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Episode 41: Growing a Business with Help from a Virtual Assistant

Do you need a virtual assistant, and are you ready to hire one? The founder of The Virtual Hub tackles all the big questions around outsourcing the growth of your business.

Listen to Episode (38:31)

Synopsis

Barbara Turley has always been passionate about starting her own business, which is what eventually led her to found The Virtual Hub, a company that matches entrepreneurs and small businesses with a highly trained virtual assistant. She talks to Chris Davis about what it takes to grow a business, what she learned in her first year of entrepreneurship, and why a virtual assistant can be such a powerful tool even before you know you need one.

Find Barbara online at TheVirtualHub.com, and on LinkedIn.

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Transcript

Chris Davis: Welcome everybody to another episode of the ActiveCampaign podcast. I have with me today [00:00:30] Barbara Turley of TheVirtualHub.com, and this episode we’re going to talk about that addition to your business, that if you don’t know you need one by now, just wait because the time will come where you will definitely need an extra set of hands.

Speaking of those extra set of hands, when it’s digital marketing, it is very, very hard to find qualified, or I should say, [00:01:00] precise expertise of people who understand not only the multiple tools that there are to use, but how to match those tools with your specific business needs.

This person, the set of hands that I’m talking about, virtual assistants. Virtual assistants. Those of you who have one probably have war stories, those of you who don’t have them are probably afraid of hiring one, so I have with me Barbara. She is the CEO of [00:01:30] the Virtualhub.com where she trains virtual assistants specific to the digital marketing space in various platforms. Barbara, how are you doing?

Barbara Turley: Great Chris, thank you so much for that intro. I love the war stories part. We get that all the time.

Chris Davis: Yes. You can’t be a consultant in digital marketing without coming across a virtual assistant for a client … You meet a client, and they have a virtual assistant, who are just above their expertise. [00:02:00] What they’re trying to do or what they need to do for the client, it’s just way above their pay grade. They are overextended and they’re all over the place.

Barbara Turley: Overwhelmed.

Chris Davis: Yes.

Barbara Turley: Yes.

Chris Davis: Yes, yes.

Barbara Turley: It’s a very common problem, yeah. On both sides actually. We hear war stories from the virtual assistants side, but also, very much from the client side.

Chris Davis: Yes, yes. As a consultant myself, I spent many years just one-on-one consultations with small business owners, and one of the things [00:02:30] that I found Barbara, and this is essentially probably why you even exist is … What I like to do up front is get everybody on the phone. Say, “Hey, lets everybody meet each other. Let’s talk about what we’re doing. What areas are being covered and what areas need to be covered so there’s no overlap.” And for you, I was excited to have you on … By the way everybody, Janet Kafadar, she … Does she use you? I can’t remember the story.

Barbara Turley: She does.

Chris Davis: Yes, yes.

Barbara Turley: Yes. [00:03:00] Jenna, yeah … Janet and I, I’ve actually worked quite closely with her and we’ve actually become good friends through the process.

Chris Davis: Right.

Barbara Turley: But she’s built a solid business with some of our team.

Chris Davis: Absolutely, and she was on our podcast … It was one of the most highly talked about podcast within the community because it gave a really good example of how to effectively remove yourself from the business. For everybody, that is episode number 37, if you want to search for it. So we connected and Barbara, [00:03:30] I can’t explain how excited I am to just kind of hear your story, and your process, and just give the listeners some good insight on how they should be approaching hiring a virtual assistant in the digital marketing age.

Barbara Turley: Right, delighted to share.

Chris Davis: Yes. What’s your background Barbara? Where did you come from?

Barbara Turley: Yeah. This is interesting because you probably think I would have come out of a digital marketing, [00:04:00] or even marketing sort of background, but i actually didn’t. I came out of the investment banking world.

Chris Davis: Oh, wow.

Barbara Turley: I had a 15 year career in investment banking. Banks like Merrill Lynch, UBS. So totally different area, but I always had a kind of burning desire to start my own business, and long story short, I got involved in a management buyout of a business from [Deutsche 00:04:24] Bank about eight years ago with a group of other people. It was in the depths of the financial crisis, but it was [00:04:30] a chance for me to sort of get involved in a start-up operation, but not by myself.

I spent five years actually working in the company as an employee, as well as being a founding shareholder, and I learned an incredible amount about getting something off the ground, systematization, teams, sales, how to kind of build a machine, basically.

Chris Davis: Wow.

