Today I’m happy to have my buddy Chris Ducker on the show. Chris is someone who I met at FinCon a few years back and we got a chance to hang out while we were there. If you don’t know Chris, he is the CEO of VirtualStaffFinder.com where he helps business owners get matched up with virtual help.
He’s also the author of the popular book Virtual Freedom. In fact, as many of you probably know from mywifequitherjob.com, the blog portion of my online business doubled in the past year and I was able to hit $700,000 in revenue for 2015.
But now I need help to take some stuff off of my plate. Anyway, I was on the can the other day reading Chris’ book and I was I like, why am I reading this when I can just talk to the real thing?
What You’ll Learn
- How Chris got his first few customers.
- How many VAs he employs himself.
- The early challenges with his business.
- His leading source of customer acquisition.
- How his business model works.
- How he reduces churn.
- What sets his service apart from competing services.
- The right way to hire virtual help
Other Resources And Books
Now if you enjoy this podcast please leave me a review on iTunes, and if you want to learn how to start your own online business be sure to sign up for my free six-day mini course, where I show you how my wife and I managed to make over 100k in profit in our first year of business. Go to www.mywifequitherjob.com, sign up right there on the front page, and I’ll send you the mini course right away via email, now onto the show.
Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. We will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle, so you can spend more time with your family and focus on doing the things that you love. Here is your host, Steve Chou.
Steve: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. Today I’m happy to have my buddy Chris Ducker on the show. Now Chris is someone who I met at FinCon a couple of years back, and we actually got a chance to hangout while we were there. And if you don’t know Chris he is the CEO of Virtual Staff Finder, where he helps business owners to get matched up with virtual help.
And he is also the author of the popular book Virtual Freedom which instantly right now is probably being displayed in my bathroom also known as the library. And in fact many of you know from mywifequitherjob.com the blog portion of my online business doubled in the past year and I was able to hit 700K in revenue for 2015.
But now I need help to take some stuff off of my plate. Anyways I was on the can the other day reading Chris’s book and I was like why the hell am I reading this book when I can just talk to the real thing. And with that welcome to the show Chris, how are you doing today man?
Ducker: I’m good to be here man, that’s a unique introduction. I have probably done over 300 podcast interviews now, that’s probably one of the more unique ones.
Steve: So I figured I know you and you can take jokes, so I figured what the hell, right?
Ducker: Absolutely I mean if you are going use the can for anything other than what we usually use it for, why not pick up a good book, and read it when you are there as well, right?
Steve: Dude it’s an honor man, it’s an honor to be there I’m telling you.
Ducker: How are you doing brother, how’s everything going with the fam and — I mean obviously the business looks like it’s doing great, how’s everything going with the family?
Steve: The fam is good, my daughter she is selling girls scout cookies right now, so I may hit you up a little bit later. I don’t know how I’m going to get them to you in the Philippines but…
Ducker: You’ll have to send them by FedEx otherwise it will never get here.
Steve: Or I’ll just eat your portion.
Ducker: They’ll seize them, ask them — yeah you can do that too.
Steve: All right Chris everyone out there who doesn’t know you, give us a brief intro of how you founded Virtual Staff Finder, and what you are up to today?
Ducker: Well you know the core things man, I’m just the sales guy. I haven’t sort of given myself any kind of delusions and grandeur on that. I’m a sales and marketing guy originally from London. I came over to the Philippines in 2000, and started my first business over here in 2000 and [inaudible 00:03:31] looking at now 2004. 12 years in as an entrepreneur and there is several businesses under the umbrella.
We employ around 450 full time employees at our three floor facility here in Cebu in the Philippines. One side of the business is a corporate call center working with corporations, many of whom are in the US, but we also are sort of elsewhere in the world as well.
And then there is Virtual Staff Finder where we really focus in on like you said match making busy entrepreneurs with virtual assistance here in the Philippines. And then obviously we have youpreneur.com which is my online mastermind community as well as all the other stuff that I do with the events and everything as well. So it’s all good firm, keep yourself busy.
Steve: I didn’t know about the call centre, is that for like companies that handle like tech support and stuff?
Ducker: Yeah tech support, customer support, we do car abandonment; we do a lot of outbound lead generation. We are one of the very few midsized call centers here in the Philippines that truly specialize in outbound lead generation work and appointment setting.
One of the reasons for that is because of my background in the telesales game. So yeah it’s tough to do that, you’ve got to know how to train people and look after people in that kind of environment from a commission perspective and all rest of it. So we are one of the very few people that can do it properly and we’ve doing it for a long time now.
Steve: So like my business I sell linens, so if I were to — want to hit up like event planners and wedding planners I could use your service and have them do the outreach for me, is that kind of how it works?
Ducker: That’s exactly how it works; I mean as long as you had a big enough requirements we could potentially do it for you. We don’t work with very small businesses because honestly it’s very hard to — this business is all about volume. Volume [inaudible 00:05:27] that’s what it comes down to. So we have a minimum of 10 full time employees required to work with customers, and so we work with a lot of internet firms, a lot of insurance, a lot of education, a lot of travel and hospitality and that sort of type of thing.
