Business Blasphemy

EP42: Unlocking Efficiency: the Hidden Magic of Business Ops with Amber Monaco

October 24, 2023 Sarah Khan Season 1 Episode 42
Business Blasphemy
EP42: Unlocking Efficiency: the Hidden Magic of Business Ops with Amber Monaco
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Military service, legal work in DC, and then digital nomadism in Thailand -- Amber Monaco has never been shy to take on new challenges and carve her own path.

Founder of You Need An Amber LLC, Amber's journey is not only inspiring but also incredibly insightful for anyone looking to streamline their business operations.

In this week's episode, Amber lifts the veil on the realities of hitting big entrepreneurial milestones and underscores the necessity of solid operations, including clear communication, especially when onboarding new team members. You know we get gritty and talk about the fallacy of the six-figure success mentality, and she offers a fresh perspective on what true entrepreneurial success looks like.

We also tackle the often intimidating area of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), discussing their role in providing control and ease within business operations. She gives advice on how to strike a balance between providing structure and fostering creativity as well as the importance of money tracking, delivering on promises, and the evolving concept of professionalism in the online business arena.

Settle in for a ride through the nitty-gritty of business operations, and emerge with a new appreciation for the backbone of your business.

Guest Bio:
Amber Monaco is the owner of You Need An Amber, LLC - dedicated to backend operations and project management.  Her goal is to create efficiencies in businesses so owners can have more white space in their calendars. She lives her life and runs her business in a way that promotes feeling calm and at ease.  Amber lives in Kansas City, MO with her partner, Andrew, his two kids, one cat, some chickens, and more tomato plants to feed a small army.

Connect with Amber:
https://www.instagram.com/youneedanamber/
https://www.facebook.com/youneedanamber
www.youneedanamber.com

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Connect with Sarah:

The Business Blasphemy Podcast is sponsored by Corporate Rehab® Strategic Consulting.

Corporate Rehab® is a fierce ally for ambitious ex-corporate moms who refuse to be restricted by outdated work (and social) norms. We challenge the status quo, empowering you to lead from your truth. Forget the empty hustle and build a legacy of success your way. The key? Our distinctive 4-part framework, The Audacity Factor™. It's not just a strategy, it’s a groundbreaking shift in how you approach your goals. Sarah, a seasoned strategist and advisor, not only helps you craft a path to long-lasting success where smart, deliberate actions replace the weary treadmill of hustle and grind — she walks beside you as you do.

Schedule a no stings "Let's Talk Business" call today and find out what small shifts you can make to work less and double your profitability.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Business Blasphemy podcast, where we question the sacred truths of the online business space and the reverence with which they're held. I'm your Sarah Khan, speaker, strategic consultant and BS busting badass. Join me each week as we challenge the norms, trends and overall bullshit status quo of entrepreneurship to uncover what it really takes to build the business that you want to build in a way that honors you, your life and your vision for what's possible, and maybe piss off a few gurus along the way. So if you're ready to commit Business Blasphemy, let's do it. Hello, hello Blasphemers, welcome to this episode of the Business Blasphemy podcast. I'm joined this week by guest Amber Monaco of you Need an Amber LLC. We're going to talk all about operations. She and I have a shared background in operations and project management. so it just made sense to have her on to talk a little bit about back-end ops and if you're a solo business owner who's traditionally been feeling kind of stymied by operations or a little overwhelmed or intimidated, this is the conversation you want to listen to. A little bit about Amber before we begin. She's dedicated to back-end operations and project management. Her goal is to create efficiencies in business so owners can have more white space in their calendars. She lives her life and runs her business in a way that promotes feeling calm and at ease. Amber lives in Kansas City with her partner, andrew, his two kids, one cat, some chickens and enough tomato plants to feed a small army. Enjoy the episode.

Speaker 2:

Amber. Welcome Hi, Sarah, I'm so happy to be here.

Speaker 1:

I ask everyone this, but can you please tell me, before we dive into all the good things about your origin story how did you come to be an entrepreneur? What brought you to this point?

