J Hunter VA Staffer

Podcast episode 005 – J Hunter – How To Use Virtual Assistants Effectively

Ep005 – J Hunter – How To Use Virtual Assistants Effectively

Gerri: Hey, I hope everybody is doing all right out there. Welcome to the show.

Today, I have a special guest and actually a friend of mine that I met about three years ago online. Straight away when I was entering this Internet-marketing field, I was reaching out to everyone who could give me information that I was looking for. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do and I looked into this type of business.

His name is J Hunter. Actually, he called me on the phone. I thought, “Oh my gosh! I’ve got this owner of this company to call me on the phone!” I thought that was the coolest thing ever. He doesn’t know it. But now you do, J. I thought that was so cool, and that’s why we’re still doing business today – it’s because he’s personable and likeable and go-getter just like I am, and you’re going to find why, too.

J Hunter has been a project manager and IT administrator for over 10 years. In his spare time, he built a multi-national virtual assistant company with over 40 team members in the Philippines, South America, India, Dominica and the good old United States of America. He consults for over 100 clients, and specializes in digital mediums and inbound marketing.

J made this transition to operate his business full-time on leap day this year, that’s February 29th. He is now fulfilling his true dreams and passions. He travels to the Philippines a few times a year. He has actually just returned back with his family after developing his team for the entire month of May.

Today with J, we’re going to talk about delegating some of the tasks within your business. He’s going to teach you how to use his company. How are you doing, J? Thanks for being on.

J: I am fantastic. Thank you for that. You’re welcome.

Yeah, I think if people took a little more time into their business and be more personable, then I think they’d get some better results. There’s competition in every field. If you can really show them that you are willing to do that extra effort, like you and I, I think that goes a long way.

Gerri: That is another podcast. I’m writing it down right now. That will be the next one we have. I am so about customer experience and being one-on-one, and helping in the whole bits. That’s awesome! We’re going to do that one, too.

Just to get started, let’s get into the middle of this. We’re really going to get some actionable things today and also fundamental reasons and benefits from why you should do what Jay Hunter’s company is doing for you, why you should utilize that. We’ll get started with – Jay, I want you to explain to the audience here why you got into this business. We’re talking about virtual assistants. Maybe you could give us a little idea of what that is and why you got into that business.

J: Sure. Obviously, the one thing that we do not have enough of on this Earth is time. Time is something that is consumed every day. We never have enough of it. We always wish that we had more time.

As a project manager and IT administrator – I call it the corporate job – it was really challenging to manage my business. You have so many e-mails and projects, and spreadsheets, and meetings. You are trying to juggle that. Having someone to actually help you navigate all that and still look professional and stay on top of everything – it is just absolutely critical to any business.

A virtual assistant is basically an assistant who helps you just like an assistant in real life, except it is virtual. With the global economy that we have now, there are definitely some benefits out in the virtual world. A lot of emerging economy is also having high-speed internet now. You can have not just limited to where you geographically are. Of course, that is beneficial from a cost standpoint.

You can get significant cost reduction utilizing the international market. You’re looking at a wage in the Philippines around $7-10 an hour, depending on the types of services you need. Whether it’s the web-development or someone to help you answer phone calls, or just do lead generation for you and finding contacts. There are so many different things that we need to do for our businesses, but it’s so time consuming that our time is better spent elsewhere.

Gerri: And you saw that when you were in a corporate realm. I’ve been there, too. In the corporate realm, you see, I’m completely inundated. I cannot even do my job as well as I could do it, so I need some help.

You saw that you could leverage a little bit of that expertise of someone else on a budget. And you did that. Over that period of time, you learned how to delegate to people and what should be delegated.

At the end of this, I’d actually like to know a few things that we could delegate as solopreneurs, as small business owners, whether you have a brick and mortar, or you are just getting started in the internet realm, and getting your website up, and your social media. Whatever stage, you can still delegate some tasks out.

Let’s get into what ‘delegate’ means. What is delegation, J?

J: Anything that you can come up with instructions for, and you can actually train someone to do, is definitely a great prime candidate to be delegated. For example, every single inbound e-mail that we get at our company vastffer.com is sourced by the virtual assistant team.

Cavika Hughes– she is technically on the project success team, but she is really my own virtual assistant – she gets all the inbound inquiries and tries to filter and see which ones are a good fit for us. It lets me get to the point where I know I have a very short list of things that I need to do on a daily basis. Instead of being overwhelmed when waking up and looking at all these different things that I need to do, I have a very clear and concise agenda for the day.

Things that are able to be delegated are of course things that can be repeatable. They have to make sure that this is a task that is repeatable. For example, I do a lot of consultation for interior designers and internet marketers, and obviously, you work with me with a lot of them, but it’s always good to have fresh leads, people that are potential clients.

One of the things that I used to do on a daily basis is go and actually find people on LinkedIn who are candidates to work with me and could actually be a potential client of mine. Every day I have my team members go on and follow a very specific process to find and validate, and verify potential clients that would be a great fit for us and get their contact information for me. That’s viable to always have fresh leads. That’s an example of delegation.

Gerri: That’s perfect! It’s something like you said that is repeatable, you can train someone else to do it. You can give them the search criteria, and someone can take off with that. And think of how much time…

Number one, hopefully you’re doing lead generation. That will be another conversation, another podcast. But definitely if you’re doing lead generation, you know it takes time to pick through all the people you want to work with or whom you want to come into your virtual doors. That can take tons of time off your plate.

Then what can you do with that? I think the whole purpose of that leveraging is to free yourself up so that you can now do another part of your business, whether it’s lead nurturing now, or maybe restructuring a part of your business, or taking the next step for growth. Whatever that is, getting your own infrastructure down so that you can prepare for that growth. That’s awesome!

We covered why someone would delegate. But can you get a little more into the why and how you delegate? How do you do this? You can get as detailed as you want to – however you want to answer that.

J: I think you have just hit the nail on the head earlier, because there’s a lot of things that we can do. We can do anything. We can do everything, but you shouldn’t because it’s really a huge waste of value of your time.

How much is your time really worth? I know what my time is better spent doing which is revenue generating activities. Those three words put together – revenue generating activities – these things are where the money is. This is having your one-on-one meetings with your clients. These are your consultations. These are the services that you provide. This are going to the meetings. These are the things that I do. This is the thing as internet marketer, or a consultant, or a coach, or whatever type of firm that you have. If you have a brick and mortar business there are things that create value.

