When am I ready to hire and what do I do first?, Ashley Cox from Sprout HR
outsourcing made easy
Turning your passion into a profitable business takes a lot of energy and work. At some point you will realize that you can't do it alone and you will want to bring someone onto your team. Knowing what to outsource in your business and who to hire is easier than you might think.
There are steps you need to do before you begin interviewing and when you're making your final decision. In this episode, Ashley of Sprout HR, walks you through the process to ensure it is as stress-free as possible.
Ashley helps creatives hire, train and lead happy and profitable teams. She loves focusing on the happy and profitable pieces because if your not happy or profitable, then your just draining your money and your energy. After leaving her corporate job, she started doing brand photographer, however, as a people person, this was draining her personally. As a photographer, Ashley joined the online entrepreneur world and realized how many people were asking questions about growing teams and Ashley knew she had their answers.
When to outsource
If you’re running a business, you have got to love business. Your passion becomes secondary as you build a true business. This does mean that their are some tasks you just don’t love doing, but according to Ashley, you should not outsource all of the things from the beginning. When you become competent in a certain area in your business, that is when you should start to outsource. You know what and how that area should be working and can easily hand that over to someone else. If there are tasks that aren’t your strong suit, like finances or social media, you can outsource those as well, but you still need to have a base knowledge on how it all works so you know when something is broken.
Financial threshold for outsourcing
Outsourcing doesn’t mean you have to hire someone on an ongoing basis. There are certain areas you can outsource for a one-time fee (like your website) and still give you a great return on your investment (ROI). As you grow, you can begin to find other areas to outsource. Ashley recommends giving yourself 6 months to create a stable income to determine what you can financially afford to outsource. Start putting some money aside to use as an investment for your VA.
Getting ready to outsource
Ashley always tells people to start with your number one employee - make sure you are taken care of first. Her recommendation for your second employee should be someone who can help you set up systems in your business. Again, this could be a one-time project in which you hire someone to help set up your Honeybook or Dubsado. But before you hire someone, Ashley wants you to go ahead and brain dump all of your processes in one place so when you are ready to hire them, you have an outline for what it is you do and how you do it. The next thing to have in place for your new hire is a contract; sometimes your contractor will have their own but there are also templates you can get to make this easier. The main point is that there is a contract in place to protect each business that everyone agrees on regardless of who provides it. The contract doesn’t have to be elaborate, but you need a clear outline of what is being provided and what the parameters are. Also consider having a non-disclosure policy for them to sign. If someone is hesitant to sign your contracts, that is a red flag from the get go.
The next steps to outsourcing
The full process will be different if you’re hiring a contractor or an employee, but the best place to start is asking for trusted employees. Ashley recommends turning to others you know and ask if they know someone who fits the bill. The best way to get the best referrals is being super clear in WHO and WHAT you are looking for. If you aren’t specific with who you’re looking for, you’ll get more referrals than you need and the chance of them being the right person is slim. The first place to announce you’re looking to hire is on your own pages; you may not know who has been following you and wants to work with you but they don’t know how to start. Then turn to your network and ask for their referrals. Give them one way to contact you, and you’ll be able to see who can follow the basic instructions first, and limit the avenues you have to follow up in. You can and should interview multiple people for each position before hiring one. Take the time to chat with them to see if the connection is there since you’ll be working closely with them. Ask them about their services, specialities, and pricing to make sure they are the best fit for you. Interviewing should take longer than you think; it is okay for the process to take a few weeks for you to make the best decision.
The difference between an employee and a contractor
Ashley says the difference between an employee and a contractor is the degree of the control that you have over them. Are you setting the exact hours of the day they have to work? That is an employee and not a contractor. A contractor is someone that you set some parameters for, but then you let them do what they’re best at; when you hire a contractor, you let them do their own jobs.
Tips for saying no and following up
When you are letting someone know that they didn’t get the job, keep it simple and short. You don’t have to over explain why, but you can let them know briefly that you have chosen to go with someone else. If it is someone who made it through a few rounds of interviews, Ashley thinks you should give them a phone call to let them know. The biggest thing here is to follow-up in some way. We all know the feeling of waiting and never hearing back, so do the courteous thing and let them know. There is a human being on the other side of that resume, so do the human thing and follow-up.
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More About Ashley
Ashley Cox is a dual-certified HR Pro with over 12 years of leadership and HR experience. After a decade in the corporate world, she kicked off her heels and traded in her pencil skirts for yoga pants to work with small businesses. As the HR Partner for creative entrepreneurs at SproutHR, Ashley helps business owners hire, train, and lead happy and profitable teams. When she's not getting nerdy with all things HR, Ashley loves going on adventures with her husband, Mike, and getting into trouble with their quirky rescue dog, Myla Mayhem.