Breaking Borders: The Untapped Power of International Teams with Gwenn Aspen

Breaking Borders: The Untapped Power of International Teams with Gwenn Aspen

When it comes to property management, international team members can help streamline operations, cut costs, and overall grow your business. That’s why we recently sat down with Gwenn Aspen, founder and CEO of Anequim, to discuss the untapped power of international teams.

You can listen in on that conversation here, or simply read on for all the rich insights and personal experiences we discussed about the often-misunderstood world of hiring remote team members.

Let’s dive in!

Meet Gwenn

Gwenn Aspen is the founder and CEO of Anequim, an organization that connects entrepreneurs, property managers, and small to midsize businesses with highly skilled, bilingual, full-time virtual assistants who live and work in Mexico. 

She’s not just a vendor, though—Gwenn has a ton of first-hand context in this sphere, specifically. Having been a property manager herself, Gwenn understands the nuances and unique demands of our industry. This insight has been crucial in interpreting and fulfilling her clients' needs effectively.

Gwenn’s Journey to Remote Hiring

From the jump, Spencer and Matthew were curious about Gwenn’s decision to start Anequim. According to her, it wasn't part of the original plan. 

Anequim was born out of friendship and a desire to help. When Gwenn’s husband's former colleague in Mexico reached out for assistance, they saw an opportunity to make a difference. They started their property management company there, hiring the colleague and her friends to work remotely. This move was not just about business growth; it was about creating meaningful connections and improving lives.

Basically, it all began with helping friends in the industry and witnessing the positive impact it had on their operations. This experience opened her eyes to the broader potential of spreading happiness by providing remote team members.

“I like making matches where everyone is so happy,” says Gwenn. “It's like spreading more happiness, and that makes me happy too."

Their focus then became tailoring their services to meet the unique needs and management capabilities of their customers. This bespoke approach allowed them to offer various options, ensuring that their clients received the support that best suited their business models.

Challenging Misconceptions

Breaking Borders: The Untapped Power of International Teams with Gwenn Aspen

During our conversation, we tackled the common misconceptions about hiring remote team members, particularly the notion that it equates to a sacrifice in quality.

“The biggest misconception is that hiring someone remotely means sacrificing 20% of quality,” Gwenn says. “That's not true, and once people get over that misconception, their eyes open and they're like, 'Oh my God, I should have done this a million years ago.'"

For example, Gwenn shared a story about a client who initially wanted to hire someone with a master's degree for a rent collection role. Instead, she recommended a candidate with a boxing background who turned out to be a perfect fit.

This example underscores the importance of understanding the specific needs of a position rather than getting caught up in credentials that may not align with the job's actual requirements.

The Human Aspect of Remote Management

Gwenn also spent some time addressing some key points in managing international team members. 

Discipline, intentionality, and feedback are key in managing remote teams effectively. If someone struggles with managing locally, they might face similar challenges remotely. For those who find self-management daunting, there are options like having the team managed by someone else.

We also covered the need to manage remote team members with the same intentionality as local ones. They are people who require the same level of management and attention. This human-centric approach is vital for maintaining a cohesive and productive team, regardless of geographical location.

Quality Assurance and Thoughtful Compensation

Quality assurance and a process-oriented approach are critical when hiring remote professionals. Gwenn has found great success in hiring individuals from Mexico who deliver high-quality work at a fraction of the cost, significantly impacting ROI and the lives of the remote team members and their families.

She also discussed some common mistakes in remote hiring, such as overpaying or offering unsustainable pay increases. A thoughtful approach to compensation, including results-oriented bonuses and clear communication about expectations, is crucial for long-term success.

Culture Fit and Company Values

The significance of culture fit cannot be overstated. A strong quality assurance process is necessary to maintain a positive customer experience and support business growth. It also helps alleviate stress for business owners, ensuring that the company culture remains intact as the team expands.

Building Long-Term Relationships and Embracing Growth

Finally, Gwenn emphasized the importance of building long-term relationships with customers and the guiding values of integrity, teamwork, and mutual fit with clients. Starting and running a successful business is about resilience, embracing the journey, and continuously seeking improvement. Solving increasingly complex problems is a testament to personal and business growth.

Final Thoughts: International Team Members in Property Management

If you’d like to learn more about Anequim, feel free to connect with Gwenn on LinkedIn. She’s graciously offered to continue the conversation there, and explore how remote team members can revolutionize your business operations. As Gwenn said: "You don't have to be perfect to get started. Perfection prevents people from making a change that's really going to transform their business."

Remember, with the right approach, remote teams can be just as effective, if not more so, than their on-site counterparts. Good luck!

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