Ask: Jaclyn Johnson, Create + Cultivate founder

Last week, we put out a call on Instagram to find out what you wanted to ask Create + Cultivate founder Jaclyn Johnson about starting and running a business. We got tons of amazing questions, and here Jaclyn is addressing one from South African jewelry designer A Ring To It: "Any tips when interviewing or hiring potential staff members and what has been your approach to managing a team that executes your creative vision?"

• Get referrals

When it comes to hiring, I start with friend referrals and fans of the brand before I look anywhere else. Send an email to everyone you know in your industry and ask if they know of anyone; and also put out a call on social media. If someone is already familiar with your brand, it will likely be easier for them to jump in and get up to speed. (If you're the one who wants the job, email and email—and follow up—to show that you want it.) Also, intern! Three of our current employees are former interns :).

• Do a trial run

Once you do find someone, start them out with a test period. I think three months is always good for new employees—that way, you can find out if they're the right fit. It's always good to have an open dialogue about how they're feeling and performing in the job. Not everyone is right for every job, so if something doesn't work out, it's not necessarily because they or you failed.

• Know what characteristics are important to you

I tend to look for and hire self-starters. Our business is always changing and I need people who can think on their feet. With new employees, I like to give them a few projects and situations that they can own and run with, so that I can see how they think and how comfortable they are with autonomy. Also, be brutally honest—I never pretend to have the fluffiest work environment—it’s hard work! Also understandingyour employees goals are key! Where do they see their career going? What is their dream? That way you can map back to that at all times.

 Our business is always changing and I need people who can think on their feet.


• Expect that there will be a learning curve

As a business owner, you sometimes have to remind yourself that people aren't mind readers. In most cases, it's going to take at least six months for people to understand how you think and work, and how you expect them to perform.  Also, assign mentors—as a business owner you might be too slammed to be on top of everything, but having senior employees mentor junior employees has been a super helpful program for us!

Entrepreneurs, do you have any hiring and management tips? If so, share them in the comments below.

Kate Williams

Writer + editorial director in Los Angeles. Reading books + watching palm trees.