Tyler Jorgenson 0:01
You’re listening to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. This show was created for entrepreneurs, business owners, marketers and dreamers who want to learn from the experts of today and drastically shortcut their own success to build a business that supports their dream lifestyle. Since 2011, Tyler Jorgenson has been interviewing business thought leaders from around the world a serial entrepreneur himself. Tyler also shares his personal insights into what’s working in business today. Welcome to biz Ninja, entrepreneur radio. Welcome out to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. I am your host, Tyler Jorgensen. And today I have the pleasure of speaking with Esther Inman who runs a really cool business called Virtual Assistant internship calm. And we’re going to talk with her a little bit of how she created this her journey, how she got here and the place that she just moved back from because we all want to go there. But Welcome to the show, Esther,
Esther Inman 1:03
I am so excited to be here. It’s gonna be so awesome.
Tyler Jorgenson 1:06
Love it. So when did you first realize that you are an entrepreneur?
Esther Inman 1:12
Oh my gosh, she is. So I always I’m one of those people. And I think you hear people say this. I always was entrepreneurial ever since I was a kid. So I was the one who was getting the kids together to do a lemonade stand. I started baby sitters club when I was 12. I remember my dad had all these old books, and I started selling them on Amazon and I was in high school, I had a whole like thing going before that was a thing. And so when I quit my corporate job and started working from home as a virtual assistant, that was really, I think my first real adult jump into being an entrepreneur.
Tyler Jorgenson 1:49
That is a big jump. And it’s it’s interesting, because some people I think absolutely knew it. Like I don’t know, if I knew I was an entrepreneur, but I knew I didn’t see the world the same way everyone else did. I did the lemonade stand, all those kind of things. But I hadn’t had identified or defined to me what that was. So you started your career in a normal like kind of corporate world.
Esther Inman 2:08
I went to school, actually to be a teacher. And I went and I did teach for a while I moved abroad to Europe, I always I mean, I’m the type of person who would get the opportunity to move abroad teach at a school and I take it and I go. So I’m kind of that kind of person, which I think also tends to lend itself to entrepreneur life. And then when I moved back, there was no teaching jobs they didn’t pay well, I was trying to live in Southern California, which is a joke, if you make less than like 60 to 80 grand, and they were only paying teachers 40 it was bad. So I started working in corporate America, but it was also miserable. So that was when I started to really say, I know that people are living life differently. I know that life is not just sitting in traffic for two hours and wondering when I’m going to see my kid ever again and being stressed out and crying all the time. Like I knew that this wasn’t it. I just wasn’t exactly sure what it was. So that’s when I started to like, you know, okay, let me dip my toe a little bit and see what I can figure out here.
Tyler Jorgenson 3:07
Yeah. So virtual assistants are something that I think the first time I really learned about it was after reading the four hour workweek, Tim Ferriss was a big advocate for offloading part of your work. How do you define a virtual assistant,
Esther Inman 3:20
a va essentially, is somebody who can do lots of different things for a business owner. And they really have replaced a typical office manager slash executive assistant, slash Secretary type of person. And you know, we’ve also added even more things onto their plate, they can do some light copywriting and some social media. So they’re really replacing those roles in a traditional office environment with some additional skills that are more niche to the online business, or at least the online part of a business. Because brick and mortar physical businesses hire MBAs as well. And they’re really just a jack or Jill of all trades, they can do all different kinds of things, and they become your right hand person.
Tyler Jorgenson 4:02
So would you say that typically a VA is like a master generalist, someone that’s going to help you with a lot of things? Or do you typically recommend finding a VA that for each specialty, your specific thing you need?
Esther Inman 4:14
Yeah. So a VA, they’re going to be able to do tasks that you give them to do. So that’s the biggest differentiator. So if you can say, Okay, I want you to post onto Instagram, and I want you to post here’s all the photos that you can pick from. And, you know, I’ll work with you to help us get to the types of captions that I want to do. That’s not the same person as a social media strategist who’s going to plan out what we’re going to do on all your channels, and how we’re going to like do Instagram ads. Those are two different people. And I think a lot a lot of people actually suffer because they think that they’re hiring this strategists person, but they only want to pay or they’ve advertised for a VA. Those are very different things.
