Do You Need a Big Team to be Successful?

In this week's episode of Chill & Prosper, we’re talking about growing your support. 

Do you need a big team to be successful in your business? 

You might be surprised about who I hire in my multi-million dollar business. 


I talk about ...

  • Debunking the myth of the big team
  • What my team looks like
  • Hiring the right people for the right thing
  • Automating as much as possible
  • Going into business with my husband


Hey. Oh gosh. This week we are going to be talking about two really juicy topics. One, should you have a big team to be successful in your business? And then should you go into business with a partner, your best friend, or someone that you know? All right. So first of all, this idea that you need a big team to be successful. This is a tricky one for a lot of entrepreneurs, right? Because we often go into business for ourselves because we want to work by ourselves because we want to have control over everything. And often I see then people really over-invest very quickly into making sure that they have a ton of people working for them. So there is no right or wrong around this. Okay. Today I want to challenge the viewpoint that you have to have a big team to be successful.

And the only reason that I am bringing that to you, one, because I'm an introvert and two, because I actually have a super lean team. So I'm on team lean team, team, lean team. You might be on team, big team, and that is okay as well. If the idea excites you or makes you want to barf and run away and throw a new business for an easy life. That's great. We're going to talk about a lot of that stuff today. Because I have some great news for you. You can create your business and any way you like, I run a multi-million dollar business and I still don't have a big full time team. So I'm going to take you behind the scenes in my business, get you rethinking you that you have to do that. Okay. And also then after the break, we'll talk about if you should go into business with a friend or a business partner, because that's going to be interesting as well.

So when people find out that I have a multi-million dollar business, they assume one of two things, one, that I must work crazy busy hours to make that kind of income, which I don't. And actually spoiler alert, you have to work less than you did before to make more money. I know, it doesn't work in your brain. And the second assumption is that I must have a lot of people on my team helping me. Now I'm not saying I do this all by myself. I don't know a single successful entrepreneur who can claim that they do. And I run this for myself because of my personality. As I said, I'm an introvert. I always found jobs where I could work by myself. Even when I was working in big corporations, PricewaterhouseCoopers, I'd always find a role that had no people working under them.

And it was just a random little role, lone wolf in the company. So when I set up my business, I remember my friends telling me that I had to keep on hiring people. And that was the way to go to get to that six figure and then that seven figure business. But if I was going to set my business up in that way and force myself to be in supervisor mode, I just don't think that would work for me. So a lot of people were surprised to find out that my team costs a very small part of my overall expenses and I don't have any full-time staff. So how have I managed to grow my business with such a lean team? So it all comes down to two guiding principles, number one, get the right people doing the right things. Okay. The right people doing the right things.

Now I've heard way too many stories of entrepreneurs who have assumed that just hiring an assistant or hiring social media person or whatever. It's just one of the things that you just do. Right? And so often people do it way too early before their business is ready for it. Or they don't know. And they haven't set themselves up for success around it. I did this, it was so embarrassing. I did this my first year. I hired someone to be a virtual assistant for me. And then I just never contacted them. And I paid them for like 10 weeks and I never sent them any tasks and they would go, "Hey, anything you want me to do?" And I'd just go, "ehh." And then eventually I just stopped the payments and then they didn't say anything.

And that sounds so random. But then the next time I tried it, I did it with an agency. And I outsourced to a firm who had staff in India. So it was much cheaper. So I had them for much longer and I just did not know what to do to fill their day. And that was not leading me towards this Chillpreneur lifestyle I wanted. It stressed me out big time and it was very non-ideal. So what should you do if you do want to start outsourcing and you do want to build a team, but you don't want to make the mistake of hiring the wrong people for the right thing, the wrong thing. So I would sit down and just write a list, okay. Of all the things that need to be done in your business, you can start with the things that stress you out the most.

So it could be your bookkeeping, your customer service, doing emails, scheduling clients. It could be tech stuff. It could be sending your newsletter out. That stress-out list is probably the first place that you would go to hire out. Okay. So that's all the stuff that's just causing you stress. Now, you know what, as women, and I know not everyone listening is a woman, but it might not be stuff in your business that's stressing you out. It actually might be stuff at home. So it could be, if you've got kids, it could be doing laundry, or school lunches or cleaning your house or whatever that all goes on your list as well. Because I consider my home team to be just as important as my business team. Okay. So that's the first list. And then I would make a list of things that currently are stopping you from making more money.

