The Boost Hospitality Podcast is back for another season! We are now in Season 7, and we are currently on the seventh episode! In this episode, today we’re talking all about hiring your first virtual assistant or virtual team member. I invited on Tega, who has been helping small business owners and solopreneurs for the past few years now figure out where in their business they need help. And he helps people by even hiring team members from all over the world.
He helps manage the whole process. He and his team do a fantastic job. And I wanted to get him on the show. Because we want to scale back what exactly is a virtual team member or virtual assistant, the pros and cons of doing it, which type of business owner should be looking to outsource and precisely what it is that shots their accommodation owners need to be looking at?
We’re talking about social media, we talk about McDonald’s we talk about Big Mac, we talk about SOP, and we’ve got loads of really cool tactics and tips for you in this.
Who is Tega?
I am based in Newcastle up on Tyne in the northeast of England. So pretty cold winters and it’s pretty cool today, which is why I’m wearing a hoodie for those who may be watching. And my business is helping self-employed entrepreneurs go from being self-employed to having businesses business and by leveraging the power of outsourcing and systemization.
What is the one mistake that you see people make time and time again when it comes to the running of their business?
It’s almost like a domino effect. In my opinion, the one mistake that I noticed time and time again is the fact that people don’t tend to treat their business like a business. They think they tend to treat their business more like a hobby than a business.
If you look at someone who’s successful from the outset, I can almost guarantee I can’t guarantee it, because I wasn’t there when they started their business. But from the outset, I can almost guarantee that they will decide and acted like they were running a business and not a hobby. That’s not to say you can’t start as if you are running a hobby is we all have to start somewhere. But as soon as you realise or you notice that things are getting serious, then you need to get the need to dump the hobby heart and put on the business owner hat and start operating stuff as a business.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
My answer may not provide any illumination for some people. But when I see a virtual assistant, I refer to someone who is helping you run your business, but they are location independent.
I tend to find that nowadays, the term VA or virtual assistant is just being used without any real consideration. A perfect example of this is there are online business managers. So these are people who traditionally in a brick and mortar business would be business managers. The only difference is that working online, but rather than call themselves online business managers, they called themselves for years because they call themselves VAs. And in real in reality, they’re online business managers, they charge online business manager prices.
So when you say to someone, you need to get a VA in the traditional sense of the virtual assistant and not an online business manager because they know so many people to online business managers that use the term online business managers and VA is interchangeable. They usually put off because the fees are quite high.
Traditionally, whenever you say a virtual assistant people, people tend to associate that with low-level work but from what I’ve done and from what I’ve done, and the people that I’ve helped, the critical mindset shift that I tend to make people adopt is the fact that if you are running a business and you are going to get a virtual assistant, it’s better to think of them and treat them as a virtual team member.
What were the pros of doing it virtually where I had someone who is elsewhere?
The advantages of doing it virtually is you instantly by doing it virtually negate any tax responsibility that you have for that person. So your business doesn’t have to carry the burden of health insurance and all the other things that you may have to pay if they’re in the UK, straight off the bat. That’s one of them.
The other thing is, as well as reducing the tax liability, hiring someone outside of the country that you’re located in is usually very, very budget-friendly because the standards of living and not standards the cost of living in the other countries where you in well, where I tend to find my guys is, I don’t want to say cheap because that bill belittles it, . Still, it’s a good enough standard that you don’t have to pay them the amount that kind of money you have to pay someone in the UK, and they would still live a very very good life.
The biggest downfall and the one that most people tend to hang their hat on is the fact that it’s virtual. So there’s no way for you to monitor the output. There’s no way for you to make sure that you’re hiring a real person, there’s no way for you to make sure you’re not scammed.
I argue against that. I’m sure we’ll get to that, and that will be one of the cons. And then another one is because it’s virtual, if you don’t know how to manage people, just the mere fact that they’re virtual, that would actually throw a kink in your plans, because you don’t have to manage because you don’t want to lead people that then filters into everything else that happened in the business or about the business.
What would you say the types of people that would do best from hiring virtually?
That’s a bit of a trick question. I, I, I believe, except for your specialist services, like your doctors, nurses, lawyers, to some degree, a bookkeeper and your accountant. Those are not positions you want to hire out virtually. But if you have a business in this day and age, and let’s say 70 to 90% of your business activity is done on the computer. In my opinion, there’s no reason why you cannot hand the tasks off to virtual team member?
What would you say would be the best way of somebody getting started in this process of looking to outsource?
