Have you ever wondered how the big guns of the entrepreneurial world seem to scale their business without breaking cash flow? There’s a formula for it, and a key element of this equation is to take advantage of offshore outsourcing and the adoption of virtual assistants (VAs).
Brad Stevens is the founder and CEO of Outsource Access, an offshore virtual services firm that connects small business owners and entrepreneurs to full-time VAs in the Philippines. Throughout his career, Brad has established many seven-figure enterprises in both local and international markets with distribution in 18 countries.
Brad is just one of the many entrepreneurs with companies transformed by outsourcing. In my conversation with him, we discussed what it’s like to be a global advisor and keynote speaker, the value of outsourcing global talent, and how it has changed the lives of his employees.
Being a global keynote speaker
Aside from serving as the company’s CEO, Brad travels the world speaking about his expertise in scaling, automation, outsourcing, and building high-performance virtual teams. Brad is currently serving as the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s (EO) U.S. East Coast Regional Director for Member Engagement and Leadership across 22 chapters.
“As far as speaking goes, it’s interesting to touch. I didn’t actually expect on being a speaker. I stumbled into it,” he said. Once, EO Atlanta and EO Birmingham had a cancellation from a speaker and heard that Brad was into outsourcing. He was asked if he could do lunch-and-learns with EO members to share knowledge.
Brad tailors his speaking to be educational-driven and provide people with high takeaway value and innovative insights that will change their lives and businesses when they leave. He has received 9.6, 9.7 out of 10 average ratings because he is committed to providing that high takeaway value.
“For most of all of the entrepreneurial business organizations I’ve spoken to, it’s been purely in the spirit of educating. Part of my end goal is just the relationship building,” Brad shared. He has had the opportunity to speak to nearly 60 EO chapters and hundreds of organizations in South America, Asia, and Australia. “And I’ve built amazing relationships through it.”
The value of outsourcing global talent
Outsourcing has been a game-changer in Brad’s life in terms of scaling and growing a business. It equips him with what he refers to as a magic toolbox of know-how and resources that are both affordable and effective.
During a product disaster crisis in his previous company that manufactured and distributed teeth whitening products, he had to figure out a way to make a dollar stretch and look at alternative options to get things done in the business to save money and get things done quickly. “The benefits that I ended up embracing from that is that it gives you access to talent all over the world. And it doesn’t have any borders to it… Obviously, there’s a substantial cost difference,” he said.
Brad explained, “The U.S., a first world country, our currency is very strong. But you have a lot of super talented, intelligent people in other countries and other parts of the world that are currency strong. We can pay relatively lower rates on our side, but it’s really good rates on their side.” It’s a win-win situation for all parties, especially for entrepreneurs who can not only acquire global talent on a very low-cost basis but also have the opportunity to work ON the business and not in it.
“It empowers people to get out of the things that aren’t the highest and best use of their time. Particularly for beginning entrepreneurs that are starting up, it’s about closing deals. Being the face of the business, they need to be out closing more deals. So the opportunity costs of them not doing that is very high. And so getting resources that can get things off their plate at a cost-effective rate.”
Hiring people from the Philippines
Brad chose the Philippines to hire VAs from because they didn’t have cultural gaps there. He clarifies, “The US-controlled it up until 1950. So English is their second language. American education system. So you don’t have the culture gap if you’re gonna have somebody that’s going to work side by side as a staff with you, not somebody that’s just going to do a one-off logo and be gone tomorrow.“
That’s what he saw in the Philippines: this concept of having a virtual assistant who, despite being on the other side of the world, can work side by side with him as a member of his company and team, have a lot of skill sets and manage all those specialized resources. His first VA, Jaycel, who he hired at 23 years old, is now his chief operating officer for 370 employees four years later.
“We hire people that are fast learners, good communicators, and can take feedback. Because most of the stuff under the roof of the small to medium business isn’t rocket science, it’s just a set of systems and processes. So if we can bring someone to the table that can learn quickly, take a community, be a good communicator and take feedback, they can step in and absorb a collection of things inside of a business.”
