May 4, 2021

Growing Your Team 101

Growing Your Team 101

Building a team can be one of the greatest challenges you face as an online business owner. Learn the exact steps to the interview process, hiring process, and onboarding process inside this episode.

Did you know there are four massive mistakes most online business owners make when it comes to building a team?

If you’ve been in business for a while, chances are you’ve made some of these hiring and onboarding mistakes too without even realizing it. But not to worry. 

Inside today’s episode, I’m walking you through what you need to perfect your interview process, hiring process, and onboarding process so you know exactly what steps to take — and mistakes to avoid — when it comes to making your first (or next) hire.


  • Why you’ve been going about the hiring process all wrong

  • The four big mistakes you’ll want to avoid when building a team

  • What an onboarding process is and why you need one

  • The three simple systems you need in place to build a team effectively

PLUS, hear how we overcame our own hiring obstacles, put the right hiring process and onboarding process in place, and find out the exact steps we took to build a team of A-players and how you can do the same!

If this episode inspires you, leave a review and share your biggest takeaway with me. And while you've got your phone out, make sure to follow me on Instagram @thecourtneyelmer for more quick tips on how to streamline your business systems and spend more time in your zone of genius.





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© Copyright 2022 | The EffortLESS Life®


Courtney Elmer 0:01  

Welcome back, you're listening to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, Episode 68! Today we're talking about where to start when it comes to building a team. Even if you've already started building a team you'll want to listen to this episode, because inside I'm going to reveal some of the major mistakes I made when I first started hiring, why a hiring process and an onboarding process is so essential to your team's success, and the do's and don'ts of how to find the right people who can support you in achieving your greater vision. That's all coming up next, so stay tuned!


When I think back to all of the mistakes we made when it came to hiring and building a team, there were many. Chances are if you've been an entrepreneur or an online business owner for any length of time, you've likely made some of these mistakes too.  You might've not realized you were even making these mistakes until after the fact, when the person that you hired didn't work out or wasn't what you were looking for, and you had to start back from square one. Does that sound familiar? I can remember it was about a year into my business that I thought, Oh my gosh, I'm swimming over here! I need some help." I was so desperate to hire help and build a team that I jumped at any opportunity to do so. I didn't have a hiring process in place. I had no onboarding process in place. And at some point after flying by the seat of my pants for long enough, I realized that hiring and training people was taking more time and energy than I had to give. I thought, I need to be giving this time and energy to my business and my students and my clients! It created a Catch 22: even though I wanted (and needed) the help, I felt like I couldn't build a team because of how much time and energy it took to train them.


Courtney Elmer 3:26  

Since then, I've gone through about three years of trial and error when it comes to the hiring process and onboarding process. And after about eight VA's and quite a few freelancers later, I've finally figured out the secrets to growing a team of A-players. I'm going to be revealing the five steps to building your dream team on an upcoming workshop later this month, so make sure to stick around till the end of today's episode where I'll give you details on how to register for that if building a team is truly a priority on your to-do list.


Courtney Elmer 4:14  

Most entrepreneurs make several mistakes when it comes to building a team. I've identified four of the top mistakes that I see online business owners making when building a team, that keep you from finding the right people, training them effectively, and finally experiencing the relief that comes from having real support in your business.


  1. Not having a clear interview and hiring process. How many times have you stopped to think about your interview and hiring process when building a team? Do you even have a hiring process? If not, there's an area we can get to work right away. You need to have a clear interview and hiring process, and in a moment we'll talk more about what this looks like.

  2. Not having a clear onboarding process. Ooh, this is a big one when it comes to building a team. Look, I am the systems queen! But for years, I didn't have an onboarding process. Whenever I would hire, whether that was outsourcing overseas or hiring locally, I didn't have a clear onboarding process. It was like, "Hi, welcome! I'm so excited, you're here. Here are all the things I need you to do. Get to work!" It created a lot of problems. So you need a clear onboarding process.

  3. Not having clear systems to plug those team members into. We could go down several rabbit holes here. But really what I mean by this is, first, you have to have clarity on what role that team member is playing. How are they adding value to your business? Having clarity on their unique role prevents overlap where wires get crossed, communication breaks down, and the blame game starts. Plus, when you have clear systems to build a team and plug your team members into, they can take full ownership of their role without you micromanaging them. This starts with the hiring process and continues with the onboarding process, and it continues beyond the onboarding process!

