Hiring And Managing International Workers?
Hiring and managing international workers is hard. It takes time to build trust, and it's hard to know if you're getting the best out of your VA.
It can be a challenge. They may not have the same culture, customs, or language as you do.
In order to make sure that the relationship is a good one, there are several things you can do to help make it successful.
Dennis Yu knows this all too well. He's been in the Virtual Assistant (VA) industry for over 20 years, hiring VAs from all around the world and making millions of dollars of mistakes along the way. Now he's perfected his system for finding, retaining, and managing the top 2% of VAs that exist in the world.
That's what we're going to cover today with Dennis Yu. He's going to help us understand how to find, hire and retain the best VAs from around the world.
Listen to the Episode
Atiba de Souza: What if I told you that there's someone who has been in the VA industry for over 20 years, hiring international workers from all around the world and he has made millions of dollars of mistakes and perfected the system on how to find, and hire, retain, and manage the top 2% of VAs that exist in this world?
What if I told you, you can learn from him? Well, guess what. Welcome to the Build Your Team Show. I am your host Atiba, and today that's who I have, my friend, Dennis Yu. We're gonna jump in right now and learn from Dennis. And as always, we are brought to you by Client Attraction Pros. If you are a thought leader or need to be the thought leader you know you need to be the thought leader of your industry, we help you create video content to become that thought leader and we make it easy, fun, and fast.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Build Your Team Show, as always, I am your host Atiba, but today I have a guest with me, Dennis Yu. And first off, Dennis is one of the most generous people and giving people you will ever meet in your life. And so there's no real secret, at least not to me, as to why he believes so much in giving and helping in the international markets with international workers. So, dennis, welcome to the show, my friend.
Dennis Yu: Welcome Atiba and good to see you here, too.
Atiba de Souza: Thank you and, you know, it's great that we finally got here. And guys, I gotta tell you, Dennis is super busy, so I'm so grateful for his time today. So, I definitely wanna jump right in. And you know, we're using a term. International workers. And there's a bit of a shift because for a long time, we've been saying "VAs", which was short for virtual assistance.
Right? Why the shift what's going on there internationally?
Dennis Yu: Two things, first off I'm the world's highest paid VA.
Atiba de Souza: Wow.
Dennis Yu: Right? Do you know another VA who is as well known or makes as much money as I do?
Atiba de Souza: No.
Dennis Yu: When you hear the term VA, what do you think?
Atiba de Souza: Well, I think a lot of people have the connotation of VA as someone who is downtrodden poor and will do anything you want them to do and you can just dump stuff on them.
Dennis Yu: Right. Some cheap worker who barely speaks English that you pay $3 an hour to do some menial, repetitive task. And that is true for 98% of them. But the 2%, which we're gonna talk about how to find, and how to hire, and how to train, and how to manage and that kind of thing. Are the ones who can do not just the work and do it at a world class level, but actually manage other team members and manage clients and even run your business.
Isn't that crazy? 'Cause that this is how— ever since COVID, we've all become these digital workers that are working through Zoom. And so a VA is anyone who doesn't do work that requires physical proximity. So like a garbage man, I guess technically has to be there or a chef technically has to be there, but almost all of us have now become VAs because of COVID and accelerated this whole digital transformation.
So the term "international worker" is, it's like, the nicer word for VA because we're all VAs if we're working online in some way, but specifically international workers, we see as six different roles. And these are roles that will vary by country. So, you know, the VAs that come from the Philippines or international workers that come from the Philippines are different than Pakistan or Brazil or Eastern Europe.
There's different skill sets that you typically see in these different countries. And so we want to tap into that. We know that graphics design and video and creative manipulation is usually best in the Philippines. We know that programming, harder skills, website design is gonna be more in like Eastern Europe.
We know call center work may be better in certain parts of Latin America, or even in-sourced into Utah where you have house moms. I consider those VAs, even though they're not really international workers, but the point is we're hiring other people to do our work. Not because they're cheaper, although initially you go to Fiverr if you want them cheaper, but because they are worthy of investment in the long run. So I know you and I, we have team members that have been with us for years, and maybe they started at a few dollars an hour, but they move up. And the reason why we'll continue to invest in them in their skills is because they will stay with us for years.
