What Prison Taught Me About Business

“How many of you are nervous to be here?” Andrew the director said as we settled into our seats in the outbuilding at RJD Correctional Facility in California a few weeks ago. 

We were there to meet with inmates, at the Maximum Security facility who, in this program are called EIT’s (Entrepreneurs In Training, a more humanizing term for men who spanned in age from 24-59 years old and had been incarcerated for anywhere from 4 to 39 years).

In a shark tank style competition, my job was to hear them pitch their business ideas for a chance to win an IOU in the form of cash when they are released from Prison.

I wasn’t nervous.

It felt like I was among family.

My brother has life without parole and is currently facing the Death Penalty for another murder. Hearing the sounds of steel doors locking and Corrections Officers staring me down is nothing new to me.

I’m completely at ease around murderers in a place literally devoid of hope.

Wow, that seems so strange to type.

My experience, however, that warm October day with Defy, was one of the most hope-filled days of my life.

Give Me The Truth, and Nothing But The Truth.

There was emotional vulnerability in an empathy exercise called “Step Up To The Line” that proved we were more alike than different (despite the number of tattoos we had).

There was overwhelming pride in watching grown men I’d met 7 hours earlier, walk in cap and gown, (some for the first time ever), across a stage to, in Steven, one EIT’s words, “finally make my dad proud”.

Steven and 21 others completed a program that 70 other men started and dropped out of, to earn a certificate from Baylor in front of their families and share a meal together afterward.

There was courage that Saturday, to share their wildest dreams with complete strangers in hopes that we’d offer valuable insight into how they could make them a reality.

There is no pity in Prison, and there is certainly none at Defy.

If their business wasn’t feasible, we had to tell them. Suddenly the word “Truth” tattooed on my wrist took on a new meaning for me.

Occasionally, we need to face the fact that our business dreams need a revamp.

We need someone to shoot straight with us.

Joe, an EIT born inside a prison to an incarcerated mother and father, sadly ended up there himself for murder. He was so excited to introduce me to his wife and daughter at the graduation. He has a life sentence, and may not ever be paroled.

Yet he pursued his pitch with as much passion as Alejandro, who is getting out in 10 days and won money to get his art book published and start a business helping youth use art to express themselves.

Our dreams may never come to fruition.

It doesn’t mean we give up on them.

Joe certainly hasn’t.

The mantra for our business is “Don’t Do it Alone”… and it meant more to me than ever before within that concrete building typically used to hold a hundred bunks 3 high of some of the most hardened criminals in San Diego.

Like you and I in business, these men need a mentor.

They need someone who has gone before them to pave the way for success despite many obstacles most of us won’t ever face.

Give Me Something To Believe In:

You and I have become accustomed to hearing “no” as we’ve built our businesses. Yet, we’re entrepreneurs, so we press on.

Learning to delay gratification, men who are used to getting (or taking) what they want have learned to transform their hustle into honorable ventures that use skills they thought only good for leading the drug rings or gangs they were part of.

Because of the worst decision of their lives, men like Rickey, simply asked for a minimum wage job buffing floors “so shiny you can gaze at yourself like a mirror” upon his release in two months, after 39 years in prison. He will need a guide to give him the confidence to build a business and ask for what he’s worth, based on a skill he’s                                                                               spent nearly 4 decades perfecting.

Most of all though, men like Karl, who handed me a yellow rose of friendship, with tears streaming down his face to tell me he was glad Chris and I came, and to say “I didn’t feel like I was in prison today” need someone to believe in them.

We all do.

With no family or friends in his life, Karl felt love at Defy. He openly wanted feedback and asked that we challenge his thinking and help him arrive at the right answers, already lurking within.

What We Can Do With Our Freedom:

As I sit here typing this, I’m looking at a bookcase full of knowledge.

At RJD Prison, all the books were locked up.

Literally, there were padlocks on the bookcases.

Knowledge is a privilege, my husband Chris quipped as we stood by the shelves containing old tattered books, likely donated ages ago.

We take for granted as business owners, in the free world, how readily available education is to us via Google or YouTube.

When’s the last time you logged into a course you bought, pulled the book off your nightstand and devoured it, knowing that you may not have access to it again – ever?

We certainly take for granted the freedoms we have…

…It was humbling to see that these men were hungry for knowledge and were seizing every opportunity they could to learn and grow.

I didn’t want to leave that day, 10 hours seemed like two. I wanted to give all my money to them as if to say “Here! Take it. I’ll help however I can!”