Speaker 2:

Okay, I have a windy road. Are you ready? Yes, let's do it. So I was in the military for six years. I was in the military, I was in the United States Navy and I was a navigator. I drove the ship around. That's cool, and it has no marketable skills none at all. And that is a job that I don't care about at all at all. So whenever I was in the military, I switched jobs and became a paralegal and I loved that job so much. It fit my skill set, it fit my personality, it fit all the things. When my time in the military was up, I finished my undergrad degree and then I immediately got a job at the Department of Homeland Security in Washington DC and it sounds very fancy on paper that I worked there and I was making a lot of money and I was playing softball under the Washington Monument and it was very idyllic and it was not the life for me. So I did what any rational person would do and I quit my job and sold everything I owned and bought a one-way plane ticket to Thailand and I traveled the world by myself as a digital nomad for two years, right. And while I was traveling I started a couple of businesses and that's when I realized I wanted to own my time. I wanted to own my future. I wanted to own how I did all of the things. Well, as you do, you run out of money. You run out of money and you have to get a job. So I got a job at a co-working space and I ran a co-working space for about three years, and what I loved about that experience was that I realized that business owners are really good at the thing that they do Right. Lawyers are really good at writing contracts. Right. Accountants are really good at adding the column in Excel. We're all really good at our job, right. No one wants to do that back-end stuff. No one wants to make the systems and the processes and the operations and the workflows and the automations. No one wants to do that because they want to do the thing that they're good at. They want to do the thing that inspired them to start the business in the first place. And I was just looking around like, well, I want to do those things, that's what I do. Well, right, like I'm not an accountant, I'm not, you know, the person with the thing. Right, I'm not a designer, I don't create things, I don't have the eye, but I can do the back-end things. I can come into your business and see the gaps and then figure out how we fill the gaps to make everything much more efficient.

Speaker 1:

I love that. Can I ask a weird question Always, why Thailand it's such an interest? The number of people that I have spoken to who are like I quit everything, I sold everything and I moved, it's always Thailand. What am I missing? It's so cheap. Like so cheap? No, you can do it.

Speaker 2:

It's so. Yeah, well, I went in 2015. Okay, so, for frame of reference, I was living in DC. My rent in my shitty, shitty apartment with $2,000 a month Like apartment with roaches, right Like shitty apartment. Great location, right by the train station, but not great $2,000 a month. My whole life in Thailand, my rent Someone doing my laundry, someone cooking me all my meals, my coworking space, transportation everywhere Was like $600.

Speaker 1:

Oh geez.

Speaker 2:

My whole life.

Speaker 1:

Everybody, let's pack up and move to Thailand.

Speaker 2:

I know the weather is great, the visa situation was pretty good and there is a huge community where I was. I was in a town called Chiang Mai. There's a huge community of other digital nomads.

Speaker 1:

My husband actually, yeah, has mentioned that he's been to Thailand a few times and he loves it and he's always trying to get us to go out there. And I'm like, so far away, it's far, which is not really far, because is anything really far nowadays? Yet it's a long trip, especially with little ones who can't sit still for more than five minutes. So when I invited you to come on the podcast, I'd asked a bunch of questions like what is it about your business that kind of goes against the status quo? What are the things that you do that are not considered the norm of the status quo in business? And one of the big ones that really stuck out for me is that making six figures is the only way to be successful. That is something that I have railed against for so long, for so long, and yet it still seems to be a really pervasive rhetoric in this space. So how did you come to feel, I guess, that that really wasn't the benchmark for success? What was it for you?

Speaker 2:

Well, I've never made it.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm.

Speaker 2:

I don't make a hundred thousand dollars in my. If I'm being perfectly honest, I think last year I made 76, yeah, and I think this year maybe I'll cross 80, maybe, but I don't feel like a failure oh no gosh. I mean, that is such a legitimate yeah, I think that's pretty good, yeah, and like I can pay my bills, I can go on a vacation or two a year, yeah, and I'm okay. And I just don't have this feeling of like, okay, if I would have made $77,000 last year with that have been success, right, it's just an arbitrary number that happens to end in a lot of zeros. It looks really pretty on paper, it does but I just don't believe that you make $99,000 this year.

Speaker 1:

You're seven hundred. Yeah, yeah, not a hundred thousand.

Speaker 2:

That it's not. I could, because in the grand scheme of things that's the same number. Yeah, it really is.

Speaker 1:

There's just such a pervasive and now that that sort of goalpost has shifted to seven figures, and now you're hearing eight figures and it's just like I don't think people truly understand Not only what it takes to get to that Consistently, not just like what I made a hundred thousand dollars, like just one time, but like consistently get there and then maintain it, like it takes a lot. And Most people from my experience who are entrepreneurs don't want that particular lifestyle and I think they, because they don't have the context for it. They don't really understand what it looks like. You've worked with people who make Big numbers. Can you talk?

Speaker 2:

a little bit about.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, like. What do you see in terms of like their lifestyle, or how they have to run the business, or what? How does it differ in a business that's making you know Six, seven figures, versus the vast majority of entrepreneurs who are not making that consistently the difference?

