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How to Design a Business That Supports the Life You Want to Lead

Transcript 

Kathy (host): 

Hey there, and welcome back to Help! My Business is Growing, a podcast where we explore how to grow and build a business that is healthy, and sustainable. I'm your host, Kathy Svetina.

 

Kathy (host):

Today, we're going to be talking about how to design a business that supports you and the life that you want to lead. Because as the business grows, so does your involvement in it. And the growth phase itself can feel very chaotic at times. So what should you be doing? And most importantly, what should you not be doing as you reach that stage? And is there any way to make it easy and to make it fun? And what do you need to have in the business that will give you that all-important space for us because we all need that.

 

Kathy (host):

As a reminder, all of the episodes on this podcast, including this one, come with timestamps to topics that we discuss and their own blog posts as well. You can find the links and the detailed topics in the show notes of this episode.

 

Kathy (host):

I'm going to be talking to Amy Pocsik. And before we dive into the interview, let me tell you a little bit about Amy. Amy Pocsik is the CEO and co-founder of the Women's Business League, a community where powerful businesswomen connect, grow and prosper. Her superpower is working with female entrepreneurs and business owners to identify both the challenge points and high points so that they can exponentially increase their success. She helps others understand the power of creating space so you can reach your next level. Amy is also the founder of Bold Moves, a platform where she partners with female founders to make an impact, helping them own the role of CEO, professionally and personally, because she knows what it was like to be in the opposite position - unfulfilled and longing for more. That's why she made it her life's work to make sure every woman is empowered to achieve a bold vision for her life and business. Join us!

 

Kathy (host):

Welcome to the show, Amy.

 

Amy (guest): 

Thank you so much. What an honor to be with you.

 

Kathy (host): 

I'm so, so excited that you're here. You know, I  do love all my guests on the show. But my fellow accounting and finance people hold such a special place in my heart. So thank you so much for being here.

 

Amy (guest)

My pleasure. My pleasure. We are kindred souls, aren't we?

 

Kathy (host): 

Yeah, we sure are. So Amy, when I talk to entrepreneurs and business owners, a lot of them tell me that they went into this because they wanted more freedom than working for someone else would give them. But you know, what, ironically tends to happen that unless they're very careful, or they have been there done that, they end up with usually what ends up happening, in the end, up with less freedom, because it's so easy to get caught up in doing all the things when you're running a business. Even when you do have a team to support you that you tend to forget that your ultimate goal of freedom is what made you start in the first place. I want to ask you, what have you seen that has been your experience working with these types of businesses, women businesses, in particularly?

 

Amy (guest):  

I love this question so much, right? We want to design a business that supports the life that we want to live. We don't want a business to run our life, right? We want to live in alignment with our values, with our passion, right, a life that lights us up. And so many entrepreneurs are corporate refugees, right, like myself. And I think it's so important to understand, what are your gifts and talents? What are the things in the world that break your heart where you want to make a difference for people and lean into that, right? Stay inside your zone of genius and build a team around you to support the work that you want to do. Doing the things that maybe you're good at, but are in your zone of genius.

 

Kathy (host): 

Yeah, that that's such a great point. And before we actually started recording this, Amy and I had a little talk about my podcast and how very time-consuming it is to do it. And I told her that I actually have a team do it for me. I'm the only one that's recording obviously. I'm having the conversation with Amy and with the other guests. But I am not doing all the tedious work of audio editing, blog writing, social media quotes making, and it is so, so consuming. And what I enjoy is doing finance work, I did not enjoy audio editing for the podcast.

 

Amy (guest):  

I think so often too, when founders start their business, right? There's this feeling like they have to take whatever comes their way in terms of client work or anything that they can do. They don't want to spend the money to outsource a contract like you with your podcast, right? But we find out that there is an inflection point where you have to really own that role of CEO and founder. And what that really means is being intentional and purposeful with your time, right? You could spend all the time editing your podcast, but the reality is, your time is better spent servicing your clients and doing the work that you're really good at.