Tyler Jorgenson 4:55
They are Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s important to recognize the difference between those two. So You became a teacher, then you went into corporate world and you dipped your toes. So when was the first time that you, you know, you got out on your own and you started doing some VA work? When was the first thing okay? This is the lightbulb moment, I think this might work.
Esther Inman 5:12
So I started as a VA, and I was putting my son out of daycare where he was going for, like 12 hours a day, it was insane. And my husband was active duty military. So I was really by myself a lot of the time. And I loved it, I loved what I got to do. And I, by the time that I paid, didn’t have to pay for his daycare anymore, I ended up making about the same that I was making before, which blew my mind because I thought I’m making it now I’m in this corporate job I’m doing so well. And then I think the next phase for me was when I had so many women, and mostly women at that point, although I have helped some men now to asking me how are you working from home? How are you working from home, and I couldn’t say Oh, learn how to write some blogs. And I can refer you some work because there was nothing that was teaching anybody. And you know what a VA was. And so that was kind of the next transition piece to the first piece was oh, my gosh, I can make money, I can make as much money as I want. Because there was so much work out there, there still is to this day, you will never go without VA work. There’s so much work out there. Even though people don’t think there is there is. And then the next phase was, oh my gosh, there’s all these people that want to work from home as a VA and they have no resources to help them. So those are kind of the two pieces of my, you know, entrepreneurial story.
Tyler Jorgenson 6:32
So that’s the big thing, right? So you started as a VA, but then you realized, man, there’s no resource or education place for people to go learn how to do this. Yeah. And so you created that. Tell us about that. What happened?
Esther Inman 6:45
Yeah, so I was still in VA. And I just started mentoring a couple of girls from bass. And I was like, I literally just posted in the Facebook groups for my base and said, Does anybody want to learn like VA skills, I’ll mentor you, and then I can refer you work. And so I met with them one hour a week, I would teach them some stuff. And then I could refer them work as like interns when I call them. And now that’s what my company is called Virtual Assistant internship because nobody could get even work experience they could learn. So I was like, I’ll teach you, I’ll give you some work, I got tons. And then I also was still working for my clients, I continued to expand into an agency, I took my agency to six figures is very successful. I had a team of subcontractors, all while mentoring these girls and these women, and then it started growing bigger and bigger and bigger. Just I started just with just posting resources and doing some webinars here and there, right. And then now it’s grown, I ended up having to close my agency three years ago, because my programs were just growing in an insane amount that I couldn’t keep up. And now we have over 4000 students that we’ve helped. So I had to close the agency to help this piece be successful.
Tyler Jorgenson 7:53
What were some other things when you first got going, you know, in the business side of things that you had to figure out,
Esther Inman 7:59
my biggest one has been mindset has been the biggest one for me. And it’s something that I think people throw around the word mindset mindset, I didn’t really get what that meant. And I didn’t really understand it. But the biggest example that I can give is, I knew that I had skills. And I knew that I could get paid for skills. Like that made sense to me. That’s just logic. Yeah. We know how to do things when we make money. But I had a really hard time closing my agency and thinking, can I just my online courses that I’m selling? Like, is this a thing that I can do? And so I honestly had to track the finances from the agency and track the finances from the online courses. And I stood in front of my mastermind, and I showed both and I said, Can I have permission to close my agency? Because I genuinely didn’t believe that I could do it. And they have this double face a yes thing. So it was a lot of mindset stuff. For me, I’m really believing that I can actually really do this and really be able to offer this to people and that they would want to buy it and they want to learn from me. And oh, well, there’s other people who are doing it too. And maybe they do it better. It’s a whole thing.
Tyler Jorgenson 9:05
Yeah. So what do you say to other people that are facing that mindset? Like the one that you just mentioned, I think is super common? Oh, well, that already exists. So somebody else is already training them are training people. What do you say to that?
