🎙️Show Notes for Episode 054 - VA Best Practices with Silas KimMar 23, 2022
Well in this episode you will hear from Silas Kim. Silas provides a detailed overview of when to hire a Virtual Assistant as well as how to hire, manage, communicate with and retain a Virtual Assistant.
Silas helps entrepreneurs, consultants, and coaches build lean virtual teams. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of Atlas Assistants, a virtual assistant hiring agency. He has over 6 years of technical recruitment experience in industries like IT, engineering, and clinical research. In his last role, he helped double headcount at a 7-figure pharmaceutical digital marketing and web development agency leading to an acquisition in 2020.
This episode is jam-packed with tips and advice to help ensure that your partnership with a Virtual Assistant is phenomenal. For additional support, you can also download the VA Playbook: The Playbook to Leveraging a Virtual Assistant in Your Consulting Business at: https://www.melisaliberman.com/va
Grab a notebook, a pen, and let's dive in:
- [03:49] A little bit of background on our guest, Silas Kim, and the Atlas Assistant Staffing and Recruiting agency of Virtual Assistants
- [04:35] Why Silas took the leap to start working for himself
- [06:18] At what point should you hire a Virtual Assistant
- [09:00] Types of Virtual Assistant Services you can hire for
- [11:08] Many tasks in your business can be delegated to a Virtual Assistant if they are structured that way. It just requires a mindset shift.
- [11:36] Some mistakes that business owners make when they are hiring a Virtual Assistant
- [12:55] The difference with delegating vs. abdicating work to a Virtual Assistant
- [14:13] The best way to train a Virtual Assistant after you’ve hired them
- [15:56] Some mistakes that business owners make when they are managing a Virtual Assistant
- [16:56] Some advice for hiring and managing a Virtual Assistant
- [18:02] In the event of a replacement Virtual Assistant, what the offboarding/onboarding process looks like
- [18:48] what is in a good SOP
- [19:47] Best way to share tools with a Virtual Assistant
- [23:18] Recommendation of best practices for communication
- [26:03] How to retain a great Virtual Assistant
- [28:08] New trends in the Virtual Assistant industry
- [29:17] An overview of how to start the process of hiring a Virtual Assistant
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Silas Kim, CEO, and Co-founder of Atlas Assistant Staffing and Recruiting Agency
Website - https://www.atlasassistants.com/
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/silask
Email - [email protected]
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**note: This is an automated transcript, so please ignore spelling errors and grammar mistakes*
Welcome to the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. I'm Melisa Liberman, a fellow IC and business coach. On this podcast, I teach you to become a consistently booked independent consultant without becoming a pushy salesperson or working 24/7. If I can do it, you can too; listen to find out how. Welcome to the podcast. I'm thrilled you're back again this week, and I'm excited to introduce you to Silas Kim. He is the CEO of Atlas assistance. And he runs the agency that I worked with to find my current and amazing VA that I have partnering with me in my business. And so I asked Silas to come on the podcast so that he could give us his vantage point of thinking about leveraging a virtual assistant, hiring a virtual assistant managing an virtual assistant, communicating and collaborating with a VA and all of his best practices and tips and strategies from the vantage point of being a recruiter and an agency that helps match up VAs with business owners like us. So that is what we're going to dive into today. It's a follow-on in case you haven't caught it yet; it's a follow-on to last week's episode, Episode 53, where I walked you through the seven steps to hiring a virtual assistant, as well as the nine mistakes you want to avoid. I've made almost all of them, if not all of them. So I had to share those with you last week so that you can avoid making those mistakes and take some shortcuts in your business. And one last thing before we dive in with Silas, remember to go over to my website, Melisaliberman.com/VA as in virtual assistants, so the letters VA, and download the playbook I created for you. I think it's, I don't know, 19 pages or something like that. It's really robust. It gives you everything that you're going to want to leverage to hire and manage and really get the most out of leveraging a VA in your business. So go download that. It's got everything from interview questions that you'll want to ask to how to create standard operating procedures. And speaking of which, Silas shares with us so many tips around that kind of thing, what to look for when you're hiring a VA, how to avoid mistakes when you're hiring a VA, he shares how to create standard operating procedures with the virtual assistant and get them on board. And he shares a technology tool that he recommends. That's toward the end. So listen up for that. And then he also really just gives a full end to end on everything from deciding you want a VA all the way to hiring and retaining the virtual assistant that you've got. So I highly recommend you listen to this entire episode. He shares so many actionable practical strategies, and I can't wait for you to hear all of them. So let's dive in with Silas. Silas, I'm so excited that you're joining us today on the podcast. You and I met. I don't know how long ago was it back in? Wall? Maybe?
