Do you find yourself constantly working late nights and weekends trying to juggle a million different tasks for your business? As a solopreneur, it’s tough trying to do everything yourself.

Most of my clients are independent consultants and experts. They are single-person businesses, and many of them don’t want to grow their business with a large team. In fact, I don’t want to grow a large employee base either.

But if you’re doing everything in your business with NO external help, I think you’re making a HUGE mistake.

If you’re an expert, you probably should not be doing your own bookkeeping, or any of the myriad other time-consuming tasks that are on your plate. Those will differ from person to person but I bet you have a good idea of where you’re spending time that you should probably delegate to someone else.

You probably should be talking to clients, writing a book, recording podcast interviews, or working on any of the other high-level strategy that is essential for your business and that ONLY YOU can do.

The good news is, you don’t have to do it all! Hiring freelancers can help ease your workload so you can focus on what matters most.

I’ve been working with freelancers since even before I started my business, way back in 2005 (yes, even before Tim Ferriss published The 4-Hour Workweek and popularised hiring overseas). And I’ve also been a freelancer myself, so I know the other side of the coin.

In this article, I’ll show you step-by-step how to hire a virtual assistant.

Prefer video?

I was recently interviewed on the Savvy Talks Podcast by Kris Marie Dano and I shared my practical advice for working with VAs and other freelancers with her:

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant is a remote worker skilled in various tasks such as administration, content creation, and technical support. They use digital tools to efficiently integrate into your business operations.

What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?

It depends on the person. VA is a catch-all names that people can use in many different ways. Typically I see it used two ways:

  1. A true assistant, who is a generalist. They’ll be doing the tasks that an Executive Assistant (EA) or Personal Assistant (PA) would be doing, except remotely.
  2. A remote specialist, e.g. a social media manager, a website manager, or even a bookkeeper.

When I’m talking about VA, usually I mean an actual assistant, and I refer to specialists by their specialised title.

But the range of tasks they can help with is very wide:

  • Administrative Support: From managing your calendar to handling emails, a VA can shoulder these duties, freeing you to focus on decision-making and strategy.
  • Content Creation: Many VAs come equipped with skills in blog writing, graphic design, and social media posts. They can either create or help you manage your content pipeline.
  • Podcast Production: my VA helps me with all the behind the scenes workflow of producing a podcast every week, from creating the graphics, processing the shownotes, down to scheduling the episode
  • Data Management: Organizing spreadsheets, entering data, and even doing basic analytics. A VA can keep your data in shipshape, so you can glean insights more quickly.
  • Customer Service: VAs can handle customer queries, schedule appointments, and even manage your CRM system.
  • Technical Assistance: Whether it’s updating your website, running A/B tests, or basic troubleshooting, a tech-savvy VA can handle these.
  • Financial Tasks: Invoice management, bookkeeping, and financial tracking can be outsourced to VAs with specialized skills in these areas.

How to Hire a VA

In brief:

  • Clearly communicate your needs and expectations in the job posting. Include very specific instructions and include a “keyword” to ensure applicants read everything.
  • Filter out applicants who respond too quickly without reading the full post. Also filter out those claiming expertise in too many unrelated areas.
  • Shortlist 2-3 of the best candidates and hire them for a small test project first. This helps assess skills, communication, and fit before committing to a larger project.
  • Don’t expect a new freelancer to be as fast as you right away. Focus on quality and allow them time to learn. The goal is to free up your time for higher value tasks.
  • Build SOPs (standard operating procedures) with step-by-step instructions and screenshots to streamline training and delegating tasks.
  • Communication and developing trust are critical. Require freelancers to be willing to get on video/voice calls.
  • Have backup plans in case your main freelancer is unavailable (e.g. a backup person, outsourcing company).
  • Working with freelancers involves a learning curve. Be patient as you figure out processes.

My Step-by-Step Guide to Hiring a Virtual Assistant

If you’re looking for a step by step guide, I got you. Here’s my advice on how to proceed.

Step 1: Identify Your Most Time-Consuming Tasks

Start by brainstorming all the regular tasks that take up too much of your time each week. These might include:

  • Social media management
  • Bookkeeping
  • Calendar management
  • Meeting prep
  • Transcribing videos
  • Editing blog posts

Look for repetitive projects and duties you aren’t the best fit for. We want to outsource the most time sucking tasks so you can focus on high-value priorities.

Didn’t you mean to write a book last year? Or start going to the gym more often? (Me too)

Step 2: Write a Project Description

But wait: instead of hiring a VA outright, I recommend you start by outsourcing a single task or project.

This way you can dip your toes in the water instead of committing long term.

The goal right now is just to outsource a single time-consuming task off your plate. You can worry about long-term hiring once you complete this first trial project.

With these first projects, I’m thinking about outsourcing a task that would take an hour or two, maybe something in the $25-100 range, depending on the required expertise.

I write up a detailed task/project description including:

  1. The scope of work (sometimes I’ll also provide a Loom screen recording video showing what I need done)
  2. Deadline for when you need it done by (and please don’t assume they’ll be starting immediately – the best folks will have a pipeline of projects)
  3. I ask them to be willing to get on a video call with me (even if I don’t want to actually have the call – I find simply asking this will weed out folks who aren’t a good fit)
  4. A unique keyword at the bottom “IMPORTANT: Make sure to include the word BANANA in your reply so I know you read the instructions”
  5. I always mention that I need them to agree to a subcontractor agreement – a legal document that I get them to sign before starting work. This includes issues related to GDPR – EU legislation to protect my client’s information – and my IP ownership. Basically, it says that if I pay them to create something, I own it.

Be as detailed as you can with the scope of work so it’s really clear what you need done. This will help you find the right candidate, and will save you time later.

Step 3: Post on Relevant Freelance Sites

With your project description complete, you need to get it in front of freelancers. The good news is there are popular freelancing platforms and marketplaces where they hang out.

Major Freelance Marketplaces

The two major freelancing platforms where you can post a project are:

  1. Upwork

If you posted the job on Upwork or Freelancer then you’ll get responses that include a price, delivery time, profile link and message. There’s a formal process where you agree and award the project to your preferred freelancer and communicate through their messaging system.


You can also go look for someone on Fiverr. That’s slightly different in that the freelancers post up a spec of what they will do, and you choose from the fixed-price menu.

This can be a good place to start if you’re not sure about writing a project description. It’s a formal process and they hand-hold you through it step-by-step.

Alternative options

Apart from the freelance marketplaces above,  there are also country-specific freelance marketplaces like which is where you can hire freelancers from the Philippines. You can also share in niche Facebook groups or subreddits related to the skill you need.

The downside of those sites is the process is typically less formalised and more free-form, so you need to know what you’re doing.

Here’s the full list:

  • Upwork – Comprehensive range of freelancers.
  • – Global freelancer bidding system.
  • Fiverr – Fixed-price, quick task specialists.
  • – Philippines-based, many available for full-time or part-time psitions.
  • Toptal – High-skill developer talent.
  • Guru – Flexible work agreements.
  • PeoplePerHour – UK-centric freelance platform.
  • TaskRabbit – Local odd-job assistance.
  • 99Designs – Design-specific project bidding.
  • CloudPeeps – Marketing and content specialists.

