HireMyVA Podcast

HireMyVa Podcast 5- I don’t know the right tools to use to manage a Virtual Assistant

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Dave Braun
Welcome to 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. I’m Dave Braun, your co-host I’m here with my partner and the other co-host, a great friend, Larry Broughton. Larry, how you doing today?

Larry Broughton
Doing great, Dave.

Dave Braun
Awesome. That’s excellent. So let’s get right into our topic. So today’s topic is, I don’t know the right tools to use to manage a VA so how the heck am I going to actually be good with a VA. Oh, that’s a tough one. Well, you already want me to start?

Larry Broughton
Maybe just give a quick overview on that. It’s a great question by the way, when I saw that come through, I was like, holy smokes that’s so good because you know this stuff, I think that we ought to talk about, Dave can help you, whether you’re dealing with a VA, a virtual assistant, who’s sitting in the Philippines, or if at some point you actually get someone who’s actually sitting in the same office with you and all communication when it comes around business. And frankly, even in your personal lives, there’s really three areas we need to look at and I know you’ve got some great suggestions, but it’s daily communication- How do we do that? Weekly communication and then just project management tools to help hold people accountable. So maybe we added to start with talking about daily communication bursts.

Dave Braun
Yeah, let’s just go on that. And you know, that’s one of the beauties of this podcast is that it’s not just for overseas VA’s or whatever it’s for any virtual assistant. And in fact, it’s working for anybody working virtually. So let’s talk about that. You said daily communication. – communication daily So one of the things that you don’t want to rely on for daily communication is email. It’s just, it’s just too slow. You got to use some type of a messaging app at the minimum. Anytime of any type of good project management tool has got that capability inside of it. And of course you want to have the capability to have formal as well as informal communication with that tool. So the formal part is that you want to keep track of certain things like you’re communicating on an important project that to do.

Dave Braun
And you want to keep track of do your final decisions that you might make, or you know exactly what you’ve done- that’s the formal part. But the informal part is what you don’t want to keep track of. Obviously like, Hey, one of the things that we do is we check in with each other and say, Hey, I’m starting today. How you guys doing? Or something like, Hey, let’s get together on a zoom call at 11 o’clock or I’m working on this right now, just an exit out of editing that file. Cause we don’t want to overwrite what each other’s doing. That kind of stuff is very casual and informal. You don’t have to keep track of that, but the other stuff that you do want to keep track of. So that’s one of the things that you’ve got to have some kind of a good messaging app that’s more real time that you do that.

Larry Broughton
And I think we’re going to have to do, we just have to try things out and find out what works for you. Because boy, we have tried a handful of different messaging apps and project management tools and some we’ve liked and then they’ve tweaked them, we didn’t like them anymore. But I think one of the keys here for success is that we had to remain flexible when trying out these tools. So I’m sorry, Dave, continue.

Dave Braun
Yeah. That’s great. So one of the things that you also want to have in this messaging app, the communication is that you want to have certain channels or projects where you can actually communicate in the appropriate place. That way you can search appropriately, you can go to it, etc. Most of the tools have it. And it’s one of the reasons why you don’t necessarily want to use something like Facebook messenger. Some of the tools that are available out there that will work for this would be a slack, base camp, I think Asana will, but you guys would have to check that I haven’t used it, there’s teamwork and then a click up as something that is pretty up and coming, that would be cool to use too. So they have that, I’m pretty sure.

Larry Broughton
And I know if somebody’s gonna ask, well, what tools are you guys using? Well, right now we’re currently using both base camp and slack. In fact, we were on a meeting, Dave, you and I just moments ago and you were slacking Melissa that’s right. And so that’s the great thing about some of these tools that you can, they’re so easy to use. It’s a sitting on your desktop, Dave and I were having a conversation and a recommendation was made and he said, Hey, let me slack her right now and immediately we get our response. The bees are great daily tools to be using. I’m going to encourage you though, the downside of email and any kind of written communication is that things get lost in translation oftentimes. Really important communication, I believe, should not be communicated.

