Podcast Episode

Why Talent-As-A-Service is the Best Way to Grow Your Team

with Azhar Siddiqui

Episode Notes

Azhar Siddiqui is a business strategist with a focus on the critical role of employees in service-oriented businesses. He recognizes that personnel costs are essential investments for providing quality services. Azhar advocates for hiring talent from around the world, which he believes levels the playing field for businesses everywhere. With this global perspective, Azhar leads with innovative approaches to talent management and operational efficiency.

Jeffro interviews Azhar Siddiqui, CEO and cofounder of RepStack, a company that offers talent as a service for marketing and sales roles. Azhar sheds light on the benefits of hiring a full-time team member through a vendor and discusses the importance of treating remote team members the same as local ones. He emphasizes the impact of hiring a sales development rep and shares insights on effectively managing virtual assistants. 



  1. Start with an executive assistant.
  2. Treat global team members as local.
  3. Specialized hires for amplified output.


Connect with Azhar Siddiqui

Website: https://repstack.co/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/azharsid-repstack/

Connect with Jeffro

Website: https://www.frobro.com

Social Links: https://www.tiktok.com/@frobroweb


00:00 Embracing remote work and global opportunities post-COVID.

05:38 Seeking mission-driven team members to grow business.

08:17 Addressing global hiring concerns with RepStack solutions.

12:34 Agree with Dan, hire an executive assistant first.

16:42 Marketing associate covers traditional and digital tasks.

18:59 Sales development rep books and prebooks appointments.

21:17 Treat remote teams like local teams for success.


Azhar Siddiqui [00:00:00]:
Marketing first, sales after that. At that point, you’re ready to hire a sales development rep who can support your sales closers and have their calendars, like, really looking booked up with meeting after meeting after meeting. 

Jeffro [00:00:20]:
Welcome back to Digital Dominance. You know, we cover a lot of marketing related topics on this show, Probably more than you can implement on your own in any reasonable amount of time, and that leaves you with 2 main options. You either hire a company like Fro Bro to help you out, Or you can hire an employee. But there’s actually a third option that combines some of the benefits of each choice, which can be a great fit for some companies, It’s called talent as a service. You can actually hire a full time team member through a vendor. This team member will already be trained in marketing or sales, And this way, you don’t have to deal with payroll. It’s just another monthly expense. My favorite company for this option is called RepStack, and today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Azar Siddiqui, the CEO and cofounder of RepStack.

Jeffro [00:01:03]:
Azar knows a lot about hiring, and he even wrote a book about hiring for digital marketing agencies. He’s helping to level the playing field when it comes to bringing experienced virtual assistants into your business. And I can say from experience that he and his company go the extra mile To make sure their clients are successful. So welcome to the show, Azar.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:01:22]:
Thanks, Jeffro. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. For everyone who’s listen out there. It’s a changing world. You know, we don’t do everything for everyone, but we really plug in the gap when, you know, like, all of us, even in the services businesses, we’re seeing so many opportunities of saving some money. Times are tight, and we wanna do things better. We wanna do it in more control.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:01:44]:
And this number 1 solution is hire a person to do it. And a lot of us do see this, like, you know, in agencies I know, Jeffro, the biggest expense on the p and l is always going to be your employees. And for most businesses, even if you’re a service business, like, a service business. If if you’re a plumber, if you are a HVAC company, it’s always going to be the people that you, hire because you’re always your business is depending on the service that you’re providing, which is going to be through other people. So your employee cost is always going to be high. And, you know, some of some businesses that you have to be physically there, you you can’t let everything go. I’m just gonna keep it remote because, you know, remote could mean that you can hire somebody in Tampa, Austin, Texas, or Islamabad, Manila, you know, somewhere in Mumbai and India, you know. So so that makes, like, it kinda I feel that it levels the playing field for the entire world.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:02:40]:
Now, you know, you can hire somebody air. You can but everything’s are going remote, especially since COVID. And even service businesses that are reliant on local employees, they got to experiment with some of these things during COVID when everyone’s were was operating out of their homes that they were able to run these companies that rely on face to face through, you know, like, phone calls more, maybe Zoom, and, you know, a lot of technology started coming into play. So that’s kinda what where we bridge the gap, like, not only in terms of helping companies go remote with their workforces, but also global because that’s where the biggest bang for your buck is because, all of a sudden, if you’re open to not just people in your local market of Tampa, for example, now if you can hire from across like, for example, you wanna hire for a service based business, a common hire from us, Jeffro could be an executive assistant or, you know, front desk coordinator, for example. That job, like, that person does not need to sit in that office that nobody’s visiting anymore. A person can do that job from anywhere in the world now. So, you know, so, like, if if you can bring in those type of key resources and still have a great impact, then why not? Right? So going remote, first of all, and then also going global, I think that’s where the biggest opportunity is. And, you know, it’s a huge opportunity to cut cost on your p and l’s, make more profit, and do more of the stuff that you love.

