Ever wonder the process of hiring a VA or how to even get started? Luckily our guest this week, Hayley Klees, has all the knowledge and insights to helping you make that first or (next) leap!

Episode Highlights

  • signs it’s time to outsource
  • benefits of outsourcing with VAs
  • examples of tasks VAs can do for your business
  • the typical process for hiring a VA
  • Where to find reliable VAs

Resources and Links

VA Facebook Group Waitlist

Educator to Entrepreneur Course

Instagram @hayley.klees


Kirsten 0:01

You're listening to the creative teacher podcast, a show for busy teachers looking for ways to engage, inspire and make an impact in their teacher businesses. I'm Kiersten, a teacher business owner who is all about simple and actionable tips, strategies and resources that result in wins, big or small. If you're looking for that extra spark of creativity, you've come to the right place. Let's dive in together.

Hello, welcome to another episode of the creative Teacher Podcast. Today I have another special guest on the podcast and that is Hayley cleis. She is a VA mentor. She has experience in the VA world and she also has experience hiring VAs for her clients. So we're going to be talking about all things VAS A and how you can hire your first or next VA for your business to help you out. All right, we have a special guest on the podcast this week. We've got Hayley Cleese, welcome to the show.

Hayley 2:13

Thank you so much. I'm excited to be here.

Kirsten 2:15

Yes, I'm excited to have you here. So I wanted to ask, I asked this with a lot of my guests how you got started in the teacher printers, space TPT space, from what I understand you taught either like ELA social studies, or like middle school, something like that. I know, we've chatted about this before. But it's been a while. So just let me know like how you got started into all of this.

Hayley 2:38

Yeah, for sure. Yes. So I'm a former sixth grade ELA teacher, I did ELA and reading. My husband is actually a middle school social studies teacher. So he does eighth grade history. But I was ELA and so I did that for about seven years. And then I kind of, you know, just before having children and things, I was kind of looking for a way to stay home. And then when we did have kids, I was like, Okay, I definitely want to find something where I can try to work from home. So I found out what freelancing was and had no idea like there was this whole online business world and realize that teacher pay teacher's sellers hire like independent independent contractors, freelancers to help them out a lot. And I just kind of fell into it. Because it was like something where I was already teaching, I could still stay in that niche stay in that, you know, area. And it's been so much fun. Like I've I've left the classroom, I stay home now. But I still feel like I'm part of education because I can work with TPT sellers. So it's really nice.

Kirsten 3:43

Yeah, that is awesome. And I know, like there's so many educators out there just like you who sometimes they're still full time and they just kind of work on the side. But then there's also others who they take this full time and they love working with other TPT sellers. So I think that's an awesome thing that you do.

Hayley 4:02

Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, when I first started, I was still teaching. So I did just do it on the side, and, you know, late at night or on the weekends, things like that. But, you know, opportunities just presented themselves. And I wanted to just take a chance and see if it could really like be a thing and work out. And here I am Three years later, and it's amazing. So it's crazy. Just what, you know, opportunities are out there that you don't know about all all the time. But if you're just ready to like take that leap, then it can be really exciting.

Kirsten 4:35

That's amazing. That's awesome. That's why I'm so excited about this topic today. Because I know a lot of TPT sellers out there. Some are really like knowledgeable about the whole VA process and workflow and how they can get people on their team. And there may be some listeners who have never hired out anybody and they've been doing it and like everything. Every person has them selves. So I'm really excited about this conversation. So my first question that I have for you that some listeners are probably thinking, When are some signs that it is time to outsource the work that you're doing?

