Ep008 Jane Tweedy – Is hiring or outsourcing a hindrance or a help? | FAQ Business Podcast

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Episode 8 features our host, Jane Tweedy Founder of FAQ Business Training solo. Recently Jane has hired an employee herself and thought in the spirit of businesses like you, there have been some good learnings. It makes you think – hiring or outsourcing – is it a help or hindrance? There’s definitely no fairy godmother waving her magic wand! This falls under our businesses like you and actionable education pillars. You can copy the actionable section from our blog (or take some notes). 

Listen to the episode on all good podcast services or on YouTube.

Disclaimer – All information provided today is general in nature. Please reach out to Jane for personalised advice. 

Listen to Episode 8 of the FAQ Business Podcast

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FAQ Business Podcast Ep8 hiring or outsourcing transcription

00:01 Is hiring or outsourcing a help or a hindrance?

Are you doing it all or doing too much in your small business? Is it time to hire or outsource? Do you think you’re just going to wave the magic wand and suddenly everything is going to be better. Afraid probably not. So is hiring or outsourcing, actually a help or a hindrance?

Today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast may be a bit of a reality check or it might be a “this just isn’t me” kind of moment. This is a business like you episode with a bit of actionable education thrown in at the end. Today, the business like you is mine again. Don’t worry, though, we’ve got guests lined up for coming episodes, so you won’t have to keep listening to me forever.

00:55 Welcome to the FAQ Business Podcast 

Welcome to the FAQ Business Podcast for business owners, covering four pillars, actionable education, inspiring leaders, businesses like you and thought Leadership, where we challenge your thinking. Hosted by myself, Jane Tweedy, I’m Founder and Lead Trainer of FAQ Business Training, where we want to avoid you getting ripped off or ripping yourself off.

We’ll feature an amazing diversity of guests with lots to educate and inspire you. Let’s jump into today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast.

01:31 Hiring a new employee (remotely) can be challenging 

I’m Jane Tweedy. I’m the Founder and Lead Trainer of FAQ Business Training and the host of FAQ Business Podcast. And today on the podcast, I want to talk about something that I am experiencing actively at the moment. As I recently hired a new employee, and have been going through the training process primarily remotely, which has been quite challenging.

01:59 Catalyst to hire – too much backlog 

Why do small businesses need to hire? The catalyst to hire is often that things are simply not happening fast enough. You’re aware that you are causing a massive backlog. There’s so much backlog of things building up. The to do list is huge. Things are starting to get completely out of control. And then you go, yep, I need to get somebody on board.

02:23 Hiring and starting remotely 

Unfortunately, what a lot of us do, is we leave it later than we probably should of. So if this relates to you, then, yeah, that’s basically where I was too. So I finally bit the bullet, and I went to hire someone right before the COVID lockdown.

And then we thought, okay, she’ll start after the two week lockdown. And then, of course, the two week lockdown became a lot more than two weeks. So we ended up having to go, you know what, I need you. Let’s start you remotely. Which was not ideal, but we did it. We’re surviving. We’re getting through.

02:55 I knew I was the problem! 

I had held off hiring previous to that though, because I knew I was the problem. I knew that everything that was about the business, was stuck in my head. Because I’ve created everything from scratch. I am the business. I am the knowledge. I have created everything. I am a massive key person risk. So how do we resolve that going forward?

03:24 Pain points when growing a small business 

In a growing small business, you will have a number of pain point periods. And I can tell you now, no fairy godmother can wave their wand and get you through these easily. They are going to be painful. There’s going to be many hard yards required, and you need to persevere. It’s definitely going to be a case of short term pain for long term gain.


03:48 Your initial hire is likely to be painful! 

There are multiple periods of these growth [periods] which really make you suffer in small business. The first one is that initial hire. The initial hire is tough, particularly when you have done a bootstrap start-up, where you’ve invested your time and energy, and you’ve created everything pretty much from scratch.

Because typically everything has come from your head. You haven’t actually got anything documented. Nothing is out. You’re not necessarily using systems yet. You are really doing a lot of workarounds.

