Andrew Warner: [00:00:00] hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about , how they built their businesses for an audience, real entrepreneurs, I’m just going right through the central. My friend, Shane Mac has been kind of telling me about this company that he’s involved with.
[00:00:14]He was running it. A venture funded company. I backed the company. I invested in it. But time to felt like this new company was the thing that was more exciting, or maybe that’s just the way Shane is, whatever he’s talking about. He’s always super excited about it. Turns out he had this assistant and he, and she decided, you know what, why don’t we start a virtual system company and let other people hire people like you? Michelle Penn, Zack, that was his assistant. Who’s now running this company would tweet out her numbers.
[00:00:45] Here’s how this business grown. Here’s how well the business is doing. Here’s how many new customers we have. And I’ve just been watching and watching the fricking business grow and have been in all because. We’re in a world where there are virtual assistant companies all over the place. How is she still growing?
[00:01:00] So I invited Ron to talk about how she did it. Her company is called squared away. What makes it to me interesting is that she’s a military spouse who discovered that military spouses can’t stay still in one place because they have to move as their families move.
[00:01:16]And so she realized these are really good people who can’t get jobs in the same spot. I’m going to create a company that will help them get hired. And anyway, I’ve done too much yapping. I’ll just finish up by saying we’re going to find out how she built up this business. Thanks to phenomenal sponsors.
[00:01:31] The first, if you’re looking for a podcast to listen to after this, you’ve got to check out traffic secrets. The second, if you’re inspired to build your own business, you need a website. I’m going to convince you to go and sign up for HostGator. Michelle could have you here.
[00:01:45]Michelle Penczak: [00:01:45] As of right now our numbers are about 148,000 in revenue and we have about 162 clients right now.
[00:02:06] Andrew Warner: [00:02:17] That’s phenomenal, the phenomenal growth. And it’s like slow, steady. Actually. I don’t even want to call it slow and steady. I, Shane told me that he feels like there’s business can grow a lot faster, but he says, Michelle just wants to make sure that we don’t have too much work without enough. People don’t hire too many people and then can’t afford to pay them.
[00:02:35] And then we have to lay them off because we don’t have enough customers. It’s like, yeah, you’re nodding.
[00:02:39] Michelle Penczak: [00:02:39] Yeah, absolutely. Um, slow and steady. Yeah. Is my motto. Um, I don’t want to grow too fast and not have the word for our assistance or not have enough assistance available to support the clients. And nobody wants to be on a wait list. So we want to make sure that we are, are doing right by both sides of the house, the assistant and the client.
[00:02:59] Andrew Warner: [00:03:06] He’ll be he’ll want you to be open.
[00:03:08] Michelle Penczak: [00:03:08] I absolutely. Um, so if everybody knew Shane and working with the cyst, um, He called me one day and asked me to find him the tiniest boat in Cannes. And you’re laughing. Like I say this, but yes, I find him the tiniest thing can get a saxophonist to play all the dots next to it and fill it up with ice and champagne from my station in Hawaii.
[00:03:37] Yes. I was able to handle that.
[00:03:39] Andrew Warner: [00:03:39] Because what he wanted was and assist was his company. Um, what he wanted was a presence in Cannes, but he couldn’t afford the types of luxury boats that would get people’s attention. So he said, how do we still stand out, get customers you’re nodding and laughing. This is totally his like life hack. Right. what does he get by having the tiniest boat with champagne and a saxophone player? People notice him as they’re walking around.
[00:04:03] Michelle Penczak: [00:04:03] Oh, for sure. I mean, Cannes South of France, you’re thinking, you know, massive yachts and beautiful all over the place. And here’s this tiny little boat with facts. If I missed our Ninja on a dock and you know, it’s something that people notice and they definitely think no, Oh, no, it was less than that. Probably like five or six total. Yeah.
[00:04:34] Andrew Warner: [00:04:34] He got the post on social media.
[00:04:39] Michelle Penczak: [00:04:39] Content. Yeah.
[00:04:40] Andrew Warner: [00:04:40] Wow.
