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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 January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

More About Boosting Productivity

Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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