S. 2 Ep. 54 – Clone Yourself: The Reality Of Hiring Virtual Assistants

Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 2 Ep 54 - Clone Yourself The Reality Of Hiring Virtual Assistants with SpeakerFlow and Sam Kabert

One of the biggest challenges business owners face – and one you may have wrestled with yourself – is how to do more in the time you have.

Between running a business, bringing in new revenue, making connections with potential clients, and trying to continually improve… well, how do you do it all?

To answer this, we’re joined on this episode by serial entrepreneur turned spiritual seeker Sam Kabert.

Named one of Silicon Valley’s “40 Under 40” at just 31 years old, Sam is the author of SOUL/Life Balance and the host of the Soul Seekr Podcast, which aims to “bridge the gap between the way we conduct ourselves in business, mindful practices, how we communicate with everyone, especially oneself, all through prioritizing psychological safety and mental health first.”

Sam is also the founder of SwagWorx & Clone Yourself University, a content platform designed to help business owners hire virtual assistants (or VAs) to help take work off their plate.

With these goals in mind, this episode is all about delegating where possible in your business so you can have the greatest impact possible (and stay sane, despite the challenges of entrepreneurship).

There are a ton of great lessons and resources in this episode, so let’s dive in!

Watch the Podcast 👀

Listen to the Podcast 🎤

Show Notes 📓

✅ Visit Clone Yourself University: https://www.cloneyourselfuniversity.com/freebies

✅ Download Sam’s free guide to practicing better SOUL/Life balance: samkabert.com/practice

✅ Check out FreeUp, Sam’s recommended VA marketplace: https://freeup.net/

📷 Watch the video version of this episode and subscribe for updates on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYAr3nGy6lbXrhbezMxoHTSCS40liusyU

🎤 Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/

🚀 And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/

Read the Transcription 🤓

Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking, we’re your hosts, Taylorr and Austin. And in today’s episode we’re talking about cloning yourself and more, specifically, the reality of hiring and managing virtual assistants. And so, the perfect person to help us answer this question and paint a picture of how to hire and manage VAs, is Sam Kabert. Now, Sam is the number one best-selling author of a book called Soul/Life Balance. He was nominated as Silicon Valley’s 40 under 40 at just 31 years old and was named a rising star in the promotional products industry. 

And for him, he reached all of his personal success goals, but still found himself unhappy and went on a mission to figure out how to become happier and live a more fulfilling life. And in that process of doing so, realized that there are certain things in his business he just didn’t want to be doing nor should he be doing, and I’m sure many of you feel the exact same way. And so, he’s worked on creating a program and an offering to help other people streamline their businesses and clone themselves by hiring and managing VAs. And in this episode, Sam unloads a bunch of awesome resources and content and ideas about how to successfully hire and manage a fleet of virtual assistants and what most people are doing wrong when it comes to hiring VAs. 

So, let’s dive in. As always, we hope you like this one, stick around until the end for some awesome resources and we’ll see you in there.

Austin: Okay, boom. Here we go.

Taylorr: Let’s go.

Austin: We are live.

Taylorr: Heck, yeah.

Austin: Sam, we’ve come to realize that and we were, sort of, mentioning this before we got on, though; that if we can start the beginning of the podcast smoothly, it’s like a good omen that things are going to go well and this was smooth. So, for whatever that’s worth, I think this is going to be a good episode.

Sam: I love it.

Austin: Thanks for coming on, really appreciate it.

Sam: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

Austin: Yeah, definitely. We’re super excited about this topic. We, obviously, did some unpacking before the show and you’re a busy guy, in fact, we saw that you were inducted or an honoree of or whatever you want to call it, but Silicon Valley’s 40 under 40, is that right?

Sam Kabert: Yeah, I was named to Silicon Valley’s 40 under 40 when I just turned 31 years old, so that was about three years ago in 2019. And if you want, I can share a real quick story, a couple of minutes story about that.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: Yeah, please, we’re that fascinated.

Taylorr: Super curious about it.

