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How To Run Your Business With Evernote and Asana with Natasha Vorompiova

systems evernoteIf you’ve ever struggled to get your business organized, under control, or hired a VA that you literally couldn’t figure out what/how to delegate to them, this episode is for you!

Natasha Vorompiova has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs embrace systems in a practical, customized approach. Her two main tools of choice are Evernote and Asana.

She’s even said that you can run your business using Evernote alone!

If you’ve heard that systems can help you grow your business, but you just don’t see how or why they’re important, today’s episode is for you…

Natasha shares her own systems story that led to multiple opportunities and growing her business in unexpected ways.

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Three Essential Hiring Reminders To Help You Become A Better Boss

hiring remindersYou’ve been doing everything yourself in your business for some time now. Longer than you really should have.

But it’s not because you haven’t tried to find people to help you.

You’ve been on upwork.com, elance.com, and hiremymom.com, but you haven’t felt very  “lucky” in your search for the right person or people yet.

First thing is this – hiring is not an easy process.

Second thing – you are not alone in struggling through that process.

Third thing –  it IS something you have to do at some point if you want to grow beyond a “job-replacement” business. (believe me – I know this from personal experience!)

Every business owner gets to the point of hiring in different ways. Some people start finding help from the second they start their business. Some people start with interns. Others do everything as long as they possibly can…

When is the right time to hire someone for your business? The answer is different for everyone.

For the past few weeks I’ve been in search mode for the perfect GVA (general V.A.)…Up until now, I’ve usually only hired for launches–very specific people for big roles like web designer, social media, affiliate management, project manager, maybe someone to set up Facebook ads.

My focus was on finding experts that didn’t need to be managed at all. Even though my work experience before running my own business is exactly in this role, I didn’t want my “job” to stay that way.

Hiring experts only when you’re new to having a team and managing them is a great way to get used to being the boss.

You’ll still have to manage the process, give people direction, give them deadlines, make sure they understand what you need them to deliver.

Once you are comfortable working with people who know what they’re doing, it’s time for you to think about getting ongoing consistent support.

This has been a long process for me – to say it’s okay I don’t want to do my blog posts, to do my social media, to do all the things in my day to day business. For me – I’ve felt a little guilty handing off things I know I can do FINE.

But I can’t play solopreneur anymore!

There’s a really important reason why I’m on the delegation train and why you should be prepared to climb aboard too.

Your (and mine too!) business will plateau this year unless I hand off tasks, busy work, and things that I’ve known FOR EVER that are taking up the bulk of my time. Period.

If you’re ready to dive into hiring for real, let’s do this.

Here Are Three Essential Hiring Reminders To Help You Be A Better Boss

Ask yourself these questions as you’re going through the process of looking for a new person…you’ll find someone who’s right for your business AND you’ll become a better boss too!

  1. Is the person taking action or making excuses?
  2. Is a physical connection needed? (skype, no skype, voice, no voice)
  3. Does this person need to be bestie material (the answer is no)

Let’s go through these one by one — to see why each is important and what I’ve learned again!

Action vs. Excuses?

It’s really interesting to see how people respond or don’t when you give them a task.

One of the first things I do when I’m considering someone for my team is giving them a few test tasks. They aren’t actually toss away or fake tasks though…they are things I really need to get done. And I pay them to complete the tasks.

Now, what this does is allow me to hone my own skill of delegating and also see how the person responds.

Out of the people that I gave my test to, only one person took action right away, asked questions upon receiving the email, and then even made suggestions about how this fit within the bigger scheme of things.

When I saw that the one person had taken action so quickly, I realized that this is what I want. Though I’m an understanding person, action speaks volumes to me.

However, that’s not to say if the person had come back and told me they couldn’t complete the task, they would have been on my “no” list, but with zero/delayed communication…I have nothing but excuses as to why something isn’t done.

So – ask yourself if you are letting people give you too many reasons why they didn’t get something done and be prepared to choose someone unexpected especially if they are taking action, need only a small amount of direction, and are proactive.

Those are qualities you want on the team. Don’t settle until you find someone.

