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How to Build the Right Team for your Startup

How to Build the Right Team for your Startup

As a new company your team matters- more than you might think. In a new venture, building a team should be a priority.

Team building is critical for several reasons. However, there are two that stand out. The first is scalability, meaning that until you build a solid team you will be forced to wear all of the hats. While this is something that almost all entrepreneurs do at some point, it’s not sustainable. At a certain point of juggling tasks yourself, the more you do the less efficient you become which is no way to build a business.

The second reason that you shouldn’t put off building a team for your startup is that your first team sets the example for everyone who comes afterward. If your initial team consists of serious go-getters, then your company will continue to attract ambitious people. On the other hand, when you go it alone you can be like a directionless leaf blowing in the wind, not knowing what to expect. If an ambitious team leads to more ambitious people coming onboard, what type of folks will an unsettled team be able to recruit?

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Building a successful startup is all about having the right team that can take on opportunities when they arise. If you can manage to get your team right, you have already won half the battle. As an entrepreneur these are lessons that I’ve had to learn the hard way, but you don’t have to repeat my mistakes. Here are several crucial factors and proven strategies for building a team.

Your Company Is Only as Good as your Team.

Always remember this when hiring new members of your team. They are not just individuals working in your business. They are the business. Seek individuals from diverse backgrounds so that you are well-equipped to successfully handle every aspect of business without having to look anywhere else.

Here are tips for choosing the right team members for your startup:

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  • Be frank about your goals and expectations from the business.
  • Offer them equity with a lock-in period apart from salary.
  • Get your initial funding right to stay afloat for a few quarters.
  • Do not hesitate to choose people who have failed earlier.
  • Always lead from the front to set an example to your team.
  • Have fun with your team once in a while.
  • Be ready to let go of ideas that do not work.

Be Honest with your Team.

Building a team is not just about hiring few people to work in your company. You should look for a common connection when staffing your startup to strike the right chord within your organization.

Never hide anything from your team. Be open with them. Even if you are not sure about certain aspects of your business, make sure to convey the message to your team; this will ensure that they can trust you completely if they agree with your vision. If they’re unsure about your goals, it is better that they back out in the initial stages rather than making an exit in one of the later stages. Be clear about what you expect from them and from the business in future.

Offer Equity with Salary.

This is the standard practice offered by many successful companies all over the world. Do not hesitate to offer some equity to your initial core team. It will motivate them to put in those extra hours that are so critical to the success of any startup. However, make sure that the equity comes with a lock-in period so that you don’t lose out should teammates leave in the early stages. Keep salaries as low as possible in the starting period as it will help you manage without external funding.

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Get your Funding Right.

Whether you plan to build a product-oriented or service-oriented company, you need resources for marketing and development. Any venture capital company prefers to have a team that can run on its own- that doesn’t have to over-rely on external resources. You must always ensure that you have enough funds to run the business for a few quarters without any hiccups. Even though external financing may come at a later stage, you should not depend on it in the initial stages of your startup. There are chances that it can be delayed due to many reasons and this should not affect your team in any way. Make sure you have enough money to pay bills and salaries on time.

Don’t Fear Failure.

Are you afraid of hiring people who have failed before? You should be happy to hire such people because running a startup is like walking on thorns, and such people will have valuable experience to handle failure. They do not immediately lose motivation, and this will be a big advantage when you are faced with some challenge.

Lead your Team.

You must always lead from the front and set a good example for your team members. If there is something that you do not want to do yourself and you tell someone else to do it, it will not be taken positively. Lead your team in every aspect. If you experience setbacks, be ready to take responsibility and motivate your team to get back to work and accomplish the tasks at hand.

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Don’t Forget to Have Fun.

While running a startup comes with its own responsibilities, it should not stop you from having fun with your team. Do not let the burden of work overshadow hobbies and other activities. Also, motivate your team to enjoy their personal lives. It will help you to have employees with a relaxed frame of mind.

Few things are as crucial to an entrepreneur’s success as building the right team. There are many rewards for bringing the right people into your organization. Chief among them is creating a culture around which you can build the business, while creating a system that allows the business to run properly even without your direct input.