Barbara Turley: So when I came to build my own business, I immediately knew the power of having an assistant, [00:05:00] and I knew that I could get someone off-shore in the Philippines.

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Barbara Turley: So I had a VA myself. Now I don’t know whether I just got lucky or whatever I was actually just very good at making it work, but I had a great relationship with my VA. Then I started doing some business consulting … As we all do when we leave big [corporaties 00:05:20] because the fastest route to cash is to do some consulting, and I pretty much knows that every client regardless of industry, what they were doing, [00:05:30] industry product service, et cetera, all had the same problem. They had no time. They were doing everything themselves, running themselves ragged, never able to take a holiday, completely overwhelmed, and nothing was really actually getting done.

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Barbara Turley: I’m sure you would see that as a consultant as well. So I started recruiting some virtual assistants in the Philippines to just, not even as a business, but just to kind of alleviate the pressure points, so that the client and I could start working on strategy properly. Before [00:06:00] I knew it I was getting flooded with phone calls from friends of clients saying, “Can you get me one of those VAs?”

There was one day I was on holiday and I said to myself, “I wonder is there a business in this?” So I did a webinar. I just jumped online. I launched a webinar. It was the most successful one I had ever done, and I had never really done a successful one prior, and I got 10 buyers and we were in business. It was like over night I changed, I pivoted massively, and we are three and a half years later now and we have 70 [00:06:30] people in the Philippines.

Chris Davis: I love it.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Chris Davis: I love it. The good thing about it is you didn’t fabricate demand.

Barbara Turley: No.

Chris Davis: A lot of people do that, right? They get an idea and they just think that people want it. They’re like, “Hey, yeah. This is a good idea. People will buy this.”

Barbara Turley: Yes.

Chris Davis: They fabricate the reality.

Barbara Turley: I know the biggest tip I give anyone, and it’s funny because I even knew this. I heard it before, this business for me … And you kind of know it but until you feel [00:07:00] it you don’t get the essence of it. You have to have a product or service that people will literally fall over themselves to buy from you. They will pay money to buy from you today. So it’s a problem that they will pay money to solve, today, not at some point in the future.

I just discovered an acute pain point, and I did it because I was consulting. So I always say to a lot of start-up businesses. Go out and talk to customers, and unearth [00:07:30] the pain that they have in this exact moment, and that’s where you’ll sell like mad, if you can solve the problem.

Chris Davis: Yeah. That’s great advice. I mean, if you want to put on the persona that you know everything, right? When people ask you, “What should I do?” You try to answer that question, and time has taught me that the answer to that question does not exist outside of your business. People can give you pointers, but when you need direction as far as, what product should I offer? [00:08:00] What should I do next? Talk to your people.

Barbara Turley: Yes. Just talk to them about nothing … Don’t go in with a preconceived idea. Go in and just ask.

Chris Davis: Yes.

Barbara Turley: And actually, this was something I learned in my old career.

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Barbara Turley: Where I was talking to financial planners and investment committees about … We were trying to sell investment products, basically, but how we would approach it is we would go in and try and find where was the problem? And we didn’t know what it was until we would actually [00:08:30] go in and deeply diagnose by asking questions.

Chris Davis: That’s it.

Barbara Turley: Then you discover the problem and that’s how you sell into it then.

Chris Davis: Yeah. I think one thing that’s worth highlighting that you mentioned is, don’t go in with your bias. Don’t go in trying to confirm an idea. Go in open-minded and truly have a conversation with your audience, and see what is it that you can offer to alleviate what pain is pressing at that moment, right?

Barbara Turley: Absolutely.

Chris Davis: [00:09:00] That’s great advice.

Barbara Turley: Yes. Absolutely.

Chris Davis: Great advice Barbara. So tell me this, you said you have over 70?

Barbara Turley: Yes.

Chris Davis: 70 … Okay. Just walk-

Barbara Turley: You know Chris, honestly, I could have 200 right now-

Chris Davis: Wow.

Barbara Turley: … with the growth, of the way the business grew, but I’ll be honest with you, the first year was an absolute disaster. Again, [crosstalk 00:09:22]-

Chris Davis: Let’s talk about it Barbara.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Chris Davis: You know what? I am very intrigued now.

Barbara Turley: Yes, [crosstalk 00:09:27].

Chris Davis: If the Barbara of today were assessing [00:09:30] the Barbara of the past who had that disaster, what would it be that you could pinpoint, if it was like the top three things that you could pinpoint that you did wrong that lead to that?

