Today’s episode of the podcast is an interview with Sonaya Williams who is the founder of The CEO Partner®, a systems-driven, profits-obsessed, Digital Implementation agency that helps smart CEOs grow their business and meet their goals. Sonaya lives to help CEOs create an operational master plan for themselves and their teams, teaching efficient and effective systems and tools during the process. We talk all about how you can get your own business processes and systems organised to set yourself up for growth and success.
KEY TAKEAWAYS COVERED IN THE PODCAST
- If something doesn’t excite you and give you joy – it is not sustainable and you just won’t do it!
- When something is your zone of genius, you are really good at doing it. When something isn’t your zone of genius, there will be someone else who can do it!
- There is always someone who will want to do the bits that you don’t want to do.
- It is never too early to start documenting your systems – even if it is just you.
- By documenting systems, you can free up your brain so you can think about growing your business!
- To start documenting your processes – Write out everything you do every day/week/month.
- Record yourself on Loom doing tasks you do again and again.
- Every process should be documented in a separate document to make it easy to search.
- Keep your processes updated and review them regularly.
- Team members have to take ownership of processes so they are not reliant on you and you are able to step out of the business.
- Think about the triggers for each process – are there any you can pass on to your team so you can step away?
- You have to have processes when you have a team, otherwise everything will still be reliant on you.
- When you are looking at hiring your first team member – think of it as an investment as you are gaining that time back.
- EVERYTHING in your business is a system.
- When something is a process, it becomes so much easier. It also means you can keep making it better and review.
- It will take time to get all your systems and processes in place but it will be SO worth it!
THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO REMEMBER ABOVE ALL ELSE…
Start creating a list of things you do every day, then record yourself doing them!
HIGHLIGHTS YOU SIMPLY CAN’T MISS
- An introduction to Sonaya 05:16
- Zone of genius 10:55
- Why do I need to think about my systems if it’s just me? 12:32
- How to start your processes 16:12
- Being able to step away from your business processes 24:40
- Bringing on a team and what to give them 28:08
CHECK SONAYA OUT:
Teresa: Welcome to this week's episode of the podcast. How are you doing? So I have had a very, very busy few weeks. And as you can probably hear from my voice, I am worn out and I'm really glad that I'm recording this episode now almost as if to say to remind you that we're human and there's only so much we can do with our time.
Teresa: So the week, last week as I'm recording this, we did two online events and one in-person VIP retreat over the weekend, which was three days in total for me, because obviously I got there the day before. We had a lovely drinks, reception, we had dinner, um, there was about 20 over, it was so good. Then we had a whole day of goal setting, planning, masterminding.
Teresa: It was brilliant. And then I spent the night again and, uh, obviously chilled out a bit, but then obviously then packed up the next day. And it was just absolutely awesome. I had the most amazing time, but I'm worn out, completely, utterly worn out. So this week I've been hibernating. That's my go-to thing. It can be really hard because sometimes when you want to hibernate, you think to yourself, I can't, I've got to be able to show I can't not do, you know, turn up and do the thing, but I think I want to remind you that you can, you can hibernate if you need to.
Teresa: And if I didn't hibernate, if I didn't just pull back a little bit and cancel some things that you know I could cancel and spend a bit longer in bed or go for more naps or whatever it is then, I would be an absolute state. So if you are feeling worn out, this is, I'm giving you permission to stop, to, to sit down, to take five minutes to not run around and do these things, because it's a time of year where we are running around.
Teresa: My daughter's about to break up at the end of this week. Um, my. My husband's away. We go away in a couple of weeks. We've got presents to buy all that stuff. And like I said, it's been a busy, busy time of the year for me. So, like I said, I'd like to give you permission. You have my permission, please take it easy. Because you know, it's really interesting.
Teresa: We do all this stuff like getting ready for the next year, goals set for 2022 as if we're going to have all this energy and where does all this energy come from? Like, we need to make sure we rest in order to build that energy. So that's what I'm doing this week. And because I'm doing that, I decided not to give you a solo episode this week.
