Badass Is The New Black (Season 3) Episode #3: Digital Media VA Crash Course: Teaching Entrepreneurs How To Take Things Off Their Plate With Emily ReaganJan 26, 2021
Are you an entrepreneur who has too much on your plate and is ready to employ virtual assistants but don’t know where to start? If your answer is yes, then you will want to tune into this episode. Krissy Chin brings in Emily Reagan, a digital media implementer and creator of the Digital Media VA Crash Course to educate us about VA support. Are you worried about what to offload, how to offload it and how to find someone to help? Emily can help you with that. Are you afraid of burning off your life savings by hiring help? Emily assures that you will not. Listen in and learn how you can take the essential steps to start buying back more of your time for yourself.
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Digital Media VA Crash Course: Teaching Entrepreneurs How To Take Things Off Their Plate With Emily Reagan
Entrepreneur, I see you out there. You have too many plates spinning at once. You are ready to offload some of the tasks but you have no idea where to start. You're afraid that you're going to spend your life savings, hiring help. If you don't know what to offload, how to offload it, how to find someone to help and want to make sure you're being cost-effective, I want you to tune into this episode. I am here with Emily Reagan, digital media implementer and creator of the Digital Media VA Crash Course. She knows about virtual assistants hiring, offloading the work and she is here to help us solve our big entrepreneurial problem of having too much and needing to get rid of some of it. If you're excited about this information read this episode.
Let's welcome, Emily Reagan. She is a self-proclaimed Jill of all trades when it comes to digital marketing and tech skills. She worked as a behind the scenes digital media implementer and virtual assistant for over a decade for online business owners and clients. She's a mom of four, an Air Force wife and Founder of the Digital Media VA Crash Course where she teaches women the digital marketing skills to get hired online as a unicorn virtual assistant. I love it, Emily, welcome to the show.
I'm glad to be here with you.
We’re talking about recording an episode for a long time and finally, we've got on camera together and you're going to share some amazing nuggets with everyone. You're going to answer some of the questions that I've been having as I dive more into hiring more VAs. Even though I have people that work for me, I'm like, “I still need more help figuring out the best system and process for this.” I love that I get to pick your brain for my own personal benefit.
Yes, I'm an open book and here to help.
Let's get started quickly with your background. Where you were before you started your own business? What led you to get here now?
I'm a military wife. My husband is Air Force and he's still on active duty. I have moved around eleven times in the last several years and I have never had a job longer than eighteen months. I used to be embarrassed by this but when you look at my resume, I've had some killer jobs. I've done a lot related to journalism, newspaper, TV, news, public relations and communications. I felt embarrassed that this resume was all over the place but now that I'm in the online world, it all came together perfectly. That's why I say Jill of all trades. As an entrepreneur, you need to know a little about a lot to function. In my last full-time job, I was a communications director at a nonprofit and it was my dream job.
I got to get on the media whenever I wanted. I had a marketing budget. I had an amazing board of directors and I found out I was pregnant the first week on the job with my first kid. We were trying to have a kid but I didn't know that's going to happen that fast. I was okay when we were moving and I decided to stay home but there is a piece of me that always needed to work and to create. I love having those tangible results in my business. I love getting in the newspaper or getting a press release out so I brought my first freelance client with me. From there, my business exploded. I didn't even know what I was getting into. I kept having babies. I kept saying yes to clients and the next thing I know I've worked with, probably I've lost count but over 50 different clients over the last few years, including a couple of big gigs.
I learned a lot about building an online business, every step of the way with my clients. If I didn't know the answer, I'd go figure it out and I would learn. I loved it. I loved having something other than cleaning a bathtub. I don't get any joy out of a clean toilet. I hate that like a hamster wheel of cleaning my house and to me, I've enjoyed working and it let me bring my job with me every time we move. That's how I fell into this world and help that I had a leg up with public relations but there was a part of me that always liked videos, websites and social media. It was a natural fit for me.
Emily and I met at the Kajabi conference and it will be two years ago this coming April 2021. We have this instant bond. We had this little group that we were all hanging out with. We had met there for the first time. You weren't in the beginnings of your business but you were like, “I need to figure out how I'm going to step this up. There's a client I'm working with it that I don't love.” Tell me about that experience of being there at Kajabi when we met, where you were then because you're far beyond past that age now. Tell me a little bit more about that.
When I met you, I was still in the client work. I remember having a heart to heart conversation with you at dinner and talking about like, “Emily, we need to get out of this work. You know too much. You're too helpful.” I had started my course at the time. I had been training my team and decided to go ahead and scale it. I knew it was smart. I helped my clients make tons of money. I knew I needed to do this and I had a lot of smart friends who were looking for work especially moms who want to work between 9:00 to 3:00. They are military spouses with degrees who can't find a job because you know how the economy can be when you're new. I started training my friends on top of that. I started off with zero people on my email list at the beginning of 2019.