And if you want loyal workers who can follow a process and are happy to stay in that role for years, instead of like in the US, you hire someone six months later, they go off and try to get some other job to make more or whatever, it's not worth investing in people that are gonna leave you in a few months. But who are happy, loyal. That for example is great for the Philippines. If you want all round people, especially lead gen and more task driven work, like India is great for that. But the point is there's all these international workers that can do the work that you and I don't want to do. But then the chicken and the egg, as you know, is how do I get my first one?
How much do I pay? How do I hire the right one? I'm apprehensive about managing someone who might be halfway across the planet. I don't know what to do. So we see a lot of people who just keep struggling in this space. And then later they jump in and realize the water's warm. They realize it's awesome. They wondered why they waited years of wasting all this time, doing all this stuff all by themselves.
And for $500 a month, you can have someone who's there for you, eight hours a day, doing all this kind of stuff. I have one question for you, Atiba.
Atiba de Souza: Sure.
Dennis Yu: If you don't have a VA. Who is the VA in your business?
Atiba de Souza: You are.
Dennis Yu: That's right. So if you make a list of all the things that you do, what percent of your time— like how many hours a day do you do stuff that is repetitive, that you shouldn't have to do that you don't want? You end up doing it 'cause no one else is doing it. And I believe everyone should start there and say, what are those things?
And we all know it. I've asked this question hundreds of times and the most common answer, 'cause I— you know, some people say like 30 minutes a day, some people say like four or five hours a day, depending on the kind of business they have, most of it's like content-related stuff or lead gen or scheduling or personal assistant stuff.
When you start to get to larger companies that have 10 plus people, it starts to be more organizational. But the average I've heard is two hours per day.
Atiba de Souza: Which is
Dennis Yu: what is, What is that worth? What is two hours a day, two hours more of sleep? Two hours more, you know, with your family or being able to exercise or being able to read or be like, what's that worth to you? Two hours a day.
Atiba de Souza: Yeah. An absolute lot. I mean, just think about how much you— you said two hours of sleep. I'm gonna stop right there. Okay. Because, especially for us entrepreneurs, if you're a true entrepreneur and you're even early stage, you're probably not sleeping a lot, but you're doing everything. The first thing to get sacrificed at your feet.
Dennis Yu: You've heard about the E-Myth and working on your business versus in your business. You know, there's a bunch of stuff that you shouldn't have to do. You've hired random people on Fiverr or Upwork or Craigslist or whatever. And you find that it's a pain in the butt to train them up and they don't do the work as well as you need so that you end up doing it yourself. "Nobody else can do it as well as I can do it because my business is unique" and like, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I've heard all of that kind of stuff thousands of times. The bottom line is you can't blame the international worker. It's 'cause you didn't filter for the highest quality people. You can hire people that speak English as well as you and I do.
Atiba de Souza: You actually can.
Dennis Yu: Who can do all these things to the point where I blush, 'cause I think there's someone for 10 bucks an hour that can do as good of a job as me in certain roles.
Maybe they don't have the same relationships, maybe they don't have the same level of perceived authority, in fact, I don't even want these folks to have perceived authority. So, you know, John Jonas, he's my friend and he started onlinejobs.ph.
Atiba de Souza: Yes.
Dennis Yu: I remember, I wanna say seven or eight years ago, he said to me, "Dennis, why do you keep uplifting your VAs? You keep saying, wow, congratulations, Mary or Juan for, you know, good job on this project or whatever." And you know why he says that? He says, he told— I keep doing it anyway, even though he tells me not to. But why do you think he tells, you know, he says don't ever promote your VAs.
Atiba de Souza: I have no idea, why?
Dennis Yu: Because other people see who your VA is. If you tag them in LinkedIn or Facebook or whatever, and then they steal them, they'll steal your VAs. So, in the groups that you have, so in your project management system or your Slack, or whatever, you know, say congratulations in your weekly team meetings, do that sort of thing, but you're not supposed to do it publicly, 'cause you may lose them.
And I've had a lot of VAs that have left, but then a lot of VAs, they will stay— and I'll just use VA cuz that's just like what I've used for 20 years. But, I know international worker is supposed to be the phrase you're using, but for me, it's like, you know, Facebook is Meta now, but It's still Facebook. I still call Facebook.
Atiba de Souza: It's still Facebook, yes.
Dennis Yu: Okay, I mean, you can call it whatever you want, but what's really cool is that our team members will say, "I had this other company, who' a client of ours. Reach out and offer me double what I'm making now. But I love working with you guys. I've been with you for five years. You're treated me so well that I'm loyal. In fact, I wanted to tell you that I'm proud that I didn't accept the offer. I didn't even talk to them about how they tried to lure me away for more money." How does that make you feel when you see something like that?
