Podcast Assistant Success Tips: How to Attract the Right One

Hiring is a critical step in establishing a scalable business. In this episode, Tracy Hazzard shares tips on hiring podcast VAs successfully. When hiring people, we have to know exactly where their skills start and stop. In that way, we can set clear expectations and there is better communication, which is critical to every business. Tracy also shares the importance of training employees and how we should still feel in control of our business even though there are multiple systems in place to run it.

We are here to support the support staff. I’m going to be talking about how to support your support staff and how to make sure that your virtual assistants know what they’re doing and maybe some success tactics. We have some who are very successful with their support staff and we have some that are disasters. I want to point that out because it can happen to you that your support staff becomes part of your problem with why your show is not succeeding. It’s a lot on you. It’s not on having bad people or anything like that. It’s about not having a structure in place, feedback loop, time and place, and understanding what to provide them in terms of a standard operating procedure. That’s one of the things.  

We have a podcaster who has Outsourcing & Scaling Podcast with Nathan Hirsch. He’s one of our podcasters. He owns the company called Freeeup. We’ve used them multiple times to bring on support staff, virtual assistants, or someone to run a project for us and do some things now and again. It is on you and that’s one of the clear success tactics. It is on you to make sure that you provide structure. You can’t expect a virtual assistant, someone you hire for a low-dollar amount, to understand what they’re supposed to do on their job for you. You have to provide structure in that process.  

Types Of Skillsets

That’s what I wanted to talk a little bit about, making sure that you have some of those success tactics so you don’t fall into the trap of what we see going on. A couple of things that I want to mention first off is that if you are doing your podcast yourself, we estimate that you need five different types of skill sets. If you are doing it yourself, you have five different types of people that you need to rely on. They may not all come in one package. We discovered over time that was the case. We had to hire multiple different people. In our case, we hired five different people and now we have 50 different people. It’s a very different thing. Someone who’s good at audio editing is not going to be good at blogging or not good at writing your copy for your descriptions or your titles or things like that. Having a good audio editor or doing it yourself, that’s all a part of that process. Hiring someone to do that, they need to be great at the audio. They need to understand sound engineering. They need to understand what they’re doing.  

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On the same token, you need someone who’s got good graphics skills. You need someone who’s going to create great banner graphics for you and great share things for social media. Nowadays with social media, you need two sets of skills. You need strong graphic skills because there are a lot of visual involved and you also need strong copywriting skills. If you have one and not the other, it is why your posts aren’t tracking. Having both and maybe having two different people, one who writes copy and one who does the graphics or one who directs it and one who executes it. You can also have a play of that because it is daunting to find the right person who has both sets of skills. Typically, visual people are not necessarily textual. They don’t understand the texts, they don’t understand copy, and they’re not writers. It’s very rare and I say that because I’m a designer who writes, which is a very rare thing. I do understand that this is not common to have both things but it’s great. You can find someone who has both things for you.  

That’s one of the areas that you want to look at. You are talking about audio, graphic, writing of some kind. Blogging and website technical type stuff may not be someone who are great copywriters. I find a lot of great copywriters, a lot of great writers are not necessarily great on the technical skills of putting stuff in WordPress and doing all those things. You may need someone who’s technical as well who can support that formatting and writing a few codes now and again for you. That maybe somebody else you want on your support staff.  

We look at that person who has people skills. Those are the five different types of skills we say. People skills are necessary for communicating and working with your guests because they want a lot of hand-holding. You want to make sure they feel like they’re valuable. You want to make them feel like they’re an honored guest and that they’re important to you. These are things that you all want to do yourselves. These are things that you might need people for or skills with the people you have to make sure that they have the capability of doing these things for you.  

PDZ 32 | Podcast VA Success Tips

Podcast VA Success Tips: When you have multiple people, you have to be clear about exactly where their skill starts and where it stops.

 

Thinking about all of those different five skill sets. Here’s what happens when you have clients who have our complete done-for-you services. You don’t have to think about audio, graphics, blogging or copy from that standpoint. You need to still think about social media. You need to think about copy and imagery for social media. Although we provide a lot of assets for you, you still probably want to create some on your own as well. Those are definitely a person. If you can find someone that has some amount of that skill set and people skills that are decent enough to be able to handle your guesting, then you should have the right type of person who can support the push-ups, the launching and the promotion of your podcast, and the continual thing that you need while you’re getting good guests over a long period of time. The more publicity you get on your show, the more people would like to be on it too. Those things could go hand in hand together. You should be thinking about that.  