From an economic standpoint, the U.S. dollar is extremely strong if you compare it to the minimum wage in the Philippines. As a result, you can hire very smart and sharp individuals for a fraction of the price of paying a full-time employee from the U.S.
Boosting your virtual assistants’ performance
Finding virtual assistants for your business is not always an easy task. Once you discover the right people, it is equally important to ensure that they are engaged and motivated. Brad shared some ways how he improves the work performance of his VAs.
As he works with staff on the other side of the globe, he finds convenient times to communicate or uses technology to do asynchronous communication via Loom or Screencast. According to him, it’s more efficient than hopping on a live call through Zoom or Skype. “I do a screencast recording, send it to her and she can watch it and watch it multiple times, but she can also do it on her own time, as well.”
In addition, he commits to their growth and development by providing training opportunities. Getting Jaycel Lean Six Sigma certified and Project Management certified shows how much he values the advancement of his employees. The final tip is showing them appreciation. “I still write a personal welcome message to every single frontline VA that comes on,” he shared. Minute ways of expressing gratitude can create a huge impact on employees’ productivity and morale.
Like the team members you work with within an office setup, VAs are also driven by unique motivating factors, need a sense of belongingness at work, aim for improvement, and want feedback and rewards. A dedicated team member is much more likely to be motivated to see, understand, and contribute to the success of the company.
You find my full conversation with Brad, available as both video and podcast, here
Transcript from Podcast
[00:00:00] Brad: The tagline for our company for Outsource Access is “Redefining how you scale” and, came up with that because that’s what it did for me as an entrepreneur, myself. I ended up starting this company based on my own personal experience when at a company where we manufactured and distributed teeth whitening products and had a product disaster happened on us, where we basically send up sending thousands of failing products all over the world and cash got super tight and I had to figure out a way to make a dollar stretch and how to do things differently.
And so that was my COVID experience back 10 years ago. And so became a student of it, learned it, figured out what is it? How does it work? Beyond, everybody read Tim Hariss’ 4-Hour Workweek 10 years ago. And that’s everybody’s reference point. So beyond that, like what, how can I make this a fundamental part of what we do from a business standpoint?
And the benefits that I ended up embracing from that is, is that it gives you access to talent all over the world. And it doesn’t have any borders to it. There are people that we’ve found in when I first started doing this all over the world, and then obviously there’s a substantial cost difference.
The U.S., the first world country, our currency is very strong. But you have a lot of super talented, intelligent people in other countries and other parts of the world that are currency strong. And we can pay relatively lower rates on our side, but it’s really good rates on their side.
So it’s, a win-win on both sides of the equation. So you can get just an amazing collection of talent from all different places of the world. You can get it on a very affordable type of basis and yeah really the other key thing, particularly for entrepreneurs is we all know the cliche of just trying to wear 400 hats, being in the business versus working on the business.
All the entrepreneurial cliches that everybody falls into, they’re real. They’re real for a reason. And so it, it empowers people to get out of the things that aren’t the highest and best use of their time. Particularly for beginning entrepreneurs that are starting up it’s about closing deals and being the front of the face of the business, they need to be out closing more deals.
And so the opportunity costs of them not doing that is very high. And so getting resources that it can get things off their plate with cost-effective rate. And then that goes for all the existing employees. A lot of people have, $70,000-80,000 employees that are directors of marketing that are still fussing around with the CRM system or managing their own LinkedIn accounts, which isn’t the best use of their time.
So it’s about getting people to their highest and best use of time. And just one last thing as a by-product of that, ironically, is that the culture impact that has in a company. We’ve seen when companies start embracing this and they equip their team with outsourced resources to get the stuff off their plate that they don’t like doing, they actually liked their job a lot more. They want to wake up and their feet hit the ground every day.
Oh, I get to go in and do the thing I love doing, not TPS reports. So those are just a collection of benefits that I’ve seen. And in times like COVID, when you learn how to leverage this world joke around and I’m speaking on this and I talk about it. It’s like having a magic toolbox, like it’s literally about having knowledge and it’s a combination of creativity and knowing how to tap, leverage these resources appropriately, but you can get a new company launched in two weeks for less than $500, so it kinda makes you a little bit recession-proof to defend against any challenges.
