During my interview with Andrew Saffer of Aish HaTorah he said working with H.Y.V.A.™ has been the best experience he has ever had with a Virtual Assistant company! (<<<— Check out the video below to find out why).
Owen McGab Enaohwo (OME): Hi everyone. My name is Owen McGab Enaohwo, and welcome to H.Y.V.A.™, and today I have Andrew Saffer from Aish.com. That is A-I-S-H.com. For starters, Andrew, what is your business all about? What do you guys do?
Andrew Saffer (AS): What we’re trying to do is give adults an opportunity, adults who never got a Jewish education to get a Jewish education. I’m a Rabbi, All the people that work with me are Rabbis and so we are an international network of Jewish educators.
OME: Okay. So basically it’s people who have Jewish heritage, probably lost contact or don’t really know their Jewish heritage, you guys are giving them education about what it takes to be Jew, right?
AS: that’s right. As Rabbis, as Jews, we love being Jewish, we love it and it offers a lot for a person in a world that is very busy, and in a world that offers you a hundred different types of everything. Some people like things that are really real – things that are simple. They want their marriage to work, they want their kids to work out great, they want to have a good attitude towards work, like it or not, they want to know that they are doing the right thing by their family, they want spend their money wisely. All these things are things that Judaism addresses. And so people had kind of checked out on Judaism not because they know what Judaism has to say but because they don’t know what it says. So we’re trying to give and opportunity, an easy user friendly way to understand Judaism. Aish.com does that.
OME: And I like that. Basically, you are taking different aspects of life and explaining it from a Jewish standpoint for Jewish people who do not know how to relate to life based on that.
AS: That’s right. I haven’t found people who were very interested in Judaism itself. What they are interested in is living a great life. So if you tell someone how Judaism would help them, then that’s something to talk about there. Clearly what we’re trying to focus on – what are the practical elements of Judaism that can make your life awesome.
OME: Definitely. Just so everyone knows, you actually are a client of mine, and what I got you on the call today is to explain to people. First of all, why did you feel like you needed a virtual assistant? Take us back to the point before you hired a VA from H.Y.V.A.™, what prompted you to hire a VA?
AS: So clearly we have a holy mission, but at the same time we are running a non-profit business, and as a result we need professionals. There are two Rabbis on staff here, and we get as many volunteers as we can to help us out, but the reality is there are things I can do, that only I can do, and there’s these whole bunch of things that don’t have to be me. Now it happens to be that in my former life that I was a graphic designer so I can kind of take care of those things pretty easily, but in my former life, I certainly wasn’t an accountant, I certainly wasn’t a secretary. There’s a whole bunch of things that I just can’t do, but don’t need to be me. And since they don’t need to be me, they frustrate the heck out of me when I am doing all these things because the things only I can do I can no longer do because I am busy doing the things somebody else could do also.
OME: And it’s so funny, because you can start a business based on your passion, but at the end of the day, the passion probably drives your income, but there’s still a bunch of other side that is still necessary for your business that needs to get done.
AS: That’s right. We report to the government because we are non-profit. They are very strict with stuff like that in Australia. I don’t care! I don’t want to go on international record saying that I don’t care but the truth is that making these reports is not really my business. And so I have to do those things, I have to mail out and I have to write follow-up letters and I have to get a calendar set up so I don’t miss any, all the things I have to do or I have to make sure someone’s on it. And that’s really why I hired a VA. The other reason is when there’s two people in your team it will sound kind of crazy but it’s nice to have more team members – someone else you can rely on, someone else who’s in the game, I went initially hired someone from Fiverr to dabble in this whole idea, and I found that they do their job, but they’re not on your team!
OME: Oh definitely. The website called Fiverr.com. You pay five dollars and they get something done for you. Go ahead.
AS: To be fair, there are experts on the site that do something for five bucks that you can’t get done anywhere else, including on a virtual assistant service site because they do specialist tasks. But the run-of-the mill thing that you need, the most common elements of you business, you want delivered consistently and well. Those things they don’t have to be you.
OME: Definitely. You need that for your business for your on-going tasks and you decided and go ahead with hiring a virtual assistant, and it turns out to be us. But I’m curious and so are the listeners, what reservations did you have before you got to the point that you needed to get a virtual assistant? You probably have some fears and reservations before you took the plunge. What are those?
AS: The first was language. The reality is that one of the reasons why you take a virtual assistant is because it’s cheaper than having someone on the ground. I’ve got a very strong Australian accent, and my English is very good, and I wanted to make sure for starters that I wasn’t translating things, and telling thing twice and that is number one. Number two was privacy actually. It’s privacy or security, whatever you want to call it, that you’re giving data to a person you have never met before, and I don’t know so much about places overseas that provide these services. I don’t know how to track them if they do something wrong with my bank account or whatever. Those are really the issues that I had. The third issue was will they just take the money and run. Anyone you get and you haven’t interviewed, it’s impossible to, you know, you can’t set the cops on them, in the Philippines or India or any of these places and the truth is H.Y.V.A.™ wasn’t the first that I tried. It’s the one I’m staying with, but it’s not the first one I tried. And I don’t think I have those issues with other places but what is so great about H.Y.V.A.™ is the consistency.
OME: Could you explain that?