Looking at a spreadsheet, copying and pasting names or numbers is not a revenue generating activity. It is definitely not the best value of your time. If you are your own secretary, then you are doing it wrong. You really need to make sure that you are focused on whatever brings in the most money for your business.

Let’s take this from a sales perspective. You are a sales person. And this is something that we do a lot in our company – we do virtual sales assistant, virtual sales agents. Basically, we go out and we find all of these contacts for people, for all these sales agents so that they can actually make these phone calls and try to drive these calls. Or they put them in autoresponder campaigns, they put them in different tools like outreach.io and other great lead nurturing campaign tools.

It’s so time consuming to go out and find these things. It’s not revenue generating activities. Your revenue generating activity is following up on that lead, contacting that lead, calling that person, having a meeting with that person, having lunch with that person. That is what your time is better spent with.

Whatever your business is there are always things that are revenue generating activities, and that’s really the focal point. Every single business has revenue generating activities. That’s what you need to be focused on. And you need to have everything else that is not actively creating you revenue done somewhere else.

Gerri: That’s perfect. Let me hit on something, too. Just in general, this is my experience – your cold traffic, or your hardly warm leads can be handled automatically and by someone else. Your initial lead generation can be handled by someone else. Getting people in the door – that should be a constant stream of traffic coming into your doors, leading people into your sales funnel. That will be another day as well if you’re not familiar with what a sales funnel is.

On the other side of that, now you have the people who are your clients now – they’ve bought from you, they’ve spent money with you – now it’s time to either take them to the next level, or create partnerships, and take that relationship to a different level. Because that’s really when the money starts coming in. And this is something that people don’t know. They sell to people once and they let it go – “It’s okay, I made my money, I’m good”.

But that lead nurturing or that client relationship – the development of that takes a while. You can continue to sell to these people, especially if your business is growing with the people that are already in your funnel.

You don’t stop there. Those people that you’ve already developed that relationship with – you can continue to keep them in your funnel, or further down your funnel, or now at an advanced level to do some partnership, some JVs and move down the road with them. Don’t leave those people alone.

But automate all that other stuff so that you can really get into the more advanced and upper-level parts of your business and make that money. Like Jay was saying, that’s where you need to be.

J: You’re right. If you are really focusing on your company correctly, you will have an automated system before your virtual assistant is engaged. Because your virtual assistant’s time is very valuable.

If you’re doing a very successful business and you’re very busy, you need not have enough people. Automation is key. You want to have it filtered and segmented, so that when people contact you, they have an e-mail automatically sent to them, they are put into a list, that list is nurtured and all you need to do is go in and look at this person, and find out what they are doing.

You and I, of course, using conversion marketing one-on-one, so we know what people are doing on our websites, they are tracked. They have complete automation systems that’s integrated with our websites.

Automation is the only way to cut down manpower. You’re going to have to have a person with brain at some point. So what can you have done until that point? Because the more that you can have done automated until that piece, that’s it.

Let me get into a little bit more about what not to delegate. We talked about what to delegate. We didn’t talk about what not to delegate.

You do not delegate relationships. You are in charge of the relationships that you build. You need to foster those relationships. You should be actively engaging with your current clientele, you should be actively engaging with your potential clientele. That’s really what business is about in any industry.

With that said, one of the things that really does it for me – and I think everybody should have this whole aha moment in their lives – is that there comes a point in time when you realize that you are either working too much. You’re working 18 hours a day, like I was doing, you’re doing 12 hours a day whatever it is. You are not spending time with your family, and there’s also a cost benefit of that.

You can always say, “Look, I can work and do all of that stuff.” Yeah, that’s fantastic. But talk about your quality of life. Can you take a day off? A lot of people can’t take a day off! I was there for many-many years. You just can’t take a day off.

If you genuinely think about your time, you will have to make an investment of your time. And this is a disclaimer I put on everybody ever working with a virtual assistant, or even an in-house assistant. You must invest the time. And you must be ready and patient to invest the time into developing out your team, and your standards, and your processes.

You have to have these processes, because if you don’t actually develop a “Here is – step one – step two – step three”, maybe some screenshots. I like to use a program called TinyTake, which is a video capture service – it’s free, you can record five-minute video clips if you want somebody do something repeatable. And guess what – if that person leaves, or if they have a baby, or need a day of – because yeah, virtual assistants need days off, too – that at a sample in time someone can actually look at these instructions and say, “Oh, yeah, this makes sense”.

I get so many people that come to me, because they’ve gone and hired their own virtual assistant, they’ve spent all these months training this person and then they just disappeared, or they moved on, or they quit, or whatever the reason is. And then they have to start all over again, and it’s so frustrating. Please, do yourself a favor – invest in yourself by investing in your team.

Gerri: That’s perfect. And you mentioned a tool – what was the tool that you mentioned? The video clip tool?

J: TinyTake. Tinytake.com by MangoApps. It’s lovely. You can take screenshots with it, you can make video recording. It takes little five-minute video clips. It’s free. The price is right.

Gerri: It’s perfect. I use ScreenFlow – I’m a Mac user, J is the Windows user. From Mac, I use ScreenFlow.

ScreenFlow is a perfect same thing, and I’ve sent many a video to J’s team for me. Of course, you have one person reviewing it. And then they have a backup. They are reviewing it, and you are not retraining every time. That’s huge.

I come from a training background. I’m a trainer. I’m really-really an advocate of training your people and freeing up your time and having it run on automatic. You’re going to nurture that, too, and you’re going to do additional training, and you’re going to check in and all that. But the value is just incredible.

J: I will definitely give you this, Gerri. I’ve been a project manager for quite some time. And I will tell you this. This is a fact that many people try to deny. A project will consist of a variety of resources, money. But the one thing you cannot change is time. You cannot change the time on a project.

The only way to change the time on a project is to put more money and more people into a project. That’s the only way. The time is the same. The time is always the same. You can’t fast forward it, you can’t rewind it.

You have to look at a cost benefit analysis of what you’re doing right now. If you’re not doing that, and you’re not evaluating yourself on a constant basis at least a couple of months – every couple of months you should be looking at your processes and say, “What am I doing here?”

Because I can tell you this – there will become a time when that indispensable person leaves. As someone who has 40 team members now, I’ll tell you, people come and they go. Luckily, I’ve had a very high retention rate. I don’t have a whole lot of people coming and going. But that’s because I am very patient.