Those are three sets of skill sets that one person needs to have. It might not be one person, it might need to be multiple people. Here’s the first pitfall. The first pitfall is when you have multiple people on it, especially when they don’t know each other, when they’re not working out of the same office, when they’re virtual like that, they start to feel very territorial about it. We see this happen again and again. They also would like to be paid more. They’re scope creeping. They’re like, “I can do this for you,” or “I can take this on.” You start to think, “That’s great. I will use one person. It will be a lot easier to communicate. It won’t be so difficult. I won’t have all this doling out to do.” That’s great, except they may have a deficit in one of those skill sets that I was mentioning that they need to have. Thinking carefully about that, you need to get people who can work well together that aren’t going to overlap and that aren’t going to fight over the territory either. That’s a critical and important thing for you to manage as the manager of that group of people. That’s what comes with the territory when you decide to have a full support staff, you’ve got to manage them.  

Standard Operating Procedures

The other issue that we have is when you have multiple people, you’ve got to be clear about exactly where their skill starts and where it stops. That means that you need a Standard Operating Procedure or an SOP, some people call it. You need to have it very clear. We have people who when we send out the email with the links that your podcast episode, your blog or your audio is ready, it goes out to one specific virtual assistant who then reviews it, listens to it, reads it, proofs it, and does all of those things. It may also go out to a second one who then creates the social media share. Making sure that they are copied on everything and that they know that their job is to review all of this, and the other person’s job is to produce the social media graphics and support those things. 

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Being clear about what their job is and the speed with which they need to do it. Let’s say it takes us seven days to produce it and you submit your podcast always at least two weeks ahead of time. That means they only have seven days to review it and get back to us with any revisions and things that they might need. That’s also being very clear about your timeline and other things. We have had people who are afraid of their support staff. That’s the third pitfall I like to make you aware of. The first one was making sure they have the right skill set. The second one was making sure that you’re very clear on your expectations and they can communicate with each other, they don’t overlap and all of the things that they need to do successfully for that. 

Be In Control Of Your Business

That’s important but the third thing that happens is that sometimes you can be held hostage by your support staff and that is not a good place to be. You are in control of your businesses. This is your brand and this is your business. If they have core information that didn’t come from you, if they are providing and they’re figuring all this stuff out and you don’t know where your logins are, you don’t know how to do any of these things, and you don’t have that documented anywhere, then you aren’t scalable. That means that you can’t add more people. That means if this person leaves, goes on maternity leave, decides to quit and go somewhere else, you’re in trouble. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen to you as well.  

Making sure that your team, when they do something, empower them to document it. Make a video, jump on Zoom, do a Screen Share, show how they’re doing something. If there’s something new to learn, make it part of their job to document it for the next person. Leave it all in the Dropbox. I wrote a great article about Mike Michalowicz who has the book Clockwork and it’s about scaling your business so that you can run it like clockwork. One of the great things that he does is he has them document everything. He might set it out and do it once. He uses this example like he was shipping product for eCommerce. He thought he had this whole labeling thing and how you ship and how you do all of this. He had it all down and he did it. He prepared this beautiful document. It was a binder of all this information. He hands it over to this person who’s like, “I never have to do this again.” Pretty much within ten minutes, the woman came back and said, “This doesn’t match the screen that’s on UPS now.” It turns out that overnight they had changed their system and the dashboard shifted. It doesn’t look anything like all of his documentation.  

PDZ 32 | Podcast VA Success Tips

Podcast VA Success Tips: Training is critical if you are running a business.

 

Doing it in Screen Share and then when things shift and you’ve got a video document, it’s way easier and way faster. If you’re communicating with people in other countries, sometimes video is a better solution because you can be talking and showing at the same time rather than writing and having the interpretation of that. I highly recommend that. We use it with our team all the time. Whenever there’s something new, we jump on and we do a video and we share it with them. We empower them to do the same thing so that they will share it and be able to train the next person. That’s part of our criteria. If you want to grow in your job, then you’ve got to train the next person to replace you. That’s how we go there.  

Using Support Staff More Successfully

I wanted to give you some background on how you might be able to use support staff more successfully. One of the things that we find is that there can be a lot of miscommunication in that, especially when sometimes people have rotating virtual assistants so they don’t know who’s going to be taking it over. Someone does the daytime and someone does the nighttime and it’s this rotating thing and what the previous person did is not well documented. Being clear with that and being sure that you’re not frustrating each other and you’re getting more and more frustrated by the support staff. We have a lot of people who are like, “I give up. I’m not going to hire anyone. I’m done. I will do it myself.” That’s not productive either. I want to make sure that you’re able to put the best practices in place.  

Q & A

I’d love to answer questions about that if you have it. I’d also love to answer any questions that you might have about how your show is running, what you guys need, because this is your support time. I’m here to support you in whatever way I can. Whitney and Jason, you are welcome to talk. Ask any questions that you would like. If you want to ask me questions, you can do that. Rachel and Rodney, welcome. I’m glad to see you both. I missed you. Whitney and Jason, what can I do for you? 

