Many of us have chosen entrepreneurship because we want to have it all — freedom, fun, family, independence… We want to live our lives on our own terms. But in order to have it all, we need to stop doing it all.
The best way to do this is to build a team. Yet, when I speak with my entrepreneur clients and friends, there seems to be a lot of resistance. The blocks can be everything from fear, to trust issues, to know how. But ultimately, when you embrace having a team, you will be that much closer to your “all”.
Having said that, there are some very easy mistakes to make when you first start hiring your team, and I’d like to help you avoid those pitfalls:
MISTAKE #1: Hiring Friends and Family
Entrepreneurship is scary and lonely at times. It makes sense to want to surround yourself with people you know and trust with all your heart. Yet I have seen this backfire at an alarming rate, not only in small businesses, but in corporate settings as well. Boundaries become crossed, situations become awkward, communication declines, and stress arises.
Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, I can tell you working together can fracture relationships – or worse – destroy them.
Here’s what to do instead of destroying your personal life:
- Build your own team with no strings attached.
- Ask your biz bestie for referrals. There are many independent and virtual assistants who are working on a project basis or retainer basis. You can hire someone for a 5-10 hour bucket of time to try them out.
- Make sure you check references.
- Do some legal stalking on social media. Watch how they interact with their customers online. What about their blog or their optin? Does it demonstrate a working knowledge of what you need? Is it high quality work product? These things say a lot about someones commitment to their profession and results.
MISTAKE #2: Not mapping out clear roles and responsibilities
More often than not, by the time an entrepreneur or small business is looking to make a hire, they are desperate. The leader is drowning in overwhelm, things aren’t getting done, and feelings of self-doubt have set in. They have used their mental resources to keep up with “all the things” and are approaching hiring from a place of decision fatigue.
In the desperation to get someone, ANYONE, on board to help, they skip the critical step of establishing clear roles and responsibilities.
The problem with this is two-fold. One, you have no idea of the skillset you need to hire for, if you aren’t clear about what the person will be doing. Two, once you hire someone, most likely the wrong someone, you will create instant confusion. Confusion creates an environment of underperformance, even if that person happens to be capable.
One of the first things Marcus Lemons does in the TV show, The Profit, is assess roles and responsibilities. He often asks “who’s in charge?” He asks this question for a reason — well defined roles are IMPORTANT.
Here’s what to do instead losing your mind in a maze of frustration:
- Get crystal clear on your strengths and your role within the business.
- Know the tasks that only you can do and understand which ones can be delegated.
- Identify your major pain points and use those as the starting point of the role description.
- Get clear on the tasks you expect this person to do, and identify the level of competency you need the person to have.
- If you expect this person to do everything, the chances are they will do nothing well.
MISTAKE #3: Hiring people just like you
This is tempting, I know. You want to have a high vibe team and you want to surround yourself with people like you.
We are biologically hardwired to gravitate to those like us, it’s called Similarity/Attraction Theory. I remember being in Psy 101 and the professor saying “opposites attract is a falsehood.” He then reminded us of “birds of a feather flock together.”
On the first day of school when you were looking for a place to sit, did the tattooed girl with piercings sit next to the preppy chick? Nope. She looked for her other tattooed brethren.
When it comes to building a team, resist human nature and embrace those with different skills. You can still have the same vibe, but you need to have strengths that compliment each other. The visionary leader can’t hire the visionary VA. That leads to all the ideas and none of the execution.
Here’s what to do instead of surrounding yourself with clones:
- Aim to find someone who is the same but different. Ask questions to see that they have the same values and would fit well within your business’s culture, while ensuring they have different skillsets and strengths.
- Get a good understanding of your own personality. You can do this by taking the StrengthsFinder test or a Meyers Briggs Type assessment. Studying the reports you receive upon completion will give you a better understanding of how you work. They will also give you language to use when describing yourself.
- Understand your pain points and the things that drain you of energy. This will help find the person able to fill those gaps.
Some final words of wisdom:
When interviewing candidates for your openings, relax! Have a conversation with that person. Let them do the majority of the talking’ while they answer your open ended questions. Listen to your natural inner knowing and trust yourself to make the best decision for your business in this moment.