Atiba de Souza: And I just had that happen to me actually too last week, somebody did just that to one of my staff members.
Dennis Yu: Yeah, and if you do a good job, they will stay with you and it's not because you're trying to pay them less. They might find another job that pays more. And I've seen this happen a lot. And for those of you that have a lot of VAs, then you know this is true. Sometimes someone who's relatively new in their career, they've only been with you a year or two, they'll they'll have the allure of money and they'll think, "Yeah, I can make 50% more."
So instead of making, you know, $700 a month, I can make a thousand dollars a month. And then we're like, "Yep. go ahead. You know, good job. Congratulations. Awesome. So proud of you." And then what happens. Three months later, they come back saying, "Oh, well it didn't work out or whatever, please, please, please. Can I have my job back?"
Yeah. You had to touch the wet paint to see that the long term relationship and the ability to grow and all that's worth more than someone who can offer you more on a project, 'cause when that project ends or when the client doesn't like you or they ask for things that are beyond the role that you— 'cause in our company, everyone has to do one of these six roles.
Then you realize it's like, you know, you're married and you see this other pretty woman and you like, you need to stay loyal.
Atiba de Souza: Don't get yourself in trouble.
Dennis Yu: Yep. There's plenty of beautiful women, but you know, I know like in, you know, in Islam you can have four wives and there's other sorts of things. I'm just an old fashioned kind of guy. I believe that if you work for a company, you should work for that company and be an apprentice and learn and move up to different levels.
And that's what we do for our VAs. We have a ton of training. We are always training. We're always learning. We're always leveling on.
Atiba de Souza: Yes, and that builds that loyalty, right? When you're training them and 'cause they know you're investing in them, they're investing in you and it's a two-way way street. Right? And I wanna go back to something that you said that was, I'm gonna use the word brilliant. Right? And you said they're 98%, but you're not looking for them.
You're looking for the 2%
Dennis Yu: That's right.
Atiba de Souza: And that's one of the things that I tell people all the time that I absolutely love about the international market is if I'm looking for a skill set, I can go out and find someone who is the best in the world at it.
Dennis Yu: Mm-hmm
Atiba de Souza: Or near the best in the world for whatever I can afford.
Right? Like you can go really find people who are super great at what they do.
Dennis Yu: Mm-hmm.
Atiba de Souza: And they just add so much to your team, but the question I always get back, so I'm not gonna throw it to you is so how do you avoid the 98 and, hone in on the 2?
Dennis Yu: When I make a job post, well, I don't make the job post, but when we have job posts like on onlinejobs.ph, for example, or Upwork, whatnot, we probably get 200 applicants on average.
Atiba de Souza: Mm-hmm.
Dennis Yu: And so we do a couple things to screen these people as part of the process, by the way, if you don't have a screening system or process, you might as well just like walk into a wasps nest with no protection and just get stung to death, 'cause you're never, it's just, just don't do that, okay? So let me show you a few things that we do that you guys who are listening or watching we will help you right away. First off, in the job post. Make sure that there is a secret keyword. So somewhere in the middle, we bury the word and it says in the subject line, use the keyword hedgehog to show that you're paying attention.
And then that's just buried in the middle randomly in there. And so when we see hundreds of applications come in and if they don't have the word hedgehog, then we know that they're not fit to be a designer. Well, we have a different role. Like maybe rabbit is a project manager or video editor. I forgot there's a different word for each of the six roles that we have.
And so we're looking for that key word. And if they don't do that, they show that they can't follow directions. And if you do hire them, and I've made this mistake, I've hired dozens of people who didn't use the magic word and they never work out because The people's current performance is indicative of their future performance.
So you don't have to give them this whole quiz and like this whole complex thing where they have to submit all this stuff. Later phases, you do that. But the initial screening step that will eliminate 80, 90% of people is using the magic word. Right? That's number one. Number two is when you have a job description and in Pakistan or Philippines, they'll call it a JD. That job description shouldn't be something that you just sort of wrote off the fly, such as like, "Oh, I need to get a website built, or I need to have this one thing done." That's a project.
Atiba de Souza: Right.
