Last year I overcame my fears and brought on my first team member, my virtual assistant Mary.
There were so many little, repeatable tasks that were sucking up my day and distracting me from the work that really needed to be done by me. I was spending my time trying to figure out why a student wasn’t tagged correctly in our email system, or creating blog post graphics or pinning things to Pinterest.
I often felt that I’d sit down to work, would start on my massive list of to do’s and suddenly my entire day was gone and I never got around to the big tasks like creating content for the blog and my course, doing my taxes or talking with lawyers about corporate structure options.
So, once I finally determined I both needed and could afford to bring someone on, I started my VA hunt.
(For exactly how I went through the hiring process, you can read about that here.)
I then started preparing my business to bring someone on by doing the following . . .
When I knew I was going to bring on a VA but before I had actually done it, I started creating tutorials so the person would have some direction to guide them when they first started.
Depending on the task I either wrote out the steps in the process or created a Use Loom video if it was faster to explain with a screenshared video. I used Asana, the columns layout in particular, to hold each tutorial.
In order to determine what tutorials would be needed, I started by thinking through what tasks my VA would be doing and then what common issues arise around those.
A lot of things she was already well versed in as she used a lot of the same softwares I did. But how all the softwares work together tends to be the confusing bit that would need explaining.
And because I’m in Asana every day, it’s super easy to pop in and add another card with a tutorial whenever something arises. Mary has actually also started to create tutorials in Asana in case I need to know how she did something (eg. creating a email user).
At the beginning of my business, I basically crossed my fingers and hoped nothing bad would ever happen and I could avoid any legal issues with being a nice human. Then I got my act together and actually started doing things properly, which means getting contracts in place for all business relationships.
I have contract with 1:1 clients, with students (via the terms and conditions of the product they purchase) and with team members.
For the past couple years now I’ve gone to Paige Hulse from the Creative Law Shop for contract templates. I just checked and by now I’ve bought 8 different contracts from her, so clearly I love the contracts she creates.
I got the independent contractor agreement to use with my VA (and it can be reused for any other type of contractor I bring on too!)
The agreement it covers things like:
What access I need to give contractors for them to do their work
What different fees, costs and expenses are and how they’re handled
Intellectual property rights (in plain English – who owns the copyright to any work produced by the contractor)
Details on how the contract can be terminated or cancelled by either party and what happens after
What happens in the case of a breach of agreement
How any disputes would be resolved
Anddd a bunch of other stuff too
Basically, it covers all the stuff you hope you never have to deal with, but will be glad you had a contract in place stating what happens if anything goes south.
If you’re also in the market for some legal contracts, use the code PAIGE10 for 10% off any Creative Law Shop contract! (I’ll earn a commission if you do – my margarita fund thanks you!)
I knew that writing a list in a Google doc of all the business passwords and keeping them all the same was not secure, so I went hunting for a password keeping and sharing software. If you’re going to bring someone on to your team, I really think this is soooo necessary.
Now if either of us ever needs to update a password for a business account, it’s shared with both of us and we’re not always struggling with login issues.
I also love that with 1Password it’s possible to give each team member their own little vault of passwords so everyone has just the passwords they need. I also brought on a bookkeeper recently and he needs access to different logins than my VA does, so each of them has their own vault with any relevant passwords necessary for their role.
While I really only plan to hire on team members who already are familiar with my business, I wanted to be sure they really understood what this business is about, what the history of it was and what direction it’s moving in and a few other practical necessities.
I created a powerpoint covering:
Learn about the history of the business and where it’s going
Explanation of each product/service offered in the business
Calendar of the year to come
Intro to software access with 1Password
Intro to the project management system, Asana
Especially as Mary would be communicating directly with our audience and customers, it was important all communication sounded on brand. An email from the customer service team at Ralph Lauren sounds a lot different from the customer service team at Walmart. Similarly, I wanted communication from my business to truly sound like me, so the brand voice document goes through common words and phrases I would use along with how to sign off on emails.
And that’s it! Bringing on a VA was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my business so I hope this post might help if you’re in the same boat as I was (aka drowning in my business).