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Episode 188: Hiring Virtual Assistants to Get More Freedom and Flexibility—with Kristy Yoder

Deb Zahn: Hi, I want to welcome you to this week's episode of the Craft of Consulting Podcast. So on this episode, we are going to talk about virtual assistance, and in particular, how to work with a virtual assistant to propel your consulting business further and faster because it's a great way to learn how to delegate tasks. So I brought on someone, Kristy Yoder, who is an expert at this. She actually has an agency of virtual assistants, and she's going to get into how you prepare before you hire a virtual assistant, what you should be doing as you're hiring one, and then how you can work with them to make sure that it actually does what you want and it frees you up to do the things that only you can do for your business. So let's get started.

Hi, I want to welcome my guest today, Kristy Yoder. Kristy, welcome to the show.

Kristy Yoder: Hey, thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be here.

Deb Zahn: Well, I'm excited to have you because you're going to talk about something that makes my heart sing. But let's start off, tell folks what you do.

Kristy Yoder: Yeah, again, my name is Kristy Yoder. I am based out of Ohio currently, but I'm originally from the Philippines. I run a virtual assistant agency. And I also host a podcast called Master Delegator.

Deb Zahn: Which is a great podcast. I have listened to it.

Kristy Yoder: Oh, thank you.

Deb Zahn: It's a really helpful one to listen to, particularly if folks are thinking about getting help. So that's what we're going to talk about today is the world of virtual assistants and how they can help consultants. So for folks who aren't familiar with that world, what is a virtual assistant?

Kristy Yoder: That is a good question because for some people they think of virtual assistants like literally virtual assistant, right? Kind of like your physical secretary, somebody who can make you a cup of coffee, somebody who can print out a paper for you. I mean, a virtual assistant can do that as well. I'm not sure about the coffee part though, but a virtual assistant is basically a freelancer, an independent contractor that assists a business owner virtually. So the virtual assistant can be a social media VA, a web designer VA, a graphic VA, a video editor VA, or maybe a podcast editor VA. So virtual assistants have different skill sets depending on what a business owner needs.

I'm glad that this was your first question because I feel like most people, when they think of the word virtual assistant, they think that it's just an online secretary who can do admin support for business owners, which is true, but not fully true because there are other things that a virtual assistant can do depending on what you need.

Deb Zahn: That's right. And can make your life easier in all kinds of different ways.

Kristy Yoder: Right.

Deb Zahn: So let's start off, obviously virtual assistants, one of the reasons that people get them is it allows them to delegate. I know for a lot of particularly new consultants, it's just them. And so they do everything. And if anything goes off the rails, it's their job to fix it. And they're the IT person and they're handling the finances and they're handling data entry and they're doing everything. So if you're in front of a consultant who probably looks a little tired because they've been doing all of that, what would you tell them of why they should start delegating?

Kristy Yoder: Honestly, I'm probably going to ask them, “So you're a business consultant. They come to you to ask for business strategies or to consult something with you. So if a business owner comes to you and said, ‘I'm so stressed and overwhelmed,’ what will you tell that person?” Because what you tell that person is something that you should do as well as a consultant, right? You need to practice what you preach. And so since I own a virtual assistant agency, and if somebody comes to me and say, "Hey, Kristy, I'm so stressed and overwhelmed. What should I do?" My first answer to you is you need to assess what you are doing. Are the things that you are doing worth the hourly rate that you're paying yourself? Is it worth it? Is it really something that you should be the one working on it?

Once you have assessed yourself and the tasks that you are doing, I'd say that you need to organize those tasks and you have to know which of those tasks are the tasks that you should be doing and you should be doing. And so I actually have a very effective approach when it comes to that.

I don't know about you, but I started my own business because I want to have freedom and flexibility, right? And I think most business owners, they also want the same. But if you are a consultant and you're doing everything yourself alone in the business, you're not going to have freedom and flexibility because you're like...

Deb Zahn: Nope.

Kristy Yoder: Because you are your own helper. If you don't have a virtual assistant, then you are the assistant, right?

