A Behind The Scenes Look At The Creative Law Shop Team
As we are entering our third year in business at the Creative Law Shop, it’s crazy to think of where the Shop started, and where it is now. I frequently get asked about the “behind the scenes” of the Shop: who is involved? What are people’s roles? How are decisions made? etc. etc. Of course, all business owners love to hear about the behind-the-scenes of other businesses. (You never know what little nugget you’ll pick up that will clarify a piece of your own entrepreneurial journey.)
So, today I want to share the most critical aspect of the Shop’s success: my team. In all sincerity, when I look back on the last three years of this business, I’m nothing short of humbled by the people who have come alongside me in this endeavor. There’s not a chance that this business could have served so many entrepreneurs around the globe without the help of my team.
A bit of the backstory: the Shop began in a different form more than a year before I started my first business, Paige Hulse Law. In early 2016, I started selling calligraphy goods from the work I was doing for fun, and a few months in, I snagged the domain shop Creative Law.com. I wasn’t sure exactly what was to come from it, but I wanted to keep my options open. I’m glad I did!
The Shop went full-time in the fall of 2017, and for a little while, it was a one-woman show around here. And it was hard (what business isn’t?) I was running both the Shop and the Firm full time, and unsurprisingly, I was grossly overworked. But more importantly, and more apropos to today’s topic: I quickly learned the hard way, a critical aspect to success in business is identifying your strength as they pertain to business: are you the visionary, the integrator, or the technician? These are all terms from “The E-Myth” by Michael. E. Gerber, and “Traction”, by Gino Wickman. I’ll be sharing more about this in my post next week.
There will always be ways to improve, kinks to work out, etc. The work of building a business structure is never quite done. However, here is an overview of the roles that the approximately 5 of us have within the business (“approximate”, because all are on a contractor basis, and some fade in and out depending upon seasonal demands):
As I mentioned, the Shop began somewhat unintentionally- truthfully, it was a vehicle to provide inquiries with requested contracts that were already on my desktop. Within just a couple of months of running the Shop, it became abundantly clear to myself, my husband, and basically everyone around me that I am very much the “visionary” entrepreneur. I have a lot of ideas, pretty much all the time, but I need assistance to implement them. Otherwise, my google drive becomes an idea bank of ideas that never get implemented.
The first and most impactful hire I made in the Shop was bringing on a business manager. I’ve jokingly called her the “fairy godmother” of my business. My dear friend and former business manager Brooke Olsen came in to create some semblance of organization out of my plethora of business ideas. In addition to acting as my business manager, Brooke has also assumed roles of pricing strategist, business operations manager, and organized periodic strategy meetings (to keep the team on track with larger goals, troubleshooting), etc.
Bringing on a business manager was the first time I truly understood Gerber’s concept of the different types of entrepreneur as more than an abstract idea, and as a tangible, calculated concept that propels a business forward.
Today, she still acts as a business consultant for the Shop, helping with organizing the team as it grows, and keeping us all on track during busy seasons. However, as a consultant for the Shop, her role is to come in periodically to “right the ship” when the team grows, and as new elements are added.
Contract she uses: The Consulting Agreement
You can find more of Brooke’s services at brookeolsen.co.
The Shop Manager:
The Shop Manager is one of the newest roles in the team structure, and one of the most integral. As the Shop has grown - the influx of correspondence, the growth of the affiliate program, and the business in general - it has once again quickly brought to light the need for more roles than just the “visionary” in entrepreneurship.
Hiring a Shop Manager has allowed me to focus more on the trajectory of the Shop (much less my firm), without getting mired down trying to be all things to all people. My Shop Manager, Cali, also acts as my Pinterest Manager (more on this to come), and has been an incredible asset to our team, keeping us on track in everything from day-to-day operations to executing launches.
You can find more of Cali’s services at www.thehalcyonhive.com
A third role on our team is that of a contractor. Again, going back to Gerber’s model, having an integrator on the team has been critical to the success of us working cohesively as a team, rounding out the roles of visionary, manager, and integrator. Our contractor began as an intern with me more than a year ago and morphed into a long-standing contractor, assisting with developing our website, new platforms launching this fall, and more.
Contract she uses: The Independent Contractor Agreement
Interns and Externs:
Bringing in interns and externs has been an important investment for me as a business owner, both because I attribute many of the internships and externships I had throughout college and law school to my success, and because I place a high value on mentorship. In addition, I live in the same city as my alma mater, which makes investing in students’ education even easier.
One quick note: I’m frequently asked the difference between interns and externs. In short, we all know what interns are. However, many people make the mistake of thinking they can hire unpaid interns, which is very rarely legal. Externs effectively “split the difference”, as their compensation is calculated by receiving class credit for hours worked.
With that in mind, I never bring in interns with the idea that they will purely be labor- instead, working with interns will always require an investment of my time nearly equal to, if not more, than the hours of work they perform. This is a large investment on my part (as someone who bills in tenths of an hour, every 6 minutes). For reasons stated above, is important to me from a mentorship perspective, and because you never know what could turn into a more long-term contract position. My intern’s roles are usually a mixture of research-based work (for example, researching some of the content for blog posts, FAQs in inquiries, etc), and technician-type tasks.
Contract she uses: the internship agreement, the externship agreement
Ancillary roles in the business:
Pinterest- as mentioned, my Shop Manager, Cali Waege, is actually a Pinterest strategist by trade, so it is probably no surprise that she runs the Shop’s Pinterest as well.
Contract she uses: the Pinterest Management Agreement
Contract they use: the Graphic Design Agreement
Contract they use: the Copywriting Agreement