This is a Podcast Transcription done with AI of the Purpose and Pixie Dust Podcast, episode 234: [INTERVIEW] Delegating, Outsourcing & Hiring a Virtual Assistant with Madeline Hornung
Player to listen in at the end of the blog or available wherever you listen to podcasts!
In today's interview with Madeline Hornung (Maddy) from Mad Saavy VA Agency, we talk:
Outsourcing and what it looks like
How to know what to outsource
How to find a VA and how to hire the right one
How outsourcing can actually make you more money
Madeline is a single mom who wanted to leave the hustle of the corporate retail world and build a business that worked around her life. She is a VA and OBM agency owner & founder who works with other ambitious female biz owners to maximize their time and make more money.
Download your guide to hiring a virtual assistant from Maddy here: https://view.flodesk.com/pages/62263d99e4da3a4464c2ffef
Connect with Lindsay here: htttps://www.lindsaydollinger.com/links
Hey girl, welcome to the Purpose and Pixie Dust podcast, the podcast where we dive deep into our passions, our purpose and really unlock our potential with some pixie dust thrown in. What is pixie dust? You might ask, it's the fun and joy that gets unlocked when you're creating and owning your magic. I'm Lindsay Dollinger: dog, mama, Disney lover and high school Spanish teacher who has used my magic to grow my businesses while also working full time. I'm on a mission to help other women create and own your magic by building not only the business of your dreams, but also the life of your dreams while still juggling life, your full time job and all the things. So if you want more than this provincial life, let's use our glass slippers to break those glass ceilings and Sprinkle lots of pixie dust into our lives and businesses, Let's do this.
All right, I think we are live. Hello everyone, Welcome back to another purpose and pixie dust podcast. I'm Lindsay Dollinger and I'm super excited for our guest today. We've been trying to do this for a while, but this and people traveling and everything else, we are finally getting her on air. So um Madeline Madeline Hornung! Hornung. Yeah, yes, that's it. I literally just told her as soon as I go live, I completely butchered people's names, I did not have problems saying that before. Um but I'm super excited and you might hear me hear me say Maddie because I was used to hearing Maddie from my business coach, which is how we ended up connecting. But anyway, Madeline tell us all the things, where are you at, what do you Do? How did you get started? We love hearing people's stories.
Absolutely. Um so I am in Washington State, I'm actually like 10 miles from the Canadian border. Um yeah, way up north here and I am a virtual assistant and online business manager, agency owner that was mouth. Um and yeah, my background before that um was in retail management. So for um Nordstrom Anthropologie, R. E. I. I managed um different levels of departments and things at their stores. I did that for 10 years and it drains you being in retail For that long and working 12, 14 hour days. Um and when I had my son two years ago, I just couldn't do it anymore. I wanted flexibility and time with him and all of that was just much more important to me. Um and so I decided to not go back after my maternity leave. And that ended up being the best decision ever. And um yeah, it's been phenomenal. So how did you make that shift from the corporate world? I know it was like a natural ending because of the maternity leave, but how are you like, okay, I'm going to start a business and this is what it's going to be like that. Um it's evolved, so it's been about a year and a half really? That the business has been like going um prior to that I had like six months where I was doing kind of random side gigs, like house sitting or whatnot, and I was like, okay, I definitely want something more flexible um but I don't want to have to be like going to people's houses and leaving all the time and taking my son all over. Um so I wanted something that was remote and from home, so I ended up finding um my first client actually through Instagram, Kelsey Curtis, I don't know um at some point if she'll be on here with you. Um but she was just looking for a part time assistant, she's a photographer and just needed some, some help um and that's kind of what sparked my interest when I was working with her just part time. At first I was like okay, I really like this and here are the pieces that I like the most. Um and essentially after that was able to network and meet a ton of people because I had also just moved here from San Diego, that's where I'm originally from, so I didn't know anybody here. Um and that was kind of like my first, I guess now now I call her a friend also and she's a client, but that was the first person I really like met here and we just connected and she introduced me to a couple of my next clients and then it just kind of exploded from there, I love that, I love how I have seen this huge pattern this year with guests that I've been talking to about how everything is just like a really natural progression. Like it might not even be what you were ever imagining for what you do. It's just kind of stuff kind of fall in your lap and I love how you said to that you picked the pieces that you really liked from those things that you were doing with her and you're like, okay, this is what I want to do, because I think so many times people will will be at the beginning and they're like, well, I don't know what to do, how do I pick? And it's like, you do a little bit of everything and then you Yeah, exactly, and that's kind of what, even with my clients after her, there were still things where I was like, oh, I thought I was really gonna love this and I don't like when I'm doing it all the time, it's actually not one of my things that I like to do. So it's really been a consistent progression um over time figuring out like what is that? And that's kind of how the agency grew to, what it is now, is that there are people who like the things I don't like, and we can still offer those services, but I don't want to do it. So I have this team now who can still help um with all of the things but it's not necessarily on me to do the tasks that either I'm not good at or that I don't want to do. Um so that's kind of how I turned all of that into the agency where it's just me that's so smart.
