Are you tired of leading a team that just can't seem to get it together? Want to learn the secret to building a strong and effective team from a successful entrepreneur? Look no further!
In this episode, Favour Obasi-Ike, the founder of Work & PLAY Entertainment, shares his expert method for building a dynamic and high-performing team. From his experience hiring his first employee to scaling his business, Favour shares the challenges he faced and the changes he made to improve efficiency and productivity to build a successful team..
Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn from a self-driven business owner who knows how to get results.
Listen to the Episode
Atiba de Souza: Hey, everybody! Welcome to the Build Your Team show. I am your host, Atiba. Glad to have you back! And today, I have with me one of my new friends, Favour Obasi-Ike from the Atlanta area, and he is like my brother from another mother. I was on his show, I guess about six weeks or so ago, and we hit it off and said, "Man, we gotta do this again."
So we're here today to talk all about his experience in building team and helping shed some light for you.
And as always, Build Your Team is brought to you by Client Attraction Pros. Hey, it's time that you become the thought leader of your industry, and we're gonna help you do that and make it fast, easy, and fun.
Atiba de Souza: Favour, welcome, man!
Favour Obasi-Ike: Thank you Atiba. Man, it's so great to be here. I'm so happy that I've been able to join your show and I'm excited for the audience to listen to what we have for them today.
Atiba de Souza: Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. We talked about this a little bit off camera, but I'm gonna bring this up here just because it's super special. Congratulations! You just celebrated your first wedding anniversary. Congratulations, my friend! That's such a blessing. Awesome for you!
Favour Obasi-Ike: Thank you so much.
Atiba de Souza: Now, weddings and marriage is like building a team, obviously, and when two come together and I was just a household and partnership and all that type of stuff but when we're building a team for business, it can be a little bit different than that, right? It isn't as partnership related sometimes, depending on the level of person that we're bringing in, if they're frontline or what have you.
I want you to go back and let's talk about the first person that you ever hired for your business. Tell me what was it that made you realize, number one, I needed to bring somebody in. Number two, what position you decided to bring them in for? And then number three, what were some of the concerns that you had before you brought them in?
Favour Obasi-Ike: That's a great question. I think one of the things that I realized that made me want to hire a team member is because I wanted to scale. That was my first thought cuz I said if I want to have somebody on my team, that means they need to be clients in my network and if I wanted to handle 10 clients at once, there's no way that can happen.
No business out there can run by themselves, not even a corporation. So I decided, "Hey, let me—", you know, reach out to this person. And we connected and it was on a friend to friend basis. It wasn't even on a business standpoint. It was, "Hey, I have this business. Please help me out. I know you have this skills, and I would love to connect with you and see how we can form a relationship together." And the person was like, "Okay, sure, let's do it."
So as soon as that started to happen, I realized, "Okay, I think I need to go a little bit deeper into the roots of understanding why this person is needed here." And one of the things that came on board for me was in terms of editing. It wasn't even SEO. It wasn't even marketing. It was purely editing like video editing.
Because I had clients who came — cuz I do have a background with music, entertainment business as well. And some clients wanted to come and do their own show on YouTube. I wanted to help them do recording, make sure that everything is good together. So I needed to hire an editor cause I said, "Hey, I can't record and edit and then publish and upload." No, it does not work.
I will never have time for myself . So I decided to hire the person and it was pretty much on pro bono base because I told him, "Hey, this is a business, but I'm not making any income yet that can sustain your payroll. But I know that in the long term, we'll definitely morph into something that can be sustainable and you can make some money from this."
He said, "Okay." So we started and when we put that in together, I was like, "Okay, these are some of the concerns I have communication, workflow, and especially deadlines, because when those three come together, there has to be some type of accountability to it. Yes, it's a friend to friend basis, but this is also a business at the end of the day, bottom line.
So I had to treat it as a business. I just had to start thinking out the box and ask myself, "Okay, what are the things I can do to make sure that this person doesn't feel like they're being used and I have to also appreciate them?" So there's that token of appreciation I had to put into factor.
