How do you plan to accomplish all the regular tasks your remote business requires? Do you have the time to fit them all into your daily schedule? Most business owners don’t, and they have less and less time as their business gets more established and the ball keeps on rolling.
One crucial step in owning and managing a remote business involves bringing new team members around you to perform these time-consuming tasks. We strongly encourage remote entrepreneurs to start delegating as soon as they can.
The first employee a business owner should hire is someone they can delegate frequent repetitive tasks to. This could include ongoing responsibilities like managing social media, following up with leads, and communicating with clients. My team helps me send out monthly SEO reports, initiate conversations through outbound marketing, and perform free website audits to drum up leads.
Often, business owners realize they can’t handle everything, but they don’t feel confident handing off aspects of their business. They don’t know if the timing is right to hire extra help. They feel unsure about finding trustworthy candidates who can help them keep moving forward in their business.
When Is the Right Time to Hire?
You may be asking all these questions, too. So how can you know when you should hire someone? Let me give you some indicators:
- First, your schedule bursts at the seams, but at the end of the day, your to-do list still has unchecked items left. You can’t seem to find the time to get every task accomplished.
- Second, you have a steady cash flow. Revenue is consistent, and you can budget reliably.
- Third, you clearly see that if you had more time or energy, you could make more… if only you could free yourself up. It’s like you need some extra hands and brain power…
- Fourth, you’ve got certain tasks you hate doing. You dread them, postpone them, and begrudgingly do them when the deadline looms. You need someone to hand these over to, so they don’t take any more time away from your busy schedule.
- Finally, you understand you could benefit from a specialist’s expertise in design, web development, marketing, video, social media, finances, or any other task you feel unequipped for beyond the basics. Your limited knowledge and resources can only go so far, and bringing in someone else to build on what you’ve already accomplished will propel your business further than you can take it by yourself.
Once you’ve determined you want to hire, how can you feel confident in the decision about hiring the right person for your company?
What Makes a Good Employee or Subcontractor?
As you consider candidates, what characteristics should stand out as quality employees or subcontractors? Look for these traits:
Look for a self-starter who wants to learn. You don’t have to remind them to get going on tasks or about meeting deadlines. When they have a question, they ask it—or they figure out the answer for themselves. They research solutions to problems and learn how to implement them creatively. They don’t wait to be told what to do, but they look for ways to add value to the team and the company.
If someone lacks initiative, you’ll end up feeling like you have to stay on their back all the time about getting tasks done. You hired them to help you, not frustrate you or take up more of your time, so don’t get stuck with an employee that has little initiative. Don’t go back to a subcontractor that you have to constantly follow up with to make sure your work is on their radar.
Consistency and Follow-Through
A quality employee does what you ask, and they do it on time. They stay true to their word. They don’t over-promise only to underperform. You don’t have to worry about one level of performance one week, and a completely different level the next. They have a reliable work ethic that proves itself.
You need employees and subcontractors you can trust to handle these crucial elements of your business. Sometimes you may find someone who does great quality work, but their reliability is questionable. That should throw up a red flag because it could affect your own reputation with clients.
A new hire will fit in well if they understand how to interact with people. They sound courteous and professional on phone calls, and they write clear quality emails. They understand the value of relationships and people over robotic task management. They have humility, and they value listening over talking.
Without these characteristics, someone will rub clients the wrong way, and they’ll likely clash with the team. They probably won’t be a good fit.
You may be surprised that none of these qualities involve particular skills. We tend to focus on skills first, without regarding the most pivotal qualities we really want on our team. Honestly, if they have these three attributes, then I want them on my team. I can teach them the skills they need along the way. It’s much better to have someone consistent, friendly, and who’s a self-starter—even if they have zero skills—than the most skilled person who lacks one or two of these traits. That person will give you a new headache every week… and you hired people to avoid more headaches!
A final note: Don’t be afraid to fire people or do a month-long trial to determine whether they really have these traits. You’re the boss. It doesn’t serve anybody well if you keep them around while secretly resenting them or wishing they would do better. Clearly communicate your standards, consistently and kindly evaluate performance, and make the hard decisions when you need to.
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