Step 4: Shortlist Applicants

Once you publish it somewhere, you’ll start to get replies from potential hires. In fact, you’ll probably get A LOT of replies. For example, when I posted a project recently, I got 12 replies within the first two minutes, and another 47 replies over the next 24 hours.

That means it’s important to whittle it down to a more managable number. Here’s how I do it:

  1. Remove the overly fast responses that clearly didn’t read the job posting before replying – they’re simply copy-pasting their responses and playing a numbers game.
  2. Remove the folks who didn’t include my unique keyword – they didn’t read the post or want to follow the instructions.
  3. Remove those who claim expertise in too many areas. This is a judgement call, but if someone claims to have deep expertise in YouTube video editing, and web design, and bookkeeping, then I’m not likely to want to hire them.

Now we usually have a handful so we can start to evaluate portfolios, work samples, and previous experience for relevant fit.

I look at:

  • Relevant portfolio pieces and work samples
  • Specific experience related to my needs
  • Professional but personable communication style
  • Referrals or testimonials

I shortlist 2-3 candidates, and I like to ask simple questions to gauge responsiveness and communication.

In fact, for me communication is the single most important factor – even more important than their skill level at the actual task!

Step 5: Hire!

I like the look of a couple, and I’ll pick the best. In fact, depending on the scope of the task, I’ll sometimes hire the top 2-3 and compared their output.

I did that when hiring a video editor – in fact I actually hired 5 different editors for that one. I gave them each a different podcast episode video to edit, and the same instructions. I was able to use 4 of the 5 produced videos (the last one was terrible) and I still work with two of the editors months later.

They should already have most of the instructions to complete the task from the project description (that’s why writing that well was so important) so now you’ll just need to give them access to source files, share account passwords, and whatever else they need to do the job.

Step 6: Communicate!

Once you’ve hired, your focus should be on establishing good communication, this is the foundation for a successful project and relationship. (Yes, you’re building a relationship here!)

First, confirm they have access to all the resources they’ll need. Whether it’s source files, account credentials, or specific software, make sure they’re fully equipped to begin the task.

Next, agree on any milestones and deadlines. For tasks with longer timelines, consider setting up periodic check-ins to review progress and address any questions or concerns. This keeps you in the loop but and assures the VA that they’re on the right track.

You might find that they’re doing exactly what you asked, but it’s not what you needed – and that’s on you! Work with them to make sure they understand what you really need. This is why communication is key.

A word of warning: be cautious about requesting work-in-progress updates for tasks that are naturally iterative, like design work. Interim design work can be messy, and seeing a project midway can sometimes give you the wrong impression and lead to unnecessary changes or be detrimental to the outcome.

Find a balance between being hands-on and giving the VA space to do their job. Know when to step in and when to step back. Your goal is to foster an environment where both parties are informed and empowered to act decisively.

Step 7: Evaluate the Initial Project

Review the VA’s work against your criteria and original instructions. Make sure it meets the quality and objectives outlined.

Provide concrete feedback, highlight what was done well and what could improve. Remember that you’re in the position of power being the hiring party, so they probably won’t tell you about the mistakes that YOU made unless you create the right environment for that.

Using the rating system in the hiring platform, and remember that a positive or negative review can impact their livelihood.

Step 8: Decide on the Next Step

If the work met your standards and the communication was smooth, consider extending the contract or discussing future projects.

If it didn’t, evaluate whether the shortcomings are correctable through feedback or if you need to part ways.

I tend to go with my gut as to whether they feel like a long-term asset or a one-off hire.

Learning Curve

Working with freelancers involves a learning curve. Be patient as you figure out your own business processes. Use the test project to assess if delegating these tasks is worth continuing – sometimes it’s better to just use it yourself.

Recommended Tools

Here are the tools I use day-to-day to communicate with my VA:

  • Zoom – For calls
  • Loom – Record video SOPs
  • Google Docs/Sheets – Document SOPs etc
  • Asana – Project management
  • Discord – (Alternative to Slack) Communication and collaboration
  • – Audio/Video to text transcription
  • ChatGPT – AI assistant for brainstorming, drafting content
  • QuickForget – Securely share passwords


