Arlen: Welcome to the eCommerce marketing podcast. Everyone. I am your host, Arlen Robinson. And today we have a very special guest Daniel Ramsey, who is the founder & CEO of MyOutDesk, the highest-rated Virtual Assistant company in the marketplace with over 500 5-star reviews, and over 13 years of experience serving more than 6000 clients.
Daniel founded MyOutDesk during the last global financial crisis of 2008 to help businesses leverage the remote workplace and scale businesses with virtual assistants. Welcome to the podcast, Daniel
Daniel: Arlen, Thanks for having me, man. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Arlen: Not a problem. I’m super excited to talk to you because these days, you know, we hear so much about virtual assistants and the accessibility of them is really unbelievable. These days. My listeners probably know that OSI for the software has been, you know, we’ve been around for about 20 years now.
And so in the early days when we were kind of getting going, it really, there was some sites out there where you can get outsourced, but anyway, it really wasn’t like it is today. And so there’s definitely kind of, um, The opportunity to get help with your business through VA’s is really out there. Like it hasn’t been forever before.
So what I want to dive in deep into today is going to be the utilizing virtual assistants for
Arlen: tasks for eCommerce companies, because I know a lot of eCommerce businesses and the. Owners that are listening. A lot of times you kind of shy away from outsourcing that type of thing, because you think you’ve got to do all of that in house and you want to kind of keep your hands around it.
And now you’re going to definitely enlighten us on how you can utilize VA’s effectively for those marketing tactics. But before we get into all of that, Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you got into what you’re doing today?
Daniel: Yeah. Yeah. The story is pretty funny and I’m excited to be here and we’re definitely going to break down everything.
Virtual assistant, everything that a scaling or growing eCommerce platform would, might need help with. And so we’re definitely going to dive deep into real specific tactics that you can use right now to grow and scale. But the founding is very funny story. It happened on accident. Probably like most great businesses.
I’m on my honeymoon in Guatemala, my wife and I were at a Francis Ford Coppola resort. And if you’ve never been in one are those they’re magical places. You know, we’re in trees, there’s bungalows, we’re overlooking this beautiful Lake. And my wife and I had spent the day, like literally trekking through the jungle.
And seeing ruins and just, I mean, having mangoes there’s monkeys around. So it was really a magical place. And I found myself at the bar at one in the morning while my wife was sleeping, my wife of all of three days, by the way. But I found myself at the bar, literally working on my business at one in the morning on my honeymoon
Daniel: And if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, C-suite leadership person, you know, this feeling right. You know, vacations, maybe get interrupted, honeymoons, maybe get interrupted. But what happened was the bartender who spoke only Spanish, took my cell phone. And snapped a picture of me and started literally making fun of me in Spanish.
Okay. White boy. Beautiful. Well, bride back in the office and I speak enough. I’m a California boy. So I speak enough Spanish that I was like, Holy moly. This guy is really, he’s making fun of me and he’s probably right, right. In that moment. I had an epiphany about my own entrepreneurial journey and what was going on in my own life.
I knew number one, I wanted to have stay married, know I wanted to be that guy that just kept to right. Number two, I wanted to start a family and I reconnected in that moment with like, Holy crap. I own a business. And the business is actually owning me. And so I went back to the lab, so to speak and, uh, I really focused on, on building systems and processes.
We built out a blended model, which is what I want to share with your audience today. Talking about a blended model. Where some of your staff is physically there and some are outsourced or virtual and really help the power of that. And so that’s what happened is literally I had a breaking point happened to be on my honeymoon and, uh, the business was kind of born out of that kind of moment of pain.
Arlen: Gotcha. Gotcha. That’s good stuff. And I’ve talked to so many business owners on the podcast and they’ve told me how they’re. Businesses were birth. And it’s usually out of a need out of a necessity that you had. And usually those are the type of businesses that really. You know, the development of those types of businesses really are a lot more solid than somebody just kind of having a, kind of a harebrained idea and decided to run with it who really created that because of a direct need that you have.
That’s a funny story though. You know, I definitely feel your pain because as a business owner, I’ve, I’ve been on those trips before where, you know, I’ve been in some lovely places, lovely hotels, but. One two in the morning while I’m online, I’m responding to emails, I’m talking to other employees and other side of the world.
And, you know, I definitely feel your pain in that. And I know a lot of the listeners do as well. So thank you for sharing that. And yeah. And, um, you know, as far as, uh, as you mentioned, utilizing these VA’s and kind of a blended model is, as I think is great because. I know a lot of the listeners, they have an existing infrastructure may have some existing employees that are, are holding things down.