[00:03:02] Natasha: I think a lot of people think about outsourcing work as far as like virtual assistants, but what kind of tasks and what kind of skills do the people in your organization have?
[00:03:15] Brad: So specifically in our company and this is when I decided to launch our own operations. So I’ve been outsourcing for a number of years and using other platforms out there, the gig economy platforms, like your fibers and your Upworks and that kind of thing. And so we launched ours.
I tried to fill what I saw was the gaps that were not being kinda met out there. And so what I’ve found from my own experiences, there’s two different buckets, there’s specialized skill stuff, which is one-off projects. Hey, I need this video done. I need a whiteboard animation video done.
Hey, we’ve got this amazing raw footage. I need testimonial videos done. I need a re-worked corporate brochure. I need a data scrape list. I need a website overhaul. Those are one-off specialized skill things. And then the other bucket is where you have a true virtual staff employee that plugs into your business and work side by side, like a staff with you.
And so when I first started outsourcing, a lot of what I did was initially it was all this gig economy, like one-off type project stuff. And at some point I was like, I just want somebody that I can have worked side-by-side with me as a virtual team member that can take on a collection of what I call administrative operational and marketing clutter.
It’s stuff that needs to get done. It falls into two buckets, either A, it’s not the best use of my time or B it’s things that I’m not getting to due to time, money or knowledge constraints. And. That’s when I, now the Philippines is where I ended up choosing to get a VA because you don’t have the culture gaps there.
The US controlled it up until 1950. So English is their second language. American education system. So you don’t have the culture gap if you’re gonna have somebody that’s going to work side by side as a staff with you, not somebody that’s just going to do a one-off logo and be gone tomorrow. And so I look at it as those two type of buckets.
And so the virtual staff, virtual employee. It ends up being a whole collection thing, every small to medium business. When I say administrative operational clutter, like most people immediately have something that pops in their head that’s unique to their business, right? Whether it’s doing CRM management, whether it’s doing customer support, chat, whether it’s generating CRM, data hygiene, whether it’s doing LinkedIn outreach And so in our model I chose to focus on hiring people.
Cause we hired them as full-time employees in the Philippines. We hire people that are fast learners, good communicators, and can take feedback. Because most of the stuff under the roof of the small to medium business isn’t rocket science, it’s just a set of systems and processes even to a QuickBooks, QuickBooks isn’t rocket science.
It’s just a set of systems and processes. So if we can bring someone to the table that can learn quickly, take a community, be a good communicator and take feedback, they can step in and absorb a collection of things inside of a business. And then as you need those one-off projects then you have those as additional resources you tap into as needed.
So like in our business, we have over 200 specialized people as part of our specialized talent division. So when person hires a virtual staff with us, they plug in, but all of a sudden three months from now, they need a corporate brochure overhaul. They didn’t need that in the skillset of their VA because it’s not something they’re doing every day.
So they’ll just tap one of our graphic designers and we’ll just bring that into the mix to get that executed. So it’s having a blend of a VA plus the specialized talent.
[00:06:12] Natasha: About hiring people from the Philippines that I’m really curious about. One is, I have two VA’s from the Philippines and they’re amazing first of all.
Second of all, I personally, and this is my own thing that I need to get over, I can’t imagine asking them to work on my time because I feel that it’s horrific for their health and their body. I don’t know what, I don’t know where that comes from, but maybe it’s from my own personal desire to not work throughout the night.
How do you approach that?
[00:06:47] Brad: Yeah. And I had the same concern when I first started, in the Philippines relative. I’m in Atlanta here, Eastern standard time, so it’s exactly 12 hours. So exactly, on the other side of the globe. And and so when I first started working, we basically, when I first started with my very first VA’s is I’m a huge fan of a tool called screencast.
And if you guys heard me speak, I’m fanatical about it, that Loom, which I’m sure you probably use those tools. Also asynchronous communication. And frankly, it’s even better because instead of us trying to hop on a live call with the VA and it was Zoom call and screen sharing or Skype sharing, or what have you, I just click a button, record my screen, my voice, and my mouse hit a button and it generates a link in a, some of the video.