Gerri: Yes, you are.

J: I can tell you this, too. You will invest the time into a project. It will be in the beginning of a project, where you can put your game plan together, and you can put your instructions together, and you can have everything laid out, and ask questions, and your team members can ask questions, and you get it all figured out and everything runs smooth.

Or you can not do that. You can say, “Hey, do this,” and you throw a bunch of instructions out on the wall that just make no sense, and you obviously put minimal effort into it. Guess what – the time will catch up. But it will be at the end of the project when things are doing very badly, and you have to save a lot of grace to try and fix things.

So question is – do you want to spend your time in the beginning of a project with very adequate instructions and tasks? Or do you want to have the time spent in the end of the project fixing all the things that went wrong, because you didn’t give adequate instructions?

Gerri: That is a perfect analogy, and I know it’s used so much in business. You pay now or you pay later. I think everyone is familiar with that. I can tell you from experience – you will not have happy clients if you’re scrambling at the end to have things put together. You’re saving yourself sanity and you’re retaining your clients. Pay it upfront. I promise you it’s going to be best. I’m sure you can get some people to testify to that.

J: Most of my client base, Gerri – they are people like you. They are business owners. They have their own client base. They rely on me and my team to come through and do things for their clients. If my team doesn’t come through, that’s their reputation that’s on the line.

A lot of people have that same exact issue. It’s your reputation on the line. You need to put in the homework. You need to do the very best for your clients. You should over-deliver every time. You should always deliver more what you put in.

Gerri: That’s right. And that’s that client nurturing, and that lead nurturing we were talking about. The follow up, and the “What’s next”, and the “How can I make this better for you,” “How can I meet you where you are now” “Now that we’ve taken you here, what’s next for you,” – those questions that you ask yourself.

This is a little off-topic, but I’m just saying you’re not going to get that in a lot of places. You’re not going to get this at a lot of podcasts that are teaching you about sales funnels and delegation. This is some kind of advanced business wisdom. Hopefully you will take in and really see it. Because this is a mindset and a concept that overarches everything you do. You won’t do any of this if you don’t really understand the big picture.

The big picture is – you can only grow as far as you are. You are one person. If you are a solopreneur, a small business, whatever you are, you can only go so far. You only have two hands. You only have 24 hours in a day, 8 of which you need to sleep if you are healthy. And you have other things to do. Do yourself a favor and leverage some of that time out.

I’m going to ask one more question, Jay. And then I’m going to let you direct them where you want them to go, and then we’re going to wrap up. My last question is – I know there are some people out there that are saying, “Man, this is my baby. I’ve been doing this for twelve years, or for two years. And I’ve built this thing from a ground up.” And there’s the cartoon that says, “I was born here and I’m going to die here!” People are going to hold on to those things even if it kills them.

In your experience, what can you say to those people that say, “I’m not handing that over! I’m not getting somebody to manage that spreadsheet for me, or check my inbox for me.” What do you say to those people? We may have already covered it, but if you could just say one more thing to those people that are saying, “I’m not feeling that good about this”, what do you say to those people?

J: You have a very defined amount of hours that you can work in a day. I don’t think anyone can work a full 24 hours. I guess you could, but then you probably need some sleep for recovery. I will tell you, I’m a control freak, too. I actually relate a lot to what you’ve just said. I hate delegating, believe it or not. I actually despise it, because I like to have full control over my projects. That’s something I had to deal with. Personally I think it’s mainly actually. I think it’s a personality or something with you.

What I can tell you is that I think when someone delegates correctly and they feel that first sigh of relief that they can actually have trust in someone else to actually help them do things that typically they would do. Boy, that first day off, that first couple of hours going to sleep at a good hour, having that extra time with your family – that stuff is really valuable.

I have been able to go back to the entry you gave to me, I have been able to really pursue my passions and spend more time with my family now, and travel. For the first time in my life, this year has felt like a huge burden relief. Because I know that I’m so confident with my team, and I’m so confident with the instructions and delegations that I’ve been able to produce that I know there’s going to be hiccups along the way, that’s just how it works, working with anybody, whether it be a virtual assistant or someone right there in your own office.

But what I can tell you is that my time is worth more. A lot of people really need to think about how much their time is worth. And maybe your time isn’t worth much? Maybe that’s an image problem you have right now for yourself.

I’m not a psychologist, but what I can tell you is that once you find out the things that you do love to do, and the things that you do not love to do. I would start with the things that you do not love to do, and start finding a way to process those and turn them into tasks, so that you can focus on what you love to do.

Gerri: That’s perfect! And you hit an emotional side of it, which is something that we had maybe missed throughout this entire interview. The emotional side of it I think is more powerful than anything.

Because if you want to grow your business, you need to have some help. If you are not spending the time you want with your family, or you just can’t just reach that sales milestone that you want, so that you can send your kid to college, all those things that you really want and why you started this business in the first place. If you are not hitting that, you need help. Don’t let yourself get completely worn out.

The statistic says that eight out of ten businesses will fail. I believe it’s within the first twelve months. I don’t want you to be one of those eight. Get yourself some help.

J has a great deal. What do you offer to clients who have never tried a virtual assistant before, they’ve never been on your website before? And talk about your special as well – we’re going to wrap up.

J: You know what, I don’t usually give a special, because I think what they can really learn here is how to delegate. If you guys really understand how to delegate, you can see that this is something that you want to try out, I’d love to hear from you.

If you go to vastaffer.com/gerri, you will get a little sign up form to download top ten virtual tasks that our clients give our virtual assistants to do. This is something that our clients delegate every day to our virtual assistants. They basically compile the top 10 list of the thing that we do on a daily basis. And people love it.

I’ve got some virtual assistant tips that can really help you in processing what you do in your business. I’ll give you some example of things that you probably shouldn’t do yourself.

Gerri: And the special is that you get me peeking in there every once in a while. You get some awesome team member/project managers that J has in there. You’re going to be nurtured. You’re going to be taken care of, you’re going to be walked through the process. You’re not alone. We’re not sticking you out there, taking your spreadsheet and mangling it all up for you.

It’s going to happen. It’s going to be really beautiful. And like J said, when you take that final sigh of relief, “Oh my gosh, this is off my hands right now. I don’t have to babysit it, I don’t have to do it. I don’t have to spend three hours a week on it.” You’re going to love it.

