KEY TAKEAWAYS COVERED IN THE PODCAST
- When it comes to hiring your first virtual assistant the most common objection is that you don’t think you can afford it. If you don’t stop doing those tasks that allow you to hire a virtual assistant, you’ll never be able to afford it. You must hire a VA first to get there. Even if you’re not incredibly profitable, it’s still a great investment.
- When working out whether or not you need a virtual assistant, write down the tasks you do every single day and think whether or not you are the only person that can do them. If not, you may want to consider hiring a VA. Think about whether or not these tasks are worth your hours.
- If you want to teach your VA how to do the tasks that you’re doing daily, screen record yourself doing those tasks and talk yourself through it. It takes no extra time to what you’re already doing, but it means you have a training video for any assistants you bring on board.
- When you place your VA job advertisement you must detail everything from the start. Make sure you make it clear they’re going to grow with your business, and that you want them to prove they’re the right person for the job. The best way to do this is to include a list of tasks you want applicants to complete in your job advertisement. Not only does it test their ability to follow instructions, but it shows you what skills they have.
- Once they have completed their tasks, you can narrow it down to those that you want to use and interview them. After your interviews, you can bring one of two VA’s on board for a PAID trial. Make it very clear what you want them to do in your trial and link them to the training videos you have already created.
- You must be making your virtual assistant feel as though they’re a valued member of your team. Do whatever you can to make them feel valued.
THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO REMEMBER ABOVE ALL ELSE…
One of the best ways you can succeed with a virtual assistant is to consider them as someone you want to grow with you as a business. You need to show them that they are of value.
HIGHLIGHTS YOU SIMPLY CAN'T MISS
- Introducing Jen Lenher – 13:51
- Alexa Flash Briefings – 19:00
- Hiring Your First Virtual Assistant – 21:57
- When A Virtual Assistant Becomes Much More – 29:00
- Finding Those Tasks You’re Repeating Daily and Training Your VA – 30:42
- Writing Your Job Advertisement and Using A Trial Period To Find The Perfect VA – 35:06
- Valuing Your VA – 46:00
LINKS TO RESOURCES MENTIONED IN TODAY'S EPISODE
- Jen’s One Hour Workshop On Hiring A VA
- Jen’s Podcast Episode
- Jen’s Blog Post
- Jen’s Instagram
- Jen’s Twitter
- Jen's community
Hello and a super warm welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. How are you? I have just come back from two weeks away in the states having attended two different conferences. The first one was the Kajabi Summit, Kajabi Impact Summit, sorry. And that was a three day event in Irvine in California and it was run by Kajabi and they used their customers as speakers but boy did they have the best customers. Like when if I was to write a dream list of people I would want to watch on a stage, they probably had the same list. It was amazing so much so I decided to write a blog post about the summit and how good it was. I reviewed briefly the speakers and also wrote kind of what was their key takeaway or their key point and their learnings.
So if you do want to go and have a look at that, I’m going to hook that up in the show notes for today because I never write blog posts or I rarely write them because I don’t like writing as you well know.. Hence why I have a podcast. But I was so compelled because it was so good and I knew I wouldn’t be home for a few weeks and I knew I wouldn’t have an available episode for quite a few weeks so therefore decided to write this blog post. Got that out. There within about a week which I was really pleased about although it did take me ages to write I will admit but it was a great conference. Really really good and Kajabi basically won me over. They are a great program. They have some amazing facilities in their platform and I am slowly learning more about it so that I can potentially put my stuff on Kajabi. So that’s exciting. Just a bit more work to do.
And then the second conference I attended was actually a private event which was because I am part of James Wedmore’s Business by Design Next Level Coaching Program and he puts on a couple of events a year for those people. So there’s literally about 80-90 people in the room, all his coaches, he’s on the stage in front. There was a speaker actually but there isn’t normally because the event is really to be honest the coaching program rather than a conference where you sit and listen speakers. So the idea is, he tailors the individual events to the people that are in the room. He gets to do or he asked people for hot seats. He goes through particular problems. It really is an opportunity for you to have almost a month of one work with James and his team. So that was a really good event. They’re all really full on and very long days.
So the Kajabi conference, they started when we actually got there at about 7 am to get a good seat. I know such a geek but as I like to talk about and funnily enough I talk about in today’s podcast front and center is always where you’ll spot me in a conference because you want to be right there in front of those speakers and I like people that are front and center and so when I’m speaking and I see those faces so I’ve always used as a tool myself. But anyway said they were they started like 7am and they went on till some of the nights till about 8 or 9 pm. So those were really long days, short breaks and then the conference for James Wedmore. His event again that started us sort of eight thirty and went through to seven thirty. So long long days they know how to do it. It just is so packed full of amazing stuff. So I’ve come away from that head headful of cool stuff, now need to kind of climitize back into the UK. I’ve done a lot of travelling these first three months or these last three months I should say cause in the fourth month and I’m really now looking forward to settling down a bit and getting some actual work done. What was great is during my time in the States, I was able to really clarify on my offer in terms of what I want to offer people to work with me because I do the podcast every week, which I love. I say that every week but I do love it and I love getting your messages so thank you for that and I’ve had some ones recently which have been just super lovely but I love getting your messages and I love doing the podcast.
However people want to work with me, which is amazing and I’d love to work more closely with people so I’m putting together a structure of how you can work with me and there’s gonna be different levels and different price points. So look out for this it’s gonna be coming and I don’t want to be sales-y about it now. I’ve decided that I’m rebelling a little bit against some of the marketing strategies that I teach which sounds completely ridiculous. It’s not, bear with me. So you know how I’ve just started doing my email and I emailings you all if you’re on my list every single week and it’s a very personal email from me to you guys and I’m writing it. I’m trying to add value but I was thinking about this when I was coming up with subject lines for these e-mails and previously, I would do subject lines that have your name in there. So it might say, “Hey Teresa, hello from California” or something like that in the actual subject line. And then I thought to myself, if I was writing an e-mail to a friend or to a client or to a colleague would I write their name in the email subject line? No, I don’t think I would. Would you? I didn’t. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. So why is it marketing, we think putting that name there is going to attract us to open the e-mail. Now I can argue why that would work.
