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Thanks for listening to the Meetings Podcast. The Meetings Podcast is sponsored by IMEX America and AVforPlanners.com
Todays show features Host Mike McAllen from Grass Shack Events & Media.
***Julius Solaris presents: ‘Hack Your Event – Shortcuts, Tips and Tricks to Make Your Planning Easier’ Todays show is Avoid No-Shows at Events one of the biggest plagues affecting our industry, no-shows.
– Using secondhand exchanges
– Delaying Charges
– Online Check-in
Get more information at http://eventmanagerblog.com/avoid-no-shows from the Event Manager Blog (Eventmanagerblog.com)
Read Julius popular blog Event Manager Blog (http://eventmanagerblog.com ) or follow @EventMB on Twitter (twitter.com/eventmb) You can reach Julius on Twitter (http://twitter.com/tojulius) or at http://JuliusSolaris.com
***Jon Trask presents: Five tips to keep in mind about facilities from an AV perspective
-Room capacity charts can lie.
-Ceiling heights really do matter.Power is more than having a few wall plugs available.
-In house vendors may have contractual rules that you must adhere to.
-Those speakers up in the ceiling are good for some meetings…and really bad for others.
Get more information from Jon at AVforPlanners.com. You can find Jon at Jon(At)AVforPlanners.com
Jon has offer a free show evaluation to Meetings Planners and organizers for their next meeting. A $1500 value. All you have to do is email Jon and say you heard the offer on the podcast.
*** Jonathan Shank from Learn To Find, Manage, and Hire Your First Virtual Assistant!
Jonathan discusses how using Virtual Assistants can make you more efficient with your time and money. He also gives shares his Apple method for finding Virtual Assistants. I added an S. So Apples.
Podcast: Your First Virtual Assistant
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Here are the transcripts brought to you by Joyce!
Hello and welcome to this episode of the Meetings Podcast, my name is Mike McAllen and this is the Podcast for meetings and event’s organizers who want to produce engaging programs for their attendees. Plus we want to empower organizers with new tips and resources to take their careers to the next level. You can find links and transcripts on the Meetings Podcast site. One thing that is kind of fun is and I just got off the call because we are updating the meeting podcast site, it is pretty exciting, it is going to be more moderate, it is funny how things change in all industries but the internet seems to change like crazy so we are talking about what we did before for SEO and what we are doing now and it is going to be kind of cool, I am looking forward to hear what some of you have to say about the new site but it will be up in probably about a month.
We have been working on some exciting things for the podcast that is why we haven’t been releasing shows recently because we have been kind of working on getting contributors, we want to move the whole podcast into more of a magazine style podcast. So we have about 20 contributors who will be providing segments for the revamped podcast I think you will know some of their names once you start hearing them. I hope you will enjoy it, it is going to take little time to get everybody recording at the same level and we wanted to give you, make sure that the content that they are giving us for the segments is the kind of information that is valuable to you. If you do like what we are bringing you, please do me a favor, subscribe to the podcast first but also head over to the ITunes and leave us a review. It really helps a lot for us to get more listeners and to make this whole thing worthwhile.
And so on today’s show we have a couple of sections, we have 3 of them all together; the first one is called Hack your Event and that is with Julius Solaris, some of you may know Julius he has a very popular blog called the Event Manager Blog, you can find links to that on the website or just goggle it, it will come up right away and he is going to talk today a little bit about No Shows and how you handle them.
Second we have Jon Trask, many of you know Jon he is one of the hosts of the Meetings Podcast with me and he is from AV for Planners and he is going to talk a little bit about five things to keep in mind when you are looking at your venue or facility for an AV perspective. And in full disclosure I think most of you who listen to the podcast or if you don’t, you should know that I am an Investor and Partner in AV for Planners and you can take a look at that too AVforplanners.com if you want to look at our site, leave your feedback and actually use the site.
The last thing we have, the last segment is our main interview and we have Jonathan Shake and he has a Podcast also called Your First Virtual Assistant. Jonathan has some great experience using Virtual Assistants and I know as busy as most planners are that this is kind of something maybe you should look at because they can take care of some of those tasks that are kind of tedious tasks or research tasks and it is an interesting thing that I wanted to bring to people listening to this podcast. I use this online company called O desk which just merged with E Lance which is another very popular one.
