Transcript of Why You Want a Digital Assistant (And The right way to Discover One)


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John Jantsch: This episode of The Duct Tape Advertising and marketing Podcast is dropped at you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a platform that helps growth-focused eCommerce manufacturers drive extra gross sales with super-targeted, extremely related e-mail, Fb and Instagram advertising.

John Jantsch: Hiya and welcome to a different episode of the Duct Tape Advertising and marketing Podcast. That is John Jantsch. And my visitor right now is Melissa Smith. She’s the founder and CEO of the Affiliation of Digital Assistants. She’s additionally the creator of a ebook known as Rent the Proper Digital Assistant: How the Proper VA Will Make Your Life Simpler, Create Time, and Make You Extra Cash. So, Melissa, thanks for becoming a member of me.

Melissa Smith: My pleasure, John.

John Jantsch: So I’ve been speaking about digital assistants really for years. And actually, definitely whereas it was sort of a novel thought a decade in the past, I imply, now we’ve whole virtually-staffed firms. So in your work with this concept or this idea of a digital assistant, how have you ever seen that evolve over, let’s simply say, the final dozen years?

Melissa Smith: It’s advanced fairly a bit. I believe that it’s actually simply modified the identify. We’d’ve known as it telecommuting earlier than. And now that time period is on its method out. It’s virtually absolutely gone. We all know we’ve talked about freelancers, distant working. Skype actually began to vary issues. Actually sooner or later with VR, that’s a complete different realm to get into.

Melissa Smith: But it surely’s actually modified how quite a lot of executives and high-level folks have been doing work, proper? Their time is so necessary. You may have tens of hundreds of those who report back to you, mainly, your organization around the globe. There’s time zones. There was quite a lot of journey, and so it actually modified the place we may very well be, how briskly we might get there, the data that we might share, how private it was.

Melissa Smith: It’s actually modified so much. However I don’t assume what folks actually noticed coming method again when was that it was additionally going to vary the way in which many staff can get work carried out and report into work and begin their very own companies.

Melissa Smith: Once I speak about distant working, it’s nothing new. It appears completely different as a result of now I’m outdoors the workplace and somebody’s of their workplace. However the instances the place somebody that I labored with was at all times within the workplace with me, I simply can’t even keep in mind these instances. We have been speaking by e-mail, by textual content, by video chat. They have been by no means within the workplace. So basically we have been distant working. I simply occur to be distant working from contained in the workplace and now I now not have to do this.

John Jantsch: Nicely, and actually the expertise that’s sort of modified and caught up … I imply, actually, as I referenced, I imply, you’ve whole organizations which have 100 workers and none of them report back to an workplace anymore. And in order that’s clearly … Even that habits sort of has modified how folks take into consideration getting work carried out.

John Jantsch: So would you say … Let’s begin with the definition. Is there a definition right now of what a digital assistant is and what it’s not?

Melissa Smith: Sure. So a digital assistant is somebody who’s an unbiased contractor, a enterprise proprietor. They aren’t an worker. So you possibly can have an assistant that’s an worker, however their title shouldn’t be more likely to be a digital assistant. It’s more likely to be some kind of different title, distant worker-

John Jantsch: Govt assistant, even. One thing like that.

Melissa Smith: Presumably. I imply, there’s positively govt digital assistant, however sometimes, like I’m doing a search proper now for a chief of employees, however that’s an worker place. You would have a chief-of-staff digital assistant as effectively. However often as soon as you place that digital assistant title on there, that’s what makes it into a unique realm.

John Jantsch: However I suppose that’s … I imply, you’re actually hitting on the thought that you could be be began out with what was … Outlined how folks considered a digital assistant. And now it’s virtually each function, it may be digital. And so I’m assuming that even within the Affiliation of Digital Assistants, you’ve folks which can be doing work, like digital content material folks and digital internet assistants and digital advertising assistants, not simply perhaps what folks considered type of admin work.

Melissa Smith: Oh, completely. It’s a very, very wide selection, from working with audio system [inaudible] solo entrepreneurs to working with those that are nonetheless very a lot in a C-suite and people who have brick-and-mortar firms, and their wants are simply ranging, working with nonprofits, whether or not you want somebody who may be an assistant or somebody who can do some content material, somebody who can replace your profile, some to succeed in out to those that need you to return out and communicate at their occasion, otherwise you’re reaching out to talk at extra occasions.

