Think Different Theory

How Nathan Built A $10,000,000 Business Using Just VAs – With Nathan Hirsch


If you don’t know, VA = Virtual assistant, (typically from a place like the Philippians, or India, etc.) and it is quite the buzzword around the online marketing space. In today’s episode, I sit down with VA training and hiring expert Nathan Hirsch.


Nathan has built 2 multi-million dollar businesses with VAs, and he is currently building a 3rd.

We discuss why VAs are so effective, how to hire them, what to look for in them, and how to make sure they stick around.

We also address some of the major problems with them, and how he has gone about addressing it.

This is a truly fascinating episode!


Be sure to follow me on the below platforms:

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, or Stitcher.

Instagram @joshforti




March 18, 2020


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Disclaimer: The Transcript Is Auto-Generated And May Contain Spelling And Grammar Errors

Nathan 0:00
I think we always think that someone’s going to steal our baby or hurt our baby or won’t be as good as at that task as we are. And Alec scharffen, who I’m sure you know, I always love one of his quotes where he says, Hey, if you think you’re the only person that can do what you do in your business, I have news for you. You’re not that special. And it’s so true that there’s so many people out there that can do everything that you do way better. And if you’re not focusing on the high level stuff, the the sales, the expansion, the marketing, your business is only gonna go so far.

You‌ ‌are‌ ‌now‌ ‌entering‌ ‌a‌ ‌new‌ ‌paradigm.‌ ‌So, ‌here’s‌ ‌my‌ ‌issue.‌ ‌I‌ ‌wanted‌ ‌to‌ ‌find‌ ‌the‌ ‌ answers‌ ‌to‌ ‌life’s‌ ‌biggest‌ ‌questions.‌ ‌Things‌ ‌like,‌ ‌how‌ ‌do‌ ‌I‌ ‌become‌ ‌happy‌ ‌and‌ ‌live‌ ‌with‌ ‌purpose?‌ ‌ How‌ ‌do‌ ‌I‌ ‌make‌ ‌more‌ ‌money‌ ‌doing‌ ‌what‌ ‌I‌ ‌love,‌ ‌and‌ ‌what‌ ‌does‌ ‌it‌ ‌mean‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌truly‌ ‌successful‌ ‌in‌ ‌ all‌ ‌areas‌ ‌of‌ ‌life?‌ ‌My‌ ‌name‌ ‌is‌ ‌Josh‌ ‌Forti,‌ ‌@JoshForti‌ ‌on‌ Instagram,‌ ‌and‌ ‌I‌ ‌ask‌ ‌life’s‌ ‌biggest‌ ‌ questions‌ ‌and‌ ‌share‌ ‌the‌ ‌answers‌ ‌with‌ ‌you.‌ ‌My‌ ‌goal‌ ‌is‌ ‌to‌ ‌help‌ ‌you‌ ‌find‌ ‌purpose,‌ happiness,‌ ‌and‌ ‌ open‌ ‌your‌ ‌mind‌ ‌to‌ ‌new‌ realm of possibility ‌by‌ ‌helping‌ ‌you‌ ‌think‌ ‌differently‌ ‌about‌ ‌everything‌ ‌you‌ do,‌ ‌know,‌ ‌and‌ ‌understand.‌ ‌On‌ ‌this‌ ‌podcast,‌ ‌we‌ ‌think‌ ‌different,‌ ‌we‌ ‌dream‌ ‌bigger,‌ ‌and‌ ‌we‌ ‌live‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌ world‌ ‌without‌ ‌limits.‌ ‌This‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌new‌ ‌paradigm.‌ ‌Welcome‌ ‌to‌ ‌The‌ ‌Think‌ ‌Different‌ ‌Theory.

Josh 1:30
What’s up guys, welcome back to another episode of Think Different Theory. My name is Josh Forti. And it is a good day to be alive people. I’m so glad that we’re back for another episode. Thank you for tuning in. Hey, real quick if you have not gotten your copy of Traffic Secrets yet, make sure to go we’re gonna link down all the information down below of how you can go and actually get a copy of the Traffic Secrets book. And we have a bunch of really, really cool bonuses for everybody that gets it through my affiliate link we’re trying to place in the top 20 impress Russell Brunson. Do all that fun stuff. And as you know, I am going to be speaking this was so hard to keep secret guys by the way. They were like, Josh, you cannot tell anybody until the book comes out. I’m like, Oh my gosh, I’m speaking at the Traffic Secrets live launch event in Boise there’s gonna be about 200 people there the top affiliates get to fly out. There’s some awesome awesome people that are gonna be on stage john Lee Dumas. Casey Neistat is going to be there as Ty Lopez I don’t actually know if he’s coming Jenna Kutcher, like big, big names, Natalie Hodson will be there. And so basically, we’re trying to sell a lot of these summit speaker we got it, we got to have some epic bonuses for you. And so we do so click the link below. If you’re listening on audio or video, we’ll link all the details down there, and you’ll be able to check that out. Alright guys, um, I want to dive into today’s episode because it’s a little bit more of the entrepreneur focused episode. My next guest here is just somebody I read his bio, I was like, oh, wow, this is super cool. And I talked to him a little bit beforehand. I’m like, holy cow. How do you how do you do that? That’s amazing. And so I’m very, very excited. He’s an entrepreneur. Let me pull up his bio here actually read this. It says that you He started his first company in 2009 out of his college dorm room buying and selling textbooks. Over. over five years, my business partner and I scaled the company to over $25 million in total sales. Then they expanded to work with over 1000 suppliers in home, baby and toy products. We hired a team of over 50 people and we learned a ton from the entire experience. He’s done a whole lot more than that. He just sold another one of his companies. He’s got an incredible, incredible story. And if you’re an entrepreneur, or you’re looking to understand business and entrepreneurship better, he is the man to talk to, and I’m gonna bring him on now. Nathan Hirsch, welcome to Think Different Theory, man, I appreciate you coming on,

Nathan 3:36
Josh. Thanks for having me. I love talking about entrepreneurship and scaling businesses should be a lot of fun.

Josh 3:40
It’ll be we’ll have a lot of fun with it, then. Alright, man, so I have no idea who you are. And I think we’ve kind maybe gone back and forth a couple of times, but like, I’m not familiar with their background at all. And usually, those turned out to be the best interviews because I’m learning right along with the audience. And we’re just gonna dive in here. So for me and for everybody else listening right now, like Give me the space like, what do you do? What do you sell? Like? Who is Nathan Hirsch?

Nathan 4:05
Yeah, so it’s funny growing up my parents were both teachers and I grew up with a mentality that I was going to go to school, get a real job work for 30 years retire. And that was kind of my mindset and going into college. I had this internship and they treated me really well. They paid me a lot. I learned a lot about customer service and sales and marketing, but I just hated every second of it. I hated working for someone else. I hated having a boss. And when I got to college, I kind of looked at it as a ticking clock. I had four years to start my own business, or I was gonna go out in the real world and have bills and responsibilities and get a job and never look back. So when I got to college, I started hustling, and I started off buying and selling people’s textbooks. I created a little referral program, competed with my school bookstore. And before I knew it, there were lines out the door of people trying to sell me their books, to the point where I got a cease and desist letter from my college telling me to knock it off. Oh, no way. Yeah, cuz I was stealing too much of their business from their bookstore. So I didn’t want to get kicked out of college. My parents were both teachers that would not have gone over to well. So I pivoted, and I started trying to sell everything on Amazon. This was 2008. No one knew what Amazon was, it was kind of this big bookstore,

Josh 5:16
I want to stop you right there really quick, I just want to back up. But before we get into the story, because I have a feeling we’re just gonna dive in, it’s gonna be awesome. Did you know like entering college, you said, Okay, I felt like it’s just taking time bomb. I’ve got four years to basically figure out or else I have to go work for somebody else. Do you have any entrepreneurial experience at this time? Or do you understand that that’s even an option? Or are you kind of just like, I got to just figure this out? Like, did you have guidelines as someone to follow? Or were you completely new to the entrepreneurship space?

Nathan 5:43
Completely new, I mean, all that I feel like all the courses and the gurus all that stuff came later like back then social media wasn’t as big as it is now. So right. I had met some CEOs, I had had some internships where I got to interact with them and saw that they could work by the golf course and all that and I just wanted that lifestyle. But I didn’t know exactly what that entailed, right?

