153. Hiring an Integrator. How To Find The Right Person The First Time
26 Apr 2022 | By Salome Schillack
Kinda ready to hire an Integrator but not sure if it's the right move? Or perhaps you’re wondering, Inte-what now???
This week’s episode of The Shine Show is especially for you!
I’m joined by my work wife, honorary psychologist, punching bag, tissue box, life planner, and cyber angel, Integrator Chloe!
Hiring an Integrator was a pivotal point in my business, and having Chloe on my team made things go from stressy to progressy. She is my secret sauce for getting sh!t done!
Every visionary hits the ceiling at some point. Between juggling the systems, the financial stuff, the team, and everything in between, setting aside for your big picture thinking gets lower and lower down the to-do list.
An Integrator will give you your time back and allow you to do all the dreaming and big picture planning. AKA the stuff you're really good at! Think about what you could create with all that extra time and the relationships you could nurture. Hand on heart, Chloe changed my life!
Today on The Shine Show, Chloe joins me and shares all things Integrator, from what exactly she does day to day (AKA everything) to how you know when you're ready to transform your life by hiring your own Integrator. If you’re looking for a superstar Integrator, but not quite ready to take on a full-time team member, Audacious Empires are your gals! They are the best in the biz, and you can stalk them here.
P.S Did you find this week's episode helpful? I love hearing your feedback. Jump over to my Instagram and let me know what you think and if Chloe’s wise advice has helped you take the leap to get yourself an Integrator!
When you subscribe and review the podcast not only does that give me the warm and fuzzies all over, it also helps other people to find the show.
When other people find the show they get to learn how to create more freedom in their lives from their online courses too!!
So do a good deed for all womenkind and subscribe and review this show and I will reward you with a shout out on the show!!
Salome Schillack (00:00):
Hello, and welcome to episode number 153 of The Shine Show. I have such a treat in store for you today. The episode is called Hiring an Integrator: How to Find the Right Person the First Time. And I am interviewing the lovely Chloe Porter, who has been, not just my integrator, but my sidekick and my psychic, my psychologist, my tissue box, my punching bag, my planner, my work wife, my everything for the better part of just over a year.
Salome Schillack (00:40):
About just over a year ago, the business was growing fast, and I was losing my mind. And I knew what I needed was an integrator, but I also knew that finding one in Australia can be tough, because ... If I was in the U.S., it might be easier, because at least there's a few people who know what an integrator is. In Australia, it was a little bit harder. But, I found Chloe, and she has completely changed my business, and allowed me to create the structures to, not just hire more people, but to hire more people and have happy team, and be productive, and continue to build and grow the business.
Salome Schillack (01:26):
So let me tell you a little bit about Chloe. Chloe is the captain of operations and business integration at Audacious Empires. She is the absolute queen of keeping the Audacious Empires wheels spinning. They're an agency that hires out integrators for hire. She's got the drive, the determination, capability, and care factor to smash goals and manage the Audacious Empire team. She listens to what you want, and identifies what you need to take your big vision and make it a reality, creating more time and freedom for you to do what you love most, and the reason you started your business in the first place.
Salome Schillack (02:10):
When Chloe's not working, she can be found sitting outside, listening to the rain, or out on her boat, with a rod cast in the water.
Salome Schillack (02:19):
I know you're going to love picking Chloe's brain with me today. I know you're going to love Chloe just as much as I do. And if you're considering hiring an integrator, even if you're in America, these girls are based here in Australia, but I can tell you from experience, as someone who works with people all over the world, these girls are so organized. They will organize your life from halfway across the world. And you can find them at audaciousempires.com. And on Instagram, they're @audaciousempires, and on Facebook, they're Audacious Empires. So, have a listen to Chloe, and if you're looking for an integrator, go find Chloe today.
Salome Schillack (03:07):
Giving up your time and freedom to make money is so 2009. Hi, I'm your host, Salome Schillack, and I help online course creators launch, grow, and scale their businesses with Facebook and Instagram ads, so that they can make more money and have an even bigger impact in the world. If you're ready to be inspired to dream bigger, launch sooner, and grow your online business faster, then tune in, because you are ready to shine, and this is The Shine Show.
