Are Your Virtual Assistants Really Making You Money? - Fast Track FBA

Are Your Virtual Assistants Really Making You Money?

Over the years that I have been running my Amazon business, I have interviewed hundreds, hired over 20 and fired 10 virtual assistants and had a few leave. Now VA’s (virtual assistants) basically do one of two things for you, save you time or make you money. For me, this basically means doing admin or finding deals. I have only hired two admin staff members who are still with me today and save me more time than I can imagine. I have actually met my bookkeeper and Amazon account expert in person, which is great as she has worked for me over a year now. She is my most senior VA and she took it upon herself to meet all the other VA’s which was lovely to see.
What I want to talk about is VA’s who make you money. Yes, the ones who find deals that you buy. Now the idea is simple, they find you deals to buy, you buy them and the business grows! Yes, that is simple but when you actually get into it, the detail of how you manage the performance of these VA’s, its a lot trickier.
How do you know who is a star and who you need to fire?
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
Our Amazon businesses are the same as any other business, we set targets and monitor performance. Easy Right? What you need to do is really take time to think about what targets you set and if that target really adds value to your business. Some targets whilst seem great in principle and you think will help grow your business actually can cause you to lose money!
Here a few examples of targets that we have used with our deal sourcing VA’s
Set Minimum Deal CriteriaThe first thing to do is set minimum deal criteria for your staff to aim towards. For example Minimum Profit £3, Minimum ROI 30% and Minimum Listing Sales of 10 per month
Find 10 Deals per dayThis is the usual one people talk about, it's simple and clear. My issue with this one, which I have seen is that I could probably send you 10 deals a day from the major store like Argos that sell 10 units per month but have 50 FBA sellers on because it been on all the leads sheets. So we passed on this one as the VA could meet the KPI easily but it did not mean the business grew.
Find a certain number of deals per day so I can spend my £100 per dayThis is a good choice because you can only spend a certain amount per day, so you look at your VA to find you enough deals to buy, for you to spend that money. The issue I have found here is that my VA can review what they are submitting before the end of the day and simply change the amount they recommend you buy to meet your spend when this might not be the right choice for the deal or business or the VA might be working to the standard required.
Find Enough deals to make me a certain amount of profitAnother interesting option, we know our costs each day or week, so buy enough to cover that and then add a fixed amount on top to give you a healthy profit. Sounds great as a concept but if the VA finds too many deals today, will they hold them back for tomorrow to balance out their stats.
Find enough deals that cover 5x their salary costThis was quite simple, they cost a certain amount and we expect them to add value by 5x their salary cost. I liked it because we could easily hire people at different rates or offer a bonus and the extra payment for those who achieve better. We saw that when the deals were great, to achieve 5x their salary cost was easy, for example in Q4 but when deals were not so great they struggled. We saw that they did not use the time when deals were plentiful to learn new ways to the source by investing in knowledge for the future, but simply just sourced by using the same techniques.
We have tried all these but decided to do a combination of them allFor us, we wanted to give them the freedom to try new things, not simply source from the same places but really have the ability to think outside the box and find new ways to do things. So we implement a few things differently. We try and provide a positive feedback loop to the VA’s a quickly as possible so they do more of what works and less of what does not.
  • We only discuss the results each week on a Monday but update them daily. This allows the good days to ride with the bad days and for the VA to see their performance during the week, but we don't say anything until Monday.
  • We use the Min Profit and Min ROI Values but we get our staff to work out how many we expect to sale in the month and calculate the “Total Deal Profit Figure” for one month's supply. We get the VA to work out the number of sales a listing has, the number of people who will share the BB and then calculate the number to sales we would expect to make in a month. We use this figure and multiply it by the number of units we expect to sell, to make a “deal profit figure” for that deal. IE this one deal makes £3 per item sold, it sales 30 units per month with 2 FBA sellers. Add us to the listing, that makes three FBA sellers who would expect to make 10 sales each per month at £3 each. Total Deal Profit Value is £30 (£3 per sale X 10 sales per month)
  • The VA records all the deals submitted on a Google sheet and we feedback if we buy the deal or not and adjust the “Total Deal Profit Value” if we think they have worked it wrong or ‘Tweaked it’
  • A big part is that we only count the total number of deals that we buy, not submitted. This way, if they submitted poor deals we don't count them and if they are good that we buy then they are counted. A VA can also submit just one amazing deal that makes enough profit and we are happy.
  • We also get our team to record via Slack a quick 5 minute rundown of their day with three questions. What did you do? What worked well? What is your plan for tomorrow? These questions allow us to see what works, share best practice and for our VA’s to know that we expect them to have a plan when they source, not simply start from a blank sheet each day.
  • We encourage those who have already met their weekly target early, to try new methods to see what they can find by trying to encourage new ways of thinking by showing them deals that exist that we don't normally do or find.
  • The outcome of this approach is we have seen the deals found in various different ways. For Example one deal with a massive profit of £120 per unit which was only found through sourcing a different method because they had reached their weekly quota. We have seen VA’s watching Youtube Videos and then doing Keepa Sourcing, Amazon same marketplace Buy and Holds, Amazon EU flips and voucher code sourcing to name a few.
  • The aim of this sourcing effort was to ensure we met the requirements but once they were reached, let's give our team the freedom and tools to try new things and then share this with everyone else when it works.
I want to point out it has not been easy, whilst we have given a certain amount of freedom and really encourage our staff to try new things, we have had many VA’s who have chosen to take the time to watch TV, walk the dog or start another job, all of which were investigated and later fired. This is never a nice thing to do but it comes as part of the challenge of any business.
Do you have your own method or a better way to manage your VA's? If so join our Facebook community and let us know
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