But in my quest to be as authentic as possible and because I get tired of trying to be sold to in a really sleazy sales and marketing way that I want to kind of do this in a much more positive and less sleazy manner that I was looking at some of these marketing tools thinking, actually that’s interesting that I would do that previously but I would never do that to a friend or a client. So that’s the way I’m trying to treat everybody. That’s the way I’m trying to put my message and my marketing across now so that I can do it as if I was talking to my friends because that’s what I see you as. All you lovely people that listen to the podcast, that interact with me, that get my emails and respond to me which is amazing. I see you as friends and people I want to work with and therefore I don’t want to treat you like I’m sending you some sleazy sales message. So I just wanted to get that out there and just let you know where we were and what I was thinking. So anyway like I saidm great few weeks done loads conferences, head’s about to burst but I am so glad I’ve got the next few months.. I think just about at home. I am speaking at a couple of UK events; one tomorrow, one next week in London. But most of them I mean they’re going to go up and down in the day or maybe just one overnight. But hopefully my case is going to be well stored at least for a few months which is kind of nice because I can get on with some work. So anyway on the today’s podcast episode and it’s gonna be a really good one. I am interviewing my very lovely friend Jen Lenher.
Now I have a great story to tell you about how I met Jen which we do talk about on the interview as well but I need to give you kind of the overview of this story. About four years ago, I decided that I wanted to look at getting a V.A. or an assistant or someone’s come work in the business and how in the business didn’t have the faintest idea where to start.
So I decided to Google as you do. What did you do beforw Google, I don’t know. But I decided to Google. How do I bring on a V.A.? What’s the process? And I find this lady who at the time I didn’t really pay huge amount attention to who she was, I was really just looking at the content she’s providing and she did a free download of a process or advice or tips. I can’t even remember it was NOW but I know there was a video and I know there was some content and I’m sure it’s for free at the time and I downloaded it and I watched it and I read it and it was really useful and it helped me understand why I would need a V.A. for and also had to recruit a V.A. now.
I then went on to find a V.A. and Katie, who’s worked with me for four years I think about four years came onto the business and that was it. I forgot then about this woman because obviously I’d done the purpose and thing I was meant to do which was to bring on someone in the business.
Now I guess probably six months later I went Social Media Marketing World. First time I’d attended and I was sat front and center for Amy Porterfield and this lady came and sat by me. I’m sure it was Amy Porterfield. Anyway this lady came and sat by me and we just hit it off. You know you start talking. She was lovely really liked her. We had a bit of a laugh and chatted. We talked about the fact that we always sit front and center for events and that’s you know that’s the place to be because obviously you want them to see you and you to see them and that sort of thing.
So anyway I have met her at this one event at Social Media Marketing Would. The other thing I need to mention if you haven’t been there it’s a huge event. There’s like 4,000 people at this event. And when one speakers on. There’s probably about.. well now you’re talking anything up to like 10 to 15 speakers on at once. So the chances of them coming across someone again during that event is slim to none.
Anyway I go into another session later on in the day, I go front and center. And who should I meet again. But this lovely Jen and this lovely lady and we sat chatting again. Anyway later on that evening I went to my room and I thought oh I’ll just have a look who I met today and I will go and find them on social media and connect with them, which is something I try and do when I see people at a conference. So I go on to Jen’s profile on social media and instantly recognize her photo and realize that she’s the person who’s free download I downloaded six months before so how odd that literally, I had done this download and then suddenly were sat next to each other at this event not once but twice. So the next day I go back to the event and I go into another session and lo and behold again, Jen and I are in the same session and I said to her, “Oh my God you won’t believe it. I’ve actually downloaded something of yours” which I just thought was so cool because if you’re putting content out online to meet someone and for someone then to say I’ve had your stuff or listened to your podcast or whatever it might be is really cool I have to say. So Jen and I were just like, “That’s hilarious.” Now Jen at that event coined the well the fact that I am now called by some people in some places the “British Amy Porterfield” because Jen and I sat in a session that was How to Become a Speaker at Social Media Marketing World. And she has said to me, “Oh my god, Teresa. You’re like the British Amy Porterfield.” Like we have the same color hair and some similar characteristics. And she was like, “That’s amazing.”
So anyway, a whole year later I’m going back to Social Media Marketing World again huge event for 5,000 people. I’m walking into the event. I don’t think I’d really had much to do with Jen in that year. I’d walk into the event and someone’s shouts, “Hey, British Amy Porterfield and I turned around and there was Jen, absolutely howling like I don’t know what’s best.. but first off she shouted it or second that I actually turned around as if I knew it was me. So anyway bit of a long story but it was so cool and it was almost like the universe was saying to us, you two need to be friends. I’m going to keep chucking you into the same place. And then since then I’ve met Jen a few different times at different conferences and we now are good friends and I love seeing her so to get her on the podcast is a real treat.
The other thing that I’ve bought on the podcast for which is kind of brilliant is I’ve got it to talk about bringing on a V.A. now I don’t know whether you’ve ever thought about bringing on a V.A. I don’t know whether you ever thought about expanding the business whether it terrifies you, whether you think you can afford it whether you think you can’t be bothered with the hassle of training someone but we’re going to address all these things today and she’s going to talk you through how she successfully is brought on V.A.’s to her business how obviously she’s helped me bring on a V.A. my business. So now the team has grown way more than that one V.A. I initially got and how basically I would put down a lot of my growth to the fact of the size of the team that I’d been bringing on. So it’s a really really good one today. And there’s lots of good tips and information in there for you. So I hope this is going to be fab. Now before I jump into the interview, let me tell you a little bit more about Jen.
