July 12, 2023

How to Support Your Team When They’re Struggling

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How to Support Your Team When They’re Struggling

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It’s a conversation many business owners don’t like having. I’m talking about M.O.N.E.Y.

For some, it’s scary. Others, it’s a dirty word never to be uttered. But, in my opinion, it’s a topic that needs to be high on the agenda for any business owner. If you’re not talking about it, how can you expect to make it? That’s why we’re facing up to it in this blog post… we’re addressing the financial elephant in the room. Because you’ll quickly see it’s not something to be afraid of and taking charge is going to put you in a strong place of power. Especially when things are tough—economic crises and financial situations are the perfect time many business owners hide their heads in the sand. But not today!

The topic of conversation in this post is centering around your team. Because if you’re a business owner who’s fortunate enough to have a team to support you, then I’m sure you already know the difficulties that can face you (and your team members) financially on any given day.

I know you’re the kind of business owner who reviews how things are going with your business at the end of every quarter. Checking to see if you hit your financial goals, or if you didn’t, and then reviewing what went well and what didn’t go so well is a key part of being a business owner. It’s a process I do myself all the time, and I encourage all my clients to do the same. During this review process, one of the issues that comes up time and time again is the need to trim back the team, especially if times are tough, and the overwhelming sense of guilt that comes from having to do that.

Feeling Responsible for Your Team

If you’ve been working with your team for any length of time, you’ve gotten to know them. You know not just what they do for you and your business, but what goes on outside of your relationship with them too. You’re a human being. It’s only natural for you to build relationships with the people that you work with on a daily or weekly basis.

So, when your VA tells you about the huge car service bill they’re struggling to pay, or your social media manager mentions that they’re struggling to make ends meet because they’ve lost a bunch of their other clients recently, as their “boss” it is totally normal to feel like you’re responsible for them. I hear from my clients often that they want to support their awesome team by increasing their rates and giving them more. Which is absolutely fantastic, of course. But only if it’s not going to impact you massively in the process.

The need to support these people that you’ve come to know and care for is a natural one. You want to see them succeed just like you’re succeeding. But there’s only ever so much you can do.

You Can’t Save Everyone If You’re Struggling Yourself

Here’s the thing… The advice I give in this instance can rile some people up the wrong way. It’s a strong stand to take and not everyone will agree with it. But here’s what I think…

You can’t put yourself in debt trying to save someone else.

Now I know that comes across as sounding harsh or maybe even a little selfish to some people. But hear me out. Because if all the people are splashing around outside the lifeboat you’re standing in and, in the process of trying to pull each one of them aboard to keep them safe you get dragged into the water too, how is that going to help anyone?

The honest answer is, it isn’t. And I know you know that. It’s just a hard truth to swallow when all you want to do is help.

In a world where you’re the business owner and you’ve been throwing money at your team that you don’t have, it means at some point you’re going to run out of money to give. And when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before the work dries up because you’re not able to keep working in the way you have been when being supported by your team. It’s a self-sabotaging act.

I’ve Been The Floundering Team Member

A few years back, I was working with my very first coaching client and, during the course of our relationship, she invited me to be one of the experts in her program, giving a talk about how to optimize your website for conversions. I can’t tell you how excited I was about that opportunity. It gave me the chance to build my own authority. It meant I got to create and build something that I wasn’t already building. And I came away from that experience having landed two new clients—two clients I still work with to this day!

So, you see, I speak about this from personal experience. And here are my four tips for how you can support your team without putting yourself in debt in the process.

#1: Offer affiliates, incentives or bonuses

Your team knows what you do best. They get to see what it is you’re offering day in and day out. So, who better to make referrals to you for new clients? By offering incentives for this, the money isn’t coming directly out of your pocket but, instead, it comes from the new business those referrals have generated for you. It’s the perfect cycle of more work for you and, in turn, more money for your team.

#2: Referrals

This time I’m talking about you making referrals for your team members! Most online business owners these days have teams composed not of employees but contractors. That means the likelihood is your team are working for you on a part-time basis and so they have hours in their schedule they can fill with other work. Why not be the person that helps them find more work? It’s quite common to see a group of business owners who share the same VA in their friend circle, or the same copywriter. So this is a great opportunity to help them in the short term with the hope of it lasting well into the future for them.

#3: Offer your expertise

An excellent way of supporting your team without putting yourself into financial difficulties is to offer yourself as a mentor to them or help them to create offers and grow their businesses. For example, if you’re a graphic designer with a VA, you could help that VA to create a workbook with your expertise. Or mentor them through the process so they can repeat what they’ve learned for themselves. Using your skills and expertise is a great way to offer support to them.

#4: Collaborate with your team

Offering your team to your own clients is a great way of helping your team to increase their financial security without throwing money at the problem yourself. For example, if you’re a coach, you could offer expert spotlights to your team members so they can share their expertise with your clients. You could also look at direct collaborations—maybe creating a course together or hosting a retreat together. There are so many ways to collaborate with your team. I’m sure you could come up with a ton of ideas if you brainstormed with them!

These are just a few ways in which you can support your team without taking all the financial responsibility and burden on your shoulders. I’m sure there are plenty of other ideas as well. Let me know if you come up with any others! Ultimately, though, it’s about not putting yourself in a situation where you’re unable to help anyone because you wind up getting into serious debt yourself. And, honestly, I think stepping back and realizing throwing money at the problem is not the answer is one of the kindest things you can do—for your business and for your team.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree with me or not. Drop me a DM over on Instagram and tell me what you think!

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