Virtual staff is something someone should invest the time in. Finding a dedicated team who will work with you is hard but it is well wroth it in the end. As entrepreneurs and online marketers, time is never on our side. The word part is the "Oh So Shiny Syndrome". Especially in this digital age with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. These are all time consumers and it is hard to focus on what you were doing.
Ever since creating a virtual staff in the Philippines, I was able to increase my productivity by a lot (usually a number goes here with a % sign). This year I am starting a bunch of new projects, one being an SEO campaign for a long term business. Another is setting up more products and providing services out there to the marketing industry, such as OfferSnitch.
With so many projects I am doing this year, my virtual staff has helped me stay on top of things. A lot of entrepreneurs think they can do everything and they probably can. When I started, I taught myself the complexity of Microsoft Excel, HTML, basic PHP, and most important online marketing. The problem with this is it can slow yourself and your business down and this is when you should start thinking about outsourcing.
What to Outsource
First understand what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. It took me a solid year to figure out what I wanted to do on a 'forever basis'. From this notion, I started to find what I needed specifically to outsource: accounting, admin, support, graphic design, WordPress development, programming, SEO, etc. I can do most of these but I am not the expert in these categories.
Look at your business and see its strengths and values. One thing I look at is what is repetitive and who is the expert. Again, I am no expert in SEO, I rather do paid traffic any day. The problem is there is a strength and there is a high value on organic ranking. So I would rather give this responsibility to someone who is far better than me and have the patience for it.
Another is a developer who creates all my custom programs. This is something that isn't repetitive but very important to any business. I think having your own custom tools is the most important part our industry. So this would be something I would outsource.
Finding the Right Team Member
There are arguments of if you should find a virtual staff in India vs the Philippines. I personally have all 5 of my members in the Philippines. I even spoke with Tyrone Shum about this issue on our podcast. This is the most time consuming part of getting the right person in the door. I wrote a blog post here about how to get the right person into your team.
oDesk can make this easy, but it again is time consuming to find the right person. Being patient is very important in this process because rushing the interview process means you will spend more time still trying to find the right person. Take this process seriously, it is your business so find the person who want to treat your business as theirs.
Make it Worthwhile for You and Your VA
Once you have a team, you want to make sure they are not just employees. Allow them to be versatile and creative with your business. In the internet space we can't help but be more creative and bouncing off ideas off your virtual staff is very important. Communicating with your team can create a great environment even if they are overseas.
I talk to my team every day and I allow them to work when they want as long as the tasks I need done are met at their goal dates. For some of my staff, I require them to work some fix hours but I still give them the flexibility of even days to work. By allowing me to be open with my staff they are more open to talk to me. I feel communication is very important. It allows you to be more creative as I stated. Your team members begins to express themselves to you and even chat about life.
Remembers your staff is part of your business, meaning they are part of your team. Do not look at your virtual staff as just repetitive button pushers, treat them with respect and they will work hard for your business.