Put Together Your Business Dream Team - Caleb Jones

One of the requirements of the Alpha 2.0 business model dictates that you can’t have any employees in any of your businesses. There are numerous reasons for this that I lay out in this book, but the bottom line is managing a bunch of employees and putting up with all the bullshit and red tape required will not make you long-term happy unless you are a very unusual exception to the rule.

However, that doesn’t mean you can hit your business or income goals all by yourself. You can’t. You’re going to need assistance from a lot of other people.

I view this as assembling your “dream team.” This is a small, core group of people who will help you accomplish your financial goals.

I’m about to list common categories of people you’ll need for your dream team, at least eventually. You will not need any of these people when you first get started. At that point, it might just be you and an accountant/bookkeeper and that’s fine. It may even take several years before you need them all. So if you have a small business that you just started, or only make $1000 a month or something like that, don’t think you need all of these people. You don’t, yet.

But you will eventually.

Here’s a list of some likely people you’ll need help from in your Alpha 2.0 business.

Accountant – Likely, this will be the first person you need. This person will do your tax returns and might give you some advice on how to save money on taxes (though an accountant will never be as good as a tax attorney).

Techies – These are technical guys who do the grunt technical work for you. In my businesses, I have guys who handle my websites, blogs, email, audio editing, and all kinds of other things. None of them are employees; they’re all virtual assistants or subcontractors. You should not be doing the technical work in your business. You should be doing sales, marketing, and product/service creation. Everything else should be done by your techies. It’s good to have a “lead techie” who can guide you, and perhaps lead and/or coordinate the other techies.

Coach (or coaches) – You should have at least one coach who is already where you want to be, helping you out in some form or fashion on a regular basis. I have one myself (don’t ask who it is; I won’t tell you and you wouldn’t know him anyway) and I will probably get a second one soon. Having a coach will save you a huge amount of time.

Family Attorney – This isn’t relevant if you have no kids, aren’t married, and live alone. But if you do have kids and/or any kind of significant other, you must have a good family attorney based in your local city that you can ask questions to whenever he’s needed, and he will be. It’s mandatory for the Alpha Male 2.0. Men in the modern era encounter too many problems with kids and women because they aren’t aware of the related laws (most of which are arrayed against men).

Tax Attorney – Once you’re making around the Alpha 2.0 minimum of $75,000 per year, and certainly once you hit $100,000 per year or more, you need to hire a good tax attorney and have him help you legally slash your taxes and get them down to the bare minimum required by law. Tax attorneys are much better than accountants, but they’re much more expensive, so you need to be making a decent amount of money before you bother hiring one.

Mastermind Group – This is optional, but super helpful. Being in a small mastermind group of guys at or beyond your level is a very good use of your time. I’m not in one at the moment, but I have been in the past and I will again soon.

Business Manager – At some point, when you get big enough, you’ll want to hand over most of the day-to-day management of your businesses to a business manager. That way, all you need to do is be the front-end guy for your business and focus 100% on the tasks that actually make money.

Financial Planner(s) – You will need one or more financial planners to help you manage your investments. You shouldn’t do all of your investment management yourself, no matter how smart you think you are. I do a lot of research on investing myself and I’ve made some good decisions, but I still semi-regularly bounce my ideas off two financial planners I trust (don’t ask me who they are) just to get some expert and external opinions. Often they will see things I won’t. Be sure to only use “fee only” financial planners, not the typical financial planners who manage everything and take a percentage of your gains. Fee only financial planners tend to be more objective.

16 Comments on “Put Together Your Business Dream Team

  1. Can you offer any advice on how to select these professionals? I have a few of them in my orbit (and accountant, a family lawyer and a bunch of techies) but how do you find a good tax lawyer, or coach or mastermind group? And perhaps most difficult, how do you find a good financial planner that won’t be more interested in himself than you? (I get your point about fee based, but there are lots of fee based guys  that are so conservative that they think making a couple of pct point on your money is good enough. So any other thoughts on this? In this area in particular the incentive structures do not play in favor of the customer.)