That’s vastaffer.com/gerri – go there and pick up that tip sheet. It is awesome. I read it. I’m all over it. You go do that.

I appreciate you listening today. We hit on something today that I want to get into. I was very serious when I said I was going to write it down. Customer experience – I’m going to talk a little bit about that in the next episode. So you guys stay tuned.

As always, to your success!

J, thanks so much for coming on with me. Man, this is good stuff. I’ll have you on again. Will you come back?

J: You’ve been a client of mine for three years. You’ve made many projects for me and likewise. This is a fruitful relationship that I’d love to foster.

Gerri: Awesome! Thank you. Bye-bye.

Paycheck to Prosperity

Podcast Episode 004 – Gerri Chambers – Automate Your Marketing

Ep004 – Gerri Chambers – Automation 101

Hey, everyone! How’s it going today? Today we’re going to talk about what is automation and why your business is suffering without it.

Let’s face it – you’re a one-man or a one-woman operation. And you can only do so much. You cannot do everything yourself. You only have two hands, there’s only 24 hours in a day, and you need a rest for 8 hours of that. You need to fix some meals, you need to shower, you need to take care of yourself, go work out, go to the gym – all these things. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to do all of your everyday managing stuff for your business, grow your business, nurture your leads, etc.

I’m going to have a task for you at the end of this podcast. Pay attention, because this is going to be a game changer for your business and for your bottom line, and your lifestyle ultimately. We’re going to talk about four ways to leverage automation in your business.

What is automation? Automation is leveraging something that can be done without you babysitting it. That’s Gerri’s definition. Everybody knows what ‘automatic’ is – it does it, you don’t have to think about it, and you don’t have to force it. It’s the opposite of ‘manually’. Automation is a beautiful thing in your business. Everyone needs to implement some type of automation, especially with repetitive tasks, for something that doesn’t take a lot of thought to it.

There are some things that you cannot automate. There are some things that you cannot sub out and have somebody else to do. There are some things that you can’t stick in a program and run on automatic. I’m sure everybody knows some of those. One – it’s working with your clients. You can’t really sub that out unless you’ve put someone in another team, or in another specialized area of your business working with someone else. You need to work with your clients. They’ve hired you, they are paying you the money, they want to see you and hear from you. You’re going to help them.

Let’s say you have a podcast. Let’s say you have some type of online or live show, or let’s say you’re Periscoping, or you’re YouTubing, or you’re doing some other type of MP3 or audio transmission somewhere online. People want to hear from you. You can’t necessarily sub out the content that you share with people verbally and visually. Your video and your audio needs to be done from you.

That’s my personal opinion. Some people have voice-overs and people do their content for them – I’ve seen that. I don’t think that’s the best practice. I think that people want to hear from you and they want to see you. So we don’t want to automate a lot of that stuff out.

Obviously if you’re holding some type of training or if you’re doing a group coaching, or something like that, like a pre-arranged deal where you have a special person coming in to teach on a specific area that they have the expertise on, you would sub that out, and it would be fine.

Again, automation is not necessarily just something that you stick into a program and let run. When I say automation, I’m talking about a process or a system that runs by itself. We’re twofold here. You use systems and processes that run on their own whether it includes you or doesn’t include you, whether it includes someone else or a program. And then you have your programs that you use, your online tools that you use that can be automated. So we’re talking twofold here.

We’re talking about things that you really shouldn’t automate. You want to nurture your leads, you want to work with your clients, you want to do your own audio and video. Let’s talk about four ways you can leverage automation in your business.

One way is your content. That is maybe a little controversial and you may say, “What? I come out with so much great content. I’m the master of this. I’m smart. I know exactly what I’m doing in my thing.” I get you. I’m talking about let’s say specifically blogging. I know you can put great content. I know you know what you’re talking about. But may I ask you this – is there anybody else out there that also knows what they are talking about in your realm? Yeah, there is actually. There is lots of people. You’re not the only one who can put great content. Why do you feel like you have to do it all yourself? You don’t. And you might love it, and it’s fine.

But let me ask you this question – when was the last time, or the first time, someone read your blog and hired you right away and paid you money right there for your blog content? Let’s say you wrote on how to build your website. You wrote on how to build your website, you wrote this great 800 word blog – did someone call up right there and hire you and pay you money?

Chances are there may be one or two of you that did, but chances are most of the time content is used to take people on a journey to buy. Sometimes when people are reading your content they are just getting information. We’re going to talk about inbound marketing on another podcast. This is why outbound doesn’t work well, because a lot of people aren’t ready to buy from you right away. If someone’s reading your blog, they may gather some information from you, and use some information, but ultimately it’s not going to be probably one blog that is going to close that person.

My point is in saying that is that you want to spend time on things in your business that make you money, directly make you money, like nurturing your leads, closing the sales call – things like that.

Blogging. Let me just give you a couple of resources now that I’ve told you, “Hey, about your blogging – not need blogging anymore.” That may rub you the wrong way and I totally get it. I totally understand but I want you to hear me. Other people get paid to blog. Honestly, if you look at some of the other websites that you go to and gather information from and do research on – if you look at those, I can almost guarantee you, 50% of those websites are not content packed from the person who owns the company, solopreneur or not.

Those people are closing sales calls, especially people who are successful in this business. As a solopreneur, or even a small business, or sole proprietorship – whatever you want to call yourself. My market, I know is small to medium business and solopreneurs, entrepreneurial minded, wise, moving up – I know who you are and know why you listen to me. You want to know it all, you want to know the tricks, you want to know how to get big, how to really-really make an impact, how to help people, how to reach the biggest audience possible.

Here are a couple of resources. BlogMutt – this is Scott Yates’s business. I found them I guess about four years ago now. I actually blogged for them for a little while, so I know how the inside works. I also know how the outside, the client side works. You can purchase blogs. And it’s a beautiful thing, because you can go back and you can read them, and you can make sure it has your tone, your attitude. If you want to insert some of those little sayings that you have, you can do that. You just get the content.

Another company – my girl Julia McCoy – she came to me a while back for some business. She has a company called Express Writers. Once again, she’s got a great platform set up, a great business model. You can buy as many blogs as you want to. Let’s say you want three a month or once a month, or however often you want to publish content. You can buy it that way. She also has a lot of other great deals. That’s expresswriters.com.

