Janine Henwood: Building a VA Business

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Janine Henwood is featured on the podcast where we discuss her business journey as the owner of VA Celebrity.Janine left a high pressured career to start her own business where she wants to help people realize their dreams "by guiding them through the branding journey and helping them get ahead with marketing their biz."Give is listen! Welcome to the Content Supply Podcast. I'm Dallin Nead and each episode we bring you an inspiring brand, creator or message to help you discover how you can experience success and your business. As we unpacked stories and strategies about all things content, and growing a successful brand. So this is just the whole discovery process for all of us. We feature a variety of different brands on the show from entrepreneurs, entertainers, copywriters, marketers, coaches, athletes to designers, filmmakers, photographers and many more. All brand owners all creators. So it's my belief as with many others that every company is a content company. And has to be one to stay relevant and competitive. Because let's be honest the internet is so full of brands that it can be very easy to get lost in a crowd. So quality and effective content really separates you. That's why Content Supply was created to supply brands with ongoing custom content so they can engage with their customers by providing value telling stories and making more sales. And when we say content, I'm talking about video, audio and written or image all and everything in between, all those. Content creation and building a business is really hard. You never finish the building and creating even after you experience some success, you have to keep going on the journey. Content supply was created to be a resource, a community and a solution to fill that large gap of content. So thanks for joining the show. Now let's get to the interview.Dallin Nead : First and foremost with building Content Supply, it is a content marketing agency. And I have about, I have a handful clients right now that I’m starting with, and I’m sampling it out my process from content creation, development, strategy to the marketing side. And at the same time where VA fits in, is that extra assistant, kind of how you build your dream team right?Janine Henwood : Yeah.Dallin Nead : Those who support you is building out a way for talented professional to support the content creation side a little bit, more so social media management. Janine Henwood : I see, alright.Dallin Nead : And so I was searching for hashtags in different options across Instagram and that’s where I came across VA Celebrity. Janine Henwood : Okay, interesting.Dallin Nead : And so I found it very interesting and I was like, ”Hey why not feature a VA business on my new podcast and so, and tell me more about that world because VA world is still so new to me. How about the opportunities are, what’s the services may include because I kind of can be, VA’s can wear many hats--Janine Henwood : Exactly.Dallin Nead : --just for the business. And so I kind of getting the sense for what your brand story is, and I want to get more into where you see it going because I, now just learned that you may kind of leave it?Janine Henwood : Oh no I’m gonna leave, I will never leave. Dallin Nead : You’ll never leave it, okay. Janine Henwood : No, I’ll never leave, I’ll still be there you know, building my kingdom. But I also believe, just touching on how I see VA Celebrity evolving, I believe that you can’t do, of course, you can’t do everything on your own. That’s why I started the Virtual Assistance agency because I want to lend assistance to people that need help. They’re single business owners, they’re entrepreneurs, they have multiple things on the go, but they just need help with a portion of that. And their finances obviously doesn’t allow them to increase someone full time, if either their finances or just logistics, locations, or just, they just don’t want to, you know they just don’t want to have the responsibility having a full-time person. That’s where VA came in really handy because, we step in virtually, we do the work, and we leave. We still there, you just can’t see us. We’re just an email away or phone call away, you know whichever project management system you use, a ping away, but, so the work is done but you don’t have this attachment, this person there all the time which I think a lot of business owners find refreshing because they don’t have to deal with all the drama that often come along with employing someone full time.Dallin Nead : Yeah.Janine Henwood : So basically with VA Celebrity, I hired two lovely girls, who both started their own Virtual Assistant agencies, but they were really like, or they still are, in the very very beginning. So they have their own struggles you know, with marketing their business and how to seal the deals. So I sort of took them on intern to trying teach them some of my expertise to help their business start-up process and in return, they help me. So it’s like a win-win situation. Plus they get paid for their services so they had one client me, their first client, that they can sort of practice on me, without the feeling that fear of dealing with real clients. So they’ve really developed, they’ve really blossomed in their roles, and that’s why I think that the logical next step for me would be to reward them with more responsibility. And