     

  2. Cool insights – thanks!  Never thought about a tax attorney or business manager.

    How many of the “tasks” that are outsourced should first be tried by oneself first?  In other words, wouldn’t you need to know how to do the task first before explaining it to someone else, etc? Granted – you might not have the same skill level as the specialist.

    Can you offer any advice on how to select these professionals?

    I can’t speak for Caleb, but I think some could be found (techies, for example) on a contract site like UpWork.

    I would also be curious about the business manager and mastermind group.  How do you find someone like that?

  3. @bluegutair

    FWIW, I agree, I have used upwork extensively (in fact nearly all the subs that work for me come from there, I have a group of about fifteen or so that I regularly use.) The reputations system is pretty reliable. Though, it is important to note you ain’t getting any Einsteins on there. But most tech work is pretty perfunctory, so you are good to go. Also, freelancer.com I have used before with some success.

    But the other guys are harder, and in a sense you need them to be top notch because of the leverage they have on your results. So any advice selecting them would really work.

     

  4. How do you find trustworthy folk to outsource tasks like running a website where they upload the technical stuff? I ask as this gives them control over the site and no doubt would give them to chance to really mess things up, like add a virus or post some shit linking to some penis enlargement sites or other shit.

    Unless you are constantly checking, it`s hard to keep a tab on them.

    I use guys from Upwork but have never developed enough trust I guess to let them in that much.

  5. Can you offer any advice on how to select these professionals?

    The rule of three. Interview three of them over the phone and pick the best one. Then assume that you’ll have to fire this person and replace him/her once, if not twice, before you find the ideal one.

    how do you find a good financial planner that won’t be more interested in himself than you? (I get your point about fee based, but there are lots of fee based guys that are so conservative that they think making a couple of pct point on your money is good enough. So any other thoughts on this?

    As above. Fire him and replace him and assume in advance you’ll probably have to do this.

    Alternatively, use two planners (I do), one conservative one and one more risky one and get both of their opinions.

    How many of the “tasks” that are outsourced should first be tried by oneself first? In other words, wouldn’t you need to know how to do the task first before explaining it to someone else, etc?

    Often, yes.

    I would also be curious about the business manager and mastermind group. How do you find someone like that?

    That’s pretty complicated, and requires a lot more online and real life research.

    How do you find trustworthy folk to outsource tasks like running a website where they upload the technical stuff? I ask as this gives them control over the site and no doubt would give them to chance to really mess things up, like add a virus or post some shit linking to some penis enlargement sites or other shit.

    1. Set up a non-admin account for them to use (usually possible).

    2. Only use VAs who have high rankings from many other people in the past (Upwork shows this).

    3. Use full on IEEE-rated firms where VAs are constantly monitored by managers (this is more expensive though).

    4. Never give anyone access rights to actually manipulate your money.

    5. Always have really good daily backups of all of your web sites and know exactly how to restore them fast.

    6. Always remember the 2% Rule. (Some virtual assistant is going to put a dick pic on your site for no reason? Really?)

  6. How do you find trustworthy folk to outsource tasks like running a website where they upload the technical stuff?

    IMO, it depends on how ‘mission-critical’ your site is.  Does it need to be super-secure and store important personal info.  Or does you ‘just’ have some blog posts.

    It makes sense to be on the safe side, though in general, I think most people tend to act honestly given the choice. I’ve found people through references, and also by just working with them over time.

    If you use WordPress, you could just make the content editor an ‘author’.  That way they only have access to certain documents.  Then you would just do a final review, and change the author of the article.  Of course, you’d have to be involved day-to-day, but not by much and it’s probably good to be checking in many cases.

