HireMyVA Podcast

HireMyVA Podcast 38- How do you make your VA accountable for their work time?

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Dave Braun
Hey, everyone. Welcome to the HireMyVA Team and Business Building Podcast, where we help you to reclaim your freedom through hiring and thriving with virtual assistants, without breaking the bank and without breaking your bank, which is the most important one. I am Dave Braun and I’m here with my partner and my co-host. My good buddy, a friend. We spend a lot of time together. Crazy dude, Larry Broughton. Hey Larry. How are you tonight?

Larry Broughton
I’m doing great. How are you, Dave? Good to see you, my friend.

Dave Braun
Good to see you too. Thank you. Are we ready to handle one of these questions?

Larry Broughton
Let’s tackle one of them. Reach into the bin. We’re reaching into the bin. We’re going to pull out a question.

Dave Braun
Yeah. But let me shuffle it. All right. So how do you, there’s a question. Ready? Ready? You sure. How do you make your VA accountable for their work time and related to this? You know, kind of, what’s a good time tracking tool if you need it. So how do you make your VA accountable for the work time? That’s a big concern that people have that they’ll get their money’s worth, right?

Larry Broughton
Yeah. You know, and I think it’s probably the same concern. Even if it’s a virtual assistant, that’s actually someone working in your physical office and your brick and mortar space. It seems to come down to three areas, Dave, and we can kind of maybe rip on the things more than we can do that. But the first one is like communication and communication style. Second one is using project management tools. And the third is, you know, some people actually have to track time, like if you’re a per hour company say you’re a CPA or a lawyer or a graphic designer where you pay by the hour, then having some kind of time-tracking tool. So you want, are there other kinds of three things and we can kind of rip on those are, those are the three major right.

Dave Braun
Major considerations. Yeah. Perfect. All right.

Larry Broughton
So what, why don’t you let’s start with communication. You want to take communication first and we can riff. Yeah.

Dave Braun
Yeah. So I think that’s, so that’s the number one of the three, you know, communication, right? We’ve got to figure out how we’re going to best communicate with them because that’s going to help them to be accountable for their work time is how often do they communicate and how do they communicate? One of the things that we were talking about first, but actually before we started recording, this was we need to understand how they would like to be led or how they would like to be managed. You know, what do they want? Do they want somebody working with them all the time? And do they need that, that check-in, that, you know, often check in. I mean, checking in throughout the day, do they need that? And then the other aspect of that is what do you as a manager need? And that’s that need though is not about, you know, you’re not going to be hovering over them.

Dave Braun
You know? Like, are you doing your work? That’s not the need, the need is, how do you feel you have, how do you feel you want your business to be most productive and what brings you the most joy? So let me give you an example of what happened with one of our virtual assistants. And he, when I hired him, I didn’t understand this or myself as much, but he ended up liking to be just given a task, record a video and he’d go off and run with it and do it. And he was great and productive, but he did not want to like collaborate very much. So his, what he liked is just basically to be left alone and to do his work and be done. And he did great in that. Right. And that’s how he thrived. Right. And I didn’t thrive as much with that, but he did. So those that’s one of the things, other things, that’s, that’s one things that’s important to think about.

Larry Broughton
Well, why didn’t you thrive in it?

Dave Braun
Because I learned something about myself is that I really, really loved the collaboration partner. Right. And that’s when things that we were talking about is your business has got to bring joy to you. Right. It can’t be drudgery. It’s got to, you know, have a little bit of fun. And I like to collaborate. I like to work with people because just, you know, I feel like we can serve our clients better. We serve each other better. It’s just, it it’s, it’s just fun. I’ve been doing that for, you know, my career. So I wanted to do that. And so when he was working for us, I had that, I really lacked that, that joy, that enjoyment that fun. And so I wanted to ended up having to make a change at some point. Yeah.