Sam: Yeah, so my message now is all around soul/life balance rather than work/life balance. And I was grabbing coffee with a friend this morning and he was talking with me about the movie Soul, Disney and Pixar’s movie Soul, because I talk about that so much and no spoiler alert, but a lot of us chase goals and then when we think like, oh, when I achieve ABC I will feel X, Y, Z. And, for me, kind of, the pinnacle of my success were multiple things, but, really, being named to Silicon Valley’s 40 under 40, and there are so many different reasons why, right? 

But then, when I achieved that, that was, really, where the depression, kind of, came in; I thought I would feel different and all that type of stuff. And through my yoga teacher training, now I teach yoga and lead men’s work and everything else, I learned about the Sanskrit word Sādhanā, which Sādhanā means to be in the pursuit of. So, basically, it’s the cliche saying it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. So, one thing to note about Sādhanā and being in the pursuit of, is to not name your ultimate potential, because by naming your ultimate potential is to limit your ultimate potential. 

So, for example, with myself, I named my ultimate potential as being named to Silicon Valley’s 40 under 40, so then I felt like, oh, wow, I thought I’d feel different, as opposed to keeping my ultimate potential as just that, the ultimate potential. From there, there are exercises to unpack that more, but, literally, just had that conversation this morning, so I thought I’d share it.

Taylorr: Serendipitous. Holy cow.

Austin: Yeah, I guess, maybe, that wasn’t the direction that I expected that to go. It’s such an achievement, but wow, it sounds like that, really, sort of, was a reframe for you; not the end but the beginning in a lot of ways, and this has now segued into what your life’s work is focused on, at this point, by the sound of it at least.

Sam: Yeah, absolutely. For a long time there, I was building businesses, brands, my personal brand content, all the type of things, and I built my business up to a million dollar business while working less than four hours a day. And I was successful in all of these different things, wrote three books in a year, but I was always chasing the next goal and it wasn’t until I did a plant medicine known as Ayahuasca back in early 2019 that it clicked, for me, what was not, necessarily, quote-unquote, wrong but what was missing and that sent me on the inner journey of going within and all that type of stuff.

Taylorr: Wow, that’s incredible. So, if I got the story right, you were in pursuit of this nomination, basically; 40 under 40, is that right? You had your eyes set on it, and then you got it or did it come naturally, and then you had it, and then you realized that wasn’t the thing? Yeah, what happened there?

Sam: So, I’ll try to keep it brief, but my personal brand at the time was Swag Sam, right? I’m a guy that sells swag, promotional products, branded merchandise. I grew up in Silicon Valley, I started my business while in college at Chico State, Northern California, moved back to Silicon Valley around the age of 22, 23, running my swag company. And I, really, had a chip on my shoulder because through networking and everything else, I just didn’t feel respected by my peers because I didn’t have a tech company and I was just putting branded logos or putting logos on merch, creating branded merchandise. 

So, I started to develop this chip on my shoulder because of that, and by, I think 23 I was a board member of a non-profit, then I was chairing a young professionals group, so I was doing a lot of different networking things. And my parents’ business is called Value Business Products, it’s an office supply company, they started in 1980 and they are the last, even to this day, the last remaining family-owned office supply company in Silicon Valley. Growing up there were 30 of these family-owned competitors, right? Now, they’re the only ones left. And my dad’s dad, my grandpa, who I never got to meet, was, actually, in the business; he sold and repaired typewriters, that’s how my dad got his start, then he morphed it into an office supply company. 

So, all my dad wanted for, I think it was our 30th anniversary of being in business back in 2010, was to have an article in the paper, right? So, I was doing my best to leverage my connections and get some press and I even wrote an article out on a typewriter which took me hours to write because I’ve never, really, used a typewriter and it’s very clunky. Anyway, I was trying to get some exposure and I felt so bad because I couldn’t gain exposure for my dad and for the company. 

