How To Start & Grow Your Business

Brook Borup of My Clone Solution on quality control

Asher Fergusson
May 12th, 2016
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  • Biography

    Brook has been described as your Swiss Army Knife for Business. As a jack of all trades and master of none, she is the go-to person for a solution to almost any business pain. As the owner and lead clone of her own business, My Clone Solution, she is an expert on providing virtual assistant support to small businesses and offering creative solutions to common small biz problems.

  • #1 Tip for Startups

    Put systems in place. It’s the hardest thing that you’re ever going to do but it is the only way to be consistent, grow your business and be able to, when you do grow your business, be able to duplicate yourself because you cannot do it all.

How her background led her to start her own business

I was just kind of gaffed up with the corporate world and people not caring and not appreciating what gets done for them by the people that support them. So January 1st of 2014, I left my last corporate job and said, “I’m going to work with small business owners that appreciate having a good assistant.”

I basically started as a task master. I was a virtual assistant for small business owners and I did stuff in person. I went to people’s offices and worked for them a couple of hours a week, because that’s all they could afford.

And now, 2016 is going to be an awesome year. I’ve started a coaching program and I have now taken it online as well as live events. I also have an entire team of virtual assistants in the Philippines that are ready and willing to help all the small business owners in the United States.

How she manages quality control

My first virtual assistant that I brought on back in July, I went through a service and had 220 applicants for my one job that I posted and it took me an entire day to narrow those resumes down, just like any hiring process is. I started working with her and we had a 90-day kind of agreement. It was like a trial, just like you would hire somebody here in the United States.

By the time we got done with the first 30 days, I just knew she has it. She is just like me and has common sense. She can work without having me to say, “Do this, do this, do this.” I can say, “OK, this is the task I need done. I don’t care how it gets done. Just do it.”

She makes it happen and that’s awesome. About 60 days into our relationship, we were having a conversation one night and she said, “I have been working in what they call VA houses for the last six years,” which is basically a staffing agency for virtual assistants. She’s like, “I can managed them and run them, but I’ve never been paid or had the kudos to do so.”

That kind of sounds familiar and so I said, “OK, you send me a proposal of what you think this looks like.” Within a day, I had an entire proposal put together of how she wanted to pay people, how she wanted to manage people, how she wanted to find people and how she wanted to work with me in doing it. I said, “I think we can make this work.”

So here we are four months later and we now have five virtual assistants. Three of them are employed by my own clients here in the US and the other two are employed by me. We are looking to grow that and help as many small business owners as we can.

Two of my virtual assistants right now handle four clients, so two clients each. They are appointment setters. They are literally cold calling from a listed script and they are setting appointments for our clients.

I foresee that being a huge thing going forward, because that’s what people are looking for. Another thing that people are looking for is SEO work, so getting their pages ranked and making sure their backlinks are there along with social media management. Like, going out and doing the research to be able to post on their social media one to two times a day, on all of your platforms.

Illus/Problem Solving/Blue Hands Framing Gears

Working with employees in the Philippines

There’s so much experience in the Philippines with American companies because they’re a huge population and they want to work from home. Most of them are sole breadwinners for their family or they’re stay-at-home moms and when you have a mom that’s up with a baby all day long and her baby actually sleeps all through the night, they like to work at night. They work third shift because they work on our time, since they’re 12 hours ahead of us.

Their primary language is English. They learn English just like they learn their own language and they in most cases speak it better than we do.

Standing out in the digital crowd

Right now, I’m posting about twice a month. I usually post the second and fourth Tuesdays and take care of my other social media in between there. I hope to have a virtual assistant to start taking care of that for me.

I have a great following of business owners and that’s who my target is and my blog articles are really all about being productive. So with two million articles or two billion articles coming out every single day, they all reach to a different audience.

With some new SEO work and some new keywording and promoting and stuff like that, we’re going to get out to more people that are looking to be more productive because that is the goal of my website, my company and my blog.

Set of red plastic toy tools

What her favorite tools of the trade

FullContact is my absolute favorite piece that’s on the cloud for automating your networking homework. Now FullContact works with Zapier, an aggregator between cloud-based services. So it says when I scan a new business card, I want this to happen. Now, for me, I use Contactually as my CRM system. I use Constant Contact as my contact marketing management system and I use Gmail and the Gmail apps and stuff for my email management.

So when I scan a business card into my FullContact, as soon as that transcription goes through, an email gets sent out from my Gmail saying, “It was nice to see you,” yada, yada, yada. Let’s meet up for coffee, here’s the link to my calendar. It automatically gets added to my networking list in my Constant Contact and it automatically gets added to my CRM and gets put into a program, all just by me taking a picture.

So now four of the processes that I would have done – had to do manually before, I can do all because of FullContact and Zapier.

Recommended Reading

I get told a lot that my business resembles The 4-Hour Workweek and The E-Myth

. So those two books, if you’re ever looking at wanting to learn to delegate, wanting to learn to have help and be able to do effectively and productively, will get you started before you call me or you can call me and I can tell you to read them.

Google Apps for Work

Technology Giants

I love Gmail and the Chrome extensions and the way they work together and how they have just increased productivity and what is possible for people for free.

That is by far the biggest tool that anybody can have. I love the fact that Microsoft has Outlook and I was an Outlook user for years, but Microsoft is not cloud-based.

Unfortunately, in today’s day and age, Outlook should be cloud-based and it’s not. So until Microsoft gets its act together, Gmail has picked up the slack and has started working with companies and extensions like Mixmax, Streak and a few other Chrome extensions that are there to make your Gmail more robust.

It is amazing how many people don’t know that you can put your proprietary, your domain-based email inside of Gmail. I love the fact that you can put all of that in there, all of your email addresses in there. You can color code them and with the help of Mixmax extension for Chrome, you can like do scheduling. You can do template emails like at your fingertips. You can snooze. You can send emails later. You can track it. I mean even better than Outlook ever could and it’s free.

I have to be a PC girl. Now, I love Macs for the simple fact that they don’t get as many viruses and they don’t get as dirty as PCs do, but PCs are the most affordable solution for most people and when it comes down to running a business and having to have several computers that are networked and that are working together. I am a PC and Android girl all the way.

Her advice for other small business owners

Put systems in place. It’s the hardest thing that you’re ever going to do but it is the only way to be consistent, grow your business and be able to, when you do grow your business, be able to duplicate yourself because you cannot do it all.

About the Author

Asher Fergusson

Asher has a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) degree and was the CEO of his own startup Internet marketing business for 6 years before selling it in 2014. He specializes in fields such as Search Engine Optimization and Facebook Advertising where he's helped countless small businesses successfully compete with large corporations. He is now the full-time CMO at bizHUMM sharing all his knowledge of how to start and grow small businesses in the most powerful and cost effective ways.