So, you’ve hired a few people.

Maybe you have a makeshift virtual team. A designer you hire every once in awhile. A VA who does a few hours per week. Maybe you use a service to do your website fixes and updates.

You’ve had some winners. Some non-winners. And complete misses.

And now you’re ready to focus on those winners.

Once you’ve got a few people working with you — whether it’s full-time, part-time, once in awhile or on a project basis only, you probably know that some of those people are amazingly perfect for your business and others might just be stop gap hires to get you to the next phase.

Remember in my Ultimate Guide To Hiring Awesome Virtual Team I talk about how to find great people?

Well now…it’s time for the next step.

Building a team is like experimenting in a laboratory. You’re looking for good people, but then you gotta make sure they all mesh well together. That meshing part can be more difficult than finding people in the first place.

So, you gotta go way beyond looking for standalone good people…and find good people FOR your business.

If you’re ready to stop re-inventing the wheel (or job description) every time you hire someone…this guide is for you. And if you’re looking to build a team to support you through all your launches…well, you’re in the right place too!

Introducing: The Advanced Guide To Growing A Thriving Virtual Team

Here is how you get started.  Click one of the chapter links below and you’ll jump to your desired chapter… without refreshing the page. So, pick any chapter that strikes your fancy to get started.

We’ll keep it updated and living as long as we can – so keep adding your own links in the comments so we can pop them in every now and then!

If you like this team building resource, please remember to share it with your friends by clicking the link below to tweet it:

Tweet: Anyone with a team needs to check out @annesamoilov ‘s guide Growing A Thriving Virtual Team:

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Let’s get started.

Chapter 1: Team Culture Basics: Building a company where people don’t quit…like ever.

Have you ever followed someone’s business because you really felt like you were one of their peeps?

Well, it’s the same thing when you’re working on a team. The best way to build a business and also nurture a team is to be really clear about the team’s personality and values. When values are clear – it’s easy to attract the right people to work on the team and also the right people to become customers. And it’s never too early to start doing this — even if you’re not ready to hire someone.

Case in point. LKR Social Media (run by my friend and ex-boss Laura Roeder) has an amazing, easy, almost naturally evolving culture. It’s this culture that has me fully promoting anything they do even though I voluntarily left the team. This is what you want — people to keep cheering you on even after they leave the company.

Chapter 2: Communicate With Your Team Like A Pro

Communication is the cornerstone to any team success. And with virtual teams, that success requires you to have communication in check at all times.

What to do when. Who’s in charge of what. When will x task be done. Why is said task not getting done.

You’ve got to know how to talk to the people on your team, know when there’s a breakdown, and make quick adjustments.

But let’s face it – the whole virtual thing just makes it more difficult to know if people understand assignments, are completing them to the best of their ability, and for getting all those non-verbal cues that someone’s just not happy

Chapter 3: Know If You’ve Got The Right People On The Bus

Jonathan Fields wrote the most amazing account of the team to lead his RevolutionU product launch in November 2013. This pretty much sums up why I’m including this chapter.

How many times have I heard that? How many times have I preached it? There’s something that happens when people come together around a shared sense of mission, values, skills and that intangible, yet powerful, “vibe.”

When it everybody clicks on that rare level, it’s magical. Each person and the entire team become energized and magnetized. You end up working like crazy, but there’s this underlying sense of flow. Of ease. Things blow up, you freak out, then everything’s okay and you move on. It’s like that famous quote, you feel like Providence is rising up to support you.

– Jonathan Fields,

Chapter 4: Learn How To Give Negative Feedback

I’ll admit that after many years managing different sizes of teams, tons of different personalities, and working in different positions on a team, that it’s always been hard for me to give negative feedback.  I know how I react to not so great feedback, so I’m always overly sensitive and often wait too long to say what needs to be said.

Here are some interesting posts that cover this act of giving feedback, losing the need to be the nice-guy (or gal) all the time, and giving feedback in a way that improves performance.

Chapter 5: Be Comfortable Keeping Only The Right People As Your Business Grows

I never really thought about the life cycle of team members in a business until I had my own. I’ve heard business owners talk about the different phases of business needing different types of people with different types of skills.

The main takeaway here is to understand that the people you work with now might be here for the long haul but they might outgrow you or you them.

This doesn’t mean you have to discard people but you will likely need new skills as the business grows in order to keep it growing.

Keep your eyes open for thoughts like, “I wish x person could do this.” When you start wishing people had additional skills that you never hired them for in the first place…you might be outgrowing them.

Chapter 6: Set Up Systems To Help Your Team (and Business) Grow

We put time and energy putting systems in place in various parts of our business–the “how we take money” system, the “how we blog” system, how we do every single thing in our business.  It shouldn’t surprise you to see that putting systems in place to manage your team is also a good idea…since your team is putting all those other systems in place too!

Common sense and simplicity are the way to go when creating systems that will eventually benefit your team. Some of the most simple ways to grow your business happen in the back office and with the simple tasks your team do on a regular basis — like communicate, follow up, ask for review, ask for help, or give updates.

The Not So Fun Stuff

This is the section where most people (me included) like to avoid for as long as possible. If you are a solopreneur or micro-business owner, waiting means wasting money and cutting into growing your business another way with that money.

Chapter 7: Learn How To Conduct Reviews

This is one of those things you think might be reserved for real jobs or real companies, but if you work with people, it’s important to help them do the best job they can, understand where their weaknesses are, and ultimately if they still a fit for the company.

Chapter 8: Be Prepared To Handle Disgruntled Employees

It’s going to happen. You’ll need to let people go. That’s part of the deal when you’re the boss or a manager of a team. You can’t control how people will react because honestly even in the best scenario, getting fired or laid off is a huge punch to the ego.  Here’s a few articles to help you handle the aftermath.

One tip: make sure your team knows that you are not in “cleaning house” mode especially if it was a specific decision based on someone’s performance. The exit of anyone from your team has a huge impact on the people who aren’t leaving…so prepare for that!


The Stuff On Your Plate

Chapter 9: Be A Leader That Employees Want To Be (when they grow up)

While you may not want people to really be YOU and want to go off and start their own business, a great way to build a strong team and business is to encourage people to behave according to the team values.  Obviously, even better than that–finding people who already have those values is easier…you won’t have to teach them how to behave in public spaces where your business is present.

Here are a few tips to become a model leader yourself.  Again – we’re not looking to make people who work with you drones with no personality, but we are looking for ways to be the leader people want to publicly support.

Chapter 10: Teach Your Team To Launch + Manage Them (of Find Someone To Do It For You)

Now, many people thinking managing a launch team means just hiring the people to fill the positions, but there’s a little special magic required to make a team work well during a launch.

It’s more than just assigning work and getting it done. It’s everyone seeing the big picture, jumping in, caring enough to ask what needs to be done, keeping eyes open for mistakes (even if it’s not your job).

Bonus: Virtual Team Resources + Tools We Like The Best and Use Every Single Day

Books that have helped me understand how to work with the right people

If you’re ready to build a strong team to support your next product launch, check out:

Building Amazing Teams: The 4-Part Recipe To Building A Strong Launch Team (masterclass)

Got another team growing resource? Want it featured in this post?  Leave it in the comments below.

Got a question about growing your team? Leave that in the comments too!