So Jen is a digital marketing strategist. She’s a professor of digital marketing at Cleveland State University. She’s a podcaster, an author of a brand new book called “How to Create Alexa Flash Briefing”. She’s a contributor for Social Media Examiner and her online community the front row was recently featured in the Fast Company magazine as one of the top 12 Facebook groups to join before quitting your day job. Jenn lives in Shaker Heights in Ohio with her husband and three beautiful children and her 15 year old golden retriever.
I know you’re going to love her because she’s such a nice lady. She also has so much cool stuff for you to go and look at lots of free content out there. So I’ve hooked up to all that and the show notes. So please go and check that out. But I know you’re going to love today’s interview so here it is.
Teresa: So I am so excited today to welcome my very dear friend Jen to the podcast. Welcome Jen.
Jen: Hi Teresa. So good to be here.
Teresa: You know what I am so pleased to have you on now I have told the story in the intro but let me just recap slightly. So Jen and I met three years ago at Social Media Marketing World and what’s really hilarious. So there’s a few hilarious things about how Jen and I met. The universe definitely wanted destiny. So the first thing is that I had downloaded something of Jen’s before I even met her. And when I sat in Social Media Marketing World, on the front row which is another funny story on the front row, with this lady I met her. Thought you’re ace. Got her details. Went back to my room that evening and to find Jen online, found her and so I know you. And it was because I download a lead magnet of hers already which when you think about it is crazyness. Like the amount of content there is in the world the amount of people are in the world and I happen to find your one thing and then sit next to you at Social Media Marketing World, but not just once. It was like three occasions, was it? It was. It was Amy’s pants. I think Pat you were in front of me and then it was the How to Become a Speaker in Social Media Marketing World. So the other cool thing about the fact that we were on front row is that Jen has her whole branding and her whole business around being the front row enterpreneur and being someone who sits on the front row. Because Jen and I come from the same school. If you go to a conference she sit front and center like you get eye contact with those people on stage and it kind of just proves that your you’re all in on you’re kind of like that at the front ready to learn, ready to go. So it was such a cool meeting. And we’ve met lots of times since and we got to spend a whole few days together at the Kajabi Impact Summit which is great. And anyway, we’ve talked about getting Jen in the podcast for ages. I’m so glad you are on. So thank you for coming on.
Jen: So are you kidding me. Thank you. This is so exciting.
Teresa: It’s gonna be cool. So before we get into the topic, let’s just for my audience can you give us a brief overview of who you are and how you got to do what you do?
Jen: Sure. So I’m a digital marketing strategies and I just I just love all things marketing. I always have ever since I was a little kid. I do think some people are just born as entrepreneurs or marketers and and so I got into what I’m doing now. I think I was… I was in marketing in the corporate world for years and years and then my first child was born, I took a break, stayed home with the kids and when it was time to think about going back to work, doing marketing just seemed like the logical thing to do. But I just didn’t know exactly what that was going to look like. So I sort of did and offered everything and I did local consulting and I was really surprised that you know it’s it’s like anything that you’re good at. I think that we take it for granted because it comes easy to us that we assume that it that it’s also comes easy to other people. And I was really surprised at the things people would pay for. So so it was it was an exciting time. And and pretty soon word spread that I knew what I was doing with digital marketing, which is kind of funny because I was actually only ever one step ahead of the client. You know I was learning too. But anyway word got out and my my roster got booked really quickly and then and then I realized I was never seeing my family or my kids and I thought well this is not exactly what I was going for. And that’s when I started doing online courses and I took everything online and I’ve been doing that for oh about five years now and I haven’t looked back. It’s been amazing.
Teresa: That is amazing since you have no clients.
Jen: Yeah I have. I have not always. I’m always working with at least one or one nonprofit. I’ve got two right now that I just do sort of pro bono and yet I have no done for you clients.
Teresa: That is awesome. So cool. And it’s so funny because I think there’s so much of our story that probably goes back and resonates because of the fact of you know like you, I’m born to be a marketer. Literally you know that’s the only thing I’ve ever done.
It’s the thing I’ve done that I love and it doesn’t ever get tiresome. It never took me wrong. Like everybody I think we all have hard days and frustrating days. But I never look at what I do and think this is so boring. I literally I’m just everyday there’s something cool and exciting and what’s really amazing about you Jen is that you you seem to be like at the forefront of everything and you I don’t know how you manage this. I don’t know how you manage your time in terms of so you know I mentioned that when we talked about what Jen was going to come on to talk about today one of the things we were going to discuss was Alexa flash briefings I apologize if she’s in a very much just set off that we were going to talk about it because Jen has her own Alexa’s flash briefing she has been doing it for a while but you seem to just be at the forefront like the latest and greatest thing all the time. And is that not a bit exhausting sometimes?
Jen: It’s probably more exhausting for my people than it is for me. Like my husband and my good friends like I remember when Periscope first hit the scene and no, it was Meerkat before it was Periscope like like streaming and I almost had a heart attack. I was like this is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen and I remember I went to a dinner with some friends that night and I was you know. I’m. I have manners. I don’t bring my phone out at the table. I know not to do that but on this particular evening I was like you guys you have to see this you have to understand what this means. Like do you understand. And I brought out my phone and I showed them and they their faces were just like like what are you this you know. Like yeah. Jen’s gone off the deep end again. And so. So no it’s not exhausting for me at all.