There’s two resources right there – go check them out. Toy around with it around your mind, think about it. How much time would you free up if you don’t have to write all your content? I’m going to tell you – that’s at least two-three hours a week for me. That’s a lot of time.

Here’s another way you can use automation. This is a system, an online software system that you can use. E-mail marketing – it’s one of my passions. The ROI is so crazy-crazy on this that’s it’s a no-brainer not to do it. You can automate your list building. You can drive traffic. You build your list, and then you can automate the e-mails that are sent to people. You’re nurturing your clients. You’re sending your potential clients on that buyers journey ultimately to buy from you, become a client or a customer. This is all automated.

Think about it. You’re sending people to a landing page. Again, this is a process that you set up. You drive traffic to a landing page with an opt-in box. And you’re giving them an offer in exchange for their e-mail address, a simple process there.

That opt-in box, if they enter their e-mail into, goes into the e-mail marketing system. After they get put into that e-mail marketing system, you have an automated series that you’ve done once. You just write e-mails one time, stick them in there, somebody goes in there and they are automatically starting to get those e-mails. And this is free! This is free and automated. You don’t touch it. As long as your stuff is pretty evergreen, you don’t have to jack with it again.

Isn’t that awesome? Let me ask you this – how many of you are sending manual e-mails every time to your list? How many of you don’t have a list? That’s a different podcast. You can automate that whole thing and never touch it again. You want to keep it relevant, you want it evergreen, so that you don’t have to babysit it all the time. You don’t want to put a lot of dates stuff in there, because you don’t want to go in there and have to constantly rewrite and tweak your content or your copy within e-mail. This is all automated and moves on its own. You drive the traffic. The people get the e-mails. It is awesome!

I’m doing a 14 day challenge right now, as I’m recording this podcast. I’m teaching people how to build out their e-mail plan – step-by-step showing you exactly what you need from the tools all the way to the very end when you’re checking your analytics after you’ve driven people into this system. It covers the whole gamut.

I’m going to put that on the website paychecktoprosperity.com as an e-mail course. Be sure and sign up for that. I’m going to show you who it is for. One – you do not have a list, and you’ve heard about this list-building thing, and it sounds cool, and you want to get into it. For those of you who have not built a list, you don’t have an e-mail marketing list, you don’t have an e-mail marketing plan, you don’t know what e-mail marketing is. Go ahead and sign up for this course when I get it out there.

Secondly, it’s for people who have either a small, or stagnant list, and want to grow it. Third, it’s for people who are tired of doing the same thing over and over again manually. I’m talking to you, I’m talking to somebody out there. You know you’re sending manual e-mails. And there is a better way I’m telling you right now. Now you’ve discovered a better way, now you go sign up for this course and you get it rocking and rolling.

Or you know what you can do? Go to gerri.setmore.com, schedule some time with me, and I will hook you up. I will show you exactly for your unique business what you e-mail marketing plan needs to look like, get you set up.

Thirdly, your social media. I’m going to talk to some people today. Who is sitting there on social media day in, day out, playing with social media? Now I’m not talking about a personal social media, because that’s a waste of time anyway. I’m talking about on your business, who is setting there playing on social media?

I know you’re like me. What’s wrong with that? I met tons of people, and I’ve grown, my followers are huge. I dan people, and I meet people. It’s great for relation. Yeah, it is. It’s all that. But can somebody else do it? Yeah, a monkey can do it. Click – follow – reply – heart – retweet. You can sub that out too.

Let me tell you about not only subbing that out to someone else who can manage that for you, because there are social media management companies out there. They are going to be a little more expensive than my fourth point, which I’m going to go over in just a second.

But let me tell you about some software that will help you automate this. These are all free. The basic, which is probably usually for solopreneurs, all you need right now. One of my favorites – and this is really-really good for people who are running a campaign. Let’s say you’re leading up to a launch, you’re leading up to an event, things like that – this is really good to run for just a week or two solid. It can be overused, so just watch it. Because you do want people to know that there is a person behind the social media. You don’t want to have the same repetitive tweet out there over and over again. This is what this program does.

It’s called IFTTT – it stands for “if this then that”. What you’ll do is you go to this program and you will tell it, for instance, “At 12:15 pm every day I want you to tweet this”. And it will run indefinitely for you. This is a really great tool – again, not to be overused – but to use leading up to an event or a launch.

A couple of other “Set it and forget its” are Buffer and Hootsuite – a couple of faves. I use both. Buffer and Hootsuite – those can be used for several different accounts if you want to post or send out links on several different accounts, set it and forget it. Queue all those up at some point in a week and you can run it for the next week or two. You just queue those up and go.

I am definitely not going to sit here and list every single online program there is for automating social media, because I can tell you we’d never get off this podcast.

I know your time is valuable, so the next couple are kind of advanced tools. They are not necessary, but they are really-really good to have if you are using your social media accounts, especially Twitter. These are two Twitter tools. If you’re going to use Twitter to drive traffic to your landing page, and ultimately turn into leads, if you are using Twitter heavily, these are two you want to get.

One is called ManageFlitter. What ManageFlitter does among many-many other things is it helps you clean out your account. You can get the free version. And basically you can go in there and you can unfollow a lot of spammy people. You want to keep your ratio higher followers than following. You want more people following you than you’re following.

ManageFlitter helps you clean that up. You don’t need spammy people in  there anyway. And you don’t need people in your feed that are not following you. It helps you unfollow those people. They will never see your stuff anyway. Unfollow people who are not following you. It helps you clean it up. And it helps you to follow people who are following you and who matter. Then again, always use your social media to drive traffic.

And TweetDeck. If you have a personal account and a business account, you can have both of those accounts on one screen and tweet from both of them. Let’s say you get some really great tweets in you feed, you want to retweet them. With the click of two buttons, not having to log out of one account, log back in, you can retweet from both your personal and business account if you want to roll like that.

Another thing – and I’m stressing this – if your business is social media management, you probably don’t want to sub out a lot of your clients work. This is good for you if you manage five-six-seven-eight, however many accounts, you can have all of those accounts on that TweetDeck. You don’t have to log out, log back in to someone else’s account. It’s all right there. You can add columns. It’s really great.

The last one is going to be way out of some of your comfort zones, but it’s the most important piece I believe. I woke up to this about three years ago and I thought, “Oh my gosh! Where’s this been all my life?” – because three years ago I was ready for it. If I’m not speaking to you and you are not ready for it, and you’re still doing a lot of your own stuff, and you’re learning it, that’s great, you just start now your baby-steps, you are in the fledging business state as I call it. This may not be for you yet. But keep it in the back of your mind.