Speaker 2:

is all of the upkeep, they have huge teams, they have all of these softwares that kind of do the same thing, but like slightly, you know, like the Venn diagram of softwares were like there's only a little sliver in the middle where they overlap, but you just bought the software because it does this one random thing. So they're just spending a ton of money on these little things that they think are making their business better or make them look better or look more successful. And you know, like I just don't think it's necessary and and I kind of think about it as like I'm not there. So when I think of like my CRM, for example, I Mm-hmm, I have used 17 hats as my CRM for Years. I was one of the first 100 users of 17.

Speaker 1:

Wow, like years on the ground floor.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, ground floor when it was real bad. And I've recently switched over to Moxie, which I like. It's a it's a new to me platform, but I really like it. But when I think of like HubSpot, like I don't think I'm there, I'm not ready for HubSpot, I don't need all of the features that HubSpot has. Like I do not need Salesforce, you know, like that's, that's too much, right, that's not what my business does. And I guess I don't need to invest in HubSpot or Salesforce or whatever, so that when I send you an invoice it looks like the Salesforce invoices, so that you think that I'm bigger, better, stronger Than I really am. Like I need the thing that's going to function for me. But I see so many people like, well, I want to be at the place where I need the whole HubSpot suite, so I'm just gonna start there. Yeah, and I get that mindset. But also like, okay, but you're starting on the free HubSpot, like we're not paying yeah, we're not doing all these things because I think that makes you feel more like a failure, because I have had so many people say to me I'm probably not even using it to the capability that it could be used.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's so yeah you're not.

Speaker 2:

You're not because that's not where your business is. You don't need it.

Speaker 1:

You don't need it, yeah, but so, and so is using it, and they recommend it like so and so is using it, they recommend it so, and it's usually some guru who's got like, yeah, a hundred thousand people on their mailing list and yeah, but oh.

Speaker 2:

I think I remember your question now how, how are we different? Right, like, how are the people who are living that extreme lifestyle are making all the money different? Yeah, and they're paying for all the things and they're paying for all the people and if you're paying for all the people, then you're paying for more things. It's not like you're just hiring a graphic designer, you're also hiring a project manager, and then you're hiring an accountant, and then you're right, and then, and then, and then, and then, yeah, instead of you know, just like being okay in the space that you are, yeah, and living in that moment and accepting it for what it is.

Speaker 1:

I love that one of the one of the big problems that I've had, because my background is in operations as well. We're both certified directors of operations. We're both like have OBM hats. What would you say? Because, like I know me personally, I will talk to potential clients and it it is so frustrating. I've had this conversation with multiple operations, people that you know you talk to a potential client and they they kind of know and they're like yeah, you're on my bucket list to work with. I don't know if I can invest in you yet, but they'll invest in mindset, they'll invest in you know one-on-one coaching for that, but the operations piece always seems to be on the shelf. It's not something that people immediately think they need to invest in. And then those are the same people who, a year later, will come to you and be like my back end is a mess. Can you help me fix it? What would you say? Like, when you talk to Clients, potential clients, just people in general, what do you feel? Like people get wrong or they they misunderstand about Operations, like I actually got. Like what do you see people doing?

Speaker 2:

wrong. I think they see operations people as billable hours. Oh, and tell me more and that's. I don't think that's what I. If you hire me to come in and be your operations manager, I'm not going to earn you money. I'm not your graphic designer or your copywriter or whatever that you're billing out to the client and you're upcharging on Mm-hmm. That's not what I do. I may never interact with your client. I may, but I also may not because I'm working on your business and the back end of your business. You are helping your clients.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm.

Speaker 2:

So when you think about hiring someone, like me and I'm working on your systems there's no client to bill. And I think sometimes that's a hard pill to swallow, because so often when you think of Hiring someone, it's I want to hire someone because I need to do this better or more efficiently, mm-hmm, and I and I need help with that. So I'm going to outsource this problem yeah, but that's not what my role is. You outsource me to solve your problem? Yes, but there's no client on the other end to Take that fee off of your hands. And I think sometimes there's a misconception of like no, I'll still find a way to build a client and I'm like Okay, but that's not very ethical because I'm literally doing nothing for the client. Like me updating, right, you want to switch your CRM or you want to whatever, I'm writing your SOP. That's that's for us. That's internal Mm-hmm. It might make your client experience better, but that's not your clients bill to pay.

