Welcome to Boostly Podcast Season 8 Episode 29. This is a recap of my interview with Emma Mills from Mi PA and we talked about how to get started with outsourcing.
Here’s the audio for this episode:
05:30 Emma’s advice to starters
09:20 The first task that Emma delegated
10:30 How Emma realized she needed to make a change
13:20 Common mistakes of businesses when it comes to outsourcing
14:00 The Mi PA process
18:10 The common task that businesses need help with
20:10 Having a PA can help generate business as well
21:20 How Emma started making content
26:00 How business owners can talk about themselves online
30:00 Emma and i-Prac
36:40 Quickfire questions
Whilst you’re here
Follow Boostly on the following channels to get more tips, tactics and knowledge on how you can increase your direct bookings
Visual – YouTube
Audio – Boostly Podcast
Transcript from the Episode
Emma is the founder of Mi PA and they provide PA support, call answering services, and concierge service. She is also the managing director of i-Prac. Mi PA is 12 years old, She is located in Manchester.
Emma’s advice to starters
Emma says she is ultimately the case study for everything that she now advocates to clients and prospects. And so when she became a virtual PA back in 2008, she did the working from the back bedroom just doing everything that solopreneurs do. She did that from 2008 to 2012, By then, she took on her first member of staff.
Now basically what happened after that point up until about 2015 is that she never relinquished anything that she did. So everything that she did on 2008, she still carried on doing. Emma built up a team around her of doers. So they were all providing PA support. Now obviously on top of that, she was doing everything else. So trying to get customers sending out invoices, chasing payments, trying to do some marketing, doing everything.
It was in 2015 when Emma slowly started to delegate down. Her team took over her clients. And then from that point, she started to delegate everything that she knew wasn’t the best use of her time.
In 2015, that was the year that she became a business owner. Emma realized what she could achieve when she was actually doing the things that she was really good at. That was the year that her business doubled.
The first task that Emma delegated
Communications, like her email inbox, and my diary management was getting help with that.
How Emma realized she needed to make a change
Emma knew she had to make the change so that she can get back in charge of her own time and that she’s not just reacting to everybody else’s wants and priorities. She hates the word low-value tasks, because she believes they still need to be done. And they are really essential to a business operating.
She changed the phrase of these tasks need to be done but can be done by somebody else. Even making sure that the team then took over the inbound answering for her peers is just as how they started their call answering service.
One of the big things Emma learned over the past few years, especially is so many more things, good things happen in her business, when she’s only focusing on the things that she really loves and fun to her. She knows that your business goes to a much better place when you can focus on that and you start to get a team around you to do all those other things.
Common mistakes of businesses when it comes to outsourcing
Number one is micromanaging. You’ve done everything from scratch and you know how to do everything and and yes, you probably do know how to do everything better than somebody else because you so in it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible for somebody else to do it. There is just a little bit of, of work a bit of process around that. But once you get that, obviously loads of great things happen.
One of the big things that Emma learned in the past couple of years is it’s great when the task outsourced when they make mistakes because actually, mistakes are going to happen. How are you going to make sure that doesn’t happen again and you fix it, then there just has to be an element of letting it go, you just have to be an element of you have given them the steps of how to do it.
The other mistake that clients do is they are all in to the idea of outsourcing and then you’ll have a really great conversation but they don’t really do it.
The Mi PA process
Mi PA has its own method of uncovering. With the PA support, they will ultimately go through the various areas of the business. So whether that’s sales or marketing, they will delve into that. They will go through in inbound communications and they will do that in the various areas, whether it’s like sales, the operational stuff, what’s going on in there, what happens consistently that maybe you’re doing which could get rid of financial admin, and then they will look at them personally, as well.
The common task that businesses need help with
Inbound communications from answering the phone, to dealing with emails. And that’s not necessarily your own inbox. But it could be an enquiries inbox, or sales inbox or something to make sure that people get responded to in a timely way. And Facebook Messenger inbound Facebook messages, making sure they get responded to, however, and obviously, there are so many ways of communicating with people now that gets totally overwhelming.
That’s definitely number one. Because obviously, every business is dead without sales. And so making sure that any potential leads that come in any potential communications, you get that you get the best impression they get captured, and they get dealt with quickly.
Having a PA can help generate business as well
One of the worst crimes that business owner can commit is when you look at all the shiny things, and new marketing tools, spending money on generating leads, and, you know, company loads of money into content and marketing, and then you’ve got a leaky bucket, because leads come in, and they’re just dropping out with either lack of reaction or attention, or maybe getting an unprofessional response or leads not being followed up, as they should be as soon as you get them because it’s just a waste of money.
How Emma started making content
Emma’s initial inspiration was Gary Vee but she has waned from his content a bit. In 2016, she had spent a lot of time-consuming his content, just like watching and learning and seeing what he was doing the way of putting yourself out there in a completely non-scripted, and natural way just to share your own stories.
The thing that Emma has always got on with most is not being scripted, is not thinking through too much. It’s just like having a topic being passionate about it. And delivering that in her own way and style, basically.
How business owners can talk about themselves online
People are most interested in stories and to know more about you. And, and that is the way that Emma definitely found easiest to deliver her content.
Bringing the personal side into it also just makes it easier for people to connect with you. It’s also an easier way for people to connect and views. All of us put content out there to grow businesses and to get leads. So it’s also an easier way for people to connect and an easy way for people to make a decision about who they might book with.
Emma and i-Prac
Chris and Emma have worked together with Emma’s business now and his events business. She’s been in i-Prac in 2016. i-Prac is a verification platform. And they are the first of its kind, there isn’t anything else out there which is similar in any way shape, or form.
i-Prac was born because Chris, in his other business, which is a rental agency business South of France, incurred that the after-effects of fraud. Families that had been scammed returning, there was no property there and i-Prac was born, because what he saw was that, basically, this industry needs not only regulations, keep the scammers out. But for the smaller, like, you know, property owner, that to create a trust and confidence so that we can look move towards the direct bookings, and get more regulation around it. So the small business owner can benefit.
i-Prac is all about verification and trust. It’s a platform whereby the traveler can book with any of their thousands of members, and they’ll know that ultimately, they can trust with one of the members in confidence, They go through i-Prac’s due diligence process so that they are who they say they are, there are so many scammers out there that can look professional, that they can have loads of reviews on their site, that they can make everything look like a normal and, you know, operator, however, there is a scam site.
Chris has put an initiative to offer from the first of May i-Prac membership for a year for free. Now, just to make it really clear, there’s absolutely no obligation for any other years or any renewals or anything like that. It’s just the fact of having the i-Prac membership for you.
They are also launching a series of i-Prac webinars that will help with learning and in the industry and obviously coming together stronger for that for the direct booking movement.
If you could be isolated on lockdown with just one celebrity or famous figure, who would that be?
What is that one thing that’s been on there to watch list that you may have had an opportunity to check out?
What is the one thing that you have missed being able to do since being on lockdown?
Going out for a meal for drinks. Going to the hairdresser
What has been your favorite purchase under 100 pound in the past six to 12 months?
Hair dye and selfie ring light
Advice to hospitality owners to increase direct bookings
Have confidence in everything that you do. Have some personal branding.