Teresa: I have been very busy over the past. God knows how many weeks batch recording interviews and they're wonderful and brilliant. And, I thought, why not take it easy on me? Because obviously when I do an interview, it's already the chunk of it's already done. I just do this intro and outro. Also give you access to some of these interviews a bit sooner.
Teresa: So today we have an interview and it's with the lovely Sonaya Williams. Now Sonaya is a bit of an expert in terms of getting organized. And this actually, I think is perfect timing for this time of year, because as we start to think about starting next year, we might start thinking about how we shift and change.
Teresa: I know lots of my members, lots of my students have talked about. They might want to bring a new member stuff. They might want to look at their team. So this is a really, really good episode to look at because she talks about how you get organized. She talks about how to bring people on. She talks about how to do processes and systems.
Teresa: That in my world was a game changer. The minutes I could bring in a process, even when it was just me, it was a game-changer. So she's just brilliant. I know you're going to love this episode. I know you forgive me for not bringing you a solo episode this week. I promise when I've had a rest over the Christmas break, I will be back to my normal fierce chatty self. But, uh, until then here is the interview I did with the lovely Sonaya.
Teresa: Okay. I am very excited today to welcome to the podcast Sonaya Williams. Sonaya how are you doing?
Sonaya: Thank you for having me.
Teresa: My absolute pleasure? Absolute pleasure. I'm really excited about today's episode. And it's funny because as we were looking at what we're going to talk about, you've actually got in one of your titles, Why This Isn't Sexy.
Teresa: And I think some people might think, well, this doesn't sound like a very like, Ooh podcast episode, but it's very, very useful. Anyway, before we dive into that, I always start the same way by asking you, How you got to do what you do today? So if you can introduce yourself, that would be lovely.
Sonaya: Definitely. So I'm Sonaya Williams, the founder of The CEO Partner® I started it in 2011 and it's kind of something I fell into. My background is in technology and banking. So I used to do business process management, I think, different brokerages in America. So E-Trade TD Ameritrade. And what that looked like was I was helping to develop some systems that will deliver the client experiences.
Sonaya: The one that I like loved that I did was, you know, how you go to an ATM and some, some ATM's might charge you a couple of thousands of dollars. They're taking money out. Well, we had a feature that we did in 18 rebates. So if the 18 charged you $5, you would get it back on the other day. And I built how that system works.
Sonaya: But then in addition to that, it was also how customer service deliver you an experience and all of that. So I think logically, and I think in terms of customer experience and delivering. And that's what I used to do my day job and the whole idea of just, you know, two hour commute to work, two hour commute home.
Sonaya: And, you know, there's no such things as you earned it, I knew that whenever I wanted to have kids that I wanted to be home then. I was raised by a single mom and I watched her work so hard to do, just to provide to me and later life to learn that, you know, she was an accountant. She didn't love to do that. And I realized I wanted to have a job that I enjoyed.
Sonaya: And while I did enjoy my corporate career, I knew that I could have continued doing it with those hours. So I had to go figure out something else I could do as an entrepreneur, create my own business. And the only thing I knew how to do this create systems, help people take things in their head, lay it out, logically, see how it can be repeatable.
Sonaya: And then I fell into the online business space and turn that into creating what I like to call new revenue online and teaching people how to create new revenue online repeatedly.
Teresa: Love it. So it was that ever like, because going from corporate and fairly by the signs of it fairly big corporate to then was it when you were like, actually I don't want to do this.
Teresa: I don't want to work these hours. I don't want to do the commute. With the most natural, did it immediately come into your head? I'm going to have my own business or was it like, could do that? No, could do that. No. Oh, okay. I'm left with this.
Sonaya: Well, I felt like before thing I started to try to them was like wedding thing or event planning. That was like my first. And I went the route of taking a course and do all that, but then I, it wasn't really exciting to me. I don't even think I finished the certification. I, I, my, I went to school for, uh, international business and computer science. So I'm definitely more of a business minded person. So I wasn't creative enough, I think, but event planning fields.
