Aderson Oliveira: This is the first interview I have done for the OuchSourcing series of interviews about outsourcing, and I have with me Harry Duran. He's the owner of Fullcast.co, which is a company specialized on podcast production services, and in a way, he provides outsourcing service to his clients too.
So, we've spoken about the fact that he provides outsourcing services, and he's also a client of outsourcing providers too. He talks about the bads, the good and the ugly in the industry, tips and tricks, and tools that he uses, and strategies in his approach through outsourcing. So very, very packed with goodies on this interview, so I'll leave you with the interview.
Hello, hello. Aderson Oliveira here. This is the first interview for the Ouchsourcing video series where I talk with people that are either outsourcing work or that they have businesses that provide outsourcing services. And I have with me, Harry Duran, for the very first interview. He's my good friend and he's with Fullcast.co. Harry, is it fair enough to say that Fullcast is a provider of podcast production outsourcing?
Harry Duran: Yes, it's positioned as a full service done for you podcast production and marketing service.
Aderson: So, you are in a very unique position here because you provide outsourcing services, and again, I'm trying to squeeze outsource there just for the sake of our talk. So, you provide outsourcing services, but you also run a business that utilizes a lot of outsourcing providers as well. So, I'm going to start by asking you to wear your outsourcing provider hat first. So, talk on behalf of Fullcast. Let me ask you this. Where did this idea, the concept of providing podcast production services to people, to companies, where did that idea come from?
Harry: That's a great place to start, Aderson, because I think what's important is for people to understand what their specialty is, and as their building a business, people want to help everyone because they're just looking to get that first dollar of revenue in. So, when people ask me if they can do something, I say, "Yes, I can do it," and then they end up being all things to everyone, and that really doesn't serve either party well.
So, what I decided is as I was building the company out, I knew there were people that did the basic podcasting services, and they were at the low-end, and what I quickly realized is I didn't want to be fighting it out with those people. We're just battling for the scraps of who's going to be the lowest price provider. When that happens, nobody wins because everyone is just trying to get in and just undercutting people by another $50, another $100 and it's just a race to the bottom.
So, what I quickly decided is I wanted to provide a premium service, and then find out where the clients are that are paying that price. Where do they hang out? What type of meetings do they go to? What type of conferences do they go to? What type of coaching do they get? And just start to go into those circles.
A famous speaker by the name of Jim Rohn, he says, "You are the average of the five people you associate yourself with," and I wanted to associate myself and be in the same circle and in the same conversations as people who are running 6-figure, high 6-figure, and 7-figure businesses online who understand opportunity cost and understand they don't have to be the expert at everything, and it's better to hire the expert and hire the people who have the experience and who can do this.
Then, I wanted to provide a service that was really full service. So, it wasn't just production, because I know, as a podcaster myself, it doesn't end when the episode is done. You have to market it, you have to make sure the artwork looks good, everything. We have to decide what your show notes are going to look like, where you're going to distribute it, what opportunities there are to repurpose, what social media platforms make the most sense, and what the formats are for those specific social platforms, how to continue to engage with your guests even after the interview is done.
So, a lot of little things that I've learned along the way and I felt that it made more sense to package it all together, and be, really, the one-stop shop so that they wouldn't have to think about, "Oh, what am I missing?" I want it to feel like I was covering that for them.
Aderson: Got it. That brings me to a question of if you're defining, how do you define boundaries of, "Okay, this is as far as I go, and this is what I don't do," or just say, "You know what? Forget it. I'll do everything for them." How do you define boundaries there?
Harry: In the beginning, when I had the first couple clients, wherever I saw that they needed help and it was directly related to the support of their podcast, then I would jump in and I would do it, and I would see how much time it was taking me. So, the easiest example is really the website because that seems to be the bane of everyone's existence, and every online entrepreneur.
If they don't know what they're getting into, they always struggle and I'm sure you can relate to issues with website, because a user will tell you there's a website issue, but you, if you have any technical skills, it could be the host, it could be the theme, it could be their internet connection, it could just be a plugin, and it just becomes a rabbit hole that you work through.
But, I think, early on, some of my clients were more technically-challenged, and I felt like I had the knowledge to get them up-to-speed pretty quickly. So, I tried to tailor the support to anything that could be positioned under helping them with their podcast. For example, for a website, I wouldn't, obviously, support their whole site, but just the podcast page, and say, "Okay, anything related to that, I'm going to support because it's in my best interests that that page looks good, that page is up and running," because then they feel confident that they can send traffic to it. So, it becomes a good symbiotic relationship. If I keep that part of it running well, then they'll feel like they're having success with their show.
