Do you know how it seems that everyone is hiring an outsourced staff these days?
Well, I got curious about the people who run outsourcing companies so I invited the founder of one of those companies to tell us his entrepreneurial story.
Chris Ducker is the founder of Virtual Staff Finder in the Philippines. If you need a virtual assistant, they’ll help you find candidates, test them for you, and then YOU interview and hire the one you like.
Chris is also the author of Virtual Freedom, the book that shows you how to work with virtual staff so you can buy more time and become more productive.
Chris Ducker, Virtual Freedom
Chris Ducker is the founder and CEO of Virtual Staff Finder and author of Virtual Freedom.
Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the guy who holds his hand up in front of his face and introduces himself. I’m the founder also of Mixergy.com which is home of the ambitious upstart.
It just seems like everybody is hiring an outsource staff these days. Well, I got curious about the people who run outsource staffing companies. So I invited the founder of one of those companies to tell us his entrepreneurial story here today.
Chris Ducker is the founder of VirtualStaffFinder in the Philippines. If you need a virtual assistant, they help you find candidates. Then they test them for you. Then you interview those candidates, and you hire the one that you like or the ones that you like.
Chris is also the author of “Virtual Freedom.” Let’s hold up that book, Chris. Let’s make sure that people see it. This is the first day we got it.
Chris: There we go.
Andrew: Right there. The book shows you how to work with virtual staff so you can buy more time and become more productive. Congratulations on getting a copy of the book.
Chris: Thank you.
Andrew: And welcome here to Mixergy, Chris.
Chris: It’s great to be here. Should I hold up my hand as well? Or would I be too much of a copycat?
Andrew: I’ll give you and the audience a little tip. I’ll give you some behind the scenes stuff. I work with an editor that works in Guatemala. He and I have been working together for years. And for him to know where to chop off the part of the conversation that comes before the interview and where to chop off the part that comes after the interview, I hold my hand up in front of the camera.
He can scroll quickly through and go, “Ah, Andrew’s hand is up and he’s doing a fist. That means we start editing just before there.” Otherwise, he’d just have to sit and listen to my conversation with you.
Chris: I love that. That’s behind the stuff. I had no idea that was the case.
Andrew: It’s true. Katie Couric for years on the Today Show used to hold up her hand so that the editor would know how to edit also.
Chris: There you go. At least, that’s true.
Andrew: All right. Let’s get right into it. You got yourself a watch because of something that happened with your dad. What happened with your dad?
Chris: Well, my dad gave me his watch many, many years ago. He’s already passed on unfortunately. But after that it wasn’t an expensive watch in any way whatsoever, but it held massive amounts of sentimental – obviously to me. He was not a super, super smart guy. He was a hard working architect for a large company in London.
He spent many of the years throughout the ’80s over in Riyadh and Saudi Arabia on projects and stuff like that over there. And so I missed him a little bit growing up, but in my teen years we became very close in my early 20s, and he eventually passed away in my late 20s.
He gave me this watch which I had for many, many years and eventually, unfortunately, lost it. I promised myself that when I hit my 100th employee that I was going out and buy my dream watch. And for me it wasn’t just about that goal and hitting that goal and rewarding myself for that goal.
But it was also about sort of sending a little bit of a message to dad as well to say, “Hey, dad, I screwed up. I lost that crappy old Timex that you gave me, but I’ve replaced it with this really, really nice watch that I’ve been dreaming about for years.”
And you know what? I actually don’t own any other watches. This is the only watch that I own.
Andrew: The one that’s on your wrist right now ?
Chris: That’s the one. Do you want to see?
Andrew: That’s the Rolex you bought to replace the one that your dad gave you?
Chris: It is. There you go. This is it. That’s the watch. It’s not super expensive. It’s a [??]. It’s not a super expensive Rolex. You can spend upwards of a hundred grand on a Rolex, as you probably know, but this was maybe $6,000 or something.
Andrew: Did you say to your dad, “Look, I made it. You didn’t. You worked hard, but I worked harder.”
Chris: Just stick it to him a little bit. I mean, no, I wouldn’t say that per se, but it was a message to say, “Look, I know I screwed up by losing that watch,” and it did mean a lot. But look at this. Look at this bad boy, you know what I mean? Like I got this through, plain and simple, busting my hump. And that is really exactly the case.
Andrew: Did he worry about you growing up? Did he feel like this son that I have is not going to make it? You were flunking school.
Chris: Yeah, I was flunking school. I was 16. Back in England we have, I guess, it would your version of a high school. What is it, the EST?
Andrew: ACT to get into college?
Chris: Sorry. SAT, yes. SAT to get into college. So I was doing that, our version in the UK which is called the GSEs, and yeah, I was playing basketball, flirting with girls, skateboarding. And doing all three pretty appalling as well. But nonetheless I wasn’t studying.
One day I came back to my home and he had put one of his business cards on the front with just a bit of cello tape, Scotch tape and on the back of it he had written, “The way to be nothing is to do nothing.”
Chris: And that was it. At the time I thought my dad was being incredibly thoughtful and smart in saying that, but I also then found out later after Google decided to engulf the world that Nathaniel Hawthorne actually said that not Peter Ducker. But it was the kick up the butt that I needed, Andrew, to actually drop the skateboard, put on a pair of jeans instead of a Boston Celtics shirt and you know…
Andrew: Really? That card helped you see the new path. I’m not going to continue to do nothing that I can stop being nothing.
Chris: Yeah, because that was it. I literally was not doing anything. I wasn’t reviewing for my exams in any way whatsoever. There’s no doubt in my mind that I would have failed every single one of them. I had already failed a few, which I then went back and retook. So I was a year late going to college anyway.
And I would eventually drop out of college when I was 18 anyway. I was too busy making money, working for a publishing company and enjoying selling classified space to business owners and whatnot.
Andrew: What kind of publishing company was this? Sorry, I’m jumping ahead here, but…
Chris: That’s okay. It’s your show. You can do what you want.
Andrew: I get very anal about it. Wait a minute. We cannot reveal the future yet. It hasn’t happened in the story. Chronological order rules.
Chris: I know. I love it. It’s like if you hit the fast forward button on a movie. I was working for a very — actually it was a very small company at first. It ended up getting acquired by a very large company called Hemmings over in London. They do everything from the British Medical Journal to fishing magazines. You name it, a very, very large company and right in the center of London.
I used to walk past the MI5 building that they blew up in the last James Bond movie, every day on my way to work. Luckily I got that kick up the butt from him through his card, and I…
Andrew: You added a little something. In all seriousness, you did have some drive. You stole a book from the library. It’s true. You stole it. The book was about…
Chris: It was an audio book in my pocket. It was a cassette tape, very easy to just slide right into the pocket.
Andrew: Right. And they can’t put those alarms on them.
Chris: [laughs] Not in those days in London anyway. It was a Zig Zigler tape. I can’t remember the name of it now, but yeah, there was something inside of me that was already burning. And actually I knew deep down at that point that I wasn’t going to work for somebody else forever.
I saw dad and the fact that he had to go overseas for so many years and the rest. I just didn’t like that. I just knew that when I had a family that I wanted to be there and be there all the time which is just impossible.
And so, yeah, he influenced me a hell of a lot. But there was definitely something inside of me that said I was going to be shaping my own life. I wasn’t going to allow somebody else to do it.
Andrew: I see. All right. Did you start any businesses then while you were in high school or college, or do we jump right into this business, the first one that you launched?
Chris: I actually, when I was working for Hemmings, when I was with the publishing firm, I started a magazine. Not a lot of people know about this, actually. I don’t talk about this so much online because I’m more focused on what I do now, but ’94 until ’99 I was publishing a magazine of my own in the UK called “Hong Kong Superstars” because I’m a big fan of all the Hong Kong movies where I was. I’m not such a massive fan now.
