Where you live matters a lot less than what you can produce.
Smart companies and small-business owners are leveraging specialists in multiple time zones. Bookkeepers in the Pacific Northwest, CPAs in Washington state, web developers in California, virtual assistants in New York, designers in the Philippines--you get it.
Jobs can be done from virtually anywhere, and while all these places are far from my home base in Scottsdale, Arizona, it's easier than ever to hire and manage remote talent.
Here's how to start.
Get used to delegating tasks
If you've never outsourced anything before, you probably need some practice. The easiest way to start is with a virtual assistant service.
When you send a request to a virtual assistant, they'll often ask clarifying questions, or do things flat-out wrong. But, through trial and error, you'll get really good at explaining things. For instance, "Make me a reservation for dinner" might turn into "Make me a reservation at an Italian restaurant within five minutes' walking distance from the train station that has at least a four-star rating, around 7 p.m."
You need to be specific to get the results you want, or else you won't.
Build trusted relationships
Early on in my first business, I got ripped off wiring $600 to an online company in Pakistan for some shirts I wanted made. Needless to say, I learned a valuable lesson about the power of a trusted relationship.
The best way to find outsourced labor is through other people. Like a local referral, an overseas referral is worth its weight in gold. I was referred to my developers by a past client who had several years of experience with them that translated into instant trust.
Next to referrals, the best environment to build your outsourced global team is through a marketplace. Marketplaces act as an intermediary layer between you and the person to help make sure the transaction goes smoothly.
Your money is typically held by the marketplace in escrow and then released once the person delivers the project to your satisfaction.
The downside to a marketplace is that continuing a relationship outside the marketplace with the talent you find there is usually not allowed. Also, because of the marketplace fees, you will likely pay a bit more than the deal you could otherwise get. But marketplaces are fantastic for limited engagements or for building your virtual management skills.
Make a virtual hire
So you've found the perfect person, and now you want to bring them aboard. First, you should consult a lawyer, CPA, or HR professional about the local, state, and federal tax implications and laws regarding employees or contractors in other locations. But once you're set up correctly, hiring full-time people around the world has a lot of benefits.
First, you can offer coverage to your customers around the clock. Having employees on the other side of the world is the equivalent of adding an overnight shift at your office, and your customers will appreciate the fast response time.
Next, nothing beats the feeling of waking up to progress. My favorite emails of the day come from my developers around 7 or 8 a.m., explaining everything they completed while I was sleeping.
With most time zones, you can overlap a piece of the day for a team meeting, so that everyone stays connected.
As long as you can keep them busy, happy, and competitively paid, the main challenge with full-time virtual hires is finding them.
Communicate regularly and effectively with your team
How do you stay in touch with people when they work around the world? These days, the same way you stay in touch with employees in your office. If you're using a system like Trello or Asana for project management, adding virtual employees is a cinch. I use Slack with all of my teams and check in a few times per day to answer questions and stay updated.
We also screen share often, so we can not only stay in touch but also work collaboratively on something in real time.
Assemble your all-star team
The best advice I can give someone is to invest in some kind of external support, whether that's a full-time or part-time hire or a company overseas that simplifies and expedites a need your business has.
Without the team and services that I've assembled, I wouldn't be able to accomplish half of what I do. And having remote talent all around the world means a more productive business and happier customers.