Josh 6:02
Okay, okay, so you’re a newbie coming into this you don’t have entrepreneur friends per se and you’re just like I’m gonna go figure it out. What even allowed like what happened in your brain like what was the mentality the mindset behind books like how did that even start? How did you even know that you could do something like that?

Nathan 6:23
Yeah I mean books were just the low hanging fruit right I mean I was spending hundreds of dollars every semester on textbooks my friends were doing the same thing and I would go to sell it back to the bookstore and they would offer me pennies on the dollar which pissed me off as a 20 year old with not much money and I said, You know what, I can find people that will give me more money, which I did I found different distributors and build relationships. And then I said, Okay, this is benefiting me, how do I help this benefit all my other friends and how do I create a system where people just tell other people and I said I forget the exact numbers of that referral program, but it just blew up and they were literally just lines out my door of people. selling me these books and I was just loading up my dorm room with all these textbooks.

Josh 7:04
Okay, so it kind of I don’t wanna say you like fell into it, but it was one of those things where you created something out of the need, right? That’d be accurate.

Nathan 7:13
Yeah, definitely.

Josh 7:14
Okay. So you create this thing out of the need, you get the cease and desist letter. And now you’re like, what do I do you go to Amazon? Is that right?

Nathan 7:21
Yeah. So I sold some books on Amazon. And I thought it was so cool. I could have this 24 seven storefront they’d automatically deposit money into my bank account, like all this was new. And so I started experimenting, I can’t sell books anymore. And I go to products that I’m familiar with, like sporting equipment, outdoor supplies, video games, computers, typical college guys stuff, and I just fail over and over and over again, I can’t get anything to sell besides these books. And one day I came across this deal on a baby product. And I listed on Amazon and it sold and I listed another one and it’s sold and all of a sudden I just start listing baby products on Amazon and before Before you know it, I’m this 20 year old single college guy, just selling millions of dollars of baby products on Amazon really getting into drop shipping before I even knew it was called drop shipping. I was gonna say so you weren’t holding any inventory at this point? No. I mean, my logical brain was like, Hey, I don’t have much money. So I can’t buy inventory up front. Even if I could buy inventory up front. I don’t have anywhere to put this inventory. Right. Ray didn’t exist back then. And I had a dorm room, right? What if I built relationships with these suppliers, they could focus on what they were good at making the product shipping it they could keep my credit card on file. They didn’t know what e commerce was. So I came to them and I said, Hey, I’ll get you more sales, I add you another I’ll add another revenue stream to you. All you have to do is make your product and ship it and that’s really my sales pitch that got everyone to agree to work with me.

Josh 8:45
So you went directly to distributors to get like wholesale cost.

So at first I went to distributors and then I went around them a year later and just went right to the manufacturer. Okay, these are all US manufacturers. We’re dropshipping

Okay, so talk this through. So there’s people listening right now that have no idea what you mean by saying listing it on Amazon, right? Like affiliate marketing, which drop shipping slash affiliate marketing, which is essentially what you’re doing here, right? Like a combo of the two of those is very new to a lot of people, right? It is I mean for you and I, it’s like, well, no, duh, like half of what sells on Amazon is affiliates, right? A lot of people don’t know that. So like, walk me through the process of what that like, what is it that you’re actually doing with these products when you say that you’re listing them on Amazon? And then like, second part of that question, and I’ll let you kind of take it and explain how you want to. How are you getting in finding these products? Like how did you? I know, you went around them and eventually, like, what but how do you even find those relationships? How did you know to go and do that? Like, what was the process there that led you to go Oh, if I do this, that I can get wholesale and sell on Amazon for more. So

Nathan 9:58
Yeah, so Amazon now is a completely different animal. I mean, you’re creating listings by writing really good titles by optimizing all the keywords by having really good paragraphs that make people want to buy from you by having really good images. Back then Amazon kind of had its own catalog, and you would just go through and select the product, select the price, select the condition, which is always new. And it probably had like one or two other questions that it asked you. And you would click Go. And within 15 minutes, your product was on Amazon. And the cool thing about drop shipping is I had to create processes, which helped me down the line creating processes for other businesses. Because if my manufacturer had 10 in stock, I had to make sure that I only listed 10 because if I listed 20, and I got all the sales for a product that I couldn’t fulfill, I’d have to cancel the order I get bad feedback and stuff like that.

Josh 10:44
Okay, so but take me back. Sorry, and I’m not now I’m a little bit confused with with this. So like, back in the day, because I’m not familiar with Amazon back in the day. I know Amazon now, but I don’t know like 2008 I was, oh gosh, what is that? 10 years ago? No, I tell you 12 years ago Holy cow. That’s insane. Anyway, um, so like, you said that you would go on there and you just select your product. Is that product, a product that’s already on Amazon?

Nathan 11:10
Yeah. So keep in mind when you’re drop shipping, you’re selling other people’s products. So these are stuff that was already in the Amazon catalog. Nowadays, if you do private label, create your own product, get your own trademark, however you go about it, you might go on Amazon and create a brand new listing, you upload the photo, you upload the listing, but Amazon’s catalog, even back then was pretty big. It didn’t have every product in the world, but it had a lot of the most popular toys and AV products. So why wouldn’t Amazon just sell those products themselves? Like why? Why do they need you involved? Yeah, I mean, Amazon over time, developed the research to see Hey, what’s selling now let’s go sell it ourselves and cut out the middleman which made selling on Amazon a lot harder. One of many reasons that I got on Amazon years later. And it’s a great question. I mean, back then everything was new. The whole system of third party selling was new and Amazon wasn’t gonna go out and buy every single product in the world. Now it’s very difficult to dropship you might go to a manufacturer and there might be 10 other people already selling it on Amazon back then it wasn’t the case.

Josh 12:10
So basically, and tell me if I’m understanding this correctly, basically back then you had this. Amazon basically was like, Okay, we’ve got this website. And we’ve got, I’m just gonna make up arbitrary numbers here. So I’m probably way off. But let’s say we’ve got 5 million products on the website that we’re selling now. But we have access to distributors of 100 million products. And so basically, you come in and say, Hey, I think this one will sell. So let me go and you’re picking up their hundred million. You’re saying I think this one will sell I’m gonna set it up. And since I’m the one setting it up for you and putting it on your website, even though it’s your inventory or whatnot. I’m an earn a little bit of a commission from that for doing that, essentially.

Nathan 12:53
Well, technically Amazon’s taking the Commission on getting the sale price minus 15%. They’re taking the 15% for getting the customer base.

Josh 13:00
Okay, but it’s so in their database, they’re basically just giving you access to their database. It’s not their products like they, they weren’t holding product at that time.

Nathan 13:11
Yeah. So Amazon is really two businesses. One is their products that they make, and also products that they buy from other people at wholesale and sell themselves, right. And the other thing is third party. So there’s the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Amazon sellers out there that are selling lots of different products. And let’s say that most popular Lego during the holidays, you go to that Lego listing, there might be 50 different sellers on it, or 100. Amazon might be selling it, Amazon might be selling it for a week, and then they run out and then everyone’s buying it from the second seller and then that runs out and then everyone’s buying the third and then Amazon might come back and stock. It’s kind of like a revolving door game that keeps going back and forth.

Josh 13:48
Okay, interesting. So back then they basically provided you this catalog that they have was essentially like a Rolodex of suppliers, and that you were getting product from.

Nathan 13:57
It’s a Rolodex of suppliers. I would get this too. pliers. Think of it as a big list of all the different products that customers are constantly trying to find. And I’m just putting my listing on their website to buy.

Josh 14:08
Ah, okay. Okay, so you had to go out and actually find the product itself. They were just saying like, Hey, this is what people are searching. We don’t have products for it like you can upload it here,

Nathan 14:19
Essentially. Yeah.

Josh 14:20
Okay. Okay. I understand. Okay, that makes a lot more sense. So then how did you go out back then? Because I’m sure it’s way easier now. But like, back then, maybe there was less competition. But I there’s not gurus and guides out there. How did you go out and find distributors and suppliers to upload this to or from?

