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Communication Tools for Outsourcing and Training
This week we want to share with you guys our favorite communication tools and training tools for outsourcing.
First, you can find a lot of great talent on Upwork.com (along with other sites for certain jobs).
Keeping communication tight with your assistants is critical to making it easy for you to transition. If you constantly have to go to Upwork.com or other sites to communicate, it can become a challenge.
Luckily there is a free app called Slack that is a great way to communicate and share documents.
Both Anthony and I use Slack for everything that has to do with project and task communication.
You can set up all sorts of different channels and spaces for communication. I, for example, have a The Movement Fix channel and a Health Fit Business Channel.
Anthony has one for each of his businesses (Health Fit Business, PureWOD, Perfect Keto, and other ones I may not be aware of).
We highly recommend you download Slack and make that your communication HQ.
The other thing that is critical when working with virtual assistants and outsourcing is training. Creating training materials and systems is actually really easy.
Just make a google doc or a word document and write all the steps that have to be required for a certain task to get done.
Let’s take a podcast for example.
Step 1: Get together and record the podcast
Step 2: Record an intro file
Step 3: Copy & Paste previous episode files into a new file
Step 4: Delete previous episode intro and previous episode conversation audio files
Step 5: Place in new intro and new conversation files & trim as needed
Step 6: Export to Dropbox Folder
Step 7: Upload to Libsyn
Step 8: Login to wordpress and create a new post
etc etc etc
The easiest way to start is just think about the tasks you do repeatedly and then write out all the steps. Additionally, a tool that is useful is taking screenshots.
If you take a screenshot every time you do a step of a process, you can add that into your document to easily make a step by step guide for your virtual assistant so they can replicate what you’re doing.
In the podcast example, the only things Anthony and I should really be doing is the recording of the conversation and the recording of the intro. After that, everything else should be done by someone else so we can focus on other tasks that only we can do.
There you have it. The basics of the communication tools we use and how we go about training our virtual assistants.
GET AFTER IT!
Ryan: I’m Dr. Ryan Debell. Welcome back to the Health Fit Business podcast. This is episode number 27. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for joining us. This episode number 27 is a continuation on the series that we’ve been doing on outsourcing. The last few episodes, we talked about how do you figure out which tasks to outsource versus the ones that you should be doing, how do you find people to do the outsourced tasks, essentially how do you find virtual assistants. In this episode, what we wanna share with you guys our favorite tools for communicating with our virtual assistants as well as how we go about training them once we decide, “Hey I want somebody to do XYZ task. I wanna hire them. I wanna make it somewhat regular. How do I create training for them so that they understand clearly how to do the tasks and how to do them the way that you need them to be done.” So we share specifics in this episode to take away the veil, I guess you could say. So, that there’s really transparency so you guys know how we actually do this. So without further a do, let’s tune into episode number 27.
Ryan: Welcome back once again to the…
Anthony: The Health
Ryan: podcast. It is so good to be sitting across the table from you, Dr. Anthony Gustin rather than looking at you over a Skype conversation.
Anthony: This has been what, six weeks in the making.
Ryan: Has it really been six weeks that we have recorded together in person?
Anthony: Unfortunately so. I think so. Yeah.
Ryan: Ugh! What a travesty! So this is episode number 27 and we’re going to continue talking about this idea of outsourcing and how to take action steps so we’re not just talking about abstract ideas like, “Oh get some, you know, outsource.” But how do you actually do it. And so, last episode we talked about the tools that we use to find people which is Upwork.com primarily. But you know, you may find different people in different ways and Upwork may or may not be the best communication platform. So, what we wanna talk about in this episode is the tools that we use for communicating with our outsourced assistants, I guess you could say, and then how we essentially train them to do the particular task. Is that right? Am I reading the right thing there, Anthony?
Anthony: Yes indeed. And this as a reminder…
Ryan: Read it straight out of my Daily Domination Journal.
Anthony: I’m on my sketchpad. But just as a reminder why we would do the outsourcing in the first place, if this the first episode you’re tuning in, obviously it’s a way to free up your time to do more valuable things and so this is the tool we’re trying to do on a daily basis. It’s fine things and we a conversation about this earlier today at the coffee shop actually that we needed to do a better jobs ourselves of isolating activities that we’re doing that we should be outsourcing. So, we should be touching things one time in getting rid of them and trying to master them and then outsource them, get assistance and get it off of our plates so that we can operate and do bigger things that have bigger impact. So with that being said, if you are listening to this for the first episode go back and listen to the ones before if this isn’t making any sense. But here we are. We have something off of Upwork or wherever site and now we need to train them and get them up to speed. And the way that I’ve done this in the past in, I think of showing you this maybe in a year or plus ago, is…
Ryan: Are you talking to me?