And and I that I mean like you said like it’s it’s never dawn. Things are changing so so much so fast this is just intrinsically interesting to me. I mean I have a visceral reaction to the new stuff like the new stuff I can’t wait to wake up every morning and see what’s changed and then I want to learn it. And if it’s good I want to share it. Like I don’t share all the things you know I just the things really that I think are going to help people move the needle forward and actually in terms of what going to talk about.
Teresa: So I think this fits in really well because to do all the stuff you’ve got to do. We’ve just talked about so you have a podcast as well. You have your flash briefings. You have a community you have courses online. You have content that you put blog site and I think you are the fastest blog producer after that Kajal summit. Honestly I was like you are kidding me. You must’ve been on the plane writing that on your way back where you were.
Jen: I thought for sure yeah like. That was. That was for hours put to good use that’s for sure. Yeah. So by the time I landed it was done and published earlier.
Teresa: That is unbelievable. So one of the things that must have helped you must still help you now in terms of managing your time is using that effectively by working at what you need to do and then getting other people to help you in areas that they can help you. So the thing the download the Golf Channel all those years ago when we look that we think it’s about three or four years ago was I was looking to bring on my first virtual assistant. And since then the team is my six people and they’re all over the world and they all do different things and it’s Ace but I was petrified I don’t mind telling you and I think this is a big common thing but I was really scared. I was thinking what if I can’t afford them. What if this is waste time. What if I don’t know what to do with them. And I just wanted to go online and just get a bit help about heat. How do I even get started? And it was your lead magnet that I downloaded that says you know how to get started hiring a virtual assistant which was great. And it really helped. And I did bring on my virtual assistant. And I’ve never looked back. And this is what I want to say we want to talk about how you can look at oh I guess the point is most people think I can’t afford a virtual assistant. And the reason they think they can’t afford one is because they haven’t got one. And actually you can’t afford almost not to have one because you’re spending your time doing stuff that you really shouldn’t be doing. So that’s something to say about I went through but to look at bringing on that virtual assistant, what they could do, why you should and maybe the process. So Jen just quickly then in your experience is that the stuff that you’ve dealt with that people are starting to thinking I can’t affors this, I this isn’t gonna work for me.
Jen: Yeah. That’s the number one thing I was the same way. Right. Like it was like you get stuck in this cycle where you just think I just if I just had help that I could get out of like doing all this these small tasks and get to the stuff that’s going to bring in the revenue. However you’re never going to get to the place where you have the funds to hire the person if you don’t stop doing those tasks that aren’t making you any money. And thank goodness. I mean I was only two years into my business when this dawned on me and I was able to switch course and then as soon as I did the results were so tremendous.
That was soon after what I created that lead magnet and I was like oh I’ve got to share this with the rest of the world because people have to know not only that this is just imperative for scaling and it’s going to make you so much happier but also it’s so much more doable and possible than anybody thinks like when I hire my first V.A. I was not profitable. I was I was just keeping things going really I mean I was bringing in enough to cover because those of us in the online world like the online space, we have an enormous overhead right like that. All the software, all the tools the Facebook ads the you know this stuff really adds up. And if you’re going to go to conferences and all these other things I mean like the bill adds up really quickly. So you know so I know there’s a lot of people who are just not only maybe not even taking care of those expenses, maybe going into debt. Right. And that’s actually the time when it’s time to bring somebody on.
Teresa: Yeah. Which seems so counterintuitive. Yeah. Because does it the times so you’re going to go but I can’t afford to bring someone on.. I’ll get money and then I will.
Jen: Exactly. It just it just it never happens. But so here’s the thing like if you if you just if you just take a piece of paper and you write out the tasks that you do every day and if you find that you’ve done things like you’ve created images in Canva. And you have done a nice new email template and you have you’ve drafted a bunch of emails and you scheduled them and you’ve created a Facebook ad you know and on and on. Right. You look at all those things and then you ask yourself hmm. Am I the only one that can do these things are and are these things bringing in any money. And and if I were to outsource that how much would it cost. So the bottom line is that most of those tasks you could pay someone as little as four U.S. dollars an hour for someone else to do and do very very well meanwhile instead of you doing the four dollar hour tasks if you were to spend that same afternoon writing a webinar like with your brilliant mind like your expertise you are the subject matter expert. So let’s say you use that time to write a really excellent webinar or to go after a joint venture opportunity or several or pick up the phone and find some new clients to get that speaking gig. Those are ten thousand dollar an hour tasks right like you’re potentially the hour that you spent writing that web webinar is going to pay off exponentially but you can’t do that if you’re bogged down in all these little these little hourly tasks. But we make ourselves feel like that’s important like that like like at the end of the day. Well I got a whole bunch of stuff done.
Teresa: Yeah but for what. Exactly. And you you and I will both I’m sure have experience this way you literally have sat all day and I hate me 9:00 to 5:00. I mean 7:00 till 9:00 p.m. barring toilet breaks drink breaks and something to eat. You’ve sat there for the entire day and you have literally not stopped but yet you get to the end of it. And you think, Well exactly if I spend my time doing. Or was that really worth all of those hours and you can’t grow the business when you’re trying to do that. And I think for me the crucial bit is that it’s putting the emphasis on you what is the most beneficial thing for you to do. So where can you either a make more money or add value. So for instance I still do have clients and I wouldn’t give sort of client management off to one of the team because they come in because of me. So I know I have to do that. Don’t get me wrong I would on occasions like to give that up. But that is not possible at the moment.