they still work for me as a virtual assistant and I will sort of taken on a project management role, I’ll manage them, but they will be doing a lot of the work. And I find it it’s handy because I can also hire or get more clients that way. Dallin Nead : Definitely. And how did you find and discover them? Because they are, they’re not local to you right? They’re all virtual assistant to support you, how did you go about finding that right talent that fit within your brand. Janine Henwood : Right, so I’m, the one girl, I found on LinkedIn actually and she had been liking and commenting on some of my stuff, I think also on Twitter and then I bumped into her in a Facebook group. And it’s a Facebook group for Virtual Assistance sort of you know like a mastermind group everyone can come together, support, check, best shot and not doing it in their personal Facebook, where client’s maybe watching you know, so it was like a secret place we can fight against clients. But it’s just to get you know, we all struggle with the same thing and we don’t always have the answers and it’s just a place to meet up. So I posted there that I was looking for two interns and I would be offering them sort of subcontracting rate because that’s also a thing in Virtual Assistance world, subcontracting to other virtual assistants, so I would be paying them while I would be teaching them. And they jumped on it and I interviewed quite a number of virtual assistants and I always believed “Trust Your Gut”. And I just had a feeling with these two that I just, we just jolted really well, they just gave off a lovely vibe and I like that. So I hired them and it’s worked out. And I mean I hired virtual assistants since then too and they have not worked out unfortunately sometimes, clash a personality, work ethics you know, these all sort of things. I think it’s similar to a client hiring a virtual assistance. Sometimes it’s just doesn’t work out. And it’s not necessarily the client’s fault or the virtual assistant, it’s just that you know, it just doesn’t work. People married, people get divorced, same with clients. Clients marry virtual assistant, they break up--Dallin Nead : They got divorced--Janine Henwood : --it just doesn’t work sometimes. Dallin Nead : Well you know, I think it’s interesting world from VA or other service providers where there’s so many, there’s so much talent on the internet to find and to help support your business in any form. Whether it’s the social media management, VA side, content creation side, digital marketing side, the services go on and I feel like discovering the right talent that the design style fits in your brand, or the relationship fits well you know, finding that exact fit is very difficult. So, I think beyond discovering, and kind of making that connection whether that was on the Facebook group or LinkedIn, how do you find those people that just blend with you well and meet your brand in like a deeper level?Janine Henwood : Well, for me, I’m obviously, you know, I sent out a posts, I got tons of interested parties, I interviewed them, I looked at what they were doing, how they were responding to other posts within the group, because I’m a stickler for professionalism, because obviously at some point you know, my VA would have some form of contact with clients, and I need to be, I need to be sure that I can trust them with clients. Not necessarily, yes trust them so they’re not gonna steal my client, but also, trust them that they would represent my business in a professional manner. I also make them for a virtual coffee dates, and I got to see them face to face and in action during their trial process, and everything about them just tells me that, we are just right for each other. I’ve worked with some others virtual assistant and I really thought it was gonna work out, and you know it had, we both, from both side it was just working really well and then something happens. It’s just something that just completely puts you off and it’s not, it’s could be a way they respond to an email or the way they deal with something under pressure because also in the virtual world, virtual assistant world, things happen last minutes sometimes and you need to be available. You need to, yes I get it people have families, etc, I have, I don’t have a family but I do have a husband and a dog, I guess I have a family--Dallin Nead : That counts.Janine Henwood : Counts. You know, but I would never, for example, I do sort of I have office hours but if a client contacts me after hours and say, “Look I really need your help.” I’m not gonna say, “I’m terribly sorry, I’m off duty, I will get in touch with you tomorrow.” Maybe, maybe it’s just my thing, and it’s not everybody’s thing, and I guess I was just looking, I’m looking for people that worked like I do. If I can find that person that work and think like I do, then I know it’s a good match. And with my two current virtual assistants, they work like me, they think like me, they never send me anything that less than top quality, I can almost rest assure, I don't even have to check their work, I can just send it like that, and I will know that it’s 100% correct. Partly probably because I drummed it into their head so much from starters because I saw this quality in them and that’s what pulled me to them. And the more we work together, the more just cement the fact I can trust them 100%. And that trust-- Dallin Nead : I like that a lot. Trust, trust, and