Salome Schillack (03:41):
Chloe, welcome to the show. You have been my rock, and my therapist, and my organizer, and all the things throughout 2021, so I'm so happy to have you on the show, to share with all the listeners how amazing the work is that you do, and how they can find a Chloe of their own as well. So, welcome.
Chloe Porter (04:08):
It's great to be here. Thank you so much.
Salome Schillack (04:10):
I'm so glad we do this. You are so behind the scenes. The students don't even see you, because you're never in the community or in anywhere visible, except you're visible to me every time something drops on the floor and I'm crying, Chloe's there to pick it up, or when I'm running light with deadlines, or when I'm the bottleneck in the business, Chloe's there to help us.
Salome Schillack (04:38):
So, I just want to tell everyone listening a little bit of the story of how I came to you, and then, we can dive in and talk about the history of what you guys do at Audacious Empires, which is the company that Leanne Woff founded that you work for. And then we can dive deep into all things, being a VA, being an integrator, being an online business manager, and how to hire someone like you, and where can people find things?
Salome Schillack (05:06):
So let me wind the clock back a little bit. It was December 2020. So it was mentally, I want to say, it was a time where 2020 had thoroughly settled in. The initial shock of what 2020 was going to be had worn off. And I think the initial pivot/crazy hustle energy that we all went into from, say, March to about August, September of 2020, had kind of died down, but also started taking a much deeper hole on, I think, everyone's mental health and work capacity.
Salome Schillack (06:05):
And we were at a point where we were seeing that COVID is not going to go away very quickly, it's here to stay. And at that point in time, I had only just launched A-Lister a few months before I'd launched The Launch Lounge a few months before. There were only three other people, other than myself, in my team. It was Hannah, the ads manager, Caroline, the account manager, and Ashley, who was literally doing everything else at that stage. Ash was my copywriter, my designer, my organizer, my everything, my community manager.
Salome Schillack (06:43):
And Ashley resigned because she was pursuing a career in therapy. And so I was left with this fast growing business in the middle of COVID, and I just went, "What is the best thing that I can do for my business right now?" I know I don't need more help in terms of managing clients, because Caroline and Hannah had that down pat, they were nailing that, but I knew I definitely need more help on the courses side on the side where I'm working with students, and launching courses, and putting content together, and the podcast, and everything.
Salome Schillack (07:30):
And so, I remember it was like this really spontaneous moment. I was sitting on my couch upstairs, and I just went, I need an integrator. I need someone who's more than just a virtual assistant. I need someone that I don't want to have to teach how to help me. I want this person to be qualified. And so I remember going to Google searching it and couldn't find anything. And then I went to LinkedIn and I typed in "integrator" and you guys came up, and I went to the website. And everything on your website used all the right words that I was exactly what I was looking for. And I couldn't believe my luck that you guys are actually in Australia as well.
Salome Schillack (08:17):
So I think you and I hopped on a quick call, and then I met with Leanne, and it was literally within a week or two, we had contracts signed, and we were ready to go. And that's how you came on board.
Salome Schillack (08:31):
And I can honestly, honestly say, I do not know what I would've done in 2021 if I didn't have you guys. So for that, I'm so grateful, and I want you to share all the magic you gave me to all the listeners.
Salome Schillack (08:49):
So that was a very long intro, but I felt like I needed to tell the story of where I was and how I was feeling when I brought you in. So maybe you can tell us a little bit of, from your perspective, what did you see when you came into my business?
Chloe Porter (09:06):
Yeah. So straight away I could tell that there was a lot of overwhelm, a lot of, "I need more time but I don't know how to get at it," and quite a bit of, "This is what I want to achieve, but I know I can't do it alone. And I don't really know how to go about it in the best possible way," which is something we say with a lot of people that have really great ideas, but they don't know how to launch them successfully, or how to even plan them properly. Lots of people will jump into action mode before they do the planning, and before they know it, they've jumped into action mode so fast that they haven't actually achieved the end result that they need or that they want. And then they kind of go, "Oh, crap, I should have done the planning first."