Sonaya: Um, so I knew it was going to be some sort of business. I just didn't know what. And I didn't know how I can help people with what I knew. I ended up falling into and finding a business coach and she told me, ‘Oh you can be creating standard operating procedures.' And I'm like, ‘Really? That's what we have in corporate. We do that all the time. I love that.' And I found my first client and he wasn't. He had a sales company that sold like copy machines and, you know, big, uh, big products to school districts in New York city. And his biggest, uh, fallback was his sales team would have to make several different trips in order to close one sale.
Sonaya: And I was like, ‘Why can't they do it in one? And I'm like, did they have a checklist? It's a simple checklist that maybe they need to know what they need to get. Instead of having to say, I'm done these three steps. What's next?' Right. It's like, you might have a VA and she's like, okay, uh, this payment failed. What do you want me to do?
Sonaya: I've always send the email, what do you want me to do next? Right. So everything written out for them or have a list for them to work off of. And eventually we did that. We created a whole list for his sales people and they went from closing sales in three visits to closing sales in one visit. He started to be able to, his biggest thing was he wanted to go golfing on Fridays.
Sonaya: He wanted to have Fridays off. He couldn't do that because he was always in the office with the sales team and they had their paybooks and their processes in place. They were increased their sales, like 30%.
Teresa: Wow. And I think there's a couple of things you've said that that's like, I've just jotted down.
Teresa: First of, I want to pick up on the fact of. The other, it was funny, the minute you said, I went into wedding planning, I was like, oh, what's that really be your thing? Because you're right. It's you do need to be good at planning, but it's very creative. Isn't it? Like, you need all the ideas and all the stuff.
Teresa: And so that was interesting. Then, then the fact that you said it wasn't exciting. And strangely enough, this morning on the day that we've recorded this, I had a call with my next level academy and one of my members who's been doing something for long while said, ‘I don't think I like it.' Like, and I'm like, ‘So don't do it.'
Teresa: And then like, ‘Well that's what I do.' And I said, ‘Well who says, that's what you do? It's your business. You get to choose.' And I think not, I think more people need to remember it's our choice, you know? And if it doesn't excite us and if it doesn't give us joy and passion and we love it, it's just not sustainable. We're just not going to do it already.
Sonaya: Yeah. And I mean, that's what you started the business before you started it out of this excitement for solving a problem or helping people get something done. And when it starts to not become excited and we're really start to feel like a job.
Teresa: Yeah. Yeah. And who wants that? No one. Not me. Exactly. I could go to someone else and they can give me something rubbish to do. That's fine. And then the last thing I noted down, which I think is a super important thing to say, Is I've written down zone of genius to remind me, right, this is your zone of genius. This is the thing you are very good at doing.
Teresa: And I often think when it's not. So when something, isn't your zone of genius. So let's say you are not a process person and you don't like it. You immediately think ‘Ah, can't give it to someone else cause it's awful. And I hate it.' Like, and it's like, no, no, no, no, that's not your zone of genius. That's not something you like, but it doesn't mean there's no people out there who flipping love this stuff and excel at this stuff. And vice versa.
Teresa: You know, when there's things that you might have to do, I guess, from a marketing point of view or a creative point of view in your business, that you might not like that you might think I need to give that to someone else. But I think, well, I want to make sure we get across and everything is that there is someone out there who will like this stuff.
Teresa: And even though you might sit there thinking, ‘Oh God, this bit's so dull.' Or I don't it's because that's maybe not your thing, but there will be someone who does love it.
Sonaya: Yeah. There's always someone that wants to do the stuff that you don't want to do. And I used to always say, Uh, when I, when people ask, what would I do in my business?
Sonaya: It's like ‘All the things that you don't like to do, the systems, the processes, the integrations, all of that stuff. Give it to me. Cause that's what we do.'
Teresa: Yeah. And I love that. So let's say we've got someone listening to this podcast. Who's like, I am working on my own and I don't have any team. I don't think anytime soon I'm going to get team.
Teresa: Why do I need to think about my systems? Because we all know, and I for sure was this when I first started, it was all in my head. Literally I knew the whole thing. So why, even if you're not looking at a team, why should it be looking at those systems?
