Hiring a virtual assistant can feel like a big leap for small business owners. In this podcast episode, Mallika Malhotra, CEO of a brand strategy, mentorship, and speaking business, shares insights on the power of delegation and how hiring a virtual assistant (VA) can help entrepreneurs to maximize their business growth. Mallika discusses her experience of finding the right VA and the benefits of delegating tasks, enabling her to focus on her expertise and brand development. This episode provides practical tips and valuable advice for entrepreneurs on finding and hiring a virtual assistantthat is the right fit for their business. Tune in to learn more about how to leverage the benefits of a virtual assistant for business success.
Mallika Malhotra is an award winning brand strategist, confidence-stirring mentor, and dynamic speaker. After years of working in corporate advertising on brands like L’Oreal and Oil of Olay, Mallika now helps women entrepreneurs get clear on their brand message, find their power niche and become the sought-after expert. Her friends and clients call her the brand energizer because she is a strong believer in getting out of your comfort zone, taking action and implementing ideas. When she’s not building brands, Mallika is drinking coffee or red wine, reading a stack of books and dreaming about their next global adventure. She lives in beautiful Maine with her husband, 3 sons and mini Bernedoodle, Jax. To learn more about working with Mallika or to invite her to speak at your event or podcast, visit
Mallika Malhotra, The Brand CEO
Brand Strategist + Mentor + Speaker
Helping women entrepreneurs stand out as the go-to expert in their crowded markets
Free Ready, Set, Brand tool : https://mallikamalhotra.co/home/#freebie
Free Facebook Brand Group : http://bit.ly/brandpowerhourcommunity
Maximize Your Business Growth by Hiring a Virtual Assistant – No Mercy Business Podcast with Emily A Woodruff
Transcript for Maximize Your Business Growth by Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Emily Woodruff 1:24
Hello, and thank you so much for being here for another week of the No Mercy business. Podcast. I am your host, Emily Woodruff. And I am super excited to continue on our journey, talking about virtual assistants and what that looks like in different audiences talking about that in different environments. Today I have Malika with me today. Malika. Why don’t you go ahead and just tell us about yourself and your business and just kind of introduce yourself?
Unknown Speaker 1:54
Yes. Thank you so much, Emily for the opportunity. My name is Malika Malhotra I am the brand CEO. I am a brand strategist, a mentor and speaker for female entrepreneurs. And so I specialize in helping service based entrepreneurs like coaches, photographers, designers who find themselves in a crowded saturated market and they really struggle with standing out and they don’t have the time or the expertise to sort of build their brands strengthen their message find that power niche. So I help them sort of develop all of those things so that they can become that sought after expert so that they can become that in demand brand and build a brand that’s magnetic that makes a lot of money and is memorable. So that’s the work that I do with my clients.
Emily Woodruff 2:41
That’s amazing. That is such a needed and needed niche that I don’t think there’s enough people in right now. And I think that there’s kind of some people starting to tap into it, but that’s really exciting. That’s a lot of fun about Yes,
Unknown Speaker 2:55
I love the messaging. I love the creativity and working with women, you know, female entrepreneurs like ourselves.
Emily Woodruff 3:03
That’s great. So you have worked with a virtual assistant or multiple assistants for upwards of five years. So I kind of want to tap on that and see, see what life was like for you. When you were doing the solopreneur thing when everything was on your own? What did life look like? And what led you to, to want to outsource and to want to have somebody else on your team?
Unknown Speaker 3:28
Yes, so those days are long ago like I said, it’s five years or so, but I can remember it clearly where you know, just feeling that huge, you know, overwhelm of all the things that are on your list that you just never can get done. And some of the tasks being administrative or just like the basic run of the mill tasks to get your business running, instead of the growth related tasks to scale your brand or to get more visibility or to find more clients. And so I always felt like I was on this hamster wheel of trying to do all the things getting stuck in the weeds, but not being able to grow at the pace that I wanted to because I didn’t have anyone else but myself. And I think a lot of solopreneurs especially when you’re new you feel challenged of you know, how can I even hire What am I going to tell these people to do? How can I afford it right and all of those thoughts went through my mind as well. But I came to a point where I knew that in order for me to develop my expertise, become a leader in the industry, I had to let some of these administrative and kind of the the business running tasks go. I had to give it to somebody else so that I could do more networking. I could, you know, work on my speaking I could, you know work on the actual offers and the content that I wanted to get out there in order to position myself in the vision that I had for my brand.