Steve: Interesting, so a lot of the people who are listening are actually from overseas, some of them are from China, Hong Kong, and Thailand, a lot of they come up to me and they say hey, it’s really hard to start a business here. There is not a whole lot of ecommerce profits to be made, and here you are starting what I consider a really tough business to start, right? How did you get started early on with Virtual Staff Finder?
Ducker: Well we decided very early on, when I say we I mean myself and my wife. It’s funny how behind it all — or to the side of every successful man there is always a beautiful woman, isn’t that funny, isn’t that how it works?
Steve: That’s true.
Ducker: It’s true it works well, but no I mean we decided early on that if we were going to be living in the Philippines and we wanted to have a lifestyle that we craved that we should do two things. Number one we should truly maximize the potential or the talent of the Pilipino, because they are very, very talented workers, hard workers, really loyal workers, very God fearing, trustworthy etcetera.
So we said that we must get to the point of truly capitalizing on that from a manpower perspective. But secondly we also understood that the local market here in the Philippines is not the most buoyant in the world, it’s very tough to make money if you are selling stuff whatever it is to the local market. So we decided very early on that we were going to utilize the manpower and the strength of that and focus on getting clients and customers outside of the country.
Over a period of time it just developed into the businesses that we’ve created now. Virtual Staff Finder specifically actually came out of a blog comment. So I’m always a big advocate of saying you are going to listen to your audience, and I wrote a blog post back in 2010. I think it was August 2010 where I was talking about working with virtual assistants to help market your business. This guy replied his name is Michael. I remember him because I pulled out the comment and used it in presentations as a specific example of listening to your audience and what it can lead to.
His name is Michael; he had a Johnny bravo at the top in each which I thought was great. And he said I have read the forum, I work, we’ve got a lot of work with VA’s, I tried working with a couple, it’s been a complete disaster. Chris if I’m going to have you as a source that I can trust, that I can genuinely trust to be able to find me good quality VA’s, hey I would pay for that, and four weeks later we launched Virtual Staff Finder.
Steve: So you threw it together in four weeks?
Ducker: Yes, I mean we are blessed to the point where we already had a business up and running locally. We already had the infrastructure, obviously we had the staff to be able to get this out as an MVP and look at it and try it out, and send some — I already had a bit of a following online with my email or rather with my blog and my podcast, there was a bit of an email list there.
So we did it, we just did the MVP, the minimal viable product option; we slammed up a very crud looking website. I mean as I look back on it now I’m probably ashamed, but you do what you got to do. You get it out we validated it, it was very competitively priced, since it has gone up by about 70% in terms of — over the period of time obviously. But yeah I mean we are now five and a bit years in, and we’ve helped over 4000 I think the counts is over…
Steve: It’s crazy man.
Ducker: It’s just over 4000 people, insane.
Steve: So you said you had infrastructure already, what business was that for?
Ducker: Well, it was for the call centre, we had the facility, right? We had the facility up and running, we had the staff onboard already. We had web developer onboard, we had a designer onboard. So it wasn’t like I had to go out and find all these people then work with these people, and then try and release something all in a short space of time. A lot of the leg work had already been done so to speak.
Steve: Okay, so you got your first few customers then I guess based on your blog audience, is that accurate?
Ducker: Yes, correct.
Steve: Okay. Now I’m just curious about the call centre, like when you first started that, how did you get your first customers for that business?
Ducker: Well, I had actually been in the call centre business for a while as a consultant. I was working with pretty large US companies, some of them logo brands like you would know them, which I can’t mention because of nondisclosure and everything. I mean big firms. I was basically working with them as a very, very well paid consultant on the ground here in the Philippines helping them set up call centre facilities.
And so I knew all the local industries, I knew everybody I needed to know. I had all the connections I needed to have. That was kind of how I got involved with that industry. Although at first I was more than happy to just work on the three north projects here and there, and make a good sizable chunk in change for helping people set things up.
The catalyst for me to be able to break away from that was when I was doing consultancy work for a company over in Miami, not in the call centre world, actually in the infomercial world. I have been over in Miami for about a month working with this guy. And he was pretty much my exclusive client at the time. Lovely guy man, like super cool dude to hang out with, multi, multi millionaire, very successful entrepreneur, full seats at the hit games, VIP super bowl ticket, the whole [inaudible 00:11:41].
He booked me up. But when it came to work, he was the biggest pain in the butt micromanaging payment. I mean just the worst I’ve ever worked for. That was really the catalyst. I was on the way back from Miami on an airplane, I said I’m done, and I dropped him an email and let him know that I was going to be breaking the loose, and that was when we set up the business.