Nathan 14:40
It was a lot of trial and error. It was a lot of rejection and emailing people that didn’t take a 20 year old entrepreneurial seriously, but my whole pitch was there’s very low, there’s no risk to them, right. I mean, they let me they give me access to their catalog the manufacturer does. I list their products on Amazon. If it doesn’t sell, it doesn’t sell it doesn’t hurt them. It doesn’t cost them money. I’m the one who’s spending the time Energy hiring people eventually do the listings. And if it does sell from their side, it’s a brand new revenue stream for them that they can just sell additional products. So that’s how I tried to portray it as kind of a win win for them a win for me and something that was very low risk.

Josh 15:15
So basically, you went to them, and we’re like, Hey, listen, I want to sell your product on Amazon may work. It may not I think it will. Here’s why. And what I need from you is, and you have like a little list of questions, like I need permission, and I need images and quantity and basic stuff like that.

Nathan 15:29
Yeah. And over time, that process got better. So it was, hey, I need you to send me an inventory update every week. And I would have a virtual assistant grab it and update the inventory on Amazon or every time they would get new products, which a lot of times new products are the best sellers, they would have to let us know about it. So over time you kind of make that system and process better and better.

Josh 15:47
Got it. Okay, so what? You start doing this, you find baby toys. Where’d you go to school, Quinnipiac. It’s

Nathan 15:56
in Connecticut.

Josh 15:56
Okay in Connecticut. Are you from Connecticut? No, Massachusetts. Now. To show okay, but you live where now? Now I’m in Florida now you’re in Florida. You’re a smart man you wised up you got out of the cold but I have to ask you like pause here for a second you’re sports fan.

Nathan 16:09
I am and you’re not gonna like it. I’m so my family’s actually from New York. So I’m a big Yankees and giant fan.

Josh 16:14
Oh, man, that guy is the worst year in the NFL, bro. Do you use ball sports then? A little bit? Definitely. I gotta ask you then. It’s my boy Brady. Gonna leave?

Nathan 16:25
Dude, I think he’s coming back. I’d be surprised. Yeah, I feel like it’s all BS. I feel like Belichick and Brady are gonna meet and they’re gonna figure it out.

Josh 16:33
Because like all the reports that I’m reading dude are like the call between Bill Belichick and Brady did not go well. Brady’s preparing for a new team. Titans and the Raiders are front runners that Brady’s gonna be traded to the 40 Niners for Jimmy Garoppolo like just craziness. Man. I’d be so heartbroken if he leaves and that’s all I said. I know if

Nathan 16:51
I was in New England fan. It’s almost like Mookie Betts. I don’t know if you’re a Red Sox fan, but I don’t know. It’s like if they treated Jeter when I was a kid, I would have gone over that.

Josh 16:59
Alright. Right so my heart is a little bit like what’s it March 16 I think is March 16. He becomes a free agent officially. And I’m just like my heart. All right back to business though so you’re 20 years old you’re going to college did you end up finishing college or no? I did

Nathan 17:14
My parents are teachers so I they may I have this degree right here that I’ve never used it’s been hanging out.

Josh 17:19
Okay, all right. Can we go down the rabbit hole just for like five or six minutes about of college?

Nathan 17:24
Yeah, absolutely.

Josh 17:25
All right. I want to know your thoughts on it. your your your family is a teacher or our teachers Your parents are you went through school and you just said hey, I’ve got this worthless degree. I am a very outspoken person. I don’t really care if people disagree with me I am going to you know state my opinion in my opinion is unless you’re a doctor or lawyer is complete waste of time scam and you shouldn’t do it. But I’m flipside of that. I also try to see the other side and try to provide a new perspective. So I’m gonna ask you the question, one, your honest opinion on outside of a absolute college degree necessary. Career like a doctor or a lawyer, right? What do you think of college? Should they go or not? And then secondly, what was the positive side of college? So go from there?

Nathan 18:10
Yeah, and I agree with you, for the most part. I mean, if you look at it just from an ROI standpoint, for most people out there getting a business degree or an economics degree, or whatever it is, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Now, with that said, college was probably one of the four, I won’t say best years of my life, but it’s right out there. I had a great time I met some awesome people that I’m lifelong friends with, I started a business in college. So it’s tough for me to know if I would have even done that. If I would have even gotten into textbooks without college, would they go hand in hand, maybe I would have taken a different direction to get to where I am now. So I kind of do see that part of it. But I do agree, I mean, just the fact that it could cost you 100 or $200,000. And you could be paying that back for the rest of your life and then go on and get a job that has nothing to do with the major that you just graduated in. It doesn’t doesn’t make a whole lot of sense from an ROI perspective.

Josh 18:57
All right, I just want to make sure that we’re on the same page there because Like, so one of the things that I’m pretty passionate about dealing with a different area is I want to bring in a new, like, I want to connect the entrepreneur skill set with the average human right? Like, I really believe that entrepreneurship is the only way to create a sustainable change, right charities, we love you, you’re great. But you also you depend entrepreneurs are all should all fail. So that being said, let’s, let’s try to maybe not like I’m trying not to just be like, if you went to college, you’re a dumb idiot. You should have seen it, right? Because that was kind of old, Josh, and more. So show this path of like, Hey, listen, if you’re not an entrepreneur, and you’re considering going to college, and your goal is not to go and be a business owner, there is another path out there and you don’t have to be a multimillion dollar business owner, you can have a side hustle, or you can you know, go and have success without that. So I’m just always curious about that. What would you say though, about college? What was your favorite part of college?

Nathan 19:54
Oh man favorite. To me. It was freedom and independence. I mean, my parents were always supportive and I got it. Relative freedom but in college you kind of figure out who you are what you like doing. Are you someone that likes to go to the gym every morning? Are you someone who likes to sleep in pass class? Do you want to work on side projects? Do you want to be part of a community? Do you want to be a loner? Like how do you want to go about life and you get to try a lot of different things and figure out who you are as a mature person that person which is a lot different than who you are in high school or middle school?

Josh 20:21
Yeah, for sure. What type of person were you?

Nathan 20:24
I honestly I tried everything and there were plenty of times where I was listing products and just being by myself and trying to grow the business there were times where I joined a fraternity and partied and had a great time and made friends. And there are parts of me that that played sports and and had the more active side of it. So for me, it was all about diversifying and trying everything to figure out what I liked and what I didn’t like.

Josh 20:44
Okay, I want to get back to business here in a second but I want to go down this rabbit hole for a second here. Are you mindset guy at all? like do I

Nathan 20:51
Yeah, a little bit? I meditate every day. So, boy,

Josh 20:54
you’re a meditation guy. Have you ever had like like major, major Major mental blocks that you had to work through, or not so much.

Nathan 21:03
Yeah, I mean, a lot of it when you’re an entrepreneur, you kind of have the big ups and big downs, right? And I feel like at the beginning of being an entrepreneur, every time you’re going up, you think you’re on top of the world and no one can touch you. And whenever you have a down, you’re like, Oh my God, my life is over. How am I going to ever recover? So yeah, I feel like a lot of it that first five years like I had a point where I hired this one person, I trained him for six months, and I had this one manufacturer who was crushing it for me and I put all my eggs in one basket. I had one person running my business one manufacturer I was focused on, I went on vacation and both of them dropped me on the same day like on my first day of vacation. So I spent the rest of the vacation drinking and talking my business partner and trying to get over it. And the way I got over it was looking at it as a major learning lesson and how fortunate I was that I learned that in year one and two of business and not in year 789. So

Josh 21:52

Nathan 21:53
For me, it was kind of like become numb to the ups and downs and keep that level headed witness across.

Josh 21:58
And I like that a lot because like so I’m huge on mindset. And it’s one of those things where I’m like, I hate to generalize mindset, because it’s so different for each person, right? Like, we each have our own story like, yes, there’s similarities, don’t get me wrong, right. But like, the similarities are like the core problem, but how they magnify themselves is radically different for each person, right. And what I think is interesting is, to me using my the type of person, and I hope you’ll get offended by this like this is, I mean, this is a complete compliment, right? I’m not saying you did this, but I feel like you’re the type of person because you’ve had some success to $25 million in sales, you just sold another company that was acquired, like, congratulations for that. I feel like you’re the type of dude at 20 years old, or 21 years old in college, you could be the dude that would just party. So hard, wake up the next day, go make like 100 grand and be like back to partying and like, where a lot of people couldn’t do that. And obviously, that’s not a sustainable lifestyle style. It’s almost like you could separate the two right? And you could be like, now I’m gonna go Do this and like yeah, while that’s not gonna, that’s gonna bother me, I’m not gonna let my partying or my my hobbies or like things like that get in the way of me making money. Is that accurate or no?