You know, maybe it’s a small team, maybe it’s themselves, you know, the business owner,
Daniel: maybe you
Arlen: have a co owner or you have an assistant that’s, you know, kind of they’re in the trenches with you. And what you want to do is really utilize. The time, your time. And then the time of something that’s outsourced most more effectively.
So I think a blended model would be great, but what I want to start with is, you know, how can you really select the best VA’s to assist with marketing activities? Such as let’s say, email marketing, we’ll kind of start with that because if you’ve never really, I hired a VA and you know, you don’t know where it is start.
What really are you looking for when you. Comes to somebody that can assist you with marketing
Daniel: strategies. Yeah. It’s such a great question. Before we dive into the answer, I want to make sure that everybody has a quick general overview of the marketplace for virtual assistants. In my opinion, you have something called a dating website, which I think like Upwork and Fiverr diver are very popular dating sites.
And when I say dating, if you’re a business and you’re like, Hey, I need this flyer done, or I need to. Connect this marketing system to the CRM, or you need some project based thing. Like I need a video edited. If you need a project based thing, those companies are on point. They’re great opportunities for businesses to get leverage and to have a project based person add value to your business.
I like to tell people we’re a marriage site. So if you’re an eCommerce company or a marketing company and you need leverage in your business and you need a full time person, want a strategic partner. One of the things that we do, that’s very. Specific is we’re in the Philippines, which is our country operations.
So we have infrastructure there we’re a corporation. We have insurance, we have CPA attorneys. So we have an entire staff devoted to helping our customers, clients through the hurdles of what it feels like to integrate somebody who is into your physical office space. I’ll give you an example. We have a great client who.
Very large, $70 million eCommerce, the platform. And this is a unique time. In the business landscape to really be considered, how do I cut costs? What do I do at a high level? Now this is a company who has 84 time staff on the books. They’re really a big company. They’re focused in a very niche market on the ECAP commerce side of the business.
And, you know, we’re helping them transition from having 80 employees to having half of their staff virtual. Our virtual professionals and half of their staff in the U S and that blended market, that blended model is really what we’re talking about. But here’s the thing. I don’t want anybody on this call to think the 40 people in the U S they’re going to get laid off.
Cause that’s not the case what’s going to happen is this business is going to strategically focus, refocus their US-based people. To help the company grow and scale. And they’re going to hand off all of the repetitive tasks that have to get done, but aren’t really strategic or adding value over the long term.
For instance, customer turns the marketing. The basic, getting the photos, putting them on the platform, making sure returns are done. Cut, answering the phones, being a chat service, launching new products, all of those things like that. Part of the business that has to be done every single day. What adds value for an eCommerce is discovering new markets or squeezing a little bit more profit out of their suppliers or being in a space where their customers can be raving fans.
And so we help businesses really consider what are the most important tasks and what can be delegated off to a virtual assistant and what kind of systems and processes to, to be adopted for a blended model.
Arlen: Great. Yeah, I appreciate that. That breakdown. And I guess I see where you’re going with that.
There’s so many repetitive tasks that if you have some higher level people, it just doesn’t make sense to keep them bogged down with that. You want to keep them doing some things that are really going to help grow your business. I appreciate that definition. So as far as getting these particular employees or these virtual staff, What do you really want to look for?
If you just kind of entering the marketplace and trying to find the best person, you know, like I said, specifically for a marketing type task.
Daniel: Yeah. Well, I love that you’re asking the questions. Marketing is a big area of business that we focus on. And I like the repurpose system when it comes to marketing the brand where.
The business has great content. And then it gets chunked up into all bite sized pieces, whether that’s bite size, video, bite sized, social media photos, stuff like Pinterest and all the social platforms that have great spots for still versus video versus short funny videos. And so when you think about the creation of content, I believe that that.
Typically needs to be an in house kind of digital marketing person, right? You need somebody with the strategic and understands the audience, understands the product, but once the content is created, and this is what I love and it’s beautiful about virtual assistants. Once that content is created. There are all these frameworks inside of marketing that can, that are very systematic.
Like take this 10 minute video and make it into a 32nd clip. Make that 32nd clip into 15 different still photos and put these kinds of. Calls to actions underneath them. So there’s a lot of process-based stuff inside of marketing is perfect for a virtual assistant things like your email marketing.
Guess what? Every e-commerce website wants to capture your email and give you a 10 or 15% off your net, your first purchase. Once you have somebody who’s email, what do you do with it? Where does that go? What lists does it go on? All of those things are things that add value to a business, but doesn’t know we need to be the strategic players inside the business.