  7. In regards to trusting people: I am a big fan of Tim Ferriss’ work, in fact he kind of got me started on the course to my own business. One story he told was of a time he was working crazy hours staying on top of things, and then he made a policy change. He told his various staff (support, tech, suppliers etc) that they were authorized to “do the right thing” up to a cost of $200 without checking with him. This, apparently, freed up something like 50 hours a week for him, and the number of mistakes these people made were very few. That means that he had 50 hours a week to use for more profitable things — like selling, marketing, or just chilling with his mates at some nice bar by the beach.

    The risk of trusting these people, assuming they have a good reputation, is very small, and the consequences not large (assuming you have your shit together, such as Caleb’s point about backups, and of course you can hire somebody to set that up for you and give you written procedures to restore.)

    Having multiple competing people also helps a lot. And people on upwork are desperately concerned about their reputation on the site. So if you are really worried about admin permission get one guy to do the work, and one guy to check it. Remote tech work like web site maintenance is utterly, embarrassingly, inexpensive.

    In regards to access to your money — most of these reputable VA places have more security around your credit card than Fort Knox. Ask them. They’ll tell you. You are at far higher risk using your credit card at Target than giving it to these people. Plus, if you are smart, one thing you do is monitor your credit card charges. (I do this once a week on Monday as part of my weekly review, it takes about three minutes.)

    Life is too short to worry about an occasional mis-spent $200. Better to use your time to increase your income 50% by other choices than worry about tiny operational costs and issues.

     

     

  8. What do you think about working with people I know like friends and acquaintances? Is this best to be avoided or a good idea if I know they are reasonably good? The big advantage is that trust usually isnt a problem though there are many other potential issues.

    This outsourcing idea is all fine but what about those of us who have not started a business yet and are in the planning stage? Its hard to justify paying some while there is not income yet from the business. Maybe if I can win some subsidies / start up fund then its a good idea to use it for this.

    What should be the criteria for selecting the coach?

  9. How does the Family Law thing work if you move? Do protections set up while you live in one location carry over to the new one?

  10. What do you think about working with people I know like friends and acquaintances? Is this best to be avoided or a good idea if I know they are reasonably good? The big advantage is that trust usually isnt a problem though there are many other potential issues.

    It’s fine as long as they are qualified to do the work. The problem when people hire friends is not that they’re friends, but that they aren’t qualified and are only hiring them because they’re friends.

    I would never hire a friend who wasn’t qualified just because I thought I could trust him more.

    This outsourcing idea is all fine but what about those of us who have not started a business yet and are in the planning stage?

    Start your fucking business then. What are you waiting for? Being a fucking employee is the last thing you want to be right now, especially considering there’s a huge recession/depression coming around the corner.

    What should be the criteria for selecting the coach?

    1. He should have already accomplished exactly what you want to accomplish.

    2. His personality and delivery style should be at least somewhat compatible with yours.

    How does the Family Law thing work if you move? Do protections set up while you live in one location carry over to the new one?

    Sometimes yes, usually no. If you move to a new state/province in the same country and you’re a citizen of that country, you need to re-address family law all over again. (If you’re going to do five flags like me and aren’t a citizen where you live, it’s much less important.)

  11. Having used some of the most expensive of all professionals — attorneys — in my my very legal intensive business ventures, I’ll share my rule of 3…

    You’ll need to not only interview at least 3 professionals to find one, you’ll likely need to go through a couple of mediocre ones to get to that third good one.

    Most professionals statistically speaking are mediocre, +/- one sigma. Some mediocre ones are really good at marketing themselves and talking their way into engagements with you, but really can’t back it up with their work.

    Unfortunately, the only way to know this is to use them on a project or two and see if the results match the hype. This is especially true in the big-dick swinging arena of lawyers, where many of them think they are the shit, but underwhelm you with results.

    Even if you’re fortunate to find a good one in the first couple of guys you hire, always be looking for better and trade-up. At least add the superstar to your team and divvy up the work as it makes sense — routine tasks and work to the good guy and keep the superstar for the situations requiring his greater skill and ability (and price). Besides it’s wise to have some depth on your bench and not have all your eggs in one basket.

