Behind the scenes: Working with a virtual team and dividing up tasks
I always find it super interesting to see how others work with a team remotely and manage tasks and projects between team members. So today I thought I’d share how we manage this in my own business!
I’m going to give you a little preview of who does what, and how we communicate and manage tasks between us.
My business still has a pretty lean team, and I’ll be honest, I really like it that way. Managing a lot of people and communicating between a large team does not sound like a fun time to me, so I’m happily running this business with a small but efficient group!
My virtual assistant
An international tax advisor
A Facebook ads team
I also have a lawyer on call, though that’s more of a sporadic need, not a constant, ongoing working relationship. My lawyer is based in Germany but travels all over the world while working too. Though we live in the same country, Germany, the only time we met was in Bali.
My assistant is an independent contractor and currently does about 60 hours per month for me, so she definitely falls into the part-time category. My assistant is Canadian but is living the RV life, roaming from state to state in the USA. We’ve never met IRL. (Though we have plans to change that in the new year!)
My international tax advisor and bookkeeper work together in the same German firm and I also have a contract relationship with them. They both work more traditionally for a large firm in a German city a few hours away from me. I go visit their office about once a year, otherwise we just chat over the phone or Google Voice or Zoom.
And lastly, my Facebook ads team is another contractor. There’s 3 girls who work together to create the ads, write the copy, manage the tech and report on their success. The girls are often on the move, roaming from Europe to North America to Asia frequently. Also never met any of them IRL.
So there is really only 1 full-time “employee” in this business and that’s me. Granted, I also have taken a lot of time off this year. I just counted it up, I took 41 days off in the first half of this year for vacation and then also was doing slightly condensed work days for 2.5 months while I was doing German language classes.
Okie dokie, so now you know who is in the business, let’s talk about what everyone does!
Set the vision, create ideas, set goals, timelines and tasks
Oversee business finances, legal and tax things with help of bookkeeper, lawyer and tax advisor
Hire team members, manage & pays contractors
Manage the team, conduct meetings
Create original content: Podcast & blog (repeatable bits are completed by VA)
Create products (repeatable & admin bits are completed by VA)
Create marketing/launch schedules & write sales copy
Create sales pages, write sales copy
Do live Q+A calls with course students
Create graphic templates to be used by VA
Refresh website design and write site copy
Post to Instagram stories
All external communications & customer service via email, Instagram DM’s & live chat
Light graphic design: Creating graphics from pre-made templates
Webinar assistance: Supporting attendees in the live chat
Assistance with tasks related to producing content, products & services
Executing course launches
Bringing podcast episodes to life: Manage guests, edit recordings, upload & schedule episode, write show notes, make graphics
Manages Pinterest account
Plans and executes our promoted pins campaigns
Sends weekly newsletter email
Upcoming: Repurposing content from blogs to Instagram feed
Facebook ads team:
Creates ad copy & graphics/videos
Manages the FB ads tech
Monitors & tweaks ads
Pay taxes to correct government offices
Send our VAT payments to the EU
Prepares tax filings
Oversees & submits tax filings
Gives advice on corporation issues and financial management
I used to meet with my assistant weekly, but sometimes found we’d get on a call and not have anything we needed to discuss. So we switched to setting a consistent day and time to meet to make planning simple, but we only use that meeting time if we actually need it. Either one of us lets the other know if we feel the need to meet, normally by Sunday, and then we actually meet on Tuesdays. We use Facebook messenger to communicate and do video calls which we LOVE. We’re honestly not the biggest Slack fans and find FB messenger has everything we need! (I especially love the voice messages feature with FB messenger, sooooo efficient. And the fact that you can do video calls and share screens with it.)
(Fun fact: You don’t need to have a Facebook account active to use Facebook messenger. I’ve spent months with my Facebook deactivated, but still used messenger.)
Facebook ads team:
We have a once a week meeting for about 30 mins and otherwise chat via Slack.
Bookkeeper & tax advisor:
We don’t have set meetings and just call each other up when needed.
Managing tasks between team members:
In terms of managing tasks, most team members have really specific jobs which they’re fully responsible for, meaning there’s no grey zone and effort needed to figure out who does what.
(Which leads me to a tip on how to manage tasks between team members; make specific people fully responsible for specific jobs so there’s no overlap or grey zone. It’ll make everything a lot more clear and require a lot less back and forth communication and confusion.)
This is slightly different with my assistant and I.
I needed to divide our tasks clearly so that we weren’t getting in each others way or doing tasks twice. I took two things into consideration, what needs to get done in the business? Which of that can only I do? And with projects/tasks that have some aspects only I can do and some anyone could do, how can I clearly delineate roles within the same project?
For example, podcasting is a big project.
As it’s my own podcast and I’m the host, only I can be the voice on it. But the rest? That didn’t need to be me. So I record episodes, and after that, everything is done by my assistant.
Pinterest promoted pins was something I wanted to get into, but it didn’t need to be me doing that by any means. Anyone with the right education on the topic could run that. So that’s a job my assistant takes care of!
With Instagram, I do the stories because that’s live. But the feed? That’s not live and I have a TON of content elsewhere which could be used on Instagram. (I’ve got yearssss of blogs and now podcast episodes full of content which can be repurposed!)
It’s still all my content, but I don’t necessarily have to be the one in the Instagram scheduler choosing photos and hashtags. So that aspect of Instagram is going to be something my assistant will be taking care of going forward.
Project management system:
My assistant and I use Asana to assign tasks to each other.
Though, because we both have such defined jobs, often I’m not actually assigning things in there anymore, my assistant just knows what needs to get done when.
For example, the inbox is checked daily, the email newsletter goes out once a week. When a blog post is marked as ‘Needs review’ she knows to prep & schedule it. I send her a voice message now and again letting her know I finished and uploaded a podcast recording, and she knows to do the rest.
There are indeed many aspects of what I’m still doing now which could be passed off to an expert in that area. (Sales page creation, copywriting and site design comes to mind.) I’m not yet at the point of feeling the need to hire it out, but when I do luckily I know a LOT of talented designers to choose from seeing the fact that I have 700+ students to choose from!