So your business is going well, you have a great client base and are generally a happy business bunny. But what about taking on more support? How do you transition from ‘I’ to ‘we’?
Decide on the structure
Think about what structure you envisage for your business and that of the virtual team you want to hire to support you. Taking on employees or working with freelancers or associate virtual assistants (VAs) would mean setting up your team in different ways.
The structure you decide now can always change in the future if you chose to restructure but it’s a good place to begin when imagining growing your team.
Just as you would if you were hiring someone full time, it’s important to do your research into the person or people who want to join your team. Read their CV sure, but also connect with them through LinkedIn and ask them for any testimonials and references that they have. You can even ask to see some examples of their work they completed for previous clients. Anyone who is keen to work with you will have no problem sharing these and often will volunteer before you have to ask.
Build your network
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will both motivate and inspire you to make yourself and your business a success. Fill each day with positive energy and influences with people that you love spending time with, even if it’s just in online groups.
Building a virtual team means you don’t just have to go to local networking events to find people to work with. You can work with people abroad if you wanted to.
Having a network of these like-minded professionals will give you access to people to bounce your ideas off which is so helpful when working on your own, as well as being able to learn from them too.
Manage your expectations
Be clear on your expectations when hiring a new team member. Make sure they know how you prefer to be contacted, who the best contacts for them are and also your expectations of them working in your business.
Agree a project fee or hourly rate and have an idea or agree an amount of time they will spend within your business each month so there are no surprises later.
Ensure your values and mantras are shared with your team from day one of them working with you. While it gives them knowledge into your business’s values, it also gives you the opportunity to remind yourself of these too.
Notice the skills
Ask potential or current team members what they are actually good at and what lights them up as it may not be what they’ve assigned to do for you. Notice their skills and use them. You’ve hired them because they’re awesome so let them be!
The legal side
This may sound a little formal but it’s really important, for both parties, to have a contract or service agreement that is agreed and signed. Should things not work out, which could happen for many reasons, you will need to look to your enforceable contract to check your or their terms and conditions of the agreement.
Contracts are common practice with most people so most professionals will be used to receiving or issuing contracts.
Get your systems in place
The digital world we have nowadays makes it so easy for virtual teams to not only connect but share documents, communicate and work on projects together. There are various virtual systems such as Todolist, Slack, Asana, Minutedoc and Skype that all make working collaboratively a slick operation.
Get your systems in place so that your team can work effectively within that system and all team members know how to view documents, start conversations and keep everything you need in each project’s dedicated area.
Once you have your technical systems in place ensure your businesses processes are in position too. Creating an operations manual means everyone in your team knows how you are running your business.
Just because you aren’t all sitting together in an office doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy being part of a team. Organise meet ups in person as regularly as you all like, whether for social or work purposes or even an online meet up for everyone if your team is around the country.
Have fun with your team and enjoy them!