056 — Carmen Helps Entrepreneurs Use VAs Effectively

In this episode, Christina talks to Carmen about some of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face when working with VAs and how to overcome them.

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hey busy business people I am here today with another entrepreneur taking action Carmen Williams Carmen helps people get and use va's effectively and I'm getting the Scoops day on how she does it so stay tuned


all right so Carmen what can they do what can they do yeah so virtual assistants um they're not I'm not talking about AI I'm talking about real intelligent people um that are eager to support you in your business in our case the virtual assistants are based in the Philippines um and they can do a whole range of things for your business now obviously it depends on the person that you hire and you need to scope out the role really well but I'll just shoot through some common examples so they can help you manage your calendar manage your emails post for you on social media send your bio when you picture through whenever you get on podcasts um they can send invoices like basically it's endless uh just think about the support you need in your business and then work out if a virtual assistant can can provide that support oh I think that is like super important because it's like having that Health especially if your business as you're trying to grow you just can't do everything yourself do everything and I love like we're kind of chatting a little bit before and you had the story of somebody who was struggling to communicate with their VA and that was one of the things that you really helped with so can I speak to that not just like not just like getting a band what can they do but what can they do how does it work as you're starting to learn to work with a VA like what kind of problems are happening there yeah so a lot of people out there support people to get virtual assistants which is fantastic but what I really like to focus on with our clients is not only getting the virtual assistant but supporting people to work really well with the virtual assistant and supporting the business owner to communicate and delegate to the virtual assistant and supporting the virtual assistant to communicate and ask questions of the business owner because as a business owner you're often thinking making sense but you often are not making sense and so I shared a story with Christina where we had a client and on day two the client was really frustrated she just there was just this communication disconnect I went in and I spoke to the client I spoke to the virtual assistant and I just suggested like a tweak in the communication and they applied The Tweak and now they're they're fine like they you know they're often racing um and they've been working together for two years now so sometimes a small tweak can make a huge difference to the relationship oh that is amazing

some people who can't keep the same game for more than two days let alone two years years and it's like they're so critical though and I think it's and I think as a business owner it's really easy to just kind of do things and it's a little bit more work to start with when you have to think about like you have to think of how does things how do things need to be done how do we build up the checklist for the Sops for doing them like teach another human to do something that you're just Humanity yourself and it just feels harder to start with but once you do it I can tell you from experience you can't go back you want to delegate everything yeah I'd say to people Christina that a word of warning it gets really addictive once you get good support um as a business owner and you just want more so I just say all to all the clients like all our Agreements are just month to month because we want you to be happy and stay with us because you're having a great time I said don't worry you'll be back in six months asking for another virtual assistant because it's highly addictive it is because you can get them to do so many things and it's usually the stuff that you don't want to do

I know one of the things I found is that the easiest thing to delegate is the stuff that is boring to me it is boring to me because if it's boring I'm not going to do it with the quality that even I would ask someone else to do with it okay I'll tell you what my virtual assistants are better than at me than most things yes and that's my favorite part because you find someone who's like they enjoy doing the things that you don't like to do you don't like to do that's it a lot of them tend to be very detail-oriented they can go down a checklist then like their happy space is going through all day and completing a checklist

me too so we've got a detail-orientated test for the virtual assistants and I took it the other day and I failed because I am not a detail-oriented person and I tell you what most of the business owners I speak to are not as well there's a few exceptions but most of us business owners like to think Visionary and oh have ideas about the detail like it just makes me want to spew Christina oh yeah oh I can believe it it's like I've migrated to the point now where I have two CEOs I have one for my personal brand and I have one for my business and then they have like I have an executive assistant on top of that and she helps out all of us and just whatever we need and then I have client Heroes managing client relationships and it's like the more people I could put in charge of the things that I sucked at it's like that's literally how I determined my work chart was like I suck at this I hate this I keep getting this wrong when I have to do this yeah I I um I flipped it on its head the other day because people come to me going oh what can a virtual assistant do and I said actually let me just tell you the three things I do in my business and and everything else my team does so the three things I do is like create content um think up Visionary ideas and um like write marketing emails which I guess is a subset of creating content and like that's all I do yep that was the biggest thing that I figured out too because like I just went to Austin a couple weeks ago for a digital marketer certified partner training day that's a mouthful day and it was gone there for like a whole week and the only thing I got my laptop out for while I was there was to like finish my presentation because I was one of the trainers for training day that was one of the train ERS and I didn't have my presentation so I got my laptop out to do that but I didn't really not I didn't do anything I came back from a week out of town and my to-do list wasn't any longer my to-do list was that's amazing

