How to go from one-man-band to the perfect symphony…
Does this sound a bit like you?
You’re a Jack-of-all-trades in your own business;
You wear so many hats on a day to day basis that sometimes you forget which one you should be wearing right now;
You LOVE the incoming generating element of your business (otherwise – why on earth would you do it!?), but you don’t love the whole “running a business” bit so much;
You wish you had an extra pair of hands and eyes (or several extra pairs for that matter) but you’re self employed and that leap just seems too impossible.
Well… guess what? You don’t have to do it all alone!
There are actually people in this world who love to do the things you don’t love so much, or don’t have time for in your business. I know this is true because I’m one of them.
And with people like us in the world, it’s actually very easy to go from Me to We!
The technical term here for building your team, is OUTSOURCING. You don’t have to become an employer and deal with the headaches of setting up PAYE, holiday pay, NI contributions etc etc – you just have to find the right person who loves to do the things you don’t, has time to do the things you don’t, and grab them!
The keywords here though are “right person”.
How do you find that right person?
Watch… Listen… Connect.
You may already know someone who fits the bill – they may already be in online groups you are part of, or be from the same area as you, or they may have been recommended to you by another business-owning friend. But how do you know they are the right person for you and your business?
Watch them – follow them (I’m not talking literally here – I’m talking websites/social media/interactions!!).
Listen to what they have to say – do you like the way they come across to you? Do they have that humour you like? Do they have the right degree of professionalism that will work well with your business? Do they have the skills you need to help alleviate some of those strains on your to-do list?
If you’re happy with how they “feel” for you (again, definitely not literally here!), then connect! Get in touch, ask them questions, tell them everything you can about you and your business and find out how they can help you. You’ll never know if you don’t ask! And there are no daft questions, honest!
I always think that you should “click” with the person you’re outsourcing your business to. Your business is your baby – we “outsource-ee’s” get that – we know that you have worked SUPER hard to get to the stage where you need our help, we admire you for that hard work and are here to help you claw back some of your time so you can focus on the things you WANT to focus on, rather than HAVE to focus on. Go with your gut instinct – if you’ve connected with the right person, there’s a good chance you’ll know it.
So you’ve found your right person. What next?
Firstly Congratulations – it’s a big step, and well-blooming-done for being brave enough to take it – it shouldn’t be scary, but it nearly always is – you’re letting someone else in to YOUR business – that’s a biggie!
Now, how to make it work!
My first piece of advice – COMMUNICATE. Don’t assume that the person you’re outsourcing to knows your business as well as you do. If you have specific ways you talk, walk and do things that you want your VA/Social Media Manager/Online Business Manager etc to replicate – you have to tell them. Share relevant files, access, guidelines, policies, libraries, notes & ideas with them. They can only be as good as the information you give them when it comes to duplicating YOU in your business. Good communication is the key to a good working relationship – the person you’ve outsourced to will soon pick up your way of doing things if you keep the lines of communication open right from the beginning.
Secondly – GIVE THEM WORK! You may have a massive to-do list weighing you down, but now you have a shiny new (and willing) team member, how keen are you to actually hand over some of those items? Handing-over can feel a bit traumatic for you at first, but it is SO necessary in order to give you the space and time you need to continue to build your business and keep doing what you love. Did you set up a business specifically so you can schedule your social media posts? Unless you’re actually a social media expert reading this, then I’m thinking the answer here is no. Let go, and let someone else help. There may be a couple of kinks to iron out in the beginning (see previous advice on COMMUNICATE!), but once you are both in the swing of things, you’ll never look back.
Thirdly – BE HONEST! Ok, so this one goes hand in hand with communicate, but all too often our politeness means we accept something we’re not entirely happy with. Now I’m not saying here “be rude” because that’s not ok (ever!), but if your newest team member has done a piece of work for you and you’d have done it differently – it’s totally ok to let them know – your honesty now will mean a great working relationship ahead. Keeping quiet and disliking something more and more every time it’s done for you is only going to lead to disaster. We are totally aware that we need to learn all about your business, and that there is going to be things that you like done in a certain way – we just ask that you let us know about those things!
Lastly – LOVE THEM! Or at the very least, appreciate them! If you’ve found that right person for you and your business, you’re going to want to keep hold of them. A committed team member who is invested in your success is invaluable within your business. They’re your sounding board when you have new ideas, they’re there when you have a techy emergency, they’re there when you need a new system but don’t know where to start, they’re there to cheer you on when you secure your next client/customer, they’re there to help you see the bigger picture when you’re struggling to see a way ahead, they’re there when you want to spend the weekend with your family but you have to much on your list to get through – they’ve got your back. And DO remember that they are an outsourced part of your team, not your employee.
And hey, if you bring someone in to your business via outsourcing and it’s just not working for you – sometimes people just don’t click and that’s ok too. You should have (hopefully!) signed a contract at the start of your working relationship – check out what you need to do to end the relationship (on good terms if you can!) and move on. Don’t let it put you off and leave you back where you started, the right person for your business is out there waiting for you to find them – and chances are, they’ll be your dream (team) come true!
Kristina runs her own biz – Kristina Smith Virtual Business Support and has a whole lot of love for providing wing-woman duties for small business owners who want to spend more time growing their businesses and less time trudging through their to-do lists.
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