Larry Broughton
If it’s sensitive, only through an email. People read too much into it, or sometimes they don’t read enough into it. And so if you’re going back and forth and there really is a lot of questions that come up, then it really is best at that point, just to pick up the phone and schedule a zoom call or some kind of video conferencing calls so you can actually see each other’s face and rid the nuance, but this is so important particularly during high pressure times, you’re growing your business, you’re launching your business. One of the mantras we have around here is that the best form of communication during crisis is over communication. So you can’t just leave if you’re growing your business, you can’t just leave it up to what we’re gonna talk about next, which is weekly communication. We really do have to focus a lot on this daily and almost hour by hour communication.

Dave Braun
And I think we’re talking about this as an overall structure to help understand. So I mean, there’s a lot of crossover and there’s times when we talk about what you do daily as weekly and vice versa, it just, it all kinds of depends, but this is a good structure to think about. So Larry, you said weekly communication, right? Y So one of the things that you’ve got to have no question about it is you’ve got to have some kind of video conferencing capability. So that at a minimum, when you’re working virtually, you’ve got to connect face to face once a week and you know, and some people will not have their camera on and all that kind of stuff. No, you gotta have your camera on. That’s gotta be a requirement when you’re working with somebody on a virtual basis. Cause otherwise, I mean, they could be not listening to you and you don’t know it. And I got a really funny story, one of these days I’ll have to tell about an engineer I used to work with. This is fun.

Larry Broughton
Well, I think I do like about the video conferencing, you know, any of the good ones out there, they actually do recordings. And so it’s a great way to hold people accountable. And I I’ve lost count of the number of times where I, or Melissa has had to go back to a recorded meeting that we have had to actually pull out, did we actually say this or do we actually do that? Or what was the deadline? on that sorts – that’s a great way to just store information, somebody sitting there and having to take notes on it, it’s recorded.

Dave Braun
And Larry, I’m glad you brought that up because just this last week, Cheryl, my wife who works for a nonprofit, she was leading a strategic planning meeting through zoom with 15, 20 people through zoom call. And they were, you know, all had their videos on all that. But what she did and we talked about it, I said record it because you’re gonna, if you’re leading this meeting, you want to stay present in the meeting, not worry about writing notes and all that stuff. So if you record it and of course you tell them, you’re recording it, you’re recording it. Then you can go back and write your notes and stuff.

Larry Broughton
Yeah. Same thing happened to me earlier today, Melissa and I are on a call with a, somebody who wants to hire me to do a keynote speech and I could be very present and just ask the questions. And I said to him, I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to go back and listen to this so I can pull out some golden nuggets to incorporate into the speech later on. And he was so impressed that, oh, that’s such a great idea. So it’s a great selling point when you’re dealing with clients. But it’s really critical when you’re dealing with team members, particularly team members that you don’t see face to face every single day. Maybe we got to talk about what are some of the active tools that we use or that are available to people. We’ve mentioned a couple, like zoom is one of it.

Dave Braun
There’s zoom, there’s Skype, there’s go to meeting you can do stuff in Facebook now. And I just yesterday used, I guess, is Google teams.

Larry Broughton
You know, I run a meeting actually offsite remotely. And somebody had mentioned a Google team. I haven’t used that one yet.

Dave Braun
In fact, it was interesting when we were trying it there’s a transcription capability with it. Well, so what happens is there’s a, you can do closed captioning. So it’s recording and translating what your voice, what you say. And you can actually capture that if you want. pretty cool.

Larry Broughton
And other tips or downsides to this that we ought to ought to be considering?

Dave Braun
Well, sometimes the tips and downsides to doing a video communication is it does take more processing time or processing power on your hardware. It does take a higher internet bandwidth. And sometimes people can lose the connection here and there or their microphone could get garbled or maybe some folks just don’t speak quite as well. Or maybe they’re a little bit embarrassed or, you know, or because it’s real time. In fact, these days, I’ve talked to a lot of all my clients on zoom calls and every now and then I’ll be talking with somebody and then their kids come in the background and say mom, dad – it’s part of the business nowadays.

Larry Broughton
I got a call and my dog came in and they said, oh, that’s part of business now. But I do think it’s an important thing to consider David. You were saying, you know, where some of these VA’s, whether they’re here in the U S or in the case that we’re talking about, mostly in the Philippines, it’s important that, that your VA has the hardware and bandwidth where they are to be able to handle video conferencing because sometimes that stuff is actually rationed in some countries or some parts of countries. And so it is w we take you through that process when you are hiring, someone are considering different candidates, we’re going to help you out. So don’t be afraid of that, but to actually consider. Yeah.