Chloe Porter (09:53):
So when you came to us, you had three team members, lots and lots of ideas, lots of good things going, you just needed a little bit more help, and you were growing, in which we started overhauling your organizational structure, your file storage structure. All of those core things that a lot of people don't realize are super important, and they kind of just get left behind, when the reality is that those things matter, because everything you do is dependent on that. If you don't look at those first, you're going to have burnt out team members, overloaded team members, things falling through the cracks, and then stress. Stress and overwhelm.
Chloe Porter (10:42):
So we kind of started with the core things, organizational structure, file storage structure, project management structure, all those things. Then we looked at, okay, what are the things that we want to do, and who do we need to help? And then that's how it came to be the bigger team that we are now, which I think we have, what, about 9 or 10. 10 of us in total.
Salome Schillack (11:04):
11, if I count my husband.
Chloe Porter (11:07):
And every person has a unique role, and without them, the business could not function in the way that it does now. And on top of the launch lounge, now we have VIP, we have lots and lots of students, we just have a lot of things going on. And it just couldn't have happened if we didn't focus on the core things first.
Salome Schillack (11:27):
Chloe Porter (11:28):
So that was super important. And I'm glad we did that.
Salome Schillack (11:31):
I am too. For us creative entrepreneurs who always have new ideas and always could see ... We are so good at seeing where the next big thing is going to come from, or what the next big idea is, or what the next iteration of something is. And we are not always very good at looking back, and seeing that we leave a trail of chaos behind us, as we innovate and come up with new ideas and things. And so, I've always thought of myself as a fairly organized person, but even a fairly organized person when things have grown fast, and the capacity, you literally become out of capacity. That's how I felt. I felt like I was out of capacity.
Salome Schillack (12:30):
And then organization is the first thing that goes out the window. And the irony is, you just end up working more because now you can't find that folder, or you don't know where you saved it, or you accidentally deleted it, which has happened to me multiple times, or it's just you have to do things twice, that if you just plan it, you would've been more efficient, and just needed to do it once.
Salome Schillack (13:02):
So there's this kind of overwhelm that you talked about, that as a creative entrepreneur, you just need someone with a fresh set of eyes, who's not also overwhelmed, and who has the skill to create organizational systems because that's a very unique skill. Is this ability to see the big picture, but also break it down into smaller chunks. Not a lot of people have that skill. And you have that skill in leaps and bounds. You are very good at that.
Salome Schillack (13:34):
So tell me a little bit about the first things that you guys did when you started working with me. I remember we had a call and you guys said, "Okay, tell me everything." And I think I just verbal-diarrhead for about an hour. And then you said, "Okay, got it." And I was, "No, you don't. No, you don't, you don't got it." You were like, "No, I'll come back to you with a 90-day plan." And I was like, "Sure, okay. I look forward to seeing what you produce." And then you came back and you nailed it.
Chloe Porter (14:11):
Salome Schillack (14:11):
I was blown away. Nailed it.
Chloe Porter (14:15):
Yeah. So what we normally do is, we hold about a 60-minute to a 90-minute deep dive call, and it's where we just listen, and you just literally start talking. "These are the things I want. These are the things I'm having trouble with." This is the thing I kind of see, but I don't know what to do. This is how I'm feeling. These are the people on my team." Absolutely everything that you can do, we get you to talk about. And then we just take notes in the background, and listen to you because listening is really important too. Anyone can take notes and go, "Okay, I'll just come up with a plan, take your money, give the plan to you, help you with the plan, then leave."
Salome Schillack (14:57):
Chloe Porter (14:57):
Listening is super important to actually help the person who needs help, not just with tasks. So with, "I'm feeling overwhelmed, can you help? I want more time back, can you help? I want my expertise to go into this area of my business instead of where it is going now, can you help?" You've really got to listen to all those things.
