For as long as I’ve been playing around and working on the internet, I’ve heard people touting the benefits of paying for virtual services – you know, VAs and that kind of stuff.
From the first time I heard it said, I got the logic of it. Sure, it makes sense to hire someone to do the things I either don’t want to do, am not good at doing, or shouldn’t be doing from a time VS value perspective.
But until this conversation, I’ve never been able to bring myself to take the leap and actually hire out some of the stuff that makes my podcast and business run.
I’ve invited Nathan Hirsch, co-founder of FreeeUp.com to be my guest on this episode of Podcastification to help convince me – and convince me he did.
BTW: The audio quality on MY SIDE of this recording is terrible. Awful. And in all other ways stinky. It’s because I got lazy and didn’t use my podcast production checklist to ensure that everything was set correctly. As a result, my voice was recorded through the built-in mic on my laptop.
BAD form. BAD form. My apologies. I guess it goes to show that even those of us who do something on a professional basis make mistakes from time to time. I’m just sorry you have to listen to it.
[2:06] How Nathan became desperate and turned to virtual services for a solution [4:14] The first things podcasters might consider outsourcing to virtual assistants [5:40] So you see the need, but don’t know if you can afford it. Listen up! [7:35] What should you do if it’s going to take as much time to train someone as it will for you to do it? [13:02] Making it easy: What you’ll experience when you go to the Freeeup website [15:42] Pre-vetted candidates for your job – as many as you want – and keeping up quality [18:14] You could even “steal” a worker from FreeeUp permanently through a buy-out [20:13] Hiring is one thing: managing someone providing virtual services is another
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What ARE virtual services anyway?
I don’t want to begin with the assumption that everybody listening knows what I mean when I say “virtual services,” so for those of you who do know – hang on for just a second while I catch everybody up.
When I say “virtual services” – I mean tasks you pay to have done FOR You by someone who is not in your physical location. So this isn’t paying a neighbor kid to come to your house and mow your lawn – this is paying someone across the world or across town to do something for you – and it’s usually a task that can be done digitally.
- Audio editing
- Artwork/graphics creation
- Transcript creation
- Email list management
- Social media posting
You get the idea? Many of those things are the stuff that goes on behind the scenes of your podcast production. And if you’re like me, it’s likely that ALL of them are things you’re doing.
Here’s the problem – BECAUSE you’re the one doing them, they don’t always get done.
Am I right or am I right?
That’s the sad but very true, truth of the matter.
So it’s smart to at least THINK ABOUT how you can solve that problem in a way that is effective, economical, and a relief to you as a podcaster.
Virtual services may be your answer.
Naturally, Nathan is passionate about this subject because it’s what his business does. But don’t let the fact that he has a vested interest in getting you to use his company water down the fact – VIRTUAL SERVICES LIKE HE OFFERS ARE EXTREMELY VALUABLE… and you probably need them.
I encourage you to listen to this conversation with an open mind – pushing away your doubts, skepticism, and limiting beliefs (like, “I can’t afford that.”). You need to give yourself permission to think outside your current reality toward what might be possible.
Can we agree that you’ll do that as you listen? That’s all I’m asking – so please friend, forge ahead!
Let me tell you a bit of my back story.
I started out this whole online business thing – including podcasting – without a dime to my name.
Truly, that’s how it began for me.
I was between careers, trying to figure out a way – ANY WAY – to put food on the table. I couldn’t afford most of the things I was already doing, like paying for website hosting and media hosting.
But I had to do those things anyway if I was going to build something online. There was no other choice.
And I thought exactly the same as you may be thinking right now, “I can’t afford to hire a virtual assistant,” even though I knew how valuable it would be.
That was 5 years ago. And until a week ago, I STILL had not hired a VA or contracted any other kind of virtual services for myself.
So I know where you’re coming from.
But I have to say this as well – it’s a decision I wish I’d not waited so long to make. The benefits are already apparent after just 5 days of hiring a VA. Not only is it already generating leads that will eventually produce revenue for my company, it’s given me back huge chunks of my time that I can invest in other, more important things (like these show notes and producing my podcast with quality).
So… before you get all caught up on the money-side of this topic, you’ll do well to simply admit to yourself that you only have so much…
And if your podcast is going to be all it CAN be, the day is going to come sooner or later when you have to get some help to make it happen.
You may wind up being like me and postponing the expense of virtual assistance until the very last minute. That’s fine. Really, it is. You have to make the decisions that best fit you and where you are in your journey.
But when the time comes, you’ll know it. You’ll feel it. And you’ll have to choose to take a step forward for your sake and the sake of your podcast, or you’ll shrink back in fear.
My encouragement is to be bigger than your fear when that moment comes. I hope my conversation with Nathan on this episode gives you a bit of courage that you can and should find the virtual services you need when the time is right.
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Every time I heard people talk about this issue I thought, “I can’t afford to pay someone week after week after week.” At the time, it was true.
But I never heard anyone mention the kinds of things Nathan did on this episode – that you can hire out one-time projects too, especially the things that you’re not best at doing.
Now that is a brainstorm!
Let’s get the creative juices flowing a bit here… what are one-time projects you could outsource?
- A one-time edit of a particularly complex episode of your podcast
- A special download you want to provide to your audience
- A landing page on your website
- Setting up a shopping cart or plugin on your website
- Creating new podcast cover art
- And other stuff…
Nathan’s got a point. A great way to dip your toe in the outsourcing waters is to give it a try through a one-time project.
You’ll get to see how the process works. You’ll learn a few lessons about how to communicate your expectations well and hold others accountable for the work they provide.
And you’ll probably be bitten by the virtual services bug. I know I have been.
Nathan has a lot of ideas along this line that every podcaster I know could benefit from, so be sure you take the time to listen – even if you’re not fully ready to take the plunge.
He’ll help you get your mind in the right place to take the needed steps when the time comes.
How does Nathan’s virtual services company work?
Most companies that provide virtual services work in a kind of wonky way.
Those who want to provide services submit their info and are placed into a directory – then those like you and me who need work done have to scour the directory hunting for the person we want.
FreeeUp does NOT work that way – thank God!
When you look for someone to help you virtually through the FreeeUp system, you submit the basics of what you need done – indicate how much you’re willing to pay per hour – and indicate if you want someone in your country, elsewhere, or if it doesn’t matter.
Then the FreeeUp team will send you pre-vetted, qualified people to consider for the role, usually within 24 hours.
Did you get that the candidates are pre-vetted?
Nathan says it’s actually quite difficult to become a contractor for FreeeUp because they are very picky about the quality and skill of those they employ. So there’s a peace of mind there that I’ve not seen in other online platforms like this.
Once you find the person you want – you can chat with them via video or email to see how it would feel to work with and interact with them – then you can either hire them, pass, or ask for more recommendations. It’s a pretty streamlined system that works well in most cases.
As I mentioned, I’ve hired my first virtual assistant who is helping me with some marketing tasks and it’s been a wonderful experience so far. Her name is Kris and she was the very first person the FreeeUp system recommended to me. So far, I couldn’t be happier.
Nathan goes into a good deal more detail than this in the conversation I recorded for this episode, so you’ll be able to have all your questions answered by listening.
And if you want to find out more about FreeeUp – Nathan’s contact info is in this show notes page – so reach out to him. He’s very active on social media and responds to email, etc. very quickly in my experience.