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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 Jorgensen 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.
Tyler Jorgenson 0:41
Welcome out to biz ninja entrepreneur radio, I am your host, Tyler Jorgensen. And today we have Latoya Russell, who is the founder of quitting corporate.com. She’s got a few other really neat businesses and she’s been an entrepreneur that I’ve been connected to for some time now. But I’m really excited to talk with Latoya about what it means to quit corporate what it means to be able to work virtually, who is limited to who it’s an opportunity for. And the dark underbelly of what actually happens when people say they’re working remotely. So welcome to the show. Latoya.
LaToya Russell 1:16
Thank you so much for having me. Tyler,
Tyler Jorgenson 1:18
let’s go My first question right off the bat. When did you first realize that you were an entrepreneur,
LaToya Russell 1:23
I think that that was something that was rooted in me from a very young age. And before I recognized that it was entrepreneurship, I probably thought it was just like what people refer to as a hustler. But being a hustler, then was me having a kid you not I had three jobs at one point. So I’d work 8am 830 until 430 job, then I’ll leave there and head to 530 until 9pm. And then I’d work a 12am shift until 8am, or rush out to get to the 830. And that’s it was just really, that I had no response, no big responsibilities back then. So it was money for traveling and fun with my friends and Carnival and whatnot. But I was always trying to make sure I was always trying to make sure I had income at all time. So that that was really it.
Tyler Jorgenson 2:21
So income even if you’re only sleeping three hours in a day,
LaToya Russell 2:25
yeah, the 12am to 8am shift that was that was for a record company. So because it was at night, and the the height of activity would have happened when there are events, so like Christmas time New Year’s Eve. But other than that, it was pretty slow. And I got really accustomed to picking up the phone, even if I was sleeping, got really accustomed to picking up the phone like it was bright, happy morning. Hey, thank you for calling. So once the ring came through, my pet voice was up already.
Tyler Jorgenson 2:57
Got it. So I think that’s interesting. I think there’s a lot of people who start their entrepreneurial journey just as being a hustler, right, really just being willing to work harder than the people around them. Because it means they’re going to get to a goal of a lifestyle or flexibility or whatever it is. And they you know, there’s that old saying that, you know, entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week for themselves to avoid working 40 hours a week for somebody else. So you started you did the opposite, you started working 80 hours a week for someone else. And then you said okay, I’m willing to put in the work. How did you make the transition from, you know, grinding nonstop for other people? How did you first invest in yourself?
LaToya Russell 3:34
In my quest to figure out how I can always be making money I realized, you know, at some point, you get tired. So as a teenager, those three jobs and whatnot was fine. But once I started to actually, like, continue studying and looking at other things, and relationships and whatnot got serious, it was, well, nobody’s gonna want to put up with you and this because if you’re working all the time, and all that, so for me, it was how can I make money online? I was always an online gal. So then I ended up all the way down the Google rabbit hole trying to figure out how can I make money online, so I can, so I could cut down the time it was spending running around from job to job. And then I discovered the online world making money I started actually started by teaching Japanese English, believe it or not. And then I make further down the rabbit hole. Then I discovered Wow, it could be a virtual assistant. Then I got a client. I was I was teaching the Japanese as well as being a VA. And then, long story short after Well, I got pregnant after my daughter was born. The money that came in from teaching the Japanese and Chinese was really once I work once I was doing video calls with them. That was the bulk of the money. If I was just reviewing their work, then it was less so for me I needed to be on video. You have some things with them, or at least be able to record a video and send them back. And one of the requirements was that the bad girl has to be quiet otherwise you couldn’t work for the company anymore. And I couldn’t risk having my daughter start to cry in the background when dealing with a student. So then I was like, this is not going to work. And I went into being a VA. So that was kind of the start of a how to make money online, all the way down the rabbit hole. There’s some forks and whatnot in between there. So I did a ton of things. And now here we are quitting.