But let’s get started with Julius, so I hope you enjoy the new setup of the podcast and let’s hear from Julius.
Julius: Hi everyone, my name is Julius Solaris and I am the editor of eventmanagerblog.com it is a pleasure to be here today, it is a pleasure to participate in Mike’s podcast, I am a big fan of their Meetings Podcast and I have been following since day one, I actually miss our chats Mike from back in the days so hopefully we are going to have another one soon. Hopefully I am going to be able to keep going with nice segment for you guys which every month is going to have a look at some tips and tricks on making your event planning easier. I am going to call this segment Hack you’re Event and that is hopefully the objective is by changing, by hacking the way we do things to achieve easier way of doing things.
Today I am going to be talking to you about hacking your event in the sense of changing one of the most annoying things that happens when you are planning an event which is No Shows. If you work with free events, if you work with charity events, but also regular events and you see for example I work with a lot of corporate sponsors and partners you would have encountered in your life what I by the way call a plague for the industry which is No Shows.
So attendees have reserved the ticket, paid if they are paying or not and they don’t show up, literally don’t show up. And when I used to plan free events back in the days it was one of the most annoying things that happened to me, there is a lot of effort that goes into planning, I am sure you know but to have someone not to turn up is actually really, really annoying. So you know what it is, I just wanted you to focus on one thing really on the attitudes we should have towards No Shows.
I think that one of the biggest mistakes I see around is event professionals sometimes think that they are fatalist about no shows, they think that it is just something that happens because people can be busy or they don’t care. That isn’t the case, I feel that we should take responsibility about no shows and we should have a plan in place to avoid no shows of events because an empty room doesn’t make a lot of people happy, doesn’t make your sponsors happy, doesn’t make other attendees happy, doesn’t make your performers happy, doesn’t make you or your boss happy because you are putting a lot of effort into something that is going to have a lot of empty batches in the room.
Another important aspect of this is your objective, what your objective should be in reducing no shows. Your objective is not to actually get people that purchase the ticket to actually turn up because there is a number of reasons why they won’t eventually but what you can do is you can actually push them to update their RSVP and that will give you a lot of power to actually then direct your efforts into getting someone else to go get those tickets. A word of warning is that not all tickets can be replaced obviously if you sold the tickets sometimes in some countries, in most countries actually it is against the law to sell it to someone else so be careful and know your rules make sure that you can give away a ticket if you are planning to do so.
So I want to talk about 3 options you have, there are others but I will give you 3 of 15 I have identified, so one of the first I like a lot is using 2nd hand exchanges or 2nd hand trade I think you can stimulate the attendees to actually exchange tickets, if they can’t make it and you have a standby list in place you can facilitate the transfer of tickets from one attendee to another. There are websites such as seed gig or seed wave they actually do that professionally but yeah I would be cautious because of scalping is something that exists and is around there so bear in mind that it is always a delicate matter.
I think that if you have a link say on your website saying ‘can’t make it to the event, we can help you to transfer your ticket’ is always helpful and it is a win-win situation because I am sure attendees they don’t want to lose their money if it is a paid for ticket and if you have other people that want to make it you can facilitate that. Obviously I mean a standby list in place is paramount and most of the registrations provide their stuff for that.
Another one that I really like is delaying charges, now especially if you run free events a ticket can be for free but if the person doesn’t actually turn up it becomes paid for and this is something that you can play with under terms and conditions I mean it is a big deterrent to get people to actually commit because that is the big problem that happens a lot there is a lack of commitment when you are selling free tickets. So if you get the audience to actually commit to attend by scaring them with a little bit of a punishment if they don’t turn up, then that can actually help or you know their payment can also be donated if you want to charity so I think that that is a good tactic as well and I guess once again the objective here is probably to get them to update their RSVP not necessarily to pay that so it is a great way to get them to talk to you.
Another interesting one is online check in, now a lot of Apps for events they do have the option to check in at the event but you can act as an airline for example and then actually invite the audience to check in a day before the event so you actually will know the kind of levels of actual attendees you can have. And getting them to check in is also a great way to speed up the onsite registration so checking in before the event is actually the best strategy.
There is going to be 12 more topics and tips that I have prepared for you, you can have a look at on the webmanagerblog.com there is going to be a link in the description of the segment, this is it for my segment today, hack your event, I hope you loved it.
