Hiring team members, contractors, and other professionals for your business can be scary! But fear not, because every small business has had to tread these waters and it can do wonders to grow your revenue and give you precious time back in your schedule.
Now, I’ve seen the good, bad, and the ugly when it comes to hiring for my business. So first, let me share some important lessons with you. . .
1. Find people who align with your values & complement your skills
You probably already realise that you don’t necessarily want to hire just any freelancer on Upwork. Before deciding who to hire, you need to know for yourself what you need them to do for you and what skills and attributes you want another person to bring to your business. Before posting a listing or reaching out to fellow business owners for contacts, try writing down the tasks, number of hours, pay rate, and personal qualities so that you know who to say “no” to on the path to your perfect fit.
Choose people with the skill set you need and be sure you lay out every single expectation and agreement so everyone knows what is going on. Getting a reference from someone–either asking around for a referral to a good contractor or asking those who applied to your position for a short list of client references–is a good idea too.
I want to take a moment to talk about outsourcing websites in particular. I have had a couple of clients who have had a shocking experience getting a website created by ‘professionals’, so I want to share a few tips here so that you don’t get burned.
Firstly, when interviewing potential website designers, ask for references. Ask to speak to people whose site they have already built. Find out how satisfied their past clients are with the outcome of the design and build of their website. If it is not easy for them on the back end to use, it is not worth using that person who created it. Secondly, always ask for full control of the back end of your site right from the start. If they say no, don’t go with that person. If you don’t get it, you are forever ‘married’ to that person to do any changes to your site, at whatever cost they decide, because you have ZERO control over it.
Remember, it is YOUR website, so make sure it is what YOU want. It does not matter what or how they want to create it if it doesn’t work for you.
2. Make your expectations super clear
Don’t ever assume someone thinks like you, or realises how important something is. So lay it all out specifically so there’s never any confusion between you. That way, you and your contractors are on the same page at all times.
This is not only important for you and your protection, but it helps your team members as well. People need to know how you expect them to work, what success looks like when working for you, and how they can go about asking for help from you or receive further training. Set clear deadlines and give them a straightforward way to communicate with you. This will help you both start out with a good foundation and build a great working relationship going forward.
3. Put everything in writing. Always. Every. Single. Time.
Always have a contract with everything spelled out: When they will be paid. How much their rate is. Everything. And make sure they sign it after thoroughly reading and agreeing to your terms. This will help protect you and will lay a good foundation of mutual respect as you move forward working together.
4. How to know when to let someone go
Part of what makes small business owners put off hiring for their business is the fear that they might have to fire someone. It can be hard to know when to let someone go and whether you’re giving them a fair chance before doing so.
There are a couple of simple questions that you can ask yourself if you hired someone and you’re considering letting them go. Firstly, have you communicated your needs with them in regards to what they’re not doing or doing poorly? Have they had a chance to rectify the situation? If so, how have they responded? Have you seen consistent improvement? If not, it could be a sign to let them go.
Secondly, is their performance costing you money, time, or mental health? It’s seldom worth it to keep someone around if they’re draining you when they’re supposed to be freeing up the time and energy that you need to grow your business.
Is hiring for my business really worth it?
It’s hard to take the leap to hire someone. If you’re able to run things on your own and still grow, maybe it’s a little too soon to hire. But if you are working on your business around the clock with little down time and absolutely no time to continue growing, it might be time to start outsourcing some things. Ask yourself, is it costing me more to not hire someone than it is to hire someone? If the answer is yes, just start small and see just how freeing hiring a team really is!