I had been doing the client work for years and hadn't bothered to promote myself. I didn't want to be in front of the camera. It wasn't a problem getting the client work but I knew there was something bigger and better. I was tired of making everybody else money. I needed a piece of that pie. I knew I had the talent. I was the one building the business behind the scenes so I went all-in with that course. When I had met you, I had a beta launch but I was still teetering in between a lot of client work, a couple of clients that were like sucking my soul and when I got home from Kajabi, I cut them off. I went all-in with my course and trying to build my own audience and started an Instagram from scratch in 2019. It's painful when you start small but I knew the snowball effect. I knew what could happen. I would help clients do it for a year. Now, I have a course that's bringing in a good income and then I have a backend membership site. I do a little bit of client work but I only do high-end stuff and I say yes to the projects I want to.
Show up and be consistent.
You say, “Yes,” to me when I was like, “Emily, I need help with PR,” you're like, “Okay, fine.”
I had gotten out of the hourly work, which was perfect timing with COVID and all of this because it's hard to track hours like that. I stayed there for a little bit too long but that was a whole mindset thing of making sure the money was coming in. There was safety in that when you have those bread and butter clients and I knew this. I've listened to tons of podcasts and business coaching but I knew that you need to tell some people so your other opportunities open up. I was constantly booked out and that was what I was used to. I'm having more fun in my own business when it comes to writing blogs, writing emails, launching and doing my own social media than I ever did for a client. I still do some PR on the side because I love that. I've done it for you and a couple of other friends. That's my background. That's my true talent. I fell into the techy stuff, the content marketing and all of that but my baseline is in public relations.
A couple of things that I'm noticing and readers, if you haven't pulled out the nuggets, I'm going to pull them out for you now. As we are learning Emily's story and journey, her story is you leveraged your knowledge of what you had been doing to start your own business. That was working for clients, doing the work for people who were building their own businesses. You started there and as your fire and desire grew, you were like, “I'm going to do this for myself.” What I want to point out is that you had the courage to say, “I'm going to start at the bottom.” Nobody wants to start at the bottom. Emily started at the bottom.
Everyone that’s been on this show started at the bottom and I'm going to be your tough-love coach and tell you, “You got to suck it up. You got to start at the bottom where everyone else does.” It may take a little bit longer for you than the girl next door to get to that level you want to get to or you'll get there fast but you have to have the courage to be like, “I'm going to start my Instagram from scratch. I'm going to start with an email list of zero.” That's a huge strength that you had and it took a little bit of time. It took the Kajabi, seeing all these people at Kajabi to inspire you and push you a little bit but found the courage and you stepped out there to do it.
You have to show up. You have to be consistent. It gets harder when it's your own business telling other people it was one thing but you're right about that.
It was easy for us at Kajabi to be like, “Emily, you have to do this. You have to go for it.” It's easy for us but you have to do the hard work and that's what I love. You did the hard work. I hope as you're reading this, you realize you have to do the hard work but it can totally pay off. You said you're having more fun building your own business and writing the marketing emails and doing the launches that you used to do for clients but you're having more fun doing it for yourself. If you can find that courage, get that inspiration from someone. It's this episode and us telling you to like, “You got this. You're a bad-ass. You can do it. Go for it. Grab onto that and take that next step.” Before we get in, we're going to talk about VAs and building that support because that's huge, being able to scale your business to multi six figures or seven figures. It is super important, no matter what level you're at. Before we get in there, I want you to share with the audience one little system or process that you've implemented into the business that has been a game-changer for you.
This is where the things I love. First of all, I love all the things behind the scenes that are moving and I love to build them. One thing that changed the game for me was I built a quiz funnel. I built a lead magnet based on a personality quiz that got me 4,000 emails in 2020. Keep in mind, I started with having 30 or 40 at the beginning of 2019. I was starting from scratch. That helped me skyrocket and find my ICA. People would take my quiz and it would all be automated. Although the ads are all turned off now, they were going and bringing in leads. They're being nurtured. They're being sent to my Facebook group. They're getting my mini offers.
That has been a game-changer for me especially as starting off from “behind” when you want to get in the game a little bit faster. We all know the power of a good lead magnet but people are clamoring to build quizzes that are interactive, that give your leads to connect with you. I get many emails like, “Emily, that's so me. How did you know?” It's funny because, with personality quizzes, people will see themselves no matter what. It's like the horoscope. You can make it that your life but I did write a good quiz.