Melissa Smith: I at all times inform folks, in case you have a necessity, there’s a digital assistant on the market. And for individuals who assume they’re in these fields that assume, “Oh, you already know that might by no means turn into in my area. My area is very regulated. It’s very safe, it’s very demanding.” From authorized workplaces to monetary workplaces, digital assistants is all over the place.

John Jantsch: So, by way of of hiring then you definately make a great level, as a result of I might see lots of people pondering, “It’s time for me to get a digital assistant. I want any person about 20 hours per week.” However then they need them to do eight completely different type of specialised duties. In the case of that kind of strategy. I imply, is there a proper strategy? I imply, do you rent any person and hopefully, like quite a lot of workers, quite a lot of workers get employed, replenish the day and so they’re requested to do issues that there aren’t actually of their skillset, however they’re there. So that they’re requested to do this. So would you say that the higher approach is to perhaps rent 4 completely different digital assistants for various specialised wants?

Melissa Smith: Completely. I might extremely advocate that, one, you’re going to get higher work. You’re additionally going to get extra knowledgeable work. So the advantage of hiring somebody that’s an skilled in a area is that they need to additionally sustain on the developments. So this can be a actually scorching subject proper now. Do you specialize otherwise you generalize? And the workforce is definitely going in direction of extra specialization, though persons are speaking about generalization. And the explanation why is as a result of issues change so quick. If I’m a generalist, can I do the work? Sure. Am I as more likely to be within the know of what adjustments are coming and get to these adjustments earlier than they occur if I’m not a specialist? Not going.

Melissa Smith: After which the opposite factor you mentioned is 20 hours per week. Most individuals solely rent a VA 5 to 10 hours per week. The work that may be carried out nearly could be very specialised. So once more, you’re not quite a lot of time. Do folks rent VAs for greater than that? Sure. However should you’re hiring a VA for 20 hours per week, chances are high you’re doing quite a lot of enterprise, quite a lot of enterprise, it’s simply not as frequent. After which the opposite aspect of it’s in case you have quite a lot of issues that you want to do and also you’re pondering, “Wow, I simply don’t know one particular person that may do all this stuff.” Possibly you want bookkeeping, you want some social media and also you want somebody who will also be an govt assistant for you.

Melissa Smith:There are groups on the market the place you possibly can simply rent [inaudible] report back to have a one particular person report back to you however then have a number of folks doing the work. And it doesn’t price that rather more than having a daily, like one digital assistant working for you.

John Jantsch: So how do you advocate folks go about discovering [inaudible] match? As a result of I’ve labored with in all probability two dozen digital assistants through the years and, you already know, some have been a greater match than others. Some I did a greater job of discovering than others. I imply, what’s the perfect course of? As a result of I do assume I’ve at the least skilled, there have been positively those who I felt like I received much more work out of. I felt much more comfy with their work as a result of I believe they have been a great match. So, how does any person go about, particularly within the digital world it’s … you’re generally doing these over e-mail, how do you discover a good match?

Melissa Smith: So, the very first thing you do is begin together with your communication technique. It’s in your fashion, your medium, your method, your tone. It must be tremendous straightforward for you. I’ve seen far too many individuals say, “Oh I’ve to speak with my VA this manner.” And that’s the tail wagging the canine, should you’re spending the cash, it must be for you. So my instance is should you’re strolling by means of the grocery retailer and also you’re like, “Oh, I completely forgot to inform my VA this,” how would you message that particular person? Would you name? Would you textual content? Would you Slack? You already know, what are these issues? And that needs to be the way in which that you just get to do this.

Melissa Smith: The second a part of it’s that try to be your VA’s superb shopper. They need to have began their enterprise to work with somebody similar to you. As a result of if not, quite a lot of VA’s can work and do their work for anyone, however they received’t wish to. So after they get a full ebook of enterprise, they’re going to drop you. So that you wish to just be sure you’re their superb.

John Jantsch: Return to that time once more as a result of I imply, how would I decide that? Like how would I discover that individual that I’m their superb shopper?

Melissa Smith: Certain. You’d go to their web site, their LinkedIn profile, their social media handles. What are they saying? Who’re they for? What does their message appear like. If you happen to don’t end up in that, should you’re not discovering your self sharing the identical articles, studying the identical books on the identical platforms, utilizing the identical phrases, that particular person didn’t create their enterprise for you. It’s best to positively see your self in there.