Sonaya: I think it's never too early for you to be start documenting systems, even if it's just you. Even if it's just you and it's always going to be just, you.
Sonaya: You want to free up your brain so that you can be able to think about how you're going to grow the business, what your plans are down the line. You want to be able to start creating better relationships. And when you have all these things in your head, you can't think about that stuff. I had a call with someone two days ago and.
Sonaya: She, she, this person had the team. She has one, two of the VA's that work with her but she called me because she was just frustrated. Cause she was just so involved in the day-to-day of her business as she couldn't have think it's a plan for next year. She had no space in her brain to plan for next year.
Sonaya: Cause she was just inundated with everything to do in the day-to-day. And what it boiled down to was that the team members on her team, they don't know systems or processes in the day-to-day. So when they step through their process or when they come up on some hurdle or block, they always go to her for answers. And even if like, as a solo preneur, where you start with a checklist, that checklist is what's going to help you for your brain.
Sonaya: So you can went through the list in terms of billing clients or you know, processing onboarding. Right. Because then you're able to give each and every client the same experience.
Teresa: Yeah. And again, you've just hit on something there in the fact of not only is this good, cause it frees up your brain and it means it's not sat in there.
Teresa: And you're having to think every time, because some of these processes we're doing our business, we do once a month and every month like, oh, the worst for me is, you know, like some of the systems I use they'll invoice me and that's great. Cause I just send them straight off to the finance thing. Some of them don't invoice me and I have to manually go in and get them.
Teresa: Every flippin time I have to do it. I think, how do I do this again? Every time, like, and I probably spend 15 minutes looking around the website, trying to find the one button that I need to press. And every time I think ‘I really should make a note of this.'
Teresa: That is what I do every flippin month. But so, you know, that's really important, but then the other thing I've really liked you saying. Actually from a customer service point of view, this is gold. Isn't it?
Sonaya: Definitely. It is. I mean, I have just a short story where, when I was living back in America and I went to a here place to get back here, though, um, I got know the best greeting ever.
Sonaya: We should make some coffee. Here's a magazine. Like it was the best greeting. I went back and look later and they were like, ‘Look you just have the seats and is someone with you?' And it's like I was looking for coffee, I was looking for. Like what happened? It was a new person. She obviously wasn't even onboarded properly. So she doesn't, she didn't know what to do.
Sonaya: And I think it was like with her, she was in her first week. So it will help you deliver the client experiences. It'll help you train team when you get to have a team, but also they gives you back time, because like you said, when you're going to do something, that's infrequent monthly, annually, quarterly, you have that list there that you can follow.
Teresa: Yeah, absolutely. So how would I know? Cause I have to say, and I've said to you before we got on that, I'm seven years in now and I have a team of six people and I am still setting up and organizing processes and don't get me wrong. We have a lot more than we ever did, but something else always comes up and I'm like, ‘Oh we need a process for that.'
Teresa: So how do you know, especially when you're on your own, cause it's easy when I'm trying to give it to a team member, because then I really realized, but how do you know what you should be putting a process in place for and how do you start that process.
Sonaya: Yeah, well, first I'll say the processes that get you from zero to 50,000 are not the same that's going to get you. It's half that in team, is not going to be the same to get you from 50,000 to 100,000 to 500 and a million and so on. You will forever be evolving your process development and in your team. All right. So it may not be the same team that you take with you from zero to a million. It will shift.
Sonaya: So it definitely getting started and having something that's like a win right there. Cause now you know what you can improve on and now, you know, just how to deliver and do things better.
Teresa: Um, yeah. Yeah. And so what, like, do I literally write a list of all the stuff I do or what, what, how do I start?
Sonaya: Yeah. So the best way I like to tell people to start is start writing a list of the things that you do every single day, every single week, every single month.
Sonaya: And then look at how you, how you actually do those. Now, some people like to write it up in a Google doc, you know? Um, and I always let use client billing because everyone likes to run their own business, for easy to get money. So how do you click your money? How do you review it every single one. What do you do when payments fail?