So, I always had the hat on of, "Is this something that I'm helping with that will help their show, and that helped to narrow the boundaries for me a little bit."
Aderson: Got it. Okay, that makes sense. Now, usually when you talk about providing services and, in particular, outsourcing things that you could potentially do in-house, we are saving one of two things. We are saving for our clients' idle time or money, and I think that, in a way, you covered that, but I would like you to explore a little bit about this topic. Are you saving them time, money, a bit of both? Tell me a little bit about that.
Harry: I'm definitely saving them time. I think what's important as you grow your business, if you have your own business, if you have an entrepreneur, you need to think about this idea of opportunity cost, and the easiest thing to do is take what you've made a year, or what you've made in the past year, divide that into monthly, weekly, and then hourly, and then you figure out what's your hourly, what are you making per hour. Then, if you can pay someone less than that to help you out with a task that's critical for you to move your business forward, then it should almost be a no-brainer. Because, at the end of the day, the discussion becomes, "What is an hour of your time worth? What can you do in that hour?"
So, for me, if I had an hour of ideal time, I would love to just spend it on the phone with prospects, and try to close prospects, and bring them on. Because, that's what my coach likes to call "genius". It's the one thing that I really feel that I can do because of my education, my training, and my just experience over the course of my lifetime. I've built up this sweet spot of things that I do well, and it's not everything. We can't be all things to everyone.
I think the way it was defined is there's four categories of tests. Those you're incompetent in, those you're competent in, those you're excellent in, and then you're genius. Obviously, incompetent, and competent, you want to get those off your plate as quick as possible.
The tasks that you're excellent in is where a lot of entrepreneurs who are growing get stuck, because these are the tasks that we may even like to do. We like to fiddle around with CSS code on websites, or we like to play around with iMovie or Final Cut, or we like to think we're Hollywood composers and play around with audio for four or five hours. It's fun if it's something that you're doing as a hobby, but if it's a necessary part of building your business, you may not necessarily be the best person to do that.
It may make more sense to pay someone $30, $40, $60, even $100 an hour to do something because, Aderson, you know, when someone is an expert at something, they do it almost in their sleep. They do it so fast, and what would take you four to five hours to do, they'll knock it out in 15, 20 minutes, half an hour, maybe. So, you can't look at it as a 1 to 1. You have to let the experts do what they do best.
So, get these excellent tests off your plate if it's critical for you to build your business because they're just going to slow you down, and it's really this concept of scarcity mentality like, "I don't have the money or can't afford to pay them." It's almost like you can't afford not to pay them because it's slowing you down thinking you can do everything yourself, and you can't grow a business on your own. It's impossible.
Even on the face of it, it looks like it's just you, I'll tell you right now, there's a ton of people that have been supporting me and continue to support me in the growth of my business, and without them, I wouldn't be where I am right now.
Aderson: Got it. I get your point and I agree 100%, but my question is why do so many people have a hard time doing that, of taking that leap of faith and saying, "Hey, you know what? I should not be doing this. I know, logically, it doesn't make sense for me to do this, but I do it anyway."? I mean, we're not perfect. I'm not perfect. You're not perfect. So, you come across that situation, a lot of times, yourself, a lot of times, myself as well. Why do you think it's hard for most of us to take that leap of faith? Why?
Harry: To be honest, I think it's a scarcity mindset. I think it's this idea that, "I have a fixed amount of money, or I have a fixed amount of resources, and there's no way I can afford to do this, and I really, really feel, in my heart, that it's a scarcity mindset, and you have to shift that to, what I call, an abundance mindset where you know that, "I have to invest."
You have to invest in the growth of your business and you have to have that big picture mentality of where you want to be 12 months from now or three years from now, and I think I just don't see any way that you can grow a business if you're just continuously counting pennies and trying to figure out, "Okay, I'm going to take these $2 and only spend them only on this one service that I know I can afford, because that's all I can do, that's all I have allocated."
Really? We've all had instances as entrepreneurs where we've had to take that leap. We had to take that leap of faith and say, "Okay, I'm going to invest in the business." Either you believe you're in this business for the long term or you don't. That's what it comes down to.
