Liam Martin: Time Doctor’s Virtual, Distributed Workplace Of The Future
Guests: Liam Martin, Daniel Ramsey
Recorded: October 21, 2019
In 2017, only 2% of full-time staff worked remotely – but surveys project that by 2027, 50% of work in the United States will be completely remote. This led Forbes to ask the question, “Are poignantly We Ready For A Workforce That is 50% Freelance?“, but while they cite great statistics on this emerging trend, to truly answer the question, you need to ask someone in the trenches, working with virtual assistants daily. You don’t want to get left behind, do you? Watch the highlights as they discuss why you should gear up and prepare for the next wave of the future.
Meet Liam Martin: the Co-Founder of Time Doctor – a next-generation time-tracking software for virtual companies. His inspiration for developing it was his own experience working with remote & virtual staff. So it should be no surprise that he’s structured Time Doctor as a virtual firm also – with over a hundred virtual staff in locations across the globe.
You can implement Liam’s vision for virtual staffing in your own business when you hire a MyOutDesk Virtual Assistant. Schedule a Double My Business Strategy Session today and find out how!
A Distributed Model Is The Best Way To Go
Liam Martin says that Time Doctor has about 100 remote employees from 32 different countries and believes it is truly the best way to work. Future projections aside, Martin’s example is based on real-world experience being successfully implemented in his firm daily – and it’s the harbinger of a fundamental shift in labor not seen since the industrial revolution that completely re-imagines our view of the workplace.
In Martin’s view, modern business fundamentally moves towards a paradigm shift in how work is done. He believes that ultimately this will lead to a more sustainable corporate model that leverages the global economy to reduce costs, increase productivity, and ultimately assist staff in finding their optimal roles, regardless of location.
Remote Workers Save Businesses More Money
The transition from on-site to virtual staffing will take some adjustment. You’re likely at least a little bit attached to running an office. Having all your staff physically present every day – and virtualizing those staff may lead to some initial anxiety. However, the cost reduction & increase in productivity from virtualization will help assuage that anxiety, along with increasing your revenue and helping you become more productive in today’s marketplace.
Outsourcing to virtual staff costs less than in-house employees, but it’s not the only benefit to going virtual. Most large-scale studies show that remote workers are 20% more efficient, regardless of wages than those working in an office, and more importantly, retention is 30% higher. This is a massive deal because every time you replace someone within your company, it costs you up to $36,000 in combined hiring, screening, and training expenses. So the increase in retention alone with virtual staff is a major cost-saver.
How To Transition
When you’re ready to begin seriously thinking about virtual assistant services, try to work from the premise that your team or staff is 10,000 miles away. Set-up your systems and processes so that it works regardless of the location of your employee. This way, whether you are hiring in-house or virtual won’t make a difference.
A “virtual first” approach to business processes can be beneficial in several ways. First, keep in mind that “remote” staff don’t necessarily have to be overseas, so virtualizing your business process is also an excellent way to bolster communication & boost productivity between in-house employees working in geographically separate locations.
In a real estate broker, for instance, having all your data stored in a cloud-based CRM allows staff in various branch offices quickly & easily find, update, and share data on leads, listings, sales & the status of deals in the pipeline – and also provides that data in real-time to sales agents working in the field. On top of that, it opens the door to hiring a real estate virtual assistant who may be located overseas who can then access, update & share that information just as easily as staff in the USA can. Virtualization of business processes is a win-win for everyone!
Moving From Entrepreneur To Executive
One of the more challenging issues for many business owners & entrepreneurs isn’t virtualization itself but the psychological barrier to “letting things go” and delegating tasks to subordinates. Delegation isn’t easy to accept at first because it leads to anxiety about quality & timeliness – but try not to let your emotions interfere with delegation, and realize that it’s a necessary & important step in business growth.
Remember, delegation in itself is a job role – you’re moving from “solopreneur” to “manager,” and it’s a completely normal transition in the role as your business grows. The amount of work you need to delegate is in many ways a measure of your success – and also an indicator that you need to shift your focus from yourself to fostering people to help you build your business with you.
Measure your priorities – do you want to feel good about yourself, or do you want your business to grow? Next, figure out which tasks to delegate by pinpointing your biggest “time suckers” each day and identifying the dollar productive activities that you really need to focus your time on. Once you have a list, figure out which ones only you can do, which ones can be digitized or automated, and which ones you can delegate to a virtual assistant.
So – are we ready for a workforce that is 50% freelance? The answer to that is a resounding “Yes.” However, to remain competitive, it’s worth taking steps now to virtualize processes & delegate tasks to be ready for a transition to a world in which location is not directly tied to a job role.