I don't have a quiz. I've talked about doing this. I've been intrigued about doing it and I've been dragging my feet, I'm going to be a little bit honest because of that, like, “Where do I start? What do I make the quiz about?” I have to sit down and do the hard work to figure it out and to put it up but then as you said, automation. I love it. Once it's done, it brings in leads. Let me tell you the power of a good email list. GROworkspace, one of my brands that serves a specific audience, we've done a huge website revamp. We are focused on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
I was like, “I have a course, Build a Blissful Business for my personal brand.” I was like, “I didn’t even think about a Black Friday Sale.” Three days before Black Friday, I have this email list of about 4,700 people on that. I was like, “I'm going to type up a few emails.” I put five emails together over a few hours and that was like, “I'm going to run this course, 75% off for Black Friday.” I launched an email, I did a reminder email and did three emails the last day. I made $1,400 literally by sending some emails out. There's power. It was basically found money because I wasn't planning on doing a Black Friday sale. I spent two hours put crafting these emails together and that was it. I made $1,400, $700 an hour. That's good.
It's all set up for you. All you have to do is open the gates and tell people about it because you've done the work.
The power of you building an email list of 4,000 people in a year, that's good. If you have this offer, that was one offer at one point in the year that I made $1,400 with two hours' worth of work. Imagine as you create other offers or you have different times of the year that have a sale where you've brought more people in, once that work is done in the beginning to create that product and offer, you can send it to your email. That can be such a good return for you. That quiz that you created, that's bringing ideal people in. I can imagine what my Black Friday is going to be like in 2021 after I put this quiz together.
We'll have to talk about your quiz too because it is a lot of work but when you do it right, it's good.
When are you going to put together a training on how to do quizzes?
I haven't even told you this, Krissy but I do quizzes. I have a partner that I work with. Now, I'm doing a lot of tech integration and all the Facebook Ads. She is the personality queen. We do it based on DISC personalities. She'll do that and I edit it but my friend Linda is doing most of the work. We're booked out through the end of the year. We should talk.
We’ll put me on the waiting list. Soon, Emily will have a course on how to make bad-ass quizzes that attract your ideal clients, build your email list to let you generate money without artists. I love that system and process. That's going to lead to even more stuff for you and your business, which is cool. Let's get into the VA stuff because this is super relevant to me now. I've got a team of ten for GROworkspace support people. VAs over there doing lots of different things. I'm not new to the whole hire a VA, a virtual assistant someone to help you with the things that you need in your business, the things that happen over and over again.
I'm not new to it but I still sometimes struggle with all the things like finding a good VA. I've got that down well but we can talk about it. For the people that don't have anyone in there looking for someone. We'll talk about some different roles of VAs. VAs are doing different things so what are the roles? Training Vas, that's where I want to get even better about training. Sometimes that keeps me feeling overwhelmed of like, “There's so much they could be doing but I don't have time to train them.” The second you get them trained, they take over the work, which frees up more time. I want to get your tips and advice on that. Are you ready to dive in?
Let's do it.
You're the VA queen with the course creating these unicorns VAs helping them, get out there and start their own businesses for that. Tell me where we should start.
I want to say I'm into this privileged spot where I've done the work. I'm coaching a lot of my VAs. I see a lot of client-relationships that go well. I see them go sour and it's nice to get that because it's a relationship. It's all about communication. It can be uncomfortable to step into a leadership role when you're new. It's even hard on my team knowing I need to grow. I need to put in the extra steps. I need to get on people when they are not showing up when they need to or they're distracted because virtual schools are kicking everyone's ass now. Realize you're dealing with a human on the other side of it.
I see a lot of business owners complaining and talking about that. Treat that person as human and communicate with them. Find out and ask them what they want to learn. What is their scope? If you hire the right person, they’ll have that growth mindset and they're going to love learning. They're going to love stepping up to the challenge. They might be open to learning something. You want them to go learn quiz funnels. Have that conversation. I do talk to a lot of business owner peers who say, “I don't know.” I was like, “You got to ask them. You got to talk to them and find out.” Hopefully, you hired that person who's willing to go out and keep learning because it's easier to keep that business in house than go out, do another hire and do the onboarding process and go through that.
You can find somebody who does multiple tasks. That's why I call them the unicorn because everyone has their special skillset. People come from such varied backgrounds, educational experiences, jobs and there might be some hidden talent they have that you don't even know. Start with there but I do want to talk about the main reasons people don't hire right away and how that shoots them in the foot for later. I see this happen time and time again. I see business owners wait too long then the kitchen's on fire then it's hard to get somebody on your team spun up and helping with the fire. People become desperate. They make bad decisions.
