We have two Czech Woofers working here at the moment. A Woofer being someone who works on an organic farm, as a working holiday, in return for board and lodgings.
My children pointed out that ours is not technically an organic farm, I countered with the fact that it is all so natural (i.e. fairly wild!) that you couldn’t argue it was NOT organic.
Getting the Woofers up to speed here coincided with a few client sessions I had last week about taking on new staff, freelancers or hiring additional help by the hour. The three crucial points being, deciding what you need, finding the right person and bringing them up to speed.
Here are a few of the things I have done with our Woofers / discussed with my clients:
How do know you’re ready for help? Any of these sound familiar?
- You’re working at maximum capacity
- You’re making mistakes
- You’re feeling totally overwhelmed
- You’re not enjoying some of the tasks that you know someone else could do
Can you afford someone?
- Increase your targets to cover your additional costs – what you focus on happens
- Hire someone part-time or freelance to keep costs more manageable
- Use the rule of thumb if you can afford to pay 50% of what someone will cost, their addition to your business will cover the other 50% (and hopefully more on top!)
What exactly do you want them to do? You know you need help, but to do what exactly?
- Sit down right now and make a list of everything you need help with
- Make a grid with 4 squares: I love doing, I’m good at, I hate doing, I’m not good at. Shape the role from there
- Or over a two week period, as you’re working away, write down every job or task that you come across that you think someone else can do for you (this is often a great way to shape a role)
Who exactly do you want?
- As well as the what, think about the who, the type of person you want
- Think about their outlook, their values, their disposition
Getting up to speed:
- Working arrangements often fail if time isn’t taken to bring someone up to speed
- It’s going to take time to get someone doing everything you want in the way that you want, but it’s time incredibly well spent so don’t scrimp on it
- Be extremely clear about what you want done; show and show again if necessary (don’t be tempted to take tasks back and re-do them yourself, you are only making a rod for your own back)
- Be very clear on what you expect from them and what they expect from you – these expectations are not always verbalised which is where frustrations and misunderstandings begin
So, we had a few ups and downs settling in our very lovely Woofers, including language barriers, losing them in our local town, and the ponies being fed twice in one morning (the ponies were thrilled), but we are now on a great even keel, and they are helping us here no end.