James: James Schramko here with Kat Jarman from youronlineteam.com. Hey, Kat!
James: We’re just doing a couple of training sessions. And today we’re talking about what to do on the very first day your new VA arrives. Because I think this is new territory for a lot of small business owners, as they’re starting to scale out their team. And I know from experience, what happens on your first day can have a huge impact on how your business is going to go from there. I certainly have experienced that from both sides of the coin.
I remember my very first day at BMW. When I got my first sales job, they just pointed down the end of the showroom, and they said, there’s a desk down there somewhere. Good luck. That was it. There was no induction, there was a bit of paperwork so that I could get paid, which eventually came a few days later. And I had to figure everything out myself. It was absolutely crazy. And I made a vow to never put anyone in that situation. Went on to develop a really strong system that was used to hire and train salespeople in the subsequent place I went, Mercedes-Benz. That became the benchmark.
But when it comes to the online world, I think sometimes we can have this tendency to view remote team members in another place, we’re not seeing them. We might be tempted to not put as much thought into it as we would if we had a physical business. So, I’m really keen to hear about your tips and suggestions on this topic.
Kat: Yeah, you know, so a lot of this comes from my experience with hiring a new team member, and we’re really busy like everybody else is. Their start day arrives, and then you go, Oh no! I’ve nothing prepared. Can you just go and like sit in the corner. And, I don’t know, make yourself useful somehow?
And so we put a system in place that would help us to not do that. We want to make a new team members feel super comfortable right away so that they cannot be shy and feel like they can ask questions. And we also want to give them a roadmap so that they know where they’re going, preferably that day, and also that week, and that month, as well.
So I like to jump on a call with them right away, the first day. Some people don’t like doing this. If you don’t want to do it yourself, if you’ve got a team member, they can jump on a call with them. I think that’s really important.
And then inside of our Asana, we have an onboarding project. And that will guide them through the first day, the first week, the first month. And it will show them where to login to things, what their passwords are, who they need to go to if they need help, that sort of thing. And takes them through, where the procedures are, all that sort of stuff so that they never feel lost. And if they ever get to the end of the day, or the next day and think I don’t have anything to do, their onboarding project is kind of like their backup.
Those are the two things that I would recommend — jump on a call with them and have an onboarding project. And one thing I know that you do, James, that I really like, as well. So I’m going to steal that, is you assign them a buddy, don’t you?
James: Absolutely, yes. I mean, look, the big challenge that most employers say is, I don’t know what I’m going to have my team member do. Like, they have absolutely nothing prepared and they don’t have a way for the person to come in there.
And, you know, when you think about any time you’ve ever had a job, and a lot of people in my generation have. I think some people in the new generation may not actually have that step. They might go straight from school to an online business. But for the most part, if you’ve ever had a job, remember that first day? It’s kind of scary. It’s all new and frightening. And especially if you’re working with a team like I do in the Philippines, it’s really important to make them feel safe and comfortable. Because dealing with another country can be a little bit scary, as well.
Once you’ve got a team member, it really helps to have a buddy. Just like if you’re scuba diving, or doing anything else that’s a bit scary. It’s good to have someone there who knows the ropes. I remember the first time I went skydiving, there was some big bloke strapped to the back of me, his name was Sasha. And I felt comfortable that he’d skydive before and he knew which string to pull, and that there’s a good chance we’d make it to the ground. Spoiler alert! We made it to the ground with the parachute. But yeah, a buddy just takes that fear out of it. And they can get up and running really quickly.
Now, the last person that we hired probably three or four months ago, she got up and running literally within the first few days. And by a few weeks later, she was like one of the team and had all of our nuances and methodologies down pat, because she got systems. Exactly what you talked about.
I mean, what you’re talking about sounds like a dream scenario. If you’re watching this video, and you’ve got a team and you don’t have this system in place, then either build one, or ask Kat to come in with her team and build it for you. You can look her up at youronlineteam.com, and then assign a buddy to make it all smooth.
And of course, if you can, as the business owner, check in with your team member. I certainly did. We use Slack. But I certainly checked in on a very frequent basis in the beginning to make sure that we had that dialogue and to let them know that I’m thinking about them, and that I am interested in their success.
In fact, it reminds me of this time when I had a trial period at the Mercedes-Benz dealership that I went to after BMW. I was sitting on the couch, having a coffee in between this frenzy of work and I was still in my trial period. And the dealer principal who’s pretty much in charge of the dealership came and sat next to me. He goes, How’s it all going? And I said, Good, but I’ll be pleased when the trial period finishes, you know? And he said, If you don’t make the trial period then I’ll leave with you. Because he was very confident that I was going well. And that was so reassuring.
So I think it’s really important that someone at a high level who probably wouldn’t always necessarily be looking out for that new person comes and connects, that made a big difference to me. So I recommend that. As you suggested, that phone call or the check-in is so vital.
So you’ve given some really solid tips today, Kat. And I appreciate that. There’d be a huge difference between businesses who do this, versus just throw them in the deep-end, so to speak.
Kat: Yeah, definitely. We don’t want them to feel like they’re isolated. So we want them to be part of the team as quickly as possible. I was one of those people that I hate the first day of a new job, hate the first six months of a new job. So I’m trying to avoid that for team members. Like, just get them in there and get them feeling comfortable ASAP.
James: Yeah, and look, I’ve watched you actually do this for your own business. You started out as a solo practitioner and then you became very, very good at the exact stuff we’re talking about — systemizing businesses, setting up the thing to run properly. And then you’ve built your own team which, they’re kind of like a team of angels who just go out and fix other businesses. So I see the good work you’re doing. I support you.
And it’s great to have you here sharing some tip. And we’ll have a few other tips like this. So thanks for sharing, Kat.
Kat: Thanks for having me.
James: There you go. Check out Kat, youronlineteam.com.
I’m James Schramko. You’ve been watching SuperFastBusiness.