One of the greatest gifts 2016 brought me was the growth of the team supporting me in my big mission and helping me develop Aligned Entrepreneurs in line with my vision to help even more entrepreneurs discover the power of small retreats. Today it’s time for Part Three of our Team Truth series, recorded live in Mexico, and this week we’re getting into the nitty gritty of building a team that helps your business thrive.

So how do you lay the foundations of a really strong team? I feel incredibly lucky to have found the talented individuals I work with, but that didn’t happen by accident. In these conversations we’re breaking down how you can get smart about hiring and I’m asking what my team have to share with you guys about making the right decisions.

If you’ve ever been bruised by the experience of hiring someone you thought would fix a sticky problem, but wound up disillusioned and let down when they fell short, you’ll want to listen up to this conversation.

Amy and I are talking about two really key concepts: hiring the right people to support you in the first place and then, once you’ve hired them, making sure you get the most out of them.

Amy’s perspective as a VA for various companies is invaluable. Check out the red flags that lead to less-than-stellar performance that you don’t want to miss.

Are you too demanding or are they not delivering? We hit this head on.

As with everything in business, our team can be a mirror for our own areas of work. Getting in the right place to receive support from our teams is as important as selecting the right people (I think you’ll enjoy Kimmi’s suggestion about how to make sure we do that!).


Darla: Hello, hello! This is Darla LeDoux here from the beach in Mexico, one more time. I am here with the fabulous Amy Derr.

Amy: Hi!

Darla: She’s going to give you her perspective on two things. One is how to interview team members to find the right fit for you, based on how you work, and the second is how to really get the most from your team members. I see this all the time, you’ve found someone, you’ve made a decision to hire them, and then, you just want them to read your mind and get things done and make everything happen and save the day, but maybe you haven’t given them what they need to be able to support you, so some tips on that. Those two questions.

Amy: I definitely think that part of hiring the right team is a lot in being able to communicate with them what your needs are and being able to express it in a language that you both understand. I just lost what I was going to say. I think that a big piece of it, that I found, is really having your team be really aligned with the mission of your business. If they’re not, then I just always, time and time again, find that there’s a real disconnect between the passion and the skills that the team members can bring to the team. If it’s just not there and they’re not totally behind the work that you’re doing in the world, then it tends to either get boring for them or it falls off or … It’s a totally different feeling. I think that that, for me and all the years that I’ve worked with different clients, I think that is a huge, huge part.

Darla: That is an awesome tip. I have some thoughts on that too. I’m curious, how have you noticed people figuring that out? I think, for what I know about you, is you’re the type of person that that’s important to you, so you would make sure.

Amy: Right.

Darla: I think a lot of VA’s or OBM’s or support people maybe just are looking for clients and they aren’t discerning about that.

Amy: Right, well, I can say that that’s definitely where I was at the beginning of my journey of working online. I was a yes person that said yes to a lot of things. I think it can be a little bit tricky because sometimes you feel like you might be aligned at the beginning and it’s not until you start really working with the person, so I do think there’s a little trial-and-error with it. It’s not like, it might be a perfect fit right off the bat. For me, I think I have the advantage of having so many years of working online that … Well, in the case of Darla, I had worked with you for a while as a client, so I knew what you stood for and what your mission was in the world. I think, don’t be hard on yourself if it’s not a right fit from the beginning for either side because it’s got to be a fit for both the client and the contractor.

Darla: If you think about dating, right? Most people date a lot of people before they get married.

Amy: Right, right, that’s true.

Darla: I think in this world, we think, “well, this person has a website. They say they’re a VA. We don’t want to spend the time interviewing people, trying people out, to find the right fit because we’re in such a hurry”, right? It’s like, “Oh my God, I need this done now. Just this person should just do it. They just need to do it”. Yeah, I’ve never thought of it that way before but it really is … What takes some time to figure that out.

Amy: Yeah, and I think that’s definitely a key to it is just allowing that time for the new team member to come on because there’s always a lot to learn about your business. We all want things to get done yesterday. I think that that’s a tendency, especially in the online world. I think a little bit of time and communication is a huge key, for sure.

Darla: Marta, who we interviewed, she’s new to my team and I’ve known her for a while and known of her work. I invested in her upfront in really getting to know me and the business and trusting that I know she has the skills. She has to figure out how I work. I have to figure out how she works for her to be able to totally takeover my marketing.

Amy: I liked your approach too, Darla, when we started working together of having me do a task project. I thought that was really awesome because we could feel, how do we work together? How do we communicate? Granted, it was a really big project.

Darla: It was.

Amy: But, it was great.

Darla: That’s what Jana said too.

Amy: You know, without feeling like you’re totally committed. Whether it’s a test project or just saying, “Let’s work together for a month or two and see how it goes”, I think that that’s really key too. It gives both sides to say, “Hey, this is working awesome”, or, “It’s not”.

