The Lean Business - Barbara Turley

Last Updated: 

May 14, 2024

Barbara Turley is an investor, entrepreneur, and Founder & CEO of The Virtual Hub - a business she started by accident that exploded in the space of 12 months to become one of the leading companies that recruits, trains, and manages virtual assistants for businesses who need to free up time and energy so they can go to the next level. With a strong focus on customized training

and ongoing career development, Barbara ensures that her team is trained in cutting-edge programs (like Hubspot, Ontraport, etc.) to best meet their clients’ unique needs in digital marketing, social media, personal assistant services, and administrative support.

What we will be discussing today

  • How to confidently and successfully use virtual assistants to scale your business.
  • Why outsourcing with virtual assistants is the new Lean Business Model
  • How I built a business and had a baby at the same time with high-quality virtual assistants
  • The 10 best productivity apps that you and your VA can use to get more done
  • When should you fire your virtual assistant?
  • Think you only have 5 hours of work to delegate to a virtual assistant? Think again!
  • The 5 reasons you fail with a virtual assistant - and how to fix it
Discover Real-World Success Stories

Listen to the Full Episode

Robin Waite · #82 - The Lean Business - Barbara Turley

The Lean Business

Episode 82 of the Fearless Business podcast welcomes guest Barbara Turley, founder and CEO of The Virtual Hub, a company that recruits, trains, and manages virtual assistants. She joined Robin to talk about Lean Business models, virtual assistants, and more.

The Lean Business Model

In recent years, we have seen huge amounts of digital transformation, and the pandemic has accelerated this even more.

Barbara highlights that an area not considered enough throughout this transformation is resourcing around your human capital, or the asset that is your people and really focusing on how you are spending your time. It is thought that 30-40% of business owners’ time is taken up by tasks which are easily delegatable, process driven, and should be outsourced.

Once you recognise that you can delegate aspects of your business, it is important to consider that you are doing so much work virtually. This means you can look further across the world to outsource tasks and in places which will cost you less and still bring value to your business such as the Philippines.

This is really why the Lean Business model is beneficial. You need to sit down and take a look at what you can outsource in your business, giving you back 30-40% of your time.

Common fears of outsourcing and how to overcome them

Barbara recognises that outsourcing brings about concerns and to overcome them.

  • Language barriers - If you are outsourcing overseas, a big concern might be language skills. In places like the Philippines, English levels are extraordinarily high, but something Barbara recommends is to check language ability before anything else including verbal and written English, as well as grammar.
  • Data protection - Whether you are outsourcing overseas or to someone down the road from you, it is understandable to have concerns over your data. Nowadays though, there are various tools and strategies to help protect your data and systems. Last Pass, for example, is a useful tool for managing your passwords. If you are up to speed on the security measures available, this helps to alleviate that fear.
  • Making sure they can do the work - We live in a world where ‘yes culture’ is common. People say yes to something when they can’t actually do it or don’t have time to do it. You then end up redoing the work yourself. Barbara recommends having a recruitment strategy in place and having trial pieces of work to make sure someone is the right fit for your business.

As a business owner, delegating out work is not about getting someone else to build systems and processes in your business or transfer accountability. Part of outsourcing involves you to take on a leadership role and remember that VAs are there to assist you, not to develop your business. This is a common mistake seen in outsourcing.

Productivity apps that you and your VA can use to get more done

You’ve put the security systems in place. But what tools are useful for actually doing the work and getting productive?

  • Google Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, is a great collaboration tool and you can collaborate live on Google Docs, Sheets, and more. It saves time because you are not having to go through the process of trying to access a file on someone else’s drive or not files being saved elsewhere.
  • Project management tool - Email is not a tool for project management. Free apps such as Asana, Trello, and Teamwork are great, and you can also find more advanced paid tools. Zoom is also useful for video meetings.
  • Loom is a tool that Barbara recommends. When you are delegating tasks, Loom helps you to record a video of you doing a task and share it easily. If you want to give someone feedback, but they are in a different timezone, for instance, you can talk through your feedback and send it over.
  • Apps such as Slack, WhatsApp and Voxer are options for messaging and voice notes. If you are sending voice notes though, it is important to be clear in your message and not see it as a brain dump, especially if you are working with people from overseas and English is not their first language.

How to fire a VA?

You may not find the right VA first time. If problems start to arise and you need to let someone go, what is the best way to do this?

The first thing to do is check that you have all the right systems and processes in place. You may have a really good VA but there is something in your systems which isn’t working correctly. It is important to review this side of things before firing someone. Likewise, check if there are any tech issues or see if a little bit more training is required.

If you have worked through these aspects, and your VA perhaps isn’t the right fit for your business, then there are times when you need to follow your intuition.

Delegating and hiring people are skills in themselves and often overlooked. There is less importance placed on the operations side of business compared to sales and marketing, but systems and processes are just as important.

There are times when your business slows down or you recognise that you need to change something, and it is ok to make transitions, let people go, and bring in someone new. It’s part of running a business.

To find out more about Barbara’s story and her journey into entrepreneurship, head over and listen to the Fearless Business podcast.

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