Chris Ducker: Chat Transcript


This week, we hosted a Facebook chat with NMX speaker Chris Ducker. Chris talked all about virtual assistants and shared lots of great information. Check out the transcript below to see what you missed. And, be sure to see Chris’s session “45 Things New Media Content Creators Can Outsource to Virtual Assistants to Help Grow Their Business,” live and in-person at NMX in January!

 

New Media Expo First, Chris, thanks so much for staying up late to join us from halfway around the world!
New Media Expo Chris, start for us by explaining what a virtual assistant is, what one does and and one goes about finding one.
Chris C. Ducker New Media Expo – all my pleasure… So, allow me to kick things off a little, with ‘one i made earlier’…

Content Creation – we know the importance of it in today’s business world. We must educate, inspire, help and motivate people, before we EVER try and sell them.

Creating and marketing great, original content online is hard work. But, there is a little ‘calm’ to the entrepreneurial content creation storm that is on the horizon for business owners everywhere – and that’s basically ‘buying time’, by working with Virtual Assistants to help research, create, market and repurpose content online to help grow your business.

This is what I’ll be speaking about in Vegas in January, and it’s what I’m ready to chat about today.

Questions – love ‘em. Let’s go!
New Media Expo Are you talking about hiring V.A.’s for writing content? What other duties can they perform?
Chris C. Ducker VA’s come in different shapes and forms. General VA’s (helping you with social media management, blog scheduling, podcast editing, etc., Writer VA’s, SEO VA’s, Web Developer VA’s, Video Editor VA’s, etc.

Bottom line – they help you get the ‘busy’ work out of the way, so that you can work ON your business, instead of IN it.
New Media Expo So while the V.A is doing that work, what are you doing?
Shane Ketterman Hey Chris C. Ducker What are some of the top challenges and ways to overcome them for those that are thinking of hiring a VA?
Maria Elena Duron What are some tools you use to manage and monitor progress with your virtual team?
Chris C. Ducker You’re creating more content, coming up with business ideas, putting together online products and services to offer to your community and make $$$!

You’re also spending less time in front of the computer, and more time in ‘creative’ mode, where you get the chance to spend more time with your family, friends, drinking coffee (or beer!), or traveling, even…
New Media Expo What percentage of your budget is spent hiring out, Chris C. Ducker
Bill Belew Where can I find a VA to do research, mine for contacts and follow up on those contacts? And do you have a list of places your recommend…and…too many questions maybe…what is the going rate? How can we know we aren’t paying too much or too little?
New Media Expo As you’re not working in an office with your V.A, how do you keep track of their progress and make sure they’re not billing you for the time they’re playing Facebook games?
Monique Johnson Chris C. Ducker When you are ready to hire a VA after interviewing them, what are some default terms that should be included in the contract?
Chris C. Ducker Shane Ketterman – one of the biggest challenges is also one of the biggest mistakes that most people make when hiring and working with VA’s for the first time…

And that’s assuming that everything will work perfectly from the outset and that no training is needed. That’s not the case. You will need to spend some time with your VA’s to get across how you want things done, etc., but once those processes are in place, life will be way easier and much more productive.

The other challenge is timezones… as a lot of entrepreneurs prefer to work with overseas VA’s (because they are cheaper, quite frankly) they also have to learn to be a little patient in hearing back from their VA’s, too. It’s all very workable, but it certainly isn’t a magic pill to pop!
Chris C. Ducker Maria Elena Duron: Buzz2Bucks – any project management system is a massive help out of the gate. Something like Basecamp. Dropbox is also great for sharing files, etc., and the Google app’s like Gmail, GCal, Google Docs, etc., also make life a lot easier, too.
Shane Ketterman That makes total sense on the training part – - it’s just like having an in-house employee, they need to be trained and onboarded.
Shane Ketterman Chris C. Ducker What do you see as a few of the top benefits content creators can expect once they have been working with a VA for a period of time?

Chris C. Ducker @bill belew – you can start at elance.com for simple one-off type jobs, but if you need a more permanent solution and want to bring a TEAM member on boar then I was be remiss in my duties if i didn’t suggest you check out my company at www.virtualstafffinder.com (promise this isn’t going to turn into a pitch fest!)