Whereas obviously in fact I have a V.A. The V.A. I took on after reading your lead back it was a UK V.A. and she turned into something completely different. So it was interesting as my business grew. She grew with me and she is now I will most but she she’s number two in the business. She literally oversees it with me. She’s the one who helps me drive it forward so that’s really nice that she’s grown into that. And I have since then bought in another V.A. and I know my I’ll be listening to this because one of the jobs of the main job she does to me is the podcast because like you said it was this same process every single week. And I was spending hours on it. You know I was putting together the Canva images, you know doing the transcripts and putting together the the posts that needed to go out plugging into wavee to turn into video. And it was the same process over and over and over and over again and it didn’t need me to do it and it was taking up so much of my time. We’re actually the you need me to do is to record the broadcast and I’m not even great at doing that on time. They’re got to get this like really quick and have to turn it in right really quick. And she’s amazing and she’s wonderful and it’s just been the biggest relief for me to know that I don’t have to do those things and that I can then focus on doing the production as in literally recording the podcast or I wrote a blog post the this time about that Kajabi Summit because it was so good it was a great event wasn’t it.
Jen: It was amazing. But I got a hit on two things that you just yes. Two things that I don’t want to I don’t want to not talk about that you just sparked. So one is you talked about the V.A. that you found after you download my lead magnet is now elevated to practically partner and in your company. I remember you actually made a huge impression on me when we first met because you told me that you invited this V.A. that you were going to pay her ticket from UK to Social Media Marketing World and the following year. Like you said I’m going to I’m going to bring her. I think it’s the same person but whether it is or it isn’t. I remember thinking like that’s exactly what I’m talking about is that we can adjust this in a minute but one of the things one of the ways that you can be successful with a virtual assistant is number one to look at this person not as just a contractor that you’re going to throw off work that you understand right? This is a person you want to grow with you and your business and you let them know that they are valued right so even if you’re paying if it’s not a UK or a US virtual assistant it’s somebody who is charging less. In the Philippines, for example. There are still ways to reward that person without you know even though you’re paying only four dollars an hour there’s a way to invest in that person so they feel like they are gonna be able to grow with your company and the other thing that you mentioned was process. So you said OK so I realized I was doing the same thing over and over and over and I could get someone else to do this and that is key. So you know I think the biggest pushback that I hear when it comes to hiring a virtual assistant is people say, “Well look first there was the money thing which we’ve already addressed” the second one is is people say “Look I don’t even know what I’m doing on any given day”. If we’re being honest we all as entrepreneurs I mean everybody’s guilty of that. At least some of the time you cook the office you don’t really know exactly what you’re going to be working on that day right. We’re not all super organized all the time. So it’s like I don’t even know, how am I going to supervise someone else and manage them when I can barely manage myself like yeah. And then the idea is, well if I have to do all that I might as well just do it myself. And that is and that’s understandable, right? Because it’s a lot of stress to think somebody else is relying on you for direction and it’s kind of annoying. And I’ve had a VA I had to be a once who was very very good but constantly even with proper onboarding was constantly like bugging me with because I couldn’t like couldn’t make a decision at that point. I was like OK this is this is you know this is not actually an ideal situation. So what we have to do is turn these processes turn things into a process and then onboard them do I’m going to tell you how to do that.
Teresa: Yeah I’d love to.
Jen: All right. So so this this answers that that challenge every single thing we do in our business whether it is creating a canvas image or whether it’s some how we send an email or how we put things in a Google Drive folder and what our naming conventions are, whatever it is that you do every day. I like to use a tool called Loom. And I’m sure you’ve talked about this with your audience before but Loom video, that’s L-O-O-M video just google it and they have a free version which is more than enough and it allows you to just click a button and record your screen.
And I I still do this to the say I talk to myself as I’m doing things, just click the button then I say oh I’m getting ready to set up Google analytics or I’m getting ready to set up this pipeline or this funnel or whatever and I’m going to go ahead and click record and just talk my way through it and I say this is what this is what I’m doing now and this is what I’m doing next. Now I have a video I have a training for whomever is you know whether it’s a potential new person or somebody down the road that will be replacing my existing person. And I just took all these trainings onto a Trello board by content topic and so you could also just stick it all on a google doc. Doesn’t matter you just need a catch all for these trainings. I like Trello because in the hiring process or onboarding process things are really nicely organized. You could say start here and then you have the columns and then they can they can move through the columns in in an orderly fashion. But this sort of helps so that for the first full week when you hire a V.A. there’s at least a week’s worth of training that they can do before they ever actually even do anything. Yeah.
Teresa: OK. So great. Once you have spent the time in terms of giving them the training recording your video which I have to say I did as well. And it’s really easy because like so we just go back to a point before actually we were talking about you know haven’t got times bringing the V.A. haven’t got time to train them haven’t got time to manage people. But the truth of the matter is you’re doing it anyway. And actually just a hit record as you’re doing it. And honestly the videos I’ve recorded must have been hilarious because I literally I’m just wittering onto myself and I’m going oh I shouldn’t have done that. Oh no I meant to do this or whatever it was. So I’m just completely normal. It’s just my voice on my screen and I just record these videos and then like you said you’ve got them then. So if it didn’t work with who you have you can then just show them the videos again. So is that is that part of your onboarding process or is that once they started the videos. Sorry. No no onboarding. Is that part of your recruitment process? Or have you already brought them on at that point?
Jen: That’s a really good question because actually part of my hiring system involves bringing them on to a trello board before they’re actually even hired. And then there’s a trial period. And so do you want me to talk about that?
Teresa: Yeah. That be awesome.
Jen: OK. So first of all when I placed the ad you know so when we were talking earlier about the whole sort of mindset in terms of not thinking about this person it’s just sort of like you know a laborer or like just just you know somebody who’s doing tasks for you. But to think about somebody who could who’s going to grow with your business. Well I say that from the start. Right. Because like maybe you can’t afford to pay them a lot right now and and so you go to the Philippines and you know there they are advertising that they’re asking four to six dollars an hour. Let’s say in the post what you can say what I say is. I say I’m looking for a person who can do this and this and this. I’m not looking for. I don’t remember like a temporary person. I’m looking for someone who will grow with my business. And then the next thing I say is if this sounds like something that you’re interested in then please complete the following tasks. And then I give a whole list of tasks that relate to that position.