Emily Woodruff 5:06
Right. So where did you start looking or how did you come about finding your VA?
Unknown Speaker 5:12
Yes, so I found my VA through a Facebook group actually it was a pretty popular Facebook back in the day called savvy business owners run by Heather Crabtree. She no longer exists, but that was sort of the go to place like five years ago. And actually, you know, really at that time virtual it couldn’t even be longer than five years. Virtual Assistants wasn’t the term that it is today, right people know what it means. People know exactly what those tasks are. But back in the day, you didn’t know is it administration? Is it a personal assistant? Is it a secretary? Is it an OBM? Like we didn’t know. And so there was a lot of talk in the Facebook group about having this support to help you run your business and I knew and you hear it all the time, right? Like you have to invest in your business in order for it to grow. And even if you think you don’t have the funds, you need to find the funds so that or just invest so that you can make more money later. And so I just took a leap of faith a little bit and decided that I was going to try to find someone to bring on my team slowly, few hours. You know, I think it was maybe five hours in the first month, five hours. See what it’s like not commit to like a retainer, you know, contract but let’s feel it out. Let’s see if we sync Let’s see if she understands my brand. And that really just evolved into I mean, Mandy who’s my VA is like, I would be lost without her. She is my arm to my business. I all of the success that I’ve had with my business is really because she’s been right there helping me and all the behind the scenes.
Emily Woodruff 6:55
stuff so great. And I think that that’s a lot of times where things go is that if you if you find somebody who you mesh well with, and there’s opportunities that your personalities just don’t jive or your communication style just isn’t right and that’s okay. There’s probably somebody else out there who will be that person for you. But if things go well, you end up leaning on each other and you become like your your work bestie and work yeah, you know you rely on one another and need each other and it’s it’s a great relationship that you end up having and knowing that you can fully trust somebody with your business because as entrepreneurs we know our businesses are like our babies, so you only trust to certain people and to know that you can do that is just such a relief.
Unknown Speaker 7:41
And to be honest, Emily like I started off with a few different vas. I actually hired someone from the Philippines because the price point was right. And it didn’t work out. Because the time difference there was always a typhoon the you know, like there was like every time I would with her she froze. And I was just like even though the price is like amazing, it just wasn’t worth it and I felt like it wasn’t going to be a partner in the long term. And so, you know, after going through a few of those and then finally finding my VA through this group, and then onboarding her slowly at first and then giving her more tasks and taking off more off my plate. And then seeing how that allowed me to really do the things that I was so good at could have been, you know, the brand photography part of my business or the brand strategy or speaking more. And then when you have a good VA on your team, they’re become your partner right and they evolve with us. They get more tasks and they grow in their job and then you’re growing in your role. And it can really just become such a beautiful relationship and your business can really grow next level if you have that support.
Emily Woodruff 8:57
I agree completely. So what are some of the tasks that you have your I know that you now have multiple vas, what are some of the tasks that you rely on them for?
Unknown Speaker 9:09
Yes, so you know, my core VA Her name is Mandy. She is really she’s an amazing writer. She’s an amazing editor. So she takes care of a lot of my content creation. So we have a system where every Monday I’ll kind of brain dump different blog posts, and she’ll take that and she’ll actually write the blog posts use that to create a newsletter to take out pieces to put on social media. So we have a whole system now of like how to get long form content and repurpose it and recycle it into short form content so that that brand My brand is being represented in the best possible way in all of my touchpoints she helps me also you know, like I said a lot of the contents of the newsletter so you know with ConvertKit with anything that I am producing, it’s a workbook or if it’s a slide deck, she’s always has her eyes on that. Separate from her I have a tech VA, who’s really good at dubsado Because I have onboarding, right and just the workflows are so I mean, it just makes my mind my brain want to like burst
Emily Woodruff 10:24
dubsado is a beast.