Kris Marie Dano
Welcome to another episode of Savvy Talks podcast where we talk about money, mindset habits and motivation. And today, our guest is someone who helps experts to earn more by rapidly building authority and visibility, so that experts can command premium fees, work less hours, and never have to suffer a bad fit client again.
and he will be sharing insights on how to find hire and work with freelancers efficiently and effectively. So if you are looking to hire your first freelancer or a second, or is planning to build a remote team, or even if you’re just a free, or even if you’re a freelancer who is looking to find the best fit client for you. Then stay at the end of this podcast episode, because
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you’re going to be getting a lot of voluble insights from our guests today. So help me welcome, Alastair Mcdermott. Hi, Alister, it is so good to have you here.
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Alastair McDermott
Kris. Thanks for having me on the show. I’m I’m delighted to be here.
Kris Marie Dano
Yes, and I’m so excited to get started. But before we dive in, let’s have the audience get to know you more. What is it that you do what you love doing and what you’re passionate about?
Alastair McDermott
So what I do is I help experts who are invisible to become known, to become recognized. So II like to say I help them to take off their cloak of invisibility because a lot of people who are really great at what they do, don’t have any visibility in the marketplace. They nobody knows who they are, and so like, if if that’s you, you could be working for 5, 1015, 20 years at something.
But you don’t really have anybody who knows what you do, or that you’re a true expert in your field, and there are certain steps that you need to take to become known, to become recognised. And so I have a brand called the recognised authority. And that’s my goal is to help people become known as the recognised authority in their field. And yeah, I’m I’m like, my background is in web design. I have worked as a freelancer, and I’ve hired hundreds of freelancers myself over 17 years in business. I think.
So. I hired my first freelancer, I think, in 2,005,
and I have. I have used all of the freelance hiring sites, and I’ve worked with lots of people, I think from maybe like 60 different countries at this point. So yeah, I have a lot of experience in in working with freelancers and with with hiring freelancers and and being one myself.
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Kris Marie Dano
awesome. And before we dive in, I was really interested on what you said about like making like a recognize or have build authority, and for someone who is kind of like, confused and doing that, what do you think is the best, or like the first thing that they should do to just be able to really get a visibility and start creating a plan out of it.
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Alastair McDermott
Sure? Well, so I I’ve done a lot of research in this area. II surveyed over a thousand consultants, and then I followed that up with about 45 or 50 interviews as well. To do a lot of research around this area to figure out like, what is it that makes somebody an authority? And I’ve I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are authorities, authors, experts in their field. And so II paint the the pattern that I saw. I called the journey to authority, and it’s a pretty clear pattern.
And so that is that everybody starts out at the same level. Everybody starts out as a novice. And so we’re all at that, you know, at the start of our journey, and we need to get experience at that point.
And at some point we go from being a novice to being an expert, and usually we don’t have a speciality at that point. And usually we don’t have much visibility either. So we’ve gone from being a novice with no experience to now being somebody who is good at what we do. But we tend to still be kind of more general and working in multiple areas. And the next step to become known as an authority in your field
is the last word there is. Very important is your field. You have to actually niche down you have to specialise and and niching down and specialising is something that a lot of people won’t do because there’s a lot of fears around that they’re afraid to do it because they’re afraid they’ll pick the wrong thing, or they’re afraid that by niching down you’re picking a smaller market, which you are.
But what what happens is you’re making yourself more relevant in that market. And so you you can dominate. If you if you pick a small enough market, you can actually dominate that. So so that’s that’s the the journey to authority goes from novice to invisible expert to specialist and and
doing that specialization step that gives you now much more focus. But you still don’t have any visibility, and the next step after that, then, is to start to publish, to write, to speak, to talk about what you do, and to put your ideas and share your expertise with the world. And that’s what gives you the recognition. And that’s what brings you the last step from going from being this invisible specialist to being recognised as an as an authority. So that’s kind of the the journey as I see it.
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Kris Marie Dano
Yeah. And for someone with a really strong knowledge about like visibility and authority, it’s kind of like your field also to know how to hire someone. Cause. Then you can like make up
a whole thing of like what kind of criteria is you’re gonna follow to hire specific person that is really good at what they do. And how do you think that would apply to other freelancers, or for business owners who are looking to hire freelancers of like what they’re good at, what they do. What do you think is like? Kind of like 5 or advise, or like tips that you can
say for both sides of like, oh, if you’re a client, or if you’re looking for a freelancer here like things that you would really have to look for a freelancer, because there are things that can really would know that they know what they’re doing.
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Alastair McDermott
Yeah. So I guess if we go back to that journey to authority. The the first thing is, you’ve got to actually be good at what you do, and and part of the first like. It’s a winding road that we follow. So the journey to authority is a winding road. We we can do lots of different things, and part of the the going, from being a novice to being an expert
is in experimenting and trying different things and learning different things, figuring out what you’re good at and what you like to do, and the types of people that you like to work with. And so there’s a lot of that is about figuring out, because at some point, if you’re going to specialize in the future, it’s better to be specializing, based on a broader knowledge, because then you know what you like to do.
And so I think that getting kind of broad experience as a freelancer is important to kind of just figure out. Okay, now some people may be very lucky, and the first or second thing that they try, they absolutely have a deep passion for, and they love doing, and so they might kind of stumble into their specialisation very easily and quickly. And that’s great, if that’s you, I mean, I’m very jealous, because it took me a long time to to niche down and to find that. But
so for for, like one of the biggest mistakes that I see when I see, like I get pitched like everybody who’s a business owner. We get pitched cold messages all the time for services from freelancers and from everybody.
and and one of the biggest mistakes, I see, is the person who does everything. And so I replied to somebody recently on Linkedin because they offered to help me, promote my podcast they offered to help do ghost writing for social media posts and for books. They offered to help me with my Youtube channel
and run Facebook ads and Google adwords. And there was an an optimize my Linkedin profile. II think I counted, and it was like 17 different things that they offered to do for me.
and they claim to be an expert, and nobody in the world is an expert at all of those 17 things. There’s just there’s too much in it.
And so when you claim to be an expert in too many different things, people are not going to believe you, and and it looks, you know, it looks really bad. It’s like, if there’s a restaurant. And they say, you know, we specialize in Chinese food or we specialize in Indian food.
You know that the the food there is going to be good, but if they if they say Well, we do pizza, and we do Chinese food, and we do Indian food. And we do Thai, and we do Japanese. And we do. You know it, it becomes unbelievable. And and it it in in the sense that we like. We think that that’s not true. So I think it’s really important. If you’re pitching yourself.
even if you can do lots of different things. You should only lead with a couple of things. So even if behind the scenes you can help a client with, let’s say you can help them with 10 different things, and you’re good at those 10 things. Lead with 2. Tell them I’m really great at at Number one and number 2,
and there are other things I can help you with, but those are what I specialize in.
and so lead with something, because then you can become known for that one thing, and it’s much more credible to claim expertise in a small area rather than in too much.
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Kris Marie Dano
Yeah. That that totally makes sense. And it. This is just like thing that pops up in my head when you’re like talking about it. Does it mean that like not this, or like just people or freelancers who are just starting out. You think that they would be left behind with a competition with, especially with those who have already built their name or have already got a lot of results from what? And found their line of expertise and of
establish their name in the field. Let’s just say example, social media. And for someone or a client who is looking to hire a business owner who’s looking to hire freelancer. How do you think they should like weigh down like? Should they hire someone who really is good at these 2 things, or this novice, or like just starting out? Who’s kind of like pitching also other services.