[00:04:42]Michelle Penczak: [00:04:42] it was super fun to do. It was a very unique task, something totally out of the norm. And there were all different kinds of bits and pieces that went into that, but it was ultimately very much a success for him. And this is.
[00:04:57] Andrew Warner: [00:04:57] He hired you through a company called
[00:05:04] with a personal assistant that you have a direct relationship with. And then you pay Zirtuals virtual pay the assistant. I remember the day that Zirtual decided they’re closing up potentially, and eventually they reopened. I was working with them. Tell me about that day for you and what happened with your relationship with Shane then?
[00:05:25]Michelle Penczak: [00:05:25] Uh, Oh my gosh, Shane and I actually started working together about a year after it’s our tool. Um, I call it the great boom of the virtual assistant world. Um, The day that happened. I, this is where my story starts to sound like a really bad country song. Um, I would, my husband just deployed two weeks before.
[00:05:45]Um, my, I was also three months pregnant with my first little boy. And, uh, as you can imagine, waking up being a manager of a team, I didn’t have a team anymore. I didn’t even have a company anymore. And I had 13 people who were coming to me asking me. What’s happening. What do I do? And I’m like, okay, I don’t have any answers.
[00:06:04] Nobody’s telling me anything either.
[00:06:06]Andrew Warner: [00:06:06] you found out, look, this company that everyone’s talking about got a lot of attention. Suddenly there, they were closing it that day, right? They ended up reopening and this new way, but they were closing. You are going to lose your job. You start calling up your clients. Will you crying?
[00:06:24] Michelle Penczak: [00:06:24] Oh, I was definitely an emotional hot mess. I was like, I am so sorry. I have no idea what’s going on right now. I don’t think anybody in our company has any great answers right now, but I’m absolutely gonna make sure that you’re taken care of moving forward. And yes, and, uh, most of my clients actually had five clients at the time and, uh, four of them actually ended up coming with me. Um, in my independent business. Yes. I think it was more of a, I am just, I always want to do right by people that I’m working with. I want to make sure everybody’s set up in a good way. And. They weren’t getting the support from my home company at that point. So I wanted to make sure that I was still able to give that to them and they weren’t left essentially hanging with their support for their company and their own personal needs.
[00:07:21] Andrew Warner: [00:07:21] No something. I was working with Zirtual at the time I work with someone who’s right in Oakland, I’m in San Francisco. We’re talking about right over the bridge. She never contacted me. And I didn’t know how to contact her because all I had was her Zirtual email account, okay. So you did that, you started working with him at what point do the two of you say, let’s build this up a little bit more.
[00:07:41] Um, company perks, it’s called, let’s get real about company perks. He posted it on medium and he said, look, everyone, every company seems to give you these perks that most employees don’t really care about. We’re going to give them, we’re going to give our team at ASIS things that really matter. And he talks about how, if you’re going to travel, we’re going to get you clear memberships.
[00:08:02] You don’t have to wait in line. Um, we’re going to give you some money to go get in shape, but he also, I think at the time said, we’re going to give all of our people a personal assistance. Am I right?
[00:08:19] Michelle Penczak: [00:08:19] Yes because they’re the most untapped, , just bad-ass group of people that I think, get forgotten in the professional world, because most businesses that. I’ve interacted with, um, I think, Oh, military spouse, where you’re only going to be here temporarily
[00:08:41] Andrew Warner: [00:08:41] like what, give me an example of what you saw,
[00:08:43] Michelle Penczak: [00:08:43] well, in my experience, I have a, an administrative background, but when I met and married my husband, I thought that it would be really easy for me to get , any type of administrative role, uh, on a military base or around a military base, but I probably went on about 30 interviews.
[00:09:00]Um, when my husband got stationed in North Carolina and each and every time, uh, it didn’t matter if it was, you know, a high level executive assistant or answering phones in a law firm. Nobody wanted to hire me because as soon as they found out I was a military spouse, they said, thanks, have a good day, essentially. Yes. I think what makes military spouses incredibly unique is their ability to think outside the box with no checklists. Um, when you become a military spouse, the, um, you don’t really get a rule book or a guide book about how to do a PCs from North Carolina to Hawaii. It’s here’s the end goal. Figure it out, figure out all the moving pieces and how to make it happen. A move from one duty station to another. Housing any pets that need to be shed, um, childcare for your children? Um, Having your vehicle shipped that entire process, um, moving your household goods, having it packed, having it actually picked up and moved by the military. everything that you could possibly imagine moving as a civilian times 10, because the military isn’t exactly very efficient with things.