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Kristy Yoder: You're the employee of your business. If you don’t have a team member, then you're the only member of your company, which means you're the only one doing everything. And at the beginning when you are building up your business, that's OK. During the first or second year of your business, that's OK. But to me personally, based on my experience and based on the people that I have met who also owns a business, after a year or two, they have already built their own team members because they know that in order for you to scale your business, you need to scale your systems, your team members, and you need to be able to support your growth. And you can't support your growth if you're the only one doing everything alone.

So again, assess what you are doing. Sit down. Especially, I think this is the right time to do that because we're only a couple of months away from 2023, right?

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Kristy Yoder: So we want to make sure that we start 2023, and we want to be successful than the previous year. And so sit down, make sure that you are in a very quiet environment, and you can focus. So get a piece of paper, sit down, and then write down the task that you are doing on a daily basis.

So do a task inventory. And then after you have list done, all of the things that you're doing, I want you to segregate those tasks into four different categories. So the first category is you need to know what are the tasks that you enjoy doing and you are good at. So those are the tasks that you should be doing most of the time because I believe that us business owners, it's important for us to do what we love doing, what we enjoy doing, and what we are good at, regardless if it's admin task. If you love admin task, go ahead. Do that, right? Nobody's stopping you. If it gives you joy and if it fuels your passion, go ahead and do that.

So write down the task that you enjoy doing and you're good at. Do that most of the time. The second category, list down the task that you enjoy doing and you're not good at. Only do that 10% of the time. If you enjoy doing it, we don't want to take that joy away from you. Go ahead and do it even though you're not good at it, but only do that 10% of the time because you may enjoy doing a graphic for your social media post, but if it takes you an hour to do that, it's not a good investment of your time. Whereas if you delegate that to somebody else, a one graphic social media post, it maybe takes only five to 10 minutes for an experienced social media VA to do that task. Again, you can do what you enjoy doing and you're not good at, but do that 10% of the time only.

Next category is you have to know what are the tasks that you don't enjoy, but you are good at. For instance, sales call. I'm good at it, but I don't enjoy doing it because if you talk to different people in a day, let's say you work for eight hours and you talk to six people to do sales call repeatedly all the time, I don't know about you, but it's very draining to me. So that's actually one example of the things that I don't enjoy doing, which I know I'm good at and I don't do that so I delegate that 90% of the time. So the task that you don't enjoy doing but you're good at, delegate that 90% of the time.

And lastly, the last category is the task that you don't enjoy doing and you're not good at, you probably already know the answer to this question. Delegate this 100% of the time. What's the point of working on something that you don't enjoy doing and you're not good at? You're like punishing yourself. And that's not what we want, right? We want freedom and flexibility. And therefore, we should only do the things that we enjoy doing and we are good at.

I know a lot of people have asked me, "So Kristy, what should I delegate first? Should I delegate admin task first because it's easy for a VA to do?" I'd say yes. I mean, it depends really on you. If admin task is something you like doing, why would you take that joy away from you, right? So really evaluate the task, know your strengths and know your weaknesses because there are other people out there who can compliment your weaknesses. And it may be your weakness, but it can be other people's strength. And that's OK to admit that to ourselves. Because even me, I run the company, but I don't do everything because I'm not Wonder Woman. I wish I can do everything for my business.

Wouldn't it be so awesome if you can do everything for your business? You don't have to pay anybody if you have unlimited time a day, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Kristy Yoder: Yeah. So I feel like that's a long-winded answer.

Deb Zahn: No, that's just good.

Kristy Yoder: ... if somebody comes to me, "Hey, I'm a consultant. I don't know what to do. I'm stressed and overwhelmed." That is going to be my advice to you.

Deb Zahn: Yep, I love it. And I have to tell you, so a trick that I use, which is one of your quadrants is, up to hiring a VA I wasn't sure what I wanted them to do so I created something that I called the, “I Hate This” list. That's actually what I named the file. Every time I was doing some repetitive task or some even occasional task that I really didn't like or I didn't feel like I was the best suited person to do it, I threw it on the list. And so by the time I got to the point where I was ready to hire my first person, which was a virtual assistant, I had something to look at and say, "What really do I want to start them off doing? And what is actually going to give me that freedom and flexibility that you talked about if I actually delegate it?"