Assistants. And I’m not saying you need assistance. I’m saying an assistant, like a virtual assistant. If you’re interested in virtual assistants just right away, you’ve heard about it before, and you’re ready for it, go back and listen to the podcast that I did with Jay Hunter a VA staffer. We covered how to delegate. It was very great, pretty thorough. Anyway, that’s my partner in crime – Jay Hunter – he owns VA Staffer – vastaffer.com. This has been my lifesaver.

How you use virtual assistant, or let’s say a social media management company – it doesn’t mean it has to be a virtual assistant per say – is you have them do those things for you, so you are not doing it. Not only can you use that automation on the online tool category, because you will have some tools that you can use to automate, but you can use a person to queue that stuff up for you. Or you can have a person upload to your website the blog for you. You don’t have to do that. Anybody can do that. A monkey can do that.

Let me tell you how to use a virtual assistant, because I know that some of you are like, “Whatever, virtual assistant “I’m not going to give away any of my stuff. This is my baby”. It reminds me of a part in Ice Age, where the guy, the little animal who didn’t want to leave said, “I was born and I’m going to die here!” Fine, die there, die there in your business. It’s going to swallow you up. But for those of you who are ready for it, and you know you’re busy, and you’re ready to grow your business, and have some real cash, and really help some people – listen up.

How to use virtual assistant. If I have something I need done, and I know it’s going to take a little more than a couple of clicks, I’m going to record it on a screen as I do it with the thought in mind that I’m going to hand this off to someone. I make it real simple and I use ScreenFlow – I’m a Mac user, I have ScreenFlow. It records my screen and my audio. I put it in a nice little package, I upload it to YouTube. I give my virtual assistant team the link and somebody takes off with it. Bam – it’s off my plate.

I’m not saying completely, because you want to look in. You want to make sure things are going okay, hold people accountable. But for the most part, it’s off my plate.

So some of the things you can sub out. Number one – queueing up all of your social media. If you have a campaign going on, you could have one of your virtual assistants or assistant queue up into your IFTTT account all the things leading up to your event – all those tweets with the links in them. You can have someone manage analytics for you, run the analytics report, so you can figure out what’s working and what’s not. You can have someone check your e-mails – all this busy work you’re doing.

Remember I told you I was going to give you something at the end of this to do. You have something to do today – you’re going to see something. I’m going to tell you you’re going to “Wow” your eyes are going to open, especially after listening to this and learning how much you’re doing that you don’t have to do. Because weren’t you rather be out there nurturing your leads and upselling to your current clients than sitting out there in social media playing around, retweeting? I’m not saying I don’t go there and do that. I do. I check in.

The busy work you’re doing – let’s say checking e-mails – one of the stats I read the other day was “Especially in corporate America people get upwards of 120 e-mails a day”. That’s a lot of e-mails. I know you get quite a few e-mails. And a lot of them are on your personal e-mail address where you’ve opted in for sales information, for shoes and for all the stuff that you don’t need to be buying right now.

Number one, you can unsubscribe from a lot of those. We find ourselves opting in so that we can get a special and then we want to unsubscribe later. So yeah, get out of some of that.

But don’t you want somebody just filtered through that stuff? Help prioritize your inbox? That’s awesome. Somebody can do that. Queuing up your social media, maintain your website, uploading blogs, client inquiries. Let’s say your potential clients’ are asking questions. Let’s say they are e-mailing you. Can you not have an FAQ sheet for someone to copy and paste and send? Companies do that all the time. FAQs are great by the way. Giving FAQ page – that’s great.

What about graphics?  You’re not doing your own graphics, are you? Are you sketching out your own logos? Are you doing your own Twitter banner? Or your own Facebook banner? Forget it.

I did some gigs on Fiverr – fiverr.com – and they’ve upped their packages a little bit. They are not just five dollars – Fiverr. Some of the are up a little bit. But they offer a lot of value. Let’s say you need your logo redrawn. And at the end of the designing they’ll give you the vector, the png or a jpeg. And you get a lot of bang for your buck there. Your VA service, VA staffer – and I’m telling you they’ve got graphic designers, people that can upload blogs for you – just for really basic stuff. Free yourself.

This is my challenge for you and this is what I want you to do. Over the next course of the week, whether you are listening to this on Monday or Friday, go seven days – I want you to jot down, just have a running tally of all of the things you do in your business, if it’s a typical week obviously. What do you do on a typical week?

Let’s say you do 42 things. Some of those are repetitive, some of them are really awesome – landing clients, working with clients – whatever you’re doing on social media. And clock yourself. Give yourself time. “I went on social media at 9 am and I stayed till 10:15. 1.25 hours”.

At the end of that week, I want you to schedule some time with me, because I tell you right now – challenge me. Challenge me – I’m going to free up some of your time. Go to gerri.setmore.com – we’re going to have a conversation, I’m going to free up some of your time. Then, guess what I’m going to do with that extra time that I’m going to show you how to free up. I’m going to help you build your next income stream. How valuable is that? Can I just ask you right now?

I feel you, because I know some of you are just starting out, and I know that some of you can’t even see beyond your learning curve right now. I get it. I was there. But when you can breathe, and dream, and focus, and get your ideas on paper, and monetize it somehow – can I just tell you?

Who wants some passive income? I’m seeing some virtual hands raised there. I love passive income. That’s something you can set up. That’s like mailbox money – my mum used to call it. Mailbox money – it just comes in based on what you already know. You don’t have to go to school, I’m not going to put you through a course. I’m not going to do all that stuff. You know something. Let me help you. But first we’re going to free up some of your time, because I know you’re in the weeds right now.

That was automation:101. We’re going to get to automation:102 sometime along the line here, so you stay tuned. In the meantime, gerri.setmore.com – after you’ve gone through your seven days, start today. If you’re listening to this in the morning, start today – remember your day, however it goes. Start tomorrow morning. I want you to get seven days down and schedule some time with me. Let’s free you up and get you some more money, and make you rich farther, so you can help some more people.

It’s been great today! To your success – see you later.

