If you are a solopreneur like I am, you know that we have lots of freedom, but also lots of different things we have to juggle.
You may need to outsource lots of things in your business such as a web designer, content creator, social marketer, and virtual assistant (VA). Depending on what your business looks like, you may be managing a team of just three people or a team of thirty.
Regardless of how many people are under you, essentialism is still important. When you and your team practice it together, your business can run efficiently for years to come.
The main person I work with in my business is my virtual assistant who is based in the Philippines. I have found the principles of Essentialism have helped me get clear about what work to give my VA and how to communicate that with her.
Tops Essentialism Tips for Your Team
Here are my top tips for applying the principles of essentialism to your business:
Define the Goal
It’s crucial that you define the goal of any work you give to team members. And limit the number of goals if you want to achieve results and not overwhelm and frustrate your team.
For example, Dianne was a best-selling author and she owned a digital publishing company that regularly released new books each month. She also had a charitable organization and spent a few months each year speaking.
She hired a team of six people to help her but her goals were always shifting. One month she wanted to ramp up the number of books she published. The next month she wanted to focus exclusively on speaking and growing the charity. Her team was (understandably) frustrated and overworked.
Some entrepreneurs give their teams multiple goals, never realizing they’re stretching their people too thin. When your team has too many goals, it can create overwhelm and chaos. Instead of working like a well-oiled machine, your business begins to cough and sputter.
Give Your Team Power
Research shows that when people have autonomy over their work, they are more satisfied and more productive. Many entrepreneurs try to micro manage their team members. This leads to headaches for everyone.
If we look at Dianne’s situation again, she wanted to be involved in every decision that was made for her publishing company, charitable organization, speaking career, and book marketing. This made it difficult for her team to get anything done. They always had to wait for her approval so missed deadlines were a frequent issue.
Once you have team members in place that you trust, let them do their jobs. Instead of managing every detail, equip your people to do their jobs. For example, Dianne could give a checklist to her editor so her publishing company only accepts books that meet that certain criteria. She could give instructions to her manager about what times of year she can speak and when she prefers to be home.
Once you have a team in place and projects are assigned, don’t assume you’re done. Reach out to your team once a week. Ask your freelancers if they have any questions, if they’ve run into problems, or if they need feedback on any aspect of the project.
If you have a new team member, you may want to take a moment to familiarize them with the other freelancers that work for you. Explain who to reach out to if they have a problem.
For example you might say, “When you’re ready for the content for the new site, reach out to Cindy. She handles all of our content marketing and she’s on track to have the copy finished next week.”
By touching base periodically, you create a culture of accountability. Your contractors are more likely to finish important projects and meet deadlines because they know you’re paying attention. They also know they can come to you if they encounter a special issue that needs your attention.
Working with International VA's
I have worked with assistants from a couple of different countries. And I have had god and bad experiences. What I have learnt is that there cultural differences and language can impact how the person interacts with you and delivers work.
My VA is great, but I have noticed that if she doesn’t know something, she acts like she does. I have insisted that if she doesn’t know something, that’s fine, but she needs to tell me so I can help her really understand the tasks I need her to complete. There have been many times when I could have done the job more quickly myself. However, I want to build up her skill base and put agreements in place about how we work together.
When it comes to your team, encourage each member to read Essentialism. Invite them to discuss what Essentialism means to them and how they’d like to implement in their work going forward. You could even gift each team member a copy!