Quite often, as black entrepreneurs, we find ourselves operating in a vacuum. We have SO many jobs that it’s often difficult, even impossible at times to find good help. There are some mistakes that we often make that could make our lives so much easier. First and foremost, we must adapt to today’s market and digital resources. We can still win but we must be willing to adapt and change our previous concepts. For example, there is no need to hire full-time or even part-time employees for many jobs anymore. You will save a ton of time, money and agony hiring someone per project, the benefit is you can test people out now and if they do well keep hiring them or let them work their way into full-time. Here are a few tips to make work life easier for you.
Finding Good Help
PROBLEM: This has got to be one of the absolute greatest challenges for MOST black entrepreneurs. From my own personal experience, many of today’s younger workers are all about instant gratification and they have agendas, thanks to social media, to build their own brands. They couldn’t care less about paying dues or climbing the ladder because they don’t have to. Unfortunately for them, they don’t understand that nothing will ever replace “relationships” and you never develop them by walking over people. On the other end of the spectrum, from my experience, older workers tend to be very stern and stuck in their ways, they can come to the table expecting to be well paid and treated with the utmost respect based on their previous tenure but they have not worked in years. At times BOTH can present themselves as if they are doing YOU a favor.
SOLUTION: Go against the grain and seek help in the gray areas. Hire people who DON’T have excellent social media likes and numbers because they are going to need the job the most and they will be the most hungry. There are also MANY job services for former people who have been caught up in the system and have been challenged and have a great desire to get into the workforce. Also, let’s face it, times have changed, if you are looking for someone with a great social media following, instead of hiring them to work for you, why not hire them to specifically get YOU great social media numbers as a consultant? I hire people who may not have the best social media stats to cover events that I am not able to go to who post images on Instagram, which is automatically connected to Twitter and Facebook and it looks like my brand is everywhere. Not to mention it goes a long way with clients and potential clients but I specifically hire these people to ONLY do social networking. I suggest getting someone with so-so social media numbers so that they represent your brand instead of themselves. In addition, they get an added bonus by meeting people in my industry. Make sure you have specifics in writing before they do an assignment. No posting of badges and passes, no posting on their own social media outlets without hashtagging your brand link, no plus ones, you want them focused on doing YOUR brand the favor not impressing one of their friends or a date.
PROBLEM: Whoever said “To whom much is given, much is expected” was right on point. As you read this, I am in Buffalo, New York right now taking care of some much-needed family business and I had to literally move my business via laptop to Buffalo for several weeks and uproot my life from LA. (which is not that hard to do. I am not a big fan of Los Angeles). You will get hit with some of the most unexpected things from time to time. Before I left LA I did a magazine that was mailed late via the post office and there was nothing that I could do about it but learn from the experience and not make the same mistake again. There are times as black entrepreneurs that we feel that ALL that we DO is work and I know MANY black entrepreneurs who are single because the demand to be dedicated to a successful business can outweigh a romantic relationship that takes up even more time.
SOLUTION: Start by taking one day off. What is your absolute slowest day? Perhaps you should consider using that day to pamper yourself. I LOVE the fact that I can go in stores, drive around and go to the museum or even sell real estate in the middle of the day when everybody else is working. Treat yourself to lunch or even a weekend vacation but don’t just WORK …. LIVE
PROBLEM: This USED to be a problem for me until I came up with several solutions. Look at doing business like a date: It is painstaking to watch bills come in and not have the cash flow to pay them because. If you let them, a client is will use your business like a one night stand, they get what they want then leave you stranded. Why not get wined and dined first then you BOTH get what you want. Stop GIVING your valuable experience and tenure away, make them pay upfront instead of whoring out your business. Stop bending over backward and treating them like gold so that they will come back because the more that you respect your business they more they respect YOU.
SOLUTION: First, ask your repeat clients if they can do direct deposits. It would benefit you to have a PayPal or Quickbooks account to accomplish this or if it’s a corporation ask how you can set it up. This will kill a TON of wasted time. Next offer a discount for an up front payment. Realize the most important thing: THEY CAME TO YOU! When this is the case the ball is in your court. Don’t sell yourself short by extending them credit, doing the work then having to chase them for months for the money. At the end fo the day, they will get pissed at YOU for bugging them and will probably not do business with you again as if YOU are the bad guy for getting on their nerves. All of this could have been avoided by respecting yourself and your business from gate and asking for your money up front.
PROBLEM: People want to be paid instantly for their work even if it means you depositing money in their bank accounts.
SOLUTION: NO! I know another black entrepreneur who doesn’t see the problems with this but I do. First of all, your business is not a money tree or a welfare agency. This is the problem when people can talk directly to the person who holds the purse strings. I have heard every sob story you can imagine but I have found two things to be true: When you pay people too soon the quality of the work is diminished because their focus is more on getting paid, second, if you have to leave your computer to pay someone by going to your bank then their bank, standing in line and depositing money that is NOT your job. Designate two paydays, for example, the first and the 15th and let them know that they will be receiving a check or a payment via PayPal or Quickbooks on those dates. If they have Paypal, while it’s up to you, you should NOT pay the fees. Getting paid via PayPay is to the contractors benefit NOT YOURS. It’s an option for convenience, they can avoid the fees by getting a check in the mail. You do not have time to hear sob stories or to help other people with their financial problems you are running a business. It will hurt the esteem of your business and your ability to grow taking on that added and unnecessary burden. Remember, growth is the key NOT stagnation.