Larry Broughton
Well, there were other reasons why you need to make a change as well. But I think one of the things that we need to consider is how do your team members like to receive communication or information? And so I think that’s an important question to ask during your hiring process during the interview process is to flush this out a little bit, flush it out, I guess is a better way to say it, flush it out a little bit, because I think that it’s really important that if somebody doesn’t want does not want to be micromanaged, that tends to be the, the term, whether it’s accurate or not. People feel like if you’re communicating with them regularly, that you’re micromanaging them. Other people want to be checked in a give, give me the nuts and bolts, what do you, what are you expecting from me? And then let’s check in along, along the way, that’s kind of how I am. I prefer that let’s have a conversation at the beginning. Let’s have benchmarks along the way because I, what I don’t like this is me personally, but it’s my business. And so I’m going to set it up this way is I don’t want to give somebody a task. And then the last I hear, I don’t hear anything until the project is complete because what if we didn’t communicate effectively? And they spent all this time developing or spending on this project. And at the end we find out, well, that’s not at all. They did

Dave Braun
The wrong thing.

Larry Broughton
So I like to have benchmarks along the way, but on the communication side, we’re not going to know Dave, until we built a relationship with this new team member. What works for both of you. This is why we talk about in the, in both the prepare and the hire. And I think we touched on it in the thrive module as well is you have to have be intentional about your communication. Let’s do a 30 day check in at least, right? Yeah. Don’t wait till you get to the probationary period before you actually sit down and say, how’s it working for you? Am I communicating with you effectively? Are you receiving information effectively? You know, really have a great dialogue about it before. Like you’re totally frustrated, but generally, you know, within 48 hours, whether it’s working or not, but out of fear, we tend not to really face the problem. So I would just be very intentional with stating dear virtual assistants, Hey, in the beginning, we’re going to talk a lot. We spend a lot of time together in the first couple of weeks getting to know each other, but really I think this whole, this communication component is one of the really thrill keys to success and finding out whether you’re gonna be able to hold your virtual assistant accountable.

Dave Braun
Yeah, yeah. And that communication. So one of the things that, that one of the things, if you communicate often, it helps, like what you said is helps to keep them from going down the wrong path. And from going down into the rabbit hole of trying to figure out a problem on their own, when maybe all they have to do is ask you or you ask them and then all of a sudden, no, you’ll get it covered. Right?

Larry Broughton
Yeah. So another, I’m sorry, go ahead. No, no, no. That’s good. Keep going. Just say another way to, to, to do this as to have standing meetings, right? Whether it’s your morning, stand-up that we do in our organization, whether it’s a, a weekly meeting with, with everybody, I know you got morning and evening check-ins with people. You get to find what works for you, but I promise you, this is one of the problems that we’ve had in some of the, the, our regular calls with the higher bar. My VA community members is that some team members feel like I’m going to hire my VA. And they’re just going to do the job that is not work. My friend, it’s not the merchant that’s called

Dave Braun
It’s called abdication.

Larry Broughton
Right. That’s right, exactly right. It is the success of your VAs has more to do with you than it does with them. That is the responsibility of leadership. You have to set them up for success. Okay. And you’re right, Dave, you can’t advocate responsibility, right? So I think you absolutely have to be communicating with folks, have your standing meetings check in with them. Your job also is to mentor them, let them know what you want this result or better. Don’t forget that. Right. Here’s what I’m expecting or better on us. But we have to communicate that. We can’t expect that. They’re just going to know it just because you hired them, know you have, this has an investment into your success. So having these regular meetings is really important as well.

Dave Braun
And I think it helps to think about taking this virtual environment that you have a virtual office, so to speak and thinking about how do I make it seem like a regular office? So you were talking about our daily check-in and check-out well, typically what we do is check in in the morning, say, Hey, good morning, Hey, I’m here. Great morning. How’s it going? And then at the end of the day, they’ll say, Hey, I’m off for the night. Okay. That way I know that if I have an issue or something, I want to talk to them that they’re not there. And that’s cool. It’s just like in an office environment where you say, Hey, good morning, everybody. Hey, good evening. Have a great evening. You know, it’s just the same thing. If you’re passing, you know, you’re leaving and passing your staff somewhere. It’s the same kind of thing. Yeah.