Anthony: Yeah. Of you, Ryan. You’re the guy in the room here.
Ryan: Well you could be …
Anthony: Doctor… Sorry. Doctor Ryan.
Ryan: You weren’t making eye contact to me when you said that so I wasn’t sure if you’re talking to me.
Anthony: I was looking at your DDJ.
Ryan: That’s nice.
Anthony: Yeah. Leather bound and everything. But what we have here is we need to put in place systems so obviously everything could be broken down in executable tasks. So, even recording this podcast you need to get the equipment out. You need to plug it in. You need to hit record. As many of those tasks that you can breakout the better. And so, what I do is I just make a Googledoc folder or Google Drive folder and start making a document and just put number one, let’s say…
Ryan: What’s the task at hand Anthony?
Anthony: Let’s say making an Instagram quote post like we have on our very inspirational page which you should go follow @healthfitbusiness.
Ryan: So what you’re describing right now, can I stop you for one sec?
Anthony: You can.
Ryan: Thank you for your permission.
Anthony: You may.
Ryan: I may. Thank you. People talk about like, “Oh you know we need systems. We need systems. We need systems.” But I feel like a lot of times people don’t know what that actually means.
Anthony: Yeah. What I mean…
Ryan: Like what does it mean to actually have a system?
Anthony: System is the set of repeatable tasks where you can do something and you can basically give a sheet of paper to somebody and say, “This is how you do it.” That person can give that to someone else and nothing will get lost in translation.
Ryan: So essentially a system is just a step by step written process of something that’s done frequently, right?
Ryan: ‘Cause I think people say system and then it’s like it’s sort of an abstract thing and so they feel like they never really have grasp of like, “How do I create a system? It sound so fancy.” It could literally be a sheet of paper. Well, I don’t wanna spoil it because you’re about to describe what you do. Okay.
Anthony: Yeah. So, it can be as simple as just one, two, three, four, five done or if-this-then-that type of algorithm. So, it doesn’t have to be super simple. It doesn’t have to be super complex. But let’s say for us, Margot has an excellent job of making our quote posts and our Instagram images for this podcast specifically. If you found us through Instagram, this was the system that we made that this podcast is about, right? Which is…
Ryan: Yeah. You know people think that we post some of this quote on Instagram ourselves.
Ryan: But that is not the case.
Anthony: We wouldn’t have time to record this podcast if we did that.
Ryan: So we set a system with Margot to essentially train her like, look, a couple times a day. Here’s the steps to follow to post… Everything okay over there?
Anthony: Yeah. I thought I hit the game button on the microphone. I think we’re good.
Ryan: Oh really?
Anthony: No, it’s good. I looked at the levels.
Ryan: Okay guys. Anyways, don’t worry about this part and I’m gonna leave this and not cut this out.
Anthony: Excuse me there.
Ryan: So with Margot doing this, we essentially made a system for her to make a photo that has a quote on it and post it to Instagram.
Ryan: To get people motivated in like thinking positively.
Anthony: Trying to get you guys to get after it.
Ryan: Yeah or trying to get you everyone just tuned out. You can’t say that until the end.
Anthony: Oh I thought it was over.
Ryan: What are we drinking here? What am I drinking right now, Anthony?
Anthony: You’re drinking a LaCroix.
Ryan: What’s this other thing I’m drinking?
Anthony: It’s a pureWOD pre special edition flavor.
Ryan: Is this a flavor that is yet to be, here I’m doing it, saw it, like goes in a cup.
Anthony: No sleep a little bit?
Ryan: What are we doing right now?
Anthony: You guys can see that we’re back together and that we’ve had too much coffee. Anyway…
Ryan: Or not enough.
Anthony: How I do this the most simplest way is always software system you can do. I use Googledocs. It’s super easy. It’s free. So for instance, I want an Instagram quote posted so I put on sheet a bunch of quotes and then I put on another sheet: 1. Look at the sheet that has the quotes. 2. Use this template that we made here that we’ve done before or find a photo from this place. 3. Use this font to overlay on this image. 4. Log in twice a day and post this. 5. Make the quote green. 6. Put that photo in a folder. And then have them run through it one or two times to see if there’s any questions but it really needs that simple so that way if for some reason Margot ends up hating us, which I hope never happens, and leave.
Ryan: That would be… I remember…
Anthony: I’ll be crushed. I’ll be crushed.
Ryan: What a gem!
Anthony: We would have this really good system where we have somebody else come in and we’d say, Okay this is we do it before. This is the best way to do it and this is how things get done without having to go back and forth and manage something. It’s a repeatable task. It should be something that’s catalogued and never referred to again. And so once that’s shared, we have an online, we use Slack to communicate plus Googledocs for documents management.