So if I’ve got this harebrained idea at 10 o’clock at night, I’d like for the VA to kind of research or explore what. I do a screencast recording, send it to her and she can watch it and watch it multiple times, but she can also do it on her own time, as well. So what I find in my own initial experiences that we ended up working kind of hybrid hours a little bit initially.
So like my personal VA, so funny enough, my very first VA 23 year old young woman and too much to the testament of hiring people that aren’t experienced, but just are fast learners, harder as 23 had never been a VA in her life, didn’t have any experience in the software that I was running at the time, but she just showed this incredible passion to learn and expand and grow.
Four years later, she’s my chief operating officer for 370 employees, the ability to raise the lid and the competency has been an incredible but so we started working together initially. And so I’d always been a fan of doing screencast. And we were more, she was more kind of ,so we were between until 10:00 or 11:00 AM, which is like 10:00, 11:00 PM there. Tom, we’d be on the same time zone. And then, she’d go to sleep. I’d finished working the rest of the day and knew I’m sleeping, she’s getting kind of work done.
So interestingly, most of our clients we, when we do the discovery session with them, if they’re in a situation where they absolutely need someone to work their local hours, because they’re doing direct customer service support, or what have you, there’s people that actually enjoy working kind of the night shift, for whatever their life situation is. Most of them are single and don’t have families. They don’t mind it, but we also tell clients, look, this will not be sustainable long term, right? I forgot what happened with this individual, that they were wants to shift to not do this kind of longer-term, but it maybe it’s a fit for their life right now.
But I would say a very small fraction, less than 10% end up needing that. But when we do, when we put the job post out, we make it very clear. This is what this person’s looking for. So people only raising their hand, “I want to work those hours.” I’d say the vast majority are that hybrid hour situation where it’s kinda, they’re working a little bit on their time, a little bit on their hours.
And then we have some that truly are completely on their own local time zone. And they just like my personal VA. Funny enough. So now since Jaycel, my initial VA, who’s now running my company, I had to get my own VA. Now my new VA is Cass, Casandra.. She and I have never had a live conversation in a year and a half.
We’ve done- we do nothing but communicate through screencast recording and just. Between 8:00 and 10:00 AM and then she goes to sleep. And so it lets them keep their own cycle.
[00:09:42] Natasha: That’s great to know. I’m I really love that. I had no idea that’s how you run your business and how you allow your employees to work and so thank you for that. And also another thing I’m curious about, and I have Googled it, but I would love to hear from you since this is your business is, what is a living wage in the Philippines? And what is low cost? Cause those things are very up in the air.
I felt guilty at first for paying such like it was astonishing to me how low of a fee to pay for these people. And I just wanted to make sure I did my research to make sure that we’re not gouging them. And, but I want to hear from you what what a living wage hourly is or however it is that you can speak to that in that.
[00:10:31] Brad: Yeah. Yeah. And then, and it honestly drove a lot of why I chose to base my company, where I chose to base it in the Southern part of the Philippines.
So when I decided to launch an operation over there, I went and visited with my very first VA Jaycel. And then a couple of other people we had hired that were basically before I launched my own outsourcing operation, I just did a lot of consulting and speaking and stuff. And they were part of my team that helped me do the speaking engagements and what have you.
But then they became my base management team. We decided to launch our own outsourcing operation. So when I decided to do that I flew over there and visited 20 facilities and Manila is what most people are familiar with, the capital of the Northern of. And at a guy that gave me, who’d been an experienced in doing this for years.
And over the course of five days, we went and visited 20 facilities across Manila, Makati, Clark, which are all in the Northern part. And I would go into a lot of these outsourcing operations that they had relationships with. And they’d let me go in. They’d let me talk to their staff as I’m just getting a feel for it.
They had an open door and I’d sit down with some of them. And some of these people, because it was Manila and the higher cost of living in the city, they would have to live a couple of hours outside of the city. So these people would get up at sometimes three or four in the morning. Get up.
