Max Walker is the co-founder of Piton Labs, a software engineering agency focused on startups and innovation projects within enterprise companies.
Piton Labs is focused on delivering products that solve problems or validate market hypotheses and helping companies to innovate to find product market fit.
They help their clients define, design and build a launch-ready product as quickly as possible, dodging pitfalls along the way.
“I historically took care of a decent amount of the operational side of the business,” Max remembers. “I was finding that a lot of my time was being taken up with stuff that wasn’t high leverage for the business.
“I was spending a lot of time going back and forth over scheduling things, making sure invoices were paid, making sure that people on the team had put their hours into our tracking system — stuff that was not a good ROI for my time.”
“I looked into a variety of Virtual Assistant services. I decided on BELAY for a couple of reasons. And serendipitously, the name ‘BELAY’ is a rock climbing reference and our company’s name is also a rock climbing reference.”
Enter BELAY VA Lauren Bible.
“I work remotely, and I travel a lot,” Max says. “We work flexible hours. It was great to be able to actually take advantage of those things and not just be desperately trying to barely keep up with email, calendar invites and all these sorts of things.
“It was sort of a game changer in that respect.”
Lauren jumped in and took over email and calendar management from the beginning and has taken on more wide-range responsibilities over time including client tracking spreadsheets, website updates and client gifts.
“I would make a terrible Virtual Assistant,” Max jokes. “I'm not detail-oriented. I tend to forget things. I'm much more of a macro picture guy.
“One of the reasons I looked for a VA versus continuing to do this stuff myself was that there's stuff that I know I'm very bad at. I knew the goal was to sort of hand off some of that stuff and not worry about it so much.
“Not just because it was causing me stress and taking up my time, but also because someone else could do a better job of doing those things than I could.”
And thanks to Lauren, Max hasn’t had to worry about the details.
“Lauren [has] stepped in and taken over,” Max says. “We had invoices that were sitting unpaid for 45 days and 60 days because I wasn’t remembering to send an email to the client asking to pay.
“That has really improved because she's just more detail-oriented, more focused on those things and more skilled in those areas.”
“We've grown the business quite a bit,” Max says. “When Lauren joined, we'd only been in business for [about] nine months. We've grown both in terms of headcount, we've grown a lot in terms of revenue.
“Our value proposition to our clients is that we are a boutique agency that is focused on doing things right. That doesn't just include writing the correct software. It also includes communicating, clearly hitting deadlines and all that kind of stuff.
“And we've been able to do a lot of that in part because of Lauren's support in the operational side of things.
“I’m sure I could hire someone for a very small amount of money somewhere to do exactly what I told them, and they would probably do it right. But it's different when you can say, ‘Okay, if something comes in that needs my urgent attention, get ahold of me.’
“I trust her judgment to decide what needs urgent attention, to proactively communicate to me and figure things out.”
Because of BELAY and his VA, Lauren, Max has been able to spend most of his time on the aspects of his business he enjoys.
“[Lauren has] opened up a lot of opportunity for me to focus on the things that I am good at,” Max says. “We've been able to shift some of that load over so that I get to focus on the stuff that is more fun and [what] is the reason I wanted to start and continue to run this business.
“That's been just really great, and it's made my life better because I'm not getting to the end of the day super frustrated.
“I was a little bit apprehensive going in. I've worked with recruiters and staffing agencies before, and I've always had mixed experiences. I trusted the process [with BELAY]. I expected that it would probably work out or I wouldn't have signed an agreement and gone through it.”
“Within a few weeks at most, I was getting time back way beyond what I'd put in, ramping her up on things, showing her stuff and going through the process with BELAY. That was very pleasantly surprising to me because that was not necessarily my expectation.”
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