Nathan 23:09
Definitely. It’s funny when I was growing up, my mom always told me work hard play hard. And to me that always meant like, hey, if I’m working on business or even a job at that point, I’m gonna go all out and I’m going to crush it. And then if I’m going to go on vacation like next week, I’m going to Colorado, I’m going to go snowboarding, I’m going to crush the mountain and have a great time and in college, it was partying and you kind of had that balance where whatever you’re doing, you’re committed to it. You’re having fun, you’re going at its max and and as long as you can kind of and I do agree with you at some point you slow down if you’re like chugging beers at 8am helps you.

Josh 23:43
Okay, awesome. Awesome. All right. So and I do think it’s important to separate that. That’s one of the things that you know, for the listeners that have followed me for a while. It’s actually one of the things that I’m focused on now. is like, having dedicated off time, having time to just not think about the business and be like, you know what, I’ve got my 500 bucks that I’m gonna go blow on myself. I’m not gonna, you know, I mean, like, this is just my time with this where we’re gonna do, I think that there is some health benefits to that to like keep sanity and keep things separate. So, okay, I want to go back to business. So you get started on Amazon and you start selling these baby products, you start making millions of bucks or a million dollars in sales, I should say, from your college dorm room essentially, like walk me through the process. How did you go from college dorm room starting to sell baby products to 25 million bucks?

Nathan 24:30
Yeah, so we’re listing products and we’re selling Amazon’s growing at the same time I’m making a good amount of money. My parents tell me I should probably start paying taxes, right? So I meet with an accountant. And the first question he asked me is what are you going to hire your first person? And I kind of shrugged him off, like, why would I do that? That’s money out of my pocket. They’re gonna steal my ideas. They’re gonna hurt my business. Pretty standard entrepreneurial excuses. Right, right. And he just laughed in my face and he said, you’re going to learn this lesson on your own. So sure enough, my friend First busy season comes around fourth quarter. I’m doing every part of my business answering every email repricing everything. And I just get destroyed. I’m working 20 hours a day, my social life’s gone, my grades plummet, and I just worked my butt off to get to the other side and just keep this business alive because Amazon, they’ll shut you down. If you get bad feedback, you can slaughter so I kind of looked at it as my lifeline. And when I got to January, I was like, Oh my God, he’s right. I need to start hiring people right now. So I’m 20 I know nothing about hiring. Facebook is just becoming big back then. So I post on Facebook, hey, I’m looking to hire someone. And this guy in my business law class says, Hey, I don’t know what you need, what you do. I need a job and I just hire him on the spot. I don’t even interview him. Well, he ends up being an unbelievable hire. Oh, nice, hard working. He’s smart. He’s actually my business partner. We’ve been business partners for 10 years or he was part of the buyout with free IP as part of my new venture outsource school, but there I am as this 20 year old post Kid thinking man, this hiring thing is easy you put out right? It’s probably the worst.

Josh 26:03
It’s ever happened to you. You got this false sense that hiring was easy. Oh, no,

Nathan 26:07
exactly. And I just proceed to make bad hire after bad hire after bad hire. I mean, I’m hiring college kids. Their number one priority is not me. They’re drinking. They’re smoking weed on the job. They’re making mistakes. They’re messing everything up. And I turned to the real world, the 30 year olds of the world that they didn’t want to work for a 20 year old entrepreneur, Amazon seller, no one knew what an Amazon seller was. So then I get into the remote hiring world, the Upwork the fibers, the hiring virtual assistants, and that’s when the business really took off. I set out to build a VA army. And I did I hired a team to run customer service a team to list products for me and find profitable products a team to update inventory and really get good at building processes. And along that journey, I started to hate the upwards hate the fibers where you post a job get 50 applicants interview them one by one and that sparked my idea for building my own marketplace free up a platform that prevents VA freelancers and holds them accountable and on the back end if you have issues, they cover you if someone quits they cover replacement costs so where’s this? free up? Okay,

Josh 27:10
okay, is yours Okay, got it. Got it. Got it.

Nathan 27:12
Yeah. So that was kind of the idea there and what happened was free up starts to grow. Amazon starts to get harder the gurus, the courses all come out Amazon starts cracking down so all of a sudden free up ends up surpassing our Amazon sales and we decided to focus on that and growing our brand which ended up being a good decision.

Josh 27:29
When did free up come into the play? What year was this?

Nathan 27:33
About four and a half years ago? Okay. 2016 ish.

Josh 27:37
Do that. So you were 2008 is when you were in college, you said

Nathan 27:42
Yeah. 2009 is about when I started selling 2000 Nice. So

Josh 27:46
If that was 2000 so there was like, six year ish six, seven year period, is that right? But but from the time you started college and selling textbooks to the time you start free up,

Nathan 27:56
Yeah, and we were selling between one and $6 million a year to On what year was

Josh 28:01
Okay, and what’s your profit margin? Something like that?

Nathan 28:03
Drop Shipping around 20%. It could be a little higher, a little lower. But that’s pretty much it, but ballpark range. We’re talking 20 Yeah.

Josh 28:09
Okay. So and you did before you stopped selling, do you still sell on Amazon? Or no,

Nathan 28:14
no, I we gave that up. When we did free up, we actually had a third business partner, we transfer that business to them, and we decided to focus on free

Josh 28:20
up. When you left you had sold 25 million bucks, roughly. Okay, that’s crazy, dude. What, what would you say is the biggest misconception about selling? So let me give context around this. Dude, I’ve never sold a physical product in my life. I don’t know what that’s like at all. I think I’ve sold a couple of T shirts before something different there. But that’s about it. Right? Right. So my whole thing is I sell digital and consulting and courses and coaching and things like that. And we crush it right and I do a lot of done for you services for like high high ticket stuff. But like, I know the objections in my market. I’m like, man, like I can’t get traffic or I can’t grow without paying to play or Facebook reach. What would you say are some of like the biggest misconceptions about physical products selling like you were doing.

Nathan 29:04
Yeah, I mean, it’s all systems, it’s all processes, especially in the business that I was in. So there’s so many fine details you have to you can’t just take the manufacturers word that they need to, they’re going to ship the product you need to actually check and make sure they shipped it and try check the tracking number and make sure it’s delivered or signed for if needed. And then you need to follow up the customer and make sure they got it and not know just leave you a bad review need to make sure every single detail of the product that the manufacturer has matches exactly what’s on Amazon. You have to brace yourself for returns and what’s your return policy if you ship something heavy and the person says hey, it arrived broken or I don’t like it, you need a plan it is system in place. So there’s just a lot of fine details that go along with it. But a lot of people jump in there, jump on, they’re like oh, I’m gonna drop ship. I’m gonna sell products, customers gonna get it. I’m gonna make money. That’s my business and you have to be following every single step of the process and be on top of it.

Josh 29:55
Okay, all right, that makes sense, actually a lot. Um, doo doo doo Deal with digital products enough to sell digital.

Nathan 30:02
Well, that’s what outdoor school is now we’re launching our first course cracking the VBA code and we want to build out a digital platform all about helping people outsource.

Josh 30:10
Okay, so you don’t have a whole comparatively to your physical side of things. You don’t have a ton of experience with the digital side of things, right?

Nathan 30:18
Correct. I mean, free up offered VA and freelancers, but they were offering a service, we would take a percentage all that

Josh 30:23
well, because what’s interesting, I feel like with digital products and coaching, especially coaching, consulting, or coaching done for you type stuff is systems are, you know, fundamentally crucial, like you said, but there’s another element of it, which I think selling digital products is harder than selling physical products. Would you agree with that?

Nathan 30:42
Yeah, I mean, it’s b2b instead of b2c. For the most part, I would say, b2c is an entirely different animal.

