EP11 – Business basics and hiring the best people with guest Ellie Megraw

Hello and welcome to self startups. Today. I’m going to be talking about business basics, and in a little while I’m going to be talking to Ellie McGraw about finding the right people to hire.

But if you are going to reach the point of hiring staff, you’ll need to grow your business first. To get to a point where the business is making a regular income, that’s sufficient to warrant hiring in help.

But yes, there’s a caveat here. I know that some businesses are funded from the get go and hire straight away. Most of the businesses I refer to here or sole traders or limited companies with solo entrepreneurs. Typically they’ve retrained to do something different, like becoming a yoga teacher or a physical trainer or a CBT practitioner or a mindset coach, or a hypnotherapist or a weight loss consultant.

They’ve transitioned from a corporate career and have never had to do all the sales, marketing promotion and everything else that a small business owner has to do. To grow your business, you need some business basics in place.

Business basics include things like positioning your product or service, validating it and validating your offers, building up [00:02:00] an audience on and off social, growing an email list and building up organic traffic so that you can start to automate your sales funnels and gain consistent income.

I teach all of this and more in my Build Your Business program. Once you are in a position where your business is consistently making enough to pay you and someone else, it’s time to hire and start to scale. Exciting times.

Next I’m going to be talking to Ellie Megraw. Ellie has a background in HR. She retrained as an NLP practitioner and now she helps SMEs to seek and keep amazing talent. She also has a group coaching program, teaching leadership to women in business called ignite your power. Ellie is based in Queensland, Australia.

Hiring the best people for the job

Annette Clubley: So today I’m going to be talking to Ellie Megraw. [00:03:00] She is the MD of a company called Headway, and she trained as an NLP practitioner and she uses those skills to help business owners find the best people for their business, whether that’s recruiting people or whether that’s retaining the people that they’ve already got and so she works as a business coach or business consultant with all sorts of sizes of business to help them find the best people. Hello!

Ellie Megraw: Hiya, {laughter} that was kind of the anti-niche thing (laughter).

Annette Clubley: So, you have got a lot to fulfil in your talk. How do we find the best people?

Ellie Megraw: How do we find the best people? Well, I guess one of the things that, whether you’re, like a solo entrepreneur wanting to add a new member of staff, whether they’re permanent or casual, or whether [00:04:00] you have a big business and you’re trying to add people into the team, one of the biggest issues that I see with any business, particularly where they have issues with retention and stuff, is that they start with the job.

So they’re like, this is what we need. Here’s the duty, the responsibilities, all these kinds of things. When that’s actually the last thing that you should be doing. So, when we’re, it’s like long gone are the days when people used to stay in their businesses for ages and ages, and they’d get the watch after 50 years.

People are moving around. They’re being quite discriminative of what they’re actually doing, and they’re looking for an experience. So when you’re trying to market a job, which is what you’re doing, you’re marketing yourself because you’re competing with, you know, hundreds of other businesses, if not thousands of other businesses it’s like, how do you capture the essence of your organization, understand that how success is [00:05:00] supported and then filter the people based on that criteria rather than, Hey, do you have you know, BD skills and HubSpot experience and things like that. So, Well, for want of a better word, I look at the holistic recruitment process. So I’m like, I will not work with someone, so for my one-on-one consulting if I don’t understand those, those things, if I don’t understand what the success criteria is, if I don’t understand what are the ways people will get motivated, how do they make decisions? How do they process information? It just won’t work because I don’t know what are those things that will make someone happy in their job, they’ll want to stick around, and that it’ll be easy for that manager to manage that person to get good results.

Annette Clubley: Okay. Okay. That’s really interesting because I’ve had, I’ve had a [00:06:00] background in software development and I think in the software development industry, there’s quite a lot of that kind of hiring. So I think it’s because businesses are very agile and flexible. They actually talk more about, is this person a good fit for us? Do they have the capability or the potential rather than have they already got the skills.

Ellie Megraw: Yep.

Annette Clubley: And so there is that shift in focus away from, you know, we want somebody with A, B, C, D, E to, we want somebody who’s intelligent or curious or you know, interested in learning or whatever, because we know that kind of person will pick up the skills, even if they don’t already have them.

Ellie Megraw: Yeah.

Annette Clubley: And they will also be a better fit for our team because they all that kind of person and we are that kind of person.

The cost of the wrong hire

Ellie Megraw: Yep. So one of the things I’ve noticed is like, yes, there is a as a lean to that, and a lot of the bigger organizations, you have big HR teams and talent teams. They’ve got the [00:07:00] luxury of being able to see, do that and test it and, and absorb that cost of a bad hire, should they get it wrong. One of the things that I really want people to focus on when they’re hiring someone is you might have your values, right? So you might have your list of values. And this is our organization. We’re all about integrity. And we’re all about you know, customer experience and things like that.