So, that, kind of, set out another chip on my shoulder and it was, actually, the Silicon Valley Business Journal, who we were trying, specifically, to get that recognition from. And when I started my first podcast called What Up, Silicon Valley, which it morphed into a media network, we had other podcasts on the show, we had an annual event at eBay’s headquarters called Pitch Tank inspired by the Shark Tank Show. At that point, we had become partners with Silicon Valley Business Journal, so it was like a toll, couldn’t get the time of day, to now we’re being partners with them, developed the relationships; and from there, I ended up being named to the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 40 under 40. So, that’s, kind of, how all of that came about.

Taylorr: Wow.

Austin: Whoa.

Taylorr: Super cool.

Austin: Yeah, man, talk about a foundation that you were building on, and then that shifted, which is also fascinating to me. And, maybe, there are multiple conversations that need to come out of this because I have so many questions to unpack about all of that. When Taylorr and I were sitting down to ideate this show, though; and, obviously, there’s a lot that you’ve done, so there was a lot for us to choose from, but one of the things that I imagine has to fit into this is, well, you call it clone yourself university, this ability to bring in virtual assistants to help or run the business more or less. 

And you said that at the time you were running your business with four hours per day, I think that you said of work or four hours per week, either way. That had to have been a factor in you gaining the flexibility as a business owner to go and pursue, for example, you going and doing the plant medicine exercise, where this, sort of, has opened your eyes up to a whole new world since then. But tell me about the transition that led into that and how you were able to free yourself from this grindiness that, maybe, you were coming from that allowed you to step into this new chapter.

Sam: Yeah, so I’ll start with the virtual assistant stuff. So, in 2012 or 2013, I read Tim Ferriss’ book, 4-Hour Work Week, and I like to joke that, at the time, I approached virtual assistants, kind of, like going to the candy store. We’ve all gone to those rocket fizz or those candy stores that have the Laffy Taffy out and you do that five finger discount and you grab a sample of the Laffy Taffy, and then you end up buying some stuff because you feel guilty, most of us at least. And then, when you walk outside you’re, kind of, just left like, oh, I’m not, really, hungry now, because I had a few samples already, right? 

And that’s what I did with virtual assistants when I first started back in 2013. I went to fiverr.com and I did some things for five bucks here and there, didn’t, really, have a plan, I was just like, oh, let me test this out. And then I was just, kind of, like, well, I don’t know what to do with that and I didn’t, really, do anything, so I didn’t, really, get it, right?

Taylorr: Yeah.

Sam: And that’s why it was, kind of, like the candy store, right? You fill up on samples leaving you unfulfilled. So, fast forward to 2017, January 17th, 2017, we launched the podcast, I quickly discovered that I did not want to be wasting my time doing audio editing. I consider myself, kind of, similar to that Don Draper from Mad Men Archetype, very much a creative director and visionary and everything like that and into branding and positioning. So, I didn’t want to waste my time on audio editing or graphic design, all that type of stuff, and I wanted a beautiful website. 

So, I started to go back to virtual assistants, and that’s when I learned to work with VAs for audio editing, for graphic design, for website development and all of it, and then, it just morphed from there. Eventually, I was starting to scale my business, my right hand man in my business, we hired a woman underneath him, it wasn’t working out with her, so I had to let my first employee go, which was very difficult. And then, about two weeks after that, my right hand dude that had been working with us for about two and a half years or so, gave his two weeks. 

So, all of a sudden I was left being like, all right, now I’m spending all my time in content creation, networking and I’m working on the business and not in it, right? That’s what we want as an entrepreneur, to have a well-oiled machine that runs itself without us working in it. So, now, all of a sudden I was like, oh, what am I going to do? So, I did what all great entrepreneurs do and I ordered a large pizza and I got a six pack of beer and I said, I’m not going to bed until I’ve figured this out. And I started calling up my mentors and colleagues and peers and that’s why I decided to move away from an employee-base business model to a virtual assistant-based business model.

So, a lot of people, solopreneurs primarily, will say things like, well, my VA, right? And the thing is, most of us think of just having one VA that’s going to do everything. The secret is to build a team of VAs that are specialists in specific areas and have that role of a project manager and/or executive assistant that is the bridge between you and those specialists. So, that’s, kind of, some tips in terms of building out a VA-based business, at least instead of employees. And, yeah, all of that forwarded me the financial freedom and the time and everything else, so I ended up not having the four hour work week, but the four hour work day, which I think a lot of people would love. Yeah, so that was that. 