I had to factor in the fact that you can't just work with someone and expect them to just deliver without you being thankful or appreciative of their efforts. So that's what I had to build my tenacity into understanding what their goals were, how they wanted to work, and then also know their own schedule because they're not working at really a nine to five with me.
It's pro bono based, so they definitely have their own things going on. And I have to respect that. So that's what made me have to tailor in and create some new roles that were able to make me create this workflow system that I have today, which is way more robust than when it was when I first started. But it was just based on word of mouth and verbal.
There was no written agreement either. It was just, "Hey, let's work together. Okay, cool." But as soon as the money started coming in, and more clients that are coming in, I said, "Hey, this is no longer a friend to friend base. This is now a business." So I need to put the business into operation. And that's how it's morphed from that into SEO, into digital marketing and otherwise.
Atiba de Souza: That's phenomenal. It's interesting because what I heard you say was you were fortunate to have a friend who was able to work with you without pay, right? But because they were working without pay, you had to spend the time to focus on what's going to make this great for them and want them to stay.
And so you had to work on a lot of the culture stuff, right? As you're talking about the communication, the workflow and the deadlines and the accountability of all of that, of building that culture, so they felt appreciated. And I absolutely love that because there's so many times where we hire someone, and maybe you've seen this in your latter years too, where we hire someone and then it feels like, "Well, I'm paying you, that's why you do it." As business owners sometimes we lose that. We still need to create an environment where they feel appreciated, not just about the money.
So kudos to you! That's amazing! So let's dive into the workflow side of it. You've mentioned your workflow, where it was, how you've grown it, and I think how the workflow probably become the communication and also the deadlines as well. What was that like in the beginning of trying to figure out what your workflow should be?
Favour Obasi-Ike: Ooh, great question too. I think the workflow for me was time bound, because I had to understand, "Okay, if you have a 15 minute video to edit, how long is it gonna take you to edit this video to perfection?" And then of course, their revisions in between. So I'll get the first draft, I don't like it. The second draft, I kind of like it.
The third draft, I love it. And sometimes I could love the first draft. It just depends on the work and what happens. So for me, I had to understand that the workflow has to come in in a way whereby people have to feel connected to the art because this is an art. It's not just a video. It's not just a project.
It's a story, it's a brand, it's a business, it's a message. So I had to really factor in all those things and eventually understand that whatever this person is doing is a reflection of me. So if I don't like it and the client doesn't like it, then I'm in trouble and he's in trouble. So I had to make sure that the workflow was very easy to work with, and that allowed me to now be on a constant communication through WhatsApp and email.
At that time, I didn't even have what I have now, but at the time it was WhatsApp. "Hey, are you good?" Sending voice notes, taking screenshots. Sometimes we may get on a Zoom just to make sure everything is good. Sometimes we just sit down and edit together. Chop this block, take this frame out, edit this, pan this to the left, pan it to the right.
I was doing all those things, like I felt like I was working on it myself, but I had someone to work with on the project. So it felt like it wasn't strenuous for me or tedious for the project. So that's how it started for me with voice notes, with emails, just making sure everything was good to go and then submitting it and then eventually paying the guy to do the work for me.
So those are the things that I started learning that I'm like, "Okay, if he can be able to do it in X number of days, then how can I divide that into two and make sure I have more clients I can supply that at a higher pace than I had at a higher turnover rate?" So that's what I started doing and that's what made me realize that you can depend on WhatsApp and voice notes for business to thrive, but definitely that could be a starting point and a launching path to create that workflow going forward.
Atiba de Souza: That's really great on voicemails and WhatsApp for your business to thrive, right? And it was a great starting point. So talk to that business owner who right now is in that place where it's like, "Yeah, I've grown WhatsApp and voice notes and email." So how do they grow a workflow or their process to pass that?
What are some of the things that you went through and reasonings why you did certain things and some of the changes that you made in your system?
Favour Obasi-Ike: For me, one of the things that definitely changed was when I started to add more people to the team. I decided that, "Okay, I just don't need an editor. I need someone who can do copy. I need someone who can do a website." Because I can do all these things, but if I wanna do it to perfection or do it at a faster rate, then I don't have to be the smartest person in the room.
