Operating a business at scale
Every channel grows at a different pace—ask yourself if it’s time to build a team and/or automate tasks to help you scale your business. Learn what to consider when hiring people and choosing productivity tools.
When should you consider getting help?
When you grow as a creator, your channel can become a meaningful source of income. As you try to balance the creative and business sides, you may reach a stage where it’s not sustainable to handle all the work alone.
It’s important to recognize when and how to scale, so that you can maintain momentum. You’ll want to be able to run a successful business and deliver high-quality content to your audience—without overextending yourself.
The right time to scale your business will vary. These questions can help you identify if you’re facing operational constraints.
- Has the business side of running your channel become too time consuming for you? If business functions prevent you from creating videos the way you want, think about what can be done to bring on more people so that you can focus more of your time on creative aspects.
- Are there processes or issues that are limiting you from further growth? Consider your current work processes and challenges, plus what would happen as your business expands. There may be off-the-shelf solutions to help you overcome some of these limitations.
- Do you have next steps that you want to take, but you need support to reach your goals? Your goals may be to increase your channel reach, negotiate a brand deal, or launch your own merchandise. Try prioritizing your next steps and looking for help in those areas first.
A key point when scaling is to free up time to do the things you love most. Consider your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re really great at certain tasks, it may be wise to continue managing them (if you have the time).
Remember, even when you love what you do, it’s important to balance work and life, so that you stay healthy and avoid burning out.
- What is your budget for scaling your business? Do you need financing?
- What key people might you want to hire to help you focus your time?
- How can you minimize repetitive tasks with automation tools?
Who can you add to your team?
Most creators start off working alone, and if their channel turns into a business venture, they look to build a team to help take it to the next level. There are different types of positions that can help you scale your business. Figuring out who to hire first will depend on your budget, skills, and priorities. Here are the main categories:
- Content production. Many creators enjoy being hands-on with their production. But it’s not always feasible to handle everything alone. Based on the scope and volume of your shoots, you may want to seek out creative talent such as a writer, producer, director, crew, sound engineer, or editor. As you evaluate your options, think about how much creative control you want over the finished video or how much time you have to train others.
- Business / Legal. There are specific roles that may be appropriate to fill here, especially if you don’t have expertise in these areas.
- A business manager manages the day-to-day business. Your business manager would generally be responsible for overseeing the business activities and staff. He or she would take care of payroll, banking, and other logistics.
- An accountant would focus on bookkeeping and taxes. Your business manager may be able to also do the bookkeeping, whereas accountants typically have a certification that qualifies them to do tasks such as conducting an audit or representing you before a tax authority.
- A lawyer can help negotiate and review contracts as well as advise on legal matters such as copyright. Although lawyers often charge by the hour, some choose to work on commission. Laws vary geographically, so try looking for a lawyer who is licensed in your locale.
- Representation. Some creators choose to have formal representation.
- A manager can provide counsel, advice, and general career direction. Your manager is invested in you for the long-term, so it’s an ongoing business relationship.
- An agent is someone you would hire for more transactional, short-term business opportunities (such as pitching an endorsement). Agents typically specialize, so you may use more than one along the way.
- An MCN (Multi-Channel Network) is a service provider that can help develop projects, find collaborations, manage back-end processes, make brand deals, etc. Learn more.
- Speak with other creators you know about how they decided to grow their business team.
- Ask about payment rates and structures when considering bringing on a team member.
- Try reviewing credentials on a professional association website in your region.
- Do your own research. Third-party service providers are not endorsed by YouTube or Google.
- Keep in mind that the information presented here isn’t legal advice.
How can you find the right people?
The team you hire should advocate for you and your interests in business settings. So the people you select should be a reflection of you, or at the very least, be supportive of your vision. Consider these questions to help find colleagues who may be a good fit:
- Do they understand YouTube and the types of deals you want to make? Try looking at their past experience for clues that they can handle your business needs.
- Do they represent like-minded people or other YouTube creators? Try finding someone who loves your content and is investing in the kinds of personalities or creators you admire.
- Do they have ideas for how you’ll work together, both with your existing team and with new members? Try hiring people who articulate clearly how they’ll contribute to the team.
With these compatibility questions in mind, there are a number of ways you can find people for your team:
- Referrals from trusted sources can often be the best method to find great people. Try using email or social media, and let your network know you're looking to build your team.
- Industry events provide a forum to meet potential team members in person. Try checking with local universities or professional organizations for a schedule of events.
- Job boards offer access to individuals who are looking for permanent or contract work. For example, mandy.com is a U.K.-based job board that caters to creative professionals.
- Practice what you’ll say to potential team members to get them interested.
- Try asking friends or people with whom you’ve worked to make an introduction.
- Address payment and employment terms up-front (in your contracts).
What tasks can you automate?
In addition to hiring a team, you can improve your scalability by automating certain tasks. Each channel may have different needs. Think about how automation can benefit these business metrics: time, efficiency, quality, and cost.
Try researching online for tools related to the particular functions that drive your business. Here are a few types of productivity tools that other creators have adopted:
- Social media tools can help you manage multiple social media accounts from one site—for bulk scheduling of uploads, analyzing performance, and more. Examples include Hootsuite and Buffer.
- Communication tools can help you improve collaboration among team members by organizing conversations and facilitating file sharing. Examples include Slack and Quip.
- Productivity tools can help you manage day-to-day appointments, capture notes, or track project milestones. Examples include GSuite, Evernote, and Flow.
- Financial tools can help you manage billing and invoicing. Examples include Bill.com and InvoiceSherpa.
Check these and other tools to see what can speed up your workflows. You may want to think about which tasks cost you time or money, then decide how automation would allow you to complete more tasks that generate you revenue.
Hint: Many productivity tools have free trials. Note: YouTube has no control over, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, privacy policies, or practices of any third-party websites.