Oliver is a master at creating systems for business owners. In this interview, you’ll hear how he uses “blank slates” to help businesses automate and systemize just about everything under the sun. His strategies have been proven to massively grow small and medium-sized businesses.
Automated Transcript Below:
Unknown Speaker 0:01
It’s time for the freedom in five minutes podcast. Powerful and liberating business strategies, you can start in five minutes or less. Now, here’s your host, Dean Soto.
Dean Soto 0:18
Hey, what is up? It is Dean Soto with freedom in five minutes.com. And we’re here again with another freedom in five minutes episode. Today’s topic is this you can systemized virtually anything. If you have the right person doing it, that and more coming up. Okay, so I am a here yet again. And I get to have the distinct pleasure, the honor, the privilege of talking with one of my close friends, Mr. Oliver Kelso who has been on this podcast once before he was actually here. But I want this podcast to be specifically about some of the cool stuff that he’s been doing. Because last time we were talking about my beautiful nature at my house. So all of our Kelso with grow smart. And I’d love to have you introduce yourself my friend.
Oliver Kelso 1:27
Hey, everybody. Hey, man, nice to Nice to be here again.
Dean Soto 1:32
Oh, man, that was that it is
nice to have you yet again. Over here, you’re going to hear some of my kids screaming in the background, you know, every single one of them. Since you were there, you’re used to it. But But yeah, so. So last time we were here we were talking about you know, we were we were just chatting about the nature and chart and talking about a couple other things while you were here. But I really wanted to get you on this podcast again, predominantly, because you have a really, really cool business. And one where we’ve worked together quite a bit. We still do in some ways we have connections and so on. But you’ve been doing some really cool stuff in the financial services industry and other industries, like real estate and so on. So I wanted people just get to know what is grow smart, grow smart? And what are the results that you get for the people that you work with?
Oliver Kelso 2:30
Absolutely. So growth spark is a
it’s designed to be a outsourced operations company, really, operations consulting company. So we we come in, and we help people solve operational problems. And the cornerstone of that, of course, is the the the driving force behind freedom in five minutes. It’s the you know, the VA service that you built from the ground up, that really is the cornerstone of the whole idea. And the reason that’s the cornerstone is because that is the probably the single most effective scaling tool I’ve ever seen at a company. Like hands down, you can have solid software is great. There’s a lot you can do with software. That’s true, that’s fine. But integrating, like a thinking human, that’s affordable. That’s often better and more detail oriented than the actual employees of the company is unbelievable. So that’s, that’s why I do what I do, because I love helping companies build and grow. And the only way I know how to do that now really effectively, is with a combination of good software integration, or good software combined and integrated with virtual assistants. Love it.
Dean Soto 3:51
Love it. Yeah. Yeah, you’re though you’re one of the the first people who really adopted the whole virtual systems aren’t tact type people, these these special VA is that that will help you to create the systems. And I still remember being in your house while you were creating those videos, and just seeing massive result right away. You’re like, Okay, I got this. I’m doing this. And then just seeing all the systems documentation and stuff being made. It was awesome. So like, how did so how did you? Because even when we met you had a varied systems, and technology driven, and systems in the sense of business systems like processes and so on driven mindset. How did you even how did you connect what you were doing at the time to what you’re doing now with grow smart? Like, how did you even
Oliver Kelso 4:43
grow at the time? Actually, world systems weren’t new. I like you said, I love systems. I like efficiency. I like things to work, right? You can ask my wife.