Esther Inman 9:17
One thing I learned was that not everybody is going to connect with other people. And they will they will connect with you. And so of course I have this huge Facebook group of people who like me and they want to connect with me. I have an email list now and Instagram now of all people that want to connect with me and learn from me and talk to me in my DMS.
Tyler Jorgenson 9:36
Yeah, I mean that but it’s so important, right, like in order connecting with a specific person, right? Yeah,
Esther Inman 9:42
connecting with a specific person. And the other thing is, I sent out Okay, fine. There’s other VA training programs out there. I’m gonna make the freakin best one there ever was. And to this day, I update my course all the time. I make sure my stuff is excellent. And then I deliver far beyond what anybody paid for it. And that I think is one of the biggest things that you can set yourself apart, just make something excellent. And people, it’s an obvious choice then.
Tyler Jorgenson 10:10
So just delivering major value so that you don’t have to ever worry about that, you know, the imposter syndrome? Or the maybe I’m not good enough part or all of those things.
Esther Inman 10:19
Yeah, if you’re proud of what you did, and your students are telling you how amazing it is, and how it’s changing our lives and how it’s working. What else do you need like that? Because,
Tyler Jorgenson 10:29
yeah, it’s, I believe strongly in the first half of what you said, where just because somebody else exists, teaching what you teach, or sharing what you share, or coaching what you coach or whatever, doesn’t mean that there’s not a group of people. I mean, you can look at it in it. The simplest way I explain it is even the most popular celebrities have people that don’t like them. Yeah. And so there are people that won’t go see a movie, because that’s the main actor, although he’s less likely to see it. And there’s the opposite of that, oh, that instead of this person, I wish they would have cast this person who I’m a huge fan of. And so there’s room for so many more people in the market. You know, there are a lot of me twos. And I’m not saying that that’s the right way to do it. But if you’re going to come in and create something amazing. There, most markets have room for somebody else to come in and deliver massive value. Yeah. So I mean, you’ve built the virtual assistant internship, you’ve launched 90 day VA, tell us a little bit about that.
Esther Inman 11:25
Yeah, so 90 day VA was my program that I started just recording week by week. And literally, that’s what turned into the first version of the program. And I moved to Bali three years ago. And that’s when I took my agency to six figures, I was kind of running this program on the side. And then the side hustle to my What started as a side hustle, I guess, it took over and became the main gig. And we since completely redid the program, we I hired instead of having the team work on other clients projects for the agency, I made the terrifying decision to say, I’m gonna work on my stuff. Like, this is weird. And it worked great. And now I have 12 people who work just for my programs and our stuff that we do, we just grew slowly, I just started with one or two people. And then slowly we kept growing. And the great part is when you train VA is you have a great pool to hire from
Tyler Jorgenson 12:19
yourself. Right? So what are some mistakes that entrepreneurs make when hiring a va?
Esther Inman 12:25
Yeah, I think one of the ones we talked about before, is expecting too much expecting this VA to come in and be able to make big, you can do a launch plan for me. And then you can execute the ads and you can do them like that’s just not what he does. So I think expectations is a big one of them. I think that a lot of times, they do not set up vas for success. Nobody can read your mind and know exactly what it is that you want, especially if you didn’t give them all of that information and all of the resources to begin with. And so that goes back to expectations as well. But setting them up for success. How are you onboarding them? How are they able to get the materials and resources that they need? Did you have them do a trial task before you hire them to make sure that you liked what they could do? And I think as business owners, anytime there’s a problem with the people you hire, all those fingers always point back to you. What did you do that you didn’t prepare them enough? And give them what they needed enough to be able to do an excellent job? How can you do it better next time. So if I hear business owners that are just, I just can’t
Unknown Speaker 13:28
find a good VA and I’ve hunted her
Unknown Speaker 13:29
down like, well, what are you doing wrong? Because I don’t want to send anyone to work for you.
