Does this sound familiar? I’ve started the business of my dreams and I’m the expert in my field. But, I know I’m not the expert in ev 👏 ery 👏 thing 👏 it takes to run a successful business…nor do I have enough time in the day to do it all.
One of the most cost-efficient options for hiring people to help with your business is to outsource.
Outsourcing is when you hire a third party to complete business tasks for you. This is done to reduce costs and/or to be able to offload activities, so you can focus on specific parts of your business that need your attention or where your skill set is best used.
You can outsource essentially any part of your business. For me personally, I have or currently do outsource mobile development, accounting, social media, marketing, legal assistance, and website development.
The best part about outsourcing is sometimes it’s cheaper and most of the time it takes something off of your never-ending to-do list and allows you to focus your time and energy on a key part of your business.
The worst part about outsourcing is the amount of effort required to stay on top of communication and making sure you know what is going on, where issues are popping up, and meeting project deadlines.
3 CONSIDERATIONS TO MAKE WHEN WORKING WITH A REMOTE TEAM
#1 Different Time Zones
Time zones are also something to take into consideration when outsourcing work. When I hired my second developer (See this blog for the disaster of a story I had with my first developer) he was in Pakistan, which has an 11-hour time difference to my time zone. Our best time to talk was my late evening; the end of my day and his early morning; the beginning of his day.
I would read back through missed messages in the Slack channels from earlier in the day and communicate anything I needed too late at night. Then, I knew when I woke up in the morning, there would be a lot of messages waiting for me.
When I was looking to hire a QA, quality assurance, A.K.A someone who helps test and finds bugs and glitches in our mobile app, he lived in Ukraine, which was only a 2-hour time difference from my developer.
This worked out great because they would be working together and communicating back and forth the most.
At one point I was managing team members in Pakistan, Ukraine, Indiana, Boston, and Dallas.
I literally had the app with all of the different time zones so I could quickly glance at it and see what time it was for someone before sending them a message ha-ha!
Pro Tip: When outsourcing, see if you can negotiate work hours into your contract. Ex. The developer in Pakistan specifically worked a 12 pm-2 am U.S. shift which meant that I would have more opportunities to speak to him during “business hours” and late at night when I often get a lot of work done.
#2 Different Personalities & Communication Styles
A common challenge on any team is getting to know the different personalities and communication styles of others. The same thing is true when it comes to remote teams, except you’re forced to do it primarily through written communication.
As I mentioned in the previous example, time zones can play a big role in remote teams if you choose to hire someone in a different country.
Therefore, it’s less likely you will be on Zoom meetings with those team members because of the time differences.
Written communication through emails and Slack messages is going to be your new normal — so get excited!
Pro Tip: Be creative with how you connect with your team. One thing I chose to do was a fun questionnaire I sent via Slack to all of my team members. It had questions like, “What’s your favorite cereal” and “What is your biggest pet peeve?”
These were fun questions to ask each other and get to know each other by the answers they gave! Although it felt a little silly sending it out, it really did help to make people feel more connected with each other despite the time zones and physical distance.
#3 Different Styles of Problem Solving
Another challenge with managing a remote team is understanding the way others solve problems. The key elements to remember are clear communication and clarity.
I have never worked harder at communicating until I had remote team members and a brand-new mobile app to manage.
It’s important to know how others process information and how they prioritize the things that need to get done. In my experience with QuickSit, one of the main areas where I experienced frustration was in the order of how things were completed.
Some team members preferred to focus on the biggest fires occurring while others preferred to work on things in the order we had them listed, never deviating. You could argue both ways have their own benefits, but that’s beside the point.
The point is this: it needs to be crystal clear what items need to be a priority whether there is a big fire happening or not. This is one of the hurdles I had to rework to overcome with my team.
Pro Tip: using a visual tool like Trello can help you avoid confusion. You can prioritize the tasks in the order you want them worked on and it’s clear to the developer what task needs to be worked on next.
Follow me on Instagram @joykendle for more entrepreneurial advice.
- There are pros and cons to outsourcing members of your team.
- Communication and clarity are key in managing a remote team.
- People have different personalities and perspectives.
- Hire freelancers in similar time zones if they are going to be working closely together.
- Get creative with different ways to bring your team closer together despite the distance.
- Find and use tools to make managing a remote team easier.