How You Can Help:

To that end, a portion of all the revenue Priority VA makes from here on out will go to support Defy. It’s simply too important to ignore that these men will re-enter society one day.

I want them to be prepared to give, and not take.

To build, and not destroy.

To be filled with hope, not apathy.

I’ll be coordinating events in months to come, looking for volunteers and I encourage you to consider joining me.

One 10 hour day inside a Maximum Security facility can mean a lifetime of hope for the EIT’s, and perhaps you, too.

To learn more about Defy Ventures and see how you can support them, check out their website, here. (www.defyventures.org)

How To Guarantee Absolute Failure With Your VA

Recently, I met with a potential client who had a clear misunderstanding of what a Virtual Assistant is capable of. I stood at my desk, reading an email that was designed as an internal guide for this particular company. As my mouth was gaping open at the clear misrepresentation of their staff, I could feel the steam emerging from my ears. I picture it like something from Saturday morning cartoons.

At first, I was shocked! How could this person compare a VA to nothing more than an airhead secretary you see portrayed in movies from the ‘80s and ‘90s? A flighty bimbo smacking her gum, barely able to use a copy machine.

 

There is one surefire way to guarantee 100% failure with your VA.

Belittling them.

I work with a variety of VAs.

Those transitioning from the corporate world with formal education. Individuals looking for flexibility, eliminating a two hour commute and still do what they love.

My team also includes stay at home moms that want more than taking care of their little ones. They want to contribute financially, use their polished skill set and still be able to wear their mom hat.

Lastly, are the young millennials that are bright and ready to take on the world. There isn’t a cookie cutter for the role of a VA. You just have to be ready to take the virtual world by storm.

Each Priority VA is incredibly talented and I’ve learned something over the years. Most Virtual Assistants have the mind of an entrepreneur. In fact, many have side hustles of their own. But what they love to do, what fuels them, is helping fellow entrepreneurs succeed.

If you say things like, “it’s so easy monkey could do it” or “my toddler could do if he could type”, then it’s best that you move on down the road. It may seem harmless on an internal guide for you to know who should do what, but it really becomes an internal compass, for how you view the team you’re surrounding yourself with. And in my view, actually do reflect the way you’ll envision that person’s role in your business.

When you’re interviewing vas for your business, keep in mind that you’re talking with a real person with real feeling and a freaking real skill set.

Once you’ve partnered with your VA, take time to make them feel appreciated. Your VA wants to know that you value them. I promise, it will reflect in your business.  

If you fail to acknowledge that they are an equally important cog in the wheel of your business, then I can guarantee your VA partnership will surely fail.

 

How To Know When A VA Is The Right Fit For You

I’ve built a business on matching Entrepreneurs and Virtual Assistants. Some have compared it to the E-Harmony of the business world! While, I can’t promise a relationship that will last until death do you part, I have to be honest. It’s kind of my goal!

There is nothing I love more than hearing from Priority VA Clients that they love their VA! They love their work style, their skills and their personality.

how to know when a va is the right fit for you

I believe that in order to have a successful working relationship, your VA shouldn’t just have the skill set needed to get the work accomplished, but they should also have the personality and attitude that works for your personality type.

Throughout our matching process, we take several things into consideration.

  • What are your goals?
  • What would you like your VA to accomplish for you?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What personality style do you resonate with?

This is the beauty of working for myself. I can ask questions that some may deem politically incorrect, but let’s be honest here for a minute. You will not work well with someone that you don’t get along with. And guess what? You don’t have to! (Followed by the gasps of Human Resource Managers everywhere)

So, how do you know when a VA is the right fit for you?

Currently, there are 50+ active Priority VAs on my team. Each of them with their own unique skill sets and personalities. I would be lying if I said that each one would be the perfect fit for you, but chances are one (or more of them) would be an ideal fit for you. When I meet with potential clients, I recommend preparing for our meeting by setting expectations.

First off are the four buckets that are important when onboarding a VA.

Things you don’t know how to do

These are things that you need help figuring out. If you too much time googling the answer and searching for a tutorial on Youtube, put it in this bucket.

Things you hate to do

I hate numbers! Accounting is my nemesis, so it only makes sense for me to outsource this piece of my business.

Things you may enjoy doing but they always get pushed to the back burner

I love to write! However, as much as I love to write, I don’t always have time for it. Fill this bucket with everything you love to do, but don’t have time for because you’re trying to learn something in bucket #1.

Things only you can do

Only you can do a podcast. Your VA can edit and post it, but you are the only one that can interview a guest. We all have a those things that only we can do. Write it down.