Speaker 1:

Do you think it's harder for operations people to Qualify or quantify, like the ROI, the, the return on investment of someone hiring you into the business to help fix their systems and processes?

Speaker 2:

absolutely, because there's no dollar amount that you put on saving time. There's no dollar amount that you can put on. I trained my next employee Faster than I did my current employee. There's no way to quantify that Other than the feeling. If your employee has a really great onboarding experience, that's amazing and they will probably be a better employee, they'll probably be more efficient, they'll probably stay around longer, but that's very difficult to translate into dollars. But that doesn't mean that it's not important. One of my personal values is people people first. Hmm, like we have to put people first, and if that means that you need to figure out your shitty onboarding system so that the next time you hire someone, it's a legit good experience for them and that's worthwhile, because we all know what it's like to be hired as an employee at a job or as a contractor in a business and you don't know what to do on the first day. Yeah, oh God, yeah. Where do I go? What's the address? What do I wear? Do I bring my lunch? Do I need a sweater in the office? Should I bring my own pen? All of those little things can very easily be solved by a quick email. Hey, sarah, so excited that you're joining us on Monday.

Speaker 1:

Here's what you need to bring, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Here's what you need. See you at the office at 10 am. Here's the address. I'll be outside. I'll be wearing a red shirt. Don't worry about bringing your lunch. I'm going to take you out to lunch my treat, oh and, by the way, I know it's October right now, but the office is still super hot, so dress accordingly.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, from an online business perspective, you can do the same thing. The number of jobs that I have, or your clients that I've worked with and that people on my teams have worked with, where you're starting fresh on the first of the month and you have no access to anything, you have no idea. I've worked with clients and this is earlier in my career, before I had context to know what to ask about. But you'd start and you're like I have no idea what the business does or how things function or who's in charge of this or who I should go to ask questions. And it's, I think, a the same but also a little bit different, because in a physical workplace, at least, you can go and harass somebody if you're brave enough to do it. In an online space, where you're by yourself, who do you ask if these things are not made clear to you when you start working in that particular business? And I think that maybe and I don't know if you agree with this, but maybe one of the challenges is that people don't really especially if you've never been on the operation side of it they don't have a context for well, what information should I be giving to people? They don't really understand, because you don't know what you don't know. That's not the area of expertise. So when you're looking at businesses, what are people getting? Where are they making mistakes? Where do you feel like the biggest mistakes tend to happen in the back end of a person's business that hasn't had the opportunity to invest in a really good operations manager?

Speaker 2:

I think the biggest mistake is that people assume that if they said it once in one place, that one time that you're going to remember, you're going to understand what it meant, you're going to know where that link was, you're going to have memorized that document and you're going to bookmark it for the next time you need it. And that's just not the case. I always tell people there's no such thing as overcommunication, no such thing as overcommunication, and we can make it really easy for people to find information. And I know sometimes it feels like, oh my god, just go into the Google Drive and use the search bar. It's not that hard and sure, right. But if they don't know your naming conventions for how you name documents, to even know what to search for, then it is hard because they don't have that information. You can very easily just insert a link into the document or into the email, or even a link to the folder, like, hey, sarah, I don't know where that specific document is, but I bet it's in this folder. At least I have a place to start. Just leave me down the right path. I can figure it out. I'm a pretty smart human, but expecting me to just go blindly into something feels a little bit unfair and is really discouraging, because then, if you can't find it, you feel stupid.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think a lot of especially newer entrepreneurs. They don't want to consistently ask questions, because I don't know if this has been your experience, but in some of the circles I will say that very broadly a lot of the advice is give a client three immediate wins and in the first 30 days or 90 days, and that puts a lot of pressure on a service provider, particularly an operations person, to come up with something really, really quickly. Do you feel like the advice to give a client three quick wins to showcase your value right away is valid and, if not, cool? If so, what sort of wins do you think qualify that won't completely decimate the client's system right off the hop?

Speaker 2:

I think the answer is yes and no. Yes, I think it's good to start with a win that you can control, like this thing is now finished, we're ready to put it in place. But usually in my experience, the thing is finished and we're waiting for something to happen. We've updated our onboarding process. We're not hiring until the new year, so it's like the thing is done but it's waiting. Or I project manage this launch and the graphic designer is done with the assets. Great, they're all scheduled, they're going to go out. Great, launch doesn't start for three weeks, ok, yeah. So I think that the operations people like it makes our little operational heart happy when things are checked up our list and things are scheduled and things are done on time or early. But I think from the business owner perspective, especially the creatives, they don't get that it's done and it's ready because it's not very tangible. So I think we have to understand how we all work on the team. My little operational heart is so happy that things are done three weeks early and they're scheduled and it's checked off my list and I don't have to think about it. But I have seen a lot of creatives who almost don't want to know that it's done three weeks in advance. They just want to know the day up, look at this pretty graphic we made and it's going live, and they're like, oh my god. So sometimes I hold back the excitement that I really have because I know that that's not how their brain operates. They need it in the moment, they need to see it, they want it tangible, they want to see the actual thing that was changed. So I think my answer is yes and no an immediate win. That can be great only if they can appreciate it in the way that it needs to be appreciated. And I think that sometimes If the business owner doesn't appreciate the value of operations, then it doesn't feel worth it to them to have an operations person. The best experiences I've ever had with clients are someone who can say I know that operations are important, it's just not my skill set. That's the best relationship I ever had. The relationships that I've had that do not work out are the ones who are like I don't know. Someone said I needed operations people so I hired you. They need to appreciate it and I need to deliver it in a way that meets them where they are.

Speaker 1:

Right, what would you say then to, I guess, newer or new-ish entrepreneurs in terms of operations? If you're not at a point yet where you can hire someone or you can outsource that to an operations person, where should entrepreneurs, business owners, start in thinking about their own operations and maybe even setting up simple systems for themselves? What advice do you give around that?

Speaker 2:

The first thing I would say is don't discount what you've already done. I mean that you have a system in your business for a variety of things. Even if it feels messy, even if it's not pretty, even if it's not written down, there's still a system. You have a system of when you check your email, whether that's written down or not. I personally check my email. The first thing I do when I open my laptop. That's the first button I click on my Macbook. That's what I do. I know lots of other people who are like I only check my email at noon because I need to do focus work in the morning. I can't be distracted. That's still your process. That's still how you do things, even if it's not written down anywhere. The first thing I would say is don't discount what you already do that works for you, because it works, even if it's not written down, even if there's not a Loom video, even if it's ugly, it's still there and it still works. Don't discount that. Don't sell yourself short on what you've created that works for you. The second thing that I would say is don't go into the past. I always tell people when you are going to create a process, don't go into the past and say what were the steps that I did to write that blog post? No, let's go into the now, or even into the future, and think I'm going to write a new blog post. What are those steps? Because then you get to double dip on your productivity. If I go into the past and try to think about what I did on that blog post from three months ago, I don't really get to experience it, I'm just trying to remember. But if I'm thinking I need to write a blog post for this week, what are the steps that I take to do that? Then I can do both at the same time. I can document my process and get the work done. Don't go back in time and try to figure out process. Stay in the now or go a little bit into the future and do that. There's always time to go into the past always but look at what's happening right now, what's right in front of your face, and start there. The third thing is do what is the most simple for you. If that means taking your phone and making a voice recording, great. If that means making a loom video, great. If that means opening up QuickTime and doing a screen capture of your entire screen. Great, I don't know what that means. Whatever works for you, but something is better than nothing. Instead of going out and finding super fancy software that you're going to pay for and find a whole SOP folder hierarchy, just start with whatever is easiest for you and we can fill in the blanks later.

Speaker 1:

I love that. I have two questions. First one is quickly what is the difference between a process and a system for people who don't know? Because I know people can play the two.

Speaker 2:

Yes, in my opinion, a process is step by step one, two, three. This is what I do to get from A to B. System is the usually in my world, the technology that I use to make the process happen, and sometimes that technology is a Google Doc.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, can we just shout out the simplicity and beauty of a Google Doc? Yes, yes, even and people are going to hate me for saying this, but even for sales pages. I mean I've sold things off a Google Doc and I've not had to invest in, you know, funnel, gorgeous, and all of the fancy funnel, like I haven't had to invest in those. So I'm just saying Google Docs are amazing. Second question why are people so afraid of SOPs, non-operations, people?

Speaker 2:

Oh, they're so boring. Oh, they're so boring. Well, and they're boring, and they always have to be updated.

Speaker 1:

They do. Oh, it's OK. So the reason I'm asking so, for those of you who aren't 100% on board, an SOP is a standard operating procedure. Basically, my interpretation is it's a checklist. Here are all the steps that you need to undertake to execute a specific task or a specific function. Now I'm asking this because my experience with non-operations people very creative, visionary type people A they are afraid of SOPs, like they just feel overwhelming to them, but B they also seem to think that an SOP is going to solve all their problems. I've had to talk people off the ledge. Like I've had to talk people off the ledge. So I'd love your input, your insights on that. Like, what is it about the SOP that is simultaneously terrifying but also comfortable? Like if I have an SOP for this, it'll fix my business?