Barbara Turley: Again, I went in going, “Great, everyone needs a VA,” but I made an assumption that everybody knows how to delegate. I would say 50% of people have the capacity to learn how to delegate.

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Barbara Turley: Most people don’t actually know [00:10:00] that it’s a skill that you need to learn and master. So a lot of the clients that we had coming in … That was on the client side. A lot of clients we had coming in just completely failed, like it was … Now Janet [Kafadar 00:10:13] was one of our massive success stories from day one. She was way back then, but the majority of them failed and they blamed us and the VAs, and it was very stressful.

I mean, I was so irritated by the whole thing. But on the VA side as well, I started to see the problem on that side too. I was like, [00:10:30] “Okay, these people are coming in. They’re great. They want to do a good job, but they really have no clue. They’ve sort of got resumes that say they’ve got all this experience, but really, they really don’t know what they’re doing. They need training. They have no idea how to communicate back to a client, and how to …” So the whole chain of communication was a massive problem, and education.

Then I kind of ripped it apart. I literally fired about 70% of the people. I actually fired clients as well. I will be honest. We just kind of stripped it all back, [00:11:00] and I almost thought, “Will I give this all up?” And then I thought, “No.” I’ve got a few key clients, Janet being one of them, who came to me and said, “You have built something really powerful here. You need to keep going.”

So I rebuilt it. I built an onboarding process for clients, which was a deep … Not a deep training program, but a simple training program to show them simply … Using tools like Asana.

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Barbara Turley: How do you create a recurring task list? How do you write a task, so that it can be delegated effectively? How do you create processes [00:11:30] and system, so that you can offload things and not being doing it yourself, but not lose control?

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: I mean, that’s just a very brief example, but on the VA side we built a deep training program, and we started making them go through training for like two, three, four weeks before we even would let them meet a client, and that served two purposes. It meant that we could control the training, and we developed all of our own step-by-step processes for social media, webinar setups, all [00:12:00] this stuff, and we gave them to the client and we trained the VA in them.

But it also allowed us to see the whites of the eyes of the VAs coming through because you can’t hide for a month in intensive training program.

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Barbara Turley: You can’t be doing funny business, and being slippery, and saying you’re there and then you’re not, which Vas are … That’s some of the war stories. So it lead to us, this success exploding in the second year, but like everything it unearthed another problem.

So we realized then that [00:12:30] our target client was probably the wrong client because we had a little bit too much churn on the client’s side, and on the VA side we weren’t … People were leaving for various reasons. A lot of the people we had coming, the client’s we had, some of them had major … Look, they were very start-up. They were very early stage, and they really couldn’t … They would cancel because of cash flow issues, and they were running out of money and they were all doing product launches that were failing. Not all of them, but some of them.

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Barbara Turley: [00:13:00] On the VA side … Look, I realized that we needed to grow up as a company in the Philippines, so I kind of … My team on the ground there, I had deep meetings with them about what people want over there. They want security. They want benefits. They want career development. So I actually went over there and I launched a company. I actually set up a company in the Philippines, and today, every one of our people is a full employee of our company there. We pay their healthcare, we [00:13:30] pay their pension-

Chris Davis: Wow.

Barbara Turley: … we take care of their family, we make sure that they get bonus structures. We’ve built a powerhouse company now that people want to get into as opposed to are leaving.

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: Client side, we niched. That was the other thing we did. We niched heavily into digital because we found that we were getting more success in that area, and particularly with platforms like ActiveCampaign. We’ve got a lot of clients that use ActiveCampaign, and we’ve built our own in house training programs that are specifically for [00:14:00] VAs because it’s slightly different teaching a VA. To use these platforms so that when they hit the clients business they’re, not able to hit the ground totally, but they’re 90% there.

Then we back them up with help desks. We’ve got success coaches. So we’ve built kind of a, what I believe, is a very scalable model, and something where our success rate is very high now.

Chris Davis: Beautiful.

Barbara Turley: We hardly ever lose a client now.

Chris Davis: Beautiful, and if I heard this correctly and just summarized it, the [00:14:30] biggest mistake was just getting ahead of yourself, right? Saying, “Hey, I’m going to train VAs.” In doing that, you’re like-

Barbara Turley: Yes.

Chris Davis: … “Oh, wait a minute, delegation is a thing here. Wait, this is …”

Barbara Turley: You only discover those things … The lessons I’ve learned is that you can try and get ahead of your thinking, but you don’t know the problems that are going to evolve, and you don’t know … So you build a solution for the first problem that you found, which is, I saw people [00:15:00] had no time.

