Hiring and Managing a Team of Outsourced People - Part One
When you are running an online business for a certain target market, its not a bricks and mortar business – meaning you can run it from anywhere. When running an online business, ultimately there is a lot of work to be done. One person can’t do everything because of time or not having the skillset to do some of the work – technical work, email work, producing products, marketing the products – the list goes on and on. Of course there are some people who have opted to learn how to do each one of those skillsets. But you literally would have to become a super-expert in everything. So when it comes down to it, you need to hire people to wear the different hats that help run your business – because you can’t wear them all.
When a business is just starting out, let’s be honest, you don’t want to commit to hiring a full-time employee, so instead you hire an independent contractor on a part-time basis who works a couple hours a week. Or you hire someone on a project basis to do a certain amount of work for one particular project. As time goes on and your business grows, you begin to hire more people and that’s when you begin to grow your team.
When your business gets to the point of needing more things done, people need to know what to get done. If you want someone to do something, you have to guide them on what to do. Here’s an example: If you send someone to the grocery store to purchase groceries, you wouldn’t just hand them $100 and say, “Bring me groceries.” You would say, “Here’s $100 – I want two boxes of pepperoni Hot Pockets, a case of Mountain Dew, three frozen Tombstone Supreme pizzas, a bag of 10-inch flour tortillas, some mexican shredded cheese, a bag of Hershey’s kisses and a 4-lb bag of Friskies cat food.” After all, do you want Mountain Dew and pizza or a strange-smelling air freshener and produce you’ve never heard of? Getting what you want starts with asking for what you want! If you are going to do something as basic as delegating a task of going to the grocery store, the person you send needs to have a basic understanding of what they are going to need to do in order to be successful and what your expectations are.
That exact same thing carries into business.
The dream most people have when starting a new business is that they can wake up, have this really awesome new product, give somebody two sentences to write and go to the beach for a little while or go get a pedicure or go out to brunch with friends and all of their wishes and dreams have magically been fulfilled – just like a fairy godmother. Everyone wants magic. Everyone has clients like that.
The reality, in the world of “online business”, is that first off, it’s a business. In running any business, work has to get done. The business would never occur if the work wasn’t getting done. That’s the nature of business itself. There is always a service or value being provided in exchange for something. That’s Business 101. So essentially, if you can’t get all the work done yourself, you have to hire out the work and begin growing a team to help you get it done.
Now that you have decided to grow your team and delegate tasks, there has to be a basic understanding of these essential things:
- What the task is
- What you expecting of a team member
- What the success looks like
- What kind of timeframe the team member is on
The timeframe is crucial because, if you simply hand somebody $100 and say “I want you to go to the grocery store”, you don’t know if it’s really going to get done, and you don’t know if it’s going to happen today, tomorrow, next week, or a month from now. You, as the leader and the boss, need to set the guidelines for what needs to happen and when. To keep your guidelines in order, after everything has been delegated:
- Write the job assignment down somewhere
- Make sure the job is tracked
- Know who the job has been delegated to
- Know when the job is due
Here is an example: “Jenny needs to go to the grocery store on Tuesday.” Track this in your project tracking system or however you track your delegations. Or you can trust your assistant to track this. This largely depends on your communication style and how you run your business. There is no right way or wrong way to do it – the only thing that’s important is to make sure that Jenny gets to the grocery store on Tuesday and the task is completed on time and marked as completed.
When most people start delegating and managing projects, it is a brand new skill. Don’t expect to wake up one day and automagically be able to manage a team of people you don’t actually see, and have them do everything for you without you ever having to tell them what to do. This is something learned over time with patience and trust.
Once you have established a successful business and started assembling a team, and once you have started effectively delegating work to that team, the next step will be to fine-tune your team to turn your business and the people running it into a well-oiled machine. Stay tuned for Part Two of this article, where we will go more in-depth about hiring a team, what a good team size is, how to manage and communicate with your team.