Aderson: So, at the end of the day, you may or may not - I mean, it's as you said, it's an investment - so, you may or may not recoup that money that you're paying a provider right away, but I guess that what you're saying is that in the longer run, that will benefit because it will free up your time. Yes, there will be an upfront investment, but it will free up your time, so you can reinvest that time on more productive things that will push your business forward, correct?
Harry: Correct. I think it's a matter of aligning yourself with partners that will support you that you get along with, that you have a great relationship with, that you can trust, that you know that if you hand them over something that they're going to hand it back to you, and it's going to be faster and better than you would have done it yourself.
As a result of that, you're going to be able to offer more services to your business, or be of more help to your business. Even if you're just freeing up that mind space where you're like -- an example would be development. I know that if I have someone on call that can do that, then that's better for me, and it's just peace of mind, and what it does is allow me to be more focused with my clients because I know that they're getting from me what I'm really good at.
I'm not trying to profess that I'm like, "I'm going to sit there for half an hour and then I'll help you with some HTML in your website." That's not me using my genius to help my clients. I want to do that task that I do really well, and that when I do that with my client, they're like, "Wow, I really get value with that time that I spend with you." But, if you're trying to be all things to everyone, you're just going to give everyone just a half-hearted effort because you think that's what they need, and you really should be giving your clients the best of what you have, and then get the help from others if it's needed to support them. I think that just makes you more focused in your interactions.
Aderson: Very good. So, let me ask you this. Aside the obvious challenge of getting more clients and acquiring more clients, what would you say that it would some other challenges around providing services like providing outsourcing services, like the type of services that you provide. What are some of the challenges that you face on your business?
Harry: I think, in the beginning, you have to make a decision about what type of business you want to provide, and if it's going to be something where there's going to be a tangible product that you're delivering, that may put some limitations on how quickly you can scale. It's not to say you can't, but when you have an actual physical, or tangible outcome that a client needs to receive every --
In my case, we need to produce a podcast episode. We need to actually create an mp3 and edit an mp3. We need to actually post it, they need to see it on their site. So, it's not like I have a coaching program where they're just getting my intellectual property once a week or once a month. I have to physically put something in their hands, so to speak.
So, what's important and what I've thought about from the beginning is because that's how my mind works. I really created processes from day 1 of everything that we do, and that's really what's allowed us to scale. Hire a little bit before I actually need the person because it's more important for me to be a little bit more in the beginning, but know that they're getting trained so that when I do get those -- if I feel like clients are coming and I know that they're coming, then I feel like I'm ready.
So, when it starts to ramp up, it's not like I have to ramp up the new hire at the same point. They've already been working with me for a month or two, so they're familiar with the routine. That's a really big tip. And if you're hiring the right people, then you should have the confidence to continue to hand over things that you used to do.
So, for example, I used to be the only one responsible for onboarding clients, and then I realized I can't scale that way. I'm now working on a video, of course, and that's going to give me another income stream. But, I need to spend a lot of time to do that, and I don't want to do that at the expense of my clients' experience. So, I recently had a meeting where I went down to look at my project manager's house, and we spent half the day on me teaching her everything on how I onboard a client, and we used a bunch of automation tools. I'm a huge fan of automation tools like Zapier, tools like IFTTT, and we're using a new tool called Process Street to manage checklists.
So, wherever we can manage those, then we fit our clients into those processes as well, because it's important that they become part of our workflow. Occasionally, you'll have one or two clients who want to do things their own way, and that may work in the short-term, but it's just not beneficial for both people. So, I think, to bring it home, it's really the idea of having procedures documented, automation, and bringing on people slightly before you need them.
Aderson: Okay, so I'm about to close the segment where you are the provider. I'm about to talk about you being a client of outsourcing services. But, before I go there, let me ask you this. What is the one thing that you would recommend for a business that they have the intention to become an outsourcing provider, someone that people outsource work to them. Whatever type of work that might be, but is there anything that you'd say if someone, a friend of yours, comes to you and says, "Hey, Harry, I'm thinking about providing this type of service to clients, what can you tell me that would be the first thing that I should make sure of, take care of?"
Harry: I think, Aderson, if you don't have that first client already or it's not the ideal client, for me, it was really critical in getting that first client, and then laser-focused on how can I just make their experience so amazing in the time that they're spending with me that they just continue to rave about me. Because, I'll tell you right now, 80 to 90 percent of my business is referrals.
