Building Your Team Without Employees

I have to shake my head a bit at entrepreneurs who believe they are serious about building their businesses, and yet think they can go it alone. If pinned down, they respond with “of course I need staff, I just can’t afford them yet”.

That mindset is self-sabotage. I’m not telling you to run out and hire people you can’t afford. I’m suggesting you look for other alternatives. This isn’t the business world it was in your father’s day (I’ll be gender-specific there, since your mother was probably frowned upon if she aspired to a job, let alone to being an entrepreneur). There are other ways to get help besides hiring full-time staff, and some of them are so new you may not have even heard of them.

First, Let’s Get Clear on Why You Need to Hire Help

You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s applied in many ways, but in this case what we’re after is that 80% of the work you’re doing in your new business should be being done by someone else, as soon as possible, so that you can focus on the 20% that is your unique gift. If you’re a service professional, you need to be doing what you do best (which is usually where your core revenues lie), while others handle the rest.

My brother-in-law is an amazing dentist. He has at least seven full-time staff (and a few part-time) that manage his clients, his bookkeeping, his office. Some assist him, or handle basic client needs such as cleaning teeth, taking x-rays, or explaining dental hygiene. In short, you never see him unless you need the skills he alone can bring to you, but when you do see him he gives you his full attention, confident that every other part of his operation is running smoothly.

Whatever your gift is, whether it’s marketing, program creation, sales, networking, writing, you need to be doing more of that, and getting creative about doing less of what you don’t do well. Do what you’re good at, turn that into money, and hire out the rest to whatever extent you can. Perhaps that just means paying less than $100 a month for someone to do your bookkeeping. It’s a start. Don’t know how to hire a bookkeeper? Ask around as you network. If that fails, Craigslist will take care of you.

You Can Get Help

Full-time, employer/employee relationships aren’t your only option. You can hire a reliable online Virtual Assistant from anywhere from $30-$90 per hour, depending on what you need done. This could be one PowerPoint presentation, or having your email filtered for you every day so that you only see a few messages that matter. You can hire a VA that will Twitter for you, or research, or write Blog posts, or answer your voice mail. Ask yourself what administrative activity you spend the most time on for the least return, and then hire a VA for a few hours and try them on that. If you don’t know how to find a VA, email us, and we’ll send you information.

If you don’t have time to manage/supervise your VA, you can hire an Online Business Manager to do that for you, as well as many other management tasks. I spoke to a busy entrepreneur who can’t find the hours he needs to grow his business, yet he told me he’d put 60 hours in the last two months into having his website redesigned. He’s not great at that work, and he doesn’t enjoy it much. He told me himself that it would have been trivial for him to make far more in those 60 hours than it would have cost him to pay us to do the work for him. You don’t need to commit for life – many OBMs will work by the project with you. Try a reliable OBM for one project, see how that goes, and take it from there. You’ll be thrilled. You might start with hiring an OBM for 10 hours a month and find that you are eager to increase that, when you see the impact it has on getting things done to move your business forward!

Non-Employee Sources of Help

So, to recap, there are lots of ways to get some help with your business before it reaches the full-time employee stage.

  • Independent professional specialists such as Bookkeepers, Web Designers, IT Consultants
  • Virtual Assistants who work for you online, for just the hours you need
  • Online Business Managers who take a single project, or a larger amount of running your business off your shoulders
  • Temp or contract staff that work for you at your place of business

Start today to build your Virtual Team. Find one small thing that eats your time that you can let go of. Do it. If you continue to do it all yourself, you’ve created a job, not a business which can grow and thrive.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, June 14th, 2009 at 4:30 pm and is filed under Management, Self-Management, Virtual Teams. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Comment

  1. Corry Kouwenberg says:

    What an amazing concept.

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