AskPat 33 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody? This is Pat Flynn, and welcome to Episode 33 of AskPat. This is where I answer your online business and entrepreneurship questions five days a week.
The resource of the day is Virtual Staff Finder. This is where you can go to find already pre-screened virtual staff, so you can get VAs to help you in your business. My affiliate link for that is AskPat.com/virtualstafffinder which is a company run by good friend, ChrisDucker.com. That's not his name; that's his website. His name is Chris Ducker at ChrisDucker.com. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
That has to do with today's question which is asked by Chuck. So, let's hear from Chuck right now.
Chuck: Hi, Pat. My name is Chuck, and I have a couple of small businesses, and I wanted to get your thoughts about a topic. You often recommend delegating tasks to a virtual assistant or outsourcing areas that aren't your specialty. As you know, cash flow is always something to keep in mind with a small business. And even though my businesses are doing pretty good, I'm always hesitant to invest money in things that seem like luxuries, like virtual assistants, extra staff, extra equipment, even though I know these things might be helpful to my business, I'm also a little hesitant because of cash flow. So my question is, how do you know when the time is right to start investing money in these things, and extra staff and equipment and other business resources? I look forward to hearing your answer. Thanks, Pat, for all you're doing.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Chuck. Thank you so much for the question. And I want to start with a story, actually. This is my first experience using somebody to help me that I paid for, virtual assistant or hired help. This was back in 2008, I had just started selling my ebook over at GreenExamAcademy.com. It did really well. It was making $7,000, $8,000 a month at that point. And then I went back to my mastermind group who had advised me to write an ebook, and I said, “Hey guys! This is awesome. What's my next step?” They had mentioned that I should write, or record, an audiobook to go along with it, so record the information that was in that book and turn it in to MP3 file that I could then sell on top of the audiobook, or alongside with it. And I did that.
So I recorded. I spent about three and a half days recording that, and I listened to it, and it was the worst audio I had ever heard. I recorded it with like a Logitech gaming mic that I had. It was the only one that I found. And it just sounded really bad. I didn't feel comfortable selling it. So that alone, I wasted three and a half days. I went back to my mastermind group, and I said, “Guys, I don't think I can do this audiobook thing. It's not going to work. I don't have the right mic. I'm just not comfortable on the mic.” And they started laughing. Not in a disrespectful way, but they were just like, “Oh, you tried to do this your own? You should have had somebody do this for you.” And that was my first introduction to the idea that that was even possible. That I could hire somebody else to help me in my business. And then they were like, “Okay.” Well I was like, “Where can I find this help?” And they were like, “Oh, well try a site like Elance.com. You can post your job, and you're going to have people bid to record your book for you, and they'll range from different prices, and you can pick the one you want to work with.” And I was like, “Cool! This is awesome. This sounds like a perfect solution.”
So I went to Elance.com, and I put in the job, and I started getting bids between $500 and $3,000. And then I got really confused. I didn't know how to pick somebody, and I just didn't know where to start. I didn't . . . $500, even at the minimum, was way too much for me. I didn't . . . I had never paid more than like $700 bucks in my life for anything, you know? Rent was the most I was paying for at the time. But spending something like $500, let alone up to $3,000, on something that I thought I could do myself just didn't make sense to me. Like, I could maybe learn how to do this and figure it out on my own. I had attempted and it was recorded. Maybe I should just sell that. Those are the things that was going across my mind.
So I went back to my mastermind group, and they said, “Pat, you have to do this. If you don't do this, your audience is not going to be able to consume this book in a way that you know will help them. So you have to do it.” So, that was sort of the push for me to try it. And I actually picked somebody for $1,400, and that was again way more than I had ever spent on anything in my life before. At this time, I was about 25, 26 years old, and I did it. In two weeks, this person recorded a beautiful sounding book for me, and I sold it on my site, and I recouped the cost in two days. Two days I recouped the cost. It was just such a wildly popular product that was built in a way that I could never do on my own.
So I know you said, Chuck, that virtual assistants are a luxury, but I don't think so. In some cases, in many cases, they are a necessity. Because how much is your time worth? And there are things . . . you have to admit that there are things that you can't do. And that's something I had to get over with. And, Chuck, I'm not trying to put you down or anything, but you have to be honest with yourself. There's no such thing as a jack-of-all-trades in somebody who will master everything that they do. There are people out there who are specifically . . . I was going to say specifically built, but are trained, and they do things at an expert-like quality, and they don't do other things, right? Like this person who recorded my audiobook, that's what she was good at. That was her job. So of course it was high quality, and of course my customers enjoyed it and appreciated the quality that went in to that, which of course took a little bit of my own investment upfront, and that's what it is.