Featured photo credit: Pexels.com via pexels.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

Turning 50 is a milestone in anyone’s life, after all you are half way to 100! But seriously, turning 50 is often a time in life when people can sit back and take a look at where they’ve been and contemplate what the future holds.

Can you change careers at 50? It’s not uncommon for people in their 50’s to consider a career change, after all if you’ve spent 20 to 30 years in a career, chances are that some of the bloom is off the rose.

Often, when we are starting out in our 20’s, we choose a career path based on factors that are no longer relevant to us in our 50’s. Things like our parents’ expectations, a fast paced exciting lifestyle or the lure of making a lot of money can all be motivating factors in our 20’s.

But in our 50’s, those have given way to other priorities. Things like the desire to spend more time with family and friends, a slower paced less stressful lifestyle, the need to care for a sick spouse or elderly parents can all contribute to wanting a career change in your 50’s.

Just like any big life changing event, changing careers is scary. The good news is that just like most things we are scared of, the fear is mostly in our own head.

Understanding how to go about a career change at 50 and what you can expect should help reduce the anxiety and fear of the unknown.

What are Your Goals for a Career Change?

As in any endeavor, having properly defined goals will help you to determine the best path to take.

What are you looking for in a new career? Choosing a slower less stressful position that gives you more time with family and friends may sound ideal, but you’ll often find that you’re giving up some income and job satisfaction in the process.

Conversely, if your goal is to quit a job that is sucking the life from your soul to pursue a lifelong passion. You might be trading quality time with family and friends for job satisfaction.

Neither decision is wrong or bad, you just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of any decision you make.

Types of Career Changes at 50+

There are four main types of career changes that people make in their 50’s. Each type has it’s unique set of challenges and will very in the degree of preparation required to make the change.

Industry Career Change

In this career change, a person remains in the same field but switches industries.

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With an industry change, a person takes their set of skills and applies them to an industry that they have no previous experience in.

An example would be a salesperson in the oil and gas industry becoming a salesperson for a media (advertising) company. They are taking their skill set (selling) and applying it to a different industry (media).

This type of career change is best accomplished by doing a lot of homework on the industry you want to get into as well as networking within the industry.

Functional Career Change

A functional career change would be a change of careers within the same industry.

For example, an accountant at a pharmaceutical company who changes careers to become a human resources manager. It may or may not be with the same company, but they remain within the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, they are leaving one set of skills behind (accounting) to develop a new set (human resource) within the same industry.

In a functional career change, new or additional training as well as certifications may be required in order to make the switch. If you are considering a functional career change, you can start by getting any training or certifications needed either online, through trade associations or at your local community college.

Double Career Change

This is the most challenging career change of all. A person doing a double career change is switching both a career and an industry.

An example of a double change would be an airline pilot quitting to pursue their dream of producing rock music. In that case, they are leaving both the aviation industry and a specific skill set (piloting) for a completely unrelated industry and career.

When considering a double career change, start preparing by getting any needed training or certifications first. Then you can get your foot in the door by taking an apprenticeship or part time job.

With a double change, it’s not uncommon to have to start out at the bottom as you are asking an employer to take a chance on someone without any experience or work history in the industry.

Entrepreneurial Career Change

Probably one of the most common career changes made by people in their 50’s is the entrepreneurial career change.

After 20 to 30 years of working for “Corporate America”, a lot of people become disillusioned with the monotony, politics and inefficiency of the corporate world. Many of us dream of having our own business and being our own boss.

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By this time in our life, we have saved some money and the financial pressures we had with young children have passed; so it’s a perfect time to spread our entrepreneurial wings.

Entrepreneurial career changes can be within the same industry and using your existing knowledge and contacts to start a similar business competing within the same industry. Or it can be completely unrelated to your former industry and based on personal interests, passions or hobbies.

A good example would be someone who played golf as a hobby starting an affiliate marketing website selling golf clubs. If you are considering an entrepreneurial career change, there are a lot of very good free resources available on the internet. Just be sure to do your homework.