Tyler Jorgenson 13:37
Yeah, I think when we delegate, the term that I tell my team is you have to be ridiculously specific. Yes. So that you cut down on feedback coming back and forth and time loss there. And then as well as just the task coming back not being done correctly. And so if you’re now a lot of guys on my team will struggle to delegate because they’re like, well, if I have to be that specific, I’m already halfway through the task at that point. Right. So how do you help people kind of let go of that little bit of, you know, energy of like, Is it worth the time it takes to get a VA on board? That sort of thing?
Esther Inman 14:12
Yeah, I’ve heard this before, too. This is another common one up, I think it goes, Well, it’s just faster at this point, if I just do it myself. And the answer is number one, no, it’s not. If you’re handing things over correctly, it may be the first time maybe the first two times three times. But if you’ve done your homework and gave them you’ve recorded yourself doing the task, and you put it, okay, here’s how you do it. Now. ask me any questions you need. Great, now they’re done. So it some of it comes back to the slps. And the onboarding that you have, which may be a little bit of work in the beginning was for me with my team, but then it’s done. It’s gone. So it’s like when you’re teaching your kids to do chores, and Okay, so the first time when you teach you how to sweep the back patio, it’s a whole thing second or third time the primary do it right, you’re gonna go and help them but that doesn’t mean that we just Pay off, forget it. You guys don’t do chores? No, we keep working with them, because eventually it’s going to be helpful. And they will learn how to do it. And it’ll be done properly. And you have a list that you give them that says, are all the leaves off of the patio? Is the broom put away, right? Those are your SRP, it’s the same idea for your team members. So it may be a little bit more time consuming in the beginning. But if you are handing things over properly, then eventually very quickly, it will alleviate that for you. And the other part of that is small things add up. So I, my husband laughs at me, because he says, Why are you telling me all these chores to do? Why don’t you just do and I think, because if I would have done all that I would have been doing twice in the last two hours, my friend. So I’m outsourcing and we’re all going to get chores together for 20 minutes. And then we’re done. And here’s your list. And here’s your list. So all of those little things add up. And that’s the best example I can give. But it’s going to feel in your business is going to feel like I gotta send a 10 minute voice memo to her about how to do this thing. And I gotta send another one about this thing for two minutes. But all those things are going to save you time. So now I’m running a million dollar business, and I only work part time, not even the full year. And that, how did I do that? It’s by setting up my team for success, giving them everything that they need, so that they can run with it. And really preserving my time, even if it’s just 10 minutes here and there because it will add up to hours and hours hours. What are some of the most common uses of a VA that every entrepreneur may not even be realizing they’re missing out on the biggest one that I teach in my program. Because this is the biggest one that people need help with is the content monster, but all of us entrepreneurs, where, for example, this recording, it needs to be edited, it needs social media graphics to go along with it. And it’s showing up to be made and needs to be posted on probably four different platforms. And then all of those things need to get posted on social media along with the graphics made, a lot has to go into just one podcast episode. So what I teach my students do even if you don’t have a podcast, just think of that as the example is how to take one piece of content, whether it be an audio call recording of you with one of your coaching clients, or it’s a video about you recorded really quick while you were driving or something. Please don’t record driving, just kidding when you’re parked somewhere. And they’re able to take that and turn it into a blog post meeting SEO requirements with pins, and they’re able to get it onto Pinterest, then they can turn it and pull the audio from it and turn it into a podcast and the graphics and the show notes. They can edit it down so that they can put it onto tik tok. And on the Instagram rails, they can make it an IDT. They’re able to repurpose your content into lots of different things. And they can do it because they’re doing it so focused. And it’s just a checklist right? Take this, turn it into all these things. They can do it in a not short amount of time, of course can take them some time. But it’s hyper instead of us trying to do it scrambling around like oh my god, no learn how to do this video editing. Oh, now there’s tic Tock now what am I gonna look like? Just forget how somebody else who already knows how to do that you already did your genius once. That’s enough. Now let other people take it and run with it. So that’s something that my team is still working on. Because, okay, you want to do a podcast now. And I’m like, Alright, I’m not signing up for more work. So how can we repurpose as much as we can? So I only have to record episodes when I want to?
