Juggling Entrepreneurship Hats

The 23 Hats of Entrepreneurship

by Nicholas Tart on April 20, 2011 · 10 comments

So far this week I’ve worn 19 of the 23 hats and it’s only Wednesday.

When you’re starting out, you have to do everything for your business. You have to wear many hats. Each of these 23 hats is a job or an entire department in a typical corporation.

I want to list all the hats that entrepreneurs juggle, or should be juggling, so you can get a better idea for what it’s like to be an entrepreneur.

Management Hats

  1. Entrepreneur
    The entrepreneur is the charismatic, visionary leader of your company. As the entrepreneur, you’re the face of the company.
  2. Manager
    The manager is responsible for scheduling, running the day-to-day, and managing any workers you might have.
  3. Secretary
    The secretary is the gatekeeper who handles all the phone calls, emails, and radio transmissions. For an entrepreneur, a secretary is called a personal assistant. This is one of the first roles you should outsource. You can find a virtual personal assistant on Elance (aff link).
  4. Customer Support
    Customer support is responsible for responding to all the questions, complaints, and inexplicable groans that come out of customers. Respond quickly, empathize with their struggles, and make things right. This also includes preventative customer support by communicating regularly and answering questions before they have them.
  5. Media Relations
    The media relations person is responsible for responding to and following up with the press. Occasionally, you’ll have to preemptively contact media if you have a story for them.
  6. Investor Relations
    If somebody funded your business, the investor relations person needs to have regular communication with the investor. This is the most important relationship you need to maintain with your business.
  7. Networker
    The networker needs to be a fun-loving dude who can become your best friend within a 5-minute conversation. If you’re an introvert like me, this hat gets heavy. But you still have to wear it.

Marketing Hats

  1. Product Developer
    The product developer is responsible for creating a marketable product that people need and is easy to sell. Figure out exactly how you’re going to sell something before you make it.
  2. Sourcing Specialist
    This person is responsible for finding the materials or software that goes into your products or services. You need to negotiate the finest deals with quality suppliers to build a product within your budget and your customers’ budgets.
  3. Web Developer
    Yep, the web developer is responsible for developing a clean-coded website. Think of your website as a marketing platform rather than a slab of code that you hope people find.
  4. Graphic Designer
    The graphic designer needs to create the visual elements of your brand and be able to communicate it throughout the business identity, web design, and all other marketing materials. If you don’t have this skillset, start by understanding the concepts. Then outsource it.
  5. Videographer
    More and more companies are using video to convey their marketing message. If you’re not a videographer and you need a video, prepare to spend a couple grand hiring one.
  6. Blogger
    If you’ve been reading 14 Clicks, you’ll know that content marketing/blogging is the best way to get traffic. You have to constantly create content with your unique voice and experiences to get people to keep coming back.
  7. Copywriter
    Good copywriters get people to do incredible things, unspeakable things. If you can’t hire a copywriter to write the sales copy for your website, flyers, and advertisements; you need to learn the basics of copywriting yourself.
  8. Social Media Specialist
    The social media specialist is responsible for tweeting, facebooking, and youtubing. I think the entrepreneur should always be in charge of social media, but it’s time-consuming so I’ll understand.
  9. Search Engine Optimization Specialist
    The SEO specialist needs to make sure every page on your website includes the basic SEO elements and is ranking for the right keywords. Updating your is more complicated than simply writing and posting. Unless you don’t want Googlers to see it.
  10. Sales Person
    Every business needs at least one sales person. This person is like a super-targeted networker who is constantly reaching out and qualifying sales leads. Try making a few sales calls today. Scary, huh?! Hire a sales person.
  11. Speaker
    I believe every entrepreneur needs to be good at public speaking. As your business becomes well-known, and you become popular, people will ask you to speak. If you blow the speech, the reputation of your business will go down the drain as well.
  12. Order Fulfillment
    Once you receive orders, someone needs to ship them. This sounds like a menial task, but it quickly becomes overwhelming. I was spending a few hours a day fulfilling book orders during the height of our sales. Don’t waste time in your business doing the things that you can pay someone $8 an hour to do.

Finance Hats

  1. Bookkeeper
    The bookkeeper is responsible for keeping track of all the expenses, revenues, and taxes. Once you can afford a couple grand a year, hire a CPA to manage all of your bookkeeping.
  2. Payroll
    If you have employees or independent contractors, you need to keep track of every dollar you owe because they’re counting their pennies.
  3. Financial Analyst
    If you’re business is starting to slide, one of the first indicators will be your financial ratios and forecasted cash flows. I don’t know about you, but I have more important things to do than calculate and decipher numbers. But, eventually someone will have to do this.
  4. Human Resources (HR)
    HR is responsible for connecting the financial side to the management side, and making sure everyone is happy. For companies with less than 15 employees, the HR laws are flexible, but you still need to be mindful as your business grows.

Future Hat

The 24th hat is Cyborg Resources. Responsible for making sure the robots are getting everything that they need.

Being an entrepreneur is hard. And it can be even more overwhelming to think about finding, qualifying, training, and managing a group of people. But that’s the only way you’ll grow.

Employees are expensive, but the good ones are huge assets to your company. Hire people to wear as many of these hats as soon as you can.

However, no matter which of these roles you choose to outsource, you need to have a basic understanding of what they entail. That’s why I believe it’s important to juggle all of these hats yourself before you ask someone else to wear them for you.

How many of the hats have you worn this week?

Post image by: Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus


Kerwin April 20, 2011 at 9:35 am

Hiya Nicholas,

Impressive list yes; but you don’t have to wear all those hats. You can outsource a lot of it so that you can focus on the ideas that will make the business move forward.

Start small with the “menial” tasks and then increase it as the business thrives. I do agree though that when you start out (as I am) you wear all those hats and more.

I outsource 10 & 11 as needed and ask my friends to be #12 when they are around or use a tripod :-).


Nicholas Tart April 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Hey Kerwin! Yeah, I’m going to be working on that over the next few weeks. I imagine outsourcing for the first time is like finding your first babysitter. It might take awhile to find the right person/people, but once you do, you can’t imagine life without them.

Buntu Redempter April 27, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Thank you, Nick

Arthur December 29, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Very good article keep up the good work!

Arthur December 29, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Gonna print this page, cause it is good to be aware of these hats, can makes things a lot more simple and easier to manage what I am leveraging to other people

Nicholas Tart December 30, 2011 at 10:38 am

That’s a good point, Arthur. This page can help you figure out what types of people to hire first. I was talking with Tyrone Shum the other day and he said the administrative assistant is the first position every entrepreneur should hire out to. It’s like a modern-day secretary.

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