One of the questions I get asked most often as I coach small business owners on how to build their online presence is how to go about hiring a virtual team.

The reason people keep asking this is because they understand the importance of having people assist them as they build their businesses. You don't need to be spending your time on anything that doesn't actually make you money and the internet has made it easier than ever to lead a team from all over the world.

The problem lies in the fact that the internet is like the wild wild west. There are plenty of great virtual contractors out there, but there are also plenty of bad ones. Here's what you need to know about hiring virtual contractors without the headaches.

Figure out which duties need to be outsourced.

When I started thinking about hiring my first virtual contractor, I had to get crystal clear on what tasks I actually needed to hand off to someone else.

The first thing I did was open up a new note in Evernote. I tracked every single thing I did for two weeks straight and marked which tasks needed to be done by me versus what could be handed off to someone else.

This helped me gain clarity in terms of what I actually needed. It also helped me see what tasks I could afford to get off my plate versus which ones I could aim to outsource down the road. A few days after completing this exercise, I hired my virtual assistant who has been with me since 2014.

This exercise also works at different stages in your business. I actually had to do it again recently when I realized I was taking on too many tasks that were taking away time from actually growing my business. It helped me realize I could outsource images and some social media management, so that's what I proceeded to do.

Alternatively, you can also use this to see which tasks you're really good at and which ones you'd rather stick a fork in your hand than actually do. The latter is actually the very first thing I started outsourcing in my business.

Ask for referrals.

We're living in a time where a ton of business owners have virtual contractors. Use this to your advantage by asking for referrals. More specifically, ask colleagues you trust who they work with.

This is actually how I found someone to make Pinterest images and manage my account. A colleague of mine asked on FB for referrals and someone's name came up. I already knew this person, but up until that point didn't know they managed Pinterest accounts.

I immediately emailed them to set something up. Within a week they started working for me.

Hire people for their specialty, not general stuff.

One of the biggest mistakes business owners make when hiring virtual contractors is assuming that one contractor can handle everything.

I admit I sort of made this mistake too. I thought my first virtual assistant could manage emails and make cool graphics. I quickly learned that's not how this stuff works.

Rather than trying to find a super virtual contractor that doesn't exist, focus on hiring people based on their specific expertise. For example, my virtual assistant is great at systems and managing people, but I have a separate person for Pinterest and Instagram images.

The Bottom Line

Virtual contractors can help you scale your business so you can get back to focusing on the things that actually move your business forward. While the hiring process can be a headache, it doesn't have to be if you follow these tips.