Yeah, I should probably have that, you know, in front of me here. But yeah, it's been a few months now.
Yeah, it's been a little bit we've been working together. And I wanted to bring you on the show today to share with the audience, all the backend behind the scenes things that you see as someone who works with VAs every single day. So why don't we just start off and why don't you tell us a little bit about you and what you do?
Yeah, absolutely. So I am the CEO and co-founder of Atlas assistants, a virtual assistant hiring agency. So we work primarily with a lot of coaches, consultants, and service providers, essentially to hire qualified virtual assistants. I actually come from a recruitment background. So I've been in technical recruitment for about six years and have experience in multiple industries like it, including engineering, clinical research, and most recently, digital marketing for pharmaceutical advertising. Yeah, so worked in a lot of different types of companies. And then eventually, we went and started this agency to support different coaches, consultants, and service providers that are just looking for additional help.
That's amazing silence before we kind of dive into the topic today. I'm just curious what led you to take that leap to start working for yourself?
Yeah, so Atlas started off as a side hustle. So I was doing it on the side nights and weekends type of thing, working in corporate, and in my last role, I was the sole in-house recruiter for a digital marketing agency. I essentially helped them double their headcount. About three years helped them reduce their turnover from 55 to 33 to 22%. And then they got acquired when they got acquired. I was like, Okay, this is the time for me to really, you know, assess my other options. And essentially, I started this business with my brother because we realized that entrepreneurs are really good at what they do, but a lot of times not so great at hiring. And so we started the business. And yeah, another thing was in the previous agency I was in, we're looking for a lot of senior-level candidates, and then they would get hired, they would come in, and they would end up because it was such a small company, they would end up having to do their own administrative tasks for themselves, like scheduling their own meetings, uploading and you know, downloading files, renaming files, all types of things. And this is at a high seven-figure growing agency that has been around for like 20 years. So if it was true for them, probably true for a lot of solopreneurs out there. And so that's how we started it. That's amazing.
I love hearing about how people like you and I and the audience leave corporate and go out on our own; some of us take a leap. And some of us do it as a side hustle and some variations in between. But that's so fun. I never knew that story. So I love these interviews because I get to know and get to know you a little bit better through the course of this too. So fun. As we start diving into the topic of virtual assistants. Let's start off, and I'll ask you, at what point do you recommend a business owner hire a virtual assistant?
Yeah, so in short, really, every time you do anything in your business, you get to ask yourself a question, right? Is there anyone else that can do this? Alright, I'm not the only person that can do this. In short, right? Because it's more of it depends on type of answer. It depends on the type of company you're in, right? What you're doing, and what types of tasks you want to delegate, for example, ultimately, though, you're going to want to delegate the tasks that way you can actively free up your time as a business owner or consultant to then focus on the higher leverage tasks. And you can delegate all the lower value tasks, essentially, the ones that drive revenue versus the ones that don't drive revenue. I had the luxury of inheriting my VA, through my brother, so he had worked on my brother previously. I said, Okay, go start this agency with my VA. So luckily, I've had a VA from the very start. And he is pretty much he is the like, General Manager slash their business partner. And he is a beast, so for me a little biased, I'd say like, right away. That's not true for everyone, right? Everyone usually will do everything in their business. That way, you can delegate those tasks or, you know, hire someone full-time.
Yep. Yeah, I think you know, it's an art, not a science, but being able to do the tasks well enough that you know, what you're delegating, and really what red flags you might be looking for, or troubleshooting sort of things or good questions that you might need to ask the person that you've delegated to. But I don't know about you; I know for myself, and for others that I work with, usually, we end up waiting too long, we think I should make more money, and then I'll hire these people versus if I hire these people, I will be able to make more money.