Chloe Porter (15:20):
And then from that session we walk away, we review everything again, and then we pull together a really detailed 90-day plan, which is going to get you from A to B, with the biggest impact. So we go back and listen to all of the goals you had, which one is going to have the biggest impact, and what needs to happen to get you there? Because it's never just going to be one, two, three steps, there's always going to be quite a few things.
Chloe Porter (15:52):
And from there we create that detailed 90-day plan, and we take into account who's on your team to help, what bits can we do, and what bits need minimal input from you? Because we already know course creators, and coaches, and things, don't have a lot of time, so we don't want to be putting things on their plate that takes more of their time. So it's, what can everybody else do, and what small little bits do we need from you just to keep the momentum going to reach the goal?
Chloe Porter (16:22):
And then we start assigning dates to things and all of those nitty-gritty detail bits. And then we come together, we review it together in great detail, we tweak whatever you'd like to have tweaked, and then once we're happy with it, then we go into action mode. But in action mode, we also catch up regularly [crosstalk 00:16:42], whether that be phone call, Zoom, Slack, there's always communication available.
Chloe Porter (16:49):
And we just catch up and run through, okay, this is where we're at. These are possibly the blockers we've run into, maybe you've had a change in direction. Like we've seen, okay, we've gotten this far with this, but actually want to turn a little bit, what can we do to now change up without having a massive impact? Because we know that people will often want changes, but what we want to make clear at the same time is we can add those changes in, but is it going to stop you from reaching your end goal?
Salome Schillack (17:22):
Chloe Porter (17:22):
And then we kind of talk about that, because if it is, you don't really want to be wasting, one, money, and, two, time. And we don't want you to be doing that either. And we also don't want you to have 10,000 other new ideas and lose sight of that original goal. So we kind of just keep you aligned with it, keep it in the light, in the forefront, make sure it's all okay, and then we just keep going.
Chloe Porter (17:49):
And as we're going, we might pick up new things along the way, and go, "Hey, I noticed this. There's room for improvement with this. Let's talk about this. This would have a big impact too if it was addressed in this light." And if it's something that doesn't really matter right now, we'll put it on the back burner. We know it's there and it needs addressing, but doesn't have to happen right now, because then when we're done, we can come together again, and talk about these are the other things we've noticed. If we did this, this is the result it would have, and then we just keep going. And before you know it, everything has grown. It's blossomed, everything's running smoothly, and it's great.
Salome Schillack (18:27):
And then people like me, we can just come up with new ideas-
Chloe Porter (18:30):
Salome Schillack (18:32):
... to create new chaos for people like you to sort through and organize. And so the spiral continues.
Chloe Porter (18:39):
But it also means too, that now you have the head space, and physical space to be able to give your attention to areas of the business and even team members who actually need you. You're no longer bogged down with checking emails, troubleshooting techy problems, setting up automations, doing all the things that you're kind of like, "Ugh, I hate doing it, it scares me, or I really don't want to do it. Someone else could be doing this."
Salome Schillack (19:07):
Chloe Porter (19:07):
And you can actually go and create new products, and courses, new content, communities, engage with your students, your clients, all those things, and you'll feel happier. You'll feel so much better.
Salome Schillack (19:20):
Yeah. I remember ... So there's so much that I want to unpack with what you've just said. After we agreed on the 90-day plan, one of the things that have consistently changed is our SOP project, right?
Chloe Porter (19:37):
Salome Schillack (19:37):
We started a project to SOP, and SOP stands for Standard Operating Procedure, and it's just like a step by step guide on how to do anything in the business. I had tried for three years to get everything SOPd. And I've hired, literally, I want to say three other people to do it, and nobody could ever get it done or get it done right, or get it complete ... It was just a nightmare. And when you started, I saw you have a really good system for how to do it.
Salome Schillack (20:08):
But that's one of the processes that have gotten sidetracked many times because either we went into something and saw, well, hang on, this isn't necessarily the best system. We want to overhaul this system, we want to change this system, but we don't have the right person in the right role to overhaul this. So we first need to go and find the right person for the role, and then have that person overhaul how they're going to do this, and then we can record it. So sometimes it was things like that.
