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318. How to Grow Your Business While Running a Business


How to Grow Your Business While Running a Business


How to Foster Sustainable Business Growth and Build a High-Performing Team


Aligning Business Strategy with Personal Fulfillment

Virginia emphasizes the significance of aligning your business model with your personal life goals. This alignment not only ensures personal satisfaction but also fosters sustainable growth. The concept of business harmony over balance is crucial—rather than aiming for an elusive perfect balance, strive for an integration that feels natural and fulfilling.


Delegating Effectively and Building a High-Performing Team

One of the main takeaways from Virginia's journey is the importance of effective delegation. Initially managing everything herself, Virginia eventually expanded her team to ten members, each aligned with her business values and goals. Hiring the right people and trusting them with tasks is pivotal in scaling a business.


Developing a Visionary Approach

As Virginia transitioned from doing every task herself to leading a team, she adopted a visionary approach. This shift allowed her to focus on high-level strategy and innovation, rather than getting bogged down by day-to-day operations. By treating her own business as she would a client's, she unlocked new potentials for growth and efficiency.


Navigating Industry Trends

Staying updated with industry trends is vital, especially in rapidly evolving fields like podcast production. Virginia's ability to adapt to market demands, such as the rising significance of video content, has kept her business ahead of the curve.


Cultivating Open Communication and Trust

Virginia underscores the value of maintaining open communication and fostering trust within her team. Understanding and respecting each team member's preferred method of communication and working hours strengthens the collaborative spirit and enhances productivity.


Leveraging Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Effective delegation is facilitated by well-documented Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These procedures ensure consistency and quality across tasks, enabling team members to operate efficiently and independently.


Embracing Flexibility and Patience

Lastly, Virginia highlights the importance of flexibility and patience in building a successful business. Growth doesn't happen overnight, and it's essential to navigate challenges with a calm and adaptable mindset.


Conclusion

Mastering business growth requires a blend of strategic vision, effective delegation, continuous learning, and maintaining a harmonious balance between personal and professional life. Virginia Elder's journey offers a roadmap for entrepreneurs striving to build sustainable and successful businesses. By aligning strategy with personal fulfillment, delegating effectively, staying abreast of industry trends, fostering open communication, leveraging SOPs, and embracing flexibility, entrepreneurs can navigate the complex landscape of business growth with confidence and foresight.


Episode Links

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Transcript for Episode 318.  How to Grow Your Business While Running a Business



Amy [00:00:02]:

Growing your business while you're running a business is something that most, I'm willing to bet all entrepreneurs have dealt with at some point. And in today's episode, we are going to unpack this concept even further with our guest, Virginia Elder. And we are talking all things strategy, really learning on how to build that sustainable business around your life in a way that feels good. And if anybody has done this, it is Virginia. She is an amazing entrepreneur, wears a couple different hats, and I am so excited to welcome her into the podcast today. Virginia, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to join me.


Virginia [00:00:52]:

Thank you for having me. I'm excited. Yes.


Amy [00:00:55]:

But before we dive in, tell us more about yourself, who you are, what you do, and who you serve.


Virginia [00:01:01]:

Thank you. I appreciate it. Amy. I really am excited to be here. I am the owner of a podcast management company. We specialize in the production of audio, video, and repurposing podcast content for business owners. And the idea is most of my clients are financial coaches, advisors, cpas, some people having to do with the financial services business. And I want to help them provide educational content and help people while making their business more approachable and attracting their ideal clients.


Virginia [00:01:46]:

The number one thing, this business launched in 2019. And I do have the financial background, so that's like how I kind of got into this. And since then, we've served over 100 entrepreneurs with their online media and now have a team of ten plus me. And I think the biggest thing that, like, is on my heart as far as this goes, is I want these business owners to have a true partner when it comes to marketing their business and when it comes to podcasting and someone who's up to date on industry knowledge and trends, but then also able to look at somebody's business and say, this trend doesn't quite align. So let's do this. I think that's super important. It's not a cookie cutter solution.


Amy [00:02:38]:

Yeah, exactly. It's really not. And I think a lot of people are trying to make it out to be cookie cutter, but there's so much strategy that goes into running a business and the type of agency that you're running. You know, you've had a team of ten, you. There's so much work that goes into the back end of running a podcast that goes into the production. You know, hitting record is just the one little piece of the podcast puzzle. And that's something that you've really been able to do is grow this business. Grow this business since 2019 into a team of ten.


Amy [00:03:17]:

Holy moly. That's a lot. That's a lot to navigate. So I would love for you to share more about your journey. How you went from doing all of the things in your business to really finding that harmony. Finding that harmony. And, you know, I don't even know if balance is the right term because I don't know, that's kind of a cringy word to me. I'm still not sold on the idea of balance.


Amy [00:03:45]:

So I like your concept of, of harmony that we spoke about before we hit record. Could you speak a little bit more upon that?


Virginia [00:03:53]:

Yeah. Thank you. Well, and first of all, I will say when I was like, wait, how many team members do I have? Like, this morning in preparation, I was like, ten. Oh, look at us. I was, like, pleasantly surprised because I know everyone, but then when you look at slack and you count them, you're like, oh, wow. So, of course, this all did not happen overnight in 2019. Yes. I was marketing my business.


Virginia [00:04:25]:

I had a financial based podcast. I was doing financial coaching for moms, went to a financial conference. All of a sudden, people there were like, oh, you launched your own show. You have to launch mine. And I was like, wait, this isn't so. I very quickly, because they were not going to stop there. They were like, no, no, you are launching my show. I like you.


Virginia [00:04:47]:

I trust you. Let's do this. And I was like, wow. Okay. So I very quickly had to figure out pricing and figure out all this stuff that I had done for myself. But when you're doing something for yourself, you're not really thinking about the time that it took or the value of that knowledge and task work that you did. So that right there was the pivot right into this financial management company. And I did it myself.


Virginia [00:05:15]:

I cannot remember. I think it was until 2021 when I hired my first two contractors. They are still with me today. I love them so much. One of them is an audio editor. That was the focus back then, right? Like, video existed, but it wasn't the mammoth poll that it is now. Like, everybody has to be on video. So my video editor and then the other super great hire was a online business manager, and she actually came in as a copywriter, and we just shifted and rolled and, like, can you do this? And, you know, we were just trying to find how she fit.


Virginia [00:06:03]:

And her best role is in the delegation and systems and not even so much as creating the content, but putting the pieces where they all need to go. And, you know, right there, that takes so much time and energy and a very organized mind and system. So those were my two first hires. Fast forward to, let's say, 2023. We did have a little bit of a lull in that year. Revenue was down. I didn't have as much work for contractors. And then this year has been the boom of video.


Virginia [00:06:45]:

We're increasing the team size. A couple of these video editors are new to the team, so we're still going back and forth. Yeah, it's just, it's. I feel like we have to just roll with the punches, but not in a bad way. Not like bad punches, but like, the way the industry is shifting and what are the trends and what's new now and what do people want now and then the more important pieces, what benefits your business now? So going from doing it all myself and then now the team, the key there is, I figured out the team can help me create the content and schedule it and edit it and do all of those things as if I were a client. And once I realized that, I had no idea why. I had never realized that before. You know, it's that light bulb where you're just like, ah, I feel stupid.


Virginia [00:07:38]:

Why? Why? So that has been the main propellant over the past, I would say six months is me kind of figuring that out and being like, hey, let's use the team to create content for me, just like we do for our clients. And I am now a client of my own business. So that's been a very fun shift.


Amy [00:08:04]:

Yeah. And that's such a cool perspective that you take, you know, looking at it from that different viewpoint where, okay, I'm going to treat my business as, it's. As if it's a client's business. Because what ends up happening when we're doing all of the things in business is that we're like, inside this little jar and we can't read the writing on the outside of the jar. But when we intentionally slow down and look at the strategy, really analyze why are we doing what we're doing, seek those opportunities that we can improve, and then lean on the people and leverage the people we're already using in different ways, it's powerful. It's powerful. And that's when we truly start to step into the role of CEO, because now we can be the visionary. Now we can delegate those tasks off of our plate that don't necessarily need to be us doing them.


Amy [00:09:00]:

We like to be busy. Being busy makes us feel important. But if we can get strategic and actually maximize our time, maximize our energy, and pour that into the most valuable places that only we can be doing into those tasks that opens up so much space and capacity for growth. But when we're in the thick of it, it's hard. It's hard because we're in the hustle and we're just focusing and being most reactive instead of proactive in our business. And it can actually slow us down a lot.


Virginia [00:09:40]:

A lot. I agree. And just as you were talking through that I was thinking about now I'm able to say, you know what, I have this idea. This is how we're going to boost SEO on our site. Here's my vision. I'll create a loom video and say, this is what I need. Here's airtable, here's this, here's that, here's all the tools. I've shared everything with you guys with lastpass pass, and so I'm like listing off some tools just in case you all need that.


Virginia [00:10:09]:

And then I'm just like sharing that vision. And so at this point I can do that where it's like the visionary piece, right? And I hand it to the team and say, y'all figure out a plan. Let me know the plan. And, you know, here's the pace at which I want this done. You know, do one of these blog posts every two weeks or like whatever, give them some parameters and let them run with it and have them report back. That is amazing. That's not what you do at first, right? So there's baby steps to get there, but that is the end goal. And I'm really excited to have done that recently.


Virginia [00:10:50]:

And when I did it, I was like, oh, look at us, we are big girls now. I was so excited. The baby step to that, to like back way, way, way, way up was especially with like a new contractor, new VA, or even like your first online business owner, online business manager or contract. Like whatever you choose that you need for one, choosing what you need goes into finding the piece or pieces that are so difficult, so annoying and so hard for you to do. Those clearly are not your forte. Those are not your design of genius. So those are the pieces that need to be delegated out. Then when you find someone to delegate those things to, they're one task at a time, very specific, very measurable, very obvious, so that you can see if it was done the way you wanted to in the time that you wanted it done.


Virginia [00:11:49]:

And you have to like graduate them in to this like visionary role execution, you know, operation management kind of thing. So yeah, hopefully that helps people say, oh, I'm not there yet. Oh my gosh, I don't have ten people. That's okay. Like, get one. Give them some little bitty baby steps. Check in each week. When you feel that they're excelling, add more, you know, increase the responsibility slowly, just like you would like a kid, right? You're not gonna give your five year old, like, here, take out the trash, and you're in charge of, like, you know, all of the trash management in the household.


Virginia [00:12:34]:

That's too much for a five year old. But if you teach them how to, like, bring you the bathroom trash can when it's trash day, that'll be so much help.


Amy [00:12:43]:

Right?


Virginia [00:12:43]:

And you'll be so proud of them. So if you just graduate that in, I'm putting that in, like, mom terms, because, you know, hey.


Amy [00:12:49]:

Right?


Virginia [00:12:50]:

We've all been there.


Amy [00:12:51]:

Yes, for sure. I love that. You know, you broke it down into baby steps. Because I think a lot of times, our expectations and reality can be very misaligned and just not in line. And I think it's so important that when you're starting to outsource these tests, you give yourself that grace. You allow for that, that learning curve, that period of orientation for that new employee. You can't expect someone to walk into your business and know everything day one. I mean, it's any major company you're walking into, it's typically, you know, a 45 to 90 day process that they're really giving you to learn those systems, to learn the back end, to learn the processes.


Amy [00:13:35]:

And I think this, again, is why those standard operating procedures, those sops, are such vital yet overlooked parts of our business. Sops allow you to delegate those tasks efficiently. They allow you to take that zoomed out approach where you're going, okay, this does not need to be me. And talking from my own personal experience, like, it's okay. Like, you're going to make bad hires at some point, you're going to hire the wrong people. It's okay. It happens. There's a lot of people that promise a lot of things out there.


Amy [00:14:12]:

There's a lot of wonderful marketers, but they fall short on the delivery. So what have been some of your strategies to make those good hires? How have you been able to, as you've hired, you know, and onboarded different members of your team, what's been key in knowing, okay, this person's gonna be a good fit? Or, you know what? This is not the best fit for me.


Virginia [00:14:36]:

Yeah, absolutely. So, in many roles, you can look at the work they've done, which I highly recommend, unless you are truly willing to say, hey, you know what? You don't know how to do this. That's okay. I'm willing to teach you. That's a different story. But if you need someone to come in and start running, then you need to see the work that they've already done. So I am always looking for that piece. Being in the audio and video space, I will listen and, you know, turn up the volume and sit here and close my eyes and really hear how this edited audio sounds.


Virginia [00:15:16]:

So that if there's anything that I'm picking out that we need to discuss, then maybe I can find out. There was an issue with the original audio file and this was the fix, right? This is the best we could get it or with video, right? Do I like these cuts? Is this too flashy? Is this like, what style is happening here? And does this style fit what I'm looking for for my clients? Because how one of these influencers might edit their show is not necessarily how a financial professional wants their show edited. That's two completely different things. The other piece that's very, very important is that we're going back to our values. When you hire people that are aligned with at least a few of your values, you are going to have so much more of a smooth relationship. Right? If I appreciate over communication and I hire over communicators, hey, we're good. They are giving me so much information, I don't even need it all. But I appreciate that they gave it to me because then I am fully informed when I talk to the client.


