Automation #9 – How one smart virtual assistant made a small fortune : Entrepreneur

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A while back i made my first post on automation ( If you’re not using automation you’re wasting your time and money) and got a fantastic response (And, full disclosure, a few leads too). Today I’d like to talk about my favorite automation story.Disclosure: Together with my father I run three small businesses and also work as a freelance automation developer . Both of my businesses are highly automated and I’ve helped over 30 clients save more than a combined 100+ hours every day.If you’d like to read some of my previous posts, please check them out here:The problemI had a very old friend that worked as a virtual assistant. Their job was mostly E-Commerce research. Their client would send them a list of products and they would try to find these products online via Amazon, E-Bay etc and estimate their going rate or let them know it is too vague. The problem was that this list was extremely vague. Sometimes it’d be like “Dyson Vacuum Cleaner”, other times it might even just be “Vacuum cleaner” or “Cleaning equipment”One day their client reached out to them and asked them if they could refer more virtual assistants. But he had an idea: Instead of simply referring a few people, he could take on the entire contract. He pitched his client for a fixed fee per search and he’d take care of the rest. They agreed.The problem? They didn’t have much of a margin. The client wasn’t willing to pay a lot and by their estimates almost all the revenue would go towards paying the people working under him.The solutionThey reached out to me to see if i could help automate it so their staff costs could go down. The bad news? Well i can’t exactly automate something like that. I can automate a lot of things but some things just need a human’s judgement. The list was too vague to automate. But hope was not lost, because even if it couldn’t be completely automated, i could make it so that 5 people could do the work of 20.The solution comprised of a single portal where when they enter a term, it automatically searches all popular E-Commerce sites & also through Google finds shopify sites. It then shows a list of all products found along with their price. The assistant can then simply look at this list and estimate the product’s price based on all these results in one place instead of having to manually search through all these websites.On top of this, i had recently started my own Virtual Assistant agency. With the software built, who better to operate the software? They ended up outsourcing it all to me. My virtual assistants would receive the list, process it and send them the response. They pretty much automated themselves out of the business completely and walked away with a fat margin.Why i love this storyI feel that this story is the crux of being an entrepreneur – Taking calculated risks and making smart decisions. My client was an old friend of mine, and they bet almost 30% of their life savings on this project. That takes guts. To embrace the possibility of failure like this is what makes true entrepreneurs. And it paid off big. By automating most of the work & then outsourcing it, they basically turned it into a money-making machine with little to no input from them. That’s how your business should be.What’s taking up time, automate. If you can’t automate, delegate. As the founder of your business your focus should be on growing it & sourcing new business. Leave the actual work to someone or something else as much as possible.You probably have questions. And i have answers! Feel free to comment and I’ll answer as many as i can.Also if you have an automation idea in mind or are not sure if it can be automated, please feel free to reach out via reddit message or my website (http://spdylabs.com)

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