In today’s episode, we talk about the virtual assistant model of the agency with special guest, Amber Miller, owner of Smart to Finish.

Today we’re going to be talking about the agency model with our special guest, Amber Miller of Smart to Finish.  Amber is going to tell us a little about herself.

Amber:

Yeah, so I started smart to finish back in 2004. And I had been working in a corporate position, doing marketing and technology, and finally decided that I wanted to check into this thing called virtual assisting. And at the time, it was not a very common thing, right, it was not a household name. Many people didn’t know what it was, you know, for years, I still had to explain to my mother and has been you know what I was doing. But started, started small, and started just working actually as a subcontractor for a few other VAs. So that’s really how I got to learn the industry got to learn a lot of the different programs was by subcontracting for other VAs. Oh, yeah. And after about doing that, for a year or two, I started kind of taking on my own clients, and then got to a point after a few years where I was full. And one of my coaching clients, actually, that I was working with said to me, he said, you know, the VA meaning myself needs a VA.

Yes. Interesting idea, right? Like, I had been doing that for a while. So I’m contracting for others. So this idea was kind of born of if I could continue doing the things that I love to do and find some other people who wanted to come to help me with some of the overflows, or some of the things that maybe I wasn’t good at, you know, like that, that might work. And after kind of doing that, the twist in the waters, you know, I think, for me, it was really difficult to, to grow an agency or grow a team, because I was so worried all the time, could someone else, treat my clients the way I wanted them, you know, to be treated and to do the things that I wanted to do. And so I really, honestly struggled with that for a couple of years. And the work of my own coach in 2013 really helped me to get past my own way, and started looking at, okay, how can we find others to join me that have that same work ethic that has that same? You know, the work-life balance that, you know, they want to contribute, you know, to their family, but you know, have these great, amazing skills? And how could I bring them onto our team, where they’re still being able to either be a mom or a military wife, or whatever that might be where they may have needed a bit more flexibility, but have these amazing skills that could come in and help me either with the overflow or some of the stuff that I didn’t do well. And so that’s kind of how Smart to Finish grew into more of the agency and a bit about myself.

Alyssa:  

Yeah, well, that is exactly what I was wondering about. And it’s really cool that you said you started with subcontracting because last week’s podcast episode was on subcontract versus being a solo entrepreneur, you know, solo virtual assistant, versus being on a team because I see, you know, I’ve done all three. And so I see subcontract tracking differently than being on a team or agent or absolute agency. And obviously, it’s very different from being your own solo virtual assistant. And can you explain though, kind of how your the model of your business works, as far as those who for a client and as well as for the VA that that is working on your team?

Amber: 

Yeah, sure. I think our model honestly continues to evolve and shift and just flow, to be honest, I never really when I started said, “Okay, this is the model I’m going to follow or how to guidebook I just kind of have always got gone with, what are my clients need? Right to be on? You know, it’s always been kind of what are our clients asking for? What do they need? And then also, how do I want to do this? And so one of my big things for myself and for my team is, you know, I come from a background of corporate and some very, very tough bosses, I would say, and so I can remember being in my early 20s, saying, you know, one day I would love to have my own company, and I will treat people this way, I will appreciate people, I will respect people, I want work to be fun. I want you to know, so I’ve, I’ve brought that forward with me. And I would hope that every single person on our team that works for us feels that because I believe that when people are appreciated when we’re doing what we love to do, we want to do it, we want to show up, and the way I look like work is Yeah, I mean, don’t get me wrong, right? There are days where, yeah, there are things that we have to deal with or technology. And, you know, not every client is perfect every day, nor are we, but our team likes to show up and be here.

And, you know, they make this company, you know, at this point of where our business is at, you know, there’s 11 employees, so it’s not me anymore, right? It really shifts the dynamics of this, and I have to sometimes step back and think I’m a piece of this now, I mean, I may be leading it, and I still love doing client work and still do a lot of it. But the team is really what makes up this entire place. And so if they’re not happy, they’re not going to do good work. So it’s really important for me that they are acknowledged, and that they are enjoying what they’re doing. And that kind of brings in how our business, you know, how we work is that we really try to have our teamwork with clients and do work that they love to do. And so we really try to when clients come in, match them with different ways. So you know, time zones and personalities and skill set. So I’m taking all of that into consideration.