Steve: For me at least, your name is like synonymous with virtual staff and outsourcing. It’s kind of interesting how you built that up. Was that based on your blog or? How did you get your name out there, because a lot of the people who listen, they are kind of afraid of being able to actually get the customers in, but you somehow and even though you are in the Philippines and a lot of your customers are in the US for example, you’ve managed to get your word out. What strategy did you use to do that?
Ducker: What I started doing was in January 2010. I started blogging about my own struggles as an entrepreneur, and how I had burned out at the end of 2009, and I was on this year long mission to become what I was calling a virtual CEO by the end of 2010. So I started writing blog posts, I started doing monthly reports on what I was doing each month, month by month to remove myself from the business.
People liked that window. They liked the window and to other people’s world. You bring a room of a thousand people together, they will be way more voyeurs in there than will be exervisionists [ph]. People liked what I was doing. They subscribed to my email list. They listened to the podcast, they commented on the blog, and I just started building up these relationships over the period of the first six months or so.
A lot of those people, they are still clients of mine today. They are still blog readers, they are still in the mastermind communities, they are still ordering conversion stuff. All I really did, I wish there was a magic pill that I could say you could go out and buy and pop, but it’s not that simple. I mean, I related with really just focus on my content and creating relationships. I think relationships are– this is the single most important thing in the business hands down, and not just relations with customers, but also with vendors and suppliers and prospects and your team and everything else.
Steve: You didn’t use any other avenues like advertising, pay per click advertising, Facebook, nothing like that.
Steve: It was just straight blog outreach, email list, podcast.
Ducker: Blog, podcast, lots of social media. By the end of 2010, because of what I had done to remove myself from the business utilizing virtual stuff, I had like you say, I’d sort of build up this bit of a brand as the VA guy. It was good timing. The 4 Hour Work Week was still rolling along really nicely in 2010, and people were taking the whole kind of virtual business and everything. It was just good timing from my perspective. It’s been great; I mean we’ve launched a successful business. I got a book deal out of it from Virtual Freedom. It’s been great. It’s been great.
Steve: If you were to start all over again, would you employ the same strategy today, because there’s a lot of bloggers today. It’s kind of little more saturated.
Ducker: Sure. I would. I would employ the same strategy. But what I would do is I would niche down as far as I possibly could. I see a lot of bloggers starting new blogs or starting new podcasts or starting a new YouTube channel, or a new periscope show or whatever the case maybe, a lot of new content creators come along every day.
It is tough. It’s tougher now to stand out quickly in that broader scope. But I think if you niche down as far as you possibly can with whatever market you are trying to attract, you can get the same results. You might be a smaller crowd, but the conversion on this will always be higher than if you were trying to have a global reach.
Steve: Let’s talk about platforms real quick. Blogging versus podcasting, I know you usually do a lot of periscopes; I actually had to turn you off because you kept like buzzing my phone. You do it really often.
Ducker: I was periscoping everyday last year. I went for a round six months where I was periscoping Monday to Friday last year. Going to the last quarter, I took a bit of a break and I’ve been stagnating once a week or something. However that being said tomorrow, literally, I start back with two shows a week format on a Tuesday and a Wednesday every week at 9 pm eastern time.
It will be a 30 minute show but it’s, we are going a little pro with this. We are going a little pro and really focusing in on repurposing the content properly and trying to make it a little bit more interactive and a little bit more pro and everything. It’s going to be interesting to see how it comes together.
See, periscope is all about platforms. Blogging is great, podcasting is great, YouTube videos, everything is great. Don’t get me wrong. You got to do a little bit of everything, but I believe that you should zoom in on those two or three things that you feel bring the most benefit to you, your brand your business. For periscope for me, it just, I fell in love with it immediately. After my first blog cost I knew that this was a platform that I was going to spend time on because number one, I have no problems ad living. I’m happy to ad live.
Steve: Yeah, you are good at that. I mean that’s a talent that you have for sure.
Ducker: Thank you and it’s not something that has come very easily. It is something I’ve worked on, but now I feel really confident ad living whether be on a periscope for a podcast, or even live on stage in front of an audience. Number one, I don’t want ad living. Number two, I have a bit of an ego, right. I built a personal brand. That’s what I do. I do my businesses based around me, my vibe, what I’m all about, my expertise, my message and how I want to serve others. So I’ve got a personal brand.
Anybody with a personal brand is going to do well on periscope, because it’s those p to p connections that you create with your audience, those people to people connections that are just so valuable. And then number three, man, it’s just so freaking easy dude. It’s just so easy. You don’t have to sit and write a 2000 word blog post for four hours. You don’t have to worry about editing a tone of video or audio content, you just click broadcast and you talk, and you interact and then you finish your broadcast and you are done.
Steve: You mentioned you are going to go pro with this, what exactly did you mean by that?
Ducker: The additional lights in the back drop and micing up on the phone and using a higher quality phone and generally spending a little bit more time putting together the show content, and understand we are also going to be recording all of this in HD as well off camera.