Don't wait too long. I love the analogy of a babysitter. You want that babysitter on call when you need her, you can't call a babysitter at 6:00 on Saturday night and expect her to be open. If you have made this relationship with her and she knows you pay well and you have junk food in your pantry. Your kids are good. They go to bed and listen. They're not swinging from the ceiling fans. When you develop that relationship, you'll have somebody who's there for you, an invested person. As I said, in the beginning, this is a relationship with somebody. I am not saying you have to be besties but that mutual respect is there. I do see a lot of business owners and one mistake they make is they expect their VAs to capture their brand voice right away.
If they're having them help with emails or social media or any kind of writing and they're not paying for a copywriter and I'd see them complaining like, “I hired someone overseas and she can't write like me.” It doesn't happen overnight. You can get talented people but it takes time to get integrated into your business to learn your values. It can help if you have things documented ahead of time in your onboarding process. It doesn't happen overnight. I see people hire somebody on Monday and be frustrated by Friday because they are unrealistic with their expectations. Keep in mind that if you were to hire a copywriter, with several thousand dollars for a contract, it's going to take them time to learn your brand voice and write that sales page. Your VA isn't going to step in right away. It would be good to have example emails like copy and paste of your most frequently asked questions and your written replies and get them learning your brand voice. You can prevent all of that frustration. I see a lot of other business owners make the mistake of not having their SOPs in place.
Tell our audience what an SOP is.
SOP is the Standard Operating Procedure. It is how you would document the tasks that get done in your business. Krissy is talking about her show post-production. She could have an SOP based on the steps that happen to get that show on your phone, on your Apple app, showing up every week. Before she can hire somebody to help, she should document her current process. That person can come in and make it better, efficient and streamlined but you need to give them something to go with. That will help you when you're onboarding someone and you're frustrated because it takes time to train them that you don't want to be necessarily training them on, “What is the podcast? What is the search word? What are show notes?”
Treat the VA as human and communicate with them. If you hire the right person, they’re going to love stepping up to the challenge.
You want to be able to bring them on board and have them already know what that is. Give them a tour of your business and how you do things. You're not training them from scratch and people will get frustrated for real when they hire somebody who doesn't know anything but you should have those SOPs, how you do the work in a Google Doc. Have some Loom videos explaining how you do things or screenshots documenting certain settings or your podcast player in lime green. Put that hex color there so the person knows. What size is your feature image for your podcast blog? Things like that need to be documented so somebody can come on and help right away. That's hard. Do you have them in your business?
Yes and no. They're getting developed all the time. In GROworkspace, we do have a lot of them. Loom is an app that you can use to record videos and then it creates a hyperlink you can send. I use Searchie. I pay for that and I upload my videos to Searchie. What I love about that is it creates transcripts as well. You can search for terms. I might do a training video. I did this with my sister who I brought on board to help with one of the brands. We did a training video on how to create this newsletter. We recorded it and when we were done, I uploaded it to Searchie. You can also do the link so in a Google Doc, it's like, “Krissy’s and Carrie’s recording of how to create the monthly newsletter. Training here.”
She can click on it but what I love about that is she can type in key terms or phrases into the search. Since it does a transcript, it will then pull up the different timestamps in the video and show you the transcripts. You can see like, “We mentioned class or I don't know something here and here. This was the spot I was looking for.” You can see the transcript and you can jump right to that spot there. You can also do a closed caption on it and everything. I use it in my course. All my videos are through that. I pay for the platform anyway so I can utilize it at no extra charge to do my training videos on there as well.
That is brilliant. I didn't think about doing that for your own team with courses. I love it when I'm taking a course and I can go back and search like, “What was that thing about that word?”
I use that over Loom but a lot of people use them. I do have those and it takes the process of writing down the process that you are doing now and look at it, is this the most effective process? “I should make a few tweaks here based on feedback from the clients that are sending us.” That's your golden nugget of like, “I should change this in the process or how this function or whatever that's automation,” getting it out step by step and then record yourself doing it. There are some things where it does take you perfecting the process to record it to hand it off to someone else. I have a VA in the Philippines that I pay $3 an hour. I make the video and send it to her. She’ll ask me questions if she needs to and then she does the work.
I have varying degrees of VAs that do different things. That seems to work effectively but it is like, “I have to sit down and take the time to figure out the process.” As a good business owner and CEO of your business, you need to be doing that in order to improve your business as well. For the things that I don't understand well or weren't working out, I hire a true professional, like my ads manager, who I don't have to do any training videos. She knows what she's doing and I paid for it. I pay a lot more for that because I don't have to do the training.
She is specialized so that’s perfect.