It started out as very much a sort of just a fansy thing. I’d been selling it at movie events in London and things like that, but then it became big as the Internet came into play. We had a website that we set up in ’96.
And then I started reaching out to directors and actors in Hong Kong. I’m coming home, Hong Kong, and I wasn’t even going. I’m coming. I want to interview you for my video project. So I get to hang out with all these cool actors. We brought Jet Lee over to the UK at an event. We had Jackie Chan doing an event in the UK.
We used to do double bills in Chinatown and everything. We started at midnight and sort of by 3 a.m. you’d get all these people running through the streets in Chinatown pretending to be Bruce Lee.
Andrew: I don’t mean to be crude or Philistine, but did you make money with it?
Chris: I did.
Andrew: You did?
Chris: I did. There wasn’t a lot of money involved with it, to be very, very frank with you, but I did. And at one point we even set up a retail store in sort of a flea market sort of type set up. And it was great. You know whenever I look back on those five years of my life, Andrew, I always smile, because they were so fun.
I mean, who can say that they got to hang out with guys like Jackie Chan, you know? On more than one occasion, you know what I mean? So it was a really, really fun time. But I think it also cemented the fact that I knew that I loved putting stuff together, whether it was a magazine, or an event, or a trip to Hong Kong, or whatever. And I just loved doing that. I love doing that.
Andrew: I know what you mean.
Andrew: I can even see the pride in your eyes as you held up your book, which you got the first copy of today. And, yeah.
Chris: Today. Today, right. Yeah.
Andrew: It’s amazing to actually – to put work into something where most people would stop at 80 or 90% of completion – to actually get to the 100%, the satisfaction, that pride, is enormous. All right, going back to your 20s. At one point in your 20s, you were managing nine sales people. Right? What were you guys selling?
Chris: Ad space.
Chris: Ad space in magazines. Mostly corporate industry type of magazines, you know. The type of magazines that only exist to actually sell advertising space, right?
Chris: And I had started working for a company called Auto Trader, which I believe you guys have in the United States, right?
Andrew: Yeah, we do.
Chris: Back in those days, it was basically kind of a news stand, black and white, horrible print – you know, the print would come off on your fingertips, and everything. And it would come out, I think, every Monday or every Friday. And so that’s how I began my life as a sales guy.
After a couple of years, however – I started part time, and was making really good money as an 18 year old guy. I was making 1600 or 1700 pounds a month after taxes. Because I was killing it, quite frankly. I was once told by one of my mentors I could sell ice cubes to a snow man. So, I like that. [laughs]
Andrew: One of the cool stories that I heard about you was: You gave leads to your people, and they said, “Sorry, Chris, these are bum leads. That’s why they’re not working. That’s why we can’t sell.” And you did a really cool thing. You’ve got to tell people what you did.
Chris: Yeah, because as a sales guy, I know that you’re always going to blame your tools first, right. Oh, the phone line is crappy, or the brochure is not printed nicely. Nine times out of ten it’s the leads are weak. I mean, if you’ve seen that movie Glengarry Glen Ross, you know, Jack Lemmon, “The leads are weak. The leads are weak. I need better leads.” It’s so true that sales people are like that. So true.
Andrew: That they do blame the leads before they blame themselves?
Chris: Of course. Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know what? Nine times out of ten, when sales people aren’t closing, they’re just lazy. They’re just being lazy. They’re not picking up the phone enough. Plain and simple.
Andrew: So what did you do – instead of calling them lazy? What did you do?
Chris: Yeah, I walked over to this guy’s desk, and I said, “What’s going on? I gave you a bunch.” And he gave me a bunch of, “Oh, you know, the leads are weak. They’re no good. ” And, by the way, this guy was about 40. I was 25 and his manager. So he already hated me instantly, right?
And so I picked up–We used to print them out on pieces of paper with, you know, room for notes and things like that. And I picked up a piece of paper, and I called the guy on the phone. And I sold him a quarter page ad space within 15 minutes on the phone. In front of six or seven of the team, as well. So not only did I close the deal, but I did it in front of the guy that said the lead was weak. . .
Andrew: So how do you do it?
Chris: . . .And I did it in front of his peers, as well.
Andrew: That’s impressive. I admire it. But I don’t want to admire it.
Chris: I’m glad I did it.
Andrew: I want to learn from it. What do you say to somebody to close a deal when people are looking over your shoulders?
Chris: [laughs] I mean, you know what the funny thing is about sales? It’s that there is way too much emphasis on the close.
Chris: Oh, for me, as a sales guy, there’s way too much emphasis on it. I mean, there’s been 100,000 books written on closing techniques and all the rest of it. I believe that if you do everything correctly up until that point in the sales process, that the close becomes basically the natural conclusion to that process. You won’t even have to ask for the order, they’ll just give it to you.
So when I say that, you know, I say that the process is very, very roughly: prospecting, then qualifying that prospect, the introducing yourself, gaining trust, building some rapport. Then presenting your product. And you’re not allowed to present your product or your service until you’ve gained trust and rapport.
Andrew: Would you give me that list again? I’m actually going to write it down, so people can hear me typing it, and I’m not going to soft type.
Hit me. Prospecting. That’s the part you did before you got them the leads. What’s number two?
Chris: Right. Right. Prospecting. Then qualifying that prospect. Then introducing yourself, your product, and your service. You do that based around benefits and features. Not by reasons, as to why, so to speak, they should buy it. You tell them why they should buy it, benefits and features of what that is. What problem that will solve. What experience they will get out of using that product or service. Then you got to overcome objections.
I always said every good sales person has absolutely no right going into a meeting, or picking up the phone, unless they know every single objection that they’re going to come across, and have a rebuttal or an answer ready for those objections.
Andrew: Okay. Give me an example before you continue with the rest. If I were to talk to you about hiring a virtual assistant, what’s one objection that you should expect that I think I’m the only one that thought of, but you’re so prepared that you can respond right away to?
Chris: Well, the one thing that I hear a lot is, well, by the time I train somebody on how to do this task, I might as well do it myself.
Andrew: Okay. People do come up with that a lot?
Chris: Oh, yeah. All the time. Absolutely.
Andrew: So what do you say?
Chris: My rebuttal to that objection is, “Well, that might be the case, but once you switch on the screen flow and you record that task, and how you like things done, because your VA doesn’t know how you like things done, They might know how to do the task, but they don’t know how you like things done.
Once you do that, and you show them how to do it, and you take that video clip, and you dump it into the drop box, and your VA gets a hold of it, you never have to do that task again.
Andrew: Gotcha. Perfect. Okay. Prospect and qualifying. Introducing yourself. Overcoming objections. What’s next?
Chris: Then, actually, it’s the close.
Andrew: That’s where the close comes.
Chris: That’s right, for me, personally. Once you overcome everybody’s objections, they’re either going to buy or they’re not. They’re ready to make a decision. You don’t have to do any more selling. You’re done it, from presenting benefits and features, and through overcoming those objections. You shouldn’t have to ask for the order. It should just turn up in your lap, literally.
That’s why I believe that the close is just a natural conclusion to that sales process. I’ve always believed that, and I always will, too. Selling is actually not that hard. The fact of the matter is is that most small business owners are pretty bad at selling. I don’t understand why. Because if you know your prospective client base properly, if you know the benefits and the features of what your product or service can give those people, it’s kind of a no brainer. I don’t know.
Maybe it’s just because I’ve been engulfed in it the whole of my life, but I’m just a big believer that if you answer people’s questions properly, and you provide the right solutions to their problems, that they will ultimately pay for what you’re selling.
