How to Put Together a Great Team for a Project

black-owned, black black entrepreneurs, gig, side hustles

How to Put Together a Great Team for a Project

There is nothing better than having the right team for whatever project that you’re working on. A great team helps drive the vehicle. But having the wrong team can drive your vehicle off a cliff or crashing into an 18 wheeler while you are trying to tend to the whiny and needy adult baby people in the backseat. In many of these situations, your intentions were good but you put other people’s needs in front of your project.

Two things that it took me a really long time to grasp is: it’s never wise to hire people who think that working…. well, it’s not their thing … and they may even say things like ‘You know, I’m not a working kind of persoooooon?’ The economy is not to blame for some people not working, it’s their attitude, lack of drive, motivation and negatively. Sometimes people can’t find work because people don’t want to hire them because of their disposition, attitude, and energy. There are lazy, negative and insecure people from all walks of life but the greater your pool the greater your chances for success. So make sure you looking the best places for the best people and never limit yourself.

Once you map out exactly what you want to do with your project, then it’s time to take action and hit the road but one thing you must be very cautious of is what you load up the vehicle with before you take off for your destination. You want to carry the least about of weight and nothing that will slow down the ride or cause your project vehicle to break down.

While it may be inappropriate it certainly would be easier if you could tell the people on your team to “treat me like a white boss.” Sounds harsh but there’s a reason there is a distance created between a boss and employees. Unfortunately, as black entrepreneurs, we often try to be all things to all people, doctor, mother, father, minister, therapist, bank, friend etc which causes an inordinate amount of stress to us and our projects. Once again, putting other people’s needs in front of your own.

These are some of the things that I’ve learned over the years, sometimes twice and three times, that have really helped me to have a smooth(er) ride. This is for any project that you’re coming up with branding and putting together and the team to get the job done.

Hire the BEST PEOPLE for the job!

The only thing that you should be obligated and dedicated to is a great project from start to finish. Don’t worry about the types of people you are going to hire. You cannot save the world with one project you have to do it piece by piece. In statistics, you take a sample of a population to come up with the answers for the entire population. Make sure your population is unlimited so that you have a better chance of getting the greatest possible outcomes. Know that the PROJECT is PARAMOUNT.

Hire people who know MORE than you.

A lot of the times we have a tendency to think that we could bring people on board who can think like us but very few people think like you and this is why you are not more successful in the moment… you will take a lot of your time and energy or waste a lot of your time and energy in trying to find people who duplicate you when you should be trying to bring in the elements that compliment your abilities. At best you can hire an assistant to duplicate what you do but trying to hire a team to duplicate you is not only dumb it’s a waste of time and money.

Higher self-starters

No hand holding or babysitting but make sure they know to ask questions if they’re not sure about something. In the past, I have made the HUGE mistake of hiring people I thought were self-starters but instead, they will put themselves under stress and make decisions that messed up the entire project without consulting me. They rely on their tenure in my industry, which is usually dated. There are three ways that you could check with the leader of the project when you have questions, email, text, call. You want people who will ask questions and not assume everything especially when they’re not sure about something. however, you certainly don’t have time to babysit and have someone who’s calling you or emailing you and reaching out to you constantly about small things either. This can be very annoying and can interrupt your thought process. Some people need constant supervision and hand-holding and babysitting and that’s not the people you need on your team, you need to give them examples of your last project.

This is probably the best way that they can see your vision. Unfortunately, I have done this before and sometimes people don’t even look at what you’ve given them and they still assume or make mistakes but then there’s another way that you can resolve the situation if they don’t follow instructions which is the next one.

Do a test before committing!

What I mean by this is whatever you’re looking for say, for example, it’s an editor or press release writer. Offer them a small fee for a one-page test to have to you within 24 hours to see what they can do. This will save you a TON of time, money, energy and headaches because once you’re in the project you don’t want this flat tire or those people who SAY they’re qualified to do something and you find out when it’s too late that they’re not. They’re looking for a quick way to pay their electric bill you’re looking to build a brand. You have to realize that you need people that you can call on to do more than just this project with you so they have to be reliable, dependable and qualified. The test will let you know all three.

Be wary of hiring friends and family

In all honesty, I think you would find more joy in putting a blindfold on, giggling like a grade school girl and running across an LA freeway at 5:30 in the afternoon just to see if you can beat the traffic and not end up as roadkill.

Some people will say that this is a good idea but they’re usually not very successful people. Look at all the sports figures and rappers who brought all their family and friends on board for the journey of their success and end up with nothing. The people around you will either lift you up or drown you and if you want to be lifted you have to get out of your comfort zones.