Kristy Yoder: I love that.

Deb Zahn: So I love that systematic way of doing things. I think that's wonderful. So that is one concern that I know that some consultants have, which is, "I'm just new to the business, or I'm just starting to make some money. And now I'm supposed to spend some money on a virtual assistant. What if I hire someone ,and they're not fully occupied because I haven't really thought out what I want them to do?" So if they do the quadrant, they have a good idea of, "OK, here's things I can start them off with." But how would you suggest they work with them to make sure that, "OK, maybe the original list is what I thought, but it really should be this and I want to manage it so that they're using their time wisely," how does that actually work for someone who's never had this before? Maybe they had a secretary or an executive assistant, but they haven't had this. How should they manage it so they're really getting their money's worth?

Kristy Yoder: Yeah. Well I know you only have one question, but I took your one question as two questions.

Deb Zahn: Go for it.

Kristy Yoder: So the first question I want to answer is, what if you don't have a budget for a virtual assistant? What if you're not ready yet? What if you're just starting out your business? Personally, in my own experience, I had a monthly goal for my business. Say I want to take home $10,000 a month, $10K a month. When I reach 5K, which is half of my goal, when I reach $5K, I can already pay my bills and provide for my personal needs and everything. I can already get by with $5,000. If you have a 10K goal, but you can already live by with only getting $5,000 a month, then start hiring a virtual assistant because your virtual assistant is going to help you reach to your $10K goal just as long as you are being very intentional with the task that you delegate to your virtual assistant and just as long as you have long term goal for your virtual assistant.

Most business owners, they want to hire a virtual assistant to just take off some simple tasks off their plate, but they don't realize that it has to be long term. You have to know your vision, your why, for hiring a virtual assistant. Because if you are just hiring a virtual assistant for the sake of hiring a virtual assistant, it's not going to be successful because there's a lot of things you have to consider when you hire a virtual assistant. First, your budget. And second is what you said, you have to know what task you are really going to delegate to your virtual assistant.

And you cannot just change your mind quickly. Like, OK, you're going to train your virtual assistant today for social media management and then you change your mind. The following day you want a podcast editing virtual assistant. You have to really plan it out. But of course, as a business owner, our decisions, our strategies, they change kind of Instagram algorithm, right? Based on the economy and on the market. So that's totally understandable that from time to time we change our strategies. And when we change our strategies, we change or we update, we tweak the task that we want our virtual assistants to do for us.

So at first, don't hire a virtual assistant full-time. Hire a part-time virtual assistant so that you can also kind of test out if hiring a virtual assistant is for you or not, or so that you can also get a feel of working with a virtual assistant. And so when you are a part-time virtual assistant, make sure that you communicate with your virtual assistant and make sure that you set the right expectations.

So if your virtual assistant lives overseas, then you have to make sure... I don't know about you, but I don't want my virtual assistant to work during my work time. So if you are the same, then tell your virtual assistant that you want your virtual assistant to be online within this certain times, like from 8:00 AM EST to 11:00 AM EST, whatever time you want your virtual assistant to work for you. So communicate. Set expectations. And then make sure that you have step by step instructions on what you want your virtual assistant to do for you.

I think one of the things that business owners expect as well is that the virtual assistant knows what the business owner wants them to do.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Kristy Yoder: They expect the VA to read their minds, which is impossible. Nobody can read your mind. So you have to make sure that you set your VA up for success by making sure that you have processes in place, step by step instructions in place. Because the VA that you're going to hire, that VA may be expert in social media, but your VA is not expert in your branding in your business.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Kristy Yoder: Your VA needs to get to know how you want your caption written. Some business owners, they want their caption written very friendly. Some business owners, they want it very serious and formal. So those are some of the things that your VA needs to learn from you. And so communicate with your VA, set expectations, have processes in place. It doesn't have to be a very formal standard operating procedure. It can be just a simple document where you have your step-by-step guide or checklist. Or it can be through a Loom video. I use Loom.

Deb Zahn: I use it too.