Tyler Jorgenson 5:35
Yeah. So you know, so you made the move of, again, just were willing to work really hard, then willing to do stuff on your own, and then becoming a VA. And that’s the beginning of like being self employed, right? So but you do a lot more. First of all, your journey is a lot more than just being self employed, you’ve built a really neat business. And so I want to do two things, I want to talk a little bit about the business you built to help other people become virtual assistants or quit corporate, but then also how you’re running that as a company, to where it’s growing bigger than just what Latoya can do. Because you’re, you know, you’re no longer just self employed, you’re a business owner, right? So there’s two steps to this process, right? So let’s first talk a little bit about how you’re helping other people quit corporate what is a VA, what is a virtual assistant who needs one who should be one,
LaToya Russell 6:22
a virtual assistant is technically an an administrative assistant online, I don’t want to say shouldn’t use the word administration, because I don’t want to limit it. So let’s talk about being an online service provider. And as an online service provider, virtual assistant is the broad term that people will use. So if someone wants you to manage social media, they want you to manage your inbox, or they want an assistant for something else that say they need a virtual assistant. But technically, it’s an online service provider and this person will offer remote services to business owners, they don’t have to head into the office. You services can range from copywriting, podcast management, automation and marketing, funnel building, graphic design, you name it, there is someone there to do it. So holistically, some people will call themselves virtual assistants, you’ll find social social media managers, graphic designers funnel building, there’s tat vas, and all of these people will fall under the online service provider category, which everybody or most people will refer to as virtual assistant. And anybody can become a VA, you don’t have to have our online service provider, there is no degree necessary. As long as you have some skill, you know how to use a computer, have some stable Internet, and you know, you can get into it,
Tyler Jorgenson 7:44
I really liked the difference of the term online service provider as opposed to virtual assistant, I think when when virtual assistant started, it was very minimal of what opportunities were really there. And it was really people, very basic, administrative, administrative stuff. But most of my team works remote. Most of them are online service providers, right. And even though we have a brick and mortar location, and we have the ability to that most of our clients treat us as an online service provider to so it makes a lot of sense, what are some of the big pitfalls that people wanting to become osps are making what are some big mistakes that they should? What are the common mistakes to avoid?
LaToya Russell 8:22
A common mistake is the biggest one I should say is actually not believing in yourself, and not taking it as seriously as you would want to. And when I say that, what I mean are delaying the start for lack of better explanation. Because some people are eager to do this. They know that they want to do it. But then when you talk to them, you say, Well, how long did you want to become a va? And tell you two years, how many clients do you have, I haven’t been able to find a client as yet. So there are a lot of people that start they get some training, they buy some there, they invest in themselves to get some courses. And then they’re scared to actually go in there and talk to clients, they feel as though they need experience because they don’t recognize that they already had that experience from whatever they were doing in corporate whatever other job they had, probably interacting in their day to day lives with people customer service. If you’ve been a customer service representative for someone wherever you were working, maybe Amazon, Wendy’s wherever you were, you answer the telephone, you have to give people an exceptional customer service, and you can write your English well or whatever language the company is working you’re working with requires then you already have skills to be a customer service online service provider.
Tyler Jorgenson 9:45
I totally agree. I think one of the easiest things is simply to think of the idea that you’re going from self employed or you know, employee to self employed and so the skills and jobs you were doing, now you just need to go do those but to go find a client to do it for and have the online control? What are the what are the upsides Why should somebody quit corporate instead of keep you know, there’s some security theoretically to staying employed, right? What are the upsides of quitting? The
LaToya Russell 10:09
upside is that really you can control your income i that is the number one thing for me and anybody for that matter, if you are really invested in your business, you know what you want to do, there is nothing that will beat being able to control the amount of money that you have. And I think that that is one of the reasons, I kept three jobs because I, to me at the time, that was the best way to always have money coming in from different places. But if I wake up tomorrow, and they go, Oh my god, I need 2000 more dollars to do this thing or shoot my friends getting married, I want to go to their wedding. But this dress cost $500 that I don’t have or $300 $200, whatever it costs, I can decide, you know what I either need to find a client to do an automation consulting service with or I need to go and sell two or three spots in my course. And you can’t do that with your salary when it hits on the 25th. Or whatever day you get paid. And you spend, it’s gone. You have to wait for the other month, you’re lucky if you get paid every week, because then the money’s coming in faster. But if you are monthly, it’s like the drag from one month to the next is a big drag.