Josh 30:48
Yeah, I think like so one of the things I’m reading this Traffic Secrets book by Russell, right. And you know, like understanding like how traffic works and like different things and, and one of the things you know, who Steve Larson is, yeah. Yeah, okay, so Steve is a good friend of mine, I was at his event and he was talking about how, like, you don’t actually create customers, especially when you’re starting out like clickfunnels May and Amazon and like people like that obviously are but like, right, like you are, you’re not creating customers, you’re just acquiring them, right? So you’re basically going like, there’s customers are coming, they’re buying already, you’re just placing your product in front of them, right. And I think that the reason that so many people have such a hard time selling digital products, is that they don’t actually have a good product. And like that’s really the the hardest thing for people to figure out is like, what their product is going to be. And I feel like on the physical side of things, and you’re more of the expert at this, it’s not so much I mean, you’re not building the product, you’re just making sure that you have a good one and once you have a good one it’s it’s not so much that it’s hard to sell is that it’s hard to scale the selling. Right.

Nathan 31:50
Right. And I agree. I mean, I from going from the Amazon space to building free up it was a totally different animal with Yeah, Amazon. They’re kind of bringing the customers to you right shipping a product gets there you check it off. Hey, you got it you like it perfect with free up. I mean, I had to learn marketing and branding and going on podcasts and getting content partners and growing backlinks and really figure out how to organically scale this thing. And like you said, You don’t even know if your products good. So instead of investing $100,000 in our software, because we ended up being a software company and getting it out there, we’ve made this crummy $5,000 software that the VA is and freelancers could log in, log out, clients could see the VA is on their side. And that was it. And we just took it to market and we listen to feedback, we found out what people like what people didn’t like. And then we invested in and we made it better and better over time. And we tried to tweak tweak our product to what the market actually wanted.

Josh 32:41
Hmm. I think that that’s what more people need to do, but where people I feel like get caught up and I’m curious to know how you dealt with this. But once again, you strike me as someone that’s like able to separate which is super cool and remarkable. But like people get so butthurt when people don’t like their product, how do you how do you deal with that?

Nathan 32:58
So rejection failure has To me all the time, I mean, I try to get on lots of different podcasts I get rejected every single day. I’ve tried to form partnerships with people that have rejected me. And years later, we’re friends. And we’re working together and we’re making money together. So to me that that that rejection I really try to look at as feedback. It’s not really Nate, you stock or your product sucks. It’s Hey, what do you not like about it? What can I change? How can I improve it. And that doesn’t mean you have to implement every little thing. And some feedback is worth more than others. And sometimes you might know that you want to build something or you need something. But that’s a two year project that you can’t afford right now. So you kind of have to gather all that feedback, gather all that information, and then prioritize what you can actually implement what you can actually change it and what order you’re going to do it. And if you take that approach, to me, if you’re not failing, if you’re not getting out there, it means you’re not really pushing the limit enough and you’re just kind of playing it safe and you’re doing probably what everyone else is doing and trying to just blend in instead of actually trying to get out there and stand out. Interesting.

Josh 33:56
Yeah, I like that. A lot people i think i think people need to understand And that more is like, people tend to date. And I know this is my problem for a long time. I’m so much better at it now. But like, it’s not personal, right? Most like, number one people don’t even know you. But like, a lot of times, like think it think about a prize that you absolutely hated. Like, they usually like this sucks, right? You probably dwelled on that for like, five minutes, right? If it was super bad, maybe an hour or a day, and then you like forgot about it and you moved on. I feel like that’s what actually happens. But we we act like somebody hates it, and that they’re, they’re dwelling on it as much as we are, you know, I mean?

Nathan 34:32
Absolutely. I mean, if I told someone Hey, listen, I don’t like your product because it XYZ and a month later they came back to me and they said, Hey, we actually revamped it like this. Here’s a free product tested out. I’d love your feedback. Like to me I’m sold that shows me that they actually care about what I want. They probably gone in the direction I want. And I’m probably going to continue to work with that person. So yeah, people should have more of that mindset of trying to get that feedback. And a lot of times you don’t even know what your market wants. You might think you know what you want, but until you ask Go out there and talk to them and ask them. I remember going to conferences and I would ask people how they like free up and at first people like were thought it was awkward cuz I’d be in a group of people. I’m like, Hey, what do you think of free up? And what if they say, Oh, I hate free up, I had a bad experience. Yeah. But to me, it’s like, I want that feedback. Like, what do you give it to me now? Or later? Like, tell me what it is so that I can try to make it better going forward? You know?

Josh 35:21
Yeah, I like that. It’s funny that you say like, you got to go and ask for feedback. What’s the first product that I ever created myself with an Instagram course that’s my background is you’ve grown to manage a bunch of Instagram followers, and my business partner and I, like we had I think, at the time we had done this, we probably done just over a million followers, right? We had made some money with it, and figured out how to monetize without actually selling a course we did affiliate marketing, right, sold Ronnie’s products. And so we put together this course we were so proud of it, dude. I mean, like, we were like, We worked so hard. It’s actually a super awesome course it really was. And we go and we’re like, Alright, we’re gonna teach people how to grow and monetize their following on Instagram. Now, as an 22 year old kid who just started coming into any form of digital money that wasn’t directly tied to a boss, my thought process and my business partners at the time was people are obviously going to care more about making money on social media than they are about followers, right? Like their followers is worthless, unless you’re making money with it. At least that was our thought process. So we went out there we put together this entire webinar, like went through all this hard work and everything. And it just bombed dude. Like, it just told him like, what the world nothing was out, nothing would sell. And so then when we ran this poll, I don’t even know why we ended up running it, but we had this like Facebook group, couple thousand members in it. And we’re like, hey, what, what’s most valuable to learn to you? And one of the options What if there was a bunch of them, but like, one of them was make money with followers and two of them is get followers. And it was like almost 70% of the audience that the number one thing that they wanted to learn on on Instagram was how to grow followers, not how to make money. And so we literally took the course. And we added a couple more videos about how to grow followers because it was already pretty much complete. We changed the messaging of how we were selling it and we’re like Where’s he’s trying to grow followers? Boom, six better course like that was insane. And it’s all because we asked, it’s like you said,

Nathan 37:05
exactly and and so without your school, we’re launching this course and we have other ideas for courses. But we also want to launch software. We’re building some software that goes with virtual assistants. And I have a meeting set up like every week for the next eight weeks with a different entrepreneur who volunteered that I know who’s going to just look at our software or listen to our software and tell us what they think if they would actually use it. Because just because I saw the scaled and sold free up doesn’t mean every company I started going forward is going to be some success. I still need that feedback. I still need to adjust it and understand what people actually want.

Josh 37:36
Yeah, I think that’s super important. And I like that a lot because like, I feel like some people that have some success and I know this was me a lot too. I was like, oh man, we had success with Instagram. I’m gonna go over here and I’m obviously gonna crush it and I didn’t because I didn’t you know go and actually do the work. But I want to kind of dive down this path. He says outsource school right as the name of the company now. Yep. Okay, so free up was what

Nathan 37:58
really was a marketing A place for pre vetted VA s freelancers and agencies. So they would get about 2000 applicants a week, they would vet them, interview them, make sure they were good the top 1% got on the platform, clients could sign up put in a request if they needed a graphic designer or a customer service rep, a Facebook ad expert put in a request, you get someone quickly within a business day usually faster. Get started right away. If someone quits on you, they cover replacement costs. So 24 seven support, they’re really there to make sure you get fast access to someone good.

Josh 38:27
And when you say, hey, this was your company, right?

Nathan 38:30
Yeah, so I ran it for the past four years that one of our clients actually reached out towards the end of last year. It wasn’t necessarily our plan to sell it but they really loved free up. They’d been using it they wanted to get in the space. It didn’t want to start it from scratch. And they made us an offer that that we thought was was very aggressive. And we did a ton of due diligence on them. They were off. They are awesome entrepreneurs, Mark Hargrove, David Martin, they scaled other businesses, they treat people really well, which is a big thing that we cared about and pressure on. Yeah, I mean, we wanted to make sure that it was a win win for everyone. I mean, we took $500,000 from the sale, gave it to our internal team in the Philippines made sure their jobs was secure, and then made sure that it was going to be a win for the clients and the partners and for Connor, my partner and me. So it was kind of something that that came together that it’s tough to turn down what you feel like is a win win win.