Chris Davis: Yup.

Barbara Turley: I was like, “Oh, yay. VAs, cool. Great solution.” Then I was like, “Oh, there’s another problem.” Then I built a program for that, and then it was like, “Oh, that’s another problem.”

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: And I’m sure I’m going to have more.

Chris Davis: Right.

Barbara Turley: But at the moment we …

Chris Davis: Because you’re just digging deeper and deeper, Barbara.

Barbara Turley: Yes.

Chris Davis: As you’re talking, you start out like you said, “Everybody starts out with that initial problem,” and I think most people, the issue is they just don’t dig deep enough. Right? They start [00:15:30] with their problem-

Barbara Turley: If you want to build a powerhouse business … If you want to build a huge business that is a powerhouse business, you need to focus on continually getting feedback from your customer and asking them where is the pain? So we ask our customers all the time.

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: We have very active feedback programs. We’ve got a happiness meter on the end of every email, where they can say, “You guys are awesome. You guys are terrible.” And we ask them like, “Tell us, so we can fix it. Let us fix it.”

Chris Davis: Yeah, and you know what? Another thing that stands out as far [00:16:00] as what you’re doing right for your business, and we talk about getting ahead of yourself and the complication of that, but you really invested into your audience, which is your VAs. You’ve invested and you dug deep with them to understand their needs. Specific to their geographic location say, “Okay. Listen, I want to provide a service to you all as well.” Right?

Barbara Turley: Yes.

Chris Davis: And you created a win-win. Having healthcare in the Philippines is huge, [00:16:30] and I don’t know if anybody listening has ever used a VA from the Philippines, but a little bit of US dollars goes a long way there.

Barbara Turley: Yes, but for healthcare is very expensive.

Chris Davis: Yes.

Barbara Turley: I almost fell off my chair when I saw the cost. It’s almost the same as me paying for healthcare for myself in Australia.

Chris Davis: Oh, my gosh.

Barbara Turley: Per head.

Chris Davis: That’s crazy.

Barbara Turley: So we did that as a … I mean, I basically took a lot of the profit that I made in those first two years and I [00:17:00] gave it back.

Chris Davis: Wow.

Barbara Turley: To the Philippines.

Chris Davis: Beautiful.

Barbara Turley: It’s because I want to … I’m just so passionate about this topic, and I can see the overwhelm that compliance are going through.

Chris Davis: Yeah, and you’re thinking long, right?

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Chris Davis: You’re not thinking short. You’re not thinking right now in two years. You’re thinking long, down the line. I bet it feels like you’re really getting started, right? Getting your wind under you.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Chris Davis: And that’s great because you have to … I feel like if you want the best out of somebody, they have [00:17:30] to know that you’re equally invested in them.

Barbara Turley: Absolutely. Just asking people, as you said, you’ve got to get on the phone and have feed … Find someway of gathering feedback. So we even say to the VAs, we go, “We’ve got a very open culture.” Which is hard to build in the Philippines because they’re not that open as a culture. They’re very … They’d find it hard to speak truth with westerners, but we’ve managed to create a culture where … I’ve even said to them, “If you dislike your client or you feel overwhelmed, [00:18:00] or just don’t like that work or whatever, you can come talk to us and we will move things around, we’ll … Maybe there’s a better fit for that client or …” And we do the same with clients. We say, “If it’s not a good fit, don’t just cancel. Let us work with you. We’ve got other people.”

Chris Davis: That’s great. I mean, these are real issues in business that people are facing and don’t know how to solve. Right? It’s everybody’s nightmare for one day they wake up and realize either A, [00:18:30] their VA isn’t who they thought they were, but they can’t replace them because they don’t know anything else, right? Or B, just the fact that, “Oh, my gosh. If my VA leaves, I’m toast. Like I have [crosstalk 00:18:44]. They know everything.”

So having a company like yourself that can say, “Hey, look. We’ve got more where that came from.” Right?

Barbara Turley: Yes, [crosstalk 00:18:51]-

Chris Davis: Like, “Rest assured. We’ve got your back.”

Barbara Turley: If someone leaves or a VA … Because sometimes they get promoted or they may have another client that wanted them to go full-time or something, [00:19:00] and we say to the client, “Don’t worry.” Because what we’ll do … We’ll typically put one of my team in. If there’s a transition period, we give the client two VAs for probably six to eight weeks, and the first VA will train the second VA. And when we’re clean, when we say, “Right, we’re ready,” we do the transition.

