Streamline Your Subcontracting Team: Virtual Team 360 012

Tess Blankenship builds and grows better virtual teams helping entrepreneurs reach their revenue goals. Knowing what to hire out, how to work and using performance data to build rockstar teams. Spending over a decade focused exclusively on contracting virtual teams across the globe for big business, she’s sharing the secrets. To keep her business running strong requires a big mug of coffee, a good pastry and a dose of the outdoors.





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Subcontractors Don’t Just Fall From Sight

On disappearthe Virtual Team 360 podcast, I’ve interviewed many guests on their experience using the subcontracting concept in their business. There aren’t many complaints but we’ve discussed some of the difficulties that might arise. One item has come up several times: people who’ve been hired as subcontractors suddenly disappear. They seem to fall from sight! What would cause someone to do this? Believe it or not, you play a large role in keeping them on board. I’ve come up with some strategies to keep this from happening.

First, you want to do some investigating before hiring a potential subcontractor. Social media is an excellent tool for discerning important information about them. How are they interacting on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, and the like? Look for their work style, how much their personal life might impact their work, and how they behave in general. Are they professional or too relaxed? Red flags would include bickering with others and being completely inactive on all their social media. You’ll get a feel for what they’re like and what it will be like working with them.

Once you’ve got them on board, don’t just throw them out in the water. Take the time to strategize with them. What ideas and insights do they have about the client’s work? What questions do they have? Ask them if there’s anything in particular they’d find challenging and would initially need some support on. I recommend a monthly check-in call with your subcontractors; however, you might consider doing a weekly call for the first month. It’s important that they get a feeling of ownership in these projects. When they’re personally invested, and feel valuable, they aren’t likely to simply disappear on you.

I’ve said it before, and it can’t be said often enough: communication is key! If you don’t communicate with them, how do you expect them to feel like they need to communicate with you? In a sense, by shoving them out blind, you’re the one disappearing on them! This needs to be a team effort. Assure them that if they have a question they don’t want to ask the client, they can come to you. Utilize tools like Skype, Join.Me, Snapchat, messaging apps, etc., to keep the line of communication open.

Finally, it’s very important as a virtual service provider that you show them that you do personally care. The way you treat them is the way they’re going to treat the work of your client. The more attentive you are with them, the more attentive they’ll be with the work. If you make them feel like a member of a team, they’ll see their contribution to the project as vital, not disposable.

How can you show personal care? Small things make a difference. Send them a birthday card, or congratulate them on an anniversary. Ask occasionally about their children. Do you know they’ve had a bad day, or are struggling with a personal issue like health problems? Send a quick encouraging email. If they’re a private person, that’s fine, because you can still show personal interest in them. Be aware of these things that affect them, because our personal lives absolutely affect our professional lives.

If you implement these strategies, check in with them often, and communicate efficiently, then you aren’t going to have the problem of them falling from your sight. With that said, please feel free to let me know if there’s any other issues you’re facing that you’d like me to talk about. You can send me a message at!

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What to Do When Health Affects Your Business

Aug 2016 blog photoAll entrepreneurs have varying personal circumstances that affect their businesses. Some are childless, yet planning for a family, while some desire to stay that way. One might be an empty-nester, the next a stay-at-home mom. Many are working parents with a job outside the home, trying to balance their small business.

Personally, I’m talking from the standpoint of a mid-40s parent who is working outside the home while growing my business part-time. In the last few months, I’ve begun to notice a pattern. It seems that my health is often getting the best of me, in terms of my productivity. Spring and summer were full of celebrations, including graduations, first communions, and the like. Those are enjoyable activities but they also require energy, especially when they come one after the other.

My daughter also found a new job, which is great, but I need to plan on how to get her to and from work, while still having my own outside job. Like any other kid, my son can get bored during the summer. So I’ve had to make sure I keep him occupied. That can be very time-consuming! I’ve become run-down, and hence inconsistent in my business. All of this caused me high amounts of anxiety, which continued the cycle of inconsistency. While I recognized that I’d had no choice in what led up to it, I knew something had to be done.

I started with simple steps. I began to utilize the Google Calendar tool, in order to stay organized. It’s immensely helpful to see all my upcoming events and deadlines in a glance. It’s so much easier to stay on track with my client tasks. I continue to work with the accountability partner I found on VA Networking, who has been vital to my success. I also stay in communication with my ghostwriter and have monthly calls with her. It’s important for the people I work with to know what’s going on.

