In this episode Barbara and Matt, share with you the evolution of the Virtual Success Show podcast and give us a behind the scenes look at how they have utilised their own virtual teams to bring the shows to life.
This episode focuses on the step-by-step process that Barbara and Matt followed to make their idea of co-hosting a podcast show, a reality.
Some of the areas covered include:
- Don’t overthink an idea – sometimes it’s best to adopt the approach of “Ready, Fire, Aim”
- Working out what the potential road blocks could be
- Finding the right person for the right task, in particular, specialist tasks
- Be aware that nailing a process takes time – they are not something you can create in one day
- Don’t let yourself as the project or business owner be the bottleneck in the process.
Let us know in the comments below what your key take out has been from this episode or why not join the continuing conversation over in the Virtual Success Facebook Group.
In this episode:
02:58 – How the Virtual Success Show started
04:36 – Ready, Fire, Aim
07:49 – Working out potential roadblocks
10:25 – Finding the right person for particular tasks
15:55 – How we fired ourselves from managing the podcast
17:09 – Great people, great process
18:09 – Nailing a process takes time
20:18 – It’s up to YOU to set your team up for success
24:31 – The reason things work is because YOU make them work
24:52 – Wrapping things up
Matt: Welcome back, everybody to another show of the Virtual Success Show. I’m joined today by my co-host Barbara. How are you this morning Barb?
Barbara: Hey, Matt, really good. Enjoying the Sydney summer that’s hit us all of a sudden the last few weeks. How are you?
Matt: I’m excellent. Yeah, I’m enjoying this warmer weather, that’s for sure. It’s been awhile since we’ve been on the show together. You’ve had lots of wonderful things happening in your life with the new bub.
Barbara: Yes, I have. I know I’ve been very busy with new baby, she’s 3 1/2 months old now so we’re “coming out of the fog,” as they say. She’s very good, though. She’s very good.
Matt: Excellent. Excellent. You know, I’m really, really excited about today’s show because, as we were talking about just before we started recording, the show we want to do for you all today is to share with you the evolution of the Virtual Success Show podcast and, actually, what’s happened behind the scenes and how what we’ve experienced in utilising our virtual teams to bring this show to life. It was really interesting because we were just chatting a little bit pre-show talking about how things have just developed so well, particularly over the last six months and we wanted to share that in a show with you all because we believe there’s absolute gold in what’s going on.
Barbara: Yeah, and I think I … Matt, I was saying to you and I want the listeners to hear this, that I was actually just … I was thinking about the show the other day, and I was thinking to myself, look, I don’t even know … We just record, and I know it just goes in the Dropbox, and at this point I have no involvement, really, after that point and it just shows up bang on time on our iTunes account, on our website VirtualSuccessShow.com, at the promotions ground on social media, and it just all works like a well-oiled machine without us having to stress about it or even think about it. All we do is what we love, which is recording the show. I know some people listening are going to think, “How do I get to that point? How do I do that?” And that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today on the show.
Matt: We wave our magic wand and it magically appears.
Barbara: Yeah, not quite, but yeah. I think both of us would probably say that having done this one, if we were to do another, because this would apply to anything. We’re talking about a podcast here, but this could be a YouTube channel, this could be a joint venture of any description, and you could literally take this template and transfer it over to any project that you’re doing with another person or a couple of people.
How the Virtual Success Show started
Matt: Absolutely. What I thought we’d do is give you a bit of a history of the evolution of the Virtual Success Show and, as we go through this, Barb and I are just going to share with you how the back end developed as we went through. I guess it all sort of started, we were having a coffee one day and out of nowhere we thought it would be great to combine our experiences and start the show. It really was that typical, “ready, fire, aim” mindset where we literally left the café, we had a back-of-the-envelope business plan, Barb had her team and I had mine, and we went away and we said, “Here’s the date where we’re going to record the first show,” and off we went.
Barbara: Yeah, we did. And you know what’s funny, actually? Just thinking back to that day, we caught up not even to talk about … We weren’t even talking about a podcast; it wasn’t an idea. It came from the conversation and I had said to you, “You know, I see so many people, it doesn’t matter how much help we give them at Virtual Angel Hub … With all the processes and training that we do for clients on the way in, we were still seeing people struggling in so many areas.” And I said to you, “What would you think about a podcast to talk about this?” You said to me, “Do you want a co-host on this?” I hadn’t even thought about having a co-host; I hadn’t thought about anything, actually. I just thought about a podcast. Before we knew it, by the end of that half an hour, the podcast was alive. That’s actually how quick it was.