We say to the client, “We try to take as much of the load off you as possible of transitioning a VA, and we help you to get set up in the first place with your processes, your systems, and making sure your business is [00:19:30] set up effectively, so that one admin person leaving doesn’t collapse your business.”

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: Because that’s [inaudible 00:19:36]. That’s like, forget the VA thing, that’s a whole business risk that you don’t want to have.

Chris Davis: Absolutely. Yeah.

Barbara Turley: So yeah, we try and … Just building more and more. There’s more videos we need to do, and-

Chris Davis: Sure.

Barbara Turley: … to help [inaudible 00:19:49] more, even more.

Chris Davis: Yeah, so for the VAs listening or the aspiring VAs listening Barbara, are you just in the Philippines or do you train VAs around the [00:20:00] world?

Barbara Turley: Look, we’re in the Philippines.

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Barbara Turley: The model that we have right now is, “We’re committed to there.” We have had a few people from India approach us and at this stage we’re just in the Philippines. Honestly, I’ll be open and say we’ve just managed to nail it there, and I don’t think I could personally take on another country right now because it is very difficult to get it right.

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Barbara Turley: I have a few gray hairs from doing this.

Chris Davis: Yeah, and what’s beautiful about [00:20:30] it Barbara, I love this answer so much, is because you said that, “I’m dedicated to the Philippines.” And in saying that … Now, right? Let’s back up. You’re on a podcast. Who knows how many ears are listening to this podcast, right?

Barbara Turley: Exactly.

Chris Davis: Now, and in the future. So there’s a temptation to be like, “Oh, anybody can be a VA. Our training is universal-“

Barbara Turley: Heck no.

Chris Davis: Right?

Barbara Turley: No.

Chris Davis: But you’ve learned. You’ve been there done that. You’ve seen the [crosstalk 00:20:55]-

Barbara Turley: I thought about launching the training program as a separate entity where VAs can [00:21:00] sort of come and get certified.

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Barbara Turley: But again, we’re just not … Part of me is not doing that because I think, you know what … We get asked, “Can you guys do …” Or we get asked, “Can you do bookkeepers and accounting?” No, we do digital marketing, general admin, and platforms like ActiveCampaigns. Funnel builds and things like that.

Chris Davis: Yes.

Barbara Turley: We’re very specific about what we do, and the minute I got more specific about who we hire, what our ideal client is, and what we [00:21:30] actually do, are the business … Started doing an awful lot better.

Chris Davis: That’s it.

Barbara Turley: It’s like the core business is VAs in this area.

Chris Davis: I love it.

Barbara Turley: In the Philippines.

Chris Davis: I love it. The marketing mathematics tells you that the smaller you go, the bigger you get.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Chris Davis: Right?

Barbara Turley: Less stress, less stress. Because if I was to launch all over the place, I would be … I mean, I have a 15 month old baby. So I also had a baby … Any of the women listening out there, you can do it. I’m not superwoman, but yeah, I like [00:22:00] to have my free time to … I’m actually very committed to my own well-being and not being overwhelmed myself.

Chris Davis: That’s important because we all want to run businesses like that, and for you, what I really love beyond just the dedication is your appreciation for systemizing. Right?

Barbara Turley: Absolutely.

Chris Davis: Understanding how important it is to document those processes, and then systemize them so that you can easily train [00:22:30] and get other people up to speed, and then they can go and do the same thing for these other businesses.

Barbara Turley: Absolutely. We always say as well … People always say to me, “Are you not afraid of automation coming in, bots and things, and all these new bots that are out there?” And I say, “No, we welcome that because what we’re trying to say to clients is … First figure out what is your task list.

What does your business look like? What keeps the engine running? What’s your project lists? What moves it forward? Then let’s figure out what do we eliminate. What [00:23:00] are the useless tasks that really shouldn’t be done. Then what do we automate?” Because as you know, we can automate a lot of stuff for people who do.

Chris Davis: Yes.

Barbara Turley: People are still getting VAs to book calendars for them.

Chris Davis: Wow.

Barbara Turley: I’m like, “There’s [Calendly 00:23:13].” There’s all these … You can integrate it on your site. We do all of that stuff.

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: So we figure all of that stuff out. Then you get your VA doing the more high-value stuff. There’s always the stuff to delegate at the end, and then make sure there’s a feedback loop, where that VA or your team, can give [00:23:30] feedback to you on their experience of doing a process because maybe they’ve got a better way of doing it, or maybe it’s too clunky.