So, the only way you get to that point is providing just a kick-ass service so people understand, "Yes, Harry is the person to do this thing, podcast production. He held my hand all along the way. I can't say enough things." I've been in the coaching position with this guy at the table, and it's almost embarrassing. He's basically my PR person and he's just like, "I couldn't have done this without him," and they become your champions.
So, if you find those one or two clients that have invested the time, and the money, and the trust in you in the beginning, don't think that you need to go out and get 10 to 15. Get your processes right, get your approach right, get your interactions right. How are you going to deal with them? Are you going to interact with them on email? How are they going to communicate with you? How are they going to raise issues with you? Are you going to use a help desk software? Test it out with them. How often are you going to meet with them? What exactly are you going to do for them? If they keep asking you to add services and add services, are you going to say yes or are you going to say no?
Get this refined, get this focused so you know what your offer is. Because, if you're not clear about your offer, you're going to be all things to everyone, and then the next client is going to say, "Can you do this?" and since you haven't been clear about what you provide, they're going to say, "Okay," and then you're going to come across as sort of like this handyman who does all things, but you're not going to be known as the person who does this one thing.
I want to be known as -- my intro for people is I help thought leaders amplify their authority and expand their reach through the power of podcasting, and it's clear that I produce a service that's for people that have successful businesses and want to use podcasting as an extension of their marketing. I'm not for the two guys who want to start a podcast in their basement, and I have friends that do that. I started my podcast that way.
But, I'm really clear about who I serve, and because of my price point, I price it at a premium. So, it's very clear from the beginning when people refer me, they know, because they know what they're paying, and they run in circles where people buy services of that amount, and then they're like they almost do the selling for me. So, when they get to me, it's like a warm intro. It's not a cold intro.
So, think about that in your own business, like who are you serving? Don't be all things to everyone. Be known as the one thing in this niche service that does it amazingly well, and then you're going to get a reputation for the person and be known as the person that does that.
Aderson: Perfect. Now, let's change hats here. Let's put you on the client's hat. Now, you are a business that needs to outsource work. You are on the other side of the fence now. But, before we jump to what you do right now, I would like you to go back to the time that you first outsourced a piece of work. It might have been a project, a part of a task that you needed to get done, but at some point, you did it for the first time. I'm not sure if you can recall that or not, but tell me what, why, and when of that note of you first outsourcing. Another take. Are you able to do that?
Harry: The one that comes to mind is I was looking for services for virtual assistants, and there's a service called Virtual Staff Finder that will actually screen the candidates for you.
Aderson: Chris Ducker.
Harry: Chris Ducker. I think most people who work with VAs, that's usually the first thing that comes to mind. So, kudos to him for doing an amazing job of PR because that's who they think of first. So, it's a great service because that's one of the challenges, as you know, the screening process becomes a nightmare because you don't know what type of person you're going to get.
Lucky enough, I had three names. I interviewed them on Skype and I decided to go with the first one. She worked out for a while, and then I think there was a disconnect in terms of what I was getting, and then I went to candidate number two, and she's been with me for probably three years now, if not more. I used her first for a mobile app.
So, I realized I needed help with marketing and for promoting it on social media, and I always had this idea that I need to document and be clear to her about what it is that I require from her. You work out the payment yourself, she gets paid through PayPal. What's important in the beginning is to have this mindset that if something goes wrong with something that they're doing, it's your fault, not theirs, because you weren't clear on the instructions. I've always had that observation from day 1.
It's something that I heard someone talk about, and I think it's really important because it puts the onus on you as the owner to not always assume that people can read your mind. You may work at a pace that you think is like normal and you can hammer things out pretty quickly, and then when you ask someone to do that for you, they don't do it as fast, they don't do it as quick, they don't do it as accurately, and you get upset, because you think everyone is just going to be osmosis or they're just going to read your mind and they're going to know exactly what you want, and then you go look back and you're a little humble about it, and you decide, "You know what? The mistake is mine,"
And you go back and you read through what you gave her, the standard operating procedures, the SOPs, which are critical to being super clear that you read through them and you're like, "Oh, I can see where she messed up," because she'll tell you, "Oh, this part wasn't clear," and then you read it and you say, "Oh, okay. You're right. It wasn't clear. I was thinking you knew that and you left out like four steps or something."