In addition to the four buckets, personality plays a large role in how well you work with a VA. What kind of personality do you work with best? This sounds superficial, but when the rubber meets the roads, this is an important part of working together. Write down the character traits you’re looking for. Do you prefer a specific time zone? Do you want someone a little older? A little younger?

I’ve talked with entrepreneurs all over the globe that had reached the point of knowing the needed support, but not positive on how to fill the role of a VA. I’ve built a team of VAs that have unique personalities and skill sets. Each one inhabiting the same character traits I pride myself on.

Are you looking for a VA to lighten the load of your business? Let’s schedule a time for us to chat. Before our call, use this handy PDF to decide what are in your buckets. Take time to write down the personality and characteristics you’re looking for in a VA. This will set you up for success when onboarding your VA.

Click to Download the Ultimate VA Profile

Is Your Business Ready For Priority VA?

Have you reached the end of your rapidly fraying rope?

You started a business to give your freedom, flexibility and change the financial status of your family. I have worked with many entrepreneurs over the years that left their corporate job in hopes of all three. The trouble is when we reach a point when we can no longer tackle the beast of business building on our own. So how do you know when you’re ready to enlist the help of others? How do you know when your business is ready for Priority VA?

I started by business in 2013. Before I even had a logo, I knew what I wanted my brand to represent. I wanted by brand to represent integrity. A portion of that integrity included reaching the point in my own business when I had to wave the white flag. I had to surrender to my pride telling me I could do it on my own and begin to build a team of people to help me, so I could in turn help others.

This was a big step. It was time to practice what I had been preaching. I had to remind myself of the truths I told busy entrepreneurs like myself…. A VA is an investment, not an expense. Did I believe in my business enough to invest in it? Of course I did!

How do you know when you’re ready to hire a Priority VA?

When I meet with entrepreneurs, I like to get into the nitty gritty details of their business. For instance, if you’ve been in business for a few months and are in startup mode, good for you! This is an exciting phase to be in. The startup phase is also a little tricky. Simply due to the lack of funds. Don’t worry! There are a lot of great options to outsource projects and still keep your bottom line in check. Give yourself time to grow and scale. Once you begin to see a steady cash flow in your business, you’re ready for a Priority VA.

But, why Priority VA?

I’ve come a long way since 2013. What started out as a solution to my own problem has turned into a solution for so many others. Priority VA started so I could work from home and be with my family. My husband and I were in the process of adoption and I needed to make myself available to my new daughter. I never would have dreamed that I would grow this machine into a 50+ team member business.

Each VA that I contract must, must, must share my same core values.

  • Truth
  • Responsibility
  • Commitment
  • Service
  • Integrity

This is one area that I do not waiver on. Of course, I want to have VA with an amazing skill set, but if their integrity is lacking, they won’t make it onto my team. Each team member is a reflection of my brand, which is why each Priority VA must have these 5 characteristics.

Can a Priority VA really do what I need them to?

Absolutely! With a roster of 50+ VAs, there is a good chance that several of them would be a great option for you. I suggest categorizing the four columns where you spend most of your time.

  • Things you don’t know how to do.
    • (These are things you fumble with, need to look up, etc.)
  • Things you hate to do.
    • (for me, accounting!)
  • Things you may enjoy doing but they always get pushed to the back burner.
    • (Could be creating content, social media, etc.)
  • Things only you can do.
    • (Only you can do a podcast)

Once you’ve determined where you’re spending your time, you’ll know the style of VA you need.

Do you hate keeping track of invoices?Who has paid? Who is behind? Who do you need to pay? We have VAs that love to take care of those tedious details. This allows you to focus on selling.

Have you been dying to start list building or grow your social media, but it just too overwhelming? No worries! We have VAs that are tech savvy and have helped other entrepreneurs with their online marketing.

Each column will look different for each person. Regardless of the difference, one thing is true, Priority VAs will handle your business with the same care that you do.

Would you like the opportunity to work with one of our Priority VAs?

We only hire the best of the best and we want to share them with you!

The first step is to determine your four columns. Decide where you need the most support.

Once you’ve nailed down your pain points, simply click on this link to find out if Priority VA is a good fit for your business. I can’t wait to chat with you!

How To Maximize Your Time

Starting a business is exciting! It all starts with a spark. An idea that will set you apart from the pack and give you freedom from the corporate world.