So I had to make sure that I'm not the smartest person in the room where I'm able to hire that talent and make sure that experience is worthwhile. Because at the end of the day, the consumer is right, the customer is right, the client is always right. So that made me decide, 'Okay, I need to change the way I'm doing things. Maybe stick to WhatsApp, but not just on WhatsApp only."
So I decided to create a group, a WhatsApp group, just for the business. And now in that WhatsApp group, a lot of people have come in and come out. Right now we are a team of about seven. Someone just signed their contract today, so we just had a new person on board.
We just had two interns, one turning to a contractor, the other one finished and went on to do her thing. So it's been a blessing and I've seen that WhatsApp group grow. Now that we are seven people in there, everybody knows their task and it's just a place for us to keep in touch. But the real work actually happens on ClickUp. So we've been using ClickUp for three years now, and it's such an easy process. And when people get on board, the first thing I do is train them. Because when you come to a new platform, especially let's say you have a new job, they're gonna go through a training procedure.
It's like I have to treat it as a business. So when they come on ClickUp, I have to give them their task, their name, invite them into the workspace, make sure they know how the tasks work because one of the things I was factoring in was the time, like I mentioned timebound, and I love ClickUp because you can be able to use a timer and time your work.
So when I look and say, "Okay, you have five tasks. You spend two hours each task, that's 10 hours in a week." And I know what that translates to if I'm making any payments. I also have a contract now that allows me to make sure they're weekly check-ins. So if you miss one meeting out of four 0% deductible. If you miss one out of four meetings, that's 25%. If you miss three out of four, that's 50%. If you miss four out of four in the whole month, that's 75%.
So you end up realizing that the contractor you're signing means that you need to create time for the business. So that has made them more disciplined to feel like, "Okay, I'm not just doing this for myself, I'm doing this for a business, and I have clients to pay attention to."
So that has really helped us to create that system workflow, that by the time they come in after a week or two, now I don't even end up doing the training. The staff, the contractors, the people who on my team do the training with those people, and that way they're able to connect with each other. And then we go on our weekly meetings on Wednesdays to make sure that everything is good to go and then create that plan for the next week. So it's been very eventful and I did a lot of testing before I found this formula, but now that it's working, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Atiba de Souza: Don't fix it. Right. No, that's great. We've talked a lot about ClickUp on this platform, in this podcast. We use ClickUp up as well, and a lot of people use ClickUp because of it's versatility. So that's awesome.
You mentioned training and training is one of the things that we get asked a lot about. Like, how did you come up with a training system and who does your training system? I swear, it never ends. We are at a place right now, we just had our weekly meeting last night. And one of the things that's gonna be coming up for second quarter of 2023 is we're doing a formal management training system on training people to be managers for us. The question for someone new in hiring is always, how do I do it? Where do I start with training? Where did you start with creating your training system?
Favour Obasi-Ike: For me, I started off with YouTube, if I'm being completely honest, because I realized there's no point of reinventing the will. I don't have to record a video on Loom or Zoom to show you how it's done. And yet I can just send you a link and you can watch a whole tutorial by somebody else cause it's the same platform.
So that's how I started it off. And then if they have any questions, then during the meeting I can show them in real time, this is what is being done, this is how to click here, this is how to create a task. This is how to create a sub-task. Here's where to upload, here's where to comment. Make sure you tag me anytime you're done with the project.
And you can mention me because you can find me. It goes right to my email. It makes everything just easier. So those trainings that they went through was not just on YouTube, but it was more so in real time because when they ask those specific questions, YouTube can't answer that question. I would have to answer the question, and after one or two interactions with them, but the third, fourth time, they already know it's like a no-brainer.
So it's not a hard thing, and I'm glad that ClickUp is not hard because when it starts to get a little bit technical and difficult, and especially if you're not tech savvy, then you may delay on your projects and delay on your workflow and your pipeline, and you don't want that to be an interference to your success and your goals, especially with your milestones for the year.
