090 - Make Your Business More Flexible and Easier to Scale with Virtual Assistants With Nathan Hirsch

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About Nathan

Nathan Hirsch is an entrepreneur and expert in remote hiring and eCommerce. Most recently, Nathan co-founded FreeeUp.com in 2015 with an initial $5,000 investment, scaled it to $12M per year in revenue, and was then acquired in 2019. Today, Nathan is a co-founder of OutsourceSchool, a company working to educate entrepreneurs on how to effectively hire and scale with virtual assistants through in-depth courses. Nathan has appeared on 300+ podcasts, is a social media personality, and loves sharing advice on scaling remote businesses.

Resources

Outsource School Links;
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/outsourceschool1
LinkedIn: https://wwwlinkedin.com/company/outsourceschool
Twitter: https://wwwtwitter.com/SchoolOutsource
OutsourceSchool: https://www.outsourceschool.com
Email: support@outsourceschool.com
Personal Links:
Facebook: https://wwwfacebook.com/nathan.hirsch
Facebook: https://wwwfacebook.com/FreeeUpNathanHirsch
Twitter: https://wwwtwitter.com/realnatehirsch
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nathanhirsch/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/realnatehirsch/

Show Notes

Josh Tapp 0:00
What is up everybody? Josh Tapp here again, and welcome back to the lucky Titan podcast. And today we've got Nathan Hirsch with us here on the mic. And I'm pretty stoked about this one because Nathan, I had a conversation a while back. And I really feel like this was something that would benefit all of you as our listeners, especially as you're trying to scale your companies, they think is a master at this. He just sold his company not too long ago. I don't know if you want me to tell people what the company was Nathan or not, but we'll probably get into that. But today we're gonna be talking about how to make your business more flexible and easier to scale with virtual assistants. So Nathan, say what's up to everybody and tell us something interesting about yourself that most people don't know.
Nathan Hirsch 0:39
Hey, how's it going? I really appreciate you having me on something interesting. So I almost died on multiple times. When I was in Costa Rica. I got pulled out to sea and had to be rescued by a lifeguard. I was on a plane coming back from Israel that caught on fire and had to emergency land in Ireland. That was kind of crazy. When I was little I fell into quicksand up to my nose and And I was yelling for help and everyone thought I was kidding so it took a while for for me to get rescued and I'm lucky I didn't sink further down and there's a few other stories as well but I've had multiple near near death experiences.
Josh Tapp 1:11
Oh gee see, most people can't say that. Honestly. I don't think I can even say that. That's pretty awesome. Well, Nathan, let's let's hop in now into you know, virtual assistants and kind of what you guys have been doing over at outsource school?
Nathan Hirsch 1:25
Yeah, I mean, I'm a longtime entrepreneur. I scaled an Amazon business using virtual assistants. I always wanted a better faster way than the networks and fibers of the world. So I ended up building my own marketplace called free up that pre vetted VA s and match people up and had great protection and we scaled that business just using VA s we had a 35 person internal team, remote in the Philippines, no office, no us employees and we scaled that from a $5,000 investment to doing eight figures. We were acquired by one of our clients at the end of last year which is a whole nother story we can get into if you want it From there, people started asking if I could teach them our system, our process. So we've now created outsource School, which has our fundamental course cracking VBA code that teaches people our interview, onboarding, training and managing process. We have rsvps that we put into mini courses and playbooks on how to scale with VA s and operations and marketing. We have a software called simply SLP that helps people create their own slps and share them with their VA s. And we have $1,000 a year membership that people get access to everything. So that's really what we've been working on since we sold free up and so far people have really liked it.
Josh Tapp 2:37
And I like how you transition to because a lot of people that will just go on and build the next company, right? But you're saying hey, let's pause for a second let's give everything that you need to be able to be successful as a virtual like you're leveraging virtual assistants. And I know a lot of people here use virtual assistants but you're being somebody who's in the online space and most of our audience you know they are in the online space. what's what's kind of The initial response. So you have a lot of those people when when, you know, they ask you what, what they should be doing with virtual assistants, because in the online space, we're like, oh, should I be hiring employees? I think that's kind of become old news. We all know we should be doing virtual assistants, but none of us really know how or like where we should start.
