“A strong team can take any crazy vision and turn it into reality.” – John Carmack
Statements like “teamwork makes the dream work” or “it takes a village” have become so overused that they’re now considered cliches—but they’re overused for a reason.
Creating a team is one of the key ingredients for a successful and thriving beauty business. Even if you’re starting as a solopreneur and doing all the work yourself, you can only grow so far before you’ll run into your own limitations. These might be limitations of skill or of time, but either way, you’ll need to hire a team if you want to grow.
It’s helpful to think about which components of your work you’d want to outsource first, before you need to do it, so that you’re ready when the time comes.
In this post, we’ll discuss how to build a team for your business, including how to decide who to hire, and how to manage the people who make the cut.
Roles and Responsibilities—Deciding What to Outsource
First, make a list of every task you complete that’s related to your business. One good way to go about this is to record every task you do over the course of a week. But don’t forget those tasks that recur less frequently, like invoicing or making payments to vendors.
Alternatively, you can sit down and record everything you can think of. You can always add to this list as you go.
Here’s a list to get you started:
- Shipping products
- Filing trademark or copyright paperwork
- Writing and responding to emails
- Tracking stock counts
- Managing team/interns
- Communicating with team
- Website development and management
- Graphic design
- Newsletter, blog, etc.
- Review monthly expenses & income
- Manage accounting software
- File sales & use tax
- File quarterly small business taxes
- Social media management
- Ad creation and distribution
- Relationship building
- Content creation
- Product Development
- Product testing
- Working with chemists, manufacturers, or vendors
- Ordering products
Before making any decisions about who you’d want to hire, make sure you create a thorough list of the roles and responsibilities in your business. Include the skills necessary to do them well, and be honest about noting where your skill set might be weakest.
Identify gaps and prioritize them
Now that you’ve got a list, review it closely. Most of the things on your list will be done by you and/or your co-founders, if you’ve started the business with others.
At this stage, if any tasks jump out at you as things you especially dislike doing, or as things that you aren’t best suited for, make sure to highlight those. Also make note of the tasks that take up a lot of time with little reward. For instance, maybe you enjoy the administrative tasks, but you know your time is better spent on bigger-picture responsibilities.
Which tasks are you great at? What do you most enjoy doing? Is there anything on the list that you don’t feel you do well now, but that you want to learn?
The tasks that jump out as either being enjoyable or matching your skill set should be done by you (or a co-founder). If you do have a partner, make sure you’re both clear on who will be handling which responsibilities from the list to avoid confusion or miscommunication.
Deciding who to hire
Interns are a great option for those tasks that you’re unwilling to do, and that are easy to train someone else to do. This frees up your time to focus on the bigger picture tasks and can save you from getting lost in administrative minutiae. You can also hire them for just a few hours a week if that’s all you need.
Some tasks are best suited for a professional who has studied or specializes in a certain task. Common examples are graphic and web design, copywriting, accounting, and legal. Some of these tasks (like accounting and legal) require a specialized degree or certificate for people to practice them, so taking them on yourself is risky. These are high priority tasks to outsource once the level of complexity gets too high for your comfort.
Using accounting software like Quickbooks or Xero, you can do a fair amount of accounting yourself. However, it’s helpful (and often saves money in the long run) to hire an accountant to do things like taxes. You might also want to hire an attorney for high-profile tasks like Trademark searches, creating a founder agreement, and building contracts for freelancers, interns, or any other team members you choose to bring on.
Even if a degree isn’t needed, it’s still a good idea to hire someone with specialized skills to do any high-profile work. This is even more true if your own skills are lacking for that task.
If you don’t have a background in design, you certainly can create your initial branding elements (logo, fonts, colors, etc.). But consider whether the end result will be what you’d want it to be. For ongoing projects, you can always re-use initial elements that you hire a professional to create without having to outsource all design tasks.
Similarly, you may want to hire a professional copywriter to craft your brand language and write a sales e-mail funnel or marketing website for you, especially if your own efforts aren’t converting.
If you find that you do need help with creative services, let us know! We’ve been right where you are and are now experts with years of experience in graphic design, web design, copywriting, and more. Schedule a free 30 minute consultation here.
Here’s a quick review:
You (or your co-founder) should do things that:
- You’re skilled at
- You enjoy doing
- You’re interested in or willing to learn how to do
Good possibilities for outsourcing to interns:
- Easy tasks to train and offload
- Tasks you don’t want to do
- Tasks that don’t make good use of your time
Consider hiring an expert or professional (ex: writer, accountant, lawyer, designer, chemist) for:
- Tasks requiring a degree
- High-visibility tasks that don’t match your skill set
- Tasks that take you far too much time to do well
Hiring and working with interns
Hiring interns can be one of the best ways to move your business forward. The list of benefits is long. They can take hours of work off your plate, and often these tasks are things solopreneurs don’t particularly enjoy doing. These are tasks like posting to social media, writing blog posts and newsletter, and other ongoing administrative tasks that are urgent but not necessarily highly skilled or strategic.