You were talking about as a human being, getting to know them, treating them as a person and appreciation, that goes so far. You are working with people who want to become a VA and leave their 9:00 to 5:00 jobs and whatnot. A lot of people leave that more stable position because they didn't feel appreciated. No one told them they were doing a good job. No one told them they appreciated them for X, Y, Z. My biggest pet peeve is when people say, “I appreciate you.” It doesn't do it for me. You got to tell me why you appreciate me. I make it my mission when I'm reaching out to someone who is on the support team. I was like, “I appreciate you because you've taken the time to understand X, Y, Z and ask me the questions. I appreciate you because you are truly a part of this team and because you show up.” Why do you appreciate them? That's a way to give them feedback on things that you enjoy what they're doing.
They're like, “Krissy loves it when I do that. I'm going to do more of that. I'm going to make sure that I am.” I didn't realize it was a big deal but I guess that's one great aspect that I bring to this team. If you are treating them like a person showing your appreciation for them and the work that they're doing and expressing that to them, it doesn't always have to be giving them a dollar raise. Verbally, you have to tell them why you love them, why you appreciate them, why you're grateful for them and you will keep good people for a long time with that simple fact or things.
Isn't that one of the love languages, like words of affirmation? I need that when I have my choice of which clients I'm working for. I want to work for the ones that I feel good, who valued me and who appreciate me.
Even if it's not your love language. That is my love language, by the way, so that's how to get extra brownie points for me was like, “Tell me how great I am.” Acts of service is another one. You're telling me how amazing I am and doing things for me, you are high on my list here. Even if it's not your love language, everyone wants to feel appreciated. That's human.
They have their choice in who they're working for. Unless they're full-time on your team, the whole point is to hire someone and have them grow. They should be full-time on your team once they're super successful. It's not what you want. Most people do unless it's a specialized independent contractor. It would be nice to have that person grow up and be invaluable to you. You want to learn from it if they are the right fit.
What are some of the different roles that VAs could play? If someone has no one on their team, they're like, “I know I'm drowning in overwhelm. It feels like there's much to do. These are the things on this list that I want to be doing. These other things that I hate doing. I want to get them off my plate.”
It was a great segue because a lot of people would hire thinking like, “I need this specific one thing.” You want to hire that person who is a lifelong learner, who's motivated and who has follow-through. You're hiring for personality traits, characteristics and work ethic. Anybody can step in and learn Kajabi. People who are self-starters will be able to. They will be able to learn convert kit unless you're at that level where you need that specialized ads manager or something and you can go that route. Overall, you want to hire the person who's the go-getter and who's hungry who will learn. The best way to start with is to write your dream lists, audit your time and write your list of the tasks you want off your plate. It's good to keep track of the things that suck up your time because of that Pareto principle. You need to delegate 80% of it anyway.
Start a list of the time sucks and the things that are in your drudgery zone. If you find yourself every week doing that thing last, that's a big clue. You should get it off your plate. Basically, a lot of entrepreneurs start with the inbox because that can be a mess. It's not a money-making task but it's important. You need somebody who has customer skills and empathy and knows your business and can respond and represent you. Not anyone can do that job but I find a lot of people hiring that in calendar support. Those are what I call admin jobs.
You can start with the VA, which is more administrative or executive assistant type. If you're running an online business, you're going to want to start adding in some of those online digital marketing tasks. You're going to want help updating a website or not writing the social media posts at first but someone who will schedule them. Anything that can save you time. That's why if you're thinking longer-term and more about the personality trait, the right person can step into those roles. Get them on your team, mastering a few of the most important ones. You can then start adding to it. Having regular feedback sessions, seeing how their time's going. One of the first things I hired out in my business books and invoicing. That was painful for me.
I like numbers but it would take up much time to invoice all my clients and payout my team. I had a micro agency and I lost money because I could be doing the billable hours. I hired that out first. Another good one people hire out is Facebook Community Management. If you have a free Facebook group or you have a paid one for your membership site or your course, that's a lot of work. It's a lot of pithily things to remember like adding people and capturing their information. There are some ways to automate some of that now that they're still new and upcoming but you want to be collecting the customer information so you can use it later in copywriting. You want to be posting weekly, daily and engaging. All of that stuff is not something you should be spending your time on.
Can I throw out a money-making tip for you guys? If you have someone who you ended up hiring, if you're doing it yourself, you can take the step now. When you're going through support in your Facebook group and all of that, if there are great testimonials that people put out there for you like, “I love this. This experience was great.” Any words of praise, any testimonial or great stuff, either do it yourself if you're doing it now or when you hire a VA, instruct them to take a screenshot of it and have a Google drive folder that they put that in because you will need testimonials to help sell your product or your service. They are the ones seeing all of the things with your customers and interacting and being there.