Salome Schillack (20:41):
Or sometimes it was things like the podcast, and we go here is the current SOP, and then someone tries to implement this and we go, it's been recorded, but it doesn't make any sense. So let's do that over. So I like what you say, you have to listen, and you have to be able to pivot and change without compromising the original goal.
Chloe Porter (21:06):
Salome Schillack (21:07):
I think that is so important. And that's where it's really important, when you have someone in your business who helps you build the structure of your business, that, that person really buys into your vision, and into your goals for your business as well.
Chloe Porter (21:23):
Yeah, it's super important. And then that's where the difference is, between a VA, and an OBM, or an integrator coming to play too. Because lots of people think, "Okay, I need help with this, I need help with this, I need help with this." They go and hire a VA, and they go, "Oh, okay, they can't actually do what I wanted them to do." Because a VA is typically one that can follow a set of instructions to complete a task without looking at the bigger picture, without looking any deeper. It's, "Here you go. Can you please go and create these Canva images and schedule these posts. Here's a really detailed SOP on how to do it and a video, off you go."
Chloe Porter (22:05):
They go and do that. Some bring it back. But they haven't looked any further. So if something else has had an impact or anything like that, you are not going to know until something breaks, or it's gone live, or whatever it is. Then you realize, oh, okay. But the VA doesn't have necessarily the skill or the experience to see that part to do that.
Salome Schillack (22:27):
Chloe Porter (22:29):
And they usually charge about $30 to $40 an hour.
Salome Schillack (22:34):
I think that's in Australia. I think in the U.S., it might be a little bit cheaper.
Chloe Porter (22:39):
Salome Schillack (22:39):
I have friends who hire VAs in the U.S. for about $25 an hour, and in Australia it's probably around $35.
Chloe Porter (22:48):
Yeah. Whereas if you had an OBM or a business integrator, and you said, "Okay, I want to do this. How do we go about it?" They don't just look at that one thing you're talking about, they look at all the things before and all the things after as well, because you could have an idea on how to do this one piece, and it's not until look at the bigger picture that they then go. "That's a really good idea, but perhaps that system you've picked for it isn't going to work because X, Y, Z after, or X, Y, Z before." They look at the bigger picture.
Chloe Porter (23:25):
And they're always looking for improvements, things to improve, things to better help you, better help the business. And they come up with solutions. It's not just, "Oh, Salome, I found this issue. We need to fix it." And you go, "Oh, okay, well now I've got to think about what can you do?"
Salome Schillack (23:41):
Chloe Porter (23:41):
Before they even say anything, they tend to already come up with a couple of solutions, and then they come back to you, and talk to you about them, and then they come up with something together that feels good, and then they go away and implement, whatever it is.
Salome Schillack (23:57):
I love that. And I think, when you think about how an online courses business grows, when you start out, it's just you and you're doing everything, and you're having to figure everything out by yourself. And then when you have a little bit of spare cash, you can start buying back your time, and that's when you hire a VA, and literally is someone ... I've hired VAs to help me publish the podcast, because I had a system, I just have to show them which buttons to press, which levers to pull, when to put what in, where, and you can easily outsource that. I've had VAs to do to publish social media content, publish the podcast on my website. Do what else? I'm trying to think what else have I hired VAs. Send out emails in my CRM. Those are the sort of things that a VA can help you with.
Salome Schillack (24:53):
And then there's occasional VAs that you need like when you have a big launch and you need someone to just be your backup on the webinar, or you need someone to help you schedule mass emails, or something like that. So that's typically when you would hire someone that you pay by the hour, or you pay them for a once off project.
Chloe Porter (25:16):
Salome Schillack (25:16):
The problem with those that I found, because this is one of my big frustrations with hiring VAs at that level, is, when you get to that point where you're not making enough money, that you can hire someone to be an employee in your business, but you can maybe ... Let's say you can hire someone for 5 hours a week or 10 hours a week, what's your advice? Because what I struggled with at that level was, you kinda have to take what you can get.