Matt: I think it was actually within maybe a week or two we’d actually recorded the first show. It was very, very quick.
Ready, Fire, Aim
Barbara: I think that’s key, actually, as our first point for you guys listening is that often I see people trying to plan podcasts and YouTube channels, and there’s meetings about meetings, and they hire all these people, and they want to strategize the branding, everything. We didn’t do any of that. We were just like, “Let’s just record a few shows and get the thing up on iTunes.” As you say, that “ready, fire, aim” thing and let’s see how it goes. Let’s see what happens after that. What’s the initial feedback? So it’s really important to just start, sometimes, without having too much of a major plan. In case it doesn’t work and you don’t like it. You know?
Matt: Exactly right. The way we went from here, we recorded the first show. We worked out we needed to have it edited, we needed a website to host it on, and we needed to set up the iTunes account and the like. Between Barbara’s team that she had when she started and my team that I had at the time when we started, we worked it out. We combined our resources. We spent very, very little money and we had this show up and running. We knew that we needed to get it out there. Our expectation was in the initial 5 to 10 shows there wouldn’t be very much going on, but we needed to get some traction and we believed in it and we knew that the energy we were going to put into this was going to help a lot of people.
Barbara: I think as well, key, I just want to make a point there. We also realised very quickly, and this is important for you guys listening. Within the first, I think we recorded three shows, Matt, in a row and then you and I, afterwards, were like, “Oh, my God! That was so much fun.” We realised that we were very good together on a show and we thoroughly enjoyed it, which meant that we knew we were going to be able to keep this thing going so it was worth putting more energy into more shows and then in the team, etcetera.
To start off with, it was you and me, I had one VA that was kind of … Actually, I don’t even think she was involved in the very early days. I just had a podcast guy that was doing a bit of editing who actually wasn’t very good, but we got rid of him. He was initially there on my team.
Matt: And your web developer put the website together for us.
Barbara: Yeah, I did have a web developer, so that was handy. But we literally threw a very simple website together to host the show and make it look good. We did create a logo and a brand. We had Virtual Success, the name, already. I think those few things were key to get going, but the shows were key to get it up.
Matt: And this is where we probably came up against our first, not a roadblock, but probably the first instance where Barbara and I realised there were aspects of this that we didn’t enjoy. We love getting on this show and sharing and recording. The part was, we’d recorded all these shows and then we needed to write blurbs and we thought it might be a good idea to have transcripts and the like.
Working out potential roadblocks
Barbara: I think we were doing the blurbs for us, and actually I’m laughing as I think about this, because I can remember … I know you would have been feeling the same. I’d look at our little spreadsheet that we had and I’d think, “Oh, thank God he’s doing the blurb this week!” And you were thinking the same about me. Then the blurb wouldn’t happen, and it would be five minutes before the show was due to go live and I would have to hash together a bit of a blurb from memory. We both talked about that. Again, key point number two here for anyone trying to do this, we were honest with each other and said, “Gosh, that’s a real pain. We just don’t like doing that bit and it’s becoming a roadblock to the show moving forward.” Then we were like, “What do we do? How do we get the blurb written?” Because it kind of has to come from us, right?
Matt: Just to add to that there was … As part of my stop doing list system, this is what falls into your competence category. It’s a task you know how to do, you don’t enjoy, it’s probably what I call an energy vampire and you avoid it until, as Barbara explained, until it becomes really urgent, and then you put something together and away you go. So, it was actually … We had the discussion, and we realised that there was a system around the blurb. It was a system that we could easily replicate. We had a model that we could put together around this and we just needed to put the right person … To align the right person to take control of that task.
Barbara: I would like to highlight a little point here that I’m just remembering now. At this point in the show, guys, we had one of my VAs doing … We had your VA, Matt, getting snippets from the show. She was listening to the show and she was picking out tips and quotes and things. Then my VA was putting those together on social media images and spreading them all around social media. The girls were doing a great job at that, but the problem became my VA. I had given her the task … I said to her, “Your job is to make sure that this podcast goes out on time and that you coordinate all the bits and pieces.”
So she was getting very stressed out, because she kept pinging me on Skype going, “I need the blurb.” So, the poor girls, they were trying their best to do the job, but they were failing at their job because of us. That’s a key point. We had great VAs. The poor things were failing and stressing out because we were the roadblock. We became the roadblock in our own show. That was the point at which, Matt, you decided we need somebody who can write the blurb. Which is not really a VA; a VA is not going to write good content for you. So what did we do next?
