Nadine: Hi, I’m Nadine from Affordable Staff here talking with Laura from Pod Financial. Hi Laura!

Laura: Hello!

Nadine: Before we get started, let me just ask you a question: is this advised?

Laura: No. It’s not advised. I don’t even know. Are we talking about mortgage today?

Nadine: We are.

Laura: Are we? Okay, well then it’s definitely not advised. And anything else that I’m talking about is not advised at all.

Nadine: Okay, good. Why don’t I go to my notes, and get started?

How Did You Get Into Mortgage Broking?

Laura: I’ve been mortgage broking for 11 years now. Over 11 years, actually. And I’ve gotten into it because I feel like money is at the heart of people’s lives, and at the heart of the home. And I wanted to have a level of impact in my community. And I have a skillset with numbers. I’m pretty… like I know how to problem solve and work with numbers.

Nadine: Okay, also, how long have you been in the industry?

Laura: For over 11 years. So nearly 11 and a half years.

Nadine: Okay, awesome. And how long have you been outsourcing within that?

Laura: So for the last 2 and a half years, I’ve been outsourcing. I think it’s… yeah. I’d say it’d be about… It’s between 2 and 2 and a half years now.

Outsourcing With Us At Affordable Staff

Nadine: So you’ve got two virtual assistants with you?

Laura: Yeah.

Nadine: What are their names? Tell me a little bit about your journey with us at Affordable Staff.

Laura: So I have two virtual assistants or VA’s. They are called Angela and Joline. Angela is my lead admin. And then Joline is being in the very confident hands of Angela in her journey in learning. What was the second question? Sorry.

Nadine: The second question is just tell me a little bit about your journey with Affordable Staff, and how that’s gone for you.

Laura: Yeah, it’s been really good. They are an integral part of my business. I have a very clear plan of where I want to take my business and the Affordable Staff team are an integral part of that.

Nadine: Fantastic. I feel like we’re a good part of that, too.

Laura: Good!

Nadine: I love actually, you know helping small businesses to be able to scale and grow from, you know, the proper placement of virtual assistants.

What Changes Has Outsourcing Brought To Your Business?

Laura: Okay. So the reason that I wanted to put on virtual assistants in my team is because I wanted to leverage my business and I wanted to scale it so that it would become, so that I would be able to do different things in the business and grow it in a different direction. I’ve written a lot of loans and I have lot of credit skill and knowledge. And what I wanted to do was leverage that a little bit better, and grow the business through having greater access to resources that I could actually – were sustainable for me at the time.

So in terms of the tasks that I do now, that are different from the tasks that I did prior to having the VA team: I spend more of my time now on relationships, on working with people, on discovering new ways to grow the business. And I spend less of my time on things like filing, organizing documentation, data entry, ordering things like valuations and stuff like that. I spend less of my time doing that. So I’m still working full time, I’m just working on different things in the business.

Nadine: So would you say that having your virtual assistants actually helped you be able to work more on your business rather than in it?

Laura: Definitely.

Nadine: Okay. Awesome.

Laura: 100%.

Nadine: That’s good to hear.

The Finance Industry’s View On Outsourcing

Laura: My industry, the finance industry, is under a lot of scrutiny at the moment. And it’s also under a lot of, I would say, pressure, in terms of the level of compliance that is now being called upon on… yeah. Just on the things that are happening in the industry in general.

We are seeing a heavy workload on the brokers, and therefore I think that we’ll start to see and embrace probably a little more by the broker market themselves. It’s already embraced by lenders. They already do it. They’ve been doing it for quite some time now. So I think that as brokers it’s a really good idea for us to collaborate a bit better and to work together better so that we can, so that we can compete with what the lenders are already doing.

Nadine: So you already know how to scale their business and save money while doing it.

Challenges And Overcoming Them

Laura: There are always challenges in business. All of the time. So have we faced challenges over time? Yes. Of course we have. Because that’s what business is. We problem-solve. And I think that what we need to do when we’re problem-solving is work together and communicate so that we navigate our way through the problem.

Nadine: Yeah. I feel like we’ve actually done that. Work together, rather than being one and the other.

Laura: Yeah.

Nadine: In solving these problems, especially around trying to make the work and the process with the virtual assistants in mortgage broking a bit more compliant.

Laura: Yeah, we’ve definitely worked together in doing that. We’re a team. We’re a team!

Nadine: Yes, we are.

Laura: We are, we’re a team. To work with not just my VAs, but also to have the support of Affordable Staff here is just as important because I get to vent and share my frustrations, and you get to help me through them.

Nadine: Always a pleasure.

Getting A VA To Assist With Compliance

Laura: I think it’s an absolute no-brainer. I think that that’s just probably one of the key things that has helped me grow my business. The VA support in the compliance area, in the filing, in making sure that the files are complete, that they’re ready for audit, that they meet the regulatory requirements that we have. My team check what I’ve done. And then check checklists, to go “yes, we’ve done this.”

And what that then means is that I have a greater level of peace of mind. Because it’s not just me that’s checking, it’s actually multiple pairs of eyes on it to make sure that the work is done correctly. And because my day is filled with phone calls and all sorts of different tasks that happen, and the compliance process is one that’s very very task, checklist-driven. I don’t always have time to do it in that sequence. I might come back to it, (inaudible). So having that consistent support is gold.

Nadine: So would you say that having someone actually helping you with this on a daily basis, helps you to actually be more compliant with files all the way along the process, rather than making sure you’re compliant at the end?

Laura: Yes.

Nadine: Yeah. Okay. Which is actually important within today’s scenario of compliance.

Laura: Really important.

What Does The Industry Need From An Outsourcing Perspective?

Laura: I think one of the key things the industry needs is security. Security over the documentation, security in the information, making sure that… yeah, making sure the data is always secure. That’s one of the key things that we need. And I think that the other thing that we need is continuity.

Nadine: Yeah, we actually agree with you on that, that’s why we have all of the security and privacy measures in place within our office, and within the way we’ve structured everything. So I absolutely agree on that. Not just for the mortgage broking industry but with any industry, you have to be secure.

Final Thoughts

Nadine: Is there anything that you wanted to kind of ask me, or put on this video as a testament to what your experience has been like with us?

Laura: Yeah, I’ve loved it. I want to keep doing it.

Nadine: Okay.

Laura: I wanna keep growing.

Nadine: Let’s do it.

Laura: Yeah, and I’d love to say the businesses in Australia really benefit from this. I think it’s a terrific way forward, and also, for the people who are in the Philippines who are working so diligently for us, to help us grow our businesses as well, I think it’s wonderful to be able to give them that experience and to help them grow their skills.

Nadine: Yeah, individual knowledge and growth within your company as well as with ours.

Laura: Yeah.

Nadine: Awesome.