 

Kathy (host): 

Yeah, exactly. And it's, you started a business for a reason, and for me was to support women-owned businesses with their finances. And if I'm doing the podcast work, for this example, I am taking that time away from doing that mission-driven work. And actually, what you're doing there, you're kind of cheating your clients because you don't have the time for them. I want to ask you, if someone's like, still in that zone, I really, and I see that a lot. It's like no one can do this as good as I can, which I think it's not true. Because there are plenty of people that can do this actually better than you. How does someone identified which are those areas that they really need to get help on that might not be so obvious, as, for example, my podcast example?

 

Amy (guest): 

Oh! I love this so much. I think it starts with radical self-assessment. As a leader, it's really important to understand your strengths, understand the things that you do pretty well, and then understand your challenge points.

 

Amy (guest):

Then I like to encourage leaders to say, "Okay, out of the things that you can do really well, what is the work that really sets your soul on fire? What is the work that you're passionate about, and that's profitable, that's where you want to stay." And I totally agree with you that there is this feeling like nobody can do it better than I can.

 

Amy (guest):

The best way to get out of your head and shift your mindset around that is hire somebody, an assistant for five hours a week, give them the lowest level tasks on your plate. Allow yourself that space to grow as a leader and to see firsthand that somebody else really can take those over and do them well. The key though, the key is, if you get that help, let's just say in the beginning five hours a week, the key is to replace those five hours doing the work that is highly profitable, and aligned with your passion.

 

Kathy (host): 

That's great advice. And a lot of people when their business grows, they have that in place already. But then it becomes that they are passionate about, let's say that particular line of business that went into whether it might be you know, graphic design, or working with clients, but they're not passionate about managing their own team. Because as you're growing your business, you are adding more people into your business. And that doesn't just mean you know, you're adding them, you also have to manage them, and you have to manage them well. And a lot of entrepreneurs, what I've seen is that they struggle because they don't see that as another layer of "Now I have to manage" and that they're not really passionate about this, what would your advice be in this situation?

 

Amy (guest): 

Such a fantastic question. And it's bringing me back to an inflection point in my own business. We reached a point with the women's business league where we knew we needed to hire. And I sat there and I thought, "Oh, my gosh, we are going to bring on somebody to work for us. Wait a minute, I really hated being an employee. I decided to become an entrepreneur because I felt like being an employee, the creativity was sucked out of me. And I really struggled with that. But now I'm supposed to go out and hire somebody? Wait a minute, I don't want to create in my business, the exact situation that I fled from, right?"

 

Amy (guest):

What we decided to do was to look at it completely different. And instead of bringing on an employee, look at it as bringing on an intrapreneur. Allow somebody to come onto your team, take ownership for their work, but also to take ownership for their own career. And that looks very different than the "managing of somebody." Now you're entering into a relationship where you're allowing someone the opportunity to be connected to your mission, and also to feel a sense of ownership over their own career.

 

Amy (guest):

And so just really, tactically, we meet with our everybody who works with us, we ask them, "What is the work that you're enjoying? And what is the work that you don't like to do?" We want to keep everybody inside of their own zone of genius. And we also want to give them opportunities to ask for work that they want, right?

 

Amy (guest):

If somebody wants to develop their skillset in a particular area, we are all for that, right? We want to encourage their own personal and professional growth? I would challenge a founder to shift their thinking when it comes to management, you're helping somebody else build their dreams inside of your organization. And there is no greater feeling than that.

 

Kathy (host): 

I'm interested in how was your process finding people like that you brought into their organization? Was it through you knew them through a referral? Did you actually put a job ad out there? How was that process for you?

 

Amy (guest): 

This is such a great question. All the people that work for us right now, were attracted to our brand. They came to us and said, "I love what you're doing. I want to be a part of it. Here's my skill set. How can I help you grow?" And I think that really speaks to the power of a very strong brand, that is built on values that people connect to.

 

Amy (guest):

I'll tell you a story, the way that we found our executive assistant. I was at the local library, I had to my boys were very young at the time. I brought them to Lego night. And I also brought my laptop because I figured, "Okay, the kids are going to be busy for about an hour. I can get a few things done here." Right?

 

Kathy (host):

Yep.

 

Amy (guest):

And another mom came over and she said, "Amy, I see what you are (and my partner, Melissa) are creating with the Women's Business league. I see how busy you are. Could you use some help?" And I said, "Yes, I could really use some help." And she said, "Well, I'm an executive assistant, I love what you're doing. Can we meet?" And so literally, that was how we brought on our first team member.

