Craft Venture: creating your new job, part I

By phydeaux • Updated on 10/23/2021

Hi everyone! Im glad youre back for this weeks Craft Venture! Im Brenda from Phydeaux Designs ““ back  for more on our series on hiring help. Last week, we talked about the true costs of an employee (hint:  it’s not just salary!). This week, we’ll start to define and create a “reality-based job.”

I believe three main factors lead to hiring nightmares, all of which nearly all of us are guilty of at one point or another:  hiring the wrong person, ineffective  supervision, and not creating a reality-based position.

I’ll help you learn how to reduce your chances of hiring the wrong person and we’ll touch on supervision. This week, we’re talking about creating reality-based jobs.

Creating an effective, reality-based job isn’t necessarily easy, but is definitely achievable! You just need to define the work that only you can do and be willing to give up some or all of the work that you don’t personally have to perform. (If you have major control issues, this will be very challenging for you!)  You also have to know what you can afford – is the level of work that you can let go of at a salary level that you can afford paying? If not, you may need to hire at a lower skill level.

Once you define the work, you will more easily know what your applicant’s skills, experience, education need to be. Try not to start off with a picture in your head of the applicant you want or think you want; if you focus on the work and not on your vision of your perfect employee, this will be much easier for you.

Creating a job from scratch takes four major steps:  (a) detailing all of the job tasks/responsibilities, (b) deciding which only you can do and which you can delegate, (c) organizing the latter into major areas of responsibility, and (d) defining the skills, education and experience needed to perform those duties.

The first, detailing the work, is the one that usually stops employers in their tracks, resulting in  a non-reality-based job or no job at all! Yes, creating a list of everything you do is daunting, but it can also be eye opening and ultimately very rewarding. I’m going to make it easier for you!

First – the tasks

Start by either creating a spreadsheet or just divide a piece of paper into four columns (you can copy and paste a spreadsheet template by clicking here). Create a header for each column:  “you,” “not you,” “task/work/project,” and “type of work” (you don’t have to use these exact headers).

Now you start brainstorming! Just get stuff out of your head and onto your paper or spreadsheet – don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it! This isn’t the time to edit yourself – just write it all down. Don’t worry about who does what or categorization right now.

This exercise may take you anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours. It might not be perfect (in fact, it shouldn’t be if you’re really clearing work from your head rather than spending time editing your list). Get everything down that you can and you’ll very likely add more things once you start working on this in more detail.

Second – delegation

Now, take a first pass at who gets to do what. Or, to be more precise, do you – personally – have to perform each task? Again, don’t spend a lot of time on each item – this is a first pass and it’s meant to be an exercise in freeing yourself from the responsibility of doing every single blessed thing for your business. After all, are you the only person on the planet able to effectively place orders for supplies using a predefined list? Or to stock your supply shelves? Or to clean the floors?

Take a first,  quick stab at the list – you can go back over it later. If you find this very difficult, step back  for a minute and pretend you’re looking at someone else’s business. You may find it easier to delegate work when you take yourself out of the equation. If that doesn’t help, ask your spouse, partner or a pragmatic friend to go through the list.

Once you do this and you have more than just a few things marked as “not you,” put your list away. You can think about your list, just take a break from looking at it, and then return with fresh eyes tomorrow. Go through your list again and add more tasks if needed. And then redelegate, which should be easier this time. Just be careful; if you find yourself marking “not you” for designing your Fall 2010 line, you’ve gone overboard!

Third – categorize the work

Once you have a list that you feel pretty good about, you’re ready to work on categorizing the work using the “type of work” column. There are no right or wrong answers for category types – this is what works best for you, but use categories that are related to possible skill sets (you’ll see why next week!).

You could use fairly general categories, like “administrative,” “order fulfillment,” “production,” “sewing” or “technical.” If all the work you’ve delegated is closely related  (e.g., all related to cutting and sewing), use categories more specific to your studio/business. This is another place to just get categories down – you can fine tune them later!

Now you’re in a much better position to know what work you actually have for someone to do for you:  reality-based hiring! It does take some work on your part, but once you’ve finished this, you will feel so much more confident about what it is that you need, both in terms of the work and in terms of the employee!

Complete this exercise before next Monday and you’ll be in really great shape next week to draft your job description and identify the skills and experience that your ideal candidates need. And after that, we’ll work on crafting your interview and recruitment process!

Post questions here as you work on this! Or, if you prefer to remain confidential, don’t hesitate to email be at brenda { at }

As you work on this, what are the challenges that you’re running into? What is easiest for you? Have you done something like this before? Any “ah ha” moments about your own work/job, as well  as what you can give up (but are hanging on to)?


Image Credit: top image c/o Monitronics

6 comments | Click here to reply

[…] I hope you all  had wonderful Easter weekends!  Welcome to Craft Venture!  I’m Brenda from Phydeaux Designs – continuing to help you learn how to make great hiring decisions!  Last week, we talked about the true costs of an employee (hint:  it’s not just salary!).  This week, we’ll finish what we started  last week:  defining and creating a “reality-based job.†[…]

paper n stitch – Craft Venture: creating your new job, part II - A daily dose of handmade, design, and style inspiration

Thank you, Rachel!


I am loving this super helpful series. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise. I’ll be linking.


Thank you both for your great comments!

Lida, what a fantastic “ah ha!” I think most – if not all – of us can relate!

Jeanee, I’m so glad you’re enjoying this!

– Brenda


This is WONDERFUL information.

Thanks for sharing!!!


My biggest aha moment was when I stopped being a control freak and let others do the work, I have very high standards.
Others bring different perspective and experiences to your business, so it is a good thing. Letting go off all the little tiny not important details and focusing on the big picture was a big step for me.

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