Melissa Smith: So if I work with podcasters, it ought to say digital assistant podcaster. Now, I do know that’s fairly obscure. They’ll going to say greater than that, however I don’t work with podcasters, so that you received’t see that in my profile. I like podcasts. I’m an enormous fan. They’re the way in which of the long run by way of web optimization greater than ever. However that’s not my specialty. So if I’m an govt coach and so they come to my website and so they wish to see who I labored with and who I work with, they’re going to see their identify on there. They’re going to assume, “Wow, Melissa works with folks similar to me.”

John Jantsch: So by way of productiveness, I do know quite a lot of instances I’ve talked to folks through the years which have employed a digital, excuse me, assistant and simply felt prefer it was extra work getting them up to the mark and I didn’t know what to inform them. I imply, is there a course of, a timeline, a method that it’s best to take into consideration orienting and coaching to get an individual to be extra productive? I imply, so much such as you would an worker I suppose.

Melissa Smith: Sure, there ought to positively be an onboarding course of. Now, once more, we return to working with specialists. I’m not onboarding them on find out how to use a sure software program, find out how to use a sure system, that shouldn’t be a part of the onboarding course of. The onboarding course of is, “That is how I love to do issues. These are my preferences. We’re going to get our working rhythm down. We’re going to begin to actually dive on this degree of communication.” But it surely shouldn’t be, “I can’t log in. I don’t know find out how to discover this.” These aren’t the sort of conversations you wish to have.

Melissa Smith: However should you don’t have an onboarding plan on your VA, and that is one thing I share in my ebook and there’s a whole technique for it, you wish to know what attractiveness like in an effort to convey what attractiveness prefer to your VA.

Melissa Smith: And the nice half about it’s you’re going to do like that one week or two. Right here’s that time. We’re going to share info. You’re going to say, “Okay, right here’s the logins,” share them by means of a safe website. You already know, that type of factor. Right here’s what we needs to be up to the mark. We must always have our conferences down. After which by means of the subsequent couple weeks try to be engaged on what it’s that you really want this particular person to be impactful for. If you happen to simply have this listing of, “Gosh, I’ve like eight issues they might work on,” you’re not going to be actually happy with that. Actually choose the place you wish to be on the finish of 12 weeks and work backwards.

Melissa Smith: After which the profit to that is you’re additionally going to say, “Okay, these are the issues that I believe may derail me. That is what attractiveness like. That is my wealthy aim and that is what I might take into account a failure, if we didn’t hit this, if we didn’t get this carried out by the top of 12 weeks, I might not be proud of that.” And as soon as you already know that, it’s a lot simpler not solely to handle the method, however it’s additionally handle the VA. So should you don’t hit these timelines, then you already know precisely the place to handle. Like why did this not occur? How did this fall by means of? And on the identical time, should you’re forward of schedule, it offers you one thing to be actually enthusiastic about.

John Jantsch: Wish to remind you that this episode is dropped at you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo helps you construct significant buyer relationships by listening and understanding cues out of your prospects. And this lets you simply flip that info into precious advertising messages. There’s highly effective segmentation, e-mail autoresponders which can be able to go. Nice reporting. You wish to study a little bit bit in regards to the secret to constructing buyer relationships? They’ve received a very enjoyable collection known as Klaviyo’s Past Black Friday. It’s a docu collection, quite a lot of enjoyable, fast classes. Simply head on over to BF, Past Black Friday.

John Jantsch: This type of matches into that very same vein. How a lot expectations ought to there be that this particular person’s going to simply look ahead to me to inform them what to do versus they’re going to return again and say, “Hey, right here’s a greater approach to do it.”

Melissa Smith: It is a scorching subject. And the distinction between an actual assistant, any kind of assistant, whether or not it’s AI or human, is the flexibility to anticipate your wants. If they will’t anticipate your wants, then it’s not an actual assistant. That may be a task-taker. That’s somebody that you just’re going to be delegating to. I’m not a fan of delegation. Delegation is figure. Some persons are actually good at it. So should you’re good with delegating and simply giving folks duties, then by all means, that’s a unique sort of particular person.

Melissa Smith: However should you’re in search of a real digital assistant, that particular person goes to have the ability to anticipate your wants. And they’ll begin selecting up the clues. They’ll begin your calendar. They’ll begin seeing patterns the identical method that AI will, proper? And that’s how we do issues.