Okay, I want to come back to that, I was serious though, you and Kelsey live close together right, like nearby, So were you originally doing assistant things like in person and then it slowly more online?
Okay, yep, yep. Exactly, yeah, so I kind of actually holly was one of the people, she hadn't even met me yet at that point I wasn't the mastermind or anything, but she knew Kelsey from her podcast, like they did a podcast together and um so she sent stuff out to the mastermind girls who were in it at the time and that's how I started to like kind of branch out um you know further in the US besides just locally where I'm at and then it kind of just keeps branching further and further so oh my gosh, that's so funny, it's like like how things are connected just so crazy because like you never know right, you never know what opportunity you're going to get in and I tell people all the time, like get into mastermind, get into membership, join several memberships if they're low cost and you can do it for that networking component alone and who is who she's talking about Holly Marie Haynes, I was in her collective mastermind earlier this year, this is 2022 still so yes, earlier this year um and then that's how Maddie and I actually met in person was. So you do business with Holly, what is your role with Holly then?
So I'm her online business manager, so I'll do like a lot of behind the scenes stuff in our project management system um like retreat planning, like things like that with her. Yeah.
Yeah, so that's where we met in person. This July was in Columbus now. Was that your first time in Columbus or had you been in Columbus?
That was my first time and I am obsessed with it now. I love it, I love that, I love it. It's a pretty fun city, there's a lot of stuff to do there now.
Did you come back this fall to for pictures? Did I see that?
We did, yes. Oh my gosh! And we were there on like the best week, all of the leaves were like perfectly turning and starting to fall. It was just it was amazing. Yeah, we had a really nice fall like the first time in ages. You lucked out okay, I want to talk more about the agency because I know that there are some people listening who have probably either thought about doing the same thing or maybe it's like in the pipeline down the road, so how did that get started? Like how are you like, okay I want to I need to like hire some more people and what does that look like. Um So that again was a progression of things. So I since this was like my first, I don't know my first business and jump into entrepreneurship, I was like learning on the fly, which I think we all do um and I didn't realize how quickly I would cap out, you know, and hit my capacity. Um So I think I had six or seven clients and I was like I can't take any other people on, but I had built such a huge referral network that I was getting requests constantly, they're like, I really want to work with, you will be on your wait list and my wait list was like getting so long, I'm like I gotta figure something out because this is an opportunity and I can't do it alone, like I can't service all of these people and do a good job at the same time. So um that's kind of how it started and I hired one person to start um and it was like a very specific niche down thing that she was doing like a lot of copyrighting and I realized like I need other people for admin work for graphic design, for social media management, all these different things that um we were doing and so I now have a team of six people that all um kind of work within their own niche and um so yeah, it's it's kind of morphed like over time into that and figuring out what works the best. Um It's but it's been awesome, so cool. I like how they work in their niche too because I know I've worked with virtual assistant agencies before and it would be like one person on a task, but it necessarily like there were pieces of it that weren't there like strong and I could definitely tell when like, like kind of like the ball was being dropped, so to speak. Yeah, so I like how you guys are, how you're figuring out who's good at what and you're giving it up that way. Yeah, I had to learn real quickly, like I can't do it all and I would people wanted me to, I mean I could do a good job and a lot of things but like there's certain things I'm great at and I know that there's people who are better than me who could get these other things done a lot faster and more efficient um and do a better job and so I had to really like humble myself and be like I am not the best person to do these tasks for you, so I'm gonna find somebody who can and so that's kind of how I was like I've got to find other people who that's like where they operate, you know?
So now I'm just thinking now that we've been talking, I probably should have asked you at the beginning to explain for anyone who does not know what is a VA and or business manager and what can they do for your business?
