Has your business outgrown your DIY efforts?
As you prepare to scale your business, you may need a team to help you accomplish more in less time. This is especially true when growth is your top priority.
Outsourcing goal-oriented tasks can help you lean into your strengths, increase your brand’s production, and reach more customers and clients.
As you plan to build your team, you may be wondering how to strategically bring on new hires. In this article, I’ll walk you step-by-step through the process of hiring, but first, let’s talk about how to know if you’re ready to outsource.
6 signs you need to outsource
First, start by assessing how you feel about building a team. You may be jumping with excitement, feeling a sense of dread, or maybe you fall somewhere in between.
The most common reasons why some entrepreneurs resist building a team are:
- Feeling a loss of control over certain areas in their business
- Angst around how long it will take to teach someone versus doing the work themselves
- Not knowing if the investment in talent will pay off
- Not wanting to supervise and manage a team
- Uncertainty around if they have the time or budget for team building
However, it is difficult to truly scale a business without the right team support. You may not need a large team to accomplish your goals, but a small and mighty team could accelerate your growth.
With a team, you’ll no longer be limited by the number of hours you work or how much work you can produce. You’ll be able to lean on other professionals with their own sets of unique skills who can help in the areas where your business is weak or ill-equipped.
If you’re not yet convinced that building a team is the right choice for your business, keep reading for the six most common signs you need to hire help.
You have too much work and not enough time
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I wanted to include it anyway. If you feel like you can’t keep up with the demand for your services, it may be time to call for reinforcements. This is especially true if your work-life balance or quality of work is suffering.
Leadership coach duo Ashley and Dale from The Abundance Group say the best time to hire is when you’re at 40% capacity or higher. Since your business capacity is defined by the maximum volume of work you can produce, you may need additional help if you are closing more leads. If you’ve already met this threshold, consider this a small nudge of encouragement to keep reading as you prepare to build your team.
You want to spend more time on projects you love
Do you feel like the projects you’re most excited about have been put on the back burner? It’s common for tasks to pile up when you’re focused on growing the business.
Research shows that 41% of a creative professional’s time is spent on discretionary tasks that could be outsourced easily. Unfortunately, these tasks often lead to a lack of inspiration and offer little personal satisfaction. If this sounds like where you are, you may want to assess the areas where your business needs the most assistance.
You may have been able to get by as a solo entrepreneur at the start of your business, but if you feel like your passion is slipping and you need more support beyond your DIY efforts, it might be time to hire some additional help.
You’re turning away quality leads
Even though 65% of businesses say generating leads is their biggest challenge, you may be in a position where you have too many leads. If you work alone as a service provider, coach, or consultant, you’ll quickly discover you have a maximum number of clients you can serve at one time.
Each person’s capacity is different, but you can’t add more hours to the day to work with every lead that comes your way. However, you can add more clients to your roster when you work with other contractors.
Generating consistent leads is a clear sign that you’re ready to build your team. You won’t need to refer most of your leads when you have a capable team of contractors who can divide the work and bring your service to the next level.
You want to add multiple streams of income
Are you a service provider who wants to add more income streams to your business model? Many entrepreneurs start by offering services and use their expertise to create digital products once they’ve strategically built a niche audience.
You may also want to add an e-commerce shop to your website, or test out affiliate marketing and brand sponsorship opportunities for yourself. The IRS found that most millionaires have at least seven streams of income, so the possibilities are endless.
Adding multiple income streams may feel dreamy at first, but you will likely need more support if you want to do them well. Hiring team members to help develop, market, sell, and launch your products and content could free up space to think of your next big idea.
You want to collaborate with a team
Team collaboration can increase profits by 27% and improve product quality by 34% on average, proving that teamwork really does make the dream work.
If you feel like you’re currently making decisions in an echo chamber and need a sounding board, working with a team could help. With each person bringing their best ideas and skills to the table, you’ll be able to create high-value products and services as you solve bigger problems.
You’d rather hire an expert as you grow
We’ve talked extensively about building a team as you scale your business, but what if you only need guidance in the short term? When this is the case, it might be best to hire an expert in a specific field. This is most often a consultant, coach, or strategist.
You might find yourself here if you’re looking for personalized advice for your business that goes beyond what a book or course can give you.
While you could hire an expert as an employee, many business owners work with experts on a project basis or for a short period. You can decide how long you need to work with someone based on the guidance they provide.
Step-by-step guide to help you hire your next team member
If you found yourself nodding along with most (if not all) of the signs I covered above, let’s turn that insight into motivation. Building a team can take time, but we’ll put you on a fast track to growth by reviewing the most important steps in the hiring process.
Automate tasks first
Before you set out to hire your next team member, it’s best to determine which tasks can simply be automated. Automation is the process of using tools and technology to reduce the amount of human effort needed to complete specific tasks.
If you can use a set of tools to check more admin tasks off your to-do list, that’s the best place to start. Entrepreneurs typically use automation to save money, giving them more room in their budget to hire experts for higher priority tasks and projects.
Below are a few ways to incorporate automation into your business. You can automate:
- quality lead generation with an interactive quiz from Interact
- canned email responses with a CRM
- your client process with a project management tool
- personalized content delivery with an email service provider
- some customer services with chatbot marketing
- virtually anything with third-party apps like Zapier
Tasks like replying to a client’s individual requests, designing marketing materials, editing audio or video footage, and writing sales copy may not be something you want to automate (or even can). Once you’ve determined the tasks you can automate, it’s time to figure out what to outsource.
