One day I would like to write a book. Maybe one of those great founder stories about overcoming adversary to ultimately become a successful and flourishing business that people admire. This blog will then transform from being a dropbox for my emotions to a valuable collection of events and people that are part of a bigger story. Not always a pretty story, but a true story of starting, growing and ultimately running a business.

With that in mind I wanted to capture the growth of our team at TinyOffice this year. We’re gone from a team of two (Matt and myself), to a team of five in a fairly short amount of time. The following is for future reference when writing my best seller and also to share a pretty bloody great story.

In February this year we decided we needed someone to help Matt in the factory. We potentially had a massive project coming in and it made sense to employ someone before we needed them rather than afterwards. We’d never worked with other people before, never been bosses or never written a job description so we were facing a few ‘firsts’.

We were advised by our landlord, of all people, that hiring within the family/friends network is a really great way to start. You guarantee social fit and the technical skills required can follow.  After scanning our local network with no success we used Seek and wrote our first ever job description for HUCX. We weren’t even sure what the title of the role was, so we made up “prefabricated manufacturing assistant” which had a certain ring to it. 

We sent our job into the world and probably received about 15 applications. Considering the required qualifications boiled down to no experience required, minimum of Year 12, Forklift licence (preferred but not essential) and a current Victorian Drivers licence, the majority of candidates were young men just out of school.

Matt spoke to many of them but most were just looking for something easy that would support their lifestyle outside of work. This isn’t of course a bad thing but we could barely afford to pay this person anyway so we needed them to bring something special. We didn’t know what that special was until we got Justen’s application. 

Now if Matt could write a description of a person he’d love to spend the day with (other than me of course), he'd pretty much have written Justen’s resume. A professor of biology. A self taught carpenter. A causal coder. Matt showed me his CV gushing! He then asked me to read his name out - it was Justen, Justen Andrews! Matt is Matt Andrews so if this wasn’t a sign then what was.

Needless to say Justen got the job and has been vital to the success of our business ever since. Being nearly 20 years Matt’s senior he brings with him a wealth of knowledge but also a patience and sense of calm that is paramount as Matt starts to download 5 years of stored information about the prefab system so it’s accessible to others.

A CV that slipped in, right at the end there, was Mark. TinyOffice employee number 2. We’d both known Mark for years - 15 years ago he was pulling pints in North Melbourne and probably knew more about our wild sides than a potential employee should. By some incredible coincidence he now lived in Ballarat with his partner and was just about to finish his Carpentry apprenticeship. What???? Bull Shit. We couldn’t believe our luck! 

All the while this was happening our business was doing what most businesses do as they grow - it was in a constant flux of highs and lows. Some weeks we were smashing it and other weeks it was a panic to figure out how the hell we could pay everyone. Matt and I used to go to our local cafe for a takeaway to mull things over. That's where we meet TinyOffice employee number 3.

Charlie is the ball of energy that every workplace needs. She knew we worked at TinyOffice because of our awesome t shirts and started following us on instagram, because that’s what young people do. We learned more about her passion for tiny homes and building so we invited her to come have a look at the factory. One thing led to another and now we have Charlie working 3 days a week. 

So we now have 3 employees. The age gap spans 40 years nearly and while it may have been accidental it has become our strength. Every business success story I read boils down to company culture. As a business owner all I really want is for the people working with us to care as much about their work and each other as we do. So far we have struck gold! 

In terms of bosses we’ve got more learning to do then most! The transition of being self sufficient to then bring in a team is hard. It all comes down to clear communication. Expectations need to be made clear, outcomes need to be agreed upon and instructions need to be fool proof. I understand why companies have HR departments.

I don’t think any of our staff read my blog but if they did I would say thank you. Thank you for bringing all of yourself to work with you. Thanks for listening, learning and improving on what we’re trying to achieve. Thanks for being part of our business during the most tumultuous times as we find our feet and start to run. Thanks for joining in!

Video of the week
3 Tips on How Bass Players Go from Amateur to Pro
Podcast of the week
Steph’s Business Bookshelf: Ideaflow by Jeremy Utley and Perry Klebahn
Font of the week
Zeplin: Font of the week by Manic Type

Please sign up for my weekly newsletter. No spam, just a weekly summary about what's been on my mind.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Read more...

Bulletin Board #238
Bulletin Board #237
Bulletin Board #236
Bulletin Board #235

let's connect

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.