Tyler Jorgenson 11:25
Yeah, so I agree that that control of your future and control of your income is super important, as you made that transition from being an online service provider to now helping other people become an online service writer. And really, you made that switch from now being self employed to also having a business that helps other people do this. What was a major challenge that you faced, and how did you overcome the transition from self employed to business owner,
LaToya Russell 11:51
a major challenge was,
Tyler Jorgenson 11:54
maybe you didn’t have any, maybe it was all perfect the whole time, and you never had had to overcome anything.
LaToya Russell 12:01
Actually, I think it’s a case where actually managing people and letting go is is one of them. Because it’s easy for us to get upon. And it’s easy for me to want something and do it myself. Because I can do everything I need in my business myself. After all, I was the one person for a couple of years. So now it’s also understanding and recognizing there has to be a point where you recognize you know what, yes, you want this done a certain way. But there might be somebody that can do this way better than you and also empowering people. And I think a lot of that empowering and came to me when I recognize how my students felt when they actually got their first client, I actually have people who post in my facebook group and whatnot to say, I quit my job, and I have X amount of clients, and it makes me feel really good. So when I have someone on my team that I’m putting on and they’re growing, and I start to see how excited they are, when they learn something and they can take it over, it really helps me to recognize that this is not only something that I’m doing externally, but I need to be building it internally as well, because I am training people to start their own online businesses. But I also need to empower my own team to take over stuff as well and understand that it’s not just me anymore, and I have people that are willing to assist and do it and people that believe in where we are I have this one team member that once we were at once I was hiring her applications stood out to me, like nothing else. In it, she just mentioned, oh my god, I would love to be able to work with you. I’ve seen all of your information all across the Internet, and you’re like a celebrity in my eyes. And even though I didn’t know her name, I was telling the rest of my team members, get me on the phone with the person that called me. And still I was there’s a lot of power
Tyler Jorgenson 14:01
and having people on your team that actually believe in you. Right? It’s important. I think one of the things that I that I’m noticing in your information in your courses, the things that you put out there is if you’re going to shift from corporate to being self employed, you now have to provide the structure that the company used to provide. Right so like if you’re here in the US and you’re you’re you are an employee at Starbucks, and you’re going to go start a Coffee Company. One of the things Starbucks is really good at is having, you know, systems and sops and trainings and their steps for everything. And so if you try to start a Coffee Company and don’t have those things, because now it’s all weighing on you, you can really feel lost. And I think that’s a that’s something that you teach in quitting corporate is providing a lot of that structure for them. How important is how important are sops and systems if you’re going to scale and do something on your own.
Unknown Speaker 14:57
They’re very, very important and I have This word that I like to use, right call it an autocation. And one of the definitions for that for me is automate and automate your business so that you can go on vacation, or implement have automation set up so that you can have saved more money, so that you can spend it on the key on a vacation, right? So those things are very important. Because if you do not systematize early, or you don’t put sops and processes in place, and you don’t automate stuff that you’re doing manually, when it’s time to bring on more team members and pass off stuff, you actually have to be there to answer all of their questions. And it’s a pain. So I actually trained myself throughout the years. And now I also train my team members, when somebody asks you a question, if we don’t have the answer documented, then we need to record it, because we’re not doing it twice. If you’re a space, or let’s say you’re in the store, and you check a message, and you have to respond, because it’s time sensitive, make sure instead, the tasks your task list so that you remember that this needs to be recorded to put in the wall. I also have documents that I call like, I have, like sheets, where it’s like, all the links to everything are listed in there. podcast links, blog links, if I got featured somewhere there in there, you want to keep track of those things, landing pages, every single thing. And I call those things like my automation Bible, sort of, because when those things get lost, you can’t remember and then there comes a time where you really need them. But for those procedures, it’s a pain as well for it. If you get up tomorrow, and you said I need to go on vacation, or let’s say we’re going to that wedding I just talked about, I have to be at the wedding in my phone, I can’t enjoy the moment because I need to answer somebody that can’t get something done to keep the business running. So recording is a vital is is really vital and important. And so it’s an important part in whatever you do. And if somebody asks a question, and it’s not time sensitive, you don’t need to answer it. No, I always tell people, I will get back to you when I get to my desk or add it to the task list whatever project management tool we’re doing, add it there and then no, so won’t make it a note to see record process for because once I replay, it’s coming as a recording, it’s coming as a recording. And then somebody is going to take that recording and put it in a doc because they need to make sure I capture the people who like video. And the people who like text, everybody doesn’t like to read and everybody doesn’t like video, I do not want to receive an SOP that is a 10 minute video, my mind will blow Give me the doc. And some people do not want to read that two page document, they want the video and we try to keep them five minutes. If they have to be longer, we put them at 10 minutes. And if it gets to that 10 minute mark, then that means there needs to be a part one, two, and three. Because it’s a long process.