Kristy Yoder: And so it's very easy to use that. You just share your screen and then explain what you want your VA to do, walk them through. And then you can use that tool to set your VA up for success. And then meet with your VA on a weekly basis. You have to coach on and mentor your VA. Especially at the beginning of your relationship with your VA, you have to make sure that your VA understands your business, understands you as the business owner, and you have to make sure that your VA is giving you the result that you want.

If your VA is not giving the result that you want, then you coach your VA. You give feedback. And I feel like for most business owners as well, including me, I'm not very comfortable giving feedback to my VAs, but I had to learn how to do that because if I don't, then I'm failing as a business leader and I'm failing my VA as well because I did not tell them the truth and I didn't want them to improve by giving feedback.

And so for the first month of you working together, give feedback on a weekly basis, and then if you feel like your VA is not getting the hang of things or not giving it the result that you want, then you can fire your VA from there just as long as you have done your responsibility of giving feedback to your VA.

Deb Zahn: I want to pause there because you hit upon several things that I think are really important. So one is the parameters. I learned the hard way. I'm on the East Coast, they were on the West Coast of the US, a three-hour difference. So if something went wrong, I either had to fix it or I had to wait three hours until they got out of bed and fixed it. And it didn't work. So being clear about when you think about your day-to-day business and what you want it to look like and how you want it to run, and then set parameters, huge. I love that you brought up that point because that's huge.

You did bring up the processes because right, you're not hiring someone with telepathy. You're hiring somebody who's going to follow instructions. Now, I do have standard operating procedures for things that are routine. So my whole podcast thing, that's standard. There are other things that are standard. What I found helpful is to do a video. I use Loom too so I can capture the screen, I can show exactly what I'm doing and do a voiceover that says, "Here's the step by step." And then the first thing that I have the virtual assistant do is create the SOP. So now I have got something to review, and I can say, "Oh, I totally forgot about that step."

Kristy Yoder: That's a good idea. I love that.

Deb Zahn: And often they'll suggest areas of improvement, like, "You know, you could skip this one step if you use this instead." And now we're starting to get into the groove of, "OK, this is how we're going to work together." And I found that to be really successful. But any repetitive tasks, things that happen over and over again in your business, I always encourage having written down SOPs, videos at the least, but written down. Because if for whatever reason your virtual assistant decides to-

Kristy Yoder: To leave.

Deb Zahn: ... do a new business or go away or something happens, it will cut down on your time of having to train someone new if you have to.

Kristy Yoder: Exactly. Yeah.

Deb Zahn: But I love that you brought both of those up. If someone's thinking of hiring a virtual assistant, what types of questions should they be asking? So let's say they've gotten the clarity and they're like, "OK, I want a social media virtual assistant, but I also need someone to do these tasks," what types of questions would be really smart for a consultant to ask before they hire someone?

Kristy Yoder: Yeah, of course there are these basic questions that you need to know, like, "Do you have a laptop? Do you have an internet connection? Do you have a strong signal where they are living?" Because most virtual assistants, they're traveling to different locations and sometimes some locations are very off grid, and they don't have strong signal and that can be a problem. So those are basic questions.

I'm sure a business owner would know what to ask already when it comes to those kind of questions. But to me, the important question really, or the important questions really depends on each individual, on each business owner. You need to know the things that are non-negotiable to you as a business owner. For example, me, to me personally, I value character over skills. I believe that if somebody is very skilled at something, but they don't have the right attitude, what's the point? If they are very good at creating designs, but they don't show up everyday time or every day I need them, what's the point? If I can't communicate with them, if they're not loyal and dependable, what's the point of having a skilled VA if they can provide your result just because they are not dependable?

And so to me, my non-negotiable is the VA should be the right fit to our culture. And so we have sets of core values. I have different questions that determine if the VA that we are hiring is the right fit to our culture, or if that VA is in alignment with our core values.

So for example, one of our core value is respect. So we have a question similar to this question. I don't know exactly the question, "But was there a time," like a very situational question, "Was there a time that you showed disrespect to your leader or to any of your authorities?" And so from listening to your virtual assistant answer, you can kind of see. And just not listening, you have to also take a look at their expressions, their verbal cues and everything. You have to really roll up your sleeves and really observe what this person is saying and showing at the same time. So again, it depends on the business owner what their non-negotiables are. To me, I value character over skills. And so I have questions that helps me determine if the VA that I'm going to hire is the right fit for my business or not.