Define which tasks you need to outsource
To ensure you have a clear idea of the tasks you need to outsource, write a list of everything you do on a daily and weekly basis. Even if the task feels small or insignificant, it still earns a spot on the list.
When you examine the final list, make a note of how you feel about each task.
Do you enjoy the task, and does it fit within your natural strengths? You’ll probably want to keep it as your responsibility. Do you hate it or feel like you constantly avoid it? Then you might want to outsource it.
For the tasks you feel relatively neutral about, think about if it’s the best use of your current time. If it fits within the role you want to have in your company, keep it on your list. If not, move it to the list of tasks to outsource.
The bonus of creating this list is that you can use it to create a job posting. We’re all about working smarter rather than harder!
Determine who you need to hire
With your list of tasks to outsource in hand, you’ll be ready to decide who to hire. While hiring multiple roles at once may be tempting, it’s best to start with the one or two professionals who will help you the most.
Think about which positions could take care of the tasks that are currently slowing your growth. Then, you can take what you’ve learned in this process and use it to hire the next round of team members.
The most common positions you may want to add to your team are:
- Virtual assistant who can help you with anything from client communication to project management to publishing content and more.
- Social media manager who can write exciting captions, create a consistent content calendar, and interact with your followers as you grow your brand’s online influence.
- Graphic designer who can design social media graphics, PDF guides, print marketing materials, or refine your visual brand identity.
- Copywriter who can strengthen your sales copy, email sequences, onboarding and offboarding guides, and anything else you need written.
- Multimedia editor who can edit your video and audio footage to create compelling content for courses, social media, podcasts, and more.
- Online business manager who can oversee the operations of your business, improve your systems, and ensure clients are well taken care of.
Depending on where you are in scaling your business, you may find yourself leaning toward some positions more than others. Take note of who would help the most in the short term and start there.
Research and find team members
Now it’s time to find who you’re looking for! First, you’ll need to decide if you want to hire an employee or independent contractor (also referred to as a freelancer).
As defined by the IRS, the main difference between an employee and contractor is that an employer can “control what will be done and how it will be done” for an employee. An independent contractor, however, does not perform services that are under the control of the company that hires them.
You can either work with someone on a contract basis or hire them for part-time or full-time employment. It’s up to you how you want to structure the position, so we recommend working with a leadership or business coach if you need guidance in this area.
When you know how you want to structure the position, it’s all about finding the right person for the job. Most entrepreneurs first look to people in their network to determine if they already know someone who would be a great fit.
If you need to look outside of your network, it may be helpful to:
- Search online communities on Facebook, Instagram, and more.
- Search for freelancers in freelancer marketplace sites like Upwork and Fiverr.
- Search on Google using keywords that are relevant to the position or industry.
- Ask for referrals from other people in your industry.
To be even more proactive, publish a job description on your website. It should outline the details of the position, answer any questions about the role, and set a list of job requirements and objectives. Once it’s on your website, you can link to it in your email newsletter, social media, and more.
Personally interview the best candidates
If you find the perfect person from the get-go, you might be tempted to skip this step. However, it’s usually best to interview someone before you hire them. You may not know if they’re the right personality fit or if they have the right attitude for the job.
As you prepare to interview the best candidates, we recommend narrowing it down to your top three to five choices for the position. Then, set aside a day or two for conducting interviews over the phone or on a video call.
You can ask interview questions like:
- What makes you the right fit for this position?
- What about the position excites you?
- How would you describe your personality?
- What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
- Do you have any previous experience that relates to this position?
- What tools are you proficient in?
- Where does this position fit into your professional goals?
- How would your past team members describe your work and communication style?
- Why do you want this position?
- What are your interests outside of work?
Be sure to ask questions related to the exact position as well. When you’ve successfully finished all of the interviews, you’ll be ready to decide who to hire.
Train your new hire
All that’s left to do is officially hire your team member, negotiate or accept their rate, and onboard them! It’s best if you have a library of training resources and materials they can review in their own time, but if they are your first hire, you may need to be more hands-on in your training.
One benefit of hiring an expert is they’re already experienced in their industry and won’t need hand-holding. This will cut down on training time, allowing them to get started on your highest priority tasks right away.
Your approach to training will likely evolve as your business grows, so be sure to ask for your team member’s feedback on their onboarding process before you take further action. They will likely tell you what the business can improve on for the next hire.
Best practices when building your team
Following this step-by-step guide, you’ll have what you need to get started in finding your next hire! Whether it’s your first hire or you simply want to start with a stronger strategy this time around, I hope this article was helpful in setting you up for success.
I’ll leave you with a few outsourcing best practices:
- Consider personality. Just because someone has the best skills doesn’t automatically make them a perfect fit. Take time to learn about their values and personality.
- Look at their portfolio. If their past work resonates with you and they’ve received many glowing reviews, it may bring the confidence you need to move forward.
- Don’t skimp on your budget. Expert help is worth far more than the cost!
- Set expectations and communicate them. The earlier, the better!
To learn even more about team building, listen to Interact’s Creator Stories podcast. We interview many scaling entrepreneurs who are willing to give a behind-the-scenes look into what it takes to grow an online business.
You can start with episodes like Scaling a Business in a Rapidly Growing Industry with Jessie Golden or Learning How to Delegate in Order to Grow with Melissa Litchfield.
What are you waiting for? Get outsourcing!