Andrew: They’re going to see later on in the story how that happened for you. That the business wasn’t always as successful as it is today, but there was a turning point, and part of it had to do with using this process that I asked you to go over in detail. Maybe we’ll come back to the process later. But the Philippines.
Now I’ve seen you’ve gone in and learned how to be a good salesman. You’ve developed a skill that will save you, and be with you for the rest of your life. How do you end up in the Philippines? A place where you build these businesses that we’re going to talk about.
Chris: I wish there was a really cool story behind this. A lot of people think that there must be a really cool story behind it, but there really isn’t. I was in London. My mother had passed away about a year prior to this taking place. I was becoming a little bored in the job that I was doing. I was itching, to be honest with you. I was just itching. Also, my first marriage was on its way out as well.
I just really felt like I needed a big, big change in my life. I was flicking through the hiring section of one of the newspapers in London and came across an advert for one of the international banks over here that were looking for people to head over to the Philippines and help them run, and train and operate their telemarketing arms for local agencies here in the Philippines for their credit cards and personal loans.
Andrew: Okay. You said, you know what? My marriage is pretty much on the way out. I’m looking for something new. Let’s go to the Philippines.
Chris: That’s it. Why not? It’s warm. You know, I live in London where it’s 70% gray skies and rain. It’s warm. I’ve been there once before, actually, on a trip back from Hong Kong, I stopped over for a weekend. Loved the climate. Loved the people. Loved the food. I loved just everything about it. But I was only there for, you know, a few nights. But I did, I truly enjoyed the city. And I was in Manila at the time.
So, yeah, I went over, a little green behind the ears. Didn’t quite know what to expect. Never lived in a foreign country before. But it became pretty apparent pretty quickly that I was going to be very comfortable. And so…
Andrew: So how’d you know you were going to start building a business that would do outsourcing to the Philippines?
Chris: Well, so, I mean, after about two years of being there, I hopped from one bank to another. I got poached, quite frankly, from one of the other big banks there.
Chris: Thank you. It’s always nice to get poached.
Andrew: [laughs] Yes.
Chris: Love to get poached. [laughs]
Andrew: It stinks to be poached. It’s nice to get poached yourself.
Chris: Yes. Yes. Exactly. And so after a couple years, that second role… is that bourbon? Are you actually pouring bourbon right now, or is that coffee? Oh, it’s just water. Oh, how boring. Okay. [laughs]
Andrew: No, it’s not bourbon time.
Chris: So I ended up actually here in Cebu. I first came over to Manila, and ended up down in Cebu with my second position, which is where I still am now. And when I was here, I got approached by an American business to help set up a call center for their company here in Cebu. It was only going to be a small center, about 40, 50 or so seats.
They were outsourcing currently to another call center here, but they’d seen the cost saving benefits, quite frankly, of it, and they needed somebody on the ground that they could trust, that had local connections and all the rest of it, which I did. And so I was hired as a consultant.
Chris: And then I did it for another company. And I did…
Andrew: So what’s the opportunity that you saw that made you say, “I’ve got to create my own business”?
Chris: Well, actually, we got to just rewind a little bit, because I did it… I set up centers for three or four different people within the course of about 18 months or so. And then I actually went back to working full- time from a consultancy perspective, working full-time for an infomercial company that was based over in Florida.
Andrew: Okay. And they needed people to take their calls. Okay.
Chris: No, actually, not at all. They needed someone to sell their product, is what they needed.
Andrew: The infomercial people would have… was it outbound sales?
Chris: So, no. What was happening was they needed me. They wanted me. They came across me through mutual friends who said, “Oh, this guy is an amazing sales guy. You’re going to love him.” You know, “If you want to distribute your product internationally, this is the guy to do it.”
So I went into that business, and ended up averaging around half a million dollars in sales on a monthly basis for this guy worldwide. It was a supplement business.
Andrew: I see. Who were you calling?
Chris: Other infomercial distribution firms. You know, people…
Andrew: Oh, I see. Getting your stuff into those distri-… all right. All right, let’s get into your business, right?
Andrew: How did you get into it? What do you do? Here’s what I understand. You said, “I’m just going to get into it. I see the opportunity here. People are starting to outsource. People are starting to send their work in to the Philippines. Cost of living here is lower. Cost of hiring people is lower than the US, than it is in Europe. I’m just going to go out there and do it.”
And you went out, and you found yourself an office, simple as that. Bada bing, bada boom. You got your office space, you get yourself a web page, and now it’s time to get business. Do I have it roughly right?
Chris: Yeah, roughly right.
Andrew: The bada bing, bada boom? That’s also correct?
Chris: The bada bing, bada boom was right there.
Andrew: That is second step, right here.
Chris: Fugeddaboutit. Yeah, no, it was right there.
Andrew: Okay. So then…
Chris: And so, no, that’s exactly what I did. I mean, actually, I was on my way back from Miami to working with this infomercial firm after being there for a month. 37,000 feet, I’m writing my resignation letter.
Chris: I was just done making money for somebody else.
Chris: And six weeks later, just under six weeks later, we opened the doors to the [??] sale group. It was that fast. See, I had all the contacts locally that I needed to be able to set this up.
Chris: I’d already done it a whole bunch of times for other people. And I knew that small business owners in the UK, in the US, in Australia, were coming to the Philippines more and more for these kind of services. And so I just did what I did best. I started cold calling people, plain and simple. And I…
Andrew: Is plain cold calling… you said you hired already a team of people…
Chris: No, no, I hadn’t hired anybody yet.
Andrew: Didn’t? Oh. The first step is to make sales calls.
Andrew: Gotcha. Who were you calling in order to sell them on this virtual team?
Chris: Our first client was an Australian spa product distribution company.
Chris: And what we would do for them is we would generate leads. And we’re still ultimately… Live to Sell, as a call center now, is still ultimately a lead generation specialist. That’s what we do better than anyone else, as far as I’m concerned.
Andrew: So when I introduce you as, like, virtual assistant… as a company to go to for a virtual assistant, it’s not about that. It’s not about someone to go and buy me new underwear. It’s about someone to do my sales calls.
Chris: Well, not necessarily sales. There’s a fine line here. There’s a very fine line between lead generation and selling.
Chris: And unfortunately, the Filipino mentality, not so much the mentality, they can’t sell. They’re just really bad salespeople. But they are workhouses. Like they’ll pound the 400 numbers in a nine-hour shift to get you those four or five good quality leads that are qualified. See that’s why I’m taking of the prospecting and the qualifications.
Chris: I’m going to hand the lead to you and then you’re going ahead and . . . [??] . . .
Andrew: And that’s what VirtualStaffFinder does?
Chris: That’s that live to sell group does.
Andrew: Oh, that’s right. That was the first business. Live to sell.
Chris: Live to sell. Correct.
Andrew: And is it still around?
Chris: It is still around.
Andrew: It is.
Chris: And that is actually still the bulk of the employees, the force. I mean that’s a good 230 people right there.
Andrew: So if I needed someone to, for example, to go through a list of phone numbers that I find online of people who have websites that are related to the start-up world, they would take those numbers, call them up, find out if they’re the right numbers, find out if they’re the right prospect, find out if they want to talk to Andrew or Andrew’s salespeople. And then Andrew and his salespeople have a list of qualified leads.
Andrew: This is the business you started. Then you got that first client just by cold-calling.
Andrew: How did you know who to cold call to get that first customer?
Chris: You know what, I used the internet man. Plain and simple. You know I know what’s tough to sell. Product is tough to sell. Because I’ve tried to sell product. For me, advertising space is very easy to sell. It just flows off the back of my hand. It’s that easy. But products is tough.
