Updated: Apr 1, 2020
Doing all this junk by yourself can stink. Let’s face it, you got into running your own business for the money and all the free time sipping cocktails by the pool.
Somehow you got stuck running your own business.
It’s a drag but someone has to do it.
That person can be some one else!
Before I get into the whole “hire-a-Virtual assistant-and-all-your-problems-will-be-solved-and-the-business-will-run-itself-while-you-learn-to-fly-small-aircraft”, hiring a person to do the things you don’t want to do can lead to failure if you are not properly prepared.
We just don’t want to hire someone to do something. We want to focus on obtaining a “key hire.”
We need to know: What are they going to do?
While this sounds obvious. You might say, “They are going to do the thing I hired them for.” When finding a key hire to work online, it is best for you to have a pretty good idea of what the position is and how they are supposed to do their job.
A key hire does something you already do. In addition, the hire also has other skill sets you do not.
You want to know how they are going to take this load off your plate?
In the case of online, they need to have clear instruction to be successful. Those clear instructions come in many forms. They could work alongside you or can work from a set of instructions. These instructions are in the form of Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs)
I like SOP because you do it once and it can be passed to many employees. Then it can be tweaked as things evolve. They are a great document that streamlines work, but they need to be updated as things change in your business. SOPs are never done and will evolve as the business does or as requirements change.
A quick tangent on SOPs…
There are a couple opinions about how to develop SOPs. The method I like to go with is this:
- Create a basic SOP for a task
- Go over SOP with staff using Zoom (Video screen share) and demonstrate task
- Have them take notes
- Staff repeats the task over Zoom
- Correct as needed and have them update their notes
- Make changes to SOP from suggestions from staff if needed
- Staff sends you the final SOP document
- Hi-five yourself since they are not there in person to receive it
…Back to hiring!
What we don’t want to do is hire someone as an employee and expect them to make the business better on something you are not clear on achieving. If that is what you are looking for, that person is a consultant NOT a key hire.
We are looking for a key hire to take work off our plate.
The first thing I like to hire is for things that are repeatable. Some good examples of this is reaching out to get quotes, accounting and quality control.
I want to circle back around to my previous statement. I mentioned you should know how to do the job yourself, but I did not say you had to be an expert. Surely you want to hire someone who is better than you and that is the goal. But you need to understand what the key metrics are and what is achievable. Then you can be a good manager, as you understand what it takes.
If your hire is an accountant. You might already do the books, process invoices and purchase orders. You draft payments, you receive money. You understand what you want to get out of it, but maybe you are lacking somewhere. Maybe reporting is not your strongest area.
The hire you are looking for could have a bookkeeping background and make great pivot tables for reporting.
An example -
I recently hired someone to help process data. The job included communicating with the suppliers to get missing information, process quotations for the team and calculate shipping.
Here is the ad I put up on Upworks:
On my second attempt I really focused on accountants in Philippines for this position. I really wanted someone that was very detailed oriented and loved excels. Equations mattered to them and loved to make sure things made sense. (On that in a minute)
After filtering out the 32 possible people to 6, I had interviews with all 6. I found the perfect candidate! I’m a genius!
There is a back story.
I had previously hired for this position and they worked for us for about 3 months. I saw quality of work fade over time. Originally, they had no experience in this type of intensive data entry, but they were willing to learn. It definitely was not their passion. After about 4 months, we saw quality start to slide. Not checking equations, missing numbers and generally sloppy work. I would bring it up and we would get improvements over a couple days and then quality back down. I knew this was not the correct long-term hire.
I tried to get it on the right track again, but it was clear that it was too much for them. Honestly, it was probably boring for them. When I started looking for a new hire, I knew I needed to find someone who loved this type of details. A person who had accountant experience seemed to be the best person.
So far, my hunch was true. They have been solid ever since!
Finding a new hire online will not be solved in the first hire. You might need to go through two to three hires to find the best fit. This is why developing a SOP is so important. You don’t want to train someone from scratch each time.
You also want to be clear what they are to do day to day and what constitutes a job well done.
A key hire is supposed to make your life easier. We want them to take over the previous tasks that took up your time. After hiring enough key hires, you will be able to step back more and work ON the business rather than IN it.
I don’t know, maybe take up flight lessons.