 

Amy (guest):

Something to consider is really communicating your brand values very well. And that you're going to attract people who feel in alignment with your mission.

 

Kathy (host): 

I love this story so much. Because if you make it, you make it almost sound so easy. But in a way, it's also not because you have to put that work in to create a business that has this really, really strong brand.

 

Amy (guest):  

Yes, I think it is even more powerful is communicating that consistently, right?

 

Kathy (host):

Yep.

 

Amy (guest):

I think so often, we think we might put out a social media post or slap something on our website, and think that the world saw it. But really and truly understanding how the marketplace in the world is interacting with your brand is so important.

 

Kathy (host):  

And it's also important to from a financial perspective as well is because when you have the strong brand like you have and you have someone come to you because they really resonate with that, you don't have to spend your time your employees time-wasting these hours finding someone. You don't have to spend time on ads. You don't have to spend time on a recruiter or money on a recruiter. It all comes back into and I always like to say everything that you do in your business comes back to your numbers. So this is a really important one that when you have a strong brand, and when you have a business that really resonates with you, it will resonate with your clients, it will resonate with your future employees, and it will show up in your numbers positively.

 

Amy (guest): 

Yes, I love that so much. Because, hey, it's expensive when team members leave, that is a big cost, right? If you can increase the loyalty and the connection that you have. It's an ongoing process. We care so much for our team members, we just love them and take a huge interest in their professional and personal success, that it pays dividends, right? Because of the way you treat your the people that work for you, they're going to treat your clients.

 

Kathy (host): 

You talked about professional development and making sure that they're doing the things that they like to be doing that they're good at, what are some of the other things that you do in your business to support your employees?

 

Amy (guest): 

Oh, I love this. We asked them, "How would you feel the most supported." And so one of the things that we do is we ask them to consider the ways in which they want to grow personally over the coming year. We set aside a certain amount of money for them to choose a course to take or to attend a conference or whatever it might be so that they are always learning as well. It's really important to us that they feel that they're growing because the truth is when you're part of an entrepreneurial endeavor, it is growing and changing. There's new opportunities all the time. We don't want to be stagnant. We want to be growing and as we level up, we want to continue to build up the leaders underneath us so that then they can grow.

 

Kathy (host): 

And when you're thinking of what type of courses that you want them to take, are you also thinking of your business where you want your business to be, you know, a year from now, six months from now, a couple of years down the road, now you taking that into consideration? How do I need to develop my people so that they can serve clients in the future better? Is it something that you think about as well?

 

Amy (guest):  

I love this so much. It's actually we don't tell them what to take. We want them to ask us, and to bring it to us to what they want to do, because we know if we invest in their success, that the business is actually going to thrive. We actually flip the switch. We don't look at it from a top-down. We look at it from the bottom up. And we are confident in our ability as leaders that we can give them work that's going to help them grow that they're passionate about. We start with, we actually start with them. We don't start with our goals, we start with their goals. And we want to make sure everybody is growing that yes, the business is sustainable, and the business is growing, but them as a person that they are growing.

 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah, that's I like that approach as well. I usually look at it from a top-down. But I've seen a lot of value coming from the down up as well. Because then you come in with the foundation of the employees. And then you building on. It's kind of like a Lego block. It depends on what vertical you want to go right. But it is all like a Lego block. You are building their organizations with people and with the talent that you currently have available as well.

 

Kathy (host):

You know, you have this saying, and I absolutely love it that "why not let it be easy and let it be fun." And I love that so much. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit, what does that mean to you? And how are you approaching that in your business?

 

Amy (guest): 

Yes! I always say I take my fun very, very seriously. And again, coming from this place of my business supports the life I want to live, right. I start by thinking about designing my year ahead. "What is going to make this year amazing." And I break it down, right?

 

Amy (guest):

I think about what is one capstone experience that I want to have for the year. This might be something like a big vacation with my family. This might be something like attending a national conference. And then I think about four experiences, one per quarter, that would be really exciting. And that these are on my calendar, and I'm super excited and looking forward to them.

 

Amy (guest):

And then I think about what are the things I want to do monthly, that really set my heart on fire. It could be having an incredible conversation with you. It could be connecting with other amazing female entrepreneurs, right. But I start there. And I think about what is going to make this year amazing. And I plan for those things.