Nathan Hirsch 3:17
So what we've tried to do at our school is break it down into operations and marketing, because we all we feel like those are the specific things that apply to every single business. And there's other things that are very unique to your business. And that's why we created this software. But the fundamental operations is like bookkeeping, customer service, inbox management, I had to be I have a VA that does calendar booking. So that's the kind of stuff that you shouldn't be doing as an entrepreneur. Those are the things you should be getting off your plate first, and VA s can do that. And then for me, the fun part of it, which I think is a little bit more unique to what Connor and I have been able to do is we have this organic marketing playbook that we used to grow free app we're using to grow outsource school. We teach it to our outsource school members and That's hiring VA to do podcast research to form a partnership program where you do content swaps with other people in the same place in the same space and have a VA manage that having a VA get you backlinks and improve your SEO run your affiliate program. There's so many of these organic marketing things that we do every single week where a VA does 90% of it. Yeah, some of it. I do 10% I show up and do my one podcast today. But the VA does the before and the after. And to me it get out of the day to day stuff that you shouldn't be doing. Focus your attention towards marketing, hire a VA to execute an organic marketing playbook with you doing 10% of the work they doing 90 and then if you want to invest money on ads, or sponsorships or whatever you want to do, that's just going to complement what you're already doing consistently organically and all that stuff is evergreen.
Josh Tapp 4:51
Yeah, see, and that's awesome because I don't I know for me one of the first things that everybody who asked me like what do you use VHS for the first thing that ever Nobody wants to outsource is the sales side? So what's what's kind of your thought on that?
Nathan Hirsch 5:05
Yeah, for most entrepreneurs and there's always exceptions to every rule, sales is probably one of the last things that you outsource only because if you're a newer business that doesn't have a sales process, yet, the VA is probably not going to be able to build it depending on the virtual assistant. And a lot of times the sales process changes, especially in the first six months to a year. I mean, we saw that with free up our sales pitch was way different. We saw that without sort of school and you need to be able to get out there and prove your concept and prove that you can actually get sales. And then from there, you can start outsourcing some of the process. If you think of the sales process as a 10 step process, let's say maybe you get the VA is doing step 123, where they're looking for the leads, maybe they're doing the appointment setting stuff like that and prove that prove that that works and you can still convert them on the back end, and then over time, build it out and and we'd have a system where We built out most of the sales process with VA s, I mean, if you go to free up you can talk to one of the VA is on the phone and, and they can do all the stuff that I used to do on the phone. And they're very high level. But we didn't do that in month five of running free up. We did that in year two and three after we already had a revenue stream, a process, a sales process, canned responses, all that kind of stuff. And to me that that kind of goes on on the leader end, I like to tell entrepreneurs, get out of your inbox, make sure you're doing stuff that you're not doing stuff that you shouldn't be doing, like your bookkeeping reports, every single month. Once you get out of that and you're focused on sales and you're growing, then you can start delegating the beginning of that process and eventually all of it.