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Alastair McDermott
Well, I think the responsibility is on us as business owners, to hire the right person and to pick the right person for what we’re trying to do, and I know that there’s a temptation when you’re the business owner, to try and find somebody who can help you with lots of different things.
But that’s rarely the case that they’re actually great at all of those things. And I think that we should be hiring people for specific roles, and we should be hiring them for a narrower range of things. So, for example, I have an assistant who is full time. But the things that I ask her to do. I don’t. I don’t expect her to know how to do everything.
And so we work closely together, and and we do some training together, and if there’s something that I know how to do, I’ll do like maybe I’ll record a loom video on how to do it, or we’ll get in a zoom call, and we’ll we’ll we’ll do a screen share or something like that, but you can’t expect to hire somebody
and have them be brilliant at, you know, 10 different things like you can’t expect them to be brilliant at web design and social media and your bookkeeping, you know that’s unrealistic. And it could be that, like business owners are typically smart people who are very motivated
and business owners can learn how to do lots of things and do lots of things themselves. And so, for example, I do my own social media, and I do my own web design, and I do my own bookkeeping.
or I did until I hired an assistant to do that. But I know that I can do all of those things, but I should not expect that the person that I hire is able to do all of those things, because, again, that’s unrealistic, or you’re you need to hire somebody who is hugely experienced, and is probably very expensive.
I think you’re better off hiring somebody who is good at one thing and then training them up in in the other parts, if if you want to do that, so, for example, find somebody who already knows how to do bookkeeping, and then say, Look, would you be interested in doing some of the social media as well. I’ll show you how to do that. And and I think that’s a more realistic approach for a business owner to take.
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Kris Marie Dano
Yeah. And when I was also receiving some of like applications, I do notice that most applicants would really list down more expertise in their portfolios. And do you think that what I mean? How do you filter the process? If, for example, all of the applications you’re receiving are kind of like I am good at Abcd instead of just like, I am very good at
one or 2.
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Alastair McDermott
So okay, so when I’m putting up and and I’ve I’ve put up a lot of job posts on various different sites going back to the days of script, lance and rent a programmer and some of those older sites that that have been so. So they’ve all been bought up, and another all freelancer, or Elance sorry, and not even Elance anymore. They’ve changed the name of that one as well. But all. There’s a lot of consolidation in in these websites where you can hire people for tasks.
But the the key thing is, if you’re putting up a project or a task or a role.
and you’re getting lots of responses back as a business owner. You have to try and filter out the responses that are coming back to you because we get a lot like II know that if I put something up on one of those sites. Let’s say, if I put a project up on About 5 s after I post it, I get 3 or 4 responses that quickly.
And so the first thing I do is I filter all of those out, and if somebody replies that quickly, I know they didn’t bother to read the post, and so I just immediately rule those out. I need. I needed to have been live for at least 5 min for somebody to read the thing to see if they’re actually appropriate for it. So I will immediately rule out the instant responses, and then, what I’ll do is if I’m if I’m going through the responses, and there’s a lot of them. I’ll also rule out people who say
that they’re experts in doing too much. And so that’s gonna be a judgment call as to like what that is like. You know what ham like, how much detail that that they’re claiming. But I like II at this point, I’ve hired enough people to know if somebody says that they’re an expert in 12 different things, and those 12 things are all really closely related. Then that could be true.
But if those 12 things are not related at all, then I don’t think it’s true. And so it’ll be based on that, like, if somebody said that they’re an expert in web design and wordpress Plugin programming and Api coding.
And they’re an expert in Jason coding. They could be like that. That person is a programmer as a techie who is tightly focused in one area. And they’re just talking about kind of the little kind of circle of things within that one area. They’re not saying that they’re also an expert in Youtube channel optimisation and video editing and social media posting and Google adwords. So that’s what I’m talking about. It’s like when they’re really focused down.
The other thing is, I will always put
in my instructions. I will always put a key phrase at the bottom.
which I asked them to reply with, so I say, most important of all, please make sure you use the word banana in the first line of your response. So I know that you read all the way through these instructions.
and I will do that, and then I’ll just ignore all of the ones that don’t have that word in there, and that helps me to know cause. Now we’re going from, if we drop like, let’s say we and and I think maybe freelancers don’t realize this. But when we put up a job we might get 200 responses like, that’s a lot to have to filter through. And that’s why you don’t get answers. By the way, from people, if you don’t get the job. Because there’s just too many for them to reply to.
yeah. So I filter first cut is anybody who responds to you quickly. Next is people who have too much, or who miss the keyword. So I look for the keyword is the keyword there. If it’s not, then I’m going to ignore all the responses without it. And then I’m going to look at people who the experience doesn’t seem to match, and then I can start to go through.
You know, profile by profile, because now we’ve taken 200, and probably 20 or 30 of them were too quick, and then probably 70 or 80% of the rest didn’t put the keyword in.
And then we’re starting to look at people who actually read the the job spec, and then we can go through it. And then in an ideal world, what I’ll do is I’ll hire 2 or 3 people, the 2 or 3 best people. So I’ll go through the list, and I’ll shortlist them, and then the 2 or 3 best people. I’ll pay them to do some work for me, and I’ll do a small test project and see how it goes, and then we’ll know at the end of that test project. The communication, like the communication, is super important, particularly with remote teams
and people being willing to take the time to write a good message or record a video or get in a zoom call, being willing to get in a zoom call. And I know there’s language issues, and there’s things like that as well. But you know now, with Chat Gp, and and these tools as well, there’s no excuse for not being able to write a a response of some kind and and have good communication. And
in what we’re doing, communication is key, like the the work freelancers and business owners are working together in in the world that I’m in. Typically like we’re like, we’re talking back and forth. I’m on discord. I have a discord that I’ve set up with my freelancers where I talk at my video editor, and then I talk at my Va. And so we’re all in there and we’re we’re chatting. We’re able to message each other back and forth. That communication is really, really important.
And I think that it’s probably one of the most important things that you can learn how to do as a freelancer is. Get better at talking to to people you know, and and improving your communication, because that increases trust and trust is everything.
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Kris Marie Dano
Yeah, that was, oh, my God, that was a lot of information. And they love the banana. thing that I that’s one of the things I also do some. It’s not the same banana word, but it’s like, Do this, or like at the end of the job post, to just make sure that they really read it through it. And yeah, that was like, just smart. And I’ve seen a lot of business owners do that also, but not everyone do that. And that’s
yeah. That’s a really good point to like, just put it there also to start finding freelancers. And I did love the 3 hiring 3 people, because that was gonna be my next question of like, how you can decide on which to hire. But how long do you kind of like work with this 3 people. A few kind of like find, you know, the diff like someone you really want to work with already, because there there are 3 experts you’re currently working, and 130,
probably, if you have like. In like social media, for example, it would be fit into just like one person, but because you’re trying to test which one works like, how long do you want to work with them? Just to say of like, okay, as of now, I’m just gonna be working with this person.
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Alastair McDermott
So II would hire them at the start for a fixed project. So it’s not that we’re going to be working for a certain length of time. It’s not that we’re gonna and we’re gonna work without any limit. It’s just I just want you to do this one piece, and at the end of that we’ll we’ll review the project. We’ll revisit and see if we wanna do something else. And so it’s it’s just a fixed thing. And and it’s gonna be it’s gonna be fairly short.
And I like, I want that project to be like. I want that to be like a $50 or $70 project. I don’t want it to be a 3,000 project. I want it to be something where I can get the feeling. And now I’ve been hiring freelancers for years online. So I’m I’m pretty like, I know what the signs are. I know the warning signs about people I don’t like working with, and I know signs that somebody’s gonna be really good.