So, go back in there, make it so clear that it's really black and white. What I've found out is that you really can't leave any room for interpretation when it comes to working with virtual assistants in my case because part of it is the language -- not necessarily the language barrier, but the culture barrier because you think they're just going to instinctively know that they should just make the best call here, but if you don't give them any guidance, it's almost like they freeze like a deer in the headlights when they come to a point where they have to make a decision either way and that slows them down.
So, if you have those points in your procedures and your steps, those are the points where you need to focus, because otherwise you can envision where you're getting to that point and saying, "I don't know what Harry means here, so I'm going to guess, or I'm going to stop, or I'm going to wait another 8 or 12 hours when he's back awake," because you have to be clear on these things, because if you're working with someone across the other side of the globe, you could potentially be losing 12 to 24 hours between communications.
Aderson: I feel that, at the end of the day, Harry, it's a learning exercise for both sides. Because, at the beginning, you don't know how much you need to provide, and then you get to know. Actually, that brings me to my next point here which you brushed through that is what mistakes have you done before? Was that not documenting enough? Can you tell me a little bit about the mistakes that you have done then that you have, "Oh, now I know how to fix that," and you fix them?
Harry: I think it's important to be clear on what needs to be escalated, and how quickly. Like, coming back to the culture thing, for example, my VAs are in the Philippines, and there's a culture there where they will not -- I don't know if confront is the right word, but they won't say something that they feel is correcting you or challenge you on anything because it's just not in their culture.
So, you have to understand that and you have to give them the express permission to speak up when something is not working right, because they won't say anything, and then you'll come to find out after the fact, and this really puzzles you, because for me, if I saw something was wrong, or in my time in corporate America, I would say, "Hey, I don't think this is the right way to do things." I've tried to instill in that and it doesn't always work.
But, what you need to do is create a culture where it's okay to question something that's given to you, and I have a project manager here locally in California, and I tell her, "I'm going to give you what I think is the right answer here, but if you don't think this is right, you can tell me, 'We shouldn't be doing this anymore,'" so I'd disagree with you.
Because, I think a lot of times when people work for someone, they feel like they have to do everything they're told, and you, as the manager, as the business owner, you have to create this culture of letting people speak their opinions because we don't have all the answers, Aderson. We know what we've known so far to get us to this point. There's people out there that have the subject matter expertise and that know things and have done things more efficiently than you are, because you don't know what everyone's doing behind the scenes, and some of these people have worked for other people, and they've got procedures in place that they've used in past jobs.
So, leverage that talent, leverage that experience, and create a community within your organization or within your business where it's a flow, it's a back and forth. Then, the other thing you want to do is be clear on the channels of communication. I'm a huge fan of Slack, and I've directed my team to have that be the first point of contact, because if you're not clear, then you're going to see something in your email, and it's something critical that you're on the road or something, you didn't see it, and then you get the message three hours later, or they send you something in Slack, but they don't mention it in email vice-versa. If you're not clear about what is the preferred method of communication for raising issues, then stuff is going to fall through the cracks, clients are going to get -- and you should deal with clients as well, but it's just going to have this ripple effect.
So, I think the key things are to foster this environment of two-way communication and then to be clear as to what are the preferred channels of communication, because I had a lot of stumbles in the beginning because it wasn't clear how she was supposed to raise issues to me.
Aderson: Got it. You know what I found as well, Harry, is I don't use that every time, but I use a lot of video. Not just video, but audio as well. Sometimes if communication gets stuck, what I think is that, "You know what? Let me just record a quick video just to convey my voice there and maybe capture my screen a little bit and show them exactly what I'm talking about." I found that the time that you spend to record, and there are so many free tools that you can do that very quickly, you know, the time that you spend to do that will save you the back and forth that will happen quite a lot. So, that has worked a lot for me.
Harry: Yeah, one tool that I'm a fan of is a Chrome plugin called ViewedIt. It just sits in your button. I know there's a lot of tools that do that. I know that there's Screencast, Camtasia, and all these, but that one happens to be the most convenient, and it's literally push button, record. You can show your face in there if you want, and then it immediately creates a URL. You just grab that URL and you send it right away to your team. It's created by the folks that we met at the conference, the speaker, Vid Lan, I think it was. It's one of the tools, if you remember the speaker.
Aderson: I remember, yes. I do remember.
Harry: It's an applet that they've created but it's called ViewedIt and it's a Chrome plugin, and I've been using it like crazy.
