Kacey Fitzpatrick (far right) studied architecture at Stanford then became a journeyman carpenter because, she says, “I wanted to see my designs all the way through.” The hands-on aspect of actually building from plans “hit a sweet spot.” She launched herself in business by buying and renovating a house in Palo Alto that won awards and drew potential clients.

Two years ago, she decided to hire people. That was “a big turning point. Because having employees is a whole new game.”

Fitzpatrick continues to design, as well as sell and estimate. She now spends about 60 percent of her time on team or owner- related activities. That is, one-on-one meetings, staff meetings, department meetings, as well as strategic planning and concentrating on what it takes to grow a company.

“To develop a team, you need to build their skills,” she says. Delegating a lot and “letting them go lets me stay on top of the management."