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: Or if mistakes are happening, there’s probably holes in the process. So don’t shoot the person first, check the process.

Chris Davis: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. For the clients listening, and they’re hearing this and they’re like, “You know what? I think I might want to give this a try. This sounds exactly like what I was looking for.” What is the onboarding process like? Do they just go to the Virtualhub.com [00:24:00] and say, “Hey, I want a VA,” and then you assign them a VA and all is well? What is that process like?

Barbara Turley: No, it’s a bit, quite lengthy. So we won’t just, “Hey, VA tomorrow.”

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: We do make people come through an onboarding process with us, which people actually love. The feedback is that they love us, and they’re like, “Oh,” before, and then they go through it and go, “Oh, now I know why I have to do that.”

So, first you have a call. You don’t have a call with me. It used to be me but I’ve got two great [00:24:30] strategy consultants, one in Australia, and one in Ireland, so that we can do US time zones and all of that as well. So all the US guys, we totally cover your timezone.

Jump on a call with one of our guys, and they help you to figure out, firstly, is a VA what you need because we don’t want you coming in … We’re going to help you first figure out, is a VA what you need right now? Because sometimes a VA isn’t is not what somebody needs yet. You may need a strategist first, or you may need something else. If it’s a VA, are we the right fit for you? Is what we do subtile for [00:25:00] what your needs are? It’s very valuable, that call because they really, really help you to figure that out.

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: Then when you come in, there’s a commitment fee, but it’s 240 US dollars. So it’s just for you to kind of put your stake in the ground, and for us to go, “Okay, we’re going to go ahead for you and start training.” Then we put you through our short three or four part video series where it helps you get Asana set up, if that’s what you’re going to use or Trello, or one of these project management tools. Get your task list sorted [00:25:30] out, and then we invite you to meet some of our candidates, and usually, you get to meet three people.

One of our team, our client liaison manager is on the call with you on the interview, so you get to chat with them. Our master trainer attends the interviews as well, so he can give you insights into what were the strengths of these people through the big training programs. So you get to chat with some of our team, and people love that.

Chris Davis: Great.

Barbara Turley: Then when you choose your person you want to work with, and usually most [00:26:00] people choose in that first round, then we do a client onboarding call where we take you through how our business works, how to engage with us, our membership site, where to find everything, tips and tricks, et cetera, and then you kind of start with your VA, and after that we have check-in calls, usually, about every … We don’t do them very often. In the beginning, it’s probably every six weeks, and then it moves out to kind of quarterly on a needs basis.

We invite feedback every week for the first six weeks, and then [00:26:30] we move to monthly thereafter. So it’s an ongoing process of training and engagement, and the whole way. You get to meet a lot of our team.

Chris Davis: Nice, nice. I would imagine as people have gone through that entire process, the retention of your client and the VA that you’ve matched them with is probably pretty high?

Barbara Turley: Yes, it’s very high. Yup. I’ll be honest with you, the ones that are tricky are the … We do a level one [00:27:00] VA, which is an admin VA.

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Barbara Turley: Those ones tend to be tricky. I’ll tell you why. It’s because we don’t control the training for that. We train on general admin stuff, but when they go into the client’s business, often there’s kind of a mismatch about what needs to be done or the client maybe is not totally sure of how their process works. Whereas when we move into social media and stuff like that, the processes are quite developed for those things. So [00:27:30] we get more success on those ones actually. Higher success rates.

Chris Davis: Interesting, okay. Cool, cool. No, this is all great information. What would you say in closing up here, if you were in all of your experience with what you’ve seen as far as training, onboarding, clients, matching, growing businesses … You mentioned earlier that sometimes your VAs go and get hired full-time, [00:28:00] which is amazing. What would you say are any pointers you would give a client to help them identify when they need a VA?

Barbara Turley: Yeah, that’s a good question. Look, I’m not going to say this because I obviously sell the whole concept of VAs, but I got a VA from day one. So I got one on day one of business. Now, not everyone is ready for that, but the reason I did is because anyone in business these days and most of the people listening [00:28:30] to this podcast, are doing online something. You’ve got an online strategy.

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: If you’re spending your day building social media images, and [Canva 00:28:40] things and all that stuff, right, you’re really wasting your time, and you need to have a look at what business that you’re actually in because you’re doing busy work, and you’re not really getting after sales.