How Personal Do I Really Need To Get

When I started my recent search for people, I was adamant about getting people on the phone or skype.

So I could see them.

I even turned down one person because she wouldn’t go on a live call…which I do realize now is silly.

I do love personal interaction with people. Let me say that first.

But now that I’ve had a successfully completely test by someone I did NOT speak to until after, I’m pretty sure it worked better that way. I was forced to be clear in my communication to her and my expectations…and I was forced to let go.

Clarity and Letting Go are huge when you’re working with new people…

So glad I was able to do both and make a decision without connecting more. Which brings us to the hardest one of all for me!

Stop Searching For Your Bestie

This is probably my biggest fault when hiring and one I know has caused me the most emotion and pain. Yes – really.

It’s easy to hire people who we “like”. It’s also easy to become friends with people who are working with us.

But let me tell you as a boss who was friends with their staff, it’s also really hard to:

  1. give negative feedback
  2. push them to finish work by a certain date
  3. tell them if you don’t need their help anymore
  4. give them a layoff or termination notice
  5. set boundaries

And so – even though I have amazing friendships with people I work with and are part of my team, some roles need to be work only.

For instance, my content strategist Alexis and I are literally cut from the same mold. Born on the same day. Have amazing conversations with each other daily. But her role in my business is different from say a virtual assistant, social media manager, or even web designer.

She’s got her own business, I’m a client yes, but it’s more of a collaboration between us. She tells me when I’m off my rocker and is great at setting the boundary when we’re talking as friends and as partners.

Now – this new person I’m adding to the team is really going to be executing on a lot of the tasks I’ve allowed to take up my time. So, I need to make sure I hold to my goal of not trying to be besties.

Of course, I love being open and friendly and caring to the people I work with, but I’m committed to keeping our communication and relationship, clean, clear!

What About You?

Are you thinking about hiring a new person for your team? Maybe your first person? Have you ever worked with someone — in a day job, in your business or on some other type of project and had friendship get in the way?

Leave a comment below and tell me what you’ve experienced!

p.s. If you want help training your team for your next launch, you’ll want to jump into my upcoming live workshop: Train Your Launch Team – It’s happening on September 18th LIVE. But you’ll get a replay and all the class materials if you can’t attend the class!

4 Reasons You Want Someone Else To Run Your Business (and why it doesn’t happen overnight)

run your businessWhether you’re hiring your first virtual assistant or you’ve got a small team of people who help you run your business, at some point the idea of letting them run the business without you might cross your mind.

When I’ve worked with teams in the past, there’s always that moment when the “boss” realizes they can trust or depend on their team enough and leaves the building.

Now, being the person who often was left with the keys to the house, I know what it takes to have that team be ready.

I’ve also watched friends who were entrepreneurs take the leap too quickly only to return to a bunch of messes to clean up.

So, today, I’m going to dive into some of the reasons we want someone else to run our business, the misconceptions and how to make those daydreams a reality.

Spoiler alert = it takes time and training to be able to leave someone else in charge.

Okay, let’s dive in.

#1 You want to fly off to Aruba (or Insert Your Destination) for a month.

I totally totally get it. You want that freedom lifestyle, to be a little bit more suitcase-entrepreneur, to take those social media images from around the world as your business runs without.

No one gets to do this straight away unless you are literally doing the work yourself.

The dream is possible, but before you take off, leave your business in several or even one able bodied person, you must remember:

  • It takes time to build systems and train people other than yourself to use them.
  • Giving those non-you people the time to build their own workflow and see them using the systems with consistency is key!
  • Planning must be done well in advance. Plus, when it comes to launches, you’ll need to make sure you’re available, no matter which yacht you’re on. In fact…try to plan your vacation or away time after the launch, not during it or leading up to it.

You care about your business the most. That is a fact. Even when I was working with LKR and took ownership immediately, I knew in the back of my head that it wasn’t my company.

There’s a fine line, so don’t expect the babysitter to know everything about your biz!

Remember: You care about your business the most if you’re a solo-preneur. Even when you hire on amazing people, you are the one responsible.

#2 Your biz will grow 10x when you hire a team.