Speaker 2:

So I was introduced to SOPs when I was in the military and in the government and there was literally an SOP for everything how you answer the phone, how you type a letter, how you address the envelope, that you put the letter in, everything. There was a process for everything. Also, remember that that entity has been around for like a hundred of years. Right, they've had a lot of time to perfect that and to come to the joint decision that, like this is how we're going to write a letter. Lots of years to figure that out. You and I and anyone who's listening to this probably has not had hundreds of years to figure out their perfect process that they can follow at any time. I also was introduced to SOPs as, like, when you go to Iraq, you might die and we need someone else to be able to come in and sit in your chair and do your job. Yeah, like it had to be that simple that literally anyone could come in and sit in your chair and just flip to the page and that's how you do your job, like everything. So I think if you've ever worked in corporate or government and you have had binders and binders and binders of SOPs, it does feel overwhelming and it does feel daunting and I think it also can feel stifling and that there's not room for creativity, there's not room for change. You know, this is the way we've always done it, so this is the way we have to do it, which can feel really like old, white mannish and just like blah. But on the other hand, if you ever have worked in big corporate or government and you have had those binders on your shelf and you did know I can go to that binder and literally find the answer, that's really comforting. It's really comforting to know that there's a way for me to do this and I don't have to feel stupid, I don't have to look stupid, I don't have to ask a question that makes me feel inadequate, that there's an answer somewhere and I'm gonna go find it. But I think for us, the regular people in the online business space and SOP, can feel really comforting. Mm-hmm, if you know that it's solving a real problem in your business or something is so technical that it's just too much to explain. It's easier to do a video or it's easier to have the step-by-step process right now to like and then click here and then click here. If you're not great with technology and someone was like you have to go on and use quick books. All of a sudden that might feel really overwhelming. But if there was like a three-page document where you're like here's how you Categorize your expenses and you click here, and you click here, and you click here, that might feel really empowering and it might feel really doable. So I think we just we have to meet people where they are and in their learning style, and that's what I meant when I was saying just write it down. However, you can voice memo on your phone, loom recording, screen recording, I don't know. Hold your phone up to the screen and then move your mouse and click around something you know. It doesn't have to be perfect, yeah, but getting it out of your head is the way to start.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I mean there are lots of. You know, if you are more software technology kind of Inclined, there are lots of pieces of software that'll help you do that. But, like you said, like you can, you know, download, scribe or do looms or zooms or whatever, but, like you said, I think the simplest, the simplest way is to just write it down step by step what you're doing or talk it out as you're doing it, say it out loud.

Speaker 2:

I mean, there's transcription services out there that will just pick up what you're saying and type it all out for you. Yeah, so if you're saying, you know, go to the top left hand corner, click file, click print, right, like if you just say that out loud, a transcription service will write it all down for you as you're moving your Mouths or clicking around, so you can do that too, in fact Google Docs.

Speaker 1:

Can we go back to Google Docs? Oh, the other day I was actually Speaking aloud some thoughts and Google Docs does have a transcription feature in it, so as you're speaking, it will write it out. Now it's not foolproof and you have to go back and edit. You know the words, but you have to do that with most transcription services anyway. So, barring anything else, you can also open up a Google Doc, do voice dictation and and talk at it, and it's, it's wonderful. What would you say for a newer business owner again, or someone who hasn't really had the opportunity to work or to outsource the work? What are like the, the top three, or like the most important SOPs that you think they should have before they're ready to hire support?

Speaker 2:

onboarding onboarding people on your team and onboarding clients Okay. And then on the flip side of that would be your off-boarding. Especially with clients, I think it's so important to end well, even if it's a bad experience, even if it's the best experience you've ever had. Ending well Does so much for your heart, for your reputation, for closure. So you know, the flip side of the onboarding is figuring out your off-boarding. The second one, I would say, would be your money, to have something figured out about how you're tracking your money. I personally use profit first and I use a Google spreadsheet and then I have a million bank accounts and I manually Transfer money from one account to the other to the other. Together. That's just what works for me. I also, again, I'm not making a million dollars. I don't have. You know, I don't do more than 10 invoices a month. I'm not at the place where I need to scale so much that that needs to be automated. I'm willing to do that manually. I also want to have a really good grasp on my money. So I I want to physically do the transfer, because that's that's just what makes me feel secure. Yeah, the third system that I would say would be the first thing that comes to mind is delivery of your Deliverables. Why is that important? Why is that the first thing that just came to my mind? That came to my mind because I think so often we get excited about a project, we write out all of our deliverables in our contract, we get started and then we forget what the hell we wrote down. So if there's a way that we can deliver on all of our things, you know, and I'll even do it in, like whenever I send them the email, so the subject line will be deliverable number one you know onboarding process. And then the email is hi, sarah, so excited to deliver on my first promise from our contract. Here's our onboarding process. These are all of the documents. Here's the loom video. Here's the whatever I did, so excited to get started on Deliverable. Number two just to give you a reminder, my deadline for that is Friday. I'm getting back to work. Love amber, right, like that's what the email is. So there's a very clear Delivery format. Yeah, I work with a lot of creatives and One thing that they have to do, especially designers, is Deliver. You know your logo in the thousand different formats that designers need to deliver things in right, and there has to be an easy way to send that over. There has to be a way for me, as a non-creative, to go back in my email and find that document Because someone else now it needs my logo, and a format I've never heard of but I'm sure it's somewhere right. So just having a very easy way to deliver on your stuff so that your client knows that you did the work that you promised that you were gonna do. But it's so easy for them. When you're finished working with them, that they still remember. Oh my god, I'm so glad they sent over all of those logo formats because the t-shirt designer people needed something else that I didn't even think you know. So yeah, delivering on your, on your promises in a very clear way.

Speaker 1:

I like that a lot and I think it also supports just just being consistent in your delivery. Right, because we'll have the best of intentions and things get busy, especially when you get more clients on board if you don't have a clear process for how you want to deliver your services, it can you can, you know, things will fall through the cracks and you can miss out on stuff and everybody doesn't get the same experience, and I think that's really really important, particularly if you want that consistent, you know, referral network or people to really, you know, give you the, the kudos that you deserve, right, it should be consistent. This is, I mean, I could talk operations all day, but I have to go and pick up my kids. I'm like I'm looking at the time going. I don't think can wait outside. It's not snowing yet, I'll be fine. I do have one sort of final question, and this is not necessarily Operations based. It can be, if that's what comes to mind. What's something in the online business space that you just like? What is your ick? What is the thing that just bugs you so much but is still a pervasive either rhetoric or piece of advice or tactic that people use?

Speaker 2:

people from high school trying to sell me their MLMs and Facebook messenger would be the first thing that I hate. You know, there's always that mm-hmm. I think the $100,000 threshold, that that is supposed to be your bare minimum. I just don't buy it at all. I don't buy it at all. I would say that you have to do all the things all the time and all the places, and I disagree that you always have to have something new and something better or that you should go some place to be right. You should go to a co-working space. You should not work out of your home or at your kitchen table or wherever. It's just not true. You're allowed to be in the stage of life that you're in and run your business and make your own version of success and live in it, and that's okay.

Speaker 1:

I love that. I love that so much. We were having, actually, a conversation earlier this week a couple of friends of mine and I and it was all around just the concept of professionalism and we saw this in the corporate space a lot. Being professional looks a certain way, sounds a certain way, and when you come into business for yourself, there's still so much of that programming that still exists that you can't work from your kitchen table and you need to have a specific looking background and you have to have a full face of makeup. And I mean, funny enough, I had a client meeting just before we started recording and she was like, oh you're, you're made up today, like I don't look like this all the time. I have another thing today. That's. That's why I'm dressed, I'm well, at least I did my face anyway. But there's there's such a still this expectation that if you want to be taken seriously, it has to look a certain way. And I'm so glad that you brought that up because that is something that I think the sooner we are able to eradicate that thought process from entrepreneurship as a whole, the better off. We'll be Right, like having kids in the background when you're working, rolling up in t shirts and sweats and, you know, not like all of the stuff, that we equate with not being quote unquote professional and how it has absolutely nothing to do with your credibility, your expertise, your level of knowledge or what you can deliver as a service provider. So thank you for bringing that up.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think when I tell people, oh, I don't keep work on my phone, I have to do that tomorrow, they think I'm crazy. I'm like nope, I cannot check my work email on my phone. Number one, you know I don't have that password memory. And number two I don't have it hooked up, like it's not in my mail button on my iPhone. I don't have work on my phone. That's smart.

Speaker 1:

I don't allow it yeah.

Speaker 2:

So whenever I go to networking events and they're like oh, just add me on LinkedIn. I don't have LinkedIn on my phone. I would love to add you on LinkedIn tomorrow. And they're like oh my God, you don't even have the Lincoln app. Nope, no, I don't. I don't have any work on my phone.