I didn’t even know about bird I know about virtual assistants, I tried to actually hire one. And it was a disaster. It’s actually exactly what you told me I could expect when I tried to do it on my own. And so I the shift in mindset really was the idea that I don’t have to be the sole firefighter, the sole, you know, producer, the one that holds it all together, right? Because anybody that’s done operations knows that you integrate the software, you build these things, you have ADD, you’re the administrator and everything. And then anything goes wrong, it’s up to you to fix it. Yeah, anything needs to be developed, it’s up to you to build it. And everything in the process is up to you. Yep. And then what ends up happening for one of that happening for me is I was wanting to run the process the whole time. And that’s where it failed. And so the shift for me was integrating that very first VA, when we sat in my living room, which you mentioned, opened my eyes to the freedom, literally freedom, and it actually felt like freedom. So that’s why your name is great. me freedom, I felt one of the first time I told my VA like, hey, go, here’s a list of tasks you’re going to do every day prior to, you know, client meetings, you’re going to do these 15 things, you’re going to set this up that up, you’re handling appointment bookings, all this other stuff, the free of myself, the moment that was implemented was unbelievable. So in the grow smart model, what we’re what I’m doing is, for example, the financial services company, right now we’re we’re actually scaling up a new financial services company, it’s a disruptor in the marketplace, super cool what they’re doing, I won’t get into it in detail now. But the foundation of how the company operates is the virtual assistant architect, virtual assistant model, I love your term virtual assistant architect, because that’s really what you become, as the, you know, operations manager, or CEO, or whatever you want to call it. And, you know, in that model, the VCs are now running increasingly complex tasks. So it started with simple things in take forums come in, they can process them, they can move people to the right place, setting up server folders, you know, adding them to software, etc. I mean, to the point that now they’re actually reading through client statements, figuring out where where money should be allocated, and why based off of, you know, rule sets that we’ve developed. So they live, it is like hiring a blank slate, you can teach them to do literally anything, because they are all super smart. They have their own strengths. Like you know, some are really good at data processing, some are really good at talking to people just like any other person, but they are way more of a blank slate than any current employee that I work with at any company. That’s cool.
Dean Soto 7:42
That’s see and that’s one thing. That’s one thing about you, is that you got that right away with with, with systems in general, is you having that blank slate, which is a lot of people want, well, I need someone with this skill set, I need someone with that skill set, I need that, you know, and you just right away to jumped into, I’m just good at show them how to do something, get it documented and go? And do you still have that kind of mentality? You just you figure out the system? Because you have to actually architect the system? Do you? Do you do you right now just think of the thing of architect in the system? Show them how it’s done. They documented and then you go in don’t even care about Yeah, capabilities? Like as far as
Oliver Kelso 8:26
Oh, yeah, absolutely. And actually, the the overriding decision in the process, when when building out a system now is okay. How do you have someone else do this whole thing. I mean, literally, because when I look at the employees and what they’re doing in the office, the most important thing for them to actually do is the hands on stuff, it’s the run down the hall and deal with a, you know, an issue or it’s the oversee things from a very, very high level perspective, because they can sit in the office with, you know, a strategist who’s who’s very, very experienced, right in the financial industry, and ask them questions in a way that, you know, somebody sitting thousands of miles away, can’t do. Yeah. And so that’s why that’s the role shift actually, is something that happens a lot in the businesses is they, the employees all have to shift their roles, they stopped being the processors, they stopped being the firefighter, they stopped being the one that that runs, you know, runs everything on a granular level, and they actually have to move into a managerial position, in a sense, because they have to, they have to work with other people. Now, they have to tell people like you go do this. Right, that’s, that’s not your job.
Dean Soto 9:44
Very interesting. I love that. That’s, that’s great. So you essentially, your your, what you do, is you go in, you make it to where these people who, who are, who are doing just kind of the day to day stuff, you’re actually making it to where they can actually be become higher value. employees or have a higher event value, an actual higher value person in the company, kind of making them into a an executive or managerial position. Because right, no longer having to do that day to day type stuff. Like you figure that out.
Oliver Kelso 10:19
Yeah. Perfectly stated, people start doing the job role that fits their salary, which is what you always want, you know, you want them you want the employees that are paid the most producing the most. And if they can’t produce, because they’re filling out paperwork, and all these other roadblocks that are important in a company, but, you know, until now, there was no real way to get them done efficiently. So you know, you hire kids, interns out of college, right? That was the that was the previous model. So I’m going to go back to an earlier point and say, this is a good one, we probably the one of the largest mindset shifts, or mindset, issues I run into, when even talking about this subject with people is like you identified, it’s the idea that, number one, no one else can do what I’m doing. And the lack of blank, blank slate thinking. Nobody is trained on like, what do you do when employee comes in that is just pretty good at everything, and you don’t, but they don’t know anything. Right? They can do anything, but they don’t know anything. And I’m an example, as I was working with a with a mortgage broker, and this guy, I’m an associate, yeah, mortgage broker, but he really runs a mortgage processing company. He said, his number one hand hold up, was processing the loan, you know, mortgage process, and right hiring a good processor. And the problem he was running into is he had a couple, he wants to scale up. But in scaling up mortgage processes are very expensive. Yeah, put on payroll, especially out here in Hawaii. Right? We’re very, you know, it’s very a pro, whatever we call crew, employee friendly. employee. Yeah. So his problem is he didn’t have enough business to hire another full time person, you can’t hire a part time person because there aren’t any. So as I’m talking with him, I mentioned what the VA is can do. And he goes, Well, I’m not I don’t want to have to train a VA to do mortgage crossing it’s way to details. And I thought, okay, so after I asked him a few more questions, I said, Well, why can’t your mortgage processors have the VA and teach them to do whatever they needed to do? So that frees up your time? And he went? Oh, that’s a great idea. And it would show in that moment, I realized, Wow, it is a shift in thinking that that not everybody has or we don’t want to talk that right? Correct? Correct. It’s, it’s, that’s my other example.