Josh 39:14
Yeah, for sure. For sure. Okay, so this was basically like a premium vetted high quality Fiverr

Nathan 39:20
Yeah, it’s like Upwork on steroids. I Oh,

Josh 39:22
yes. Okay, I work on steroids. I like that, because a lot of the work you get on there is crap. So you, you have this, you sell that and now you’re going to the outsource, quote, I kind of want to use the rest of our time here to talk about outsourcing and building a team of VA s, because this is something that, um, well, I think it’s something that a lot of people struggle with. I also think it’s a lot of something that a lot of people don’t know exists, and, and they like, they know this concept of VA but they have no idea really what that entails or what that means. And like my biggest fear, so I have I’ve hired a couple of years before but most of my employees have been US based That was started as more of a political move. I mean, if I’m 100% honest, is like, I can’t claim to love America if I’m hiring, not that I have any problem with, you know, other people out there. But secondly is like that. I wanted people that could speak English really well and like understand the product, like things like that. But then I started getting into it more, and I was talking to a buddy of mine, Jr. who we’ve had him on the show. I’m not sure if you know him or not. Yeah, he’s like, dude, now there’s some like some really, really smart v A’s out there. And I was like, really? Right. I don’t know how long ago this was. I was like, Huh, so like, walk us through, like the, I guess educate educate the audience on why VA s are so powerful and like break down some of the misconceptions that some people have about them.

Nathan 40:41
Yeah, so overall mentality. There’s very few $1 million year $5 million year solo entrepreneurs out there. It really just doesn’t exist at some point you have to hire if you want to scale if you want to grow and I like to break hiring down into three different levels. You got the followers, you got the doers and you got the experts. So we The followers for me, that’s five to 10 bucks an hour non us, they might have years of experience, but they’re there to follow your systems, your processes, the doers can be us or non us. Those are graphic designers, video editors, writers, you’re not teaching a graphic designer how to be a graphic designer, but they’re not consulting with you either. They’re there to do graphic design work 10 hours a day. And then you got the experts, the high level consultants, freelancers, agencies, they come with their own systems, their own processes and their own strategy. So for me, if I’m hiring us and I had a lot of people us for my Amazon business, I’m hiring the doers and the experts and then For Non Us for tasks that I know how to do. I have a 90 day rule I try not do anything longer than 90 days without coming up with an SLP board and getting it off my plate that first month. You’re kind of throwing stuff against the wall seeing what works. second month, you have a pretty good idea of what doesn’t work, you create an SLP for it, which we can talk about and then maybe you hire someone by the end of the month and then you spend that last 30 days getting it off your plate. Because a lot of entrepreneurs, we just keep adding and adding and adding and adding and we forget to subtract stuff and take stuff off our plate.

Josh 42:07
Yeah, I think that’s super. Yeah. I like that 90 day rule a lot. Because like, I hired my first employee. Two years ago, I think I think it was two years ago is when I had my first one. And dude, it was like seven months before I finally started letting go of stuff. And she It was like, she was like, pulling, let me do and I’m like, I’m sorry. I’m just because I’m afraid or like afraid or whatever. So how do you go and insure? Let me ask you this. How do you decide what task you’re going to hire a VA for? And how do you make sure that you find a good person for that task? Yeah. So what I like I said, Hold on. Sorry, let me ask that question. There’s one other step that I need to answer before that. Number one, how do you decide what tasks you’re going to hire a VA for? And then part two, how do you get that task ready for a VA Then we’ll go into how to hire him.

Nathan 43:01
Sure. So I like to create two lists and I create this list. Every quarter I meet with my business partner, he’s in Denver, I’m heading out there, we’re and we’re going to do this exact activity. So, first list is everything that you do on a day to day, week to week, month to month basis, you write it out, you put down Hey, I spent five hours a week on this 10 hours a week on this, you can prioritize it from easiest to hardest, which I like to do, although I know some clients that prioritize it by what they hate doing the most. So they’ll put that at the top of their list. And, and the second list and this can be a little bit uncomfortable, but we’ve kind of gotten used to it as we’ll sit down and we’ll just tell each other what we’re bad at Connor will say, Nate, you suck at this. And I’ll say, Connor, you’re bad at this. And we’ll write it down. And at the end, we’ll usually realize that we complement each other in some capacity. If you’re a good business partner, you probably do and we’ll divide up and conquer. But then we always have all these things that we’re like, wow, we’re both bad at these things. But you need to hire the doers and the experts to just take those and run with it. So if we’re just focusing on the first list, which is where the The virtual assistants come into play. That’s where the SOPs come in. And that’s a standard operating procedure and the way that I like to structure slps. And what I recommend people do, and this is where a lot of people go wrong. People understand that you need steps, right? You need the ABC, you get it down, that’s the middle of the SLP. And you can start off with a rough draft and make it better over time. You can even do it I do where I’ll teach your VA to do something, and then have them create the SRP and then I’ll get it maybe the last 20% but the place that everyone always messes up is the top and the bottom of the zone. Mm hmm. Yeah. So the top is the Why Why did you create this business? Why does this How does this task implement the business? Like, why are they actually doing it? How does it impact everything? And then I’ll even include like past days I hired so I hired Maria she was my Rockstar bookkeeper, I free up and I had fired the two bookkeepers before him. So at the top I said, Why billing so important, the platform what I want, what the goal was the long term vision of the businesses. I said, Hey, the last few people I hired this is why they didn’t work out. This is why it was bad. This is what’s expected of you. So before he even got the steps, he had this big overall picture of what I wanted what was good, what was bad, dive into the steps, he learns it. And then the bottom is that important reminders or do not do list, hey, if my lawyer emails me, my account emails me, don’t respond to that email, make sure you leave that for me, whatever is that important thing that they need to know, hey, taxes are due April 15. You have to have the books over to our accountant by March 15. Because a lot of people, they’ll take their important things, and there’ll be lodged in there. And Step five, Part C, and the VA might understand it and know it, but at some point that they won’t remember and it’ll get mixed up. And as an entrepreneur, especially if you’re not used to hire MBAs, that’s where you just can’t let go. Because you’re seeing these mistakes. You’re seeing the important stuff that you take very seriously to the VA isn’t because you didn’t really set out hey, these are the really important thing.

Josh 45:52
Do you think that people don’t hire VA s or are not successful with hiring VA Because they are too afraid to look at the messiness of their business at the beginning

Nathan 46:06
I think that’s part of it. I think we all go through it I think we always think that someone’s gonna steal our baby or hurt our baby or, or won’t be as good as at that task as we are. And Alec sharper new, I’m sure you know, I always love one of his quotes where he says, Hey, if you think you’re the only person that can do what you do in your business, I have news for you, you’re not that special. And it’s so true that there’s so many people out there that can do everything that you do way better. And if you’re not focusing on the high level stuff, the sales, the expansion, the marketing, your business going and it goes so far.

Yeah, I like that.

Josh 46:40
Do you think that um, like, I feel like a lot of people.

Nathan 46:44
Let me ask you

Josh 46:44
this, typically speaking with this outdoor school that you’re creating, and I should say outdoor school, plus whoever you typically work with, who is that ideal customer or that you’re trying to help? Is this a more beginner entrepreneur or a more intermediate entrepreneur? Like what level of their business are we talking about here?

Nathan 47:00
Yeah, I would probably say, I know it’s a big range, maybe zero to a few million dollars in sales, maybe not zero, but some kind of revenue stream people are getting started. I mean, our goal is if you’ve never hired a VA before, we’re going to teach you exactly how to do it, how we built up a 30 person team, if you’ve had, if you’ve hired me days, because you’ve had bad experiences, we’re going to teach you how to avoid those mistakes and how to do it properly. And there are clients I know from free up that hired a lot of EAS and they’re still going to use outsource school that just get that last fine tuning. Okay, I have 15 va, they’re all doing what they’re supposed to, but I don’t want 15 people to report to me, I need to build team leaders and assistant Team Leader so there’s a certain element of it depending on where you are in your business.

Josh 47:41
Yeah, for sure. How much of excuse me, one of the things that my excuse me, one of the things that I was always told was your first hire should be a cash flow producing hire. Now my first hire was not but I believe that your second hire should be I think your first hire needs to just be To allow you to free up your time so that you can focus on cash flow producing activities, like an assistant or you know, something like that. How much training? Or I guess I don’t really know what I’m asking here, but like how, how much training? Or how much time? Do you focus on training vas to understand cash flow producing activities? Or how I guess there’s a question how many cash flow producing activities do you think a VA like someone that you would train can actually do?