You see those cool videos of like DJs in their radio shows and stuff like that, they are being spydom almost. They are not physically looking into that camera, but they are focusing on other things whether it’ll be the mic or another camera in the room or whatever. It’s going to be that kind of fly on the wall sort of type of recording, where we are then going to repurpose that, put it on the YouTube channel, slam it up on the blog for weekly content and [inaudible 00:19:25] as well. So go a little bit more pro.
Steve: Let’s talk about repurposing. So you are just going to take that exact video and then you are going to put it on YouTube?
Ducker: We’ll edit a little bit. When you do a periscope, there’s, inevitably 2 or 3 minutes of BSing right at the beginning, where you’re kind of welcoming people and you are getting people left out, and you are asking people to share. There’s many people in areas you can before you get into the hardcore content. That’s sort of stuff we won’t repurpose. It’s pointless. There’s no value there really. It’s purely for the live audience. That will be edited out.
But you know, there’s other things that we can do post recording that you can’t do yet on periscope, like having text flash up on the screen with a call to action for example. And in that ground music that we want to maybe add or a nice video bumper at the beginning and the end or that sort of type of thing, a few things will be happening in the post.
Where as a scope show itself will probably last around 30 to maybe 35 minutes or so, we’ll probably end up finishing up with like a 12 or a 15 minute version which will be edited down, which will then be like I said up on YouTube and on the blog as well. And we might end up actually turning it into a video or podcast as well at some point, but it’s still early based on that decision. I really thought like you know, we work so hard man, and you know what I’m talking about from a blogging perspective, that’s the toughest kind of content to create because you have to type. It’s very unfluid for a lot of people.
Steve: Dude, the writing is the worst.
Ducker: Yeah, right. If there’s anything we can do to repurpose our content, anything we can do, not only reselling ourselves better, but we are serving our audience better as well. I think it’s very important to keep that in mind no matter what type of content you are creating.
Steve: You mentioned you are going to put it on the blog, does that imply that you are having it transcribed?
Ducker: That’s a possibility. When I said that I mean the video more than anything else, but we will probably, I don’t know whether we will transcribe, but we will do some kind of a show note type of recap I think, a handful of paragraphs, something like that.
Steve: Okay, and then, so the reason why I’m asking all these question because I don’t know if you follow Shailyn Johnson?
Ducker: Of course I know Shailyn, yes.
Steve: But what she does is she does her periscope which turns into a YouTube video. She has it transcribed, and then formatted nicely for a blog post and she also takes out audio and turns it into a podcast as well.
Ducker: Yeah, very, very important to repurpose that, all of them one piece of content. I love it.
Steve: Exactly. I would imagine that she uses VAs for all of these things as you do.
Ducker: I know she does because she’s got them from me. I mean, she hasn’t got her entire team from me; a lot of the team, almost all of that team is based in the US. I know for a fact that she’s got at least two VAs from me. One of them actually lives right here in Cebu. I’ve met her.
Steve: I see, so you are kind of doing, I don’t know who came out with the first, but you are doing a similar thing. You are taking one piece of content and just splitting it as many places as you possibly can.
Ducker: Yeah, I mean, I’ve been doing this for a while. This is not new. I’ve been doing this for a while. What is new, and you can go up to my YouTube channel right now and see scope recordings from four, five, six months ago literally. What I’m doing now is really honestly I’m taking it way more seriously. That’s what it comes down to.
Steve: Okay, just more polished basically.
Ducker: Yes, more polished, more serious in terms of the prep work of the content and that sort of type of thing.
Steve: Okay, and I was just curious, and I’m going to be asking this questions later on, but what is like the going rate for a VA to do all this work that you are talking about for repurposing?
Ducker: Well you got to be careful because there are different types of VAs with different roles. You can’t and you should not hire one person to edit video, edit podcast, run your blog, run your social media, run your kind of– that’s not one person, that’s three, or four people. The analogy I like to use is when you build a house. When you build a house, you have an architect designer, then you hire a head contractor, and that head contractor is there to ultimately oversee the building off the property.
But he will then subcontract the planning, the electrical work, the roofing, the bricks laying, the plaster and everything else that goes along with that. You wouldn’t have a plumber put your electrics in, it will be a catastrophe. Therefore you wouldn’t have a web developer trying to run your calendar and vice versa. You got to be very careful with how you hire people. You’re going to hire for the roles and not for the task, that’s what I always say.
Steve: Let’s break down the task that you have and see– I remember in your book you mentioned that everyone should have a general VA, a general purpose VA, what is the role of that general purpose VA then?
Ducker: That person is really there to help you on a day to day basis with the running of your online business, really focusing with online tasks. This is actually the biggest huddle. A lot of people struggle right here at the beginning, because you’ve got to let go of what you’ve been doing and in your own mind, you’ve probably been doing it absolutely just fine. The fact is should you be doing some of these tasks still as somebody who wants to build a business, that’s the big question.