Jeffro [00:04:06]:
Yeah. And and thanks for that background. That was, you know, a ton of stuff right up front, and that kind of sets the stage for our conversation, I think. If people go to your website, they’ll see that your target audience is really digital marketing agencies. But like you alluded to, any business owner can hire a team member through RepStack. And one of the things I love about RepStack that you guys do As you’re constantly training your talent pool on the latest marketing strategies and tools, you know, whether that talent’s already been placed or not, you’re providing resources to make sure they are constantly learning and growing. You still meet with them and give them trainings, and that’s great. So when we’re talking about outsourcing, we’re gonna focus right now on, you know, marketing and sales roles Because that’s the goal of this podcast is to really help people dial into that.

Jeffro [00:04:47]:
So can you tell us a little bit more about how that works as you’re training those assistants and associates?

Azhar Siddiqui [00:04:52]:
Yeah. So I think and, again, like, you know, when you’re ready to when you identify a few roles that can be, you know, outsourced either within the US or even especially if you’re thinking of outsourcing outside of the US, most people end up going for the options that are available out there. And those options are usually to hire freelancers, Jeffro, and through platforms like Upwork, Fiverr. If you wanna spend more on, then Toptal is also a freelancer platform. But that’s what it is, a freelancer. So you’re basically going and working with a person, and, you know, I have nothing against them. I’ve hired hired many talented people from these, platforms myself. So I understand these platforms, inside and out.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:05:38]:
But these people inherently are going to be people who are in a business for they’re basically a small business owner, and they’re they’re gonna be a contractor. So you know? And to me, like, I think the biggest difference when when we came to this field, what we wanted to fill out was we wanted to fill out team members. We wanted to, you know, not just place a VA, but we wanted to place a team member who’s just globally located, who can fully integrate, with your service based business or your marketing agency or or your coaching business or whatever you’re doing right now. You know? And that’s and those because I know that those are the people that can only help to grow a business to critical mass. Like, you need mission driven people on your team for you to grow. You know? You can’t you can do a lot of stuff, by taking stuff off your plate with contractors. But after a point, you know, you’re gonna have a core team of mission driven people around you who understand your vision, and you they make their your vision your mission. So that requires a type of person, which unfortunately is usually not available on this platform because their their mindset is obviously their small business owner.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:06:49]:
They’re gonna find as many contracts as they can. They’re gonna do the work. So that’s what differentiates us. You know? So in order to fulfill on our promise of placing a mission driven team member for our clients. We preemptively hire people every single month where we do a bunch of hiring activities. And then we take them through trainings, like, really cutting edge trainings. And we’re really not only obviously improving their skill set, but really we’re, looking for, first of all, 3 nonnegotiables, which are integrity, work ethic, and a coachable mindset. So, you know, after if if I get a no or even a maybe on any 3 of these things, it’s a no go for us.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:07:33]:
Because, you know, with integrity with no integrity or, you know, even if maybe they sometimes have good integrity, it doesn’t work. Right? You have to be integrity all the time. Same goes for work ethic, especially, you know, a lot of challenge, especially if people are gonna go outside and look, globally. Challenge is going to be that the American work ethic is very different than the rest of the world. You guys are some of the you’re actually the the top country who takes the least amount of personal time off. So compared to some other countries who may be taking you know, they’re used to, you know, taking 3 weeks off for just a regular wedding. Right? And that’s not even a big wedding. So now, you know, if you’re hiring in that culture, you’re expecting that person to come in and on your terms.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:08:17]:
So, you know, it’s a lot of stuff that you would have to address when you’re hiring globally and you’re not working with a company like RepStack. So, you know, so when we come in, we make sure that we address those concerns with our people. So that’s not a concern for our client, and our clients can continue to expect what they expect locally. And I think that’s the biggest thing, when you’re looking at, hiring people. You wanna look at building a team whether they’re in the same city all their global. And in order for you to do that, you’ll have to look at there are some great options on these freelancing platforms as well, either hiring yourself locally or using a service like RepStack where these things are already taken care of so you don’t have to worry about it. Because if you make a mistake on the hiring side, Jeffro Ro. You know, like, just think of hiring I don’t know what, you know, grade level HVAC technician would be.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:09:10]:
But just, you know, like, just say that entry level or a medium certified HVAC technician, you know, is that guy is probably costing you 70, 80, $90,000 a year. You know, if you hired the wrong person who’s, like, absolutely, you know, maybe batshit crazy. I don’t know. Like, you know, like, going to clients and doing something things off. And by the time you get that person off board and hired train, and you realize that these guys have got this problem and then off board it again, your in, like, you know, like, 100, $150,000 in lost opportunities, salaries, wages, taxes, all of that stuff. So the global side is gonna cut that down for you a little bit, but, it’s still going to be there.

