Well, hello March! Is 2017 all kinds of wild for you as well? It’s been the hardest and the most fantastic all at once over here at Reverie Lane, haha… The key for success for me so far this year has been strategy and business management. The person who keeps my business mind sane through all that, is my wonderful business manager Cindy and I really wanted to make a point for you all to meet her. I know the title ‘business manager’ can come with some confusion, at least that’s how I felt when I was looking to hire someone to help with all the things, and I think Cindy is the best person to bring clarity and give you a general overview of what she does. I believe so many of us need a business manager without knowing it.
I’m a Pacific Northwest-raised girl living in the desert in Phoenix, with my husband and sweet little pup. I’m a lover of coffee, not for the caffeine but because I love the ritual of it. I’ve always got a candle burning, and if I could do anything all day long other than my work, I’d be either baking or learning photography. I thrive on building deep connections, and am discovering that I’m far more introverted than I realized.
I’ve been doing business management in some capacity for over 15 years. After building a business (in another industry) and running it by myself for 4 years in a sea of overwhelm and stress — I wanted to change how we (especially women) business owners experience entrepreneurship. I want others to know they don’t have to be in this thing alone! One thing I’m most passionate about is teaching boss ladies how to realistically manage their time and keep their sanity in the process.
I’m a business manager for creative and online entrepreneurs. My audience is female business owners, who have established businesses, but are still trying to do it all mostly by themselves. I help them reduce their workload and stress by taking over much of their back end business management, overseeing operations and team members, and creating systems to make their business more efficient.
I also do business audits to assess different aspects of the business and make recommendations for improvement and efficiency. This consulting service allows me to support and serve clients who either can’t afford to bring on an business manager, or simply want outside help to clean up + implement systems processes and client experience.
You will typically give a VA task-level things to do to get things off your plate, in specific areas of your business. There are so many options with VAs. You can hire someone who can do lots of different tasks, or one who specialize in certain pieces of day to day business activities. For example, you can hire a VA to schedule your social media content, or create your blog and social graphics, or manage your inbox and client inquiries, etc. There are truly so many things VAs can take off our plates! Depending on the VA, and their skill level, you are still likely overseeing and managing the process.
In contrast – a business manager is typically stepping in to help with higher level processes and overall operations management of your business. A business manager will be involved in most (if not all) aspects of your business, keeping a birds-eye view of all the moving parts. She will help you plan, strategize, organize and prioritize. She helps bring you down to earth when your creative mind has #alltheideas, and she will hold you accountable if you need that.
Hands down — communication. It is my job to ask questions and listen, first and foremost. Where is the client struggling the most? This differs from client to client. Ultimately, I want to see the state of current processes, procedures and operations in the business, find out what the client does and doesn’t want to be doing in their business, and find out their greatest struggles and pain points. From there, we strategize and prioritize a plan for what to take on first.
This varies widely!! Some clients I talk to several times a day, others just once a week. It all depends on the client’s needs, how much time I’m contracted to work for them, and which parts of the business I’m handling directly.
For my very hands-on clients, we are messaging on Slack daily, and we have weekly video calls with the team to go over the week’s agenda, to-dos, and important projects.
Common tasks amongst most of my clients are: team member communications and accountability; managing the moving parts of projects and timelines; setting up systems, automations and processes; and holding the client accountable for what they need to be getting done — because we all know with so many balls in the air and so many moving parts to our business — we forget things!
Audits are short-term project-based offerings. This is typically a more intensive process – done within a few weeks, or few months – depending on how many aspects of the business we take on.
My favorite part is hands down the the relief I see my clients experiencing because of our work together. When systems start to get put into place, and I am able to take things off their plate – they get some breathing room. That is why I do what I do. I started this business because I’ve BEEN that overwhelmed business owner who felt like she was doing it all alone. I don’t want others to feel that way — I want to help ease the burden. When I know a client is getting some relief because I’m there… that excites me! That, and problem solving. I’m a solutions girl — I see a problem or puzzle and I want to fix it.
I love this question! The best time to hire a business manager is when you get to the place that managing the back end operations part of your business is taking away valuable time you could be using to generate revenue in your business. When it is taking away valuable time with your family, or time to care for yourself. When running your business is sucking all of the creative inspiration out of you. When you need to hire help, but feel you may need more than an VA.
Here are some signs are ready for a business manager —
– If you’re constantly worrying about dropping balls, or waking up in the night worried you forgot something
– If you get up in the morning overwhelmed or panicked about all that needs be done, but have no idea where to start
– If you simply can’t keep track of all the moving pieces in your business…
– If you’re having trouble knowing if ALL the things you’re doing actually fit in with your overall vision and goals for your business
– If you don’t want one more thing or person to manage yourself
– If you need someone to hold YOU accountable
Just one?! I’ll give you two that can kind of be lumped together.
1— Start your day with a plan. Each night, look at your schedule and write down (or virtually document) your appointments and priorities for the next day. This way you start your morning knowing exactly what needs done, instead of sitting down at your desk and having no idea where to start.
2 — DON’T make a mile long to-do list. This is a recipe for defeat. Prioritize and pick just one or two main goals or to-dos for each day. That’s it. If you could only do ONE thing today, what would the most important thing be?? At the end of the day, when you know you’ve accomplished the MOST important task or two, it reduces overall overwhelm and leads to a sense of accomplishment that keeps you going day after day.
Lastly, just a piece of advice — when you are feeling overwhelmed, frantic, anxious or stuck…like nothing is working: JUST STOP. Walk away. You can’t be productive in that space. Do something entirely different that isn’t work — take a short walk and get some fresh air, do something creative, eat something… anything that isn’t what you were doing. This seems counter intuitive — but when you pause and do something different, you reset and come back refreshed and focused.
I guess that was three! 😉
If you’d like to talk more about business management, time management, or and how a business manager could help you and your business, let’s chat! You can find me over on askcindyco.com and connect with me on Instagram and Facebook.
REVERIE MINGLES: Which of those signs do you see in your business? Do you think it might be time to hire some help?