 

Amy (guest):

Then I take a look at the business. And I think about what do I want to accomplish professionally? What are the things that set my heart on fire? If anything was possible, what would I create this year? And I say why not? Right? We can create literally anything that we want. And I think giving yourself room and space to dream. So often entrepreneurs, we want to get into the how. We want the steps, we want to push really, really hard. But if you don't connect with the dream, with the passion with the fun, you're gonna get burnt out.

 

Kathy (host): 

Yeah. And it is so easy to get burned down with you starting to look into the how because I always think of how it can be very scarcity-driven, because it's like, "Oh, I don't have the person for that, or I don't have the knowledge for that, or I don't know how to do that." And you just become almost locked in this situation of "I don't know how to do it. So maybe it's not worth doing this." And then you become into this like scarcity loop. And I've seen this in my own business. So like think bigger and think bigger picture. I really like your approach of starting with one big goal, carving it into experience for quarter, and then going into the monthly. Do you also have weekly goals that you set up for yourself as well?

 

Amy (guest):  

Yes. When it comes to weekly, right, I think about systems and habits because that is what drives our results. My favorite question to ask to shift my perspective is, "If I lived this week, every single week of the year would I reach my goals?"

 

Kathy (host):

I love that.

 

Amy (guest): 

And it makes me be very ruthless with my time, with my appointments, with my scheduling, and understanding that it's what you do every single day that adds up to an epic year.

 

Kathy (host):  

You know, this reminds me of a book that I recently read. It's called the Four Disciplines of Execution and the idea behind it is that you have lag indicators and lead indicators when you are figuring out how to get to your goal. And the lag indicators. And the way how they explain this is with weight loss. For example, if you're trying to lose weight, looking at the scale, it's not going to do much for you. I mean, it's already in the past, whatever you did in the past, it's in the past. Looking at the scale is a lagging indicator in this example, and the lead indicator is, did you work out? Did you eat right? Did you get enough sleep? Did you get enough water? Those are the things that really tipped the scale. And went on what you doing and to get to your goal. I love your example of making sure that you are doing the things that are really important in your business.

 

Amy (guest): 

Yes. And can I just tell you, I broke up with the scale this year, and it was the best thing I ever did. I love that you brought up that example. Yeah, and you know, I want as an entrepreneur to enjoy the journey. Let's face it, this is our one and only life. We spend a lot of time, a lot of energy on our work. Let it be fun. Let it be joyful. And if you find yourself in a place of burnout, if you find yourself in a place of exhaustion, learn to rest. It's okay to rest as an entrepreneur. So many founders are creatives, right? Our best ideas come when we are refueled and refreshed. Our business is going to thrive when we thrive.

 

Kathy (host): 

And how do you take that time to rest? Because what I've seen in myself is, yes, you can rest physically but mentally your head it's still spinning as I could actually go and step away from the computer, go for a walk do something and I could see myself just my head spinning about the business about the client. How do you take that rust? I'm curious because I need tips that ideas that I could get?

 

Amy (guest): 

Yes, I love that so much. Again, it kind of goes back to the schedule. And so I'm a mom, right? I've got two young boys. And one thing that's very, super important to me is to be there for them. I schedule my days around when they're at school. And I really stick to that. And so what's helpful for me is to have a little transition period.

 

Amy (guest):

For example, I finished my workday around two o'clock, and I have about an hour until the kids come home. And so for me, I take that space. I do things like change my clothes, right, I'll get into some workout gear, maybe I'll go for a quick walk. Maybe I'll call a friend. I do something in that intimate intermediary space that allows me to switch gears, right? If I need a real reboot, I do need to get out of the physical environment right out of my office, put away the phone, put away my computer. And I will tell you that it will take me when I go on vacation about a full day to turn it off. And then day two, I can really feel the vacation mode kick in.

 

Kathy (host):  

And let's talk about giving the space to be able to do all of that. And you also talk about how systems are sexy, especially with the automation and the custom in customizing the automation for your business. And I think this is also important too, because once you have the system, the processes the automation, that gives you the space to be able to end the work at 2 pm and go and do other things. What have you seen the works really well for you? And what have you seen the works well like for other businesses that you work with?

