Paul McAllister of the Beautiful Lac Nantel says he now has more free time each day to focus on writing his book because he has successfully delegated most of the business tasks that consumes his time to his H.Y.V.A.™ Virtual Assistant! (<<<— Check out the video below to find out how he did this).
Owen McGab Enaohwo (OME): Hi everyone, my name is Owen McGab Enaohwo and welcome to H.Y.V.A.™ and what I do here is I provide entrepreneurs with a means to save time to focus on their income-producing activities. Today, I have one of my clients and I’m glad you’re here today. His name is Paul McAllister from Beautiful Lac Nantel and essentially, what I wanted to have Paul do is talk about his business and how exactly we at H.Y.V.A.™ came into the picture by providing him with Virtual Assistants who are essentially meeting his needs. Let’s get started, Paul, what is your business all about?
Paul McAllister (PM): Hi, Owen. My business is called Beautiful Lac Nantel. It’s a lakefront chalet in Montreal, Quebec up here in Canada. And we rent out this cottage. It’s a four-bedroom cottage in a lake called Lac Nantel. And we’re pretty busy, we have a lot of guests that come and stay at our chalet and go skiing in the winter or just relax by the water when it’s warm outside. We’ve been in the business since 2010. And I find that when I have to do this work by myself, I neglect things. I neglect marketing, I neglect customers, like barely responding to their emails. Sometimes it takes me a long time to respond to their emails. So that’s kind of why I approached you about H.Y.V.A.™.
OME: Before we even start talking about H.Y.V.A.™, I want to go back to the past and understand where you’re coming from and where we are right now. So before you hired a virtual assistant from H.Y.V.A.™, what was your daily work schedule like and if you could into some more details about what were you doing for your business, that would be nice.
PM: Okay. Well, I work in IT. So I do IT services for the government here. So after work and then I’d come home and then I have to work on this business which involves checking emails from customers and responding to phone calls or calling the housekeeper to arrange cleanings or calling the handyman to arrange maintenance. So it’s a lot of interacting with customers and the handyman and the housekeeper.
OME: And I can definitely understand because you have a full-time job and then you come home because you’re running your business on the side. Instead of relaxing, you’re back into work schedule number two, trying to catch up on all your messages, trying to make sure that everything’s ready for the next day. I could definitely understand the pain you were in. And so, I’m curious. What prompted you to say you needed to go ahead and hire a VA? What was that turning point where you just said “I can’t take this anymore, I need to go find a VA for myself”.
PM: Well, there are other things I want to be working on too. Like, I’m writing a book that’s gonna be targeted towards people that are interested in buying vacation property and renting it out. So now, it kind of gives me more time to write my book. And also, there are other things I wanted to do because I was actually out of the country for 13 months, in Afghanistan. When I was over there, I said “When I come back, I’m going to make sure I learn how to play the piano”. It was just something I’ve always wanted to do. So now, I can actually take piano lessons at night and do other things that interest me.
OME: And I’m always curious as to how people come across the idea of hiring virtual assistants. Where did you first hear the term or the concept “virtual assistant” from?
PM: From “The Four-Hour Work Week”, that book by Tim Ferriss.
OME: Wow. It seems to be bringing a lot of people into understanding what virtual assistants are all about. Thanks to him for that, more grease to his elbows. And I’m curious, because you now decided to hire a virtual assistant, you definitely had some fears and reservations that you experienced before you even taking the step to do that. I was wondering if you can share what fears or reservations you had before you finally had the ability to hire a virtual assistant from H.Y.V.A.™. What kind of fears and reservations did you have with the process?
PM: Well, I was kind of nervous about someone else representing my business, because one of the most time-consuming things that I do is just interact with customers. So that would be the thing I would really have a virtual assistant do for me. So I was a bit nervous about that because I know when I’m interacting with customers, I’ll give it my best because it’s my business. So I was a little bit nervous about passing that on to someone else.
OME: And people are wondering probably, you have just stated the fear you had, but how exactly did H.Y.V.A.™ help to alleviate that fear and basically, get rid of it?
PM: Well, speaking to you helped and also the project manager over there in the Philippines. He’s really good. I used to speak to him and he would tell the virtual assistants what to do. And then I started speaking directly to the virtual assistants. I was checking up on him all the time. So at first, I was checking up on him, kind of micro-managing a little bit. And I was watching, I was there, and then I could see that he was getting the hang of things and he was reliable. So I could step away a little bit.
And now, I just check in once in a while, to say “Hey, how’s everything going?” And usually, there are no problems or anything.
OME: And you mentioned that when you started the process, there was a little bit of learning cut-off, and you gradually went through the process with the project manager as well as with the VA to gradually handle the work that they were doing for you, until now when you’re no longer as bogged in as in everyday doing the task yourself. Can you explain what that process was like for you, I guess?
PM: Yeah, that was actually another reservation that I had, that it will take a long time for the virtual assistant to learn what I do. But it didn’t take too long. I’d say, now he’s up to speed. I’ve been using the service for about a month or so, I think, and he’s being really good. So at first, I would say “Okay, when you’re doing this task, do it this way”. I’d try to build those systems, and also the VA and the project manager—they actually helped build the systems too.