I also have this very popular post on my blog, too:

http://www.chrisducker.com/how-much-do-i-pay-my-virtual-assistant/

www.virtualstafffinder.com

One-stop hub for outsourcing virtual assistant or virtual staff. Find home-based virtual secretary, web developers and SEO specialists quickly
TBEX Like others here, I’d be curious how to find a trustworthy VA if you’re not seeing them in person at least semi-regularly. How do you minimize the risks in hiring someone you’ve never met?
New Media Expo Chris C. Ducker When hiring V.A.’s from overseas, how do you get past any language or cultural barriers?
Chris C. Ducker Monique – i thoroughly suggest having a simple NDA in place with all VA’s that you work with, whether it be a project based thing, or a full-time VA. bottom line is that unless they reside in your country there’s not much you can do – but, Filipino VA’s for example are very, very fearful or any legal problems, etc. so sometimes just having the signed paper is enough to make sure no major issues come your way.

you should also list down any holiday and sick pay benefits, etc., too.

that and working hours – although, most of my personal VA’s work on a flexible schedule – just as long as they get the work done by the time the deadline comes around, i’m happy! :-)
Chris C. Ducker Shane – top benefits for content creators… 1st – you can focus more on creating content. that’s the biggest draw. 2nd, they can help you research that content (great for stuff like infographics!), 3rd, they market the content for you via social media and engage in your audience with / for you. 4th, they can repurpose that content (turn a video into a podcast) and then upload to itunes, etc.

there are plenty more… but, hey – i gotta save a few for vegas!!! :-)
New Media Expo Chris C. Ducker How can one determine a fair price – one that doesn’t insult or take advantage of the V.A., but also doesn’t break the budget?
Chris C. Ducker TBEX – by taking your time. a lot of people hire the first person that sounds half-decent in an interview. not a good idea. keep interviewing… there is always someone better out there (well, 80% of the time, anyway!), based on my experience.

also – make sure you ask and follow-up on references, etc.

once you hire, you have ti invest in that relationship for it to grow into a real-deal working set-up. spend time on skype cam, send virtual birthdays cards to them… make them feel as if they are part of the team – even if they are half way around the world, or in a different state.
Chris C. Ducker New Media Expo – great question. it’s a tough one, and is based 9/10 times purely on location. for example a General VA based here in the philippines, with 2 years experience working online, will work full-time for you for $500 a month.

a US-based VA will sqwack at that number… so, you have to use best judgement, really. but, when it comes to paying VA’s (or any staff really!), pay them:

a) what they’re worth and,
b) always on time.

i actually have a free ebook guide people can download on salary guidelines for Filipino VA’s if they are interested – they can grab it at the Virtual Staff Finder site.
Megan Enloe How do you handle passwords? If they need access to sensitive accounts how do you protect yourself from a disgruntled VA hijacking your accounts?
Chris C. Ducker @megan enloe – you can use a service like LastPass.com… very easy to set-up and means that ONE password can be used for all your accounts (well the ones you want to give access to!).

I use it daily.
Shane Ketterman Great Question Megan! Kind of what I was thinking but I imagine that you put NDA’s in place and have all that signed just like an inhouse employee.
New Media Expo Chris C. Ducker – When you outsource content, how do you make sure your voices match?
Chris C. Ducker New Media Expo – lets clear this one up…

you can outsource the creation of generic content – like articles for niche site or something. but, i always suggest that you should never outsource any fo the content that you want to be ‘known’ for.

thats the thing – it’s YOUR voice. could you imagine if gary vaynerchuk started outsourcing his online videos – wouldn’t work, right…?!!
TBEX What are some of the questions people should ask when hiring a VA – but may not know to ask? One of those that garners the “that’s a great question!” response. :)
New Media Expo Chris C. Ducker – Excellent point. How many V.A’s do you have working with you at the moment?
Chris C. Ducker TBEX – here are around HALF of what we use when sourcing VA’s for clients… it’ll give you some solid ideas, no doubt:

Tell me a little about yourself and what you like to do in your spare time.
Why did you resign from your last position / Why are you looking for a new job? Tell me a little about what you know about our company already?
What have you done in the last 6-months to improve your professional skill sets? What attracts you to working for our company?
What is the number one driving factor for wanting to work with us?
If you’re given this opportunity, how long do you feel you’ll stay with our company? Lastly, tell me why you feel you’re the right candidate for this job…
Allison Boyer LOVE your LastPass.com tip Chris! Just checked it out, have been looking for something like this!
TBEX Wow. So I guess a *really* comprehensive questionnaire is a good thing to have!
New Media Expo Chris C. Ducker – Do you your V.A’s all sign NDA’s?
Chris C. Ducker New Media Expo – i’m a little spoilt as i live here, so i have a combo of an internal team and then an external / virtual team.

internally, i have around 30 people involved in the on-going marketing side of my businesses, externally, i now employ 6 full-time VA’s. but, all in all, i have around 280 people working for me…

phew…. i need a vacation!!! :-)
Megan Enloe What do you think of sites such as ShortTask.com or Fiverr.com?
Chris C. Ducker Yes – all my VA’s sign an NDA with me, the day they start working for me.
Chris C. Ducker TBEX – if you want a *really* good VA, yes! :-)
Chris C. Ducker Allison Boyer – lovely. glad to help, alli.
Chris C. Ducker @megan enloe – they are okay… i dont know shorttask too well, but fiverr is what it is. cheap and cheerful. i wouldn’t depend on them solely as my long-term, go-to outsourcing sources though.

Chris C. Ducker Allow me to post a link to this – the most downloaded podcast I’ve done on the Outsource to the Philippines show… 25,000+ downloads and still counting. it brings MASSIVE clarity to a lot of issues… roles, skill sets, salaries, etc.:

http://www.outsourcetothephilippines.com/super-virtual-assistant-myth/

www.outsourcetothephilippines.com

Dispelling the Myth of the Super VA and building a team of virtual assistants: General Admin, Content Writing, SEO work, Web Dev and Graphics Design.
New Media Expo I was going to ask you to dispel some myths for us. Always keeping a step ahead, Chris C. Ducker.
Chris C. Ducker New Media Expo – hahaha… well, i try my best!
New Media Expo Thanks so much for joining us today, Chris C. Ducker. I know it’s late there and you’re probably looking forward to some rest. Anything you’d like to plug before wrapping this up?

Chris C. Ducker Not really… I think everyone know’s that they can get their hands on all my free eBook’s, the FREE New Business Bootcamp course and links to VSF and OTTP over at my blog, http://www.chrisducker.com

Wait – was that a plug……?!?!?!!

www.chrisducker.com

Chris Ducker helps entrepreneurs catapult their small business into the 21st cen…See More
New Media Expo Sure was – and don’t forget your NMX presentation, “45 Things New Media Can Outsource to Virtual Assistants to Help Grow Their Business.” Thanks again, Chris – and thanks to all who participated and will be reading the transcripts.
New Media Expo Next week Gary Arndt will be stopping by.
Chris C. Ducker New Media Expo – ah, yes – that session is gonna be a LOT of fun (i have a few things planned!). Gary Arndt is a rockstar – i spent some time with him in Bangkok a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed our chats. He’s great.
Chris C. Ducker Thanks, everyone… I’ll pop back tomorrow (tonight for most of you) and answer any late questions that might be posted. See you all in Vegas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
New Media Expo Thanks again, Chris!


Bill Belew Thanks, Chris for being so patient with us.

 

Join us on Facebook each Wednesday 10am PT/1pm ET for our weekly chat. Our next guest is Gary Arndt, who will tell the “little guys” how to compete with the “big guys.” His NMX session in January is “How To Compete Against Billion Dollar Media Empires And Win.” See you at the chat!

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About Amber Avines

Amber Avines blogs at Words Done Write and runs a successful communications consultancy in Los Angeles. You can connect with Amber on Twitter at @wordsdonewrite.