For example when I hired I ended up hiring a part time graphic designer. I wanted somebody onboard 20 hours a week because you know we do so many graphics all the time. Right from landing pages social media post. So I felt pretty confident I could give this person 20 hours worth of work. So I said I have attached to documents and I just did it on like a Google Doc attached to documents and I would like for them to look similar to this. And then I found three or four different examples of an aesthetic that I liked other people’s brands. I didn’t ask them to copy their brands. It was just sort of like they all sort of similar. Exactly. They all had sort of a similar style and I was said please please recreate these graphics in this style. Turn it into a workbook turn it into a PDF, upload it onto a blog. I mean I gave like I gave six or seven steps of all the things that that person would need to do. Then the final step was send this to this email with the subject line. Jen here’s your beautiful workbook. And in the first paragraph of the email. Tell me why you’re right for this position. OK so normally if I were to post I need a graphic designer over on this Website in the Philippines I would get 50 applications and forty nine of them would be terrible and I would spend five hours going through all these applications and sending emails and the back and forth the back and forth with my process. I get two applications or three applications that people who follow the directions and then I still will get you know 10 or 15 more of that that they didn’t. So I know immediately because the thread of the email. I can just hit delete I never have to open them up because they didn’t follow directions in the two or three I will tell you that I have had the problem of having such good applicants that I then go into the trial period and whether I have one or I have three. I always do a trial so then the next step is let’s have an interview. So then we have a Skype interview. OK. I think it’s a good idea to not have the camera on because that puts them in an uncomfortable situation. Especially like in the States. Usually when I’m talking to someone of the Philippines if I’m doing it at 11:00 a.m. my time, it’s 11:00 p.m. that’s their time. They probably have kids in the background and stuff like that so I always say no camera and then I say OK if if they if they seem like a person that’s right for the job, I let them know this is a one week trial and I will be sending over your assignments and we make that clear. I have an agreement a very you know it’s not going to hold up in the court of law. But it’s just sort of a way of being on the same page with someone. So we have an agreement. I sent over the agreement a send over that the link to the trello board.
So now we’re back to the recording. Know we were just talking about and so. So with the graphic designer, I actually had two graphic designers that were outstanding like the work they submitted was jaw dropping. It was so good. I could not believe that like they were asking for five dollars an hour and they were this good. So one of them. Speaking of interviews had a horrible interview in that she was so incredibly introverted that it was very it was like yes I would ask a question. It was just like yes, no, yes, no. Right. Then the other person was very charming and gave a great interview. So OK. If I would have just gone at that point and didn’t do the trial period. I would have gone with candidate number two with the charming personality. But here’s what happened, so I give the link to the trello board. They both give the trello boards and they’ve been I’ve duplicated the trello board and on each trello board, it says start here and there’s an introduction. Hi my name’s Jen, this is my company. This is what we’re about. This is your first step. And I tell them I give them an assignment. This is actually real work. I need it done because they are being paid for it. So I didn’t give them the exact same work but I gave them very parallel similar work. What was so interesting is that the first candidate, the shot candidate completed the work without any question to me up perfectly and in like no time flat. I expected it to take her a day. I don’t know it was maybe two hours. She had submitted not just one sample but several samples of for me to choose from and they were all fantastic. Candidate number two. So then I gave candidate number one. She moved on to card assignment number two assignment number three they’re all lined up there. Candidate number ,one took her all week long to move through the very first assignment. So literally being the candidate that was really good did like I don’t know 10 times more work in a week. So it was so incredible to see this because I would have hired the other person or interview even though she did do good work. So that made it so easy. Thank you very much. Your one week trial is over. We’re moving in another direction. So I kept that graphic designer for a couple of years. She’s moved on. She she took a full time job somewhere but she was outstanding. So this saves you so much trouble so you you’re you only have to stay a little bit ahead of that. The other thing that you could do is if you’re sort of like oh I don’t really know I don’t really know what to give them is do what I call wishlist training so you know let’s say this is a here’s a perfect example. I was not using Google Analytics properly in my business. I didn’t have all the things set up so that we could see you know which pages were getting the most hits and all that. So I found a good course on Google Analytics and I purchased it and I put it on the trello board with a log in credentials and everything and I asked my V.A. to watch it learn it and do it. You know your VA’s can learn this stuff. You don’t have to learn it. And. If that person leaves then you’ve got the training there for the next person. Right?
Teresa: Yes. And again you know it’s investing in them as well isn’t it? By giving them the ability to learn those things and add more skills and more sort of what’s that saying strings in a bow. The other thing we do as well is we have team meetings which is hilarious because you can imagine the time differences. So we’ve got U.K. people, we’ve got American people that are on the East Coast which is good that they’re both on the East Coast or near enough the East Coast and then we’ve got Sofia who’s over in the Philippines. So trying to fit a time that fits with all of us. And you know I am so very lucky. They are so very accommodating. In fact we have a call this week and the call is what we normally do at around eleven or twelve. So it’s normally super early for the American people and getting on into the evening for Sodia so and and then for the UK that’s fine. It’s in the middle of the day which seems completely unfair but obviously that is literally the only time we can all get the call. But it’s things like that, isn’t it? It’s kind of that part of my team and I want everyone to feel like that whether they’re doing just a few hours a month a few hours a week or whatever they’re doing. And also it’s a new not new name but it is a different way of working. I’ve worked in corporate forever. You worked in corporate. You know we were employed we have employees but in businesses of all size especially when you first start. People dream. And I did. I used to dream of having an office and a team. Not anymore. Like I could afford an office and a team. I don’t want an office and a team. I like my virtual team. I like the fact that I’ve got people who are so good at what they do and they get paid well for what they do because they’re skilled at it. But because I couldn’t bring on someone full time at their skill level at a rate that was affordable because you can’t so you end up bringing on someone full time who is probably doesn’t have the skill level that you’re looking for but they’re like a jack of all trades whereas I’m not doing that. I’m going to very specific really good people who can do really good things. So I really enjoy working with the virtual team and definitely no this was down to how my business is grown and if I didn’t bring them on I wouldn’t have been able to do it. So. So yeah. But I think the bit about the recruitment is so key because like you said you’ve got especially if you’re going to use an online site and it doesn’t even have to be on in the Philippines even if you live Upwork or Fiverr or whatever it is you’re going to be inundated with applicants.