You’ve heard the claims that your business can’t grow without a team. You need outsource. Delegate all the busy work. But the truth is, it doesn’t happen overnight! There are tons of growing pains with a new team and new hires, but if you approach it the right way with a little planning, your biz CAN grow 10x.

But you’ll definitely need to keep in mind that it takes:

  • Focused experimentation – no longer can you just float around to this and that without thinking about the bigger picture of your business. Focus on a few key offerings that work or have always worked and find new ways to improve those offerings. Having more heads does not mean more projects. I’ve definitely worked through periods of time where it felt like – wow, we are doing so many different projects. The people I know who turned their businesses around all focused…even if they’d been previously focused on something else. CLEAR YOUR PLATE.
  • Systems – honing in your key operational systems is one piece of the puzzle, but you need to make sure that they are working, evaluate them regularly and find ways to improve at regular intervals – like say, every quarter or every six months. Use your system for podcasting, evaluate after 3 months, tweak, use, evaluate, tweak, use.
  • The right fit doesn’t always happen right away – you might go through different people or realize someone either has a temperament or skill set better suited for another task in your company. You might also discover during a launch that someone simply can’t keep his/her cool when there’s a little more pressure. I know that I get a little high strung at certain points in the launch. My role has always been juggling tons of tasks and while I’m good at that, I also need someone on the team who gives me the calming touch and talks me off the ledge!

Take your time. Build and train your team to handle all important activities in your business—from the in between launch time to full blown launch madness.

#3 You’ll be more productive.

Ahh finally, someone is scheduling your blog posts. Someone is editing your podcasts. Someone is scheduling your social media. Someone is keeping an eye on your shop, your stats, your websites. You can FINALLY get something done!

Hold up, lady friend! Sometimes when these jobs get taken away from you, you’ll feel like a vacuum is about to open up and you’ll be sucked in! Give yourself the time and space to figure out what productive and effective now mean:

  • Productive means you are finally getting consistent and won’t miss creating the content you set out to create. Productive might mean you finally have the energy to create a complete campaign or flesh out your next product launch in a few days.
  • You know what to do and what NOT to do.
  • You’ll spend a lot of time at the start managing what the new hires are doing until they are settled into the systems and working consistently.

Remember: Productivity and the ability to be effective takes time, practice—like a muscle that needs consistent training. Yes, aim to work yourself out of a job, but remember it’ll take time for your team to take the role your handing off!

#4 You’ll get out of the weeds and spend more time on what matters.

Again, just like being productive, this is going to be the biggest shift when you hire people. You’ll be able to get to that point but only after you’ve truly let someone else handle the day to day busy work…and:

  • It’s not so simple when you’re not sure what those high leverage tasks are.
  • Sometimes it takes awhile to adjust to not doing the busy work
  • Your days will look completely different than they did before the hires!
  • You have to be ready for that hole because like being productive, your head has to be at a different space.
  • You might want to hire a coach who can support you through the shift!

In the weeds is spending time on the stuff you’ll label later as busy work, low leverage, not the important business building activities that really push things forward.

This can take awhile for many entrepreneurs to bust out of with or without a team!

How To Turn The Misconceptions Into Reality

Now the misconceptions don’t mean you can’t attain them. They just don’t happen overnight.

The best way to make these myths true is spend some time thinking about your end goal and overall vision for your business.

Step One: Ask Yourself What’s Your End Goal?

You really should be asking yourself when you do anything in your business—make it your go to filter question.

So now – before you hire even one person – ask yourself:

  1. Is it to create a business that makes passive income or to “make money while you sleep”?
  2. Do you want to be able to travel 3 months every year?
  3. Maybe you want to work only 2 hours a day?
  4. Perhaps you’ve been wanting to launch every quarter instead of just once per year?

Do a deep dive into the specifics of what you want your business to look like once you’ve got the right people in place.

Step Two: Make your dream team qualifications list

Make a list of the type of person who would need to be in place to make the above misconceptions a real possibility. I know some people who use Strengths finder tests, Enneagram type, and Myers-Briggs to figure out who their best complementary collaborators should be. I think those can be helpful guideposts, but in the end I need to be the one making the decision.