Unknown Speaker 10:26
But to her it’s so easy. So she’s so good at the tech and the systems and so she’s taken a lot of that off of Mandy’s plate to so that she can do what she’s really good at. So it’s a beautiful like, team where I have content and I have tech and systems. And then when I do some brand photography projects I actually have a photo editor who actually has some sort of VA capabilities to where, you know, she’ll do the calling and the curating of the images. She’ll do some Lightroom edits of the images based on, you know, a creative brief that I have. She’ll then upload it into the galleries right so that I can easily share this with my clients. So the combination of the three of them on my little team like they’re, you know, I don’t have any Junior photographers or junior brand strategists. It’s really me but they’re like my back end support team. And I’ve had them for years and it’s really helped my business grow to this such great levels.
Emily Woodruff 11:26
That’s so neat. And I think it’s really neat that you have multiple that’s something that I hear a lot of people saying like that there’s fear that there they won’t be able to touch the right areas or that they won’t be able to solve the problem that they have and well that’s true. You might not get a general VA who can do everything. But you certainly can get a VA who does this and you can get one who does this and you can still manage the amount of time and investment that you put into them so that you’re not, you know, blowing your whole profit, but you’re still you’re still able to manage them and manage your workload that way. Yeah. That’s really neat that they all can work together and to help you be able to really focus your creative time and be able to focus on the things that only you can do because those other tasks, like you say, once you get a workflow going, you can understand each other you know how to do it from start to finish. They understand your brand voice, they understand your your perspective and everything comes out the way that you would want it.
Unknown Speaker 12:33
Yes, and it really like I’m not making money. If I’m spending hours trying to fix my workflow and dubsado I am making money if I am speaking, if I’m creating thought leadership content, if I’m networking, if I am working with my own clients, that’s how I’m going to make money and so you have to sort of reframe it and know like yes, you’re spending money but you’re spending money to make money. You’re spending money to grow your business further. And I’m not saying blow all your money, be strategic, be mindful, intentional. Be smart with who you hire, but you kind of need to do that because you can’t and I tell my clients this all the time. It does not make sense for you. If you’re not a good writer to be writing all of your nurture sequence your newsletters, it’s better to outsource that so that you can give them direction you can give them and let them do that so that you can go to the next thing that you need to work on for your brand.
Emily Woodruff 13:30
Yeah, that’s, that’s great. That’s perfect. Um, are there are there any tips that you would share with somebody who is currently seeking out hiring a Virtual Assistant or any you know any rumors or fears or anything that you would kind of be able to speak to?
Unknown Speaker 13:49
So I’m a big proponent of the specialized VA. So knowing exactly and it will help you because sometimes you don’t know what to give them right but if you know okay, I need someone to help me with graphics on Canva then you know, you need a creative VA that specializes in Canada, very simple. Go out there and find them. And that way your success you’re ensuring the success of what you’re looking for the result that you need. So if you can specialize and the type of help that you need, and the higher I think that’s going to help you. The second is do a test. Make sure you say with this new hire that you’re just going to work with them for a month and just see how it goes and you’re going to check in with each other. And this is a business relationship so that you know it doesn’t have to get sticky in that first month. It’s didn’t work out I’m sorry, it didn’t work out and then you move along. Instead of just keeping them on and trying and trying and not feeling good about that partnership. It’s gonna get more sticky later. So give yourself a testing period to see if it works. And then definitely, you know, look at the referrals that they get, get on the phone and talk to the people that they’ve worked with. Before. Just don’t read the testimonial and cross your fingers. I would say do the extra mile and actually pick up the phone and talk to one or two people that work with that person so that you can hear from them, what has worked, what doesn’t work, what to expect, and that will help you in that transition as well.