If you hire friends you probably won’t be friends for long you need somebody that you can give direction to who will actually do the job instead of bringing up the bike you got for Christmas when you were kids and they didn’t get to rid it.

Hiring friends and family is just not a good idea I’ve done in the past and I would not recommend it. If they need money just give it to them, if you have it, but there are some people who are not working because nobody wants to DEAL with them. Family and friends come to the table with their own expectations as if they are a partner instead of hired help. They decide what they want to do and how they want to do it no matter what kind of instructions you give them. They are stuck in their ways and a lot of the times that slows down, disrupts and delays your project. I’m not sure if I’ve alluded to this yet but um…….. I would strongly suggest NOT hiring friends and colleagues? (I may have said that about 20 times, I’m not sure).

Naysayers Negative People and Debbie Downers

One of the things that will bring your project crashing down like a 10.2 earthquake on the Richter scale is negative people. I don’t care what anybody says but negative people suck the air out of a room, out of people and out of a project. They are like Dracula, draining the blood from something until it’s dead. When there is no more blood the negative person gets bored then moves on to the next happy-go-lucky victim to eagerly desecrate.

It is amazing how that level of energy can destroy a project not just from their end but from your end because it’s taking positive time away from you to build what you’re trying to build but it’s also taking time away from the rest of the team who may need assistance or help or could be building on what they’re doing. Just one negative person can cause the whole project to avalanche. Then they will blame you for not firing them (lol). They have excuses for everything they can’t do and will blame YOU for everything THEY do wrong. Get rid of them NOW … just pay them and send them back into the wilderness of the crypt because the longer you keep them on board the more it’s going to affect your project.

I have had disasters when I’ve kept people on board who I was simply trying to help but it ended up affecting the entire project and causing a lot more work, stress and money for everyone on the team. Eliminate any and all negative people including the people that you deal with while you working on your project OUTSIDE of the project, you will be amazed at how jealousy can creep up from a few of your so-called friends who see that you are busy. if you have negative people in your family or if you have negative friends block all their calls until your project is complete you can’t afford that energy. You have to be totally focused on getting your project accomplished and eliminate any and everything that is negative.

Make sure your terms are clear in the beginning

This is paramount as far as the pay, what you expect and when you will pay. Also when to email you and when to call you. Give this to each person in writing. Will they read it? Maybe but know that when you hire independent people who have not worked in a while there is a good chance that they have financial problems and they think that they can call you and get their money early. You are NOT Bank of America or PayDay Loans but try offering them their money in advance when they ask for it at a discount of 30% off and see how they respond like Payday loans does. They will probably curse you out in another language.

To be honest, I’ve even had people ask me to take the money to their bank and stand in line and put it in their account because they don’t have Zeele or PayPal. Like a fool, I did it. What is it about black entrepreneurs putting the needs of others in front of our own? There is something very wrong when the owner of a business becomes the assistant to the people he or she HIRES. Just bang your head into the wall to see if you can increase the odds of WAKING UP! Would they ask their boss at a corporation to do this? No, I know that sounds harsh again but it’s true you are not obligated to be anybody’s bank or financial institution they get paid when the job is complete like any other job. MOST important, and I’ve had this happen, once they get the money early then they will no longer be interested in completing the project. Look at it like this, they are going to talk about you any way you look at but they will look real stupid when they tell people “Do you know Kevin refused to pay me until the work was done? What kind of sh is that?”

Heed the warnings in advance. If someone tells you that they have personal problems or family problems that they are taking care of BEFORE you hire them DON’T HIRE THEM or YOU will now have a problem too. They are letting you know that they’re going to be obligated to whatever that personal situation is and that it’s going to disrupt your project. When someone brings personal problems to an interview they’re going to bring it to the team and the project too.

Never make the same mistakes again

If you hire somebody and they don’t work out and you end up getting rid of them I don’t care how desperate you are, do not make the same mistake again because you going to get the exact same thing if not worse, have a backup plan in advance early on test everybody out make sure they bring to the table what you need and then talk to everybody have a conference call as a test to see who is going to be aggressive and who’s going to lay back. You need aggressive people with ideas on your team people who know more than you and know how to ask questions and take charge. You have to ask yourself if you are running a business or a nursery school for adults baby people … then proceed forth.

These are the lessons that I’ve learned in business but they can certainly apply to anyone who is also working in business or has a project trying to hire a team for social media marketing or whatever it is you’re trying to put together these tips can work for you I wish you the best.



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Kevin Ross
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