Building and developing the right virtual team can make or break your business. If you choose the wrong people, they can destroy what you have spent years building. On the flipside, the right people, bought into your vision, can elevate and scale your business more than you could imagine.
In this post I am going to share:
So, what do I mean when I talk about outsourcing and virtual teams?
Outsourcing is essentially obtaining products and services from an outside supplier.
A virtual team or virtual assistants are people help support your business in a variety of functions but are location independent. So right now in my team, I have different people across the world who work on various projects. We are connected through virtually, have regular meetings through video conference and collaborate in real time via cloud software.
Virtual Assistants can cover anything from administrative, social media, graphics, to customer support tasks. But the main thing here is that the role is a virtual position.
When talking with clients and other business owners, the three common reasons I hear from people on why they haven’t started outsourcing is that they are “not ready”, “can’t afford it” or “I can do it faster myself”.
If you’re not earning a lot of money in your business, it might feel counter-intuitive to invest in additional team members, however, the reality of this is not true.
If you have a desire to grow and scale your business, you are actually limiting your growth potential by trying to do everything yourself.
When it comes to the money bit, look at this way, how much extra money are you able to make now by yourself if you have no more available hours? Additional support will allow you to you release some of that workload and begin to focus on the high-value activity in your business.
When I went from having a virtual assistant for 5 hours a month to 10 hours a WEEK, that produced a huge shift in my business and mindset in terms of what I was able to now release and the income I was now freed up to generate. Is it no surprise I was able to leave my job 4 months later!
And finally when it comes to the old excuse of “I can do it much quicker”, yes maybe you can, but for how much longer and what are you sacrificing in its place in order to complete this task. At the beginning sure you will have to spend time training someone and bringing them up to speed, but once they get it, life is good for you now.
1) You have run out of capacity.
There are so many hours in the day and if you are finding yourself working 80 hour weeks and things are still not getting finished, it’s time to evaluate what you’re doing in your business and whether you are the best person to do that task.
2) It is a task you are not able to do.
Rather than spend hours trawling through Google and Youtube, trying to figure it out yourself, you pay someone who is an expert to do it for you and they complete it far quicker.
3) It is a task you don’t like to do.
There are some things we just don’t like doing in our business, but yet are important activities, which if we neglect can have a detrimental impact. For me, that is invoicing, chasing up payments etc. If you feel the same about certain activities, outsourcing them is then the way to go.
4) You want to grow and scale your business.
As I said above, you can only do so much when it’s just you. Bringing in additional support helps to free up more time and create more opportunities for you in your business. You are also supported more in your business and are able to create better workflows, synergies, and efficiencies.
As the CEO in your business, you need to know where to focus your time and energy for maximum return. Low-level admin tasks should not be replacing high-value marketing and sales activity which is a high priority for any business.
You will know what are the high-value tasks, but too often you are unable to spend your time doing them because you are bogged down with a low-level activity which you SHOULD outsource.
The first task I outsourced in my business was social media, websiWordPressess work and admin tasks. I went through a number of different people before I found someone who was reliable and she stayed with me for a year.
Well, I recommend you spend some time to get clear on what your overall vision and goals are for your business. From there, you can start to design what your business will look like in terms of the various tasks and roles.
Next, you identify the tasks you want to outsource. To help you do this, you want to create what Chris Ducker calls “Three Lists to Freedom”
The third list is the game changer because so many coaches are doing things they shouldn’t be doing, even if it is something they enjoy.
Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean that you should.
Take these identified tasks, and start to pull together a job description or project outline for what you want help with. You want to create a really clear job description so that you can confidently go out recruiting, knowing what you are looking for.
1) Your community
My current assistant is a member of my free Facebook group, and when I posted I was looking for an assistant, she applied. Initially, I had never thought about reaching out to my community. But the benefits are huge. These are people who have already bought into your brand and more often than not, excited at the opportunity to get involved.
2) Courses and programs you are taking or other paid groups
My best VA to date was a girl I met on a group coaching program. I liked her attitude and personality inside the Facebook group, and when she announced she was starting up a VA business, I approached her about working together. Consequently, she was with me for 9 months.
3) Free Facebook groups
I am part of a number of what I call “professional” Facebook groups, ie. they are tailored to specific industries. Three of my favourites ones for finding contractors are:
I have found a number of GREAT people from these groups. But be warned: you WILL get inundated with posts when people apply.
Who do you know? Who do the people you know, know? Ask around but remember to still do your due diligence. Just because someone is referred does not mean that they are perfect or without fault. Still, ensure that he/she is the right person for the job.
5) Odesk/People per hour
This is great for one-off jobs or specific things if the above options are not for you. Price and experience vary, but this is where I started. I’ve had a few good experiences and some not so good ones too!
I like to initially connect with prospective candidates through Skype, we chat and then have a conversation. I am interested in understanding their background and experience, why they want to work for me, what they can bring to the table and anything that might have an impact on their work including time zone conflicts.
For example, some of my team members are moms which mean they effectively work flexi-time (aka any free time they have), now this is not a problem for me (I have two kids of my own), as long as the work gets done when it is due. But knowing that I have a team member that has children, gives me context to their working environment and expectations.
Once I am happy with the interview process, I give them a real piece of work from my business to complete. I do this for many reasons; I want to validate their experience claims, but I also want to see what it is like working with them, how they communicate and react situations – oh so important.
Once that job is complete and I happy with the outcome, they come onboard properly as part of the team, which includes signing a contract, NDA and a welcome pack (which includes their job description and a personal welcome from me).
Managing a remote team can b a challenge. Communications is key both individually and as a team on the whole. It is important to connect with your team on a regular basis. I meet each of my team members weekly. In between those sessions, we communicate via Slack and manage our projects via Asana.
Each team member also has KPIs (key performance indicators) which are targets we have agreed together and track in their 1:1 sessions.
It is important to note that building a team is as much about the people as it is you being a good leader. There will be challenges, so it is important that you are clear on your values and boundaries. Also, know that this is business and nothing is personal or at least it shouldn’t be, hence why having clear objectives and KPIs removes any emotional elements from work conversations.
The right team can propel your business forward so much, and I want you to use the tips above to ensure you get the right people, the first time.
Want to download my cheat sheet where I share the top tools to use for managing your virtual team? Get it here. [insert link]
Chichi Eruchalu is a Business Strategist who helps you get noticed and known by the people that matter – your ideal clients.
Her sweet spot is business visibility, helping you confidently overcome their fears around being seen online by helping you lead with your strengths.