Sonaya: Right. So write out everything that you do from there. Some people can write the list. Some people can use loom and record themselves on the screen as they're doing it. Right. Cause then you start your training library. You can have a library of videos for people to look at when they start working with you.
Sonaya: Yeah. Other things that people do is they might get that video and then also transcribe it. And you have your video and your steps at one. But I like to have people start with everything that they'd like writing a list of everything that they do throughout the day, and then start documenting a process service form.
Teresa: Yeah. Yeah. And I, I use loom. So we'll link up to that in the show notes. It's, you know, there's a free version. I pay for my version now because I have quite a lot of videos on there. But it's just basically I record only my screen. So I don't record my face and not, you know, normally I'm on screen a lot, but I don't need to for the and I literally record myself doing something and I don't know about you, but I'm a great believer in the fact of, I like to know how to do it first.
Sonaya: Yeah. Definitely.
Teresa: Because like, if one of those people were to go tomorrow, if something was to change, like one, I need that process in place. But two all, like my last fail safe is that I can do it. Like I might not want to do it, or it might be something that I've got the time for, but I could do it if I wanted to.
Teresa: So yeah, I record the loom and then I'll send it to, uh, one of my team. And then sometimes I'll say to them, ‘Can you write that process out and turn it into a checklist in Trello?' And again, we'll link to Trello. Is there any particular, actual platforms or systems that you recommend use a really useful for this sort of stuff?
Sonaya: Well, I mean, there's tons of different process documents and tools, but I think the best place to start is a simple Google document. And you have a folder that has a library of your processes and every process is a single document. And one, and the reason I'll say every process is single document because then you're able to search, ‘Oh, I need to onboard a new client.' And here's onboard new team member, or I need to schedule a meeting and you could literally title all those documents by what to do. So we have a process library. That's essentially how to, and all of our documents say how to onboard a new team member, how to onboard a new client. It's all there really simple.
Sonaya: It's all in the naming convention, but then. So take it another level. We have a Google sheet that lays out all of the processes as well. So it's like a library in itself. And in there it has the process title. Who's responsible for it when it was last updated and the link to the process. The reason I started doing that is because when I think I was probably within my first three years of business.
Sonaya: And I met my husband who was in the UK. I took my first vacation at the business for three years.
Teresa: Sounds that right.
Sonaya: You cannot leave because you're going to work, you know, work less and have the freedom, but you work all the time and didn't take any vacation. So my birthday occasion, it was for three weeks and two of those weeks, I was like, no, it was a week that we were on the Eurail boat pass and I was going to be offline, it is my first time, all the fun. So I made sure in my head, the team had processes, they were trained.
Sonaya: They knew everything that they needed to do. Well on my way back in the Eurail well, I just had to check my email and I've got emails from clients that were like, ‘Hey, what's happening? Everything is just not the same. Some things are falling apart. Being balls main jobs, clients got double charge and then I'm like, ‘Whoa, what's happening?' It was a nightmare.
Sonaya: And when I got back, I basically, you know, I had to uncover what happened and why did this happen? We have everything there, but what it turned out to be is our processes weren't updated. Um, so whenever the team needed to do something. And when I was there, they are so used to slacking me and getting an answer.
Sonaya: So they didn't update the processes. Some of our tools, the processes that were documented, the tools weren't updated to say, we're using this certain tool now and here's how to do it. Here's a video, it was all on me. And then some of our team members, Jeff, like I said, they, when you go from one level to another, they just weren't able to keep up.
Sonaya: So I lost quite a bit of money about that period because I had a client contract that, you know, I couldn't repair it and we lost that relationship. It was terrifying.
Teresa: That's horrible.
Sonaya: I ended up having to, you know, get rid of some team members, but we now review our processes every quarter. And this dashboard helps us know, like what needs to be updated.
Sonaya: Whenever we refresh, update new tools, we go back and we keep those things in place. But I firmly believe when you start to get to a point where you've had any one team member, they have to take ownership of the process that they're doing so that they're still not reliant on you. Because one mistake I made was my team's fully reliant on me when I was there to the point where, where I actually stepped away, they had no one to ask to.