00:00:00:16 – 00:00:26:15
Danny Ramsey here with MyOutDesk. I’m excited because we’re doing a series where we interview CEOs of other virtual companies and talking to them about best practices. As you know, we’ve been in the business for 12 years helping people scale and grow their business. Now, today, we’ve got Liam Martin, the CEO of Time Doctor Now. What’s interesting about him is that he serves all of the virtual assistant companies out there in the entire marketplace.
00:00:26:19 – 00:00:31:00
And we’re so blessed and thankful that you can join us today. Liam, thanks for being here, man.
00:00:31:04 – 00:00:32:05
Thanks for having me, Daniel.
00:00:32:10 – 00:00:35:07
I do. We’re going to talk about scaling virtual teams today.
00:00:35:19 – 00:00:56:17
Well, you know what I mean. It’s it’s not to the degree that companies like you guys have and our other clients. So we only have about 100 remote employees right now. They are fully distributed. However, they’re in 32 different countries all over the world. And we are really passionate about that. We believe that it is truly the best way to be able to work.
00:00:57:01 – 00:01:02:23
And then, by extension, we want to be able to share that with is with as many people as possible.
00:01:02:23 – 00:01:20:24
You said something that’s crazy like and I want to because most of our clients come in and we’ve got to talk to them about, well, how do you do a virtual and you say it’s the best in the world. Like you think a distributed team is the right way to build a business. Now, that’s completely a different mindset or what I just heard.
00:01:21:03 – 00:01:22:13
Like, tell me more about that.
00:01:22:17 – 00:01:48:15
That’s factual. There’s no kind of debate at this point. Pretty much. So by 2027, 50% of all work in the United States will be remote. So if you look at 50% of the U.S. workforce being remote, then we are talking about a shift in labor not seen since the Industrial Revolution. It is a complete reimagining of the way that we run labor.
00:01:48:17 – 00:01:53:05
How am I going to build culture if a person is working place?
00:01:53:06 – 00:02:13:08
I get two questions whenever we discuss going remote. Number one, I can’t see what they’re doing. How do I know what they’re doing? Time doctor solves that. And then the second one is I really they basically are saying I emotionally really like a big office. I like to sit behind a big desk and I like to be the boss.
00:02:13:21 – 00:02:38:22
If you hold on to that, it will actually be one of the most biggest faults inside of your pal. Month over month, you are going to be bleeding cash. If you don’t go the remote model because it is on average. And don’t take my word for it. Most of the large scale studies will prove this. The average is working out about 20% more efficient regardless of the wages.
00:02:38:22 – 00:03:02:09
So you pay exactly the same wages. You save 20% with the remote work agreement. And more importantly, retention is 30% higher, which actually is the bigger part of this pie. So every time that we replace someone inside of the company, it costs us $46,000. Recruitment. H.R., building that entire process, being able to hire, you know, do a shortlist of 200 candidates boiled down to one single candidate.
00:03:03:00 – 00:03:12:15
Need to train that person. We need to make sure that the right decision costs a lot of money. So every time that we save someone from quitting, that’s more dollars in our pocket.
00:03:13:09 – 00:03:33:12
What’s interesting is, as I’m listening to you, I wonder what’s going to make the shift. Like what? When you think about like remote work, you know, catching fire, going from 1 to 2 and then up to that 50%. Like, what’s that shift that has to happen? Is it the Internet? Is it the carbon? I mean, what what has happened?
00:03:34:02 – 00:04:01:15
To hell with carbon footprint. Like you, I run a company. You run a company? Can I save 25% per hour on labor? Right. Can I reduce my costs by 25%? Yes. I can do this remote thing and the employees are happier and more productive. Then I’m going to do it. And it’s just unit economics. Every single company is recognizing that this is the way to do things.
00:04:02:13 – 00:04:30:18
What’s interesting is, as you make the point, what let’s say somebody decides that you’re right and they’re going to change their entire model, they’re going to jump into the remote or what we believe we call it a blended model where some of your folks are in-house and some of your folks are virtual. Right. That’s kind of our push because we deal with a lot of companies that are licensed and insured and like where the salesperson has to have a license and there’s some kind of service based happening.
00:04:30:18 – 00:04:36:14
Right. And so we believe the salespeople are physically in the office or physically with with the clients.
00:04:36:22 – 00:04:43:11
You’re never going to beat out a hippo compliance. You’re never going to beat out any of those types of like, strict requirements, right? Yeah, right.