Tyler Jorgenson 17:56
I feel this deeply. We’re currently working through this in our company right now in our marketing agency where there’s a lot of things that have just been getting done that we’re trying to delegate now we need to make sure there’s clarity of SOP, and I don’t like video or voice messages, but a lot of people on my team do. So I’m like it, I know it , it sounds weird that I’m gonna give it to you as a video. And I’m telling you not to give the meetings as a video. But that’s one of the joys of being the boss is I get to say what I want it. But But I believe in giving people both like, hey, let’s get the video on on there. And then let’s have it typed out as well for the people who prefer that. I I’m a big, big believer of meeting people where they are and leaning into strength as opposed to trying to change everyone. Right?
LaToya Russell 18:39
And not only not only because of preference to as well, I recognize because of disability or inability. Because if you’re hearing impaired, you need to read that we need to make sure that we have you covered as well.
Tyler Jorgenson 18:58
Absolutely, that’s a that’s a very good point. It’s not just preference. Sometimes it’s it’s a need, not a want. So when people come to you that they’re saying they want to quit corporate they want to they want to quit their job is probably what they’re saying and they want to work for themselves. And you mentioned something that was really interesting, but a lot of times people would say you’ve been wanting to do this for two years how do you help them actually get started and start making money? And because it people get stuck I do this in e commerce all the time. They’ve been telling me about it for years, and they don’t take that first step. How do you get them to take that first step and actually move on
Unknown Speaker 19:31
is really empowerment. And the way I like to show people is I tell them it’s a confidence booster first. So there are there’s a lot of noise on the internet when you’re trying to become an online service provider. I mean noise is really everything is telling you make a lot of money, get rich quick, and all these you know, we’re gonna make a lot of money fast and I try to let people are my students or people in my communities know that the first thing to making this step is going to be confidence. So one of the tips I give is, even if somebody tells you that you need to be charging $30 an hour, you need to make sure that you build your confidence first. And if you can’t have a discovery call or a sales call with a potential client, and you can’t get that $30 per hour out of your mouth, then you’re not ready, you’re not confident enough. So if you feel like you can get $10 an hour out of your money mouth, then you start there. And then make it a thing, have a note that said, Okay, I told this person $10. So the next time I get on a call, I’m going to say 12, or 15. And the next time I get on a call, I’ll take it up by three or five more dollars, so that you eventually get to $30. The key is to get somebody to say yes, to get your first client and not get the first client at the highest rate possible. Because number one, if you don’t have any experience, people already knowing you’re coming online for the first time. And if you can be very transparent to say, you are going to be the first person that I’m working with, if you want to say that there are people who are ready and willing to give you a chance, you don’t have to pretend that you’ve been in this business for six years, I you know, the rules like people know that you have experience from whatever you were doing before. It’s transferable. So they’re not going to think that you’re oblivious to the world, you can’t get this done. So the key is to actually get your first client that boosts your confidence. When you get that done, then you know, okay, oh my god, I can do this. That’s when you really feel like I can do this. And you can put that two years that you were trained behind you and actually come out and say, I can’t believe I finally got a client because the money doesn’t matter. You didn’t have it anyway, you’re trying it for two years, and you have $0 from it. So if you make $10 an hour, no, like, come on, it’s an upgrade, right? So we’re building confidence that way in my communities,
Tyler Jorgenson 21:57
that is very refreshing from the idea of just just double your prices or raise your prices, which I’ve never liked that from an arbitrary standpoint, because we don’t, it assumes that the person giving the advice already knew that the person was under charging. Some people are overcharging that does happen. But I really liked that it was not just no charge less, it was charged less, but then build up. So find a place where you’re comfortable so that you can sell properly, and then move up to a point where you’re reaching that the upper ends of that price point where it’s a place that’s more healthier for you, and it’s where you want to be I really like the stepping stones for that. Yeah, yeah, good stuff. Latoya Russell, loving it. What’s next for you? What are you working on? What are you building
Unknown Speaker 22:41
what I am building, I just actually launched our digital products shop that I am excited about. There are a lot of people in my community who are scared to jump into my automations course because my specialty is teaching service providers tech and automations. So I am thinking about starting this is a confirmed yet, I may put something out there that is a little lower level than that so that people can get their foot in and build more confidence, rather than jumping directly into that knee so they can come up they’re holding all sorts of I don’t know what’s happened to a market that I haven’t thought of into yet. So a lot of great things are happening I just launched to put in corporate podcast last month, and I am looking forward to great things.