Atiba de Souza: Absolutely not. So, that's on the training on ClickUp. Now, how do you train, play on your company culture and the work for communication cadences, the deadlines, even though ClickUp manages all of that? Do you have specialized training to bring people up to speed on how you do that?
And also, cuz you service clients, do you train them on the client themselves and working for this client?
Favour Obasi-Ike: One of the things that I started to do and introduce to the company culture is, if you are new, I'll assign you to a client. So like right now, if we have about 20 clients, I would say, "Okay, I'm gonna sign you to two." Each of them have maybe one to three or four plus, depending on the flexibility of their time cuz sometimes they may be done with one client in the week and then take care of the rest in the next week. So what happens now is, let's say like this new person who has just joined us now in the week, I'll invite her to the Zoom, and I'll tell her, "Hey, just sit back, listen to the conversation I'm having with this client. If you have any question, let me know, if you're gonna take notes." Sometimes I even record the call so that they can go and watch the replay because you may not catch everything in one hour. So that way, by the time they're done, they ask me, "Hey, this client, what do they do?"
I just pretty much giving them a background. And what I like to do with them is, I make sure that they have an access to their site. So they read their website, read their about page, read their product pages. Everything that pertains to their business, they literally go through the whole backstory. So by the time they're creating articles for the business or doing any type of video editing or doing any type of website development, they have an understanding of what the brand messaging is.
Because one of the things we came across is, when you don't know the client's brand tone, you may assume and be over familiar, quote unquote, and that makes us lose the client because we don't pay attention to those nitty-gritty. So that's why getting on a call and showing them this is how it is, and then they also asking questions and the call makes it easier for them.
And I noticed that by doing that, at least once or twice, allows them to feel more comfortable and know who the client is so that by the time they're delivering, they can picture that client as they're creating the content for them.
Atiba de Souza: Gotcha. I'm gonna make a left turn here in the conversation and left turn and circle back to something that you said a while ago. You've got somebody new who just signed a new contract today. Congratulations to you!
Favour Obasi-Ike: Thank you.
Atiba de Souza: And you mentioned that they were an intern before, now they were becoming an employee or a contractor.
So is that the process that you use in hiring? Do you start people at intern and then make them employees, whether you bring in people as full blown employees?
Favour Obasi-Ike: Whew. That's a great question too, because I've used both formulas and I realize that the internship to contractor base is best because I had a scenario this in December where I straight out hired somebody from LinkedIn and she started demanding for payment after four weeks, but out of the two weeks in the four weeks, she wasn't really delivering as I thought, because every time I sent the client for approval, it's like, "This is not my voice."
It's like she hired another team to do the work I hired her for, and that's what I could notice. So it was kind of like a red flag. And it was so bad where I was like, "You signed the contract, you didn't show up, so you're gonna get this amount." And then she started trolling me and doing a lot of things that were very unprofessional and immature, and I had to really sit down and ask myself, "Do I want to take this on or just pay and let her go and just cut my losses and learn?"
So that was a big lesson for me in 2022. And this was happening in the same time when this other person was an intern came to me, found me through Clubhouse actually, because I do a lot of rooms on Clubhouse and I talk a lot about SEO, marketing, social media training, how do you do leadership, best skills practices and everything.
And this person was listening to me for a year, eventually came and reached out to me and sent me a message and said, "Hey, Favour, thank you so much for encouraging me to do what I'm doing best now. Now I've been HubSpot SEO expert verified and certified." So I'm like, "Oh, I would like to work with your company."
So I brought the guy in. He was literally giving me articles, like I give him a topic on Monday. By Thursday, he's complete. And I'm like, "This guy's not being paid, but he's so passionate about the work." So I decided, I said, "Okay, let me give him a month or two. Let me see what he does." And by the time we looked at it, now we're in January, he's not kicking off with us officially, and he still has that momentum and now there's payment involved.
He now feels like I want to do more. So I realized that having that internship to contractor base or employee base is a much better route. And I know that's what a lot of companies also do. They hire, they bring people in from high school or from college, do some work experience and then find out their strengths, their weaknesses, and put them into a department.