If they can start compiling those testimonials when you're creating that landing page and you're like, “I need some testimonials. Now, I got to go ask some people to do some.” You can get some genuine testimonials from that. Add that into the list of things to do and be on the lookout for great testimonials and screenshot them. You want the whole image of it and not them typing, “This is what Sally said.” The Facebook messenger chat where Sally said it was amazing or that text message. Have them screenshot it and put it into a folder. That's my little golden nugget to make money.
That is such a good tip. I teach that in my course if you have Facebook Community Management training but you're right. That organic screenshot does better. Even the big wigs are using it as social proof, in stories social media posts or landing pages.
I cut you off on the roles but we covered admin and administrative tasks and then went into support.
I was starting to get into some of the digital marketing things and this is why I call my people unicorns because they'll come with different tasks. Some people are good copywriters. You might need to eventually add a copywriter to your team or as one of your contractors. You might be able to find a VA who's good at it that has a background. They're like me and not a Journalism degree and they're okay with it. You might be able to find the VA who has video editing skills and can help you grow your YouTube channel at the same time. There comes a lot of dynamic flexibility here when we get into the online marketing world. I don't want you to pigeonhole yourself thinking, “I have to hire one person to do one thing,” because there are people who have that blended skillset that is capable.
You can find VAs who do social media. You don't have to go hire this social media marketing agency for $2,000 a month. You could find a savvy social media manager or they might be calling themselves a VA still who could step into that role. At some point, you will be hiring those specialized people as we talked about but I have people on my team who are the true high unicorns into a hybrid. I'm thinking of Nicole. She does a lot of my blogging because she can write like me. She knows SEO so she can help me with my content marketing strategy. It's awesome knowing that this person can 100% do that part of my business and I don't have to be involved. Start like that. She started off doing Pinterest and then we added this and it opened the flood gates to more work.
That is an important thing to think about. It’s not ideal all the time but you can have five different people doing five different things because they love it and they're good at it. If there's that VA who wants to have fewer clients and more hours, those are going to be your go-getters that are like, “I'm willing to learn a new task.” Share with your team the things in the projects that you're working on because someone might step up and be like, “I want to do that. We have a team meeting for GROworkspace every single month with everyone on there.” If they can’t attend, I record it. I put it into Searchie. I email it out. I give them the meeting minutes and we were like, “We're going to be doing more blogs. We're going to be working on SEO.”
We've never done SEO for our business. How do you have a multimillion-dollar business SEO? I don't know. We managed to do it. It’s a good community, I guess but we're going to be working on blog posts. If anyone is interested that has a background in that or is interested in learning, we're going to be learning more about it too. Let us know. Two people jumped up right away like, “I would love to spend more hours with you guys and drop a few hours on my other side gig. I do blogging for them. I know blogging or various things.” It was like, “Perfect. We didn't even have to find a new person.” We have two people on our team with experience in blogging that I wouldn't have known if I didn't tell them what we're doing and how we're growing in the business. Communication is everything.
What's interesting too, is there are a couple of different tracks that people can go on. You'll have the creative types who will step up with the blogging and they like the graphic design, video, audio, writing but then you also have this perfect person to grow up to be your online business manager. This is that type A, structured, detail-oriented and a taskmaster. They might start off as an administrative assistant but they could easily start managing projects and grow up to be your online business manager and have a bigger role in your business.
There is no shortage of talented people, but it takes time to get them integrated into your business and learn your values.
That person isn't necessarily writing the copy and the social media posts but they can help you manage the people who are. This is a crucial role that you all know you're working toward. You might not be there right now but as you hire that admin, time-saver person, think about this, “Is this somebody who could be a leader on my team one day?” They might start at the beginning, not knowing everything but that possibility is there. That would help you out in the long-term as you grow your business. We all get there where we get overwhelmed and we have all the balls in the air and whatnot. Keep that in mind.
We definitely have someone who started as a VA and she's keen, analytical organized and I'm not so that was perfect. She worked up into that. She is my go-to. We have a team meeting every month. Claire and I have a meeting every week with Nicole where it's like, “Where are people at?” She was like, “This person's working on this.” It's been this great thing. If you're a VA can transform into something more, you're giving them an opportunity. My husband always talks about this, “The people that you're hiring in your business, they want more opportunity. It's your job to grow your business to provide more opportunity for the people that are on your team.” That's important. Some people don't want to be Emily and the Krissy of their own brand. They want to be the support person. That's my sister, Carrie, who came on. She's like, “I want to help you do whatever you do.” There are those great people that never want to be in the spotlight. They want to help you be good at what you do.
