Today’s episode tackles the common roadblocks women hit when they are approaching the hiring game and answers questions like: when is it time to hire? who is the right person? what important steps can you take to prepare for the hiring process? Emily also touches on managing work without MICROmanaging and how to fully tap into your zone of genius. Check Emily out HERE.

How To Hire: Releasing Control with Emily Perron

Emily Perron is a writer, speaker and productivity coach. Her number one goal is to align the right person with the right role, so business owners and freelancers alike feel empowered to work within their individual skill-sets and strengths.



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Show Notes:

  • What does ‘hustle like a mother’ mean to you?
    • It’s really about working your way. ‘Cuz we each have different strengths and personalities and skill sets and zones of genius and experience and all of these things. I think generally our culture says ‘hustle’ looks like this. It is one way. And tries to force everyone to hustle the same way. But that’s where I think ‘hustle like a mother’ is so much more about doing what’s right for you.
  • Tell us more about your business journey, how you got started. When did you find that this was your niche and what you were the most passionate about and how did you kind of figure that out for your business?
    • It took me a bit, to be honest. It’s been a journey. I started my career in the corporate world and that’s that’s when I originally got into hiring, I was always the person involved in the hiring process at the corporate company and while I was there, I earned a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology.
    • When I got out into my business and started career coaching originally, I thought I’ve got this, like, I know my strengths, I know how to hire. And then it was way harder than I thought it was good to be. I’m hiring as a solo entrepreneur. Like there’s not billions of dollars backing me anymore. It’s so deeply personal. And it’s so challenging. And coupled on top of that is employees and freelancers. They’re looking for different things and I wasn’t in a place to hire an employee. I was looking for a freelancer and just for a few hours a week and that’s where the stumbling block was. I was used to this old way and I needed this new way. And there weren’t a lot of people out there teaching [how to do that].
    • And still I feel like it’s a very rare find. There’s not a lot of people helping in this space. And so that’s where I just set out to learn it for myself. I was planning to just keep career coaching and I wanted to figure out how to get help. And then I started getting more requests from friends in business for help. Like they wanted help finding virtual assistance. They wanted help like finding writers for their blog and so that’s how I got into it. A friend introduced me to a really amazing food blogger and we hit it off and she wanted me to recruit for her. And I said, okay, I’ll do it. Even though I had never done it for anyone else. And I was like, it’s a test. We’ll try it. Worst case, I’ll return her money. But it worked brilliantly. And my process did really work for other people and especially for creatives and solo entrepreneurs in particular.
  • How, what was that shift that you took from that into what you’re doing now? What did that feel like? And how did you know it was time to kind of change what you were doing and figure out something different? 
    • I think part of it was just the scale and the ease, right.  I felt like, especially in the career coaching phase, I was really struggling to get traction. And supporting people with hiring and doing more of the productivity coaching side was just so much easier. Maybe part of it too was a shift from reaching more general consumers to working with businesses. Being so entrepreneurial myself, it was just a better fit. I could understand entrepreneurs and solo entrepreneurs so much better. And I knew their struggles.
  • What are some of the most common roadblocks that you hear and help people overcome when it comes to approaching, hiring and figuring out when that next step is?
    • A few things come to mind. I think the big one is the right role. There’s a lot of pressure out there, especially on solo entrepreneurs and digital entrepreneurs, creative entrepreneurs, to hire a virtual assistant. It seems like everyone is doing it. But just because that is true, just cuz lots of people are doing it, doesn’t mean that’s the right role for your business. You might need something else like a social media manager.
    • I actually think it’s better to be more specific when you’re early in your hiring journey or in your management journey, your leading journey. I think being more specific is easier to manage than trying to find someone like a generalist or someone to replace you. 
    • [Also think about] what can you automate first and get off your plate that way and then go, okay, these are the things that can’t be automated, so I really have to have somebody take these over if I’m gonna take them off my plate.
    • A second stumbling block or roadblock that I’ve seen is the job posting. There are so many people, right. If we’re getting the job posting wrong then freelancers are super skeptical. They’re looking through lots of jobs. They’re applying regularly. So they can tell if you know what you’re doing or not with the hiring process.
  • What are some tips you have to doing a really good job posting?
