If you've been an agency for long, you've probably realized that in order to grow... you need help. Maybe it's help designing funnels, onboarding, ads etc.
Whatever it is... you realized, you flat out can't do it all on your own... and scale at the same time.
So like most people you've probably gone the route of posting a job in the group... and then got the onslaught of comments and DMs.
"I can do that for you."
"So and so is who you need."
Or my personal favorite, "I am... expert."
At first, it's exciting, "Gosh look at all these folks, I could hire out this and that and save myself so much time."
But... once you actually do it, you realize there is one major problem...
Not all VAs are created equal.
- Some are talented. Others suck miserably.
- Some actually know what they are doing... others lie about their knowledge and ability.
- Some have experience... others use other's work to sell hiring them.
- Some are honorable... others will steal everything in your account and resell your work.
I've been right there and been burned many times. To help, I thought I'd do a little write up on VAs, give you my new litmus test and some tips for hiring them and hopefully it will help you along the way to get good ones and not get screwed.
Tip # 1. Realize that recommendations / referrals can be bogus.
When you post a job in say the GHL group and folks recommend someone, you should do a little due diligence on the source of the recommendation to ensure it's validity.
Is it a real recommendation coming from a real agency... doing real agency things?
I have found that a lot of the recommendations you see there, often come from VA teams, not from real agencies doing what you do.
You see, a lot of VA teams jump in on the groups then when a job arises, they all comment the same person (usually a head of the team that speaks well). It makes it look like that person is getting a lot of traction, when in reality, it's like all their employees giving the recommendation, which isn't a true recommendation.
So, when you get recommendations, open them up, look at who is giving it and determine if it is a solid one that can be trusted or if it's just the team recommending their own team several times over.
Side Note: I always hated when folks do this crap. I don't partake in that silliness. I've been pretty fortunate in the space, to have all my beautiful customers sharing Agency Armory on our behalf without us having to fake it. BTW if you do share us, please note: I notice. It helps us keep prices low and more dev coming. I really appreciate you!
Tip #2: Get on Zoom with them and interview VAs.
I do a lot of my own stuff, but I also use VAs from all over too. I've got a solid guy for video from Japan. I've got a pretty awesome designer from India I use when I don't want to mess with it. I use a developer from Miami.
You can find people from all over the world... however, there are language and cultural barriers.
I recommend jumping on zoom with them and interviewing them.
When you get on zoom, you'll get a feel if they understand you... and you them. Be careful, in some areas they will lie because they are "Yes" people.
It's not enough to ask for a portfolio of past work.
A lot of VA teams are just front people, farming it out to others. A lot of designers will share work that isn't their own. You want a real VA.
Someone you can talk to and get solid work from directly.
When you deal with a front man, you are paying him and who they farm it to and it takes more time to get anything done. They have to pass on your vision to someone else which adds extra steps and things can get lost in translation.
Give them a litmus test.
I will often ask them to pull up design files in their own photoshop / illustrator, not just seeing the end result. Real designers will have the RAW files on their computer. Ask to see that. If they can't show it, give excuses, don't hire them.
REAL EXPERTS CAN SHOW RESULTS OR LIVE EXAMPLES.
Also, ask them to do something LIVE with you. Like if you are hiring a designer, send them a logo and ask them to change something quickly right there with you (Compensated of course). See how fast they can edit it and how knowledgeable they are.
This helps me weed folks out very fast. If they can't do it LIVE, there is some kind of issue going on.
Tip # 3: Do a test run before bigger projects.
I always start small. I never start a deal for a big project without testing them out on smaller gigs first. I want to test them out in a controlled environment and see if they fall apart.
I also play dumber than I am with VAs. I want to give them a test run for a project I know how to do, know exactly what to expect or have someone there that can verify it. I want to see if they will feed me B.S, take advantage or abuse time. If you have someone that takes longer to do a task than it should, will feed you junk or do a poor job, you want to know about it early on before diving deep with them.
So stack the cards to see how they operate. Many will reveal their true nature fairly early this way if they are a bad apple.
Tip #4: Use a Non-compete / NDA.
We all like to think that most people are good people. However, not everyone has the same morals as we do, nor do they care about treating you with the same respect you give them. Some folks are flat out snakes and will screw you over. It's important that you protect yourself upfront.
Use a non-compete / NDA to protect your ideas. I learned this one the hard way when I didn't get one from a coder and he took my ideas and sold them on his own after me paying him for them.
Tip #5: Don't give out the keys to the kingdom.
In most cases, VAs don't need full access to everything. Limit it to only what they need to do their jobs, then revoke accesses they don't need to do their current job.
The more access they have, the more you are open.
VAs can swipe your stuff, if they have access to it. So why open yourself to them?
Tip #6: Compartmentalize them.
I like to break up my projects and send work to my VAs in pieces. Instead of them working on say a full funnel, they may only work on a small part of it. I'll piece it back together. This way workers don't ever have the full magic formula or picture. Why do they need to know?
I'll create subaccounts for them to work on their projects in separately then bring it into the real account.
Tip #7: Never be fully reliant on ONE VA. Get options.
Sure, it's nice to send projects to one person and only manage them... but what happens if they disappear on you or get hit with a Mack truck? That one person could derail your whole operation.
I have my core main team... but I also have backups I can rely on if needed.
Tip # 8: Spell it out clearly.
VAs are there to save you time. So spell out EXACTLY what you want them to do. Use Loom to create SOPs and share the concepts, directions etc. The better you spell it out how you want it done with examples, the higher the chances of them understanding your vision.
Tip #9: Know enough to be dangerous.
Whenever you hire out a job, it's always good practice to personally know enough about the subject first. Otherwise, you are operating from a weak position, and they can steamroll you. I'm not saying you have to become an expert... but know the core stuff. Get familiar with the terminology, process and best practices. It lets you operate from a more powerful position.
Before you hire out Funnel builds... you should know how to build a funnel yourself and the steps it involves. Otherwise, you are at the mercy of someone else.
Before you run ads, you should learn them yourself a bit... so you can know the core process.
It's a great tool to have in your back pocket because knowledge is power.
Know enough to be dangerous.
Alright thats all for now! Until next time, stay hungry!