Your business is growing and you’re ready to add a team.

It’s important to take the time to really evaluate how you would like your team to work and communicate. Do you want team members that are local to you or does location not matter? Are you looking to have employees or consultants? This one is really important to understand the differences before moving forward.

How to Expand Your Virtual Team

If you are looking at a virtual team, you will want a place to communicate and a place to manage tasks. Getting main communication out of email is really crucial to staying organized. Emails are too easy to get lost.

Think you are ready? Let’s get started.

Identify Your Needs

  • Grab a piece of paper and start writing. Here are some questions to get you started.
  • What tasks do you dislike doing?
  • What tasks feel like busy work to you?
  • What tasks are really out of our area of expertise?

Now that you have a long list, go through it at categorize the tasks by function (marketing, social media, financial, client management, general administrative, etc) and, if applicable, list the systems or tools you use to accomplish those tasks (like WordPress for blogging or MailChimp for email marketing).

Estimate Time

I know this one can be a little challenging. It will help you get a better understanding of what benefit you will receive by eliminating tasks off your list. Take your hourly rate and multiply it by the time it takes you to get things done. Now you can assign a dollar value to your expected savings. Not that the dollar value necessarily means everything. If you have gotten super busy, maybe bringing on this team member will allow you to take weekends off to spend with friends and family – guilt free. That’s priceless.

Don’t get too attached to this time; it’s an estimate. As you bring on a team member, it may take longer to accomplish a few things while the person is learning how you like things done. I highly recommend looking for a consultant that works in packages instead of an hourly rate so there are no surprises. And, you won’t get hung up on comparing the completion times.

You can use this time as a guideline. It’s really more of a personal number for you. It may take one person an hour to upload and format a blog post with images and it might take someone else 15 minutes.

Write and Submit a Request for Proposal

There are many places you can submit a Request for Proposal (RFP). If you are looking for a Virtual Assistant, there is the Global Alliance of Virtual Assistants (GAVA) and the International Virtual Assistant Association (IVAA).

You could always do your own online search or ask colleagues for referrals. One directory worth checking out is Virtual Biz Connect.

If you are putting out an RFP, I suggest that you create a special email address for submissions. You may receive many responses and you won’t want all of those emails in your inbox.

Schedule Consultations

Check out their websites. Are there testimonials or examples of their work? If you are comfortable, schedule a Consultation.

Remember a Consultation is really a conversation for both parties. You both need to see if each other are a good fit. Make sure you have your questions ready. Of course, be clear about what kind of support you are looking for and the tasks required. Make sure you ask other questions that will also help you determine if you both will work well together.

  • Is time zone important?
  • What is the consultant’s office hours or response time?
  • What is the expected lead time required for tasks? Does the Consultant require 24 hour notice? Is there a rush rate if you need something sooner?
  • How is time off handled? What type of notice is given?
  • Try to get a feel for their work style. Is it compatible with yours?
  • Ask about their on-boarding process so you will understand all the steps you will need to complete if you decide to hire them.

Use your consultation time to focus on the required tasks and get a feel for how the consultant communicates and works. If you are laid back and casual, hiring someone who is rigid in their work style might not work out. For example, warning bells go off for me if a potential client wants me to answer their emails within 10 minutes of them being sent. I have more than one client and often close my email while working on tasks so my attention is focused. I check my email several times per day but it’s not open all day long. Be honest with yourself about what feels comfortable for you. Trust your intuition.

On-Board Your Team Member

In a perfect world, you’ll have systems and processes in place to make this a smooth transition. If not, make sure you get the basics figured out before they get started. In most cases, the Consultant’s on-boarding process will take care of asking you for all the information needed to complete the requested tasks.

If you are adding a member to an already existing team, schedule a meeting to introduce the new team member. Collaboration, comfort and trust can make all the difference in your team’s ability to think creatively and get things accomplished.

Congrats on expanding your team! Remember, communication is the key to success!

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