Whether you’re working with someone on a temporary basis (such as the graphic artist I hired for my logo design), a seasonal basis (like a tax preparer), or a regular basis (your VA that does your weekly blog post and your monthly newsletter), remember that this person is a partner in your business. The first place to look for service providers is in your own networks. Ask people in your networking groups or ask other business owners if they can recommend someone. If that doesn’t net any results, ask your Facebook friends or ask around at church or other places you frequent. Often someone you know will know a service provider. Having a personal recommendation is your best option.
There will be times you won’t be able to find a personal recommendation. Some tips for those times are to search on LinkedIn or Google. I did a Google search for “plumbers near Naperville.” A number of different services came up, many with Google reviews. When looking at reviews you need to check the average of all the reviews, and keep in mind that often the most passionate reviews will be the negative ones.
One important point to remember (and it might make it easier to let go) is that even if you’re working with someone on an ongoing basis, you are only tied to any given service provider for as long as you want to be. Years ago (and in another town) I owned a car. I started taking it to the dealer for repairs but I often got the feeling that they were overcharging me, and I never felt as though things were thoroughly explained to me. So I asked around (to my friends) and started taking my car to an independent shop. I felt as though they were thorough in their explanations and clear in giving me repair options (when they were available).
We’ll continue this discussion next week by learning how to let go of the need to micromanage.