Dean Soto 12:47
Like in school, you’re taught, you do your homework, you do everything you’re you, it’s always you, like, I whereas, whereas as an entrepreneur, it’s if if, if you you in the business world, you want other people to do your work. So imagine, imagine paying people to write your essays. That’s a big No, no. And in in college, I’m not saying that. I’ve never done that. But but in the business world, that’s exactly what you do. Right? And so it definitely is a change, like a big change in thinking, and it’s cool how you’re like, well, if you don’t want to do it, have your mortgage processors just show how to do it, and then they can they can actually create the system for it. You know, like, that’s, that’s great. Exactly. So So one thing I want to so I want to, I want to ask you this is that give me an example of something that you’re super proud of that you that you went into a company, you saw what they were doing, you architected a system, and you saw some pretty amazing results. What what were the results with what you actually brought to the company?
Oliver Kelso 14:06
Oh, I’m sorry. Give me one second.
Dean Soto 14:19
No worries. No worries. This is
Denise, you gotta tell him or was that a door to door salesman?
Oliver Kelso 14:31
No, that was actually my mom. She needed something. Awesome.
Yeah, Mama comes first. That’s right. Um,
Dean Soto 14:40
alright. So the questions just just in case. So basically, you were you went into a company, and you saw what they were doing? And you’re like, dude, there’s a way better way of doing this. And you even if it was just one, one thing that that you did for them that completely changed the game for them? What were the results?
Oliver Kelso 15:05
Boy, I mean,
there’s a couple that’s why I’m pausing here.
Dean Soto 15:13
Whatever is coming to mind, we have more than enough time.
Oliver Kelso 15:23
Sorry about that. My phone out. I think. Do you hear me? Yep. No, I apologize. So I would say the the number one that I’m extremely proud of, is probably the current company I’m working with. And the reason is, this is a company that previously I said it was a new financial industries company. It’s not actually they’ve been around for 20 years. Yeah. This is the first time they’re actually learning how to scale. Oh, yeah. So last year, they saw a total I believe, was 62 customers, new customers, that boutique firm, right? Every client talk to a person for many hours, you what they need very small business model. Yeah. They wanted to scale up. We actually, like I said before, but we actually take someone through 75% of the intake process. This is complicated. This is like collecting account statements verifying, you know, verifying self reported data against actual statement data, and then figuring out based on tax law and all these other things, tax rules, how to manipulate their situation to give them you know, immediate success. Yeah, right now. We actually have a system where a virtual assistant can literally take them through 75% of that process. I love that. So year to date, we’re, we’re we’re six months in, call it right June. And we now have taken in 200. And I believe it’s 215 clients this year, but you can’t
Dean Soto 16:54
do that. Oliver, how how do they you know, you can’t have someone who is you know, overseas. Think of all those complexities, right? They’re not going to be able to do what you do or do what the financial strategist do. How are they doing? 75% I always get this man with financial services companies.