Finding the right person for particular tasks
Matt: Well, I had Rose, who was working with me on my team. Rose is a virtual assistant, but local in Australia, and highly trained. So I sat with Rose and went through the process and I asked her does she believe she could manage this part of the process? She was like, “Yep, I can certainly do that.” So I took some time to train her and show her what we do, how we do it, what “good” looks like, what “outstanding” looks like, and what “value” looks like in this. I think that’s important. I took the time to train her well.
Matt: I think it was probably the first couple I needed to jump in on and just tweak a few bits and pieces, but very, very quickly Rose took over that entire process.
Barbara: I think, as well, the key there is you chose somebody that, first of all we did not expect our Filipino VAs to handle the writing of the blurb. Now, some Filipinos can write very well, okay? That’s fine. But you have to think about if you’re asking somebody to write, make sure … I think we did a show on this before, Matt. It’s that whole thing of skills expectation. So if you’re going to put this job on someone who’s not really at that level, then you’re going to get frustrated, blame the VA, and fail. Matt knew someone in Australia that had a lot of experience in event management. I mean, Rose is not just a VA. She had managed events before, she’s a good writer, she understands what we’re trying to achieve on the show, and therefore the blurb became a success, because we chose the right person for that role.
Matt: Absolutely. Then we actually came up against the next roadblock, which was we were getting Vanessa, my VA, to do the transcriptions. While Vanessa is an amazing virtual assistant, she’s been with me for almost five years, the transcriptions or transcribing is not her genius. She’s good at it, she’s not great at it. What was happening was Vanessa was doing the transcriptions and then Rose was having to spend quite a bit of time going through and editing the transcriptions, going back and re-listening to parts of the podcast to make sure that it all made sense in the transcription, so that then she could do the blurb.
Barbara: That’s all of a sudden turning into a multi-day job. All of a sudden this podcast was becoming a huge job for our team to handle. Again, we were asking Vanessa to do … Transcribing … For listeners out there asking your VA to do transcriptions, I would suggest a three or four-minute video is okay, but if you’re doing transcriptions, don’t expect your VA to do it. Because it is actually a specialist skill and your quality level will be low and you’ll get frustrated and so will they. You need to have a specialist do this, and we realised this pretty quickly, didn’t we? Thankfully, we found Rev.com.
Matt: Absolutely. The beauty with Rev is number one, extremely economical from a financial perspective. And two, they get the transcription back to us within 12 hours.
Barbara: Oh, it’s fast. And the accuracy is incredible. Big high-five to Rev.com. We’re not getting paid anything for this, by the way; it’s not a promotion. It’s just, I use them across lots of different podcasts now and I recommend it to all our clients because it’s just so easy and cheap and fast.
Matt: And what it did is it enhanced our team’s satisfaction in what they didn’t have to deliver. Because Rose, her first comment when she got the first transcription back from Rev was, “Wow! Wow!” And her job was now easier. Vanessa was happy, too, because it was adding to her workload each month and she’s very, very busy as it is. So what it’s done is the time now needing to be spent on delivering a podcast has been reduced. And so-
Barbara: I think as well, just in terms of the Filipino VAs, as well, because obviously that’s where I sort of specialise. I know that the Filipinos, when they feel their work is of low quality, they suffer a lot from low … No, not low self-worth, but more like they start to question themselves a lot. So Vanessa would have been feeling like, “Oh, my God. I’m making a mess of it. They’re not happy with me.” Even though we would never have said that, because it wasn’t true. But they can start to feel like they’re not good enough, because you’re asking them to do something that is not really a skillset of theirs.
Matt: Absolutely. What then happened from there, this was already in Asana, but I think we were using Asana good, average to good…
Matt: Then what happened was, with Rose coming in, us streamlining the process, it seemed to just tighten up what was happening in Asana. Then we had a change of personnel, didn’t we, Barb?
Barbara: Yes, yeah, on my side.
How we fired ourselves from managing the podcast
Barbara: One of my VAs moved on to do other things and we put a new girl in. I think we had gotten to this point … At this point we were … I think, the point I want to stress here is that, Matt, you and I became quite busy. I was actually having a baby. I was in the throes of pregnancy and about to have a baby, you were extremely busy in your consulting business, and we through the evolution of this process managed to kind of fire ourselves from the management of the podcast. This was the key tipping point for you and I, where we got to the point where we were just recording. Our new VA came in, Michelle, because we already had the process set up now and it was kind of starting to hum and Rose was there and Vanessa, the girls were able to actually start communicating with each other and not having to wait for us to come back to them with answers for things. They had the podcast editor as well. So the four of them, inside of Asana, managed the project for us.