So it could be a website that's broken. It could be graphic design that you know is turning off clients. It could be a website that's not mobile responsive. It could be an email system that's not sending out your newsletters properly. Things that stop you making money. That's the next area that you should work on. And then you can also do a list of things that you think will start making you more money. So this could be a Facebook ad person, a launch manager, or for someone to help you just knuckle down and finish writing and publishing your course. So they're the three lists, right? Things that stress you out, things that stop you making money and things that would start to help you make money. Now, none of these people have to be full time, by the way, but the choice to hire every person has to move you forward to your goal of chill and prosper, making money, less work, and you can start small.

And actually most of us should start with just a couple of hours. If you find someone who does this for a lot of clients, they're very used to just billing you for a few hours. That's totally fine. You think of accountants, they bill you in six minute increments. If you can find an assistant, someone who works as an OBM, online business manager, or a VA, virtual assistant, they might be used to doing some of these tasks for a lot of people and they would be happy to bill you and start quite small. You do not have to jump in and just hire everyone full time. That's totally fine. When I finally cracked the assistant problem, instead of trying to do too much, I just said, "it'd be five hours a week," just to do customer service just to go through my inbox and just make sure that that was taken care of.

And then we gradually expanded her role. And I still only have a part-time assistant working 20 hours a week or so, but it's the right person doing the right things. I also like hiring people on a project by project basis. So you can hire most people like graphic designers, copywriters, people who do videos for you, people who do some marketing, you can hire them on a project basis. So instead of getting them to do like, "oh, can you do 10 graphics?" It's, "well, can you do a hundred graphics and schedule them out for the whole year?" I love batching myself, but I love hiring people for just high intensity things. It's about making your life as easy as possible. And to be honest, I like keeping my expenses as easy and lean as possible.

So you might be curious about my current team. So our business revenue, when I say, "our," it's me and my husband now, is at about that 3.5 million, but I made it to 1.5 million with just me and a part-time assistant. Because I was really focused on money driving activities, simple business model, Money Bootcamp, that's all. And I didn't have a lot of complexity. So it was just me. I was responsible for all the marketing. So I did all social media marketing, I did Facebook lives every day, periscope. You remember that Periscope lives every day? I went on a ton of podcasts and my assistant, she did all the admin of that. So she did customer service, she helped people get into my Money Bootcamp if they had problems, she sometimes scheduled podcasts for me. But it was just a very easy business model. However, even just with me and my assistant and I still didn't work full-time then, because I was having babies.

I had a few contractors here and there, so I'd have my bookkeeper and I would bring in someone to do video stuff every now and again and just hire people when I needed them. But most of it was just me and her. Now that might surprise you, that you could get to six figures or a million dollars with such a small team. But as I said, it was very simple business model. The more you add your complexity, sometimes the more people that you have to add. Okay. So here's my current team. So as I said, we're at the $3.5 million. So me, I am the face of the business. I can't outsource this. I show up, I speak, and I show my face. So I'm on podcasts probably four or five times a week. Sometimes my team pitches them, but often the more podcasts you're on, the more that people will ask you to be on podcasts.

So we don't have to do a ton of work around that. And I automate as much as possible when someone books in to a podcast with me, there's no back and forth as much as possible. We try and eliminate that because I have my bio on the form. I have pictures, a link to a Dropbox with pictures. I have everything there. So that eliminates a lot of the back and forth. So my job is just to show up, be here now. And my job is to obviously fulfill coaching calls in my Money Bootcamp. Now that's really my main responsibility in the business. I also create all of the social media content and I just do that. I batch that, once a month I'll sit down and I'll probably do 20 different things and I schedule them up.

I could outsource the scheduling. I totally could. And I probably will. And I have at certain points, but at the moment I'm still doing that. So this is where we get a lot of our leads. This is how people find me. I generally say no to PR opportunities that take much time. Like if someone asks me to write an article, it's way too much work for me. But if they ask to get on for 30 minutes and interview me to create an article, that's definitely my preferred. So you can see how there's so many different ways to run your business, but I always do it in a way that's going to be the fewer amount of people as possible and the most amount of ease for me. So that's pretty much my role in the company. Now I'm going to take a quick break and I'm going to come back and tell you everyone else in my business and what they do as well. All 

My name is, Heather Schwartz. I'm a writer in upstate New York, and I also produce books through my company, Connections for Kids. I was so inspired by Denise's story of how she won the honeymoon contest in her book, Lucky Bitch, and the takeaway for me was that there's always more you can do, because it's true. I realized there was so much more I could be doing for my career and my creativity and my earning potential. I was just really inspired by every word of that book and the other two as well. So I would recommend Denise's work to anyone.