So, I look at things such as managing my email and filtering my email. I get about 200 emails a day. By the time I’m actually getting to my inbox, for the first time each morning and around, usually around 9 am, my VA Mitchell has been up since 7 cleaning out my inbox for me. So those 200 emails have dropped down to around 30. I only check email once a day. I only go in and check email first thing in the morning.
My business is not going to implode if I don’t check email every three hours like some people do. Day to day organizational work with my team is done by a slack, so I don’t get destructed in the inbox. The email management is just one thing. Mitchell will go in first thing in the morning and she will reply to anything that she can with canned responses. We get a lot of enquiries, a lot of questions covering the same things. These canned responses I personally written so they are getting a personal reply but just not personally sent from me.
A lot of canned responses, a lot of– we follow the three click rule, when you open up an email you do one of three things. With A, reply or forward it. You either B delete it, or you either C, you go ahead and authorize it for later years. We have a rule in our business that you only open an email once. Once you open an email, you’ve got to do one of those three things. It’s the only way to stay super productive. You cannot put your to do list in your inbox. Don’t do that. It’s stupid.
Steve: That’s what I do Chris. I actually– you are going to kill me for this, but I have 26,000 unopened emails in my inbox right now.
Ducker: How many?
Ducker: Okay, I’m going to give you the biggest tip and the easiest tip for you to follow if you follow it. Declare email bankruptcy. Delete the whole bloody lot and start over again with a few select rules and processes like the three click rule for example, and your email hell will not come back to you, I guarantee it.
Steve: Let’s talk about your VA. How would I go about getting a VA that will go through my emails like yours?
Ducker: Well, I mean obviously understand that nobody is going to come out of the box perfect for you even if it’s like the right kind of skills set, the right kind of experience, the right kind of mindset and attitude to you and what you are all about, they never worked for you before. They don’t know how you want things done. Hiring a VA is not a magic pill. You’ve got to have your processes in place, you’ve got to make sure that you spend a little bit of time on boarding them and training them up so that they know what you want, and how you want things done, and at that point you start stepping back.
These general VAs do a lot more than just manage email. They can handle management of your autoresponders, like Aweber and Mail Chimp for example. They can manage your calendar. They can keep your drop box organized. They can upload videos and audio files for you. They can do small amounts of transcription. I don’t suggest that you spend too much time on getting them to do that because they are not transcriptionists. They can be very slow, but a 2 minute YouTube video, not a problem. That will take them probably 30, 40 minutes or whatever it is because it’s not what they do.
They can prepare simple PowerPoint or keynote presentations for you. They can manage your blog, so keeping plug-ins up to date. Help draft blog posts for you off the content you provide them in say a word format, they can then go ahead and take that, stick it into WordPress, embed some images, embed some call to action, put in some links, that sort of stuff. Real time saving life creating tasks, and that’s why I love the GDA so, so much.
Steve: So I’m a big believer in outsourcing, but I’m a little hesitant just about outsourcing to the Philippines. What are some of the main differences between getting someone over there versus an American? Under what circumstances would you choose one over the other?
Ducker: I don’t think there’s any differences. I don’t think there’s any difference for anyone based anywhere in the world. I believe that we are at a time as entrepreneurs where we can truly capitalize on the global economy. I mean this is [inaudible 00:29:31] at its finest. You are no longer constrained by geographical areas.
For me it’s not a matter of necessarily hiring somebody in the Philippines over the US or vice versa, it’s about hiring the right person for that role, for that job, for that project, for that task. My web designer for example is based in Australia. My web developer is in Slovenia.
Steve: Interesting okay, how did you find those guys?
Ducker: I found them through a combination of online searches; mutual contacts and people that I know, like always look to hire people through your extended network first and foremost. Because after our own opinions we’re way more likely to believe the opinions of the people that we know, love, and trust. That’s the reason social media is so damn good; all right for recommendation and referrals, some things like that. We try to find something through your network regardless of how small or big it is.
Then you can go to websites like Upwork or Freelancer. If you’re just looking for quick tasks to be done 99 Designs is where you want to go for anything graphic wise, don’t waste your time going anywhere else, it might be a little bit more expensive but you’re going to have such a massive collection of designers you can potentially work with, all of them with different levels of varying experience, and it’s just going to be just so much easy for you to find somebody to truly do the work you need done.
If you don’t want to have to go through the hustle of posting job descriptions, going through all of the arc rotations to come your way, getting on the phone and interviewing all these people, and doing all the additional work involved you come to some like the Virtual Staff Finder, and we do it all for you, and then we’ll present 3 final candidates after we’ve done our IQ tests, after we done background check, work through down referral checks and all the rest of it. We’ll present you with the 3 best people, you get on the Skype, and then you view them 15 minutes, pop and boom, hire the one you like the most.
Steve: The intention here is to hire them like for a consistence basis right like a full on employee of your business? Okay.