Emily Woodruff 17:56
Yeah, no, that’s great. Okay. So if you were to hire a next person to join your team, what kind of what kind of tasks was that they would they take on or what would you look for?
Unknown Speaker 18:07
Yeah, so you know, with the new year just a few months back of course, some of my goals are. I would love to hire a creative Virtual Assistant to do graphics like graphics for Instagram and the carousel and you know, the learning curve for me to do that I can do it. But again, it’s time right is spending time in Canva doing all those things. I would love to have someone who could take the content that Mandy has created, and then she creates all these graphics and then like, we all kind of disperse it to all the different marketing channels that will be a great addition to the team. So you know, it’s on the wish list. It’s something I’m thinking about, but not sure. You know, again, if I have to have a lot of graphics that I want to create, I don’t know if it’s something that you hire a Virtual Assistant to do and just do a big bundle and then that’s it or if it’s someone that’s ongoing. So those are the questions that you have to go through your mind. Is there enough work that you want to hire someone so that they’re ongoing as part of your team? Or is it just someone that’s a one and done right? It’s almost like they’re hired for a month so sometimes in my position because I already have to Virtual Assistants hiring the third I really have to think about but if you have no vas, you definitely going to want to hire them on repeat. Yeah. But yeah, that would be who I would love to work with. Next is someone who’s really cool who is like a canvas specialist.
Emily Woodruff 19:34
That’s great. So do you feel like with having all of these different people that are involved in your business or the potential to add more people? Do you feel like you still are in control and that you still know everything that’s going on? Or do you feel like there’s times where you’re out of touch with it?
Unknown Speaker 19:51
I definitely feel like I know what’s going on. I think in the beginning, I may have been more of like this micromanager because you’re so protective. But now I feel so liberated. It’s like you’re on my team. We all know the objective. I trust you, your professionals just do it. Tell me when it’s done. And that mindset is so liberating, and makes me feel like I could just focus on other things, rather than having to check every little thing. Do they still send me test emails for certain things? Yes, of course. But like, I don’t have to know you know from the newsletter. There’s a blurb that goes on to Facebook. I don’t need to say that yet done. And that same blurb is going on LinkedIn and St. Louis, like going somewhere else. Just get it done. And that’s really working as a CEO right versus working as the owner of your business in the muck of it. It’s just having a team, empowering them to know what the goals are letting them use their expertise and just getting it done and working as a team of things come up and we need to problem solve. So it feels really good. The position I’m in now it’s taking a while to get here. But knowing that I’m here now I can tell people that are thinking about it is that you just have to trust the process. You have to trust the people that you’re working with and you have to really get to let go. You just do you have to let go. And if there are some mistakes that are happened along the way, that’s all part of the process. You learn from the mistakes. You pointed out, you figure out how to do it better and then you just empower them to again do the job without you overseeing every single detail.
Emily Woodruff 21:27
Love it. I love it. Well thank you so much for sharing about your business and your expertise. Where could our listeners find you if they wanted to connect with you?
Unknown Speaker 21:38
Yes, so I am always on Instagram so would love to connect with you guys. My handle is at Malika malhotra.co But I would also love to share a freebie with your audience because most of them are VAs or photographers are probably all trying to build their brand and I have a freebie called Ready Set brand which is going to give you some fun like Mad Libs style templates to figure out your mission statement and your vision statement and your positioning statement all things that you really need for your brand in order to give it story and soul and help you stand out. So would love to share that with your audience so that they can get started in their brand building.
Emily Woodruff 22:15
Awesome. And we will link all of that in the show notes and it’ll be on the blog post that goes with us. So I’m super excited for you guys to get that in your hands. Well thank you so much and I hope you have an awesome day.
Unknown Speaker 22:27
Yes, thank you so much.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai