Last week, I discussed the difference between having a book and having a business. You will never make a living off of writing a book. But, you can make a great living if you create a business model based on writing a book.
However, many authors make a huge mistake when it comes to building a business – hiring help. In most cases, hiring other people tends to create more trouble than it’s worth.
In 2002, I began making a six-figure annual income as a self-published author. In 2007, I founded my consulting practice, Wildfire Marketing, and continue to make six figures annually – all without ever hiring one employee.
How do I write multiple books, launch complex video courses, and run a successful consulting business as a one-man band? I don’t hire employees. I only hire skilled freelancers on an individual project basis. I never put anyone on my payroll.
This approach keeps me in control of my business, maximizes my profits, and makes my time a lot more efficient. I recommend you do the same. Here are my proven guidelines for authors hiring help:
Rob’s Rules for Authors Hiring Help:
Rule 1 – Never hire anyone, permanent or part-time, unless you can prove they will help produce extra revenue.
In business, 1 + 1 must always equal 2 or more. Yet, too many authors hire employees who don’t help generate extra revenue. In those situations, 1 + 1 = 1. That’s bad math and a business killer. Before you hire someone, always ask yourself, “How can I justify this person will help me produce more revenue?” Acceptable answers would include:
- Free up your time to write more books and create new products
- Land new speaking engagements, interviews, or affiliate partnerships
- Suggest new product ideas and help bring them to life
- Build a website, produce a video, or use technology beyond your skill set
- Write enticing blog posts or articles for you that attract more readers
Rule 2 – Let go of anyone who cannot justify adding more revenue.
If this rule seems harsh, nothing is harsher than the inability to pay your bills. You must jettison any dead weight or you’ll sink to the bottom. Examples of bad hires can include:
- Overpaid secretary who just manages your appointments
- Virtual assistants who don’t exponentially free up your time
- Copywriters who can’t write sizzling book descriptions or interesting articles
- Marketers who don’t help create new products or reach new markets
- Speaking agents who just push papers and take a 15% commission
- Webmasters who don’t keep your website updated and visually relevant
You could be losing money right now, because you’ve hired people who aren’t doing anything to directly grow your business. Instead, they are sucking up your revenue and giving back nothing in return. All it takes is one or two loafers on your payroll to siphon off profits and put you in the red.
Rule 3 – Never hire friends and family. Only hire outside professionals.
This rule is tough for many authors. In your heart, you think hiring a relative means showing love. In your head, you know it’s an unwise decision. I’ve lost count of the number of authors who told me that a friend or relative ruined their author website, wasted their advertising budget, or caused severe emotional distress.
Are there unsavory professionals you should avoid? Absolutely. But, authors who work alone can be easily swindled by friends and family members who act even worse. After 11 years of coaching over 600 authors, I’ve seen the damage up close. I beg you…do not hire relative or buddies. Hire a trained professional with no familial attachments.
Rule 4 – Hire freelancers with outstanding skills to complete specific projects.
This rule has kept me in good stead. Over my career, I’ve routinely hired excellent webmasters, editors, and graphic artists. I don’t hire over-priced agencies or companies. Instead, I search for talented individuals whom I can pay to utilize their skills beyond what I could do myself.
Likewise, use webmasters, editors, and designers to make your business better. But, learn enough to hold them accountable. Otherwise, you can get ripped off. You should know what makes a website effective or a book cover shine. It’s your business. Don’t let other people run it.
Rule 5 – Focus on creating revenue rather than saving money.
You will never grow your business by cutting costs. Sure, it’s okay to be frugal. But, frugalness ultimately leads to a poverty mentality and a low self-esteem. In contrast, creating revenue leads to profit and a high self-esteem. Which do you prefer?
The life of an author can be lonely at times. Therefore, hiring help can feel like an opportunity to grow by joining forces with other people. But, resist the temptation to give away your profits, control, and sanity by managing employees or family members. Only hire freelance professionals who can prove they’ll help produce greater revenue.
The only thing worse than being lonely is being lonely and broke.
Got an author story of making a bad hire? Share it below in the comments section…
I love teaching authors how to turn writing books into a much bigger business. This transformative instruction is available through my Book Marketing Master Class and private author coaching sessions.
If you’re ready to move past writing books and build a sustainable business, I’d be happy to show you how. Contact me here or call me at: 770-887-1462.