Ryan: Wait. What did you say? We use what?
Ryan: Slack? How do you spell Slack? Slack.
Anthony: I spell Slack, S-L-A-C-K.
Ryan: So Slack. ‘Cause I think a lot of people would be unfamiliar with Slack.
Anthony: I forget that I’m in San Francisco.
Ryan: Everybody here uses Slack. When you told me, “Oh you Slack” like I said “What?”
Anthony: So yeah. I Slack.
Ryan: I Slack. So just go to Google and type in Slack.
Anthony: Yeah. Google on it.
Ryan: And it is a communication platform.
Anthony: Right. So think about never having to email again. That’s how I think about it.
Ryan: Yeah. It’s nice. So we use Slack. We invite them on Slack. We only use people who use Slack, right? I mean that’s not one of the things… Like if we’re gonna work with you, you need to be on Slack.
Anthony: Right. So step one, in this whole thing once you hire them you have to have systems in place so they can follow. So that is creating a document. Step two is we have communicate. Now if you have somebody that you outsource to or have hired for a task there are two types of tasks. I try to keep it more in bucket two but bucket one would be a one time projects. So let’s say I needed to render for something or I needed something done once. That communication can be on a junkie platform like Upwork. Their communication is not great or if it’s an ongoing task which I try to get more of which saves me time and have somebody else doing stuff for me so I can do more valuable things is the communication is a huge issue. So, if I’m emailing back and forth with fifteen different people through five different email accounts stuff get lost immediately and then you have to look it up and sometimes Gmail you can’t search through it then you forget which one and then you log in and out so download attachments. With Slack, it consolidates all that and allows you to search through, encrypt channels. So for instance, in our channel we have a bunch of stuff going on and we communicate with Margot mainly for the social media/graphic design tab and so can invite certain users to that and we can just communicate through there and search through files. You can have conversation history search so let’s say she said something about podcast number four, we can type in four and it’ll search everything for us.
Ryan: And you can also do direct messaging and that you can share files from Google Drive or from like Onedrive or Dropbox, like it all be there essentially. So it’s not like…
Anthony: For free!
Ryan: “Oh which one,” you know “Was that my Dropbox folder? Or was that my Google Drive? Where is it?” I just search for the name of the essentially what I’m looking for and it just pops right out and then I have the link and then I go. And the other thing that’s cool about it too is I have a whole separate channel for The Movement Fix and so any project related to that is, it’s with in Slack but it’s just like one swipe away so you can quickly manage like different larger projects and I know you have also have that for some other things.
Anthony: Yeah. I think I have three or four.
Ryan: Three or four channels.
Anthony: Three or four channels.
Ryan: This is like a free software to use. It’s incredible. It’s incredible that something like this is free. Also to know is, remember when we used to use like… Gosh! Did we use a Sauna? Is that what that was?
Anthony: Yeah and Basecamp.
Ryan: And Basecamp and like this is actually the only platform that I’ve used and then stuck with it where a lot of other times…
Anthony: Excuse me.
Ryan: Oh my goodness! No notifications, Anthony. Notifications are killing you. But I feel like that actually is pretty funny.
Anthony: Sorry I have to get this sort of President Obama. I’m just wishing him well.
Ryan: That was last day today.
Anthony: I’m just saying, “Hi Barry! It’s been a good ride.” Anyway…
Ryan: Yeah, okay. But anyways, it’s like actually a platform that I’ve kept using and it feels effortless to use it and I feel like a lot of times you try to make the other ones work and this one just like, like it wouldn’t be able not use it once you use it.
Anthony: This is good for ongoing communication that can be good for like for very large projects. A lot of people manage in them but for people getting starting, probably people listening to this podcast, definitely me I’m not out of points to be using things like Sauna or Basemap. I think we are not doing big enough projects yet. So, I think with having such a free, easy to use thing that integrates really well with Dropbox and Gmail and Google Drive. There’s no other options. So, what we do is we have like this people in a channel, they each have their own special role. They can all talk to each other if they need to. And so for instance for contents, what we do I have a system in place just like this where I hire content writer and we have someone who post and edit, and then somebody, Margot, who makes the photos for it. And so, what can happen is we can have like a one idea of a blog and we can have a content writer write it then we can have somebody edit it and we can have Margo make a, posted it and then she can put it back to the editor who then formats and post it on WordPress and then that person can message on Slack to the social media promoter and then everything is done with me just saying, “Okay, this is what I want the blog post be written about.”
Ryan: Now people…
Anthony: I was just saying… That is a definition of how a system should work and so that happens with the combination of Slack and, so I have all that all those procedures typed out in a Google in different Googledocs that people can reference if they, their behind or bring someone new on team.