And then, I just went through several different cycles of numbing depressions and the medicine found me, and then from there I was like, well, I’m going all in on spirituality and figuring out what this is about, because this is pretty fascinating when you’re caught up in the matrix and when you’re disconnected from your soul like I was, you know?

Taylorr: Yeah, wow. Well, it’s cool that it gave you space to be on that journey. It’s, yeah, it’s crazy what life throws at us and you’ve navigated it like a champ and it’s, kind of, now written the new chapter of your life, which is super cool. So, just hats off to you, it’s a, really, cool story and I love what you said about the misconception of people hiring a, let’s call it a generalist VA like my VA; this is something Austin and I, really, pointed out in our show or the things that we wanted to talk about is. 

We hear this all the time, like my VA, my VA and they’ll be disappointed when they give them a task which is, totally, not their wheelhouse and they want them to do everything in their business, rather than creating those specialists, as you mentioned. So, did you get that insight to find those specialists from your mentors when you were calling up? Did you have to go through a bunch of iteration to figure that out? Did you start hiring a generalist, and then realized that wasn’t a good idea? How did you land on that secret sauce?

Sam: Yeah, it’s a great question. I think this was the fall of 2017 or, maybe, it was 18, I don’t remember, so it was some time ago. But, yeah, it was either from my own or just talking with other people in terms of, well, you’ve figured out how to do your podcast and other stuff, why don’t you look at that, you know? I don’t remember there being one big light bulb moment, I think it was just, kind of, a progression. And I think in terms of the transition of going from one employee to two employees to zero and me not working in the business, there was time where I had to roll-up my sleeves and get back into the business, and that’s the thing, right? 

I talk about this as well with VAs, a lot of times we think of virtual assistants as magical elves that are just going get it done, they can read our minds and it’s going to be easier, but oftentimes it’s going to be harder. However, if you as a business-owner, if you’re someone listening who has hired employees in the past, then you have a leg up on as a new entrepreneur that has never hired anyone before. Because if you have hired people in the past, it’s just a simple mindset switch or shift, a mindset shift to realize that we should be approaching working with virtual assistants as if they were, actually, employees. 

And when we do that, we start to slow down, because for whatever reason we think like, oh it’s VAs and this is going to be quick and easy and we’re not going to put the attention into as if it were an employee because we pay so much more for employees, right? So, it’s all about slowing down at the end of the day.

Austin: Yeah, man.

Taylorr: Great advice.

Austin: That resonates. Yeah, Taylorr and I have a background in hiring and building sales teams before we transitioned into marketing and software and the rest of it, that’s what we did, direct sales. We ran across the country training people, and one of the first things you have to come to terms with if your job is to hire and train teams of anybody, any skill set; is that it takes time. You’re not going to get somebody into the swing of things, where they know what to do without you, sort of, holding their hand, at least through parts of the process for, I don’t know, 90 days, and for some people that’s conservative. 

It takes an investment, it’s an investment; it’s not just a money investment, but a time and energy and care and attention investment, so that the person is set up for success. And then what happens, regardless if it’s a VA or an employee, is they get the hang of it, and when they do, you go, Wow, how did I ever do without this thing being offloaded from my plate? But it’s, definitely, not an instant switch you flip on, and then all of a sudden your life gets easier; if it was, then being a business owner would be, substantially, easier than it is. I’d be, probably, out with you in Santa Cruz right now, hopefully, swimming in the ocean. But, yeah, it’s an investment. 

So, I think there’s a reality that we have to accept there and I’m glad that you’re pointing that out early in this conversation because it’s important. I want to follow-up about something specific here too and we can branch away from the logistics of hiring VAs and stuff after this, but I know people have this barrier of entry they have to get past, which is where do you go and find somebody like this? You mentioned going to Fiverr and we, actually, have good opinions about Fiverr overall at SpeakerFlow when you’re looking for a specialist to do a specialist thing. But from your perspective and experience, where would you go to find this help?

