Solopreneurs, study up before you hire out

by Michele on January 12, 2012

Solopreneurs will benefit from being informed before outsourcing

Solopreneurs should gather some knowledge before hiring outsourced help

Being a solopreneur doesn’t mean you can’t ever have help.  Many people who run their own solopreneur business have outside help for things like bookkeeping, web management, social media, etc.  I’ve seen more than a few people get burned though, so I want to encourage you to do some research before you hire anyone for any task.  You don’t need to be an expert – one of the reasons to hire help is so you don’t have to become an expert.  However, knowing enough to ask good questions and to assess whether your potential new hire knows their stuff is invaluable.

For example, if you are going to hire out a social media marketing consultant it pays to know something about the subject.  One thing this consultant may do is discuss whether to link your accounts and post the same content across various sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.  Not only should they be able to make a firm recommendation as to whether you should do this, they should be able to tell you why they are making that suggestion.  By delving into this subject and understanding the pros and cons of linking, you’ll be able to ask probing questions, understand their answers and see if they can support their reasoning.  It’s not enough just to suggest a practice, they should be able to give you reasons for their recommendation.  If you haven’t gotten informed on the subject, you might be in a position where you just accept what they say and don’t even know that you should be asking any questions.

Another benefit of being informed is that you’ll have a good idea of how long something should take.  If the estimate you get is way beyond what you think it should be, you’ll be in a position to ask why.  There may be a good reason, but if not then the person under consideration probably isn’t a good fit for you.

Getting informed before you hire out also allows you to see what level of person you need.  I’m getting ready to hire out some very simple tasks that can be done from checklists I’ve prepared.  Because I’ve taken the time to see exactly what goes into these tasks, I know I don’t need a highly experienced person with a wide skill set.  If I was getting ready to add a big web store, I would need a much more skilled person with experience in shopping carts, payment systems, online stores, programming, WordPress, etc.  I would only know this though, if I took the time to research and see what goes into building a store.

One trap to avoid – don’t rely on the person you are considering hiring to school you on what you need.  Any information that person gives comes from their knowledge and you have no way of assessing if there is any bias or gaps in that knowledge. It’s up to you to learn enough to spot those gaps yourself and make sure you get good advice and make a good hire.

Have you ever made a bad hire?  What went wrong?  What would you do differently next time?  Do you get informed before you interview people?  Post a comment and let me know.

Comments

  1. I sure did make a bad hire. I knew all the questions to ask and how long the tasks should take. What I did not do was ask the candidates to perform the tasks in front of me. I just asked if they knew how to use the program. I was in a rush to hire and did so.

    What I learned is that hiring takes preparation and time. You must also challenge their qualifications. My new motto is “Hire Slow, Fire Fast”.

    Mike

    1. Michele says:

      Mike, that is a great point and one I hadn’t even thought of. Anyone can say they have a skill but getting some sort of proof is a great idea. Thanks for saving the rest of us from that pitfall. Michele

Previous post:

Next post: