“The true measure of a CEO is that your clients aren’t hiring you, they are hiring your team” – Darnyelle Jervey Harmon
This episode is powered by the God Girls Making Millions, The Mastermind
Forget what you’ve heard: making millions with a laptop and a VA, while possible, won’t give you a sustainable million-dollar company. I do not recommend that you attempt to make it to the million-dollar mark all by yourself – if you succeed, you will have created a well-paying job for yourself. No matter how self-made you are, you need a team. The size of your team will be contingent on your business model and service delivery matrix. The first time I built a team, it wasn’t pleasant. The second time, because of much of what I will share in this episode, became the blueprint for how I recommend that millions-minded CEOs build the team that will achieve the million-dollar dream. There is a lot of work that goes into getting your business to the million-dollar mark sustainably. In this powerful episode, I share some of my favorite tips and nuggets straight out of my forthcoming book, Move to Millions. Grab your pen and paper and listen in now to discover:
- How to change the way you work
- The mindset of a million-dollar CEO
- The three teams you’ll need for your future million-dollar company
- How to train and onboard new team members so that they become productive within the first 90 days
- And so much more
- God Girls Making Millions, The Mastermind
- Incredible One Enterprises
- Six Figure Holiday Sales Plan
- End of year Checklist
- Move to Millions Planner
Powerful Quotes from the Episode
- “It’s tough out here for a CEO”
- “I am not an advocate for building a company with no employees”
- “You gotta start where you are.”
- “At least start with administrative support part-time if you can’t afford to have full-time support.”
- “Evaluate whether you can work with a virtual assistant or if you need a physical assistant.”
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Million Dollar Dream Team
Before we even jump into this episode, I cannot stress the importance to you enough of what happens when you do me the quick favor to rate and review this show. You guys love it. I know because I’m looking at the downloads. We are in more than 50 countries around the world. I know this message can reach so many more. I’m going to thank you in advance for taking the two seconds that it will take you to rate and review this. If you’re new around here, first and foremost, let me say welcome. I am so delighted to have you join us in the Move to Millions Movement. This show, as you’ll come to learn, isn’t really about business. It’s about the spiritual principles and the mindsets that keep us from success in business.
Every once in a while, I’ll do an episode or invite guests, and we’ll actually get around to talking about business strategy. I want you to know that we are on a mission to normalize money, wealth, legacy, and abundance. Although we want to normalize money, it’s not just about money. It is also about the impact you will make when you access more money and the legacy you can leave behind. Because you just got here, I want you to know about our Move to Millions Method. It is our proven framework for getting six-figure entrepreneurs to the million-dollar mark in a record period of time. To date, we’ve helped 30 CEOs cross the million-dollar mark through our work. We want to give you a gift to grab yours now. All you’ll need to do is go to IncredibleOneEnterprises.com/start-here.
Changing The Way You Work
In this episode, I want to talk about a topic that brings me a lot of joy but in the past has brought me a lot of pain, which is building the team, the team that is going to take you to the million-dollar mark. We got to talk about it because this is one of the topics that come up every single mastermind retreat. Shout out to the Move to Millions Mastermind clients who journey with us around the world to work on their businesses proactively.
Every 90 days, we get together. Invariably, every time we meet, we talk about the team-building process. I’m going to tell you all. It’s hard out here for a CEO. It’s not easy. When you have other people whose efforts you are managing as you endeavor to continue to leverage and scale your business, it could get that much harder. What I also need you to know is that getting your business to the million-dollar mark just by yourself, I wouldn’t advocate that.
I wouldn’t recommend that for you because there’s a lot of work that goes into getting the business to the million-dollar mark. There’s a piece of the work that you do distinctly well, and there’s a piece of the work that ideally needs to be done by someone else. Often when I first start talking with members of our coaching programs about hiring, I have them do this exercise. It’s in our Move to Millions 90-Day Planner because it’s so important that I want you to evaluate it in your business every 90 days.
We call it changing the way that you work. In order to change the way that you work, you have to become clear and cognizant of the fact that you cannot do it by yourself. I get it. Everybody and their grandfather are out here saying, “I’m self-made.” They’re not really self-made. What they’re saying is that they weren’t born into whatever it is they’ve accomplished, but no one does it by themselves, myself included, and you won’t either.
To change the way you work, you have to become clear and cognizant of the fact that you cannot do everything by yourself.
We go through this process of doing the change in the way you work worksheet. What you’re going to do is you’re going to grab a sheet of paper. I want you to do it now. I want you to grab a sheet of paper and take and create three columns on that sheet of paper. In the first column, you’re going to put, “Hate to do.” In the second column, you’re going to put, “Tolerate doing.” In the third column, you’re going to put, “Love to do.” I want you to take some time and go to town filling out that hate-to-do column, tolerate doing column, and love-to-do column.
