunch of task rabbits on our team but nobody that's really managing their responsibilities. And what I learned from that event is people want to manage their stuff. They want to feel like they're their own boss and doing their thing and feel empowered. But we've got to foster that. So how do you do that?

THERESA: Yeah. Well, it all comes down to communication. That's totally the key. But I want you to think of it kind of like—anyone who is a parent out there will understand this. We’ve all seen the helicopter parent, who their kid is walking, and they're just hovering over them so that they won't make a mistake. And building and leading a team—and lead is the key here—you want to think of it kind of like parenting, and you don't want to be the helicopter CEO. You want to let them slowly make decisions for themselves, just like you want your kid to be able to make decisions for themselves so that when they go off to college, they can actually make decisions, and they'll be okay without you standing right by their side.

And it's the same thing. We have to nurture the team so that they can make decisions on our behalf or for themselves. So what I recommend you do is you really focus on communication. And what that means is being very, very clear. When you do hand something off, you have to be very, very clear about the expectations so that they understand what they're doing. And you can really dial in what it means to be done. And I think of all the little things that you can explain in expectations, having a clear picture of what done is is probably the most important part because I think we've all experienced where we have handed something off and what came back was a little off or off track. And that is, again, on us because we did not really, really make it clear what we want it to be, and we may not have made it clear how it fit into the bigger picture.

So, for example, if you are handing off, let's say, a PDF. They need to understand how that fits into the bigger picture of everything. Which program does it go to, what branding should it have, is there any kind of font requirements or style sheet that they should be working to? And instead of just handing off that one PDF, they need to understand how it fits into the bigger picture so they understand the deadlines, how important it is, where it fits into the dominoes of everyone else's steps of things that they're working on. Communication is really the glue that holds everything together, and it also lets you have more trust if you are sure that they fully understand what it is that you're expecting of them.

AMY: Mm, so good, because I love this idea of communicating what done looks like. So once this is finished, this is what it will look like, this is what I'm expecting. Because I do feel, and my team members have shared this with me before, that sometimes they are confused as to what exactly I want them to do with it. I think I've given good direction, and they are confused. So one thing I've had to do on the team is say, “What questions do you have? Where have I not made this totally clear? I am open to any and all questions you have because I don't want you to have to guess through it.” But we do have a time to ask questions so that I'm not getting twenty questions sprinkled throughout the week on one project.

THERESA: Exactly. So, that is super key, I love that you have a set time for those questions. Otherwise, you get interrupted, and we all know what that's like when you’re in the flow and you're getting text messages or something because there's an emergency, they don't know what to do. But the other part of this is when you do get something back that is maybe a little bit off, and you're like, “Oh, I thought I totally communicated this,” what you can do and what I recommend is that you record a walkthrough of what you need changed or how you ended up tweaking it yourself so that they fully understand, because that gives them a feedback loop. If they brought you something and they thought it was spot on, and you end up making little changes to it, if you can tell them what those changes were and why, then they won't make those mistakes on the next round. So that's super helpful.

And the second part is to make sure that when you do hand it off that they are empowered with whatever resources they need, whether it's a procedure that you have created or maybe having access to certain things, so that they don't have to come back and ask you for it.

AMY: Yes. I love that. Any time we can put an SOP, some kind of procedure, in place for what we’re doing, we jump on it because as I'm growing my team, more and more people are going to come on, and I don't want to start from scratch every time I need to explain some project that we've done many times on the team but it needs to continue to be done. So love that you said that.

This conversation is so exciting to me because so many of my listeners are starting to think about building their team. They might just have a V.A. right now or that might be the first thing they do, but I know they're looking ahead. They want an integrator. Many are interested in Chloe, my integrator—what she does and what that looks like. And I know you have a lot of experience with finding really great integrators and people on your team to be the right fit in the right seats. And so because you are the expert here, I want to ask you, if somebody is listening right now and maybe they've never hired anyone yet and they're even overwhelmed by the idea of having a team but they want a team, eventually they want a team, so what would you say would be the very first step for my newbies that are thinking ahead but they're not yet ready to build that team?

THERESA: Yeah, so it definitely, that can feel really overwhelming because you're like, “This is what I want, but I'm back here at step one. So what do I need to do?” Well, first of all, just know you can totally start small and build up. So what if you were just to hire someone for a couple of hours a week? What would you do with those couple of hours? And what sometimes what people will do is they will hire in someone for those couple of hours, and they end up using that time for something they shouldn't be doing. And I don't want you to do that. I want you to look at those few hours as gold and use them for money-making activities, whatever that is for your particular business, so that you can take the money that you earn in those few hours and put it back into getting a few more hours and then a few more hours. So if you always use that extra time for money-making activities, you can grow your business faster. So that’s absolutely the first step.

But the second step is to still put in place the things that we talked about here. So make sure that who you do bring on is in alignment; and make sure that you're handing out responsibilities to that person that you're bringing on, not tasks—you want to always pick a project that you hand off first—and that you have really good communication with that person, and you talk to them, and you have clear expectations, and you give them feedback on what they're doing. So you do all of those things. And that doesn't matter if you're just starting out or if you already have a team. Those pieces are really the foundation in order to have the self-managed team that you're trying to build.