Jeffro [00:09:51]:
Right. Well, I mean, basically sorry. Let me jump in real quick. What you’re doing is reducing the risk For a business owner hiring a freelancer or a contractor. Because, yes, there is, you know, there are good people on Upwork, But you don’t know which one is which. You know, all the profiles are gonna look pretty good. The problem is you don’t know until you hire them and find out that, oh, okay. They aren’t actually that good or they don’t respond quickly or whatever it is.

Jeffro [00:10:14]:
So you guys are going ahead hiring people, interviewing people, and, you know, getting them up to speed making sure they are going to be an a player before they get placed into someone’s business. And that’s a huge value add that, like you said, saves a ton of time and money and stress.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:10:29]:
And by the time some our clients come through our process, it becomes really easily. At that point, once we’ve gotten all the requirements, it becomes just a intro call. 90% of our clients hire the person we recommend them on that 1st call that we book with them. So, you know, it becomes really, really easy. You know, you’re your not worried. You got somebody like us to take care of that. But, but, yeah, if you were doing it yourself, I do have a course, Jeff, I’m gonna be sharing the link with you, and that can go out, in the post production as well where, you know, there’s just some prerequisites that I talk about that you should be doing. You know? Like, having, for example, your value based systems, your mission statement, things like that already predefined.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:11:11]:
You having some systems in place before you bring in new people. Just so that we can avoid making those mistakes, especially as you start hiring globally. And, even remotely, I feel that, you know, some of these processes are really, really important to have. It’s definitely there’s a lot of opportunity to go remote and go global, but there’s definitely you have to tread carefully.

Jeffro [00:11:32]:
Yeah. Alright. So let me let’s back up a little bit. So you only offer full time positions, which means, you know, this is kind of a commitment if you’re gonna bring somebody on your team. So the question becomes, how do you know if a company is ready to bring on that team member, or when do you recommend that they look into that?

Azhar Siddiqui [00:11:49]:
Yeah. So I think that’s a great question. I don’t know if, you guys have read the book called buy back your time by Dan Martell. And and in that book, you know, one of the first roles that Dan talks about that every entrepreneur should be hiring for is, not the marketing assistant, then not the sales assistant, not your operations manager, none of that stuff. He says that you should be hiring an executive assistant for yourself. You know we get stuck doing these $10 an hour tasks, like taking care of our emails, doing the scheduling, posting stuff on our socials. And, you know, the real value generating activities, the $100, $500, $1,000 activities, we tend to neglect that. So having that thing, that’s the 1st starting point.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:12:34]:
In my opinion, I completely agree with Dan on that. I’ve had an executive assistant for the last 2 years, and I’m kinda hooked. So, you know, like, when my assistant is off on some time off, it’s tough for me. And, usually, we’re now at a point where, you know, we have a team of executive assistants because there’s 3 cofounders that we’re working together. So we have a team of 3 people managing each one of us individually, but the other person can now pitch in when my EA is away. So I I feel, hands down, the 1st person you need to hire is help yourself and get your emails, your calendar, and your socials. You’re gonna be able to offload a lot more than this, but these are just the first few things that you can offload. So start there, and then now it gives you the bandwidth to now start strategizing about what’s the next role I need to hire, what’s the next thing I need to be doing, what do I do with this extra time and so on and on.

