A few weeks ago, Kory talked to Amber from Copperheart Creative about creating a team, and we wanted to do a follow up for you guys because I know it’s something that a lot of people are curious about.
Amber built a team of contractors for her clients, but most of us are looking to start by just getting help with our own work. I have some experience with this from the very beginning of my business.
We thought it would be fun to do a 50/50 episode so I am going to share more specific details about what my team looks like and more. Then, Kory is going to ask me a few questions! Ready to dig in?
What I outsource
These days, I’m only responsible for a handful of things solely on my own. Items such as recording podcasts, creating products, client work and a few more things that I can’t outsource unless I find a way to make two of me.
Thankfully, there is a lot I can actually outsource to my team. I have a virtual assistant that helps with a variety of tasks and overall to-do list management and a designer who creates PDFs, promotional graphics, etc. for my business. I also outsource Pinterest management, podcast editing, website design, and transcription.
It honestly goes beyond that brief list, but this gives you an idea of what I am able to hand out and not worry about!
How I stay organized
What I created was a Google Site to house and organize each system in a place where my team members can easily access and make updates themselves. There are sections for client work, client onboarding, and management, social media, content, the podcast, my inbox, maternity leave – you name it. Anything I repeat over and over is included in there.
Honestly, this is what has saved my sanity for me and my team!
A few months ago this Playbook came in handy in a big way when I transitioned to a new VA. I initially freaked out because I remembered how much work it was to teach my first VA everything she did for me.
However, thanks to my Playbook it was so easy to bring her onto the team. I actually felt like there’s no way I wasn’t providing enough information because all I needed to do was assign a task and link to the playbook. Easy enough, right?
My most active team members (my VA and design assistant to be exact) are in Asana with me. I use this platform to assign them tasks, communicate about tasks, and they can assign each other tasks.
Through Asana, everything stays nice and organized and we don’t have to worry about losing information in email or Slack.
Slack is basically the professional version of AOL Instant Messenger. It’s used mostly for just passing information back and forth quickly or asking questions. It’s a great way to stay connected with your team!
What hasn’t worked well for me
Outsourcing my own development work, in general
I’m insanely picky with my development work. I want things done RIGHT. It’s hard to find help in this area. The developers at the level I trust either charge just as much or more than me or they’re just booked too far in advance.
Dealing with outsourcing this type of work also adds another level of client, people, and project management that I just can’t take on right now. I’m not closed off to trying it again in the future, but I haven’t found something that works well for me quite yet.
Outsourcing to the Philippines
This was like 30% really great, 70% a disaster. It was great because it’s super cheap, while also being a really great wage for them. The tasks also had a quick turnaround time which was nice.
However, the development was pretty terrible. I did have VA who was great for a really long time, but personal stuff happened and I eventually had to let him go. I’m not too sure if I would do it again, maybe if the exact right situation came up that I needed some help with.
Outsourcing social media interaction
Now for an actual task that didn’t work well for me to outsource – social media interaction.
I really wanted to grow my Summit In A Box account faster, so I paid my VA from the Philippines to comment on posts for me. I stopped that service pretty quickly because every time someone would reply to a comment I’d start picking apart why I would have never said what he wrote.
That combined with him commenting on random things on accounts of people I knew really well – it just wasn’t the right fit.
Answering some questions
When / how did you know it was time to start outsourcing some of your work?
I worked part-time in my business and I needed to increase my income before I could quit my day job, but I was maxed out on time. I needed to hire someone so I could free up more time for work.
Do you think it’s important that business owners eventually start outsourcing something? Like is it inevitable?
I think if you want to grow your business beyond just making an income, yes! I think if you want to scale and get to a 6-figure mark in your business without pulling your hair out, I do think it’s needed for sure!
What do you wish you knew about outsourcing before you hired someone for the first time?
I wish I knew how much having systems and step by step process would help! Plus, I wish I knew that it is not worth having to tell the same things over and over to a person when you could just hire someone new who can handle hearing the instructions the first time.
How do you find people who really align with your values?
I look for websites that are pretty and up to date. It shows me that people care about their business and know how to run their own business. In turn, it shows me that they can help with mine too. Plus, I try to find people who I would want to be friends with!
Tips for creating a team
Start small and easy by figuring out what’s taking you a lot of time and taking away from client work. Something that doesn’t require your exact personal touch is a great task to hire out. You can find someone even for just a few hours per month to start helping out.
Make sure not to go for the cheapest person out there either. Higher price point usually means better quality work as well!
Figuring out your systems first can help big time when you bring on a team to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Whatever you do, get clear on the type of person you want and what your expectations for them will be!
You need to find what works for you and start small! I’ve been outsourcing since February 2016, over 3 years as of recording this, and I’m just finally to a place where I feel like everything is going really well. Just know it will take time.