Matt: What’s key to this, is each of them understands their role.
Barbara: Yes, and where their accountability is.
Matt: Absolutely. Each of them understands the sequence, they understand their role, they understand their deadlines. And accordingly, because we’ve got great people in each seat, there’s very, very little management from our part.
Great people, great process
Barbara: Well, virtually none at this stage. Again, it’s having great people, but a great process that is very clear, with clear deadlines, and clear role descriptions. Like Michelle knows that she … I don’t even tell her when we’re recording. She just knows that every week she’s got to check the Dropbox for the unedited shows. Then her role is to liaise with the podcast editor and make sure that she knows that we have to go live every two weeks. So she knows to get ahead of herself and she wants to be … She can manage that and she’s like, “I want to be ahead of myself” so she and Luke, the podcast guy, get together and they make sure the shows are edited.
Then she makes sure that she tells Rose when it’s done. Rose liaises with Rev.com, gets her transcripts up, gets all the time-stamping in. Vanessa does the snippets. Then it goes back to Michelle who does all the social media part of it and gets it up on the website. Then the promotion starts and the girls start promoting it across social media as well. It’s like a flow there, but we’re not involved in anything.
Nailing a process takes time
If they ask us a question, Matt, you’re too busy; you won’t come back to them for days. Same with me. So if there’s a question, it can hold things up if we’re involved. So it’s better that the team are involved, but we created the process. That’s kind of the key thing I want to stress here. We created the process over a … About six months; that’s what we’re talking about here. This process took six months to nail and for us to be able to fire ourselves from. That’s key. Processes are not really something you can create on day one of a new thing, because you’ve got to see where the roadblocks are and the problems along the way. Eventually when you get it nailed, you get into a position like what we’re in now.
Matt: Which is everybody’s playing in the role that they love to play as well. That’s what’s critical here. So Barb and I get to jump on and record these shows. At the end of the show, we click stop, we upload our recordings into Dropbox, we go on and then record the next show. It’s this set and forget … You know what’s really interesting? You always, for me, it brings a smile to my face because I’ll often get friends or clients that will SMS me going, “That was a great new show that you had.” And I’ll be like, “Oh, wow, that’s right. The new show’s up.”
Barbara: Yeah, that happens to me too and I think, “Oh, wow! We recorded that a while ago. That one is now. Yeah.”
Barbara: It’s on a schedule. I think as well, just in terms of the listeners starting podcasts as well. You know, we didn’t go wild promoting this show in the beginning. We had our social media strategy running and our VAs working on that, but the key thing as well is to get a little bit of that going and get some early feedback. We started a Facebook group, so we’ve got a Facebook group called Virtual Success; join that please if you’re listening. We started getting a bit of feedback in that group as well, to the shows, and it gave us ideas for new shows. Our VAs are in there as well, which is fantastic, so they can kind of manage a lot of that for us now going forward.
It’s up to YOU to set your team up for success
I think the key here is this can be done. It’s actually not hard, but it took focus on our part, you and I, Matt. There was quite a lot of work, in the beginning to get the process working. If you’re just handing it to a VA and expecting them to figure the whole thing out, you’re probably going to fail, is what I would say. You need to drive the project initially yourself or have somebody who is a project manager do it. And then make sure that everyone understands their role, there is a clear process, and they are … Basically, you enable them to get success. I think we talked about this on another show before. Setting your team up for success rather than failure.
Matt: You know what? I think the team is quite chuffed when they see the end product getting out there into the market as well. They feel very proud. One thing to add to what Barbara was saying is that, I think if we had not leveraged ourselves out of the aspects of this show that we didn’t love, that we didn’t even like, I think we would just said, “Too hard basket,” and probably walked away from it because…
Barbara: It would have failed. We would have ended up having months where shows didn’t go live.
Matt: Yeah. Often that’s where ideas or even businesses can fail, is because the owner is so caught up in so many things that you sit there and go, “Well, something has to give and I’m going to get rid of the things I don’t like first.” But yet, they can be things that are so easily leveraged, so easily delegated to others and can enable you to move forward with lightning speed.
Matt: So, literally now, we can come off the back of a 20 or 30-minute recording. That’s it. That’s our input to the show. Because of the hard work we’ve put in in that six-month period to build the system and then we plugged the great people into the system. It feels so simple; and it is, it really is. If you take the time … And the last thing I’ll say is you’ve got to be patient with your people. I could have easily…when any of the team wasn’t really getting it, gone, “You know, just come on.” Or fired
Barbara: Or blamed them. Yeah…
Matt: But the reality was it was just a matter of … It’s what I call growing pains. Takes a little bit of time and often … I’ll say this, I say 99% of the times in the coaching and consulting that I do, the bottleneck or the real quote/unquote “problem person” is the owner.