Oliver Kelso 17:15
Exactly how and it’s a great question, because it seems too complex on the surface. But if you I approached it this way, when I was working with the strategist on this exact problem is look, you learn how to do it. You can theoretically teach someone else how to do it. So there’s some thinking process that happens when you evaluate a situation. What is that? So we started my only announcement aboard like, what’s the first thing you look at? Oh, I look at the tax return. Okay, great. What do you look at? Why look at line 13? Okay, rule number one, look at the pattern, look at line 13. And what’s cool is you start small, that was the other thing that you start small. So don’t start thinking I’m going to turn the VA to do 100% of my friends process overnight. Yeah, yeah, depending on the complexity of the process. In this case, it’s very complex. Instead, it was have the assistant pull out all the important information from the statements, verify it against the statement, and then give it to the strategist so that they don’t have to go looking for information. Yeah, that immediately frees up half an hour an hour of their time per client. Yep, yep. Right. You can build on that, right? That though that was your favorite thing done is better than perfect. Yeah, you can build on if you do something you can build on it. So just having a VA that does, you know, step one, step two have a process. Well, then as things smooth out and start running smoothly, then you can have a two step three, then you add step four.
Dean Soto 18:41
See, this is that is friggin amazing, you know, in in less than six months, you’ve pushed 200 clients through this. And, and this is, this is something that you have the the low cost option VC of the virtual assistant architect, there, you have you had you had the change in mindset of the organization there. It was, um, did once once you started doing this, did they kind of did the organization there start to see Oh, holy crap, this is actually like, we trust all of her to just like, what was kind of the deciding factor for them? To see that, like, Oliver knows how to make these systems. We’re just gonna, we’re just going to let them go wild with with that, because that’s a pretty pretty dang amazing in the financial services industry to set something like
Oliver Kelso 19:36
oh, yeah, it’s huge. I mean, number one, it took someone was some vision at the top right, you have to have someone up there going, look, I understand we can’t scale the way we are. Right? If you don’t have that, if there’s not a commitment, then this is important. That’s why I say there’s not a commitment at the top to say, look, we know what we’re doing doesn’t work right now. We need change. Yeah. Right. It’s always an update, you’re gonna have an uphill battle the whole time. There’s no yeah. However, if, when there is that commitment, the next thing is achievable, measurable results. Yeah. Right. So to be able to turn around and say, Hey, we just the aha moment for them was when we on boarded six clients that never had to talk to a strategist, meaning the company actually collected fees on six people, which previously, they would have had to spend one to two hours on the phone with each one. Wow, wow. So we actually turned around and closed feet, the clients still get the same level of service, because they’re still going to talk to the strategist. However, they the fees were closed, right, which means the strategies now is actually being paid for their time, they’re no longer having to do sales and strategy. At the same time. See?
Dean Soto 20:45
That’s cool. Because now they can just focus strictly on strategy when it’s necessary. And, and these are four to four to five figure fees, right? Generally.
Oliver Kelso 20:59
Oh, yeah, exactly. Yeah, we’re talking thousands up to upwards of, you know, 30 k, see. And then, depending on, you know, anywhere from one to $30,000, depending on the situation, so it’s
Dean Soto 21:11
so Gosh, is I sorry, I, I talked to financial services, guys all the time. And, and one on one, like, Dad, I need to get you in contact with some folks that I that I have, because you’re so good at the numbers side of things to that’s where we’re, you’re just so good at at not just the systems, but having everything makes sense for them, especially in the financial services realm. And I know you I know, you touch outside of financial services, but it just, it’s just such an older, traditional, or whatever it is, if that’s a word, model. And so, right mindset shifts is so different. So all that’s been said, like, what, like, kind of walk me through? Can you just walk me through that process? Like, no, normally, I’d be like, starting to kind of walk in the podcast down. But this is super, super interesting. And I think it’s gonna be super valuable for a lot of people. What is can you walk me through that process of what you do? It doesn’t have to be super detailed, but but where a strategist went from one to two hours of having to sell and I’m I know for sure that it probably is even more than that having to go back and forth on the phone and stuff to zero and just being able to do strategy after they’ve been paid. What is the process? What was the process? And was the process now?
Oliver Kelso 22:32
It’s a great question. So the original process was, you know, you give it let’s say, it’s a speaking engagement, you go to a speaking engagement, you talk. People are interested, right, you haven’t fill out a form while they’re sitting there, you get back to the office, and then you got to call them all are you scheduled meetings, while you’re there, even better, that’s great. Problem is, you have no information on the client. At that point, there’s no intake process, there’s no nothing to sell it unless you’re just selling a flat fee. Right, like $500, to get started $2,000 To get started, whatever. And then you have to go collect your documents, right, which is means someone has to send out a document collection link, or they got to fax them in if this is you know, before 1990 or whatever.
