If you’ve been joining me on Wednesday’s for any length of time you’ve heard me rave about my “wizard”, aka my assistant, Shelby. We connected through a company of kick butt virtual assistants that are mostly military spouses – how cool! Today I’m introducing you to the brains behind the business, Michelle Penczak.
Like all successful business owners, Michelle founded Squared Away to solve a problem. One – fix all she saw going wrong in the virtual assistant field, and two – create a way for other military spouses to find gainful employment. For the past five years this fairy godmother of VA’s has helped U.S. based and international companies, firms, and teams scale their business. Here she shares insight on how to successfully hire, manage, and build a relationship with your assistant so they become your most valuable team member.
This episode is must listen if you are a recovering type A like me! Sharing responsibility in business is hard because you feel no one can do the job like you. How much easier is it to say, “Oh I got it…”
Michelle’s advice to delegating: pick the low hanging fruit first.
Assign tasks that don’t need your direct input and won’t be detrimental to the company if messed up. Mini projects like research are a great place to start. Your assistant can help bring the pieces together without being responsible for the whole picture.
Shelby is the best thing I never knew I needed! I was curious to know how Michelle would convince other skeptics that they too could benefit from having an assistant.
“Start by tracking how much time you spend on micro-tasks like emails, scheduling, research, etc. Then, measure how much more you could get done by giving those away,” she suggests. “Micro-tasks become roadblocks when they steal attention from time needed to build your brand and business.”
I’m a witness that it works! Since freeing up my time from the “busy tasks” I’ve booked bigger projects with bigger checks. I’m able to do more significant work. My focus has shifted from taking care of everything to managing mainly what needs my attention.
Benjamin Franklin’s saying ‘time is money’, is truer now than ever.
If you’re totally sold and ready to pick a VA, use Michelle’s tips to get started.
Skillset + Culture Fit = Ideal Candidate; Squared Away hires less than 10 percent of applicants to ensure they meet both requirements.
Transparency; Allow candidates to share truthfully why they want the position.
Present Clear Expectations; Tell candidates exactly what you’re looking for then answer questions or concerns they have. *This gives even greater insight into whether they’re a good fit.
Follow your gut; Your gut never lies. Michelle shares that her most successful hires are those she “had a feeling about”.
Michelle is a downright expert at hiring virtually – she’s hired ALL of her team members this way.
I think I can speak for all bosses when I say we want team members who take initiative. Citing one game changing takeaway from her fav leadership book, David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around:, she shares her team cannot ask her for permission! Instead they present what they intend to do, and she offers feedback. This is pretty much opposite to what we learn in the corporate world, but she credits it to breaking down the walls of her Type A comfort zone and empowering her team to own their area.
Embarrassing “oops” in business are somewhat inevitable.
Here’s Michelle’s 3-step guide to overcoming mistakes
Own it. Deflecting or blaming others is a charge to your integrity.
Explain your thought process and why you chose to handle the task that way.
Share how you plan to handle similar tasks moving forward.
*If you’re interested email, DM or message me and I’ll share how I overcame a five-figure business oops! YIKES!
What have you started using lately that you love?
What’s the best gift you’ve given yourself this year?
My Birchbox subscription. I get to have a DIY mini spa treatment that fits into my crazy schedule.
What is the next thing that you’re really hoping to learn?
How to better set boundaries!
What is one thing you would do sooner if you had the chance?
Delegating tasks to my team. I would be a completely different person today if I’d done that two years ago.
This week’s homework:
Try Glühwein. It’s an inexpensive, German mulled-wine that you enjoy warm found at World Market. It’s basically Fall in a glass!
Alexandra Galviz who goes by “Authentic Alex” is going to joining us November 25th. We’re talking about leading authentically and what that looks like in a virtual workplace. Join us and bring all the hard questions about mental health, work from home, and leadership.