Where to Find Interns
Contact schools in your area or online to find students who are studying the skills you’re looking for. (Remember those skills you added to your list of Roles and Responsibilities?) Most schools have an online board or student employment site where you can post open positions, including internships.
What to Pay
Be straightforward and clear about what you’re willing to offer in exchange for the work. If you offer minimum wage, make sure to research the minimum wage requirement for the city and state your intern lives in. If you offer an unpaid internship, be aware that you might be expected to offer more value in the form of interaction or teaching. Or, the intern may be less engaged.
How to Interview
Focus your hiring around the tasks you want the intern to perform and the corresponding skill set.
For instance, the hiring process for an intern who will be doing social media posts might include a sample writing assignment along with an interview. If you do add a sample assignment to the hiring process, don’t just look at the quality of the work. Be sure to take note of when they turn it in. If their work is on time or early, it’s a good sign that they’re mindful of deadlines in general. On the other hand, if they send their work late, or don’t follow all the guidelines you provided in your instructions, they may struggle with attention to detail during a real-life working scenario.
During interviews, watch their reactions to your questions before they answer. And of course, pay close attention to their answers as well! Interviewing involves a fair amount of reading between the lines, so pay attention to the whole interview, not just what an applicant is saying.
Questions to ask might include:
- What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- How do you manage deadlines and prioritize tasks?
- How do you handle conflict?
- What are you studying?
- What are you passionate about?
- What do you hope to learn by interning here?
To use an intern effectively, create a list of tasks that they’ll need to accomplish within a set time frame. Include any firm due dates, and make sure to provide them with this task list in advance.
Agree on their number of working hours each week, and how they will track their time. There are some excellent online tools, like Toggl, to help make time tracking easier. Check in with them regularly (at least weekly) to ensure that expectations are still aligned, and to provide feedback.
Every person you hire should sign a contract that’s co-signed by you. This will protect both parties and make sure that expectations are clear and captured in writing.
There are a few ways to get initial contracts written:
- Legal Zoom provides sample contracts that you can download and edit
- Hire a lawyer to write a new one for you from scratch, then edit this ongoing for similar future hires
- Use a past contract you’ve had with someone else, and make adjustments as needed
Whatever you choose, make sure your contract specifies the scope of the work to be done, the amount to be paid to the freelancer or intern, and the actions/deliverables each of you agree to (including the timeline).
The contract should also specify that you own the work they create for you, and that all of their work is confidential until it’s released to the public.
Setting up an advisory board
You may want to set up an advisory board for your beauty business, on top of building a team. Wonderful advisors can be found on LinkedIn or beauty industry organizations like Cosmetic Executive Women.
Advisory boards—essentially, business mentors—can be an incredible asset. They can help you to make more informed decisions, including how and when to spend your resources.
For example, if you create an advisory board including an expert in online business, that person could tell you with a high degree of accuracy (and realism) how much you should plan to spend on online advertising. This might spare you a lot of trial and error, which might see you spending precious time and energy on strategies that don’t work well.
When to start
Start thinking about your advisory board early, as soon as you start your business. You don’t have to make anything official yet; just keep it in mind from the start.
Then, about 6 months after you’ve gone public and started to sell products, start to bring in one or two advisory board members who are familiar with your business (or business problem). This tends to be most effective at the 6-month mark because you’ve started sales and marketing, and have a pretty good idea of what your business trajectory looks like.
How to compensate an advisory board
Typically, compensation for a board member looks like ownership of a small percentage of your company. (Somewhere around 3% is a reasonable ballpark, depending on your circumstances.)
Work with a lawyer to draft an agreement and make sure that you retain majority ownership by holding at least 51% of the business at all times.
Who to include
Because you’re providing a valuable asset in exchange for their advice, be sure the advisors you choose have proven success in the beauty industry, or in a key area of focus for you. You might look for people who specialize in:
- Online beauty product sales: marketers, CEOs of other beauty brands, investors
- Finance and balancing a business budget
- Working with different types of buyers in the beauty industry
Be sure they are fully aware of your budget so they can give you targeted advice.
Want to learn more?
For a start-to-finish look at how to build and grow your beauty business, check out our course, Learn How to Launch a Beauty Product. We cover every aspect of starting a beauty business, from creating a solid foundation and getting funding to manufacturing, branding, sales, and marketing. This guided approach keeps you on track and makes the process feel less overwhelming. To learn more about turning your product ideas into reality, sign up for our newsletters and read more about the course here.