Dennis Yu: We're hiring VAs, we're hiring people into a process, not a project. A process is an ongoing function like customer support or video editing videos that we have on an ongoing basis or onboarding customers or something that's an ongoing kind of thing. So if you're creating content and you're doing that on an ongoing basis, then you're gonna need someone in an ongoing role. Not a freelancer that you have to keep rehiring every couple months to find a new freelancer 'cause freelancers, they come and go. And what you're, we're talking about hiring someone who stays in that position to own that process, which means there has to be an SOP behind that job description.
If you have a job description that is kind of floating out in mid-air with no underlying SOP, which is like how the factory is supposed to run, guess who has to manage that VA every step of the way, guess who has to train that VA every step of the way? And now all of a sudden you've become the VA, which defeats the whole purpose of having a VA.
A VA is there to save you time to take work off your plate, to take the load off of you. Instead of creating more work for you. If that VA is creating more work for you, that's probably you didn't screen them properly. And you don't have a process that ties back to the job description.
Atiba de Souza: Right.
Dennis Yu: If you have those two things in place, then interviewing's very easy.
You see who's actually qualified. We make all of our VA's, third thing, we make all of our VAs make a one minute video. Even people that are not on camera, Zoom, shy, you know, in the Philippines, they're kind of shy. They don't wanna be on video for various— they're ashamed of their English, something like that, but we still require people to make one minute videos, 'cause we wanna see who they are. We wanna see their vibe. We wanna see if they can follow directions. We wanna see whether they're willing to show up. The people that won't make a one minute video and I've made— this is the first 10 years, I didn't have this one minute video thing.
The people that won't do that are also most likely to ghost you. And in the Philippines, there's this thing called the disappearing VA. You know what I'm talking about right?
Atiba de Souza: Mm-hmm.
Dennis Yu: So when the VA gets ashamed or scared, or they don't know what to do instead of asking, they just disappear.
Atiba de Souza: Just disappear.
Dennis Yu: Because they, they don't want to offend and they always wanna plea. They're afraid of being, you know, embarrassed and it's different by different countries. Jonathan Banish and I talk about the power distance rule so that you can look at the Philippines as one of the highest power distance countries. The US is kind of in the middle, Australia is kind of a low power distance number.
So they're okay with talking back and, you know, being rebellious versus like the Philippines there, there's a huge distance. They believe like whatever the boss says, even if it's wrong, you know, we should do that. Like blindly obey kind of stuff. So you have to have them be willing to speak up. If there's something they don't understand, or if they need help.
'Cause if someone is very shy and scared and won't even make a one minute video. If they're going through your SOP on how to onboard a customer or set the landing page, or use a tool in particular way, and they don't know what they're doing, they're just gonna ghost on you. And then you're gonna have to hunt them down, play hide, and go seek.
And you'll waste all this time going in circles. You can avoid that by having them as part of the application process, submit a one minute video. And we do that in Pakistan. You saw our group just last week, hit 20,000 people. Isn't that crazy?
Atiba de Souza: Wow.
Dennis Yu: And I've met a lot of these folks in person. I spoke at a conference that had 30,000 people a month and a half ago, and they're all eager to make $500 a month.
Atiba de Souza: That's awesome. And before we go on, let me also, 'cause you just mentioned your group and Pakistan. It's digitalmarketingwithDennisYu.com will take you straight to that Facebook.
Dennis Yu: Or just go to Facebook, yeah. It's a Facebook group called Digital Marketing with Dennis Yu, and if you are looking to hire a VA, these are VAs that are trained in our process, but just because they're in the group, doesn't mean they're qualified. We allow anyone to join a group. Anyone can go through our training.
Our whole mission is to create a million jobs of it could be anywhere, but that group happens to be Pakistan and making $500 a month, is life changing money.
Atiba de Souza: Life-changing.
Dennis Yu: Yeah. For you and me that's whatever. You know, I went to a fancy steakhouse here in Vegas last night and the meal was $500, right?
Atiba de Souza: Wow.
Dennis Yu: but that's Vegas so whatever. Vegas steakhouses, that's kind of how it is, you know?
Yeah. The steak is $70 and they don't even give you a side with that. The side's another $20.
Atiba de Souza: That, well, we could talk about food and steakhouses another time, but yes, that, that's always one of the issues I have with steakhouse. But anyway, you know, it's interesting that you bring up that, that the secret keyword. So I actually learned that from, Kasim.
Dennis Yu: huh?
Atiba de Souza: , and he talks a lot about that too, in his process of how he hires VAs.