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We just wanted to say thank you and check with you. We got our artwork options, the first run of that. We will be getting back to you and the team. We’re excited to be working on this with you. Speaking of teams, it’s been enjoyable to have you as part of our team. Thank you so much for all the work that you have been doing for us. I don’t know how we would have done this without you.  

We appreciate that. This Might Get Uncomfortable is Whitney and Jason’s new podcast. I’m looking forward to hearing it. I’ve heard a couple of sneaks on their intro episode and some other things. I know some good stuff that’s coming. All of you out there, we appreciate your business. We appreciate you being part of our team and helping our team get it right. I’m going to do some more training and this is something critical if you are running businesses and doing other things. I’m going to do some more training on the copy side of things because we’re always trying to improve things for you here. 

After a while, I start to see some things happening like it might be titlings, keywords, descriptions, especially when you’ve done hundreds of episodes for particular clients. I feel sorry for our Note Closers team, the team that works on The Note Closers Show. I don’t know how many episodes Scott has done but it’s so many. After a while, you keep writing about note closing. It’s hard to be original every time. When that happens, we like to rotate our team when we get somebody new in, just so they have a little fresh perspective on it. That can happen to you though. Tom and I did 560 episodes on 3D printing and coming up with a new title after a while, I wanted to scream. 

PDZ 32 | Podcast VA Success Tips

Podcast VA Success Tips: Continually touch bases with your audience and continue to add value to them.

 

It can happen to you as well. That’s why we’re here. If it feels like that’s happening, then we will rotate the team for you. We try to keep an eye on it, but you want to also keep an eye on it. If you’re getting bored, if that’s starting to happen, that’s the time to come on one of these calls and let’s have a strategy session. We can re-strategize your show if you’re starting to get bored with it, if you’re starting to get frustrated with it, if you don’t feel like it’s working. That’s one of the best ways to use this coaching call as well. Whitney and Jason, do you have any questions that I can answer for you or we’re going to see how things go? Tell everyone what your focus is and what you’re speaking about.  

We’re going to be speaking twice. The first thing is adventures in entrepreneurship and how podcasting is a part of our business strategy and what it means to us, especially after being video content creators and influencers for many years. The second day, we’re going to be talking a lot about how to create work-life balance in our personal, professional lives. How not to burn ourselves out, how not to hustle too much, how to build in more self-care and wellness as a business owner and entrepreneur. It seems like there’s a critical need for those kinds of tips and principles.  

We’re very passionate about using wellness for high performance and teaching people how they can improve their lives through some simple things in their routine and how a lot of people know they should be taking better of themselves, but they let things get in the way, they find excuses.  

Tom has a phrase that he uses that says, “I might resemble that remark.” That may be me. I promise I will be sitting there taking notes because that might be me who forgets about her self-care way too often. I have a wonderful coach and she’s got a podcast that she’s going to get started at some point here. Her name is Michelle Young. She gives me assignments about self-care and I’m the worst at it. I’m like, “Don’t give me that. Give me anything but that.”  

You’re not alone in that. That’s why we’ve become passionate about this. Our podcast is a little bit more of the mental health angle, at least the episodes we’ve done thus far because we feel like mental health is one of the biggest ways in which we suffer by not taking good care of our wellbeing. That’s a major thing. We’re pulling up some statistics and we were both shocked at some numbers we found about how depression and anxiety are affecting such a great percentage of entrepreneurs and not enough people are talking about it. 

I’ve seen some of that. The severe burnout and decline in health. You have a great topic and I think your show is going to sing. I can’t wait to hear it. Keep it up.  

Thank you.  

I’m going to put my article on Mike MichalowiczActually, there are two. There is one that I wrote on Mike Michalowicz for Inc. Magazine and another one that I wrote for Authority Magazine and that is a profile. It’s a profile on how he podcasts and how he uses his podcast. He’s got an interesting model for the podcasting side that all of you would enjoy reading about where he uses it for his group. In other words, he has a bunch of people who are fans of his book and he uses it to be the fan growth.  

He continually touch bases with those fans and he’s continuing to add them value because he’s the guy who doesn’t want to rewrite the same book. He doesn’t want to update it. He wants to move on to the next book, which is valuable because we all want him to move on to the next thing for those of us that are growing our business, maybe we will be right behind him. He’s got multiple books. The Toilet Paper EntrepreneurThe Pumpkin PlanProfit First, that’s my favorite, by the way, Clockwork is excellent. These are some of his very successful books. You may have heard them and he speaks all over the place. His podcast has become a critical part of his action plan for keeping in touch with and keeping all the equity he’s built in his fans and keeping it growing. That’s the way you can use it too. He gives some advice to that. Thanks, everyone. You have a great day and I will be back pretty soon on our next coaching call. We will be back then and it will be both Tom and I. Thank you all and take care.  

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