Invest in your team (at the office and at home) to build better

This article is the last part of the series Growth *No* at any cost. I discuss how to quickly scale your business while keeping your mental health front and center—and use that foundation of wellness as a superpower that fuels sustainable growth and success.

Check out the rest of the series at developing meaningful habits, transforming your thinking to fuel sustainability and revenueand investing in a valuable asset which most founders overlook.

Two months after going all-in on launching her strategy consulting firm Easy Scaling, Jordan Shanda King found out she was pregnant.

Over the next two years, she not only had a child, but also built the company into a 20-person agency with multiple six-figure revenues.

Her pregnancy, she says, forced her to view self-care not as a nice thing, but as a tangible, critical and selfless act—a philosophy she’s lived by ever since. “As I’ve grown and become more successful, I’ve only felt the weight of responsibility on me as a business owner, but I’ve also found a deeper appreciation for taking care of myself,” she says.

Ensuring the company’s sustainability, she learned, requires giving herself permission to say no, take her time, and slow down.

But the #1 tactic she considers to achieve a thriving business and home life? Building a strong support team around her.

“Without a doubt, the most critical thing any business owner can do to support their own mental health and well-being is to hire help,” she explains.

Of course, this can be easier said than done – and the cost of hiring support and the challenge of finding the right people are concerns I’ve heard from my executive coaching clients time and time again. So I’m wrapping up this series with advice from other founders on how they knew when the timing and hire was right, and how to make sure the people around you are helping you fuel sustainable success.

Decide when the time (and financial investment) is right.

Clinical and forensic psychologist Dr Lesley Dobson specializes in criminal and civil cases, assessing mental health disorders for prosecution and defense teams. Currently, her business is all her own, but she has raised her fees and legal fees over the past year to increase profits. Once it reaches $1 million in revenue, it plans to hire others to join.

For some businesses, this approach works. But Antoinette Adefela, CEO and founder of Exp.Design LLC, knew that scaling her creative training agency would require building her team sooner rather than later. The payment structure from her corporate clients was often 30 to 60 days late, so she knew she would have to think strategically about how to manage her cash flow before hiring others.

“In preparation for scaling and building a team, I decided to reinvest a significant portion of the funds back into the business,” she says. This preparation time also gave her a chance to establish well-defined best practices and processes for future employees.

The result: When she took on a significant project, she was able to build her team knowing she could support them financially and that they were driven to do their best work. “Preparing before this project allowed me to create a supportive environment for my new team and remove any potential stress I had to deal with,” she says. “It was definitely a win-win for everyone.”

Take care of your people

As Adefela learned, making sure your people have what they need to thrive is an essential part of sustainable scaling. Ronite Menashe, CEO and co-founder of his-and-hers prenatal supplement brand WeNatal, agrees. Not only is it possible to foster a high-performing company culture without adopting a hustle-at-all-costs mindset, she says, it’s a necessity for a business like hers.

“While building a company takes a lot of hard work and dedication, I am constantly reminded that if we are to truly innovate in fertility, our company culture must reflect the wellness practices we promote in our community,” she explains.

She and her co-founder provide each employee with tools to help maintain their physical and mental health, such as Oura rings to monitor and improve their sleep quality. They also encourage a daily practice of gratitude among the team. “It allows me to reflect and express gratitude for all the remarkable achievements I’ve made and the wonderful people who have supported me along the way,” she says.

Think beyond the traditional “team”

Many executives I work with believe that their “team” goes beyond their contractors or employees. Adefela recommends identifying the key players in your support system, whether it’s your parents, partner, therapist, business coach, or community of founders. “You need an outlet to talk about what you’re going through and express yourself,” she says.

Shanda King credits many people for being part of her support team: her husband, plus many peers, colleagues, friends and family members who share their wisdom. But her best investment, she says, is her coach. “She helped me deal with everyday challenges, doubt and fear around big decisions, the intersection of personal and professional stress, imposter syndrome and so much more,” she explains. “I wouldn’t be where I am today, in my business and in terms of my well-being, without my coach.”

For Dobson, she found that her most important support network was the one at home. “Stay true to your family goals and family mission and let work come second,” she advises. “If you are confined at home and feel connected to your family, then you will succeed at work.”

Surround yourself with people who promote your well-being

Over the past two years, Caitlin McCarthy-Miranda’s marketing agency, C|Louise, has seen remarkable revenue growth, signed dream clients and rapidly hired. But this growth is not without challenges. “Sometimes we get so caught up in the chaos that it’s hard to look in the mirror and see how the stress has manifested itself,” she says.

She credits those in her inner circle with prioritizing her well-being and implementing practices that allowed her to show up for herself and her team. “The people I’m surrounded by, who know me and aren’t afraid to tell me how it is, have helped me take care of myself,” she says. “Call on your people, lean on your people – they helped show me the light.”

McCarthy-Miranda also recommends surrounding yourself with staff and clients who respect and encourage taking time off. “You set the tone, but the people around you also need to understand the value of taking a break and recharging,” she says. “Some clients have even called me to remind me to take a day off, realizing that my well-being is paramount to our healthy growth!”

She also took her sister and best friend along for the ride — the person she credits with reminding her that life is a dance through storms to sunnier skies. As she says, “Challenges invariably lead to greatness, making brighter days even brighter.”

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