Aderson: I'm going to definitely try that, and if it works, man, I'll be recommending it. So, to ask you another one here. You have done many years of outsourcing there, outsourcing work, VAs, and some other tasks as well. What do you still struggle with? I mean, is there anything that, right now, you still struggle with outsource and with remote work? What is it?
Harry: I think it's looking for opportunities to have the team, and especially the virtual assistants feel like they're growing. Because, I think, part of the challenge, as I grow my business, is going to be continuing to keep them engaged with what may seem like repetitive tasks. And we take it for granted because once it's off our plate, it's out of sight, out of mind. I mean, there's things that I've forgotten how to do that I originally knew how to do them, and I wrote the procedures, and it's been, maybe, a year and a half and I just don't do them every day. So, they know how to do them. They know and sometimes they do it better faster than I do because I've moved on to other things.
But, one thing it is on my mind as I grow is how do I keep them engaged and what trainings make sense for them so that they feel like they're growing personally as well, because I don't want them to feel like they're just assembly line robots, and I don't want them to be taken for granted that you do these 10 tasks and you're just going to keep doing them 40 hours a week, five days a week, four to eight hours a day, five days a week in perpetuity. That's not a job that anyone would look forward to. Just because they are a virtual team, you have to put a face to those people and keep in mind that they want to grow professionally.
The other thing is going to be to find ways to engage with them and bring them together as a team. I occasionally have meetings where we try to have everyone. Slack has got a, now, call feature. You can do conference calls through Slack. We've done a couple with our team where we get everyone on, and the first thing we ask is how was your weekend and tell me something you did that you're really happy about, or what was your win for the week, or something like that. It's just something to keep them engaged so it's not just like, "Okay, we've got five projects this week."
Aderson: Business, business, business.
Harry: Yeah, business, business, business, because they're real people with families, and they have personalities, and they have things that make them happy, and make them laugh, and just try and keep that in mind. Then, to the extent that you can find a way to meet in person. I remember Chris Ducker saying he got out to the Philippines to meet with his team. He's got a big team, obviously, 30, 40, 50 people maybe. Mine is not that big, but as part of the coaching program that I'm in, he's started to do this thing called the "Island Intensive" where he meets in the Philippines with his team, and he's invited all of his coaching students to bring their VAs, and then he gets them together.
It's been a bit of a schedule challenge, but it's something that I'm trying to do this year as well. I think there's something that somebody said for at least trying to meet in person once a year and don't take them for granted that they're just faceless entities that are supporting you.
So, I think, at the end of the day, if you treat them like people and you see them as you would an employee where you're 50/50 responsible for their growth. You know, they have to take ownership as well, but I think if you see that you really want to grow the team in just a holistic way, then you're always going to have in the top of your mind.
So, I would say set aside time every quarter to just reflect on how's the team doing, check in with them, do one-on-ones with them. I used to be a manager as well in corporate America, and I used to do one-on-ones every week, every other week, and just check in, check the temperature. How are they doing? Are they frustrated? Are they getting bored? You don't want to be surprised when, one day, they tell you, "I don't need this job anymore," or, "I found another job," or, "Someone's paying me."
Go out of your way to see, every year or two years, it's probably time for a raise for some of these people. Don't think that you're going to be paying them the same thing for the next five years because the market is very challenging and you don't want them to be tempted, as much as they love you and want to work with you. If someone's offering them an extra 100, 200 dollars a month, that's a big, big deal for people who are supporting their families in some of these locations.
Aderson: It is, it is. I'm a big fan of what you said there is treat them as people, because I think that's one of the big things that people have the tendency and businesses have the tendency of not treating well. They're outsourcing providers, but I might be talking nonsense here, but I can envision a time that we're going to be using augmented reality and have those people like the impression that you have people around you, and then bring that feeling of work in the same office environment with them. So, I can foresee a time where we're going to have that. But, again, we're still a long way from that utopia scenario.
Harry: What they say is always who is first to market, so if you have augmented virtual assistants, AVAs, that could become that. I mean, if you position that you offer that, you could be one of the first even though you have no idea what that's going to look like. I'm sure someone will jump on there and be like, "Oh, this is great."
Aderson: Let's come down from the sky and talk today again. So, coming to an end here, Harry, let me ask you this. What do you outsource right now? What are some of the things, the tasks, types of tasks, and things that you outsource now, today?