And so you know, you may need to work with somebody for a bit longer. If you’re new and and learning how to work. This like this is a key piece, I think, for business owners who are hiring freelancers online, like the the act of learning how to hire people
and how how to work with them like that’s something that you need to learn. It’s not just going to come instantly to you. You’re going to need to learn an experiment and figure that part out as well.
and you know, like, that’s it’s not you know, like it’s it’s like some people, you know, they they buy a complex piece of project management software or something like that, you you don’t instantly know how to use. And it’s not instantly gonna make your business better. Just because you now have the software, you actually have to figure out how to use it. And in the same way, working with people
is you, you have to put in the effort you have to learn how to you, how how to work with people, how to talk to them, how how to hire them like that.
That’s part of your job as well. And I think that people who are hiring online.
they expect, oh, I’m just gonna pay somebody $5 on Fiverr, and it’s going to be done, and a lot of people writing blog posts, and you’ll see people on particularly people who are who are kind of selling people on
the idea of affiliate marketing and things like that. You’ll see a lot of Bs out there, which is oh, you know, it’s it’s so easy, you know. You just go on 5 rehire somebody for $5. And you know suddenly, you’re gonna make a million dollars. You know, it doesn’t work like that. You’ve gotta. You’ve gotta learn. You’ve gotta figure things out and you’ve got. You know, you’ve gotta work with people. And then you’ve also got to remember that the person who you’re working with is a person
hopefully, not an AI, and they’re a living, breathing human being, with their own hopes and dreams and fears and family, and all of that as well. So you’ve like, you know, you’ve got to take that into account in your communications, and and like you’re hiring somebody to do a job for you. But just remember the human being as well. And so you’ve gotta bring that into it as well.
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Kris Marie Dano
Yeah, I love that part of like making sure it’s human and making sure that they also kind of like have, like you, kind of like, build loyalty also, at the same time, like relationship in there. And I, this is one of the problems I keep on kind of like hearing from friends or like business owner friends who wants to build like a remote team, or just colleagues of like classmates and some other things.
That one thing that they kind of like worry is that, or like they experienced before is that they found the best fit, like the a great freelancer, great communicator. Really good. What they do. And then, like a couple of days, they just went
out silent. And because they’re already trying to scale up, because for them, when you hire someone you try, you’re gonna be scaling up and scaling up in the business, and then it’s kind of like where the fear would come in because they don’t have enough
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Unknown Speaker
human resource to work on the projects that they’re currently working like, do you have an advice of like this should be a plan B or a plan C, for that kind of situation.
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Alastair McDermott
I guess I’ve got a couple of different pieces of advice there. First is. It’s always useful to have a backup person. So one of the things about working with different freelancers and testing people at the start
is you you like you can build up a database. And like I put them into a spreadsheet. I’ll put their contact information into a spreadsheet, and if I need somebody in the future, I can always reach out to them and say, Hey, are you still available?
Now I hit this at the start. When I launched my podcast initially.
I used to have a lot of editing. I don’t do any editing anymore with the podcast II just record it, live straight to tape and sometimes live streaming. But when I originally started, I used to have somebody edit the podcast and I actually had 2 editors. And what that meant was, we were able to get stuff turned around quicker.
And also, if somebody wasn’t available for a couple of weeks it wasn’t a big deal, because the other person could take it on, and I told them both, I said, Look the way the way this gonna work is, I’m gonna give you 50% of the episodes. I’m gonna give the other editor, 50% of the episodes. And that’s like that. That’s the that’s the job. That’s the gig. And you know that that was that was the agreement that we came to was fine and so you can have more than one person, and that and it’s nice to have that backup.
The other thing, and another type of backup. By the way, because I have a Va. Who I’ve been working with for I think, 2 or 3 years now.
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Unknown Speaker
and she’s full-time.
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Alastair McDermott
But we also have a Va service. So that’s a company who have multiple employees, multiple vas, and I don’t really have a strong personal relationship with any of those people, but they are there as a backup to Icos, so that when I come my Va. When she’s when she’s busy.
that we don’t. When we wanna take some of the work off her plate and just hand something off, particularly if it’s something kind of repetitive. We can hire the Va. Company to do that. And so it’s nice to have that kind of backup as well, and and I like to just use them every so often, just to keep up the relationship with them, and to make sure, like I understand how to add source something to them, delegate it to them. If we need to do do that quickly. So that’s one part of this. The other part is.
if your freelancers are ghosting you. then you’re doing something wrong.
And so if they’re if they’re dropping out and not replying, then it could be that the problem is something in their life.
or it could be that the problem is you and you’re gonna have to have a a serious look at yourself and see, are you expecting too much of them? Are you being aggressive in your communication. Is there something in your management style? Because, like your job, is to get better as a manager so that you can grow your business this way, so like, be introspective. And and think about this like, is there something that that you might be doing?
And and it could be that that’s not the case. It could be, you know. It could be that their Internet went down, or a family member died, or or something. Now.
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Unknown Speaker
one key thing for me is
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Alastair McDermott
as a business owner and as somebody who hires freelancers. The only rule, the only really strict rule I have is no radio silence. So by radio silence, I mean, that’s where where they ghost.
That’s the only thing I can’t accept that like, no matter what your situation is, send me a one word text, you know, or 2 word text, like family problems talk later, or family problems. Talk to you in 2 weeks, or you know, in the hospital. I’ll get back to you in a month, you know. Just let me know. And then I know. Okay. Well, now I can go and hire somebody else to take the slack.
and and that’s the only really hard and fast rule that I have is just keep me up to date with what’s going on.
If you are going to need to drop out, and then at least I can. I can fix things. But somebody just disappearing and and ghosting. Yeah, it’s not nice, and I’ve done it myself. And, by the way, when I say you may be doing something wrong as a manager, I can tell you that because I’ve done stuff that wrong as a manager. So I know, like I’ve made those mistakes. So you know I’m not. I’m not talking to you down from from
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Unknown Speaker
from my high position. I’ve I’ve been there, done it, and made all the mistakes you can make.
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Alastair McDermott
but II know that like one thing with with with particularly when when people ghost you, maybe they feel either that they’re not being respected or that that you’re being too aggressive, or they feel like they can’t do what you’re looking for.
and all like lots. Lots of our human cultures are different from country to country and culture, to culture, and some are are very forthright and straightforward, and others aren’t, and others would rather not have the people. Some people would rather avoid the conversation of having to say, You know what like this. This isn’t a good fit, and so they’re effectively telling you that by ghosting you
so you’ve gotta. You’ve gotta figure that you’ve gotta have. And I think that comes back to where the communication part is key. You’ve gotta be able to talk to people, and that’s where II think. Ii like. I put it as a requirement in my
in my job specs. I put it as a requirement that they have to be willing to get on a voice call or on a zoom call, and even if even if it’s not necessary for the task. Like, let’s say I’m I’m getting somebody to you know, to process some text or take a Csv and turn into a spreadsheet online, or something like, even if they don’t need
the zoom call to be able to do that. I still want them to be willing to do that because I want to be able to communicate with them. And so that’s why I would ask for something like that, because I think that ultimately, communication is the is the most important thing, because what we’re doing requires a lot of trust, and it requires understanding and understanding what the task is. So. Yeah, that’s that’s why I think that part is is super important.
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Kris Marie Dano