Get their children, if they had kids right, getting food ready for them for the day and then get on, what’s called a trike, which is a side-by-side motorcycle thing to go part of their way in or walk part of the way, then get on a track with someone they would pay to take part of the way. Then there’s this unique vehicle in the Philippines called the jeepney.
It basically looks like a long squished like school bus, that they didn’t take this open air and then they’d have to walk the last piece of it. So sometimes they’d spend two hours getting into work and another two hours getting out because cost of living was too much in the city.
So my original VA Jaycel is actually from the Southern part of the Philippines in an area down. You got Davao, Cebu, some other kind of areas down there where it’s not as dense, not as high a cost of living. And furthermore, we chose to let everybody work virtually from home. So they didn’t have to do the transportation that can work, from home the process.
So across the Philippines, minimum wage is like a dollar and 20 US, per hour. So if you compare that kind of what the minimum wages here in the US right, we know what kind of lifestyle that can offer. So first starting depending on what part of the country that they’re living in and where they are, if they’re in the outer skirts and then some of the provinces and so forth.
Making $3, $4 an hour, I mean is a tremendous income.
[00:12:53] Natasha: That’s really hard to understand. It’s hard to understand. And I will say you don’t know this about me, but I’m a quarter Filipino. My family’s from Manila and Legazpi city. I don’t know. Yeah. I don’t know any of my extended relatives yet I haven’t been able to find them, but it’s just really hard to wrap your head around.
So thank you for saying it loud. It matches what the research that I’ve done on Google is. And makes me feel better about outsourcing and my two VAs are incredibly thankful for the kind of work they get to do with me. And I think, it is a little bit of a novelty to be working for an American company and I have never had more energetic, engaged people.
So I’m all for it. Thank you for talking about that.
[00:13:42] Brad: So just one other point on that. And then that’s a hundred percent about it as well is. And I teach people when they’re going to outsource, if they don’t go with us, they just whatever path they go with outsourcing is to pour in and treat these people like individuals.
Because for two reasons, one is there’s a lot of kind of Westerners that work without source resources in India or otherwise they just treat people like robots sometimes. And that’s a general statement that tends to be the case. But also within the country within the Philippines and otherwise, if they’re working and they have a Filipino manager, it’s a very dictatorial type of management style.
So it’s especially as the call centers, it’s ” Hey, make your hundred calls, hit your stats or you’re out.” And they work in this tiny little cube and they, two hour commute back and forth.
By showing them appreciation. And I still write a personal welcome message to every single frontline VA that comes on. I tell them how much I care about them. Their families are committed to their personal growth, ask them their favorite books. I share my favorite books back and forth with them. And then part of the oh, which we’re both connected with, had a relationship with United Nations and so a big commitment to the sustainable development goals.
And so actually took that full tilt and we brought in a consultant and we fully implement alignment to the sustainable development goals in our company. So we have our VAs answer a survey and tell us, what are you most passionate about on these 17 STGs in your community? And like last quarter, they chose life on land.
And so we actually planted a hundred trees and our VA, so pouring into them, showing you commit to their growth and their development. And like Jaycel, my very first VA, anytime she wanted to grow and develop. I got her Lean Six Sigma certified, Project Management certified. So word anybody that’s going down this path truly build a relationship, show much how you care and pour into them.
And the loyalty is endless.
[00:15:16] Natasha: Yes. I have to agree with that and tell you a little quick story. One of my VAs she, is in a rural area and it’s raining a lot and they shut down the power. It either gets shut down by accident or the government shuts it down. I really don’t understand it.
And it was really bothering her that she couldn’t fulfill her tasks with me. And I was very understanding, but then I went a little deeper and I asked her, what do you need? And the need was a generator. So I bought her a generator. For me it was $200, for her it was mind-blowing. She and her whole family were so thankful. And it’s a simple thing. It’s not only allowing her to work for me, but it’s allowing her family to do what they need to do when their power is shut down.
All right. So moving on. When you were starting outsource, did you plan at all on selling the business eventually? Or are you planning to exit?
[00:16:14] Brad: No. That’s always the question. A lot of times entrepreneurs and some people. They have a business in mind, and I’m actually going to another company that we’ve launched that it’s a separate from this. That absolutely that is the goal in three years to try and do an exit situation. But this business no, it’s a unique industry that we’re in.