Larry Broughton
Right. Yeah. Yep. Well, the next thing, Dave, number two, that we talked about was project management tools. You are a rock star on this, and I love that. You’re an early adopter on a lot of these things. He tried different project management tools, you know, in the old, old school project management tool, let’s have a Gantt chart. And that’s what we’re working off of. Well, boy times have changed right now. You’ve got all kinds of project management tools. So why don’t you take the lead on this one?

Dave Braun
Yeah. I mean, there’s so many out there, some free, some paid and, and I mean, you, you do at some point want to go to a paid version because you want to make sure that that that’s going to be around for a while, that tool, but you’ve really got to have some kind of a project management tool, you know, whether it’s a Google doc or something like that, but we gotta keep track of tasks. You assign people, those tasks, and then you have them, you know, complete them. You got to have something like that. It just helps communication. If all you’re doing is talking verbally and asking them to do things, there are times when that will work. But especially if you’re doing that, using a virtual assistant from another country, a lot of times it’s gonna help to at a minimum, you know, recorded videos, they can go back to it.

Dave Braun
Yeah. So, but you got to keep track of the tasks and, and, you know, that’s kind of fundamental project manager, management performance, you know, and the other thing is we talk about in performance reviews, you gotta be really careful if you do those, say you do it on a yearly basis, which the, a lot of companies, you know, big companies don’t even do it that often managers will tend to evaluate performance based on recent knowledge. So in other words, they will do it based on a feeling of, well, did they do a lot in the last month because that’s all they remember. They don’t remember what happened 10 months ago. Yeah. So you’ve got to really have a system where you, you know, you kind of keep track of that stuff. And then the other thing that is, you know, it’s really got to allow for daily texting or daily communication, you know, you really got to do that.

Larry Broughton
I have a list of some of the project management tools that we like and recommend in the resource section, but you use slack, we’ve used a sauna base camp. There’s a lot of good tools out there. Do you have one that you really love now?

Dave Braun
Yeah. We were using base camp and now we’re switching from that to a Nifty PM N I F T Y P M. Yeah. And it’s working really well for us.

Larry Broughton
Oh, good. Good. So the last thing that I’d mentioned earlier, if it’s somebody who’s really keeping track of hours and maybe just internally, you want to keep track of hours as well. Like we’ve got it. When somebody is going through the program, now she does not bill by the minute or by the hour, but she wants to track how productive our VA’s are. So she tracks every minute that they’re doing things, if some kind of time tracking tool. Right. Do you want to address this for us?

Dave Braun
Yeah. So I mean, you, you can, some of the project management tools you have out there that you can get, they’ll have something in it, or you can assign a task and click a button. That’s what we’re using now, clicking a button and saying, and then, you know, it starts at a time when you’re executing it and then stops when you’re not executing. Right. And then, or you can use, I mean, there’s a free one called there’s others that we’ve got in our program that we recommend that you can try out, but you don’t have to do this for everything, but you can do it just when you’re wanting to make sure that you’re keeping track of productivity and that you are productive to, you can use it for yourself. Right. And Gary, you know what, here’s the one, it was interesting as just had a conversation today with Brian, one of our VA’s and he’s like, I’m going to start using out on everything. So I can be more productive because he wants to be more productive.

Larry Broughton
Dave, you know, every time we bring on a coaching client, this is one of the first task that we have them do is to track their time over two week period. And it isn’t always, people are always stunned at where they’re spending time because you don’t keep you don’t, you’re living your life. You’re just doing it. Some of it just becomes routine. It becomes a habit. But when you start looking at this, like, oh my I’m spending this much time and this stuff’s a way outside my strengths. Oh my gosh. Or we become, we tend to procrastinate. I tend to procrastinate on things and it’s out of fear or I don’t like doing it, whatever it is. But once you start realizing I’m spending X number of minutes, whatever it is, it’s eyeopening. Okay. So I do encourage people to do what you just got through thing with Brian track your time.

Larry Broughton
If you ever get into a coaching program, like a one-on-one or two on one coaching program with Dave and I, we’re going to ask you to do it anyway. So you might just, you might throw up because it will be eyeopening for you. Right? And again, the whole idea of this program is to gain freedom in your life. Right? You’re not going to gain freedom if you don’t know where you’re spending your time, because you will become a prisoner to the task that you’re doing right now. And you don’t want your, your VA’s doing that either. Right?

