Lorna Powe is a Business Coach at Sales Partners and she is our client. During our interview together she said that her H.Y.V.A.™ Virtual Assistant helps to run her coaching practice on Autopilot without her continuous involvement! (<<<— Check out the video below to find out more about her business and what her VA does for her).
Owen: Hi, everyone. My name is Owen McGab Enaohwo and welcome to H.Y.V.A.™. What we do here is we empower entrepreneurs to be able to find more time in their day to focus on what matters by providing them with capable, reliable virtual assistants. And today, I have one of my clients; Lorna Powe from Sales Partners and it’s a company in Cape Town, South Africa. The website is SalesPartnerCapeTown.co.za and Lorna is a business coach. Lorna, I want to get started by finding out more about how you started your business?
Lorna: Well, I’ve done many things in my life and I’m sort of being through accounting at MIT. I’ve got to the executive levels in corporate and I realized that actually what I really wanted to do is to help people and to help people by using everyone’s skills, a lot of difference goes. So for me, I’ve got bored with all the individual things I’ve done. So working with smaller companies is a way of putting all of the fields together and being able to use them to help smaller companies to grow. So those are one of the things that came upon me that I think are entertaining and I wouldn’t get bored at.
Owen: And not everyone who’s listening knows what a business coach is. Can you tell us what services and products you provide your client?
Lorna: Well specifically, with Sales Partners, we focus on the sales and marketing aspects of a business. So it’s all about helping people to put in place the correct sales and marketing strategy to grow their business. A lot of people as I’m sure you’re aware spend a lot of money on sales and marketing doing advertisements and branding or that kind of thing. And a lot of it is very often thrown away because they don’t understand what the unique selling proposition is and they’ve never really understood who their market is.
If you’re selling something to children, you need to be focusing your advertisements on the mom and dad, not on the child themselves because who does the buying? “It’s mom and dad that do the buying.” So it’s all about honing down and finding out exactly what the market is, exactly what the unique selling proposition is and what the benefits are for the service or product that’s being provided. And if you’re looking in advertisement, most people say, Lorna’s Plumbers. Actually, most people aren’t interested in the name of the company, what they’re interested in is what can you do? So if your faucet has burst at 2:00 in the morning, you’re looking for a plumber that can fix it now. Yeah?
Lorna: So if you see ten advertisements and there’s Lorna’s Plumbers and there’s Owen’s Plumbers and Terry’s Plumbers and then next advertisement says, “We’re available 24 hours a day.” Who you’re going to call? You’ll going to call the last one.
Owen: Definitely. Lorna: And it’s all about getting that message right.
Owen: So your business essentially helps entrepreneurs figure out who their target client is, their niche and also what value they are providing to the market. You have a system which you use to walk them through the process so that their marketing becomes more actionable and they can determine the return on income based on actionable marketing strategies that you provide to them.
Lorna: Yeah. 100%. And what a lot of people don’t realize is marketing is all about “analyzing.” It’s all about understanding, “What is my return on investment? Am I getting a return on investment?” People think marketing and sales is all about branding in all these things but it isn’t. It’s actually about the message, it’s about the words.
Owen: I’m glad you’re actually doing that and empowering people to take marketing in the right direction and get results. Let’s go back to the past and discuss your transition; before you hired your virtual assistant, what was your daily work schedule like?
Lorna: Well, you see before we hired the virtual assistant, we have an employee who used to do all the things that you now do. And if I go back, when we first started and this is like two or three years ago. To be honest with you, I didn’t really know what was required. So at that point, to hire the virtual assistant wouldn’t have been the right thing to do as my employee was a young guy straight on college. He helped me to develop some of the systems and some of the things that we’re now doing with you and that were really useful.
But one of the things that you do find when you have an employee is you employ the person, you show them how to do the things and then you leave them to do them. What you don’t do is you don’t sit and think, “How can I improve this? How can I make this better? What else do I need to do?” And for me, that’s one of the differences between outsourcing the work and having an employee. So my daily life really consisted in terms of we would have the employee coming into the offices every day. We’ll have to manage the employee and clearly, we pay the employee.
I also had a PA who did some work as well but the reality is that managing them took time, I don’t know what results I’m getting 20% of the time and then I got a lot of questions all the time so that was fun. It’s great to work with people but the reality was, the busier you get, the less time you actually have to do that kind of thing.