Yeah. And I love that. You point like all this 3 things. They’re just so on point and like, especially the last one where you think like, you don’t know if they’re going through someone thing, cause that’s one of the things that kind of like some business owners missed also, and the fact that you also say, like as a business owner, you should also do this makes it like more of like pointing out also that as business owners, we
should be aware of things that we are probably missing because we’re too busy with a lot of the things that are going on in our business. And you also mentioned that you kind of like work also, with 2
as a back. You have a backup, especially with your Va. Right now, and another Va agency. And how do you kind of like manage your work? Flow with that, especially if some other third party comes in and take over someone else’s task that you have been working and building relationship or just being able to work with like, for example, giving them logins or other kind of like sensitive information, that how does it
the other services? Or the third party services can just come in and take it over.
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Alastair McDermott
Well, first thing is I ico is the the name of my assistant. I said, Ico, I wanna get these people to to do this because this is grunt work. This is repetitive work that I don’t want you wasting your time with. You’re you’re far more valuable than that. And so I want her to work on the more valuable tasks. And I wanna give
the time consuming stuff over to the service because, I don’t want to waste her time. What she’s doing. She understands. She’s been working with me for years now, and she understands the kind of the nuance, and the more important stuff that we’re doing.
And so that’s the first thing I want her to understand why I’m giving it to somebody else to do. I’m I’m it’s not that I’m not giving it her to her. I’m taking it off her plate. And the second thing is, I asked her to manage it. So I said, Okay, I want you. I’m I’m gonna record a, I use zoom videos, a lot where I record a video on how to do something.
And so I’m I recorded an Sop standard operating procedure like this is how we do this task.
and I recorded that for them, for the for the Va. Service, and I gave it to Icon. And I said, I want you to contact the Va service and and basically delegate this project to them.
And they’re gonna need logins. And one of the things that they’re using it’s very annoying. It sends a login code rather than having a password. So we can share the password with them. So every time they need to go in and do it, they need to get the login code, and so we set it up so that the login code goes to her email address. And she’s able to get the email about that and send it to them directly. And so she’s managing that process.
And yeah, so that that that that really helps
and then in terms of like, the the actual management and delegation of those tasks. So we we tend to use Asana for project management. Some of the tasks are too small to put into Asana, and and this is something that I don’t really have. Hard and fast rule about. This is something where I kind of it’s it’s very flexible. And maybe I should be better about this. But sometimes we put stuff in Asana and sometimes we don’t.
And it really depends, I think, on the scale of the task. And and and yeah, it’s a bit wishy washy as to whether something does go in or doesn’t go in, and and maybe that’s on me to get better at the project management side of things. But like we use tools like so, for example, I have an email address where it goes to both me and to Ico. So she gets a copy of all of the emails that are go goes to my address so she can then re reply for me
and again I we didn’t have that set up right away at the start.
It took 6 months before II took that step because I wanted to get to know her and trust her. And this is a person who now has access to a lot of things in my business, because we’ve built up the trust
and you you don’t get like II wouldn’t have that straight away with anybody where I would give them access to my email and to things like that.
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Unknown Speaker
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Alastair McDermott
and then we use other tools for like, there are some tactical tools that we use for sharing passwords and things like that we use quick,, which is a a service where you can put in a password, and it will disappear so you can share the link with somebody, and 5 days later, or 3 days later, whatever time period you set it to, or the number of views it’ll disappear and it’ll be gone so you can share a password with somebody securely through that service. And that’s something that we use to actually share passwords and and delegate access.
And then just making sure that you know.
for example, there’s little details like when the video editor shares a a video with me that he’s just edited and for review in Google Drive, I always get him to make sure that he ticks the box for anybody with the link can view, because then I can take what he shared with me, and I can share it with Ico and ask her to review the video.
and whereas if he didn’t tick the box for anybody with the link and view. Then that means that only I can view it and she can’t, and and then she has to ask for permission for it. All of those little things are just these minor details, but through the kind of things that when you get when you get those details right? They can speed up the process, and it can also, as a business owner, it can take you out of the loop
when you, when you put your when you put your assistant and your video editor talking together, and they’re talking directly. I don’t need to be involved. I cook and do the first review, and she can see the things that need to be changed. And she can tell the editor okay. Can you go change these things before we even bother Alistair with the next version. And then when I come into work and I’m looking at discord
and I see that they’re having to chat back and forth. I don’t even need to go and check that stuff until they’re ready to come to me, so I can work on something else like writing a book or writing a Linkedin post, or recording a new video or something. So
you know, trusting people and delegating out to them. I think it’s it’s it’s something that you’ve got to get better at. And I’m I’m working to get better at it myself. But I know that it’s something that business a lot of business owners find difficult to do is to delegate things to other people, because typically a business owner is pretty good at what they’re what they’re doing. They’re usually multi skilled.
and they can usually get things done quicker than somebody who’s new. So like, if an assistant, a new assistant comes in like, let’s say it takes me half an hour to do something, and it takes Ico half a day to do that thing.
so is it better that I do it in half an hour, or she does it in half a day? Well, if that half an hour I can do something else like, write a link to in post, or do a live video or do a podcasting view, then maybe we’re better off. If if I delegate that to her.
and then she spends half a day doing it, and eventually, if she if she does that enough times she gets it from half a day down to a quarter day, and maybe eventually she’ll get done to be able to do it in half an hour as well. So you know, there’s there’s that part of it as well. I think that we we have to get better at delegating and and outsourcing things to people.
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Kris Marie Dano
Yeah. And I love that you mentioned Sopp cause II love the how easy it is now for me to just delegate and assign to say it takes a while like it for me it was like time consuming at the first part, because you have to like keep and recording your sops. But it really was a game changer and lifesaver at the same time. And II did kind of like love, also that you mentioned that
when you’re trying to assign a task. It would take you 30 min and the other on your Va. Is like half a day, and you kind of, because that’s one of the things that some business owners kind of miss, or kind of like, try to talk out with their freelancers that this is taking me
30 min wise is taking you longer, and they don’t see the good side of it, or like the other side, which is, that person is not an expert of what they’re doing. And you’ll you kind of like mentioned that you’re working with one or 2 like a lot of or more than a couple of freelancers or team members like, do you have like one platform that you manage them?
Or do you kind of like go from one to another like your communication channel is different from your project management like, how does the workflow?
II do kind of like notice that the workflow kind of like evolve around your Va also. But like, does it also have like a different or am I just showing it? Yeah.
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Alastair McDermott
yeah, okay, so, and and some of the tools like, the probably the most important tool in in. If if we’re talking about, you know.
not not necessarily software, but like techniques, the most important thing is the sop. and the way that like Sb is standard operating procedure for anybody who’s not familiar with that. And basically it’s a set of instructions on how to do something.
and I now have hundreds of sops on all sorts of different things like here’s an sop on how to do the regular day to day, bookkeeping. Here’s an sop on how to produce a podcast episode, how to how to how to publish a podcast, episode and in fact, we have subps for lots of different tasks. So one sop will be
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Unknown Speaker
how to publish the podcast episode onto the podcast, host and another will be how to publish the podcast episode onto our website.
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Alastair McDermott
And in Sopp is, it’s a list of instructions. And the way that we do it is, I start off with a video. So I’ll typically record this on loom, although sometimes we’ll hit record during a zoom video where I’m doing a demo. And I’ll actually demo it on on screen share.
