Japanese people are doing too much unnecessary work. How CASTER can help you to increase your side hustle income fivefold.

Madoka Sawa
Ensow Co.

Mr. Sawa is an executive officer at a major foreign IT company and is also engaged in various independent activities, including presentation training, lecturing on HR management methods, mentoring, and running an online business salon. He is active in many fields as a role model for 'dual jobs' (sideline jobs) as a corporate representative and an independent professional, appearing on TV and radio and writing a series of articles for several web media outlets.

I used to think that a businessperson should not be a secretary...

-Thank you for repeatedly introducing CASTER on the voice media "Voicy"! First of all, please tell us about your first contact with CASTER.

My first encounter with CASTER was with Mr. Nakagawa, the representative of the company.
I had the opportunity to meet him several times and knew about the service, but for some reason, it never occurred to me to use it myself.
I work as an executive officer of a company, but even in that position, I don't have a personal secretary.
And as a businessman, I thought that my skill set should be my weapon and that I should not need a secretary.
So, up to that point, I had done what I could do on my own, although I sometimes needed help from others.
But it was only after making a huge mistake that I realized how this was an error.

-What happened?

I made three consecutive mistakes in making flight arrangements.
Firstly, I arranged a flight from Haneda to Hakata in the opposite direction, another time, I booked the wrong flight for my return from San Francisco, and then finally, I made a mistake booking a flight to Singapore.
I was unable to get there, leaving my wife, who was supposed to join me in Singapore later on, to travel alone. (laughs)
I was so fed up with myself that I posted on Twitter, "I did it again…," and Mr. Nakagawa commented, "Mr. Sawa, please start using our service.”
Then I finally thought, "Oh, there's a great service!
I should use this service!” I immediately registered and started using the service about a year ago.
Through my own many failures, I finally understood the importance of deciding what I should and shouldn’t do.
I was then given the opportunity to ask for a virtual assistant as an immediate and efficient way to put that into motion.
My mistakes were a good opportunity for me to rethink what I should be focusing on and to start using CASTER.

As a result of focusing on "what only I can do," my annual income from duplicate work has increased five-fold.

-What kind of work do you currently request from CASTER?

There are three main types of work that I request.The first is the primary response, mainly checking and replying to inquiries from our website.
Since the relaunch of our website, the amount of traffic has increased significantly and cannot be handled by just one person.
All initial communications are handled by a virtual assistant. The second type of work is scheduling and management.
After the initial response, work requests come in and my schedule needs to be adjusted, so the virtual assistant coordinates and manages that as well.

As soon as a schedule needs to be adjusted, I share the URL and ask the virtual assistant to handle the scheduling process to ensure that there are as few oversights as possible.
In my case, I also need to manage my schedule as a company employee.
After some trial and error, I exported my company schedule without any confidential information and sent it to my virtual assistants so that they can manage my corporate and personal schedule at the same time.

And the third thing that has been very helpful is the reminder service.
I am very forgetful, so I ask them for follow-ups. When we first started working with CASTER, we only used Slack to communicate with and manage our virtual assistants.
But that only increased the amount of information and the number of tasks to be processed, and we sometimes got lost in the middle of our work. Now we use a tool called backlog, which allows us to manage everything from a project management perspective, but even so, there are still oversights. (laughs).
I am very grateful that they point out when that happens and help me to keep on top of things.

-Did you notice any changes before and after using CASTER?

The change is clearly visible in the figures. My annual income from multiple jobs has increased fivefold compared to last year.
These figures also show that I only focus my efforts on areas where I can add value.
For example, I am not obliged to come to work, so I decide whether or not to come based on whether my presence adds value.
Nowadays, I can do my daily work using chat tools or via online calls.
So, when I go to the office, it is when I want to meet with customers or colleagues for communication that can only be done offline.
I use CASTER in the same way, with the idea of asking someone to do things that I am not good at, in order to create value by doing things that only I can do.

In fact, there is nothing wrong with asking someone else to do something you are not good at, but it can be really difficult to do.
Japanese people are taught to overcome their weaknesses, so they try to raise the level of all of their skills, rather than just being good at what they do best.
But if you try to do that, you end up neglecting your area of expertise. So the best approach is to acknowledge and understand your weaknesses and rely on your strengths to the best of your ability.

By strictly adhering to this mindset, I have been able to work more efficiently, improve my time management, and I no longer have to turn down work.
This has led to my business increasing fivefold.

Don't judge by what you see, but consider the return on investment.

- Fivefold is a huge amount. But isn't that too much work, Mr. Sawa?

Not at all.
I don't feel like I work too much, and I actually sleep more than I used to, so my income hasn't gone up because of increased working hours.
I am surprised at how inefficiently I have been using my time.

I believe it is better to think in terms of how you can get a return on investment for your time.
Because there are some things that cannot be easily quantified but are extremely valuable. One example is sleep.
With an extra hour of sleep, you work better, and you feel better. Thanks to CASTER, instead of doing paperwork and other administrative tasks, I can use that time for sleep.
Another perk is that it gives me more time to work on the things I really want to do.
Intangible monetary value is important, but you have to consider the non-material value as well.
When it comes to CASTER, my return on investment is very high.

CASTER is always the way to go for "something new" for both individuals and companies.

- In your experience of using CASTER, for which people or situations do you think CASTER is most suitable? We would like to know your point of view.

I think you should always use CASTER when you are starting something new, whether as an individual or a business.
If you are interested in creating a side business and are not good at administrative tasks, you should invest in the CASTER service.
Virtual assistants are experienced and knowledgeable in supporting a wide range of companies and individuals.
They already know what is inefficient and what needs to be done to improve their work, so they can offer advice.
You can also organize information and tasks for yourself in the process of asking for help from a virtual assistant.
The biggest waste of time is focusing on paperwork and things you are not good at, which prevents you from providing the value you should.
In my experience, it is also not a good idea to interrupt a task in order to ask for help.
The most effective approach is to delegate everything to a virtual assistant who is a professional in the field. This is because new ventures can be fragile and you don't know if they will last, so assigning more people than is necessary can complicate things.
For example, when a new venture goes under, what to do with the personnel who were working on it is a very vexing question.
Particularly if the new venture is in a specialized area of business where the person is not a major player for the company, it can be difficult to put that person back into other areas of the business.
This can lead to high employee turnover and a staff exodus.
Therefore, it is definitely more efficient for both the company and the employees if fixed-asset staffing for new ventures is reduced as much as possible and these new areas are covered by current asset-based services such as CASTER.
It is no exaggeration to say that CASTER is a must-have for new businesses.

-Thank you very much. Are you personally planning to start something new in the future?

I’m planning to start many new things.
I intend to maintain my current activities such as speaking, mentoring, and writing while adding value to the world in other ways.
No matter what I end up doing, there will always be administrative chores, so I will continue to need the support of a virtual assistant.
Especially during the early transitional periods, it would be great to have your support.