Harry: From a day-to-day production basis, since we do podcast production, the team is responsible for the posting of the show notes to the clients' sites. They're also responsible for scheduling all of the social media, and they're also responsible for all of the setup processes. So, as we get new clients, they have to be submitted to the 20 or 30 podcast directors that exist. So, we have procedures for how all of this is done and it's really everything that happens to get the episode up. So, we have editors. I mean, we outsource as well. I'm just thinking of my virtual assistants, but I have an editing team that I have to outsource my audio editing to.
So, like I mentioned earlier, we're huge fans of Zapier and Dropbox, all these cloud services. So, when a client gives us a file, that starts a trigger for us, internally, that says, "Okay, an mp3 is sitting in an outbox." So, we see that and we're like, "Okay, we got to grab that and we have to send it to our editing team." So, it goes automatically from Zapier and they get in there and then we send an email automatically that says, "Hey, the file is now in your folder, start your editing process." Then, we have a team that does show notes and says same thing, "Hey, mp3 is ready. Start the show notes process." So, that process begins.
When the mp3 is done from the editors, they place in another box called Final Edits, and that's another trigger for us. So, Zapier says, "Okay, that's ready." That message goes back to the transcriber and says, "Hey, transcriber. We have a finished mp3 that's ready for transcription. Start your process." So, that goes. When the show notes finishes the file, we usually get an RTF. They place that in the outbox, another trigger. Okay, back to our team. "Hey, the show notes are done by the editing team. Start building the WordPress post for the show notes. They start that process. When the transcription comes back, we're like, "Okay, we have that transcription. We can mix that and merge that back into our process because we take the transcription," and we create and we reedit it. So, I have someone who does part-time work as an editor. She takes the transcription, cleans it up, because when you read a transcription, it reads kind of funny. So, she makes it sound like a normal conversation, and then we repost that to medium.com because we're big fans of repurposing content.
So, imagine, we start with an audio, but we try to figure out where can we use that audio anywhere? So, we take our podcast episodes and we post them up to YouTube, and then what I've starting doing recently, Aderson, is since we have the transcription, I take the transcription and I put it in as closed caption on the YouTube video, because that increases the SEO. I did some research and I saw that although YouTube has automatic closed captions, if you manually upload them, it gives it more SEO weight.
So, when I found that out, I said, "Well, we have the transcription. Let's do that." So, we download that mp4 once it's ready, and we use that in Facebook as a native video post as well. If you think about just the podcast audio but it's sitting in all these different places. So, these are all people that I'm outsourcing services to, and in a way I'm outsourcing my project management to Zapier if you think about it, if you want to get really automated because they're doing a lot of work that would require, probably, another full-time person to manage that in the past. So, now they're just using triggers and they're just like, "Okay, I see an mp3, I move it here, and we just set up rules."
So, all these different pieces are happening, and I see them as all parts of my outsourcing puzzle. So, once everything's brought together, then my virtual assistant says, "Okay, we have all the pieces we need. Let's get it to the site." We create an email draft that we send to the client that says, "Hey, your podcast episode is ready. Here's the email you're going to send to your guest." So, we give them that as well, because we know what that's going to look like.
So, the client is happy because they're almost spoon-fed everything they need to maximize the reach of that podcast episode, and when they send that email out to their guest, their guest is like, "Wow, this is amazing," and when the guest sees their picture on a unique artwork every week, and says, "Wow, this host is really doing a great job for me," and unbeknownst to them, we're doing most of the heavy lifting for the host, which is why they're paying for us. They're paying us because they don't have to think about those things. I don't need a host that's a podcast expert. What I tell my hosts is, "You are the voice of your podcast and you are the subject matter of what it is that you do. So, just focus on that and then we handle all the rest."
Aderson: That's awesome. What a great process there. It's funny because you mentioned there are outsourced automation. That was one of the things going on in my head as a topic of a conversation or maybe a post that is -- you know, there are things that you may not just necessarily outsource to a human being, but you just automate, as you were mentioned there.
Harry: I think people lose track of the fact that these tools, like IFTTT and Zapier, you're outsourcing file management to them. They're outsourcing triggers and the movement of files from one service to another. At the end of the day, I'm a huge fan of Ari Meisel. He started out with Less Doing. Now, the company's called Leverage. But, I think his mantra is always to automate, outsource, and then delegate. I think I might get the order on those things wrong.
