As I mentioned earlier this week, I have hired my very first full-time employee after eight years in business. Meet Eryn Patton!
What will be most obvious to y’all is that today I will be turning over my new business-focused Instagram account — @WendyBrandesJewelry — to Eryn. The account will focus on jewelry designs, customers and press and any other jewelry news, as well as what Eryn’s doing behind the scenes on a day to day basis. Basically, she’s going to be my Instagram version of OscarPRGirl. If I post to the account myself, I will sign or initial it, so you know that it’s me. (My other Instagram accounts will remain the same: @WendyBrandes for my personal account and @fitzroy_the_cat for cat and dog photos. And I think we all know which is the most popular one. Cats rule teh Interwebs!)
Eryn has also given me good material for my very neglected and still only half-done Bitchtastic Guide to Small Business™ book. When you’ve got a small business and mention the challenge of finding the right help at the right price — whether photographer, graphic designer, website developer, you name it — people who have never had a small business say, “Why don’t you just do it yourself?” as if you weren’t already doing nearly everything because you don’t have any money to spare. (I always ask them what company has ever grown — really grown — with only one person doing everything for it, forever. Growth means adding on, not staying static.) While I’ve never been foolish enough to think I can do my own photography or graphic design or web development or goldsmithing without looking like a complete amateur, over the years, at different times, I’ve been my own bookkeeper, publicist, sales director, errand runner … the list goes on and on. That’s necessary for any start-up for a long time because, again, money is an issue. But I find that I am constantly encountering situations in which I think, “I can’t afford to do this, but I can’t afford not to do it.” Eventually, the “I can’t afford not to” wins out and I cut back in one area in order to invest elsewhere. I’m very glad I invested in Eryn. Since she’s been working for me I’ve been shocked to realize the amount of time I’ve spent on basics when I should have been thinking much bigger. The other shock is how many important projects I gave up on entirely, resigned to the fact that I was never going to have the time to do them. Now those are getting done AND I have the time to think strategically about my new designs and the business in general instead of, say, going to four different stores to research fancy envelopes. I’m also going to have time to finish that book, so that you can all learn from my experiences. I’m giving myself a January deadline!
Click here to read Eryn’s take on her new job. She seems to like her boss, which is a good thing. She also has excellent advice on working from home. And don’t forget to follow WendyBrandesJewelry on Instagram.