So just by doing that consistently allows you to really understand how to tailor your culture, your company culture, and give you the best forward. But in some instances, you may know this person because I do have somebody that's on my team, and he writes for a country's national newspaper as an editorial chief, and he's been doing it for over 20 years.
And I didn't need to go through the internship route, but I still had to kind of take him on that rate because he's coming to a new company, he's coming to a new territory. So doing that in a way where between one to three months, I'm able to see your workflow, see your ethics, see how you communicate with people, how do you lead a team, how do you structure out those things.
Eventually you start to learn better, and I think that's really where the transformation comes in. So I've used both methods. But I'll definitely advise anybody listening to use the internship to contractor or employee method.
Atiba de Souza: That's interesting. I've never personally used it, but I've have definitely seen a lot of people who have had great success with the internship, the contract, with their employee method. So let's dive into that for people who are interested. What would you say is the biggest challenge with the internship and bringing someone in for the internship?
Favour Obasi-Ike: I'll give an analogy, right? A soccer youth football academy or soccer academy, when they're bringing people on board, you know you have a team of 11 players. But you end up having one or two that becomes a star and ends up moving to the main leagues, or the major leagues. So what happens to the other nine or the other 10?
They're not bad, they just didn't get to that point faster, but they still find their own way to do other things. So that's the same thing I also go about with my team, and one of the biggest challenges is taking them and putting them into the deep end quickly. Because I want to see how fast they can swim and how far they can swim.
In other words, I tell them, "Hey, get into social media. Get into script writing. Get into digital marketing. Get into blogging. Let me know what your deliverables are, and then I can see which one you bring faster than the other. If you bring your blog faster than you brought the social media caption, then I know that probably your strength is on the blogging. So I'm able to know how fast you can turn over this task in a month and maybe make sure that within a week, I'm able to know what you're able to do, what you didn't do." And I always tell them, "Feel free to ask me any question because you're not alone in this." Sometimes I tell 'em to get on breakout sessions with the other members of the team so they can ask some more questions in case I'm not able to answer them at the same time they're looking for it in real time.
So that way I've been able to work on my business and not in my business because I've given them the ability and the freedom to feel convenient and free to make those errors because I'm not gonna penalize them as long as it's not penalizing the client or making the client feel or look bad. I'm able to draw those things. So even before the client receives that draft, I look at the draft, or my teammate looks at the draft so that even if you made that mistake, it doesn't hurt the client. It hurts the business internally, but it doesn't have a detrimental effect to the outcome of the business to the client exactly.
Atiba de Souza: That's really great. And I like the fact that you're almost taking 'em to the buffet and saying, "Hey, I want see which plate you're going to eat. By understanding which plates you eat, now I know where I should take you moving forward and where you're gonna be the most successful."
Because that also pays better in the back end because now you're putting them in an area where they're excited to do this work, right? They're not pigeonholed doing something every day that they don't like or they feel as a drag or it's hard for them and that then gives you better product to service your client as well. That's awesome, man!
Favour Obasi-Ike: Thank you!
Atiba de Souza: So you've mentioned a lot so far. You've mentioned SEO, you've mentioned marketing, you mentioned copywriting, you mentioned content writing for social media. You've mentioned video editing. Dude, so what is it that you all do? Tell us what do you guys do and who's your ideal client?
Favour Obasi-Ike: Thank you so much for that. Sometimes people wonder, "What do you do, man?" Like you just do everything. But I've been able to create a system where my business called Work & PLAY Entertainment because I believe in balance. If you don't work, you don't eat. I'm sure that's also training of other kids also grow and say, "Hey, if you don't do your dishes, if you don't do your homework, you're not gonna get this candy or this food." It's that kind of principle. And also in the Bible, there's a time for everything. So the Work & PLAY Entertainment stems from that root and our primary goal is to inspire, entertain, and educate boundless value of problem solving solutions with innovative products using marketing, digital advertising, implementation strategies, of course with applied SEO, cuz everything we do online has an SEO metric to it, whether we know it or not. So we've been able to help a lot of entrepreneurs, whether you're a musician, cause I also have a music background. I'm a self-taught drummer.