There’s not a very clear strategic acquisition partner necessarily, per se. We’re not trying to be a Fiverr and Upwork or a gig economy type of deal. Truly we could scale and probably generate faster, quicker revenue. If I wanted to be more, just a one-off gig economy thing, but my passion being a lifetime entrepreneur growing up in small to medium business, that’s where my passion is.
And I see that’s where the biggest need. And then where from a personal wise standpoint, that’s where I say we can move the needle in this country, in the US. Small to medium businesses, the lifeblood of our economy. And when you give them access to understanding this world, and this is the grand irony, you can relate to as well as that.
A lot of people see our business outsource axis. “Oh, you’re shipping jobs overseas.” “You’ve taken away from Americans,” and so forth. The grand majority of everybody that we work with, it’s about elevating existing people to their highest and best use of time and flanking them with an outsourced resource.
So you can take an $80,000 VP of marketing and flank them with the $18,000, $90,000 a year VA. And it’s one plus one equals five. And ironically enough, it creates jobs in this country. We have one woman that, that back before we launched our operation, she heard me speak at an event.
She was 32 years old, about to be in bankruptcy and tried to launch, was trying to launch a business owner, and came and saw me speak and never knew that this world existed. Went back, used all this stuff to launch her company to help senior citizens find senior care facilities and went from bankruptcy to half-a-million dollars in revenue 18 months later, and hired I think 19 people in this country.
So that’s the grand irony is that it ends up actually creating job opportunities for people. So to go back to your original question, when it comes to sell, I’ve loved, I’ve never been so aligned as an entrepreneur, my entire life. People I knew was exciting, do growing a business, but whiting people’s teeth, wasn’t the same as changing the life of people in the Philippines and giving them a whole new life and career they never would have ever had before sometimes.
And then with small to medium businesses, we’re seeing people truly just, during COVID help people save their companies and helping them grow and expand and even create jobs in this country, they wouldn’t have. My focus, we run EOS, which you may run on attraction and in our business. And so we have our five-year.
Our goal is to get to, we’re trying to get to 2,500 people in the next three years. And that’s my next mile mark and we’ll regroup.
[00:18:40] Natasha: That’s a lot of people. That is a lot of people. I was wondering if you were going for that billion dollar mark. And at this point, just that many people I don’t need to know the revenue that, that’s just a lot of people to manage, but good for you.
What would you have done differently in starting and growing this business or any business, that you have now with the knowledge that you have now? So go back to your first business, whatever mess that was, because I know most entrepreneurs start their business like a shotgun and then they aren’t, they’re not really educated on how to run a business.
Now you are, what would you change differently if you were to do a new business?
[00:19:21] Brad: One thing you’ve learned doing EOS right, is right people, right seats. And one of the biggest, there’s actually a speaker I heard at the EO nerve event recently, our regional event for the East Coast. It said one of the most damaging periods of time for an entrepreneur is from the point that they know someone’s not going to meet their expectations and the time they actually do something about it.
And I thought that was one of the most powerful statements because as entrepreneurs. It goes without saying that I will delegate, automate and delegate much faster and quicker. Anytime. Obviously that’s the business that I live in, breathe in the gospel I preach to people is first of all is just get things off of my plate and get in mind, myself and people to their highest and best use of time as quickly as possible.
But the less obvious things sometimes it’s just how critical getting the right people taking the right time. We use a tool called Culture Index, maybe familiar with there’s one called Predictive Index, but we use Culture Index. I double down on any kind of tool that helps me get the right people in the seats at the, from the get-go, because it is so damaging by, the speaker actually talked about like when he has people rate employees, he hates the number seven when somebody gets rated as seven.
That means that you’re not good enough to be an eight and a nine. You’re not quite crappy enough to be a six in terms of your performance. You’re like a seven. And it’s like just enough to create enough mental frustration for you. And just the amount of mental anguish that goes into being frustrated with that person, thinking about being frustrated with that person.
