016 STBS: Tasking Your VA and Getting Started in Business

Oh happy day!  In this podcast I received two questions (which are always welcomed and appreciated).   The first question was from Abner from The Entrepreneurial Life (great podcast, by the way), in which he asked about what were the most important steps in getting started in any business.  The second question was from Sharif from 28media.com, and he asked about how to best keep VAs on task.

The Keys to Starting a Business

If you've been reading my blog long, you'll notice a huge shift in thinking about what's important in business.  The change in mindset came about in early April when I faced the reality that I had been in business for about 6 months and basically made no money at all.  Because of that, I took a course on how to market and sell.  Since then, whenever anyone asks me what's important in a business, the only thing I ever say is sales.

What good is buying $1500 remote software tools, incorporating, or developing a website if you have no clue who your market is and what they want to buy?  No matter what business you are in, everything is dependent on sales.

Currently, I do about %1 implementation on all web projects, but I do %100 of the sales.  Which is more important?

I mentioned one book in the podcast, but I meant to mention more. My favorite sales books are:

  • The Little Red Book of Sales
  • Secrets of Power Negotiating
  • Million Dollar Consulting (my favorite by far)

Limitless Tasks for Your Virtual Assistant

The worst feeling in the world is having a VA and not knowing what tasks to give them.  You know that every hour that goes by your money is being wasted.

This happened to me with my first VA, Tazeen.  I had her creating spreadsheets for me in support of my full-time job.  However, once those were done, I had no clue what to use her for.

There are TONS of things that you can give a VA that are perpetual, which they can fall back on any time that they don't have a specific project to do.  Here are some things I have my guys doing:

  • Article marketing for my web sites and blog
  • Article marketing for my clients
  • Blog posts for my affiliate sites
  • Blog posts for client sites
  • Direct linking with adwords (recently stopped doing this, but it works).
  • Press releases
  • Set up interviews for my podcast
  • Ghostwrite an e-book using my content and audio
  • Develop frameworks for faster web development
  • Keyword research based off of their interests
  • and so on….

Unfortunately, the key to all of this is that you need to train them.  There are two things that I suggest though.  The first is using something like Jing.  It's free and you can create 5-minute screencasts.  Most people don't realize just how much work they do on a daily basis that – if they recorded it – they could pass it off to their VA.  So, the next time you are doing research or are creating a newsletter, record it and give it to your VA with an explanation of what you are doing.

If you are into marketing online, the second thing I'd recommend is Replace Myself.  It's a training program by John Jonas that is geared toward training your VAs to do marketing over the Internet.  It's really good, but if you don't have an online business or aren't interested in affiliate niche market, it's probably not for you.  It has some really good copywriting and article marketing training for VAs, but some of the link building stuff is a little shady.  Still, I use it a lot with my VAs.

Map out your VA's goals

One thing that helped me was mind mapping my VA's tasks.  I was going to save this for my 31 day course, but I think it'd help here.  All of my VA's tasks are geared toward goals that I have set for my business.  Doing this makes it very easy to find persistent and value added tasks (yes, my mind is messy):

My Business Model Ideas


  • Sharif

    November 11, 2010

    Thanks for the great podcast! That answered my questions, and was extremely helpful. You've helped me realize 3 things:

    • I need to do a better job defining tasks, projects and deadlines.

    • My problem may be also partially with my specific VA and their initiative.

    • I need to break down and buy ReplaceMyself!

    Thanks again… keep up the great work.

    • Dean Soto

      November 11, 2010

      Thanks for the comment Sharif (and for the email question!).

      I'm glad I could help. Tasking is super tough. Especially given the fact that you hire a VA to help save time but often spend a lit of time up front training, it can be frustrating.

      I am super lenient with deadlines. I typically gave a 2 week cushion for my web projects for clients. My VA can pump out a theme in a couple of days, so rather than worry about deadlines, I create long cushions that I know my VA can handle.

      Lol, yeah I really liked replace myself. But it definitely is geared toward Internet marketers. It's be nice to have something similar to it, but for other tasks.

      But yeah, it does help.

      Feel free to shoot me an email anytime 🙂