    • I think the two most important areas are the responsibilities and the qualifications. Those need to be really clear and they need to be toward the top. As solo entrepreneurs and small businesses, we have to do some things differently and one of them is to lead more with who you’re looking for and what they would be doing. And then being really specific, especially in the responsibilities. The more specific you can be, the better you’re setting people up for success.
    • My suggestion is to ditch cover letters. One of my questions I always ask is what is their zone of genius? So I ask usually about three to five questions instead of asking for a cover letter. What I was finding with cover letters is that everyone says different things. There’s no standardization. And so by asking specific questions it’s so much easier to compare candidates and especially cuz then I can literally ask them what their zone of genius is and see what it is.
  • How do you get hands off, especially if you have never been hands off for some things before and get out of that mindset for micromanaging? What are your tips for kind of releasing the control and stepping away from the micromanagement? 
    • A few things come to mind. I love this conversation and this question because it’s one that I see a lot. There’s a lot of people that are struggling to let go because these are our babies, right? These are the things we’ve created – our businesses – from nothing and they’re so personal. I believe the true key is in onboarding – that first one to three months that you’re working together is the most crucial. Number one is I always offer a work trial. So start with a 30-day trial because it gives both you and the freelancer permission to say this is not working. It gets a lot easier if you’ve got an out scheduled-in that usually you don’t need, but if it is not a great fit and you know within a couple weeks, sometimes it can be really hard to cut losses without this.
    • I think the other part is to go slow. I think it’s important to go slow in handing things off – like slower than you think – because we know our businesses so well – you know yours, I know mine, but this new person doesn’t know anything about us and doesn’t know anything about your business Work with them on what’s the next thing you can hand off. 
    • My third tip is really to use a feedback loop. A lot of times the temptation as business owners is to fix it ourselves. [You] give an assignment, review it and then fix what’s wrong. But the freelancer is missing out on that opportunity to learn. And you’re also missing out on the opportunity to build trust with them. And so it’s so much better to give them the assignment, you know, review it, give them feedback and then let them implement it themselves and then do a double check. And you don’t have to do this forever. This is, again, this is in one to three months. This is anytime you’re giving them something new. We should go through this process a couple times to make sure you’ve got it. And then, and then it should just be smooth sailing from there. And if it’s not, that’s a good sign, like this is maybe not the right fit. 
  • You use the term checking in, can you differentiate kind of what checking in versus micromanagement might look like those two versus each other? How do you know if you are micromanaging versus just being a good check-in and being a support versus you know, getting all up in somebody’s business when they don’t need that?
    • I think it’s helpful to think about the intention. I would notice the intention for the check-in and also notice the emotion connected to it. So when I’m checking in with a freelancer, I don’t feel any sort of way. I feel neutral. I wanna be helpful, things like that, but if I’m checking in more as a micromanager, I’m gonna be feeling anxious.
    • If the answer then is micromanaging, I think it can also be helpful to just be honest with that contractor. Like I really wanna check in with this. I’m having a hard time letting go of this item. You might not have been ready to hand off whatever you’re struggling with.
    • I usually have a mandatory check-in every like twice a month, generally, or once a week for like the first three months-ish where it’s like, okay, these are our tasks. How are you feeling about this? Where can I answer questions? How can I make this easier for you? What are you up to? I’m just double-checking work. And then I’ve usually found after that it’s like maybe once a month, sometimes not even if people are really good at what they’re doing. Your communication might be good enough that you don’t need to have those, you know, weekly or bimonthly check-ins.
  • I would love to hear if there are any more tips or tricks about hiring, micromanaging, zone of genius – any other things that you feel would be great as we end the episode. 
    • I think in terms of the takeaways, I think keeping in mind, just “right role, right job posting, right process.” And in that order. If you can be successful in those first two items – if you can get the role right, and the job posting right – you’re not going to mess up the hiring process because it’s going to be easier to see who is the right fit, who you are really interested in, who you should be speaking with. It just makes everything flows so much better when you get those first two components. When in doubt, I’ve found niching down and going specific for a job versus getting somebody super general has saved me in the long run. So if you can get that, that kind of does half the work. Having somebody who’s very specific in what they can do for you is huge.
  • So where can we find you on the internet?

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