Darla: I always recommend, too, asking questions in the interview about what they care about, even if it doesn’t match their skillset or isn’t related to the skillset. I’ll ask things like, “What are you working on personally? What books do you love? What’s really important to you in your life?”. I like to ask, Kimmy gave me this one, about what’s been their favorite dining experience, because you learn things about someone and what they appreciate and what they value through questions like that and you can look for fit. It can seem superficial, but it’s really important. If someone, their favorite dining experience was at a chain restaurant, they’re probably not going to fit in my world, really.

Amy: Yeah, sure.

Darla: How do you recommend … I mean, getting the right fit is a good way to get the most out of your team to begin with, but what else do you recommend for people to take best advantage of their team skillset?

Amy: Well, I think that a really important aspect, and I think it’s an approach you use similar, too, Darla, is really … I mean, you need the skillset to make sure things get done, that you have the projects and that people can bring the skillset to it, but it’s not necessarily like fitting them into a box, and really being able to explore their strengths and how can that best support your business too. I mean, I think that that’s fine to say you’re a VA, an OBM, a project manager, whatever it might be, but …

Darla: That’s a pretty broad label.

Amy: It’s a very broad label. I think being able to really get to know your team members and know what strengths that they can bring to the team. Maybe it’s even a little bit different than what you originally brought them on the team for, being open to that is really powerful.

Darla: I’ve had to have … And I’m going to add one other thing in here, too, because I’ve had a lot of shifts around hiring team. The first thing is you have to be willing to be supported. If you have trouble receiving, Kimmi would say, “Have sex”, that’s her answer to everything. If you have trouble receiving or trouble allowing people to contribute to you, whether it’s taking a compliment or whatever, you’re going to have trouble letting your team members really do their job. You’ve really got to practice that. Receiving, being supported, asking, and allowing is super important.

Amy: You’re letting go.

Darla: Letting go, yeah, energetically, so important. Then, I love what you said, that you might hire someone thinking they’re one thing and then you get in there and you’re like, “Oh man, they really can’t do what I thought that they could do”, you could give up on them and go, “Oh, I need someone else”, and I’ve done that. This is really a gut feel and also understanding their commitment. If they’re committed to the same mission that you’re committed to, if it really matters to them, that goes a long way.

Take time to find out what do they love, what are they great at, where can you use their skills, and maybe you have to hire an additional person for the thing you originally thought they’d be good at and move them into a different role. If you think about it, in corporations, all the time people get moved into different roles until they find their best spot. As an industry, we tend to be in such scarcity mindset that we think, “I need this one person. It’s all I can afford ever. One person, $500 or $1,000 a month, one person”, and we expect them to run the whole business. Well, guess what? If they could do that, they would not be working for you.

Amy: So true.

Darla: They would not be working for you. You’d be working for them, so just be real with your expectations for people.

Amy: Yeah, absolutely, and I definitely want to just wrap around really quick about the mission because I think that your team too, it becomes … It’s not just work and tasks and things to do. When you allow them to become a part of your mission …

Darla: Yeah, do you want to share at all about your experience here with our team retreat? We just wrapped up last night.

Amy: It was amazing. I definitely would say that if you have a virtual team, to be able to bring them together, periodically, is so powerful. You can get on Zoom and Skype and all those kind of fun things and it’s one thing, but there’s always a different energy and a different level of brainstorming and connectedness that happens when you can really bring your team together and spend that time working through … I mean, personal things come up too while you’re together and that doesn’t necessarily happen on your weekly team meetings. You really get to know the other people, so it’s been an incredible experience, definitely would recommend trying to do that.

Darla: What are you most excited about in terms of what we’re creating at Aligned Entrepreneurs?

Amy: Oh, can I say something specific?

Darla: I think so. I mean, I’ve shared a lot about my vision, yeah.

Amy: I would just say the evolution is, overall, where we’re going with everything. It feels like there’s a potential to even be able to reach more people and share the mission with them. I think it’s just the evolution of it overall.

Darla: How would you put the mission into your words? What does it mean to you personally?

Amy: For sure, I’m very much a believer in transformational retreats and I think that we, in general, have gotten so used to being behind cameras and we kind of live there, or computers I should say, and we kind of live there. Being able to get like-minded people together and allow the vulnerability and the conversations to happen is so powerful. I’ve never really experienced anything like that before I allowed myself to start really getting into retreats, so I think that your mission to have that be the normal thing for everybody, to just feel like, “Hey, I need a transition something, so I’m going to find a retreat that I need to go is”, is amazing because I think we’ve become a little disconnected from that in our world.

Darla: Yeah, totally, awesome, so lot’s more to come from our amazing team, from what we’ve created here in Mexico. If we were live, I’d ask you if you had any other questions, but since you don’t, do you have anything else you want to tell people?

Amy: Love you all!

Darla: Amy’s a big ball of love. It’s her purpose. All right, bye guys.

Amy: Bye.

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