I think I think my screen picking me not so much delegated because like I came back and I was like let's go and they're like better without you and they're like better without you I do say to my team when I go away like at least you get a break from my crazy ideas that I have like they you can just like relax for a week and just do the doing yeah I think that's what happened with me and I think they enjoyed that there were no more crazy ideas happening that way it was like even the content creation which is a big part of what I'm supposed to be doing right now they're helping choking they helped me do that now they helped me do that so it's like I was meeting with uh one of my CEOs earlier today and I was like why don't we just transparency on the process so like we'll create content with you helping me create content helping me create should be very weird but I think we're going to do that starting next week leveling up and for the people listening going oh my goodness they live in a different world I don't know about you Christina but I started really small like I started with a part-time virtual assistant supporting me with LinkedIn and I didn't have this fantasy that I'm describing now um so it takes time and you know you have to build on it and and it takes a bit of effort to build a great team oh it was even smaller for me like I started over 15 years ago and I had physical office still had the day job and was kind of doing stuff on the side and finally made the leap to going full time and it was just me and my husband working and so we had a couple of contractors that was not going well we decided we were going to go to full employees and the first employee was going to be an office manager at the time I didn't know about va's I didn't know they existed it wasn't a thing an office manager was the closest because like I don't want to answer the phone I don't want to answer the answer I hate the phone I didn't want to answer the phone so I was like I knew you could answer the phone and I hate paperwork and I hate confirming meetings and I hate telling people directions for how to get into the office so like I just started with here's the list of crap I don't want to do and I had a um I had a payroll company come by payroll company and I had I interviewed the office manager had the payroll company guy setting up our payroll something on the same day interviewed her hired her told her to go talk to him and learn how to hire herself from like a paperwork standpoint and then I had a couple other people lined up that she was going to then handle hiring

I love it I love it like he's just completely just you know hands off it's like you know fun find out how to tie yourself it's hilarious and it was like I just kind of went off over to the side and hung out with my husband while she got herself ironed through the payroll company and then the payroll company taught her how to hire the other couple people that were being hired the same day I

love that story that's cool so it's just kind of expanded since then and I mean it's like you're just fine like I just doesn't make me happy so let's get someone else to do this like it's still very valuable part of our business different things that need to be done but I just don't want to do them like you know I tell people all the time my to-do list is where things go to die

someone else

um meeting new people at the moment on dating apps and when I tell them about my team I got a team of 82 or you know in this company they're like oh you must be so busy and I'm just like yeah no it's like you're on a team of assistance

I mean you're the one that's got the nine-to-five job dude like you're the busy one I'm like chilling out dreaming up of ideas like that's pretty much all I do yep it was so much fun though and I feel like that is most entrepreneurs though I mean we just I leave all the time and we need time at least one other human that will like hold us accountable to our ideas and filter them so we don't try and do them all at one time don't try and do them all at one time but then the ones that need to be done or you need a team you need a team yeah and and that's one of the things I've taught my team when I go Manic and send them 20 things at 2 A.M um that when they log in that they well first of all they're not allowed to have their notifications on when they're not working second when they log in just take a deep breath and go Carmen's gone manic we'll talk to her and ask her what's the most important thing so like we've got this system of dealing with my unusualness well and I think that's important is to create those not just like communication processes but communication barriers it's like I get onto my team all the time because I'm like you shouldn't be working right now why are you answering my slack message answering my slack message and I make sure they know how to you know I was like you shouldn't be getting digging but they love setting their own schedule so that makes it like next impossible for me to set those ground rules because it's like they might be working on a weekend but it's because they took weekend off during the week and they're just kind of they're done with their own time and things So It's Tricky yes yeah it is it's a bit of like give and take but I guess I share with my team and I guess everyone listening I really wanted to consider the impact of notification so for example in my work day we've I've got you know email LinkedIn messages Tick Tock messages Instagram messages like if all these things coming in I look at none of them the only tab I have open if I'm working that day is slack so Jonathan my virtual assistant is in all of my messages and he just he deals with 90 of them but occasionally he'll send me one going hey Carmen I think this guy's trying to crack onto you or hey Carmen not sure what to do is this a strong lead or I think you know this person and he'll send them through to me in Slack so I don't have to look at the rest of it oh that's nice now I have more goals now I have more goals