  4. Not knowing how to hold your team members accountable. We're going to dive deeper into this in our workshop later this month on how to build a team of A-players where I will hand you our hiring process that we use here to build our team. This is a big one, knowing how to hold your team members accountable. And more importantly than that, knowing how to teach them to be self-accountable, so that you don't have to babysit them.


Courtney Elmer 7:52  

As the visionary leader of your company, building a team it's not about letting go of the things on your plate as it is about learning to trust that they will get done. And letting go of the need for it to get done your way. This is why having a hiring process and an onboarding process is so essential. I'm not saying that you shouldn't have a standard, we have standard operating procedures.  

If someone is not following those procedures, we have a problem with that. When that happens, we step in and we correct whatever's going on. But at the same time, recognizing that other people are not going to do it exactly like you would do it. And that's okay. Maybe they chose a different color for a graphic than you would have. Is that really going to break your business? No.  

Yet, as entrepreneurs, as visionary leaders, because we hold that vision so dear, we can get attached to the outcome. When you struggle to release those outcomes as you build a team, that's when it creates problems within the team. 

It can create a culture of nitpicking and a culture of micromanaging which is maybe not the kind of culture that you set out to create. But at the same time, that can become the culture because of underlying problems under the surface which link back to your own beliefs about how things should be done. I'm not saying not to have standards, have standards, and at the same time recognize and allow others to bring their gifts to the table and trust that it doesn't have to be done exactly to perfection. Be willing to re-evaluate your expectations there.


Courtney Elmer 10:22  

These are the four mistakes that I see digital business owners making when building a team, and the reasons why they make them are pretty interesting.

 Chances are, if you've identified with any one or more of these mistakes, like not having a clear hiring process, or a clear onboarding process, maybe it's simply never occurred to you that you need a hiring process or an onboarding process. This is so common. This is one of the underlying reasons why many entrepreneurs make these mistakes when building a team, is because it's never even occurred to them that they need hiring processes and onboarding processes! They're so desperate for help, that they're willing to do whatever it takes to get it. Or, they've been told they need to outsource and delegate. So it's like, hurry, hurry, get someone on board as quickly as possible, throw them, you know, half of your to-do list, and just have them start tackling it. It creates so much unnecessary stress on both sides. So reason number one people make this mistake is not even realizing hiring processes and onboarding processes are something you need in your business if you want to scale beyond the six-figure mark.

 Number two, in terms of why someone might make this mistake when building a team, is that feeling of urgency: feeling swamped by your to-do list and you like there's no way that you can keep up. This is where having a hiring process and an onboarding process really becomes essential. I had an experience recently in my own business where I wondered, How am I going to get to everything on my list? I had overbooked myself, and this went on for several weeks in a row. I was in a season in my business where I was trying to keep up. I didn't realize that this was happening in the moment, because all that my brain was focused on was surviving and getting through it. There were reasons that I was saying yes too often and overcommitting myself. It wasn't until I stepped back and unplugged from my work for a couple of days that I was able to recognize those reasons and solve the real problem for why I was overcommitting myself. I asked myself, How can I get to everything that's on my list? But it was the wrong question to be asking. Because the answer that came was had nothing to do with time blocking or organizing my list or scheduling things better. The answer that came was, You don't get to it all. You take more off of your list.

 *Skies parted. Angels sang*

 I was like, That's IT! It was tough to hear no doubt because now I have to go back and cancel things, and possibly disappoint people. But at the end of the day, what is more important: your mental health and your ability to show up as a visionary leader? Or what people are going to think if you can't commit to everything and therefore spread yourself too thin to try to be all things to all people? I share this because it leads us to another reason many entrepreneurs make these hiring mistakes is because of a fear of disappointing people. Building a team comes with a lot of responsibility. Lots of responsibility can make visionary leaders shirk. They don't want to be responsible for telling someone what to do. They don't want to come across as bossy or bitchy or ooh the business owner that nobody wants to work for. But you having high standards and holding someone to that standard is not bossy, it's inspiring them to greatness so they can realize their potential. Challenging someone to grow to their highest potential is different than bossing them around. And when you have a clear onboarding process in place, it sets the expectation and prevents a lot of these kinds of problems.