And I knew that if I could find companies that were ultimately involved in selling an actually tangible product with a very clear definition in terms of what those users could get out of that product, it would be easy for us to generate leads. And that’s exactly what I did. The thing is this, I screwed myself right out of the gate.
Andrew: Oh, good. That makes for a good story. How did you do it?
Chris: I said that we would work on a performance basis. Bad move.
Andrew: Ooh, okay. Because you were so desperate for the sale that you wanted to take away all the risk from them. I see. And then you figured I’ll figure it out later. Why was that a bad decision?
Chris: Right. Right. I mean, by this point, we had already built a 30-man call center. And I don’t do anything half-assed. It was nice.
Andrew: So, wait. You had the first client first and then you said, all right, I’ll go get a 30-man call center.
Chris: Well, I was actually building the center as I was making the calls.
Andrew: Gotcha. Okay.
Chris: So it was a really, kind of, let’s just do this thing kind of thing. You know. So we really screwed ourselves. Now looking back, talk about a major learning experience. What actually ended up happening was that actual client carried on being a client for a long time. But we switched him over to a presale after about four to five months in.
And the reason why we did that is because our larger client, the second client that I brought onboard, which was a credit card processing company out of New York, ended up getting a whole bunch of leads from us but only paying for a very small amount. And then saying that the leads were not qualified because they needed bum, bum, bum on each appointment that they were going to go on.
Now I started calling these leads up because I trained my salespeople. I know that they were generating those leads properly. And I started calling these leads back up and saying, hey, why didn’t you meet with our associate? Oh, we did meet. We signed with them three weeks ago. They were here. So I knew I was getting screwed by this credit card firm.
Andrew: Ah, so it wasn’t that they were bad salespeople like the people we talked about earlier or lazy salespeople. They were liars.
Chris: Yeah. That the company over in the U.S. was just pure blown lying to us.
Chris: So that they wouldn’t have to pay for the leads. It was a Friday night. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a Friday night. My wife, who helped me set up the company . . .
Andrew: New wife?
Chris: My wife, a new one. Not the, definitely not that one.
Andrew: Not that one? The one from the Philippines?
Chris: The one from the Philippines.
Andrew: Okay. Yes, yes.
Chris: She helped me set up the company. She’s our managing director. She still helps me run it day to day. She was sitting in front of the computer and I just saw this face go, this. And I said, what’s the problem? There’s a problem. She said, I’m in our online banking. We only have enough money left in the account for two more payrolls. Oh, just fine. Argh!
And I hit the pause button on everything, literally. That was on a Friday night at about 10:00 p.m. On Monday, we went into the office and we hit the pause button. I sent all the staff home, and I said to them, you know what, I can’t promise you a job. But give me two weeks, and if you wait around, I promise I’ll make it worth your while. I’ll send you into the best of what you’re doing, and you’ll never want for a job ever again, kind of thing.
And out of the 15 people that we then had at four months that went on pause, 13 came back; two went and got another job. Out of those 13, seven of them are still with me now, six years later. Two of them actually are helping me run the joint now. So…
Andrew: Tell me about the psychology of being able to do that. Frankly, there are a lot of people, and you know this Chris, and no putting them down, but there are a lot of people who, in a situation like that, they see it’s all falling apart, would do one of two things. Would either forget, or sorry, lie to themselves about it happening, just keep on moving and not even think about it, and then they’d head towards disaster with ignorance, I wouldn’t even say blissful ignorance.
The other group of people would just freak out. Right? And not have the guts to do anything about it, maybe close up or walk away. You had the guts to say to your people, “I will figure this out.” Why can you do that, when most of us can’t do it? I shouldn’t say most of us, I’m not lumping myself in there, I believe I can take the hours and keep on walking, but why? Why can you do it?
Chris: You know, I didn’t have much choice, plain and simple. I’m a leader. I’m a leader in my family…
Andrew: Wait, I’m sorry, you do have much choice. You could close up shop right away and you could say this didn’t work out, I’m a superstar salesman, I’ll get another job…
Chris: I’ll get another job, exactly.
Andrew: Right? You could ignore it and hope it goes away. There’s something about you that allowed you with that danger to say, “I’m confident enough that I can solve it.” Why? How did you shut out that part that most people would have given into? The part that says, oh no, the world’s falling apart.
Chris: It’s good, and you know, this is why I loved coming on this show, man. I love the questions you ask.
Andrew: Thank you. I feel like we’re now finally hitting our stride here in this conversation.
Chris: There we go, yeah. So, you can edit out the first 20 minutes. [laughing] I believe that at that point in my career that I didn’t have any choice. That I was already well past the whole employee thing. I knew I wasn’t going to work for anybody else again. I was there. I’m a leader in my family, I’m a leader in my business, and I had to be a leader. Even though my wife was freaking out… By the way, we also found out she was pregnant about a month after we started the business as well.
So there was that added benefit of having to really focus down on everything. And, I don’t know man, it was a while back, but I still remember sitting up for the most part that night and trying to come up with a plan. And that plan was to, like I said, put it on pause, say to the staff stick with me, I promise I’ll look after you, I can’t pay you for the next two weeks, but, I promise if you come back I’ll take care of you.
And what I did in the first two weeks was exactly what I did in the two weeks before we opened the doors, and that was just hit the phones hard. I was going through every small business directory I could find. I was looking at areas where I knew business was really competitive as well, not just geographically, but also industry as well.
So anything sort of related to advertising or product sales, which were really, really…oh man, we pitched everything. Soda panels, the spa guy, we did consultation services, coaching services…
Andrew: You were just googling around or searching around, finding people who could potentially use your service, calling them up, using this process that we talked about earlier, and hunting down for businesses until you found them. When you have the ability to sell, you never go hungry. Right? Never go hungry.
Chris: Never. That’s why I always say it’s the best job on the planet. It really is. If you want to make sure that you are an employable, a genuine possible employee for any company on the planet, because every company is selling a product or a service or an experience, right?
Every single company on the planet will always need great sales people. When I realized, as my mom used to call it the gift of the gab, I just love that crap. And I love selling, man. Still to this day. But I’ve gone up a couple of notches. I don’t use the phone so much to sell now. You know where I love to sell?
Chris: I like to sell over the dinner table.
Andrew: How do you sell over the dinner table without getting kicked out of dinner and not being invited back the next time?
Chris: It’s that soft sell. You know, you get somebody for 90 minutes, two hours, at the dinner, a good bottle of wine, a decent steak or a nice plate of fish, and you just talk, man. And you build up that rapport and you build up that trust, because trust is by far the most important part of the whole process. If somebody doesn’t trust you they’re not going to buy from you, right? So, I love the dinner kind of mentality. People are always a little bit relaxed, and, you want to know a really good trick?
Andrew: Especially when you’re smiling like that, yes, I feel like something good is coming. Hit me. What is it?
Chris: This is great. I was such a sneaky so-and-so. I don’t know whether this is an R-rated show or not.
Andrew: No, no. Don’t censor yourself all at. Go ahead.
Chris: Okay. I was a sneaky bastard is what I was. Back when I was working for the publishing company back in London, I used to do a lot of face to face selling as well. Once I got up to the management area with the larger clients, you would sell front cover sponsorship, back cover sponsorship, stuff like that. I used to take guys out to dinner. But before dinner, we’d have a couple of cocktails to begin with.
What I would do, I would get to the bar about 20 minutes before my prospect or my customer. I would drop the guy behind the bar 10 pounds, which is about 15 odd dollars or something, and I’d say to the guy, I’m going to order a Jack and coke all night long, but you’re going to give me a coke. Capiche?