Salome Schillack (25:49):
And it's harder to manage someone in terms of making them live up to your values and deliver work at your standard when you pay them by the hour, and they just have to follow a certain set of instruction. So what's your advice to someone who's just at that point where they have the cash to hire someone for 5 or 10 hours, but they're not yet at the point where they can say to someone, here's job security, or here's at least contractor security for you, in that, I'm going to pay you the same amount every month, and you're going to have a certain number of hours every single week? What's your advice to that person starting out, finding the VA at the hourly rate, find someone who can really match their values, and match their standard? How do you go about finding that person?
Chloe Porter (26:43):
My advice is to, first, really map out all the things that you need a VA to help you with first. Because like you said, a lot of VAs will have set hours, so 20 hours a week, 20 hours a month, whatever it is, so you have to match that. And you don't want to get to a point where you can for the first three weeks and then you're starting to struggle to give them things, but you still have to pay that same rate.
Chloe Porter (27:11):
So look at all that first, and then start looking for a VA, but don't just jump on the first VA you see. Jump on a Zoom call with them, get to know them. What are they about? What do they like? Understand how they think, how they talk, how they feel, all those things, because that's going to build connection. Without connection, they're not really going to care about your business, you're not really going to get the results out of them that you want. So connection is extremely important if you want to find someone that you vibe with.
Chloe Porter (27:46):
So I would advise that, first, look at all the things that you need help with, then go and find somebody, and look at what they're offering too. And also be respectful of that as well. It's okay to feel, I don't want to pay a VA $40 an hour, that's fine, but you don't really want to come off as trying to negotiate with them to bump that down either, because there'll be a reason why they've priced themselves at that. And that's okay. But I would definitely be jumping on a call with a couple, and trying to get to know them, and trying to see if there's going to be a connection there. Because usually you know if you're not going to connect with someone. And that's super important.
Chloe Porter (28:28):
And if you feel like you can give them the job anyway, without a connection being there, you're probably kidding yourself because it'll be okay for the first couple of weeks, and then when issues start happening and you try and address them with them, care factor's not there, the connection's not there. It's all just going to fall apart.
Salome Schillack (28:46):
Yes. And you're probably going to spend at least a month really suffering, trying to figure out, is it me, or is it them?
Chloe Porter (28:53):
Salome Schillack (28:55):
How do I bring this up with them? All those things I think about.
Chloe Porter (28:59):
And then that ends up being a really icky conversation, and all of those things.
Salome Schillack (29:03):
Yes. And I think it's important too, that you can tell a VA, even if it's someone you bring in as a part-time contractor for a few hours, that you can tell them some of your core values. And I learned this the hard way because I hired a VA once, and I had about four or five interviews, I gave about two or three of them a test job to do. I never had the conversation about values. And as soon as she came on board, and the funny thing is, I said to her, "Is there anything else I should know that's going to make you successful in this job?" And as soon as she started, within a week, she told me, well, in a month's time, she'll be traveling overseas for three months, so she'll just be working from her computer flexibly while she's overseas.
Salome Schillack (29:58):
And I distinctly remember having the need for someone who's behind their computer during office hours that I can talk to and that we can go back and forth. And I had to let her go literally almost within a couple of weeks of hiring her. And I felt like she had betrayed me, I felt like she had lied to me.
Salome Schillack (30:21):
Now, whether that's true or not I can't remember, because I don't remember at all, but I felt that way, but I don't think I ever specifically said, "Well, this five hours a week, are they in Brisbane local time, or are they behind your computer, or are they while you're traveling?" Because that's a horse of different color. It's just a very different deal that could work very well for someone else but didn't work for me at that stage. And so then you're back to square one. You put yourself back like proper month.
Chloe Porter (30:54):
Yeah, that's right. So that's why it's really good to jump on a call with them, and try and get to know them, and see what do they want out of this, how do they like to work, how do they learn? All those things. Because someone can say, "Oh, I can give you 20 hours a week." And like you said, suddenly that's not during office hours and that's what you needed.
