It’s a safe generalization to say that most entrepreneurs start out as solo-preneurs rather than with an established team to support them. After all, start-ups don’t start out making a whole lot of money, and so most business owners feel they can’t spend any money getting help for their business if it’s not generating an income to pay for said help.
Young entrepreneurs are often faced with the task of “doing it all,” however that doesn’t mean we need to do it all by ourselves. Simply put, that’s not a recipe for success. It’s a recipe for burnout and giving up. As a business coach for entrepreneurs, I say these exact words to my clients. A lot.
It may require some creativity to find good help that you can afford (Hello, bartering, anyone?). However, here are the five human resources every entrepreneur needs to be successful.
Virtual Assistant (VA)
In my mind, a virtual assistant is the next best thing to cloning yourself.
A virtual assistant is someone you hire to do all that work that has to get done, however that doesn’t need you to do it. VAs are like administrative assistants, except that they work remotely, from the comfort of their own homes, and they usually have multiple clients they serve. You pay only for the hours that they work on your projects.
Common tasks they handle range widely depending on their expertise, however include: managing email, customer service, newsletter or blog content management, database management, social media management, marketing support, sales support, etc.
I strongly encourage you to use WordPress for your website/blogsite, since it’s set up so that you can manage it mostly by yourself. You’ll need a professional to install a theme and customize it to match your branding, however you can learn to make updates and add blog posts by yourself.
That said, you need a reliable human you can turn to when you hit a snag, or when something goes wrong, or when you want to increase the functionality of your site (like adding e-commerce, or the ability to sell products from your site). A website or blog manager is very different from a typical Perth IT support person. Your website is your virtual sales team and often your brand’s first impression for your prospects.
If web design isn’t your money-making talent, make sure you hire someone who can help you create a professional site that helps you put your best foot forward. Resist the temptation to create it all yourself. We can all easily spot a home-grown website. Many VAs do this work, however you can also hire Web Designers on a contract or hourly basis.
Whether you run a brick-and-mortar business or an internet-exclusive one, you’re going to need high quality graphics all the time. Pictures and graphics help convey your point, create an emotional connection with your audience, and sell your products.
Whether you’re creating business cards, logos, brochures, website buttons, badges or banners, you need to hire an experienced graphic designer to produce these items for you.
Unless numbers and taxes are your thing, it’s a great idea to make sure that a professional helps you crunch your numbers and file your taxes each year. Seriously: the last thing an entrepreneur needs is to find out she’s in deep with the government for not filing or reporting her income properly. They will arrange payroll software, organise bank accounts, pay debtors and more.
Bonus: A small business accountant/bookkeeper can easily pay for themselves by helping you find ways to save money through business deductions and such.
You’re working by yourself most of the time, right? Yeah. It gets lonely. And while you may have lots of family, friends and neighbours, they might not all understand your desire to run a business while raising a family.
Could you use some like-minded people to brainstorm your ideas with? Sure you can. Do you need an accountability partner to help you accomplish a tough goal? Trust me, you do. That’s where a good entrepreneur community can come in really handy. Virtual or face to face, they are very important.
Of course, there are so many tech resources out there that help make young entrepreneurs’ lives easier, especially if you can’t afford to hire all the staff we’ve listed above right now.