The Boost Hospitality Podcast is back for another season! And we are now in Season 6. And this time, we are currently on the third episode of season six!In this episode, David and Amanda will share their experience with outsourcing and with the virtual assistants and how it helps with your business. But first, let us know things about our guests for today.
David and Amanda
These two guests that I’ve known and followed for a while in the world of social media, they do so much when it comes to service accommodation and not only getting people to get started but as well how to outsource and what I believe is such a powerful thing. David and Amanda of SA Angels.
Ever since they heard about this thing called service accommodation, that’s when the fun started, and now, they have four companies. Having that much of company to run, they have decided to hire someone to help in running their business.
That’s when they started to outsource and look for a virtual assistant to help them run their businesses.
What are VAs and Outsourcing?
VA stands for Virtual Assistant, virtual meaning that they’re not in the office with you. With the advancement of the Internet, you could get anybody anywhere in the world at any time.
There’s a lot of countries like the Philippines, India, Malaysia who got are aware or community or ICF industry, who can work quite cheaply for us and anytime. So turn the day or night sometimes to do work for us, because to them, that is a great job. That’s a very high-quality job.
So the first time we outsourced was, I think it was when we were making the purchase, when we used UpWork, to go and find people to do jobs. And that’s how we met Anna from Montenegro. And she still works for us now.
She started scraping data for purchase lease options, did an excellent job with that she began to put to research some data for me. And we’ve ended up taking her on full time now.
What is the beauty behind hiring a Virtual Assistant?
With the internet being just so quickly, readily available, now you’re able to hire a member or a staff, you don’t have to hire somebody from the local area. Again, you couldn’t do which is all well and good, but you may not get the right person for what you need.
And with the countries like the Philippines and India, where I mean, like the state of living in the state of pay is so less so if you take loads of boxes for yourself, you can find a quality member of staff that can do the tasks that you need. And then for them, they can get a wage and additional job satisfaction.
But for the most part, the reason why I love outsourcing because I’ve done it for years with Boostly. The family business is that I can set a task at 6 pm. And I know that when I wake up the next morning, the VA has finished the job already.
Having somebody in charge of payments and dealing with guests is scary. So what would you recommend to somebody?
Like most people, I did everything. I did the payments, the ID checks, the court the telephone calls, replying to inquiries, by phone call, by email, by text and get you in every way don’t know. I used to deal with all of that.
You don’t realise how much you’re doing it because it just keeps on building up. It’s when you start understanding you’ve never eaten a meal from start to end without being interrupted because that’s when the guests are booking.
That’s when they’ve got their inquiries, they finished work, they’re making inquiries, and you’re trying to eat your evening meal. To trust that somebody else can do that for you, you have to be realistic, and nobody is going to be as perfect as you, nobody.
But if you want to build your business, scale-up, market your business, improve your business, grow your business, you have to let go of those little jobs. It was a baby step. It was just baby steps. I’d get him to check things.
So I taught a hard job initially, I got him to do things that weren’t that important.
How did you react when the Virtual Assistant makes mistakes?
Human error does still happen. Sometimes the system area goes down, and you have to be realistic with it.
But the point is that when you can give up that work. And if you can go and do something else that you’ve always wanted to do, or you’ve ever needed to do, like develop your website to go out and get direct bookings.
Just let the ID checks go to somebody else. So I spent quite a long time teaching hard, you’re just going through all the different processes, we don’t want to understand the guest profiles.
You’ve got to move forward. And like you say, no one can do it, as well as you. But if you’ve got your systems in your structure in place, then you can show them how to do it as you would, which is a fantastic little tip.
That’s amazing now that he’s grown a team, based around you thrive in a group, where I love that how that somebody that you hired as a VA is now hiring other people as well, to help him which is phenomenal in it.
Our teams have grown, and this is the main thing, I think people assume that if you’re a guesthouse owner, whether you’re a small hotel owner, or whether you just got a single or a couple of rental properties, that you have to do everything yourself.
And I honestly don’t think it’s just hospitality. I believe every business owner, small business owners like that, fail that they have to do everything themselves, but you’re doing your business more harm than good.
And you can do everything. And if you stretch yourself too thin, then you’ll never progress.
What are the big mistakes that you see people make when they first start getting into outsourcing and finding people to work with?
I think there are two mistakes that people make. They either don’t let go and don’t let those people help them enough because they’re so reluctant to let go of the person.
I think if you have the systems and the structure in it, and I think it’s more of a mindset than it is anything else if you’re ready to let go and you’re ready to get help, then the processes are a whole lot smoother.
If you don’t do it right, and like you say, you dump it, and you don’t take any responsibility than that as well as the issues rely on. So follow up question then is, how’d you work around this?
If the owner is not there, then we have to take problems with it. Sometimes the angels will contact me and say, we don’t know what to do in this situation.
So I’ve got to decide on that business. But that’s not my business, and the owners are absent. So we’ve got might muddle through. In other circumstances, it’s a case of just dealing with people’s expectations to realise what a VA is, what a VA isn’t, what they can do to help you.
And indeed, with our case, this team’s been going for about 18 months now. We do have a vast amount of knowledge of systems that can help people. And we can make suggestions to people. And we need people to work with us.
What bad advice that you see people give in the industry, specifically around outsourcing?
I see a lot of people going and get a VA from the Philippines for $3 an hour, and they’re cheap, it’s great, except you’ve got to train up person, you got to spend all that time training a person.
That person might not be suitable for the role, and it’s only one person. And then they give up, and they don’t want to do anymore.
So you’ve got to go and find the next person. And you’ve got to train them up. And at the same time, you’ve still got to run your business.
So we have an awful lot of people who have gone through the third or the fourth VA. And you say to them, Look, you know, you get what you pay for.
And this is a tough business, hospitality business, a VA on $3 an hour is great if you want to get them to research something in your area. No deadlines, no pressure or anything.
But if you want them to answer your queries on Booking.com, or go into your email and answer your questions with good English as well, why would they do that they can go and get a more straightforward job for $3 an hour.
To listen to the full podcast of this episode, go to Anchor and download the podcast.