Aaron O’Sullivan is an expert in outsourcing. At Systems, Culture & Impact, Aaron teaches his readers and clients the secrets to delegation and outsourcing efficiently so they can handle the workload of their Amazon business.
Since 2013 Aaron has sold many millions of dollars worth of product across the Amazon marketplaces. He’s been involved in building some fairly large teams in the Philippines to handle many different private label products across many different brands. It’s been his role to figure out all of the systems and process within the team. Through that process of trial and error, he’s been able to learn quite a few things along the way. Today, he’s here to share some of those things he’s learned on his journey so far.
Eventually, there will come a time when you, as a business owner, will hit your capacity. You’re fighting fires all day; you’re the bottleneck. You are working every day on low-value tasks like customer service, inventory management, bookkeeping, etc. Businesses have failed because of this. Offloading tasks and creating systems can be crucial to the growth of your business.
If you’ve reached your capacity, you’ll see the signs of the problem seeping out into your life. For some, it’s missed dinners with the family. For Aaron, it was a broken promise to his daughter. He let his business take up so much of his time that it hurt his family. That’s when Aaron decided it was time for help.
The first mistake many people make when they’re looking to hire a virtual assistant is failing to build a list of tasks ahead of time. If you don’t know what jobs need doing, you’ll never be able to teach someone else what to do or how to do it. It’s imperative that you have a transparent onboarding process for your new virtual assistant.
Take a look back over the past few weeks and months. Collect all the tasks you’ve done. Plug these tasks into a google sheet so you can keep track of them. Build a list of all the tasks you do on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis.
This will change your life. For 3-5 days, keep track every time you switch tasks. Context switching costs a lot of brain power and focus. You’ll be astonished by how much time is wasted just moving from task to task in your daily workflow.
Now that you’ve compiled a list of all the things you do to run your business, it’s time to rank them. At the top of the list go the time consumers; the little things you wish you could get off of your plate that stand in the way of doing the high-value jobs that will move your business forward regarding productivity and growth.
Now draw a line somewhere between the 10th and 15th task on that list. This is your strike list. You can hand it to your virtual assistant as an outline of what they’ll need to do to help you open up your schedule to do the things that matter.
UseLoom.com and SnagIt are a couple of great tools to help you build a portfolio or training videos that you’ll use to teach the help you hire how to serve you and your company better. Loom is an easy and free screen recorder for Chrome.
You’re going to be doing these tasks anyway so why not hit record and never have to do them again?!
Let’s use the example of checking and responding to Amazon customer service emails. Before you hit record, it’s crucial to map out the steps. After a while, you may not need to do this, but when you’re getting started, it’s essential to maintaining a good workflow. Once you’ve mapped out the steps, hit record. When you start the video give some context.
Now show them how to do the task. Hit stop and now you’ve got a video you can point somebody to when you’re ready to hire an assistant.
Once you’ve hired somebody, have them watch the video and create a Standard Operating Procedure. It will help them learn the task, and also give direction to any assistants you may need to hire in the future. Having a filing cabinet of these S.O.P.s will also make your business more valuable to any potential buyer for your business in the future. If someone can open up a filing cabinet full of S.O.P.s and learn how to do any task required to run your company, they’ll feel much more security that they can grow the business and get great R.O.I.
Positive reinforcement is important. When your virtual assistant has completed the S.O.P. and in turn the task, celebrate! File the S.O.P. and do something to show your virtual assistant they’ve done an excellent job.
If you’re struggling to find a virtual assistant, there are a number of online platforms that can help. FreeeUp, OnlineJobs.ph, UpWork, and Priority VA just to name a few. You can always feel free to contact Aaron for any help you need finding a virtual assistant as well.
Once you’ve hired your virtual assistant, you’ll want to ramp up their responsibility over the course of eight weeks. Each week you’ll hand your virtual assistant two tasks. Explain how your business works and make them feel like they’re a part of it. People are secretly dying to be led. Show them how to add value to your business, and they’ll be eager to do so.
Make the first task something simple that needs to be done regularly. Show your virtual assistant how your company works; try to indoctrinate them into your way of doing business. Build a rapport. Share the purpose, values, and vision of your company.
Set your virtual assistant straight on your priorities. They’ll need to know what’s expected of them and what your goals are as a company.
Get your virtual assistant in sync with your team. Establish daily meetings and one-on-ones. Get them familiar with what needs to happen when and get them into the rhythm of your daily processes.
Decide, based on their performance, what kind of tasks you’re going to give your virtual assistant can handle regarding responsibility. This is about taking stock of where they currently are, understanding how far they’ve come, and determining which tasks they can handle.
Create training for higher responsibility tasks. If you’re spending 10 hours a week on a task, and you can offload 7 hours of that time spent on the plate of your virtual assistant. That time can then be used for high-value functions that will help you grow your business.
Focus on those high-value areas of your business. Make sure for every hour taken off your plate in Week 5 there’s a high-value function you’re handling instead.
Check-in. If you’re employing your virtual assistant for 40 hours a week, but they’re only taking 30 to complete the tasks you’ve given them, you’ve got ten more hours you can hand over to them. Take stock of their capacity and adjust accordingly.
Get feedback from your virtual assistant. Learn what could be improved. Review their progress, see what they can handle, and celebrate the eight-week journey you’ve just come through. Your framework doesn’t have to be perfect. Follow the steps and improve as you go and you’ll be well on your way to making more money with your Amazon business.
Action 1: Download the Blueprint at AmazingFBA.com/System
Action 2: Block Off Time to Download, Track and Rank Your Tasks
Action 3: Record Videos.
For more information about Aaron O’Sullivan visit his website SystemsCultureImpact.com and tune in next time for another session of Q&A.
See the previous interviews we’ve had with Aaron at http://amazingfba.com/aaron