Owen: So did you hear about the term “Virtual Assistant”? What made you interested in moving that direction to?
Lorna: We were working with a coach ourselves; someone who’s helping us with our systems from the sales and marketing point-of-view because if you’re in the game, you got to be in the game properly. And this guy, Drew, a really nice guy from UK, he turned around and said, “Have you heard about Virtual Assistants? Maybe that something that you should think about” and the reason we got to talking about that because my employee resigned. He got a really, really good job earning twice as much money as we could pay him for he’s working for a big corporate now. And I thought, “Oh, no. I’ve got to go through the whole thing in getting a new one and training them and it’s going to take ages.” It can take three months to get a new employee into the work to know the game. And we just really didn’t want to do that, so he suggested it.
Owen: “Thanks, Drew for actually referring.” I actually owe Drew a commission because when I get referrals, I want to pay that upfront. So you heard that through your coach. You’re a coach coaching entrepreneurs but you have a coach which is great because you always going to know what’s working. And your coach suggested that you should hire a virtual assistant. You might have had initial fears and reservations about the process. What were they?
Lorna: I did have. It’s very similar to employing a new employee except that obviously, a virtual assistant isn’t in your office and for me that was a benefit and that was really great. But in terms of the negative things, being virtual you’re so far away. So obviously, one of the concerns is, “Will I have any control? Will I know what’s going on?” And the concerns were really in that area.
Owen: Okay. So you have concerns in that area. And as you decided you want to go ahead and hire virtual assistant, what kind of research did you do? I’m trying to find out what influenced your decision to choose a specific VA company?
Lorna: Well, I guess you heard that a 4-Hour Workweek. You know that book? Tim Ferriss.
Lorna: Well, he makes a few suggestions in his book and I went on the way and I had look at some of them. And indeed, I outsource a little bit of work to one of the companies mentioned in there in India. Well, I get very, very frustrated when people don’t communicate with me. I’m one of this people, “I have to know what’s going on. I have to know what’s happening.” And so, these guys in India were doing all these work and I can pay them some money but I didn’t know what was going on. I found that very, very frustrating.
So when Drew talked about you, I went on to your website. You’ve got this great videos on there that explained the process in terms of outsourcing which is really a help and then not only that but also, you do a one week free trial which was great. So I thought, “Hey, I’ve got nothing to lose. I might as well go ahead with the one week free trial” and so that was I did.
Owen: Thanks for giving us a try to see how we go. You mentioned something that you tried other company and there was a communication issue that you had. How is that different now that you work with H.Y.V.A.™ because that’s something that someone who’s listening to now might want to know; you’re still with us obviously, communication is good, but from your own side of the story, what is it like?
Lorna: Well, I talked to other people about this. I always tell them how great this is because at the beginning of the time that you start working for me, I’ve got an email from you to say, “Hey, Lorna. This is what we’re going to do today. A, B, C, D and E.” And then at the end of the day, I’ve got another email from you saying, “This is what we’ve done today. We spent this amount of time doing this, this amount of time doing this. These are the problems we had or we didn’t have.” And it really is great. If in between the time, there are any questions. Again, I get the questions by email but you also use a Project Management tool called Basecamp! So, I can upload files and questions and messages on there as well and develop a To-Do List. So there are certain things I have to do that are quite repetitive, I can just put them on in that To-Do List as I find them and I love it. I mean, it really, really worked to me. I can see what’s done and I can see what issues you have. So it’s great.
Owen: How does it feel to know that you have someone working in real time for you and with you as well, how does that feel?
Lorna: Excellent! The thing that I really like and I mean, this is something that we’re going to be doing sometime this week is also they’re very keen on working with you in terms of how can you improve the process. So we’ve been through a few changes and obviously we’ve have some problems because that’s not true but the reality is that those problems, they’ve been solved. And I think problems on my end as well as on your end but every time they come across a problem they have always managed to solve the issues which is been really brilliant and yeah. I mean, what can I say? Yes, very well.
Owen: Yes, it’s great to hear that. You came from a place where you didn’t have the good experience and you come here and this experience is totally refreshing. And just for other coaches out there that might be listening, they might be wondering about what specifically does H.Y.V.A.™ do for you. If you can share some of those items on what we do for you just a way to give our listeners a feel on how your virtual assistant works for you as a coach.
