How many people truly mean it when they say they love their job? As a former employee, I can say I certainly know the feeling of waking up every morning and heading off to a job that I just did not like, but had to go to. I had many years of that and it really is very satisfying, now, to wake up in the morning to a job that I really enjoy.
The past couple of months have been just a tad bit hairy. Business has picked up at an unimaginable rate – which is GOOD, don’t get me wrong…but it brought me to a cross roads again. A cross roads that I come to a couple of times per year – and I’m getting much better at dealing with.
The crossroad is this: Grow with the flow.. or scale back.
Every single time, I’ve decided to grow, and I haven’t regretted it once. I’ve learned quite a few lessons along the way and made my share of mistakes, as well – but still cannot say that I’ve regretted my decision, ever.
I need to take a moment and give a shout out to some of the phenomenal people that work with me. Things have been so crazy busy in recent months, I feel like I have not taken the time I should have to really let these folks know how very much I appreciate what they do:
- Lindsey Hardegree – Lindsey is a long-time client turned E.Webscapes employee. I hired Lindsey on last year as a Virtual Assistant, after years of being hired by her to design her blog sites. This Virtual Assistant thing was a totally new concept to me – – but I knew I needed help if I was going to maintain my business, and my sanity! Having never worked with an Assistant before, virtual or otherwise, I really didn’t have much of an idea of how that position would be structured. However, with the vast growth in business, it became apparent to me that I just could not do everything myself and really needed to let go of some of the reigns of control and hire on someone that I could truly trust to manage some of the more administrative duties surrounding my business. Enter: Lindsey. Not only is this girl a bundle of energy and southern sweetness – she is organized to boot! She has defined that role in many ways and just stepped in and made it hers. She has become my right arm (and probably my right foot) – – recently, she had to take a full week off due to personal issues.. and during that week, I had to step into her role and let me just say — I realized in that week how very much I appreciate her presence on our team more than ever! Ever want to show your boss exactly how much they need you? Take a week off and check their fingernails to see if they’ve bitten them all off! Lindsey is lucky this is a virtual position – – lord knows how much I would abuse her excellent services if this position was in an actual brick and mortar office building! She’s worth it, though – I value her input as well as her role at E.Webscapes
- Becca Wei – Many of you already know Becca through her fantastic free WordPress themes seen all over the web, including in the themes selection of WordPress.Com. Becca has been working with me at E.Webscapes since 2005. She is a phenomenal designer – very skilled and talented in the area of color, design, CSS and all things design related. I am continually learning and inspired by Becca’s work! Becca lives in Hong Kong and that makes the virtual work relationship somewhat of a challenge – over the years, we’ve worked through the time zones and international calling rates and have developed a working relationship, and friendship, that I treasure.
- Leanne Wildermuth – Leanne’s been working with me at E.Webscapes since 2005 and has become indispensable, to me. Her determination is impressive. When I first met Leanne, she didn’t really know much about design or CSS or how to work with some of the popular content management systems out there. As a matter of fact, I first met Leanne because she hired me to design her site for her. So intrigued was she by the process of design – – and being an artist by nature herself – – she set out to learn how to do it…and she did! In 2004 she began telling me “one day, you’ll hire me as a designer at E.Webscapes.” and I would tell her to keep working at it… and she put nose to the grindstone and she impressed my socks off with the way she picked it all up so quickly and I’ve enjoyed watching her growth and skills grow over the years. She is now a designer to be reckoned with, no doubt and I’m very happy to have her as part of the team!
- Joni Ang – Joni has been working with me at E.Webscapes since 2006. She hails from the Philippines and is, quite possibly, the sweetest person I know! Joni is another one whose determination to improve her skill set never ceases to amaze me! When she first answered one of my job postings for a designer, she had some WordPress experience – but not a whole lot. She was very determined to show me her skills, however, and created a design to submit to me as an example of what she can do. I was immediately impressed with her attitude, her resolve and confidence that I hired her on.. with the promise to help coach her along in areas she was to sure of. As it turns out, I didn’t need to do a whole lot of coaching. Joni immediately picked up on the task at hand and has been creating some amazing stuff for E.Webscapes – – with each new design project she completes, I’m impressed and inspired! Joni also has the most positive and sunny disposition – – she’s a joy to have around the ‘virtual office’
- Dino Latoga– when Dino first joined E.Webscapes, he didn’t want to put his picture up on our Designer Profiles page because he felt a little weird about being the only guy among a group of girls (girls have cooooties, don’t ya know??). In very short order, though – Dino proved himself to be just as good as any of the girls out there and I’m planning in sneaking his picture in there just as soon as I’m done writing this! (haha). Dino has a quiet way about him, I’ve found… he takes on new assignments like a Pro and then quietly goes about his way of creating dynamic products for our clients with an innate sense of service that creates happy and satisfied clients every single time! Always very pleasant and polite – he is incredible to work with. His ability to handle projects from start to finish independently is a huge plus and he’s just so darned nice!
