This post is a two-part series covering when and how to hire help for your online business, ministry or blog. Be sure to check out the second part at A Problem Like Maria!
Have you ever taken a plane trip by yourself? It can be a little tricky. You drag your carry-on bag down the aisle and try to cram it in the overhead compartment. Pushing and pulling, you shove your neighbor's bag over and try to make yours fit. And then, the friendly flight attendant comes along. She's an expert and does this all day long. In two seconds, she has folded the bulky coat that is hanging things up, flipped your bag around the other way and fit everything in the compartment like puzzle pieces, all while flashing a smile that lights up the friendly skies.
You stand amazed at the ease with which she knew just what to do. She knew where the problem was and how to fix it. And she did it with a smile because she enjoys what she does.
Running your business, blog or ministry alone can be like that. You push and pull, trying to fit all the tasks and appointments into a crammed schedule and you just can't make it fit. Or you can't figure out what's hanging things up. It's causing important things you are really good at to be shoved over to the side while you try to squeeze in one more thing that needs to be done, but isn't really your strength.
Maybe it's time for you to stop traveling alone. Maybe it's time to hire help.
It's a big step. Oh, you've paid for services before. A graphic designer to create your website header or your bookkeeper friend to help you with your taxes. But there comes a time in your growth curve where you need to hire someone to be a more integral part of your team. A partner to bring their own unique strengths and voice to support your business vision … your right hand (wo)man. Here are the When, Who and How of hiring help:
The real answer to the 'when' question is 'sooner than you think.' Don't wait until you are absolutely at the end of your rope. By that time, your work has suffered by you trying to go it alone. And you and your family have probably suffered as well.
There are three big cues that might indicate it's time to get some help on board:
When there aren't enough hours in the day. When you are literally working on your blog every spare minute you have, but your to-do list just keeps getting longer. That is a direct path to blogger burnout.
When you don't know how to do something. Ever had to make the emergency trip to the hair dresser when you tried to color your hair yourself and it turned out more like 'Spring Green' than 'Autumn Gold'? Yea. Doing things in your business you aren't qualified to do can be the same way. It can turn into a crisis of epic proportions that you will pay more to dig yourself out of than if you had help to begin with.
When you are in an especially busy season of life. Weddings, babies, moving, vacation time …. Any time you are unusually stretched is a good time to bring on a load-sharing partner.
Like all big decisions, you'll want to bring God into this one and understand His perspective. Tabitha Philen of Inspired Bloggers University said that she hired a virtual assistant before she could afford it. 'It was something I feel God told me to do. So, I replied to Him and said, 'Okay, Lord. I will hire her, but you have to pay her.' And He did!'
'And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.' Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
What kind of help you need depends on your goals and your strengths. Sick and tired of scheduling tweets and pins and updates when you'd really rather be in your studio creating something awesome? Hire a social media manager to join up with you and promote your business.
Have a great idea for a guest blog series but don't know how to organize it and pull all the pieces together? Hire a project manager or virtual assistant who excels at taking vague, fuzzy ideas and putting a structure and procedure around it.
You've read a great ebook and taken a knock-out six-part online course and now you have so many ideas you don't know what to do first? Partner up with a business or ministry coach who can help you sort through those ideas and focus on the ones that will move you forward.
What is my biggest pain point in my business that I don't have the time, energy or knowledge to deal with?
Then go find someone who can help you do it.
Once you decide what kind of help you need, how do you find the right person? Start with your circle of friends and your network of other business owners. Recommendations and referrals are the highest form of business flattery so ask around.
Also, keep an eye on the sidebar and menu of the business blogs you read. Many of them provide services for other businesses, or have sidebar ads for people who do.
You can also put a 'Help Wanted' ad in your own sidebar. You may have a faithful, loyal reader or customer who is just the person to be your partner!
Bartering for help is another option. Brittany Ann from Equipping Godly Women got her first printable done in exchange for an ad spot on her sidebar. And now she has a virtual assistant in exchange for one-on-one blog consulting. Win – Win!
'Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.' 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
Your business, ministry or blog will only grow as much as you have capacity to handle growth. And you will very quickly find that capacity is limited when you try to do it all alone. Hiring the right provider to partner with you allows you to focus on what you do best, on the thing that lured you into this crazy entrepreneurial life, in the first place.
And being able to focus on that passion, instead of tangling up your carry-on bag with your neighbor's winter parka, will fuel you and your business to new heights.
Are you ready for some help with your work? Or have you already found help and can share how it is working out? Let’s hear from you in the Comments!
Linking up with Jaime Weibel at #SittingAmongFriends