Sam: Yeah, so in my Clone Yourself podcast, which I don’t run anymore, but it’s still up, the first 15 episodes are bite-sized little mini pods of how to tactical things that are anywhere between 8 to 15, maybe 20 minutes long, so no fluff, just straight to it. The first 15 episodes, so they’re sequential; each one builds and compounds off of the next, it’s not until episode 12 do I address where to find virtual assistants, because I think that’s, actually, part of the problem because we don’t do the legwork upfront. 

So, I do want to just preface what I’m going to say by saying that make sure you’re doing everything that you both are talking about, I’m talking about in terms of putting the work into what’s this going look like just as if you would with an employee. Having said that, I recommend people to FreeUp, freeup.com, I think they used to be freeup.net, but their branding’s confusing because they sold a few years ago and they used to be Freee with three Es. So, F R E E E U P and now it’s FreeUp with two Es, so whatever, I still think of FreeeUp with three E’s, but either way it’s freeup.com or freeup.net, you should be able to find them. And I’ve worked with Fiverr, I’ve worked with Upwork and several other different marketplaces. 

I like FreeUp the best for several reasons. One, because they take the time to match you with virtual assistants and it takes about anywhere between a day to three days, so they’re pre-vetted, as opposed to putting a posting up on Fiverr or, especially Upwork, you can get a hundred and it’s hard to vet those. If you choose to work with a marketplace like that, do something like, please mention white rhino or whatever it might be, yellow buffalo, so that you can weed out the ones that didn’t, actually, read your job description. Because most of them are just going to spray and pray, to use your language, Taylorr, right? A little bit different style, but same concept, right?

So, the first thing with FreeUp is they match you with VAs, a second thing is they back them up, they, really, care about them. I’ve had issues with larger virtual assistant marketplaces in the past where they’re too large and I couldn’t, actually, get anyone on the phone or support. So, I think it’s important to work with not such a small boutique agency where they might be too small, whereas FreeUp is small enough, but also large enough where you can count on them. So, they’re small enough where you can, actually, talk with real people if there are issues, which there rarely are. 

And the third reason I love FreeUp so much is you can go in online and set weekly hourly limits on your virtual assistants. And oftentimes as someone new to hiring VAs, we’ve run into budgetary issues where we think that we were clear or, maybe, we weren’t clear, but there’s an issue either on our end, the virtual assistants end or somewhere along the lines and you end up getting overcharged. Well, you can alleviate that by working with FreeUp and going into the freelancer’s profile and be like, okay, I see this person’s eight bucks an hour, maybe this person’s 50 bucks an hour, whatever it is, I’m going to limit them to two hours a week. 

So, now you know exactly how much you’re paying for each one at most, so it’s an easy way to run your expenses and know how much you’re paying freelancers. So, for all those reasons I recommend FreeUp, that’s where I go for VAs and, yeah.

Taylorr: Wow, that’s awesome. I don’t even think I’ve heard of FreeUp until this point. So.

Sam: They’re pretty small.

Taylorr: Always learning stuff, that’s, really, exciting. New resources are awesome, so super pumped to go check that out, thanks for sharing that.

Austin: Yeah, also go check out that podcast, if this is something you’re interesting. Holy crap.

Taylorr: Yeah, sounds super valuable.

Austin: So valuable.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: We’ll add a link.

Taylorr: Yeah, sure, in the show notes. So, I’m curious, let’s talk about the building up to hiring a VA just a little bit. I think we, kind of, skimmed the surface, right? And I think the three of us having inherent knowledge about what it’s like to hire a VA, it seems pretty straightforward what we should do. I don’t think that’s the case for all of our listeners. So, what’s a, typical, path, do you encourage someone to go on to get to a point where now we’re ready to hire a specific VA for a task?

