When running a virtual business as a lifestyle entrepreneur, it’s super critical that you have the right remote team behind you. Unlike an offline brick and mortar business, you have way less room for error when it comes to hiring the right staff. An inefficient or otherwise bad team member is easy to identify when you share an office, but when you’re separated by thousands of miles, time lags are a common occurrence because of time zones and other factors.
Getting down to bare bones, you need to hire the best virtual staff members possible and have a checklist, of sorts, in place to weed out those who’re inefficient or otherwise unproductive. Worse, when customer service comes into the equation, you need to be able to quickly identify team members who aren’t servicing clients in a way that keeps them coming back.
Here’s some advice about the most critical employees you need to have in place to make a lifestyle entrepreneur way of life possible.
First thing first: Onboarding
Onboarding is critical to the success of your location independent business. Except in rare circumstances, you’ll rarely have the chance to meet your virtual staff. Before you even make a hire, you need to focus on having a plan in place to test your virtual employee’s skills before you agree to take them on. Every task you farm out that isn’t completed, or completed improperly will impact your brand negatively.
Training and a solid onboarding plan are essential to avoiding hiccups. Well trained employees are more apt to work independently without help, and able to handle difficult situations as they arise, regardless their skill level.
Traits to identify in virtual team members
1. Self starter
Just as you need to be a self starter to run a location independent business, so too does your staff members. You’ll have to discover this trait the hard way though; often, you’ll encounter employees who deliver more excuses than they do completed tasks — eliminate them sooner rather than later.
2. Good communication
Make it clear when/how you want team members to contact you, including virtual meeting times, followups when deliverables are requested, and when staff members need clarification. Obviously, they need to speak your preferred language and not simply rely on translation tools for crystal clear communication.
In most cases, the staff you’re managing remotely won’t be looking you in the eye when they’re making promises or offering information related to your business. If they lack integrity, they could cripple/destroy your business. Liars need to be dispensed with immediately. A person who lies once will surely do it again.
This doesn’t mean you need to put “must be an introvert” in the tagline of your job advertisements. Rather, your remote employees must understand they won’t be surrounded, motivated, and consoled as they would when working in a traditional office environment. In a perfect world, every staff member you hire would have at least a year or more experience working in their specialty online.
Work references are almost always demanded when someone applies for a job online. Too often, lifestyle entrepreneurs, particularly newbies, find it perfectly acceptable to hire a remote employee with little or no recommendations from other business owners. Just because you can hire and fire indiscriminately doesn’t mean it’s the smart way to run a business — a bad hire can cause havoc with you and your customers/clients in just a few short hours of work.
Must-have team members
Now that you’ve got some great hiring tips, let’s look at a few key team players you’ll need to have on your side to be successful as a lifestyle entrepreneur:
1. Customer service
Impeccable customer service is key to any business’s success in the modern age of millennials and gen Zers. Aside from the mindset of gen X and aging baby boomers who demand high service levels, modern youth are demanding 24/7, expert-level service to accommodate their needs. Make sure you have a virtual team assembled for phone, email, and online chat support for your customers. In other words, have virtual reception, call answering, technical support, and any other support staff assembled to care for your customers.
2. After-hours project management
In most cases, a lifestyle entrepreneur is running the type of business that can benefit from having the troops ready to deploy and attack 24/7. Consider an ecommerce store or online service-based business, for instance. Why limit your business to working business hours? You’ll need people working on key projects while you sleep and reliable managers in place to help them to minimize your stress levels.
3. On call staff (specialists and general workers)
This is much easier when you have a reliable service provider you can call on at a moment’s notice, but such services do vary in quality and price. Sometimes a lifestyle entrepreneur needs to rely on services like UpWorker, Freelancer, and other independent dotcom solutions. Regardless, you need to have staff in place to accommodate any spur of the moment or future business needs resulting from company growth. It could be a coding issue on your site, a sudden spur of online sales, or a client laying a big project on you with an impossible deadline, etc. You’ll need these on call folks to run a successful vagabond business venture.
Now is the best time ever to combine your travel, life, and business needs into one. You don’t need to rent or own a brick-and-mortar office to run a successful business. You just need a few key team members to get things done, service customers, and solve problems as they arise so you aren’t stressed to the max every hour of every day.