But, the first thing when you see it, when you see a process or a task, your first impulse should be, "How can I automate this or even just should I be doing this?" Maybe that's the first question you should be asking. "Should I even be doing this?" Then, if you decide that you do, automate would be the first option. If it's too complicated, that's when you start to bring in your VAs, and then you have to document and then you can outsource it.
Aderson: Awesome, awesome. As important as knowing what to outsource is also knowing what not to outsource, and that's where my next question comes from. I'd like to know what you will not outsource, something that you said, "Hey, you know what? This is just core to me, and it's me, me, me here and no way, Jose. I'm not letting this go." Anything like that?
Harry: Yeah, definitely. Like, for me, the sales process right now is really important for me. I know that there's people that, as they grow, they hire salespeople, and they outsource that, and they give them the script, and they say, "This is how you track with them." I'm not big enough where that's an issue yet, and I want to be the first point of contact with someone who's a prospect, because I feel like I'm the best person, that's my genius. I feel like I can best explain to them the value that I provide, and the reason why I think my service is important, and what do I think is the differentiating factor, and I think they hear it in the tone of my voice, and the way that I sell myself, and how I explain everything that it is that I do.
I really, from day one, try to establish like a really strong connection with prospects, even if they don't end up signing with me. I think it's important that they get a feel for what it would be like to deal with me on a regular basis, and how much I value the fact that they're even speaking to me from a prospect perspective. I think that comes across, and I think when a salesperson takes over that role, they're usually working on commissions.
So, they're thinking, "I have to close this person. I have to close this person, because if not, I'm going to lose another and I don't have any money," and I don't always think of it like that. I don't always feel like I have to close every single person I work with because a lot of times, they're referrals, and I treat those people, really, with giving them the white-glove treatment because you never know. I mean, I've gotten referrals from people who didn't sign up with me, but then they ended up referring someone who did sign up with me.
You just don't know, so you have to treat everyone who comes through your door as you would want to be treated yourself, and even if you give them advice, or people want to say, "Don't give them free tips or free advice," I think, like I said, I have this abundance mindset. I think this pie is incredibly big, and there's plenty for everyone. We don't need to have this mindset where we're just like it's a scarcity and there's only a certain amount and I don't want to share. That's one of the things that I still like to have a direct really connection with these people that need the service or could be a potential client.
Aderson: Perfect, awesome. Harry, that's really about it. Really, really like the first interview of the Ouchsourcing, which does not have to be a pain. Really helped to have you, and lots, lots, lots of golden nuggets here. Anything else that you'd like to add to wrap this up. If I would ask you, is there one thing that you want people to leave this interview knowing about outsourcing either from a service provider perspective, or from a client perspective? Is there one thing that you'd like to leave here today? If not, there are lots already, but tell me.
Harry: I just want to bring it back to just this higher concept of having an abundance mindset, and when you think about that, that applies to you as you grow your business feeling like, because you're growing your business, there's other opportunities for you to help other people who want to grow their individual businesses. You know, if someone has an editing service, or someone has a video service, or someone has a transcription service, in my case, they're trying to do the same thing you're doing.
So, why can't you help them as well. And if you keep everything inside and say, "I want to do everything," I feel like you're just cutting off this flow of like -- you have to keep this flow. Like I said, don't be cheap. Have a feeling that you're going to get more business. Like, "Well, I only have one client, so how can I possibly think about outsourcing?" Think about the fact that you are going to grow, think about that you can help other people, and when you help other people, it's just this rising tide that's all boats, and everybody comes. It really is a mindset.
I mean, you really have to believe it, because if you don't believe it, you're just always going to have this penny-pinching attitude, and I quite honestly don't think you're going to grow. You can probably relate to this, Aderson, but a lot of it is mindset. You have to decide in the morning what you want your business to be, where you want it to be in a year or in three years, and then think to yourself, "How is it going to get there?" It's not going to be you by yourself. You're going to need help. You're going to need help, and the sooner you ask for it and the sooner you get familiar with establishing the way of how you're going to work with these people who help you, the better off you'll be.
Aderson: It is a decision, it is. Just want to wrap this up thanking you, Harry. Again, talking about help, I raised my hand this week and I said, "You know what? Let me reach out to my buddy, Harry, so we can have our first interview here," and here we go. Harry is helping out. So, again, Harry, I really appreciate it. It was very productive. Thank you very much for being the first one, and I'll see you next time. Bye.