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happy friday + questions for growing a team?

Oh Joy! Growing a Team

Oh Joy! Growing a Team

Happy Friday! I am working on some new projects, and would love your input! For a while, I have been wanting to teach an online class for small business owners about "How to Grow a Team". I never learned how to be a boss in any formal way and have figured it all out as I go. I wish I had more direction when I was building my company and adding employees on what made sense, how to hire people, and other aspects of growth that there was no resource for. As I have grown my team over the last 13 years (from just me to six full-time employees), I have learned a lot about when it's time to grow, how to find good people (and how to keep them), how to run a company that your employees enjoy working at, and so much more.

In a similar way that Creative, Inc. and Blog, Inc. gave you all my tips from everything I've learned in freelancing and blogging, I want to do that again to help other small creative business owners understand how to go about it. So…if you are a small creative business owner or want to be one some day, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

1. What you would want me to cover and what specific questions do you have about growing a team? That will help me best customize this class for your needs!

2. If you are a small business owner and located in Los Angeles and would be interested in coming to an in-person version of this class before the online version goes up, also let me know what type business you have, what your concerns/questions are, and your email. That way, we can contact you if the opportunity arises. 

Thanks in advance for your input! Happy weekend!


  1. What a great idea! Would definitely love to hear all the advice you have to share. From knowing when the right time was to hire your first employee, interview strategy to make sure you hire someone that fits your culture, and overall tactics to keep employees engaged and satisfied. You’re the best!

  2. I’m in Burbank and run a niche manufacturing company, with design, photography and retail mixed in. I would love to attend an in-person version!
    My biggest struggle has been determining whether my expectations are too high for my staff, and whether it’s because I’m measuring them against my own seasoned abilities.

  3. Thanks Tiffany!
    If you can give me an idea of what type of business you have, it’s all helpful info as I build this class!

  4. I am creative director for a product design company in Orange County. I would absolutely go to an in person class in LA!!
    I’m interested in managing and inspiring your creative team

  5. I am a one woman show right now for my small biz. I make party decor and gifts. I make everything from place cards, cake toppers and more.
    Thank you!

  6. I would love to attend. We are a video production company and have freelance help for now. We are realizing growth is limited without a commited team. I personally admire your growth and story, and would appreciate your insight!

  7. I’m Kate and based in NYC but would love to fly out and attend the in-person class if possible! I run a skincare company and would like to know about how to grow brand awareness and create a marketing strategy with a lean operation.

  8. I’m in education and although not exactly a small business owner, I do focus a lot on leadership development and building strong and effective teams. We have a lot of specialty areas that we hire for in order to provide top quality schools from teachers, data, operations, technology, school leaders, HR, finance, etc. A lot of our schools start off small and grow over the years. My questions are:
    -did you find that in the beginning, everyone wore many different hats? And as you grew, people become more specialized? How did you manage that transition?
    -as your business got larger and you started to hire for different roles that were outside of your personal specialty areas, how did you develop as a leader so that you could still continue to support their growth?
    -did you ever hire someone who wasn’t a strong fit? How did you manage that situation?
    I live in the LA area and would be so excited to join an in person workshop.
    Thank you in advance for creating such a helpful learning opportunity!

  9. Hi Joy,
    This sounds perfect for someone like me! (And yes, please do the in person version!)
    I’m an illustrator/artist specializing in custom paintings and wedding stationery. I have a few part time/contractors but want to grow a full-time staff eventually. I’d love to know how you can set yourself up to have a team, what that looks like financially, and how to attract the right people for your team.
    Loveee everything you do!

  10. How do you find passionate employees and how do you keep the passion alive while making sure the hard work gets done?
    I would love to attend in person (or someone from our management team). We’re growing a small pr firm in la and beyond.

  11. Great idea joy! I,m from spain, and I would love to hear from you and asist to this class. Because Of that i vote to do it online! Or a webinar?
    Thanks a Lot!

  12. Hello, this is a great idea.
    I am Marwah nadreen CEO of Zabrgah an online platform to get you an exprExp interior design.
    I am struggling now with hiring.
    I have no idea how to delegate and put on some clear tasks.
    I am doing everything now by myself.
    How did you figure out what are the tasks and how do put the KPIs?
    Thanks and can’t wait ??

