Amy Walker is a speaker, author, and the creator of Amy Walker Consulting, a sales and marketing firm that she’s directed for seven years — while simultaneously running a household of five young children.
Amy works with small business owners, coordinating their client acquisition strategies — creating the simplest and most effective ways to consistently acquire their ideal client. The ‘maxed-out solo-preneur’ is her favorite kind of client; the kind that struggles to grow because they have so much on their plate. Maybe it’s their relatability that draws her to them.
When Amy first started, she was pregnant with her fifth child, her oldest was only in 5th grade, and to top it off, her husband was working nights and going to school full-time. Amy knew from the beginning that if she wanted to succeed as a full-time mother and business owner, she would need to find dependable, capable help. “Outsourcing is a thing of beauty,” she explains, “I just was not going to be able to succeed in business if I tried to do it alone.”
Initially, Amy hired project-based contract workers in attempts to ease her load. But the contractors were not invested in the long-term well-being of her business. So it fell to Amy to micromanage, follow-up with, and finalize every detail of their work, in addition to her duties as the CEO.
Under the still-heavy workload, Amy noticed that critical parts of her business processes would occasionally fall through the cracks. She knew that she could create a more efficient operation. She needed a full-time team member to invest care and ingenuity back into her business and execute regular SOPs. So she found and hired her first full-time Filipino VA.
Below, we’ve paraphrased many of Amy’s secrets for success in hiring, training and managing Filipino VAs.
Managing Filipino Workers
Currently, Amy works with four Filipino VAs: a video content editor, a researcher/database creator, a podcast producer, and a general admin VA who manages task overflow. She also occasionally works with a project-based graphic designer. In this case study interview, she shares some of the strategies that have contributed to her outsourcing success:
Establish great communication and intentional rapport. Amy explains how Filipino VAs are eager to please their employers right after they’re hired. But you have to do your part. Thorough training and clear communication will help develop their trust in you. And two-way trust is key to a healthy, functional outsourcing relationship.
Treat them as equals. For Amy, Filipino VAs are an integral and active part of her business development. She considers them equal to any local collaborating team member. She works hard to break down the gap between how her VAs perceive her when they’re first hired (as a potentially intimidating superior) and how she wants them to see her, as a “co-collaborator.”
Listen to what they have to say. Amy welcomes her Filipino workers’ questions and their thoughts. She asks to hear their opinions and ideas — not just about the tasks she’s assigned but also about the business’s culture and communication. “I’m not an untouchable boss figure,” she shares.
“Trust and positivity are essential for our team,” Amy explains. She’s conscientious to accommodate differences in time and culture – acknowledging holidays and scheduling team meetings with the time-difference in mind. She works diligently to create a context where her workers know she cares about them.
Training Filipino Workers
Make the time to train your workers well. Business owners are so pressed for time; many falsely believe that it takes too much time to be thorough in training and delegations. But it’s a worthwhile use of time, Amy emphasizes, “Dig in and train on exactly what you want.”
Set them up for success. Set goals and review them together. In order to stay on the same page as her VAs, Amy carefully outlines quality standards, task frequency expectations, and she provides a check-off list with each task she assigns.
Consistently work with your people to help them reach your standards. “If I haven’t defined [a] standard yet, I can’t expect for somebody else to just magically and intuitively know my style and my vibe and my brand. I think too many people want that type of magical connection that only happens through communication.”
Training Tools. Amy uses GoogleDrive and SmartSheets to keep her projects and trainings organized. She also uses screen recordings, Marco Polo, and requires daily check-ins from her team.
Recruiting Filipino Workers
“The strength of your recruiting system determines the strength of your hire.”
Post a job on OnlineJobs.ph. Employers may get 50-60 applicants and risk wasting their valuable time sifting through every one. Amy advises that employers be quick to assess whether the applicants impress them or not. “Go with your first impressions,” she says.
After she narrows her field, Amy conducts a zoom interview and a skills assessment with her top candidates. She asks recruits for samples of their work. Then she conducts another interview, makes inquiries about their work set-up and internet access, and quizzes them about their other jobs or obligations.
If you’re trying to hire something out and it doesn’t go well on the first try, it’s easy to feel like you’ve failed and give up. Then you may be tempted to tell yourself the story, “no one will be able to do this as well as I can” and give up on outsourcing altogether.
The truth is, there’s probably someone out there who can do it better than you can. But you have to prepare the context for them to be successful. You have to invest time into creating SOPs, defining expectations and then you have to train your VA thoroughly and give ample feedback before they can succeed.
Be sure to tune in at the end of the interview to hear Amy’s invaluable advice on “Playing Big” in business, creating your best self, and how to avoid burnout.
You can check out other stories from Daniel regarding Real Estate & Steven with his Internet Business by signing up for an Onlinejobs.ph account. You can also learn more about 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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