If you’re an online entrepreneur who dreams of growing your online team or an OBM who would one day like to manage a team-based business, the idea of growing a virtual team from the ground up is likely a daunting idea. You’ve been solely responsible for your clients for a while now, and you feel comfortable knowing every single detail of their projects on a moment to moment basis. And this, let’s be honest, is exhausting. You want to grow your business, but you don’t know how to do it without giving up some level of control.

Growing your business means growing your team. And for this growth to be sustainable, these hires must be strategic and the time you spend on making your virtual team thrive must be considerable. Here are the three main ways that I’ve strategically grown my small, virtual team and how I nurture it daily to ensure that it thrives.

The People

I’ve hired people who are like me. People who are ultra-communicative and emotionally intelligent, people who are slightly irreverent and enjoy a good joke, and people who, when we’re not on the job, I enjoy having a conversation with. We understand each other on an elemental level, can finish each other’s sentences when discussing clients, and are on the same wavelength in a way that’s sometimes a little spooky. You should be hiring people who communicate like you do, absorb information at a similar pace, and who have a similar working style.

And though we’re similar in this way, we’re not clones. One team member thrives on strategy, another on solving tech issues and social media, and another who can write anything and make it sound good. Your team should be diverse in their talents but incredibly similar in their working style. This is what fosters trust and gives you the confidence to entrust your team with projects you never dreamed you’d be able to delegate

The Leadership

If you’re just starting to grow your team, you’re starting small. And what I’ve realized since growing my team is that sometimes, starting small and staying small is the most productive choice for a virtual team. When my team was still green, I utilized daily meetings. Now that we’re functioning like a well-oiled machine, we only hold group meetings twice per week. Instead, we have quick, 1:1 meetings with each other throughout the week when necessary to stay in the loop. As a manager, this is what keeps me sane, feel supported by a team, but also still in control of what’s going on in my business.

Because I’ve taken it upon myself as the leader to create clear guidelines and boundaries for every procedure in my business, I’ve been able to establish a level of trust in my team that allows me the independence to pursue new clients and develop future goals I never had the time to even think about in the past, while still remaining a touchstone if my advice or support is needed throughout the day. My team members know that they have the freedom to develop my procedures as they evolve, and that I trust them to keep things moving when I’m not around. The idea of managing a team was daunting in the beginning, but putting the procedures in place and delegating them to the perfect hires have made it easier than I ever dreamed possible.

The Tech

For a virtual team to thrive, you must be willing to spend on the technology that keeps you connected. (Tweet it!)

A solid project management platform that allows you to map the trajectory of projects and the tasks involved for each client is where the magic happens. My team thrives on Teamwork and a skillfully crafted and incredibly detailed Standard Operating Procedure for using the platform ensured. So from my very first hire, onboarding new team members was a breeze.

If you’re like me, Skype is insufferable. Consider investing in a monthly membership to a more reliable video conference platform like Zoom that allows you to send conference invitations to clients and team members.

A messaging app that allows you to organize your clients by channel is another tool that will keep you and your virtual team sane. Use a platform like Slack to alert one another to any especially pressing issues that come up on a daily basis concerning your clients. And don’t forget to set up a “General” channel where your team can toss around jokes, share GIFS to commiserate when things get sticky, or celebrate the end of the week with wine glass emojis.

Because when you have the right people, you’re putting in the time to lead your team like a boss, and you’re using the technology that makes your day-to-day run like well-oiled machine, these moments of humor and friendship are what make it all worth the effort.

Now over to you: Which tools and platforms do you use to keep communication flowing in your online business?

Disclosure: This blog contains affiliate links. I only partner with websites and platforms that I use on a daily basis and provide real value to my business. No clicks for a quick buck at Sarah Noked OBM!

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