trust definitely have to be earned. I found it out the hard way. I think there are plenty of projects that I have gone through where people have dropped off the map to support you or just not performing to your expectation, which sometimes you know, we could place high expectation of quality or showing you know, whatever that may be, and instead I even had this reschedule last week, you know--Janine Henwood : That’s okay, it happened. Dallin Nead : It happened. So, but let’s step back a little bit, I want to learn about more early on, why did you decide to pursue a VA business?Janine Henwood : Right. So I, as I mention before, I left a 16 years career in hospitality management about a year ago. My husband and I were managing a property in Panama, and he left and came to Seychelles, and I was there for a year by myself managing this property and I guess that year, it was, well I had always thought like, “I know what I’m doing, I’m really good at what I do.” and I still think that I’m really good for what I do, but that year proved to me that I should maybe just drop my ego, one step down, because it really gave me a kick at the butt. I mean I worked really hard. I was doing two people jobs you know, and for a year, I didn’t see my husband for I think I saw him once in 12 months, and we were on 2 separate sides of the world, it was just really really tough. So you know after a year I decided to move to Seychelles, give it a break and after I think about 2 weeks, I got bored and I was thinking of ways to occupy my time and really the VA Celebrity really started because I want to find something to do. I didn’t like this feeling of being bored, you can only read so many book, you can only go to the beach so many times, I really needed something to occupy my time and I thought, “While I was going to occupy my time, I may as well do it properly.” And I started off offering virtual assistant services on Upwork actually. That’s how I started. I started doing small job at Upwork until I landed 2 big clients. And then I thought, “Sure this is really nice. I could actually develop this into a real thing.” I sort of looking into getting a website, and setting up email addresses, and just learning more what other services I could offer because even though I was enjoying what I was doing you know, I don’t want to, I didn’t want to really do such variety of services, I want to niche down and specialise on things I really know how to do and that was marketing. I mean I studied marketing, I know I’m good at marketing, so that’s what I want to specialize in. And so VA Celebrity was born but before that actually I had a different company name, my company name was VA Superstar, and because my husband used to call me a superstar, and then I started this company and then I don’t know, somewhere along the line I just dropped that name and adopted VA Celebrity, you know I could do so much more with VA Celebrity and there we are, VA Celebrity was born. Dallin Nead : Was born. So you’ve created this company, this VA Celebrity, virtual assistant services, your website says that you know you got different packages. It’s very broken out nicely, you got different packages and it says 10, you know the first packages 10+dedicated hours, and there’s 20+, it says, “Dedicated hours to use at your discretion.” What kind of services are included within those 10 hours or 20 hours?Janine Henwood : Okay so, we basically offers 3 services, main services. Branding, which incorporate all the elements of designing a brand for you. Logo design, designing your brand identity, helping you through the process of choosing your colours, choosing the fonts that you want to use because we mainly worked with businesses, online businesses, and so visually it needs to be really appealing so that’s why, and I love, I’m very creative and I love designing and so that was a natural service for me. And secondly marketing, all various types of online marketing and social media management. Everybody, social media management is a really hot service, because everybody needs it. You know from local restaurant down the street to big airlines and different corporations. Everybody wants to be online, everybody needs to be online. And this is the service I think would probably never go extinct although I have heard people mention you know with all the new tools that are coming up, but I don’t think it will ever go extinct. People always needs help with that. So--Dallin Nead : I would agree. Sorry to interrupt--Janine Henwood : No problem. Dallin Nead : I would agree because I have been thinking a lot about that lately, obviously I reach out to you partially for the podcast but also to learn about the VA services you provide. And with social media management what I find is there are so many tools that automated resources to publish to all the, you know virtually all the social networks, you need to. But at the same time, with learning from those who are crushing it on specific social media platforms, and what I hear a lot is so much of, you gotta post and publish natively to platforms. For example, if you use social publishing tools and the list goes on what that can include, Facebook doesn’t like that as much--Janine Henwood : Exactly.Dallin Nead : --as you published it natively within Facebook itself. Or you know, Youtube or Instagram and that I find that one very interesting because that can add more mega processes in the process, or