What I can say about the group, as a whole, is that I trust each and every single one of them – beyond a shadow of a doubt. They are also some of the most friendly and supportive people I have come across – and I’m afraid I don’t say that often enough because we’re all so wrapped up and busy with the work we’re doing… it’s easy to forget to stop and just say “Hey, I really appreciate you” … so, today – I’m stopping to say it. I appreciate the hell outta you guys!
It hasn’t always been so easy, though. Hiring on new help has taken me down a road of new and different experiences. I’ve learned some hard lessons in trust along the way. I’ve had designers who just didn’t work out, for various reasons – and I”ve had some.. not so nice designers, whose only motivation, it seemed, was to take advantage and try to get a lot for doing a little bit of nothing. I’ve been betrayed in the past and it is something that makes you stop and think every single time you consider bringing on new people into the inner circle.
However, I made a decision a long time ago – actually, I think it was one of my New Year’s Resolutions, to realize that I can’t let old baggage affect the way I accept new people into my life. Just because you’ve been burned once or twice – – if you allow that to stifle the opportunity to build new relationships.. then you’re likely to be rather lonely. I try and use that in my personal, as well as my business life.
To that end, I’m very very happy and excited to say that in the next few days, I will be announcing the arrival of definitely one – and quite possibly two, members of the E.Webscapes team as we continue to grow at a rapid rate! It’s never easy to make the decision to grow and bring on new team members… because every single new team member affects the dynamics already set within the organization. But I have found, more often than not – the new additions bring with them opportunities to learn, grow and succeed – -and overall, it’s a very positive thing! The Pros definitely outweigh the Cons, no doubt about it!
As with every other time of growth for E.Webscapes – I’m doing it during a time where business is crazy busy and I’m usually in the middle of balancing 3 million things all at once. I need to learn to foresee these things coming, and do the hiring BEFORE it gets to a point where it’s almost unmanageable, right? I need a psychic… anyone got a good one to recommend?? ha!
I also have to mention a few things that really helped me recruit for this position – and you may be surprised at the result. The two things that gave my job posting the most exposure, and as a result, the most response were two social network sites out there – – in order of success:
I’ve received approximately 85 applications for the job posting I placed – all within 24 hours of placing it. Imagine my surprise?? I wasn’t expecting THAT kind of response – wow!
How did it happen?
Well – – here’s the process:
- I posted the Job Ad at LinkedIN
- This did TWO things:
- Notified my LinkedIN connections that I needed help finding a new associate
- Listed the job posting in a high profile spot on LinkedIns job board (because I paid for it)
- Then I returned to my blog and did a small post about the Job Posting over in my “On The Side” announcement area
- I use Twitter Tools, which automatically twitters any new posts I made on my blog to Twitter — so the job posting info was immediately broadcast to my Twitter followers
- Within, literally – – I kid you NOT – – 5 minutes, I had 10 replies to the job posting… just from Twitter alone
- Almost all of my LinkedIn connections emailed me with introductions and referrals to people they knew who would fit the bill
- My assistant, Linsdey saw the Twitter post and took it upon herself to make a post on the FreeLance Switch Job Boards
By morning, I had about 50 responses… by noon , I had a full 85 and they are still coming in. One designer that I’m 99% sure is going to join our team was one of the contacts made via Twitter. As for the other – – I have not made that decision yet, but will probably be one of the ones made through the FreeLance Switch Job Board.
It took me quite some time to respond to each and every applicant – – which is something I feel is very important whenever you place a help wanted ad for any industry. I’m still working on getting through them all (so if any of you are reading this and haven’t heard from me yet, as of this evening I’ve gotten through about 85% of them and will get the rest done in the morning) – and some of the talent out there is just phenomenal and inspiring!
In the beginning, when I began to use Twitter, my husband laughed and called it a ‘huge glorified chat room that doubled as a total time vacuum” – – and in some cases, he is right. However, I cannot discount some of the great connections and networking that I’ve benefited from… which truly helps this “working at home” vacuum I live in so much easier. These are truly virtual office tools that should be used by any home-officer.
Ok – it’s 2am now.. I think I’ll sign off. I’m hoping, with the addition of two new associates at E.Webscapes – I can start doing things like sleeping …. that would be so nice. I really do like sleep and miss it very much!