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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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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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