That might be what you want your customers to think. But when it comes to your employee experience, you have to make sure that, that they match up. So looking at who is the really successful people in your business and what is it about them that makes them successful? So it might not be that their integrity.

It’s the thing that gets the job done. It might be that they have a real focus on detail and never let something go. I, unless they’ve double and triple checked it. So it’s about understanding, like, [00:08:00] what does that measure? So a, what am I measuring? And B what am I going to be looking for when I assess that person in the interview?

Because if you’re going by your company, one, your employees might be really different. And what you think of the values that are driving your business are the things that, that the same as the customer driven side of things, you’re kind of walking a dodgy line because it’s so expensive. And I don’t know any small business that can absorb two to three times a base salary of someone to get a hiring wrong.

Annette Clubley: No.

Measuring the right KPIs

Ellie Megraw: The thing that really ticks me is that it’s not measured. So the things that get measured are like the recruitment fees and the advertising and the… they maybe sometimes if they’re a bit further forward, they think about it, right. Well, you know, I am D who’s worth, you know, X amount in an hour. They’re having to spend, you know, 10 hours to interview all these [00:09:00] people that’s cost this much, or that person who’s having to do the extra work that’s costing this much, but then you’re not able to measure like what that person then starts getting burned out, they start getting pee’d off ’cause they’re having to pick up the slack. That then that starts to impact the goodwill that exists in the client. The client experience can start to suffer. So it’s kinda like, you know, it’s like, oh yes, we’ve lost someone. We just need to find it. It’s like, hang on. There’s this whole ecosystem that ends up getting affected because that hiring decision was wrong.

Annette Clubley: Yes. Yes. Snowball effect. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Picks it up and carries it on. Yes, exactly. Especially as if you’re a smaller business your primary aim in hiring somebody is typically to save yourself some time.

Ellie Megraw: Exactly.

Annette Clubley: So yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You’ve got to measure that cost of how much time is it going to take for me to train this person? Or, you know, how much time is it going to take for me to have to [00:10:00] fire this person, manage this person, fire this person and have to hire again, if I make the wrong decision, you know, which is…

Ellie Megraw: And it’s stressful and it’s time-consuming, and it’s, you know, I had it as a full-time job and then having to do that on top of your, like your stuff in your business, it’s incredibly time consuming and an energy drain, but the thing is when you get it right, and you’ve got a structure to follow and you’ve got criteria to go either it is a full body yes. Or an absolute, no. Then that makes it really, really easy. You know, you can make that decision within 10 minutes.

Annette Clubley: Yes.

Ellie Megraw: Rather than days.

Annette Clubley: Yes. And that’s worth its weight in gold, isn’t it?

Ellie Megraw: Well I think so. (laughter)

Annette Clubley: Of course you do.

Ellie Megraw: Well, I mean I hate that indecision. Like I find, [00:11:00] being, myself. It’s like, if I have a set of criteria to say yes or no to something, then the decision gets made really quickly. But when I’m sitting in an emotive state, And I tend to procrastinate a little bit on it, and maybe it can take like days and days for things to then start to (inaudible), whereas when I’ve got it, does it match A, B and C, and if it doesn’t have it, then it goes and I move on to something else. And I think having that as a strategy to hiring good people saves as business owners heaps of time, which is the one thing that we can’t buy.

Annette Clubley: And how, so, how does your, how do you work your NLP training into your work with business owners?

Managing and retaining staff

Ellie Megraw: Yeah, it’s I love NLP. I think if anyone has an opportunity to.. So it stands for neuro-linguistic programming.

There’s some new data software that’s coming out, that’s NLP as well, but it’s not the same thing. But NLP helps you understand the programs that are [00:12:00] running in someone’s mind that kind of get us through the day to day. So we, we kind of have the programs and as we delete distort and generalize, what’s happening in our world, we actually speak what we’re doing.

And when someone. In a particular role when you know what you’re listening for, you can actually decide, you know, how does that person get motivated? How do they make decisions and how do they process information? So when they come to managing them, when they come to getting them to do what they need them to do, they can frame the work in a way that actually makes sense to them and plugs naturally into their tendencies. I also use a thing called meta-programs in NLP, which is understanding the programs under the programs and with particular jobs and vacancies, there’s natural ways of thinking that [00:13:00] lean better into some jobs and not so good into others. I can also tell how long someone’s going to stay in a position. So if they need someone to be in the role for a long time there’s questions that we can ask that can highly predict whether someone’s going to stay in the role, for any length of time, which I’m like, whoa, that’s interesting.