I have an elaborate way, and I have a not to elaborate way, let me go over the Not to elaborate way, the not so elaborate way is, if there’s something in your business that you’re doing that you don’t like doing, I can almost guarantee you again that if you go on the internet, you’ll find someone willing to do that for you for a price.
The price depends on what your business can manage to pay that person to get that job done. And if that person can get it down to the level that you’re satisfied, you’re confident of the output. That’s the not so elaborate way.
The more elaborate ways it’s from a guy who I watch on YouTube called Alan Szalinski. And if he happens to be listening to this, and I’ve just destroyed his name, I profusely apologise. It’s journaling your every day, though, for me, for example, using myself as a case study.
Today I woke up; there was a whole bunch of things I had to do, some of them vital in that I had to do them, no one else does them, some of them not so vital. In the days gone, or the years gone, because it’s been years now since I’ve been using, I’ve been using virtual team members, I would have done everything myself, right, I would have done everything myself.
So what Allen’s method is is for you to make a note of everything that you do for a period of about seven to 14 days. And in those seven to 14 days, you create things according to how essential is essential being this task brings money into the business or this task is one or two notches away from bringing money into the business.
And then the other grades are this task does not bring money into the business. And for fun, you see, I hate doing this task, and it doesn’t bring money into the business, right from the jump if you see a whole bunch of tasks going in that last column, which is I hate this task, and it doesn’t bring money into the business. That would be where you want to look to start outsourcing things, in my opinion.
But before you go ahead and outsource or bring anybody on board, You need to make sure that your SOPs are all on cue. When I say SOP that’s your standard operating procedures back at the start whenever you ask me what’s the number one mistake people make is that they treat their, they treat their business like a hobby, not like a business.
If you go to any McDonald’s in the world, I’ll use McDonald’s because everybody knows McDonald’s, you can say with nine out of 10 certainties that what you get in one country is what you’re going to get in another. And the reason that is is because of SOP. The fries are cooked a certain way the fries are queued for precisely the same length of time. They use the same kind of fries.
Some may argue that’s a bad environment because the type of potatoes that they use for their fries are quite challenging to produce. So they use the same kind of potatoes the world over. Burger buns are toasted the same way the burger pops it toasted the same way. Everything is it’s almost like everything is built on like a production line.
What you want to do is you want to look at how you can see building that production line for your own business. So rather than thinking, I’m going to get Sallie Mae over here, who’s a virtual assistant to help me do my social media, you need to think what do I need to do on social media? And when you say, What do I need to do on social media? That’s how many times do I post? How do I create my social media images? How do I create my social media captions? Where do I find pictures? If I haven’t got images? Am I doing a video? Where am I finding music from a video? Am I using stock footage from a video? So when you answer all those questions, and you have that document, when you then find Sallie Mae who has to be your social media management, it’s easier for you to give that task to Sally then and make Sally responsible for doing your social media as opposed to if the SOP wasn’t there.
What are you doing to help business owners? What have you seen a gap in the market, and what have you created? And what are you doing to help sort of match tasks to potential virtual assistants?
I guess the most significant opportunity point that I see right now is the labour is so cheap. And with most businesses going online right now, there’s no reason why you cannot hire, for lack of a better term like a number two, or number three, who’s just one removed from your number two, and have them do the things that you don’t want to do. So we’re using the term outsourcing a lot. I prefer to call it delegation.
Because when you when, you delegate things in the business, you, you maintain responsibility for it, but you don’t have the account. You don’t need to be the one doing the groundwork if that makes sense. So, using again social media as an example, when you delegate social media, if your SOPs are in place, and if everything is the way it should be, your responsibilities, then making sure that your social media is actually driving Whatever action is you wanted to drive, whether that’s people liking your page, whether that’s people sending you an email saying, Are you free? Have you got availability, whether that’s calling you on the phones, we like we saw what you did on social media, we want to feature you wish to use pictures or whatever.
As the business owner, you get to decide what those drivers are. But if you have SOPs in place, SOPs then feedback to those drivers, which you can then use as monitoring tools for what that person is doing.
So to answer your question, I’m, I’m more looking to help solopreneurs or solo business owners who are established, but they find that they haven’t got enough time in the day to do everything. Rolling in the circles that I am rolling, I know that there are online training for almost anything out there.
If there’s an online training for almost anything out there, there’s no point in me or you as a business owner sitting there trying to figure out social media when you can get a course and give it to someone to do it. They can do it at three or $4 an hour.
Get in touch with Tega