Working for yourself is something that many dream of, but not everyone is successful. Often times, the least successful entrepreneurs fail because they don’t know how to budget their time. It’s easy to be a task master for someone else, but when you’re working for yourself, it’s much more than checking off tasks and taking direction from someone else.

I truly believe that time management can change the course of your business. But how do you manage time efficiently?

There are plenty of time management books available, some are quite good. However, if you’re anything like me, you’ve already started a book for this month and have a long list of books to read before adding more. Sometimes, I just want someone to tell me what they do and how they do it. Give me instructions and I’m a happy girl!

Today, I want to share with you effective ways to maximize your time.

maximize time

Rise and shine

I understand that not everyone is a morning person. For me, morning is when I’m at my best. I’m usually the first one up in my house. This allows me time for coffee (priorities, people!) and get in a good mindset to take on the day.

If I were to start my day jumping out of bed, rushing the kids around to get ready for school and find myself winded after breakfast, backpacks and car lines, I would continue the scattered feeling all day. My head and my heart cannot take it!

Start with waking up 30 minutes earlier and slowly increase over time. I truly believe you will find that it sets a nice, steady pace for your day.

Block your time

Time blocking is one of my favorite tricks. For example, I no longer schedule meetings on Mondays. Why? Because Monday morning when I walk into my office, I need to catch up on emails that have come in over the weekend and prep for meetings I have the following day.

Making this small change has revolutionized my business.

If you’re working for yourself and maintaining clients, time blocking will be your lifesaver! On my calendar, I block specific time for specific projects. In The 90 Day Year, Todd Herman reminded me that my brain is not designed for multi-tasking. We often pride ourselves with this skill. However, we are not hardwired to constantly context switch. I’m much for efficient throughout my day when I’m working on specific tasks.

Don’t let projects get in the way

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re working on a big project, but have to maintain the small tasks that consume your every day. How do you manage that?

I sat in a class several years ago and the instructor pulled out a clear jar and rocks, 2 big rocks and several handfuls of pebbles. The large rocks represented big tasks, small pebbles represented small tasks. He first added the small pebbles and wouldn’t you know it, the large rocks didn’t fit into the jar. He emptied the jar and tried a second, more successful strategy. When the instructor added the large rocks first and then poured the small pebbles on top and shook the jar a bit, everything fit!

What is the moral of the illustration? Take time to work on the big, overwhelming tasks first. This is another opportunity for time blocking. Block two hours to work on your course content. This allows time for you to “get in the zone”. Once you’ve hit the two hour mark, stop what you’re doing and work on the little things in your business. You’ll get much better results than feeling as though you’re constantly putting fires out all day long. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Monday is coming

It’s no secret that Monday is coming. To be honest, I love Mondays! It’s a new week. A clean slate. A fresh start. I’ve found that when I take time on Friday afternoon to look over my agenda for Monday and the following week, I’m not shocked when I open my calendar on Monday morning.

Write down your goals for the week

As you’re reviewing your agenda for the following week, take time to write down your goals for the week. Don’t worry about big lofty goals like, losing 10 pounds or write 9 chapters in your new book. Make them small goals and write them where you can see them.
Perhaps your goals look like this:

  • Eat Healthy
  • Workout 3 times
  • Write 3 blog posts
  • Schedule 4 sales calls

This list will look different to everyone. Regardless of your goals, write them down. You’re more likely to achieve the goals you write down.

Stick to the plan

It’s tempting to walk into your office Monday morning and scrap the whole plan. First of all, adaptability is #34 on my Strengths Finder Assessment, so it’s highly unlikely that I wipe out a plan, but for others that live for change, it happens more often than my unadaptable heart would like to admit! Avoid the urge to start from square one and stick to the plan.

Say “No”

When you’re building your business, you want to be everything and everywhere for everyone. I’m here to tell you that is just isn’t possible. As your business grows, you’ll receive several offers per week asking for a coffee meeting or an opportunity to “pick your brain”.

Not every invitation is bad, but not every invitation is good. If you feel in your gut that it isn’t the right time for you, it’s okay to say “No”. It isn’t easy, especially if you’re a people pleaser, but for your sanity, you may have to decline every now and then.

Trust me when I say that the invitee will understand. If they don’t extend grace, you probably don’t need them in your life and business anyway.

It’s been said that it takes 21 days to make a habit. Give yourself this little challenge of sticking to these principles for one month. If you hate it, then you can go back to your old ways, but my prediction is that you will begin to feel the pressure lift when you’re strategic with your day.

How To Host A Successful Team Retreat

Would you believe that it took two and a half years before I met my VA in person?!