Ducker: Yeah, Virtual Staff Finder only works with full time requirements. We’re not the place to come and find somebody to design 100 social media images for you, or to find somebody to change certain content on your optic landing page or something like that. They are run off tasks or projects, that’s where you go to places like upwork.com, freelancer.com. If you’re looking to bring somebody on fulltime as part of your team, virtualstafffinder.com is where you want to go.
Steve: By fulltime you mean just consistent work, not necessary 40 hours a week work, right?
Ducker: No, exactly. I mean 40 hours is kind of classified as fulltime position, but if you’ve only got 20 hours worth of work for them on a weekly basis, but you’re happy to pay them a fulltime wage which is on average a 1/3 of what you will pay domestically, then everyone is a winner. The average starting salary of a general virtual assistant here in the Philippines is around anything between $600 to $800 for the month…
Steve: That is crazy.
Ducker: Yes it is. Now it is going up with every passing in, it goes up obviously the rate of inflation is what it is. 5 years ago that number was 400 to 500 dollars, so it is going up, but so is the experience level of the Filipino over the years as well. You can quit easily find somebody with a couple of years of really good quality, online work and experience under their belt for 700 bucks a month.
Steve: That sounds really attractive because like I’m just looking at my business right now, and I work fulltime still, and I’m doing my blog and ecommerce store course and all that stuff. I think I just haven’t really experienced what the possibilities are in, just even talking you about email. Email is like a huge time suck for me, if I can just outsource that, that would be like major relieve for me.
Ducker: The reminder that is not what I will class as a simple outsource task. That is something that needs to be created, that you need serious processes in place. Real step by step stuff, and you can’t just turn it over one day and then be free of it the next. You need to work on that VA, you need to fine tune processes, you need to see what works and what doesn’t work, and you need to expect them to screw up because the going is not simple.
Once they screw up a couple of times and learn by those mistakes that they make and things like that, but ultimately if you got 26,000 already emails in your inbox, the chances are you’re only paying attention to the ones that you want to pay attention to that you know you need to pay attention to.
Ducker: The others can only be managed by a VA, and I’ll tell you right now the 26,000 there is probably stuff in there right now that has missed your eye balls that are everything from business opportunities to speaking opportunities to affiliate partnership and JV opportunities. You’re probably sitting on a spring fold area, you’re probably sitting on like 100 grand in your inbox, and it could be even higher.
But no, but that’s the whole reality of it. I mean, how much work do we do via email every day? Everybody is on email. It’s the first thing that we check every day. It’s the first thing we check every day. The chances are you probably lost out a little bit of business because you are not on top of it. And that’s another reason why you should be on top of it.
Steve: Let’s talk about low hanging fruit. I mean, email is obviously going to be more involved, but what are some simple things that everyone should outsource in your opinion?
Ducker: Social media. Social media is a massive time suck. I hate Facebook. I think Facebook is evil. I wouldn’t trust Mark Zuckerberg as far as I can throw the guy. I’m sure he’s a lovely guy in real life. Honestly just social in general is a big time suck. I’m not necessarily talking about the interaction side of things, but what I am talking about is the publication of your content on social media.
For example, I don’t work Fridays. I haven’t worked a Friday for three and a half years and my wife is very happy for it. I work Monday to Thursday from around 8 in the morning through to around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. That’s my working time. That’s it. On Thursday after lunch time, one of my other VAs Marie, she will come to me with 10 Facebook status updates. They’re just very simply in a word document and she sends them through to me on slack. I open them up and I tweak any wording that I want to tweak, and then I send it back to her.
These status updates are things like just plain images to links that hold content to links to upcoming podcast content for example, maybe there’s a YouTube video, maybe there’s somebody else’s eBook I want to promote, or whatever the case maybe. 10 status update, Monday to Friday, 2 updates each day. That’s it. What happens is once they are approved, Marie goes in through our business page on Facebook, and she will schedule those out for the coming week. I don’t have to worry about it.
Steve: What is Marie’s contact information?
Ducker: That is 100% classified.
Steve: It’s a deal. The rate you said is $800; I will give her 2,000 and see what happens.
Ducker: I mean, these are people that are– I want to clarify, these are people that have been with me for a while now, okay? But it doesn’t mean that you can’t find somebody to help you with this stuff. Twitter, meetedgar.com, one of the best pieces of Twitter auto generation or whatever you want to call it out there. We use Meet Edgar. We love it. I gave the task to one of my VAs about six months ago to go through my Google analytics, and to pick out my top 20 blog posts, my top 20 podcasts episodes, and my top 20 video embedded blog posts as well, so something with my YouTube videos on there.
She picked them around, and then we wrote tweets for them. Then, she scheduled them all into different categories inside of Meet Edgar and every day, six or seven of those get tweeted out automatically on my account. My blog traffic has increased by almost 30% in six months, because I’m driving traffic back to my older archived content. Again, talking about repurposing, we work so hard on our content, why are we publishing it, promoting it for a week or two max, and then forgetting about it? I’m sure there’s content in your archive from 2 years ago that is incredibly helpful and incredibly ever green. You should be promoting that content Steve.
