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How To Build A Team When You Haven’t Got The Income To Support Yourself

How To Build A Team When You Haven’t Got The Income To Support Yourself

It’s frustrating. You spend an eternity at the computer into the wee hours of the morning, and still you never seem to get through a fraction of what you need to do to get your business really rocking. All those hopes and dreams and exciting plans … all pushed to the back burner whilst you try like crazy just to get through your to-do list.

Working in isolation on something, whether it’s your own business, your Plan B or a work project, can be one of the most difficult things to do. Everything is on you. If you get stuck you’re the only one who can deal with it. If you have a mountain of tasks, you just have to settle in and do it all yourself, all the while keeping focused on the big picture, which is very difficult to do.

Frankly, it’s exhausting.

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Time to Do Something Differently

So, you’ve decided you need to get a team around you, which is great in principle, but it’s back to the age-old problem: you haven’t got the money to pay them. Heck, most people in your situation barely have the cash to pay themselves, let alone another person!

You’re not alone in this dilemma.

Like most people with budding projects, you know that if you could just bring in some additional help, you could accomplish several times what you’re already doing. Without the resources, you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, though.

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There is a way around this, and when you understand a few important principles it all becomes a much easier problem to solve. The first sticking-point you need to tackle is your own ideas about your project and your personal involvement.

I get it. It’s your baby. Your idea. A symbol of everything you stand for, and hopefully also of some reward at the end of the hard work. However, having to control everything to the nth degree is only ever going to perpetuate the bottleneck you’re already experiencing. Shift your perception and constantly remind yourself to hand off input to the individuals you bring in to help you. If you can do this whilst taking overall responsibility for the project, you’ll automatically open up that bottleneck and give people the environment to thrive and over-deliver.

(Note: This also means you’ve got to give up being a perfectionist. Perfectionism and over-control only ever destroy a team’s motivation and consequently the amount of effort they’ll put in. Let it go. The success of your project depends on it.)

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The second shift you need to make is in understanding other people’s motivations.

It’s Not About the Money

When looking to bring new skills into a project, most people assume it’s all about the money. If you only had money, you could persuade someone talented and skilled to come in and help. If you only had the cash, there would be options to shift some of the admin or book-keeping off your plate.

When someone takes a job, they normally do it for the money.

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However, when someone joins a team, they do it for other motivating factors. It fulfills other needs, like the need to be useful, to contribute beyond themselves. People love to be a part of something, and to be around others with similar ideas to them — or even better, to be led by someone with a vision.

When you truly understand other people’s motivations, you realize that you don’t necessarily have to pay people money in order to motivate them to help you. However, this does mean that your vision for your project has to be something more inspiring and meaningful than just paying your own bills. If that’s all it is for you at the moment, get a bigger vision or go and do something else.

OK, so now we understand the two basic components in involving people and taking cash out of the equation, let’s look at some tangible methods you can use to build your team when you’ve barely got the cash to pay yourself…

Finding Good Team Members Without the Price Tag

  1. The first thing you need to do is focus your own talents on what you find easy. This way you’ll remain in flow and passionate about what you’re working on. Your energy will be contagious!
  2. The next thing is to get others involved to do the tasks that aren’t in your natural flow. You can often do this by arranging a skill swap with someone. Say for instance you hate admin: if you can swap the admin with someone who loves doing it, in exchange for helping them with their networking, marketing, or whatever, then you both get to do the things you like whilst simultaneously making progress on your respective projects. This doesn’t work once your business reaches a certain size because each project will require more time and focus, but it’s a great stop-gap whilst you’re getting going.
  3. The biggest drain on project leaders (and therefore the first thing they should get rid of) is administration and book-keeping. If you can afford a small amount of outlay, it is well worth investing it to free up your time. Great value for money can be found when you work with stay-at-home moms, or students, who are happy to do these little jobs for a few hours a week.
  4. The next hurdle people struggle with is bringing in technical help. Again, this can be done very cost effectively by working with computing students, or tech-savvy friends or family members (even if they aren’t IT professionals) with whom you can agree a low retainer for doing things like maintaining your website and email list. The retainer system works really well because the amount of help you need may vary from month to month, but if you’re paying for someone to be involved and help you, they’re more likely to think of themselves as part of your team and go the extra mile. What’s more, you’re more likely to ask for their input about the best way to do things, which helps you make more informed decisions.
  5. Profit sharing is another way to reward people for their involvement. Often side projects take a while to monetize, and so there isn’t the much-needed cash to get things moving in the early days. If your potential team members are open to being involved in return for a cut of the profits as the project comes to fruition, this would be a good arrangement in some cases.
  6. Reaching out to your network is also an excellent way to connect with like-minded people who are willing to get involved in the right project. Reconnect with people you haven’t been in touch with for a while. Post a message on Facebook talking about what you’re looking to do and what you need. Ask people who have lots of connections if they know of someone for a specific task or role. You’ll be surprised at who they can connect you with.

So, there you have it. These are the kinds of things anyone can do at any stage of a project — but they work particularly well when you’re operating on a shoe-string budget. Remember: let go of wanting to control everything. Get a big vision and then focus on fulfilling what others are looking for. You will have people helping you, forming a team in no time … without a massive cash layout.

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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

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