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  • Writer's pictureJamie Slough

Scaling a Business from Solopreneur to Team Leader

Updated: May 10

I know I know…this is a marketing blog and I’m about to talk business. BUT…don’t they go hand in hand?

I’ve been going through some major growing pains the past few months. If sharing my struggles can help just one other solopreneur along their business journey…then it was worth it!

Setting the Scene

After a very difficult “business divorce” several years ago, I wanted to build my marketing business on my own. I’ve always been someone who thrives on collaboration and a team environment, but still licking my emotional and financial wounds, really wanted to create this as a one-woman shop.

Late 2021 I realized that to grow the way I wanted to, and have the positive impact I wanted to, doing it alone just wasn’t going to be possible.

J Collective was born. The original idea was to work with the best creatives on a contract basis to protect myself from feeling responsible for, or dependent on others again.

Well, this stepping stone worked! We doubled our revenue in 2022 from 2021, which as a start-up was still nowhere close to where I wanted to be, but impressive stats to confirm the obvious…I can’t do it alone!

Welcome to 2023…business is going great and still 100% word of mouth. I can only imagine where I could take J Collective if I had the time to market the marketing business!

By Q1 that was completely out of the question. I was working on average 10 hour days including weekends and answering emails and texts at all times of day and night, 7 days a week. NOT SUSTAINABLE!

I finally accepted the fact that if I wanted to build the vision in my head for this company - helping good people create great brands; I needed to let go of my fear of failure, and even bigger, my fear of failing a team…again.

I started Q2 ready to hire! I was working crazy hours. My creative contractors were equally as busy so projects were scheduling out and regardless of the hours I was spending…I could still feel things starting to slip through the cracks.

After a particularly chaotic week of 15+ hour days, I posted my first ever job post to Linkedin and was blown away by the response of qualified candidates.

I’m posting this blog the week before my first J Collective employee starts and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

While this journey is far from over, here’s a few things I’ve learned so far:

  1. It takes a village! I spent years trying to avoid this.

  2. Use LinkedIn for job posting. I was able to get my first post free.

  3. Check with your business team before making your first hire (attorney, CPA etc.) to make sure you’re setting things up correctly.

  4. Skills I can train. Mindset I can’t. Hire someone who fits the company & culture you’re creating

  5. Hire for where you want to go, not where you are now.

  6. Always ask for a (paid) work sample

  7. Always check references

  8. Have specific tasks and metrics outlined for any position

  9. Set boundaries with clients! When I was a one-woman shop I had none. This costly mistake will take me a long time to reset and is 100% avoidable.

What’s next for J Collective?

We have big goals this year for J Collective and I’ve realized to meet these goals, we will need to get really specific on how we help our clients. I’ve been operating as a Jill of all trades and it’s time to really niche down.

As I continue to grow the J Collective Team, I’ll be stepping out of implementation and into the coaching, consulting and strategy space.

I’m embracing my favorite quote… “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire,” and excited to start focusing on speaking and training again.

As step one of this transition, we just launched J Collective Club, an affordable marketing coaching community for start-ups, entrepreneurs & small business. I’m so passionate about these people and helping them grow. If this is you check it out…Hope to see you there!

-Jamie Slough Founder, Marketing & Brand Strategist | J Collective

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