Want to be able to travel and have someone else run your business? Who would need to be on your team to make that possible?

Maybe they’d need to be self-directed, proactive, able to stick to a schedule, detail oriented, and also able to take responsibility/ownership—and also be okay admitting mistakes or finding mistakes!

You’d need to be able let go of everything happening exactly the same as you’d do something, give her good directions, let her/him establish the consistency for a certain period of time, answer questions and support the person until she/he felt confident to handle it alone…

Want to be able to launch multiple times a year and have a systematized approach each time you do it? How do you train your team or specific members of your team to launch?

What’s interesting is that most people who work with one or two people are often still not prepared to launch. The best way to train your team for a launch is to make sure you provide a list of expectations for the way work has to get done but also that you provide them with the details for the whole launch—even if they aren’t involved in those pieces.

While some people will be able to transform from your regular support team into a launch team with no real training, most entrepreneurs in this space have to get everyone on the same page before a launch can run smoothly.

I’ll be talking about this in depth during a very special workshop on training your team to launch — if you’re already receiving my weekly newsletter, you’ll find out the second I open the workshop!

No matter what you’re hoping your new team or new VA can help you achieve in your business, the starting point is you really being clear on where your business is going, your end goal, and what you’re hoping to achieve once you have help.

Now It’s your Turn

I’d love to hear from you. If you dream of being able to take off for a month or even a week and have other people keeping your business afloat, where are you on the journey to making that happen?

Do you have one person on your team you can really trust and depend on for this?

If not, what can you do to get them up to speed so you can start taking time off, being more productive and running your dream business?

 

p.s. If you want help training your team for your next launch, you’ll want to jump into my upcoming live workshop: Train Your Launch Team – It’s happening on September 18th LIVE. But you’ll get a replay and all the class materials if you can’t attend the class!

How Going Back To The Basics Helped Vanessa Chase 3X her Launch Goals and Reach More of The Right People

Case-Studies-Podcast (3)Back in May I held my first Fearless Launching scholarship contest..and in walked one Vanessa Chase, owner and creator at The Storytelling Non-Profit.

Well spoken, super smart, and a growing business based on her professional background…plus the timing was right for her to launch something big.

She was ready to turn her one on one non-profit consulting work into an online course, reach more people…

Because I’m always interested in finding out how different industries work, finding the ways that different groups of people do business, I decided to lurk a bit on her site.

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Things They Don’t Tell You About Starting Your Own Business

episode66flsStarting a business isn’t what I’d call “easy”.

Sure it’s easy to come up with that idea you are SURE will make you a million dollars.

It’s even pretty simple to come up with a domain name, buy it, start a blog…and create your business Facebook page.

Thanks to tools like LeadPages you can even make landing pages without paying a designer (at least when you’re first starting out)!

But the harder stuff – I think…happens inside our heads. Between our ears.

In fact, I don’t hear people talk often enough about the internal challenges we face as online entrepreneurs.

If you run a business, just starting your own business, or want to…then what I’m going to share with you is important and will help you prepare your inner game for your life as an entrepreneur.

And really, I’m not being completely fair by saying online when really every entrepreneur and business owner…heck every human faces this.

I’m taking you behind the scenes and sharing some of the most common challenges you will face…

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3 Simple Ways To Measure and Track Your Website Traffic

2015-03-05 13.31.56

You launched.

You set sales goals.

You pretty much reached them all.

You are happy beyond belief.

And you know that it means you can launch this course, this book, this thing you just launched…AGAIN.

If you want to get even better results on your next launch or turn a, you have to know why it rocked…

Knowing why it worked allows you to repeat the good.

Get rid of the bad.

And while I’m sitting here hoping you want to improve what already worked well, I bet if you didn’t have such a great launch, you also want to know why it didn’t work.

Am I right? Well – if you’re anything like me, you don’t want to guess.

And you shouldn’t.

The best way to evaluate your launch is to look at the numbers, the data…because really these numbers tell you what happened.

But I get that for you it might not be at the top of your list to spend the day in your Google Analytics dashboard.

That’s okay.
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