[00:10:42] So, um, it makes life super complicated.
[00:10:46] Andrew Warner: [00:10:46] Figure it out.
[00:10:51] Michelle Penczak: [00:10:51] Oh, yeah, absolutely. So, what we have done is, uh, essentially taken into consideration people’s backgrounds, their attention to detail, um, and given them practice tasks, um, on how to handle, um, specific situations. We actually use the small boat in con, uh, as an example of how would you handle this task? And. That’s kind of how we figure out.
[00:11:24] Andrew Warner: [00:11:24] So, if they’re going to clone you, you want to see how they would handle one of the odd tasks that you did. Any, anything stand out in the responses that people have given you.
[00:11:32]Michelle Penczak: [00:11:32] Especially from Hawaii where you’re 12 times behind. And it’s absolutely a possibility. I did it for two years in a row, so I know it’s possible, but there were definitely people who said that it’s not possible.
[00:11:52] Andrew Warner: [00:11:52] The first person who you hired is that a F a friend.
[00:11:56] Michelle Penczak: [00:11:56] She was not a friend at the time that she is very much, um, my soul sister now. Yes, Kelsey is my very first clone. I was actually asking in one of our military spouse groups, if anyone was interested in taking on this role and she was one of the standout personalities and she definitely passed all my tests and she just wanted the opportunity and was very hungry for the opportunity to let her light shine.
[00:12:30] And she’s been amazing.
[00:12:33] Andrew Warner: [00:12:33] Okay. So far, we’re talking about a job, plus it’s your job, plus one other person that you’re kind of managing, but working together with, it seems to me that this business grew after Shane was in South by Southwest. What happened at South by Southwest? All he told me was he had a, he had a drink and had a thought.
[00:12:55] Michelle Penczak: [00:12:55] That’s when he called me and said, Hey, Michelle, I need you to scale because I need you to grow with assist and I need you to start cloning yourself.
[00:13:06] Andrew Warner: [00:13:06] Oh, that was just him saying hire people. I have this thought. I need to give it to my people. When does it become a business though?
[00:13:12]Michelle Penczak: [00:13:12] I would say we really started gaining traction. The beginning of 2019 .
[00:13:18] Andrew Warner: [00:13:18] there was no moment when it becomes, when it becomes a formal thing, it just is him bring his employees on for assistance, assist his company, pays you to take care of them. From what I understand, also his friends would then say, do you know someone, people read that blog post that I mentioned, we’re not talking large crowds, but enough people read it.
[00:13:38] Who said.
[00:13:43] Michelle Penczak: [00:13:53] Uh, mine is 62 and has a Sparky. Uh, Daniel Horton is another of our, uh, owners and he’s at five. And Kelsey, our original, uh, assistant is at three. Daniel is actually one of my clients that I called the day Zirtual, essentially imploded. Um, so he got to hear my, um, hormonal I’m sorry, speech for the very first time.
[00:14:21]Andrew Warner: [00:14:21] Yeah, he and Shane are good friends. They’ve talked through ideas together. You get together, you to you gonna start a business and let me pause here. Tell anyone out there who, if you’re on the verge of creating a business, one of the first things you wanted to set it up for yourself is a website, right?
[00:14:42] Well, if you go to hostgator.com/mixergy, you’re going to get a really low price on a website that just works. And then you can focus on the rest of your business. I can tell you endlessly about all the features on metered, disc space, unlimited email addresses, all that stuff you can get. Frankly, I’m going to be honest with you from other places.
[00:14:57] So why pay more to those other places? If HostGator’s got the same thing and. As you’ve heard so many of my guests here say they post it on HostGator. Cause it just works. And it’s been around since 2002, talking about almost 20 years now, go to hostgator.com/mixergy.