Lorna: Like anybody in business, you go out there and meet people, you make business cards and sometimes, I have a dozen business cards at a time. So what I do is I scan them in and upload the file and upload the file up to the Basecamp and then what the ladies do is they type in all the details into my CRM System for me which they have access to. I let them know what the source of the lead was and they enter or write information in.
And then the next day when I come in, I got my information there and I can contact the people, send them an email, do whatever it is that I need to do from my CRM System and that’s great because obviously, you need to know who you contact and there’s nothing worse than having a pile of business cards you got to go through. So as long as I make sure I got everything scanned in, I’ve got all the contacts in my CRM System. And another thing that I do is I run drip campaigns for people who go on to the website, they download a free eBook and then they get a drip campaign and they manage those drip campaigns for me.
Owen: And one of the most important things you mentioned in the very beginning is that “by having systems in place,” you can have someone who comes in and handles all your tasks based on the system that you have. What was your experience with creating systems and handing them over to the VA’s so that they can get your work done for you? Can you share some more insights as to what issues you had initially with systems and how you worked through those issues and how it is now?
Lorna: Okay. So it was difficult at first to explain to them how the CRM System worked. I’ve tried but it didn’t quite work. They didn’t really understand exactly the process and I had to go over that. I think it was about two or three times before we really got that off the ground. So that took a little bit of time to get right, but now, it’s right. They’re learning how to use the system themselves and the great thing is I use a combination of CRM and MailChimp and both have “how-to videos.” So you get all those stuff, you can go and check out to do things if they’re not quite sure about from what I’ve showed them and that’s actually really is a very good. And it helps them to do process and that’s why while we’re recording this video today, that’s what we did in the beginning as we recorded videos with me showing them how to go and to do some of the things.
Owen: And I’m glad you said something about the fact that we had issues because I always want to make sure that you’re letting us know what’s going on. So when we have issues we make corrections and improve. The listeners might be saying to themselves “But why shouldn’t I go ahead and do the task myself if the VA will have issues initially doing it?” But yes, If you’re taking like two hours, three hours every day to do that task yourself and you actually spend the time to train somebody, now, that time becomes an investment because once they get it, you have that free time everyday that you don’t have to worry about that and that’s the value.
Lorna: That’s exactly right. That exactly is the value. For me, yes it was an investment in time in terms of training them but now, they know what to do. For instance, last week I wasn’t very well so I wasn’t really working on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and even Thursday and Friday, I didn’t feeling too good. So I just didn’t turn on my computer because I knew that those things that need to go on in the background will continue into going on the background even without me being here. So, it’s great.
Owen: That’s awesome, right?
Lorna: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I can go on holiday.
Owen: Well Lorna, I really appreciate you’re taking the time to do this testimonial and sharing your experience with us. I always want to leave people who are listening with one step that they can take in regards to pulling the trigger and moving forward. What’s that one thing that you want to leave with somebody who’s listening and considering on hiring a virtual assistant?
Lorna: I would say, if they invest the time to get the process started and do the training then what they need to do is to constantly think to themselves, “How can I improve this process?” And that for me is one of the big benefits. It’s that when I had an employee, I just left them to do what they want them to do. I have to view, they knew what to do. Surely they could improve the process on their end. And of course employee don’t do that but now, with the virtual assistant, I’m constantly thinking and they are also thinking and coming up new ideas on what can we do to improve. How can we move forward in a better way? What else can they do to make order? Those kinds of things that constantly on your mind and that can actually make a big difference to your business.
Owen: Okay. Lorna, I really appreciate it. And anyone’s listening to this testimonial who heard what you said in the beginning about you helping entrepreneurs with their marketing. How best can they reach or get a hold of you?
Lorna: Well, the easiest thing to do with me is to go onto the website which is www.salespartnerscapetown.co.za and then they can either enter their details and to get a newsletter or they can download one of the free eBooks that we’ve got that will help them to grow that business and then we get them on a drip campaigns so they get to know a bit about this then we have a Skype call and chat for them.
Owen: And just one more time, what’s that website called again so that people can get it one more time?
Owen: Lorna, thanks. And we are done.
Lorna: Thank you.