04:19 You need to give up some control 

And one of the other key things is you probably started your business, in part, because you liked the idea of the fact that you were in control. You weren’t reporting to anybody. When you hire somebody, you are definitely going to have to give up some of that control.

04:35 Hiring a key person gives additional key person risk 

The second time when you hit a pain point, is when you decide to hire a key person. So this is another ‘doer’. Let’s say, for instance, you’re a psychologist and you hire another psychologist. Then you fill up the books for both of you and then that person leaves. Yep, that hurts, right? Because you’ve filled up the books for both those people. You’re now going to be letting people down.

04:59 Mitigate person risk, but proceed to hire

So that’s a really big pain point is taking that risk of that new person. So obviously we need to try and mitigate our risk as much as we can. But honestly, sometimes we just have to bite that bullet. We have to take that person on board. Otherwise, we’re never going to grow.

05:17 Small team (say under 5 staff) 

The next one is when your team is small, say under five people. But each person plays a very vital part in the business. So by one person not being there, nothing else works as smoothly. It might work for a few days. Like you can cover them while they’re on leave, but they certainly if they just up and leave, they’re leaving a massive hole in the business.

05:38 Key people in the business 

Another one can be where you have a few key people in the business. You might have a bigger workforce, you may have 20 people. You may have 50 people. But if your top two or three key people went, you would really suffer.

Or you do shift work. And your people that do night shift leave, and suddenly you’ve got no night shift workers. That can be a real problem.

06:00 Business review and time log 

Clock faces, calendars and diary-time-log-business-review-hire-help

So before you’re going to go out and hire or outsource anybody, I strongly recommend doing what we suggested in Episode 7 of the FAQ Business Podcast. And that was doing a business review and time log. You can access the blog, video and podcast here.

So what tasks do you need to be doing? I am going to go over the time log in a Tea Time Tips, so you can see more visually what’s going on. So if you’re not sure from listening to the podcast exactly what I mean by the time log and how it works, please look at the Tea Time Tip when it comes up in the next week or so. The cost of hiring someone.

06:38 Short term pain for long term gain financially

I was talking whether this was going to be a help or a hindrance hiring someone. The initial cost outlay for hiring someone is quite substantial. And there are more things than maybe you first might think of. So definitely you’ve got to remember short term pain, long term gain. Because if you don’t remember that you’re going to struggle.

06:58 Training time costs money 

There is going to be the cost to train and build your team. So there’s the physical time that you’re going to spend. Two of you sitting there training, and neither of you are earning money. Neither of you are actually doing anything that’s particularly productive, other than getting that poor person up to speed.

07:14 Contractor may have specific skills 

That could be whether you have a subcontractor or you hire an employee. Because they still will both need training. Potentially a contractor may need less, because you could hire someone with specific skills that you need. So, for instance, if you needed someone with Canva skills. Hire a contractor, a Virtual Assistant with Canva skills. Then you don’t have to worry about upskilling a new employee [on Canva itself].

07:40 Costs around a new employee 

There could be costs involved, like providing software and equipment, uniforms or a car. Insurance, super, workers compensation, all that type of stuff if you’re hiring an employee. If you’re hiring a contractor, a lot of that might go away.

07:56 Outlay and ongoing expenses need to be budgeted for 

And that can be quite a big outlay. That could be even without the car side of it, it could be $10,000 that you’re outlaying on those type of things. So do consider that there is a cost here and do budget for this employee. And like I said, they’re not necessarily helping you in the short term earn more money.

08:13 Opportunity cost as may need to do less paid work

And in fact, you might actually have a bit of an opportunity cost as I’ve faced. I had to make less hours available for me to service my paying clients, so that I could take some time out to do some things, so that my employee had things to do.

So it ends up with this kind of cycle when you’re starting out of, if you don’t do that, she can’t work. And it’s very frustrating.

08:38 The new person is likely to take much longer at the start than you 

The other thing to remember is that the new person can take a lot longer to do things than you will. Some things they will never do as quick as you. Some they’ll do quicker.

But for instance, one of the tasks that I get my assistant to do. She’s taking at the moment about five times longer to do it than I would take to do the same task. The thing is, this particular task is transcribing, so the software does the large part of the transcription. She’s just got to then check it, and manipulate it and things.