There are a ton of people like that. I have a whole community of people who don't want to be doing Facebook Lives. They want it set for it. They love helping people. You can tap into personality tests to figure out who that right fit is. I am not the queen of knowing all of them but I do know that there's a popular test, the Kolbe ones. It will rate people and one of the things is being a fact-finder person. Somebody who's a little bit slower and more thorough, that person might make the good project manager type and detail-oriented. Knowing which personality types fit with you, you can't hire solely based on that. That's illegal but that can give you an insight.
When you're hiring somebody who's a little greener, where they might fit in? Are you getting more of a creative person? Are you getting an extrovert who can handle the people? I was on a team once. My client hired a community manager. She was awful. She hated people. She had no empathy. She treated people like crap. We were like, “We got to get her out.” She was in charge of their Facebook group, Krissy. It was horrible. Quickly, the team was like, “She doesn't need to be there.”
You have to find a different role for her. That's why a lot of people have five different VAs because they want someone good and enjoys what they're doing. They might not be the person to also run your support email. There is someone else for that but you can find these unicorns that Emily trains that can do a lot more than one task. That's always nice because if you don't have to be communicating with a bunch of different octopus legs, it can be better. The last little thing is I know everyone is like, “I need a VA to help me get some stuff off my plate. I'm not a solopreneur anymore. I'm taking my business seriously and I'm going to scale it. Where do you find them and how much do they cost?” I know that's the thing that's going through everyone's mind. That's like a loaded question but give us some insight quickly on that.
There's a contingency of overseas VAs. I'm going to start there. I know you hired one. There's a website you can go to where you can look for them. I don't know it off the top of my head but we could always link to it. You can find VAs in India, the Philippines and even Eastern Europe. You end up paying less. I am starting to see some of the VAs in the Philippines. I saw one charging $25 an hour and I was shocked.
They're like, “I know how much these Americans pay for VAs and I'm going to capitalize.”
In my head, I'm like, “She's been around a lot or does something specialized but it looks super fishy.” Normally, you're not paying more than $6 or $8 an hour and with these VAs, you can get good ones but know that you're going to have to have those marching orders ready. You're going to want to have your SOP. You're going to want to take the time to be organized to bring somebody on. They're great for repetitive tasks, data, data entry and administrative tasks. They can be a huge asset to your team. A lot of people have a lot of success. I heard a podcast with Chalene Johnson. She was talking about how she does her podcasting. When it's not something that needs to be done right away and you can send it overseas to another time zone and it can come back to you later.
Some of that can be cheaper in another country and that's up to you as a business owner. My best recommendation is to talk to other successful business owners because there's a network and ask, “Who are you using? Does that person have any recommendations?” It can be a little weird when you scoop somebody up or want to pay them more than the client is. Don't do anything like tacky there but the word of mouth referrals are the best. There are VA agencies that do hiring and they'll charge about $35 an hour but that's because they're scraping off the top. They're probably paying that VA $15 and charging you $35 or $40 an hour. Beware of those. There are time and a place. Sometimes you get what you paid for. You might be getting good experience or somebody who's trained.
You can look for it there. You can also look at some of those websites like Fiverr, Freelancer or Upwork. You can find work there. If you're looking for somebody who's going to be more of ongoing assets and a team player for you, I would do more of the word of mouth, less of those one-off websites for those projects. I have a website, HireAUnicorn.com. I've had about 150, mostly women go through my course to learn digital marketing. These are the unicorns that can do the admin but also the online marketing and the techy thing. Go to that website and you can fill out the work form there. You'll fill out the form and I will share it with my work groups. You'll get somebody who's vetted but you still are getting people who are a little bit greener. Those newer VAs are usually $18 to $25 an hour. Their hourly rate does communicate their experience. I know when I started doing a lot of Pinterest years ago, I was charging $10 an hour. You can't find that any more.
Besides the Philippines, $15 is our starting point when someone comes on highly skilled in something.
If they're not trained, not skilled, $15 is pretty much. You can start to get more specialized and more experienced VAs booking at over $30 an hour. You can find that sweet spot of that person who is still affordable and has hours and knows their stuff.
I don't want you to like, “I had to pay someone $30 an hour.” That's not full-time work. Your VAs are doing a couple of hours here and there for various things. You can definitely work out deals if you're like, “I'm going to give you twenty hours a week so we're going to bring that price down,” or at the point where you're like, “For 40 hours a week, I'm giving you all of this work. You don't have to find other clients to pull that in.” You scratch my back, I scratch your back kind of thing because, at the end of the day, there's also always someone else out there that's willing to do the work. You may have a good person but if they outprice themselves and you’re like, “I can't do it.” You have to be a smart business person as well and will be watching the budget. There is someone else out there.