00:04:43:11 – 00:05:13:11
And you just have and that’s just how it is. But everything else can be outsourced, basically, or virtual. In your world, if I believe that, what are the tools that really, really kind of matter to make somebody successful as an organization as I’m making that transition because it’s a big transition and it can’t happen overnight. It’s got to you know, you’ve got to phase it in over a couple of years and then, you know, understand that, you know, not everybody’s going to jump in all at once and all that kind of stuff.
00:05:13:11 – 00:05:14:22
So how would you make that transition?
00:05:15:04 – 00:05:40:00
The biggest thing that they need to be able to overcome is communication. So communication connects to culture, connects to the ability to understand your KPIs, all of those different variables. It just all kind of ties back to communication outside of that. I mean, there’s payroll issues that you’ve got to be able to solve. I think TransferWise and Paneer are two fantastic options if you want to do it, if you want to be able to do large scale payments.
00:05:40:02 – 00:06:00:06
So there’s payments, there’s communication and there’s h.r. To a degree, no one has really built a fantastic h.r. Tool for remote teams. I’m waiting for it. If anyone is listening right now that wants to build something like that, it will be a multibillion dollar product. Absolutely. You just need to build it. And then outside of that, just generalized communication.
00:06:00:12 – 00:06:30:17
So you just kind of need to get into the concept of everyone doesn’t live in your space. They always presume that Suzanne is right next to them and that you can teach Suzanne something instantaneously and Suzanne does something wrong. But Suzanne is 10,000 miles away. Always presume that everyone is 10,000 miles away. So you need to take everything that you’ve got documented, process it, systematize it, digitize it, and then be able to communicate that to other team members inside of your organization.
00:06:30:21 – 00:06:32:18
And all those tools help to be able to do that.
00:06:32:24 – 00:06:56:15
I think another concern that our clients have a lot is, well, how will I know if they’re hitting the goals that I set? And I think that raises a challenge, right? So when you’re a small to medium sized business, you know, you’ve got to move quickly. And, you know, KPIs change deliverables, change outcomes change. And so there’s some comfort in having somebody right there in your office.
00:06:57:05 – 00:07:16:24
However, like, how do you overcome like the speed at which, you know, an entrepreneurial environment needs to move and then those people would be out of their sphere of influence or it’s harder to get them to be influenced because they rely so much on that face to face versus process and system.
00:07:17:07 – 00:07:38:10
It was a I wanted to do the small jobs. I wanted to be on the front line because I felt guilty about being the person that comes into the room and says, Daniel, you do this, Suzanne, you do this, John, you do this. I’m going to sit in this chair and not do anything. But that is a job and that’s a really important job.
00:07:38:10 – 00:08:01:23
And you need to be able to. I needed to be able to accept that which was moving from an entrepreneur to an executive. And there are two different things. Doing those types of things is probably detrimental to your business, but emotionally it makes you feel good. So you need to kind of measure those to do you want to have a successful business or do you want to feel emotionally good in the moment?
00:08:02:11 – 00:08:15:03
I want it to feel emotionally good in the moment for years. And then I realized, no, I need to overcome that and be more focused on building out everyone else as opposed to building up my own ego.
00:08:15:03 – 00:08:31:16
I suppose we have a lot of entrepreneurs that come in and they don’t know what they should outsource and they don’t know what they should leverage away. If you know somebody in the audience is in that stage, what do they do? Like what’s next? How do you figure out what to give away?
00:08:32:07 – 00:08:55:01
So I’ll actually use the virtual assistant component. So look for your biggest time. Suck throughout the day. So one of the biggest times for me was email setting up meetings, all the stuff that that you guys do, basic calendar count calendar calendar. Yeah. And I mean, like you can try one of these apps. They don’t work like no one.
00:08:55:05 – 00:09:17:20
No one replaces eight at least up until now. A human being that can come out and say, yeah, you know what, Daniel is available at this time, but let me double check with him just to make sure, because I know that his wife is possibly setting up a surprise birthday party for him. And I need to maybe not even talk to Daniel.
00:09:17:20 – 00:09:42:02
Need to talk to Daniel’s wife or something like that, to know what the timing would be like. Right? Just apps like that don’t do that process. And for business, it’s absolutely crucial to be able to have those different that person in place. So for me, I was replacing a lot of my email. So I have like tier one and Tier two email that they have different signatures.
00:09:42:03 – 00:09:51:16
So in Google Apps for business, you actually can have someone else come in and look at your inbox, respond to messages, and then it’s a different signature automatically applied.