09:10 Some things will always be quicker for you to do  

The trouble is when I do it, I know what I said. I know what I intended to say, which sometimes isn’t the same thing. And I can therefore go through and do that task really quickly. Whereas for her, she’s going to hear something, because I’m talking too fast, and she’s going to go, ‘what did she say’ or ‘what did she mean’? Because clearly I’ve used the wrong word or whatever.

09:34 Communicate how to do it differently


So she might replay that piece 15 times over trying to get what I’m trying to say. Now, for a start, you need to communicate that and go, okay, don’t worry about being so perfect about stuff like that. Or alternatively, if you don’t get it on the first two takes, then just highlight it and tell me to check it. Because I’m going to be able to check it in a take or two, not 15 takes later.

10:02 Progression not perfection 

So a lot of it is about communicating. A lot of it is understanding that your employee needs to know that they don’t need to be perfect. Progression, not perfection is always our motto.

10:15 Should you hire a contractor or an employee? 

I’m not going to talk too much today about whether you should hire a contractor or an employee, because this is a whole massive can of worms and a whole separate issue, which I will discuss at another time. But I do mention some parts of it today, as it is essential when you consider whether to outsource or to hire.

10:35 Check hiring laws for your jurisdiction

There are a lot of legal ramifications of how you hire somebody. So please make sure you check out for your jurisdiction. What will apply, particularly where you’re hiring a sole trader or a sole proprietor. Because, for instance, in Australia, a sole trader, the legal entity you’re hiring is the individual person.

10:57 Contractor agreement can be thrown out

Therefore, it’s more likely that the individual person is more likely to be considered an employee relationship or a deemed employee, rather than a contractor. So even if you have a contractor agreement, it says quite clearly you are not an employee. Blah blah blah. The ATO and that, honestly they don’t care. They will overrule it, if they think you’ve done the wrong thing.

11:21 Sham contracting is ALWAYS a no! 

So obviously, we’re not talking about sham contracting here. We would never, ever advocate anything of the sort. But what we’re talking about here, is where you legitimately think you’ve set up a contractor relationship. But it really isn’t. The ATO and that just don’t consider it to be the case.

11:38 Paying and subcontracting are two keys 

So you need to look at things like how you’re paying the person. Whether or not they can subcontract to others, because that’s one of the keys. A genuine contractor can subcontract to someone else.

11:50 Who provides what?

Do they provide the equipment or do you provide it? If they make a mistake, who fixes it, you or them? Do they provide the insurance? So if they damage something, are they the one covering the cost or are you? And that gets a bit grey. The other one that gets a bit grey, is if they have a workplace injury. Because a sole trader in Australia does not have workers compensation.

12:14 Lots of interested government entities 

Director employee may have compensation depending on the state, and that causes a huge bunch of ramifications. So if you are in Australia, then Fair Work, your workers compensation in your state (iCare in New South Wales) and the ATO (the Australian Taxation Office) are all very interested in who you are hiring and how.

12:38 There’s no 80/20 rule with contractors 

So like I said, please check out for your jurisdiction what applies to you? One thing I will just let you know is a lot of people talk about the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule has nothing to do with contracting and deemed employees. It’s just not.

12:55 Personal Services Income test refers to an 80% test 

There is a Personal Services Income test which uses 80%, but a lot of people are confused. So if you look at the ATO, they do have a deemed employee versus contractor tool. I suggest going through that, because you may be quite shocked as to who is deemed to be an employee.

13:11 Short term project or long term need?

Another way to look at it as well, is whether this is going to be a short term requirement that you have or is it a long term need. If it is a specialist task as well, maybe you’re just going to hire someone to do a specialist task and you really wouldn’t have the capacity to hire them for anything more than that.

13:29 A bookkeeper may only be a small role 

For instance, a bookkeeper. So hiring a bookkeeper on a contract to provide bookkeeping services of, say, 5 hours a month, you’re unlikely to need that person on board as an employee. As the business grows, the bookkeeping need will grow a little bit, but will it really ever grow to the need to actually have an employee on board? [Please still check the deemed employee issue even for a small or one-off role!]