Practical Tips on Making a Career Change at 50+

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and make a career switch in your 50’s. No matter what your reasons or what type of a career change you are embarking on, here are some helpful hints to make the transition easier:

1. Deal with the Fear

As stated earlier, any big life change comes with both fear and anxiety. Things never seem to go as smoothly as planned, you will always have bumps and roadblocks along the way. By recognizing this and even planning for it, you are less likely to let these issues derail your progress.

If you find yourself becoming discouraged by all of the stumbling blocks, there are always resources to help. Contacting a career coach is a good place to start, they can help you with an overall strategy for your career change as well as the interview and hiring process, resume writing / updating and more. Just Google “Career Coach” for your options.

I also recommend using the services of a professional counselor or therapist to help deal with the stress and anxiety of this major life event.

It’s always good to have an unbiased third party to help you work through the problems that inevitably arise.

2. Know Your “Why”

It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the “why” you are making this career change. Is it to have more free time, reduce stress, follow a passion or be your own boss?

Having a clear understanding of you personal “why” will influence every decision in this process. Knowing your “why” and keeping it in mind also serves as a motivator to help you reach your goals.

3. Be Realistic

Take an inventory of both your strengths and weaknesses. Are your organizational skills less than stellar? Then, becoming a wedding planner is probably not a good idea.

This is an area where having honest outside input can be really helpful. Most of us are not very good at accurately assessing our abilities. It’s a universal human trait to exaggerate our abilities while diminishing our weaknesses.

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Requesting honest feedback from friends and co-workers is a good place to start, but this is another area where a career coach can come in handy.

4. Consider an Ad-Vocation

Sometimes, making a career change all at once is just too big of a change. Issues like a severely reduced income, geography and lack of benefits can all be impediments to your career change. In those cases, you may want to start your new career as an ad-vocation.

An ad-vocation is a second or ad-on vocation in addition to your primary vocation. Things like a part-time job, consulting or even a side business can all be ad-vocations.

The benefit of having an ad-vocation is being able to build experience a reputation and contacts in the new field while maintaining all the benefits of your current job.

5. Update Your Skills

Whether it means acquiring new certifications or going back to school to get your cosmetology licence, having the right training is the foundation for a successful career change.

The great thing about changing careers now is that almost any training or certifications needed can be free or at very little cost online. Check with trade associations, industry websites and discussion groups for any requirements you may need.

Learn How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive.

6. Start Re-Branding Yourself Now

Use the internet and social media to change the way you present yourself online.

Changing your LinkedIn profile is a good way to show prospective employers that you are serious about a career change.

Joining Facebook groups, trade associations and discussion boards as well as attending conventions is a great way to start building a network while you learn.

Here’re some Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success.

7. Overhaul Your Resume

Most of us have heard the advice to update our resume every six months, and most of us promptly ignore that advice and only update our resume when we need it.

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When making a career change, updating is not enough; this calls for a complete overhaul of your resume. Chances are that your current resume was designed around your old career which may or may not apply to your new goals.

Crafting a new resume emphasizing your strengths for the new position your looking for is key. There are many places that will help you craft a resume online and it is a service included with most career coaching services.

8. Know Your Timeline

There are a lot of factors when it comes to how long it will take to make the career change.

Industry and Functional career changes tend to be the easiest to do and therefore can be accomplished in the shortest period of time. While the Double Career Change and the Entrepreneurial Career Change both require more effort and thus time.

There are also personal factors involved in the time it will take to switch careers.

Generally speaking the more you are willing to be flexible with both compensation and geography, the shorter time it will take to make the switch.

Final Thoughts

Changing careers at anytime can be stressful, but for those of us who are 50 or above, it can seem to be an overwhelming task fraught with pitfalls and self doubt.

Prospective employers know the benefits that come with more mature employees. Things like a wealth of experience, a proven work history and deeper understanding of corporate culture are all things that older workers bring to the table.

And while the younger generation may possess better computer or technical skills than us, if you’re willing to learn, there are a ton of free or nearly free resources available to you.

Deciding on a career change at 50 is a great way to experience life on your own terms.

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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