Jon: Hey, this is Jon Trask from AV for Planners and today I am going to talk to you about 5 things to keep in mind when you are looking at a facility to look at it from the audio visual perspective. The first tip is room capacity charge sky line. I know you can put 300 people in there but really you need to look at how much space it is going to take to put your stage in, to put any other elements that you have in the room in addition to those tables because often at times those capacity charts are strictly the maximum number of people by fire code that can be placed in the room. So make sure that you are really aware of the capacity of the room and the pieces that you need to put inside.
The next one is the ceiling heights, really do matter and you want to also look at the lowest part of the ceiling heights not just the overall one or the one that they have on the chart because often at times they are listed as higher than something like the chandeliers that hang down and those in particular can be a real problem with projection. So make sure that you know the exact heights of the lowest point in the room not just what the chart says.
When you look at power, power is more than having just those wall clocks available, when you are bringing in a lot of audio visual equipment there is a very good chance that you are going to need an extra power drop to power all of that because each of those circuits that are in the wall maybe 15 or 20 AMPS and there are projectors that you might bring in for a large show that by themselves will draw more than that particular wall plug.
So, basically look at your power, look at your requirements and talk to the engineering staff or someone technical at the hotel to find out where are those drops located so you can know where the cable will have to be run from to power everything in your room.
Tip 4:- Be aware of the house rules, the in house vendors on the property may have some contractual rules that you have to adhere to. All these things can be discussed before you contract a property, but once you’ve contracted you are bound by those terms and I have seen frequent cases where people have agreed to use a particular company or adhere to certain requirements that they really didn’t want to do but they just weren’t aware they were signing those rights away. Everything is negotiable before you sign, once you’ve signed you are locked into those rules. So make sure that you discuss them, you discuss what the property wants to do and find out what things you are restricted from and what things you are allowed to do.
The last tip is going to be about those speakers up in the ceiling because honestly they are good for some meetings and there are other meetings that they are really bad for. So if you are planning on using the installed in house audio system, make sure that you listen to it and make sure that you discuss it with someone technical because there are good and bad systems that are put in. I have been in hotels where they have very old systems that have never been upgraded, I have been in other hotels where they have brand new equipments that they have put in so it can vary a lot between properties, it can even be different from the last time you were at a property so make sure you give it a listen and you understand how the system works and how it can support your meeting the best.
So those are 5 quick tips on looking at facilities from an audio visual perspective, this has been Jon Trask from AV for Planners and we will talk to you again next time.
Mike: Hi, Gertrude, good evening!
Gertrude: Hi Mike, Good morning!
Mike: Why don’t we have a good catch up call and thank you for the work that you did on the last Wells Fargo project; I saw on ODesk that you started in on the next one and I wondered if you had any questions?
Gertrude: Yes I do, I was a little bit confused somewhere in the business banking meeting was being held in June, is it Dallas or San Antonio?
Mike: It looks like it is Dallas.
Gertrude: Perfect, I should have everything ready by next Thursday.
Mike: Cool, let’s try and catch up again in the next week.
Gertrude: Great, have a great day Mike.
Mike: Yeah, you have a nice night, bye. Jonathan, how are you?
Jonathan: Doing good man, how are you?
Mike: I am very good, I want to thank you for being on the podcast, I was going to do an intro about you later but it will be before this but I did want to say that I met you a couple of years ago at the New Media Expo or Blog world and you were a speaker there and you did a great job and you got me very much into using virtual assistants.
Jonathan: Awesome I am glad I got you excited!
Mike: Yeah, it was really great. My main question to you is how many total Skype calls have you had with Virtual Assistants do you think?
Jonathan: Most of the time it is text, actually I don’t know why it is, that is probably because it is easier and some of them especially at first they might be good at texting but they are not so comfortable with audio or the internet connection might not be as strong but if you are including like Bings and like discussions over Skype that is probably 500 maybe.
Mike: So, take us down the path of how you got involved with Virtual Assistants.
Jonathan: Sure, so like a lot of people I read Tim Ferris’s’ 4 hour work week I did really right when it came out I think this was about 2008, so after I read it one thing that resonated me was using Virtual Assistants and the book kind of gives you all these upsides and gets you really excited about it and reality for a lot of people is they don’t always have the best experiences with it. Well I didn’t know any of this at the time and I just went on to O Desk and at the time I had a business working with acoustics and I was looking for some very specialized things and I just started finding VA’s and for whatever reason I had really, really good luck. I just enjoyed everything about it, I enjoyed talking to people from different cultures, I like the fact that on top of the fact that if you are working with someone from a 3rd world country that the cost of living is less and you get a good deal. I also like the fact that I might be able to support someone’s family for like $4, $5, $8 an hour and I kind of like that part too. I really like the relational aspect of it.