If you do have good SOPs set up and ready to go, when someone leaves you in a pinch whether it's because you had to let them go or they decided to leave, you're like, “Don't worry. I've got this. I've got my SOPs. I have to run over to Emily and be like, ‘This is what I'm looking for.’” She’ll be like, “I have the perfect unicorn VA for you. You've already got your SOP set up. You have gone through my Build a Blissful Business course. You've got all of your branding things to hand them on a silver platter, all set up for you.” You've got the system and process in place but it does take time. Give yourself some grace as you're developing the systems and the process and fine-tuning. Reach into your network or our networks to find what you're looking for. That's how I've hired many people from my own network.
Whether they were in my community or my other entrepreneur friends then I'm like, “Who are you using to do your podcast production? Who are you using to do your Facebook Ads?” Some have been amazing and some I've used one time when I was like, “I'll use someone else.” You shed a lot of light on VAs and hiring support. I'm going to tell you guys, take her first tip where she said, “Don't wait too long. If you can only afford that $3, $4, $5, $6 an hour VA and you have to go to the Philippines to do the repetitive tasks, get that one thing off your plate and do it and hire on as you can.”
I can remember some of my clients early on, we would watch their budget. Some of them were for four hours. I kid you not when I was brand new. I'll let you know when we get to ten hours then you can make the call especially when you're dealing with digital marketing and content marketing and whatnot. We had that flexibility to push on the gas or put on the brake depending on what her income was doing. You can have those agreements. It’s because you're working with someone doesn't mean they're going to be full-time and they're going to be expensive. There is flexibility in your working relationship as long as you're communicating that.
I'm going to do a quick little game and then Emily's going to share her freebie with you and where you can find her because she does have a little freebie. We're going to do a little like rapid-fire or would you rather game to get to know you a little bit. I'm going to shoot these out and you tell me the first answer that comes to mind. If it's none of the above then you can throw out your own answer. Would you rather be without internet for a week or without your phone?
Are you more spontaneous or are you a planner?
Would you rather go into the past and meet your ancestors or go into the future and meet your great, great-grandchildren?
That is creepy, I say past.
You are stranded on an Island, who's the one person you bring?
My husband or Aquaman.
Your favorite type of movie, romantic, comedy, action or a thriller?
I like the weird focus film thinkers.
Word of mouth referrals are still the best way to find the best VAs.
Is it like a documentary?
No, it is like, you don't even get it and you have to use your brain on.
Pajamas or real clothes on the daily?
Are you wearing real pants right now?
I'm definitely in pajamas.
I do wear a lot of workout clothes and then don't work out though.
Would you rather be stuck in Groundhog's Day or stranded on an island with nobody?
Would you have a rewind button or a pause button on your life?
Would you rather have Batman by your side or Spiderman?
Would you rather explore space or the ocean?
Would you rather have a cook or a maid?
I do have a housekeeper but I would love a nanny. Personal chef, though, that would be amazing.
Tell us about your freebie and where we can find it.
I have a Free Digital Media VA Training Series. If you're a business owner doing a lot of the techy on your own, it will walk you through some cool techy checks and things that I do behind the scenes and open your eyes to some fun things you could be doing. I also like to send women through that to see if this is the type of work they would want to do. They could be more than an admin VA. They could start a digital business helping build businesses online on the backside. That's at EmilyReaganPR.com/training and you could also send your teammate through it.
Where can we find you to connect with you more?
The best place is Instagram @EmilyReaganPR. That's where I'm having the most fun. Even though I thought about it a little bit, when I was starting over, I love Instagram. I also have every basic group for freelancers. Feel free to come in there and find a VA. They're not all through my course but a good portion of them have been. That's my free Facebook group. There are lots of training and interviews in there and you can connect with a virtual assistant.
Thank you, Emily, for being here. It's been awesome. I've loved the information and I know our readers are going to take this and apply it to their business, 100%.
Thank you for having me. It's always a pleasure and I cannot wait to be with you in person again.
Until next time, remember to channel your inner bad-ass and take it imperfect action every single day. We'll see you later.
- Digital Media VA Crash Course
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About Emily Reagan
Emily Reagan is a self-proclaimed jill-of-all-trades when it comes to digital marketing and techie skills. She’s worked as a behind-the-scenes digital media implementor and virtual assistant for a decade for online biz owner clients. She’s a mom of four, Air Force wife, and founder of the Digital Media VA Crash Course, where she teaches women the digital marketing skills to get hired online as a unicorn virtual assistant.