Hayley 5:14

Yes, definitely. Um, so, for me, I always like to tell my clients, whenever you start to feel like this becomes something that you don't enjoy anymore, because you all, you know, the reason why most people probably started a TPT store is because you were already making resources for your classroom, and you're like, Well, let me just see if I can sell these you know, and you enjoyed it, you know, it was fun, maybe it was a hobby, maybe it turned full time. But then eventually, like all things like, it's still a job, you know, you're running a business. So there's always things that come with that, that you might not enjoy. Or, you know, you say you're going to do those taxes, but you don't actually get to them, or you say you're going to update that product, but you don't actually get to them. So first of all, anytime it's, you know, becomes more of a chore than what it should be a joy, it should be something that you love that you want to do. And then also, when those little things just kind of start adding up, and maybe things start falling through the cracks, or you're just so overwhelmed. You don't even know what to do next. You know, I always tell my clients, you are the CEO of your business. So you need to start treating yourself like that. So a CEO of a business of you know, let's just say Chipotle, they're not going to do all the little task, like taking people's order everyday. And you know, of course, they're going to jump in and help sometimes, but that's not their role. And so you really want to picture yourself as that CEO and figure out how you can manage your business in that CEO role and outsource the things that you don't love anymore, or that you keep putting off on the backburner that really need your attention, but you're not giving it the attention that it needs.

Kirsten 7:00

I really love that analogy with the Chick fil A restaurants. But yeah, I, I know, I can think off the top of my head several tasks that I'm just like, when I do it, I'm like, Oh my gosh, this is like, it's one of those things where you're like, I have to like work up the, you know, energy to do it. And that's probably a sign that I could probably outsource that specific task. So that's a really great indicator. So what are some benefits for outsourcing in general, with virtual assistants or vas?

Hayley 7:34

Yeah, um, I would say, one of the biggest benefits of outsourcing is just that you can get some of that time back that you were using on those things that you don't love or using on the things that someone else could be doing for you. So I know a lot of my clients have, before they have started outsourcing is you know, sit down, and actually time track, you know, start a timer, see how long it takes you to do product covers, product descriptions, whatever it is. And if it takes you, you know, two hours to do X many products, okay, if I handed that off to someone to do for two hours, what is it that I could be doing in those two hours that would move the needle forward, you know, you really want to be thinking about how you can meet those monthly, quarterly yearly goals that you've probably set for your TPT business, and if you're just stuck in the rut of it, and you could pay someone else to do that for you. If you have the means to do that, then you know, why not? You you want to better yourself. And, you know, just like I always have said in presentations I've done before it takes a village. So it takes a village to raise kids, it takes a village to run a business. And yes, you know, you can do it for a while by yourself. But eventually you might feel that burnout. And it's okay to pass off something to someone else, you know,

Kirsten 9:01

I can think of tasks that I know that somebody could probably do way better than me at, but I'm like, you know, I know a lot of TPTs T sellers have the same mindset of, oh, well, you know, I need to be doing this, this task and this task and this task because I'm the only one who knows the ins and outs of it. But I really think that VAs have the capability if they're if you hire the right vas, like you were saying that they can do a better job. That's it's not a better job than you but just like they can be more efficient at it. They can enhance what you already do, and kind of align it to what your brand is about. So I think those are all great points that you made about how it's super beneficial to outsource. You don't always have to do everything yourself.

Hayley 9:51

Yes, exactly. And that's kind of what I was referring to, you know, when I was saying if you go through the whole Hiring Process correctly, and you have those SOPs set in place, you know, ahead of time, which are standard operating procedures, if you have the loom videos created to show your virtual assistant, or whoever it is that you hire your process of doing things, then you can trust them that they're going to do a good job in your business, you know, and so that is one thing that I have enjoyed with working for TPT sellers is that everyone does things a little differently, but they're always open to teaching you, you know, their specific ways of how they like it, and how they want it done. So you know, if you know, email marketing, and client a likes her emails in a certain template format, she'll probably show you that, you know, in a video, or y'all will talk about it on a call or something and client B might like hers a different way, like that's okay. You know, and I know for me, when I had some interns working for me this summer, they did an amazing job at the task that I handed off to them. And some of them even had, like, you were kind of talking about better ideas to like, enhance it or make it more of my brand that I never even would have thought of that because they were kind of on the outside looking in, they were able to give me a better perspective or a different perspective, you know? And I was like, gosh, it's so good. Like, I never would have thought of that. So I think that can be helpful too. Because I do think sometimes we get so close to our projects, you know, in our business, trying to make that product line perfect. Or should I add this grade level? Should I do this worksheet, you know? And so when you have someone else come in and look at it, they can say, well, if I was in the classroom, this is what I would like. And so that's always helpful to just to get another perspective and opinion on things.