And so I was just from the get go I had a lot of really good luck with it I think part of that might have been stemming so much from the fact that my wife and I like we have been to India a couple of times we have done like mission work, when we first got married we had like honeymoon mission trip for a couple of months in India and just travelled around and we really got to understand the culture and the people and one of the things you run into especially if you work with virtual assistants the cost are less expensive a lot of them are from South East Asia and the culture can be quite a bit different than here some examples are they might not want to ask for clarifications and you said you have any questions and they say no and then you get your work back and it isn’t what you expected and you get frustrated and you don’t know what is going on and that is where for a lot of people they just get really turned off and for me I get kind of picture myself sitting next to that person or talking to him face to face in the coffee shop in that particular country and so I get kind of understand where they are coming from and it gave me a bit more patience I guess and I realized right after then honestly that one thing that was going on was most people are very bad at delegating and so right especially when you just start off using VA if there is an issue a lot of times it is done our end or communication breaks downs with things like that.
But long story short, I started off just because I needed some help, I had a lot of things we could get into some of the particulars of things that I needed done but I had a need, I was inspired by 4 hour work week and right from the get go I was having a lot of good success and I just kind of liked everything about it.
Mike: Yeah, I read that book too I think after I saw your session and it did open up a lot of doors.
Mike: Especially for me being in the events business it was like I could give tasks out that I would normally do, it is amazing the things you can have them do.
Jonathan: Yeah, it is I mean there is literally millions and millions of virtual assistants out there and the type of things that you can delegate is just pretty unbelievable, everything from basic web research, trying to figure out your target market, trying to find clients, trying to find information about products all the way to like very specialized things.
One of the first things I needed in my business and I did this just because I hadn’t heard the stories of people saying it couldn’t be done I basically did it out of my mind that was I have a very particular, specialized way of doing this acoustic process, I have an electrical engineering background and so I had this method of digital signal processing where you could take a sound file and you could apply some filters to it and then it would sound just like the sound was coming through a window and the target market I was hitting were window manufacturers where they were trying to sell you windows that are supposed to block sound and the problem that they had was that do I pay 300 dollars for a window with an STC of 27 or 500 dollars for an STC of 34 and the customer is like I don’t know what STC is, I don’t know how that blocks sound and so it is really hard in your mind to quantify how effective something is going to be.
So I came up with a method to basically demonstrate that for the windows, but the thing is, in order to do that, that was pretty labor intensive to do those simulations so I found someone who is actually a recent electrical engineering graduate in the Philippines and I spent a couple of months training him on acoustics, I trained him on the tools that he would need to use and he basically was able to do that and save like 70 hours of work on a given project and I think I paid him $3 or $4 an hour and so I was able to get a project and that might be like $4,000/$5,000 and where in the past that might have taken me like 2 weeks to do which still isn’t bad but you know that is full nonstop work, I was able to delegate that out and save me like 2 full weeks of time and pay like couple hundred bucks.
And I don’t know there it was a guy who was just a really quick learner, he really enjoyed it and that just right there convinced me that when you find someone who is what I call an extra virtual assistant, someone who is really, really, good, who works with you really well, that can really transform your business. And since I had that really great initial experience that just kind of hooked me and from that day on I am like this is awesome for your business and I got to tell all the people that.
Mike: Very cool so then he did your business and you went to work for someone else, right?
Jonathan: Yes so I learnt a lot on my initial entrepreneurial endeavors but I didn’t know enough about how to make a business just to really take off from the get go and so I had like a 3 or 4 month runway to try some things and I learnt a lot and had a lot of fun, I made a decent amount of money but not enough, not a consistent income that I was able to just kind of leave everything so then I went back to the corporate world but that is when I was able to kind of take my skills using virtual assistants and basically integrate that with 9 to 5 businesses in corporate businesses as well.
Mike: And how did that work?