Deb Zahn: That's great. I love that. And I do love that character matters most. Because yeah, non-negotiable for me is I want them to have an internal motivation for quality. I don't want somebody to not care about it, but they're going to care about it only because I'm paying them.

Kristy Yoder: Right.

Deb Zahn: I want to know that they were born with that, and they do it in everything. Not a perfectionist, but they care about the quality of work that they do simply because that's who they are as a human being. That's a non-negotiable for me. And if I don't see it, then they can't be part of my team.

Kristy Yoder: Yeah, exactly. And if-

Deb Zahn: Because...

Kristy Yoder: Yeah, exactly. And if you go to Google and then just type in virtual assistant interview questions, a lot of things are going to pop up. You can get some ideas from there. But what's non-negotiable to you is not negotiable to other people. So you have to really know what's important for you as the business owner and what's important for your business.

Deb Zahn: Yeah. And to think that through ahead of time, otherwise you're going to end up with someone who's not a fit for you. And that's all kinds of not fun.

Kristy Yoder: Exactly. You're going to lose time, energy, and resources. But that's OK because you're going to learn. At least you know what you're going to do next time you hire a virtual assistant.

Deb Zahn: That's right. Now, one of the other things that I know trips consultants up sometime, or any business owner is the, "Here, just let me do it" problem. Which is they hired somebody, they were clear what they wanted them to do, they've given them parameters and instructions, but they're so used to doing things themselves that they don't let them do the work. So what would you say to those business owners to help encourage them really delegate. Like, don't think about delegating. Actually delegate.

Kristy Yoder: Wow. You know what? A lot of business owners... Can I use the word suffer. Suffer with that.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, you really can.

Kristy Yoder: Because they just can't let go. And as a matter of fact, like my operations manager, I am going to promote her by the end of this year to COO. So she's going to take on a different role. That means she needs to let go some of the not high level tasks that she's still doing. And she asked me, "Kristy, so how did you do it? How are you able to fully delegate the task that you delegated to me? How can I do that myself too?" Because even her, she's been in the business and she's helped me in the business a lot, and she doesn't know how to fully delegate some of the tasks that she's doing. So she's having a hard time letting go as well.

I said, "You know what? I only have one word for that. Trust." Because we can't really delegate fully if we don't know the person, if we don't trust the person. That's why it's very important that you get to know your virtual assistant and you hire the right person. Because if you don't know your virtual assistant, if you don't know what your virtual assistant values, what your virtual assistant cares about, what's important for your virtual assistant, you are not going to be able to trust that person because you don't know that person, right?

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Kristy Yoder: Even if you have a baby, right? If you want a helper or a nanny to take care of your baby, you get to know your helper. You have to make sure that that person has a clean criminal background. You have to make sure that that person is not criminal or whatever. And so-

Deb Zahn: I love that. You don't wait until you see what the nanny cam shows. You actually tell that trust before you go deep.

Kristy Yoder: Yeah, trust. Trust. Trust really. Trust plays a very important factor when it comes to delegation. And trust is not something you can give to someone overnight. You have to build a relationship. That's why meeting with your virtual assistant on a weekly basis or on a daily basis if you can, maybe even just for 15 minutes a day. You are meeting with them not just to talk about tasks, but to talk about their personal life and to also kind of open up yourself to your virtual assistant because if you do that, you're not only going to get a virtual assistant who supports you 100% in your business, but also a friend. You're going to get a friend, a loyal friend who's willing to back you up and also encourage you when hard times hit, you know?

Deb Zahn: That's right. That's right. Because I think that's true with any team. So anybody you have on your team, you're by their side, they're by your side and you're all helping each other out. Now you've got a strong team. I love that.

So let me ask you this because one of the other things that when folks are hiring a virtual assistant, there's so many folks who, for whatever reason, are now calling themselves virtual assistants who have varied skills everywhere from little to no skills to like, "Oh my gosh, you're amazing. And you can do all these things." So you have to figure out what they can actually do. I have found there's some that just the who they are as people, they're very task oriented. And if you tell them what the task is, they'll do it and thank goodness they do it because it's going to get done and it's going to get done right.