Are you going to do it? Are you not going to get rid of them? And what have you. So I would think there’s a lot of things I would do differently, but one of those is I really focus on getting the right people surrounding me from the get-go and using the right tools, not just a gut feel, not just in a case interview, not just a couple of reference checks, but using a combination of all those tools, like culture index to really get to the DNA level, to the extent that I can.
So I get the right people in the office.
[00:21:09] Natasha: I’d love to just say to all the listeners that I think when you’re starting out as an entrepreneur, you’re not thinking that the biggest obstacle that you’re going to face is people. And I think you and I can both agree human beings. We’re very complicated and it’s very difficult to write a job description with not just what you need to do, but the outcomes, what the culture is, what the culture fit is.
You can interview someone, you can get great references, you can do a Culture Index. It still may not work out finding another place for them that suitable or, departing, terminating so that they can go on their way to the better fit for them. It’s nerve wracking and it is the hardest part I think of running a business.
Much worse than figuring out sales and marketing. So the last thing I want to talk to you about is you’re a keynote speaker, and I’d love to know more about that world for you and what your end goal is. Is it a big speaking fee? Is it a funnel for new business? What is your approach?
[00:22:15] Brad: Sure. And one comment I’ll make on the last topic, just as a tactical takeaway from everybody is one of the biggest things is good expectations from the beginning. When the biggest failures I made as an entrepreneur, as you hire these people, if you give him the right people, seats just have good, clear expectations and understanding on both sides of the equation and have quarterly reviews so that those are revisited on an ongoing basis. Don’t let things fester just like in a marriage or any other relationship, let things fester, they blow up. So have a consistent touch base.
Yeah. Yeah. As far as speaking goes, it’s interesting to touch. I didn’t actually expect on being a speaker. I stumbled into it. My last business in the teeth whitening kind of industry, I didn’t do any speaking really at all. And then I learned to do this outsourcing stuff as part of that business when I transitioned to that being my business.
Actually an EO, I got asked. There’s an EO at Atlanta and EO Birmingham chapter which is, not too far from us here. They had a cancellation from a speaker and they had heard that I knew about this outsourcing stuff. So I’ve been asked to do lunch and learns with other fellow EO just to share knowledge.
Like I was happy just to share here’s what I learned. Here’s how you do it, whatever. So I quickly threw together some slides and drove over to Birmingham and said, hey, here’s what I’ve learned. And here’s the outcome. Great case study driven which a lot of entrepreneurs appreciate. Not theory, not concepts.
Tell me specific examples. And they went nuts about it and they kept me for an hour and a half afterwards just asking me questions, wanting to dig deeper. They’re like, “Man, all I read was like Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek. That’s the last reference point I had on this.” And so that’s what made me realize.
This is maybe some of the people really value. And in the organization and others, I end up speaking with Vistage and TAB and others, like word just travels within the organizations. And before I knew it, like I just kept getting asked to bounce to here and bounce there. So I’ve never had an agency, a speaking agency or speaking bureau.
I focus my speaking to be education-driven and to have people have high takeaway value that’s going to change their life and their business when they walk out. Not listen to me, blah blah, about the latest five management bullet points they’ve read in the last 19 books they’ve read, but surely be innovative education so that they are walking out of there with a ton of value.
And I’ve had, I think it might be like a 9.6, 9.7 out of 10 average rating because I commit to that high takeaway value. And so it was a per freight train for the last three years, I got asked to do a bunch, so I found myself traveling and speaking to a ton of different organizations. And for me, I don’t outwardly promote our business.
In these organizations as well, like you’re not allowed to promote, or solicitor would have you.
[00:24:28] Natasha:: Can’t sell from the stage.
[00:24:30] Brad: And it is truly about educating and sharing and helping people, and also getting people’s clarity on their constraint points, got a whole workbook that we do and then share the best practices.
And I got through about 30 or 40 case studies. But there’s naturally people that want to know dig deeper in what you do and about your business and kind of what have you. And yeah, we do have some people that become clients from speaking stuff, but it’s not the main. Unlike certain things like when I’m doing webinars that are posted on our website and that kind of thing, like I’m a little more aggressive about an ask about what we do at the end of those.