Jeffro [00:13:28]:
So once you’ve hired that virtual assistant, you know, what’s the best way to manage them? Give feedback, Lead them effectively, make sure that things are done the way you want. Because I think for a lot of business owners, they’ve never hired someone for that type of role or even, you know, articulated how they want those things done.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:13:43]:
Yeah. So that’s that’s a very good question because, you know, if you do not have a proper onboarding system and if you don’t have SOPs and things like that in place, Jeffro, what’s gonna happen is that it’s gonna create a bad experience for this associate. You’re gonna think it’s not working out. They’re thinking that, hey. Where the hell am I? And it’s just not gonna end well. So what I recommend is that before even you hire your 1st associate, you should go through the 7 prerequisites, now that I put together in my course. One of them is making sure that you have systems and processes in in place before you do your 1st official onboarding. The second 1 is having a effective vision statement and a mission statement and a set of values ready to go.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:14:31]:
Because you’re expecting this person to come and understand you, but you haven’t even written out your vision statement right now. So what are they supposed to follow? Like, they can’t read our heads. What’s in our minds. Right? So

Jeffro [00:14:43]:
sorry. I was just gonna jump in there. What about when someone says you can hire that assistant and have them help you write your SOPs? Does that work?

Azhar Siddiqui [00:14:50]:
That’s that’s a little too much to ask, Jeffro, because, you know, this person, like unless you’re hiring somebody who’s, like, a $90,000, you know, like, these executive assistants, that’s how much they go for if you’re hiring someone in the US. Like, 70, 80, $90,000, a good executive assistant is gonna run you. And at that level, yeah, maybe I would expect that this person would be able to come in and just take charge. But for most, on the global side, you’re gonna need some kinda system and processes in place. Good thing with, you know, like, because I’m gonna be sharing my course. Most of these SOPs that we’ve built out are going to be there. So if you’re hiring yourself, you can just put those systems and processes in place before you hire. And by and large, you’ll have a good working system and process ready for this person to onboard with you from day 1.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:15:41]:
But, yeah, I think that would be a little too much to ask for, but it’s also not rocket science. It’s pretty straightforward, you know, just doing a cook. I actually if you just do Dan Martell’s formula, he’s got this email management system that he uses that you can just tell your executive assistant to just follow and start using from, day 1. With a company like RevStack, we’ll take care of most of those things for you. We’ll bring in our own SOPs and systems and processes. We’ll make sure this person is being effective and doing everything that they’re also be doing. But if you’re gonna be doing it yourself, definitely check out hiring an EA, what Dan Martell is talking about, and then the stuff that we put together in our course.

