How to Build a Remote Team for your Amazon FBA Business
To build a remote team, there are five areas you need to conquer, all with equal importance. Knowing who to hire, when and where to find them, how to get set up to work together, and how to communicate are all vital to building a team that runs like clockwork.
1. Who to Hire
You want experienced virtual assistants (VAs) to help you so that you don’t have to spend a lot of time teaching them how to do different tasks. You are likely hiring people because you don’t have the time to take care of things yourself. It makes good business sense to work with VAs who already know their way around Amazon.
As an FBA entrepreneur, you also want to build a remote team that knows how FBA works. This means looking for VAs who are experienced with running all associated tasks where Amazon takes care of fulfillment. Here are a couple of examples:
- Inventory management requires skill because you don’t want a lot of money tied up in inventory. However, inventory management is trickier for FBA businesses than it is for fulfilled by merchant. There’s a timing to it that needs to be grasped so you can avoid long-term storage fees.
- Returns and refunds also work differently. Customers may file directly through Amazon or come to you with their product issues. You need to hire people who can field these requests and follow up with Amazon if you are due reimbursement for undelivered orders or items damaged by Amazon.
You also want to hire freelancers rather than full-time VAs, unless you have a consistent flow of work in every area that can easily take 40 hours a week.
Freelance VAs will be available to do the work you need them to do without having to pay them a steady salary. This means that you pay only when work is actually being done. No idle time means no wasted investment. Moreover, you can hire people with niche experience to get the right fit for each area, as opposed to a generalist who may not actually be so great at some tasks.
2. When to Hire
Most Amazon entrepreneurs will wait until they can no longer handle all the tasks themselves before getting help. This is because most FBA businesses are bootstrapped—there just isn’t a lot of extra money around to invest.
However, the best time to hire is actually before things get this bad. If you wait until you are drowning in tasks, you won’t have any wiggle room left. You need at least a little bit of extra time to build a remote team if you want it to work.
Don’t Wait Until it’s too Late
Usually, you will be able to anticipate the flood of tasks.
You will have a sense that things are going to get tight really soon. This is not the time to take a deep breath and get ready for the storm. This is the time when you need to sit down and plan to make your first hire. Use this last bit of time you have to find the right people so that you don’t get buried and let things slip.
Failing to hire people to take on the extra load before it’s too late will result in mistakes and lost revenue. It could be you making those mistakes because you have too much on your plate or it could be the people you hired because you didn’t have time to properly build out a team.
3. Where to Hire
You want to build a remote team fast because your time is precious, but you also need this team to be made up of experienced VAs. This means you need to be careful where you source these hires from. You need a solid partner that cares about the quality of freelancer you hire and that can help you through the entire process, from the search to billing.
There are two options to go about hiring these freelancers. You can either go the traditional freelance platforms, or work with a platform that has a more partnership mindset.
Traditional Platforms — You Do All the Work
Most freelance marketplaces are not too involved in the search and hiring process. They simply allow freelancers to sign up and respond to project requests, only getting involved to process billing (and maybe provide some help, in case of billing disputes). This leaves much of the work in your hands, which includes:
- Sifting through dozens of applications
- Running background checks
- Conducting interviews and giving tests to verify experience
- Testing out several freelancers before finding the right one
This traditional hiring process takes too much time.
Partnership Platform — Your Partner Does the Work for You
A freelance marketplace like FreeeUp, will take a lot of this off your plate. FreeeUp pre-vets freelancers before they can join the platform so that anyone you meet is already from the top 1% of applicants. Each freelancer goes through rounds of interviews and testing to verify skills, attitude, and experience. All you need to do is a quick 15-minute interview to go through the unique aspects of the task.
Moreover, FreeeUp takes your project request and introduces you to the best match instead of leaving you to wade through applications. If you don’t want to hire that freelancer, you simply click a button on your dashboard to get introduced to someone else.
4. How to Set Up
Once you find the VA you want to hire for a particular FBA task, the first thing to do is go through how you want the task done and what your expectations are.
Review the Task
It’s important to review the task in detail so that the VA knows your preferences and can follow them. Yes, they are experienced, but there is more than one way to cook an egg. You want to make sure that you are on the same page.
Go Over Your Expectations
You want to make your expectations clear.
We recommend you use this template to get started.
Every freelancer is different, and every client is different. You need to talk to them about your goals so that they know exactly what your targets are. This is the only way that you can expect them to make you happy.
5. How to Communicate
Just as there are a myriad of freelance platforms out there, there are a ton of tools that you can use to communicate with a remote team. You do not, however, want to use a different tool for every freelancer and every task.
Pick a few tools that you are most comfortable with and that suit your working style. Basically, you’ll want one direct communication tool and one collaboration tool.
You need a VoIP tool for check-ins and quick communication. Skype is one of the most popular tools for this because it supports group video calls as well as file sharing. You can use this to coordinate all the VAs on your team or to answer questions and get quick updates from individuals. Google Hangouts (or Gchat on desktop) is also a great tool for quick communication.
Whichever you choose, the point is for you and the freelancers to be able to reach each other quickly in case a situation pops up that cannot wait for you to check your email or collaboration tool.
The best collaboration tools will allow you to set up and organize mini tasks, share files, and leave messages for concerned VAs. A few examples of these tools are Asana, Trello, and ActiveCollab. Google Drive is an extremely convenient tool for file sharing with comments and edits tracking, especially if you’re already using email and Hangouts for communication.
Following these five essential steps will help you build a remote team that can take the burden of growing your Amazon FBA business off your shoulders.
Remember that you get what you pay for, so put in the time and effort needed to build a great team so that you can get great results. Both you and your business deserve it!