Yep, absolutely. And, you know, some folks, I'll walk through an exercise so that you can look at what your hourly rate is. And then you get to have a concrete number. Alright, so the simplest way to think about it is once you calculate your hourly rate, you make like $100 an hour. Alright, and you spend 10 hours a week on $10 An hour tasks. That's 1000 bucks a week. Right? So that's just an easy way to just kind of go about it. If you know, that makes sense for some folks,
yeah, that's such a good way to look at it, right? Multiplying your rate, and then seeing that it could free up so much of your time. Like you said, even if you don't have clients at the moment to fill that time, then it's so much better spent on lead generation and business development than it is on a spreadsheet or, or whatever it is that you're doing on the back end. Yeah. Tell me a little bit about like, what do you see Silas? So I have a virtual assistant who helped me find She's amazing. On a side note, I started working with Silas after I had had a couple of VAs that did not work out that I personally made bad hires. And so Silas helped me to understand what my requirements were. And then he went and gave me a couple of really good candidates. And he said, I think this is the one and I said that's definitely not the one. She doesn't have, you know, XY and Z. I just I don't think that's the right fit. So we I talked to the other couple that he sent me. And then they weren't really the right fit. And so I said, Okay, I'll talk to this other one. And it worked out amazingly the best VA I've ever had. So you want to definitely write awesome. So I use a virtual assistant for my business to do a lot of LinkedIn management's primarily, and some scheduling. But tell me a little bit about you see such a wide range of businesses. I'm just curious. I list what types of VAs are out there that people could hire like for what kinds of activities.
Yeah, so there are bas for almost anything and everything, right, so all types from administrative, technical, sales, marketing, creative, you name it. Realistically, viewers can do almost anything, as long as they have the proper direction and training, right, we tend to focus primarily on administrative days. However, while we're screening them, we screen them to make sure not only that they can follow instructions, but they have experienced with a lot of the common tools, right that a lot of our clients are using. So it could be anything like project management software, like Asana, or Trello. Or if the social media platforms like in this case, LinkedIn, or Facebook, Instagram, so on.
Yeah. Okay. So administrate it really anything. You know, I think sometimes we think we're the only one who could do it, like write a proposal for a client, for example. But if you can templatized, at least part of what you do for a VA could at least get our draft together. I think a lot of times we rule out things I don't know, if you see that we rule out things that we think only we could do. But really, they are delegated? Well, if we kind of structure it in the same in the right way. Tell me what you think about that.
Yeah, I wholeheartedly agree. I think that's more of like a mindset thing. Because a lot of us are unwilling to let go of those things. Because no one else can do it better than you can. Right, right, until you break it down. And you realize that actually someone can do it just as well as I can, if not better than I can. So that happens all the time. That's kind of one of the tough parts about the the role, right and trying to get folks to see that. It does take a little bit of time for some people. But yeah, that's definitely a big thing. Yeah,
yeah. So then that leads us into tell me what mistakes you've noticed business owners making when they're hiring a VA.
Yeah, a lot of the times not being clear on the wants versus the needs, just not being clear overall, right in terms of the expectations and what you're looking for, and the person that you need. And on the back end of that, just not having a strong enough hiring system, which is why you would use write an agency because they give you the ability to agency to actually hire people that will write and have them, get onto your team, and so on. And then the last thing is very commonly, a lot of clients will come and say, Hey, I really need a VA to help me with X, Y, and Z. Sometimes X, Y, and Z are very high level, like executive level things like I need someone to help me figure out all the tools and software in my business connect, like click funnels to Active Campaign to this other thing, it's while parts of that we can handle the entire thing, it's not necessarily where you just, you know, throw V in there to put it all together. So a lot of it would be just getting really clear expectations and being very realistic. As long as you have the training materials and ability to show someone something that's going to be the big thing when you're thinking about hiring, whether or not that competency even exists in order to teach that person.
Yeah, yeah, I think that you bring up such an important point. Because there's things that we do in our business that we don't want to get rid of, and it's hard to delegate them. And then there's other things that our business we really don't want to do. And so then that becomes a different kind of mistake, I think, in terms of just abdicating work to people versus delegating work to people. What do you what do you see with respect to that Silas?
Yeah, a lot of the times you'll see folks delegate routine tasks, right? Or recurring tasks, which is great. Yeah, a lot of times, we'll also see folks just delegating tasks that that are just like one off tasks, and they don't know how to do it themselves, which can be a little bit challenging, right, when you're when you're trying to delegate. So, yeah, yeah, one more time question. Make sure I answered that.