Paycheck to Prosperity

Podcast Episode 001 – Gerri Chambers – Email Marketing

Ep001 – Gerri Chambers – Email Marketing

Hey there! Today we’re going to talk about a killer e-mail marketing campaign, or if you want to call it ‘an e-mail marketing process’. These are the steps you’ll go through so that you can build an e-mail marketing process or plan out and then you are started on automation, going to be started on automatic and let it run by itself and keep those people funneling through. This is going to be part of your sales funnel process.

In very basic terms, your sales funnel is the path through which you take people on to get to your ultimate offer, whatever your ultimate offer is. It will take some planning on your part. Hopefully, you already have that figured out. If not, this episode will not explain that. This is just going to explain how to get your e-mail marketing and use those e-mail marketing tools and programs to set up that process that will take people further through that sales funnel for you.

This is a great tool to use. E-mail marketing, the tools that are online that you’ll use and then this process – if you follow what I tell you to do, you’ll drive people through that e-mail process and you’ll really drive them further into your sales funnel.

This is for you if you already have an online presence. If you already have some social media accounts set up, or you even have your website set up already, this is for you. You have an established product or service for sale – so you already have something that is a viable service or a product for your market. Maybe you’re struggling with time-management and you’re struggling with reaching your sales goals – this is going to be a really great tool and process for you to implement. You want to be able to automate a stream of income for yourself so that you can work at other aspects of your business.

Again, one of the things that I’m really-really sold up for is automation. This e-mail marketing process that I’m going to take you through and show you how to do is going to be automatable. You can automate it. That’s a word I’ve just made up – automatable. I love it.

What we’re going to go through today – I’m going to do five steps. We’ll just stay on track here with five steps. One – I want to show you how to give something away for free in exchange for their e-mail address. This is the very first step. You need to start getting those e-mail addresses to begin building your list.

Then you’re going to segment those lists so you know how and when to sell to them. You’re going to create an automated follow-up series. You want to keep them engaged. I’ll show you how to offer a value-packed item for a low cost for your first sale. You’re going to break their barrier. You’re going to go ahead and ask for a little bit of money while you earn their trust and give them what they need. Then you’re going to set up the next high-priced item, again driving them further in your funnel.

Really quickly, I’m going to give you some stats. I’m going to get through these quickly. I’m a statistical person. I like to see stats. I like to know why this is important and why I need to listen to you or why you need to listen to me. Let me show you.

E-mail marketing has a return of investment of 4,300%. It is cheap to send an e-mail. Your return is as much as you’re going to charge for your product or service. 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an e-mail marketing message. That’s huge! Think about your inbox. Think about the companies whom you’ve given your e-mail address to. When they send you something, you’re more likely to buy from them than you are searching around the internet and just hitting a site called for something. This is really powerful. You gain their trust and that loyalty, and that brain recognition.

74% of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via e-mail. They’ve already told you, “Yeah, I’m going to give you my e-mail address. Send me the stuff.” This is really powerful. Again, they’ve already given you permission and the laws tell you that you need to explicitly ask for very clear ‘agreeance’ from them, permission from them to receive communication from you. So it is welcomed as long as you keep giving them what they want.

91% of consumers check their e-mail daily. We’re going to get more into this and why that’s important. But if 91% of people are checking their e-mail, the chance of your e-mail getting read is much higher than if you were to blast something out on social media, because it gets caught up in a lot of noise out there.

It is really powerful when you can send an e-mail on the fly to your list. When you begin building your list, or let’s say you have a list already and you want to grow it and keep it going, then it’s powerful when you have a new product or service you’re launching, you have basically an audience ready to receive information from you. It’s very powerful. It’s also a component of inbound marketing.

I’m not going to go into in-bound marketing today, but it’s basically a way for you to put information out there, whether it’s on social media or in your e-mail, and you have people coming to you. It’s very different from what outbound marketing is, which is like cold calling. I don’t know the last phone call you received, but I still from time to time receive phone calls from people I don’t recognize. I’m not going to pick up the phone. That’s very ineffective today.

And it’s simple to duplicate and to automate. This is a really big deal. It’s going to free up some time. And it’s cheap to set something on automation. Then you can leverage the time and tell someone else to execute it for you. Do it one time and teach somebody else to do it. That’s awesome.

Let’s run through the five now. Let’s give away something for free in exchange for their e-mail address. Once you know who your target market is – or you can call it your buyer persona or your avatar, different names for that – that’s who you want to work with, that’s who you’re speaking to and who you want to attract as a client, then you can give them something they want.

In my business, I am my target market. I have walked miles in those shoes. I know exactly what people need to know and want to know. And I know even before they know.

Then create a downloadable report. Now you’re giving something in exchange or saying, “I want to give you something of value, because I know that you’re giving me something valuable.” That’s the e-mail address.

Now it’s almost like getting somebody’s phone number or somebody’s personal information. You need to give them something really valuable so that they will give up their contact information to you. That can be anything that your market wants. It can be a checklist. “Hey, do you have these 10 components on your website so that it converts properly?” It can be a ‘how to’ – “Let me show you how to set this up or how to do this”.

It can be a test – I’ve used those. As a matter of fact, the one I use on my website is “Do you have what it takes to be entrepreneur?” This is a really good lead magnet for me, because people that are entering into this internet space, this online marketing space, want to know that. If I’m lacking something, how do I mitigate that, how do I learn that?

It should be something you already know. You don’t have to overthink it. Then obviously, they need to give you their e-mail address, so they have to opt in to get it. It’s called opt in. The tools you need are basic stuff: you need the website, you need the e-mail marketing program. I have used several right now. I use Active Campaign. It’s a kind of a full-blown CRM system. They’ve got Mailchimp and AWeber. You can use whatever program you’re comfortable with and whatever your budget is, you decide.

Then you need that downloadable product. Whatever that is, if it’s a PDF or if it’s an online form, or something you’re sending people, you need to set that up. Then you want to know what your call to action is. Do you want them to download it? Do you want them to take the test? Make that clear. Have that plan for where you’re taking them. Make it relevant. Then you can offer them the next thing. We’ll talk about that in a minute.

The second thing is making segmented list, so you know how and when to sell to those people. This is actually part of inbound marketing process. You’re taking these people through buyer’s journey. The people that hit your website today may not be ready to give up their money. You need to meet those people where they are. I haven’t been out there in all of them, but the e-mail marketing programs out there automate this process for you.

Once you’ve set it up, it will automate. Let’s say for example there’s two different reasons you may want to have different lists within your e-mail marketing program. One, let’s say is you’re split testing two different landing pages, and you want to test two different lead magnets, or offers, or free downloadable products. Let’s say one page you have a test that you want people to take, and the other page you have a downloadable tips sheet.

