Van Houten and Associates, Inc.

The most value that I got out of it was your assistance with collecting my thoughts, turning them into a handbook for them to use, and the hours and hours that it's saved us.


Kelly Meng 0:00
Hello. Hello, Meghan, thank you so much for joining me today. How are you doing?

Meghan Nation 0:03
Doing well, Kelly, thank you.

Kelly Meng 0:06
Yes, absolutely. So thank you so much for agreeing to do this testimonial up, I’m excited to hear about the success that we’ve incurred with your virtual assistant hiring and training. Why don’t we start with you telling me a little bit about yourself and who you are?

Meghan Nation 0:21
Okay. Well, um, my name is Meghan, and I am the Chief Operations Manager of a small financial advisory company in Phoenix, Arizona, we are historically have been a two to the three-person team. And we just we’ve grown so much that we needed to start adding on more people. So you were recommended to us and we contacted you.

Kelly Meng 0:45
So I know that we met through a mutual colleague. And since you had said that you were looking to expand the team. And Tim, your employer had reached out and you’re pretty enthusiastic to work with us. Tell me about why you decided to go for someone virtual versus someone from the US.

Meghan Nation 1:04
We decided to go with somebody virtual because the tasks that we had for them didn’t require that they be here in person. And with COVID. And all of the issues with contagions and things like that. If they weren’t feeling well, they could still do what we needed them to, from their own home already. Everything that we needed for now at least could be done remotely. So virtual was perfect.

Kelly Meng 1:34
That’s good. That’s good. So tell me about what your past system for with dealing the tasks that the virtual assistant is doing now was.

Meghan Nation 1:45
In the past, I performed all of the tasks that we have now delegated to the VA, we’ve only once before in the last 10 years at least tried to add to our team. And we would do you know, like the online advertising at kind of a thing. And the people that we were hearing from very often wouldn’t follow through, they wouldn’t show up for an interview or provide a good reference or resume, things like that.

Kelly Meng 2:20
So it just seems like it was pretty unreliable and unpredictable how the hiring process in the past has been through other sites such as Indeed, for you to want to hand it over to someone else, right?

Meghan Nation 2:34
It wasn’t in the massive amount of time that it took to go through all the different applicants and try to weed out the ones that just from the information that we initially received whether or not they might fit, and then even moving on from that it was quite a lot of time that was spent doing that kind of thing.

Kelly Meng 2:52
Absolutely. Let’s jump into what it is that we did. In your own words, how would you say we’ve been able to help you with that process?

Meghan Nation 3:02
We spent a lot of time together a lot of a great time together, figuring out exactly the roles that the assistant would need to fill, as well as the kind of person that would that need to be on our team to fill those roles and what their experience was and the things that they know how to do. You helped us to really make that more succinct and find somebody to fit exactly what we needed. You also helped to develop a handbook for them to use to fulfill their role. We didn’t have anything like that, because again, historically, I was the one doing it. And there hadn’t been a need for a written procedure or a place that I could go to find the answers if I wasn’t available. And that was hugely beneficial to help me to collect my thoughts and to portray how somebody else should do what we need them to do.

Kelly Meng 4:06
I know that we had worked on a handbook and that was a long process. But do you find yourself or actually find the virtual assistant referring back to that as a resource time and time again?

Meghan Nation 4:18
Oh daily, especially for these first few weeks of training. And then having it there and easily editable to make small changes is awesome. Once we narrowed that down, you also did all of the postings for the advertisement of the job and handled all of the applicants, and just let me know who seemed to be the cream of the crop and you gave me all of the videos that you had premiere your own initial interviews and the resumes and some various tasks that you were assigned to them to see how they would perform some things and that was awesome.

Kelly Meng 5:01
So then that strictly limited your actual time needed to be spent on the hiring process. Right? All you had to do was review everything. Take your pick of who you liked it didn’t like, and then do the actual last interview with them.

Meghan Nation 5:16
Exactly. Yeah. And that is entirely what we needed.

Kelly Meng 5:21
Absolutely. That’s really awesome to hear. So let’s go off script a little bit. I know that we actually went through two, no, we actually went through, I think, three different rounds of hiring for this role, right? Because it was a pretty technical role, we really were looking for someone who didn’t have that strong of an accent was able to follow a lot of very detailed compliance-based procedures, not get y’all in trouble and have someone to really be competent enough for the job skilled enough for the job. Right. So talk to me about the process through that.

Meghan Nation 5:59
Well, with the initial round, I think that we really honed in more on what we needed to hear from the applicants that would work well for exactly like you said, somebody, to have the detailed orientation that we need. And I suspect there were fewer applicants than you would have liked to pull from. So we moved on and did another round, and we found somebody that we thought would work really well. And she, we hired her. And unfortunately, she had some integrity issues that you were I could not have, you know, uncovered during the interview process that I let you know. And within a few days, you had some more candidates lined up, and we found the person that I think will be with us for quite a while.

Kelly Meng 6:52
That’s awesome to hear. And I think it’s really good that you came in with the mentality that, hey, this is going to be a trial and error type of thing. If it doesn’t work out for the first time, I shouldn’t fully lose hope. Because with any sort of hiring us based or global, there always are going to be oddballs right? Things that you can’t really test for during the hiring process. And knowing that, but still going through with it. So I think it’s really, really awesome that your current VA is going to be with you hopefully for a long time. 

Meghan Nation 7:25
And I’ve got to say it was your thoroughness and your responsiveness. And your follow-through really made me comfortable with giving us another shot after that first one fell through. Without that, I think that we would have maybe attempted to do it on our own. But you’ve been so amazing, that no hesitation to try again.

Kelly Meng 7:47
That is really, really kind of you to say I appreciate that a lot. Problem. So those were my main questions. Of course, we just want to talk about your experience working together. Love it after the fact talking about the virtual assistant. Now, is there anything else that you would want to add that we didn’t go over? Before we conclude?

Meghan Nation 8:07
I’m just again you were great to work with. And it really was the most value that I got out of it was your assistance with collecting my thoughts, turning them into a handbook to use for somebody, the hours and hours that you saved us, and actually looking for somebody. It just we would absolutely contact you again if we need another assistant or help with streamlining our processes at all. But the main thing, well, you know where to find me. If somebody does want to reach out to me personally to talk about my experience with you. They’re welcome to. Cool.

Kelly Meng 8:45
Well, Meghan, I appreciate your time and I will talk to you soon.