  13. Hi Joy!
    It’s Angel, (angel__rc) I’m definitely interested and would love to do the in person class. Hope to hear from you soon! My husband is a freelance graphic designer and want to make himself grow. Any feedbacks on that?

  14. Right now it’s just me. Solo artist, painter and surface pattern designer. I’m on Society 6, Redbubble, and Etsy. I’m enjoying making art but I’m feeling lost in terms of making it a profitable business. It was always my dream to see my art on products.Any advice would be great.

  15. How do you fire someone who has good intentions, but the worst possible communication skills that create crisis after crisis. Even after multiple private conversations this person cannot get it under control. It is detrimental to the rest of the team. He has great intentions and great ideas but the chaos created is not worth it

  16. Hello! I am a small handmade decor shop owner in the IE. I would love some guidance on marketing (social media and otherwise), community involvement, and branded merchandise. Thank you!

  17. This is such a great idea! I just hired my first employee after 8 years of self employment (I’m a jewelry artist/metalsmith). I’m having trouble learning how to delegate and how to instill ownership of the work they do when at the end of the day it’s my name on the product. Also, I feel like I need help on like a million little things but it’s so much effort to teach these million little things I just end up doing it myself. I used to manage a custom jewelry studio and I had procedures and processes but since I pursued my own work all the info was in my head so I didn’t need these procedures anymore, now I need to try to figure out how to get back there!
    I’m excited about this, thank you!

  18. Yes please!!! How to find GOOD people. So hard to find people who want to work as hard as you and are energetic, forward thinking and care! Thanks 🙂 I’m in LA and would like to come to the class if it happens. Thanks!

  19. Hi Joy! I would love to attend a live version. I am a professional home organizing consultant in Los Angeles. I have sub contractors, but have not made the move to full time employees. I seem to have trouble keeping assistants interested. Would love to learn about your experience and perspective. Thanks so much!

  20. Hi Joy, how exciting. I’ve been following your journey from Perth, Australia for more than four years after discovering you on Pinterest. I am a graphic designer and marketer and vintage Etsy shop owner of Paperdolli Vintage. I love so many design related things and I am struggling to narrow things down so I can be profitable. I am currently working on a project for a fundraiser with a jeweller amd a stylist. We all live in different parts of the city and so have been using Marco Polo as a way of sharing thoughts and visual ideas but we have struggled a bit here and there … I guess this has been a big jump for me and I would love more advice on how to effectively communicate with my team which also consists of volunteer models and backstage crew. I am also super nervous when talking to the group!

  21. I think my clients often struggle with expecting to hire twice the talent and get double the results. Maybe a quick note on what to expect when adding team members as far as profit increases or just efficiency challenges?? I struggle myself explaining this when trying to convince clients to invest in processes. Also, noting that nobody will invest in your business as much as you will.

  22. So, so excited for this. I am hoping in the next few years to grow a team for my own brand/future business and want to learn as much as I can now.
    Definitely, how to create an office culture! You seem to have such a great one that’s both upbeat but productive. How to set healthy boundaries with employees and balance being a “fun” encouraging boss with being someone they respect as a supervisor. I.e., not getting walked over or avoiding not being taken seriously because you care and are friendly. As well as how to delegate, how to trust someone else to do the things that you yourself enjoy and can probably do a better job of…how to creatively challenge team members in their role and help them grow. But most of all, how to have HONEST AND HARD conversations without burning bridges!

  23. Hi Joy! It’s currently just me working my business. I would love to take on an assistant. The thing I’m most concerned about it the tax side of things and worrying about consistently making enough to pay both my assistant AND myself.

  24. Hi joy,
    I’m an interior designer doing everything on my own and def overwhelmed. Curious when it’s time to take the leap and start hiring vs. trying to juggle it all. Also curious about when is the right time to expand vs. save $. Would love to attend in person. I am in Orange County.

  25. Hi Joy! Really looking forward to hearing more from you. As someone with tons of successful sales, marketing and advertising experience, I know what I need to do, but have a hard time marketing myself. I can look at anyone else’s business and say this, this and this, is what you need to do – and it works. Yet I get stuck with decisions when it comes to myself. Seems like it would be easier, but I’m stuck in a rut. I’d love to know how you decided on your direction, did you have help with growing your business from the start? Is it better to do something like products, licensing, both? Both seems to be best, but then there’s all the overhead and storage with products, more employees etc. Is there anything you would do differently starting out again? Thanks!