But my Va will take the video. And what she’ll do is she’ll put it into a Google Doc with screenshots. And so what she’s doing is she’s creating like a checklist or a procedure document, this Sopp document. And the the goal is like, how how we discuss it and talk about it is what happens. If you were out for 2 weeks and somebody else had to come in and do this, for you
make sure that the instructions are good enough with screenshots and access information like don’t include the passwords in the Doc. But talk about where to get the access. And so
like, that’s the building block of everything is having those sop documents, and so that somebody else. So we can hand off one of those sop documents to somebody. If we’re hiring somebody temporarily like the Va. Service, we’re getting them to take over something.
And so that’s the most important thing in in the whole thing. And and so to to create those we use loom, which is a screen recording tool. And we use Google docs. Then we talk on discord. I used to use. Slack and discord is a bit like slack.
It originally came from the gaming community. But it’s the same thing as slack. You’ve got all these channels you can have private messages, and it’s probably a little bit more complex than slack. But the reason why I like it is because Slack’s pricing model is just insane. It’s either free and and it’s really limited, or it’s hugely expensive, and they don’t seem to have much in between.
And so I got annoyed with with Slack’s approach to pricing, and I wanted to move off. So I moved to discord. So we have a discord where I have conversations. We’ve got a number of channels. We’ve got a channel, a private channel called Bookkeeping, which is myself and my assistant. And then we have a channel about video editing which has the video editor. And and I, Co and I.
And then we have private messages back and forth. We’ve got another one for the podcast, and so we’ll we’ll try and always keep it like in the podcast, channel. We’ve set up a new thread for each podcast, episode as it’s being created. And that’s where we share things like, well, here’s the podcast title, here’s the URL that we’re gonna use. Here’s the the headshot for the guest. Here’s the
show notes, text, and all of those things we we put into each thread for each episode. And so we we keep it pretty organized in that sense. And then the other tools that we use in terms of payment. It depends on the freelancer where they’re from, because freelancers in different countries have different payment methods that they can and can’t use.
So typically I ask them to invoice me with, with whatever their payment method is like some people. Invoice me. My video editor, invoice me through pioneer. I use for payments to people in the Philippines a lot. So it depends on who the person is and how they work. Some people use stripe and they can send stripe invoices. And so it’s gonna depend on on on that.
But and then we like we use wordpress for the website.
And we use Google Docs a lot. And I’ve got a lot of spreadsheets where we have like workflow in the spreadsheet like the the spreadsheet has. Here’s here’s the list of steps. So it’s almost like an sop, we’ve got one master spreadsheet that we use for a lot of the podcast related things like it’s got a list of all of the guests that we’ve had so far, and all of the guests that I’m thinking about inviting on just to kind of get that a bit organized, and and to put some shape around that as well.
So, and and the other thing that you find is
eventually you’ve done something so many times. You don’t need the sopp anymore. You just need to be careful about that, because it’s good to keep referring back to the sop as a checklist every so often. And you know, like, we’ve done 137 podcast episodes. So you know, like, at this point, we’re not really looking at that checklist. Very often. When we’re producing an episode, because, you know, it’s bit like riding a bicycle. It’s you. Don’t forget that stuff, but it is important to every so often go back and make sure, because
for example, if somebody gets sick or you know is is is is gone on holidays. You wanna be able to take that sop and and it still be up to date and hand it off to somebody else. So yeah, those are some of the tools. And and thank you. I know II tend to monologue a little bit. So thank you for your patience. No, no, it was so valuable, and I love that you really kind of like, break down the tools that you use sops.
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Kris Marie Dano
And it’s it’s kind of like helpful. I felt like, I’m learning also. At the same time through this conversation and the part of like. So P. In general standard operating procedure, do you kind of like? Also update them every now and then, especially if there’s like
software updates in other platforms, maybe, or just like there’s a new trend like social media, like, there’s a new trend that’s not working anymore like a strategy that’s not working anymore. So how do you kind of like manage in terms of updating your sop?
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Alastair McDermott
Well, we don’t. So far we don’t do a lot of that. We do need to get better. What I have done is on every sop document. I have right at the top. If there’s something in this sop is incorrect or broken, then immediately contact Ico and ask her to fix it.
And so that’s
that’s the number one rule is always check like, see if there’s something there. But it’s like it.
II think that you’re better off having something that is 99, right? Or 90% correct rather than not having it at all. So but yeah, it like, it’s not super high priority, particularly for tasks where we’ve done them so many times where where I find them really useful, are for things like our annual accounts, because we only do the the.
the grunt work of doing the accounts we do our, we do our weekly bookkeeping and our monthly bookkeeping, which is on a regular basis. So you’re doing it often enough not to forget.
But once a year you’ve gotta do your final accounts for the year, and that’s where it’s been a year since we did it last. I can’t remember all the things that we need to do and it’s complex, and I don’t like doing it either. So that’s where the Sopp is super valuable. Because, okay, this is what we need to do step by step. Here’s step number one, step number 2, step number 3. Here’s where to find that here’s a screenshot of it. Okay, even if the software tool has changed a little bit, we can still figure it out. But it it really makes life much easier.
So I think that’s that’s super important.
There’s there’s 2 other tools. Actually, II should have mentioned that I use all the time, and one is, and that’s where that takes audio and turns it into text. So it’s it’s an online transcription service. And it is a it’s AI based. So it it, you know, does it automatically. It’s machine transcription. But it’s pretty accurate.
It’s it. So we use that like to transcribe. I use it for transcribing all of my podcast interviews. My videos and all sorts of things like that. The other thing that I use is, I use Chachi Pt. Or Claude, which are both Llms. They’re both large language model ais, and Claude is really good, because Claude can take in large blocks of text.
Claude can take 75 0 words compared to about, I think, 3 0 for chat. Gp, so Claude can take a lot more. It’s it’s it’s it’s good. It’s not as good in terms of output as chatty pt, but I use both of those multiple multiple times a day one word of caution about that is, just be careful about taking the output
and using it directly without editing it or without fact, checking it because those like one flaw with Chat Gp. and these other large language models is, they make up plausible sounding but incorrect information.
And so they, for example, they might make up false sources, and I’ll give you an example II asked it to write a bio for me, and it made up a book that I had never written, and it it just it. It added it in as if I had written a book, and and it wasn’t. It wasn’t real at all, and it just made it up, but it sounded like a book I could have read it could have written. And you know that’s the scary thing about these things is they can write stuff if you’re not looking at, and fact checking them, they they can be very positive.
So so fact, check everything that that an AI creates for you, and also don’t take this stuff and just copy and paste it without editing it, because usually what it gives you is not good enough to directly post you. You probably should be doing some human editing as well.
But but those are 2 tools now that are super helpful, and one way that we use those. By the way, just to give people an idea, I can put in my transcript from a podcast interview that I do. Let’s say, we take the transcript of this, and I can say, please give me 10 title suggestions for the podcast episode and please write up show notes, episode, description for me to put on the website and the podcast player
and it can take that and it. It can produce that. And that’s where you know, these tools can really save a lot of time. So I think that we should be using those to make us faster, not not to replace human beings, but to make us faster. What we do.
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Kris Marie Dano
Yeah, it’s like, really easy now to. I think that’s one of the thing that freelancers are also worried because they’re gonna there was a time where it was kind of like hyped up like AI is gonna replace us or there’s no more work for us. There’s actually a lot of those content after I think Chat Gbt was hyped up also. So that was like a really
I love that give, emphasize it that it doesn’t really replace them or humans in general. And it even even when you kind of like, get content or get it stuff from it. You still have to really double check, or like, have someone else double check a human being, double, check their work or the the AI work cause I felt like that’s very valuable for freelance. There isn’t even like a lot of
business owners also who is weighing if they should use a chat, or like a AI like any other AI transcription, or just content, or still keeping their freelancers, because one of the things that I get to ask by other business owners