And it's funny, it's the one thing that I've never actually used, but listening to you just now, a light bulb went off and so guys, sharing my insights here with you too, listening to Dennis, the light bulb went off because you are assigning a different word to each job type in each job description.
And, you know, we get that too, you know. I'm so grateful that online jobs put into 200 resume limit. Right? I don't know if you know that, but there's now a limit that you can't get more than 200 resume or 200 applicants for one job post. And we hit that all the time.
Dennis Yu: Yeah.
Atiba de Souza: But then there's a lot of people to go through and we have to open every single message to see, did you actually follow the instructions? But putting it in the subject line,
Dennis Yu: Mm-hmm.
Atiba de Souza: That save us a ton of time. So, yeah, really, really, really great. And we talk all the time here about the power of the SOP and that there's no point in hiring someone. If you don't know what they're going to do, if you don't have it systemized and processed, you're just wasting everyone's time. I don't know about you, but tell me if you've seen this with business owners who fall into that disaster, and then they blame the international worker, the VA, and they say, "I didn't have any luck or success. They were just all horrible." And it's like, no, it's not them. Right? Have you noticed that too?
Dennis Yu: That's like going to the gym, working out really hard for two hours and saying the gym is a scam 'cause you don't have six pack abs. Right. Well, you need to know how to use the machines and you need to have a plan. You can't just go work out one time. "Well, I try to gym. Gyms are all scams." No, if you actually know what you're doing and you have a plan, then it actually works out very well.
And the same thing for VAs, you've gotta have a plan 90%+ of the time. If there's a problem with the VA, the problem is with you. Your lack of process. You thinking that that VA can do everything. That's what we call a super VA. There's no such thing as a super VA, have you seen these people? They make job posts that are often in groups and it says, I need a VA who can do landing pages and schedule my stuff and do PPC and edit videos and do copywriting and you know, do WordPress and program stuff.
And I'm willing to pay $8 an hour for someone who can do all that. And I'll say, "I'm the world's highest paid, probably the most skillful VA in the world. I can't even do all those things."
Atiba de Souza: I can't do it. I can't do it. Right. Yeah. So a friend of mine says, you know, just like you try to help a lot of people get into hiring their first. And he sent me the job description that he was going to post and I read it and I said, do you realize this is a minimum of three different people?
You can't post this.
Dennis Yu: You can get it done, but yet it has to be— they're humans, okay? They're not like robots on the other side of the planet, they have different skills. You have training. One of the things we like to do is with the job description, we also link to the training in there as well to show examples of how it's done.
'Cause you could say, "Oh yeah, I need a video editor." And then in their mind, they're thinking video editor? They have a different idea of what a video editor is than what you have. Even if you list the tools, even if you list your process, even if you list these other things, you need to show examples of the work.
So we have VAs that will take long form video, like this thing here in Riverside, and turn it into a YouTube and turn it into an article and turn it into a book like a number one best selling book. That's literally done through our VAs, but the thing is we have demonstrated examples. We'll say, "Oh, you're video editor? Here is example, example, example, example of how we have done it using this particular process."
And that way, they can clearly see are they qualified or not? Because it doesn't even matter what the country is. A lot of people say this, people in India or Pakistan are more guilty of doing this. Every country's guilty of doing this. which is applying, saying, "Hello, sir, I am an expert in whatever the thing is that you want. You know, I have six months of experience and I'm an expert in PPC." Really? You are. I don't think so. Here is what expert level looks like. And we have a six level system and everyone can come in and look. Okay, have you done these particular things? Well, then you are not a level four. You're a level two. Look at, these are the different things show me that you've done these particular things and we can all objectively agree at what level you are, even though. Well, my last job I was making this much money and I was a senior person. Okay. Well, that was that company. In this company, we are very clear about here's what has to happen at each level.
If you can do those things, you don't have to be in the job for five years. If you can do those things, now, we're gonna pay you at that wage now.
Atiba de Souza: Right. That's brilliant. That is absolutely brilliant. That's the second major value bomb for me today. Okay. So guys, I hope y'all are getting something, cause I'm getting a ton. If nothing else, I'm getting a ton because Dennis, as you can tell is an absolute master of understanding how to find, as he said, that 2% of the people who are absolutely great to bring into your organization to really help take your organization to the next level, to help you take your organization to the next level. Now, Dennis, we can talk forever and we didn't even get to touch on your best selling book that your VA's helped you write on, on this edition.