Jeffro [00:16:22]:
That’s awesome. And I love that you provide those SOPs to your clients when they hire someone through you as well because that’s that’s super helpful. I I did wanna ask, even after the executive assistant role, let’s say we’ve got that in place, you guys also have specialized hires that you offer. Right? So marketing associates and sales development reps. Can you tell some of the differences between those? Because I think the line there is blurry for a lot of people.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:16:42]:
Yeah. So your marketing associate is, you know, your traditional some media buyer, like your Google Ads, Facebook Ad person, like, if you guys wanna start doing some of those things internally, your social media, traffic designer, video editor, like a podcast that we’re doing these days. These are also marketing tools that should be chopped up and published on social media, has turned into blog articles, your content writer in SEO. So any of these things, if you wanna effectively bring them internal, then that’s our bread and butter. About 70% of our people are placed in, marketing assistant roles. Doing one of these 4 things, either media buying, either automations inside of CRM, SEO and content, and graphics and video. That role so if you have a marketing team already set up. Or if you’re working with a marketing agency, you’re just looking to add more power to that, relationship, an our person can, like, really, really be your eyes and ear on your side and can even take over that relationship because our people are, like we call them future leaders.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:17:45]:
A lot of people are in leadership roles, managing entire teams under them right now. So so that can also be taken care of. Like, this person can grow into director of marketing for you and things like that, even if you continue to outsource your marketing, or you can bring this internal. So that’s one of them. The other one is a sales development rep. I feel that everyone can use this SDR, Jeffro right now. You know, I have a friend who runs a carpet business, a carpet store who’s got a couple of stores. And they got so many leads, man, like we’ve been doing over the last 10 years.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:18:20]:
But they, you know, the sales process is that, you know, they have this these showrooms where people would come in. They hardly call anyone back. You know, if they close their deal there, that’s finally got lots of clients coming in already. So they don’t need to worry about any of that stuff, but it is a missed opportunity. So imagine having a flooring store, a local flooring store, having an SDR who’s just calling back your, maybe, past clients you haven’t called. I can guarantee you that my buddy, Moe, he hasn’t called any of his past clients for the last 10 years he’s been in business. Just calling those people up and say, hey. How are you doing? How’s your floor? We did your floor and so and so.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:18:59]:
Like, you know, like, there’s, like, you know, 500 estimates, ready to happen right there. So so imagine having this person, and I know my buddy Moe is running like a chicken with a head cut off, just do an estimates throughout his day. He’s, like, running an $11,000,000 company between the 2 stores, but he’s still doing all those estimates running from estimate to estimate. So and he’s somebody at a store or himself is booking those on his Google Calendar, then he’s going, things like that. So imagine having that SDR, having us, you know, shared calendar. All these appointments and meetings are prebooked for you. You know, that’s what a sales development rep does. A sales development rep at rep stack, what it’s not, I will tell you, is, they’re not a cold caller.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:19:45]:
They’re not a called outreach person. That usually does not work really well. I myself tried it a number of times, and I failed miserably. But, an SDR works really, really well when you have a system of producing your own leads, like, through a marketing company like yours. And when those leads are coming in, that’s the perfect time when now so marketing first, sales after that. And at that point, you’re ready to hire a sales development rep who can support your sales closures and have their calendars, like, it really looking booked up with meeting after meeting after meeting. That’s what support salesperson does. And that’s that can be done anywhere in the world.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:20:24]:
Refstack people do a great job in that too.

Jeffro [00:20:26]:
Yeah. But I love that example of your friend because I think a lot of people listening probably relate to that. Either Maybe they know somebody like that running a 10,000,000, $11,000,000 company, and yet they’re still doing the menial task or running around crazy, which is not the goal of running a company for most people. Right? You wanna kinda get beyond that. So if that’s you, this might be a sign that you need to look into hiring somebody to help you Either with the executive assistant or the marketing type roles. But that’s all we’ve got time for today. Azar, thank you for joining us. I love hearing your perspective.

Jeffro [00:20:59]:
Hope our listeners have learned something from you. Guys, make sure you go to repstack.co to learn more about the options that they provide. You can connect with Azar on LinkedIn as well. Look at his course. And if you’re an agency or even just someone with marketing help or wanting a specialized virtual assistant, get in touch with him and see how easy they make it. Azar, do you have any final thoughts before we wrap up?

Azhar Siddiqui [00:21:17]:
No. I I don’t think so. I think the easiest thing that, to keep in mind when you’re especially building out a remote team is that everyone you bring on board, even if it’s a VA, even if they’re based outside of the US, if you can treat them the same that you would your local team in your office, that’s when you’re gonna have the biggest success because now you’re giving them access to the same bonuses commission. Yeah. Paying space might be different, but commissions could be similar, and we’ve seen that happen. So now this person is, like, really, really, really vested in, the success of your business. You know? So if we can treat them the same, if you think that this person is a VA and, you know, like, you treat them like that, that’s how they’re gonna behave. You treat them like your internal team member.

Azhar Siddiqui [00:22:04]:
Even if they’re somewhere else on the globe, they’re gonna be a very effective part of your team. So that’s the only, take away the biggest thing, I think, that’s the biggest mistake we make when we hire globally is that, we create these differences between teams or silos. Treat them the same for the best results.

Jeffro [00:22:23]:
That’s awesome. And that’s a great reminder. So thanks again for being here, Azar, and thanks to all of you for listening. Just remember, building your team doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s a great way to dominate your niche. I’ll see you guys in the next episode.

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