Andrew: Oh, yes. Okay. Gotcha. That is great.
Chris: Oh, my God. It was freakin’ amazing, Andrew. I swear. Still to this day, if I’m in an environment where everybody’s partying it up a little bit, I’ll either slip to the bar and get myself a lime and soda or something and say to the bartender or something, yeah, I don’t know, it’s something about, I like a drink just like the next guy.
But in certain social situations, it’s not good to be the drunk fool. I’d learned that the hard way as well. So that was my kind of real sneaky salesman tip where they get your prospects drunk.
Andrew: I’m trying to think of who it was who bought Warner Brothers at one point, and Warner Brothers career – any way, he had this thing, I can’t think of the book. He would go to Vegas with people, and he was always with arms full of chips, always the big winner.
It turns out, he would just go to the cashier and change cash for chips, and just keep rolling back into his friends full of chips. Like he’s the big winner. It made him feel like in business, he’s the guy to go to because he can always make it work. I love these different ideas.
Chris: Yeah, yeah. Drop and roll. Love it.
Andrew: Even though here, frankly. I’m using the mike off the computer. This is just a prop that intimidates my guests into opening up. Right?
Chris: Love it.
Andrew: Every businessman uses those tips.
Chris: Here I am telling you stories I haven’t told anybody else before.
Andrew: I don’t know. How much money are you making?
Chris: I’m not going to tell you that. You went in for the close.
. . . [??] . . .
Andrew: It’s supposed to be prospecting, qualifying, introducing, overcoming objections, and then closing.
Chris: I generally don’t discuss my finances online. But I am open to say I run a multi-seven figure business.
Andrew: A multi-million dollar business.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah. Okay.
Andrew: You told me privately, but I respect people’s privacy.
Let me do this, a quick plug here for Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law . . . why am I even holding this up as a prop. Usually I will have coffee in this, but today all I wanted is hot water, so I’ve been drinking out of this glass.
Let me tell you guys why I recommend Scott of Walker Corporate Law. It goes back to this dinner that I had at my house. This entrepreneur who got a lot of funding starts telling me about his law firm. If you want to invest in his company, his law firm will send you some legal documents right there.
I said, “Wait, are they taking a piece of your company?” I said, no, no. So I asked him, he said, “No, I’m paying him money. I don’t know how much, but it’s a lot of money.” I said, “Aren’t you worried that it’s going to be that much money and not even keeping track of it.” He says, “No, the investors are putting money in my bank account, so I put some money in there. It doesn’t bother me.”
If you’re in that situation where investors are putting in so much money that you can’t afford not to care about how much it costs to have a lawyer, congratulations. They’re tons of top firms that you can go to. Actually, not tons, maybe under five. Go to them. But if you’re someone who cares about the cost of a law firm. If you’re someone who says, “I want a firm that understands the startup needs, that understands that eventually I’m going to have to raise money, that potentially I’m going to want to sell, and so on.”
But you also care about how much it’s going to cost you. Then I recommend you talk to Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law. He’s right here. He’s in San Francisco like everyone else. He’s at all the parties like everyone else. He’s speaking at all these tech events or attending them, or hobnobbing with the technorodie. He has the experience, he has the backing, but he doesn’t have the big expense.
In fact, he’s got something called the, all you can eat start up price. Something like $2,000 or $3,000- I should know that, shouldn’t I, Chris?
Andrew: Frankly, I should know that. Let me see. All you can eat. You know why I actually don’t know it? Because, frankly I don’t even know if you need an all you can eat price. Once I tell you the price is low, you don’t need to know exactly what much it’s going to cost.
Chris: What you do need to know, let me help Scott out a bit, what you do need to know . . .
Andrew: Please help me out.
Chris: . . . is the benefits and the features of working with Scott.
Andrew: The benefits and features of working with him.
Andrew: I feel like something good is coming. Hit me. What is it?
Chris: Yeah. Absolutely.
Andrew: Okay. Here we go. The all you can eat startup package is $2,900. I actually feel like once you start to, I shouldn’t even be saying this, but I’m thinking about the way that I’m promoting it, I think once I give the exact price, I’m almost cheapening it. I should be able to tell you, “It’s a reasonable price. Go talk to him.”
I shouldn’t, when it comes to a lawyer, give you the all you can eat startup package that cost $2,900. We’re not talking about one of these firms that only gives you a document. We’re talking about a real firm. A real law firm. Anyway, walkercorporatelaw.com. As long as I call people out, that was one of my worst sales pitches. Don’t you agree?
Chris: It was Okay. It probably could have been a little stronger. But, you know what, I’ll fly to San Francisco. We’ll have tea or something, and I’ll give you a free coaching session.
Andrew: I could use it. I could use it. I’ll make sure that we only do tea, because if we go out for drinks, then I don’t know what I’ll end up buying.
Andrew: You’ll end up on your back, and I’ll be walking back to my hotel.
Andrew: Yes. You’re be skipping back with a check for me. Look at this. All right. You’re making these sales. You also have to reposition or reprice your product. How do you adjust the way that you price it so that people don’t take advantage of you, Chris?
Chris: Well, I mean, we were lucky when we made that choice to stop working performance based and to go to a pre-sale. Basically they would pay an entire month in advance for the services per person. We were quite lucky because at that point we had only two clients. We had the male spa distribution company, and then we had the credit card processing firm that was bringing us over.
Andrew: In New York.
Chris: I mean, I just went cold turkey. I just literally emailed the guy. Actually I fired the client that was lying to me in New York. But the mail guy, he was a really, really nice guy. We’re still buddies actually. We’ll still connected and all that online. I just emailed him. I said, look, just to let you know, most startup businesses, you’re always pivoting in the first 18 to 24 months.
In fact, businesses, period, are always pivoting, but that first year or two is extremely important. I said, we decided that we’re no longer going to work on a performance basis. We will honor this initial agreement that we got for the next 30 days. But after that, we’re going to be pre-selling our services per employee per month in advance every month. If it means it’s the end of our business partnership, then so be it. I was willing to lose the business.
At that point I knew that I had to get everybody on board in the same way. Let me tell you something. Six years later, it is still the only way we work with every single client that I’ve got. I don’t care if they have a minimum of five employees in the call center with us, or our largest client, I believe, is at around 75 employees right now. I don’t care. If you ask for terms, you’re not getting it. Plain and simple. This is my deal, and this is the way it’s going to be.
Andrew: When I’m hiring one of your — I’ve got a cold here, I’m trying to deal with it. Actually, I’m dealing with it okay. I hope the audience is dealing with it okay. But if I’m hiring one of your people to do prospecting for me, I pay them by the hour. I pay by the person, by the hour, regardless of the results.
Andrew: Gotcha. Okay. When you’re making your sales calls, you’re actually able to close them. People went for it.
Chris: No. No, I got turned down plenty of times. But I’m a resilient son of a bitch. So I just carried on dialing numbers. The funny thing is I still remember one company online. It was a website called, businessinabox.com. I believe they’re still up and running now. They just had tons and tons and tons of business documents that you could use as templates and what not. I pitched them hard, man. I really wanted these guys as a client. I couldn’t close them, and I was really upset. I just want to say that.
Not everything is rosy in the land of Chris. I pitched them hard. I really did. I really followed the process then. I called them up three or four times. Spoke to a couple of different people. Weren’t interested. Focus is online. It is what it is. Our focus at that point shifted.
You know, the funny thing is a lot of like-minded businesses to ours have come and gone in the last six years. Some of them are gone very, very quickly as well. Because they’re desperate for business. Because they go with that performance mold. I don’t think we’d be around – in fact, I’m pretty darn sure, if I’d carried on working on performance, we’d probably wouldn’t even have made it after two years we would’ve been done, probably.