As you are testing these, you want to send those people to different lists. For your downloadable tips sheet, you may want to put them on what’s called the tips sheet list. For the other that you are giving the test to, you put them on a test list. The reason you want to do this is because you want to know what those people took. Because if they took it, then they may be interested in more of that type of thing, so you may market to those people differently.

Your next e-mail to the tests people may be, “Hey, were your results this?” And then you can help them along the way. To your tips people you can say, “Hey, did you check out the tips? Are you using it okay? If not, if you are having trouble, here’s another one.” Do you see how it works there?

Another one will allow you to change the list people are on by their call to action reaction. In the e-mail that you send to these people, you can say, “If you like more information, click here.” When they click, your e-mail marketing program after you set this up is going to, automatically take them off their existing list, or say they stay, and it will put them on another list, because they took another option.

This can get really detailed. I’m just going to give you just those two basic ones. This allows you to stay hyper-focused with your people, so you are not sending them a bunch of stuff that they don’t need. This is extremely powerful. Use the segmentation.

Three, we’re going to create automated follow-up series to keep those people engaged. Strike while the iron is hot. They took your offer yesterday. Don’t you think if they don’t hear from you for a month or ever, that they are going to continue to seek you out? I’m going to tell you – no. Even if you gave them what they wanted. Let me just tell you the reason why – there is so much competition out there. If they found you, there are going to find someone else as well. If you don’t keep them engaged, they are going to move on. You don’t want to lose those people.

What you want to do is create what I call an automated follow-up series. It’s actually what I think the e-mail programs call to – it’s a follow up. You want to queue up about three. There’s science as to why you need seven. The landscape on the internet has changed just a little bit, so three I think is plenty to fill people out. You can send more a month later.

There’s also statistics that show you how many e-mails would people want to receive, and when they start to drop off, and become less engaged, and see you as a nuisance. You’ll have to play around with all this. It’s target-market specific, and you want to know what times to send. There’s all this stuff too, but basically send three automated e-mails to them.

Change up a little bit to give some of them informational, maybe a little story or a testimony. Offer different things. Maybe in the first you want to say, “If you want to grab some info, look here.” Maybe on your second when you want to be a little bit more aggressive – “Why don’t you get on a phone with me for a counsel?” And then on the third one, maybe you want to do a hard sell. That’s just to keep people engaged.

Four, offer a value-packed item for a low cost for your first sale. Once you’ve given them the e-males, they are taking your downloadable tips sheets or the tests, and they’ve done that, so you’ve broken the ice basically, now you want to see how interested they are in actually laying down some money and paying for your services or product.

Go ahead and offer that in your third follow-up e-mail. Or maybe you let those three e-mails go with other calls to action. And then you send out an e-mail two weeks later, or a week later, and say, “I’ve got this webinar coming up”, and maybe you charge 7$ for that or something. I’d say to try to keep the price point lower, because these people still may have a little bit of a barrier, and they are just learning about you.

I tell people sometimes too, another strategy to use to offer a no commitment offer – maybe they can still come in free to a live event, or a phone consult. Again, it’s got to be a value-packed – you are loaded up with great stuff for them. Then you offer an upsell. It can be one of your higher price things. It’s got to be killer, though. It’s got to be really-really great.

We’ve gone through those four tips. Five, you want to set up the next high-priced item for your buyers to buy again. Let me tell you – once they’ve bought something from you, that puts them into a completely different category. They are now buyers. We love our buyers, because they have seen value in what you have to offer them.

And it is clear now, if they are going to put money down, it is clear that you are giving them what they want. That is awesome, an awesome confirmation for what you offering your potential clients and your clients. It is so satisfying when someone wants to purchase something from you, whether it’s your consultation or an actual product.

They have shown commitment now. What you do with your buyers is you are going to reach into the depths of your sole and you’re going to get the best of what you have, because now you really-really want to treat these people awesome. They are committed, they are ready to go. Some people that don’t buy are not quite committed, and they may not be ready for the heavier stuff. Save your heavier stuff – like I’m going to get on the phone one-on-one and coach them through this entire process – save that for your buyers. Those are the people that have really shown commitment.

I’m not saying don’t offer help to those people who can’t afford, or it’s not in their budget right now, but definitely this is what you want to start thinking about and this is a different strategy. I won’t get too into this. But this is what you want to start offering your – what I call your further down the funnel offers – your premium packages, your six-week coaching things, the electronic product, the teaching product – whatever it is – workbooks, e-book series – you’ll want that more premium.

You don’t have to take them straight there. Let’s say you do an 8-week coaching program and your price is 10 grand. You may not want to take them straight there. If you do, you want to give them a little bit of a down sell, you want to give them an alternate. They may not be ready to go all in like that. That’s a little bit different, and I am going to talk about stuff like that, about what you offer for your premium, and what is the best way to leverage your time and things like that.

Today, it’s your e-mail process. What are you doing? You’re leading people further and further into your funnel. And this fifth way is giving you a way in lower down into your funnel and the higher price more premium offer.

We’ll go through this again. What you learned today was how to give away something for free in exchange for their e-mail address. Make your list segmented. Segment you lists, make different lists. Create your three follow-up series. That’s automated. Offer a value-packed no-brainer for your first sale. That’s your low-price entry. Then set up your next high-priced item. Listen, you’ll stop there – you do it again, and again, and again. As you have all of this set up now, you’re just feeding people to your free item, whatever that is. You can change it up. And that’s a beautiful thing too. These e-mail marketing products, these tools that you use online – you can set up as many as you want. You can set up as many three e-mail series as you want.

Another is a little bit of a scaling of pricing when you have so many contacts. When you start building your list, and you get into the hundreds and thousands, your price for e-mail product might go up, or your e-mail marketing tool may go up. But you can have 10 different landing pages, you can have 10 different lists, and you know you can have your lists segmented. All ultimately going to your premium offers.

That was a lot of information – I hope you took notes. I’ve got the show notes. Go through that, make sure you’ve got everything you need, get this thing going and it is going to change your business. If you’re not doing this, there’s a problem. I’m telling you right now. You are missing out. You are wearing yourself down.

On the next episode, I’m going to lay out exactly what you need in your e-mail to get them opened and to get clicks on your calls to action. Stay tuned. As always, I wish you much success.