And then there's others that are more, I can say to them, "Here's kind of what I want to have happen. Here's what matters most to me. Now you have the freedom to figure out the best way you think it's done." And there's everybody in between that in terms of their abilities. You obviously in your business work with a lot of virtual assistants. How do you assess that. So you figure out, "Well, what do I really need? Do I need just a task person, or do I need somebody who can run with things? It's hard to get folks that can do both." How do you handle that?

Kristy Yoder: That is a very good question. I don't only have experience with virtual assistants, but I also have a big network of virtual assistant business owners, like agency owners. I actually have a mini group with them, and we meet once a month. And you know what? We are all in the virtual assistant business, but we provide different things. Just like what you said, some are business kind of works as a virtual assistant, but in a way, kind of like a consultant. And some are very task-oriented, which we are. We are very task oriented. So when you want to work with a virtual assistant, you have to know that your virtual assistant is not your business coach.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Kristy Yoder: When you work with a virtual assistant, your virtual assistant, at least for me, at least how we do it, and at least most of the virtual assistant freelancers that I know, they are very task oriented. And so if you tell them to do something, they will do that for you. But if you don't have a strategy, if you don't know what to do with your business, if you don't have a business plan, if you don't have marketing strategy or business strategy, don't go to a virtual assistant. Go to a business expert or marketing strategies because your virtual assistant may be good at doing social media, but they're probably not as up to date with the changes with social media or when it comes to running ads or just strategies, in-depth strategies. Because those things, you really have to have in-depth experience when it comes to knowing what strategy works for social media, especially Facebook ads. Are you going to retarget your website visitors? Is that OK? Or are you going to send an email marketing? Those questions are not really for virtual assistant. Those questions are mostly for marketing strategies.

So know what do you really need. If you don't have a strategy for your business, you don't need a virtual assistant. You need a marketing strategist or a business strategist. If you have a strategy already and you just need help implementing those strategies, then you need a virtual assistant.

Deb Zahn: Love it.

Kristy Yoder: But again, your virtual assistant is not a coach and not a marketing strategist.

Deb Zahn: I love that so much because that comes down to managing your expectations as a business owner. And I've seen it and I've probably done it where it's like, "Oh, I've got help now and they can do anything." Well, they can't do anything. And by the way, you don't need them to do everything. So I love that managing expectations because people can get easily disappointed when the virtual assistant's not the problem, the problem are the expectations that you brought to it.

Kristy Yoder: To be honest, yeah. Sadly, yes. Because we are the leaders, we should be setting expectations, communicating the things that we want, and we are the leaders in our company. We can't expect other people to take care of our baby when we're the one who birthed them, if that makes sense. The only person who's really going to take care of your business 100% is you, the business owner.

Deb Zahn: Yeah. Yeah. So let me ask one my final questions here, which is there are virtual assistants all over the world and people can hire virtual assistants anywhere. I am going to put a plug in. Wherever you hire them, make sure you're paying a living wage.

Kristy Yoder: Yeah. Right.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, not trying to make someone poor just to service your needs. But what should people think about in terms of what they might pay for a virtual assistant? Because I know the range is pretty broad.

Kristy Yoder: It's very broad. Depending on where you're getting your virtual assistant, it can be between $5 to $45 really, and depending on the expertise of your virtual assistant as well. And so you have to do your market research. Of course, if you want to save a lot of money, you can hire virtual assistants from overseas. But that doesn't mean that you're going to exploit them.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Kristy Yoder: That doesn't mean that you're going to use them. You have to do your market research and check how much other people are paying virtual assistance in different countries. And you have to also research the minimum wage in the country or in the location that your virtual assistant is in. But sometimes really, depending on how much budget you have, your payment to your virtual assistant should not be based on location. Because your virtual assistant, if your virtual assistant deserves to get paid the amount or the hourly rate that we pay virtual assistant here in the state and you have the budget to do that, then go ahead and do that. You should pay your virtual assistant based on the value that your virtual assistant can give to you, not based on their location. But of course we know that not all of us can pay a lot of money for our virtual assistant, right? But do your market research and then raise it up. However much is the minimum wage, raise it up a little bit to show that you value your virtual assistant.