Sam: Yeah, I think we need to know what we want that VA to do, which sounds pretty obvious, right? But a lot of times we don’t, actually, know where we spend our time as a business owner or even as an employee, if I were to ask you guys, Hey, Taylorr, hey, Austin, what do you do on a daily, weekly basis? You could, probably, be like, Well, I do this or that and blah blah blah. And I think knowing you guys as little or as much as I know you guys, you could, probably, answer that question a lot better than most business people. But for most of us we don’t, really, know. It’s like, well, I do this, I do that, whatever. 

So, the first step I recommend for people is to do a time audit, and I have that on my website as a freebie and you can download it as either a, I believe it’s a PDF and it comes as a Google sheet. So, you could use Google Sheets on your phone to update your time audit every day, or you could go old school pen to paper, but the idea is take a more normal-ish week, because there’s no such thing as a normal week in our lives, in our business or anything like that, however, if you’re traveling for a conference and you don’t, usually, travel for your job, then that’s clearly not a normal week. 

So, find something that’s a little bit more normal-ish, and then on Monday when you wake up, and I recommend doing outside work stuff too, so you can just cover the gamut. But if you prefer, just do work hours, that’s fine too. Jot down the time, jot down the task and the task type, and then do that for a week or two, and then after that we’ll have some good data of where you spend your time. Then I have another worksheet and I go over all of this in my podcast, I have the links to the worksheets in the podcast, you can go to cloneyourselfuniversity.com/freebies to get the worksheets as well. 

And the next worksheet is just a matrix where you start to take those tasks and projects and you plot them into this matrix. And that’s going be so eye-opening for you because you’ll see, oh, this specific thing requires my skill set and I enjoy doing it, whereas say, maybe, this other thing is a low skill and a low thrill, meaning that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out, it’s an objective task versus subjective, meaning you either do it right or wrong and I don’t enjoy doing it, so why am I doing this then? 

And then that’s almost, some people don’t like the word cherry picking, but it’s like cherry picking the easy stuff first because we can set ourselves up for success in working with a virtual assistant if we choose objective tasks and we choose things that are a low skill and a low thrill, that’s a great place to get started if you have tried working with VAs and it hasn’t gone well or if you haven’t tried and you’re a little nervous. If you’re someone like you guys, you have so much experience in hiring people, I think just a simple mindset shift to slow down could be more than enough to, really, find success in building out virtual assistant teams.

Austin: Nice.

Taylorr: Yeah, great advice.

Austin: There’s a self-analysis component there, which I think is always important, know, kind of, what you have going into it in terms of knowledge and skill and so on. I also think it’s brilliant to do the time audit, because to your point, the stuff that’s low skill, low thrill, those are the things that tend to, I think for some people take up the most mental bandwidth because there’s resistance there. It’s stuff that we know we have to do but don’t want to do, and so it sucks our energy away, and then, hopefully, we do get it done. Some people don’t, myself included sometimes, not doing the things that I know I should, but I’m not excited about doing at all. 

But even still, if you can knock it out, ideally, you have somebody else be doing this, offload the stuff that you don’t like doing. It frees up so much mental bandwidth that now for the other things that you’re doing, even if there are other components that you’re not super excited about, you still have more energy to do that because you’re not wasting it on things that you’re not excited about. Running a business, I think is a balance between doing things that sometimes we’re not excited about doing because it’s necessary, but you can only do so much of that before you have to start asking yourself like, what’s the point in doing this anyway? 

We become business owners because we want to pursue things that we love and we’re excited about and spend time in the areas of life we find meaningful and be secure enough that we don’t have to be in stress and overwhelm all the time. And I think it’s easy that the pursuit of that goal slips away from us because we become beholden to the stuff that is necessary but not fun, and so, anyway, I feel this is an antidote to that to some degree.

Sam: Absolutely.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Sam: Yeah.

Taylorr: So, I have been thinking as we’ve been, surprisingly, guys, thinking here; as we’ve been doing this podcast about the training component of bringing a VA on, right? So, we go to FreeUp, go to Fiverr or whatever your thing is, you did your time on it, you figure out where you need help and where you don’t need help. You find some people; in your experience, Sam, what are some of the expectations people should have getting that person ramped up to a point where they can, quote-unquote, read your mind and they’re delivering in a consistent fashion that makes you excited to continue working with them?