13:51 An employee can help grow the business with you


Ultimately, I wanted an employee because I wanted someone to help me grow my business. Because I intend to have multiple employees and grow much bigger into the future.

14:04 More than just contractor or full-time employee 

So remember, also, it is not about whether the person is a contractor or a full-time employee, which seems to be people’s misconception. There are so many employee options between contractor and full-time employee.

14:22 What is an Individual Flexibility Agreement (IFA)?

For instance, my assistant is currently a casual worker. And not only is she casual, but she’s casual with a thing called an IFA – an Individual Flexibility Agreement. And this is an agreement we’ve agreed between ourselves because it works for both of us.

14:39 Split timesheet into set and flex times 

So what that means is, I basically split her timesheet into two. If she does set hours, on a set day, at a set time. Like, for instance, we have a training at 10:00am on a Thursday, then she gets paid for whatever her pay rate is for 10:00am on a Thursday.

14:57 Penalty rates for set times 

So if the award stipulates that she must be paid penalty rates on a Sunday or whatever, and she has to work on a Sunday because we’re doing an Expo, then she will get paid Sunday rates.

15:08 She can choose when to complete a task to suit her 

However, if I put this podcast up on a Saturday and ask her to do the transcription by Monday at 05:00 p.m.. She’s got time on Monday to do the transcription. Time in normal business hours. However, should she choose to, she might prefer to do that on Sunday. She might prefer to do that at midnight. That might be her preference.

15:34 Casual with IFA if an option for you 

And that’s cool, because that means I don’t have to pay her Sunday rates or midnight rates, because she chose to work then. So it’s actually a really good option, and it gives a lot of flexibility. So I do seriously think you should consider a casual worker with an IFA if that works for you, particularly if they are working remotely.

When you are hiring an employee, I am going to be running some courses on my online school about this topic. So please check those out.

16:06 Procedures and instructions – times have changed

Procedures and instructions. So important, how is a person going to do anything for you, if they don’t know what to do and how to do it? Many years ago, when I first started in corporate, I remember the huge lumpy procedures manuals. And you would flick through the procedures manual, for instance, because the photocopier broke down. You’d go to the page about photocopiers, and it would say: Open the front door, do this, and you’re going, what do you mean by the front door? There were three doors that could have been considered to be the front door. It was always guesswork.

16:41 So many more ways to convey procedures 

Whereas now we’ve got the benefit that we can record our instructions not just in writing, not just in things like flowcharts, but also through things like audio. We can audio to text. We can use videos, and we can use screencasting. So all of those tools are really helpful and means that we can get the procedures manuals created a lot quicker, but also a lot more effectively.

17:06 Can pre-record a screencast (walk through a demo) 

Also, what you can do is you can show part of the process to your employee. And sometimes what I’ve done, is just pre-recorded some of the tasks, where I can just basically go through a screencast of the software I’m using.

17:20 Some employee tech training on the YouTube channel 

Now some of those when I record them cleanly, I actually also chuck up on my YouTube channel as a public video. So then you get the benefit of some of the training that I’m giving my employees as well. So check out our YouTube channel.

17:34 Prepare and present some instruction 

With teaching them, with procedures and instructions. I do suggest provide them with some instruction. So prepare something, provide something. So it might be, as I said, do a video. Record as you’re live training them the video. It could be to create a checklist, to create a Trello board. Whatever it is, you do something to help document the process. But what you can do is get that employee, or that contractor, to fill in those gaps.

18:03 Add to the process 

So they effectively create something that suits their style. For instance, they may make a checklist from the video, they may make a flow chart, or they may make a Trello board. And all I’ve given them is that video to start with. Now, that’s great for the future. Because if they then leave, somebody else takes over their work, whatever, then you have got some instructions for them to follow.

18:28 Understand small business is different

Some hiring warning signs, tips and tricks. The first thing is if they haven’t worked for a small business before, make sure they understand the difference between working for a corporate and working for a small business.

