Trade Secrets: Incentives and Thank Yous

Trade Secrets- Incentives and Thank YousWe recently had a reader ask:

"I'd really like to know what incentives you give your team. Do they get paid? Or do they willingly contribute their talent and time? I have a small business and friends help me from time to time but I don't know how to pay them or how to 'thank' them." -CHICKYTHING

First let me explain a little bit about our staff structure at our business. For our website (this one here!) we have a small staff comprised of Elsie, me, Trey, Katie and Kinsey. At our local shop we also have two other gals (Christina and Haley) who work 1 to 2 days a week. Everybody gets paid, because everybody is an employee. (I guess that's pretty obvious. Sorry guys, just trying to explain.) We also have a few independent contractors who help in various capacities. For example, the blog has contributing writers who are paid a set rate for each article they contribute. We also sometimes offer special projects to folks with super awesome skills. For example, we recently collaborated with Elise on an e-course (she receives a percentage of every sale) and right now our friend Mallory is in town working on a few sewing projects with us (she is also paid for her work as well as travel expenses). 

We are super lucky to have so many fantastic people to work with. Collaborating with other talented people can really strengthen any business. We are also lucky that our business can afford to employ awesome people. But there are other people who help us, or have in the past, who were not employees. For example, most of our Red Velvet models were volunteers (we thanked each of them with a dress of their choice every time they modeled for us). Also I have to admit that our dad helps us with almost every wood project you see here on the blog (THANK YOU DAD!). He doesn't get paid an hourly rate, but we try to find other ways to show him we appreciate the time and expertise he donates to our business.

No matter if your business is at place where you are ready to add employees or not, chances are you probably have friends and family who help you from time to time. Finding ways to say thank you are super important but can be a little intimating. Here are our top 5 tips for saying thank you:

1. Celebrate with them! Taking your staff, your interns or just your helpful friends out to a celebratory dinner is a great way to say thank you at the end of a big project. Yes, it will cost you money. BUT. Think about all the money they probably saved your business by being so awesome.

2. Be specific. Whether you are writing a thank you card or giving a toast to someone say something meaningful and specific about their contribution. This takes planning. Or at least it does for me, as I'm not always the best with words. Take the time to be specific.

3. Thank them publicly. Finding a way to show your appreciate in a group or public arena can add emphasis. We all like to know that we've done a good job. It feels good. So finding a tactful way to thank someone publicly can really go a long way.

4. Give a thoughtful gift. I really think this is a great option when you are looking to thank a family member or close friend who has help you a lot. Sometimes offering money or payment for their time/talent can feel less personal or just not special. Instead try gifting them with something you know they will love or appreciate to show them how thankful you are for their help.

5. Just a nice handwritten note. It might seem a little old fashion but a hand written thank you shows that you took time (more than an email or a printed, mass letter) to say thank you—just to them. Handwritten thank yous are more personal.

Thank someone this week! xo. Emma

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