Today we are taking a look at one of FreeUp’s premier clients, Spencer Shaw of the PodKick Podcast Production Company, a podcast production company that is responsible for millions of annual downloads. Spencer has been helping his clients grow their businesses for over ten years all while utilizing talented freelancers!
Outside of the software, real estate, and internet industries, Spencer has a thirst for travel and with his spouse and 3 children, has visited over 30 states in the past 3 years.
His love of exploration through travel, street food cuisine, and music undoubtedly gives him a unique perspective on business that he shares with over 9,000 entrepreneurs as an instructor on the Udemy Platform.
Let’s dive into Spencer’s experience with FreeUp and the advice he has for other entrepreneurs just getting started in the biz!
The company is called PodKick, and we are a podcast production company. We’ve been in the industry for a long time, nearly ten years, and we really focus on businesses. So we don’t do anything with entertainment, comedy, or sports…We just focus on the business world. Our aim is to make it as simple as possible for our clients.
So what that looks like is that we want our client’s role to be in the creative space and the content space, and once they have put in their effort to create that content, we then take care of everything else outside of that.
From day one, our business has been virtual. So I’ve been outsourcing and hiring people from various platforms since around 2007, all the way back to the Elance days. With FreeUp, we’ve been a customer for a couple of years now, and we use FreeUp for audio and video editors, writers, and researchers…A variety of different people.
With FreeUp I’ve found the talent level to be a lot better, especially on the front end of things. Typically, with other platforms, the freelancer’s profile and/or the first little sprint of work is good, and then it just kind of flattens out, and we haven’t experienced that as much with FreeUp.
We’ve personally known Connor and Nate, the original owners of FreeUp, for a number of years. I joined their community of Outsource School, so I used a lot of their help and expertise for creating a Scope of Work, but knowing you all have a Scope of Work Template is very helpful.
I think for a number of years we didn’t have a methodical process for interviewing the freelancer. About two years ago we created a Standard Operating Procedure for how we do the interview and onboarding.
That would have helped a ton to have from the start because now we implement the process each time we hire. Another thing that would have helped is understanding the long-term relationship with the freelancer.
Now, we now communicate and coach, and we use a tool called Voxer which is like an online broadcast. The tool itself is an audio broadcasting/ walkie-talkie type of thing.
I use it to coach the team members. I’ll broadcast messages to the group and invite them to come and respond. We have had phenomenal results with that where team members see that we care about teaching and coaching them.
Some of it may be business related, and maybe some of their personal goals related.
That increases their retention, and that’s incredibly important because we care about all of our people. We love them, we genuinely care, and we don’t have a lot of turnover, because I think they understand that and they see the autonomy we give them overall.
We do contests as a team every once in a while. We just did a team contest with some of our video editors where they worked on TikTok videos, and then we had everyone vote on it and decide who was the best. From there we had some prizes, such as a subscription to Spotify for a couple of months and access to some digital courses.
Running those contests and games, and making it fun, for everyone was awesome for all of us and helped us see who is hungry for growth.
There haven’t been many. We’ve had a couple of suggestions for freelancers that weren’t a good fit experience-wise or even personality-wise. For example, a long time ago, we had one of our freelancers, as soon as they started, request more money upfront due to the cost of living increases.
Of course, I understand the need for this, but it is important to have freelancers provide value and then we can make adjustments from there. With that being said, it doesn’t seem like something that we can actually vet or filter for, it just happens from time to time with people you hire. Some people are really good at interviewing, and they’re just not good at performing, luckily there have been no major red flags though.
I would say, work with a freelancer that already has experience. So if you were
getting started in the world of hiring virtual support don’t learn the process with someone that’s also learning the process. Find someone who can bring their skills to the table. Find someone that is really an expert at the thing that you need.
Also, be clear on what it is that you need upfront. Finding someone that is a Jack-of-all-trades means that they’re probably not going to be good at exactly what you need. Being as specific as possible, and laser-focused on the role you are hiring for cuts years, or at least months off of the learning curve.
I think the final advice is to make sure that you’re hiring the right people. I think too often we’re trying to solve a short-term problem when we really need to look back and be solving long-term problems. You need an executive assistant, personal assistant, virtual assistant, researcher, creative, whatever it is you need you must be willing to deal with the short-term pain of hiring and training to solve the long-term pain points.
Scaling up can seem technical and challenging, but Spencer shows us the human element behind the process! From using freelancers to aid his clients to creating lasting relationships with the candidates he hires, it is easy to see the benefits of curating a team with FreeUp.
If you’d like to learn more about Spencer’s business don’t forget to check out PodKick, a podcast production company. Also don’t forget, we can help you achieve your goals as well! Click here to book your free consultation with a FreeUp Account Manager today!
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