Jonathan: That worked really well actually, it is amazing how creative you can get like I worked at a very, very large major corporation one of the largest companies out there and so they would have like for instance a lot of analytics, they would have a lot of data that they would need to process and so I went to like my bosses, bosses, boss who had all this data and they needed like a dash board created and I said hey, I will create that dash board for you.
And so I didn’t tell them that I was going to outsource this because they would have been concerned about sending the data out, I wasn’t going to send the data out but what I did was I went and I put a bunch of dummy numbers and I had someone make this really advanced Excel Spreadsheet with all these macros that was really interactive, it cost me like 60 bucks but the thing was it just looked like I was killing it for like nights and weekends and spending all this effort and I was a real go getter. So even if you are looking at it from trying to rise above in the company, you can just get some VA’s pay for them yourselves and really crush it and bring a lot more value to the company and really kind of stand out even if you have a 9 to 5 job.
Mike: Yeah, that is one of the things that I thought why podcast might be interesting for meeting organizers or meeting planners, or event planners is because there are so many tasks that you do all the time that if you can find somebody to help you with those tasks I mean there are so many different things in the event business that we do every single time that you can get some processes and they are using some people that really just like you said, what a great way to get things done.
Jonathan: Right, and the thing about it you know having been kind of a student of this for a number of years I really enjoy systems and systematizing things and really how a project rises or falls is on the analysis part. You can get VA’s to do a lot of useful things for you but you can also get VA’s to kind of spin in place and be really inefficient and really the difference comes down to how you analyze the problem you have. So if you are an event planner and you can figure out the systems as far as what you do and you give very specific steps you can be very, very effective at delegating that.
But if you just post a job online saying I want somebody to help me plan events and you give very little guidance, you can have some very poor quality results and especially if you kind of leave it up to them, if you are leaning on untested resources and then all of a sudden you have to pick up the pieces right before the event, or right before the event launches obviously that isn’t good. But again it really just comes down to figuring out, taking a look at what needs to be done and what skills are required and then going and getting a VA to do that for you.
Mike: And that is interesting you said that because of the clarification and people and there is also, they aren’t all from other countries these VA’s, they are from all over the place, from the US, Canada everywhere and the clarification is very interesting point because meeting planners, event planners are always very detailed oriented so it is actually a perfect thing for them.
It is funny story that I can remember I worked in Korea one time on a meeting and it is on a small island off the coast of Korea just a random place to be and it was for Oracle, it was an event they had there and we were producing it for them and there was one person that spoke English on the Korean AV company that we were using and he was young but he had gone to school in Georgia and he was the only one who spoke English and our translator that day provided spoke Korean and French not English so it was very funny.
But just so this one guy could speak English but the way it worked there he couldn’t ask for anything anyone above him in the company so we would say can you get me some gag tape of dark tape kind of stuff you use outside and he would go there and he would be talking to a guy for like an hour and we would be like I just need some gag tape, what is going on and the guy would say ooh I can’t ask him for something I have to get him to give it to me kind of a thing, it is very interesting.
But they also when you would ask them for things they would be like everything is fine you know and it was just total culturally you know different so anyway when you said that about this I think meeting planners and event planners, it will be very beneficial for them because they are very detailed oriented and they know exactly what they want so it is a very great situation for them to get into.
Jonathan: Yeah, if you are detailed oriented and you are used to delegating then you can it just a lot of times in that case if you have the skills already then it is just a matter of trying a few things and getting your feet wet and opening your eyes to the possibilities because one thing that people do even if you are really good at delegation one thing that a lot of people often do that is a common mistake is they hire someone and then they have them work for like 10,20, 30, 40 hours and they come back and they have done it wrong whereas instead they should have had them just work for a couple of hours and then get back to him just to make sure there is no misunderstanding and so there is a few simple lessons learnt and if you are really good at delegating, you are really good at finding someone, you explain it well, you have them come back after a couple of hours and if it is going well then you can just kind of wrap things up or delegate more and more things to them so just getting off from the right foot and putting in them best practices and you can be really, really effective.
Mike: Yeah, that is interesting, so do you have tips on picking them or working with them?
Jonathan: There are different phases I always call the apple method; A is Assess the need that is where you are trying to figure out, so I will give you 5 tips.