he also so that it's authentic because that was one of the things people tell me all the time they're like I don't go into my social media I have va's managed my social media and it's like yeah but I know you but I know and I just interacted with you on a LinkedIn message and now that I know that that might not be you be you and it starts filling you know yeah so it's a really good question and I think it's um it's a mix and people people mix it up different ways so one of the things that I do is for me it's great to say that's my virtual assistant like it's advertising what virtual assistants can do for some of our clients they their virtual assistants identify as them as the executive assistant makes them look a bit bigger than what they are so what happens is someone goes oh I'm interested in talking about a virtual assistant just saying a LinkedIn message Jonathan replies going hey just got your message it's Jonathan Carmen's virtual assistant I thought you'd like appreciate a speedier reply because if it's left up to me it's never going to be done let's just you know get that out there um come and love to have a chat with you I you know and then he sets up an appointment so he identifies himself so by the time people meet with me they often already know Jonathan well that's handy well that's easy what about like and then they say I want a Jonathan too or you're like commenting on posts and things like that is that Jonathan or is that you know I've just invested in a lot of that so initially I had virtual assistants commenting on posts and things um but I've just disinvested I've decided there's other activities that are better you know suited to my virtual assistants time so um yeah I think it depends on how you run your business so I know some coaches have um closed Facebook groups where they've got their their people in there and so I've seen them do it different ways one is the virtual assistant can pretend to be you which you know that's yeah a bit dicey um the second thing is they can go they can identify as the coaches you know team member and go great you know put a supportive comment on but not pretend to be you or some coaches go to me Carmen actually this group they're my bread and butter and I I love engaging with them so I go in there for 10 minutes once a day and I just like do it like that's something that they think is valuable for them to do so it depends on your approach that makes a lot of sense I like that idea of the assistant not trying to pretend to be not trying to pretend because I think that's really the rough part another thing I've heard a lot of people and like I've experienced this myself too if you try and get someone else to manage your social media they can actually get locked out because they're from like the Philippines or somewhere else and you can end up with your Facebook account or your LinkedIn account shut down how do you deal with that how do you deal with that yeah so with LinkedIn you are going against the terms of service by having anyone else in there but everyone does it even if they're in in the country people have someone else in there you can't run a big business and be present on LinkedIn without having someone else in there so there's different ways to do it some people believe that using VPN can actually minimize the risk of that touch wood you know I haven't had any problems and I've got you know a number of team members that are in my LinkedIn um so yeah like it's it's I'm breaking the rules but you know they're letting me at the moment so I I haven't had any problems with my any of my accounts on any of my platforms so what about the like two factors too like where it's gonna send you a text message or something like that yeah so the only thing my team don't have access to is my phone um because you know that that's got private messages that I receive on there so in those cases I just need to coordinate with the team um they'll go hey come and you know they'll see me active on Slack are you around can we send a notification and then I just give them the little code that comes from my phone so that does require some communication but the thing is like for example my Gmail Gmail's pretty full on with that stuff um I've got a number of team members in my Gmail so just say I'm away on holidays for a week and someone gets locked out there's other team members that can go in instead okay that makes sense I know with like Gmail there's a couple of workarounds where you can actually add an assistant to your Gmail account and they log in separately I'm just now starting to think I wonder if some of like the telephone numbers would solve for some of that some of that because like we use dial pads so I bet that would solve for some of that because I can't have an assistant with my phone like my executive assistant you'll never get me on the phone if you can Rings hurts all the texts and things like that like the phone is the one thing like I'll play with you on social media all day long but I will not answer the phone I will not answer yeah and and so for me very few clients contact me on the phone some of the older clients you know back in the days where I used to you know be um part of operations occasionally the older ones will um message me um but very few and far between that most of them have transferred to you know my account manager and then she does a better job than me anyway so um they're going to get more results if they go to her so for me my phone's the one thing I've kept private it's like I have my like personal phone number but my dial pad business number that most people think is my personal number that's my personal number is actually monitored and stuff by actually so I don't actually so I don't really get that they think it's my personal number but it's personal number but it's not you know I've got a funny story about that I hate people calling me as well like I just never answer the phone um and so in the early days of our business whenever I need to put my phone number anyway I just put my business partner's phone number so to this day like her phone numbers like in all these random places I'm trying to pull it back but to this day she gets calls for Carmen and that's fantastic she just you know rolls with it that's about answering the phone it's like I just don't like it I run into other people that don't like it all the time I will get on a zoom out with somebody much faster than I will get on a phone call with somebody I like being able to I like being able to I think what I like about Zoom calls um is that it's planned so when Jonathan schedules a zoom call like it's all there in my diary with the links to the person's website you know that their query that they've come through it's all in the CRM like it's just all there in front of me and I can sort of spend the minute beforehand just preparing myself like sort of having some context to what the conversation is whereas when someone calls me like I've got no idea are they trying to sell to me do they want a virtual assistant like what's the deal so there's that uncertainty for me oh very true very very true it's like we've started using a virtual reality platform called gather town to do all of our meetings so I'm getting kind of an in-between because like I'm in there all the time like I hold office hours for my team so they can just come in and they can just come to my office and see me there and things like that and then we have amas and events and stuff over in our public space so people can walk up to me but I can see them coming I can see them coming and I know who it is and like it'll turn on the camera and turn on the microphones and stuff so I'm not like cutting down links or you know I'll just sit there yes