Tyler Jorgenson 18:19
Yeah, that’s really smart. So I love the the content machine monster. And you’re right, most entrepreneurs need a ton of help. But most of them are at least publishing some places. So it’s just how do you get maximum juice out of that? So define like on your list, I’m looking at your site on what kind of other kind of work can they do, right? project management is one of them. Right? So what’s the difference between project management and just checking tasks, right, like our VA is able to actually help projects get completed. And
Esther Inman 18:50
yeah, so I do want to specify a difference, because project managers who are going to like help you plan out a launch an executed launch, and they’re going to help like, for me, I have somebody and I say, I want to make this product, here’s what I want to be in it. And they go and do it. That’s different a BA who’s going to help you with some project management. This is the coolest thing is I know that for a lot of us, we can’t commit to all these employees, but you can’t have a video editor, employee and podcast manager employee. And we have this. Now we have all these little contractors that do all kinds of things that don’t really fit into a bigger role. And so this is a lot of times what I encourage people to have as their first hire is somebody who could just manage all those stupid subcontractors and make sure they’re getting paid. Make sure they’re following on the dates, especially if you’re an agency owner, getting the things done on time making sure it’s getting to and from the client, we’re getting the documents to this new hire so they can fill them out. I got the documents back all of that stuff, to manage the little bits and things so that things can keep moving forward. Because if you’re the person who’s stuck, you’re the person who is preventing everything from moving forward because you have to look at every single thing you got to wait to till we hire that new person because I got to interview them. gotta send them all before everything takes so long because you’re this like hub. And you don’t want to be the hub make someone else to love. Right? You’re just brought in for big decisions or big things you want to be a part of?
Tyler Jorgenson 20:11
Absolutely. How can a VA help in PR pitching and PR follow ups?
Esther Inman 20:16
Yes, this is another module in my program, we actually had a PR agency owner come in teach how to do this. So little thing people aren’t involved in podcasts or getting onto magazines and stuff is is really just templates, literally, like email templates. And they tweak the templates to try to get the person onto the show or try to get the article, and they will customize it for that particular person or brand. But beyond that, it’s just a time game. It’s just literally spending the time doing it. And is this really the best use of the entrepreneurs time? No, it’s repetitive. It’s not something only they need to be doing. Somebody else can learn how to do it and send those pitches out. It even looks more professional to have somebody else doing it a lot of the times. And so literally you can have a VA say hey, I want to be on podcasts. Here’s my niche. I want you to go and research and find me 50 podcasts that I could be on. Here’s the metrics I want. I want them to have this many listeners, I want them followers or whatever, they come back up. Okay, this looks good. Now I want you to pitch here’s three sample templates. Show me how you would adjust it for these ones. Great. These look good. Now go now go and pitch them. Okay, great. Now coordinate getting me on the show and book it onto my calendar. Now. Connect with them to get me the questions. I’m ready. So for example, this episode, I wasn’t even really involved. I just got the conversation going with you because I knew you personally from our mastermind, right? My VA did everything else she got on my calendar, she got me the questions, she did everything else. I don’t need to do everything. So that’s
Tyler Jorgenson 21:47
one example. No, I love that. And I think I really like how, you know, use a PR is really just templates and time. And I think those are the types of tasks that are great for vas write things that are relatively repetitive so that they can become low decision tree type situations. But they do take up time and those small things add up massively. And if you can eliminate 1020 hours out of your week, have those low, high yield low value type situations, right that the entrepreneur can focus on better or bigger things or choose to have that time back? Right? Yeah, I don’t always think time needs to be replaced, right? Sometimes people are like, oh, now you can go do this like or you can just breathe a little bit. Just spend
Esther Inman 22:29
time with your kid and go travel and never had time to do and that’s why you started your business.
Tyler Jorgenson 22:34
Right, exactly. So tell us a little bit more like as you started getting that growing? Did you hit any hurdles? And if so, how’d you overcome those as you were like making that shift from agency to focusing on the side hustle?