is, if they could just let go of this person because of AI, or like, yeah. So do you have like a thought about that, too, of like weighing in? Or have you ever thought of like this thing or this AI tool is now W doing the work that I really needed. So I would have to like, let go of this person or something.
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Alastair McDermott
Yeah, I’ve a few different thoughts about this. So first off, I like where they are right now is not where they’re gonna be in 5 years time. They’re going to improve. So the the AI that we see right now is the worst it’s ever going to be, which is a bit scary like they’re they are really good, and they’re getting more powerful. But I think as well it’s really important to learn how to use them properly, and
they are not a magic wand.
and II see people using them and and acting like, you know this. This AI is self aware as super intelligent. And it’s it’s having a conversation with me, and it’s, you know people are getting blown away with a conversation.
It’s just giving you an answer. The best answer it can think of in terms of
sounding plausible like. That’s what they do. They give plausible sounding answers to any kind of query, and it’s really great at that. But you need to understand. It’s not actually self aware. And if you start to talk to an AI
and act like it’s a like, you know, like you’re talking to a kind of some kind of advanced alien. It like, it’s gonna pretend like it is because it’s gonna it’s gonna you know, it’s gonna work that way. It’s gonna give you a plausible sounding response, no matter what your question is. And but you need to understand it. It’s actually just a really really smart auto complete. That’s what it’s doing is it’s giving you an auto complete, based on all of the knowledge that it was trained on.
And it’s giving you an average answer based on it’s averaging out all of the knowledge that that it was trained on and giving you that answer. And so that answer is going to be bland and average and mediocre by definition. And so if you’re an expert in your field, you have to bring the expertise in, and the point of view.
rather than just taking the average answer. And that average answer can be really really good, because the information is trained on is good. But you’ve, you know, just remember, like we’re not talking to.
We’re not talking to a self aware, autonomous system. And and so that is not like those systems. They’re not gonna replace humans. They’re going to enhance what we’re doing. They’re gonna enhance our productivity, gonna make us much faster. What we do and be help good people to produce more. And I think that if your job is being totally taken over by an AI,
then what you were doing was probably fairly
was was probably I don’t know what the what the right way to describe this is, but it wasn’t that challenging, or there was something there where you weren’t providing a lot of value, because I think that if you’re completely replaced by an AI, then you need to find a way to deliver more value for people.
and maybe taking and learning how to use AI
and learn how to make yourself better and more valuable then and understanding, you know, for example, like, if you’re a copywriter and you’re worried about AI is taking over like, if you look at the copy that ais are producing.
You know. Take a deep dive into the this modern digital landscape, and it’s producing all this kind of rubbish sounding stuff. Like I wouldn’t be concerned about that. What I would be doing is as as a copywriter. Okay.
how can I produce more for my clients? How can I produce better work for my clients? Or how can I specialise in in this area and use it to produce more and become better what you do rather than being worried about it. But I think that everybody needs to experiment and learn because these tools they don’t have an instruction manual.
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Unknown Speaker
And as business owners and as freelancers, we should be learning how to use these tools and figuring them out because that’s going to be super important.
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Alastair McDermott
I think it’s gonna be. One of the most important things that you can do is is learn how to use these and and the capabilities. What they might be able to do for you.
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Kris Marie Dano
Yeah. And it’s it’s really important to also kind of like, integrate yourself with what’s trending or like what’s working. And it makes the work efficient and
kind of like faster. But it doesn’t really replace you, and that’s really good. Takeaways for all those are listening, both business owners and free Lancers, and this has been a very valuable and
amazing. I’m learning a lot from this conversation. And now we are down to the ending questions. So what’s your favorite mantra?
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Alastair McDermott
Interesting question. just do it.
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Kris Marie Dano
just, I think. And
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Alastair McDermott
the the the big issue that a lot of us have about doing stuff, no matter what that stuff is is that we feel like we’re not ready.
So I’m going to wait until I’m ready before I do that thing.
no matter what it is, like, it could be starting a podcast or writing a book, or starting a business, or you know any any one of these things that that feels like something that we need to prepare for.
But at some point you have to start because you’re not going to feel ready. And I think that it’s important, like, for example, you can read 10 books about learning how to swim.
but at some point you need to get in the water. If you wanna learn how to swim. And and that’s like, it’s the same with the podcast it’s the same with a live stream. It’s the same with a Youtube channel. It’s the same with blogging, same with business at some point you have to just start.
And so that’s why I think, just do it? You know. Yeah, do do some prep. But
the only way to truly learn how to do something is to actually start doing it.
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Kris Marie Dano
Yeah, that would that really hit me? Cause? I think this podcast also kind of like, took me a while to to start and to to launch, because I kind of like tried to like, give excuses to myself like, Oh, I don’t have this yet. I don’t have to learn this yet first, or like even the business itself, and even me also writing the book that was kind of like what you mentioned earlier. And that kind of like, yeah, that really is what
happened to me, and that’s why it took me a while to really do it. But I didn’t. So just do it also. So what would also second one is, what advice would you give to the 15 year old Alistair Mcdermott, or your 15 years old? You?
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Alastair McDermott
Yeah, II I’ve thought about this before.
so there’s a few few different things. So first of all, I would tell 15 year old Alistair. Take up boxing as a sport. You’re gonna enjoy it a lot more than you’d realize. Because I only started boxing when I was 43. And unfortunately, I was too old to actually do any competition or anything, but I actually really love it as a sport.
So I would say definitely, say that The other thing is, I would say.
Start a business sooner than than you think you can, because II didn’t start my business till I go as 28, 27 to 28, I can’t remember exactly where, and then, and I think that if I had started it when I was 2223 that that would have been better off.
And I also think that I need to specialize a lot earlier.
And if if I had specialized lot earlier, that would have been more useful as well. And I don’t know exactly what what that would be, but having a specialization like it, it it is a key that will unlock a huge amount of value for you.
It. It’s it’s a big, big deal when you when you specialize so I and you know I it’s something that I talk to people about all the time. Most people don’t want to do it because of the fears around it. But it. It’s so valuable to do. It’s it’s it’s important.
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Kris Marie Dano
amazing. Yeah, that’s true. I 100% agree in that. And another one is, how can people reach you? Yeah, how can people fast or like, where are you mostly active.
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Alastair McDermott
cool. Well, if you’re listening to this on podcast, player, if you search for the recognized authority. You’ll find me. That’s the name, my podcast and my brand, the recognized authority. You can find me if you go Google, the recognized authority or go to the recognized
And I have, like I have a ton of stuff. I have maybe 4 or 5 books on Amazon, a lot of which are free.
I have the recognized authority. Podcast and I’ve got some other podcasts about different things, including a podcast called specialization podcast which is aimed at helping people to niche down. And it’s it’s like a little audio training course. So if you’re thinking about niching down, you can check out specialization podcast as well.
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Kris Marie Dano
awesome. And we’re down to the last one you mentioned about the book. So maybe you have other promotions, also, our freebies that people can grab or the audience can grab for free. Or even if yeah, recent promotions that you currently have.
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Alastair McDermott
Yeah. So if there’s anybody who’s a business owner. And they want to build their email list. I have a free private podcast called the Lead magnet, blueprint.
And you can get that if you go to recognized You can find it under the podcast section. And I’ll also give you a link that you can put in the show notes.
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Kris Marie Dano
awesome, and most of the things are gonna be also in the show notes and how you can breach Alistair also, and different social media platforms. We’ll be putting it there as well. So this has been a really productive conversation. Thank you so much, Alistair, for hopping and being here. And yeah, that’s it. For this episode. See, you guys on the next one.