Every business owner is at some point bound to reach a time where things are too much to handle on their own. You have clients to work with, content to prepare and all the annoying back end work in your business to be taken care of. It will usually not be the clients that suffer when this happens, but your business. You stop completing the accounts, miss deadlines and business growth stalls. This is a bad place to be and the right time to re-evaluate everything you do. The answer seems simple: Just go hire a team to help you out, but things aren’t always that straightforward.


Unfortunately most business owners tend to leave the decision to hire help too late and then rush into onboarding a team member – skipping some important steps. Today I’m sharing 3 mistakes that business owners make when hiring their dream team and how to avoid them.

1. You are not clear on what you want or need BEFORE hiring a team

This is a big one. Everyone will reach a time in their business where the hours in the day are not enough. However, a VA is not always the right answer, maybe you need a designer, a copywriter, or a business manager.

I recommend going back to the drawing board to make sure your business is structured in a way, where you are making the most out of the time you have. I would also recommend to take a thorough look at your pricing and packages. Are you undervaluing your work, meaning you have to work longer hours with more clients to make ends meet? The answer is not hiring a VA, but a restructuring of your business.

If you have looked at all the aspects and you realise that to grow further you need help, then you’re on the right track. I recommend completing the following 2 exercises as a minimum for you to be able to find the right person straight away.

Take the time to track all your work over the period of 1 week (yes, really, ALL of it). Write down everything that you are doing from sending emails to client calls. Also write down how long they take you to complete. Then it’s time to take a close look at your notes. I recommend the old trick of breaking them down into the following 4 categories:

Prioritising Tasks

Now, look at the tasks in each of the boxes. How many tasks did you have to do that were urgent and important? How long did that take? How long did you spend on tasks that are neither urgent nor important? Most people will now find that they spent 80% of their time on things that contribute very little to their business. My advice? Stop. Dump those tasks off your to do list now. Rearranging your website for the 27th time is not productive.

Ok, so next it’s time for you to investigate the types of tasks you completed and decide whether or not someone else could do them.

The matrix for this one could look something like this:

Delegating Matrix Jessica Dornieden

Once you’ve done this, you will have a clear picture of the tasks that regularly need to be completed in your business. You know which ones are really important and which ones are not, as well as which ones you enjoy/are good at, so it makes it easier to find tasks to hand to someone else.

2. Not comparing skills and being solely led by money

When you’re looking at hiring a team and you haven’t completed an analysis of your business tasks like the one above, it makes it a lot harder to know what kind of person you’re looking for. It’s important that you are clear on the things you want to get help with BEFORE you hire someone. You need to compare the person’s skill set, availability and attitude to work with what you need. This will make sure you’re a good fit.

I also recommend not being solely led by money when hiring your team. Yes, you need to set a number of hours/budget that you need to stay within but the price does often reflect the quality of work you’re going to get. I tried it myself. I used a company in India to help me with some tasks and I got a good deal on the hourly rate. However the work submitted was dreadful and took ages to complete. I should have known, but thought I’d try it out anyways.

3. Not communicating and not being happy to train someone

We are remote teams. We often only liaise with clients via email, video call and project management tools for the most part. Communication is key. Let me share my perspective on taking on a new client as an example.

When I first speak to a prospective client on a discovery call I like to know a little bit about their business. I may know some general information from their website. What I usually know is that they offer, for example, coaching and a membership site, but that’s it. So I like to learn more about how their business is organised, what tools they use and what their clients are like.

The more you communicate, the better the picture will be for me. If we agree to work together and we have done all the contract bits, I offer a trial month. This month is as important to me as it is to you. I need to be sure that your business is truly organised and well structured, or you’re working towards achieving that. I need to see that you actually have tasks to share with me, or are asking me for what I could do to help. I like to know that the work I produce meets your needs and helps your business. If this is not the case then it’s either not the right time for you to hire a VA or we are not a good fit. And that’s ok.

What makes the first month really successful are the following things:

  • You have 3 – 5 things lined up your team can start working on
  • You communicate clear expectations and deadlines
  • You provide instructions for the first few weeks on how you like things completed
  • We find a good way to communicate regularly with each other about the progress
  • You ask for advice and are happy for me to ask questions
  • You are respectful and honest
  • if you have hired a business manager, you allow them to actually manage the business!

What makes the first month a nightmare?

  • You don’t know what you want your team to help with
  • You don’t respond to messages because you don’t know what to say
  • You disregard advice, go with different products and then want a result that’s unachievable
  • You don’t like your team to ask questions to clarify things
  • You are not happy to provide training on how your business works
  • There are no guidelines for your brand

See? It works both ways and the key to all of these (and any successful working relationship) is communication. Now that you know what it feels like for your team to take on a client, you should have a better perspective on it.

Are you nowhere near fully booked, but you just don't have any time?

No, that doesn't mean that you need to hire an assistant right away, what it probably means is that your tools and systems need a little TLC. If you're currently keeping all of your business tasks in your head, don't have any documented processes and can't automate because your tools just won't work together, then we should talk.

Together we can save you hours of precious time every week by streamlining and documenting your processes, reviewing your business tools to make sure they work FOR you and then implementing all of those changes.

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