Andrew: All right. So, now you are able to rehire your people, and, you’ve got work for them, and, it’s time to get more customers. What do you do to go beyond sitting, and working the phones yourself to get more business?
Chris: I’ve hired a business development assistant that would basically end up being those legs. So, they were over working through a number of different, we utilized infousa.com for our leads, for our data source. We became very sort of targeted geographically, as well as, industry wide, as well.
This young lady would come in. She had a beautiful, soft, smooth accent, and, she sounded really American on the phone. The Philippines is very Americanize as it is. She sounded sexy. I got to be honest. She sounded really sexy on the phone.
Chris: Knowing full well that the large majority of the business owners we were going to be talking to we’re going to be male. I utilized that fact, and, she just pounded the phones for me. She already had call center experience, as well. So, she was already done with the whole accent neutralization thing. She knew how to prospect properly.
I paid her a pretty penny, but, I knew that I couldn’t on, you know, fermenting what was already on board if I was going to be spending hours, and, hours every day on the phone prospecting, as well. So, she came on, and, that put the business development side of the business in that first year on steroids, is what it did, because it meant that at the beginning of every day I had five or so really good quality very, very fresh qualified leads to call myself. . . . [??] . . .
Andrew: So, she’d tease them up, and, then you hit them? You get them?
Chris: I used to joke, not to her obviously, I wouldn’t want to get involved in any sexual harassment lawsuit, or anything like that, but, I used to call her my business development fluffer.
Andrew: I see. Yes.
Chris: That’s exactly what she would do. She would get the guys ready, and, then I would come in, and, close the deals. I’m not a woman, obviously, but, by the end of that first year we had gone from starting, to almost going bankrupt four month in, to at the end of that year with about 60 members of staff. It was great.
At the beginning of the second year we lucked out like crazy. There was a very big client that came on board. They happen to have been in saboo [SP], and Manila [SP], looking at four, or, five different locations. Four, or, five different companies.
A UK based company, and, they had been around to these locations, and, we were actually the last stop, literally, on the way to the airport to fly back to London, and, they hadn’t found anywhere that they liked.
They walked in. I sat behind the desk, and, I just said to them, so, you’ve visited some of our competitors. What have I got to do to get your business? I just stayed quiet, and, they just told me, and, then I said, OK, we can do this, this, and, this, but, we can’t do that. We never will do it, but, I promise that you’ll get bu, bu, bu, bu, bum.
A week later I signed the deal. They started with 18 employees, and, then they up to about 70 before going down to about 35, or, 40, which is where they are right now. They’re still with us now, actually.
Chris: Still with us now. Yeah. So, I’m all about the longevity, Andrew. Every client I bring on board I believe I’m going to be working with that client for years, and, years, and, years, and, years.
Andrew: Chris, what about this, though? I’m on your website chrisducker.com. It’s you. It’s your face. Chrisducker.com is the number one source of traffic, as far as I can tell, to the virtual staff business. Right?
Chris: Yup. Yup. Virtual staff finder came out of requirements. I want to say this because this is important to listen to your audience. When [??] our customer base, virtual staff finder came out of nothing, but shear demand thanks to the four hour work week.
Andrew: From the four hour work week?
Chris: Yeah. Yeah. We started getting emails like crazy after . . . [??] . . .
Andrew: Let me come back to that in a moment. So much of this, the sales, your face, your website is still bringing it in, and, if it’s not you directly from chrisducker.com, it’s you as a result of your relationship with, Pat Flynn, with Jamie from Eventual Millionaire, and, other sites. Is that an issue for you that so much is on you?
Chris: Now, no, because the way that I’ve pivoted the last couple years online, is to make it so that I’m the face, so to speak, right. OK. I want to go back just a bit because prior to shifting over to chrisducker.com I had a blog, which was Virtual Business Lifestyle. And this is where the whole shift of the virtual CEO came about. Up until late 2009 I had been working, believe it or not. What do you know about that? An entrepreneur working himself into an early grave.
I had been working 14, 15, 16 hours a day for six days a week for three odd years growing this business. And I burned out. I often said that I felt literally slammed into a wall. And it was going into 2010 where I decided I was going to have this one year long goal because I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy overnight thing, one year long goal to remove myself from my business as much as physically possible day-to-day.
Before my work week influenced me, not from the case of outsourcing and [??]. I’d been doing that a long time before that book came out, but it influenced me because it allowed me to realize that there was another way to build a business. I didn’t need to be trapped inside it on a day-to-day basis shackled to my bloody desk.
And so if I ever get the opportunity to meet Tim, I will shake his hand and thank him personally because although a lot of the book wasn’t really that relevant to me personally, it’s a journey. I look at every book I read as a journey from beginning to end. It, as a journey, allowed me to start my own journey in 2010, and I loved that so much. By the end of the year I had removed myself.
Andrew: What was the hardest part to remove yourself from?
Chris: Getting over myself.
Andrew: What do you mean?
Chris: Because I’d become the type of entrepreneur that I talk about today now. You don’t need to do this. You’re a silly idiot. Don’t do this stuff. I had become… I had stopped running the business, and the business had started running me. And that was what happened.
And I was involved in every aspect of the business. I was recruiting. I was training. I was doing the operations. I was doing the business development still. I was still closing. I was involved with IT. It was ridiculous. Everything came through me.
I was stuck in Outlook. God forbid, Outlook. Why was I doing that in those days? I was stuck in Outlook for five, six hours a day reading internal email because I was a micro-managing nightmare, and I wanted to know exactly what was going on in every area of my business.
I literally had everyone copying me into virtually 80% of their emails internally as well. So I was just being stupid. I was working myself literally to an early grave. I burned out. I was on medication for a month. My immune system dropped so badly.
At the age of — how old was I then? I was about 36 or whatever it was — at the age of 36 I developed shingles which is like an old person thing, you know what I mean? Because my immune system was so low and my body was crying out for help. So, yeah, it was a really, really tough time.
But that year of 2010 I started blogging and this was when it all changed for me because by the end of that year not only had I become the virtual CEO that I wanted to be, I stopped working 16 hour days six days a week. I was working four days a week, and I still only work four days a week now.
We’re recording this Friday morning. The only reason I’m talking to you at 8:00 on a Friday morning is because A) you’re a very handsome man…
Andrew: Thank you.
Chris: …and B) because I’m leaving in about an hour and a half to pick up my best buddy on the planet, Pat Flynn, because he’s visiting here in [??]. Otherwise I’d still be in bed. This is my Saturday morning. I have a three day weekend now, and I love that so much.
You know what else happened in that year? I started to develop this personal brand for myself in the online world, in the online entrepreneurial world. And I realized by the end of the year I became a go- to source when it came to virtual teams, delegation, productivity, outsourcing.
And that’s when I really ran with it. I ran with ChrisDucker.com. I switched over from VirtualBusiness. I started ChrisDucker.com mid-2012, and it is, from an entrepreneurial perspective now, Andrew, it’s a whole new journey.
I live to sell VirtualStaffFinder, location 63, my co-working space. Those three businesses are under the [??] group to sell umbrella. I spend less than five hours a week on it. I virtually…
Andrew: I understand that the biggest thing is changing your mind. By the way, is it Friday or Wednesday today in the Philippines?
Chris: It’s Friday morning. What did I say? Good God, it is Wednesday.
Chris: I don’t even know what day of the week it is. You’re absolutely right [laughs].
Chris: You know what this is is because my event is starting tomorrow, and for some reason in my head it’s almost Saturday.
Andrew: You’re gearing up to do this big event that Pat is going to be a part of.