AMY: Yes. So good. I love that you really hit home with that one. And I was going to wrap up, but then I thought, “I have a bonus question.” So do you have a minute for a bonus question?

THERESA: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Do it.

AMY: Okay. So I was talking to some of my students inside of my insiders club, and they were talking about wanting to grow their team. And one of the gals on the team, she said, “I have a project manager, and I always have this fear in my mind that my project manager has taken on so much responsibility. She knows a lot about the team now and how things are happening, how to make the business run. But what if something happens? What if she gets pregnant and goes on maternity leave, or what if she, worse yet, quits, and she's not with me anymore? And she has all this knowledge and know how, and then I'm stuck.” And I think this comes up with those who have started to build their team. What if I lose this person? Then, I'm screwed. And so what would you say to something like that?

THERESA: Totally, yeah. That is such a common fear, and it's a fear that all of us get, especially when you find that really perfect person who is just, like, you're throwing balls at them, and they’re catching and running with them, and then you start to have panic attacks start flooding in because you're like, exactly. What if they go on maternity leave, or what if they move and they decide they don't want to do this anymore? All those fears come up.

So you have to have a contingency plan, and it's really easy to have. Remember when you were talking about the standard operating procedures, SOPs? That is your contingency plan. Do you want to have processes and systems for every little piece that you have going on in your business? And it's not just for, in case that person leaves. It's also for, in case that person has a sick day or goes on vacation. If they’re the only one in the whole company that can do one of the things that are key, you're going to be in trouble. So if you kind of pretend like you might go on a vacation, and you're going to be away from the team, you would definitely set up everything so that it could run while you're gone. Well, you should do that with all of your key players, too.

They should have processes in place. They should have step-by-step instructions for how to do things in case they are away from their desk, or they get sick. That way, anyone else in the company can step in and do those little pieces. It doesn't mean that someone's going to step in and just take over their job. It's really just a contingency plan for, in case something happens or someone goes and has a vacation. You know, we do want to have our team have a life outside of our business, just like we want to have a life outside of our business, that keeps them happy and engaged.

And to do this, if you're just starting out, you can be thinking, “Oh man. An SOP? I don't even know what that is, and it sounds really complicated.” Here's a really simple, simple way you can do it. If there's something that you're doing that you're handing off or something that someone in your team does that you need to hand off, just record the process. So you can do it on your computer. There's a lot of free softwares that you can use, like Loom, that you could use to record your desk, and you just talk it through. “This is how I set up a blog post. This is how I release the podcast,” and you just record it and store it. You can store it in a Google Doc. You don't have to be fancy. And that way, if someone else needs to step in, in an emergency especially, they can just go and watch that video, and they have the step-by-step process there. You don't have to have it all written out. It's nice to have that, and that's what I recommend eventually you work up to, that you have a nice process. But to begin, you can just have a recording, and it totally will save you in the end.

AMY: Yes. This is how we started. We have a lot of systems and processes in place, but we started with just a bunch of recordings of, “Here's how you do it. You click here, you do that, you go there.” And then we just saved it on Dropbox.

So you've got to start somewhere. And I'm telling you, if you start while your business is still small and you get it dialed in, it's so much easier when you have four, five, six people on your team. So just remember, these strategies, everything we talked about today, you can start implementing them. Even if you have just you on the team or just a V.A. to start out with, start acting as though you know your team's going to be bigger, so you're getting ready for it. So I think it's so important.

Theresa, thank you so much for being on the show. I knew you would come with the big guns. I knew you would share the tips and tricks that my audience could apply to their business right away. It is so refreshing to talk about hiring in a way that feels doable. So thank you so much for being here.

THERESA: Oh, you're welcome. Thank you so much for having me. It was my pleasure.

AMY: Oh, I'm so excited that you were here. And also, tell my listeners where they could find out more about you.

THERESA: Oh, sure. So, they can go to Or they can go to, and we have a team-readiness assessment. I also have a podcast called Streamlined and Scaled.

AMY: Nice. Okay, great. I’m going to link to all of that in the show notes as well,, so you can learn from Theresa even more.

Thanks, again, for being here.

THERESA: Thank you.

AMY: So, there you have it. I hope you found this interview with Theresa valuable, and I hope it inspires you and makes you believe that you can build a small-but-mighty team, and you can get the support that you need. Let's just focus on one new hire at a time. Take baby steps. And believe me, over time, you could build the most amazing, empowered, self-managed team that will allow you to shine and do the projects and the tasks that you and only you can do to make those big, bold moves in your business. Deal? Are you going to do it? I hope you'll take action with this episode.

Two things. Remember, this episode is sponsored by my free master class all about kick-starting your list-building efforts. If you want me to teach you for free how to get started with list building, go to Easy as that.

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All right, guys. Thank you so much for tuning in. I will see you here same time, same place next week. Bye for now.

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