Teresa: Yeah. And do you know what, this is something that I think this is why I think I'm still learning from that point of view, because I think it's all well and good having a team, but there are things that happen that only I can drive or I can go, ‘Oh now's the time to do this? Or can you start this process or forward that email or have that conversation.'
Teresa: And it's like, the whole point in having a team and having those processes is so that if I have to step away or want to step away, or, you know, I don't have to spend the time doing the things. And, and the one process we've got absolutely down to a T, which is brilliant is the podcast process. So. I record it.
Teresa: I, once you and I have done our interview, I do your intro and outro. Once I, I decide obviously what podcasts are going out when, um, because that teams up with what I talk about on social and what are in my emails and that sort of stuff. So obviously I have to work at that bigger picture, but then once I've done my bit, it goes into Trello. I move the card over and then literally as if by magic, the rest of the team, pick it up, do all the steps and it comes out and it's like, that's amazing. Thanks very much people. Like that, if I could get every other process as slick as that, all my life would be amazing. Like, and I know that I can batch a load of stuff and I can just leave them to it.
Teresa: I'm not having to say, are we ready for this one this week? Are we ready for this one this week? I know it will get done. And I know Sofia who schedules the podcasts and the social and basically pulls it all together. She manages the process. She's already scheduled the next couple of ones already.
Teresa: So I really don't need to worry about it or think about it, but, but I think it like the difference between that and the other processes I've got really do rely on me and rely on me, pulling them and pushing them and, and informing people and that sort of thing. And that's where I need to get away from.
Teresa: So what. Is it that when I'm doing that, I'm missing some steps. What, what would you think if you were coming in? And I was like one still having to do a lot of this.
Sonaya: Yeah. So my first thing to you is I would, I would try and have you think about what triggers that certain process and can that trigger be tied to a different role in your business or different team members? So it's not you, because right now you're holding ‘Oh, this happened. So I need to go kick off that process.' Can that trigger be relate to someone else.
Teresa: Yeah. Yeah. And you're right. Like even the small and some people might think, well, it only takes me five minutes to drop them an email and say, that's in the folder ready. No, that's not the point. Is it?
Sonaya: And your hand and say, no, don't do that, this is how you do it, because then you will forever be doing it. I did that to myself as well. It's like, oh, it's just easier for me to do that. But then you will forever be holding onto that and you'll forever be doing it, even if it's like a five minute thing, but it's like, you could be doing something else in 5 minutes.
Teresa: Yeah. So these systems sit alongside, you know, obviously you can have them in placement. It's just you. But obviously when you've got a team, it's just like that you have to have them when you've got a team, don't you?
Sonaya: Yeah. You have to, because everything will still be reliant on you. If you don't have that.
Sonaya: Right. And then when you think about, when you just think about what's next in your business, you have to think process-wise, how can I remove myself in what's next? Um, so that kind of, when you, because you want to get to a point in your business where you are literally being able to do fulfillment on some of your courses and programs, but also be up front and be the visionary of your business.
Sonaya: And kind of say, this is what I want to do in three years, I've actually had the space to plan and do that. You're not stuck in the day to day.
Teresa: Yeah and I think, like you said, it's not until you do things that you think, oh, hang on a minute. And also using systems. So I use Kajabi, I host my whole stuff on Kajabi and it's like, I realized the other day that when someone cancels and it doesn't happen very often, luckily we have a really good churn rate, but when someone does cancel, it's a really manual, that entire thing is manual.
Teresa: And it's like, you know, if I know them and recognize them and they're like someone I'm like, ‘Oh hang on a minute. I did not expect you to cancel.' Then I will personally email them and go, ‘Hey, what, what's the deal here?' Um, but like, we don't even have an email that goes out and says, ‘Hey, did you want to do that? Are you sure?' Or tries to convince them otherwise? But again, I was in the system the other day I was in Kajabi the other day. That's just the easiest thing in the world to do. Why don't I just do that? And then I don't need to think, well, is this someone I know, or is this someone that I'm surprised at or, you know, do I look at them and think, well, fair enough.