So I'm also into the entertainment business scene. I have a Master's in Entertainment Business and also an MBA as well in Business Admin. So I've been able to balance the two, as well and coach people on how they can be able to become more professional with their business etiquette and also scale and invest their brands whenever they want to use a podcast or digital course or done for you service of that like.
So our business has been able to grow where we are able to help business owners solve problems. And one of the major problems that we solve for business owners is online presence and brand visibility. Because we know, for example in the US, I think it's only about a third of business owners have a website.
So two-thirds don't. So what are those two-thirds doing with their business? Social media. And we tell them, "Hey, if Instagram drops today, if LinkedIn flies away, if Facebook goes, you are done." So we majorly tell them, "As you're building out your business, don't forget email marketing." That's like our core messaging because without that email marketing sequence, you can experience good Google search console metrics, Google Analytics, or GA4 metrics.
You can experience referral base, you can experience sales. Anything that we do, we need to sign in with an email address. So we have to like drill it down and make sure they know it. And one of the things that we talk about and tell them is, "Hey, if you have a business and you're building it, make sure that you're building it with authority."
Because now even with Google, they've added this new "E" to their acronym, which is experience. So it's expertise, authority, and trust. And now there's experience right before the expertise. So if you don't give someone an expert based knowledge of an experience that they're going to get, then you're not gonna get your conversion value.
Knowing that the standard rate of clickthrough rate is between 2% to 5%, how do you get that 2%? How do you get that 5%? So it's that daily work and that daily procedure that gives us that daily satisfaction that we give our clients. So nowadays, we don't even build websites for clients. We do post website.
But if they really, really need a website, we can do it for them. But we make sure we focus on the SEO piece so that by the time they're putting out their content, their blogs, they're able to get more traffic, more visibility, and definitely more sales. And that's why they can stay sustainable as a business.
Atiba de Souza: Fantastic, my friend and how do people reach you?
Favour Obasi-Ike: How people can reach me? You can literally just go on Google and type in Work & PLAY Entertainment. You'll find my website there. And the website is called playinc.online. P-L-A-Y-I-N-C.online. You can also do //pinterest.ph/playinconline if you want to get the Pinterest marketing course or //playinc.online//podcasts. If you want to listen to the podcast. Just feel free to connect with us, but more importantly, make sure you're able to connect with us on all these social platforms.
And once you're able to do that, even check out our reviews on Trustpilot and you'll get to see who we've worked with and how we conduct business so that you can feel comfortable. And that way you can be able to schedule a call with us, a complimentary strategy call. That way we can be able to answer your questions and help you get to your best goals for 2023 and beyond.
Atiba de Souza: Awesome. Awesome. Favour, thank you so much, brother, for being here. I appreciated the time that we got to do this and for you to share. I don't know a lot about the intern through to employee to slash contract model. So that was eye-opening for me today, as I'm sure it was for a bunch of our listeners.
So I really appreciate you bringing that man, because I think there are so many people who are looking for that avenue and not enough people actually talking about how to make it work.
So thank you brother for illuminating that for us and all of y'all, listening, now y'all heard what he's doing. You heard his website. It's linked down below. If you're listening, it's in the show notes. If you're on YouTube, it's in the description. It's also on the screen. Go check him out. Check out what they're doing. They're doing some really great stuff.
And if you're one of those businesses who you are relying on social media as your website and as your online presence as he said, they gotta stop. They gotta stop. Cause it's only a matter of time before the platform changes, the reach on the platform changes and there goes your business and you have nothing because you don't have anywhere. We in the industry like to call owned assets. You don't own any traffic at all. You're just borrowing someone else's traffic.
So hear what he had to say, reach out to him, go get that complimentary call. And again, as always, it's a pleasure to have you. We'll see you soon. Bye, everybody!
Favour Obasi-Ike: Thank you!