Josh Tapp 6:39
Yeah, and that's a really cool way to respond to that. Because a lot of people struggle with that. Right. You know, it's like you said, the first thing they want to do is say I want this off my plate. It's the hardest piece. But I've even seen like you're saying you can automate all of kind of the tedious hard parts, and then you can basically take over and you're basically is closing right, very simple. So I really do appreciate that. We'll see You know, we only have so much time here today. So let's talk about, you know, the meat potatoes of this right. So how should people get started virtual assistants? I know obviously you're going to plug free up, right? It's the best the best platform out there and you can pay your own back on that one. I know everybody evangelizes your platform. So I guess right you're it's not your platform anymore. You sold it. But regardless, I
Nathan Hirsch 7:23
still hire from there, which is kind of weird, but we hire all our people from free just because we know we're going to get and they have great protection and all that. But to me, it comes down to having a good interview and onboarding process. That's the first step whenever a new member joins outside of school is, Hey, don't start with the podcast or the bookkeeping or the calendar. Make sure that you you get our interview and our onboarding process which the interview we call the care method, the interview, the onboarding process, we call the sick method and make sure you understand it, you can use our questions. It's not rocket science. It's something that back in the day, I wish someone would just say, hey, instead of making all these errors yourself And using trial and error to build your process, here's this and it's proven to work. And then once you master those things, the rest becomes fun. And you can start experimenting with different parts. And I'll kind of give you an example of the the onboarding or sick method. Because this is the part almost all entrepreneurs mess up. Most entrepreneurs know you, you have to interview someone before you hire them. Most entrepreneurs know that if you hire a VA, you have to train them. But people skip that part in between the interviewing and the training. And so what the average entrepreneur will do is they'll say, hey, Jane, that was a great interview, you're hired at five bucks an hour, let's get started. Well we teach people to do is say, hey, Jane, that was a great interview, I want to hire you at five bucks an hour. First, let's make sure you're really good with five bucks an hour, maybe her other clients paying or 10. Maybe she got another job offer. Then let's talk about our bonus and raise structure so you know what you're getting into and you don't expect a $5 a year raise if we're only offering one or whatever it is. Then we're going to go through our CIC process and we tell them this up front. This is a 20 to 30 minute process. It's not a four hour process, but it's going to save you so much time and hassle down the line because we're going to go through schedule issues, communication and culture, we're going to find out what are their clients do you have what is your schedule for those clients? How many total hours a week? Are you working? Are you sure you can work the graveyard shift for me or whatever my schedule is, we're going to go through common issues for like computer power internet, whether personal issues and make sure for each issue we know how often you have it, what the backup plan is, when you have an issue and how you're gonna communicate it so there's no surprises down the line and, and I have something to hold them accountable to. Then we go through how we communicate what tools we use. If we use a Time Doctor, we let them know up front, we don't have them find that out, day week one on and then we go through our culture and what our culture is and make it clear that we don't put up with people no matter how smart they are, no matter how good they are. If they're not a good culture fit So we go through this, we give them a chance to ask questions, and we give them a real nice chance to back out because we'd much rather they back out, if this just isn't what they're looking for if our expectations are too high or not on the same page, and by implementing this sic method, entrepreneurs that follow it, don't run into those same issues that that entrepreneurs have with disappearing, vas and double booking clients, and all of that, because you've taken the time to address these issues up front, the VA is know that you're taking it seriously, they know that that you're not going to put up with the stuff that a lot of new newbies hiring VA s do. And that alone is going to save you a lot of time as an entrepreneur.
Josh Tapp 10:36
Yeah, and that's a really cool method. I like that because, you know, one of my beefs there's kind of like these, these eight typical strategies, right? Everybody says, Hey, this is this is how you should do it. And I actually just heard a comment the other day, you know, if it's best practices, it's usually wrong. It's not working right? Because everybody's doing it. So I really appreciate that you have your sick method. I could probably go check that out. For sure. Well, and so one of the things that I know that even I struggle with at times is the profitability of, of these virtual assistants, right? Because they're, you know, you're hiring somebody out, you have no real like, expectation or guarantee of return. How do you guys calculate that? How do you work in a way that allows, you know, to make sure that each person kind of pays themself off?
