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LebTown

Building a succession plan

LebTown lays the groundwork to hire a managing editor

The challenge

Davis Shaver started LebTown four years ago to provide better news and information to residents in Lebanon County, PA. But he never intended to make running LebTown his life’s work. Given that he’s still balancing running LebTown with his full-time job as a software engineer, one of Davis’ priorities was creating a succession plan and figuring out how to hire and afford the talent to allow him to take a step back from LebTown.

“I see my my role with LebTown as activation energy,” Davis explained. “Getting it to the point where it can stand on its own two legs, demonstrating the viability of the concept and the need for it.”

As a solo founder, many of the values and processes that led Davis to launch LebTown existed solely inside his head. As he began the process of thinking through how to make a full-time hire, Davis knew he needed more documentation and policies in place to ensure a smooth transition.

“Working With [Coach] Bene Was Amazing. ‘Allowing Us To Dream In Color’ Was Just Perfect For Capturing What It Felt Like. And I’M Just Really Grateful To Cross Paths With So Many Other Awesome Publishers Who Are Trying To Build Something Better.”

Davis Shaver
Founder, Lebtown

The results

Coach Bene Cipolla helped Davis think about what he needed to put in place to make a full-time hire in 2023. One early step was customizing a freelancer template and creating some official policies to standardize their relationships with LebTown. Bene also helped David through a financial planning exercise where he visualized exactly how much he would need to budget for an FTE (including benefits and cushion), as well as focusing on how Davis could earn the money to make the hire through membership and advertising revenue growth.

Though Davis isn’t ready to make his full-time hire yet, he said that creating an employee handbook was a useful exercise. He’s incorporated language about LebTown’s mission and values from the handbook into fundraising campaigns and used the language as prompts for editorials and other writing. He also created a job scorecard that helped him better understand what skills he would need to prioritize in hiring a managing editor.

Successes:

Created LebTown’s first employee handbook

Build a budget for hiring Lebtown’s first FTE

Customized a contract template and policies for freelancers

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