So we just find anything in a system or a process within the marketing team could be handed down delegated and given to a virtual assistant so that your us team can really focus on leveraging the brand and building the business.
Arlen: Okay, great. Yeah, I appreciate that. And that makes a lot of sense, because especially these days you talked about, of course leaving the content creation piece of it in house and to your local staff.
But once that content is created, we’re kind of at a point in history with the internet where they are million and one distribution channels to get content out, you know, of course. There’s your own site. And then after that, you mean there’s so many things you can do with the content. You mentioned the repurposing it for the social media platform, then there’s a, you know, 1,000,001 of those.
And then there’s also the video channels. You’ve got the YouTube and there’s other platforms for you to turn blog posts or content into video and you name it. Yeah. Literally just goes on and on. And Mike, you said. The distribution part of it is definitely something that can be systematized where you can just easily hand off because it’s there, like you said earlier, it’s a repetitive type task.
Somebody is going in there specific content, usually it’s in the same format and then they’re following steps, their system. On where and how to publish it or how to get that distributed. So, yeah, that’s a great example. And I see that the more useful these days, because you know, every day we wake up, I think there’s a new channel.
We’ve got to kind of jump on and think about it. Putting our content on. So I can definitely see how, you know, utilizing a virtual assistant can work.
Daniel: One of the things that we’re going to give away at the top of the hour is a copy of our book. One thing in that book, we have a very specific marketing process for referrals, reviews, and recommendations, and we call it the three R’s.
And so our marketing team owns this piece of our business too. And it’s a great thing in e-commerce your social proof is such a big piece of whether or not you’re going to sell stuff, reviews, products, reviews of those services that you have. Those are, I mean, we’re in a trustless society right now. Like it’s very difficult for the U S for us to trust our leaders, trust our business associates.
And yet online eCommerce companies, they have to operate in that environment. So what’s the fastest and easiest way to build trust it’s to build reviews and it’s to build recommendations, whether they’re video or written. And so part of our marketing strategy too, is just having our virtual assistants own that review process of one of the reasons we’re the highest rated virtual assistant company in the world is because we have a process.
To ask for reviews and recommendations and referrals. And so as an eCommerce, I think that’s such a big piece of, of whether or not you win in the brand Wars that are happening right now.
Arlen: Yeah, very true. Yeah. It really is all about reviews these days. That’s kind of one of the first things people look at when they’re coming to a site, or if they’re looking on Amazon, they want to see how.
Highly rated as this, or what are other people saying? And so I think you’re right. eCommerce businesses definitely. These days live and die by the reviews off and, uh, you know, for sure. And that whole process has definitely assistance with that process is definitely something that, uh, you know, virtual assistants can help out with as well.
Now, when a company is out there and they’re at the point where they’re there, they’re trying to bring on these virtual assistants to assist with these various tasks. You mentioned that, of course, a large part of what they’re going to be doing is following systematized. Tasks or process flow and being able to do that effectively and, you know, just be, and be comfortable doing that, but something that’s repetitive kind of over and over again, with that in mind.
What type of prior experience do you think somebody should have. You know, in order to be able to be one of the most, you know, the most effective virtual assistants saying that you can bring on for your team.
Daniel: Yeah. I love that question. One of the things that we’ve learned being 13 years old in this virtual space, when I first started the company, we tried to build marketing people or.
We tried to build customer service people. And that works when you’re new and small. I mean, it really does work. It’s a strategy. What we found though, as, as we’ve grown and we’ve scaled and we’ve diversified our client base building talent is just not the way to do it. Not as a staffing company, we really view ourselves as a marriage.
Staffing company, we’re helping people save up to 60, 70% of their costs typically. And so the fastest and best way to do that is hiring a marketing person for a marketing role. So when somebody comes to us, what we do is we do a consultation and then that consultation, we asked questions like, Hey, where’s the vision of your company?
What are some of your big challenges? Tell us about the, your tech stack and what your. Current team looks like today, what are your processes? And we really try to focus in on ways for our virtual assistants to add value to that particular customer’s business. And in that consultation, we help people understand that.
What’s required. I mean, most e-commerce, they have a platform most e-commerce they have a pretty robust marketing team and it’s usually they just need help. They need more people. Like my, one of my favorite stories is billionaires never go and buy a baseball team and then say, I’m going to manage the baseball team myself.
Arlen: Right, right. Right.