Though we had worked together through multiple projects, countless launches and the ebb and flow of growing a business since March of 2013, the 800 miles of separation didn’t allow for weekly in person meetings over coffee.

I remember sitting in the hotel bar the evening we met (after making ridiculous fools of ourselves in the hotel lobby!!!), chatting about this crazy business of mine and brainstorming brilliant ideas late into the night. While I love working virtually, there is just something about meeting in person.

When I have the opportunity to meet with my team in person, I’m quick to remind myself that at that very moment, I have the best of both worlds.

  1. I have the privilege to work virtually
  2. My team supports me whether it’s across the table to a few states over

I decided this fall that I wanted to begin hosting quarterly team retreats. A few times a year we will come together and brainstorm and plan out my 90 Day Year. In my business, we follow Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year, so it’s important that I cast clear, consistent vision to my team on our goals. Hosting a Team Retreat puts on the right path to achieve our 90 Day Year goals.

how-to-host-a-successful-team-retreat

If you would like to host a team retreat, allow me to offer a few suggestions.

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Prepare

No one likes to attend a meeting that is thrown together. The purpose of this meeting is to plan your next 90 Days, not “hope to get something accomplished” or hang out and brush each other’s hair. You’re there to make a plan for your business. Be strategic with your plans. Your time together is sacred, so make it count.

I went as far as to pre-order giant post-its, permanent markers and a detailed agenda for our two days together. It’s important to know which topics you’d like to cover while you’re together and where you want your business to go in the next quarter.

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Plan

The purpose of your retreat is to make clear plans. Begin by casting your vision.

While it may seem redundant to share your vision at each retreat, I believe it’s important to start your retreat with everyone on the same page. Reviewing your vision statement will set the tone for your day and plans to come.

Once you are all on the same brainwave, begin to work through your prepared agenda. Empower your team to share their ideas. Remember, there are no bad ideas! Unless someone suggests making a squirrel your new mascot. That’s a bad idea!
At the end of your retreat, you should know exactly what you want to accomplish and who is responsible for making it happen.
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Play

The team that plays together, stays together! It’s important to take time away from your planning to do a little team building. For my team, this does not include trust falls or anything crazy! I trust that my team “has my back”, but when it’s my literal back coming parallel with the ground, I prefer to stay standing, thank you very much!

We were fortunate enough to stay at my family’s new beach house in North Carolina. With a quick 2 minute walk to the beach, we were able to take a few brain breaks throughout the day to get some fresh air and clear our minds. Taking that 15 minute break was what we needed to chat about our personal lives and get to know each other a little better.

Execute

Once you’ve headed back to your respective states, it’s time to get to work. For my team, we have a weekly call and constantly reference the minutes from our time together. What a waste it would be if we spent 2 days together only to walk away with a few good memories and not one actionable steps to grow our business.

If you want to see success in your business and growth in your team, give each team member actionable steps for them to take. Giving each team member ownership in their role will give them a sense of purpose.

Regardless of the location and how often, connecting with your team is crucial to your business.

If you could plan a team retreat anywhere in the world, where would it be?

3 Ways To Get To Know Your VA

Do you know the people that work for you?

I don’t mean a formal chat on the phone or even looking at them through the lens of your laptop camera. I mean really, truly getting to know them.

  • Who they are.
  • What they excel at.
  • What makes them tick.

There are two types of people in this world. Those that are relational and those who are not.

I fall into the relational category, all thanks for my dazzling, extroverted personality. Honestly, I don’t understand the non-relational people. It isn’t how my brain operates. Nonetheless, I know that there are a lot of people out there that are more “director” style personalities.

One isn’t better than the other. Both have excellent qualities! Regardless of your personality type, it’s important that you get to know your virtual assistant.

When I started Priority VA, my vision was to create a business that is relationship based. I’ve found, the more I get to know my team members, the better we work together.

How can you do this when you work virtually? It’s easier than you might think.

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Get to know each other on your weekly calls

When a new Client and Priority VA kick off, I ask them to schedule a weekly, non-negotiable check-in call. The purpose of the call is to keep you on the same page. Lines of communication stay open and you have conversations each week.

I’ve been told that some clients start their calls with,“Give me one good thing that has happened this week”. This gives your VA and team members an opportunity to share a little piece of their world. Something that is relevant to them.

I know it’s hard to believe, but your VA has other interests and people in their lives other than you. Let them share. You don’t have to be all business, all the time.

Listen to them, share in their excitement, then move along to business as usual. Your VA will feel valued!