But I love the effort you ask to go through because like you said you’re going to have very few. Now I did a really small version of this where it was a tip that James Wedmore mentioned because he’s a huge advocate of bringing on VA’s. And again he’s a massive advocate of you know you shouldn’t if you think you can’t afford a VA because you haven’t got one. So you get one. So he recommended that in his you asked something odd. Not odd as in weird but as in.. So mine was what’s your favorite meme or joke? So they would have had to have read it and given me that information and it did exactly. Same as you I went through if it hadn’t got in the response, Delete delete delete delete. You know because if they can’t read an instruction anybody anywhere if they can’t read what you’ve asked for then that’s not a great start, is it? You know exactly. I understand that a job they’ve asked for so.
Jen: Right. And the other thing is is that this this idea of team is like just can’t be stressed enough because even though you’re not paying like a lot and there are other ways to say the way when I say grow with the company. There are ways when I first started out I was like look if we hit this if we hit this number of subscribers or if this many people purchased during our launch you’re going to get a big fat bonus because I want to reward and that’s that’s you know that gets us all excited. Right. Like they’re invested because they’re going to get a piece of your success and that’s what it means to grow with a company and also just thoughtful you know sending a thoughtful gift or a thoughtful card.
There’s a service in the Philippines that allows you to send cakes and flowers and stuff specifically to your VAs. And you know I love doing that kind of stuff and it means so much. On the other everybody wants to feel appreciated, you know?
Teresa: And I think that’s the thing is it’s not always down to money at the end of the day, It’s down to the feeling part of something feeling appreciated. And for me I always joke I was a great employee because I like being patted on the head. I mean being told that done a good job. Like honestly they give me all the good money but it wasn’t the money. I just liked doing told, well done Teresa! You’re doing a great job today! I must say I really struggle with as an entrepreneur because no one is doing that. No one’s combing my hair. You’re doing a great job. Yes. And if you give yourself a pay rise.
Jen: And you as well.
Teresa: It’s I just think if you’re going to have people in the team and and also there is an element of trust that you’re giving them and that trust is built up more over time. Right. You’re allowing them to go in and you know produce something on your behalf that if you haven’t got that trust and you haven’t got that team mentality then you’re just running yourself at risk a little bit, aren’t you?
Jen: Yeah that’s probably the last phase is that when you get to the point you know there’s getting to know each other then there’s tasks in there and the processes and the stuff that happens all the time. And then you get to the point where you’re like OK. I mean not just on their part on your part. And then it gets easier with the next people that come along. But that’s when you say OK I’m going to allow you to create or to create content or to just give a little bit more creative freedom to two people who are not you and that’s that’s scary because that’s your brand and it’s got you. So like just sending an email out for example without you proofing it. You know, Things like that. It takes time obviously. But ultimately you want to get to that place because again that frees you up to do more of what you need to be doing.
Teresa: And when you look at like I look at the team and how how long they’ve all worked with me and like said I brought on Katie when after I’d downloaded your list. And that was the you know nearing four years ago now and she’s been with me at this since she’s still with me, I have a call with her in a couple days. You know I’ve just messaged on slack and you know and she knows about my business and she’s now at that point where literally if I go, well not so much on a holiday but if I’m away which I have been these last few weeks. Katie watches my emails. She responds sometimes she might even respond as me. If it’s to be a noted or yes or whatever. And sometimes she will responds as her saying she’s on my emails or whatever but again that trust could only have come from time and experience and her knowing how I deal with clients and how I deal with people and you know that’s the whole idea. This isn’t meant to be like you said let’s bring someone in and give him the worst of the worst of the rubbish get him to do something not poverty. They really need to be for me if you’re going to get the most out of people, you really need to treat them as if the same way as I treat them if we all worked in an office together and we’ve joke you know. We have these team meetings like it we all get on Zoom. All in our various parts of the world and it’s like one day one day I’m gonna be able to take you all to a real meeting and a real location. And the funny thing is like the guys from the Philippines and the states like in the U.K., in the UK we’re like No.
Jen: Yeah exactly.
Teresa: It’s really cool but couldn’t imagine like honestly fills me with so much excitement thinking that one day you know, I want to be in a position to do that. I want to be in a position say absolutely you know what. We’re having a team a team a couple of days like in fact we at the conference. There was a company that called Gravy and the guy who runs Gravy, Casey who was just so lovely and he’s like my new BFF is so so nice. And he took his team to where was it and remind me. Thank you Ken Koon to this hotel that cost like five six thousand dollars a night also. And he said and he took his team there and again imagine well as a team member how you would feel if that was the case. It would just be amazing amazing really quick and then if someone sat there thinking okay yeah I’ve listened to you too you know yeah that’s good for you in your business the size you on I but I’m a little I’ve only just started what would you say to them to kind of spur the monorail? Encourage them to to think about taking the lead and going ahead and doing it?
