Why there’s still room in the productivity space

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Alice Default is the co-founder of Double, which connects busy executives with experienced part-time assistants and delegation tools.

I want to find out why she went from building software to building a service company.

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Alice Default

Alice Default

Double

Alice Default is the co-founder of Double, which connects busy executives with experienced part-time assistants and delegation tools.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. And I do it because I get excited about hearing how other people have built businesses. In fact, sometimes the more simple, the idea, the more exciting it is because it just shows the potential that’s out there for creating these new businesses.

Joining me as a woman who was part of a company that I loved, I loved their software so much. They made sunrise this E this calendar software that. Ted, a lot of people who are huge fans like I was, and then it sold to Microsoft became part of a, um, outlook. And then she decided to start her own company.

And the company that she decided to start is not a software company, but instead it’s a services company. She realized that her boss at sunrise did not have a good assistant. A lot of people don’t have good assistants. I said, what if I create a service that does it? And she got into that. And then she got into software again, and the software part did not go as, as big as she hoped or as big as I would have expected.

She’s back at services and the services are continuing to grow. And I want to find out how she’s doing this. How is she creating? And frankly, Alice, I’ll be honest with you. Her name is Alice default. The company is the company is called double where you can hire a flexible, uh, assistance. Uh, Alison. I don’t understand how they could be so many businesses that I’ve interviewed, who are in the, in the business of, you know, offering assistance and they’re still growing.

Alice: Oh, really you’ve interviewed a

Andrew: Yeah. What do you make of that? Like, you’re not the first person I’ve interviewed in this space. There are others. How could this be such a such a market available for so many people to jump

Alice: because there’s, I mean, all of us right. Have tasks that we need help with on a day-to-day basis. I think. The market for this type of, of service. And obviously we do the service, but we also build tech around the service to make it as efficient as possible is massive. if you look at the data today in the U S executives spent about 30% of their time working on flasks that they have no value doing, which is massive, right?

It’s like a day and a half of your week doing your scheduling, booking, travel, doing your expenses. Researching things, online, purchasing things. And that’s, that’s big. Right? And so that’s why there’s so, so many, um, probably services trying to solve this problem, or so many companies trying to solve this.

Andrew: Uh, and you know what, and we used to think about this as something, obviously for all executives. Then we got to the place where we thought, well, no executive needed anymore. We’ve got the internet. And then it became a thing just for CEOs, just for the top. And now what I’m starting to see is this understanding that.

Well, you know, what, if you have an executive, who’s not the CEO, maybe they’re a level or two down from the CEO, but they’re wasting time on menial things like expenses and taping expense uh, taping receipts to piece of paper or whatever. That’s a waste of your, company’s a resource waste of your money as a company, and also you’re burning people out.

And so it’s a nice benefit to give people. Is that what you do? Do you also do it with executives within

Alice: Exactly. So we, we do have a lot of CEOs because they’re usually they want to own the budget. And if your boss doesn’t have as, uh, an assistant, you’re probably not going to get an assistant. We usually come into companies through the CEO, but then super quickly get the rest of the executive team on board because the seals, um, see the value of their product.

They see how much time they’re saving, thanks to that. And so they want to give it as to the rest of their team because they know it’s going to happen.

Andrew: all right. I should say this interview. When we find out how she built up this business, D a double is sponsored by a company called HostGator, which hosts my website. And later on, I’ll tell you why should host yours, but first sunrise, here’s what I loved about sunrise that nobody got right. This, uh, this calendar software I would use it.

And then if somebody said, Andrew, one of your available, I could just highlight on the sunrise calendar, the time that I was available, send them a link. And if they could just book their own time and here’s, here’s, what’s wonderful about it. Outlook eventually added that. But as far as I saw what outlook did was say, here’s the available times as of the moment when Andrew sent it over, if, if Andrew booked something else in that time, The link doesn’t change, right.

That wasn’t a magical experience.

Alice: Yeah, it was an amazing feature. It was called meat. And weirdly enough, at the time it really didn’t get the DMD Mount of, of usage that we were expecting. We would have had to do a lot more. To really make it amazing, but I miss it every single day. And we’re actually, I mean, we’re counter nerds and my company since then, and one of my co-founders was at sunrise as well.