And you even mentioned it yourself. It's an investment. I don't think people invest in luxuries, necessarily, but when it comes to your business, you have to put in a little bit of money in order to make your business grow. Now there are things you can do, or questions that you might want to ask yourself, or things you want to think about to see whether or not it's right for you. So here are three, I guess you could say, signs that you want ask yourself or think about where it might make sense to look in to hiring help.
So the first thing is, maybe you're falling behind. You're getting to a point where there seems to be just too much work to do. There's a lot of stuff piling up, but you know it needs to get done. But there isn't any time. There's always never enough time, right? And that's the beauty of virtual assistants is they almost double your time. They become like a clone of you, and they can do things that you can do also, and you can just get more done in the same time period. Again, think about what it can do for your business in whole, and for you audience and customers for your business. Now secondly, maybe you'd rather focus on other things in your business. You may not feel like you're behind, but you feel like you're working on things that maybe you shouldn't be working on. Your time could be better spent elsewhere, and that's where you can introduce the virtual assistant.
For example, somebody, you know, in my . . . for this podcast, actually. I knew that I could not make it happen with the time that I had, even though I like to edit podcasts and I love to do that, I enjoy it, I knew that I wouldn't be able to produce a show if I didn't hire somebody, or have somebody on my team do it for me. So literally all I do to record this episode, and again, provide value for those of you listening, is I listen to your questions and then I record them. And that's all I do. I record my answers, and then I send them to her, my beautiful virtual assistant, Mindy. She puts it all together, slices and dices, puts in the audio, the front and the back, uploads it to SoundCloud, and does all that for me. Saves me so much time. And already, AskPat is starting to pay off, since sponsors are starting to come on. So I wouldn't have made that extra money if I didn't spend that money to have hired help help me along the way. Even though I know I could do a good job, even though I know I could do this and do a good job, I know that should be focusing on other things.
And last thing is, of course, if you don't know how to do something that you think that needs to be done. For instance, when I hired help to help me build my iPhone application company, I didn't know how to code, and I didn't want to spend the time to learn how to code. But there are people out there around the world on Elance and other sites like that, that are just . . . they code all day long, and that's all they do. They don't want to build apps and put them on iTunes. They just want to code for people. That's what they love, and that's what they do. And when you can hook up with those people and use your excitement and your ideas and their ability to code and develop, you can make some amazing things happen on iTunes. Now I will say, the app market is pretty saturated now. I got in quite early, so maybe someone will ask a question about the app industry very soon, and I think a couple have come in; I just haven't chosen them yet. So I won't get in to that. But, apps aside, if you don't know how to do something, and you know there's something that you want to do, best case scenario is to invest to have somebody else do that for you.
So, Chuck, I hope that helps. Something happened to my body when you said, you know, “Virtual assistants are a luxury.” It may seem like that, but they can also be essential for helping you do what you know you need to do. So they can do the things that they're good at, and you can do the things that you're good at, and your brain as a whole can help deliver more value to your audience and get more things done. So I hope that makes sense, Chuck. Thank you so much for your question today. An AskPat t-shirt is going to be sent your way. And of course, if you listening out there have a question, head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there directly from the widget on that webpage.
And last but not least, I just want to give a shout-out again to my good buddy Chris Ducker and his service for finding virtual assistants. His company is for finding people who are going to be with you part-time or full-time. Those are the types of people that you might want to do things on a repetitive basis, but if you have one-time jobs like setting up a website, or things like that, sites like Elance and Odesk would help for one-time jobs. Something like Virtual Staff Finder, which you can get at AskPat.com/virtualstafffinder, is where you can have somebody become a part of your team. You might have something that you might need to do repetitively that you can hand to that person so you, again, can focus on the things that you need to focus on.
So as always, I end with a quote, and this quote is from Chris Ducker himself. He says, “You like doing certain tasks. You might be good at doing them. The question is, should you be doing them as the business owner?”
This is me now. If you own a business, you should start treating it like a business and know that there are things you're good at and things other people are good at. And when you can pay to have those people do things that'll help you do what you need to do to serve your audience, amazing things can happen. You're going to grow like mad and get way more done and be less stressed out, too. So thank you so much for listening to this episode of AskPat, and I'll see you in the next one.
Find virtual assistants to help you grow your business. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]