Teresa: And then maybe I'm doing them justice to those people who haven't been engaged and therefore, I don't know them and then think, oh, well of course they'll leave, they haven't been engaged, but I'm not even attempting to try and get them to stay. So that sort of stuff again, not just from a saving me time, but could be making me more money.
Sonaya: Yeah. It definitely making you more money. It just one enhancing the experience that you have, even though they're leaving, it's like that experience on exit might make them want to stay.
Teresa: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So tell me about when I am thinking about a team, what, what are you, what's your advice for like bringing people on. Like how do you know the question I get asked all the time is what do you give them? Like no one ever knows what to give to team effort. So what's your thoughts around this?
Sonaya: Yeah. So my whole thought initially is I think when I was first starting with hiring a VA, it was, ‘Oh wow. That's going to cost me so much money. I'm going to be spending money from making money.'
Sonaya: It's of thinking of it as an investment because I, my very first VA had 5 hours a week. And she's $20 an hour. So I was paying her $100 a week. And we had a process in place where, when she got to two hours, she would let me know and I'd say, okay, here are the things that I need for you to get done in your last two hours. And then if I got a new client or I had more of the budget, I'd say you can do all of it because we have the money this week kind of thing, just so I can plan and do my budgeting.
Sonaya: So I initially want people to change the mindset around bringing on support and not look at it as an expense, although you know on the books it isn't expect, but it's really the best thing because you're getting back the five hours so that you can get a client to pay for that. And I think getting a VA or an admin person is probably the best first hire, I think for every solopreneur, because getting you out of the weeds of the admin things, managing your email inbox, even client support, right? You're calendaring all of those little things. If you, I mean, you think about it, they take a couple of minutes here, hour here. Will you add those all up?
Sonaya: That will give you back so much. Um, so that you can then go have a sales call. Right. I spoke to someone the other day and her biggest frustration was that her calendar was just all messed up. I was like, ‘Well why is it always messed up?' She said, ‘I spent so much time trying to fix it.' I was like,
Sonaya: ‘Maybe you need someone to manage your calendar. It's in calendar rules in place. That should probably be your first hire.'
Teresa: Yeah. And I think, like you said, when you said today, that systems are the most sexist thing in the world, but honestly I've discovered as time has gone on everything is just a system. Like everything. That's not a single thing in my business that isn't like, You know, and again, we learn all the time.
Teresa: So we get some, we didn't get many questions from the academy, from my membership, which is good. As in, you could have add many questions, but I had a couple of the other day and I'm like, why aren't these in a, in a spreadsheet so that, so that someone doesn't need to come and ask me, or I don't need to email one of the team and say, oh, can you get back to so-and-so and tell them, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Teresa: Like, you know, if it was just there, if it wasn't one of those questions, then we'll add it. And it's like having those things in. But I think when you, when you're, so in your business, you can't see any of this. Can you?
Sonaya: You can't and you can't see the way of improving things, because you're just so busy, fulfilling, and trying to get to that end of getting things done or getting to the end of your, to do list.
Sonaya: And it's just like, how can you get to a place where you're able to think of how can I do this better? How can I serve my clients better? How can I make, um, start thinking as to how can I make this a process so that it will become easier. How can it be to make this a system so that doing it will be easier.
Sonaya: That's kind of the thinking that I've tried to get my team into in terms of getting them to document things, because we're at a stage right now where we've had some growth and we've also just launched a whole new thing and it's around um, the time where we will be revamping and looking at our processes. And so I have conversations with them around how can we make their process of the system so that the next time we do it, it's seamless and it gets done correct, you know without everyone having to leave off.
Teresa: Yeah. And do you think that, like, when I think about, um, something like a launch or a bootcamp or a challenge that like, when you're doing it for the first time you're doing it on the fly and you're like, oh, this could be good.