  12. FWIW, I disagree with Caleb about the family/friends thing. Basically my view is that you should never hire family or friends (and you should ESPECIALLY never lend them money, or, god forbid countersign a financial obligation.) There are exceptions with regards to your children and financial dependents. But bottom line is this: you should always make it easy to fire someone who isn’t doing a good job. If that is hard, then they are a bad hire. If you are cold and can do it, go for it, but most people find it hard to deal with the emotional baggage of firing family and friends, or even confronting them for non performance. Realize that if you hire a friend they will largely cease to be your friend and mostly become a business contact. #askmehowIknow.

    There are exceptions to this. Basically, if you are doing it out of charity — basically you are finding an excuse to give them money or signal your support. But don’t expect any productive work out of them, and mind your relationship carefully, and make it for a fixed limited time. Don’t lend friends and family money, if necessary give it to them no strings attached. If you don’t you’ll end up giving it to them anyway, but adding a side dish of acrimony and ruined relationship along side.

    For example, one time a friend of mine wanted a car for her son, but didn’t have the capital. I was selling a car so she asked me to buy it with 24 monthly payments. I foolishly said yes. So the transaction was done, she paid the first installment. Next day her son takes possession of the car and rolls it at the first country road he finds writing the car off, though thankfully he wasn’t hurt himself. Needless to say the idiot did not insure the car.

    Now mom had the spend the next 24 months sending me a check even though she had nothing to show for it. Must have been brutal. I give her big props though that she actually followed through. Many, many people wouldn’t with the twisted logic that they didn’t have a car so why were they paying for it. Needless to say she could never look me in the eye again, and our friendship was ruined.

    Bottom line, don’t do business with family and friends. Be friends with your business partners for sure, but make sure they are business partners first and friends second. Never hire someone you can’t easily discipline for poor performance, or fire for delinquency. And for god’s sake don’t hire someone you are dating. That is bordering on insane.

    That is my view anyway.

     

  13. Oh, I’ll add more about this friends and family thing. Even if they are super competent, maybe even the best in the world, I won’t do it. One time many years ago I had a company with a partner and we needed a VP of Sales. I was married at the time and she had a brother who was an excellent sales manager, so we hired him. Huge mistake. He got this “you owe me” attitude going on, as often happens with American workers, and then basically didn’t do much for several years. I had to fire him. Imagine if you will what it is like to fire your wife’s brother? Not fun, and about as much drama as a person can possibly endure.

    That is the problem with friends and family. They think that your relationship with them is the basis for employment rather than the normal “contribute some value and I will pay you some percentage of that value back.” Partly it is because of the dreadful attitude of Americans to their employers or contractees.

     

  14. you should always make it easy to fire someone who isn’t doing a good job. If that is hard, then they are a bad hire

    Correct, that is always true, regardless of friends or not. So yeah, if you don’t have the balls to quickly fire your friend or family member, don’t fucking hire him. (But that would be your failing, not his.)

  15. Caleb Jones says

    Correct, that is always true, regardless of friends or not. So yeah, if you don’t have the balls to quickly fire your friend or family member, don’t fucking hire him. (But that would be your failing, not his.)

    Yup, but why make it more difficult that it needs to be? One reason to avoid employees like the plague is that with employees comes employment law, something designed to make employment both a nightmare for employers and much, much less profitable for employees (but of course making politicians rich and popular.)

    So don’t do it. Use subs and offshoring instead. It is not to say you can’t make employment work, but why take on the massive extra burden when you have a perfectly less burdensome option?

    Same with friends and family. Firing a friend of family member from a job is also firing them from your friendship or family most of the time. In fact just taking them on for a job, even if they do a great job, fundamentally changes the nature of your relationship, almost always for the worse. Why take on that extra burden when you can hire someone else? And you can’t risk picking and choosing. Just have a “don’t hire friends and family policy” that you apply universally and it will save you all kinds of shit and drama for the same reason you should avoid employing people.

     

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