I love getting questions from my Tribe and followers on social media. Reaching out, making connections, and not being afraid to ask for help when you need it are so crucial to success as an entrepreneur.
Recently I received the following question and I knew that it was a hot-topic a lot of people would relate to:
“When an entrepreneur like yourself is looking to hire someone onto their team, where do you tend to outsource this help from? In all my years of job searching I go to the standard places, and I’m seeing more and more entrepreneurs outsourcing or hiring on help and I know I could thrive in an environment like that, but I’m not exactly sure how to put myself out there to find the right person, company, or environment.”
The beauty of running an online business is that your virtual team can literally be from all around the world. So, how do you know where to search as an entrepreneur? How do you know where to apply if you know you have the skills and talents to support other trailblazers?
Today we have an amazing guest post from my dear friend Amberly to address these questions. Amberly is my resident go-to for all things related to virtual teams and hiring online. I actually hired Amberly to join my team, but Amberly taught ME so much of what I know about online hiring (and still does) as well as systems and online business softwares that make life easier. Advice from Amberly always results in peace of mind and more business growth at the same time. So here you have it, advice from a virtual hiring expert:
Who to bring on your virtual team is one of the most pivotal decisions you can make as a web-based business owner.
The perfect hire can make your life easier, catapult your business to the next level, and reinvigorate your own work. The wrong hire can waste your money, make you look like an idiot to clients, steal your ideas… (I don’t need to go on, we’ve all heard the horror stories.)
The scary variables of bringing on a virtual team member is what brings a lot of clients to our door, but if you’re a DIY kind of business owner, successful virtual hiring is possible with a few important ground rules. Here are a few tips that can take the guesswork out of hiring a virtual team member.
Know The Qualities You Are Looking For
If it’s your first time venturing into the world of virtual delegation, knowing what to look for in a new team member can be daunting. When you dive into your first batch of resumes, you may find that you have many candidates that meet your needs. You also might find that you see a bunch of skills that you didn’t even know were possible to access at $X rate. So how do you sift through all the potentials to find your perfect match?
Remember that you’re hiring a person.
Despite it being virtual, it is a personal partnership. Look beyond your candidate’s resume – you’re tapping into a GLOBAL workforce, so there will be thousand’s of candidates that can do this job. Have the intention of finding the one that you want to work with, not just the one that can. This ridiculously simple shift in mindset will help tremendously in any virtual hiring situation, for any budget.
There are a few vital steps you should take before you determine who to bring aboard. Before making your final decision, ask your candidates for reliable references and contact them. People love to rave about good work- question a candidate that has ZERO people that will vouch for them. Be prepared with questions that will tell you if your candidate is:
Set Emotions Aside
When it boils down to it, hiring is business. While willingness to learn is a great quality to possess in a VA, trust your intuition if it seems unfeasible. You should be practical with your time, your business, and your money. If you do enough hiring, you will hear stories from your candidates that will make you want to fix everything by giving them the gig. In the moment, it might even feel right.
Always sleep on it – this ensures that you’re not knee-jerking such an important decision.
In situations where you are looking for someone to grow with your business, you can definitely consider training if the candidate already possesses similar qualifications. It’s not always impossible to invest money in a candidate that already knows everything, and it may make more sense for you to invest a bit of your time to preserve your budget. For example, at Virtual Assistant Atelier, we may match you with a team member who needs training in your specific email software, but is already well-versed in a comparable platform.
Give Yourself Enough Time
While we understand that time is money, it’s important not to rush into a hiring a virtual team. Why? Well, the first reason is obvious – when you rush into things they just don’t get done right. The second reason may not be as obvious.
Allowing your post time on the web means more hits, therefore, the potential for more candidates to choose from. Casting a wide net is vital when looking for a long-term team member because it allows higher probability of finding the team member with the skill set you desire. But remember, not all job sites are created equal.
Know Where to Look
If you’re going at it alone, knowing which sites will get you the most traffic is key – but also keep in mind that some sites are more or less job specific than others. For example, posting on craigslist may not be as reliable (and may not reach the best candidates) as a site like Upwork. Since web based small businesses have been booming, so have sites specifically geared towards web based freelancers and assistants.
Upwork, Guru, and Freelancer all give you access to hundreds of thousands of contractors. I like these sites because you can also see ratings from previous jobs, and also browse their job history to see the exact kinds of tasks they’ve performed for other clients.
If you’re looking for graphic design, a site I love to use is 99 Designs. Instead of going through a traditional hiring process, you create a post for the project and then different designers access your brief and upload their drafts. Depending on your price point, you’ll get anywhere from 30-100+ different prototypes. For design, there is NO BETTER hiring process than getting a first draft in my opinion. The site also takes care of all of your NDAs and contracts, as well as handles the payment escrow. Simple!
If you have a technical position, need a varied set of skills, or are new to virtual business or hiring and would just like for someone to walk you through it, work with a recruiter. The investment required to work with a pro is far less than the time you’ll spend interviewing candidates over and over to no avail.
Pro Tip From Lynan: Facebook forum groups are another potent place to find virtual hires, especially if the group contains members who are hoping to become freelancers and VAs themselves. A few places to look include:
Additionally, networking on LinkedIn has been fruitful for hiring a virtual team, as well as asking within my community – The Mastermind for Trailblazers has been amazing.
Do Your Part
Posting to as many reliable and transparent sites is ideal when searching for a virtual team member, but also make sure that you do your part to catch the right candidate’s eye. Traffic on your job post is partly dependent on the ability of your post to attract candidates.
If hiring is like fishing, each fish has their lure—so bust out that fancy feather-worm-fly-thing.
Are you fun to work for? Is there something that makes your company stand out? Make sure your post is engaging. Think about the kinds of jobs you were looking for before you struck out on your own. Use the same things you know about writing site copy to make your post look as attractive as possible to the kind of candidate you’re hoping to find.
Virtual hires are an essential part of the growth of any web-based business, and with a little work on the front-end you can minimize the change of delegation disaster and grab a rockstar for your team. Empower yourself with the tools you need to make a solid decision, and then: scale, scale, scale!
Do you have experience with hiring a virtual team? Share in the comments below!
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