Yeah, that's a really great point. So I wanted to you've kind of mentioned some ideas of what VAs could do for you and your business. What are some other examples of tasks that VAs can do for TP, specifically TPT businesses?


Oh, my goodness, the possibilities are literally endless. Let's see, product descriptions, product covers, content creation, blogging, email marketing, social media, even just like inbox management. And that is one thing I do want to share with your audience, if you don't mind real quick, is I think it's important that TPT sellers and your listeners know ahead of time before they decide to outsource before they decide to hire out is exactly the role that they're hiring out for. Because I know I've had this, you know, happened to me before, and it's not necessarily anyone's fault. Because, you know, as TPT sellers, we aren't business people, right? Like, we didn't go to school to become a business owner, we probably went to school to become a teacher, right? And so when you are looking at wanting to outsource, I want you to sit down and think to yourself, are you wanting to outsource for general VA work? Like, do you just want to be able to make a list of 10 things? And have someone do that for you that week? You know, and basically hand them a to do list? Or are you hiring out for more specific work, like you're hiring a social media manager, because specifically make five reels a week? Look at those analytics, you know, schedule, everything, stuff like that. And there's pros and cons to both of them. And I was just talking with a seasoned seller last week, actually, because she was asking me some questions about hiring, there's no right or wrong, you know, you I feel like you just had to do what is best for your business, you know, for you, you're really good at the designing the covers and the brand awareness and the colors and stuff like that stuff comes natural to you. So for you, you would probably keep doing that type of stuff where maybe, you know, blogging, or like the writing part, you don't necessarily want to do so you would maybe hire specifically a copywriter, you know, but someone else might enjoy the writing and they would want to hire out for design stuff. So there's really no right or wrong or whether you want a general VA or, you know, a specialized person. And I think it's okay to to just hot Well, I want to say just it's okay to hire a general VA. And then, you know, once you've worked together for a few months, a year, something like that. You guys can have that discussion, and maybe they can say, hey, I really enjoy working on your social media. Do you think maybe I could just focus on that over the next few months? You know, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. All of this is always evolving, always changing. So just because you say you want to start with a general VA doesn't mean that that person couldn't become your social media manager, you know, down the road. So typically, people that help you for sure.


I love that perspective of how it's not always set in stone and what you need from Yeah, you know, a VA or a specialized Freelancer is different than somebody else's, you know, TPT business. So I know that in a lot of spaces on Facebook, there's always there's really great resources to finding people. And sometimes I feel like there's, I don't know, misconceptions or misinformation about like, exactly, you know, the all the negative sides of hiring a VA, but I don't I mean, I am a proponent of hiring out, like, even if it's not somebody who's on your team for you know, an extended amount of time, even if it's just for a one off project. There's so many different ways you can hire out.


So I really, yeah, I will say I kind of go against the grain a little bit. And that's just my personality, because I have seen a lot of negativity, sometimes on Facebook, where people will say, Well, I'm not going to hire someone who says that they can be hired for product descriptions, and email marketing, and this and that, but you also have to remember that person could be more of a specialized general virtual assistant. So just because they want to help you with multiple task, don't write them off right away and say, Oh, they don't know anything, because they aren't specialized yet, like they haven't niched down to product photography, like that person can help you in so many capacities. So that's just a little bit that I always like to share. Because I do feel that sometimes virtual assistants get a bad rep. From, you know, the online world, but we are here to help you, you know, like, we want to better your business, and we want to learn things from you. And if you're willing to teach and lead and help and guide, then there's so many amazing, and I mean, teachers is kind of who I'm thinking of, but you know, amazing teachers and educators out there that want to help TPT sellers.