Follow them on Social Media

I’m not a private person at all. If I have a thought, I tweet it, Instagram it, Facebook it. To the outside world, it’s a peek into my brain. (Scary, I know!)

Ask to follow your VA on Social Media. You’ll see pictures of their family, friends, outings and what they enjoy. You may find common interests, mutual friends and one more way to get to know each other.

My team and I are friends on social media. I love looking at their vacation pictures, weekend excursions and funny thoughts that pop in their heads. It makes me proud to see how the influence the world around them and to know that I get to spend my weekdays with them, growing by business is a thrill!

Give them a test

There are two tests that I feel is necessary when on boarding a new team member.

The first is the Gallup StrengthsFinder. Do you want your VA to operate in their strengths, then ask them to complete this test. I would rather pay a small fee to know what someone is capable of rather than spend time trying to push a square peg into a round hole.

The second is the 5 Love Languages. By asking your VA to complete this test, you’ll know the best way to show your appreciation. No sense wasting money on gifts if they could care less about them.

Results from this test will give you such great insight into their personality and how they feel loved. If you aren’t good at words of affirmation, but your VA NEEDS to know that they are doing a good job, then it’s time to brush up on your kindness vocabulary.

Remember, you should show appreciation to others in their love language, not your own.

Getting to know your VA on a personal level will not only help you get to know them, but it gives them an opportunity to know you, too. This will trickle into other facets of your business and will truly benefit you, your business and your brand.

Tell me… what is your communication style?

3 Resolutions Worth Keeping in 2017

Every year it’s the same.
Countdown from 10, clink the glasses and make resolutions for the impending year.

If you’re like me, you cross the threshold of a new year with grand ideas.

  1. This year I’ll lose the weight.
  2. This year I’ll save more money.
  3. This year I’ll be a better spouse and parent.

If I had a nickel for every high hope I had at midnight on new year’s eve, well, I’d have a lot of nickels. I’m not that old, so they wouldn’t stack up too high!

While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a clean slate, the promise of a fresh year, often times we feel defeated come January 2nd.

Today, I’m sharing 3 resolutions that are worth keeping in 2017.
3-resolutions-worth-keeping-in-2017

1. Take time for you.

This sounds elementary, but I’m here to tell you that it is impossible to pour from an empty cup. Start small. Block off one hour per week to do something you enjoy.

  • Take a walk
  • Take a nap
  • Get your nails done
  • Go to the gym
  • Walk the aisles of Target
  • Read a book
  • Listen to a podcast

As you can see, this hour doesn’t have to be elaborate. Simply something that brings you joy.

2. Make communication a priority

Regardless the size of your team, communication should always be a top priority. Do you want to see growth in your business this year? If so, then communication should be at the top of your priority list.

I tend to get on my soapbox quite a bit when it comes to the topic of communication, but it is vitally important to your business.

Imagine this scenario:

On a Tuesday, you have a random call with your VA. On this call, you decide to create and sell a course. It’s going to be freaking amazing!! You put your VA on a mission of research, content creation and marketing strategy.

Three weeks pass and within those three weeks, you decide that you no longer want to sell the course. You’ve decided to offer something completely different. The problem is, you didn’t communicate this change to your VA. Which means, over the past three weeks, your VA has spent hours upon hours on research and building content for a course that is now a fleeting thought.

Here me out. I’m a woman and 100% entitled to change my mind! It in my DNA. However, if I’m not in constant communication with my team, they don’t have the slightest idea when I change my mind and I’ve wasted time and money sending my VA on a rabbit trail.

Make it a priority to stay in constant communication with your VA. When you’re on the same page, you’ll accomplish so much more!

3. Give yourself grace

There have been too many January 2nds filled with regret. How can I achieve big goals if I can’t even achieve one small goal? My advice to you is this…give yourself grace.

If you run one red light, you don’t get permission to barrel through every red light you see the remainder of day. It’s the same with resolutions. Try as we might, we will not be perfect. Sometimes we fail. If you mess up, remind yourself that it’s okay and start over again.

Too often, we feel as though we have to set extravagant, lofty goals. I have good news for you today. It’s all about the baby steps, my friend! The small, micro-goals that we set today are more likely to be achieved than the shiny goals we set to impress others.

  • Take time for you.
  • Communication with your team.
  • Give yourself grace.

Three resolutions worth keeping in 2017 and years to come.
What is your resolution for 2017?

How 2016 Was Nearly The Year That Destroyed Me

My business nearly doubled again in 2016 and it almost took me down, too.