Nowadays, away the financial services industry.
So you bring them in. And that’s how the process goes right? Until then you have to talk to them a couple of times to express you can disperse, you got to collect the documents, then you have to understand them, then you have to explain to them what you’re considering doing. And then you have to sometimes in a fourth or fifth meeting finally close the feet. Yeah, did actually implement it. The shift, the shift wasn’t complicated. This shift was was conceptually simple. It was automate every and by automate. I don’t mean literally, I mean, automate with virtual assistants. Yeah. Okay. Um, I don’t mean, build some, you know, complex automated pipeline, but automate the entire process up to the point that the strategist talks to a client and figures out what the real strategy is, which is the whole job, their whole job roles. So you want to eliminate everything up until that point? Yep. So that was question number one, how do we eliminate all that stuff? And the process is simple. They’ve got an intake form. So they self report their data? Yep. Right. Then from that point, the virtual assistant, and the automated system processes the information and determines what the client needs to upload to confirm their data. Yeah. Sometimes there’s we you know, they may be a welcome call, and they’re from like, an actual sales person, but still not a strategist. Yep. You’re not taking your highest paid person and putting them on the phone yet, before the company is collected any money? Yeah. I’m from that, then you move to the document verification center, they verify the documents, and they create what’s called an allocation. So they actually detail out where all the money is for the strategists. Again, it’s all the stuff that would have had to happen in house or the strategies would have to do themselves. Once everything’s documented, once the client files ready, everything set up, then we use a self booking link. That was another big addition. Yeah, so you don’t have 6 million back and forth emails, the client books, their own appointment based on the strategist calendar. And then the strategy has their first meeting. So on any given client, it shouldn’t, it shouldn’t be more than two meetings, well give your first meeting to go over the strategy or your second meeting to confirm it with the client, make adjustments and close the fee. Love it. And then from that point on, there’s more involvement, because you know, then you move to implementation. That’s a whole nother ball game, which is also would only work in any scale will be a Yeah. Yo, man. And just as a note here, this is all this isn’t, you know, revolutionary in the sense that this is always how the process works, right? Do you have an in house employees, they do certain tasks so that your high level person doesn’t have to do them? That’s not new. What’s new, is having someone you’re paying, whatever? 950 1050 an hour? Yep. Who’s way more capable than a minimum wage, you know, high school employees that you get here? That’s the difference. So I can hunger for vas for the same price as one decent employee.
Yeah. Decent. And that’s, that’s the that’s the key. That’s why,
you know, that’s the I have to train them not to take a two hour lunch.
Break, right. Let’s need to like,
Dean Soto 26:40
like, because you also you also
automate the actual strategist as well, because they have to follow the process. True, right. Like they, they they have to know when it’s their job, what they what what parts to work, kind of what their lane is to so you mapped out architect that as well. Right.
Oliver Kelso 27:03
Right, exactly. So a lot of role readjustment. You have to be very cognizant that it’s a shift, people are going to be switching roles. And like we already talked about, there’s training required, even for your employees to say, look, stop being the Savior. Yeah, you’re not the firefighter anymore. You don’t have to do all of these little things, you get the same freedom that, you know, I’m getting at the top of the company, you’re going to get to Yeah, cuz you’re at what has ends up happening. Is the employees actually on the front line? Yeah, it’s not you. Unless Unless we’re talking about like a one or two man shop, which is then everything’s you anyway. But if you already have employees, integrating VA is actually it’s the employees integrating the VA is unless you’re talking about like an admin assistant. Yeah. Yeah. So a lot of it’s actually working with your staff to improve them. They said, you know, it’s like, corporate, it’s a continuing education for your staff.
Dean Soto 27:55
So cool. I love that.
Oliver Kelso 27:57
It’s very cool. It’s really me, I can’t, I could go on forever. I know, we have limited time here. But yeah, it is like literally life changing.
Dean Soto 28:05
Yeah, it’s cool. Because you you have a great mix, especially in that niche of the systems of the outsourcing as well as the numbers that you understand, you understand the financial services realm, especially from the customer side of side of things, but also from the the the the advisor or securities, security advisor, whatever it might be, you know, the the strategist and so on, you understand their pains, their, their, their desires, and then also you understand how they can best help their customers. And so you have a really good mix of all of that. And I’ve just seen, just seeing tremendous results from companies that you’ve worked with. So that being said, How do people find out more about you? And how do people actually start working with you?