Virginia [00:16:32]:

So there's different pieces like that. Think about the values that you most appreciate in a person or that you stand for or that your business stands for and hire based on those values. Because tasks and strategy and how to in execution can be taught values, not so much. So those are two super important things. The other, once you get into the process, is creating this open communication loop to be able to say, hey, I might email you at crazy. And I've told my team this. If I email you at 03:00 a.m. It's because I'm up at 03:00 a.m.


Virginia [00:17:16]:

It's not because you need to be, right? Like, that's my problem, not yours. I'm doing that because I know when it's your work time, you'll see my email, right? So whatever. Like, if you have your weird quirks of how you run your business, communicate that that's okay, and then allow them to tell you things back, right? Like, if they don't want to be messaged on slack on the weekends, even though it's you, I've told them, hey, you don't have to work on weekends. You work when you work. I do not monitor one. The software you use for editing, because there's so many choices and you may be good at a certain type, but then I also don't police their time, so. But I have had some people that say, like, I prefer email or I prefer slack. And so we have our systems.


Virginia [00:18:11]:

And while I need to just operate, like, how I operate, right. Because it's my business, I am open to saying, like, you know what? They don't need this, like, right now. So it's not urgent, so it doesn't need to be a slack message. It can be an email that I actually set to send on Monday morning rather than on the weekend. Just being considerate of your team. If you would want that consideration, think about doing it for them. So, yeah, I hope that helps.


Amy [00:18:44]:

Oh, definitely. Especially the values piece. You're so spot on. You know, anyone can learn any skill, but your values, you can't change those. Your job is not to change someone. You can't do that as a business owner. So if you're really taking the time to get to know them as a person as well, that's huge. That's going to keep you ahead of some of those, those unforeseen circumstances that will arise.


Amy [00:19:14]:

Because we're always navigating new things as different platforms change, as different things come out, there's always going to be something that arises. But if you have that same core set of values, that really makes it easier, because now you're having everyone buy into that vision as well. And at the end of the day, it's about being unified for that vision that we are creating together. Because as you said, we're not meant to do this alone. We can't do this alone. We're only one person. And yes, just because you can doesn't mean you should. And that right there, that's the key to sustainability.


Amy [00:19:49]:

It's not working 24/7 it's being intentional about how you're spending the time that you do have. And the other thing, too, the communication piece is just so, so critical. I feel like so many problems could have been nipped in the bud if we would have just taken the time to communicate. And I love to how you, you're seeking, you know, feedback from your team as well. Like, hey, how can I be a better communicator to you? Because you're right. We all have our preferred methods of communication. So why are we not, you know, respecting those differences and really using that then to make it a better experience for everyone, for everyone involved. And it just creates a better team dynamic.


Amy [00:20:35]:

Virginia, these were such awesome tips, takeaways. I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to just share what you've learned, how you navigate all of this, because at the end of the day, it's finding out what works best for you. Listening to the strategies that Virginia is using, listening to the strategies that I've taught you, and really applying them in a way that feels good for you. Business is nothing more than an experiment. So we need to get curious. We need to look at the data, the analytics, and grow our business in a way that feels good and aligned to us. Virginia, thank you so much. I appreciate you.


Amy [00:21:19]:

How can we get into your world and learn all the things about you?


Virginia [00:21:23]:

Yeah, thank you. Absolutely. And I appreciate you as well. I would like to invite listeners for a free strategy call with me, so I will share that link with you, Amy, and so it can be in the show notes. And, you know, this is not a sales call. Do not be afraid. I'm not like that. But this is just purely a strategy call that I want to offer, just to have someone who's in the industry have an honest look at your brand and what your ideas are.


Virginia [00:21:56]:

I would love to help with that, but follow me on any of the social platforms. I'm at podcast abundance, and I will be doing several just free lives on, like, Facebook, YouTube, ig. I think you can still do lives on there, I think. And then my podcast is called reaching abundance, and that's the YouTube channel as well. So, yeah, come on over, check us out.


Amy [00:22:27]:

Amazing. Be sure to take advantage of that generous offer from Virginia. And until next time, cheers to making the money you want so you can create the impact you desire.

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