 

Amy (guest): 

Okay, so this is my favorite, right? Systems are sexy. We want to automate delegate or eliminate often. I am always again going back to understanding how you're spending your time. The number one thing, if you're doing anything in your business, that's repetitive, that is an opportunity for automation. And I do mean anything, whether it's template in your emails, if you're having a similar conversation, that's something that somebody else can do. Anything that's not requiring the highest and best use of your thinking can be delegated.

 

Amy (guest):

And I mean, be ruthless with this. If somebody else can do it, they're doing it on my team, right? I want to stay in that zone of genius. And it's so important because that is how the business is going to grow. Right? If I don't have the time and space to think in to create, the business is going to be stifled. And I'm also not giving my team an opportunity to grow. So that's super important to me.

 

Amy (guest):

When you think about the trajectory of a business. If you're at an inflection point and you want to go to the next level. You can't get there by doing the same things that you've been doing. You have to stand over that balcony and take that 30,000 foot view of your business and look at it and say, "Okay, what's working here? What have my the way that I've been investing in the business? What is it delivered for me in results?"

 

Amy (guest):

Another big pitfall I see entrepreneurs do way too much is they continue to invest in the business the same way, year after year after year, and expect different results. It just doesn't happen, right? We need to look with fresh eyes.

 

Kathy (host): 

Yeah, I love that and systems and processes. To me, they're sexy, to Amy, they're sexy. But a lot of people think of, "Oh, it's like, I have to put this together." It is an entrepreneur, you're a very creative person, you want to do new things over like, just thinking about systems. And I see that when I talk to other people, entrepreneurs, especially and especially founders is that "I don't want to do the systems. It's so stifling, especially when you come from a corporate world because we think of this like rigid structure." But I like to think of systems and processes as this, if you think of a body, it's like a skeleton of a body, like keeps everything together, keeps it moving, it keeps it going forward, it has this momentum that you otherwise would not have if you didn't have those in place.

 

Amy (guest): 

Absolutely. And I say that systems are sexy because they get you what you want. They give you the time freedom, they give you the financial freedom, they are literally the foundation to a successful business that's going to be able to grow.

 

Kathy (host): 

Yeah. And it gives you that space, right, to think to actually think about your business. And you have you like to say that your energy is something that drives the business as well. If you're constantly feeling tired, scattered around, it's not really good for the business. And I think what I've seen this, employees pick up on that as well. And then you have scattered employees, sometimes they will actually leave because they feel like the business is just too there's a lot of hectic energy, that it's unnecessary as well. What advice would you give to someone who is in that place where they're starting to think about the systems and the processes, and the business is really, really chaotic? And just thinking about how do I do this just overwhelms them? What would you step one and step two-beat for that type of person?

 

Amy (guest): 

Oh, I love this so much. Because when somebody is feeling like that, and they're feeling scattered, and there's like so much going on, what I know is that there is a huge opportunity for them there. It's an opportunity for them to get their time back to make more money. And it's not hard, right? What I would encourage them to do is understand what is essential to their business? What are the things that they need to deliver on at a really, really high level and start there and build a system that is going to deliver the result for their clients?

 

Amy (guest):

Then you can look a level deeper, and you can say, "Okay, well, then what is the next important thing," right? And go into that area of their business. But if you don't have a strong core, and I love your analogy of the body, right? If you don't have a strong core, and if you're not serving your clients really, really well, then everything else is going to suffer. Start with the most important thing.

 

Kathy (host): 

And is there anything like the clients that you have served that once they implemented this, the business completely transformed? Do you have like a story that you could share with us?

 

Amy (guest): 

Yes, I absolutely love this. I had a client who was about half a million dollars. She wanted to get to a million but unfortunately, she said, "You know, Amy, the business is running my life. And if I go to a million, I'm already burnt out how am I ever going to sustain this, right." And so what I had to work with her on was really trusting her employees, right, and setting them up for success, making sure that she was communicating the expectations and how they would all know if they were successful, really bringing her employees along and helping them to be intrapreneurs and take ownership for the parts of the business that they really wanted to do well and succeed at.