But I do want you to— what are you working on right now? And we touched on it a little bit earlier, but what are you working on right now? And how can people get started working with you and some of the VAs international workers that you are working with.
Dennis Yu: So, Atiba, the thing I see is the big pain point. Us as entrepreneurs and solopreneurs face is that we might produce content, like have a podcast like this. Maybe we'll do a zoom call with the client, but then we're off to the next thing. And we don't have the time to follow through and turn this podcast into a YouTube, in a book and an article and run ads against it and whatnot.
We don't have time to look at that client call and write the summary notes out of it and follow up and, you know, do client onboarding, or we don't have the ability to create these SOPs because we're busy doing all this different work. I'm like, I gotta sit down and write an SOP. Well, guess what? If you've recorded a Zoom where you're literally doing it?
I've like the way I got this TikTok book was I recorded just Zooms of myself as I'm making ads and just talking as I'm making ads and in interviewing other people who are the best in the world and TikTok, and I'm just asking them questions. And all of that stuff, you know, thank goodness there's people who have the patience that go through like 50 hours of Dennis talking to these other people and assemble it.
What I want you guys to think about is if you were at least producing something that can be turned into an SOP, because someone can follow your zoom or loom, like always record everything that you're doing. Always. You never know, when someone's gonna say something really good and oh, dang it. I wish I recorded that.
But as long as that's being. As long as your podcasts are being recorded, even if you're on someone else's podcast, they may or may not record it properly, make sure you have the video, then you can repurpose it. So the most important thing is I wanna make sure you know, that as long as you've recorded that even if it was something five years ago, like you and Ryan Deiss talking about the future of digital marketing, whatever. You could still get value, you can still multiply that and hit a home run out of something that was years ago.
As long as you have this content factory. And the content factory just do a search on digital marketer content factory. And you'll see me walk through the whole process is how
Atiba de Souza: —which is brilliant by the way.
Dennis Yu: Thank you. Is how we get our international workers to take— 'cause all of us as entrepreneurs. If we are focusing our time on the highest and best use of our time, it's with relationships.
It's with clients, it's not doing things in the kitchen, right? Things in the factory. So each of us should hire at least one person who's working on processing our content. So we're not having to do any processing if you don't have any VAs yet, and it can— it's kind of weird to go from nothing to one. It feels like a big jump.
A lot of you guys, I know are like 10 VAs or even 20 VAs. And if you don't have any VAs, then the stuff that Atiba and I are talking about might not resonate with you. But those of you guys who do have a lot of VAs, you know, what I'm telling you is exactly what the pain point is, and I'm saving you guys a ton of time cuz you know what I'm talking about, but your first VA make sure it's a senior VA. Because once you have it's like Lays, right?
What's the model for lays potato chips? So you can't have just one VA you're gonna wanna have multiple VAs, but don't just hire five VAs right away. 'Cause then you just hire one VA first. Make sure you can manage them. Just test with one, but make sure that's a senior VA. Because as you hire another VA, a second and a third VA, you don't wanna have to personally train that VA.
If that first VA you hire Is senior enough to understand everything that I do. We follow this thing called Learn, Do, Teach. Everything that I'm learning how to do, I'm documenting how I'm doing it. And then I'm gonna teach it to other people. Once I've done it successfully, at least three times, then I can mentor someone else to also do that same thing.
So you're building in an apprentice model. And anyone I know that is north of 10 VAs, they've hired intentionally for people that can be team leads and project managers. So your first people in need to be capable of team leads meaning, they have managed other people before. A lot of VAs will say that they have 'cause they worked in a call center and they were a supervisor.
That's not the same thing. Right? Listening to other people's calls is not the same thing as actually managing and coaching qualifying. So when people are applying to be a an international worker in our system or for other clients like agencies or whatever, we're helping them scale their VAs. We always have other people that are project managers that are doing the screening and the interviewing and whatnot.
And I'm not even involved. I don't even wanna be involved. Right. Cause then that's, that's defeating the whole purpose of having other people handling the process. You wanna be an owner of the business, not a worker inside your business. And to do that, you need to start with people who are relatively senior. You might have to pay them a little bit more to get started, but then those VAs can manage these other VAs that are coming through.