Yeah. And it works every time. I still doubt it a little bit, even though I’ve done it successfully for so many years. It’s like, I’ll say it. And then I’m like, oh, I know when it happens. I’m like, oh yeah, it’s that ability, you know, that ability to predict and reduce the risk is, you know, every business owner’s dream.

Annette Clubley: Okay. Okay. Really interesting. And so, and also, I know that you use the NLP training in your own coaching of leadership. You have a leadership group called ignite your power, and it’s about teaching women to take up that role of [00:14:00] leadership in their own business. And so, you know, obviously you use quite a lot of your training in that…

Ellie Megraw: yeah.

Annette Clubley: …coaching training as well. So how, how do you work with people at the moment?

Ellie Megraw: So so with my recruitment clients, I I work with them two ways. So either I, I support them through a process, so I help them create their create their own bespoke system. That’s going to identify the right people for their organization. And then I support them through that interview process, or they get me to do it for them. So I take charge of the whole recruitment process and submit candidates and do that. So generally the ones who are really time poor, get me to do that bigger piece of work. I’ve also trained like solar solo entrepreneurs who don’t necessarily need me to do it all, but want to have some help and some guidance to think about what it is that they need, and then how do they implement that into their hiring because a lot of people never hired before. So it’s like, [00:15:00] well, what do you do? Like, you know, call them up and have a chat. And it’s like, well, that’s the worst thing you can do because you have, what’s called unconscious bias, drips in and you’re like, I like them, but you don’t even look at whether or not they can do the job. And then you wonder why it’s like I gotta have to sack them because I can’t actually do it because you didn’t a assess that in the first place ’cause you’re like having a good chat and it was like a really nice experience.

Taking leadership as a women in business

And then with the leadership, I’ve got that that coaching program called Ignite Your Power and that’s just like, helping business owners actually step into that freedom of I’m a business owner, I’m the leader here because often what happens is that people who are working for other people they have that employee mindset and they go, yeah, whatever happens, they really want to, or life forces them into own and in operating in their own business. It’s like, how do you step up to that? How do you move from being told what to do and told what to implement, and then someone else helping keeping [00:16:00] you motivated when your business is now you are that person leading from the front.

And it’s like that, that shift that has to happen in moving to that place of power, that place of clarity and confidence that you trust your own ideas, you trust your own experiences. You trust that you’ve got something of value to go with your, your clients to create something that they actually want.

But there’s a lot of baggage. There’s a lot of things that people carry and the program is working through all those blocks and baggage and looking at what is interfering with the success for that individual. And then what resources do we need to build in order to create that foundation for success, and then really creating a strong connection to the future and what it is that they’re trying to create from their business, [00:17:00] from this new place. So the transition that people go through from the beginning to the end is incredible. You know, people putting their hands up for things that they would have shied away from people who’ve spent thousands on marketing courses and never got anything from them because they hadn’t worked on themselves enough to make them (laughs) like you’re a business you need to show up.

It’s like, if you’re not in the right place to do it, it’s never going to work. No matter how many fancy strategies you have under your belt, if you don’t do them, because you’re afraid, (laughs) it’s like yeah you know, So, yeah, I kind of, I’ve got a couple of different hats as well as you know, to doing all that while having two little under fours. So yeah, it’s pretty busy.

Annette Clubley: It’s busy, busy.

Ellie Megraw: Yeah. I use lots and lots of NLP on myself.

Annette Clubley: But very rewarding to see people make that move because I see it a lot. I see it. I meet a lot of women in business who don’t think of themselves as women in business, you [00:18:00] know? There’s a reluctance to call themselves a founder or a managing director or..

Ellie Megraw: Yep.

Annette Clubley: … Give themselves any sort of business related title to their business. There’s a lot of reluctance to register as a limited company and become an official business, rather than just doing this on the side as a side hustle.

Ellie Megraw: Yep.

Annette Clubley: There’s a lot of reluctance to step up and start charging rather than keeping it as a sideline hobby. And you know, they’re not dependent on it and it’s fine. So they know they’re not worried about whether they’re going to fail. So there’s an awful lot there.

Ellie Megraw: Yeah. And I have to tell you this, like one of the things. And it’s like these unconscious, like I talk a lot about the unconscious, cause “until you bring the unconscious into the conscious, you just call it faith”. That’s a Carl Jung quote and I really love it because often we’re just running around in these automatic patterns, behaviors, and failings and not necessarily addressing what’s happening and then we end up with the same results all the time. [00:19:00] And I had always said to myself when I registered for GST, which is the goods and services tax in Australia when I register for that, I’ll be a real business. And I started my business four years ago. Sorry. It’s almost five years ago now. And I was like, yep, when I do that, I’ll be seen as a real business. And then I had my second baby and the first birth was like really traumatic. We’re all as, you know, lots of interventions, but my second birth, I had a home birth and. I had to trust myself. Like I had to step up into that leadership position because there was no one else to do it.