 

Amy (guest):

And then of course systems and a lot of it was around understanding and knowing numbers, taking control of the financial information so that she could make really good decisions quickly. As entrepreneurs, we make a million decisions a day. And you have to have the right information in order to do that. And then you know, some other things around client quality experience and in different processes. But at the end of the day, we were able to get her in such an incredible place that she had all this time to consider. "Hey, wait, this is fun. Where do I want to take this business next?" Right? There's so much possibility maybe I want to grow in this way or that. And that's the place that I want founders to be. And because again, it all goes back to what you started the conversation saying is, we started this business to live a life that set our soul on fire.

 

Kathy (host): 

You bring an important point what the data and I always like to say that data is really the foundation of the business. And if you do not have good data, you cannot make good decisions. Because you really cannot make good decisions on bad data, it does not happen. You get into the garbage in garbage out. And it's actually even worse to make decisions on bad data than if you just didn't make any decision. Because you think that you're doing something good for your business, put in reality is just smoke and mirrors, and it leads you down the wrong path. Making sure that you have that data foundation, it's so, so crucial.

 

Amy (guest): 

And there's so much confidence to be found in knowing your numbers. As a female founder, it is imperative that you understand how your business best makes money where the cost that you're spending, what are they delivering for you, right? You have to be in your numbers. I like to say at least weekly. I don't know, Kathy, what you recommend for your clients, but it's so crucial. And if that's not your zone of genius, then get somebody like Kathy on board, right? Because it is that mission-critical to becoming a leader and to growing a successful business.

 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah, and we can talk so much more about that. When it comes to KPIs, putting the dashboards together, they're relevant to you, not just something that you found on Google, what are the KPIs in which I should be tracking? Please don't do that. Go work with someone that will actually develop the KPIs that are relevant to you in that particular season of your business. And what are you trying to figure out? What are you trying to actually do? And not just looking also at the historicals of the numbers, but also like doing the forecasting and the scenario planning? And what happens if we take on this particular client? What happens if I hire these particular people? Doing all that a little bit of an I like to call it a magic ball, looking into a magic ball. It sees what might happen with the business. Take the time to do that as well, not just what happened in the past, we talked about the lag in the leading indicators. The lag is whatever happened in the past, the lead is what you need to do now to get to the business where you want it to be.

 

Amy (guest):  

Yes, so good. And I love how you talked about the seasonality, right? Businesses have seasons, our lives have seasons, and understanding that and recognizing what season your business is in and what season your life is in, there's times of building, right? There's times of investing, there's times are growing like crazy. And understanding where you are in that season is really powerful.

 

Kathy (host): 

Well, Amy, this has absolutely been delightful. I love this conversation. And before we wrap up, I want to ask you this one question. I always ask this question to every single guest that's on this podcast, and it says, What is the next tangible step that our listeners can take to get to that dream business that they had in their mind when it originally started? And maybe they might have like, got off the beaten path a little bit too much? What is the next step that they can do this week? Or maybe in the next month to get them closer to that original dream that they had?

 

Amy (guest): 

Ah, such a great question. I like to say that the door to success opens inward. Take 10 minutes, get quiet, connect back with the dream of why you started this business. Really sit with it. Really think about how you want to feel as a leader, what you want to accomplish through your business what the good that you want to do in the world. Really feel that and connect with it because that is going to fuel you forward.

 

Kathy (host): 

I love that. Amy, working on listeners get in touch with you.

 

Amy (guest): 

I would love you can connect with me on LinkedIn at Amy Pocsik or Instagram @amypocsik. Also, feel free to email me. My email is amy@womensbusinessleague.com.

 

Kathy (host): 

And I will put all of these in the show notes as well and on the blog. So you can just click on there and go see Amy's website, connect with her. And thank you so much, Amy, for being here. I really appreciate it.

 

Amy (guest): 

Thank you. This is a blast.

 

Kathy (host): 

Thanks again for listening to this episode of Help! My Business is Growing, a podcast where we give you the tools to grow and build a business that is healthy and sustainable. And as a reminder, this episode and any of the other episodes come with detailed timestamps to all the topics that we discussed, and they also come with their own blog posts as well. You can find the links in the detailed topics in the show notes of this episode and you will also be able to find the links to Amy's website as well. And before I go I do have a favor to ask if you're listening to this on Apple Podcasts if you could please go to the show and tap the number of stars that you think it deserves because it helps other people find that as well. Thanks so much! Until next time.