Tyler Jorgenson 23:33
Oh, really, really good stuff. So you have your DICOM your digital product site, you’ve got your new podcast, everyone should go check out quitting corporate podcast. You can search that or you can go to Latoya’s Instagram and find that in the links. The you had a lot of neat things I know my business is always in need of of online service providers helping on automations things like that is there. Do you help people that you train also find like if someone’s looking for a online service provider? Do they go to you or do they just go Google? Oh my automate stuff?
Unknown Speaker 24:07
Oh, definitely. People get hired my students that hire adopt corporate.com. You can find great tech V’s there. I’ve had some some great, we like to call ourselves in the community. They’re referred to as automation pros, right? They don’t say virtual assistant. Their automation pros are they say automation specialists. But you can find an online service provider that specializes in tech and automation like going following that hire.quitting corporate.com And they also have a large community of service providers who are in all sorts of different niches. So we also assist with that as well. If someone sends me a message or a note to say, Hey, can you post this job in your community for me, we still get it out there for them.
Tyler Jorgenson 24:52
I love that. So you use the term earlier called Auto occation. And I love that because if you can set up your business credit To run properly then you can go on vacation and not be married to your phone or your laptop it’s one of the reasons I don’t like the idea of laptop lifestyle or like I’m like no when you’re on the beach you should be on the beach like take the take a time Take a moment right be enjoy yourself what it I’m a big believer that building businesses we do it so that we can have the lifestyle that we want what’s your next big autocation or your next big thing on your personal bucket list you’re gonna accomplish in the next 12 months
LaToya Russell 25:28
in the next 12 months I want to build a massive a massive local store hmm that’s a big I had I had to take a deep breath because saying that out loud is scary. I also just set up a Shopify store for my local community and to sell some items actually on an island here and growing that is one of the things that are that is in my plan so I don’t only run my online business and leave things there actually take that the funds from that business and invest it in other things so that there’s not one stream of income because I wasn’t going to work three jobs for some entrepreneur people I don’t even know who they are who runs the business and not have multiple things for myself so there’s always something different happening not only online but actually in person on the ground brick and mortar as well.
Tyler Jorgenson 26:23
I think that’s really smart. And it’s it’s great that you’re building things locally there in Barbados, too. So you’re, you know, finding a way to support your local community while still supporting Latoya right you got to take care of you. You don’t take care of you you can’t take her anybody else
Unknown Speaker 26:37
Tyler Jorgenson 26:39
awesome Is there anything that any that the community needs to know about you before we wrap up?
LaToya Russell 26:44
Oh I’m just so awesome.
Tyler Jorgenson 26:46
They I think they’ve gathered that but I totally agree. So please go check out quitting corporate comm you can find the Toya on Instagram you got a couple of accounts. You can check out quitting corporate or by Latoya our I don’t know if that’s how you say it. But you can check that out on Instagram and you can find all of her links and everything from there. Please go give her a like and follow and to all my biz ninjas wherever you are listening, tuning in watching or whatever it is today it’s your turn to go out and do something.
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