[00:15:14] When you throw that slash Mixergy at the end of the URL, you’re going to get the lowest price that they have available and you get tagged as a Mixergy customer get started today. And of course, if you hate your hosting company and want to continue with a better hosting company, do what I did. I moved Mixergy to host Gator and you know what happened?
[00:15:28] Nothing, not a single thing. Nobody even freaking noticed it. Well, I did. I, every time I go into QuickBooks, I noticed I don’t pay as much just works. hostgator.com/mixergy. Anything changed once you’ve decided to create an official company or is it just more people coming in and now Shane and a couple of other people have a piece of the business.
[00:15:49]Michelle Penczak: [00:15:49] as we’ve grown, I’ve started to, uh, Bring in more on directors and managers internally, uh, to assist me with, uh, our team and managing the day to day.
[00:16:01] Andrew Warner: [00:16:01] That’s big. That’s different. At some point you also had to learn to be a founder, a CEO, one of the first decisions was what do we name this thing? Right? It’s no longer just miss Michelle bringing on some of her friends for some of my friends. It’s now official company. He told you, which has got all these friends.
[00:16:18] He said, go talk to my friend, Robert Stevens. .
[00:16:21] Founder of squad also cofounder of assist. Also the owner of beautiful, I guess, land in Sonoma. When I can’t find camping space here, I’m kind of tempted to just call them up and say, Robert, can I just bring my tent over your spot? It’s a beautiful space.
[00:16:36]Michelle Penczak: [00:16:36] Robert’s advice was to think about what our mission was. What we wanted to do what we wanted to portray to the outside world and start thinking of different praises that invoke that and make sure to have a really good glass of wine while doing it and get just a tiny bit buzz before you started thinking about it, that stuff.
[00:17:13] So my husband, who is a Marine Osprey pilot, uh, his favorite phrase to say is, I’m getting this all squared away and making sure this is squared away at work. And, um, when I first told him the idea, he was like, I never say this. Like, why do you think this is a military phrase?
[00:17:31] Andrew Warner: [00:17:31] you don’t have squared away.com.
[00:17:35] Michelle Penczak: [00:17:35] A little bit at first, but somebody else actually has, I think it’s a closet organizing business.
[00:17:44]Andrew Warner: [00:17:44] Squared away.
[00:17:49]. They still have a link to like clip stuff too. Evernote? Except it doesn’t fully work. It takes it to the old Evernote website. So who knows? Maybe it will be available at some point soon.
[00:18:00] Michelle Penczak: [00:18:00] Maybe
[00:18:02] Andrew Warner: [00:18:02] What else did you need to do? So you’ve got a proper name. What else did you need to do to actually turn this thing into a real business?
[00:18:08]Michelle Penczak: [00:18:08] And accounting, which is phenomenal. And then we started trying to find the assistants. Right now from the time that they start with us until the time that they have their first client. So one of our greatest resources has been, um, Women’s groups, women’s professional groups. Um, there’s a few out there that I’m a part of. Hey mama and the female founder collected have been phenomenal resources for our clients. Um, they are literally everyone that you can potentially imagine in every space out there.
[00:19:13]Um, and everybody always needs more time in their day and more time to focus on the priorities in their businesses. So they’ve been a phenomenal resource. It actually went a lot easier than that. Funny enough. Um, I joined the group, let them know that I was the CEO squared away, and this is what we did. And people just started reaching out saying, Oh my gosh, this is amazing. Let me support you guys. I definitely want to work with you and. And just sharing that with them. , It’s so hard being a working mom, especially CEO, mom, um, and there are all different kinds of things that we have to deal with. Like mom, guilt is a real thing. .
[00:20:03]Andrew Warner: [00:20:03] That’s one of the issues that I’ve got, frankly, with my relationships, with my friends and my wife, that I just sit with it for a bit. So you go to this, it’s an online group, by the way, they’ve got really great sense of design. I was expecting like an old fashioned mama website. No really good sensibility.
[00:20:26] What, what do you do? Do you text in the group? Is it a group chat where you get help? Is it live events that you decided to go to and got help?