  26. So excited! I read both creative inc & Blog Inc and they both helped me build my business and my blog. As a business owner currently wearing all the hats in the company, I would love to know when do we really know when we are ready to grow the team. Should we focus on fresh out of college students that maybe need to be thought more or more seasoned people in the business? I’m looking forward to this!

  27. I would love this! I created a workout class for all bodies called Fat Kid Dance Party and it has had such a reception that I am growing it into a fitness media platform workout videos and online classes. I’d love to know more about the financial moments that taught you that you could bring people on and how you do more of what you love and less of what you don’t. Especially in the early days when it feels like endless to do lists. I’m in LA and would totally come to an in person class! Right now I have an assistant and the staff creating my workout video, but could really use a tour manager, too.

  28. Hello! So I’m not really a business owner but my upper management treats each stream at our test lab as their own buesiness. It’s up to us to grow and show profit. I work for Intertek and I’m a team lead of engineers and technicians. I probably don’t really fit in with this, but I want to hire more people, keep my staff happy and proud of where they work, and how to make my team independent (if I were to leave and/or move up, they would be okay without a direct report for a bit). I’m a bit of a control freak so I also need help delegating and showing trust in my staff. Thanks!

  29. Hi Joy + Team! I am the boss lady of a small event + wedding planning business in the San Gabriel Valley, and I love what I do. I have a small team of amazing women, and I’d love to grow the team and business, but I’m constantly struggling with how to find the right people who share my passion and how to stop micromanaging them without losing the quality and consistency of our work. I would be very interested in attending an educational session!

  30. Hi Joy, this is great! I have a business in San Jose, CA designing + making accessories and home goods. My biz has been consistently growing, especially as I grow the wholesale side. I’m now interested in partnering with corporations and large companies for seasonal gifts. I’ve gotten inquiries but have never closed a deal. I’ve seen you work in various partnerships and with companies like Target…I’d love to get some insight into how to develop relationships with them, how to pitch well, how to negotiate, or any other aspects I’m not seeing! Thanks + look forward to the class!

  31. Hi! So I just want to thank you for putting this together. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for on podcasts and google searches, but haven’t found.
    Just reading through everyone’s stories helps me feel less alone in it.
    My concerns are as a creative, how do you hire someone you don’t feel competitive with, if you’re naturally competitive?
    I like to inspire. How do you deal with jealousy or attitudes as a boss when you feel THEIR reactions and vibes are jelly? How do you address it? Maybe how do you avoid it?
    Is it just knowing how not to hire negativity? Making sure you’re offering them enough challenge helpful…?
    Making sure they’re happy is a given, but when you have 25 things going on, it feels like another 25 just teaching them.
    Will the growth of their position and journey in your business reach a point you feel threatened? Should replacing ourselves in certain areas to work on other areas in the business feel threatening?
    The fear is real of instilling trust in a new-hire to help build their confidence will leave you open to being taken advantage of. Protection tips?
    Hiring positions that are helpful to the business but not competitive?
    But is competitive good in the work place between boss and employee? Especially to a boss who welcomes and seeks to be challenged as much as you challenge? Within your culture do you welcome opinions and competitive edge from your team? Or do you direct your inspiration from others in your trusted inner circle? Should your employees be your inner circle? I always love how a creative group is more lax on team builds and encouraging an environment of creativity by bonding over a drink together. Such grey lines between being understanding and kind as a boss, but maintaining a strong level of work ethic and expectations. Friend vs employee and where does forming a culture or work family mix well with also being a serious and ambitious business owner?

  32. Hello! I look forward to the online version since I am based out of NYC. I run the design team for a fine casual restaurant chain. I started off as their first in-house designer and now have grown a team of 5 including me. Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

  33. Hi Joy,
    I would love for you to share information in regards to starting your own business 101. What do you suggest are top priority steps to starting a business. How did you find trustworthy manufacturers and investors. How did you survey the market. What tools did you use?!Could you provide/create a start up business step by step “how to” guide or FAQ form. You have a wonderful and inspiring platform! Thank you for taking the time to teach others!

  34. Hola! Joy
    I am located in Atlanta and starting a party supply business as well. I would like to hear you journey from start to now. Business 101 in regard to our industry. Can’t wait!!


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