OME: I like the fact that you said that you create systems on how to do your work because that’s one key thing that I always see working to make sure people have a good experience with their virtual assistants. It’s based on the fact that they understand that their business is comprised of a collection of recurring systems. Maybe you don’t have the systems all written now or probably you do, but there is a way which you do things in your business. And just share with us what is exactly the process that you guys went through in regards to creating a process around how they do your work for you.
PM: Well, I had some canned responses because all the questions I got from customers, most of them were the same or very similar. So I had some canned responses already. But I asked the VA, one of the first assignments was to read all those canned responses and to translate them from English to French because I have some French customers. So I’m using Google Translate to translate them from English to French. And then implement them to the email system I use. So that was the first task and that kind of let them see the most common answers that I’ll give to the questions so I think that kind of helped them learn a little bit.
OME: Definitely. And that’s just one of the systems that you guys use and I know that after talking to your project manager, you guys are doing quite a lot. And so one of the things I like from that is you have processes in place. In this case, one of the processes you were talking about is communication with your clients based on canned questions. And so, I’m curious. You were able to get past your fear and now you’re working with us, now you’re giving us a testimonial. I’m curious. Anyone who’s probably going through that same phase of trying to figure out should they go ahead and hire a virtual assistant or not? What is that one thing that you probably want to leave with them to encourage them to move forward, press the trigger and just go ahead and hire a VA, possibly even from H.Y.V.A.™.
PM: Well, the thing that helped me to decide to go ahead and try a virtual assistant was the one-week trial you offered. I called around a bit to other places but none of them offered that one-week trial. Because my goal was to just give myself more time. Other people might have different goals, like other people might want to work on other businesses more and give themselves, you know, a bit of sanity time. But I would say just try it for about a month. That’s what I found, I found it took a month for my VA to fully learn everything and he’s pretty much up to speed now and he’s even doing things by himself like, he recently up-sold a customer by himself.
OME: That’s nice.
PM: Yeah, even when I didn’t ask him to do that, you know, that was good.
OME: That’s a great thing you said just now because at a certain point, when the VA understands your business, he can now start taking some initiative to do things that would help to pay for the fee that we charge you. That’s the next level that we want to take you to.
PM: I think just the fact that I have more time now is worth it to me. But if I can get one more reservation per month; one more booking of the cottage per month, like even a weekend, that’s good. That will more than pay for the service.
OME: The next step is that we need to work with your project manager to definitely do that because that’s what I keep trying to tell everyone who has decided to hire a VA. First of all, you have a bunch of things that you’re doing everyday and you’ve got to evaluate which ones to get rid of first; there is no need to outsource them to a virtual assistant. So when you get rid of what you should not be doing because they are not necessary for your business to function, you will be left with those tasks that take your time but are necessary and non income-producing. So when you go through the process of assigning the bulk of these tasks to the VA, you’re left to focus on your income-producing activities. And the second stage will probably be to have the VAs now working with you to figure out which of those income-producing activities can you outsource to them.
PM: Yes, that’s right. There are other businesses that I’m kind of working on the side, that I’d like the VA to start helping me with eventually. And one of them is a sock business. We’re designing men’s socks and we’re working with suppliers right now. And also the book I’m writing about vacation properties. So there is some work that I could pass off. But I’m pretty comfortable right now with the VA and he really does feel like a member of my team.
OME: Awesome, and just so you know, I’m also here available for you. So that when you get to the point when you want to start working on your other businesses and projects, not only do you have the project manager, you also have me to brainstorm with you and be available to talk about marketing and stuff that you need to do in these new business ideas that you’re thinking of moving forward to.
PM: Okay, thanks.
OME: And Paul, I’m really excited that you’ve taken the time to give us your testimonial. And I’m just curious, how best can anyone listening right now get in contact with you? Especially if they have interest in booking an appointment to visit your lodge or your cabin.
PM: They can contact me, my email is email@example.com. That’s L-A-C-N-A-N-T-E-L dot com. Or just go to the website at www.lacnantel.com.
OME: Thank you so much for doing a testimonial. I appreciate it.
PM: Thanks, Owen.
OME: And we’re done!
Do you need to go on a vacation? Now you can do so in style by going to the Beautiful Lac Nantel to rejuvenate!
In these fast-paced times that many of us find ourselves in, it’s important to take a break from your hectic life for a for a few days to unwind. Beautiful Lac Nantel is the perfect place to go to rejuvenate – whether you’re relaxing in the Jacuzzi or in front of the slow wood-burning fireplace, or skiing at Tremblant – Eastern North America’s #1 ski resort, when it comes time to leave, you won’t want to.
Beautiful Lac Nantel is a gorgeous lakefront cottage and is cosy enough for a romantic escape with that special someone. With 4 spacious bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms, it’s also perfect for a family vacation. When you leave, you are guaranteed to feel fully rejuvenated and ready to take on any and all challenges!