In the beginning, when you start a business, you need to be about selling, selling, selling. So if you’re happy to not have an online presence [00:29:00] yet, and just get out and do a beta program … If you want to launch programs and stuff, my advice … I mean, I did this. I made this mistake myself. I had the VA. I launched a massive program. Spent a whole pile of money on membership sites and everything, and honestly, it kind of bombed. It was one of those tragic moments of my life going, “What did I do?” In hindsight, I should have just gotten 10 people that were interested in what I was doing, and ran a Skype group of kind of a live training to see would people buy it?

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: In [00:29:30] terms of VAs, if you’re willing to go that route of just kind of rolling your sleeves up and getting sales, and forgetting about all the other stuff in the background, you don’t need a VA yet. But if you want to have a social media presence, and you want to have your website running nice, and you want to be blogging, and all these things, there’s not a lot of work to be done in the background that’s going to tie up your time and that’s probably an idea to think about a VA. But when you really need one … Yeah, I think, sooner rather than later. Don’t wait until the sales are [00:30:00] flooding through the door, before you get an ActiveCampaign or a VA because then you’ve got to implement these things, and they’re going to slow you down massively.

Chris Davis: Yeah, and I would imagine you would want your VA to grow with you.

Barbara Turley: Yes, yes, yes. [crosstalk 00:30:15]-

Chris Davis: Right, as your strategy evolves and all of that, you will want your VA to kind of go through those experiences with you.

Barbara Turley: Yeah. Now the challenge is, people usually come to us … And some people listening will want this as well. Some people come and say, “Oh, look. I [00:30:30] only have about five hours a week …” and I will be honest, we do a minimum of 20 hours a week and that’s because of what we do in the Philippines. So we’re part-time. That’s the business that we have.

Chris Davis: Great.

Barbara Turley: I have a podcast called the Virtual Success Show, where we actually delve into all these questions we’ve gone through and one of the shows is, think you’ve only got five hours a week to delegate, think again.

And it’s basically getting people into a growth mindset. Of saying, “If you are committing to this business, you need to just think a bit more …” Like you said, “The long game.” Some people [00:31:00] can’t afford it and that’s fine, but you really got to think about it strategically because anyone you hire for three, four, five hours a week is not really committed to your business. They’re freelancers that are going to have about 10 of those, and that’s why they do disappearing acts.

Chris Davis: Yeah. Oh, that’s a great point Barbara. That is a great point.

Barbara Turley: And you think, “Oh, when I’m ready I’ll take her on another 10, and then we’ll move up.” And you’re like, “Well, hold on a sec. There could be another client out there that’s going to whip them up full-time.”

Chris Davis: Yeah, you’re right. It reminds me-

Barbara Turley: So [crosstalk 00:31:29]-

Chris Davis: I watch Shark [00:31:30] Tank, and sometimes the entrepreneur be like, “I’m giving you one percent of my business.” And the shark is like, “That’s not even enough to get me excited. I can’t commit to just one, I want more.” You have to think of it the same way as the VAs, it’s like, “Five hours. Okay, that’s cool, but that’s not enough to really get me motivated to do more and more for you. Give me some more hours, and you’ll see a total different outcome.”

Barbara Turley: Yeah, use [00:32:00] one of those hours every week to have a solid meeting about the future of the business, and the future of their career.

Chris Davis: Wow. I love it.

Barbara Turley: Think about that perspective. That’s why we’ve got success because that’s what we focus on.

Chris Davis: The thing is we’ve … Barbara, I know we’re to our end-point, but it’s worth stating, we have to think bigger.

Barbara Turley: Yes.

Chris Davis: I think the thing that technology does, in a good way, is it enables us to reach more people, [00:32:30] right? It enables us to operate like a bigger company at a lower cost, right?

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Chris Davis: As technology evolves and the cost lowers. However, in that, it’s so easy to get caught up doing stuff. Like you said, if you spent five hours that week, maybe you’re like, “Oh, well it was just a 30 minutes here and 30 minutes there,” but if you totaled five hours and you spent that doing Canva work, and you could of-

Barbara Turley: Yeah, spend it with your [00:33:00] kids.

Chris Davis: Right.

Barbara Turley: If anything, spend it with your partner. Spend it with your … Yeah.

Chris Davis: Exactly.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Chris Davis: Take two of those hours, and instruct your VA what to do, and now you’ve got three hours to spend with whoever, your business is still growing, and like you said, “Your kids, your spouse, your partner, whoever,” is better off. You’re all better off for it. Right?

Barbara Turley: Yeah. Look, as my final tip, sales solve everything.