[00:20:34]Michelle Penczak: [00:20:34] Uh, it’s mostly, um, the, uh, Slack and emails, um, women who are just being completely transparent about their needs personally and professionally, and, you know, I felt so welcome. And so. You know, like these are my people, like they’re doing exactly what I am in different niches. And they understand the struggles of having, um, children who are in various stages while they’re also trying to build their company.
[00:21:00] So it’s been great to be completely transparent with them and say, Hey guys, I’m struggling because my kid is teething. And you know, I have a company I’m trying to build, like, how do you find that balance?
[00:21:12]Andrew Warner: [00:21:12] So help me understand how are you getting customers beyond this?
[00:21:16]Michelle Penczak: [00:21:16] Uh, we have actually, most of our clients, current clients have been the source of our referrals. Um, we haven’t really done any marketing other than sharing on our social media and, um, sharing our newsletter with our clients. We have, Oh my goodness. We have so many different types of playbooks and there are, uh, playbooks for working in digital marketing, social media marketing with clients. We also have, uh, our favorite one that, um, we’ve worked on with a few different people is our CEO, fundraising, checklists, or, uh, startup CEOs who are going through the fundraising process. So the content is a collaboration between, uh, Shane, Kelsey and myself, and the funnel is, um, Very very basic. Um, our clients local, we’re doing so they’re sharing it with, uh, their professional networks and friends. And, you know, they’re just reaching out saying, Hey, I’ve heard great things. I want to work with you guys.
[00:22:34] So our funnel is very, very simple right now.
[00:22:37] Andrew Warner: [00:22:37] And you’re targeting new entrepreneurs and the people who invest in them because.
[00:22:41]Michelle Penczak: [00:22:41] they don’t have the fundraising quite yet to invest in a full time employee. And we’re able to bridge that gap and give them exactly what they need without the employee overhead.
[00:22:52]Andrew Warner: [00:22:55] um, . It’s called traffic secrets is by this guy, right? Russell Brunson. He literally wrote the book on how to get traffic. He created click funnels, which is software that eventually, I think you should check out because it helps you create beautiful landing pages that then automatically feed into getting somebody to buy the first thing.
[00:23:10] And then once you have their credit card, you can then upsell them on, on a membership with you. The whole thing, it all works beautifully. It’ll even handle your email marketing. So he created this whole thing and he said, you know what? I’ve done a pretty good job, getting people to come to my site and sign up for my software.
[00:23:23] My customers have done a great job of getting people to their landing pages, which they built on ClickFunnels to get more customers for their business. He says, I’m going to write the book on how to get traffic. It’s called traffic secrets. And since a lot of people don’t have time to read the book or aren’t sure they want to try it, he decided to create a podcast with some of the ideas in the book.
[00:23:42] If anyone was listening to me and for you, Michelle, especially Shane Mac, if you’re listening to this and checking up on this interview, I recommend for all of us that we should be subscribed to traffic secrets and whatever podcast app we love. And if you have one of these speakers, which is what I have around the house, sign up, just yell at the speaker and say, Hey, play traffic secrets podcast.
[00:24:11] Michelle Penczak: [00:24:11] I am we my four year old, regularly yells at Alexa. Oh my goodness. Tell me a joke. It’s his favorite? Alexa play? Santa Claus is coming to town.
[00:24:27] Andrew Warner: [00:24:27] one is play star Wars, theme, or Batman scene.
[00:24:30] But I do like podcasts. I do like having some sound around the house. What’s your, what’s your onboarding with new customers? Like.
[00:24:38]Michelle Penczak: [00:24:38] from the very beginning, they chat with our client relations team who, uh, gets a better idea of. The type of support that they’re seeking and, um, the type of personality they want to work with the time zones, all of their preferences. And then they actually get a matchmaking sent over to them after the call with our client relations, once that’s complete and we have it back, our.
[00:25:05] Client relationship team matches the client with the assistant who’s best suited for them. Um, and we use a couple of different variables to match. It’s all based upon the client’s preferences and who on our team is going to be the best fit for that. And, uh, then the client we send over the contract it’s signed and then we introduce them to their assistant. Uh, right now, our, uh, 15 hour plan in 600 for the month. 25 is 1,050 hour is 2008 and 75 hours a month is 30,000.