18:43 Big business not a big deal

Not turning up to a shift at Maccas. Not turning up to a shift at the grocery store packing shelves, isn’t such a big deal, because they have a large workforce. And now a lot of them use things like Facebook groups, so they simply put up on the Facebook group. ‘Hey, guys, we need one of you to come in if you can today between 12pm and 4pm’. And if someone’s available, they can put up their hand and say, ‘yeah, I’ll work that shift’. So a lot of that can be covered.

19:13 Small business absenteeism causes hardship 

When we’re working in small business, we do not have that luxury. There is no cover typically. So if there is no cover, then they need to understand the ramifications. When they don’t turn up, they are causing you hardship. And they need to understand that.

19:30 Not turning up

And that’s why if they are not turning up for no legitimate reasons. Obviously if they don’t turn up because they’re sick or whatever, that’s fine. But if they are every Monday they’re sick, and they happen to have a rugby league party thing on a Sunday, you might start questioning it right.

19:49 Are they a good fit? 

Complex things to look at when we’re doing things like behavioural event interviewing. So we’re trying to find out, is the person going to be a good fit for us?

19:59 Maintain your process 

Don’t hire a mate or someone that, you know, without following the process that you would normally. Okay. Don’t skip steps because this person seems great, I’m going to give them a chance. If you do that, it’s more than likely things are going to go sour. So please make sure you still follow your process. Also, try and have a Plan B in place.

20:21 Your Plan B 

For instance, at a minimum, have things like job descriptions and ads ready to go, in case you need to rehire someone for that position pretty quickly. Just leaving it till after they’ve left, is really not a great place to be.

20:37 Many people are accidental leaders 

Management and leadership is really important when you’re hiring people and even when you are outsourcing to people. Have you actually been a manager or leader before? A lot of people have been dumped into management roles because they were good at what they did

Or because they started a business. They thought it was going to be just for them. It was just going to be really an income replacer. And instead they’ve gone, actually, there’s a lot of demand. I’m going to grow the business. So you may be what we call an accidental leader.


21:10 Modern leadership is more inclusive 

Modern leadership is very different. The dictatorial leadership of old. Things have definitely changed. I’ve made it a habit to ask over the years during the interview process, ‘what’s the best way to manage you to get the best out of you?’ It’s a really common question I ask when I’m interviewing. And the reason for that, is because I hate, for instance, to be micromanaged.

21:37 Some people need attention, some would hate it 

But somebody else may need a lot of attention during the day. So it’s almost like micromanaging. Because they feel that they’re being ignored and not valued if you’re not constantly in their face. So you need to work that out. You need to know what type of person are they? Are they the type of person that just wants to be given high-level tasks and then off to complete them? Or are they a person that would rather be given a bit more detail so that they do the best job they can. And they don’t face you changing everything because you don’t like the way they did it.

22:13 Need to relinquish some control! 

Speaking of which, you have to let go of control. You may have gone into small business so you could avoid being bossed around. But now, you’re going to have to relinquish some of that control and let this employee make some mistakes. Maybe not be 100% perfect, and you’ve got to be okay with that. Otherwise you just simply won’t progress.

22:37 HBDI® Profile 

I also highly recommend that you get an HBDI® profile, a Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument profile, completed on you and your new and hire. Not as part of the hiring process, but afterwards.

At FAQ Business Training /FAQ Business Consulting, we offer these and we have done so on ourselves as well. If you’d like to find out more about these please click here.


23:00 Know each other’s thinking preferences

This allows us to know the thinking preferences of both Cheryl and myself. So I know, for instance, that she needs sequential. Sequential is a strong thing for her, whereas I am not sequential at all. I’m very much ideas scattered approach. So what I need to do, before I give her tasks, is I need to slow it down a bit.

23:22 Need to be more sequential – reduces frustration for both people 

I need to stop. I need to be more detailed and definitely sequential. Which is not my go to. But if I don’t do that for her, she will potentially struggle with my instructions, even though I think they’re clear enough. But we need to do this, because otherwise I’m going to get frustrated at her, and she’s going to get frustrated at me. And she’s a great worker. Why would I want that to happen?

