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 of living in a connected world is that your team no more has to be sitting in the same office with you.

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

In my mind, there are two different types of virtual teams: the first one is setting up to work from different locations within the continent, and the other one is outsourcing overseas.

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

To stay in contact, be productive and on the same page, we use divers key resources and strategies, such as:

www.do.com to manage projects and 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 weekly standing call 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 my agenda, keeps me up-to-date, manages projects for me and handles the weekly tasks. She is the one setting up and sending out this newsletter! 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 an interactive PDF, a logo, or building an app, I have used www.elance.com to find providers who are a good fit for the specific task.

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

The last strategy I used to build my virtual team is 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 them are in the Philippines and work for me full time.

I realized that hiring overseas is a good fit for repetitive or specific tasks. 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.

Generally I have found salaries range from $200 to $500 USD/month for a full time person. 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. 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 of information –  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 tasks 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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