Teresa: We'll do this. And when you get to the end of that process, that's why you need to review, not only for, uh, what worked, what didn't, what was successful. Was it good? But also from a, if we do this again, what things do I, you know, like. I don't have to set up a Facebook group that doesn't have to be me. Like I don't have to schedule the emails.
Teresa: I don't have to schedule the social media posts. Like I write them, they come from me, but I don't have to schedule them. So I think reviewing something and I guess that's the only way you can really do it once you've done something, then go in ‘Oh hang on a minute.'
Sonaya: Yeah, exactly. I mean, when we got people that we do, like, uh, you remember any launches for it's the same thing it's like, we document all process.
Sonaya: So that when you do it next quarter, when you do it next year, you know what happened last time? So you can make it better because you will never know what you can make better unless you know, what you have done.
Teresa: Yeah, exactly. Do you feel like this takes, I was going to say it takes a lot of time and I know it's totally worth the time, but it will take a bit of time. Won't it?
Sonaya: It does. It does. It definitely takes time. I mean, we don't work with clients less than three months because it takes time. And then once you have the processes documented, you actually have to start using them because then you will notice that, oh, I can do this better. Or this actually the tool that we have, doesn't support this process.
Sonaya: So we need another one. Right. So I always like to get people to write down how they want something to work before they even think about technology. Right. Okay. Add technology onto a process because we have, if you have a broken process, your technology tool will just highlight all the broken mess that you've got.
Teresa: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So I had something in my head and it's just don't get out, this has happened to me twice already today. I, this is like a nightmare and you know what? We don't, we rarely edit these. They know that like my audience is so very forgiving, but they'll just allow me. Oh, that's what I was going to say.
Teresa: That I'm so glad you said that the processes, the systems, the team you have are different at every level. And funnily enough, obviously it would have been a while back since this, actually this episode comes out, but I recorded an episode, not that long ago about scaling and what's changed. And, and what hasn't changed, like the things that you hope are changed, some of them do change, but like you're right.
Teresa: You know, the systems, the things. And I think that's really reassuring. Cause sometimes you can think, oh man, am I still trying to do this? Am I still trying to get organized? Like when am I finally going to get this stuff? Then of course we're not, are we? It's ongoing.
Sonaya: No, you're not. And I, I forget who said this, but they were saying that small businesses really don't have their systems and everything in place or together until they reach like 2.5 million in revenue a year.
Teresa: Wow. That's crazy.
Sonaya: That is kind of crazy. But then I've been behind the scenes of some businesses that are our revenue. Not everybody.
Teresa: I guess, the bigger you get, the more team you get, the more you need to get systems absolutely in place. So I love it. I love it. I'm really conscious of your time and thank you so much. You've been really helpful. There's so much good stuff here, but what one thing would you encourage someone to do if they've been sat listening to this episode and they're thinking ‘Eek I've not got a single system in place.' what's the, what's the one thing you want them to go away and do.
Sonaya: I want you to just start creating a list. So I created a list of the things that you do every day. And then as you do them, either start documenting, oh, I, this is step one, step two, step three, or record yourself doing it because it will help you see why processes and systems are so important, even if it's just you, because when you start documenting it, you'll see what you're doing. And then you'll even be able to see how you can think of that.
Teresa: Awesome. Thank you so very much. We will obviously put all your links in the show notes, but is there someone that you hang out that you would like people to come to say ‘Hi'.
Sonaya: Yeah, so you can best place to be just is on our website theceopartner.com, lots of resources and articles and everything there, you can check out.
Teresa: Amazing. Thank you so, so much for being a guest on the podcast.
Sonaya: Thank you for having me.
Teresa: There we go lots for you to think about. Lots to consider going into the new year. As Sonaya said, please go and find us, say hi and connect with her. She's really wonderful. She actually did a training in my membership. Just before Christmas, my online event. And she was great. They loved her and so much critique way.
Teresa: So please do go and say hi. I know she'd love to hear from you. Okay. I'm going to be back next week with another interview because as I said, It's been a busy few weeks. So, uh, I've got the lovely Miriam next week and she's got some really cool stuff to share with you. So I will see you then.