Chris: You’re right. So, thanks for bringing me back into the present. I [??] for a minute.
Andrew: This is an issue, though, that a lot of entrepreneurs, me included, face: the issue of micromanaging. And even if you identify, even if you realize that you’re getting CCed on everything, and you’re feeling, like, that you want to be a part of everything, it’s hard to stop.
And then it’s hard, for people who depended on you being there, to continue without you being a part of it. What do we do to stop that? What do I do to stop that?
Chris: Well, I mean, you do it slowly, first and foremost. So that you’re taking care of your people. I mean, I always believe that your people are your single most important thing in business. And then, what you do is you take it slow for yourself, as well. Because I often say that you have to get over yourself and the fact that you believe that you’re the, you know, the all-encompassing most important thing in your business. You’re actually not.
It is your people, and then it’s your clients, your existing clients, and then your new clients – in that order, as well, by the way. I believe that once you do that slowly but surely, it becomes less painful for everyone involved. And I call it–in the book I call it Superhero Syndrome. Because we believe that we’re the strongest thing in our universe and that there’s no kryptonite out there. But there’s plenty of kryptonite.
It is called burnout, you know. It is called micromanaging, and all the rest of it. And you know, we entrepreneurs we have mental issues. We need therapy. We have big, big issues to deal with. And it’s letting go. It’s that initial feeling of just letting go of a task that you’ve become so accustomed to handling yourself. It’s a painful thing, and it’s a scary thing.
And it’s the fear of the unknown, of me not checking my email seven or eight times a day. It’s the fear of the unknown of not, you know, micromanaging. . .For instance, uploading a video to YouTube. Simple process, yet so many people won’t let go of it, because they want to be the one to type out the title, to put in the link, to add the tags, to put the description, to hit the upload button. Just, it’s that mental shift that you need to make that you don’t need to be the one.
You, as the business owner, should only be doing what you personally can do for you, your people, your business, and your clients. You should not be doing that average, kind of, revolving task day-to-day stuff. Other people can do that for you. You train them up. You let them do it. And then you invest your time into more high level activities.
Like, you know, strategizing for growth, or for going to a conference and networking, or for spending more time in your 20% top clientele, or putting together new products or services. That’s what you should be doing. That’s what you should be doing. That’s what you should be doing. It’s not updating Facebook, I can tell you that right now, if that makes sense. [laughs]
Andrew: I can let go of updating Facebook. The hard things are the things I don’t even notice. I almost wish. . . Boy, and there’s an interviewee who does this. I almost wish that someone would come and sit right here for a week, and watch what I do, and then come back to the end of each day and say, “Look. This thing that you did? Stupid.
I don’t know if you noticed it, but you’re the one who just changed the title on the YouTube video. Someone else could’ve done it. Just set the rules, and we’ll take care of it. This other thing that you’re doing over here?” You know, I wish that someone could do that.
Chris: Right, Right. And, you know what? You can actually do a very quick exercise.
Andrew: Good, what is that?
Chris: Maybe you and your listeners will like it, as well. I call it my three lists to freedom. And I did this back in 2009 when I was putting this goal in place. I didn’t give it that name at that point, but I did exactly the same activity. What I did was, I took a piece of paper, and I drew two lines down it, creating three columns, all right?
And within those three columns I put three lists. The first list was all the things that I didn’t like doing day-to-day, that I procrastinated, but that I needed to do because my business demanded it of me, all right?
Chris: The second list was a list of all the things that I thought I couldn’t do very well. And this is where that Superhero Syndrome comes into play, because we believe that we can do everything. And it was a tough list to put together. But if you’re not a coder, you’re not a coder. And if you’re not a graphic designer, you’re not a graphic designer, right? And so that was the second list: the list of all the things that I couldn’t do, or do well.
And then, the last list, which was by far the hardest list to put together – and probably the most important one – because it was a list of all the things that, as a business owner, I felt that I shouldn’t be doing day-to- day. Now the reason why it was so tough is because some of those tasks, I might like doing. Some of those tasks, I might be really, really, really good at doing.
But the question again was, “Should I be doing it as the head honcho?” Could my time be better spent doing other things? And once I put those three lists together, and I’ve done this exercise now with thousands of entrepreneurs.
Speaking gigs, podcasts, you name it. It’s even in the book, actually. Once I did that, it was like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders because right then I had the road map that I needed to start bringing freedom into my work life and into my life as a whole. Man, I went to work, I started delegating like a mad man.
Andrew: Can you give me that list of three again?
Chris: So number one, a list of all the things that you don’t like doing. Number two is a list of things is a list of things you can’t do, and list number three is a list of all the things that a business owner, you feel that shouldn’t be doing day to day.
Andrew: I have one more exercise like that and that’s really helpful.
Chris: Let me think. Another one is then, after that, the perfect follow up exercise is working out how you’re going to group those tasks together. Now, there’s basically two main ways to outsource and delegate tasks. The first one is to look at it from a task or project based outsourcing situation, and the second one is a team building situation.
That’s the one that I advocate because I’m all about surrounding myself the best people who could work and giving them to do that and I can do other stuff. But from time to time I might just need a logo done. I might just need a landing page put together. So, that’s when you look at the task on the project side of things. So once you get all these tasks down on those three lists of freedoms, you can start grouping those tasks into individual roles. That in itself is another exercise. A video editor, for example, is not going to be the best person to manage your Facebook page, right? That’s a GVA or a General Virtual Assistant, right?
The GVA ain’t going to know how to edit your podcast or they’re not going to be able to build your workplace site. They’re not developers. So you have to hire for the role, not for the task. And that is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen people doing when outsourcing. They feel that there’s one all encompassing super VA, as I call it, that can do everything for them in their business. It’s not the case at all.
Andrew: When I see that you’re traffic comes, by the way, thanks for that tip. I don’t want to brush over it, I just see that we’re out of time, but I have a couple of other questions that I didn’t get to. When I see that there’s traffic coming from sites like Smart Passive Income, I got to Smart Passive Income to see where that traffic is coming from, it’s not just the interview that you did back in May of 2011, is it?
Chris: Pat and I are very, very, very close friends. This is a friendship that’s developed over the past four years as I got on active online. He had already been active online for over a year or so at that point, maybe a little bit longer. And I don’t know, we just instantly connected. we’ve got a young boy around the same age, he’s got Filipino history in his family, I’m here in the Philippines.
It was all these things, and we just became very, very close friends very, very quickly. But, I mean, I’ve done two interviews for his podcast. The first was in 2011, the last one was last year, and I’ve just done another one recently which hasn’t gone live yet. He also mentions me very regularly in other podcast sessions as a source for VA’s and delegation or general productivity, entrepreneur kind of reports that I do and things like that. And he’s just a Chris fan and I’m a Pat fan, you know what I mean?
Andrew: But it’s not, is there an affiliate deal going on?
Chris: I mean, there is. He makes a little money from the referrals that he puts my way. Yes, he does, indeed. So, yes, absolutely. I’m a relationship person. You and I have never spoken up to this point. You sent me a lovely postcard from San Francisco, which is my favorite city in America, hands down.
So when I got it, I was like, “Who the hell sent me a postcard from San Francisco?” And I turn it over and it’s you. This is a perfect, for anybody watching and listening, this is a perfect example of what I call the P to P relationship building principal. The people to people. It’s so damn powerful in today’s market. I’d never met Andrew before. I’d never conversed with him online before, and we were trying to get a time down to do an interview, and because of the time differences it was very, very tough.
He sent me a postcard and said, “I wish that our time zone were not so far apart, but I appreciate everything that you do.” A maybe in the future sort of thing. But I saw that and I was like, ‘I’ve got to get on this. I have to be on this guy.’ This is relationships.