So we we’ve left together. Uh, we’re actually building very similar schools now for our assistance. Um, so that, that tool that we built for sunrise, we’re doing something that’s very similar for our assistance to be more efficient with scheduling for the clients today. So it’s still at it.

Andrew: and there are other, and there are other tools that do this, like Calendly acuity, scheduling and so on, but you’re leaving the calendar in order to do it. And with those, you’re creating one link for everybody. If my wife wants to get together for a drink, I don’t want to send her the main Calendly link.

First of all, I guess if it’s my wife, I should probably just tell her. But if it’s a good friend of mine, I want to pick the specific times just for them. That’s what was beautiful. What’d you love about sunrise? Let’s go down memory lane for.

Alice: I looked at our users. Uh, it’s been a sound cheesy, but I was the first non-engineer non-designer on the team. Um, so when I joined it, Just a bunch of engineers and designers building this really amazing product. And I was hired to do everything else. So the marketing customer success support I ended up doing product that after a while, but I think the love that we were getting from clients, or actually they were in clients because the software was completely free, but from our users was absolutely amazing.

Uh, it had the. Almost cult following. I would say like people were obsessed with the app and building for these type of users it’s is such a pleasure. Right? I was doing user research and everyone would always wants to do these user research with us because they loved the product and they wanted us to give that they want to get feedback.

So that I think was definitely one of my favorite parts of, of building sunrise was this communication and connection that we could have with people that were using the tools, every single.

Andrew: You were acquired by Microsoft for reported a hundred million dollars. That number was public right. $8 million raised. So it was a big success in a little bit of a let down for us, but it also signaled that Microsoft was willing to, to think, to think more modernly, that they were going to take their old outlook and find a way to be part of this whole new, online revolution of, uh, of.

User-friendly consumer style apps. All right. What was it like for you to go from being at a, as I think I thought sunrise was a small company to go from being a small company, to being at a giant company like Microsoft

Alice: it was tiny. There were 15 of us, I think when we finally merged with, with Microsoft. It was a shift, to be honest, uh, obviously in terms of just the size of the company, in terms of the size of the user base, you know, I summarize, we probably had a bit more of a million users, which was amazing for a consumer app, uh, outlook mobile, which was yet that we ended up working on had 90 million users.

And so that shift is, is obviously massive, but then also the culture had nothing to do. We were 15 people working on it now. Most of us, either in the same office, like working remotely, but kind of always together. And then you get to Microsoft and there’s a product team and a product marketing team and a marketing team and the sales teams.

And like, you have to have all these input from all these different teams. Um, and the way you work is just completely different. And I think for us, that was the biggest shift of having so many different voices around the table where before. We were just listening to, to design until you reserve research.

And now we had to, the science listened to the enterprise team or the sales teams and the marketing team. And so I think at that thing to, to that, and kind of finding the right balance of what Microsoft does best and there’s tons of stuff that they do really well and then still fighting for why they had acquired us, which was designed to user experience and making sure that we also had a seat at the table.

Andrew: One of the things that, uh, one of my past guests who I think sold his company to Microsoft ended up realizing while working for Microsoft was anyone higher up than you can just add themselves to the calendar. You don’t need this whole calendaring system that sunrise created, right? Like if your boss wants to talk to you, they just put their time on your calendar.

They see it.

Alice: Yeah, no for sure. It’s, it’s, it’s a very different experience. And to be fair to my first off, the, the, the first few months were really tough, right. Like most acquisition, it never, it’s hard at the beginning. Like a team has been acquired. The other one, you know, is having to change a lot of their processes.

Um, but they also made us, um, they, they left us a lot of room to kind of push our ideas for her way of doing things. And after let’s say six months to a year, we really were able to work really well together. Um, design got her space at the table and it didn’t, it wasn’t the case before. So we did. A lot of great things, I think still and managed to get everyone talking and agreeing on, on how to move forward, which was great.

Andrew: So take me to this problem that I guess it was the founder of sunrise had that led you to start this.

Alice: Yes. Um, so it was a mix of a lot of different things. One of my co-founders and I had been thinking about productivity for a really long time. So at sunrise, obviously before that I was working at, on an email app, so I’m still in the productivity space and then we work on outlook for.

Andrew: you mean personally, apart from sunrise, apart from Microsoft, you just wanted to

Alice: I was not, I was working for an existing email app that was called front. So a shared inbox. Yeah. They out of SF. Um, I, I didn’t mean to like, just work on productivity. Yes. I think it kind of happened. And then at one point I, I gave up and I embraced the fact that this was going to be my life. Um, but so we were building those PractiFi apps with Christophe, my co-founder, who was also at sunrise and then outlook.