Ryan: Now this is where I think a sketchbook is critical because what people just heard probably makes them think, “What?”
Anthony: Yeah, what the hell?
Ryan: “What am I supposed to do? What are the steps?” So, if you take a Sketchbook, which is something that we recommend everybody has, just think about, “Okay, if I wanted to post a blog post or I wanted to, you know, schedule any patient, whatever it is, what are the steps that must happen?” and think through the whole process then you just write those steps out and then put it into in like a drive document for example. But I think having the ability to write it and scratch and insert things with a pen and paper makes it way easier. So, it’s really just think about a process and then write out the steps make that new document and then communicate via Slack if you’re using virtual assistants or other assistants that you need to communicate quickly with.
Anthony: Yeah. And pro tip for people who don’t have any of these instances yet or have any need for one you will eventually if you want to grow. And so, what I would say is that if you find yourself doing repeatable tasks that you’re doing currently start just documenting all of those steps and one thing also I do for Google Drive is I, as I do the process while I’m writing the document, I take screenshots then I insert them and so that’s an easy way to just build a doc. And so let’s say, so I actually have a lot of these docs I have not outsourced yet but there are just things that I’m doing now that I will eventually outsource. And so, as you’re doing them just getting in a habit of thinking, “This is the step by step process. Oh I should make a Googledoc just in case when I hire somebody this is something I can give them.”
Ryan: It’s also really effective too when you have to, if you’re doing something that solely on computer. If you… Say I’m gonna take a screenshot every time I take an action like that would actually make you realize how many little steps there are like, “Oh then you have to click this button and then you have to do this.” So, actually going to the process of screenshotting every little thing that you do will help you understand the steps that maybe you didn’t realize. Now this is somewhat cumbersome seeming so we were actually, before we, this was while we had coffee but before we had poke’, we said, “You know, what would be really helpful is we schedule like a couple times a week or daily of time block where the sole purpose of that time block was to spend or to figure out what are some things that you could be making into a system and then spending that time actually making that system,” because inevitably what happens is you go, “Oh I gotta get this done now so I’m just gonna do it and then I’ll make it a system for it later.” Because like there’s an… For some reason I think it has to get done in the next hour, two hours a day. Right? I mean how many times has this happen to you? Happens to me all the freakin’ time. So if you actively created time block when you’re not in that place of urgency you’ll actually do it.
Ryan: So, I think that’s a, I guess, pro tip number two.
Anthony: Yeah. Being kind of send of the things you are ready to outsource and then making time to create this actual system of it.
Ryan: Yes. Schedule that time because you’re not just kinda like magically find time to do it.
Ryan: You need to purposefully schedule that time and do the work.
Anthony: Also a big spot of… But I think pointing out here especially on Slack in the beginning. So now like we can communicate really well. Margot, she’s fantastic. You’re gonna just say, “Yeah. This is exactly what I want.” She understands how we work and but in the beginning is very very very important especially when you’re working with people in different countries to be very articulate of what you want and give as many examples as possible and let them create how they want and then help by giving more examples or being as explanative as possible where you can point out with errors or circle and say, “No no. Can we put this here. Can we do that there.” And kinda go back and forth so what we had to do with the first before we gotta style down is we had gonna go back and forth and say, “This is style we’re looking for. Can we make it like this?” Back and forth. Back and forth. Then what happens is you kind of get this rapport. You have this common understanding and then you can start scaling actually task. But as clear as you can be upfront when you’re starting to do this as a system you still gonna have preconceived notions in your head of how you want things that other people are not gonna understand. So another good thing that you can do with this, with writing a systems out, is realize the things from your standpoint that you think are obvious where to other people may not be as much.
Ryan: Bingo! Alright. Do you have anything else to add to that, Dr. Anthony Gustin?
Anthony: No. I think the challenge this week should be even if you don’t have somebody yet let’s say that you may be the mock interview last week, you’re looking for some people to maybe do some simple simple things. Even if it’s like setting up and email campaign for your clinic or gym, what you should do is think about one thing that you do that’s repeatable and start writing out the systems in Googledocs. Even if you don’t have somebody to outsource to right now. And if you say that nothing to make that is a lie because I thought it like fifteen things this morning we were talking about how we need to get better at this, that I need to do it myself.
Ryan: I thought about ten things just while you’re saying that actually that I could be outsourcing. Great. Well, I guess you gotta get…
Ryan: Thank you guys for tuning in to this episode of the Health Fit Business podcast. If you found it helpful, please share with someone that you think it would also help and leave us a five-star rating on iTunes. Make sure also to go to healthfit.biz and sign up for the email notifications to which you can find right on the homepage so that you get all the updated podcasts and blog posts sent directly to you. Until then, we will see you next time.