Deb Zahn: Yeah. I know when I was looking for a virtual assistant, one of the things I do is I looked up, actually beyond minimum wage, I looked up the living wage. And so I know for a family, what is that in the Philippines.

Kristy Yoder: Yeah. Exactly.

Deb Zahn: I know what that is in the US. And that's basically so that you're not paying poverty wages, which is you shouldn't be building your business off of something horrible like that.

Kristy Yoder: Exactly. And also, when you hire for a VA, your decision making should not be based on how much you're going to pay VA. Your decision making should be based on the value that the person can bring to your business.

Deb Zahn: That's right. That's right. Which is the same way, it goes back to your first point. It's the same way you expect clients to pay you as a consultant.

Kristy Yoder: Exactly.

Deb Zahn: So what you want for yourself is what you should want for everybody on your team.

Kristy Yoder: Yeah. And trust me, if you become a master when it comes to delegating, the tips that I gave you, those four categories, four quadrants, once you have scaled your business and you have a lot of team supporting you, you might not even do the things that you enjoy doing and you're good at when it comes to your business because you just want to travel because you already have your support. You start from there, but at the end of the day when you have mastered delegation, when you trust the people that are helping you out in your business, you don't even need to work for your business because there are people who's going to do that for you already. You just spend time with your family, have freedom and flexibility. And that's the goal, right?

Deb Zahn: That is the goal. That's absolutely the goal. So where can folks find you?

Kristy Yoder: You can find me on... I have my personal website,, From there you can check out my agency website, which is SmartVAs, and you can also check out my podcast website.

Deb Zahn: Wonderful. So now that you know all about how to get that freedom and flexibility, so how do you give that to yourself? How do you have balance in your life? However it is you define that.

Kristy Yoder: I may have given a lot of good stuff about hiring virtual assistants and delegation. Trust me, I'm not perfect. From time to time, I have to reevaluate myself and see what are the things that I'm not supposed to be doing. So when you reassess yourself, when you assess yourself, it's not a one-time, big-time thing. You have to do that on a quarterly basis or midyear, or yearly basis. So right now, I make sure that I have work life balance by always being self-aware of what I'm doing. And second, making sure that I have white space on my calendar.

Deb Zahn: Oh my goodness, that sounds lovely.

Kristy Yoder: Yeah. So since I have a lot of team members, that means that I'm also handling different people in different departments. So I handle people from our HR department, marketing, operations. So I have three main people that I lead that I coach and mentor. So I have to make sure that I have availability for them. Because if they don't get my support, then they won't be able to be successful in what they're doing. So they are in my calendar. So from Monday, this is my operations team. And then after lunchtime, that should be my white space. So from 8:00 AM to 12:00, I meet with people from Monday to Friday, that's that's where I book my meeting. But after lunchtime from 1:00 to 5:00, that is blocked already. Nobody can touch that. That is my white space.

Deb Zahn: Nice.

Kristy Yoder: And it's important for us business owners to have white space in our calendar because we need time to think. And if we can think, we won't be able to function and decide what's best for our business because we need to think.

Deb Zahn: Yeah. And not just do, do, do, do. I love that.

Kristy Yoder: Yeah. We need to think.

Deb Zahn: Well, Kristy, this has been an absolute delight to have you on air, and I do encourage any consultant that can afford it to consider bringing on a virtual assistant. And you've given tremendous guidance on good ways to do that, so thanks for sharing that with us.

Kristy Yoder: You're welcome. I hope I was able to bring value to your audience.

Deb Zahn: Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the Craft of Consulting podcast. I want to ask you to do actually three things. If you enjoyed this episode or you've enjoyed any of my other ones, hit subscribe. I got a lot of other great guests that are coming up in a lot of other great content and I don't want you to miss anything.

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So as always, you can go and get more wonderful information and tools at Thanks so much. I will talk to you on the next episode.

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