Yeah, I'll ask you again, a different way. I think it's like, what you might see when in abdicating right, where people like you were just describing where someone's like, just figure out my backend system for me, and how my website and my email system and everything connects together, because they don't want to deal with it. So they just sort of throw it over the fence and hope that someone else can handle it, versus truly delegating and saying, You know what I know, like you said, I know what this looks like. And it's repeatable. And now I'm ready to lift it over to a virtual assistant. So you answered that one, and tell me after the hiring process and being really clear on what you want, and what's a want versus a need, like you said, now tell me what you see as the best way to train a virtual assistant after you've hired them.
Yeah, so once you're really clear on the wants and the needs and you know what you're going to delegate to that virtual assistant, you then started creating some training materials and or standard operating procedures, typically one of the same. You know, a lot of folks overcomplicate it. The simplest way to explain it is record yourself doing it using a tool like bloom, right or even like resume recording, just share your screen, record it and send it off to your virtual assistant can also then have them actually going, turn that into an SOP. So following the steps that you've outlined in a video So they document it for you. So you have it for later reference. And then essentially haven't go at it or go try to complete the task. And if they can, with the instructions that you've given them, then great. That's a good SOP stored for later use. If not, you get to go back and modify what needs to get modified, that we have a better result next time.
Yeah, Illume is a lifesaver. I love it so much. I use it probably once a day with my VA, just in terms of refining processes, or just showing like, this is what I'm seeing versus trying to verbally or written, explain it in writing. It seems to reduce so many misunderstandings, and like you said, it can become such a shortcut. Because you're showing the VA what you want to be done, you can give the color around it. Like this is why I'm doing it. And this is what I'm thinking about as I'm doing it. And then they can see that in real life and document it for you. Know, tell me then the converse Silas, what mistakes do you see in people when they're managing their virtual assistants?
The number one thing is communication, or lack thereof, right. So do have some clients that don't communicate as well as they can write to explicitly tell the virtual assistant what they need or want. And then of course, on that, it's also knowing what to delegate, when to delegate it while you're delegating it. And along those lines, it's just having realistic expectations again, right. So when you have unrealistic expectations from the hiring process all the way through to managing them, it can be a very challenging, because again, a lot of that comes down to mindset. And you have a lot of entrepreneurs out there, when the mindsets just not quite there in order to delegate to somebody, and they just want to hold on to everything. And of course, that's a whole separate conversation can go very, very deep. But I'll leave it there, I think communication expectations and mindset,
okay? Because you think about it, when you have to replace a virtual assistant, when you look back at those situations where it got to the point where they needed to part ways and you had to replace a virtual assistant, what advice would you give to those business owners to help them either up front so that they're better choosing the virtual assistant or, you know, managing the virtual assistants that they have selected,
it's to look back right and take a look inward a bit. Because, sure, there are plenty of times where it's the actual person. But there's a lot more times where it's actually the system, right or the process, and the instructions that you've given to that person. So if you think back to a virtual assistant that just didn't quite work out, you get to actually take a moment, step back, look at what part of that right system broke down. And then you can actually modify those things. And then of course, when you bring the new VA in, you're going to want a good handoff. So we do facilitate that process as well. So if there's an offboarding, and a replacement, then we'll actually go and facilitate offboarding to new onboarding, and so on.
So in that process of onboarding, to new onboarding, tell us more about what that looks like. Is it lessons learned and updating of SOPs? Or kind of tell us more about what, what's important in that process?
Yeah, what's important that processes, let's say, the old virtual assistant, trying to get the new virtual assistant up to speed the best they can with the information that they have? So they have any training materials, handing that over? If they learn anything along the way? So yes, lessons learned, I'm really sharing as much information with the new VA as possible. That way, the new VA can just jump in and hit the ground running. And then the client doesn't need to take all too much time to repeat. Right. But that's where again, where SOPs come in handy. If you have them, it's a lot easier to swap people in and out if needed. Yeah.
So I was tell us a little bit about what is in a good SOP.
Yeah. So in a good SOP, there's quite a few things. I think the first thing would be to have a really strong definition of done, right. And people call that different things. But essentially, it's what is done look like, if you were to explain to someone, hey, here's this task, go and go and do it, you have to have a clear expectation for what you're actually looking for what the outcome is, right? So clear, desired outcome is the first thing that you would want to put into the SOP, of course, the step by step instructions of how to go about actually getting that result. And a couple other things are more nice to have. One would be like an estimated time of completion are, you know how much time you think it might take to complete that task? That would be helpful in some cases. And then of course, any other like access related things or tools that you might need resources, right in order to complete that specific process. So those are a few things that come to mind at the moment.