Um, and. We were growing frustrated by the fact that no matter how many practical tools you have, and there’s tons out there, right? There’s like hundreds of, of tools that you can use on a day-to-day basis to make it more productive. At the end of the day, we were still spending a lot of time on tasks that we didn’t have value doing that we didn’t want to do that work.

The things that we were hired to do. Um, and. At that time. So we were thinking about that. And then Pierre, who was the previous CEO of sunrise was looking for an executive assistant at the time because he had also a lot of stuff on his plate and, um, wanted some help, wanted some support. And I think for him, like that was the best potion.

And he actually, his process was super painful for him. Like finding someone on Upwork, um, during the interview process for an assistant, if you’ve never hired someone before and like knowing what to look for and how like what it tests was really tough. And then he tried. I think it was like three or four assistants, um, in, in a row.

And they couldn’t find something that worked for him. And so he came to see us and he was like, there’s something to do around this. And you guys are thinking about productivity on a day-to-day basis. You build productivity tools. Like we need to figure this out, or you need to figure this out because he was building something else at the time.

Um, I had never had an assistant. I had never been an assistant. I knew nothing about this. But I did what we did at, at sunrise. I did user research. I sat down with assistance. I sat down with executives and started to figure this out. Like, was it actually helping? Did it actually make a difference? And it did like having a great assistance can change your life.

Like it is a game changer for a lot of people. I don’t know if you have an assistant.

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah,

Alice: You know, but it’s, it’s really black and white, right? Like that the, the, the benefits of it. But again, if you are not ready to move to someone full-time in your office in that COVID so not in the office, but even someone hold on, you have to find someone on Upwork or Fiverr or for your network.

And that takes time and tastes. And then once you have that person, you still have to manage them. You need to understand how to work with them, what to delegate, how to do things. And that’s complicated today. And so that’s how we came to the idea that we wanted to build double would decide this idea that we wanted to remove all friction, to find and work with an executive assistant and the most flexible way possible.

Andrew: All right. So once you discovered that what’s the first step you took to build this.

Alice: We onboarded a client that was actually our very first day of of double. We hired our, we onboarded our very first clients.

Andrew: Your first client or your first

Alice: both at the same time, we just went for it.

Andrew: both. How did you find your first assistant? How’d you find your first

Alice: our first assistant was a friend of a friend who had never been an assistant. Um, but we’re super excited to kind of join a very small store.

There was just three of us at the time. And she had a really good profile to eventually build a community of assistant like lead that team. She’s now our customer success manager, so she’s, she’s, she’s growing up, but at the beginning, We didn’t have assistance. And so we wanted to have someone to, to do the job on the system so that we could watch it and we can understand what was working, what was not working, and then start building tools.

So we found her and then we were like, okay, we’re going to start a business next week. And we want to, to, to know what it’s like to work with an assistant. And so the only way to do that is to have a client and kind of see what happens. And same, we found that. Clients, cause actually still with us.

Uh, so thanks, thanks to him because he he’s really helped us figure out a lot of things. At the beginning, he was very patient with us, answered tons of our question, but he was at ease. He’s a VC and the tiny, they don’t want a full-time assistant, but was curious about starting to work with someone and decided to trust us with this experiment that we were running.

And so we matched him with Sophie, our customer success manager, and told him we’re going to. See how you guys work together and then we’re going to build tools for you. And we’re going to try to build the best experience possible so that we can replicate it to other clients. And that’s what.

Andrew: Why were tools so important to you?

Alice: I mean, you said it yourself. There’s tons of services out there who can provide executive assistants, there’s staffing agencies. There are a lot of experience, executive assistants who start their own boutique businesses. You have Upwork that you can find a stem line. And for us, obviously finding an assistant is important.

It’s part of our value proposition. But where we found that the real pain point, where was also in like working with the assistance, how do you know what to delegate? How do you share context? How do you include your assistants in the decisions that you need to make? So they have the context of visibility

Andrew: Well, couldn’t you just use slack and a sauna and a couple of other tools like that to communicate an email,

Alice: you could. I mean,

Andrew: but.