So the 1st tip in the Apple method is Assess the Need that is where you are trying to figure out what the need is and so the first tip there that I would give is when you are starting off really take a little bit of time and figure out the skills set that you need for someone to be able to do the job. A correlation to that and this is kind of at the top of my mind because I have been working on some other projects is if you are trying to someone and they need to find some particular information, think through where you would find that information because it isn’t always going to come from goggle and goggle might not always be the best place to find that information. For example if you are trying to figure out the name of a manager for a car dealership, if you go to goggle and you look at car dealerships you might find the owner but you might not find the manager, so to find the manager you spend a couple of minutes searching you might find in some local publications or a list somewhere else, so just take a little bit of time and figure out the skills that you need and where the information is located when you are trying to figure out what the job is that you are going to do.
Step 2 in the APPLE method is P which is to Post the job and when you are posting the job one of the things that I would put as a tip a little hark in there is make sure that the people are reading it and especially if you are detailed oriented and you want them to be detail oriented, put in a little asterisk and that is like after you have the job description, put in something like please start your message with your favorite cereal brand or something and then very quickly you can go through and you see all the jobs that were cut and pasted they are like ‘dear sir I read this, I am very excited’ and you are like no, you didn’t read this because if you read this you would have started with cut and crunch.
Mike: Have you heard the Van Helen story about the M&M’s?
Mike: It is the same thing right, if they didn’t pull out the automobile cars that were brown M&M’s then they knew that they weren’t detailed oriented.
Jonathan: It was the Canaries Nikon mines they didn’t care about the M&M’s they cared about dying or whatever.
Mike: Right, they just wanted to make sure that these people are detailed oriented then maybe they wouldn’t go to a sound check or something because they knew they were on it.
Jonathan: So that is the P and then the 2nd P in that Apple method is Pre-screening the candidates. Now when you are pre-screening the candidates, the tip I have for you there is when you are looking for the different people that you are going to discuss take a little bit of time and you know don’t just chat with them but try if at all possible to you have a brief conversation with them because you learn so much more about if they are going to fit, if you think they are able to think on their feet, whatever just with a brief conversation with them and it is so efficient and it really doesn’t take you very long to do and you will gain a lot of information in a short amount of time.
They talk about if you have a job interview for an actual job I think they typically say that within like 2 minutes or maybe 30 seconds sometime very short if you are being interviewed the interviewer has pretty much made up their mind about you, very short amount of time, 30 seconds, 2 minutes or whatever. Same thing you can get a feel very quick if this is someone that you want to work with, so that is the 2nd P, the pre-screen tip.
And then the L in APPLE is leverage where you are actually hiring the person, the tip I have for when you actually go to hire someone I kind of talked about this briefly before is the first thing you do is make sure that it is very quick that they come back to you in a short amount of time just to make sure that they are on the right track and the other part is to set a very short deadline for when you need it, even if you don’t need something for 2 weeks or a week, say hey I need this in 12 hours or I need this in 24 hours and this there are two things number one it shows you have someone who is responsive, and number two it actually helps them because just like we, if you have a deadline and it is weeks in advance and you kind of going to procrastinate, but if you know you have a deadline you have to knock something out right now, then you are going to focus and you are going to get it done and you are going to move on to your next thing and actually the 3rd thing it does too is it sets the tone as far as you being a manager and as far as the relationship and you are saying hey I am busy, I have got things to do, I am taking this professionally and I expect that too, so it sets the expectations right and it kind of sets the right tone that you are on the ball and so that would be the L.
And then E is the end and that is ending the job and the suggestion I have there is just be generous, even if they do just a moderate job especially if you are working with people like from a 3rd world country, if they do an okay job, I tend to like to be generous with them, it doesn’t mean I am going to hire them I mean if they do a bad job, if they are blatantly bad then I am not going to do, if they are just kind of struggling with it a little bit I kind of cut them some slag and if they do a great job I like to give them a bonus and that kind of work with no matter where they are and the reason is because it is easier to think of virtual assistants as kind of a means to an end even if they are either US based or whatever because if you are interacting through e-mail, if you have all these tight deadlines and you are like this person is going to do this particular thing for me it is easier to think of them as kind of like a clock in the wheel of your business and that is an easy trap to fall into but I think a better way to approach it and it is smarter and just better all around is to think of it as a relationship you are trying to develop with them because if you have a great experience with a virtual assistant, not only can it help you now but that could help you on down the road and it can help build your network and all those things.
