The Secret to Building a Team: Start with a VA

Building a Team

A few times a week, a potential client contacts me and asks for help. She’s overwhelmed, can’t keep up and doesn’t know where to start. She wants help that will actually benefit her business rather than become another project needing attention.

She wants to hire me to “just take care of things.” 

This feels ironic. I am deeply flattered I have people who really believe I can “just take care of things” for them. The reality is, however,  I don’t even “just take care of things” for myself. I have help. I have a team.

The Myth of “Team”

When I ask if she’s ready to start building a team, uncertainty sets in. There is something about the word “team” that, honestly, freaks people out.

Team sounds big, team sounds formal. The truth is, teams often consist of just two people. In fact the definition of team (as far as I’m concerned) is: Two or more people working together to achieve a common goal.

As I ask probing questions, most of the time what I uncover is that the reason the business owner is freaked out comes down to money. She’s not sure if she can take on the responsibility of paying another person, or where she will find the time to give them the necessary training.

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But here’s the thing, when you build a team, you start small: by finding someone to do something you either can’t, don’t want to, or shouldn’t be doing yourself.

Who Should You Hire First?

Every entrepreneur needs to build their team differently.  We all have different strengths. But some tasks can be done on a project basis and some require someone who sticks by you and really learns your business.

Maybe you’re like me and you start with a video editor simply because you literally need someone to edit your videos for you. Could I have learned to do it myself? Probably, but why would I when I can hire someone else who is a pro, has the programs he needs, charges me $15/hour and gets it done in a fraction of the time? This is a task easily outsourced to a video person on a site like Upwork or Fiverr.

Starting with a Virtual Assistant

But maybe, instead, you need a general type of person that oversees your entire business. Someone that knows how to use your email service, to set up landing pages and can interact with various support desks on your behalf. That type of person is a virtual assistant and that’s where many businesses start when building a team. I did a whole series on starting with a virtual assistant a few weeks ago, you can find the first post here.

The best part about starting with a virtual assistant first? She can train the rest of the team as your business grows and expands because she’s worked right along side you.  

The reality is, no man is an island. No one has enough hours in the day to complete all of the tasks required of an online business owner. You are no exception. You need to decide: what type of person do you need to hire first? Who will be the first member of your team?

Let me know: What is holding you back from hiring your first team member?

Copyright: andreypopov / 123RF Stock Photo

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