Alice: of our clients do. But then. In that case there’s no, we don’t add any value. Right. And we come with a strong productivity background. He had built potatoes for a really long time, and he knew that we could build a better way of working for executive assistants. We could build better tools for them because they didn’t.

Once when we started three years ago, there were no tools that existed for executive assistants on the market. And so we built these tools and, and because of that, our assistants, um, can be more efficient. They have more visibility, they can communicate in the.

Andrew: Like what, what’s an example of, what’s The first thing that you saw that couldn’t be solved with existing tools and you needed to create a new tool.

Alice: The first thing that we do, we bill for our assistant was a way for them to kind of keep track of all the tasks that they do for their assistance, for their executives. So. For context, you have to imagine that we’re not in a, in a traditional one-on-one relationship. Our assistants will we’ll manage multiple executives.

So each executive will have a dedicated assistant, but then each assistant will have on average between three and four clients that they’re supporting on, on. And the way it was fun before is that when that’s the case you have, as you say, you have things in slack, but then every, every one of your client has a different slack and then you’re managing like four different inboxes.

So it’s kind of all over the place. They’re texting you, they’re using WhatsApp or they’re using a set of like you have notifications all over. And it’s really hard to keep track of everything you have to do make sure that nothing falls through the crack being able to get updates on everything.

And so the first thing we built for our assistant was a platform for them to keep track of all these tasks. So in one spot for all their different clients and make it really, really easy for them to get visibility into the status of this task for.

Andrew: to give the client a status. Okay. so it’s kind of like a sauna with multi switch, but also from what I saw you also somehow embedded each client’s email, their Gmail account, their calendar. Am I right? And then there was a chat window.

Alice: window. The idea is to keep most of the communication. That’s just a one-on-one between your assistant and yourself. Inside of the app once, or that it’s a safe space for you. And your assistant outside of email, where there’s always like tons of things outside of flat, but there’s tons of things.

And so we’re creating this safe space where you know that the content that’s there is, is really important for you to see, because if it wasn’t your sin, wouldn’t be there. We don’t embed your email encounter. That would be a lot of work, but we do integrate with with email encounter. So what this means is that.

Andrew: what I’m, here’s what I was seeing. Let me show you from the internet archive. What was center stage of the site? Was this. This, uh, that, can you see that? Is that, what is that? I thought that that was you somehow merging in their stuff, their, their

Alice: Yeah. So, um, this is it reiterated about but we do, we have a Chrome extension. So it’s the idea is if your assistant is in your email today and they’re answering emails to schedule. You mentioned earlier, we want, we don’t want them to go to the counter or find the right calendar for the right executive kind of find spots, go back to the email type out everything else.

And so we built extensions and this one specifically assistants can access their executives calendar, right from the email that they’re typing. They can select time slots, automatically copied them into an email template and then send it.

Andrew: All right. I can see now how this makes their jobs easier. Now, the assistants aren’t wasting time accidentally putting things on the wrong calendar. And this was part of your

Alice: Exactly. The part of the division was always, obviously the human is, is core to everything we do. And so that matching, uh, we work with really experienced assistants based here in the U S and that’s something that we’re super proud about and that we want to keep doing. But then the vision was also about the products and group building on top of these humans.

And how do we supercharge delegates? Both on the client side. So how do we make sure in context and in tasks, super easy, super fast very integrated with what they’re doing on a day to day basis. And then how do we be able to, to increase the efficiency of the assistance?

Andrew: All right. How’d you find more customers?

Alice: There’s a lot of different ways word of mouth for us is, is really strong, still. Especially because we, we target CEOs and CFOs like to share secrets with each other. And so when you found something that was game changer for you, you started working with an assistant and it’s really having an impact in your, in your weeks, then that’s something that you want to share with others.

And so, uh, CEO’s are actually really great ambassadors for us. So, so word of mouth is really strong. We do grow a lot with internal referrals as well, and I was mentioning it earlier when we onboard this year. Usually very quickly we’ll onboard the rest of the executive team trust because the CEO knows that the impact that it can have.

Andrew: Is it part of your marketing? Do you check in with them and say, is there someone else on your team who can use this? It is. So you work, you land and expand. You work with the CEO and then there’s, there’s an account executive who checks in and says, we can add this tomorrow. Okay. So that helps beyond waiting for them to talk within their social network and promote you.