AS: That’s really important. For me, you want a team member to be reliable. They’re not called a team member if they’re not reliable. And so off the bat, H.Y.V.A.™ uses, a system called Basecamp, where there’s like this dashboard, you put your task in over there, or you can email it in, and it then is added to the dashboard. You can track what’s been done, what hasn’t been done, the rest of the supervisors are in on this game. That sets it apart in a serious way, because I’ve used other firms and the difficulty in using other firms was; you email them and you might hear back from them or you might not, they might get it right or they might not. There is no clear way or warning to know if the list of tasks you sent in was really clear. I think that’s really the biggest challenge that I had with other Virtual Assistant firms. With H.Y.V.A.™ it was way better, not just their use of Basecamp, the whole attitude, the professionalism is a step above a bunch of other places. I’ve used a bunch of other places and they’re really famous too. It’s a whole different world in terms of the professionalism, where they’ve got a project manager who would work with you if you want to streamline your business processes; it is a whole different world!
OME: Just so people can have a concrete way to compare H.Y.V.A.™ with other virtual assistant firms from your previous experiences, you don’t have to say the names of the companies, just give us an idea of what you are now experiencing with H.Y.V.A.™ and the difference. It would help to explain what you’re saying.
AS: Here is an example of the differences; the first thing that happened was I got one person as my dedicated virtual assistant named Melody. That was it. I was immediately clear on who it is, it’s a team but at the same time, it’s someone who knows you, knows how you speak, that was off the bat fantastic! You’re really looking to build and figure out your relationship with that person and it’s totally fine to call them up which I thought was decent. Now, I don’t do that a lot, but I think it’s decent with the office there. The thing is that they set hours in the day that they work for you, I get two hours a day, and it’s clear that whatever jobs I don’t want to do myself has to be sent in before the shift begins. This brings me to a whole new level of responsibility! One is to send in the tasks on time so I don’t waste my money, and two, it forces me to delegate, which is really important because a lot of the time you feel like, “eh, I could do it” so easily. With H.Y.V.A.™ I am forced to delegate because if not, you won’t and then you will end up in the situation you were before, where you have too much stuff to do and nothing gets done because you are alone and doing everything by yourself. So with the system at H.Y.V.A.™ they tell you here are the tasks we will be working on today and at the end of the day they tell you, here is what we got done and how long it took us, and another thing that’s sort of professional, I get a start of day email and end of day email. The start of the day email is here’s what I plan to do today, here’s how long I expect it’s going take, right at that point I could write back, “why the heck would it take 30 minutes to do a five minute thing then you realize you didn’t explain it properly.” The end of the day email is here’s what I did, and you go to the dashboard and you download all the different things that you need and you’re done. It’s like working with a grown-up. It’s really cool!
OME: This is really exciting. I’m trying to hold myself from interrupting you. That was awesome. What I was trying to do is basically compare the good experiences you had now and try to see the experiences you had with other companies, you don’t have to say their names, but the contrast.
AS: There’s a bunch of differences. The first was, and I caught it off-tangent, but Rabbis do that I guess, the first thing is the dashboard. The second thing is the set hours. These things are different. I had experiences when I would assign tasks, it was clear what the task were, we’ve agreed on the task, and then like four days later, I’d be like, “so what happened?” “oh, we had a holiday” I had a bunch of times when I had something due and night before I had to do it myself because the work wasn’t in it, and then the work would come in the next morning, but it’s too late.
OME: The problem I find with other virtual assistant companies is that they don’t give you a set time and a date to do your work, and they just say, “send it in” and then the work gets piled up and piled up and then your stuff becomes delayed.
AS: Right. You got that. You got people here you want to set your priorities on. In the middle of, I called Melody and said, I know you’re working on XYZ, but work on ABC and it needs to be done within the hour, and you can’t do that in other places because you don’t know what they are working on. You know they are working for other people, you know they’re gonna pile you on, so whoever yells at them the most is gonna win. I’m not a yeller, so I’m gonna lose, but here with H.Y.V.A.™ I’ve got a win!
OME: That’s good. So anyone who is at that point where they want to push the trigger and hire a virtual assistant and is listening to this now, and is thinking of H.Y.V.A.™, what is that one thing you want to leave with them before we end this conversation. Go ahead and do it.
AS: It’s professional. It’s like working with someone you can keep tabs on and they get the work done. That’s it! The point is not only to get work done really. You wanna know that it gets done on time. You don’t want to sit there and worry about “maybe it would get done, maybe it wouldn’t get done.” It just gets done, and you can set it and forget it in that sense. And that’s called a good employee. A good employee, you give him a task and you know it’s gonna get done, come hill or high water, that’s what you want!
OME: So you get the savings of not hiring an employee but you get the benefits of your tasks being handled by the team here at H.Y.V.A.™. Thanks very much, Andrew. This has been awesome!
Do you know a Jewish person looking to discover their heritage? Please refer them to Aish HaTorah!
Aish HaTorah is a Jewish outreach organization started in Jerusalem by Rabbi Noah Weinberg in 1974. Aish HaTorah’s goal is to revitalize the Jewish people by providing opportunities for Jews of all backgrounds to discover their heritage in an atmosphere of open inquiry and mutual respect. Aish HaTorah is regarded as a world leader in creative Jewish educational programs and leadership training. Check out Aish HaTorah and discover your Jewish heritage!