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Have you heard of the book The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss? It is a must read for pretty much anyone but especially for a business owner adapting to the new economy.

One of the advantages to living in a connected world is that your team no longer has to be sitting beside you in the same office.

I often get asked about this because my team is almost completely virtual.

In my mind there are two different types of virtual team. One is outsourcing overseas and the other is setting up to work from different locations.

My wonderful assistant is based in New Hampshire and I live outside of Toronto, Canada. And yet we work very well together.

We use some key resources and strategies to stay in contact, on the same page and productive such as:

www.do.com to manage projects, tasks and stay on the same page (and it is free!)
www.gotomeeting.com to work on copy and projects together on one desktop (cost is $49/month with a free 30 day trial)

And we have a standing call at the same time every week where we review the list of projects and tasks and talk through what needs to happen for the week.

This meeting is the essential glue to keep us in communication and on track.

My assistant organizes me, keeps me on track, handles the weekly tasks (she is the one actually setting up and sending out this newsletter!) and manages projects for me. Eventually I would like her to develop into running most of the operations and managing the team.

And we see each other in person about once a year! I have also outsourced and hired people overseas.

For specific projects such as creating a logo, turning an exercise into an interactive PDF or building an app, I have used www.elance.com to find providers who are a good fit for the specific project.

Elance is a great resource to hire subject experts for a one time or infrequent project.

The last way I have reached out to build my virtual team is by hiring staff overseas. I have had good outcomes in particular hiring people from the Philippines.

At the moment I have an audio editor and a graphic designer on my team – both of whom are in the Philippines but work for me full time.

What I have found is that hiring for repetitive or specific tasks is a good fit for hiring overseas. Not so much for activities such as article writing or project management.

However the added capability is amazing. Being able to have a graphic designer on staff who can create ads, banners or product design with a quick turnaround has been invaluable.

The exchange rate is about 45 Philippine Pesos to $1 USD, so what would be considered inexpensive in North America is a good salary in the Philippines.

Generally I have found salaries range from $200 to $500 USD/month for a full time person. Again remember the position you are hiring for will likely be very task based.

There are a number of valuable resources for finding and hiring staff from the Philippines:

www.replacemyself.com – great resource for what to look for, how to hire and how to work with Filipino employees (free content and a paid for service)
www.onlinejobs.ph – Philippine job postings
www.123employee.com – more expensive but they offer pre-selected employees and set them up with computers and an office – you choose how much time and what you are hiring them for

Not sure how adding virtual team members can help your business? Check out the free Training Webinar on ReplaceMyself.com or read Timothy Ferriss’ The 4 Hour Workweek book for great suggestions on where to start.

The internet and evolving technology are opening up the doors to increase productivity and leverage. Check it out and see how you can make it work for you!

 

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