Jen: OK. So I walk the talk because of when I started I had less than a thousand people on my email list. I was not profitable and I had to look at this the way that you would look at any other operating expense in your business do you want electricity? Do you want Wi-Fi? Do you want running water? This is how you have to think of it not like what you think of it. It’s sort of like as a built in, must have necessary cost of doing business.
I think that will help you take the next step because you can only fool yourself for so long.You're just you know honestly and if you’re serious about growing your business you have to take this first step and you don’t have to go straight from zero to 100. You know you can start with a part time person but the time to start is today and you only need to record those videos for about a week like have a week’s worth of those videos and you are good to go. The other thing is it kind of forces you to get yourself in order like if you start thinking like well I’m going to have to start sharing files with someone well that’s going to make you go into your Dropbox and start cleaning things up right? So. So it’s going to benefit you in ways you might not even expect. So it was that convincing enough Teresa?
Teresa: Honestly I don’t I love that because you’re so right. Like I never in the beginning view the V.A. or a team member as a basic cost. And I do now. So whenever I work out which we try and do fairly regularly you know what are we spending in the business because like you said especially with an online business. All the systems, all the processes, all the subscriptions, the memberships where part of. I can’t even tell you. It adds up to a lot of money so we go through really regularly. Also because I have clients some of the team are directly related to clients i.e. they do work for clients. So now there are people in the team that are not client related at all. And that’s where the majority of our income comes from. But they are so vocal in the business now they’re not seen as a they’re not seen as a kind of add on. They are literally like you said Wi-Fi, electricity, a computer you know all the things that you’ve got to have. I think that’s a great way of looking at it.
Jen: And the other and also I think psychologically something happens when you do this because you realize you’re like OK like I am a real I am a real business I am a real business owner.
And you have to step into that and you know and it might force you to step into that role a little faster. You know that that you’re done playing small. It’s a message to yourself like I’m done playing small like I’m serious about my business. And this is what I’m going to do. And it’s scary but it’s exciting.
Teresa: And when you said there’s loads of the benefits that that one in particular is a really good one for me because when I first started everybody could get hold of me. It was my phone number, my email. They could literally pick up the phone and talk to me now. And and it had to change because I was getting too busy. I was doing too many things I was away. I was speaking I was training I was now doing podcasts or whatever. So we had to do it. And this sign saying fiscal low with hate saying it but I had to become a bit more exclusive. I had to become a little bit at arm’s reach because I didn’t want because I worked really hard to be good at what I do that I didn’t want to think that people could just phone and pick my brain which is what I had had for some time.
So bringing on Katie and it was actually Katie’s idea not mine because again the other thing is they’ve had experience working with loads of different people, doing loads different processes that they can add to your business you know in some ways that you may not expect. And it was Katie who actually said to me, we need to stop this. They need to come via me now and they do. So any contact form on my Website on either of the sites social media you might get me responding if it’s my social media but it might take me a while because I’m not as quick as I need to be on those but any emails coming and anything like that. It all goes to Katie and then Katie and I will speak and she’ll say, I’ve got this what do you want to do with it? And I’ll go yep put them in for a call. You know no we can’t do that at the moment or whatever but it just it made a big difference to me and not only how I saw myself. Like you said stepping up to kind of that CEO role but also how other people started to see me. And we even had some comments in the early days and it’s something got to be comfortable with that literally people are like oh so I can not talk to you direct now and it’s like if you’re a client, yeah of course you can. You know but actually no not really. Right.
You know it’s like I can’t fill my day with stuff like that when I’ve got so much to do. So and also you know when she would send out the diary link and there are very specific slots when I will do so if someone wants to come to work with me, they’ve got a free 30 minute call and I’ll get on the phone. This is what they need help with and then we’ll come to a sort of next step at the end of that call. And so we would send out the diary link and look at my diary and it would be pretty busy so they may not be able to get in. And this is probably still the case for a week or so at least for a call and maybe like oh look at this I don’t think I can afford you. Which again isn’t that funny the perception that process has on people having someone else on the team it makes a big difference.
Jen: So it does.
Teresa: So Jenn obviously I’m going to link up to everything in the show notes but if someone is particularly interested in this next step and they haven’t got the faintest idea where to start what have you got to help them with this process.
Jen: So the first thing that I would recommend is because it’s really like it’s a stinking ridiculous. You really probably need to change it. But I do have a course setting and of course it’s a one hour workshop, I think it’s like twenty seven dollars. I am going to be redoing it and charging more. But the course is the best thing about the course is that not only do I show you like all the tools that I use step by step like they’re really short like like two and three minute long videos. But it’s the it’s the the resource guide that comes with it and the workbook that comes with it because I’ve got like the agreement the template and all that and I’ve got a podcast episode. But it’s pretty much what you and I talked about today. And I’ve got a blog post.
Teresa: So between those three things, I will link up to all those thing at night so just had long to teresaheathwareing.com/62. Jen, thank you so so much for coming to my podcast. It’s been so lovely to chat with you. We get to hook up very rarely because we are literally on the other sides of the world but it was amazing spending some time with you in the Kajabi Summit and I look forward to spending more time with any future. But thank you so much for coming on the podcast. It’s been great to have you!
Jen: Thank you so much. So this was so much fun.
Teresa: I really hope you enjoyed listening today’s episode. I love chatting to Jen. She’s such a smart woman. She does a lot of great content. So do go and check her out because you will learn lots from her. I know you will. At this point in time I have no idea what next week’s episode is going to be Helps. It’s kind of me. Gosh I said really unprofessional. Anyway I promise you I will be working very quickly and getting back into bashing content and getting organized because as I’ve said it’s been a really busy few months and I am very much looking forward to becoming a organized machine which I love so and next week have a wonderful week and I will see you then. Take care.