Through a series of insane events early in the year, I had some very clear choices to make if my business was going to survive. Well, that’s not actually right. I had clear choices to make if I was going to survive.

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2015 was epic. Crazy business growth, some insanely cool clients to work with and dreams bigger than I’d ever imagined starting to come true.

Late last year I decided to make some large investments in my business.

Namely, new branding, new website, new everything. I had 90 day goals for Priority VA into 2016 and we were well on our way to meeting all of them, early.

Then, what seemed like a shit storm decided to park directly over my head and continue to pour down on me at what seemed like every turn.

First, it was a (horrible) web designer that took $10k, then claimed I was a disruptive client because I didn’t like going weeks without being spoken to and wouldn’t refund my money. My big investment in my brand was down the toilet and it turns out suing people in another country is quite challenging. Emotionally, I wasn’t up for the fight, so I didn’t. She took my money and ran, not because she was right, but because I wasn’t in a space to battle for it. I was angry, bitter and gun shy to trust anyone with anything, really.

On a recommendation, I hired a celebrity branding photographer to take new headshots. I flew to Hawaii to have a 7 hour photo shoot. (Word to the wise, 7 hours is ridiculous for a photo shoot, that alone should have signaled “newbie” to me). I got the images back and they looked like Olan Mills vomited in a rain forest. They were terrible.

I’m a big girl, and made it clear before the shoot that I needed all the help I could get. More “contouring” than is allowed in most theatrical productions was used and I felt humiliated. Photos not worth sharing, terrible ethic of those I was trusting to deliver (no response to my emails of concern about the horrific photos) and way more money that I was ever ready to part with, was down the drain. I was taking bad advice and I needed to regroup.

I couldn’t. I was a mess.

Business got shaky for a bit. I blame it on my inability to bounce back from setback. I’d gotten comfortable with the successes we’d had in our business, and honestly, we’d not really had setback face us. So when I had a rogue contractor lose their marbles (and integrity along with it), I lost several clients that were high profile.

Did I have a part in that? Yes. I should have done so much more to save those clients, and give them the value they deserved.

But my confidence was shaken, and I wasn’t sure I could get out of bed in the morning, let alone save relationships that I wasn’t sure were worth saving.

I was operating out of fear, using my OWW brain like I’d worked SO hard not to in the previous two years from all that I learned in my 90 Day Year Training. Something was seriously wrong and I had to get it sorted out, quickly. My clients depended on me, my contractors and my team all needed me to be at peak performance, not loads of potential not being acted on.

I had to dive back into something I knew I could trust. Weeks had been lost and I had to get my stuff straight, fast.

Why I had been failing so miserably at these areas of my business, I’m not sure but I was confident that I had to return to what I knew worked for me, both personally and in business.

Technically speaking, the business was amazing. We were crushing goals and hitting our numbers in record time. I was excited about that, but yet, something was missing.

I was a mess.

Constantly filled with anxiety and worry, regardless of what the numbers said.

At a speaking event, normally poised and full of confidence, I was having a mini melt down, not even knowing if I could walk on that stage.

Backstage, my friend and mentor Todd, the creator of 90 Day Year asked what I needed. I said “I need you to tell me that I can F’ing do this.”

“Of course you can F’ing do this, I wouldn’t have asked you if you couldn’t”

Crap. What was happening to me? I was losing it. Anxiety in lieu of confidence was consuming me. I was looking at where I needed to go, instead of watching how far I’d come. I was literally losing it because I saw a mountain of opportunity in front of me and struggled to grasp the steps needed to climb it. Even a speaking engagement was hard for this extroverted, talk to anyone in the world girl.

I’d been in the space before.

This dark place, that leads me to compare everyone else’s smallest wins to my biggest failures.

This space that pushes me deeper into procrastination for fear of failure, rather than forward because I’m assessing my progress.  

I nearly had a million dollar business. I had more clients than I ever dreamed, an epic team that was killing it, (except the rogue ones!), and a family that believed in me.  

I couldn’t see it though. I only saw this massive big picture that showed the end of 2016, and where I was supposed to be.

What if I didn’t get there? What if my goals failed? What if they were the wrong goals? Was the vision I’d set for us too high? Was my team capable of this? What if clients left? What if referrals stopped coming in?

I didn’t know the answers to any of these things, but I knew one thing:

I wasn’t going to die. (Another wise woman once told me at a 90 Day Year Live Event how she asks herself that mantra whenever she’s filled with fear)

My mindset was broken and I had a choice to make.  