Melissa Smith: My purchasers, regardless that I matched them with digital assistants and I practice different digital assistants, I anticipate what they want earlier than they want it and even hiring. As a result of I do know I can see down the street as a result of I’ve carried out this earlier than. And the extra purchasers I work with, the extra purchasers I can see. After which I begin to anticipate new issues and I begin to see new developments and I begin to anticipate these and I ask the correct questions and see if it’s relevant to them. However the concept that you’re going to be simply ready on somebody, or somebody’s going to be ready on you to provide them work, that’s simply extra work.

John Jantsch: So I heard you point out 12 weeks. Is {that a} life like aim to assume any person’s, and perhaps you simply used that for instance, however is {that a} life like aim to assume yeah, we needs to be on observe to stand up to type of full velocity by then?

Melissa Smith: Completely. In lots of circumstances it may be carried out earlier than that. I exploit 12 weeks as a result of it’s very easy to interrupt down. And it accounts for holidays. It accounts for holidays. It accounts for sickness. But when none of these issues are occurring, you possibly can simply get one thing carried out and get your VA onboarded earlier than that point and attain your aim.

John Jantsch: So I’ll ask this in two separate questions. I used to be simply going to ask a two-part query, however I’ll ask in separate questions. When am I prepared to rent? How does any person know that they should get any person?

Melissa Smith: One of the best time to rent a VA is earlier than you want one. And that is the right time to get all these little particulars about how working with you goes to go, what worth you need your purchasers to obtain, how you want to speak. It’s a very good time to get that rhythm down whereas it’s not an emergency scenario, whilst you’re not already working in opposition to a deadline.

Melissa Smith: After which now, this particular person can come up and you’ll actually simply begin utilizing them perhaps 5 hours a month, 10 hours a month. After which if you begin getting extra up to the mark and also you’re actually beginning to ramp up your enterprise, now you’ve somebody who can already be with you and already know every thing in an effort to take a part of alternatives.

Melissa Smith: A part of the most important factor that I see when folks don’t rent a VA earlier than they want one is alternative misplaced. They’re simply not at a spot to stand up that touchdown web page, to get out an e-book, to say, “Oh sure, I can go communicate at that occasion as a result of somebody is caring for this factor over right here for me.” Or simply even really feel like they’re trying skilled sufficient to have these issues in place.

John Jantsch: So the second a part of this then is, is there an train you run folks by means of to assist them perceive, “Okay, how do I do know I’m going to get the worth primarily based on the fee?”

Melissa Smith: So that you begin together with your finances, proper? Working with the VA is an funding, it might probably’t be an emotional resolution. So that you begin together with your finances and also you say, let’s simply speak about a very low finances. We’ll have a $200 finances for the month. What do I want that I might have a digital assistant do for me for $200? How might this alteration? And perhaps that’s getting some issues which can be evergreen in place, like that FAQ that your purchasers are at all times asking you for and also you’re sending out the identical e-mail over and over, or that video enhancing the place you can now create seven clips from and have social media content material for 3 months. One thing that was actually going to avoid wasting you time and you already know precisely the way you’re going to make use of it, the place it’s going. It truly is a finances of not solely your cash but additionally your time and the way it’s going for use sooner or later.

Melissa Smith: So if I take into consideration a trip and I take into consideration how I’m going to make use of that cash, how a lot cash I’m going to avoid wasting to go on trip and the way it’s going to be spent and what I’m going to get out of it. A VA is similar factor. I received to know, is that this an ongoing factor? Is it simply going to be like a month-to-month factor that I can do? How can I get essentially the most out of it? What’s it going to be tangible for me? And as soon as you already know that, it creates a complete world of alternatives for you. And now you already know, “Okay, now I’m going to get this shopper, this shopper pays for 3 months of this type of work and now I can rent a VA for the subsequent three months for positive.” After which it simply begins to snowball from there.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I believe there’s a key element of that’s know what your time’s price.

Melissa Smith: Completely.

John Jantsch: As a result of one of many justifications is it might simply will let you do extra excessive repay work. And so, that might definitely flip round and pay for itself so that you just get out of doing the work that that VA might do for you. So, by way of discovering, there are many marketplaces now, I might recommend that to some extent the Affiliation VAs is a little bit of a market place. Upwork is a market place. There are firms, staffing firms, now which can be putting folks in digital roles. After which clearly there’s that unbiased particular person that you just may discover on LinkedIn or Fb or one thing. What’s the perfect course of that you’ve got discovered for beginning the search?

