In any creative industry there will come a time that you will need to collaborate, employ or outsource work to other creatives. Hopefully most wedding photographers and creatives will collaborate with other creatives in both their own industry and beyond from the outset; collaborations should be the first step you take to begin your journey of growing a team. I personally have been collaborating with other creatives since I began Luke Holroyd Photography and I would highly encourage everyone to do it. It might be that you work with other photographers to create a circle of expertise in your field that you can send enquiries to if you're too busy, it can be a working partnership with other creatives where you swap your skills in return for their skills. I'll give you an example, a popular one in wedding photography is to work alongside a videographer, they may produce a short video promotion for your business and in return you pay them with some awesome team shots they can use for publicity.
Collaborations are always going to be here and you will always find yourself in those scenarios but the next step is a little hard to manage. From day one you should surround yourself with a 'team' whether that's your wife/husband/partner or just a friend, you will need people around you to aid you and give you advice on the direction you're taking. I wrote a recent blog post that talks about this in more detail: Who's working behind the scenes?
Now where the next step of building your team depends solely on your business, there is a common misconception that you should start to employ/build your team once your business is a well known 'brand' or even more misunderstood, until you have too much work that you can't cope. The truth is, if you leave it too late you're going to find the added stress of building a team a really big mountain to climb, start too early and you probably won't have the finances to run a team.
Who's in your team?
A team doesn't have to mean people who are sat around you in the office, the best way to start building your team is to firstly, write down what your business and your own skills are missing. You have to think outside of the box a little when you begin expanding, the first people in my team were an accountant, lawyer and my bank manager. Ok, so I may not employ them, but they have skills and the resources I needed to achieve building up my business. You should always identify the skills you and your business lack, or in some cases the stuff you really can't be bothered to do, but someone else may love to do. For me I love creating awesome photographs, marketing and social media but my biggest down fall is admin, emails and accounts, so people who were good at those things ( and more importantly enjoyed it!) were implemented into the business.
Of course there may come a point where you may need to expand your team with people who have the same skill set as you. This will depend on how you intend to grow as a business, you might be quite happy working on your own, creating all the work and working on all the behind the scenes things. If you're happy with how the business runs and the lifestyle it gives you then maybe building a team isn't for you, but we are all guilty of not spending enough time with our family and friends and employing people with a similar skill set to you can take away some of those burdens.
Find people like you!
If you take the leap to expand your team then everyone you employ needs to share the same core values that you and your business have. For me, my wedding photography business is all about creating awesome portraits of people in love, implementing truth and honesty into everything I do and a passion to think outside the box a little bit. It's important for me that those people have a similar view with their own creativity and they understand what I am trying to achieve with the business.