AskPat 51 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey what's up everybody? This is Pat Flynn. Welcome to Episode 51 of AskPat. I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.
And today I want to give a shout out. Our resource of the day—and I just need to tell this person that I'm so proud of him—his name is Chris Ducker, from ChrisDucker.com. He and I are really, really, really good friends. We Skype every week. And I was there when we were Skyping about his idea to write his new book. Which just came out today, April 1st, 2014. His book is called, Virtual Freedom: How to Work With Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business. This is a necessary book in everybody's hands. I truly believe that. I highly recommend it. I have two copies. One was like the pre-final version, then he gave me a final version as well. This is just something that we all need to do to build our team, because that is something that has helped me.
I have what Chris calls superhero syndrome. I tried to do everything on my own and I was getting burnt out. But since discovering Chris and focusing on working with virtual staff and building my team my business has changed, I've been able to provide more value to my audience. It's how I've been able to create AskPat, is through a virtual team. So I highly recommend this book, Virtual Freedom. So go to AskPat.com/vf, that will take you to and through my affiliate link on Amazon.com so you can go pick it up yourself. Again that's AskPat.com/vf. Chris, if you're listening to this, I couldn't be more proud of you.
Now let's get to today's question from Desmond. This question has to do with virtual assistants. And so let's get to the question right now.
Desmond: Hi Pat. I'm Desmond from PDesmondAdams.com and the Mental Mastery Moment Podcast. That's a short, daily mindset-reset podcast covering things like self-discipline, productivity, and general success principals. I'm at the point now where I'm ready to hire an assistant, at least part-time. Mentally ready. As you know, I'm sure it's very tough to give up on parts of your little project, your baby, it's mentally tough to give up. But I'm at that point. Now what I want to know is, how do you determine what items you're going to have a V.A. do or an assistant do and what items you're going to continue to do? I'm really trying to put this together and decide how much I will have for an assistant so that I'm not paying for somebody and not using them like I should. Thanks Pat, I've been listening to you for a long time. And I just love your heart, and your generosity, and your honesty. So thank you and I look forward to your answer.
Pat Flynn: Desmond, thank you so much for your question. Thank you so much for being a loyal listener. And I have to congratulate you for getting to that point in your business and in your mind where you know that it's time to start handing off work in your business to other people. And that's a hard thing to do. And I remember when I first started thinking about building a team and hiring people, virtual assistants, and things like that, it was hard for me. Like you said, your business is your baby and you want to take care of that baby as much as you can. And it's hard to give up parts of it. Really, really difficult. But it is absolutely necessary, because as Chris Ducker talks about in Virtual Freedom, all of us entrepreneurs, we have what's called superhero syndrome. And we get to a point eventually, every business owner will get to a point where we're taking on too many things. And if we have and continue this superhero syndrome, we will burn out. Chris burnt out, I've burnt out slightly a couple of times. I've talked to a number of other people who have burnt out too. So very smart of you to start thinking about this and asking questions about how to figure out what it is in your business that you should hand off to other people.
So I'm going to call on one of Chris's exercises called the Three Lists of Freedom. You may or may not of heard this before. But even if you have this is really important to sort of recap and revisit because there could be new things in your business that you could be handing off to others. So this is a great exercise using a sheet of paper that you can use to understand what you should be handing off to somebody else. And then you can determine the types of people to hire and the types of work that you can hand off, and also what you should continue to do yourself. So hopefully this will be helpful.
So take a sheet of paper. Anybody listening to this, you could pause this right now, find a piece of paper, this is what you have to do. So you want to divide it into three columns. You can fold it if you want or just create two lines down the middle so you have three columns. And on the leftmost column you want to write down everything in and around and related to your business that you hate doing. What are some of the tasks that you just hate doing? Every time you do that task you just think to yourself, “Oh if there was just an easier way to do this, my life would be so much better”. Write all of those things down, no matter how detailed or whatever, how little those things might be, write those things down. Again, the leftmost column. Column number one, everything that you hate doing but you do anyway because it has to be done in your business. So that's the first column.
In the middle column you want to write down everything that you can't do, that perhaps should be done or you know needs to happen eventually in your business, if you aren't doing those things already. Might be some sort of programming skill that you don't have or graphic design work or something like that. What is it that you can't do, that you know you should be doing. Or maybe you've tried something before and its just failed, and so what are those things? Write all of those things down.
And then in the last column, this is the hard one, this is where you have to really get over that superhero syndrome. And I hope I'm doing Chris justice with this Three Lists of Freedom. It's detailed here in Virtual Freedom in this book. But he makes it public so it's not like I'm spilling the beans or anything. But anyway, in the last column, column number three write down the things, as a business owner, that you are doing but you shouldn't be doing yourself. And that's a hard one. For me for example, with AskPat, I shouldn't be editing this podcast. I'm at a point now where I really don't have the time to do that. But as a business owner, my time is better spent answering these questions, just like I am right now. Not editing, and posting, and publishing. So that's one example. What are some examples, in your business, of things that you are doing that you actually may like to do but you shouldn't be doing?
Now once you have that whole list you'll be able to see what it is that . . . I mean everything that you've written down here are things that you can hand off to other people. Perhaps there are things that you can hand off to other software. There might be some software solutions for some of these things where you don't even need a human. Now there probably will be things that will require a human touch but do they require your human touch? And again, the point of this exercise is to divide these three columns and see these different levels and degrees of giving things to other people. Or things that you should be handing off to others. But also, just the fact that we're writing this down, we're able to see all the things and all the moving parts of our business. And we're able to see and pick out and choose what we can hand off to somebody else. And find people to do those things for us.
So Desmond, that's the quick and easy way to figure out what it is that you should be giving up. And it's going to be hard. Again, you're going to have to make sacrifices. You can start off small too, half-time like you said, which I think is a great way to start. And then perhaps, once you start to see the benefits of handing off some of these smaller items, and you can test smaller things first, you're going to start to see that you can almost become addicted to this.
Some side things to think about is also, you don't want to get to a point where you're managing or micro-managing. You want to get to a point where you can hand something off and it's almost automatic, because somebody else is taking care of it for you. I've experienced this myself, and I know other people who have experienced this, when they hire somebody to work for them they're actually working more trying to help that person figure out what it is that they should be doing.
So in addition to knowing that you should be handing stuff off to other people, you need to understand what it is exactly. And these things that we've written down, what is required to make those things happen? Create procedure lists. And when you work with V.A.s. Like, V.A.s from the Philippines, which is what Chris Ducker recommends, and he owns his own staffing agency there. If you go to AskPat.com/virtualstafffinder you can get V.A.s there. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.] You want to create procedure lists so you get to a point, for example, if somebody leaves you can just hand that procedure list, the exact steps somebody needs to take to whatever it is that task is, you can just hand it off to somebody else. And then your business will always be continually running without you having to run those particular parts of your business. And then you can focus on the bigger ticket items, the big ideas. And then start to hand off the other things.
So anyway Desmond, I hope that helps you. Thank you so much. Thanks again to Chris Ducker and his book Virtual Freedom again AskPat.com/vf if you want to pick that up. It's a nice, thick book. How many pages is this? Two-hundred and sixty-something pages, so it's a big resource. Again, I would consider it required reading. And I'm not just saying that because Chris is my friend.
And lastly, of course I always leave with you a quote. And my quote today comes from Chris Ducker himself, he says, “You have two options. Break down, or build your team.” Thank you so much. And if you have a question for AskPat head on over to AskPat.com and I'll hear from you there. Thanks so much. Peace.
Great advice on personal branding, building your business, and hiring virtual assistants.