Teamwork Really Does Make the Dream Work: Hiring Tips for Small Bookkeeping Businesses

for bookkeepers podcast Jul 04, 2022
hiring tips for small businesses



Hiring? In this economy? Groundbreaking. No thanks, you started a business to be independent, thank you very much. But actually, what would look like getting help mean to you and your business? We hear all the time that we don’t have to go it alone, it’s ok to ask for support- but I feel as small business owners, and especially female small business owners, most of us feel like we have something to prove. Or even if it’s not that, we don’t know where to begin looking when it comes to hiring. It can all seem so intense and overwhelming, but in reality it’s the gamechanger you’ve been waiting for in terms of consistent operation of your business and flexibility in your personal life.



It Really is Ok to Go Find Some Help

I’m willing to bet a big part of why you wanted to go into bookkeeping was because you wanted to be your own boss. You wanted a certain flexibility not found with most “traditional” 9-5 jobs. If so, you’re just like my head bookkeeper, Michelle Hansley, who was actually attempting to launch a couple side hustles when I went to her asking for some backup.
We had both worked corporate jobs together, and while on paper she wasn’t an ideal candidate, I knew that personally she was smart, reliable, and we communicated well together. Hiring doesn’t have to look scary or intimidating- it can be as easy as asking a friend or acquaintance if they’d be willing to help you out with a couple accounts; just see where it goes.
The benefits of hiring someone you’re at least acquainted with, is that there’s no pretense to get through; bonus points if you’ve worked together before like we had, and had a basic knowledge of the others’ work style. Because I knew her, I also felt comfortable offering her flexibility while knowing that the assignments would still be completed on time. I also trusted her to interact with the clients I gave to her without my interference; she cites this trust, autonomy, and flexibility as some of the most invaluable components of our work relationship.
It can be a gamble when you hire a friend. Just because you enjoy spending time with someone in a friendly capacity does not mean that the boss-employee relationship will translate well. With Michelle, we work hard to maintain strict boundaries between work discussions and friendly girl talk.



We also know that communication is a 2 way street, and that if either of us even starts to have an issue or problem with the other, or the way the work is going, we make sure to talk about it with respect. This approach means that any potential conflicts are nipped in the bud before they even have a chance to bloom. Nothing festers, and issues are put out in the open and rectified before they become 5 alarm fires.
As the founder of the company, I also make sure that I stay really clear on what I need and expect in terms of content and processes. I make sure and through the procedures I’d like to have in place thoroughly, especially with new hires,  and I let people know off the bat that while it may seem a bit intense, I’d rather they learn from me now, instead of being frustrated and confused later.
Michelle also cites positive feedback as a welcome change to many corporate roles she’s held, and it can be a gamechanger in terms of motivation- probably more than you think. If the only time you’re reaching out is to reprimand or correct someone, overall morale could probably do with a boost.



Hiring Means You All Get More: The Bottomline

I know you branched out on your own to feel a sense of independence, to call your own shots, to get the freedom you couldn’t find with other jobs. I respect that. But if you’re at the point where you’re drowning under the weight of your to-do list, then you’re allowed to ask for help.
It doesn’t mean you’re lazy, and it doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. It not only benefits you, but it will benefit anyone else on the team (if there are others) and give everyone the flexibility and freedom you (and they) sought in the first place.
Life happens. People get sick, cars break down. If you have a team to support you during life’s tumultuous moments, you’ll be less burnt out and more prepared to offer them the same help when they need it.
You’re not hiring to exploit your new employees for your own gain, you’re simply looking to find a balance between work and life that works for you, and everyone else on your team.
If you want to learn more about how to and what you need to understand fundamentally in addition to what you need to do the work itself, BABs is the right program for you!
Ready to take action? Apply for the program that's right for you:
If you're looking for more insight on how to become a bookkeeper, and how to say hello to a more confident business model, enroll in Become A Bookkeeper (BABs)
Or to learn more about growing your bookkeeping business and hiring a team, enroll in Life By The Books™ (Libby).
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