So if you realize that, then you're always thinking Ray Dalio wrote a book called Principles. He's one of my favorite authors in the world. He's one of the richest men in the world too, and all that because he's very logical. And he talks about analyzing your business as if you are an architect above— it's like this machine, your business is the machine and you're not emotionally connected to like, like most entrepreneurs are so like emotionally in their business, they can't step out and think objectively. But imagine you were looking above. Looking down on your business objectively, like a surgeon's looking at a patient, and you're looking at these gears and, you know, machine like things that are turning and this engine with all these different parts.
And you're trying to troubleshoot this engine. Maybe, it's smoke is coming out. Maybe the gears are not turning properly. You're trying to troubleshoot this machine to make it work better. You're gonna put VAs in each of those different parts of the process, or maybe their existing team leads in America, but whatever it is, you're gonna make sure everything's done by functions.
And then you have owners of the functions. So if you hire someone, don't craft a role around that person. You have the machine and you have different people that are parts of the machine. So that way, if you lose somebody, you can hire someone else into that role. If you have just one person in that role and you built a role around that one person, the odds of being able to replace that person when they leave is low, it's hard.
So we always make sure that the machine is run by functions and we put people in the functions, right?
Not hiring people and then trying to make it work with the people we have. Which is the problem. When you have just one or two VAs, you try to weird Frankenstein your way into making it fit, but always think of it as an overall set of functions.
And you put people in the functions and then the last piece here, and this is for pro entrepreneurs. These are for people that are going from seven to eight figures. I've seen this all the time. This is not theoretical. I can give you hundreds of examples. Always have at least two people who can do that particular role.
Never have only one. 'Cause if that person leaves, they go on vacation, they get injured. Now you're in trouble. Even if you don't have enough work for two people. Always have at least a second person, it could be someone else in another function that you cross train, always have two. Because you could have like somebody who's really good at doing this one thing.
And then they leave. I've seen so many businesses crippled when they lose that one key person and they have to try to scramble to replace them 'cause they didn't realize 'cause they're doing great and they're doing great, and then they lose that one person because for whatever reason. Always in any function, you never want to have just one, person, 'cause that creates a point of failure, a bottleneck.
And you think it'll never happen to you. I've been in this business for 30 years. Promise you, it happens. The most successful entrepreneurs happens all the time. Always make sure you have a second person who— even if you have to pay extra. So let's say, you have somebody who just does administration in HR and project management and that's only a halftime job.
Get a second one, because you never know. My buddy Aliah wad is the most successful personal injury attorney in America on social media. He's got an eight figure company just doing personal injury, just on social media. He doesn't even do PPC or these, he's just doing social media. So he's processed in content at scale, full disclosure, a client of ours.
Right. And he has followed these rules. He's got a ton of VAs and he's even wasting money because he has at least two people in every function.
Atiba de Souza: So smart. Absolutely.
Dennis Yu: 'Cause you never wanna be caught, you know, where you're in trouble, right? What happens with that? Atiba, if you look at any one of the people in your company and everyone here listening and watching, think about this for yourself and even if it's just you, well, then, you know, if you take that person out, if you take any one person in your company, out of your business, can it continue to operate for another 30 days?
Atiba de Souza: Right. And that's the key. And so I know for us, we are at the place now where I think we are, we have two positions that are only one deep and everyone else is doubled up.
Dennis Yu: Yeah.
Atiba de Souza: for that exact purpose.
Dennis Yu: Yeah. And how about you? Right. If you wanted to go on vacation for 30 days, what would happen to your business?
Atiba de Souza: It will function just slowly. And so, we're getting there.
Dennis Yu: Yeah.
But for most people, the whole thing ends. They run out of oxygen immediately. At least you, you know, you're at the point, what do you have? Like a dozen VAs now. That's great. Right? 17, That's awesome. And I'm not saying higher for the sake Of empire building or just to say, Oh yeah?
Well, I have 20 VAs like that— no, but your every hire we have is so that we can be less involved in the business, but still be able to pump out quality because we have SOPs and QA to determine, especially if you're an agency, especially if it's service driven where there's some component where it's not just like manufacturing, widgets, but there's a component of expertise and client facing touch.
There's SOPs to determine whether the work is done. Like, every month clients should get surveys saying, "Hey, how do you think we did one to five?"
Atiba de Souza: Yep.
Dennis Yu: If whoever's in charge of that project gets less than five stars. Then the project manager should come in and say, okay, let's figure out what do we need to do to raise this to five stars?