23:47 Whole Brain Thinking® 

So we need to make sure we understand each person’s way of thinking and we adapt where we can. The upside of us thinking differently is that we are basically a square when it comes to the Whole Brain Thinking approach®. So that is a good thing, but we do think differently.

24:07 Working remotely 

Working remotely. Because of Covid a lot of things have gone remote, and it’s also highlighted a lot of people actually don’t want to commute anymore. They want to stay local, and that’s why some of the local areas, the outer Sydney suburb areas, for instance, have skyrocketed in price. Because a lot of people want to have more space to be living and working from their homes.

24:33 Virtual Assistants 


Admin and support related roles are often remote, and that’s why obviously we hear the term of virtual assistant. And Virtual Assistants are definitely an option, and these are typically contractors. But do make sure you are checking whether or not they’re a contractor or an employee, and whether it’s right for you.

24:52 The McDonald’s 4 step training approach 

Personally, I like the idea of a mixture of in-person and remote, particularly for training. We did some training recently in-person, and it was so much easier to allow that time to try out. I worked in Maccas [McDonald’s] through Uni and thing. And I was a crew trainer, shift assistant, manager and all that stuff, and we had a training method which was: prepare, present, try out and follow up. And I find I still operate this to this day. But I find when you’re training online that the try out phase tends to get condensed.

25:32 Give them full reins

Now, in some cases we had it condensed, because she wasn’t able to share her screen. So it became a little bit harder to try out. So she was telling me what to do on my screen, but it would have been easier to see what she would have done, had she had the reins fully at her end.

25:47 The try out process in action 

So it was a little bit tricky at times. I like the fact we’ve been able to do the recent training in person, which has given me more ability to give her time to try out. So I’ve showed her how to do it once. Then she’s had a go at doing it. She’s tried it out, but with me explaining things. Then trying it out again, largely doing it by herself. And then trying out it again and making sure that she can do it. So that is a good approach.

26:14 When remote allow as much time to try out 

And the problem with remote, is often we don’t allow that try out time. So my recommendation for more complex tasks, is to take that time to do that proper try out process. Because otherwise what’s going to happen, is they’re probably going to establish a bad habit.  Because they’re off trying out and doing it, without you being there, and it’s just not going to work. So be careful with that.

26:39 Allocate the tasks using a system 

The next thing when you’re hiring and outsourcing, is to understand the task allocations between you and your hires. So do make sure that you get a system and you stick with it. So whether that’s a system like a ServiceM8 or WorkflowMax for the tradie sector. Or whether it’s something like Trello, which is more your project management task management type system, really stick with it.

27:04 Avoid the email and message trap! 

Do not fall onto the trap of using email, text or messenger. Because it’s very easy for everything to get mixed up. And for you not to know which task you’re talking about.

27:16 Lists and cards within the Trello board 

By using Trello and I use the paid version. We have a Cheryl to do board. We have cards within that or lists within that that have the instructions, that have the meeting times, then have some templates for some of the tasks that we repeat.

27:32 Can allocate waiting lists for clarity 

And then we’ve actually got it waiting on Jane. So when she’s done something, she needs me. She can put that into my list. Now you don’t have to do that. And some people would say that’s not a great way to do it. But what I found is that the allocating tasks to people in the checklist doesn’t work as effectively as it should. Which is very frustrating.

27:51 20+ steps to a podcast!

You might be amazed, but to get one of these podcasts from the end of this recording to it being up and running online, takes about 20 different steps. Granted, we’re not ‘just’ doing a podcast, it’s a podcast, a video and a blog. So it is definitely more complicated. There is 20 steps, and the thing is, with these 20 steps, we’re almost tag-teaming our way through it.

28:14 Tag team the work 

So I do the first part, the video edit. I then upload that to the transcription software, where Cheryl will jump in and do the completion of the transcription. She downloads that transcription document. I then go in and add headings.

She then puts that onto the blog. Then I have to check the blog and publish it. So there’s a lot of processes that go where I need sequential steps completed.

