Andy Stickel: What are you trying to do with virtual assistants?

Bobby Buchanan: I am launching a new brand for my firm in the next month or so. It’s much more specific as far as what I’m doing. It’s giving me the opportunity to relook at my social media presence. I really want to expand that presence and make sure that I’m consistently posting on social media, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on Instagram, and wherever I might get a good return on my time.

How To Get Help With Social Media Posting And More

Given how busy I am, I don’t have the time to execute on all the ideas that I have and what I have in mind. So I’m looking for someone who has the time to do all of the tedious tasks it takes.

AS: Okay. That’s what I do with my stuff. I touched on it before where my philosophy is that I get paid to think and other people get paid to do. You get rid of all the busy work because there are always people that can do the busy work for you. You can train them to do the busy work.

I get all of my virtual assistants from Upwork. Have you ever used that site?

BB: Yeah, I have. I definitely have. And l’m also looking at, the Philippines-focused site.

AS: I’ve never used that one before. I just use Upwork, just because it’s an all-in-one platform. I know the platform.

BB: Yeah. Upwork, definitely familiar with it.

AS: A couple of things. First of all, I’m not sure what experience you’ve had with Vas (Virtual Assistants), but I’ve got some VAs that I couldn’t run my business without. They’re that important. The way that you hire is the most important part.

How To Hire Assistants You Can Rely On

Whenever people work with people overseas and they get poor results, it’s for one of two reasons. It’s either you can’t communicate properly with them or it’s because you didn’t give them good instructions.

The first thing you need to do is you have to make sure you can communicate with them. What I always do is this: during the interview process, I always ask them questions that they can’t Google. Like what are their hobbies, where did they grow up, tell me about your family, different things like that.

That will assess their communication skills because if you can’t have a conversation with them, then it’s going to be impossible to actually be able to give them good instructions. That’s the first thing.

Here’s the next thing I do when I hire somebody. After all, it’s cheap, just $3 an hour, or $5 an hour. So I hire five people for the same job and I test them. I’ll give them some task that requires research, critical thinking, and communication. Whatever it is. I give all five of them the same task, pay them all to do it, and keep the ones that do a good job.

I’ll say “Okay, I need you to create a document with the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of 25 estate planning attorneys in New Jersey.” That’s all I’ll give them. I want to see what they come back to me with.

Training Virtual Assistants

Obviously, once I actually hire them, then I give them much better instructions. Usually, what I do is I do videos for everything. I’ll show them exactly what the task is and I use Screencast-O-Matic.

I’ll record myself doing the process. I’ll explain everything, give them all the links, give them access to that. I don’t have a problem because I know I can communicate with them and I give them really good instructions because I’m actually showing them what to do. When you do that, it’s really good.

How To Outsource Writing

Now, with social media, there are some things that you probably don’t want to outsource, like writing. What I do is I create a video, and then I send it off to my team and then I’m finished with it.

My team then creates the YouTube thumbnail and the YouTube description. They turn it into a blog post and an email. They also add it to my email sequence and to social media.

The one thing that I don’t do overseas is writing. I have a writer. We have lots of writers but we hire American writers because again, that requires thinking but it’s not as much thinking as creating the content. What we typically do is go to, get the blog or the video transcribed. It’s like a dollar a minute.

Then you send that to a writer and you say, “Look, just clean this up. Make it so that it actually reads well, but don’t change it.” Because you don’t talk the way that you write. Get rid of all the umms and the uhhs and stuff like that. I just have them clean it up.

It’s still your words, they’re just making it legible basically. You have a writer for that. And they also write the YouTube description and the email. Those are a little less important but you still want to do that.

That’s all you do and you just give them really good instructions for every piece. It runs automatically. That’s the nice part.

BB: Alright. That helps a lot because one of my major concerns or questions was, “How do I tell whether or not these people are actually going to be able to do a good job?” Hiring three or five of them right off the bat and giving them a task and seeing how they do seems like a pretty simple solution to that.

AS: Yeah. It’s really easy. Just make sure to ask them questions they can’t Google. I’m telling you, some of the VAs that I’ve had in the Philippines are really good. It doesn’t matter where they are. If they move to the US and started charging American rates, they’d still have a job.