[00:25:44] Andrew Warner: [00:25:44] So he basically took the Zirtual playbook. I think they might’ve changed it right. Eventually will Schroeder’s company bottom, bottom out, and then they switched from 10 99, I think, to W2 or maybe they switched before. I don’t know that they switched before they switched you. You were W2
[00:26:01] Michelle Penczak: [00:26:01] Debbie knew when, uh, in 2015.
[00:26:03] Andrew Warner: [00:26:03] Right. And, um, so then what’s different about your company from that?
[00:26:09] Michelle Penczak: [00:26:09] Oh my gosh. So many different things. Um, one of the things that Zirtual used to kind of bank on, and I didn’t exactly think was fair was the fact that. Most clients don’t use all of their hours, which I didn’t think was fair. Um, I think it’s very important that clients see the value in the time that they’re paying for each month.
[00:26:30] So our team is trained to be more proactive as opposed to reactive with clients. So they’re the ones reaching out to the client. If they’re not hearing back, Hey, Andrew, haven’t heard from you in 24 hours, I’m here. Let me help you. That kind of thing. Yeah. Oh yeah. If we’re, if we’re not hearing from our clients four hours, then we’re reaching out.
[00:26:51]Um, but usually we’ll make sure you use that time.
[00:26:55] Andrew Warner: [00:26:55] How do you suggest something to somebody who’s busy?
[00:26:58] Michelle Penczak: [00:26:58] We have different options. So when, uh, our clients first come on board with us, we have them do an onboarding call with their assistant, the assistant chats with them about everything that they can handle. Everything that the client is looking for them to handle. So the top three things they want off of their list immediately.
[00:27:15] And then from there, the assistant starts making suggestions based on calendars, based on different meetings. They’re seeing, um, things that are taking their time away from the priorities and their businesses. Our assistants are always making suggestions.
[00:27:34] Andrew Warner: [00:27:34] Oh, wow. And why pipe drive pipe drive? When I’ve been using pipe drive for years, I love it because it lets you put people in different state. You, it, every stage of your sales process gets its own column. And then you get to put people within, uh, the right column as you move them forward towards the win, which is at the end. Um, I do that for guests on Mixergy so that I. Can keep track of where they are. Did we pre-interview them? Did they make sense to somebody else vet them before they come to me? Um, why do you use it once you get a, why do you, why do you use that?
[00:28:04] Michelle Penczak: [00:28:04] It’s super easy. Like obviously you’ve been using it for a while. It’s very transparent. It’s super easy to find everything and try deals. We make notes and reminders to follow up with. That’s how we track our leads, our clients that the assistants are working with. One-on-one, it’s, they’re dedicated to that one client. So if they’re not hearing from say you as a client in 24 hours, or however long, then they’re reaching out saying, Hey, Andrew, and available, we have this time to use. That’s just them managing that relationship yet.
[00:28:53] Andrew Warner: [00:28:53] I remember Zirtual, I think at one point switched from a direct email address to they were using Zen desk. Right. . Yeah. All activity can be tracked. And then also, if my assistant was out, somebody could easily just jump in and take over and see what happened before.
[00:29:06] Is that what you’re using?
[00:29:11] Michelle Penczak: [00:29:11] To track assistants being out right now or
[00:29:14] Andrew Warner: [00:29:14] Just straight up
[00:29:14] Michelle Penczak: [00:29:14] and be around. It’s just, we’re just using our individual email addresses and then it’s become a very personal relationship. More of like, I guess I concierge, um, because we have our client connections team who if an assistant is out, for whatever reason, reaches out to the client says, Hey, by the way, just want to let you know.
[00:29:35] Amanda is out today, but Michelle’s going to be filling in and she has all of your information all up to state. So feel free to go ahead and start sending tasks her way.
[00:29:46] Andrew Warner: [00:29:46] Okay. Basically what we’re seeing here is very similar to Zirtual. And one of the big advantages that you have is you don’t have the Zirtual funding. You don’t have the Zirtual need to be big, and you’ve got you internally saying, hang on, we’re going to make sure that we don’t hire more people than we can handle.