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Barbara Turley: Get out and selling. You’ve got to always be selling.

Chris Davis: Always be selling.

Barbara Turley: And you’re in business, you’re in the business of sales, [00:33:30] and that’s kind of … You don’t have to be doing it yourself, but there’s obviously online ways and all that, but you just need to be … You’re selling. That’s what you’re doing.

Chris Davis: Yup. Absolutely. Well, Barbara, I want to thank you. This has been great, great, great info. As I mentioned, I was excited because … we see it as a company, are clients that use our software, they need VAs, and very rarely do we come across an account that has a VA that really knows what they’re doing. Like I said, most the time the VA … They’re [00:34:00] just over, over their head. It’s just like, “Oh, my gosh. I’m so overwhelmed. How do I build this out?”

Barbara Turley: Yup.

Chris Davis: So knowing that there’s a company like yours out there that does some serious training and vetting on tools like ActiveCampaign … And you’re not limited to just ActiveCampaign, you guys train on all of the platforms that also integrate with ActiveCampaign, as well.

Barbara Turley: Yes. Zapier.

Chris Davis: Yes.

Barbara Turley: All the Zapier stuff that we do. That’s actually not that hard to do. We do a lot of that.

Chris Davis: Yup, [00:34:30] yup.

Barbara Turley: Obviously, you may get to a level that’s quite tech, but we can do most of it.

Chris Davis: Yup, yup. So from ActiveCampaign to you, we appreciate your service and all that you’re doing. I know everybody in Singapore that is a VA and in your program, and family members of those in your program are better off because of it, and as from one business owner to the next, I want to thank you for setting the example of what it takes to really grow a business. That’s think bigger, stop doing everything, [00:35:00] and dig deep, and always be selling.

Barbara Turley: Yes. Thank you for having me Chris.

Chris Davis: Yes, it was great Barbara. Yes. Thank you for everything. Best of continued success to you and all that you do, and if people want to follow-up with you, what’s the best way for them to reach out to you?

Barbara Turley: Best thing to do, jump on the Virtualhub.com and hit the talk to us button, and you’ll go straight in there to talk to one of our guys. If you want to connect with me personally, [00:35:30] LinkedIn is the best way to find me. Jump on LinkedIn, even Google Barbara Turley, you’ll find me there.

Chris Davis: Great, great. And everybody, all the links will be in the show notes as well. Thank you so much Barbara, and I’ll see you online.

Thank you for listening to another episode. This one was great to record because as I mentioned in the beginning, it talks about that extra set of hands. That it’s not always clear where you need them, and where to find them. But I want to challenge [00:36:00] all of you listeners to really start thinking differently about your business. Look at yourself at the manager and owner of the business, more so than the doer, and I know it’s hard because sometimes it takes more to explain to somebody what to do, then you just doing it yourself. So I understand that and I know good help is hard to find, and hopefully after listening to this podcast, you have a better appreciation of the power of sitting down, [00:36:30] systemizing, mapping out the processes, so that you’re getting your business ready for delegation, and someone else to run it for you without losing revenue. Right?

You don’t have to be doing everything for your business to grow, and if your business requires you to do everything for it to grow, we can all argue that perhaps you’re taking the wrong approach. Hopefully after this episode things are a bit more clear when it comes to getting those extra set of hands, and where to get them from, and the importance [00:37:00] of it. If you’re not subscribed to the podcast, please do so now. We are in iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, SoundCloud, anywhere that you can subscribed to a podcast, we’re there.

Those of you who are subscribed, and my new listeners, go and leave us a five star rating. Please spread the word. Let people know this podcast is out there. It’s for you all. If there is ever a topic or if you’d like to be on the podcast, [00:37:30] you can visit ActiveCampaign.com/podcast and there will be a link to be a guest. Just click on that link, and you can appear on the podcast.

You can even refer someone else to appear on the podcast. If you are struggling in ActiveCampaign somehow, somehow we have a plethora of resources for you. Of the first and foremost, I would recommend you jump on a one-on-one call. ActiveCampaign.com/training. Jump on a one-on-one call and talk to somebody [00:38:00] live, and in person over the phone about your specific needs, and if you’re more of a self-learner, self-starter, hey I’d like to figure it out on my own, ActiveCampaign.com/learn is the education center where you can search and find any content around marketing automation and ActiveCampaign to help. All right?

This is the ActiveCampaign podcast. The small business podcast to help you scale, and propel your business with automation. I’ll see you on the next episode.

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