We’re talking about the tasks that need to be done day in and day out in your business. There are some things that you are doing now because you don’t have a team that you hate to do. They have to get done, but you hate them. You don’t do them well. You make lots of mistakes, and people call you out on those mistakes. There are things that you could do okay. It’s like your zone of excellence but not your zone of genius if you’re familiar with The Big Leap. You tolerate doing it because it needs to get done. There are those things that you love to do that if you could do it all day barefoot and naked, you would and wouldn’t even care. That is the ultimate goal of your business. It’s to get you to the point where you, as the CEO, are doing the part you love to do, and you have other people who are helping you to do all of the other parts.
Let me let you guys in on a little secret. I am writing my book Move to Millions. This story is also inside the book. I talk about the fact that from day one, I came from Corporate America, where I had administrative support. From day one in my business, I had administrative support, or at least I had phantom administrative support. My first assistant’s name was Regina. That’s my mama’s name. Regina was really me in disguise under a separate email so that from day one, my business could look like it should be taken seriously. I didn’t want to be the only person sending emails.
We erected an info@ or an assistant@mailbox, and it was signed by Regina. It was me responding very nicely to everything. It also gave a healthy amount of separation between my clients and me and their thought on administrative support. It worked out pretty well in writing. It was a challenge when it was time for Regina to pick up the phone. Whenever that happened, I would typically say, “Regina’s off today, but I wanted to give you a quick call.” Don’t judge me because it’s what I had to do in the beginning. I always knew that there would come a time when I would have this million-dollar dream team, but you got to start where you are.
My Team Story
I started building this team from junk because I knew that it was important that I have someone to support my efforts. I did a year and a half to two years in to starting this business. You know the story. I ended up going back to work because I didn’t know how to manage my money, which is another reason why I’m such an advocate for normalizing money and understanding it. It wasn’t necessary for me to necessarily have administrative support.
By January 1st, 2011, when I came back into the business full-time, I knew I needed to hire. My first assistant was physical work with me in my space assistant, but they were for twenty hours a week. I knew that there were lots of moms who used to be administrative powerhouses in Corporate America that started having babies and wanted the flexibility of being able to work from 10:00 until 2:00, so when their kids were in school, they wanted to make a little extra kick around money. I hired one of them.
I brought them into my workspace, and with their help, I started to operationalize my business. I’ll do a whole other episode about that. You’ll be able to read all about it. Another quick sidebar, this is the book I was born to read. Soon, we are going to open up an opportunity for you to pre-order your copy. This book is so bad. I can’t wait for you to read it. It is part methodology. It is part memoir. I am digging into some of the powerful stories that have made a difference in my life, and I can’t wait to share them with you.
Once I started, I had that part-time assistant for a very long time. We started to realize that my assistant had some technical limitations. There were some things she didn’t understand. We made the decision in 2012 to get into Infusionsoft, which is a customer relationship management software. We needed someone who knew Infusionsoft because back then, Infusionsoft’s nickname was Confusionsoft. We ended up hiring a part-time technical VA to work with us, and she still works with our team to this day.
It’s been many years since we have been working together, which is powerful. That was the team that got me to the million-dollar mark, a part-time twenty-hour week in my office assistant and a part-time twenty-hour-a-month technical virtual assistant, and we made a move to millions. I’m going to continue breaking down this whole team thing. Eventually, I’m going to give you some game on how you can begin to build your million-dollar dream team.
Getting To The Million Dollar Mark
I am talking all about the million-dollar dream team. I’m taking you on a journey of how I built my own team that first got us to the million-dollar mark. I had my part-time physical assistant twenty hours a week in my office and my part-time virtual technical assistant. She did all of the marketing and all of the technical stuff. She was working about twenty hours a month when I first hired her. That was it, and we got to the million-dollar mark. Let me tell you what this means. This means that your girl was doing all of the client service delivery. What that also means is that there was not a lot of time for everything else.
I was doing client service delivery, marketing strategy, and sales. Little old me was doing all the things. What I realized is that I had created a good-paying job for myself. I wasn’t yet at the point where I could truly experience the benefits of entrepreneurship. That is why I started to build the team further. Before I talk about that story, let’s talk about getting to the million-dollar mark. We did the event, and you’ve heard me talk about this before. We, in three days, generated $1.3 million in cash, a million-dollar business overnight, lots of new clients, and more than 100 people enrolled in our programs, and your girl panicked. I ended up bringing on some coaches that were clients in my program at the time, coaches who had a tremendous amount of success inside of the program.
