If you're considering building a team for your business, hold up a minute and read this first!
If your ultimate plan is to generate sustainable income, then hiring a part-time VA to help with specific tasks like editing your newsletter, posting content or managing your FB Ads, will be essential.
The purpose of this post is to provide food-for-thought about building your team with an independent virtual part-time helper. Essentially, a DIY entrepreneur VA who is an at-will contractor helping you with specific tasks to free up your time, without hiring an official employee.
The question is: Are the systems you currently have in place for your business *Ready Enough* you can quickly transfer daily or weekly tasks to someone else (a stranger) in such way they will make effective use of their time and your dollars?
Having a team is a BIG deal to be taken seriously. If you owned a business with a physical shop for example, you'd be required to pay unemployment insurance and many other benefits by law. You'd also be required to adhere to specific guidelines regarding non-discriminate fair business practices. Having a business employee versus independent contractor are two very different things. Each come with specific legal guidelines, planning for and logistics.
Many moons ago, I worked as an independent contractor for local fashion designers in San Francisco as a seamstress and production assistant. I was hired for specific projects, paid an hourly rate and was responsible for reporting my income to the IRS and paying income tax at the end of the year. As an 'At-Will' employee, I didn't receive any paid benefits but, it was a wonderful experience and covered my monthly expenses. That's me at one of my gigs for a jewelry designer (taken with a Kodak Instamatic camera, early 80's).
HELLOOOO, being in business for yourself is serious sh**!
I've hired several different services including coaches for my business. It doesn't always work out as desired and you don't always get what you pay for. Which is why it's vital you make sure you have a clear strategy about what you need and why you need it, before hiring help or buying into any courses, programs or special certifications.
I hired a business coach a few years back and they joked about how much I'd vetted them before signing up. Yes, I do - and I hope this post encourages you to vet for your business, as well.
Through coaching, I've heard horror stories of content theft and financial loss for everything from web development to coaching. It's your responsibility to yourself and your business, to be an informed owner.
And Google is available 365-24/7 to answer any question you have, literally!
Step 1 is NOT hiring!
Step #1 is stepping into that leadership role (before you feel ready) and having a clear vision where you're headed. That way, when you hire out you're not wasting your dollars and time in guess work. Your vision is clear and you're equipped to effectively utilize the value of paid resources to help you operate and grow your business more efficiently and effectively.
Putting the cart before the horse can backfire and be financially devastating. I cannot stress this enough because, I've made costly mistakes myself and hear stories through coaching. I hope this post opens your eyes to avoid doing the same.
People only know what they know and there's a lot of bad advice online BUT, the onus falls on you, Dear Business Owner!
Here's an overview of how to plan for hiring VA help for your business.
Step 2: Divide the tasks you'd like help with into categories. For example; social media posting, blog content, visual content, email, tech upkeep, etc. Then identify what you least like doing and would rather not spend the time on.
Step 3: Of the tasks you want help with, do you have a system you'd like people to follow OR are you open to suggestions? Do you have your systems typed up some where in Evernote or Word, so you can easily send them a copy as how you specifically want things done?
Step 4: Assuming you don't have systems in writing, it's time to start taking notes. Use Evernote or Word to record exactly what your system is, the frequency of it and the necessary steps, apps or anything else a VA would need to know to fulfill that task.
Step 5: Consider the personality fit that you'd work best with. What kind of communicator are you? What kind of personality do you believe would align best with your personality and style of communication? What do you want the flow of communication to be like between you and your team? Do you prefer meeting on Skype once a week, email, using slack, etc.
I know this is a lot of questions but, it's to your advantage to actually consider these questions in advance. Otherwise, you might hire someone who doesn't fit and you'll be wasting valuable time and money in the short and long run!
All that said, I encourage you to stay open to hearing how the VA approaches their client work as a measure of learning about creating a team and also, feeling out whether or not the fit is doable or not.
Step 6: Ask friends you trust, value and align with your business model for referrals. Interview them about their experience and workflow. It might help you get clearer about what you want and need.
Step 7: Before you're actually ready to hire, start doing discovery calls with VA's to experience the process. Most VA's offer free discovery consultations. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask lots of questions, listen and trust your gut! Make sure you ask about their rates, terms and conditions. If they don't have their terms somewhere in writing, I suggest you keep looking.
Step 8: Go back to Step 1 and reassess what you need. Consider trying someone for one specific project like an eBook or a few weeks of editing and posting your blog content before you commit to a long term agreement!
Clearly, hiring a team is a lot deeper discussion. I hope this post raised your awareness for the importance of planning before hiring. So, when you hire, you're destined for a positive experience getting the help you need to build your team and free up your time to do other things to grow your business.
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