Hands down, the question I get the most often about outsourcing and how to build a team, is…
“Who do I hire first?”
And my answer is always the same…
“Don’t you mean, ‘whom’?”
Just kidding. What I actually respond is,
“Where are you struggling the most?”
Deciding who to hire first is like looking at a recipe and making up your grocery list. If you already have milk and eggs at home, you’re not going to go out and buy milk and eggs just because they are listed in your recipe.
Just because someone else has told you that you should hire a virtual assistant first or a video editor first doesn’t mean either is the right choice for you.
Be Smart When Building Your Team
Being smart about who to add to your team, and when, requires a bit of an exercise. You need to think about what it is that you can’t do versus what it is you don’t want to do, and what you like to do but isn’t the best use of your time. Perhaps you really love putting together graphics for your social media and blog posts. The problem is, before you know it, you’ve spent hours creating beautiful images and you still haven’t written your blog post. In your case, you may need to hire someone to do your graphics for you, because your blog posts are something you need to be writing yourself.
Sound confusing? I’ve put together a worksheet right here that will help you:
Think about why you need to hire help. Is it because you have tasks you hate to do or is it because there are components of your business that you just don’t know how to do? In some cases entrepreneurs find themselves hiding behind the tasks they actually love to do because they are procrastinating. In any case, the business is stuck because the work isn’t getting done.
Option #1: Build Your Team with a Virtual Assistant
When you know the areas in which you need help, your options really open up. Look at the worksheet you just completed. Could the top three tasks you listed be done by just one person? If so, you’re in luck! You can begin the search for someone amazing to handle those tasks.
If the types of tasks you need are things like customer service follow up, posting on social media or organizing your online materials and classes, your first hire is probably going to be a virtual assistant. Many online business owners start by hiring a VA. This can mean hiring an experienced VA who already knows how to handle a specific aspect of the business, or it can mean training a new VA to be the virtual assistant you’ve always dreamed about. A capable VA can handle many different types of tasks and, with some time, can eventually turn into your right hand (wo)man, as able to run your business as you are. For the sake of argument, let’s say the tasks you’ve identified best served by a VA will take her 2.5 – 3 hours a week for a total of 10-12 hours a month. That’s a reasonable place to start.
Option #2: Build Your Team by Hiring Specialists
If, however, what you need is someone to edit your videos, reply to customer service requests and set up your Ontraport account, you’re probably looking at three different people. Depending on how many videos, or customer service requests and Ontraport issues you have each week, it is entirely possible you could hire all three of these people for 10-12 total hours a month as well. In this case, you would be serving as your own VA in a way, hiring and managing the few different team members you have until you can afford to hire a VA to manage them all.
Realize that whether you need to hire one person for many similar tasks, or three different people for smaller tasks, your budget might be very similar.
In a perfect world, you have enough money in your budget to hire both a VA and the other people in your business that you absolutely need, like a video editor, graphic designer or web developer. I’ve been an entrepreneur a long time, I know there are no perfect worlds. Instead, you’re going to have to start by hiring the person you need the most, at this particular moment. A graphic designer or web developer might be a temporary position that you need now, while a VA could be the person you hire when those initial tasks are complete.
Start Small When Building Your Team
Bringing a new team member on board can be stressful at first. It can be tempting as an entrepreneur, accustomed to running everything, to think it’s just faster to do the work yourself.
Training someone to be a valuable team member that will be around for the long haul takes patience and time. If you wait until you need a full-time person, you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to train them and make sure they have enough work to stay busy while running your business at the same time.
Figuring out how to keep a new hire busy for 10 hours a week right off the bat is very overwhelming. So don’t start that big. Keeping someone busy for 2-4 hours a week is much more manageable. As you hand off the few projects it will take to keep your new team member busy for that amount of time, you will start to find your rhythm and flow of working with another person. You’ll also be able to see if the relationship is going to work on a small scale without devoting a huge amount of time into training someone for a 20+ hour/week job. You could also consider starting off with small test projects with clear end dates to make it all seem more manageable.
As you and your new hire work together adding new tasks will become easier and more natural. You’ll learn about each other gradually — your strengths, your weaknesses and how you can compliment each other. It will become easier to identify areas where you need help. One day you’ll realize you have your very own, custom designed team that knows you and cares about your business as much as you do. And nothing feels better than that.