Daniel: A billionaire buys a basis, well team. And he says, who do I need to hire in order to win the world series? And that’s the question that we typically are asking our customers, like, Hey, to win the world series, to get a double or triple out of your business, what has to happen? Who do we need to hire on your team?
And in our early days, we used to build people. Now, what we do is we simply, if you’re looking for a marketing person or maybe a customer support person for your eCommerce, Business. We simply go to the marketplace and we find somebody who that’s, what they’ve done in their entire career and we just bring them on and help them work for you.
So we enable the connection. We like to match good quality people with good quality businesses. And that’s, that’s what makes us unique. We’re a strategic partner. In this process of outsourcing and we’re really, really set up for the medium sized, small, medium sized business. So zero to a hundred million, those are kind of our ideal customer profiles.
Arlen: Yeah. The everything you said definitely makes sense. As far as how you guys, even within the company, transitioned from kind of grooming these VA’s into a particular position. And then you do have transition to just specifically hiring people that have done that before. And. Oh, so if he’s got a marketing position specifically hiring before that and looking for somebody for that makes a lot of sense, rather than going the other route of, you know, kind of having.
Just a general description. So maybe the job posting before would be, you know, just a general the aid of variety, you know, to provide a variety of tasks, you can do that. And you can probably find someone that they can do a lot. They’ve probably done a lot before and you could grow them quite easily to do your marketing tasks, but like you said, to be.
To get the best effect. It would be more ideal to specifically bring somebody on. That’s done that before, where of course there’s going to be a little bit of room and it has to be done because of course your process will be different. Then the next businesses process, the previous business that they were with, but at least they have some type of knowledge of these types of tasks.
So, um, yeah, make makes a lot of sense. And I can see where you’re going with that as far as being a little bit more targeted. As a port, as opposed to being general with your hiring practices. Now, as we get ready to wrap things up, I think one of the kind of big questions there’s a lot of the listeners have and the business owners have when they’ve been thinking about outsourcing.
Is really the compensation because they obviously, a lot of the staff with outsourcing is going to be, if you’re in the U S a lot of the staff that you’re going to be getting for your virtual assistant, a role is probably gonna be overseas, of course. And so you don’t really necessarily know what’s acceptable for them.
I mean, you can, of course look in and see what they were making before, but for the specific task that you have maybe marketing tasks, Your business has, how do you determine what is really the right, correct compensation in order to track the right VA? Cause that’s really what it comes down to. If you, if you kind of undershoot it, if you come too low, you may not get the right talent if you come too high, but you could end up.
Pay more than you need to. So it’s like, what are you, how do you find that sweet spot? So to speak when it comes to compensation?
Daniel: I love that question. If you’re listening right now, I’m just going to give you our pricing because it’s a very simple thing. We range between 1747. And 2147 a month for our virtual professionals.
So these are full time people. So most of our customers are paying us about two grand a month and think of it like this. We give them health care, vacation, time benefits. We do conferences this year. We’re doing a virtual conference. And we’re really a strategic partner in scaling and growing this up, that eCommerce company that we talked about, they literally have five people with us.
They’ve been a customer only for six months. And our plan by the end of the year is to be at 40. So we’re your easy button for systematically scaling and growing a team of virtual professionals. But the bottom line is, it really depends. There’s a range of talent. Available worldwide. And if the pandemic has taught us anything, there’s this unique opportunity in the marketplace, I think right now, because the entire world is getting educated, not only on zoom meetings, but also on shopping online.
It’s accelerated this trend. And so I think there’s going to be a lot of really big wins for companies that embrace a blended model that we’re talking about because all the big guys have it already is on everybody out there in the world that is doing e-commerce. That is a billion dollar company. They already have a blended model.
And they’ve been this kind of lightning rod to kind of destroy brick and mortars and mom and pop shops. That’s what’s happening in the world. That’s the trend that’s happening. And if you’re a medium sized eCommerce platform and you want to stay competitive, you have to compete like the big boys compete.
And they have a blended model. They have since the 1970s and eighties. And so we’re simply bringing the ability for people to have that blended model, have a partner, get a big presence outside of the U S and really save money and grow your platform. So planning, I would say $2,000 to head month and these folks, they speak perfect English.
They work your timeframes and, uh, It’s been a really good option for a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners out there.
Arlen: Yeah, that’s some great advice and I appreciate you kind of, kind of breaking it down and, you know, I know you guys charging what would be kind of typical across the board, which regardless of the route that you go to get a, a VA and you’re so right.