So if you go out of your way to be nice and generous with them that not only is a good thing to do but also is a smart thing for a business stand point because it builds up that goodwill because you never know on down the line when you might see them on Skype again and you can tap them and say hey I have got this emergency you did a great job of finding a person that arranged these flowers or whatever and they will be like sure I love working with you and how can I help right now.
Mike: Very cool, can it be Apples? I would like to know about the spend in on them like how do you decide what to pay them because I know they come in at like, you know there are people that are very inexpensive and there are people that are very expensive and that is kind of I look at it sometimes and be like you know I guess that is part of this Apples to figure out but what do you do, do you go for the cheapest person or do you do the whole test or decide who you want to choose because obviously that is a choice for a lot of people.
Jonathan: I mean honestly I tend to go for the cheap and then sometimes I regret it or other people tend to go for the more expensive and then they say see you know I end up better so sometimes when you pay more upfront you are going to save time but really when it comes down to me though, it isn’t really about the money it is about if I am on a place like O Desk, I look for people that have and this goes back to the prescreening part, I look for people that have like immense amount of like 100, 500, or even 1,000 hours on O Desk, I look for people that have a 5 star rating, maybe 4.8 out of 5 and I rarely use someone who is lower than like a 4.7.
And then the 3rd thing I do is when I am looking at their background, you can have a 4.99 and have 5,000 hours and you are like great this person is going to knock it out the part I have got this really important banner I have got to design, you hire him and then they don’t do a good job and you are like what happened and well what happened was most of those hours weren’t web research, they have all this time but it isn’t relevant to what you are looking for. So as long as they have relevant time, they have a good track record, then the money really doesn’t matter, you can find quality people that are $2/hr, $10/hr if you can find someone who meets this criteria, who has a proven track record then the money almost becomes a non issue sometimes.
Mike: Wauh, that is fantastic! Well thank you so much Jonathan.
Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely.
Mike: And where can people find you if they want to get a hold of you? I know you have a really great podcast coming up, where can they find you? Where can they find everything about you?
Jonathan: Sure, they can go to erfirstvirtualassistant.com and that is also the name of my podcast it is on ITunes and the beginning of March I will be kicking off a whole new series of interviews and various other things related to virtual assistant.
Mike: Very cool and thank you so much and hopefully we can get you back on the show again another time.
Jonathan: Thanks for inviting me I really enjoyed it.
Mike: Okay, talk to you soon. Okay well do go ahead over there to Jonathan’s website and check out what he has there I know he is revamping his own podcast as he said and thank you to Julius Solaris for talking about No Shows, please head over to the event manager blogs, support Julius, Julius has a really great blog, in fact it is one of the most popular blogs if not the most popular blog in website for the meetings industry and of course Jon Trask, I always thank Jon, Jon is a great guy and head over AV for Planners and tell us what you think, try free RFP builder and if you want we will do an evaluation for you, I know that Jon wanted me to tell you that if you want a free evaluation for your next show you can go in there, fill out your RFP and we have a directory in there you can find 3 AV companies or you can even put in your own AV company if you want to use your own AV company maybe in house or whoever you are looking at and Jon will do a free evaluation which is basically like a $1,500 value but you just have to e-mail him at [email protected], tell him that you heard about this offer on the show and he will do a free evaluation and it is pretty handy we have done a few of them for a few companies as we were getting the site up and running and check that out.
Lastly I would like to kind of talk to you a little bit more about virtual assistants because after the interview I started to think to myself like where did virtual assistants, because we talk about using people in other countries and I know that there is an association which I found called the IVAA which is an association of virtual assistants and I spoke with Yvonne from there and I just was wondering what the difference was between their association and sites like these, E lance and O Desk and what is the difference between that and their association and she said basically that E lance and O Desk are for short term arrangements whereas their association, they are long term relationships so it was kind of an interesting twist on the whole thing.
So, once again if you enjoyed the show, go on to ITunes and leave a review, hopefully a good review but if it is a bad review please just put a bad review in too, we don’t mind that, we just want to get people talking to us, you can always email me at [email protected] and I was thinking too if you just take an Instagram picture of yourself where you are listening to the show, it will be cool to post it up on Instagram, put a hash tag, meetings podcast and see where people are, I just did one as I was recording this and it will be fun to see where people are when they are listening to the show.
So, again I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to next week when we will do another podcast, so I will see you then.