Okay, let's talk about the tools for a minute. What is the best way that you find to share tools with the virtual assistants?
I was short time I just in general?
Yeah, just in general, like any kind of security or kind of those types of logistics that you've noticed?
Yeah, I always recommend clients use LastPass, right or any sort of password management tool. So that way, when you do actually share the passwords or logins with your virtual assistant, I don't know about the other ones, I believe they also have a similar feature. In LastPass, you can't actually see the password. So you don't have to go back and change it or anything. So you can just share all the access with your virtual assistant. And then when if offboarding were to happen, it's easy to just remove all the access, and you have to go change your passwords or anything, right, and you just remove all the access right away. And then yeah, a lot of the viewers do have their own tools. There's a lot of free tools out there, which is, which is great. Some have subscription software. So there are some VAs that will come kind of preloaded with like the Adobe Suite, if they're more creative, or not creative, then they probably have other types of subscriptions on their own.
Yeah, it's probably a good question to be asking in the hiring process, like what kind of software do you have? So that then you know, as a independent consultant, if, if you've got to buy some software to provide to that virtual assistant or if the virtual assistant has it. For me, too, I found just really knowing how much capacity they have on their laptop is important. Because if you're doing a lot of intensive things like videos, it might be something you need to be asking for in the in that interview process.
Yeah, absolutely. That's why it's so important. Right? In the in the hiring process, like you're saying to be really clear on what you want. A lot of times we'll see clients come to us and say, I want a creative virtual assistant who can do graphic design and call people right. And, and right, it's like a different personalities, right, different types of people.
But I think that's important too, because I know when working with you just kind of giving the whole inventory. Don't worry, you don't have to worry so much about is this one person or two people or three people. When you're working with someone like us Silas you can kind of figure out where do these skill sets sort of bundle together? And then what types of virtual assistants might you need to fill those slots? It's not just a one size fits all, you can actually hire more than one VA, if your needs are distinct enough that it makes sense to hire more specialized skill sets?
Yeah, absolutely. And it's like the A Joel thing about how larger corporate companies right in their digital marketing department, right, they'll have a person for everything for each social media channel versus that smaller companies, you might have one person, right spread across for solopreneurs. All the time. It's a generalist VA that has experienced doing a couple of different things. But they're also really good at a few things.
Yeah, yeah. And then just back on the LastPass thing, I just thought I would share when I had my first VA, I set them up, like with accounts with a lot of my software, which worked out well because they had their own login and that kind of thing. But then what ended up happening is that when we parted ways, just even trying to remember even though I actually had a spreadsheet of all the things, just trying to remember and go in and take away all of that access was incredibly time consuming. And to your point. Now using LastPass, based on your recommendation, it's so easy just to go in and remove access when you need to. So yeah, it keeps everything in one place. Okay, so then tell me, um, anything else that you would recommend in terms of best practices for communication,
communication, the number one thing is having a primary communication channel, you know, you might have a primary and like a secondary, or for like emergencies, or if you just can't reach them on the primary one. But you really don't want to have like five different ones like email, and WhatsApp and slack, right? Because when you have too many, then there's a lot of places you've got to check, right, you have to check as well as your VA. So that's the first thing, just picking an actual channel. And then in addition to that, I always recommend starting off with daily check ins, if you have the time and capacity, if not at least meet like every other day and then whittle it down to maybe once or twice a week, right and just kind of going down the ranks there. And then of course, there's a feedback loop and all that. So whenever you delegate a task, you're essentially opening up a feedback loop, right? So just be cognizant that after you delegate it and have to go back and actually make sure they did it and did it right. Yeah. So that's another piece. That's a lot of times that's missing and all this. Yeah,
I think that's so that's so helpful. I know my VA and I, we communicate mostly over Asana, which is a task management tool. So everything is there. Each tasks is captured with the dates and who's assigned to it. So if we both are working on it, when she's doing something, it's in her queue when I'm doing something, it's in my queue, and we can keep all of our communications in there. It's really helpful. But then when she has one off questions or sort of quick things, she always sends me a WhatsApp to ask me kind of like you said the secondary channel is also really helpful. Especially because I Not on, it's just more time sensitive. I think having that second channel can help. So they're not sitting there waiting for you to answer.