Sam: Yeah. First things first is SOPs, Standard Operating Procedures, that’s going to be.

Taylorr: Yeas, God.

Sam: Yeah, you have to have those right?

Austin: Damn, I love you.

Taylorr: Yeah, seriously, Sam. Holy crap.

Sam Kabert: Build a well-oiled machine, right? Isn’t that?

Taylorr: That’s right.

Sam: That’s what they say or something.

Taylorr: Anytime somebody complains about that I’m sending them to you, Sam.

Sam: What was that?

Austin: We’re sorry in advance.

Taylorr: Yeah. Anytime somebody complains to us about having SOPs, I’m sending them to you for validation.

Sam: Just working with you guys just briefly now, again, rolling with what you guys offer in your CRM solution, I can see how you use SOPs in your business and how you guys are so thorough and that helps the customer experience just as much as it helps to run your business. So, most of us don’t have SOPs because it’s never time, or we never think we have the time, even with my partner, I’ve been telling her how it’s time to get organized and she’s a single mom and she’s just trying to get stuff done when she’s got time. 

So, I a hundred percent understand it, and what I say to her is like, okay, but if you don’t do it now, then next time you do it, you’re going to be struggling just like you are now and putting things together. If you just take a little bit of extra time right now and just document, like for example, launching a course, right? It’ll be so much easier and you won’t stress as much next time. And most of us fall into that trap, so when you work with virtual assistants, I’m going to assume for most of the listeners, you don’t already have SOPs in your business, and I’ll be honest, I have a ton of weak spots in my businesses and brains where I don’t have SOPs or where they need to be updated because things have been changed. 

I’m by no means perfect, but I’m giving it my best and keeping it moving forward as much as I can, the worst thing we can do is, really, shame ourselves and go down this negative spiral. So, just get rid of all that negative self-talk, and when you do, eventually, bring on a virtual assistant, what you’re going to tell them upfront is that you’re going to ask them if they have experience in creating SOPs. Hopefully, they do. If they don’t, then, maybe, you hire another virtual assistant to work with them to create that SOP, because you don’t want to be doing that and it’s worth paying the extra money to relieve the anxiety, stress and overwhelm and all that, sort of, stuff. 

Now, the one piece I, probably, should have led with is my philosophy of getting started with virtual assistants is tiny tasks lead to big projects. So, as opposed to just giving big projects like say a podcast, right? I have an audio editor, a graphic designer, a video editor, and a project manager, right? And instead of putting someone in to have a new role in one of those specific areas and just give them several podcasts like say a new audio editor and be like, Here, edit this podcast. I’m going to give them a small portion of it, maybe, just splice in this intro with this outro and overlay the music or something, as opposed to adding ads and ums and awes, which I don’t do any of that anyway, but I know some people do. 

Make it easy for them to do, and then you start to build this relationship with them and this rapport, you understand each other’s work styles and everything else, you can grow to that big project from there. So, yeah, there are other things too, but, yeah.

Taylorr: That was.

Austin: That’s brilliant.

Taylorr: Perfect.

Austin: Yeah. There’s so much, really, practical information behind what you talk about, Sam. So much of, I don’t know, this category of business speak is so vague most of the time because I, maybe, people don’t, really, actually, even feel confident themselves in how this works. We all have room to grow, obviously, but, yeah, what you’re explaining here, there’s nothing even, really, abstract about this, it’s, really, straightforward; be, really, clear about what you want the person doing for you. Make sure there’s a process they can follow that you can hold them accountable to and it gives them a leg-up. 

Start, really, small so that they can get a win and you can start building that working relationship together, and then bring in additional resources as needed to, sort of, support them and tackle the other areas that they might not be as good at. I just skipped a whole bunch of stuff, obviously, but those are all things that are attainable to anybody, nothing there is, you have to go get Master’s degree to understand, so I appreciate the fact that you speak in practical terms.