Nathan 48:29
Yeah, I wouldn’t say that the VA is or majority cash flowing, I guess depending on how you define that. I mean, my first hire tends to be a bookkeeper just because if you’re like me, I I’m not good at bookkeeping, most entrepreneurs are not and the last thing I want to do is have my books fall behind and not get monthly reports that make sense and have a big mess. So to me, that’s the lowest hanging fruit. Let’s just get that off my plate get it done correctly, right from the beginning. And then from there, in some order. I’m going with a customer service rep or executive assistant to get me out of my inbox. I I hired a VA for free up one of my things First hires to work from 5am to 7am just clear my inbox so when I woke up at seven they would say hey, I left these two emails for you and I would get a head start for every day hiring a VA for social media making sure that the posting is consistent and the scheduling is there and then lead generation is probably into that cash flowing. Yeah, he I love using VA s for getting on more podcasts for getting speaking opportunities, virtual summits to research influencers and that one is a little harder it takes a little bit of tweaking I mentioned before they have to be okay with failure and okay with split testing your pitches and figuring out exactly what’s working and what’s not. It’s not you don’t just hire a VA and say hey, go find me leads and not give them any instructions and hope it works out. But but that can be the most fun and that can be the most rewarding over time.


Josh 49:48
man, that’s that’s actually really good. Um, when it comes to hiring VA s are most of these part time or full time right away because I notice that you said like, I hired someone to literally come in for two hours. Morning, right or I hired a bookkeeper last on a full time job right at the beginning is it

Nathan 50:04
with free up it was because it was no than bookkeeping Billings and stuff. But I agree without your school bookkeeping is not full time, it’s a few hours a month and you can hire people full time part time, you can hire them project base, here’s the key, you have to set the expectation with them upfront and make sure that they are okay with that situation. So with this bookkeeper I hired without source school, I said, Hey, I’m gonna book you five hours a month, I’m gonna pay you five hours a month, even if I only give you three hours of work. If you need more than five hours, let me know I’ll approve those hours. But I don’t want to come to you in four months when we picked up and we need five hours of work and you say, Hey, sorry, I can’t take it another client because I’m booking those five hours. And if you’re not okay with that relationship, that’s fine. Just tell me now and I’ll find someone else that’s good with that arrangement. And she was good with it. And it’s working so far. So there are people out there that are looking for only full time there are people out there that might have a full time client and they’re just looking for a few extra hours to help with the bills so you have to find them. match for your situation that you’re looking at. And the last thing I’ll add there is on calling instant does not exist. If you’re an entrepreneur out there that wants a VA that’ll just sit by their desk and wait for you to give them work and get the work done right away, that you might get a VA that’s new that you might trick into doing that, but that is not going to last and that that’s really no way to run a business.

Josh 51:20
Okay. All right. And that’s really good information and advice, I think. But if you’ve hired them full time, then they would be but not as on a part time basis. What you’re saying

Nathan 51:28
and you can hire them on call to me on call is and I have a video editor that’s on call. I’ll reach out to them. I’ll say Hey, are you available? He says yes. I say hey, this is what I need. He says, Hey, I’ll have it done by next Tuesday. That works for me. You’re good to go. If it doesn’t work, I’ll go find someone else. Well, it’s okay.

Josh 51:43
Yeah. And and not someone that’s like on call 24. Seven does, like just can do everything at the drop of a hat happy ending have some scheduling? Yeah. What would you say are some legitimate fears and concerns that somebody could have when hiring a VA That and how are you handling those are dealing with them so they don’t happen.

Nathan 52:05
Yeah, so I think the one of the biggest thing is the the security thing, right? Everyone thinks that the VA is going to steal their idea, their credit card and stuff like that. And, and I’ve seen clients who make their VA is like sign an NDA, like you’re really going to chase someone across the Philippines over a piece of paper, like, that’s not gonna work. And you can use LastPass. And you can be smart about it and give them like more and more access over time, or, or whatever it is. But the real way to protect your business is to build relationships with the people that you’re working with. There’s no substitute for that. I’ve had people that I’ve fired, I’ve had people who have quit on me and they didn’t want to hurt me. I didn’t want to hurt them because we had built a relationship and no matter what you do in terms of NDS and LastPass, and limited access, nothing is going to be actually getting to know the people that you’re working with showing interest in them, their family showing appreciation, treating them well, and that’s gonna protect your business so much more and the average VA out there cares so much more about providing for their family. And keeping a job and having some kind of stable income going forward. And they do about stealing or jeopardizing your business.

Josh 53:06
Yeah. And I think that that’s important for people to remember one of the things that was really eye opening for me, at the end of last year, I went and traveled for a bed around the world and the Philippines was actually one country that we spent a lot of time and we went to, like 10 different islands there. And that’s one of the things I noticed is that, I mean, I’m not a fan of the Philippines, as far as like, you know how messy it is, and you know, smells and like kind of things like that. But the people overall, the average person that we ran into, they really did care about just doing a good job, like most of the people over there, whether it was working at McDonald’s, or working at you know, a repair shop or like something like that anybody that we ran into, they did actually really want to do a good job. And it’s, it’s much different than it in America, like in America, like you go on social media, you go to the average kid, the average person out of college or whatever, and it’s like, how much money can I make for the least amount of work? I want To be my own dance I, you know, I’m not being paid enough, it’s grime, it’s complained. It’s a very, very different environment in third world countries. And I think that that’s a really important thing to remember.

Nathan 54:08
Yeah, I mean, one of the my, the things I’m most proud of is the millions and millions of dollars we paid out to VA in the Philippines to help them people were showing me their cars, their houses, how they were able to provide for their family. And without your school, we’re actually partnering with Teach for the Philippine, which phone I feel the Filipino children get access to better education to become the age or whatever they want. And a percentage of every sale is going to go towards them. So I’m a big fan of the Filipino community and I didn’t want to just cut them off when I sold free up. I mean, we want to continue to engage and help them. That’s super cool.

Josh 54:39
What is uh, what’s the average cost?

If I’m getting a good time, you know, like a good quality VA, and I’m gonna hire them for, you know, 20 hours a week, say you’re not full time but committed for sure. Like, what per hour am I paying them usually?

Nathan 54:56
Yeah, five to $10 an hour range if it’s more low level work. emails data entry lead generation stuff like that you’re probably more in that five to $8 an hour range by $1 an hour range. Um, what?

Josh 55:09
So is that like through a platform or direct or like, cuz you’ll hear these people that are like, yeah, you can hire a VA for two bucks an hour or three bucks an hour? And I’m like, I mean, I’m sure you can, but like, right, what should people be cautious of at that level? Yeah,

Nathan 55:24
and and those are just ballpark you might find I’ve had VA that I paid 20 bucks an hour. And yeah, you can get VA for two and certain places. For me. I’m a big proponent of valuing my time and lowering turnover. Turnover kills small businesses, it sets you back. And if you hire someone at two bucks an hour, you better make sure that they love working at two bucks an hour and that’s what they feel they’re worth because it’s not going to be that hard. If they gain some skills or learn how to be maybe you hired a new VA is just getting into it for them to get a higher paying job than that. So you’re always going to be thinking in your back of your mind. Now, with that said, I keep mentioning lead generation I have a really good lead generation system. If anyone wants it, they can reach out to me happy to share. But it is easy. It’s super easy. I give the VA a flexible schedule they can do whenever they want. It’s not full time they can have other clients. I’m not going to add work. It’s it’s pretty low stress. So for that I’m not going to overpay, I’m going to go on the lower level rate for customer service, which is a 50 page SRP we had for free up that we’re investing a lot of time. And it’s really like months before they really master it. I’m not gonna lowball someone by that extra dollar, like how is that worth it? If they quit on me? And in six months, you know,

Josh 56:31
yeah, and I mean, we’re talking, even if it’s 10 bucks an hour, like to find a person, I think of someone that does like a customer support thing or an executive assistant that you have, I think of the people that I’ve hired to do the executive position work or I think of someone that I’m sure that does like a you schedule or a Russell Brunson schedule or something like that, like, pay them. And if you pay them, that’s you taking care of them, they are going to take care of you. And that’s one of the key things that I’m hearing from you over and over and over again, as If you build a relationship with someone, I mean, think of some that you have a really good relationship with, you’re not gonna want to screw them over. And if it’s vice versa, like, they’re not gonna want to screw you over and they’re going to be, you know, emotionally invested in it. My executive assistant now her name is and she is amazing, right? And, you know, I always tell her, I have this open thing with her. I’m like, and if I ever don’t pay you enough money, come and tell me. She’s like, Oh, I’m like, No, you need to understand. She’s like, I’m not really confrontational. I’m like, I don’t know what you’re dealing with. It’s not like, I know what I tell you to do. And I know it just that I have no idea what she does, you know, half the day. And I’m like, if I’m ever not paying you and when you have that relationship, it sounds like it’s the same thing with these ways. I feel like it goes a really long way.