Oliver Kelso 29:01
Yeah, so thank you for the plug. So what a convenient go to you can just go to grow smart. Got Co. Co, that’s my website, I will tell you, I exclusively work with freedom in five minutes, I will not use another VA. That is on purpose. That’s not some you know, it’s because they work. So I don’t care if you can hire a VA for $2 an hour from Croatia. And it doesn’t speak English, that that’s not going to get you where you want to go. So I’m very clear about that. I’m a boutique firm in the sense that I’m very careful about who I choose to work with. They have to be have to have the right mindset. Right? You know that I mean, you know that better than anybody, I’m not going to sit in and work with a company who doesn’t understand the intense need for systems and for and that and that. And I’ll just be direct, who doesn’t have their ego wrapped up in them doing everything. That’s, that’s a real a real business owner, a real person that wants their business to thrive and is preferably doing good in the world.
Unknown Speaker 30:14
I love it.
Dean Soto 30:17
I love it. I love it. It’s great. Because, like I said, I’ve seen I’ve just seen so much such tremendous results from what you bring to these companies, the ones that are that are hungry for scaling, the ones that actually aren’t fighting you, which, where it’s where they have that the ones that have the Superman mentality where they’re, like you said, they’re trying to say that for me, yeah, you, you go in the ones that really truly want to scale, they know that there’s going to be some shifting some pain, and so on and so forth. You make it so easy for them to do by by doing those small little things that provide that positive feedback loop that, that I just I just recommend anybody who, especially in the financial services business, but it doesn’t have to be in that edge. You work with real estate, for property management, real estate investments, property management, property management, and so on.
Oliver Kelso 31:12
Yeah, doctors, lawyers, it really doesn’t matter. The industry. That’s the best thing about this is the VA architect, the VA mentality and architect in your business, that’s not a word I know. To do to perform the way you want to and like you, you know, when when she once said to me getting back to why you started your business in the first place. Right?
Dean Soto 31:36
Yeah. I love it. And you you you are able to bring that back to them. And I’ve just seen it over and over and over and over again. It’s so cool. So well,
Oliver Kelso 31:44
thank you. I appreciate that.
Dean Soto 31:47
No problem. So yeah, if you want to go and check it out, work with Oliver. I’m sure do you would you give like like discovery calls like
Oliver Kelso 31:56
Oh, of course. Yeah. Yeah, well, we always talk first see what you’re interested in See? See where you’re you know where you’re struggling in your business etc. Do a free assessment wherever you want to call that love it and then go from there.
Dean Soto 32:11
Love it. So yeah, go check out grow smart.co grow smart co hit up all over us a genius and he will help you if your business if you’ve been dying to scale he’ll help you scale very quickly. Very, very quickly. He’s super super smart. And yeah, he’s one of the he really is the only other systems and operations guy that I ever recommend to people so so and that’s that’s so I’m very boutique when it comes to that as well. So
Oliver Kelso 32:46
I love it. Dean is amazing. If you’re already listening to this, you know, he’s amazing, but Dean is amazing. And it turned upon you right back because my life would be considerably less, less amazing. Without Dean, though. Kudos to you, man. Love freedom in five minutes works. It is one of the best shifts you’ll ever make. I love it.
Dean Soto 33:09
I love it. I love it. Alright, cool. So go check out all of our growth smarts.co go talk to him he will change your life. And if you are looking for a virtual systems architect, if you want to scale your business, the easy way you can go to freedom in five minutes calm if you need help go to grow smart co Oliver will help you and you’ll end up working with me anyway. Because he’s amazing. And he’s he knows where to get the goods. He knows where to get the good so but other than that, thank you so much for listening to the freedom in five minutes podcast. My name is Dean Soto and we will catch you on the next freedom in five minutes. episode.
Unknown Speaker 33:51
Thanks for listening to the freedom in five minutes podcast. Now head over to www dot freedom and finally minutes.com and register for our free masterclass and discover how to start systemized and automating your entire business five minutes at a time. We’ll see you next time on the freedom in five minutes podcast.