I was watching a bunch of preschoolers at a local park the other day, running around all over the place and having a blast. I heard them repeatedly talk about their “team” as they were playing. And they were excited about all the things their team was going to do.
But in true preschooler form, they were all doing their own thing during this game.
- One boy was squatting by a tree with his eyes covered, counting. No one else was part of his hide-and-seek game.
- One girl had a “passcode” that she shared with her dad, who was sitting on a bench. She swore her dad to secrecy so that the other kids wouldn’t hear it. No one else knew they needed a passcode for anything. (Also, it was “chocolate + wood,” if you were wondering.)
- One kid was carefully navigating the play structure so that he wouldn’t touch the lava on the ground. No one else knew there was hot lava to avoid.
- One child was yelling at the others that they were “doing it wrong.” No one was listening.
As I watched them, I got to thinking about life as a solopreneur and trying to build a team of experts to support you. The thing is, without care and strategy, an outsourced team for your business runs the risk of looking like this preschool playground game.
Everyone is busy, but no one is working together on any cohesive plan. And the kid with the passcode might not even tell you what it is.
You Can’t Do It All No Matter How Awesome You Are
Micro-business owners tend to wear all the hats and play all the roles in their companies. They are keeping the books, posting on social media, creating content, building out their offers.
They’re doing it all. Until they can’t.
At some point, you will have to hire or outsource if you want to keep your business going and growing. For most solopreneurs, outsourcing is a better fit than hiring an employee, at least for a while.
But how do you assemble the right people to support you effectively? Which roles do you outsource? Which do you cling to tightly until your exhausted entrepreneurial hands finally let go? And how do you make sure your team doesn’t look like a bunch of 4-year-olds with no plan?
Here are three mistakes to avoid when building an outsourced dream team.
1. Waiting Too Long
When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re used to having all the ideas and doing everything necessary to establish and grow your company. But one of the biggest mistakes business owners make is waiting too long to outsource some of their tasks.
The longer you go on doing everything yourself, the more you’re slowing your progress. Without fail, people start making errors and dropping the ball when they wait too long to bring in other help.
If you find yourself overwhelmed, making mistakes, forgetting appointments and tasks, then it’s past time to outsource. Don’t put it off any longer because you will hurt your business. And if you suddenly feel the pinch and have to scramble to put together your team, there’s a good chance it will function as well as those preschoolers.
Ideally, you will start building your team before you feel the pressure of not keeping up with your work.
2. Not Clarifying Who You Need To Do What
As you build an outsourced team, you must be crystal clear on what roles you need filled. Too many entrepreneurs rely on a catch-all VA to do everything for them. That won’t work.
Virtual assistants can be wonderful additions to your team and are often the perfect starting point for outsourcing. But it isn’t fair to you or them to expect them to do anything outside of their expertise. Some VAs specialize in creating graphics. Others work exclusively in setting up systems, while some can be your go-to for social media planning.
Know what you need and then find the right fit. Take the time to write out EVERY SINGLE TASK you do for your business. Claim the ones for yourself that light you up and make you excited to get to work, and then start searching for the people who can fill in the gaps.
Without this clarity, your team will absolutely look like preschoolers on a playground – busy and moving all over the place, but with no useful plan.
Most entrepreneurs eventually need to have a team that includes the following:
- Social Media Manager
- Graphic Designer
- Website Maintenance Expert
- Administrative Assistant or Online Business Manager
3. Not Allowing Your Team To Do Their Thing
It’s the worst-kept secret in the world that entrepreneurs tend to be big thinkers and control freaks. That is quite the combo. Handing a lot of your work to another person can feel uncomfortable when you have the vision and know-how to do it.
But the fact remains that outsourcing, when done correctly, saves you money and allows you to generate more revenue. So once you take that leap and curate a top-notch team, stay out of their way! Don’t be the one yelling at everyone that they’re doing it wrong.
Assuming you’ve done the work of delineating the roles and finding expert people, let them do what you hired them to do. Your job is to check off your own tasks, communicate with your team regularly, and enjoy the growth you will surely experience.
Time To Assemble
When you know to avoid these mistakes, you can put together an outsourced team that perfectly supports you. Do it sooner rather than later, be crystal clear about what you need, and then let them work.
Your sanity and your bottom line will thank you.
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