Is there anything else that you could do? Do you buy ads? Do you work with them? To, I don’t know, incentivize referrals. Do you

Alice: Of course. So we do incentivize referrals. Um, that’s kind of on the side despondent, uh, the, our biggest acquisition channel. And then yes, obviously we do, we do paid ads, like a lot of businesses out there that are, that are performing pretty well, actually. So far we did partnerships with entrepreneur groups, with DCS you know, incubator.

To offer discounts and promotions to the entrepreneurs they work with. We do a lot of contents and education around what it’s like to have an assistant. Why do you need one who needs one? Um, and

Andrew: Still from what I can see, the site is getting very little traffic with double.com, right?

Alice: yes. Yes. It’s with.

Andrew: Yeah. When I’m looking at similar web similar web doesn’t even have any, any traffic numbers, because it’s so

Alice: Oh, really?

Andrew: Yeah. But it’s, you’re saying it’s mostly advertising. That’s bringing people over and some of the content.

Alice: Yes. Uh it’s. I it’s surprising where we’re getting good traffic on the west side. We don’t have any. I positioned has been running pretty smoothly actually for the last few months. And we’ve grown really well over the last year. So I’m surprised about the, the fact that you’re not seeing any numbers.

Andrew: All right, I’m going to go to SEMrush. All right, Sam Russia, sewing more. It’s showing search. It’s showing more traffic. All right. I know I’ve got a sense of it. Let’s then talk about why once you hit 30, you pulled back. Once you hit 30 customers, why’d you decide that you weren’t going to expand.

Alice: Oh. Back in 2018.

Andrew: I think so. I think that’s when it was right. You told our producer, we worked, we got to 30. At some point we were starting to feel overwhelmed. We couldn’t keep

Alice: Yeah. So it wasn’t really about feeling overwhelmed. It was more a question about focus, right? And so, as I mentioned, we onboarded our first client on our first day. And then for the next few weeks we onboarded one or two clients per month. Actually again, Yankee wants to get as many situations and, um, use cases as possible.

Andrew: One or two customers Per

Alice: Yes. For, for the next six months, the idea being, we’re not, it’s not about growth right now. If we wanted to do just like an assistant service, we could open the gates right now, but we want to make sure that we’re. What’s the best experience that we can, we can build from a product perspective.

So we wanted to take our time. We wanted the team to be focused on that to really make sure that we had a value proposition that was different from what was already out there. Um, so we took our time and then we got to about 33 clients, as you mentioned. And where are the stage where we were still a very small team.

There’s probably like six of us on the team and hiring the assistants and managing them, took a lot of resources. Um, and we knew we could crack that, but we also want to spend more time again, as I said, like finding that value proposition that was really important for us and then making sure that we were building the right product.

And so what we decided to do at the time, Pause the onboarding of new clients, which meant that we could also pause the recruitment of new assistants to solely to focus on the product only, and making sure that we were building the right products for our clients and for our assistance. So we did that for about six months.

Learn the time at the time also tried to sell that product as just a standalone product. So people to people who already had assistance also learn a ton about the market and then eventually back in way. 2019 decided that we were ready to go back to the full service and product. And we launched back then, and then since then have been growing really consistently.

Andrew: You did take your transition towards maybe becoming a software company, right? You were thinking, what was the vision there was

Alice: Yeah. I mean, so we are, what I would say is we are software competing. We are building software. It’s just part of the service that we sell. It’s not like we’re not doing any software. Like half of my team is a product and engineering team. What. You might mean, is that at the time we were thinking about doing a SAS model, so the idea was we’re building this product and right now we also have to find the assistance and match them with the clients.

Is there a world where people who already have assistance actually would benefit from using these tools that we’re building to improve the relationship? And so for, for a while, while we were focusing on just building the products, we also, uh, experimented with selling the products to assist in that.

Or like in full-time positions at larger companies and seeing what that would that then we learned a ton and we got a lot of feedback at the end of the day. It was far from the initial mission that, that we had set out to achieve this idea that we’ve, you know, we wanted anyone to be able to get support and really get time back in their day to day, because we’re just helping people who already had assistance, um, communicate a bit in a better way with their assistance.

And yeah. The value proposition for our squares, less exciting. And so eventually decided to go back to, to like the full service.

Andrew: And also there aren’t a lot of people who have assistance and also would want them to live outside of the usual slack Asana or whatever it is that they have. Right.