Melissa Smith: One of the best course of is to ensure it’s a clear course of. It’s a part of the explanation why I created the Affiliation of VAs as a result of I simply didn’t discover that there was sufficient transparency. And the most important query purchasers have after they work with me is, “The place do I discover the correct VA?” But, sarcastically, digital assistants have the identical query, “The place do I discover the correct purchasers?” And I assumed why aren’t these two folks assembly? They’re trying in the hunt for one another. However they simply weren’t assembly up. And also you simply need to go the place that different particular person is. Proper.

Melissa Smith: If I wish to have a cup of espresso, I’m going to go to Starbucks. It’s simply that straightforward. And so if I’m pondering, “I’m on LinkedIn, I prefer to work on LinkedIn, my purchasers are on LinkedIn. I might count on a VA that I rent to even be on LinkedIn and I might seek for them there.”

Melissa Smith: If I wish to create extra of a presence on Instagram, I’m like, “Gosh, I’m not likely comfy on Instagram, however it’s positively a preferred platform. I’m lacking out by not being there.” I’m going to go get on Instagram and I’m going to discover a VA on Instagram and I’m going to look by means of all their stuff and I’m going to look by means of all their previous movies and their pictures and I’m going to search out somebody that claims, “This particular person is constant. This particular person is aware of what they’re speaking about after they communicate and so they write. That’s one thing I might say, I believe they’re skilled. I believe they might characterize me effectively.”.

Melissa Smith: However realizing that after which actually writing out a job description that makes folks wish to work with you after which sharing it together with your colleagues and your pals and displaying them what attractiveness like for you.

Melissa Smith: As a result of merely saying, “I want a VA,” and sharing it together with your colleagues and your pals. There’s no scarcity of individuals which can be working with the VA [inaudible 00:21:32], “Oh I do know any person,” however another person’s VA will not be the correct one for you. This occurs on a regular basis. They’re like, “Gosh, this particular person labored with them and perhaps I’m simply not proper for a VA as a result of I didn’t get the identical outcomes as they did,” however they is likely to be utilizing their VA for one thing fully completely different than you want.

Melissa Smith: So actually saying, “That is what attractiveness like. That is what I might really need in my VA. If anybody is aware of anybody ship them my method.” And that’s an effective way to do it as effectively. However trying on the platforms the place you wish to be, the place you count on that particular person to be, after which checking up on their profiles and ensuring that they’re responsive. If I attain out to a VA on LinkedIn and she or he doesn’t get again to me for 2 weeks, clearly this isn’t a great match.

John Jantsch: Nicely, I inform you, through the years, I’ve realized this the arduous method. In some circumstances that, when working with anyone nearly the extra info I can provide them, be the designer or a author or, that if I take the additional 10 minutes to actually totally clarify what I need, I at all times get it. And if I don’t do this and I attempt to simply sort of rush by means of one thing, then it’s hit and miss, and I believe that that take that additional 10 minutes and also you’re going to get 100% higher outcomes.

Melissa Smith: Completely. After which there are some steps which you can’t skip after you assume you discovered the correct particular person. And that’s getting these references, checking references and doing a background test. Don’t ever go together with your intestine. I imply, I might like to say that it’s 100% proper on a regular basis, however I’ve been doing this for awhile and I at all times do the reference checks. I at all times do the background checks. And it’s simply one other layer of peace of thoughts. And you’ll be shocked what folks will share with you each good and dangerous about this particular person you’re about to rent. It’d provide you with that additional nudge.

Melissa Smith: It’s like, “Oh my gosh, I’m so excited now I can actually get began with them as a result of they’d such stellar references.” Or they could simply say a little bit one thing and you already know, simply say, “You already know what, you actually have to provide her permission to provide suggestions to you.” That’s additionally a very good piece of recommendation so you already know that stepping into.

John Jantsch: I simply assume everyone, I similar to everyone and belief everyone. In order that recommendation is one thing I want to listen to too. So Melissa, the place can folks discover out extra in regards to the Affiliation of VAs in addition to your work?

Melissa Smith: Certain. You’ll be able to go to, in fact we’re on LinkedIn and Fb and Instagram. It’s also possible to attain out to me at [email protected], I’m on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter. Nonetheless straightforward it’s so that you can talk. Be happy to do this, and I promise to get again to you.

John Jantsch: Nicely, thanks for becoming a member of us, Melissa, and hopefully we’ll run into you sometime on the market on the street.

Melissa Smith: Thanks for the chance.