Yeah, and you can always think of it as like the asynchronous and synchronous communication too, right? So something that's quick, like, like a direct message versus like an email, right. So that's another way to think about it, maybe I'll have two separate ones in that, in that sense. And, by the way, awesome that you use Asana to communicate with your, your VA, because that's a whole separate, you know, habit of trying to write constantly going back into Asana, checking all of your, your cues and checking all your messages. So rather than relying on clients to do that, like, alright, you get the jury, so you get to decide how you want to delegate tasks.
Yeah, yeah, that's been a game changer, just using that Asana tool and having everything in one place. So I use it for my own business, I use it with my Podcast Producer, I use it with my virtual assistant. So it's just like one central hub, but for all of the tasks management for my business, so it's been really good for tab the VA connected into there. Silas, tell me anything that you would recommend that we haven't touched on already about retention for business owners, who have found great VAs that they want to keep?
Yeah, just keep communicating with them. Right, keep treating them well, every now and then ask them how they're doing and whether or not the skills and the things that they're working on are still in line with what they were looking for. Because things change, right? interests change people, especially VAs as they get more experience, they might want to continue to grow and do the next right, latest and greatest, essentially, I'm still constantly just helping them upskill teaching them the best that you can, helping them to just grow in their career. That'll keep them around. I mean, Filipino virtual assistants in general are very, very loyal. And do you stick around? So that's a plus. But of course, yeah, you're going to want to put in some effort to maintain that relationship, improve that relationship, and they'll continue to stick around.
Yeah, I think that's such an important insight. Because a lot of times we don't consider them like we would have incorporate, right when we're working in corporate, we had an employee and it felt like more of a formal relationship. And now we're working in our own business with a contractor, typically who's a virtual assistant. And so it might feel a little bit less connected, like you're saying, where you might not think that things that would help it retain an employee would apply to retaining a contractor, but in a lot of ways they do. And so having that dialogue, not only about the day to day, and the smoothness of the processes and the, you know, deadlines and that kind of thing, but also really understanding what that VA cares about and where they want their career to grow and how you can help align to that as well, even though they're not a quote unquote employee. They're a subcontractor is such an important thing that I think a lot of business owners miss.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, they're essentially your team member, right? Yeah. Not an employee. Or team member. They're
yours. Yeah, exactly. That's fantastic. I love that reframe. Tell me what new trends you might be seeing in the virtual assistant industry.
Yeah, one that I noticed recently. That's interesting. I haven't dug into it quite yet is having VAs actually use, like AI software to do more advanced tasks that VAs typically won't do. So there's things like things called RPA robotic process automation, which is kind of cool. And then you've got things like the AI copywriting tools like Jarvis. I think they changed their name recently. Jasper,
it's Jasper now.
Yes, there you go. Alright, so getting them on those tools. And there's a learning curve with those. So it takes some time to teach them how to use them, which is kind of why we haven't quite gotten there yet. But that is something that I've noticed out there, which is really exciting. Imagine having a VA that can wait all your copy for you. Right? Yeah,
yeah, that's amazing. I just started playing around with Jasper myself in the last couple of weeks. So it'll be interesting to see if that's a tool that that sticks. And then if you know, and then like you said, if you can figure out the formula to use it, then you can delegate it over. That's phenomenal. Anything else? We haven't covered? Silence?
Well, the last thing I think would be just a very high, high, low overview of how you go about actually starting this process. And by the way, I don't think I've ever shared this with you. But when you send me your word doc and your loom video when we're just starting the relationship, I was mind blown. I was like, wow, why don't I just do that with everyone? Because not everyone thinks that way. But when I saw it, I was like, Okay, this makes a lot of sense, because you broke it down by like monthly, weekly, think daily, something like that, and had all the different tools and the different tasks, which was amazing. And so
just interrupt you for a second you're talking about when I first reached out to you and we'll do what I needed. I had given you a Word document that described so just to be clear, I had kissed several frogs. But as I call it in my business, so I, through that those mistakes, I figured out exactly what I wanted and what I didn't want, and to your point kind of grouped in the frequency of the tasks and what types of tools they used. And that, okay, so keep going. That's the context.