It was good. The clients initially were enjoying working with them. What I had done at that point in time is I segment my program. I had a mastermind. I’ve been running a mastermind for many years. It had two levels back in 2014. Level one, you got a call every month, but it was with a coach, and level two, you got to call every month, but it was with me. We’ve since completely changed the structure. I brought on these other coaches to support our clients. I’m going to take the brunt of the reason why we found this to be the case. Our clients really weren’t thriving. It’s because the coaches weren’t developed. This is where I take responsibility. They weren’t developed the way that they should have been in order to help our clients get the results.
At the end of that year 2014, we had a mass exodus. The majority of all those clients we brought on did not renew to work with us for another year. I can’t blame anyone but myself. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. That’s the whole reason why I wanted to do this episode for you because I don’t want you to be like me. I want you to be proactive and start bringing on a team to support you before you need it. The real game is to hire before you need the people. After that happened to me and I lost all of those clients, I got fearful of having a team and shrunk back. I also brought on, at that point in time, a director of operations. I had a new assistant who was now full-time in the business.
Be proactive and start bringing people who can support you before you need it.
I had all these other extra people and all this payroll. I had lost a whole boatload of clients. I shrink back. I also fired or laid off almost all of my team. I couldn’t hack it. I’m keeping it real with you. These are the types of things that no one is telling the truth about at the million-dollar mark. No one woke up like this. None of us. We all have been through some things, but many of us are not comfortable enough telling the truth about what we’ve experienced.
You all know me. I’m extra transparent. I’m going to tell you even the things that you don’t even want to know. As a result of that experience, I shrink back. I reduced the team. The client count went way down. What I decided to do by reducing the team is that would’ve meant for me to keep continuing on the trajectory I had been on, I would be doing a lot more coaching. That was just too much.
I substantially raised my rates and significantly reduced the number of clients I needed to work with in order to hit the revenue goals I wanted to hit in my business. I did that for a couple of years, and I was fine with it. I was fine until 2019 when five different arbitrary people all walked up to me at various times in places other than Delaware, where I live, to tell me that I was playing small, to tell me that God wanted me to do something great.
I had been feeling that anyway. When they started to tell me, I started to listen to the clues. We’re always testing God, asking him to give us a sign. One time I was in the mall, minding my own business. This woman I never saw before a day in my life walked up to me and said, “I have a word for you from the Lord. The Lord says you need to stop playing small.” I’m like, “You don’t even know me like that.” The truth of the matter is she was just a messenger, and she was right. That is why I started to build a team again. Here’s what I decided to do.
I had a conversation with one of my clients who ended up becoming a member of my team as a part of the rebuild, where she coached and reminded me that I was not the sum total of the failures I had experienced. She helped to give me permission to try again, so I did. I tried again to build a team. This time, it stuck. In rebuilding the team, I already had a full-time executive assistant. I brought on two coaches. Those coaches’ responsibilities were to offset and help free me up so I could do some of the things that no one else would get to do and put me in a position to strategically preside over the business.
That’s the biggest thing you get when you have a team. You get the time and space to make decisions to work on the business because you don’t have to spend all your time working in the business. It was at that point, 2019 to 2020, that we’re also reapproaching the million-dollar mark at this point. Let me tell you. After 2014 and 2015, I was like, “You all could have this million-dollar business. It was everything as big as it was going to be, and I didn’t want it, so I shied away from it.” I also talked myself down on what I needed. I know so many people do. I began to settle and say, “I don’t really need a million-dollar business. All I need is $400,000 $500,000, or maybe $600,000.” That is exactly where we sat for a couple of years.
Building Your Three Core Teams
As I was rebuilding this team, I decided that I was going to get clear and strategic. At the time of starting to rebuild, I realized that any company that is going to grow and do millions of dollars needs three core teams. Write this down if you’re taking notes. You need an operations team. Your ops team is going to manage the day-to-day. They’re going to make sure that the things that must get done do get done every single day. You also need a talent team. Your talent team are the people who are performing the service so that it doesn’t fall all on you. I’m going to be honest. At first, when you have these coaches in place who have been trained and developed and are ready to go out on their own, you’re going to feel some way that your clients aren’t having conversations with you.
