When you’re first getting started as an entrepreneur and business owner, you might not have the luxury of outsourcing any of the work in your business. You’ll be doing everything on your own for a minute or two (or a few weeks or months).

Believe me, when you realize just how stressful this can be, you’ll work as hard as you can to free up the money to start hiring a team.

The ultimate goal is to be able to delegate every single task outside of your sweet spot, your gifting, your genius. You find someone else to do your calendar and scheduling and bookkeeping and cleaning (and so on and so on), so you can focus on what you love and do best.

So, the first step in growing your team strategically is actually:

#1: Know yourself.

You need to know what you’re good at, what you’re NOT good at, what you love, what you hate, what you NEED.

Unless you absolutely LOVE managing your own calendar (and have 48 hours in a day), you’ll want an administrative assistant who can handle all of that for you. It just takes so much time, and time is precious in the STR business (as it is in all businesses—and all of life, for that matter).

Here’s the most important question I ask myself as CEO of my own STR business: is this activity the highest and best use of my time?

Because of where I’m at in my business journey, I set the bar at $500/hour. Is the activity I’m doing right now worth $500/hour? If it could bring $500/hour of economic value to the table, I’ll do it myself. If it doesn’t, I don’t do it. 

It still needs to be done, but it doesn’t need to be done by me. I can pay someone else a heck of a lot less than $500/hour to manage my schedule for me. If I take the time to do my own calendar/scheduling, I lose money. You will too.

The more literally you take this, the easier it becomes to build your team.

I talk more about this concept in this post as well as giving you an exhaustive list of all the other people you’ll want on your team as soon as you can afford it.

Know your strengths, know your weaknesses, know what kind of people will fill in your gaps in the most efficient and effective way.

#2: Hire for DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion).

I’m putting this one close to the beginning on purpose. In my experience, DEI is often considered at the last minute, or after the fact, if at all. 

It has ALWAYS been important to hire a diverse team, and it has NEVER been more important than it is right now. With everything going on in the world, CEOs and businesses are scrambling to hire more diversely when they could have saved themselves the trouble by doing it from the very beginning.

In an ideal world, we would surround ourselves with all kinds of people—people of all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, classes and sexual orientation.

In reality, we tend to surround ourselves with people who look, sound and act like us.

I’m not going to preach a sermon here, but your business will benefit from having a diverse group of people on your team.

It’s arrogant to think that the only people who have something to offer are people who are just like you.

A diverse team has its challenges for sure, but building this kind of team is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do.

#3: Determine each team member's strengths and passions.

Just like you need to be aware of your own strengths, weaknesses and passions, it’s important to be in tune with what each of your team members is really good at—as well as what they love. 

(By the way, those aren’t always the same thing. You can be really good at washing dishes—or doing math—but still hate it.)

When you know what each team member enjoys—and is really talented at—and you put them to work in that area, you’re going to have happy employees and a job really well done.

I’m not suggesting that you never ask someone to do something she doesn’t like doing. Unpleasant tasks at work kind of go with the territory. 

But, if you’re just plugging people into things without taking into consideration their strengths and passions, your turnover is going to be high and your business isn’t going to flourish.

Do some research, and use one or more of the amazing tools out there that help employers recognize—and maximize—their employees’ strengths.

#4: Listen to what your team needs from you.

A good boss is a good listener.

I know this goes against the grain of what we think a CEO is supposed to do. CEOs talk and lead and boss around, right?

Yes and no.

Communicate with your team regularly, yes, but remember that communication is a two-way street. Make sure you’re not the only one talking. 

Let them know, in no uncertain terms, that you value their thoughts, opinions, ideas, and concerns. 

And give them space to voice those concerns. A safe space. Create an environment where people aren’t afraid of getting fired just because they speak up and speak their mind.

Do they need to do it in a respectful manner? Of course. We should all treat each other with kindness and respect.

But a CEO who listens to his or her employees is setting their business up for success.

Do these four things, and you’ll be building—and leading—an incredible team.

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