Last but definitely not least, the support of certain friends, family, and fellow business owners has been so important. I’ve been incredibly thankful. Unfortunately, with being so busy and having a tendency to struggle concentrating on my own things, I haven’t had a chance to truly thank them for what they’ve done for me. This fall, I’m looking into specific companies that specialize in sending out special gifts. Some of the ones I’ve looked at include Send Out Cards and Cupcakes in a Jar. Even something as simple as an inspirational book can show them how much I appreciate them, and can hopefully help them as well. In the end, it’s not so much the gift as it is the acknowledgement of their help. Everyone wants to feel appreciated.

Have any of you had this issue? What have you done to fix it, or what are you doing to work on it? By sharing our stories, our experiences can help others. Please share – I’d love to hear from you!

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Share Your Business Story

Share Your StoryWhen you think of putting your children to bed, what comes to mind? Or perhaps, what’s a favorite pastime when sitting around a campfire? Telling stories! Every parent knows how it engages them, excites them, and makes their eyes light up. Long ago, many cultures passed their stories down orally, from one generation to the next. They shared their accumulated knowledge and experience. Clearly, humans are natural storytellers!

Lately I’ve been reading the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Surprisingly, it’s taught me a lot about my business. It got me thinking about the basic appeal and benefit of storytelling. These accounts delved into the deepest and most basic human emotions: loss, joy, humor. They inspire others, arouse a passion in them, give comfort, and often make them laugh. They truly connect us.

I realized that I needed to think about my blog and website content as a unique sort of storytelling. I’m trying to accomplish the same thing those childhood bedtime stories did: teach, touch someone’s life, and inspire something in them. It doesn’t matter what the format or length is. The principle applies across the board, whether the subject is business or fables. This is how you reach people.

I’ve been enjoying three podcasts lately, which are The Eventual Millionaire, Brilliant Business Moms, and Your Partner in Success. I noticed a pattern amongst all the guests of these shows: they said they could never have become successful by themselves. The support and talent of others helped them reach their goals. I realized that my chosen niche, subcontracting, was a great idea. I’m providing a service that is needed and helpful.

It was encouraging to realize that, and I never would have known if those people hadn’t shared. It illustrates the point once again. What about you? What stories do you have inside you? Your knowledge could help someone’s business grow. Sharing your past experiences might change the course of someone’s career path. You never know.

So, please, share your story, so that we can all learn from each other!

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One Click To Subcontracting: Virtual Team 360 – 010

Lindsey is the founder and CEO of is a firm that specializes in driving traffic, getting leads and nurturing leads to become lifelong clients. During her 10 years running a successful web development and online marketing company, Lindsey has perfected the art getting more website traffic and getting that traffic to opt in. Lindsey has experience launching everything from simple web pages to enterprise level systems. She has managed dozens of developers and designers and currently run’s two companies, Web Impakt and

Linday Phillips


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Connecting One Person At A Time: Virtual Team 360 -009

Jessica Rhodes is the founder and CEO of Interview Connectons, the
premier source for booking outstanding podcast guests. The Interview
Connectons team of Booking Agents works with podcasters to find and
book guests for their shows. They also represent dozens of highly
qualified guest experts to connect them with podcast hosts for

Jessica is the host of the hit weekly web TV show, Interview
Connectons TV, she’s the host of the Rhodes to Success podcast and
she is the co-host of The Podcast Producers, a ten episode audio series
selected by Apple as a “How to Podcast” show in iTunes.
Jessica is a regular speaker at Dream Business Academy and has shared
the stage with dozens of top podcasters at Podcast Movement and
Podcast New England. She is married and is the proud mom to a very
busy toddler named Nathan, and baby Lucy.