[00:30:02] We don’t take on more clients than we’ve got virtual assistants to work with. Right. I asked Shane, I said, what’s the biggest challenge I try to contact when I don’t know the guests, I try to contact somebody who knows them to give me some insight. I said, tell me about her biggest challenge, which you like.
[00:30:21] Well, first he told me what you’re great at. And we talked about some of it. We didn’t talk about how you time back box people. Like you’re really set on, we’re going to do this. This time work is not going to come to in the middle of the night, no matter what kind of right.
[00:30:39]Michelle Penczak: [00:30:39] Yeah. it’s kind of up to their, I am very much big on yeah. On having the work life balance. It’s really hard. Especially as a military spouse, our spouses are gone so much, which at the time that that family time where their home is incredibly precious.
[00:31:08] Whether or not, they want to answer. Mmm, everything you can imagine. Uh, Shane has been telling me for a while that I need to, Start giving away my tasks because I’m doing too much. And I need to teach my team first and foremost, to be able to handle that on their own, doing the client matchmaking is something I really enjoy doing.
[00:31:33]Andrew Warner: [00:31:33] Um, I think you said that you were doing even Stripe the payment processing on your own until recently up until two weeks ago, even that why could somebody else do that?
[00:31:45] Michelle Penczak: [00:31:45] I just wanted to make sure that our clients, obviously finances is huge for everyone, but I want to make sure that their billing was done appropriately. They weren’t being charged, um, like for a client upgrade, um, and not getting the right pricing and that kind of thing. It was just me being extremely meticulous and wanting to make sure that that process was going as smoothly as possible. have from one assistant to another, um, if an assistant leaves, because as a PCs, if an assistant leaves, because, um, for God forbid they were fired, something like that, we have a process for each one handle that homecoming is, um, when your service member comes home from deployment. We, uh, we generally know ahead of time or with the military. Uh, we have. The idea of a window because of operational security, but we let the client know ahead of time. Hey, Michelle’s going to be out her, husband’s coming home from deployment. This is the week she’s going to be off. So Amanda is going to be stepping in to support you during this period.
[00:33:26] And by the way, everything is all set up on our end. And we will let you know, because we have a checklist that we run.
[00:33:43] Andrew Warner: [00:33:43] Mine is, um, mine was the most ridiculous is poker night because I want to have a little thing set up. I forget to do little things that go into setting up a good night of poker at my house and my least ridiculous most used over the years is things to pack for a trip. I can just pour myself a whiskey. Hack within like five, 10 minutes, have everything that I need for any trip that I have and not forget the clicker, if I’m going to be presenting at an event. And I forget my running shoes, if I’m going to be running a marathon and that I’ve had since I’ve been in business, basically someone on my team said years ago, it takes you too long and you’re too stressed about packing.
[00:34:22] I’m gonna make a really bad checklist for you, and then you could just keep adding and changing it. And I’ve done that.
[00:34:28] Michelle Penczak: [00:34:28] I think our most ridiculous checklist is. It sounds very simple, but a party planning is extremely detailed from down to getting clients to get on a call, to discuss their needs at the very beginning for their parties. And for personal party, any type of party. It’s getting on a call with a client, having your checklist available.
[00:35:02]Uh, what questions to ask to make sure that you’re getting all the information in the first call and you don’t have to get back to it, color schemes on theme, you name it on. I think there’s probably about a good 40 questions in our party planning checklist.
[00:35:21] Andrew Warner: [00:35:21] Virtual assistant virtual assistant company after you, why are you doing well? What can somebody was saying? I want to do something like this. What can take away from your business, why you did well and why they could do well, too.
[00:35:38] Michelle Penczak: [00:35:38] Now comes down to coming back to your mission as much as possible. Our mission is to employ as many military spouses as possible. And. We do everything possible to make sure that we can keep doing that every single day. Um, whether it’s making internal changes in our company, to make sure that we have the money to do it, or we’re just changing the way that we’re doing our internal communications.
[00:36:04] Like literally everything that we do comes back to our mission. And I think being incredibly transparent with what we’re doing is super helpful too, because. We just don’t have the time to waste with not being open and making sure everything’s out there.