28:39 Start with some ‘in the can’

Another issue though, is ideally, when I started the podcast, I really wanted to have three or four ‘in the can’ before I started. And things just didn’t work out that way as they do. But I really wanted to start in September. The whole spring into life kind of thing.

And for me to be able to do that and meant I actually had to start the podcast without any in the can, which means that we’re running up against deadlines every single week. So not ideal. So if you are going to start a podcast, definitely get ahead of the game, because you will struggle otherwise.

29:12 Tag people to make them aware of new work 

Now, sometimes with the Trello boards, we do allocate things to people within the boards, but sometimes we’ve found it doesn’t work as effectively as it could do. But we do find when we use the @ and name the person that it does work well, and those messages definitely go through to the other person.

29:29 Text if must 

If you are not sure, though, you could always send a little text and just say, hey, it’s up on Trello, but make sure that the actual work and things is in the Trello board, so it’s really clear what they need to do next.

29:41 Connected to Google Drive 

Our Trello boards connect to our shared Google Drive, which makes our life a lot easier. We can connect to folders or we can connect to files, so I can go, hey, it’s up in the transcript file [folder]. Go for your life, whatever. So that makes our life a lot easier.

29:56 The biggest hindrance with hiring … 

But what I want to communicate here, the biggest issue, the biggest problem with working with the assistant for me, is ME! I am the massive bottleneck. So some weeks, I have only had to pay her 7 hours, when I could easily have given her 30 hours worth of work. Because I simply couldn’t get stuff to her quick enough to do.

30:21 Addressing the bottleneck 


So bear that in mind, you are potentially going to be the bottleneck. Is there any way that you can stop that being the case? One thing I do recommend is the repetitive task thing. Don’t give them something, which is a one off, because it’s a waste of your time and theirs. Give them something that you can train ’em. They can try it out, then they can keep going and doing it ongoing.

30:42 Delegate repetitive tasks 

So please make sure you think about giving people tasks that they’re going to be able to repeat lots. Much more efficient for you to do it that way.

30:51 Let them know so they can improve 

Giving feedback to your staff members, and even to outsource people, is really important. You don’t want to just fire someone because they don’t know what they’re doing, when they didn’t even know there was a problem. If they are doing the wrong thing, you need to let them know.

31:07 Comment on good too! 

Make sure you let them know the good they’re doing. Nobody wants to be the brunt of abuse all the time. So always let them know they’re good as well as their bad. Don’t be too nice though. Don’t avoid saying something to avoid conflict. It will backfire.

31:27 Not the right fit 

If it’s not the right fit. If they just don’t work for you, then don’t drag it out. You’re hindering their chance to get their next job. Risking customers in your business. So please, don’t keep someone on board that is not the right fit.

31:43 Growth prospects 

Conversely, if they’re an amazing fit, let them know about growth prospects. Let them know where this could lead to in the future. Treat them really nice, because then they won’t want to leave you.

31:56 Side benefit of hiring an employee

There’s been a bit of a side benefit from hiring my first employee. And I find now that I do my pay every week. Whereas before, I just kind of paid myself intermittently, when I go, ‘oh yeah I need some money to pay a bill’. So I would pay myself at that point. So it’s been a bit of a side benefit.

32:17 Things are getting progressed 

The obvious benefits, though, are that things are actually getting progressed. Honestly, there was no way I could do this podcast without an assistant on board. It’s just too much to do. I have also started getting out the emails, which are also connected. Everything is kind of interconnected. The online school is being readied for launch in the Black Friday sales.

All of that stuff is taking place, and that just wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have her on board. So I’m eternally grateful to have her on board.

32:49 Actionable education

Before we finish up with a productivity hack, I just want to go through a bit of an actionable education summary of what to do if you need to hire an employee or a contractor.

33:00 Online school for more detail

You’ll be able to take our course on hiring a person, and you’ll get much more details and handouts with that. So keep an eye out.

33:10 Time log exercise 

But in the meantime, you can either take some notes or grab this from our blog. Do the Time Log exercise we mentioned in last week’s podcast, in Episode 7, and we’ll also mention it in more detail with some live examples in the next Tea Time Tip.

Focus on identifying what tasks are repetitive. They’re the best ones to offload, outsource or delegate.

