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Episode 77. How to Scale Your Service Business with the Right Support with Megan Baker

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Here’s a sneak peek at my interview with Megan.

Can you share a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are now?

I am currently the owner of Meg K & Co., a hiring agency for conscientious online business owners.

In undergrad, I studied linguistics in French. I thought I was supposed to be a speech pathologist and follow a certain career path. I ended up studying what I wanted to study, which was linguistics and French and had no idea what to do with it. I applied for an assistantship in France, taught English there, and then became a high school French teacher.

I worked at my high school for three years but realized that I needed more. I realized that my purpose wasn’t just to stay in my bubble but to have influence elsewhere. So I resigned and ended up going to a charter school in St. Louis City, where I really got out of my comfort zone and taught third grade in a French immersion school.

Eventually, my husband got an opportunity through his work to move us to Chicago, which was an opportunity for me to have a fresh start. Then my friend Kelsey encouraged me to become a VA. I had no idea what it was, but I decided to give it a try. It turns out though, I’m not a very good VA; I am more of a visionary type of person.

I knew there was something in me that could help business owners find the right people, get organized, or validate their visionary stuff. I eventually started working with Tyler J. McCall. He was talking about all the things he needed in his business, and even though I knew I couldn’t do all of those things, I saw the gap and knew I could help him find the right people. That’s where I really fell into my sweet spot of this matchmaking so to speak, so for the last year and a half, that’s what I’ve been doing. 

Additionally, for me to racial equity is really important. It’s really important that we get really clear on what role you actually need and be fair about it. Diversity is better for business and it’s good to get in front of as many people as possible, especially if you have an audience that includes people of color and your team is all white, for example; let’s get more representation on your team. I’m personally going through my own anti-racism journey to have figure out where my role is to bring equity into our space without centering myself but really, I want to teach people how to have a really fair and accessible hiring practice and do it for them, so that they can get the best people on their team.

 

When should people start thinking about hiring someone? What are some mistakes to avoid?

It’s really important that you grow the business that you want to grow. I think it’s okay if you have a VA or someone who is there to help you while you’re still figuring some things out, but it’s really important that you know what you’re selling and can get someone to help you with the operations of that so you can keep selling it.

A lot of people start with marketing support when really, they need more operational support. It’s okay to hire when you have a little bit of pressure and when you have a lot on your plate. 

Hiring someone is not going to help you sell something that’s not selling or fix something that’s not working. You have to view yourself as a business owner, figure out what you love, and figure out what you can sell. Then when you decide you want to scale, that’s when you need support.

I hired my contractor last August. Things weren’t perfect, but I knew what I was selling, people were interested, and my contractor helped me get some of my operations solidified.

Then I grew to a point where I had more confidence, I was showing up differently, and I had more proof in my product. My vision had changed so I had to make other changes along the way. You need to make choices that are going to get you to the next level, even if someone isn’t going to be there for a year — maybe it’s six months, but it’s going to help to move you forward.

You also need to be ready to teach the people you’re hiring. When you’re thinking about what you need in a support person, you need to think about things like the amount of infrastructure you have and the roles and responsibilities you need to hand off.


What is the difference between hiring a VA and hiring someone who is an expert in a specific area?

VA’s are true implementers. Those are people that you need to be ready to lead. Then you have people who are implementers, but like the room to grow into more.

Then you also have people who are more like strategists. These roles aren’t definite; there can be people who are in between, but you’re going to tend to spend more money on people who have more particular skill sets. They may not be in your business long term, or they might, but those are the folks who can help you with very specific infrastructure tasks that you need.

It’s important to think about where the gaps are in your business right now and what you don’t want to be doing. You need to be intentional and think about the things that are making you money, the operations you can hand off first, whether you have certain processes already set up for your business, the amount of time hiring a support person will give you in return, and the activities you will need to do.

I think some people tend to self-sabotage at this point because they start to wonder what they’ll do with their free time.  Well, you’re going to go make sales! You’re going to go do all those things that you’ve been needing and wanting to do!

When I’m hiring, I know that I need people who are more detail-oriented, people who have the agency to ask me for what they need, and people who can remind me to ask for feedback. I also recognize that I need someone who can figure things out on their own, even if I don’t give them every single step of the process.

You need to keep in mind that you are not hiring your clone, you’re hiring someone who can complement you.

 

Connect with Megan

 

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Konchar-Anna-26 (1)

hi, i'm Anna!

I went from $200,000 in student loan debt to running a multi-million dollar online business in less than 5 years. Along the way, I realized Mondays can be great, stress doesn’t equal success, and you’re capable of more than you think. Now, I have the privilege of helping other ambitious individuals realize their potential and build their dream business and life.

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