[00:36:26] Andrew Warner: [00:36:26] Well, let me tell you why. It seems to me like there wasn’t a need to form a business until the business formed on its own. Almost. It was just you continuing what you were doing before, and then slowly adding as the business had enough clients, it became a business before you sat down and came up with a name. It was essentially a business, right?
[00:36:55] That’s a big one versus I don’t want to put Zirtual down at all. I think that there’s so much that Maryn Kate Donovan has done with did with that company, with that idea. That was phenomenal, but it seems like you’re the opposite in that. You don’t have to scale to be really big. You don’t have to keep hitting growth numbers.
[00:37:17] You just can enough of a job for one person. And then it’s enough of a job for two weeks. And then it’s going to continue to grow that way until one day Shane and you decide, you know what, or maybe it’s Robert Stevens comes in and says, no, this is too big. An opportunity we got to go in, who knows? Um,
[00:37:32]Michelle Penczak: [00:37:32] I think it was because people who were typically, you know, going to an office traveling were kind of forced to do a 180 and be at home. And we’ve already been working at him for almost three years. And a lot of our clients really started leaning on us personally and professional because most of them didn’t know how to work at home remotely.
[00:37:54] Kids home with them and spouses home and what that dynamic looked like. So a lot of it went into us just trying to make sure our clients were taken care of and making sure they were okay. Number one, during coded and kind of digging in with them more to say, okay, well you’ve pivoted your business. Let me help you in this way now.
[00:38:13] So I can pivot how I’m working with you. Actually a little bit of both. We started digging in more with our clients, so they started increasing their plans and then companies who were doing well, uh, encoded and not struggling. We’re actually reaching out for support remotely because their teams had now been made remit as well.
[00:38:43] Andrew Warner: [00:38:43] Their teams needed more. What type of work?
[00:38:46] Michelle Penczak: [00:38:46] Everything from basic admin to research, assisting with podcasting, uh, in some things that, uh, our clients are working on and, you know, just making sure that, you know, their, uh, uh, business spaces and offices, like are.
[00:39:22] Andrew Warner: [00:39:22] And I want to thank my two sponsors who made this interview happen. The first, if you’re out there and you’re launching a business or have a business and you hate your website, you got to go to hostgator.com/mixergy. If you look at the bottom of my website, you’ll see. I was so happy with them, Michelle, this is a mistake.
[00:39:37] I put their logo too, freaking big. You know what it was. I got excited to someone on my team. Just put there. I said, Michael, put their logo on our site. They’re really good. And people don’t realize how they’ve been mission the site that’s hosted by HostGator and they don’t realize that let’s get it just fricking works.
[00:39:52] So because I got that excited, Michael took a giant freaking logo for them. Literally their logo for the host for HostGator is bigger on the bottom of my site than my logo is anywhere on my site. And they didn’t even pay me for that. It was just me one time getting excited and Michael’s understanding Andrew’s excited.
[00:40:07] I think I need something that’s big enough to satisfy his excitement. So he did it. And I don’t know, I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter enough that I should go and make them look at this. It’s just huge. I’m looking on the site. It doesn’t
[00:40:19] enough that I
[00:40:20] Michelle Penczak: [00:40:20] kinda double check you with that injury. One of our assistants can a double check that for you.
[00:40:25] Andrew Warner: [00:40:25] just like you would have asked me, said, how big do you want it to be? I am happy that Michael didn’t ask me and just went with it on his own. I would have liked for it to been, let’s say a quarter, the size. This is just it’s. It’s it’s big. It takes up my whole freaking iPad. Look at the screen. Almost a hope Dialpad screen.
[00:40:45] Right? That’s a logo. My. So my hosting company and they didn’t even pay for that. Alright. Um, tow scanner.com/mixergy. And now that this interview is over, you should go find out how to get more traffic to your site by going to. Whatever podcast app you’re listening to and look for traffic secrets because Russell Brunson who created that show knows that if he call something a secret, they’re more likely to care and pay attention.
[00:41:09] I love that he, that he does stuff like that. It’s called traffic secrets. It’s really good to go listen to it and whatever podcast app you’re listening to me on. Bye everyone.