with VA services or just social media management in general, that can take out the stress or the worry of trying to be presence online but--Janine Henwood : Exactly.Dallin Nead : But with some people like myself even sometimes, some days you’re an introvert, other days you’re an extrovert, and some days you want to shop online and other days you don’t want to shop online, and so wethers that automated and hopefully supported by other service providers, I think having social media in place the human element not the automated element, are incredibly helpful because you have to adapt. And AI, Artificial Intelligence, automated services can’t adapt quite the same way as human can. Janine Henwood : Exactly. I mean you do, you know all these messenger box, and it’s becoming very popular and it’s a great tools to have but it’s, you know people buy from people the end of the day. People use services that people provide, people buy from people, and bots, and all the automated services they make the process easier but there still needs to be a person. You still need to, you know when you communicate, you still need to, the other person need to feel they are communicating with a human being. Someone with feeling, someone that can relate to them, it’s not just an automation or a program or service responding you know, to keywords they pick up in questions or you know information that’s being input. From that perspective I really feel that social media management it’s going to be around forever, you know. It’s a good service to offer. So yeah, that was a natural thing for me, social media management. And with my services I offer 3 sets of offers if you can call it that. 10, 20 and 40 hours. That’s really for people that they need consistent assistance on a monthly basis on going. They know, they might not know how much help they might need but they know they need some help. So they then would then go and purchase for example 10 hours from us. And for 10 hours, that, we helped them with any of the services that we provide plus, you know I worked with some coaches, online coaches and often times they need services we don't necessarily advertise that we offered, but we have the skill set to helped them, you know set up their schedule a thing, helped them tweak or integrate this program into their website, we can do that and we do helped them with that. It’s just our main services are drawing power, although 3 heading, so that’s really what that is. And we also offer services by the hours, sometimes people just need a logo design, or they just need something tweak on their website. Instead of purchasing a lock set of hours, we just quickly do the job and bill them however many hours we worked on their project, and then maybe in a month, two or three month time they’ll need our help again and we charged then we’ll do something for them again. And then of course with the branding, I have a very specific branding package that I offer which is, you know it’s from, from that, “ I have an idea.” to “Here is my website. I’m now a real legitimate business. I can start upgrading” And that package helps, it also helps people through their set up business like, “What do you need to do now, what do you need to do now, what do you need to do now.” I call it the branding kit start to launch but it basically helps them with the whole set up process and more because they get so much out of it. They have an idea and they end up with a business. And you know a team of virtual assistance that helped him along the way step-by-step. Dallin Nead : Completely agree, completely agree. Well and it’s interesting too for example I fit into a group of, I’m building a business as a side business right now, where my times consumed with my day job during the day so what I’m getting in place is the support team around me, to make sure the business, something actually happening in the business, when I’m not working on it 9 hours plus of the day, you know in the morning, in the evening, on the weekends. And I think the ability to tap into VA services is so valuable to businesses of any sizes. Especially with your ability to scale it based on the needs, you know you can adapt it based on the--Janine Henwood : Exactly. Exactly. Dallin Nead : And I do have a question around, so social media management, or that area where you helped brands stay consistent and presence online, does that include like copywriting on social media posts that includes image creation maybe? Janine Henwood : Yes it does. It includes content curation and so I, you know some of my clients are like me a little control freakish, so they provide the content, they’re like, “No we want to do it, you know we want to feel like we’re really involved in that piece.”Dallin Nead : Is that helpful?Janine Henwood : It’s helpful, it’s helpful--Dallin Nead : Do you like it?Janine Henwood : --and I do like it, I do like it. Because some other clients they just hand over stuff and, “You do it.” you know. And I mean, we can do it, of course we can do it, it’s just, they don’t, sometimes you just, you feel like, you know maybe they want to be a little bit more involved. But I get it, people are different, you know that’s the beauty about the human race, we all different, we have different personality. Some of my clients, they sort of with us every step of the way, we communicate with them the whole day, the whole week, we designed graphics with them, we create the copy with