Alice: Exactly. We felt that our value proposition would be way stronger by kind of having the full package. You’ve never had an assistant before and work wanting to help you find someone and then know how to work with them in the best possible way, versus just improving the efficiency of your system that you already have and, and have wished you’re probably already pretty high.

Andrew: All right. I I’ll take a moment. Talk about my sponsor. It’s HostGator. Let me ask you this. If, uh, I like this model of offering services on a recurring subscription basis. If somebody wanted to go to HostGator my sponsor, set up a website and build a business similar to yours, but not in the assistant space.

What other space do you think this would work in? Where someone would want to hire an individual? Not full-time, but part-time,

Alice: I mean, there’s so many verticals writing. You can go on Upwork and see all the different verticals that exist. But, uh, we S we see things in the recruitment space as, you know, finding. Sourcers our recruiters and the copywriting space and marketing, and, you know, the, the, the list is.

Andrew: Okay. You know what? That actually makes a lot of sense to go to Upwork, find A category that’s hot, but doesn’t have its own dedicated site and then turn that into a service. And if somebody were to do that and I could see already there’s sales and marketing, there’s writing there’s translation. People have done translation and is finance and accounting, accounting, their bookkeeping services.

But I don’t know a place where you can get your own bookkeeper. I don’t know if that’s important, but there, there are enough ideas in here to find one, if they were going to pursue. For their own business, what are some of the problems that they would encounter and what, what are some of the ways to make it work?

Alice: A few different things. I mean, the website is, is, is something to do, but it’s not the biggest pain point. For us what’s always been. The most important was the quality of the people we work with. So all of our systems, our contractors here based in the U S but having great people like quality people who are committed to giving the best service possible to your clients is at least for us, the most important thing, because if the quality isn’t there, then class don’t stay with pushy on the line.

Andrew: got it. So you’re saying the first thing, the biggest problem they’re going to find is the people hiring them, having the right people on board. What else? What’s the next biggest problem that they, that they could find her one piece of advice that you’d give somebody who said, no, I want to do this in the bookkeeping space.

People come to my site, they hire a bookkeeper, we’ll get them connected. What, what other problems do you think they’ll have as they’re trying to pursue that?

Alice: Um, I think one of the other challenges is finding what’s your. how can your value proposition be different? Right? If you’re just saying like, oh, I’m going to find an accountants and then match it with people, then people can do that everywhere else. Right. They can go on Upwork. They can, there’s like tons of services.

And so the other challenge is, is what makes you different? Like why would people want to come to see you versus all the other options?

Andrew: Right, right. Okay. So I can see based on what you’re saying, I could see somebody maybe not going to Upwork and coming up with an idea, but maybe something like coaches, you see that business, people are now signing up more and more for coaches. Maybe you take one philosophy and you start saying, we’re going to offer coaches based on this philosophy.

You sign up. Yes. You can chat with them throughout the month, but you get one, one session a week with the coach. And because this is our philosophy, this is the place where we believe in this one approach. If you believe in it, we’re the right people for you. If you don’t go find somebody else, but now that’s what separates us.

All right. Let me say this to my audience. Whether it’s that idea or any other idea. If you need a website to launch your business, I highly recommend you do what I did, which is go to HostGator. When you go to HostGator, you get a company with a long track record and low prices, frankly, because they have so many customers, they get to spread their expenses over all of them.

All of us, not all of them, all of us, I’m a customer and they give you great service I’m with them. I highly recommend that you sign up with them too, to get an even lower price than they’re already low. Go to host gator.com/mixergy. That’s my, my podcast name, hostgator.com/mixergy. All right. I see. Now where this, where things were going in the business, one of the things that you were starting to talk about was culture and hiring.

Talk about how you keep a culture alive when you’re basically embedding your people and everyone else’s.

Alice: it’s a good question. For us we’re, we’re not really embedding people in other people’s culture. Obviously our assistants work with their clients on a day-to-day basis. And so they have to know the culture. Well, they have to you know, get along with their executives. They have to understand how their companies operate.

Um, at the end of the day, the first thing is that they’ll work with multiple companies. And so they’re exposed to a lot of different cultures. So for us, it is important to have also space on our. Uh, where we can give them guidance, but we can give them support where they can go back to ask questions. And so building that community for us has always been super important or based around the, the, the values that we’re trying to spread.