So if you have struggled with a fear of disappointing or upsetting people on your team while building that team, 10 times out of 10, there's a lack of responsibility going on there. One of my best friends called me out on this myself the other day, and she said, "You are the boss! And I remembered, yes, I am. I am the leader of my company.

 So if it helps you to make that little switch there, rather than being somebody's boss, you are their leader. As their leader, you are responsible to your people.

 Where this gets muddy is when the need to be liked by your team is more important to you than the desire to lead your team to greatness. When you choose to continue making these mistakes, you will waste your time training people who ultimately don't work out. You will waste your money paying those people who ultimately don't work out. You will constantly feel like you're starting back at square one. And the problems will repeat because you're unaware of or don't know how to avoid these mistakes.

 The good news is that fixing these mistakes and learning how to avoid them when building a team is very, very simple. It's a matter of getting a few simple processes in place when building a team, like a hiring process and an onboarding process, so that when you sit down to interview a potential team member, you already have enough criteria to determine if they would be a right fit or not for your team. 

  1. First, you need an interview and hiring process. Because once you have the interview and hiring process in place, it becomes so much easier to sit down to those interview meetings because you're only sitting down with the people who have true potential to fit into the culture that you're looking to create. The interview and hiring process helps you know the exact things to ask to get the answers that you need to determine their capabilities, their core values, and whether or not they truly align with the greater mission and vision of your company. It's a vetting process, essentially. So when you go to make that hire, you are confident that that person will have what it takes to get the job done, and will rise to meet your standards and to grow to greatness with you and your team. That's why the interview and hiring process is so essential.

  2. Next, you need an onboarding process. The onboarding process is an extension of the hiring process, and it's also essential when building a team. It doesn't stop with the interview and hiring process because then you have to train them. Yes, the onboarding process takes time. But during this part of the process, you can remind yourself that you are investing your time and energy now, so that after you've completed the onboarding process, your team member is fully equipped to support you long term.

    The onboarding process is essential to making building a team and training that team easy! When you have that process in place, you're not spinning your wheels trying to figure out, What am I going to hand them today to do?  I hope they don't send me 14 million questions today because I don't have time to answer their questions. Etc. None of that happens, because you have a clear training and onboarding process to follow and a clear system to measure their success over that span of time.

    Courtney Elmer 20:59 

Then finally, you need what I call a checks and balances system. This is an extension of the onboarding process and is essential to building a team because it ensures that what needs to be done is getting done, and to your standards. When you put these three simple systems to build a team in place, along with a couple of other key components that I'll be teaching you more in this month's workshop about building a team, the interviewing process, hiring process, and onboarding process will feel like a dream. I'm not exaggerating. It will be so easy to identify the right people, the headaches of trying to train them will be eliminated. You'll have saved yourself so much time, and money, and effort, and energy.

 Plus with these processes in place, it'll be so much easier to weed the wrong people out and make the right hire. The best part? You can learn how to do this. I'm going to give you an insider's look at our step-by-step playbook for building a team and hand over our hiring process and onboarding process. If you want to get your hands on it, keep listening because at the end of this episode, I'm going to share more about the upcoming workshop where for the first time ever, I'm going to reveal our interview process, hiring process, and onboarding process that we use here at The EffortLESS Life® to help you build a team with ease.

Now, while you're listening today, I'm assuming that you are listening on your phone, get it out, because I would love to connect with you. Come look me up on Instagram, you can follow us at In fact while you're there, send me a DM and tell me, do you have a hiring process or an onboarding process in place currently? What have been some of the biggest hiring snafus you've made, and what did you learn from them?

 Now coming up next week on the show, we've got a special guest here with me who is going to share how to build a $4 million company from your kitchen table. No joke. So if you are looking to scale beyond six figures and to do it quickly, this episode is for you. I'll see you back here next week on the Systems Made Simple™ podcast. Until then, go live your EffortLESS Life®!