them, and they just signed it off and we schedule and we post. And then we have clients that just hand over, “This is what I want, this is when I want it, you go and do it.” And that’s also fine, we also enjoyed, it helps us to sort of activate that creativity in us because it’s different clients, different companies, different lines of businesses so you learn to think on your feet. Because we don’t obviously work for the same client entire day, we have to schedule our time accordingly. So you might be working with restaurants, you know business, the first of your day, and you switch over and you’re working with a fashion brand. And that’s completely different. And that’s I think also what’s lovely because that’s what makes it’s so interesting. You know you have client’s and they come from different business background, and you learned about that business too, while you are helping them, and that’s lovely. So yeah, going back to social media management, it includes from design work, creating graphics, curating content, doing research on topic that they maybe want to discuss in their copy to actually writing, doing everything. Writing out the copy, getting them to proof it, and of course engaging with their audience you know. Some people just don’t have the time to do that, so we then would slip in and engage on their behalf and then reefer sort of important issues, questions to them and they could then take it from there. Dallin Nead : That was great. That was great. I was trying to remember what questions I had. Oh man, super super good comment. Oh that’s what I was going to say. I was going to say, this is so helpful and this is a make sure of the podcast but also the discovery of you know, this coffee-- What would you call it? A coffee call?Janine Henwood : A virtual coffee date. Dallin Nead : A virtual coffee date, right.Janine Henwood : But you can call it whatever you like. Dallin Nead : Good, good. So yeah, so this is very helpful and it’s very interesting to see the potential for growth for brands and it gets me excited to discover what services and opportunities there are out there. And knowing that these kinds of services can be taken over by those who are professionals like yourself, no matter where you are in the world. I mean your located, the South, East or the South Africa basically, South Africa--Janine Henwood : Yeah I’m in Seychelles, Indian Ocean, 5 hours flight from South Africa. Dallin Nead : Yeah and I’m located in Los Angeles. So it doesn’t matter where you are, you know, we’re in completely different time zone. So Janine I just want to thank you for being on this podcast, I really appreciate your insights and your professionalism to share about your brand of VA Celebrity.Janine Henwood : Thank you, it was lovely to talk with you today and I enjoyed it very much, thank you, and I look forward to hearing back from you. Dallin Nead : Cool. And before you hang up. Let’s wrap up on other things. I’m going to do a quick intro with you as well because we got right into it. So, hello, and welcome to Content Supply Podcast, today we have Janine Henwood on with us today on VA Celebrity services. Did I say it right, VA Celebrity services? Janine Henwood : VA Celebrity Virtual Services.Dallin Nead : Virtual services. Thanks Janine.Janine Henwood : Your very welcome. We are virtual assistance services covering branding, marketing, social media management for people basically across the world. We covered different time zones, and that’s the beauty about virtual assistance, you can work with clients all around the world from the comfort of your home. Dallin Nead : Completely agree. That was great. Super good. Thanks for-- I wanted to butcher it so you could say it right, I did that on purpose.Janine Henwood : Oh thank you. Dallin Nead : So let’s, I definitely want to follow up with you, like I said I’m glad I got the information from you and--Janine Henwood : You have my contact and obviously you have my contact and you have my emails--Dallin Nead : I do yeah, is email the best way to keep in contact with you?Janine Henwood : Email, or just whenever, if you want to hop on a call again, I’m available, you know obviously my time zone hours, but I worked from like 9 to 7pm sometimes to 9pm. And then I also worked sometimes really early in the morning. So if you need to get in touch, best is probably on email, and we can take it from there and set up a call or whatever we need to do. Dallin Nead : Okay. Copy that. Cool. Thank you. But yeah, like I said I’ll be in touch and I’ll definitely follow up with you once the podcast is ready here.Janine Henwood : Perfect I’d love to hear it. I’d love to have a link to it. Good.Dallin Nead : For sure, for sure. I’m very excited to share. Well Janine seriously I can’t thank you enough. Thank you for giving your time to do this.Janine Henwood : Thank you.Dallin Nead : And we’ll talk soon. Janine Henwood : Talk to you soon. ByeDallin Nead : Take care. ByeSo we mentioned content and brand building throughout this episode. So if you're overwhelmed with running your business and you know you need more content especially an ongoing constant supply of content that's custom, all in order to take your brand to the next level then make sure to learn more. And check out our website of content supply at contentsupply.io. So thanks for listening everyone and we'll see you on the next episode.

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