yeah I think I'd be comfortable with that for my internal team I've just written it down I'm going to check it out too sounds amazing you know it's pretty cool it's just a gather a DOT town again lots of fun lots of fun why not okay so you had some other we had fun carrying on but I know there were some other ideas that we wanted to talk about so I'm like looking back at my notes um oh this was a good one yeah how do you know that they're working because I know especially like this applies to even remote working right but it's like we have this fear that we're paying for 10 hours and we're getting cold and we're getting four yeah and so um it's very common in the virtual assistant industry to have this what I call Spy software you can tell it I like it anyway so what this software does is like it tracks the screen of the person it takes pictures with their webcam and it tracks their Mouse clicks and um when I looked it up there's these whole um forums dedicated to how to work around the spice offer anyway I just think that's a No-No like if you want to be a client of ours you are not allowed to use Spy software so without this why software how do you know that they're working so like it's a combination approach so it's you know relationship clear expectations clear communication and so we support the business owners to and the virtual assistants work out how they're going to communicate you know are you going to have a project management software so you can see where they're up to are you going to use end of day reports which is something I recommend for all new virtual assistants um which is a very brief report which is the things I've done today the things I'm planning on doing tomorrow and any outstanding questions I have for you um and so that often like ties the day up in a bow um so for me I don't care if my virtual assistants are feeling a little bit overwhelmed and they just like watch Netflix for 20 minutes in the day occasionally I do that too I probably should be going for walk but um because they're knowledge workers like their their energy is more important to me than their time yep and you know you've alluded to um flexible work hours I'd love to hear your views on this oh yeah I'm the same way it's like the number of ridiculous workarounds I've seen for Spy software is just I mean people tying their mouths still make a fan or like a little vibrating pad that they can put the mouse in that'll just like I'm not gonna go look at that and like how intrusive would that feel would that feel like it's not I'll tell you what you don't want to see my screen sometimes of the day you don't want to be randomly taking pictures of me with my camera either because like no idea what I'm doing I'll tell you what I'm doing no and you know or even who's walking around in the background you know yeah don't really see any of that I remember what it was like working Corporate America and like I racked up 130 something computer violations where I was like trying to hack around their stuff because I was just trying to get to websites I wanted to look at and I was like hacking around and like I figured out you could use Google Translate as a proxy server translate any web address you couldn't get to from any other language to English even if it was originally in English it was originally in English and so I racked up a lot of computer violations and they started releasing things like Solitaire from my computer here and like all kinds of stuff and I can't even and that was before it got as crazy as it is now with webcams yeah I hate the Spy software I hate hate this by software hate to keep this by software and it's like for me it's more about this is the job that I needed to have happened did it get done what happened did it get done yeah if you can get if I pay you for eight hours because I thought that thing would take eight hours and you got them four great don't enjoy your other friends yeah yeah I just don't see anything to think about it any other way like I don't sit here in a few clicks and screenshots I just want to be able to go to the client and be like hey we got your project done yeah I completely agree and I think if your team are feeling like connected to you connected to your business then they're more likely to put in their discretionary effort you know those extra bits where they're like oh Christina I've done this or oh I've had this idea or I've you know I've created this and those things are so valuable to us in our business well I think that's the thing I hear most people complain about with va's or even just with employees that they think are like a bad hire is they're like oh they're not as motivated they don't have it they're not taking the country initiative they're not you know they don't care about my company as much as I do and it's like they're never going to they're never going to but there are different levels of employees there's ones that show up for a paycheck and they're going to just check off a to-do list and be like and then there's ones who are going to be like I really want to see you succeed and I want to be a part of this and I can help create parts of the job and like I hope they'll do something it's like that's my entire team right now we're just now starting to hire more of the like to-do list people do list people I needed people that would help me build the jobs it's like you know hey I want to improve our client communication so let's hire people that can build the process like take what I'm doing make it um so I know that kind of rolls up into something else I want to talk to you about like hiring vas that take initiative yeah I think initiative is the number one thing business owners ask for and I think we need to think about it two ways one is when we when our recruitment team susses people out and they they work out what sort of role they want some people like ticking things off a list and just quietly working away and just having certainty in their role so some people that's just heaven sounds like a nightmare to me but it's happened to other people and we need those people in our business but some people they like to get excited and go Oh Come and you've got mannequin yes what are we gonna do when can we do it this way and whatever now um so we can like find out what sort of person they are and The Hires you know if we the later person for a role that requires initiative but for someone to show initiative it requires for them to feel connected to you and your business and so this is where the business owner has a huge role in this how are you building the relationship are you talking to your virtual assistants not just to delegate but are you talking to them as people are you asking them questions are you sharing stuff about yourself are you laughing with them um are you sharing with them that you appreciate their initiative even when they suggest something you know that might be a little bit off the mark and whatever but sharing with them that you appreciate it um so you can hire someone that's got the capacity and the desire for initiative but you need to nurture it yeah I think that is like I love that idea so much it