Barbara: Oh, 100% … I’m just thinking to myself, 99% of the time I would say that the reason people fail with VAs, as long as they’ve got a good person who’s not doing the wrong thing, not showing up, and going AWOL and all of that … You’ve got a decent person with a couple of skills, it’s you. It’s you. It’s your process, it’s your system. I say this to clients all the time, “You can try and convince me that it’s the VA, but I’m telling you if I go in and fix it for you, the VA will be a rock star.”
Barbara: As long as it’s a good person, right? So as long as you’ve got someone who’s half decent who’s got a bit of a brain behind them, and whatever. Yeah, 100%. We put in a lot of work and at no point in the process did we say, “Well, Vanessa’s kind of rubbish at that.” I mean, we were looking at it going, “Well, the transcript’s not great, but why is that not working out so well?” And at no point did we say, “Oh, well, it’s because she’s rubbish.” We said, “Well, no, that’s a skillset that is quite specialist. We’re asking somebody who doesn’t really have that skillset to do it. Of course it’s not going to work.”
Matt: I think there was one time, though, that I said to myself, “Matt, you’re rubbish at writing blurbs.” I did…
Barbara: Oh, yeah, yeah. We can be rubbish ourselves. There was plenty of times I said to my VA, “The reason you’re failing at this is because I’m not giving you what you need.”
Matt: That’s right. That’s right.
The reason things work is because YOU make them work
Barbara: That’s definitely a point to finish on. I want everyone to realise you make this work, but the reason you make it work is because you make it work. Don’t expect to hire a VA for peanuts in the Philippines and that they’re just going to come up with this strategy for you. Which I see a lot happen with our businesses, to be honest, with our clients. They’re hoping that the VAs going to come in and strategize it for them.
Wrapping things up
Matt: So if I was just to summarise in all of this, first and foremost, remember “ready, fire, aim.” Come up with your ideas, and then get them into motion as quick as possible. Second thing, is you need to create a system within the current parameters that you have, with either the people that you have or the time that you have. Create the system, and then understand that it’s going to be development of that system over time, together with putting the right people in the right seats on the bus so that they can execute on the system. And lastly, it’s having the mindset that, “Okay, what are the things that I’m really good at and are essential that I do here and how can I get everything else done by somebody else?”
I truly believe that the key to this was that Barbara and I had the mindset that all we want to do … We were very clear with our intentions. We want to get on, we want to record, and that’s it. That’s all we want to do in this process and we knew that everything else could be done by a specialist, quote/unquote “in their genius.” So, someone that can take care of the sound editing. Someone that understands how to get these things onto iTunes. Someone that can do the snippets. Someone that can manage the transcription. Someone that can write the blurb. Et cetera, et cetera. Because when you go in with that mindset that, “This is my genius. This is the thing that I’m going to do and I need a process, system, technology, and people to take care of everything else,” it takes a little bit of time, but believe me, everything in your business is able to be done like this.
Barbara: You know, I just want to make a point here for the listeners that are just them and one VA and they’re probably like, “Oh, my God! I need a whole team for this!” You don’t. What I would say is that on another business that I have, I have another podcast called Wealth Unplugged. I do that with one VA, but she doesn’t … We’ve got an editor for the show, but it doesn’t … The costs don’t escalate, because editing one show is pretty cheap, right? Then she uses Rev.com which is pretty cheap. But what she does is she manages that and those are external people that we just bring in. Then she does the snippets and she puts the … We don’t do a blurb for the show; we just put the transcript up there. If you’re feeling like your resources are a bit tight, don’t not do it. Just use what you’ve got and then … Use Rev.com, get an editor, and then allow your VA to manage that process for you. As mistakes happen along the way, look at the process first.
Barbara: Yeah. Well, there you go guys!
Barbara: I think that’s a good road map.
Matt: I think it is. I think it is. Listen, if this has been helpful for you, we’d love to see and hear from you. Please add your comments underneath here and also join the Virtual Success Facebook page and join our community. We’d love for you to share these shows with others that you believe this could be helpful to. And until next time, Barbara, have a wonderful, wonderful week and I’ll talk to you soon.
Barbara: Great! Thanks, Matt. Thanks, guys.
Matt: Thanks, everyone.