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The Best Thing You’ve Delegated?

trainingI get the same question a lot: what is the difference between subcontracting and outsourcing? There is truly a big difference between them. When you outsource, you’re paying someone to do your own business tasks. Subcontracting, however, involves team members who work on your client’s projects and tasks. So, an outsourced employee is working for you, whereas a subcontractor is essentially working for your client. Both have their place in a business. Subcontracting offers a lot, though, in its flexibility and options.
In the last couple months, I’ve been frequenting forums centered on my niche. I’ve connected with two other members recently who decided they were ready to subcontract. While they knew they wanted the help, they weren’t quite sure which tasks they needed it for. So, we got on the phone and laid out a plan together. We used a project management tool called Asana that I like – but recently I was introduced to Trello and I’m interested in continuing to use it in the future.
We needed to literally create a map. First, I had them ask themselves, “What tasks do I need to accomplish regularly? Which of those don’t necessarily bring in income?” Then, we had to choose five tasks that either they didn’t like to do or that were too time-consuming. The point was to free up time and energy to focus on growing their business overall, and delegate the smaller tasks to a competent subcontractor. Now with a plan that covered their needs start-to-finish, I had them look at the big picture and see what they could start to subcontractor.
That’s the point: start small and slow. It’s okay for it to take time, while building experience and learning how to manage it all. And then you don’t need to be concerned with it taking all your income initially. Besides, over time you will begin to see how subcontracting increases your revenue!
One thing I’ve delegated that has been amazing for my business is writing. I use a ghostwriter, Rachelle Wells, because I found I wasn’t being consistent with my content. This was because I didn’t really care for it, and didn’t have the skills to be a good writer. It’s been a godsend. I have more time now to focus on the bigger picture. How about you? What tasks have you delegated – or what tasks would you like to delegate to a subcontractor?

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Raising Your Biz To The Next Level With Subcontracting: Virtual Team 360 – 008

Nanette InEssenceNanette Thelemaque is the owner of InEssence Virtual Assistance. Nanette established her company in 2013 with a desire to flex her skill sets and give much needed support to business owners, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and busy professionals.

Nanette’s passion is helping people move forward with their business and/or marketing plan. She has a talent for helping people cut through all the noise and just do the things that matter. And for people who don’t have the time or interest to do it for themselves, Nanette and her team does it for them.

Nanette carved a career for herself in sales and marketing for small start-up technology companies during the first internet boom of the mid 90s in Boston. After the dot-com collapse she found work in the marketing department of a publishing company, and while there discovered her love for graphic design. She combined that love with her love of technology and her sales and marketing background when she started her company.




Mother & Daughter Subcontract: Virtual Team 360 – 007

Augusta Mother Daughter

In 2011, Augusta Virtual Assistants was born. We’ve since acquired a team of other professional VA’s each of whom specializes in a particular field. This gives us the advantage of being able to work with many different types of business owners. We love what we do!


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Sought After Expert

Sought After Virtual AssistantIn the spring it will be the nine-year anniversary of starting my business, and it
has me thinking about how far I’ve come. Like any other business, it’s taken
time to get out of the red and into the black. Most businesses stay in the red for
three years at least. The same can be said for networking and becoming known
as a valuable service provider.

Many years ago, I decided to be as involved with networking as possible. At the
same time, I kept my attention on a few main networks. In this way, I zoned in
on the people I was building relationships with. Networking takes time and
effort, and sticking to a few of them keeps that process simple and more
effective in the long run.

The three primary platforms I benefit from are VA Networking, LinkedIn, and
Twitter. Recently, a lot of people have been viewing my LinkedIn profile,
recognizing me as a sought-after provider, and asking me more questions. The
experience has been amazing!

Now that I can reflect on what’s brought me to this point, I can share my
advice with you. Focus on your networking but keep it minimal at the same
time. Don’t join so many that you spread yourself too thin and can’t truly
concentrate on the individual people. You’re building connections, using
personal attention. It’s better to be a great asset in a couple networks than be
barely heard or known in many of them.

I’ve discussed in previous articles how vital it is to have an accountability
partner. I connected with mine through VA Networking, and it’s a big reason I
enjoy interacting there. That’s where my audience is. You need to be where
your audience is. A web designer, or a manufacturer, wouldn’t benefit from VA
Networking. They would need to find their own appropriate network. Don’t
just go where everyone else goes. Facebook works well for many people, but
I’ve never had much luck there. With Twitter, however, I’m starting to make
more connections. Again, be sure the ones you choose relate to the purpose of
your business.

It’s pretty cool when you realize you’re becoming known in your industry! Are
you becoming known? What are you sought after for? Feel free to share your

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