Unknown Speaker 22:48
Esther Inman 22:50
Besides on the mindset stuff, I think there was more mindset things that I could talk about, because there’s a lot of, Okay, well, I have my team do all this stuff, then what am I gonna do, and then there’s about me not doing all these things that I was doing before. And then there’s guilt about great, I only have to work part time, my business of four days a week, our time and it’s like running, what do I do like this is gonna fall apart. But if they don’t care as much as I do, I really should be working. And I’ve equated my value to how much I work, which is a very Western society thing. So there were a lot of that that came up. And it impacted my ability to lead my team. And that’s really the transition that I made from doing all the things for everybody else’s business, to doing all the things for my business, and then moving into mentoring and leading them and being just the face of the business and moving into like an ownership role. And it has not been easy and learning how to manage people, like I don’t know how to do that. I have to learn all of this stuff. And so those have been definite challenges that have come up
Tyler Jorgenson 23:54
and continue to come up. So what are some wins that your program has been able to help people achieve? share some of the fun success stories,
Esther Inman 24:04
it’s my favorite thing to talk about. I get a little emotional talking about it. But so when I first started this, I really it really was just I’m going to mentor a couple girls at a time help them to be a VA so I can refer them work. Okay, so then it grew when I have like 100 students, oh my gosh, system. But what I didn’t expect was the stories that started to come back to me that I was hearing from my students, because I didn’t realize how working from home with flexible time making a good wage could do for people. And so the stories I have are like, we have one of our students who was in his Indonesian where the daily living wage is eight US dollars per day, and she makes 20 or more US dollars per hour. And the way that it’s completely changed her entire family, her entire village even good life. And this particular there’s a few of them, but this Pretty good student. She has a fiance who lives in South Africa. And during COVID, he was dealing with brain cancer. And he unfortunately passed away, before he passed away, she was able to jump on a plane and go over there and go and be with him before he passed away. And none of this kind of thing would have been possible, unless she was able to just pick up her work and go and unless she’s able to make money in US dollars, so that’s one, I have people that are caregivers for family members who have Alzheimer’s, or themselves are dealing with serious health issues that are unseen, we can’t see them because they’re getting migraines, or they have like lupus or like things that are really intense for them. But they feel worthless if they am bored. Because the times they do have energy, they’re not contributing or doing anything. And so now they’re able to work, even if it’s just five to 10 hours a week, single moms able to leave on healthy situations and still provide for their kids and not have to be dependent on the government, which who knows when that’s going to come in and kind of a thing. So those kinds of stories that get me out of bed every single day and still shocked me like I still get deals from, oh my gosh, I feel removed sometimes from it, and it always brings it back up. This is why I do what I do. And that’s the thing that I want other entrepreneurs to hear as well is when you hire people, you aren’t just helping yourself, get more time and get more things done. You’re actually creating this community and you’re actually helping other people too. And you are potentially changing the entire legacy for their family as well.
Tyler Jorgenson 26:31
Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that. That’s really cool. Last question. What is one item on your personal bucket list you’re going to achieve in the next 12 months. I have
Esther Inman 26:40
a traveler and I just recently confided in my husband that I have always wanted to go to Bora Bora and so we were actually looking at like luxury trips to Bora Bora which is a big deal because we were really poor before my business took off so for us about that is a really big deal and yeah, even just being able to consider
Tyler Jorgenson 26:55
it Yeah, awesome. I love it. So please everybody go check out Esther Inman add virtual assistant internship.com you can learn all about her what she does. If you’re looking to hire a VA I highly encourage you to go check that out. They have instructions on how to work with her team and find the right your next hire. So I highly encourage you to go check out virtual assistant internship.com and all my entrepreneurs out there it is your turn to go out and do something Thank you for tuning in to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. What you didn’t hear was one more very important question that Tyler asks each guest if you want to be a fly on the wall when the real secrets are shared, go to biz ninja.com slash VIP and get your access today. Remember to subscribe so that you don’t miss any future episodes. And our one last favor if this episode was meaningful to you please share this podcast with a fellow entrepreneur so they can grow along with us is ninjas. It’s your turn to go out and do something