That's the context. And so really for anyone, right, you don't have to go, you know, that crazy, you can just have a blank sheet of paper, and just write out every single thing that you're doing your business, right. So once you do that, if you're you know, of course, if you're considering hiring a virtual assistant, once you write all the things that you do on any given day, you get to look through that list and decide which ones you actually want to delegate once you actually categorize them. And typically, you'll categorize them based on how often they're happening in your business, how complex those tasks are, how much value they provide in your business. Once you do that, it's really simple to go, there's like two or three tasks that take up a lot of my time that you can just create an SOP, and then go and on yourself a virtual assistant, which, of course, is the part that we that we handle. Yeah. But yeah, that that whole process right there, just going from awareness of all the things that you're working on to actually executing it. People have a tough time with that. And then just one last piece on the SOP kind of discussion. Again, first step would be to record the live video or screen recording of some sort, send it off to your virtual assistant. And they can turn it into a written document, write an SOP. And I'll make a quick recommendation, there is a Chrome extension called tango. Ta N G O, that is absolutely phenomenal. I can't even explain it. Well, I can try. Essentially, when you go and you start the Chrome extension, and you start clicking through the different tasks, it'll automatically take a screenshot of whatever it is that you clicked on, it'll write a little blurb for you. And then you go back and edit everything. In like two minutes, you can essentially create an SOP, and it's free, there's a paid version as well. But then yeah, then you have an SOP, it's got to store it in a place where you can easily access it. And that is that.
That's amazing Silas, first of all, I'm a total sucker for new software. So, I'll be going to look at that Chrome extension called tango. And that was helpful to walk us through kind of end to end what that what that process looks like of hiring and getting the VA up to speed. You know, I'll just share my own personal experience. I've hired VAs directly. I've found them in Facebook groups in for recommendations from other people, you know, all sorts of different places. And then I've also hired through agencies like silences. And what I've found is, you know, with anything, you just make the process so easy. So, whether you work with Silas as agency or go find a VA on your own, just think about, you know, how much of the heavy lifting you want to do upfront in the process of vetting candidates, finding those initial candidates, interviewing them, prescreening them, all of those things that an agency like styluses would take over. I think that's the biggest mistake I made when I hired VAs directly is not doing enough of that really pre-qualification, I just mostly worked on whether or not we were a good personality fit. And did I think they had the cursory skills and you taking that part off my plate and just finding VAs that you knew would be a good match for me both skill wise and the type of business that I run. And then from there, being able to choose from that prevented lists of candidates really save so much time and quite frankly, rework which, which makes the process of in my, in my experience using an agency so valuable.
So that's, that's great to hear. You know, that's good job. It's funny, because recently, I switched over from providing all the options to just saying well match up with one and it's worked just fine. Oh, amazing. Yeah,
yeah. If you had just said to me, here's your VA the one I have now it would have been perfect. When I interviewed several. You I ended up picking the one you knew I should have anyway. So great. Yeah,
because more time, right more and more time and effort on the client’s part. And I try to reduce that as much as possible, even with like training materials, like no one's going to watch a 30-minute video to make it like two minutes if I can. Yeah,
that's so good Silas and where can the listeners find you?
You can, you can email me at Silas at one on T that's CEO, feel free to reach out to me on all the social platforms. There's not too many Silas kings out there. And so, you'll see my headshot pretty much the same across them. And yeah, so feel free to reach out.
All right, well, that sounds good. We'll put your contact information in the show notes, silences contact information is also in the VA playbook that I've created. So, if you're a listener and you want to go download the VA playbook, I created it specifically for independent consultants, and I'll go add some of the tips that Silas shared with us today in there. It's incredibly comprehensive all the way from hiring to managing Managing and mistakes to avoid. So, it's a great playbook for you to use and leverage in your business. So go download that. The link is in the show notes, but it's at Melisaliberman.com/VA. So, thank you for tuning in today. Silas, thank you for being here. I appreciate you and your expertise. And I look forward to seeing you soon.
Like I shared with you. Okay.
Thanks for joining me this week on the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. If you like today's episode, I have three quick next steps for you. First, click Subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to make sure you don't miss future episodes. Next, leave me a review in your podcast app so other independent consultants can find it benefit to and finally to put the ideas from today's episode into action. Head over to Melisaliberman.com for the show notes and more resources to help you grow your consulting practice from your first few projects into a full-fledged business. See you next week.