When I was hired as Director of PR for AWeber, the VP of Operations called me into his office two weeks after I had started, and offered me $2,000 to leave the company.
“You've been here two weeks now,” he started, “and you probably have a good idea if this is a place you're going to enjoy working at–or not.”
I nod calmly.
“So,” he tells me, “if you don't think it's a good fit, I'm going to give you $2,000 right now to walk out that door, because we only want people on our team who are as equally excited about working for AWeber, as we are to have you.”
So naturally I took the $2,000.
I didn't take the $2,000, but it's a lesson that's always stuck with me–don't just say you want the best. Proactively seek out the best, and then quality control their ass.
I keep these things in mind as TMF continues to grow, too.
As I add employees, I want to make sure they're just as invested in TMF as I am. So, you know, I'm doing things like threatening to have some Colombian guerrillas kidnap them in their sleep if they slack off.
Again, kidding. (Though the scene in Crocodile Dundee immediately comes to mind–“That's not a knife. That's… a knife.“) (I just laughed out loud and shed a tear watching that scene.)
While I won't be pulling any knives on anyone–yet–one of the things I have elected to do to help employees get invested and encourage them to think big, is dedicate at least one paid day per week to doing nothing but drinking wine and brainstorming how TMF–and our forthcoming projects–can be better–and then giving them free reign to act on it. (Wine not optional.)
Because although we've all heard it 17,839 times, but it's way too easy to get stuck in the trap of working in your business, when you need to also be working on your business.
I feel like it's similar to why some people spend their whole lives working, only to wake up one day and realize they're 52, wrinkly, and fucking pissed. They spent too much time caught up in the day-to-day, working in their life, rather than working on their life. And frankly, I would hate for my business to wake up at age 52–post menopause–and realize it hasn't grown or done anything worth doing.
So, there's that. There's also an official job duty I've officially labeled as “hand-written notes and thoughtfulness.” Because there's not a day that goes by that I don't want our clients, or our customers or anyone who ever reads this blog to not feel welcomed, appreciated and valued. So as 2013 unwraps the pretty little hot pink bow around itself, you should see some fun customer-experience details coming into play. Because this is important.
There also might be random trips to places like Panama involved, but don't tell anyone I told you.
Because, at the end of the day, if you ever expect to grow, you can't do it all yourself.
That's a ticking time bomb if I've ever seen one. (I haven't, of course, ever seen one. That's a ridiculous idiomatic expression.)
But hiring others can also be scary, too, because you've got to risk them screwing it up. Making you look bad. Not doing things the way you would. Not working as hard as you would. Misspelling the word “apocalypse” in a client email. (Though camaraderie might be more likely–who the hell can spell that?) Slacking off. Wasting your money. And scarring you from ever hiring again.
But then again, it's also just as likely they'll:
Do it beautifully.
Make you look better.
Work harder than you could.
Say just the right thing.
Want to work.
Want to help.
Want to make an impact.
And make their work matter.
Because while hiring on might cause you to lose your mind–it also might be the very one thing that can save it.
That, and your business.