Yeah. So a virtual assistant is somebody who can basically take tasks think of like um an admin I guess for a lot of things and so you can assign them different tasks that they can complete for you that maybe you don't have the time for if you have this running checklist all the time, you can't get things done. They kind of can come in and help with that. And the virtual assistant world has grown so much. So now there's um beyond just admin work, there's like social media managers or social media via s there's Pinterest VAs, there's um gosh what else do we have? Um like bookkeeping and accounting type VAs. Who can help you with that side of things. If you don't can't necessarily afford a bookkeeper, they can go in and help you invoice and all of that. So now there's like all these different avenues for you to find the right person who can fit that. And then an online business manager is more what I do at this point. And they are like your right hand person, they're gonna be the higher level strategy going through all those things figuring out like a plan. Say if you're launching something or what not they're going to get all those steps and like project management side of things with you.
Yeah that makes so much sense now if someone is like okay I think I might be ready for a virtual assistant or something is overwhelming me. I wouldn't mind taking off my plate. What does that process look like when they reach out to you connect kind of walk us through initial connection to becoming a client.
So we usually hop on a call and I have them give me all the information and make sure it's actually going to be a good fit because sometimes we aren't or I don't have someone on my team that you can do whatever they're asking. Um But what I always tell people is to track your time So if you're not sure like who should I look for? What type of VA what you know where do I start? Um there's apps like Toggle or Clock if I that you can actually go in and I tell people attract their time for like 3-5 days will give you a great idea of where you're spending all of your time. Um And then next to your tracking of the hours it's taking per task. Um I tell people to write down, do I enjoy doing this And also is there somebody who can do this better than I can and more efficiently than I can. So for example, for me, I love creating content and I love designing, you know, different templates and logos and branding and all these things, but if it's for my own I will sit there in Canada for like five hours on one template. And so for me, yeah, right, that's in common. Yeah. And for me I'm like, okay, somebody on my team can do this for me. So I'm not over thinking, do I like to do it? Yes. But is there someone who's going to be faster and do a really great job? Yes. And I can spend my time on more money making activities which would be right connecting with other people networking, taking discovery calls. Um so that's just one thing that people can kind of do before hopping on discovery calls with us or another virtual assistant um to make sure you're actually talking to the right person And then beyond that, um we send everything that we do at least that our agency is custom packages, so we'll go through and create 2-3 options. They're fully customizable and send those out so that you can kind of pick and choose what things you want to add to your package and then go from there and then we basically just onboard after that.
Okay. Yeah, I love that. I love that it's customizable too because I feel like there's so many times that it's just like this is it and there might be pieces of it, you know don't pertain to you and you're like and then you feel like you're wasting your money and it's never...
Like oh yeah and that's something to that was like a piece of like my growth with all of this was that I at first offered like specific packages, it was like oh you're gonna get three of this or five hours here or it was so specific and it like there's not a one size fits all for business, like every business run so differently. The needs are so different that there's some like babe, you know packages that like seemed to work for a lot of people but there's a lot of different add-ons and like you know nuances in everyone's business and we didn't want anyone to feel like they were wasting their money or not getting what they needed the most. Um And so we've kind of just made everything customizable for people.
Yeah. That's so smart now for the woman who's listening to this and she's like I don't even know like so she does that like tracking but still like I'm not really even sure what are some of the areas that you see outsourced first most often. Um I would say like a lot of the admin type tasks are offloaded. So anything that's like data entry or responding to emails, cleaning out your email inbox um sending out invoices for people? Uh that's like a huge trunk. And then I would say for us the other piece a lot of times is um creation, like content creation um and repurposing for content. So you might have some other long form type content um that can be turned into a lot more, you just don't have time to do it yourself. So that's another thing that I see a lot of that repurposing, I'm automatically like, there are so many people that I know of that are my clients who we talk about this and I mean myself included, I was literally just listening to a podcast Brock and Charlene Johnson's podcast, the Build Your Tribe podcast, and they were talking about repurposing and I know it, but then he was like, you should take your videos and you can take snippets and turn them into reels. And I literally have never done that. Like I've told other people to do it literally never done that. And I'm like, that would be a perfect thing for totally to do.
Oh yeah, they can go through and get all of those things edited or if it's like a blog that you have, you can probably get like 10 captions out of it, and then you could also make those captions, Another graphic and like a swipeable graphic, so you can share the information multiple ways multiple times. So what is the smallest, like, do you do it by hours, or how do you do your packages now?
