Brian is the creator of LA Data nerds, a company that specializes in creating original content (primarily video content) for Real Estate agents all over the country. They also offer services for agents directed at overall branding and marketing, like connecting them to referral partners for long-term strategy, paid advertising and website development services.
How did you begin as an entrepreneur?
- Brian started out as an Amazon seller and learned very quickly that he needed to be a savvy marketer to beat out Chinese manufacturers who were selling direct to consumers.
- He started out with a Amazon seller course from Nomad Millionaire, then progressed to a social media marketing course, then a beginning Notion course from Marie Poulin, then a Notion Mastery course, then a chatbot course, and then landed on OnlineJobs.ph’s One VA Away Challenge.
- According to Brian, it all culminated in the One VA Away Challenge. He was able to find and hire great VAs and LA Data Nerds was Born.
What motivated you to be your own Boss
- Entrepreneurialism has always been his goal. Brian was drawn to business at a young age – from taking care of the neighbors trash cans to other small business pursuits. He also previously owned and operated a photo booth rental business which he closed just before the pandemic hit in 2020.
- The vision behind LA Data Nerds is to help real estate agents tell their story better. They work with agents of all experience levels across the United States (not just limited to LA). The most unique and effective resource they offer agents is video content that helps boost their exposure and sales.
- Brian has always been interested in Real Estate. In his opinion, he’s failed in some previous niches because he wasn’t passionate about them. But his passion for his real estate business has driven its success.
On John Jonas’s new book, The Outsourcing Lever
- “The Outsourcing Lever is worth its weight in gold. It’s such an easy read. It’s a very simple book, very well done, super fast and easy. I always recommend this book to people. It’s a must.”
- The Outsourcing Lever doesn’t just tell you what to do, it explains the “why.” It gives you what you need in order to be successful and “win” the outsourcing process.
- “If you truly want to be successful [in outsourcing], you have to understand the Filipino culture. You have to understand how to work together across cultural lines. For me, that was the most eye-opening part [of the book].”
When did you start outsourcing
- Brian learned about outsourcing to the Philippines from his first Nomad Millionaire course. When he was ready to hire his own VA, he found OnlineJobs.ph and came across The One VA Away Challenge. He attributes his 5 successful hires to The One VA Away Challenge.
- “The One VA Away Challenge is the least expensive course I’ve ever bought and it’s been the most impactful.”
- 5 team members who Brian describes as “the lifeblood of the company.” He explains that he’s the face of the company and his VAs are in the background doing the heavy lifting, from web development to video editing to administrative tasks and other general work.
How his evolving business affected his VAs
- Brian began his business with a different vision from what he’s ultimately created. Once he broke into the real estate marketing niche, he realized there was great demand specifically for video content creation. So he adjusted his business to meet those needs.
- Brian worked hard with his VAs to help them adjust to the new demands as well. According to him, even though he started his VAs in different positions, they were flexible and able to fall into the things he needed them to do. They were “enthusiastic to jump on board.”
- Given the time, flexibility and freedom to learn new skills, they jumped into their roles after just a couple of months of training and feedback. It goes to show that when you give someone the freedom and trust to grow, they trust you and they deliver!
- In the beginning, Brian wasn’t meeting with his team every day. He learned quickly that to establish the trust and team he wanted, they needed to meet/communicate on a daily basis. His preferred meeting platform is Zoom.
- During meetings, Brian makes an effort to get to know his team members. He recommends that employers talk to their VAs about their lives and show interest in their families, their schedules etc…
- Then they talk about work, responsibilities, how they can improve, he gives them client feedback and they bounce ideas off of each other.
- The Philippines is centered on a devoutly religious axis, and so is Brian. So as part of their work community, they read the Bible and pray together during their Zoom meetings. He’s found it helps unite them and build their foundation of trust.
How to Train
- He invests in their education. He buys them courses. He sends them material. He gives them tools to use for editing. They use Notion to organize digitally and coordinate their work, and he highly recommends it.
- They also use Slack, WhatsApp and FB messenger to communicate. The reason they use all three is so they can have access to each other, even when the internet is less than reliable in the Philippines. If someone doesn’t have internet for FB messenger or if Slack is down they can use the data on their phone to communicate on WhatsApp. They use Zoom for meetings and Gsuite to communicate and datashare. He also uses Transferwise to pay his people.
How do you attract great VAs in your recruiting process?
- He follows the hiring principles from The Outsourcing Lever and OVAA course. Brian explains that when you understand the culture, you can make your job post better so you can attract better people. For example, Brian mentions the 13th month and other culture-centric details (that he learned about in The Outsourcing Lever) in his job posts to paint an appealing opportunity, specific to Filipino workers.