And so today we work with about a bit more than a hundred assistants. Actually, we just passed the 100 threshold, uh, last week. Let’s so we work with about. The, and we’re onboarding 15 to 20 new people per month at the moment. So growing pretty well and, and having, yeah, this, this, this common place for them to, um, find the support that they don’t find elsewhere has always been important.

Uh, remember we work. Remote assistance. So people who are usually working by, by themselves at home, that don’t have peers, you know, when you’re a remote assistant, you don’t ha you don’t work with other remote assistance on your own at your company. And that usually don’t have the support system. And so that’s also what we provide for them.

And that’s a huge part of the value proposition for our systems to do.

Andrew: So how do you do that? do.

you have weekly calls? Do you have something else?

Alice: a lot of different things that we do to make sure that we’re, we’re building a strong community from the onboarding where we spend a lot of time. Bringing in new assistance into our culture, our values, how we work, what’s important to us. We have a buddy system between experience assistance and new assistance that kind of shared knowledge.

We have a slack group where people can ask questions, get support, share their good stories and share their less good stories because there’s, there’s also that. Um, and then we do a lot of different types of events from webinars to small group events where people can share their stories to things like.

Andrew: And how are you, how are you, um, systemizing and documenting what you do? I’m seeing more and more people now that they’re working remote go to right first cultures where you don’t tell us what you’re doing, write it down, have a document. What’s your process for.

Alice: We, um, we do share, or we do keep track of a lot of the knowledge that’s shared. Again, assistance. I have so much knowledge and they, they, they, they, they, they work on so many different things that there is a real resource for us. Um, so there’s a few things we do. The first one is I was mentioning our onboarding process.

We’ve written a lot or documented a lot. What we think is important for an assistant that starting with us from the kind of clients that are going to work for the best practices for scheduling or booking travel to. Overall knowledge that we have for being the best assistant possible. And we give that documentation to all assistants.

So they have access to it. They can you know, kind of dive into it and it’s a good place for them to start. And then as as they start working with clients, we also document a lot of the, where are we at? We build tools that make it easy for them to document preferences that their clients have information.

They get about them and really making sure that everything is in one.

Andrew: How do you do that? Is that like a CRM so that they have a contact record for each one of their clients? And if they find that a client. And I’ll see versus a middle. Well, not, no one.

likes the middle seat and I’ll see, versus a window. You write that down.

Alice: so, um, the way we do it right now is embedded in the product. So when a client on. the product, we asked them a lot of questions about, as you said, like their preferences, their address, people that matter in their lives, their birthdays all that, the information that, that is going to be helpful at one point or another and that’s stored inside of the product.

And then one day request specific tasks. We have what we call. Which gives you opportunity to, to cleanse, to share even more complex based on specific use cases. So if you it’s the first time that you’re booking a travel request, then we are going to ask all these questions about like, what’s did that seed.

Are you, you know, what company do you like flying with? What’s your, um, customer number of things like that. And we’ll store all this in gap so that assistants can have access to it. The next time they build.

Andrew: Uh, now I see why you need your own app. Yeah, it makes total sense. Right? If it’s just in a slack, in a sauna thing, then you have to remember to go back into a Google doc or a notion doc and write that down. But if it’s part of the task software to also get preferences and then save them for next time, there’s a similar task.

It makes a lot of sense to have it. All right. Overall, where’s your, where’s your revenue right

Alice: right now, we’re, we’re close to hitting 4 million in annual and revenue run rate.

Andrew: okay. Outside funding or

Alice: Um, and we’ve, we’ve, uh, we’re currently in the middle of closing around, uh, so that’s going to be announced soon, but we’ve raised $6 million so far and a pre-seed and seed round. And we’ve, we’ve grown four X in, in the last year and last 10 months.

So it’s been a, um, an intense year.

Andrew: Partially because of COVID is

Alice: Yeah. COVID was actually, I mean, a good year for us. Um, the moves are remote opened a lot of doors for us. Um, you know, before people were maybe more skeptical about getting an assistant remotely, um, they felt like they needed to see the person that it face-to-face, that they needed to have them in the office.

Um, and the fact that everyone was remote, I think made a lot of people way more comfortable with the fact that of working with people they’ve never met.

Andrew: all right. The website is with double.com. Congratulations. Thanks for being on

here.

Thank you all for listening.

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