Hello, I'm Heidi Mark from a little village in England and I help frustratingly overwhelmed entrepreneurs and employees find their unique way to live the successful life they long for without screwing up the health and relationships. I absolutely love everything Denise has written. It's literally changed my life. I recommend her books all the time, Be a Guru, Not a Contributor, changed my life, Remove the Fair, and also changing the whole conversation around women having money is a really good thing. Love it. Freedom, joy, relief, at being able to do this work. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Okay, welcome back. So I've just told you what I do in the business, which is pretty much being the face of the business. That took me a little while to come too, because I felt I had to do a bit of everything. And when Mark, my husband came into the business, I felt I had to muck-in a little bit more. So that took a little bit of unlearning to do that.

Okay. So Mark's role is actually a bit of a, Jack of all trades, role. And I'll admit, that I'd probably have to hire a couple of extra people to replace Mark. So Mark is our launch manager. So he manages our launches. Which means that he's just the overall person who just makes it all happen. So if we need to write copy or emails, he'll either write them and get me to check them. Or sometimes we'll hire out an external copywriter and he just pulls all the elements together for our main launch. And there's a ton of moving pieces for that. There's Facebook ads, which he also does now, we've brought that in house and just managing all of the bits and pieces that go into doing a launch.

Now, if I didn't have Mark, I would have to hire that role. To be honest, I'd probably just eliminate it altogether and just not really those big launch events. Because just don't want to basically, and as I said, Mark also does our Facebook ads now. I didn't do Facebook ads before Mark came into the business. I just went for more organic leads and I would say also, Mark just does a lot of that, ah, I don't know, just driving the business forward sometimes in now looking at what marketing places we want to do, different marketing channels.

So he might look into YouTube ads or Google ads or things like that. Probably stuff that again, if I didn't have him, I probably wouldn't do. The other thing that Mark does is our affiliate program. So we used to run an affiliate program where people promoted Money Bootcamp. And we eliminated that just for simplicity because it got to a point where it's so big, I'd have to add a whole person, I think, just to manage that program. But he also manages if we're an affiliate for somebody else. So if I'm promoting someone's work, Mark will usually manage that process from start to finish. So as you can see, even though I'm like, "oh, I've got a really lean team." My husband's in the business who would be probably three people's roles, which is still appropriate for the size of my business. And I would say that neither of Mark or I are full-time in the business, in a traditional sense, because we've got kids, we've got dogs, we've both have hobbies. And even though we still probably work a little bit too much, we're definitely not full-time in the business.

So that's myself and Mark. Now who else is on my team? So I have a part-time admin assistant who is a bit of a, Jack of all trades. So she might do our newsletter. She'll be the point of call for all customer service inquiries. And she'll just manage the inbox. And that role can be very varied. Because obviously if someone responds and wants a refund, she has to do those admin processes. If someone's got something wrong with their account, they can't access Money Bootcamp, she'll do that. So it's a little bit of a tech role, a little bit of customer service, and administration.

As I said, I got to a million dollars just with me and an admin assistant. So if I didn't have Mark, I would probably just, go back to just that simple business model. And then I bring people in every now and again. So I might bring in a video person and I'll sit in a hotel room for five days and we'll film videos. And my bookkeeper, my accountant, they're external contractors. So I know it might seem still like there's a lot of different things, but I simplify everything. I look at everything in my business. Do we need to even do this? Is this part of our remit? Is this, all roads lead to Bootcamp? Is this a detour? Is this a distraction? Do we really need to do this? And where possible I don't bring in things in-house because I want to keep it lean.

Like for example, at the moment I could be doing this podcast at home, but I've hired an external studio because it just makes it so much easier. I'll do it, I'll do a bunch of them and then I'll leave. So it's usually more expensive to outsource those things, but then it's not the ongoing cost. Okay. So another hire that I made about a year and a half ago was having a community manager in to help me manage the energy of Money Bootcamp. And that's a part-time role as well. It's about 12 to 20 hours a week depending on where we're at in our launch cycle. And that has really, really helped. So that really fits that thing of, the most stressful and then things that stop and start you making money for me, I just felt energetically, it was starting to be stressful to try and answer everyone's questions in Money Bootcamp.

So that was probably one of my best recent hires. And that's it, as I said, I do all my social media. I could probably outsource that. I really think that you can do this if you want to. There aren't any rules about how you run your business, but there are consequences. If you want to do a whole bunch of different things and that might add complexity into your business. Okay. But I love really going for the simple stuff. All right. So I said, "should you go into business with one of your friends?" I think that's a really juicy conversation to go into. Now, I've seen this work really, really well, and I've seen it just be the worst thing ever. So you might have a friend in mind and you just love talking about business and you just have so much fun and you've come up with an idea together and should you do it instead of just having your own business.