Nathan 57:38
Yeah, you’ve got to ask them you got to make sure they’re okay with the rate. I mean, for our first course of voucher school, we’re actually gonna interview VA s and then onboard VA is screenshare so you can watch us do it and we talk it out price Hey, this job is five bucks an hour. Are you happy with it? And some of them are like Yes, I love it. Other of them are like, Oh, my normal rate is eight. Well, that’s a big red flag for me. I should probably make the decision whether I pay them out at I should probably not hire them unless I’m okay with the risk that they might quit and take another job elsewhere. And yeah, you can get creative with it with with my bookkeeper the billing guy at free. He ended up being a team leader. But I said, You know what, I’m gonna start you off at three, but your pay is gonna go up every time we get to the next milestone of 500 hours in a week. So he took that risk and he was okay with it. And by the end, he was making 20 bucks an hour plus, so he was crushing it worked out for him. For me, he was an all star, I was fine paying him 20. And that could have easily backfired. He could have gotten another job at five bucks an hour. But you have to you just have to know what the risks are. Yeah, you can make the decisions up front and not just be shocked down the line when someone puts in their two week notice.

Josh 58:41
Yeah, for sure. For sure. For sure. Okay. Um, we’re wrapping up on time here. I want to give you a chance to talk about this outdoor school, right? pitch us here, right? Like what’s, what’s outdoor school all about? Where can people find out more about it? Like, what are they going to get from there like I want to give you a chance here for a couple minutes. Just to kind of share with us what you’re building and how people can have a party. Because sounds awesome.

Nathan 59:03
Thank you. And for the last four years, people have been asking me, Hey, you need to come out with a course, you need to come out with a course on how to scale using VA s, and we didn’t really have time. And now that we sold free up, we’re putting all our effort into this first course from outsource school. It’s called cracking the VA code or Iota method I owe them is IoT M stands for interviewing, onboarding, training and managing, we’re going to teach you the exact processes that we use to interview onboard and train virtual assistants. And from there, we have so many more ideas how to use a VA to get on podcast how to use a VA for social media, we have software developers working on different VA software that’s going to complement it. So we have big ideas for this platform. And it all starts with our first course cracking VA code and I hope you’ll check it out. Also, if you go to outsource school comm slash VA calculator, we have this great calculator, you can put an information in your business and it’ll tell you how many ways you can actually afford right now today on how aggressive you want to be. So that’s a cool tool called a dead cool tool to check out

Josh 59:59
awesome Awesome so outsource slash VA calculator that’s it. Alright guys, we’re gonna link that down below if you’re listening on audio or if you’re watching on the replay of Facebook or YouTube, we’ll link that down below both outscore school COMM And then outsource school comm slash VA calculator. So be sure to go check that out. And man this was this was really really good information. I really appreciate you taking the time to kind of come on here and explain all this and I’m feeling we might be doing this again.

Nathan 1:00:25
Sounds great. And anyone listening I’m probably one of the easiest people to contact online. So find me Nathan Hirsch on LinkedIn on Facebook, the real Nate Hirsch Instagram, Twitter, feel free to reach out to me I love connecting with other entrepreneurs and hopefully I can find some way to help you.

Josh 1:00:38
Oh, I mean, it sounds like you just don’t do anything all day. You just you know, hand it off to VA and you sit back and message me

Nathan 1:00:43
just meditate and come back.

Josh 1:00:46
I love it. I love it. Well, dude, um, well, the talk I mean, I think there could even be, you know, cool collaboration here potentially, with with this, and I’ll have some more questions for you. But I really, really do appreciate your time where to drop your handles down below. A couple of rapid fire questions here for you if you don’t mind for the first time on the podcast I kind of like to add some people get to know you a little bit better. All right, so rapid fire favorite airline to fly

Nathan 1:01:09

Josh 1:01:10
Southwest they don’t have a first class though

Nathan 1:01:12
bro I know but you can change it I’m always I always end up changing and altering my flights and they just make it so easy to do it they don’t charge me fees.

Josh 1:01:19
I feel that I feel that are you a car person at all?

Nathan 1:01:23
I’m not really I’m very frugal when it comes to cars. I always think they’re like a bad investment. So

Josh 1:01:28
I mean they’re a terrible investment. There’s like a money drain on anything. Okay, so if you were to go drop like I don’t know, a quarter million bucks on something whether it’s a car or I don’t know watch some something some physical item or house maybe it’s a million dollars. Like where would you go and splurge on yourself?

Nathan 1:01:44
To me it’s all about travel. I’m a big travel guy. I mean, I want to take another trip through Asia. I’ve gone on euro trips. I want to check out Italy I’m half Italian. So I mean my I’m frugal when it comes to cars and stuff that I don’t see as a high value but for me like travel and food is something I’ll pay money for all day.

Josh 1:02:01
I love it. I love it. What’s a bucket list item that you haven’t

Nathan 1:02:03
done yet? bucket list item I haven’t done yet.

Josh 1:02:07
Yeah, I just want to go to one. Oh man,

Nathan 1:02:09
I have a lot of family I kind of just said this in Italy because I’m from Italy and I feel like every one of my family’s got an opportunity to meet them at some point and I just keep missing out just because of scheduling conflicts. So that’s my goal is to go in and meet that family and same thing in Germany and just kind of connect with my ancestors so to speak. It’s interesting that you say that

Josh 1:02:27
you have some German in you as well. Yeah, it’s funny you say that dude, I’m 50% Italian I have German a man as well. My mom’s from the German side. My dad’s fit as Italian so I feel you right there. Okay, two more questions for you. Do you ever had the chance to go to outer space would you do it?

Nathan 1:02:41
Not unless they made the trip a lot shorter I don’t know if I could just spend a year traveling to Mars

Josh 1:02:46
or the moon No, no, I mean like I don’t know let’s say it’s like a week. I go back Delhi Yeah. Okay. All right. So if you had as long as it wasn’t like a year long thing, I mean, I don’t know dude. I feel like you could just like be sitting on your phone up there. Just doing some your you got your virtual assistants. All right, man, last question for you ask everybody that comes on the podcast for the first time this question, I want you to fast forward to the end of your life on your deathbed all your money, accomplishments, success, everything is gone. But every single person that you have touched and affected either directly or indirectly in your life, you get to leave them with one final word of wisdom or advice. What is that message?

Nathan 1:03:23
True people? Well, that’s just my overall mentality. I mean, business is hard. You’re running a startup, you’re gonna make mistakes, stuff happens whether it’s your fault, your team’s fault, something out of the blue, own up to it, make it right, treat people well, don’t let anyone just leave a conversation or leave a purchase from you feeling like they were screwed over. They have their back in any way. And that’s kind of my overall life and business mentality.

Josh 1:03:44
I love it. I love it. Nathan, thank you so much, man. I really appreciate you coming on. Thank you so much for your time. Guys, as always, hustle, hustle, God bless. Do not be afraid to think different because those of us that think different are going to be the ones that changed the world. Check the description for all the links and access to everything and I will see you guys on the Next episode Take it easy fam. Peace.

Yo, what’s up guys? You’ve been listening to The Think Different Theory with myself, Josh Forti, which I like to call, “A new paradigm of thinking”, and real quick, I got a question for you. Did you like this episode? If you did, I want to ask a huge favor. See, the biggest thing that helps this podcast grow, and that will spread this message of positivity and making the world a better place, is if you leave a review, a rating and subscribe to the podcast. What that does is, it basically tells the platforms that this is out on, that you like my stuff, and that I’m doing something right. So if you could take like three seconds out of your day and subscribe, leave a rating, and a review, I would be forever grateful for you. Also, I want to hear from you. I want to know your feedback, your ideas, and your questions for future episodes. So be sure to hit me up on Instagram in the DM @JoshForti or via email