It was just me and baby. And we just had to make it, had to make it work because, you know, by hook or by crook, she was coming out. Right. And after that, I like all this hating, like all this stuff of that I couldn’t do things. And you know, that lack of confidence and that doubt and stuff that used to just creep in all the time.

It just, it wasn’t [00:20:00] there anymore. And, you know, I had a client who I was working with for before Christmas. And I’ve been working with him a long time and he’s like, I need you to come back. I’m like, okay, I’ll come back one day a week. And all of a sudden I’m like, yeah, it’s going to cost you this much, you can have that day and this is how much it’s gonna cost. And dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. Okay, so yep. Business. This is business OK and I was like, I need to register for GST because I just, I didn’t want to get to a point where, because I, in my head, I was like, I’m going to be successful. So I’m going to get to that, that financial point where I’m going to have to charge it.

I might as well do it now. And so when I started working with him on a, on a retention basis, I went and registered the GST. And I have tripled what I’ve learned because I’ve gone yeah, I’m a business and I am the leader in that business and I’m the person who’s making those decisions. And it’s like, boom, everything’s just kind of like flown into place because I’d [00:21:00] realized that I had unintentionally put this block in.

You know, when I registered for GST way out in the future, and it would only happen in that condition. So that was the condition of being a business owner and a successful business. And I went and did it, and now I’ve got a successful business and I’m a business owner and I feel a hundred percent aligned to say that.

Whereas before if you had it, if I had to say, oh, I’m an entrepreneur. I was like, urggh, I just wanted to throw up everywhere because it was like, oh, that just doesn’t sit with me. Whereas now I’m like, okay. And all these ideas are coming and all these different things. And I’m like, how can I monetize that? How can I make systems for that?

And I’m like, how do I find the time to make all that stuff happen? But it’s a beautiful space to be in when you have that congruency of this is who I am. This is what I’m about. This is what I’m here to do. And just saying yes to it.

Annette Clubley: Yeah.

Ellie Megraw: And that’s what I help women do.

Annette Clubley: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. [00:22:00] I love that. I love seeing that in someone, you know, that kind of oh I’m there now. I’ve got it. I know what I need to do with the moving forward and nothing’s holding me back anymore. Yeah. Yeah. It’s just, it makes an incredible difference.

Ellie Megraw: Yeah.

Annette Clubley: You’re in a great position because you can work with. All sorts of businesses. You can work with that very small person. Who’s just starting to go through those stages of taking up that leadership and that helping them with that first hire. And then also working with the person who’s already scaled and has got to that slightly bigger stage and really needs that solid team behind them and needs those people to be longterm hires and all of that sort of thing. So you must see a whole breadth of businesses in your work.

Ellie Megraw: Yeah. Yep. I’ve worked with architects to engineering surveyors early learning teachers. Yeah, marketing managers. Yeah. It’s all also, I think one of the things like recruitment as a whole, like, particularly from an agency perspective, which was my re- [00:23:00] my recruitment background, which I think gives me the, the edge in doing this is that the businesses that I was working with were also diverse and understanding those challenges that they were coming up against in their business models and their their go to market strategies and things like that. ’cause I really got into that and I understood that when I’m now talking to women in business and helping them create strategies to make their business successful.

So not just the mindset and the emotional stuff, then we also start talking about like, yep. Operational stuff as well. But also those businesses that are trying to hire people. It’s like, okay, is that the actual, you know, I want to challenge them as well. So like, I need this. It’s like, okay, well do you, because you know, you can spend all this time thinking that that’s the person you need to hire when, actually there’s probably an easier solution that if you just thought about it a slightly different way, that might yield better results. Based on just having [00:24:00] that little bit more clarity on like, what is it that you’re trying to do and try to achieve, which ultimately it’s the same thing that I do with women in business solo entrepreneurs and in bigger businesses.

Annette Clubley: Great. Okay. So how do we get hold of you? What’s the best way to get hold of you?

Ellie Megraw: Well, if anyone wants to have a chat, you can can find me on Facebook, come and be my friend or you can just drop me an email at info@headwaytraining.com.au.

Annette Clubley: Okay, great. Fabulous. Thank you very much. And I’ll pop a link to your website, into the comments as well, so that people can get hold of you that way as well. Okay, great. Thank you very, very much for taking the time. It’s lovely to talk to you really appreciate it.

Contact Ellie on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/headwaytrainingau and on her website https://www.headwaytraining.com.au/