So I love that food for thought there. Love that. So let's say maybe a few of my listeners are really interested in hiring out for the first time. What is the typical process for hiring out a VA? I know there's different avenues. But which one do you suggest to recommend?


Yes, so like I mentioned earlier, you always want to sit down and you want to write out a list of things that you want to hire out for, and figure out what that role is going to be. Because once you post that job application, that job description, and people start applying, it's really important that you stay inside that scope of work. So if you're hiring someone, and on that, you know, job description, you write that you want them to help you with all things social media. So that's including Pinterest, that's including Tiktok, Instagram, you know, and then all of a sudden, you know, a few weeks down the line, let's see, say you hired them and you're working together. And you're like, oh, by the way, can you also write this blog real quick for me. I'm like, that's not really what we agreed to, you know, so and it gets tricky, because you don't want to be rude and you want to help, but at the same time, like you were hired for these specific things. So I think staying inside that scope of work and making sure you know, what you're hiring out for is really important when going through that process. And then when you are making that hire, always have a job application form. So please don't put in Facebook group or even on your own personal page, like, Hey, I'm looking for help with this DM me if you're interested, because you could get 20 different messages and it could get lost, you know. And so if you have a forum, whether it's a Google forum, an air table, forum, whatever it is, they can answer those specific questions that you have provided. And then you can already do a little pre screening before actually having to interview anyone. And so that will save you a lot of time because you can have your top three to five candidates that you want to actually interview. And so then that way, you know, you know a little bit more about them before jumping on a call and having to ask 20 million questions on a call, you know, so that's a good way of going about it is making sure that you have some type of job application form and then you would just kind of go through there set up your interview or discovery call Whatever it is that you want to call it, and then meet with the person, sometimes I have seen where, you know, they might have one or two or two or three people that they've like narrowed down to, and they would like to see like a example from you, you know, like whether that's a blog example or social media, and you can ask that in your job form, or you can wait and see if they're willing to do like a paid project for that. I always, you know, you need to be respectful of people's time, so you do need to pay them for that, it, if it's a little project like that, it's not going to take them a long time. So it's not something that should be, you know, 20 hours worth of work to see if you are them or not, you know, but that's usually the process is, you know, you figure out what you're hiring out for, you get a very detailed job description form. You have people apply, and then you just do your screening and go through that. And then once you figure out who you want, you need to make sure that you have that contract between you guys that you have, you know, all the proper paperwork set up the SOPs, the videos, any type of trainings, a welcome call anything like that.


Okay, that's awesome. Thank you for that. I know that that's helpful for a lot of people just getting started with hiring out vas. So if we, let's say, you know, maybe we we've heard of Upwork or Fiverr, or those kinds of places. Is that a place you would recommend to find reliable vas? Like where where do you recommend finding VAs for specific, I guess, I would, I would recommend or, you know, think that. Like, if you're a TPT seller, you want somebody who's, you know, well versed in TBI and understands that. So where do you recommend finding vas?