We're on the same team now. We always wanna get five stars. So we have Infusionsoft send out these notes every month. It's easy. A lot of people think Infusionsoft or HubSpot or whatever is just for lead gen and auto responders. I think the number one use of marketing automation is automatic nagging and nagging customers to review us, nagging team members to submit their end of day report. If they've not, everyone has to submit an end of day report. Right? Things like that processes. Yeah.
Atiba de Souza: And I think that's, I mean, we're venturing there, but you're right. They call it marketing automation, but it's really communications automation. Cause that's really what marketing is. It's all about communications. Right? And it's whether it's internal, external, it's all communications. So, completely, completely there with you.
Dennis, that was great. Another set of brilliant value bombs. Thank you. So how does someone reach you, now? How do they find you?
Dennis Yu: Whatever your favorite channel is, back when I built the analytics at Yahoo, 20 some years ago, I knew we were in trouble 'cause the other engineers on my team, when people would say, well, how do you do this one thing? They'd say "Google it." I said, "You work at Yahoo." You can't be saying stuff like that.
Atiba de Souza: Shouldn't be Googling.
Dennis Yu: Yeah. But now the answers, "Google it." Like if I wanna find certain things that are on Facebook, like posts that I've made from a long time ago, I Google it. To find it.
Atiba de Souza: You Google yourself, you Google your own Facebook page to find the post. That's awesome.
Dennis Yu: Yeah. Reach out. Let me know what you think. Let me know what stage you're at. Let me know if there's certain nuggets that resonate with you based on what Atiba and I have said, and I'd love to see who you've hired, what they're doing, you know, how, how you're doing like six months down the road, and we can feature you on onlinejobs.ph, which my buddy, John Jonas founded, but we do a lot of training together and this creates more examples.
So the idea of learned, do, teach is as you scale up your business and you go from a solopreneur to having 17 VAs, like Atiba has, that sets the example for other people to follow. We believe you can only credibly give advice on something you have done yourself. There's a lot of people talking all kinds of stuff that they regurgitate, what they heard someone else say, and it could be true, but I believe you don't have the right to say it unless you've done it yourself.
And so we wanna encourage more people who are actually showing the good, bad and ugly of hiring virtual assistance and what's working. What's not working. That's why we document everything. Everything like in these books is based on our direct experience. Not like what we think might be cool.
Atiba de Souza: Yeah. That is awesome. Dennis, thank you for being here, my friend.
Dennis Yu: Thank you, Atiba.
Atiba de Souza: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Everyone listening? I don't even know what to say. Because Dennis just gave such a blueprint.
Dennis Yu: Share it, repurpose right? The reason why we're doing this is 'cause we want other people to overcome this pain of doing all this stuff that's not worth their time, but they they're stuck 'cause they don't know how and—
Atiba de Souza: Yes.
Dennis Yu: Learn from what Atiba has done. And Atiba is repurposing this content. He's doing this so he can help more entrepreneurs.
But if he has it only on YouTube or only on the website, not enough people are gonna see it.
Atiba de Souza: Gotta get it out there.
Dennis Yu: And then put it out there for a dollar a day.
Atiba de Souza: Yes. Which is how, and so I'm gonna wrap all of this up this way. That's actually how I first met Dennis, when he mentioned earlier digital marketer and the content machine, and the dollar a day strategy. I was literally studying Dennis Yu and learning and taking his course and then walking down this street in San Diego and ran into him.
And that's what started this wonderful relationship that we have had. Dennis, I thank you for being here. My friend,
Dennis Yu: Appreciate so much Atiba, and all you guys look at what Atiba's doing. This guy puts it into practice. So he's not just listening to how you should make one minute videos and listening to how you do dollar a day. He's actually implementing it and you guys can— will probably listen and find it's interesting, but I encourage you, try it out. Your first one minute videos might suck. Your first few dollar a day boosts on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or TikTok might not work as well. But I promise you if just like any sort of new thing that you're learning, you're gonna find that it's awesome. Your first couple VAs, maybe it's a little bit ugly.
'Cause new managers are kind of like bad managers 'Cause they don't know how to manage. Like new parents are bad parents. But you're gonna learn and you're gonna find that it's amazing. And I would love to hear what's working for you guys, or what's not working, like reach out. I'm a real human, I always reply to messages.
It might take me a few days, but Atiba can tell you, I always reply. I wanna see you guys grow and I love how Atiba's here. Atiba and I both have the same mission. We wanna see you guys grow.
Atiba de Souza: Yes, absolutely. So we'll see you guys soon. Bye everyone.