Still all about love around here at Common Cents. Sometimes in order to love your business, you have to take some time for yourself and let go. Which I know is a lot easier said than done.
Letting go and letting someone else do what you swear you can do better yourself is a like being between a rock and a hard place. You never know what to let go of and what you need to do yourself. But here’s the deal, if you’re extremely realistic with yourself…you will find that having a team that you can call on will create some leverage for you and may be the extra ummmph you need to take your business to the next level.
Now I know that not every business owner wants to be a mega-mogul or have a 500 person company but there is something in between. You can still be lean-mean small business machine AND have a team of people that help you out.
Outsourcing doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. We put those thoughts in our own heads by making things overly difficult and making assumptions that outsourcing has to be a permanent arrangement. Neither are true. It can be easy and you can subcontract things out to freelancers on a per contract or per task basis (aka short-term).
So let’s chat about this outsourcing… team building thing that may just help you fall in love with your business (some more)!
First Up, Be Honest
Let’s be real. Real honest. What would you do if you had more time? What did you start your business to accomplish? I mean really. WHY are you here? WHY did you bring this business into existence?
More questions you can ask yourself…do I have more to do in a day than I have hours to get it accomplished? Am I serving my customers well? Are a lot of things falling through the cracks? Am I missing deadlines more and more often?
I have a point. I promise. The answers to these questions will lead you to the realization about if you could us some help. Is your business ready to be more than just you?
I Need Help, Now What’s Next?
Figure out what you need done, how you would do it (while giving the prospective team member some latitude) and document it.
That’s a short sentence but there’s a lot to do there.
Determine what everyday tasks you do that could be done by someone else. If you are using a task management or project management system, this is a bit easier. And don’t overwhelm yourself by giving yourself unrealistic deadlines around when you need to have this done (like I tend to do to myself). Be realistic. Do a little at a time. Start to create templates and revise them little by little as you get into the groove of doing things and “perfecting” things.
After you have the template done… go about describing what each task involves. You want to do this so that there are no misunderstandings regarding what needs to be done, how you would like it done and when it needs to be done. BUT leave some wiggle room for creativity so that your team member can get it done…but with their little stamp because, if you’re anything like me, you don’t really care HOW something is done as long as it’s done efficiently, effectively and accurately.
But How Do I?
I know you’re saying to yourself, “but Joyce, how do I **gasp** PAY THEM???” I know, I know. That’s the million dollar question of the century for an entrepreneur! And it’s the hard question to answer. Sort of.
Here’s another dose of honesty. Another time where I’m going to have you ask yourself some hard questions. Are you busy doing REAL work or are you doing BUSY work? Are you doing MONEY making work (work for your clients) or are you just filling your day with STUFF to do?
Seriously. This is something that you really need to ask yourself. Something that I had to put on my big girl panties and ask myself, especially when I found myself overwhelmed because I had way too much stuff to do. I looked at my calendar and evaluated what was I really filling my day doing?
So if you’re just keeping yourself busy, stop it. Right now. But if you’re really doing the work that is making your money and you have too much to do, you have money coming in, right? So if you have money coming in… carve some it out & dedicate that to getting some help with your to-do list. (BTW, you don’t need as much as you think you do).
Now, Where Do I Find My Team?
I know what you’re thinking. You don’t have enough money to hire a team. But I’m here to disagree with you. Sorry but you’re wrong. Take a deep breath and keep reading.
First off, before you start hyperventilating, a team can be as big as you want or as small as you want. It could be 20 people or 2 people. You and an assistant.
Your team can be long term or short team. It can be for a long project (like ongoing customer service or social media management) or for a specific task (the launch of a specific product or service) or for a specific time frame (3 months). You set the terms and parameters. You make the rules. And as such, you set the budget (within reason).
All that to say that your team can be comprised of a group of freelancers (aka independent contractors*). A lot of times, folks think the only way they can get help for their business is to hire employees and that is simply not true. There are a ton of sites where you can find folks looking to do just what you’re looking to get done.
Finally, Love Your Team
Now that you’ve got them, be good to your people. And that’s more than money.
It’s human nature to want to take pride in your work. To do a good job. So set the stage to make sure that your team can do that. Set them up for success at every turn, whenever you can.
Communicate your expectations. Encourage them to over-communicate with you. Empower them make decisions (within reason). Build on your team relationship.
It won’t happen overnight but an empowered team member is a gold mind. They will make you look good and they will be happy to do it because they take pride in their work, they want to do a good job and a successful boss lady (or boss man) is a happy one. 😉
My team is still evolving and growing. I’m not perfect and I make sure that I communicate that. I’m a WIP… work in progress and so is this thing that I call my life’s work… my business.
I’ve had a few bumps and growing pains along the way but WE (me and my awesome team)… We are getting there.
Now that you have a little bit of my growth spurt story… what advice would you give me? What are you doing on your way to growing from a solopreneur to team leader boss lady/boss man? I’m curious… hit the comments below.
Until next time,
Footnote: Per the US Tax Code (IRS), your relationship with your independent contractors have to pass certain “suitability” tests. Please check with an accountant or tax professional to discuss your individual situation.