I promise you. I’ve been there, done that, and got it. You will get over it because you’ll be so free to do some of the things you never got around to doing to move your business forward because you’re not required for the service delivery. The true measure of a CEO is that they start hiring your company. They are not hiring you. The third team I started to build that you also need to build as you make a move to millions is your marketing and sales team. There was a point in time when I had marketing as a part of the ops team, and in the last few years or so, I moved marketing as a part of the sales team. Honestly, sales can’t sell if marketing isn’t marketing. In order to make sure that the company is running as effectively, those are the three teams, your operations team, talent team, and marketing and sales team.
They do exactly what they say. Under each of those teams, you’ve got lots of job responsibilities. I will tell you honestly that initially, your ops team will be your executive assistant. That first hire that you make is going to be a catch-all position. Your executive assistant might even do a little bit of marketing. You’re probably still doing the sales, but as you create the strategy, they might be implementing it. They might be spending time putting things on social media if social media is part of your marketing strategy. Those types of things have happened. You still want to segment your teams by the teams. Let me give you some examples of what’s included in each team. Under your operations team, you’re going to put your customer service, client management, all of your administrative functions, and project management.
Those are the types of things. I could go deep, but that would be a whole other episode. Under your talent team, you’re going to put your coaches if you’re a coach, consultants if you’re a consulting firm, and speakers if you use people to go out and speak on behalf of you to bring in clients. You’re going to put your ambassadors and trainers under the talent team. These are the people who are responsible for performing the service. Under your marketing and sales team, you’re going to put all your marketing functions, like your copywriter. If that’s not you, it might be you.
The Benefits Of Having Teams
You’re going to put your digital marketing support, technical automation support, sales function, or your inside sales reps or the people who are setting the appointments, the people who are closing, which might be you, which is okay if it is. That is what’s going to go under your three teams. As you grow this team, you are eventually going to get a set aside between you and your team. I am letting you guys all in on this million-dollar dream team. Probably a different spin than you’ve heard before, but I also wanted to put my story in it so that you would have something to compare it to and judge it by as you endeavor and go on this journey for yourself.
We’ve talked about so much in this episode so far. We’ve talked about who needs to be on your team, how you determine, and what needs to get done. Remember, I had you do the hate-to-do, tolerate doing, and love-to-do columns. The question is always, “Darnyelle, where do I start?” You’re going to start by writing job descriptions. The first job you’re 9 times out of 10 going to hire for is your executive assistant. Their job description is going to be based on what’s in your hate to do and tolerate doing. That is administrative.
If you hate selling, first of all, you got to get a mindset shift there because you’re going to be selling for the rest of your life. You’re not in the business you think you’re in. You’re in the business of marketing and selling. That can be delegated at first. As you’re building out your job descriptions and which teams you fill, you’re going to build out your ops team first to free yourself up to master the talent team, talent team functions, marketing and sales team, and marketing and sales teams functions. Why? Because eventually, you’re going to replace yourself. Administratively, you need to be free of all of those things, like client management, customer service, going to the post office box, managing your email box, responding to things that come in online from people, and all of those types of things.
There are a lot of other things. One of the things we give to our clients in our Move to Millions Mastermind is 100 tasks that your assistant can do for you. There are tons of things you can delegate to free up time. Our ultimate goal is we want to be able to free up anywhere from 15 to 20 hours a week of your time administratively. I also get the question about whether or not you should hire an executive assistant full-time or part-time. I want you to hire a full-time assistant because you’ll find things for them to do, but I want you to get a quality assistant. People are looking for full-time jobs for the most part. If you are lucky enough to find a mom who has the flexibility during the day while their kids are working, that could work for you.
I know we’re in the age of virtual team members, but your primary support person should be physically located with you, whether that means you’re both sharing the dining room in your home when they come to work for the hours that they work, or there’s dedicated space for them. When my husband and I built our home, we built a suite adjacent to our home where me and my EA work. The rest of the team work from where they work because now we have eight full-time employees.
We’re expanding. We’re looking for new space now so that we can spread out a little bit more because we are packed up in this camp like sardines. It all started with that first operations position. Now you’re going to spend 90 or so days training and developing them to do the task that you’ve been documenting all along because you’re going to also need those standard operating procedures in place, at least the first few ones. Once you bring the person on, they can help you to create them.
Once you know that they’re able to run and operate on their own, you can start drilling down on the service delivery and getting those SOPs written so you can start bringing on your first support team for that. You can also start documenting and drilling down on the marketing and sales functions so that you can eventually replace yourself in all of those things. I will never advocate for you hiring someone until you have done the job and mastered it, and you’ve also documented it in a way that other people will be able to go behind you and duplicate, replicate, and get success. That is what it is all about.
Having this million-dollar team is going to make a difference because when you expand your team, you put yourself in this position to begin to think about scaling because you are free. You can think about what it’s going to take to move the needle significantly inside your business. That is going to be a big difference. Here’s the thing. The right team, the million-dollar dream team I’ve been talking about, will help you scale your business.