Steve: I’m a big fan of Meet Edgar as well. I use it. In fact when you mentioned social media VA, Meet Edgar has essentially replaced that position.
Ducker: To a certain degree you’re right yes, you are absolutely right. But the thing with Meet Edgar is the time consuming part is inputting all the updates. It’s inputting all the tweets, inputting all the updates. I don’t have time for that. I pay someone else to do that for me.
Steve: Yeah, yeah, I actually sucked it up and did that for all of my blog posts podcasts and everything because I saw it like a onetime thing, but yeah. So you haven’t answered the question yet for me. How do I get one of these and how long is it going to take, and how much is it going to cost me. You mentioned 800 to 1000 general VA, low hanging fruit is social media, what else?
Ducker: Man, managing your blog, managing your calendar, setting up podcast interviews, filtering your blog comments, getting rid of spam, doing research for blog posts and podcasts episodes. Booking hotels and your flights from when you travel to events, all that sort of stuff.
Steve: It’s interesting when we booked this podcast interview; I think I got you directly, didn’t I?
Ducker: Yeah, because we are buddies. You sent me an email and said, hey, I want you on my podcast. And I said hey, let’s do it. But the usual process will be that you will go to chrisducker.com/contact. There’s a link on there, if you want to interview Chris, click here. You click there; it takes you to a separate page, a little form you’re going to fill out.
Then you fill out the form and that goes to one of my VAs. We have a number of different criteria that we need to match for me to take time out of my schedule to become the guest on somebody’s show. Simple things like you are going to have a minimum of 50 episodes. You’ve got to have X amount of people following you on Twitter and all this sort of stuff.
Because, look, the way I accept podcast interviews is this, if I already have a good relationship with that person, regardless of how many episodes they’ve got, regardless of how many followers they’ve got, I’ll do the show, because relationships are more important than anything. But if I don’t know you from [inaudible 00:41:06], if I have no idea who you are and you are just another podcast host, that you feel like I can bring value to your audience, I’m pretty thankful for that.
But unless you have a certain number in that audience, unless you have a certain reach with that audience, I cannot put 40 minutes or so of my time to one side for you based on somebody else coming to me who does have the following, who does have the audience. I’ve got to go to where the audience is.
Some people might see that as little pig headed. I just see that as being extremely time valued focus. I only do 3 podcast interviews a week. So it’s 12 a month I do. They’re booked out now right all the way to the end of quarter two. I’m doing just fine with this system, and it’s something we’ve been following for a while and it worked very well. Again, you come to me directly, we’ve already got a relationship with each other, and I say yes right away because relationships are more important than anything.
Steve: Of course I threatened to expose that photo I have of you.
Ducker: Yes, you did that too.
Steve: I did that too, that helps guys if anyone is listening out there. Actually I’m the same way and in fact I think I have a whole bunch of podcast interview requests buried in that 26,000 somewhere. Like if I don’t recognize…
Ducker: Yeah, and some of them are probably for big show this week if you can. I want to try and do my best to make you feel as bad as possible man.
Steve: You already sold me on Maria; I just need to get her digits now. All right, let’s switch gears a little bit, talk about You Preneur. What’s up with that because I feel you just recently rebranded that or at least relatively recently, or it used to be just chrisducker.com.
Ducker: Yeah, I mean, chrisducker.com kind of reshaped and reformed as a personal brand show, or just a hub really in the middle of 2012. I started to do a lot of these one day mastermind events as always travelling around the world.
Steve: Yeah, we’ve heard of it.
Ducker: Well, myself in part one where we had the one day business breakthrough event. I actually was doing ones on my own for a few years even before we impacted that for the first time. It would be me and sort of 10 or 11 people in a conference room in a hotel or whatever co-working space or whatever. We would sit and it was very high level, very intimate business discussions.
I would charge royally for a sit at that table up which was $1000 a day and I would always sell out and I’ve done them in– I mean everywhere, London, LA, New York, I’ve done one in Miami, I’ve done one in Melbourne, I’ve done one in Sydney, I’ve done one in Frankfurt, allover. I’ve been travelling and speaking. I’ll just set another day on the trip and do one of these. It’s my way to be able to build those P to P relationships even further, make a little bit of money, and help people.
There was two things that were coming out of these masterminds that obviously over and over and over again. Number one, nobody’s got monopoly on good ideas, zero, nobody. You put a group of entrepreneurs in one room, someone somewhere is going to drop a value bomb on you and vice versa that you’ve never had before. It’s very important to surround yourself with the right people, like minded people, people get, you know what I mean.
The second thing that I saw was that even though at first people were a little shy and a little meek and a little slow to work, by the end of the day, it was like they’ve known each other their whole life, and they were helping each other solve problems. They were switching phone numbers and becoming accountability partners, and they will be doing all this other really exciting business stuff. They were no longer lonely in their pursuits as an entrepreneur.
