Can you really work less but make more? Our guest today is an entrepreneur-enthusiast who lives by the mantra: Work Less, Make More. Kristin Molenaar worked in product development in the beauty industry and was dedicated to creating her own consulting business. After realizing she wasn’t going anywhere with it, she pivoted to being a virtual assistant. With the help of her husband, she has turned it into a VA agency called YesBoss VA with a very distinct model of helping to remove stress from solopreneurs’ lives. She joins Paul Higgins today to share her three-step process of working less and making more, as well as how to rid yourself of the DIY mindset.
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Scaling Your Business Like A Boss With Kristin Molenaar
Our guest is someone who worked in product development in the beauty industry and dedicated to create her own consulting business. She left and thought that would be the main ticket. After having years of $5,000 annually, a friend asked her a simple question, “If you don’t like it, why do it?” This turned her to pivot to being a virtual assistant, a VA. With the help of her husband James, she has turned it into a VA agency with a distinct model helping to remove stress from solopreneurs lives. Don’t we all need more of that? The three-step process to work less, make more, how to hire leaders in your business and how to read yourself of the DIY mindset. I’ve also kindly given two great free resources in the show. Over now to Kristin Molenaar from YesBoss VA.
Welcome, Kristin Molenaar, from YesBoss VA. It’s brilliant having you on, Kristin.
Thank you for having me. It’s an honor to be here with you.
We were talking beforehand that one of the best pitches I’ve ever had for someone getting here was from you. A big kudos to you. It’s a great start to what some of your team do for you. Why don’t we kick off with something your friends or family know about you that we may not?
Every single person that knows me in real life knows that I have a phobia of tags. Tags are the things that you find on your clothing, your bedding or on your pillows. I don’t know what it is. I have a childhood story of my first experience with tags and it was awful, but I hate them. If I touch a tag, I have to wash my hands. It sounds like this big OCD thing. I don’t know what it is. My grandmother was convinced that I need to get over it. I’m convinced that she needs to keep the tags away from me.
How do you get with flying?
Whatever I can do to avoid them, that’s it.
I don’t know what’s like in the US. I haven’t been there for a while, but here in Australia, you’ve got to put your tags on yourself now. They’re trying to lower the cost of everything. I’m assuming that checking into a Jetstar, a Virgin or a Tiger Air might not be the experience you’d want.
If it’s a paper thing, I can tell myself that’s not a tag. It’s not sewn in. It mostly has to do with garments or fabric and things sewn into that. That’s more of the phobia there. I can deal with the paper stuff. I chalk that up to the stationery.
For me, sometimes it could be years I’m wearing a garment in particular. Let’s face it, I work from home. I’ve always got tracksuit pants on. I’ve got about seven pairs and I’ll realize one day I’ve never ripped that tag. I’m like, “Why am I itching?” It’s been uncomfortable for two years. Why don’t I just rip the tag off?
You better believe none of my clothes have those on them. They get cut off carefully before they ever touched my body.
From what I’ve seen on LinkedIn in my research, you started in personal care and then you went into coaching people. Since 2015, you’ve been running a brilliant VA business, but why don’t you take us through your summary of that journey of getting to where you are now?
Before I ventured into the online world, I worked in the beauty industry, so I helped brands bring their ideas to market. Everything from helping with product formulation, with skincare and makeup products through helping pig packaging and working with suppliers in foreign countries, shipping stuff from Asia all the way to getting the products on the market. It’s called brand management for the beauty industry, but it exposed me to this massive industry that I had never experienced. I was able to learn a lot about project management. That’s been a big key to my success as an entrepreneur. I left that last job in October 2014. I thought, “I’ve got experience here. This would be my business. I could keep doing this but do it on my own.”
I proceeded to be a coach/consultant that made about $5,000 in an entire year. It was pretty devastating. I’ll say that I thought that what it took to be an awesome employee would make me a fantastic business owner and I could not have been further from the truth. It was in January 2016 that I was tired of living in my in-law’s house with my husband and our two dogs. I felt suffocated by this lack of traction that I was getting. I went on a website called HireMyMom.com and I found a virtual assistant side gig. I realized that side gig could be a business in and of itself. I became an accidental entrepreneur because all my true entrepreneurial attempts were failures to that point. Since then, I’ve worked on growing a virtual assistant business, which we now function as a full-fledged agency.
I know often it is, “How long do I stick with something? When do I pivot?” Tell us a little bit about that for you.
It’s an interesting story. When I was focused on the beauty industry as an entrepreneur, I had this preconceived idea that everybody who was saying that they loved their entrepreneurial life was faking it. It’s because I hated it so much, I figured everybody else did. In order to be good salespeople, everybody was putting on this fake, “I’m so excited,” persona. It was me projecting how I felt internally on everybody else. I became good friends with somebody that was also an entrepreneur and it was my first taste of networking with other people in this industry. I remember her telling me, “It doesn’t seem you like what you do and if you don’t like what you do, why are you doing it?”
I had never questioned it before. When you’re an employee, you continue to get jobs that pay more because you have more experience and you worked your way up a ladder. I unintentionally ended up in the beauty industry and yes, I liked my work, but I don’t particularly the industry. I’m not a makeup girl. I’m more of a logistics girl. I like all the backend stuff. It was at that moment that I realized like, “I need to reconsider things here because I don’t love what I do.” In hindsight, I realized that’s why I was never successful is because I was pursuing something literally for the money. There was no passion behind it.
That’s so powerful because I’d mentor a lot of coaches and consultants and it’s not often they love the fact of working for themselves, but you’re right, sometimes you work for the wrong clients. You have the wrong business model and it’s that hamster in the wheel. You get used to not enjoying your job. I must admit I love corporate and I was lucky enough to work for Coca-Cola for several years, but there were a lot of times where I didn’t enjoy it. I felt that was the norm. What you’re saying is 100% true. It’s funny, I was having a conversation with Leslie from Hire My Mom.
I’ve since then personally connected with her as well. She’s fantastic.
You talked about this friend who shined the light on you and it’s always great because the old saying, “You can’t see the label on the jar from the inside.” Who else has supported you particularly as you started to grow the VA business?
When I realized that I was sitting on a business and not a virtual assistant gig, I became serious about having people support me. My husband, we realized he could make more money by quitting his job and then working in the VA business because we could bring on more and more clients. My husband does not work for me now. We’ve since discovered that working together isn’t what we want to do, but right away I realized I could grow this a whole lot bigger if it isn’t just me. Aside from my husband, the first support that I brought in, I brought somebody right into the business. I was making $15 an hour doing the work for the first client that I brought on board, which was a huge blow to my ego at the time.
I felt I was successful in my corporate career and I’m sitting here charging $15 per hour. In hindsight, it ended up being fantastic and I’ll tell you why. It’s because I got assigned blog writing and I thought, “I could do blogs.” I started to write blogs and I hated writing blogs. I thought, “I need to bring somebody else in to help me with this. No way I’m going to sit here and write blogs for $15 an hour. However, I will pay an intern $8 an hour all day long to write blogs and make $7 not doing a thing.” The entrepreneur mindset had stayed with me and I was able to, even at $15 an hour, to learn how to capitalize on building a team and delegation and bringing in a full-fledged support system for myself so that there was no limit on how big I could grow.
You will never be truly successful if you’re pursuing something literally just for the money, and there’s no passion behind it. Click To Tweet
Your experiences in product formulation and I suppose like you said, that logistical side is your passion, which now you’re applying to an industry that helps entrepreneurs. Is that a fair summary? You’ve found what you love to do. You found that there’s a need and also people are willing to pay money for it.
When I got into being a virtual assistant, I didn’t realize what you’re saying, but I do now. My passion is helping and serving entrepreneurs. If I discover anybody anywhere that tells me about some business idea, I become insanely attached to their business idea and helping them make it a reality. I didn’t realize that was my passion and that was a passion I can monetize. I love helping my clients. What’s so cool about it too is that I feel the people that work on my team are entrepreneurs in the sense of in and of themselves. I’m able to help, not only provide support and get passionate about our client’s businesses, but also the people on my team getting passionate about what they’re doing. The trickle-down from that has been incredible for me. I never in a million years would have guessed that the key to my personal and professional fulfillment would have come by way of finding virtual assistant gigs. I would never have thought that.
Life always has twists and turns. What we’ll do now is go into the build section and with a company name called YesBoss VA, it’s pretty obvious what you do. Why don’t you say it in your own words? When someone comes to you and says, “Kristin, what do you do?” How do you explain that?
We are a one-stop-shop for stressed-out solopreneurs. We have found that our ideal client and the people that we love working with most, they hit a certain point in their business where they can no longer grow because they’re doing everything themselves. You’ve only got so many hours in a day. You can only be efficient before your business is maxed out with it being you. We come in and we become that one-stop-shop, meaning that we pair our clients with an account manager and that account manager is responsible for holding the vision of your company with you, having your back. Removing all of that loneliness that you feel, but also being a practical help to you. Internally we have a team of virtual assistants who have a variety of skills. That account manager works with you to figure out how to work with our entire team to run the backend of your business. We have online business management, which is the day-to-day stuff that you do. We also do digital marketing implementation, so those online launches and stuff. For those entrepreneurs that are working by themselves but don’t necessarily want to figure out how to find, vet, hire and manage all of the amazing people on their team, we’re a shortcut to that team-building process for them.
The way that I interpret that is nearly a project manager where you brief them and then they go and make sure the work gets done. Is that my interpretation?
That is correct. In the virtual assistant industry, we would call that more an online business manager. The account manager wants to know all the things that are going on in your business so they can help you figure out like, “Paul, maybe you shouldn’t be doing that. Maybe we should be doing that.” They’re like a sound boarding partner. Also putting everything into practice. A project manager is a perfect term.
To be honest, that’s the way I structure my business. I ran an outsourcing VA business for a few years until my health meant that I couldn’t travel to the Philippines anymore, which I thought was unfair for my team. I ended up winding it down. I’ve kept the core team and that’s what I have. I’ve got a brilliant business manager, Connie. Whatever title you give her, she’s effectively exactly what you say. We have an internal team and then a load of experts around the world. On the expert’s part, which you said one-stop-shop. Do you then subcontract out to other people or is it all done within your team?
I would say that it’s 95% in our team. It used to be a little bit lower than that because we needed to build up our clientele to be able to justify things like adding a graphic designer and adding a copywriter to the team. There are limits to what we do. I say that we are not copywriters, but we can content repurpose your podcast episodes or your Facebook Lives or whatever. There are some boundaries. Before that, what we would do with clients who had projects outside of our scope is we would use systems or platforms like Upwork to see if we could still accomplish that work for our clients. The need for that has almost completely disappeared because as our client base grows, we’re able to build an even more robust team. It’s cool because that means there’s more team culture and we can keep all those projects among people that are committed to what we’re doing. I like it that way.
You talk about a DIY mindset. What do you mean by that?
What I’m seeing among a lot of entrepreneurs is that you decide that you want a business on the internet and all these awesome, smart marketers are telling you, “If you want to do it, you’ve got to figure it out.” You have to do webinars and you have to figure out webinars. You have to become a podcast host and you have to figure it all out yourself. It’s a blessing and a curse this time we live in because we can learn all of the things ourselves. We’ve got YouTube and Google. There’s no excuse for not learning something. However, the definition of an entrepreneur is a visionary or a leader. When we’re doing everything all by ourselves, what we’re doing essentially is creating a job for ourselves.
We’re self-employed, but are we being entrepreneurs when we’re DIY-ing everything, when we’re keeping everything on our own plate? I would say that’s not entrepreneurial. In addition to saying that, I don’t think it’s entrepreneurial. Paul, I would love to share one of my quick hacks for people that are even at the beginning stages of business to drive the point home a bit. What every entrepreneur that starts is told to do is you need a freebie offer. You need some way to get somebody on your email list so that you can nurture them through email marketing. That’s a big thing that 90% of people do to build their business. What I see a lot of entrepreneurs doing is they’re googling and they’re YouTube-ing, “How to connect my MailChimp account to my Squarespace website?”
We’ve all probably been there. What happens is you spend ten hours between figuring out how to do it and watching the videos, try to implement it, troubleshoot it, fix the mistakes, and then be like, “I got it. If I had to repeat it again, I would have no idea what I’m doing.” What I would say to the people in that situation, and you can apply this to many things that you’re doing in your business, is you could find a virtual assistant that could do that in two hours. Rather than you spending ten hours, which let’s also face it if it takes you ten hours, you probably also have some mindset stuff that you’re dealing with in there and that ten hours ends up taking you a week because you’re second-guessing everything. What you can do is you can outsource these quick tasks to people. Our team charges $40 per hour and we’re on the higher end.
We’re providing more of a luxury service, but I’m using that as a point to say you could pay somebody $40 an hour for two hours. You spend $80 and you’ve got it done literally in two hours. If you want to up your game a little bit, what I would say is outsource those tasks and then whoever you’re outsourcing to, ask them to provide a screen-share recording of how they did that task so that you’re equipped to do it next time if you want to. It would literally take you two hours. It also provides the start of your SOP, which is your Standard Operating Procedures internally. You now have an asset in your business because you’ve documented a process. It has many layers of wins on it. I want to encourage entrepreneurs, stop DIY-ing everything. Start thinking about, “How can I get this done with less time and more quickly? How can I move past this?”
These days also with project management software is we use Asana, but it’s easy to create a checklist now of the steps. You can have the recording, which is great, but they can basically build it, why they deliver it. That’s smart advice. As far as clients at first come on because I must admit I struggle with why wouldn’t you have a VA? I say it’s essential and you need a phone, you need a computer and you need a VA as a solopreneur, a coach or a consultant. What are the things that you find people struggle with when they first come on and start using your services?
We have identified that people rest in 1 of 2 camps typically when they work with us. We’ve built some processes to try to help people that are struggling to become more like the people that are successful. The thing that we have found is that the people that are successful have figured out what moves the needle in their business and then put processes and delegation behind those things, versus the people that come to us and they say to me on a discovery call, “I know that I should be posting more on Instagram, so I want to hire you guys to be consistent with my Instagram posting.” My question for them, “Is your Instagram creating a profit for your business? If it’s not, then is it essential to your business?”
What I’ve found is when you delegate the non-essential, what you’re doing is you’re adding overhead to your business that doesn’t drive any profit. It doesn’t drive any growth. You hit hard times, it becomes easy to cut that person out because they weren’t adding to the bottom line anyway. What we do as an agency is we like focusing on the stuff that is essential in your business. Before you ever work with an account manager, we take inventory of your business with you and we sit down and figure out what the things that are moving the needle are? We can know that’s where we should be focusing our efforts. It has been clear to us that either client is doing that and then they keep working with us years down the road or they’re not doing that and they usually tell us that it’s not working after about a month. There’s not a whole lot of in-between for us.
For you, is there any monthly revenue number or any key metric that you look at that helps you determine whether someone’s going to be an ideal client for you from a can I afford this?
On our Getting Started page, we cite that we are ideal for somebody who is making at least $80,000 a year. That seems to be an ideal mark for us. We also have signed people that feel ambitious that they’re going to hit that soon and we’ve helped them get there. I feel more comfortable working with people that have that padding though because if you don’t, there are cheaper ways to outsource tasks. That example that I gave initially, you could go on Upwork and get that done. You don’t have to build your team right away necessarily. We’re for that person who’s like, “I am making as much as I can by myself. I’ve figured out sales. I have reoccurring revenue. I’m not starving here. I need to get some more freedom for my business so then I could take it to the next level.”
How big is your team?
We have 11 or 12 people on our team.
What are the key things that you’re looking for when you’re hiring your team?
I lead leaders. That is how I look at my team. I look for that leader mentality. The character is huge for me. We have a lengthy hiring process. It’s about seven steps. In there, we trip people up. We have this one test that tests how much of a leader they are. For us, this is the test and that is the people on our VA team, they are loading in a MailChimp email for us and we don’t give them a subject. Our objective is to figure out what they’re going to do with the lack of information that we’ve given them. At first, when we put this test into practice, we thought that what we wanted was for people to come back to us and say, “I noticed that there’s no subject. Could you please provide the subject so I could complete this task for you?” That’s what we expected that we wanted. However, the leaders on our team knocked it out of the park in the way that they performed in that test. What they did was they made a subject line. They figured it out for themselves.
The really successful people have figured out what moves the needle in their business and put processes behind those things. Click To Tweet
When they sent the test to us, they called that out. They said, “I noticed that there was no subject line, but in an effort to get this test completed, I put a placeholder subject line. If you don’t like it, you could always let me know and we can revise it, but I thought I would go ahead and make a suggestion of what that subject line can be.” What that tells me is that you’re not going to sit around and wait for me to dictate every single part of your job. You’re going to be proactive and want to get things accomplished, but you’re also going to have that respect with coming back to me and showing me like, “I did this thing and I want to get your approval on it,” because frankly, you don’t know what I want until you’ve worked with me for a little bit. We’ve seen leadership qualities shine through that test project that we’ve given our team.
We do a similar thing. That’s a brilliant idea. We’ve got some values and it’s around that proactivity, so how they always thinking a step ahead of you. I ran a VA company for a few years and one of the biggest objections that I normally came up against was I’ll get ready. I’ll get everything sorted and then I’ll come to you. I’m embarrassed to have my business is running at the moment. I’ll wait until it gets better. What do you say to people? The people reading are probably laughing. You think, “That is me.”
It depends on who you are. If you have been saying that for months on end, it’s time to get somebody in there. It’s time to face the fact that you probably will not do this. Maybe if you haven’t done it already, maybe you’re not supposed to do it. That’s why we’ve set up our process the way that we have and that is on a call before we start getting work done, we have a getting to know you call. That includes a brain dump of everything that’s going on in your business. I have found that not everybody is a project manager. That’s not a prerequisite for being a successful entrepreneur, but you can align yourself with people that are good at that task and that are good at organizing all of your thoughts.
I’m not a finisher myself. I love starting new things. That’s very entrepreneur typical. I love new ideas. I love starting new things. I’m terrible at finishing. I’ve owned that fact. What I’ve realized is that I can hack my downfall by bringing other people in to support me through that. What I would say is you probably need to look for somebody that can handle that environment. Maybe that means somebody that’s a little bit higher level that they know what they’re getting into. They know that you’re going to simply brain dump and you need them to help you sort through things. Personally, I have found that having somebody on my team that I can verbally process has helped me sort through a lot of things that I’ve not been able to sort out on my own having that verbal processing. If that’s you, find someone. Maybe it’s even a project manager that could help you sort through things. Maybe it’s going through, our eliminating the first step in our process working with clients. We have a freebie for that. If you’re interested in doing that all by yourself, that would be awesome. You’ve got to figure out, “How can I start taking steps forward to get out of this spiral?”
You talk about your process. You’ve got a three-step process. Take us through that.
The very first step is to eliminate all non-essentials. We look at two things. We look at your monetization efforts and your marketing strategies. There’s a chance that a lot of those things can be eliminated. We look at those two things and then the two questions I ask about each of those categories are, “What is your heart telling you to do?” which is ironic. I built a business initially that my heart was not in. I see how important this is. What is your heart saying about all these things that you’re doing? Does it align with what you want and what does the data say? Those two things are going to show you what 20% you should be focusing on so that you can continue to get 80% of the results. The second phase of our three-step process is automation and delegation. I like to put these two together because a lot of entrepreneurs should not be doing their own automation. They should delegate automation. However, you don’t want to outsource to people that are going to do work in a laborious way.
If there’s a way to automate a task, it means to be done, otherwise you’re throwing money out the window. We work with our clients to figure out how can we automate as much as we’re doing? The rest of it, we’ll do manually. That’s fine. The third step is generating effort-free income. You could also call this white-label or may be passive income. We like to partner with our clients to make sure that we’re adding to the bottom line in their business. For one of our clients, she teaches how to speak on stages and she has some of her VIP clients who, in addition to coaching, they want some done-for-you support. They’re looking to her to find stages and pitcher for the stages and do all of that behind the scenes. What we do is we partnered with her to provide that support to her clients. We sell that service to her for $750 and she then sells it to her VIP clients for over $1,000. What that does is that client is able to say, “My team generates profit. The profit doesn’t rest on my shoulders. I have a profit-producing team.” That’s the ultimate win for us because that creates job security all around.
It’s your version of 80/20. What do you know that many may not about the 80/20 Rule?
A simplistic answer is I know that it works and a lot of people don’t. A lot of people think that it’s a great theory, but they’ve not investigated it and they’ve not looked at what does this means? For me, it means breaking it down into categories. How are you monetizing, how are you marketing and looking at those as individual silos? I’ve taken a deeper dive into how to analyze my efforts in a way that shows me that the 80/20 Theory is factual if you think about it in the right way.
I use Toggl when I track all my time. For me, I’ve got to be spending 50% of my time on sales and marketing. I’m amazed when I first come in, I do a diagnostic as you do. I eliminate the non-essentials. For me, it’s more about, “What are my clients going to focus on?” I know you help your clients, which is brilliant. That’s a great point of difference to a lot of VA companies that I’ve worked with. It’s tracking where you are spending the time that only you could do. Once at Coca-Cola, I said, “Are you doing the things only you can do or are you sitting on your team?” I’ll always remember that not because of the image of, “Why would I sit on my team?” It’s more from the fact that of only do the things that you can do so everything else can be done by your team. That is a great tie-in to that 80/20. The last question in the build section is how do you drive traffic? You’ve been at this for years, but what have you found, especially in these uncertain times, as one of the best ways to get leads and drive traffic for your business?
We have pivoted. What took me to six-figures and then to almost $200,000 was a lot of referrals. I produced $100,000 worth of sales from going to one conference and making enough connections at that conference and pitching myself in such a niche way. I pitched myself as a virtual assistant agency that specialized in online shows because that was what was being pitched. These people at the event, they needed to do an online show to build a list. I was raising my hand going, “I could do that for you.” Picking that niche enabled me to close $100,000 in ten months, which is insane to me. That produced a lot of referrals because people understood what I did. They knew a lot of people that needed my service.
We have since capitalized on going out and me educating people on this three-step process. Things like podcasts, this is what I do to get our name out there. I also love showing up in other people’s communities, say their Facebook group or their membership area or their mastermind community. I am personally on a mission to eradicate entrepreneurial stress. I feel if I can spend an hour with somebody and help another person eliminate the stress in their business, it’s worth my time. Being able to give from that place has produced a profit for me, which is mind-boggling. It’s why I now believe that when entrepreneurs say, “I love what I do,” I believe it because I love what I do. That is not a cop-out. It is my reality. I help other people avoid the pitfalls that I had needed to avoid and that I help my clients avoid.
I would like to help you build your authority on LinkedIn in these uncertain times. You can go to BLGClick.com and watch our prerecorded free masterclass. I go through three key secrets. One is how do you get more views? Two is how do you get engagement from your ideal clients? Three is how do you convert those engagements into lasting relationships? At the moment, if you’re a solopreneur and with Kristin’s help, you can get a lot of support to do the activities on LinkedIn that can help you be successful. Whether it’s getting direct clients or building the relationship when the economy turns back post-COVID-19, you’ll be in a fantastic place. The live section, the first question I’ve got for you, Kristin, what daily habits make you successful?
Realizing that I don’t have to do things alone is honestly the thing that has made me successful. Realizing that I can ask for help and that asking for help produces opportunities for other people that they may be praying for. That idea has fulfilled me in many ways and it’s helped eliminate the glass ceiling in my own potential. I’ve realized that by doing business and life together, the impact that I can make, the profit that I can make, all of these things, there is no limit to it. It’s fulfilling to me. That’s the biggest thing. I don’t have to do it alone. I’ve learned how to get good at inviting other people into what I’m doing in all aspects.
When I was doing some research, you said that you work five hours a week. Is this correct?
Yes, I spend five hours per week running the agency. That’s all it requires of me. That time typically includes some sales calls, some team support, and things like being on podcasts or doing training. It’s quite incredible.
You’ve got an amazing team, but what else helps you to get to that five hours? I know a lot of people reading, it’s like when Tim Ferriss did this 4-Hour Work Week, everyone’s like, “Ah,” and in Australia, we always call it BS, “That’s not real.” I’m sure a lot of people reading, you saved five hours but you don’t do it. How have you got to five hours?
I am particular at what I say yes to. For starters, I have built my business around the expertise of the team that I had. I didn’t start out with an agency that does what we do now. We didn’t start out by serving solopreneurs. What took us to six figures was a niche offering and that was offering online show support. It was a system that I could put into place. It was systematizable. It was easy to train the people working for me to do that. Everything that I monetize is built around the skills of other people. That’s my secret. When I sell, I’m selling you on how amazing my team is, which has also proven to be a great mindset hack for me as I’ve grown in my entrepreneurial journey. I didn’t always have a ton of confidence in myself because coming off of making $5,000 for the year, I was at a low there. When I realized that I could sell on the amazingness of the people that I surrounded myself with, that was like, “This is easy. I could do this all day long because I truly believe in these people. I love them. They’re amazing. It’s easy to sell their services.”
I’ve built a business around the expertise of other people. I want to say I lucked out, but I guess I was very strategic. I get to be the face of this and it’s this huge blessing for me. I have removed myself from being the center of the show. Sometimes my ego wants me to be the center of attention and my ego wants me to do all the things and rescue the people and like, “I know how to make that webpage look better, I could write that copy better,” but I have refrained from being the superhero. I’ve refrained from those ego hits and allowed my company to have a life of its own while I lead the vision of it.
It’s impressive and practicing what you’re preaching is a brilliant way to run a business. For you, people reading this will definitely still be in COVID-19 and the pandemic, what have you learned through this experience that will change you and your business moving forward?
I’ve learned that transparent leadership is necessary. Our business has taken a hit because of COVID. The new clients that we signed in the new year, they face the financial uncertainty that the rest of the world did. A lot of our new clients and the new effort that we had put in and all that excitement for us, it felt the rug got ripped out from under us. What I had to remind myself is, “Remember, Kristin, you were leading leaders, and leaders need to be brought into the vision of your company. You don’t have to carry this weight alone. Remember all of these people that you have, they are so talented.” What I have done is I’ve been honest about where we are like, “Things are challenging and we’re not going to stop going after new business, but it’s a bit more challenging now because a lot of people have a lot of financial insecurity and it requires investment to invest with us.”
What’s happened in that is my team has stepped up and shown up in ways that they would never have had I not been transparent about some of the personal struggles that I’ve had. What we’ve done is we’ve started creating training materials for other virtual assistants that want to become agency owners because we see a new need in the market. A lot of people that don’t have jobs are wanting to get into the virtual assistant industry. We have the skills to teach that. My team is like, “Here are all the ways that we could serve those people.” It’s interesting because my team is driving so many ideas for this new department that we’re working on internally. It’s more of my business being built on the ideas, skills, ambitions and passions of the people that I’ve surrounded myself with. It’s a beautiful thing.
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We talked about your husband, James, before and it sounds like you fired him, but that may be me reading between the lines in the wrong way. If James is reading this, what would you like to say to him about the support he’s given you?
My husband believes in me and sometimes I wonder why I wouldn’t be an entrepreneur if he hadn’t planted the seed in me. My ambitions as a young girl were to work in New York City and work for some big magazine. What he told me was, “I always thought that you would be the boss. Why would you ever work for somebody else?” Him saying that was like, “What? Why would I be the boss? I can’t do that.” He would challenge that. “Why not? Why can’t you?” He exposed me to this whole entrepreneur thing and has done things like quit these amazing jobs to move into his parents’ house. He took up some awful work to support our family so that I could have the ultimate freedom to pursue this thing. He never once said, “Kristin, maybe it’s time that you go back to a job. Get your head out of the clouds.” He has never said that to me and I am grateful for that. I’m fueled by his belief in me. It’s been truly incredible.
The next section is the give section. I know this is something close to your heart and you definitely inspired me from reading it. I’d love for you to tell people reading is what’s a charity or a community that you’re passionate about and why?
My husband and I are passionate about foster care. We became foster parents in 2017. Frankly, we got into it because I didn’t have the maternal instinct to have children of my own. I figured I need to figure this out by age 30, “Do I want to have children or do I not want to have children?” I don’t want my indecision to be a decision. I need to be purposeful about this. We went to a meeting about adoption and discovered foster care and realized that there was an incredible need for people to step in and become foster parents. With much trepidation, we stepped into taking one step at a time towards getting licensed as foster parents. We felt that was a silent promise to God for us, “Lord, we’re going to step into this one step at a time. If it’s what you have for our life, then so be it. If not, we’re okay with that too.” About a year after starting the process, we got a call and our son came home to us at ten days old and he was adopted at nineteen months. We are talking about going right back into foster care again. There’s such a need and we are blessed beyond words to have grown our family in this way.
The last section is the action section where I’ll ask you some questions and get some rapid-fire responses. The first one is what are your top three personal effectiveness tips?
Don’t do it alone. Guard your energy. Do things that are increasing your energy, not draining your energy, and do things that light you up. Build a life and a business around what truly drives you.
What’s a piece of technology that’s essential for and your team to run the business?
We run everything on Asana, just like you.
What’s your best source of new ideas?
I liked the author, Mike Michalowicz. He sparks a lot of ideas for me. He’s written some incredible books, but I’ll tell you this, I try to limit my consumption as much as possible because I find that getting other people’s ideas too much stumps my creativity. I guard my time well around that. His latest book is Fix This Next. My favorite is Clockwork.
The last one, and it’s the big one. I’ll leave it to the end for that very reason, but what impact do you want to leave on the world?
I want to help entrepreneurs see and understand that your work life can be a source of fulfillment. It doesn’t have to be draining. When I say that I’m on a mission to eradicate entrepreneurial stress, that is not lip service. If I could sit in the same room as you, I would look at you in the eye and I would say you can build a business that lights you up. You can build a business that energetically fuels you so that you can go out and can continue to make an impact in the rest of the world outside of your work. You have the freedom to choose what you do as a business owner. Let’s choose wisely and do the things that light us on fire.
Thanks, Kristin. You’ve shared so much wisdom through this interview. To everyone reading, you can find out more and get a brand first step. Go to YesBossVA.com/WorkLessMakeMore. It’s brilliant having you on. Thanks for you for getting rid of stress in entrepreneurial lives, which is important at all times but in particular, now.
Thank you for having me. It was such a pleasure being here and chatting with you.
I enjoyed that interview with Kristin. It brought back many memories of running my own VA business. What is your biggest takeaway from Kristin? Please share on your socials and mention her. She would love that. If you believe someone you know would benefit from this, please share. I’m sure there are many people out there that are doing too much of DIY themselves. You can learn the three secrets to building your authority on LinkedIn in our free prerecorded masterclass. Go to BLGClick.com. Please take action to build your business and lifestyle. Most importantly, stay well.
- YesBoss VA
- Getting Started page – Yes Boss VA
- 4-Hour Work Week
- Fix This Next
About Kristin Molenaar
Kristin Molenaar is an entrepreneur-enthusiast who lives by the mantra: Work Less, Make More – which has enabled her to build a 6 figure business while working an average of just 5 hours per week. Kristin’s mission to eradicate entrepreneurial stress fuels her passion for sharing the 3-step blueprint both she and her clients have put into place to achieve true freedom in business.
Kristin is the founder of the virtual agency, YesBoss VA. At YesBoss, she and her team help clients go from burned-out solopreneurs to empowered and supported CEOs through online business management and digital marketing support. YesBoss runs your online business for you, so you can scale it LIKE A BOSS.
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