They will help you operationalize your business. They will help you create all the standard operating procedures for your business. They will help you do everything. There are things that you will be the only one that can do, but I challenge you to look at every single thing that needs to be done and see if you have to do it or if it just needs to be done, and if you can have the courage to trust your team members to be able to do that.
When you have the right team, they are going to be able to take you to the next level. There are some things that you can use automation and systems for. I remember we had a person on our team years ago that was our client care specialist. Her husband ended up getting a job in Phoenix and moved, so we lost her. Instead of replacing that position, we automated 85% to 90% of that role. There are some things you’ll be able to automate. Often you don’t even know what you can automate until you get it documented. You have to start the documentation process if you want to bring on the team that’s going to help you. When you have the right team, they’ll also have ideas to add value. You cannot put a dollar amount value on a good idea that could expand your business. One single light bulb moment from one employee can pay off and help you to pay for that employee.
You could also use contractors, and I’ll talk about that in a minute. When you bring on employees, they typically are multi-skilled. They have other skills. That means that they can do multiple jobs. You could have one person who might be performing three functions on the team. When you hire people who have multifaceted skillset, it allows you to get more out of the hire to be able to move your team forward. The second question or another question that we often get is, “Should I hire employees or contractors?” I’m not an attorney, and I don’t play one on TV, nor am I a human resource consultant, and I don’t play one of those on TV either. Here’s what I will tell you. I recommend that you check everything that I say with the professionals who operate in those areas.
If you are telling the person what to do, dictating their schedule, and how they spend their time, they are your employee. I know some of you now where people are contractors. There are 1099 for your company. That will be okay until you get audited. I’m not wishing an audit on you. If you get audited by our IRS person and find that you are driving the time and the output of the people, they are going to deem them to be your employees. They are going to find you big time. You’re going to pay back payroll taxes and penalties as if they were your employee. My recommendation is if you can hire employees from the start. Every function doesn’t need to be an employee because every function isn’t a full-time job. You might have a copywriter that is a freelance or has their own copywriting agency that you hire and pay money to write your copy.
If you are telling a person what to do and are dictating their schedule, they are your employee.
You don’t need to bring them on as a full-time team member, but you’re going to have to go through the process of figuring that out because you want to think strategically, especially as your business elevates. As you start making more money, as you go from no figures to five figures, not so much, but as you go from 5 figures to 6 figures and then from 6 figures to multi 6 figures to 7 figures, there might be more attention paid to you, which then could put you under the scrutiny of verifying that the people who are supporting you are coded correctly and you are not misrepresenting them as a contractor when they are your employee.
I remember when we first started hiring employees. It was back in 2015. My accountant at the time was like, “You’re making a lot of money, so that means the IRS is going to be paying a little bit closer attention. Now is the time to turn your contractors into employees.” We went through the process of switching everyone over. I’m so glad that I did. Now, we only hire our employees as employees. We don’t even do the 90 days as a contractor because that could get you in trouble too. If they’re a contractor for those 90 days, and they deem them to be your employee, and you get audited, they’re going to charge you penalties on that 90 days that they were not your employee. The bottom line is that I want you to be smart because you’re going to need a small team potentially.
You still want to have everything separated out in your operations team, talent team, and marketing and sales teams. It could be a lean team. You don’t need twenty employees to pull up everything that needs to be done. I caution you to make sure that you need the team members and that you exploit multifaceted team members first before you go through the process of hiring to hire. That’s going to impact what percentage you should be paying in payroll. My personal recommendation is that your sweet spot is between 30% and 35%, but you never want to be over 40% of what you earn going back out for payroll. That includes paying yourself. Keep that in mind as well. The bottom line is this. You will need a team to get to the million-dollar mark unless you want to get there and be all tired and not even able to celebrate the milestone and accomplishment.
You’ve heard me talk about statistics. The average Black woman-owned business is only making $28,000 a year. The average White woman-owned business is only making $142,000 a year. There’s a lot of room there. If you get to be one of the strategic CEOs that make the move to millions, you’re going to need the right team to help you do it. I hope this episode has been helpful to you. Do me a favor. Tell me how helpful this episode has been by leaving me a rating and a review on Apple Podcasts. I want to thank you guys so much for allowing me to share this. I’m excited for you and to be able to bring you this kind of content so that you can make some decisions strategically about moving your business forward. I have a feeling that you’re going to start building your team, and your team is going to be the team that helps you make the move to millions. I’ll see you next episode. Take care.