Speaker 1:

Nothing, I bet that makes holding your boundaries a lot easier.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it does. Yeah, because I literally can. So whenever, like if you and I were going to go meet, right, you and I were going to have lunch, if we were in the same location I would send you an email and say you know I drive a Red Ford Focus. Meet you there at noon. If you need me, here's my number, because I know you and I trust you, because I'm not going to have email on my phone. Yeah, I mean, you and I are friends on Facebook so we can message that way. But you know what I mean. Like I have to go out of my way and I tell them that I need you to message me because I don't have this on my phone. And people think I'm crazy and I'm like no, that's not what it's for. This is to play games that I'm too embarrassed to tell you about and no face time with my family. You know, like that's what I use my phone for. I'm not using it for work.

Speaker 1:

I mean, people bitch all the time about how entrepreneurship is supposed to be freedom and blah, blah, blah, but we're all still slaves to the ding because we just we've moved everything onto our phones now. So let people think you're crazy. I think that that's. I mean, I am a recovering ping-a-ho like myself. I have to really like I had to take a few apps off the phone, but I still have. I mean, it's a daily struggle for me to not, you know. Look at things, and I'm doing it in stages, like right now the apps are still there. I just ignore the notifications. I've gotten better at doing that. One day I will take them completely off my phone. Have you moved them? They're all in a folder so I can't see them on my main screen.

Speaker 2:

They're like two swipes over. So yeah, I'm slowly getting there I'm training my brain right when your system has to be okay with it. That's the first step, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I'm just off the first page. Wait, listen. When iPhone introduced folders, it was like life changing for me.

Speaker 2:

I don't really even have apps up Like my. I love to travel, right, like I mentioned, I traveled all the time and my husband makes fun of me because I'm like I don't, I don't have the Delta app, and he's like you have to download the Delta app to use the QR code. And then I make this date like pitch this fit, because I don't want to download it, I don't want it, I don't want it on my phone, I don't want it fluttering my stuff, I don't.

Speaker 1:

I'm going to out myself here and say that I am a kitchen sink person. Like. Both my purse and my phone are like. I have so many fucking apps and I don't use 90% of them, but it's like. But what?

Speaker 2:

if I don't even have a full page of apps on any page that I have none of my like. Look at this one.

Speaker 1:

She's got a page with five apps. If you can't see, if you're not watching the video, god, okay, mine I've got. Let's see, I've got four page. Okay, this is all folders.

Speaker 2:

Look at all your folders.

Speaker 1:

I know I've got like 12, 13, 14 folders and three pages of apps. And then you get to my library and I mean full, okay, full disclosure. A lot of them are children's games, because it's how I keep my kids quiet in the car, but also not like a lot of them, like I said, are kitchen sink apps right, like maybe one day I will have to order something from Aeroplan and I just you know, I wouldn't even have an excuse for that. I'm a ridiculous human being. Amber, thank you so much for being here. This is a lovely conversation. I love talking to ops people because it's like we get each other.

Speaker 2:

I know we really get it and there's lots of ops people in Kansas City so you got to come to town.

Speaker 1:

I'm going to have to do like a tour of the Midwest because, like, did I get that geographically right? Am I correct? Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah, we're in the middle. Yay, canadian education system for the win. No, I really, I really do have to do a tour of like that whole side of the US because I have so many friends that are like out that way. So one day, one day, it'll happen I'm going to buy an RV and I'm just going to drive. Do it. Awesome. We'll be here for you. Fantastic, you and Lane and I can then go out for you know, for a coffee. Let's do it. I'm available tomorrow. I don't know if it's going to happen that quickly, but it'll happen. It's on my bucket list, amber, thank you so much. Where can people find you if they are looking for an Amber?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so head on over to youneedanambercom and I'm on YouTube, instagram, tiktok, all places.

Speaker 1:

Fantastic, and remember you can have success without the BS. You've just got to be willing to do some of the unsexy stuff along with the sexy stuff. I'll talk to you soon. That's it for this week. Thanks for listening to the Business Blast for Me podcast. We'll be back next week with a new episode, but in the meantime, help us out by subscribing and, if you're feeling extra sassy, rating this podcast, and don't forget to share the podcast with others. Head over to businessblastformepodcastcom to connect with us and learn more. Thanks for listening and remember you can have success without the BS.

Challenging Business Norms and Success Metrics
Importance of Operations in Business
Communication, Systems, and Business Operations
Fear and Comfort in Business SOPs
Money Tracking, Deliverables, and Professionalism