Building an affiliate business can be challenging. Going from good to great presents hurdles for the best of us, especially because many of the challenges we face run counter to the reasons we became affiliates in the first place.

Many of us go into affiliate marketing because of the promise of independence and the ability to craft our workload and schedule in a way that balances with our personal life. But many of us, when we’re trying to grow our business from one or two sites to a real portfolio, face the challenge of team management. We can’t do it all ourselves, but managing a team isn’t something we’ve necessarily done before.

We recently ran a story about this challenge and offered a few tips that can help affiliates hire and retain great employees. We received several interesting comments about the article in our forums, and we wanted to make sure you were aware of these additional suggestions. Whether you’re planning on hiring a couple of freelancers for part time graphic design, or whether you’re looking for a full-time SEO copywriter, these tips will help you take your business to the next level.

Use Collaboration Tools

Using something like Basecamp, which is hands down the most popular online collaboration tool, was at the top of the suggestions. Basecamp, in the words of Forum Moderator Rak, is great for “monitoring and delegating work.” And when it’s used in concert with a personal task list such as Wunderlist, it can pack a powerful project management punch. If you’re on a Mac, you might want to check out specialized task management software such as Omni Focus or Things. Tudumo is a well-respected task manager for Windows.

Set Expectations

CAP Chief Warren talked about setting expectations … “set really clear expectations and manage against those expectations weekly.” While you can monitor productivity through Basecamp, you’ll also want to schedule team meetings to discuss projects as a group and facilitate good communication across the team.

Focus on Employees

One piece of advice on managing employees is simple. Regardless of where they’re located, it’s important to make sure they speak your language. Warren suggests you can do this by testing them the same way you’d test a regular full-time employee.

Other issues are less straightforward. Forum Member Omer discussed some of the challenges of working with overseas staff – time differences, holiday schedules, infrastructure challenges – and expressed a preference for hiring lower cost local employees such as students:

People who would take less money but are often more talented, intelligent & motivated because they are eager to prove themselves and also they appreciate the benefits of being able to work from their own home/dorm and integrate the job with their study time.

Omer discussed how these employees would work for “only little more” than the cheapest end of the pay scale, but were dedicated and available for face-to-face meetings.

Warren, on the other hand, discussed paying overseas employees above market rate, in order to “secure the best talent.” Even at above-market rates, with overseas employees “you’ll save loads.”

With the need to grow fast while keeping your expenses in check, managing a remote team can be tough. But if you follow this advice, you’ll find yourself effectively hiring and managing your remote employees.

Have any tips we might have missed? Let us know in our forums!

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