But for most of all of the entrepreneurial business organizations I’ve spoken to, it’s been purely in the spirit of educating. And to be honest, part of my end goal with the two, it’s just the relationship building. It’s been phenomenal. I’ve got a chance to speak for over close to 60 plus EO chapters and, hundreds of organizations across the world in South America and Asia and Australia and what have you.
And I’ve built amazing relationships through it. And I’m very intentional about getting a ready to connect with me on LinkedIn. And I send them emails. What kind of follow up content and people stay in touch. Really cool to hear their journeys with it. I saw an email from a guy yesterday from Arizona that dropped me an email out of the blue said, “Hey, man, I just want to let you know how much your talk has massively impacted my business and my outsourcing journey” that he did on his own.
Not even through us. Find joy for the relationship side. And I may do some keynotes going forward. We had a five-year-old, a two-year-old at home, so my wife would prefer that I’m not bouncing all over the place, speaking tends to drive a lot of travel, but it’s allowed me to build a resume of speaking with lot of experiences that have done at some point may look at doing some larger stage stuff and do some keynotes.
[00:25:53] Natasha: I’ve been on the receiving end of one of your presentations and it was really good. I get your newsletter. And everything that I see you put out is of great value. And thank you. Thank you for myself and thank you for all the entrepreneurs that you’re helping.
Is there anything else you wanted to talk about that we might’ve missed?
[00:26:15] Brad: Oh, there’s millions of different rabbit holes. I could go down with that for sure.
[00:26:18] Natasha: It’s okay, I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t leave something out that you’re desperately wanting to talk about.
[00:26:25] Brad: No, I just encourage people just like I do when I talk about this isn’t a short-term tip or trick, right? This isn’t a short-term thing. That’s going to go away to. This is where everything is going, and a lot of small to medium businesses, a muffler shop in St. Louis, doesn’t think that they could ever use someone in the Philippines to do their bookkeeping, but it’s where it’s all shifting to.
And most small to medium businesses think that outsourcing is just for Fortune 100 or Fortune 1000 companies. It absolutely can be for you. And it is where everything is going and I guarantee your competitors are heading in that space. And so it’s not an option. You ultimately need to embrace this world one way or the other just, and I encourage everybody to learn about it and engage it.
I’m happy to share recordings of a 90 minute long webinar that I do. I do a bunch of case studies I have to share with your listeners as well. To just understand more about this world because it they’re going to cross the path with.
[00:27:14] Natasha: Thank you very much. Okay. That’s the end of that. I just put something in the chat that I’d love to see if you’re willing to voice to promote your episode, you can also say whatever you want, but what I put in the chat is just, honestly you can make it up.
Some people like to just read it. Some people like devoid. Say their own wacky thing. I’m laughing at some other people’s in the past, but you do not have to be funny.
[00:27:42] Brad: I just find me, I just want to just touch on what we chatted about at all or-
[00:27:46] Natasha: Whatever you want. Mike Michalowicz, just as the funniest one, he’s like “I’m Mike Michalowicz with-” he was just. I’m sorry. He was just so awful. If people don’t know who he is, they’re going to be like, what the heck is that?
Okay. Yeah. I’m going to put myself on mute and you can do it as many times as you want.
[00:28:07] Brad: And so I’m just doing the ultimate. This is like a mini commercial that goes the very beginning or that you use to draw
[00:28:12] Natasha: Oh, totally separate. It’ll be separate to drive people, to tee them up for your podcast and-
[00:28:17] Brad: Hey everybody, my name is Brad Stevens, founder and CEO of Outsource Access. And just want to invite you to come and listen to the interview that I just did with Natasha Miller on the Fascinating Entrepreneurs podcast. I’m flattered she thought I was fascinating enough to participate and be a part of this podcast with her, and just got a chance to jam on the whole world of outsourcing virtual assistants, easy tech tools and really revisit and redefine how you can scale as a small business entrepreneur. It’s a space that a lot of people aren’t sure about and are looking to explore. So we dive into it, go behind the scenes. And so I invite you to come check out the interview as we explore further.