- Then he filters his applicants via email and is sure to check their profiles on OnlineJobs.ph (where you can find more details about their work history, review their OnlineJobs.ph activity and even do a background check).
- *The “golden nugget” – Brian asks his final candidates to create and send a Loom video describing who they are and their work experience. That way, he can see them talk and get to know them better without the fear or intimidation of a live interview. It’s a culturally sensitive alternative to a live interview because you’re not putting them on the spot–they have the opportunity to edit and review their videos before sending them.
- (When you require a live interview, as many as 50% of your candidates will drop off of your roster and stop responding altogether. This isn’t because they’re not qualified or wouldn’t otherwise do a great job, it’s because they may be self-conscious or intimidated enough to “disappear.” This is a very common occurrence in Filipino culture, and it’s NOT worth losing great candidates over!)
- For example, when he was looking for a WordPress expert, he asked his candidates to create a video of themselves ‘starting up a wordpress’ and then asked them to go through the site and explain it. That way, you get an idea of whether they know what they’re doing and you get to know their personality a bit.
How do you motivate your VAs?
- “Water others and you will be watered” is a Proverb that LA Data Nerds considers to be their company motto. Brian uses that principle to build a happy healthy and positive company culture of growth and grace. “For us, God is at the center of our company.”
Is there anything you’ve tried that HASN’T worked?
- Brian had to let go of two WordPress developers shortly after they were hired. He could tell right away that it wasn’t going to work out. He explains that if after one week someone isn’t communicating with you properly and you’re doing everything you can to communicate with them– if they’re still not getting back to you in a timely manner, it’s probably not going to work out.
- Trying to hire “the smartest person” is a bad idea. It’s not about trying to hire the smartest person, it’s about hiring the people with humility who will be respectful and teachable and support you and the business.
- If they’re communicating quickly, that’s a good indicator that they’re going to be successful in the business.
The most important quality to look for in a hire
- Humility. When you hire someone who is humble, they’re teachable and flexible and willing to grow with the business, which is especially important in a new business. In a new business, things are going to change so much and you have no idea what’s going to happen, so you have to hire people who are willing to go on the ride with you.
Advice for someone who’s considering outsourcing
- Just start. You have to get good at hiring VAs if you want to be a successful online entrepreneur. You can use agencies to hire for you, but you’ll be missing an important step (and losing a lot of cash in the exchange). Hire teammates yourself so you know you’re going to get along with them. You know what your business needs and you’ll be able to find the skills you need and position your teammates to be successful.
- “Just start…you have nothing to lose. If you’re going on an online journey, you need to just start and hire a VA. If it doesn’t work out, you can always let them go. And if it does work out, you’re going to be wildly successful.”
General business advice
- Humility is one of the most important things in business. Be humble. Be willing to look yourself in the mirror and realize that if something’s not right, it’s most likely NOT your team’s fault. You may be leading poorly. With entrepreneurship you have to check yourself a lot. Look for help. Get business coaching. Learn how to train better. Learn how to become a better leader. Surround yourself with humble people.
What do you do with hours you’ve harnessed through outsourcing?
- LA Data Nerds is still a relatively new business, so there’s lots of work to do and moving pieces to be put into place. In the near future, Brian looks forward to growing the company with Filipino team members to the point where he can let go and enjoy more of that time and financial freedom that comes with success.
- Entrepreneurs tend to overwork and overburn. If you want to be successful as an entrepreneur, you have to be able to keep going. Even with the heavy workload that comes with a new business, Brian’s VAs have enabled him to keep his head above water while actually growing the business.
- VAs allow Brian to focus his valuable time on sales and growing the business, rather than being stuck in the day-to-day grind. And because his capable team helps carry the load, Brian can work regular hours and lead a normal life outside of his business (compared to other new business owners who may be stuck in the trenches for 60-80+ hrs/week).
- “I’m truly blessed to have come across Onlinejobs.ph. 100% It completely transformed my business, my life and my mindset…John Jonas, Thank you so much!”
And if you want to see more videos, check out our YouTube channel or our Facebook page for more outsourcing tips. You can also check out how to get started on hiring Rockstar Virtual Assistants.
About Shelane Tuttle
Shelane Tuttle has worked in content development with John Jonas and the OnlineJobs.ph team since 2010. She’s a mother of four, book devourer, beach bum, wannabe music and art connoisseur and she thrives on learning/teaching others about new things, like outsourcing.
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