Yes, that is such a good question. Um, Upwork and Fiverr are on my nono list. So I don't always recommend going there first. Um, I mean, I will say I have worked for clients where we have gone to Upwork. And we have hired someone for a specific project. But it was something that was not necessarily like, specific in standards, you know, like, they didn't need to know all the fourth grade standards to help us with that type of things. So anytime you're looking to hire out, I definitely suggest trying to stick with teachers just because they have that background knowledge. You know, they, when you say ESC, or SLP, you know, all our acronyms that we use, they're not going to look at you like you have three heads, they hopefully should know what all of that stands for. And so then it can make the transition easier when you're hiring out. There's a great Facebook group that I know is becoming very popular, lots of people and that one that you can find good people in, you know, even if you're just pulling from your personal network, that is fine, too, especially if you need like someone to come to your house and help you with something I know I've seen a few more post of that, actually recently, that's fine, you just want to make sure that you have those boundaries, and that contract and everything set up. So you know, don't just hire your cousin, don't just hire a neighbor, you know, make sure it's someone that is reliable, and you're still making sure you have a contract in place. And then, you know, I am hoping to get a Facebook group up and running very soon for TPT sellers and the freelancers that go through my program so that you have another place to find VA zoar, social media managers, things like that. Because I know you've been on it. I've been on both side of things. I've been on the side where I have been hired by people to work for them. But then I've also been on the side where I've done the hiring for clients, and kind of those places where I've been, we always say, you know, I wish there was somewhere else where we could do to find more people. And so that's just something I've that's really been on my heart that I want to start. But I also think it's really important that when teachers start applying to work as VAs for TPT sellers, that they have proper training, that is the biggest thing that I have seen is that, you know, teachers do no education, but unless you have been trained on content creation, and you know, when I talk about email marketing people are like, Oh, so you just send like, an email through your Gmail account. And I'm like, no, no, no, no, like, you know, so it's teaching those proper things and So that's one reason why I really want to create this Facebook group is because all of the freelancers that are going to be in that Facebook group will have the proper training done by me. It's not where I'm just going to let any teachers in that, you know, want to work for TPT sellers. I really want them to be knowledgeable in the tasks that they can help TPT sellers with.


That sounds amazing. I'm looking forward to that. All right, I have some bonus rapid fire questions for you. So I was hoping you could answer them. The first one is coffee or tea while you work.


Good question. I'm definitely a coffee kind of girl iced coffee to be exact.


Oh my gosh. Yes. I love an iced coffee. For sure. One of my favorites. Okay, your next question, what is one skill you wish you had? That's non education related?


I would say one skill that I wish I had would be dancing. I never really took dance as a little girl. And sometimes I wish I did love that


answer. Because I'm definitely the same way I did dance when I was like maybe four or five and haven't done it since I was in other sports. But I would have loved to do more dancing. Okay, your third question, describe your ideal workspace in three words.

Unknown Speaker:

Let's see my ideal workplace in three words, bright, airy, and quiet.


Okay, so let me know or let us all know where we can learn more from you. And how we can learn more like get on. Like if you have some type of waitlist or something for that Facebook group that you mentioned. That sounds pretty cool.


Yeah, for sure. So I'm on Instagram. That's usually where I spend most of the time. It's just Haley dot cleis. And just make sure you spell Haley correctly. I know there's a million ways now, Haley. So I'll make sure that you have the correct spelling. Okay. And then I'll drop the link for my course that I have for any teachers that are interested in learning how to work for TPT sellers. And then that's a good idea. Yeah, I'll definitely get you a link for like a waitlist for that Facebook group.


Sounds good. Yes. I love the idea of having like, a like if you have tasks that you're like, I really would like to hire out like no going to a reliable source to find those group of people who might be, you know, a good fit for your business. So awesome. Thank you so much, Haley for being on the show.


You're so welcome. Thank you.


Alright, guys, thank you for tuning in to this episode. I hope you got a lot of really great value on it. I know I did. I got some courage to hire another VA just by interacting with her in this interview. So it's really great. So don't forget to follow Haley at Instagram. And if you're interested in joining that Facebook group, I have a link to the waitlist, you just go to Haley cles.com, forward slash FB waitlist, and you can do that. And then if you're interested in VN being a VA yourself, you can always check the course in the description. All right. Well, thanks for listening to another episode, I hope to talk to you again next week.

Thanks for listening to the creative teacher podcast. If you enjoyed listening to today's episode, feel free to subscribe and leave a review. I'd love to hear your feedback. You can also follow me on Instagram at the southern teach dot designs. Have an amazing day.