It is a very lonely journey sometimes. That’s what I saw, nobody got monopoly on good ideas and we were killing ultimately entrepreneurial loneliness by putting these events on. It was July 4, I remember like it was yesterday, it was July 4, 2014, I was in San Diego at [inaudible 00:45:07] having a water balloon fight with our children as you do on July 4th. That was the day where I pelted April Flynn in the face with water. Pat got it on video and decided to turn it into slow mode.
Steve: I need to see that video, okay.
Ducker: I’m happy that he’s never launched it publicly, because I would be hated instantly by flynnatic child there. Let me tell you something, she got me back good and proper. She got me back good. After that whole kind of shenanigans and back home, we went in and the kids heard that we were coming down from the sugar lashes and the ladies were chatting in the living room. Pat and I made a cup of coffee and went to his office.
And we were sitting down and he said something what do you want to do for the next ten years? What’s your deal? What are you all about? Within an hour or so, the idea of You Preneur was basically born. This is what I really enjoyed doing. I enjoy helping business owners that want to be able to build business based around their personal brands, solo preneurs, creators, speakers, authors, coaches, consultants, experts, bloggers, podcasters, people that are building businesses around them and what they stand for and those that they want to serve, that’s what I want to do for the next 10 years.
That’s when the idea of an online community was born. I never even given one [inaudible 00:46:33] to that point to run a membership community. It was born right there in Pat’s office. It shows you how long we were planning it. That was July 4th 2014, we launched September 1, 2015.
Steve: Sept 1st?
Ducker: Yeah. But a good amount of planning in there. We did it right, we launched right and it’s become very successful very quickly.
Steve: Would you say that Virtual Staff Finder and your other businesses are kind of playing second fiddle? Like you are more passionate about this aspect of your business over what you’ve already created?
Ducker: I mean I’m passionate about all my businesses. I’m just smart in the way that I’ve set them up. I’ve processized them as much as I possibly could. I’ve hired people to come in and ultimately run them for me, so I can go on to the next project. I must say that youpreneur.com for me right now is my focus, it would be my focus for quite some time, and it’s honestly something that I have very long term aspirations for.
Steve: So on that note, for people out there who are trying to get started as a solo preneur, what is the best piece of advice that you can give them on how you get started?
Ducker: You got to be you. That’s it. That’s honestly it. You got to be you all the time. Don’t hide behind any smoking mirrors, don’t hide behind another voice, don’t try and be something that you are not just because you think that’s what society wants from you or what your clients want from you. Be you all the time. And understand when you do that, something very, very magical happens. I mean that. That’s the right word to use. Something magical happens when you are you all the time from a business perspective.
Number one, you attract the absolute best of your tribe into your life. You attract the absolute best members of your audience into your life. They become friends, they become clients, they become your raving fans. Number two at exactly the same time, you are repelling away the people that will bring you down, that will waste your time, that will never spend any money with you let alone share a piece of your content. What you are doing, and the analogy that I use is that you are marketing like a magnet. You are attracting the best and you are repelling the rest at exactly the same time. That is absolute gold. Just be you, be you all the time.
Steve: That’s great advice Chris. I would also add that just pick one platform and just focus on that until you’ve mastered it before branching out to a whole bunch of other things.
Ducker: Hey man, totally agreed.
Steve: All right, dude, Chris. It was a pleasure having you on the show.
Ducker: My pleasure.
Steve: Next time I’m in the bathroom, I will be thinking about you. Yeah, I will probably be hitting you up for some virtual staff. Our conversation really kind of got me excited about the whole thing.
Ducker: Good well I’m glad. You should be excited. It’s really where the true business growth that every entrepreneur is aspiring to achieve. I explain what really happens is when you start really truly delegating is when you stop being a micromanager, when you stop drinking your own coolaid, and understand ultimately that there are people out there that can do things just as well as you if not sometimes even better than you. They are waiting to help you build and run and support your business and you are a fool if you don’t go and chase them down.
Steve: Awesome. All right Chris, you call me a fool, so I guess it’s time to sign out.
Ducker: What a great way to end the show.
Steve: All right dude, take care.
Ducker: Thank you man.
Steve: Hope you enjoyed that episode. I’m getting a lot better about outsourcing but mainly only tasks that I already know and understand how to do pretty thoroughly. If any of you are feeling swamped or burned out, I highly recommend that you go and pick up Chris’ book as it actually helped us with hiring our physical employees as well.
For more information about this episode go to mywifequiteherjob.com/episode114, and if you enjoyed this episode please go to iTunes and leave me a review. It’s by far the best way to support the show and please tell your friends, because the greatest compliment that you can give me is to refer this podcast to someone else either in person or to share it on the web.
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Outro: Thanks for listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, where we are giving the courage people need to start their own online business. For more information visit Steve’s blog at www.mywifequitherjob.com.