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I know this really cool artist and business owner, let’s call her Breadwinner Boo. She makes the most unique, creative custom jewelry.
She lives near the beach in Southern California, and is inspired by the sky, moon, plants, and all things dreamy. She’s on a mission to bring more art and imagination to our everyday lives.
Her order requests come in through an online survey in which clients answer a series of questions — some as concrete as, “what piece of jewelry would you like?” and others as mystical as, “if you were a type of weather, what would you be?” Then she reads their answers, draws up a vision, and makes the client a piece of jewelry they didn’t even know they needed.
Breadwinner Boo has been in business just over 2 years. Because her process involves a lot of focused labor — and because she’s gained more confidence in her work and her worth — she’s been able to raise her prices several times. So much so that she’s scaled her business to six figures. Go Breadwinner Boo, go!
Along the way she’s hired (and let go of) a whole bunch of part-time contractors. She’s gotten a lot of help from freelancers with social media marketing, customer service, finances, systems, and other aspects of her business that are not in her zone of genius.
So far she’s only been able to find one Virtual Assistant (VA) who she can trust to help out on a regular basis, and they can only give her about 20 hours a month. With the orders flowing in (yay!) and her VA’s limited availability (less yay), she’s been working some overtime lately (ugh).
Since she started her business it’s been growth, growth, and more growth — but lately she’s hit a revenue slump, and hasn’t hit her business’s financial goals for the last several months in a row.
Her clients are in love with her work. She enjoys what she does every day. Her prices are high (as they should be). And she just can’t seem to figure out what the problem is…
What Breadwinner Boo doesn’t know is that she is NOT alone in her confusion or her revenue problems. I’ve heard tons of different versions of this exact same story from my clients at this stage of business growth.
On the Hello Seven Growth Scale™️, we call this stage Hello 04: Breadwinner. At this level, you’re probably around $8,000 to $20,000 per month in your business, or anywhere from $100,000 to $249,999 per year. According to the US Census, just 6% of women-owned businesses in the U.S. are at this level.
And in my experience, one major reason that so many women business owners stay stuck at this level is because they continue to hire freelancers, when they really need to start hiring full-time employees.
A rag-tag crew of part-time freelancers that you’ve cobbled together is not a million dollar team. That kind of crew is better than nothing, but it’s not the makings of a sustainable 7-figure business.
When you hire a freelancer, you might be getting 1/10th of their time, attention, and creative power. Why? Because this freelancer probably has 9 or 10 other clients aside from you.
In order to build a million dollar business, you don’t want a team member who is spread super thin. You want someone who can dedicate their whole heart and mind to your company and your mission.
So to all my Breadwinner Boos out there, this is my solution for you: you HAVE to hire, onboard and train your first full-time employee.
Occasionally, hiring a freelancer for a specialized project or skill can make sense. But if you’ve hit a revenue plateau, or you’re over-working and exhausted with way too much on your plate, these are classic signs that it’s time to hire your first full-time employee.
If Breadwinner Boo could find a way to bring on (at least) a full-time VA, she would start hitting and surpassing her revenue goals, and she could stop working overtime. And if you’re at this Breadwinner stage of growing your business, this is probably true for you, too.
Your results will include a diagnosis of the biggest problems in your business, and provide your next steps to solve those problems and scale to the next revenue level.
You’ll also get a level-specific Growth Scale Guide, which will give you key action steps you can implement today to move your business in the right direction.
Once you take the Assessment, drop me a comment with what level you’re at, and what action step you’ll be taking next to level up!