Nathan Hirsch 11:21
Yeah, it's a great question. And every business kind of has their own KPIs and how they can do that. I mean, my real mentality is the VA s are the ones that are making the money the system and process I'm putting in places that's what's making me money, or it's, it's freeing up my time to go out and make the money because if I hire a bookkeeper to just calculate the numbers and send me the reports, I need and do my zero and communicate with my account, which we teach people how to do that. That alone doesn't make me money. I mean, it costs money. It'd be cheaper if I just did it for free. Or if I did it myself, which doesn't cost anything, although I would also argue that I'm not very good at QuickBooks and it might actually cost more money. If I get it, but the time that I'm not doing bookkeeping, what am I doing with that time? Am I going and playing video games? Am I going to on podcast and getting my brand out there? Am I doing sales calls? That's what really matters for part of it. Now, when you get into the organic marketing blueprint, that's when you can say, hey, what is my ROI for going on podcast, my ROI for having these partnerships where I have to pay a writer to do guest blog posts for other people? What's my ROI for having an affiliate program, which that stuff is a lot easier to calculate. But a lot of people before that's like the fun creative stuff, you get to down the line. Most people you need to get out of the operations first, that's going to cost you more money. We have a VA calculator you can use to figure out how much that will cost you. But that's all about getting your time back where you can make more money for the business, not necessarily the VA.
Josh Tapp 12:51
Yeah, and that's really, you know, an interesting point because there's a lot of me It almost sounds like the virtual assistant is kind of the person who takes care of the tedious tasks. writes, it's freeing up time is kind of the whole point of it. I know a guy who runs his business in two hours a day. It's a multi million dollar company. And he does it all through virtual assistants. Right. And it's really interesting to see that people are able to do that, you know, quickly and effectively. And, you know, so So I guess the other question I would have for you is, as we're, you know, using these virtual assistants and everything, how do we start to determine, you know, which ones to to keep around? What are the Who are the people that you want to be, I guess, focusing on sticking with them long term because I know there's a pretty high churn rate when it comes to virtual assistants.
Nathan Hirsch 13:36
Yeah, I mean, for me that that onboarding, we talked about, you're setting all the expectations there. You're setting the expectations of how you communicate how you interact with other people. What happens when there's an issue, like all that stuff, you have those expectations and you can hold people accountable to it. And we teach this process towards the end of cracking VBA code where Hey, if a VA has an issue, all work stops. you pause you Take a step back, you meet with the VA, you reset your expectations, you make sure they're on the same page, and then they proceed forward and you've made it very black, very white, and one of two things is gonna happen, the light bulbs gonna go off or the VA is going to learn something, and they're not going to have that issue going forward, which usually is what happened because they agreed to those expectations up front, or they're not, and you're going to pause, work again and take a step back. And from there, there's really three ways to evaluate how much leeway you give someone before you fire them. It's how much time have you invested into them so far, if they're causing lots of issues on week one, that's a lot different than if they're on year three of working with you and you invested a lot of training into them. The second is, what is the real potential like, best case scenario? Let's say you turn the issues around. Are they in a player? Are they a B player? Are they a C player, because if someone's an A player and they've been with me for two years, I'm going to give that person more leeway and try to get more creative to resolve those issues. Then, if best case scenario and I think spend hours of my time fixing this issue, there's going to be a C plus player who can just do what they're told that at the end of the day, that's not worth it either. I'd rather go out and try to get an A Player B player in there. And then lastly, and this isn't necessarily the thing you should not fire someone over, but it's important just know before you dive into that situation is how is it going to impact other people on the team. And if you have a team that has been around together a long time, you just want to consider that as you're going through that process. You don't want to be blindsided, where you fire someone, you're like, great, they're gone, I can get someone else. And then you spend the next two weeks dealing with drama on your team. So it's just something to keep in mind.
Josh Tapp 15:38
Yeah, that's a really good point. And you start to see that more when you have, you know, when your team actually knows each other, right? Because a lot of people think they can avoid that situation. Because it's virtual assistants. But the reality is, if you have a team has to be cohesive, and it's pretty easy to just create that drama if you're not careful in the way that you're you're hiring and firing. Well Nathan, I do want to to change change directions here just for a minute all within the virtual assistants. But a lot of our listeners listen to the show because they're looking to build a platform and generate leads. So if you were, you know, looking to generate an email list, what are some of the methods? You've seen using virtual assistants that work very well for generating an email list?
Nathan Hirsch 16:20
Are we talking about an email list to send cold emails to or building up your newsletter list
Unknown Speaker 16:25
building up your newsletter list be able to sell on?
