Building a $10K team

Based on $10K/hour framework


I just joined a small company as their first Project Manager (also as their Automation Master-Yoda-Sifu — still a working title role).
The company has been around for almost 3 years now. It’s a small company founded by a forty-something New Yorker who is now nomading in South East Asia.
What makes the company unique is that we seem to be based in South East Asia, but the only South East Asian is me. The rest of the team are from Australia (based in Perth), Bangladesh (currently in Hong Kong) and a mysterious designer who claimed to have multi-citizenship, now resides in Bali.

So what’s the story?

“But Leif, you said you’re building from scratch? Seems like you already have a team.”
Yes and no. Previously there was only ONE full-time employee in the company, which is the founder. The rest were freelancers and part-timers.
So it’s the right time to change that and become a more structured company.
Having said that, I won’t be involved directly with the structuring. I’m only tasked with building a project team and how the team operates.

Building the team based on 3 questions

  • Who to recruit and attract
  • How to train and retain them
  • What systems and tools should we invest in

Productivity, Keep It Simple, Asynchronously!

That’s a big “A” there, but it’s not the most important part. Keeping everything simple is.
Of course, it is easier said than done.
We only work 15-20 hours a week. So, having a good framework is crucial.
That’s when we (yes we as in, the founder and I) discovered RadReads’ $10K Framework.

What is $10K Framework, and why?

You can read great details here. But basically, it’s a method to identify the “values” for every task that we have by labelling them as $10K, $1K, $100 and $10.
Every individual has their own ways to do it. For us, since we’re working 15-20 hours a week (that’s like 4 hours a day), we want to focus on tasks that really matter. In this case, $10K work and probably $1K work.
Here’s the matrix visual for better understanding, borrowed from RadReads.
notion image

Our Day-to-Day $10K framework

Based on the $10K Napkin.
notion image
Here’s our own Digital Napkin on Notion.
notion image

The differences with previous methods


VS Time-blocking

VS Kanban

VS Sprint

Asynchronous communication

It’s easier said than done. It can be hard, especially if you’re or used to working in an office.
Freelancers who work in short-term gigs that need constant communication.

The tools

  • Notion for async chat
  • WhatsApp for urgent
  • Notion for Everything (Roadmap, documentations, etc)
  • Airtable for data
  • Zapier for external automation (Notion, Airtable, EmailOctopus etc)

How do we assess and improve?

  • Weekly & quarterly reviews
  • pluses, minuses and pivots

Bonus: Personal gains

I’m learning from experience, on how to transition from as a solopreneur to company owner.
And how getting myself a VA is the first step out of the solopreneur rut and burnout.

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