33:35 What person(s) do you need? 

What person or people do you need? So is it one person that can do all the tasks, or do you need to have three different people going to work part-time for you?

33:46 Employee or contractor?

Will an employee or a contractor be the right fit? Including the legal ramifications and the budget for it.

33:55 Minimise the impact of the bottleneck

Remember, you are going to be the bottleneck. I can assure you of that. How can you minimise that impact? Do you need to streamline or fix any processes before you bring that person in? Do you need to start recording these things before they come in, or can you live train them and keep that recording and then they create checklists and flowcharts from that.

34:18 Task allocation and management 

How are you going to manage your tasks? How are you going to allocate them out? And where are you going to do that allocation? So as a reminder, I use Trello.

34:28 Think about your feedback process

Think about the feedback process. How you’re going to communicate feedback? How you’re going to talk about their performance both good and bad? And make sure you’ve considered things like growth opportunities, personal and professional development. So that this person is going to be someone that grows with you and your business.

34:47 Tech tool and productivity hack Trello

We like to finish up with a productivity hack or a tech tool that we love. Today, it’s kind of both, and we use Trello. Trello allows us to create process templates that we can copy across every time we repeat the task. So for instance, for the podcast, like I said, there was about 20 steps to do the podcast, so that is all in one template. We copy that template across and go right podcast 8.

Recorded episode, tick. Edited episode, tick. Transcribe completed … And then we just put all the tasks in like that. You can allocate the tasks to different people. You can share a board with a customer, which can be very useful. So you can be in agreement with people as to what’s going on. There’s a lot of things you can do with Trello.

You can connect it to things like Google Drive, which we have done. So there’s a lot of great things here. I really recommend trialling a system like Trello to make your life better, but particularly when you have got a new employee or a contractor.

35:55 Hiring someone is a hard slog

In summary, is it a help or a hindrance to hire someone? There is no fairy godmother. There is no magic wand that’s going to be waived. There’s hard slog. Whether you hire that employee or that contractor, remember, you’re likely to be the bottleneck and the problem. Be prepared to work through it, and hopefully you’ll come out the other side happy, wealthy and wise.

36:27 Thanks and please subscribe 

Thank you for listening to today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast, available on all good podcast services. You can subscribe today via faqbusinesspodcast.com.au or directly on Apple iTunes, iHeartRadio or Spotify. Subscribe. Follow. Share, and where able, review our podcast or leave us a comment on either YouTube or our blog page.

Thanks for helping us to help you the small to medium businesses who are growing and want to make a difference, look forward to connecting with you again on the next episode of the FAQ Business Podcast.


Today’s podcast episode featured our host Jane Tweedy. Her details are as follows:

Jane is a Professional Certified Coach with International Coaching Federation (PCC with ICF), business advisor and trainer. She loves working with growing small to medium business owners who are doing the right thing, to help them do it right! Currently, Jane offers at least 50 live sessions a year to train small business owners.

Jane offers a variety of services to clients and her online school and membership site will be available before the end of 2021. Jane’s focus for 2022 is building the membership and offering implementable small group training – something she finds is often the missing link.

If you are interested in training, speaking, or anything else Jane has to offer, please connect via training@faqbusiness.com.au or via the contact forms on our websites.

faqbusinesstraining.com.au – our main site with a great blog

faqbusinesstraining.com – our new online school

faqbusinesspodcast.com.au – our podcast site

And on the socials …

Facebook https://facebook.com/faqbusinesstraining

LinkedIn https://linkedin.com/in/janetweedy https://linkedin.com/company/faqbusinesstraining

Instagram https://instagram.com/faqbusiness

About FAQ Business Training

If this is the first time you’ve come across us you may want to know who we are! FAQ Business Training has a mission to educate and empower action-taking small business owners to learn enough to do it yourself (DIY) or outsource with confidence, to avoid you getting ripped off, or ripping yourself off.

We do this via face to face training in Western Sydney plus online globally, speaking at conferences, events and networking groups. We have launched our online school and membership, offering online courses and webinars to appeal to a global (English speaking) audience. Connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.


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