So it's not by a set number of hours, it's by the type of task we're doing, I mean technically like I do base it off of like how long it is going to take us to figure out how much the package will cost, but it's not based off of a set number. Um So yeah, that's kind of how we will do it. Um I feel like there's another piece to your question and I just blanked. Oh no, no, no. Well, just like, if someone's like, okay, I'm going to dip my toe in with working a what is kind of like the minimum amount, if that question would make sense, Like the amount that they can offload to get started and see if it's like, totally. So there's some VAs that will have like, packages that are like five hours a month and you can totally start with that, we only will offer like our lowest packages, like 10 hours. I mean, again, it's not necessarily based on that, but that's like our minimum that we look at for the task. Um like we're not gonna go in and check your email like once a month because then it's, you know, it's not enough time to dig into your business and really understand um that's just how we see that, but there are people who will work for like five-ish hours a month or a couple of hours a month. So if you're feeling nervous, definitely there's options out there, like, because it can be scary like my first hire and like my first outsourcing, which is what I help people with and I'm confident telling people like you need help, like let us help you. It was equally scary, like when I had to do it and so, um I would say like, think about what you can do with that time, like you can do more like money making productive activities and then you can hire somebody else to help you even further, right?
So that's the goal and especially if for some people, it's like a side hustle business, they're trying to get going. That's so much time to the person who is working, you know, on their own business part time. So how much can get done, where when the time you have to focus on your business, you can actually connect with people, you know, share mark, like get the word out there versus being stuck in all of the nitty gritty pieces you don't need to do. Yeah, Well, and that was my, when I very first started working with via um maybe 34 years ago, I wasn't necessarily offloading the things that I didn't like, because I really love the content creation like you mentioned, but I didn't have to be making those graphics, but I really did need to be the person like sending messages and like responding like, like voice in my brand or like recording a podcast. No one else can record this podcast right?
So that's kind of the thing that helped me decide and man my business skyrocket was like having two of me, I was like like what do I do with all this time now that I Yeah and then you can really focus on those things that make you money but like have to be you which I think can be really hard to wrap your mind around you know the very first time like you said that you're hiring someone like give it a try and see what happens, you never know. I know and that's the thing too, it's yes it is at the end of the day about money making activities because like that is why we start a business or you know are working, we need to do those things. But for me it also was I want to make sure that I have time to spend with my son so like I outsource my bookkeeping because that's what I would do like after hours like and I realized okay my kid is just sitting here like watching tv so I can attempt bookkeeping which I hate doing and what is that worth to me my time is worth so much more like spent with my son, it's not money making activity but it's something valuable to me.
So that's another thing to think about too is not just selling and making money, but like your actual personal time, how can you spend it more intentionally and better if you had help and weren't spiraling or spending all the time. You know, it can be present at dinner with your family or or whatnot. You can actually put your phone away and be present. Um And you're saying that reminded me too, I was traveling that first summer with students. This was like pre pre covid days and I remember it was like my business could keep going because I had filled in my via. She was helping me out and answering stuff for me and people were like, I thought you were in Spain. I'm like I am, I felt like my assistants responding like yeah. Yeah. I mean like that's like like you mentioned like those are the reasons we're in business. Like money aside is for that quality time for that flexibility for that freedom. Um And so much back from delegating now, are there any other things in your life that you delegate?
Oh gosh! Yeah. So I um have a bookkeeper. I have someone who does like all of my graphic stuff because now like my team helps our clients, but now they help me to so I delegate a lot. Um I have someone who manages my email um and who can respond for me. So I have a lot of that and then I also in this last year because the agency got so busy, I felt like my, I'm not able to like cook good meals at home, like so I actually outsourced in those ways too. I have um somebody who does meal prep that like I pick up once a week and have somebody who comes and cleans my house once a month, like just to get like a good clean because I felt I didn't have time and that's not fun for my toddler, so I was like I want to hang out and spend time with him when I'm off and not worry about like all these other things. So we have healthy food on the table and we clean house and all of that. So I kind of outsourced in some of those ways too. I love that I do a lot of that as well and I was surprised once I started doing it how I don't want to say inexpensive because it's not like keep necessarily, but like how much you can get done for that value. Like even just coming to your house and cleaning for a couple of hours, I was like, oh I'm not going to get much done in a couple hours, you know, like you know, so much quicker than me at cleaning their pros and I'm like, yes, this whole house can get clean in a couple hours, this takes me because I start something and then I get it and it's like totally different game guys.
Yeah, I know well that's the same thing to like when you're doing these exercises right. Of like tracking your time. Like how long did it take me to even clean one room or fold this pile of laundry because I don't want to do it right. Like it's taken me 10 times as long so where can I get like help that? It's you know, it's just done and faster. I was just blown when I like when I very first started and I'm like, wow, this is amazing. Like I only have to make like half of the sale to pay for this, you know, figuring up in my mind. Yeah, like I can do this, this makes me work harder and then I can have a cleaning lady come twice a month, you know?