And a lot of times, you know, with our team, they may they most likely won’t just work with one person on our team. Right? I call many teams because I have learned that, that we really can’t do it all. We can’t do it all. Well, that’s right. I remember when I first started kind of this, this idea of building a team, and that you could have multiple VAs doing different things. I remember feeling a little like, oh, I personally felt like Is there something wrong with me, I had a client say to me, you know, back in, like 2007, I think she said, you know, maybe we should look at getting someone to do the copywriting. Because I hate to write, right. But I think sometimes in the VA space, we’re made to feel that we need to do everything, and know everything. And I think there’s a lot of pressure sometimes to fit this one size fits all as a VA and when it truly comes down to it. We’re not, nobody is.

Alyssa:

That’s so true, I mean, and it’s been a wonderful experience to be able to ask for help from other people and knows that they’re, you know, as a team member, knowing that there’s somebody else there to kind of have your back. Whereas when you’re on your own, you know, you might get somebody to help you if you can find a trusted person that was nice enough to do that. But then, you know, many times, then you’re out the expense, if you have to hire somebody to help you with a project that maybe you run into a piece of it, you don’t know how to do.

Amber:

Right. Right. Exactly. And so, you know, I remember even myself kind of feeling like, ah, as I should, you know, maybe I should just say that I can do the writing even though I can’t. And so I think that’s really evolved. And you know, what we do? And what we try to do is, yeah, if that’s not something that you enjoy, or you’re good at, then we look at, is it something that the VA and our team just doesn’t know enough about it and needs some training, right? Because sometimes we were uncomfortable, or we don’t like doing something just because we don’t know how to do it. Right? Or is it that you even with the skills and the training, it’s not something you enjoy. So we take all of that, you know, into account, because again, our clients really, you know, can experience those different types of tasks on our team, where we have a web person and where we have, you know, social media and we have this and that so that they’re getting the Best of both worlds by having a team that we can kind of make sure that we’re having the right people who have the right skills do their work. And we’re not just doing it because you know, I have to do it. I’m a solo VA, I don’t have anybody else that can do it. I’ve got to figure, you know, figure this out.

Alyssa:

Yes, absolutely.

And this question is a little bit asking in a different way than I shared with you. But I think this is important because I thought that I have kind of two audiences for this podcast. And that is one is people who are interested in becoming vas, or they’re a VA, and they want to learn more about different pieces of the industry. But also, I have business owners who listen as well, just for that understanding of what it’s like to work with a virtual assistant. So what would you say is the target market or your ideal client for someone to work with Smart to Finish as a client?

Amber:  

So for us, we have really evolved over the last few years, I would say, into more of a launch. Launch support team. So we work with, you know, coaches, online entrepreneurs, those who are preferably those who have already have an established program or product, and are, you know, they’re either expanding their team, or, you know, they’re, they’re starting to do more and more, so they need a bit bigger of a bigger team to support, right? Because we can, we can come in and do a piece of the launch. Or we can fill the entire, you know, team for a launch. So definitely those who, who are looking for more of that email marketing, launch support, and have already, you know, they’re they’ve already been through a launch or two. It’s not necessarily that they’re not sure they need help. They know they need help. And they’re looking for a team that can handle as they grow.

Alyssa:

Got it? Well, that is awesome. And I think that there are people who listen to the show that have established businesses. So if they want to get in touch with you, what is the best way for them to do so?

Amber:

Sure. So our website is SmarttoFinish.com

Alyssa: 

All right. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to be on the podcast with me today, Amber, and I think this will be a great way to show that there are different models to the virtual assistant world and give us some good examples for people who are looking at hiring someone but also for new VA starting out or VAs that are wanting to do something a little bit different. So again, thank you so much for your time today.

Amber:  

Thank you. This was fun. Appreciate you having me. Thanks. Have a great rest of your day too. Bye. Ah

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