Andrew: Should I be doing that? I was kind of wondering if you would say, “Andrew, don’t do that. It takes a lot of time to write these postcards. It takes a lot of time to write handwritten notes.” That’s where my time should go.
Chris: I want to show you something really quick.
Andrew: Where my time should go.
Chris: I want to show you something real quick. . .
Andrew: Yes please.
Chris: . . . I’m going to disappear and come-.
Andrew: You know because frankly this week I was actually reconsidering it. I’ve got a stack of cards here [??] people to even see them that . . .
Andrew: . . . I have a stack of and I said, “Why am I even going to send this out stop doing anything that’s hand written.” Therefore, they have just been piling up here because I have been second guessing it or questioning it not second guessing it.
Chris: You have got to do things like that. You know why you need to do things like this, because not that many people are doing those things in today’s world and that’s a way to build a relationship and stand out from the crowd. This right here is a simple post card. . .
Chris: . . . with my logo on it.
Andrew: I see it.
Chris: And from time to time when somebody does something nice for me or I just want to reach out and thank them for something that maybe they have done for me but they didn’t know they have did it for me. I will send them a package from here in the Philippines Fed-x, and usually it is something native like a wind chime, or a set of place mats for their dining table, or something like that, and I will include a hand written note on one of these postcards.
And I’ll tell you something right now nine times out of ten. When they e- mail me to thank me, and they always do they mention the gift, but the big mention is about the hand written note. And here I am talking about your post cards sent all the way from sunny California, over to the sunny Philippines.
I don’t know how long it took to get here, because the post is pretty bad, but that being said it made an impression on me and I remember reading it, in fact actually I got it in front of my wife, she was sitting here in my office and I remember saying to her, ‘You know this is class’. This shit does not happen enough in today’s business world. I have got to get on to this show.
I have got to find a way to make these time zones work, and I am so glad that I have been able to find a way to do it, because I have thoroughly enjoyed this chat. I’ve done a few around the book obviously to help market and promote it but what I’ve liked about this is that, and I do not know whether we are coming to the end or not so I don’t want to cut you off early, we can talk all day, well for the next hour.
Andrew: You have got to go pick up Pat from the airport.
Chris: Yeah. You know you do not want to leave an angry Pat Flynn, at the airport it’s not a good thing to see, but I’ve done a few of these conversations Andrew, and you are a class act, you know you’re guests even though you’ve never met them before, you know you’re producer, Jeremy is a joy to work with and converse with . . .
Andrew: Jeremy Weisz, yes he’s terrific. Thank you, Jeremy.
Chris Ducker: And I believe that he’s based in Chicago, right?
Chris: Because he knows I’m a blues fan and he says, “Come to Chicago, we’ll go out and drink bourbon in smoky blues bars” and stuff, and I am like, “Yes, you know it.” So now I have got a buddy in Chicago, because of your show as well.
Andrew: Isn’t he amazing that he would even know what music you’re into, that he would care that your into Bruce Lee, for example that he told me about.
Chris: Bruce is a big hero of mine. I’ve studied martial arts on and off my entire life and I love his philosophies, and I talk about that on my posts and my pod-casts, on Instagram.
I also talk about the fact that I love the blues and I used to sing in a blues band, and play the harp, and all this sort of stuff. I love it when people pick up that stuff and this is just like the post-card thing. I didn’t know Jeremy before we had that producer call yet he knew all this cool stuff about me and it just instantly built rapport and gained trust, and it just goes back to the whole relationship thing, and I just love it.
That’s why when I become friends with people like Pat, and other influencers that are online, and offline quite frankly, I ferment those relationships because you’ve got to surround yourself by people that are both leaders and really nice people deep down inside as well. I believe that really good leaders continue to learn from other leaders so that they continue to grow, and I am definitely continuing to grow as an entrepreneur and as a leader myself.
And it is because I surround myself with guys like you, Pat Flynn, and Leo Debouch [SP], and all these other guys that I’ve been so blessed to become friends with over the last few years, and I love it. We live in a beautiful time where you can do all this stuff and you get to make some money along the way it’s great.
Andrew: Isn’t that wonderful?
Chris: It sure is.
Andrew: All right, if people want to connect with you here’s where I got your contact. I think I just went to Chrisducker.com and then I followed it, just clicked around until I found a way to get your address, but Chrisducker.com is your home base online if people really want to dive into this virtual workforce and how organize your business and you’re life for virtual freedom the book is called Virtual Freedom and you’ve got it coming out April 2014, right?
Andrew: It is. April 1st, it comes out and just today I’ve just got it I’m super stoked.
Chris: I’ve had a few people give me blurbs for this book, and the best one that came through, because this was exactly what I was wanting to try to put together, the best one, it said that “Ducker has written the essential field guide to building a virtual team to grow your business.” I was like, [makes sound] boom. I don’t care if I sell a copy now, just, the fact that one influential person said that . . .
Andrew: Who said that?
Chris: . . . and said exactly what I wanted to do, you know what, I can’t remember! It’s terrible!
Andrew: No, no, I’ll find it right now.
Chris: It was, “He’s written the essential field guides, words to the effect of, essential field guide . . .
Andrew: I got it, essential field guide, I hate when that happens to me, where I just can’t remember.
Chris: I know, and you know what? The thing was this. I was so blessed to have so many amazing testimonials and blurbs sent back to me, well over twenty-five, thirty blurbs came back to me within the space of a week. I was just blown away by everyone, so it’s tough. If you said that, and you’re watching or listening to us right now, whoever you are, I’m really, really sorry, but I’ll make it up in a future podcast episode or something.
Andrew: Let me see, no, I got to find this thing out. Hang on.
Chris: You’re on a mission now, aren’t you?
Andrew: I am on a mission, actually. You know the hard part to do is that your last name is . . .
Chris: Somebody else will post theirs.
Andrew: People want to change it to Drucker, so even though I typed it directly into Google as Ducker, they link me to Drucker.
Chris: Yeah, and I also get Chris Tucker quite a bit as well and I often . . .
Andrew: Chris Tucker?
Chris: Yeah, and I often joke and say “No, I’m not the comedian who only makes movies with Jackie Chan when he needs some money.”
Andrew: No, I can’t find, wait.
Chris: Oh, have you got it?
Andrew: It’s the field guide for building a team, outsourcing, and taking control?
Chris: That might be it. Who said that?
Andrew: Field, let me see, field guide, alright maybe I better let this thing go. Field guide, oh, here we go! Oh, Jay Baer, I know that guy. Tell me if this is . . .
Chris: Jay Baer!
Andrew: . . . the quote.
Chris: There you go!
Andrew: “This is the most useful book you’ve ever read.” It will show, it will now become the second most, wait. “Think about the most useful book you’ve ever read. It will now become the second most useful. Ducker says work and success only bring more work and success and he couldn’t be more right. This is the field guide for building a team, outsourcing, and taking back control of your life.” Jay Baer. He’s a best-selling author.
Chris: And actually, first part of that, is right on the front cover.
Andrew: There you go. Way to go Jay, way to go Chris, check out the book everyone, and if people just want to say ‘hi,’ say ‘Chris, thank you for doing this, I’m coming to the Philippines,’ anything like that, what’s a good way to connect with you and say that?
Chris: Easiest way to connect is either via the blog, the chrisducker.com, or via Twitter, I’m a big Twitter fan, so @chrisducker.
Andrew: I see that you’re very active on Twitter. Thank you all for being a part of it, Chris, thank you for doing this, and here’s the hand . . .
Chris: Thank you.
Andrew: . . . right there, for Joe, Joe thank you for editing!