So funny. Well I love that. I love all these guys. I really hope you were listening to this and really considering delegating for 2023 if you're not already because it can just take off so much stress, it can help you grow your business so much quicker. And I feel like a big reason a lot of women get discouraged in their businesses is it's not growing as fast as we want or we're getting really overwhelmed and it doesn't have to be that way like you can ask for help, you can get help pretty early in your business. Like sooner rather than later to be honest. Would you say that most people say that they wish they would have started with you sooner than they did?
Yeah, I think the hard part when you're starting out in your business is it feels and it will always be very personal because it's your business and your baby and it's hard to let go, especially in the beginning when you don't know what's happening, but there are people who can help you when I had my first hire, I said, look, this is going to evolve and change. I just want to tell you now and like you you get to be a part of that if you want, like I want your feedback, I want all of the things and I want someone who's willing to grow with me because I know that this will fluctuate and be a little bit different a year from now um as we kind of grow, so you can find someone who really is willing in the beginning to just like hunker down and figure it out with you.
Um just be transparent and just jump in and do it now. And I think that is what I love so much about your packages, not necessarily being like the five hour, but more being like 10 hour. I'm doing air quotes guys now, it's not exactly ours, but because I feel like you are able to probably get down to the nitty gritty of who your client really is and their messaging sooner than someone who's a little bit more detached and not as hands on in their business. Would you agree? Yeah, absolutely, so, and I will say everyone listening, not all via is are created equally. So if you have a bad experience is one in the past, um and honestly, you kind of get what you pay for. I hate to say that, but like there are definite via and agencies that are different, higher quality than other ones. So I would encourage you to consider that too when you decide to finally invest. Okay, is there anything else? Like if for the woman listening who's like, okay, after Christmas, I'm doing this, I'm all in, would you suggest for her to go ahead and get started?
Um so I actually have a guide which if I haven't sent you the link, I will, so it can be in the show notes. Um but it's basically how to prep for a higher and like where to start questions, ask all of that. Um so I would say you can start with reviewing that and kind of like getting prepared um and knowing that it's going to be an investment of your time and your money because you're going to have to take time with whoever this new person might be. Um I think that's just a great place to start and get mentally prepared. You're going to have a team and it's not just you, so you kind of have to get an onboarding plan. I'm actually working on some stuff to help business owners with that because it's a lot to try and get that together right and plan for a whole new person to be added to your business. Um, but I know I'm excited and we're also redoing our website, so I'll have some resources up there, which is just https://bio.site/madsavvyva and we share all kinds of tips and things on Instagram as well. Okay, awesome. Yeah, guys, I will link all of that in the show notes for you, and I will go back and add them to the Youtube and Facebook live stream as well if you guys are watching it over there.
Maddie, what is next for you? Do you have something you're looking forward to traveling? Anything fun?
Yeah, um let's see. I've got a lot of travel next year um and I've actually, I've decided it's gonna be like my year of concerts um, in my personal life, I am singer and so I love anything music and so I'm finally like, after we got through all the covid stuff, I mean it's still around, but we can actually go to concerts live again. So I already have three concerts planned, so that's what I would say, I'm looking forward to that. So fun and I had no, here you are a singer. Yes, that's why I'm also such a freak for Disney because I grew up like performing and always went to Disneyland. I was convinced I was going to be a Disney Princess. Um as an adult, I was too tall. Yes, I definitely think I should have been one, but I wasn't all that tall.
I was a little bit too fat. But they're, they're really like specific that my friends went to the audition. Some of them actually work with Disney Princesses and I was like, oh, I would not want to go through that. Yeah, it popped up. This was probably maybe 10 years ago, they were doing one in Columbus and I just added curiosity, like clicked on it to read this like the specifications and I was like, what? It was like, it was not this size in high school. I was like, this is discrimination. Disney, but I totally understand. But yeah, I know.
So me and you both, me and you both girlfriend, everyone go over and find Maddie on Instagram, download her guide, check out her website. Um, I have not personally worked with Maddie on the side of things, but she was the or is the business assistant for the mastermind that I was just in and did a phenomenal job with everything like details, retreat planning, like everything Hollywood's constantly like, let's ask Maddie, like, like daddy did this. Um, so I can say that she does amazing work and I hope you guys all check her out, awesome. Thank you so much. Have a great night and that's a wrap on today's episode. I hope you're leaving today inspired princess to create own and spread your magic to the world. If you found by you in this episode or no, a girlfriend who needs to hear it, would you screenshot it and send it to her and if you're feeling really generous, pop it up on your I. G. Stories and tag me at @lindsaydollingerso I can see you loved it and tell you thank you. I appreciate you. Now let's go do some amazing things. Bye bye.
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