I’m currently on maternity leave, and many of my colleagues have been kind enough to share their expertise through guest posts throughout the summer. The following comes to you from Kat Fulton, MM, MT-BC, NICU MT.

It was just exactly a year ago that I alone was pushing 20-25 clinical hours per week, which means 50 hours of work including documentation and driving, plus blogging, plus preparations for the July launch of this massive online CMTE library. It was absolutely impossible to travel, because that would mean canceling sessions. Or even worse – rescheduling! Have you ever noticed that when you’re a one-woman (or man) show, scheduling/rescheduling/finding-subs is insane?

I asked for help, and I got it!
We’re now a team of 3 music therapists. My schedule this week follows: I ran 3 MT drumming sessions, volunteered at a kids camp (Camp Kesem – with kids affected by cancer), took some continuing education, completed some planning for the company, took on 2 consulting clients via phone, and met with my amazing team members. I planned ahead for some traveling.

I’ve completely reshaped my entire life in the past year. This is not to say that I’m not busy anymore…. but I’ve learned that I don’t have to do it all by myself. I’ve experienced first-hand how I can definitely *have* it all, but I don’t have to *do* it all. (See Marie Forleo for more nuggets like that one.)

What accelerated the evolution
The most rewarding professional changes in these last 12 months have been collaborating with others through hiring. I’ve worked with sub-contractors for many years, but when it came to employees, I had no clue how to get started.

Here’s how it happened: A good friend packed her bags and left San Diego in October 2012. The hospital program she built from zero to 35 hours per week in 10 months was also left behind. I offered to step in and help continue to build the program as an employee in December 2012. I ended up assisting the hospital in the interim.

Both the hospital and my clients were in full disclosure of my respective work. And my private clients needed to be served. So I hired someone full-time to take over my private clients. After two weeks of training and orientation, she was all set, and I could help build the hospital program.

Notice how smart the hospital was when their all-star music therapist left . . . The hospital decided to hire not ONE, but TWO therapists to take on the work. How clever is that? They hired one for most of the hours, then a second MT for overflow hours. In this case it was perfect: I took the lead with more experience, and the second MT, who was new to the field, could get supervision along the way.

When April came around, I decided to pass the baton to the second MT, for her to take off running with the program. I shifted 150% of my focus back to my business. We were able to solidify some programs at the hospital, and all this shifting in the past few months has been motivating for all three aspects: in my own professional growth, for the hospital’s MT program, AND for my business.

I would have never predicted this —
The wildest part of it all was— My first employee’s first day on the job marked our biggest revenue day for Music Therapy Ed…. by over 5Xs. I really believe it was a Divine message saying “You will make payroll. Don’t worry.”

But here’s my honest opinion— Looking back, I could have and *should* have hired an employee long ago. I could have easily combined my sub-contractors’ work with a few of my own hours and hired. It would’ve made my life easier AND helped us grow faster, building our base of clients.

What was holding me back? Fear of not making payroll. Fear that my clients wouldn’t pay us. Fear that the new MT will do something to tarnish my reputation.

Making decisions based on fear stunts your growth.
At one point earlier this year, I was juggling 3 jobs at the same time! I felt like I had multiple personalities. I know intellectually that if you try serving *everyone* then you end up serving no one. But it is difficult to take that first step, or LEAP rather.

I am thankful for all this experience because here’s the silver lining: Having the hospital work gave me the confidence to hire an employee.

But if your vision includes building a business, a strong brand, long-term loyal loving clients, and continued growth, then I would encourage you to start NOW – whether you have 1 or 91 clients. Take the first steps. Write the job description. Be the future YOU looking back into the present. (See Tim Ringgold for more nuggets like that one.)

Aside from the legal contracts, NDAs, and writing out your operational documents, here are 5 essentials for hiring the best music therapist for your team:

1. Nothing happens until you write the job description. If your schedule is full, then you’re ready to hire an employee. Heck, even if your schedule is not full and it makes sense in your situation, then you’re ready. It all depends upon your needs and vision for the business. But most importantly, start creating the sample schedule and job description NOW. Even if you’re going to hire for only 1 hour/wk.

2. Run the numbers. Look at your budget in a spreadsheet, talk to your accountant, and decide how to shape the position. What benefits will you offer? Why is it appealing to work with your company? What is aligned with your mission, vision, and values?

3. Hire someone who is willing to help you BUILD the business. It is rare that a business runs steady for years. Businesses either grow or decline. There is no other option. (See my dad for more nuggets like that one.)In a small business, *everyone* on the team is part of marketing. Don’t remove marketing from someone’s job description if you’re a team of less than 10! Also make sure they understand your vision and direction of your company.

4. Read The M-Factor: How The Millennial Generation Is Rocking The Workplace. I’m reading it now, and I’m learning what exactly motivates Millenials! There has been some discussion in the music therapy business owners FB forum about dealing with these “spoiled rotten, entitled Millenial people graduating from college now.” =) I say, let’s find out what motivates them, let’s understand them on a deep psychological level, and let’s RUN with it! This is not an “us versus them” situation. Chin up my baby boomer and gen-x business owner friends! Let’s welcome the Millenials warmly with all of their quirks. Then let’s help them radiate.

5. Hire someone who is NOT entrepreneurial… ? Thanks to my friend Julie Palmieri’s recommendation, I recently signed up for The Download. This topic is covered extensively in the first edition. Quite honestly, I don’t expect anyone to work with my company for 10 years or longer. I’m open to someone staying on for 10 years, but that’s not my expectation. This is the career climate of 2013 and beyond! It’s rare that someone (especially a Millenial) stays on for over 5-10 years with the same company. So, I am absolutely open to hiring an entrepreneurial personality to help sky-rocket the business with their entrepreneurial energy. Most importantly we must continue having conversations around career aspirations over time with our team members.

That’s what I got! As always, nothing is complete without help from the community! What is YOUR hiring process? What’s important to you as a hiring business owner? Let speak openly about this topic – Please share your comments below.

Kat Fulton, MM, MT-BC, NICU MT, is the founder of Sound Health Music and curator of Music Therapy Ed, a site dedicated to online continuing education for music therapists. Kat is a speaker and board-certified music therapist whose passion is achieving therapeutic goals through making music. Simply put, her motto is Be well, feel good, and make MUSIC. With a Masters in Music Therapy from The Florida State University (headquarters for the National Institute for Infant and Child Medical Music Therapy), she holds high standards for scientific research and maintains a practice infused with the latest evidence-based techniques and strategies.

Kat is pleased to be associated with Remo® as an endorsed facilitator. She maintains professional membership in the American Music Therapy Association, Early Childhood Music and Movement Association, and the Drum Circle Facilitators Guild.

Pin It on Pinterest