Sam: Yeah, it’s funny because prior to doing Ayahuasca and the plant medicine inner work, I would say I was very out of balance in my masculine archetypal energy, which is the archetypal energy of yang or yong, if you know about yin and yang. And, basically, yin is like fluid, intuition, flexibility and, really, connection to soul, whereas yang or yong is about how you show up in the world and what you’re doing, right? The human doing versus human being and structure, and that’s equated with masculine, it’s not about genitalia, it’s just an archetypal energy. 

So, for me, I was so out of balanced, just all the masculine yang that the past few years I’ve, really, focused on getting in touch with that archetypal energy of yin and the feminine and flow, intuition and everything else. And that’s why I talk about soul/life balance so much, because if you’re, I could keep going on that, but just to land the plane here. Yeah, I, kind of, excel in the masculine and I went too far that side, you know? 

But I think it’s, really, important, in terms of soul/life balance, I know this isn’t what we’ve been talking about, but for a lot of the conscious community and spiritual community, we see people spiritually bypassing, which, basically, means that they’re using their spiritual beliefs as justifying a way of being it’s an excuse, really. And it’s like all love and light or everything is perfect, whatever. And it’s like, well, no, you also need the structure and obligation too, so it’s finding this balance between the two, you know?

Taylorr: Yeah, for sure.

Austin: I’m curious, what’s that been like? You’ve found some more balance, is there a way that ties into, sort of, what we’ve been talking about here? How has that helped you improve all of these skill sets? I’m sure it has.

Sam: Yeah. I would say that I’ve been fluctuating back and forth between being a little bit more in the spiritual side and a little bit more in the work side. Right now, in the past few months I’ve been saying that it’s a hustle season for me, because I understand that I’m out of balance and I’m veering toward the masculine side, but I’m also cognizant of that. So, I think the fact that I have awareness around that and that I’m doing things to feed my soul as well, even though realizing I’m working more than I would like to, I realize it and I’m doing things to get back to where I want to be. 

So, I think it’s just this dance and we haven’t talked about that, specifically, soul/life balance at all, and I could send you guys a free guide for the listeners of three free tips to practice soul/life balance daily. Because for most of us, this is a business demographic, for most business demographics, it is that we’re disconnected from our soul and that’s a huge reason why the mental health crisis we’re facing is so prevalent right now. Suicide rates are the highest they’ve been in 30 years, they’re up 30% over the past 30 years, recent research by Boston College has showed that half of the population, nearly half is experiencing depression and anxiety. 

Dr. Gabor Maté just said on Joe Rogans podcast that 70% of US citizens are taking at least one medication. We’re a sick society and I believe it all starts in the brain, in the mind, really. So, how can we increase our mental wellbeing? Well, that’s through the practice of soul/life balance, where we put connection to our spirit or soul or religion of what brings us joy of whatever resonates with you, put that first and foremost and we reframe work-life balance, realizing that work is part of life, but putting ourselves first, just like when we go on an airplane, putting your oxygen mask on first. All right, ran over.

Taylorr: Yeah. Man, I love that.

Austin: That’s a good rant.

Taylorr: Yeah. Honestly, it ties perfectly to the topic that we’re talking about here. We need balance in our lives and that includes not doing the things that we don’t want to be doing or where we’re not thrilled to be doing them and we all start businesses for a reason, and it’s often not to do the grindy work that we don’t see any thrill in. So, Sam, I love how you’ve connected the dots for us and it’s just sharing all of your experience, you’re just such a cool person and we appreciate you being on the show here today. So, you’ve mentioned some freebies, we have, well, the podcast that you have. We also have clone yourselfuniversity.com/freebies, right? For some VA stuff. You also mentioned three tips, I believe, right? For your soul/life balance.

Sam: Yeah. That’s at samkabert.com/practice.

Taylorr: Sweet. Okay. Awesome. Wow, all of those links, guys, are going to be in the show notes, go check them out. We’ll include links to FreeUp as well, so if you’re interested in looking at that, certainly go and explore. If you like this episode, don’t forget to rate it, like it, subscribe to it, and if you want more awesome resources like this, don’t forget to go to speakerflow.com/resources.

Austin: Woo.

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