Nathan Hirsch 16:27
Yeah, I mean, it really comes down to that organic marketing playbook. And I like to break it down into five things. The first is a good affiliate program. That's clear, that's easy to understand that's worth it for the affiliates. And this is something you're going to tell every single person about if you hire a VA and have them do phone calls, like I did it free up at the end of every phone call. They say By the way, we have this great affiliate program if you know other people that could use my product service, whatever it is, so that's the baseline of it should be on your website you should tell everyone about then you go on podcast. I go on one podcast today. You If you're not going on one podcast a week, you really should start you don't go crazy like I do. But it's a great way to network and get to know people in your industry. It's a great for backlinks and SEO, it's a great way to get in front of thousands of people at once. Next is partnership. So find other people in your space and set up consistent and consistent is the key word partnerships with them content partnerships. So with free app, we started off going after Amazon sellers. So we went to Amazon software companies and we said, Hey, we don't provide Amazon software. You don't provide vas, we both go after Amazon sellers. Let's get your audience to me and vice versa, and we set it up. So every quarter every six months, depending on your resources. You the VA would reach out and say Hey, what do you guys want to do together? It could be as little as a guest blog post. It could be a part of a podcast, all this stuff kind of goes together. It could be a VIP spot, double sponsored network event at conferences like that's the high end. You can get very creative with what those things are. Next is networking. I try to network with three entrepreneurs every single day. That's something that I'm a firm believer in not selling, not pitching. But over time people are that you network with will join your newsletter, and then posting content consistently. Again, these all kind of go together, like someone who listens to your podcast might follow you and then read your content. And really, when you combine all this stuff, the affiliates, the podcasts, the partnerships, the network, the content, that is how you grow your list, without without spending, I don't want to say no money because you have to pay for the VA. But it's very affordable. And like I kind of said before, anything else. Anything else you do with lead magnets or Facebook ads, or Google ads or sponsored ships is just going to complement this organic marketing plan that you have running in the background of your business at all times.
Josh Tapp 18:45
Yeah, and that is really cool. I love that. Really good five steps. hope everybody checks us out. We're going to put those into the show notes as well. And obviously you go pretty into depth in in the outsource school about that, but you know, we've covered a lot of different topics here today, Nathan. So if you were to have one final piece that you say, Okay, this is the one thing I would hope people will take away from this interview, what do you hope it would be?
Nathan Hirsch 19:09
figure out how to get five to 10 hours a week back. That's usually the key for entrepreneurs because you're not going crazy. You're not hiring three full time people. But it's going to become addicting, you're going to realize, hey, that tasks that I've been doing every day for the past year, I don't have to do it anymore. It's getting done at a high level. Now I can focus my time on maybe my family or maybe growing my business, whatever it is, that's going to get you started in the right direction, focus five to 10 hours a week. And then you can build up from there and go crazy if you want to and focus on getting out of those day to day operations, repetitive tasks.
Josh Tapp 19:43
That is awesome. So free up five to 10 hours per week, no matter what. So you know, Nathan, that was really awesome. Thank you so much for all of your insights. And before we sign off though, could you let us know how people can connect with you get involved outdoor school and all that.
Nathan Hirsch 19:57
Yeah, go to outdoor school calm like I say We have a yearly membership where you get access to everything for $1,000 a year you can schedule a phone call with us right on the website. You can connect with me on social media or Nathan Hersh on Facebook or LinkedIn real Nate Hirsch Instagram Twitter you can check out our full library of all the different slps we give out you can grab a free trial of our software simply SRP and looking forward to helping a lot of people
Josh Tapp 20:21
I love that and on top of that, if you're looking to you know get and get a good deal on this make sure that you're connecting with Nathan on all of his platforms. We can also head over to the lucky Titan comm slash outsource and that will take you right over to outsource school. So Nathan, Thanks again so much for coming on the show today and we'll catch you later man.
Unknown Speaker 20:42
Sounds good say
Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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