Dave Braun
Well, yeah, absolutely. And you know, but, and the last thing is you, you talked about freedom. I’m glad you brought that up because if you are watching them every second of the day, like a Hawk over the shoulder, what are you working on? I mean, there’s no freedom for you in that. And that’s, that’s just no matter what, you cannot do that, no matter what.

Larry Broughton
Yeah. And oftentimes that’s done out of fear, you know, they’re ripping me off. I, you know, basically it’s kind of like, I own you mentality and it’s that’s, I wouldn’t want to work under those conditions just constantly saying, Hey, it should be taken. You shouldn’t be taking you that much time. You got to look at their entire productivity. Right. And I always ask this, I talk about this micromanaging nonsense. And one of the keynotes that I do, I always ask people, have you ever been micromanaged? Right. And w almost everybody raises their hand. How’d that feel? Oh, it sucked. I didn’t like that. Well, don’t do that exactly. Right. Don’t do it. If you don’t trust your team members, they shouldn’t be on your team or you, or you need some real coaching and counseling to figure out why is it that you need to micromanage?

Dave Braun
Yeah. Now there’s times when, you know, it’s okay to micromanage on a particular thing that maybe they’re having some issues with or something that’s very critical to the business, but that really should, I think, be the exception, not

Larry Broughton
Absolutely. And you’re going, you will more intensely manage people and process when it’s a new process or a new person. But after that, it should be, here’s what I expect. Here’s what the goal is. Here’s the entry I want this end result or better. And then you have, check-ins periodically, you should not be every day or every minute be checking in on them or walking over their shoulder. Like you said, Dave, that that does not bring freedom.

Dave Braun
For sure. And, and, you know, in our, the victory masterclass that we’re running through right now, we’re going to talk about standard operating procedures and kind of how to do those and get those going. Even those will lead you to some freedom because you give your team a checklist to do that. Right. So you don’t have to watch over their shoulder doing stuff.

Larry Broughton
Yeah. Yeah. Good. Okay. Good. Well, I don’t want, yeah. I want to remind folks that I kind of said this earlier, if you want a more intensive coaching or mentoring, we do have programs to help you on that as well. You can just send us an email or reach out to Dave and I, you know how to get ahold of us, right. Or, or Melissa. And, and we’d be glad to talk to you about a more personalized coaching and mentoring program to really help you launch your business and find your freedom. Cause I get, sometimes you just get stuck or you, or there might be a big issue that we’re just not, we haven’t addressed yet. Or by the way, the community is a great place to get feedback. It’s one of the most valuable parts of this program is to get involved in the community forum. Okay. Or the periodic calls that we do,

Dave Braun
That’s where some of these questions are from is within the community. And this allows us to, we’re answering it maybe a little bit better here on the podcast than we’re able to do off the top of our heads because we’re preparing. But yeah, the community is so, so valuable or you can ask whatever you want. That’s on your brain. We just had a great call last week. Right. It was awesome. I thought it was a good one. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. All right. All right. Well let’s close this one down. Yeah. All right. Well, thank you everybody for joining us, you know, it was fun. Remember though, that building a team is the way to reclaim your freedom and we are here to help you. That’s why we have the program. We want to see people get freedom in their lives. So we’d love you though right now to do three things.

Dave Braun
And we’d really, really appreciate it. If you did number one, subscribe to the podcast, if you haven’t already done. So. And number two, give us a rating. You know, we’ll do a five-star rating for us. And then number three is go to Hiremyva.com for more information on the community that we’ve got the course that we’ve got. It’s all right there. There’s some free downloads. You can get all kinds of information. So the important thing though, is that you need to understand that even without experience, that you can learn how to prepare for hire and thrive with virtual assistants. And as we talked about, we’ve had some great calls where in our helping folks, and we want to help you to just go to Hiremyva.com for more info. That’s right.

Larry Broughton
Thanks Dave. Hey folks, do yourself a favor. Do the world a favor, go do something really, truly significant today. So God bless you. God keep you, God hold you. All right, folks. Go get ’em. Bye. I’ll see you later.


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