Dave Braun
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So that’s, so that’s weekly. And now let’s talk a little bit about project management. I think we, we mentioned a little bit before, but it’s basically, you’ve got to have a place where you communicate written and putting to dues tracking progress and seeing what’s happening on team members, because you want to make sure that what’s in front of them is written down so that they can see it on a daily basis or a minute by minute basis, depending upon how fast they’re, you know, doing their To do’s. So there’s the slack. You can do that, I think to a certain extent, but that’s more the project management tools base camp, Asana, teamwork, click up, you can do that even with Google docs, you can do it with Microsoft teams, you can do it with Evernote if you want. So there’s multiple tools that you can do.

Larry Broughton
You know, one of the big mistakes though, I think Dave, that people make particularly in the startup is, Hey, there’s all these free ones out here though. One will just go with all the free stuff. What’s the downside.

Dave Braun
Well, if you’re not careful, you can have your business relying totally on a free tool. And the chances of that fruit tool being around forever, depending upon the company is not the greatest. They can take it down at any time they can start charging. And if you’re relying on it, then, you know, you have to pay what they want. You know, the company could get sold. I mean, there’s so many things that could happen with a free tool- a lot! There’s a higher chance of those things happening with the free tool then with a paid tool.

Larry Broughton
Yeah, that’s point. great really a

Dave Braun
And if it’s a paid tool, chances are, they’ve got a better infrastructure going on. They’re constantly improving it. So the tool won’t be down as much. So the thing is, we got to remember that our business is so important. And if you’re going to have a tool be an integral part of your business, really consider you know, paying for it.

Larry Broughton
Well. And when you pay for, often times there’s backups to all of this stuff, we’re talking about recordings and really relying on this, but the great thing now is there’s so much competition in this space that pricing is dropping and all of these in quality go up and pricing dropping. Now, I don’t want to discourage you from doing this because you, frankly, some people can’t afford it all, use the free stuff to get started if that’s what it takes, but don’t stay there. Treat your business like a business and not like a hobby and consider an investment in your business and not an expense or a cost to your business. Do it, get starte, don’t let the cost prevent you from doing it. Use the free tools if that’s what you have to do, but know that in short order, as quickly as you can get converted over, because the whole VA thing, hiring a VA is meant to add productivity to your business so that you can get to your revenue goals sooner, but don’t get stuck on the free stuff.

Larry Broughton
I think is the message here, communicate, communicate overly, communicate. Keep in mind that when you are communicating, a smile on the voice, a smile on your face goes a long way. It really does because this is you’ve gotta remember this whole communication daily, weekly, monthly, whatever it is, we’re trying to build loyalty with our team members. They have the only communication your VA gets, who is sitting at around the world, usually is a terse email or a terse text. I promise you, your productivity will not be where you need it to be and you’re gonna end up being frustrated. You need to treat any VA, as if are any team member they’re sitting in the same room with you, treat them with dignity, respect, treat them like part of your family. And if you’re trying to build a relationship, a strong loyal team member, you don’t communicate with them once a month or send them a terse email.You really have to train it. You really have to communicate and overly communicate.

Dave Braun
Yeah. Well, it’s hard to not emphasize that as much or hard to emphasize it too much or some point that right. Communication is so, so important. So if you are a regular listener of this podcast, you are going to hear that over and over.

Larry Broughton
Right. Well, have we beaten this one enough day? I think we?

Dave Braun
I think so, I think it’s good. It’ll be on to the next one, some point. So folks, thanks for being with us today. Hope you got something really good out of it. But remember that building a team is the way you’re going to really reclaim your freedom, where you can do something significant. It’s so hard to do it by yourself. Thing is, is that we are here to help you. So if you want to find out more information about what we’re doing and how you can get freedom in your life, go to hiremyva.com, and with or without experience, you can learn to prepare for hire and thrive with virtual assistants and to communicate well with them. Larry and I, we’ve really helped a lot of folks and we want to help you too. So just go to hiremyva.com for more information, have an awesome rest of the day.

Larry Broughton
Yeah. We love you. Love your team members. Now go get them!

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