So honestly it depends like anything. For every success story there's a lot of cautionary tales of friendships gone forever. So here's a little bit of a checklist to see if this is going to work for you. So, first of all, just ask yourself why you want to go into business with a friend. Is it because you're scared to do it alone because you don't want the responsibility or it's that confidence factor of feeling like you would be more confident with somebody else. Now being in business requires you to be self-motivated. Right. And it's nice to have someone, especially, if again, you don't want to have a big team or you might feel quite lonely and you think that would be the answer. If you do decide to go down that route, like with having a team, get the right person to do the right things.

Sometimes people go into business and they've got completely complimentary roles. Other times one person ends up doing all the work and then the other person coasts and then you're sharing the money and it sucks. So I would suggest then, if you're not sure, you can just try it out and just do little things together. So I have friends where we might run a retreat together. We might run a little conference together and then it's okay. It's, super simple. It's not an ongoing thing. You can try it out and see if you like it and easy-peasy.

Okay. So that's my little idea. I love running retreats with friends. I love having co-hosts for things, but I am an independent woman. I'm the boss and it doesn't work for me. Okay. Ah, just doesn't. All right, so I would love to hear from you. You can tag me on social media about this team thing, like how has it made you think that you could then have a big team or a small team. I would love to hear what's coming up for you around that. And yeah. Or you can reach out to me on social media, I'm, @DeniseDT for everything. But really, the important thing to know is you can create your business exactly the way you want to. So don't be afraid that you have to have a big team or it's going to be really expensive. You can be successful and be super lean if you're willing to simplify. All right, gorgeous. Let's take a quick break and I'll be right back.

Hi, I'm Kira and an Australian tarot reader, yoga teacher, and herbalist. I actually met Denise a few years ago at a conference and it was a huge fan girl moment. I've read her books, in fact, Chillpreneur lives on my bedside table, but I only joined the Money Bootcamp about two months ago now. When I joined, I was feeling really stressed about money. I felt like I was stuck in a financial rut, but since joining bootcamp, I set a goal of receiving $10,000 in one month. Well, the month's not over yet and I've actually received more than $10,000. Plus, I received a phone call confirming I would receive $50,000 of value. Oh my gosh, and I really have to put it all down to Denise's revolutionary teaching. It's now part of my morning ritual to listen to a Denise training video as I'm starting my day. Bootcamp has helped me grow my income and business, plus it's been an amazing journey of personal development. Thank you so much, Denise, for helping me realize my own self-worth and helping me to break through my own limitations when it comes to earning money.

Hey beautiful, welcome back. And here is my final thought for today's episode. It is not a nice word, but I love it. So in my book, Chillpreneur, I talk about how I'm not completely anti-hustle. Right? I think you still have to do lots of work to be successful in business, but it doesn't have to be hard work. It doesn't have to be onerous. You don't have to reinvent the wheel all the time. There can be an easier way. And so the word I came up with was, "Chustle," chilled hustle. And that just means, find the path of least resistance. You're still going to have to show up. You're still going to have to make offers in your business. You're still going to have to market yourself. It's not just going to happen by accident. You're going to have to book the podcast studio.

You're going to have to write the blog post. You're going to have to create the social media content. You're going to have to create your program. You're going to have to write your book. It's not without effort, but there are ways of making it easier for ourselves. So chilled hustle, "Chustle," is all about working to your strengths, allowing it to be easy, working in ways that feel more enjoyable and more fun to you than the other alternative. And really allowing yourself to prosper from your skills and talent without making it hard.

So, yeah, "Chustle," as I said, it's not the prettiest word, but I would love to put it on a mug one day, put it on a hat, put it on a t-shirt, but there are easier ways to make money. Isn't there, so remember that. How can you, "Chustle," a little bit over the next week? How can you do your chilled hustle? All right. Let me know, because I want to hear that. Just tweet at me, "Chustle," and I will know exactly what you mean. So I'm, @DeniseDT. If you don't know my social handles by now, make sure you follow me all around the interwebs for more genius tips like, "Chustle". All right, beautiful. Go forth, chill and prosper and, "Chustle," trust bar. No, that doesn't work, does it? But peace out for me and I will see you on the next episode. Bye.

About the Show

Chill & Prosper is your weekly dose of money mindset, marketing and humour from best-selling author and entrepreneur Denise Duffield-Thomas.

Denise's philosophy is that there is ALWAYS an easier way to make money and that's what she's here to help you do. Each week, you'll get actionable advice to help you make more money, with less work. There's no need to hustle - let Denise show you how to embrace the Chillpreneur way.

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