Was I going to stay stuck in the “do it my way” mentality, or rely on the framework that had gotten me this far?

So, I dusted off the login details to a nifty little Leadership Training I’d bought and implemented 18 months earlier. And I dove in again, determined to not get complacent with progress, and instead continue to sprint toward my goals with the same laser focus that had grown my business 220% in just 6 months in earlier rounds.

The result:

In October, I broke a million dollars in revenue.

I hired a rockstar (after one massive failure, but that’s another email) to help scale the business.

I shifted our model to serve only the clients we could really help most.

I started writing again.

I bought a second home that will be used as another business for additional passive income. On the beach.

I had a team retreat to be sure we were all on the same page headed into the next year.

I filmed videos for our business that will uplevel the clients we attract and the contractors that work with us.

I contracted with another web designer to finally complete our re-brand.

I stopped working weekends.

I hired a personal trainer and work out 5 times a week.

I am repairing lost relationship with my family and friends as a result of working too many hours putting the wrong things first (instead of my health, my sleep, my family).

Overall, the 90 Day Year Achievement System is still the method that works for my brain. It’s the engine that I understand. Why I thought I could coast, is beyond me.

The OPP Method (who else is signing the song right now?) is the framework that fits my entrepreneurial spirit. It’s as though Todd knows every excuse we come up with for ourselves, and has a model to bust through it and into the right action.

That’s what I needed to pull myself out of a very dark funk. I’d forgotten how powerful his system is, and started to rely on myself again, instead of the process.

No matter where you are at in your business, or even if you’re familiar with some of Todd’s teachings, it’s always a great idea to ground yourself in the truth’s of his message.

No matter how far you stray from it, you’re one decision away from getting things back on track.

Join me, and get back on track, too by watching his free training series and get serious about your process for 2017.

The Importance Of Setting Personal Goals

Why do I do what I do? The answer is both long and short.

The short answer is to serve entrepreneurs like myself to grow their dream business.

That is the reason Priority VA exists. We enjoy and take pride in serving a multitude of entrepreneurs in a variety of niches’. To play a role in their success is an honor that I don’t take lightly.

The long answer is personal and makes me feel extremely vulnerable.

Two months ago, my husband and I decided to fulfill one of our dreams. To purchase a home on the beach. We aren’t real estate tycoons by any stretch of the imagination. We do however, long for peace in our lives. Essentially, this beach home is designed to give us escape.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. Colorado is home to me. That square state in the middle of the country is home to my family, friends and a life that Chris and I have built. While the snow capped mountains are pretty and bring in tourists in from miles around, they aren’t what soothes me. What soothes me is the sand and surf of the beach.

We are currently at our beach home with our family. In fact, I invited my core PVA team to a retreat this week. I’ll share more about that later. Suffice it to say, we are revolutionizing the way we do business, but that is a whole other post in itself.

Do you want to know why I do what I do? It’s for this….

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The thing I love most about these photos is that they aren’t staged. Not. One. Bit. I had no idea that my assistant was walking behind us snapping photos.

What do I see?

I see a Mom that is relaxed and at ease.

I see a little girl whose life is changed forever because I have worked my freaking tail off the last three years of this business.

As business owners, we are constantly setting goals for our businesses, so why not set goals for ourselves personally, too?

I’d like to encourage you to find what soothes you.

  • Is it finding consistency for family dinner nights? Put it on your calendar.
  • Is it a weekend getaway once a quarter? Make the travel arrangements.
  • Is it buying a home to escape to? Find it.

If you don’t make time for it, it won’t happen. It’s as easy as that. Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time”.

This looks different for each person.

We all have different aspirations. My goals, my dreams may be look different than yours, but we all have the same driving force behind it. The longing for balance and peace in out hectic lives. The important thing is to find what feeds you and pursue it.

Will it come immediately? Probably not. It took several years before we were ready to take the plunge. My challenge to you is, set a goal and aim for it.

Today, I’m soaking in the ocean air and feeding my soul with walks on the beach. Am I working hard while I’m here? You bet! I’ll never stop working hard. It’s who I am. I’ll go out on a limb and say that’s who you are, too.

Dear reader and fellow entrepreneur, find what soothes you and do it. Make it a priority!

Amidst all of the noise and chaos of building a business, and building your team. Remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup.

Are you drowning in work? Perhaps it’s time to add a Priority VA to your team. We’d love to find a way to serve you. By clicking this link, you’ll begin to explore the opportunity for yourself.