we tried to it was probably like about gather town because I realized that I have people that worked for me that I'd never met because I had delegated so much that it's like I wasn't part of hiring everybody anymore and it was like they weren't hearing from me and getting excitement for me and we were just kind of we're just living along so it's like when we implemented gather town and office hours people started feeling a lot more comfortable coming to me and asking questions they knew what I was going to be available it's like I embedded my calendar outside of my office so they can walk up and see what my schedule is see when I'm going to be available I'm going to be available and it's like that has really helped that Weekly staff meeting

fantastic um yeah I feel like that too so um we've got uh people that uh you know management level and I meet with them often and the rest of the team I might not meet with them one-on-one like we're not working one-on-one on a project together um so like occasionally I'll just organize to meet everyone one-on-one and talk about their face painting business or whatever and and you know but in between that there's a team meetings where we you know have a chat and you know there is that connection I get to know them in that context and then we've had to like make time for this random conversations just Chit Chat because it's like without that they don't without that I hear a lot of people that create culture codes and things like that but those are just Dusty documents if you're not if you're not meeting with them or letting them see you I know bigger businesses they talk about doing things like a company newsletter or something that comes from like the CEO where they can actually hear from you and your visit and what's going on that's like that's really important that's really important just that relationship overall that was like really crucial so I know we're kind of wrapping up on time here so I'm gonna Circle back like and no not only are you helping people find these but you're helping them with like the relationship with their va's and all these processes so that it's successful if somebody's interested in all of that and like yes please this sounds amazing how do they find you and like who do you work with yeah so if someone wants to explore how this could work for them like the sort of things virtual assistants can do um some of the more information on some of the tips I've given today um they can check out our website at globalteens.com it's got hyper free resources on there um and the sort of people we work with are business owners who like you know they're open to feeling a little bit uncomfortable the first time you delegate it's a little bit uncomfortable you don't need to be perfect you don't need to have every single eyes dotted and teased crossed um because if you did I wouldn't believe you anyway and no business owner does so someone who's imperfect but like open to um open to learning how to communicate learning how to delegate you know receiving feedback on that um and you know someone who's excited to get support to grow ah that is absolutely awesome and they can just message you somewhere on social media and talk to your VA yeah if you want to talk to Jonathan I mean find me on any of the platforms and he'll be your man

it's absolutely amazing I love it thank you so much for coming on today I think there's been a lot of really good insights and kind of under the under the hood of working with the VA which I think is really important for people to understand I am absolute pleasure Christina thanks for having me awesome entrepreneurs you can also head over to Eta today.zone and learn from other experts like Carmen who help you build a business that enables your lifestyle instead of taking over your life until next time until next time [Music] thank you

Christina Hooper

Christina's on a mission to make business FUN while empowering you to shape thriving ventures. Over the past 16 years, she's had the privilege of helping hundreds of visionaries achieve remarkable transformations.

She bring a unique approach that combines strategic clarity with a touch of creativity. You have the opportunity to leverage her extensive experience in business design to unlock new levels of success and fulfillment. It's time to embark on this adventure and conquer challenges, unlock your potential, and make your entrepreneurial journey a fulfilling and enjoyable one.


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