The big guys have been doing this for so long on this pandemic has then I guess, you know, like you said, kind of forced a lot of businesses, especially eCommerce businesses to either sink or swim. They probably have got to do a lot more things nowadays that they didn’t have to otherwise. Yeah, otherwise they’re just going to fall by the wayside.
And so, yeah, it is good to hear that the opportunity for smaller businesses, these days to kind of jump on board with virtual assistants is as more accessible than ever. So, um, as I was saying at the beginning, it’s a read a good time for that. Well, I really appreciate talking to you, Daniel. And for you coming onto the, the eCommerce marketing podcast, I’ve definitely learned a lot about.
VA’s and kind of how you can massage and find the right words for your marketing team. Yes. As an eCommerce business. And so I know our listeners are going to learn a lot and it’s going to go a long way for them. But, uh, what I would like to do is just kind of close things out. We’re switching gears here.
So just so our audience can get to know you a little bit better. So what is one closing fun fact that you can let our audience know about you? I know you already kind of shared one at the beginning with your, your honeymoon story, but if there’s another one that you could share, that’d be
Daniel: awesome. Yeah, no, I mean, I would just, um, the funny, I kind of alluded to it, the honeymoon happened and I started really focusing on my business at that point, but what really launched my Outdesk and it’s a funny story, because we were a friend of mine.
We were in a conference and a large fortune 500. You know, insurance company was talking about their outsourcing and this is back in 2008. So it’s a, you know, fairly long time ago. And this large insurance company was saying, Hey, we have this team they’re in India and you can basically our people, they were attempting to be a outsourcer themselves as an insurance company.
They’d, they’d built a presence in India. And they were charging $35,000 a year for their people, their outsourced people. And, and my friend looks at me. And says, wow, aren’t you doing some outsourcing? Absolutely. We’re doing some outsourcing and we’re doing it for a lot less. And he’s like, could you get me some literally, that’s how my Outdesk was born.
Funny facts. He looks and he says, And he says, can you get me five? And then we have eventually ended up with 17 people on his team, saved him several hundred thousand dollars a month in payroll because he was able to repurpose his internal staff to focus on what’s important and growing the business.
And so I bring this fun fact up because great businesses. We’re always solving a problem and sometimes it’s an accident. So I feel so blessed and honored to have accidentally started this company. That’s helped a lot of folks. Yeah. Yeah. And if your listeners are listening, I’d love to give away a copy of our book.
If that’s possible.
Arlen: That’d be awesome. Yeah. If you want to give some details and what we can do is definitely include a Lincoln and details on that tomorrow.
Daniel: Yeah. I love it. So if you’re listening right now and you wanted more information or to take another step, I wrote a book in December of last year.
We launched it on Amazon, but we can give it away free. All you have to do to get a copy is text the number three one nine nine nine six. That’s where you’ll put the two in the number and it’s three one nine nine, nine, six. And then this message S as in Sam, V as in Victor and P as in Paul and that’s scale with virtual professionals, and it’s got 13 years of my mistakes, basically, all the things you said I couldn’t do as an eCommerce or a marketing team, it’s got all the, all the right.
Frameworks to implement as well as hiring guides and virtual playbooks. So I put my heart and soul into this book and we give it away as a service to our customers so they can do it the right way. And so grab a copy again. That number is three one nine nine six with this message S V P scale with virtual professionals.
Arlen: That’s awesome. And thank you for sharing that and offering that, that free give away to our listeners. Like I said, we’ll have the. The details of all of that also in the show notes. So you can check it out easily from there. And, uh, you know, lastly, outside of the giveaway there, if our listeners want to get a hold of you Daniel, and pick your brain anymore about VA’s hiring VA’s or just anything regarding virtual assistants.
Uh, utilize for marketing. What’s the best way for them to get in contact with you?
Daniel: Our website, we have a ton of information there. It’s my outdesk.com. So it’s M Y O U T D E S k.com. So it’s my outdesk.com and we’ve got a blog there, webinar. All of our kind of company information is there and you can kind of play around and toy around with, um, customer experience, like what our customers have experienced.
It’s all online for anybody who’s interested. It’s a good spot to start the process and just, just a consultation. We love helping clients discover the power of virtual leverage.
Arlen: Okay. Great. Well, that’s awesome. Thank you for sharing that Daniel and I hope our listeners will take advantage of, of your site and the book or the giveaway.
And, uh, you know, I know they get a lot out of it. I ended up thank you again for joining us today on the eCommerce marketing podcast.
Daniel: Yeah, it’s been my pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Founder & CEO of MyOutDesk