Due to this crisis, there’s a shift in how business is happening. Lately, more and more people are hiring virtual assistants to increase their business’ productivity rate, and this means that you could find a virtual assistant who has strong skill sets and work ethic. Today, WTR welcomes Danielle Cuomo, entrepreneur, and owner of Virtual Assist USA. In this week’s episode, join us as we discuss the benefits to hire virtually and working from home, in these unprecedented times.
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[00:55] Kevin: Today, we’re joined by guest Danielle Cuomo. Today we're going to be talking about increasing productivity, hire virtually. Danielle is an expert in that field, an entrepreneur, and owner of Virtual Assist USA
[01:33] These days it is more prominent to hire virtually for businesses. If you're an entrepreneur, you will be able to hire out virtually to help you with tasks (smaller or part-time or full-time)
[02:14] Would you mind sharing a little bit with our listeners about where you came from and what inspired you to do what you do today?
[02:23] Danielle: One thing that I think that is really timely with what we're facing now with the Covid-19 virus is that I started this business in 2008 and it was a
[03:25] I really wanted to center my business around the idea that services can be really nimble, they can be flexible, they can be on-demand, and it would be an alternative to hiring employees
[03:52] I was working in IT consulting at the time and because it was the start of the recession I had just been laid off, so that was disheartening. So it was important for me to turn that into a positive and I felt like I had nothing to lose
[04:22] Now with the technology, there’s such a low barrier to entry and it’s possible for anyone (a really easy way to start a business and a really great time to do so)
[05:45] I think people are seeing how do-able and easy it is to work remotely, that technology makes it possible to still build business relationships
[07:10] We’ve always been 100% remote so for the past 12 years we’ve operated virtually. When something like this happens, we don’t have to pivot or scramble, we can do business as usual
[07:25] Our clients really benefited from that because they didn’t have any interruptions in their service (in any uncertain time I think that’s really important)
[08:05] Another benefit has really been that there’s also a really broad range of skillsets to choose from. When you’re working with someone locally in your office, you’re only able to choose from the skillsets that are available to you in your specific geographical area. But when you’re working virtually with a virtual assistant company, we can pool from a nation-wide pool of talent which can get you people who have stronger skillsets
[09:22] Kevin: Have you sen this whole idea of being able to hire virtually open doors for entrepreneurs?
[09:28] Danielle: I definitely have because they have all the tools accessible and available to them. I typically will say that everyone should be working in things that are in their genius zone and if as an entrepreneur you’re really good at making widgets for example, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do things like digital marketing and bookkeeping and social media, but that maybe you shouldn’t be doing those things
[10:15] I always advise entrepreneurs to focus on what they’re really good at (their core offering) and leaving the rest of it up to someone else (worth it financially, worth it time wise, worth it in terms of productivity)
[11:50] Kevin: If you can have a dollar do more than one thing at the same time, that’s the most efficient use of a dollar
[12:05] Danielle: If you spend 5 hours trying to make a change on your webpage, that’s 5 hours you lost that you could be talking to prospects, doing podcast interviews, and other ways to generate revenue
[12:18] It doesn’t make sense to spend your time on that (opportunity cost)
[12:24] Kevin: Opportunity cost is when you have a dollar and you lose that dollar (in something like doing work in something you don’t need to be doing or paying a tax you didn’t need to pay), you’re not losing just that dollar, you’re losing that dollar and everything it could’ve earned for you
[12:45] So what have you seen is something that holds people back from going down the road of hiring virtual assistants?
[12:52] Danielle: I think two things really hold people back
[12:54] The fear of the unknown
[13:15] How will this work behind the scenes? How will I know if someone is working?
[13:28] You have the output of work (ex: if someone is creating social media posts)
[14:30] Kevin: How do you help people overcome any limiting beliefs they might have that are holding them back?
[14:44] Danielle: With our company specifically, we can work with someone for an hour. You can certainly do video chats to establish that relationship and get to know the person face-to-face and get more comfortable, but I don’t think it’s something you need to dive into headfirst and handover all of your things to someone on day 1
[15:18] I advise people to start small and do what you’re comfortable with (if that’s having someone do some social media posts for you for an hour a week, that’s a great way to get your feet wet)
[16:02] Kevin: I’m assuming that you have a process that you can walk people through on how to hire virtually
[16:16] Danielle: One thing that we do that’s a little bit different is that we have an on-point questionnaire where we ask some practical questions (ex: communication preferences, skillsets, time zone), but we also ask some working style and working personality style of questions
[17:00] Kevin: If our listeners are thinking about hiring virtually, how should they go about finding a virtual assistant?
[17:07] Danielle: One great way is to ask for recommendations. We do a lot of our business through referrals. I would also say that you should look at at least 2-3 different companies and compare them (pros and cons)
[17:28] Kevin: Are there any resources that they can go to online to help them?
[17:36] Danielle: If you’re looking for a virtual assistant in the US, there is virtualassistantassistant.com they create a number of different independent reviews and they collect them together. You can also go to the international virtual assistant association which provides a directory of all international companies
[17:56] Kevin: Before we close for today, I’m going to ask you for the WTR value bomb, which is in your experience, what should our listeners look to avoid and what can they do about it?
[18:07] Danielle: Having done this for 12 years, I’ve seen one major mistake that people will make. That is knowing the difference between they’re ready to hire a virtual assistant or they need to hire a virtual assistant. Lots of people need to hire a virtual assistant (they have lots of work, they have areas that aren’t in their genius zone, they have marketing plans they need to execute)
[18:36] There’s a distinction when you’re ready to hire a virtual assistant and you’re ready to make that leap
[18:40] First you want to make sure your business is generating enough revenue (you want to have enough cash flow that you can spend a couple of hundred dollars on a virtual assistant a month that’s not interrupting your cash flow so much)
[18:57] Second, you need to be ready to let go, even just a little bit. It doesn’t mean that you have to let go of control of your entire business right away, but you do have to be willing to trust a virtual assistant and trust that they have the business’ best interest in mind
[19:18] Third, you want to have processes in place or be willing to have a virtual assistant create those for you. If you don’t have standard operating systems in place that’s okay and a good virtual assistant will help you create those (will help your business run a lot smoother and increase your productivity)