Salome Schillack (31:14):
Chloe Porter (31:15):
It could be that they're doing that at nighttime, and well then you need to give them information, or they need to ask you for something. And then time stops for 12 hours until you are awake again.
Salome Schillack (31:26):
Chloe Porter (31:29):
So it's really important to [crosstalk 00:31:29].
Salome Schillack (31:29):
And that can work because we have team members who works in different time zones than us, but as long as everybody ... My number one value is be engaged, which means you are on top of your work, and you do what you said you're going to do, and you do it when you said you were going to do it, and you communicate very clearly if anything is going wrong. And that's the only way it can work with different time zones or with different work schedules.
Salome Schillack (31:53):
So one of the things, when I got to the point where I was hiring you guys, I knew very clearly that I don't want a VA. I knew very clearly. And I remember it being quite a weird space for me to be in, because one of the things everybody says is, "Are you still reading your own emails?" And I was kind of like, "I don't mind reading my own emails. I have bigger ... I want someone who can solve bigger problems than reading my emails." And I knew that I need someone who will not require me to teach them how to do the job. So I knew it wasn't going to be a VA that's going to rely on me to teach them how to manage a project, or how to create a system, or how to manage contractors who are on deadlines. So I knew very clearly I need someone who already has experience and already has the skills. And that's why I was so glad when I found you guys.
Salome Schillack (33:01):
So talk to me a bit about, when do you think an online course creator is ready to hire an integrator or an integrator agency? Because you guys are an agency, so you don't work for me full-time again. I didn't have the capacity for a full-time integrator, so I just went with you guys as an agency, few hours a week, but consistent, reliable, and you become part of my business, and you know what to deliver. So when would someone be ready for someone like you guys?
Chloe Porter (33:32):
Yeah, so that's right. First I'll just say, we fully immerse ourselves into your business, so your business becomes like our own. We become part of your team. We build a relationship with you and your team. We know your business inside and out as if we were an actual employee of your business. So when we're interacting with your team, and with you, and with your students, with your clients, it's like we are inside your business, because we are, but we're not. You know what I mean?
Chloe Porter (34:03):
So you'll know if you're ready for an integrator when you start having all of these floating ideas, all these great ideas, but you're not sure how to put it into action, and you need somebody else to help with business decisions. Things like how much should I charge for this? What should I put in it? What should the content be? What systems do I need to pull together to make it happen? How should I promote it? All of those things. So it's not just, "I need somebody to help me set up an automation." It's the entire picture, what course platform should I choose? What's CRM should I choose? What tools should I use from my community? Should it be a Facebook group, should it be slack?
Chloe Porter (34:48):
All of those things you need. When you start having all of those thoughts and you don't know how to pull together is when you go, okay, I need a business integrator, and I need somebody who will manage my team, manage my projects, make sure shit gets done without me micromanaging. You don't want to micromanage anymore.
Salome Schillack (35:08):
Chloe Porter (35:08):
You don't want to do that. So when you realize, I don't want to do that anymore, but I want to make sure things happen, and it happens right, that's when you know, you need a business integrator.
Salome Schillack (35:18):
That is right. And that's exactly how it unfolded for us. I feel for a few months, it was just you and me cleaning up a whole lot of systems, and it was only really from the middle of last year that we went on a really big recruitment drive, and we just added a lot of people to the team because suddenly the systems were able to carry more people.
Salome Schillack (35:42):
And as soon as the system can carry more people, you see the gaps, and then you go, oh, okay. We can bring someone in at the bottom as a junior here because you've created a system that will mean that this junior can learn what they need to do very quickly, or do it from an SOP. So I feel like you hire an integrator when you see the systems become bigger than what you can manage yourself, and when you know that you need someone senior enough who can think through the process, but not so junior that they need to do the process, I think that-
Chloe Porter (36:31):
Correct. So you're thinking, I want to be CEO, not micromanager, I need somebody below me to manage all the things, and all the people, and then all the juniors come in underneath that.
Salome Schillack (36:43):
Yeah. And where do you see ... I mean, I've thought about this a lot, because we often look to other online course creator, businesses to see best practice in our own industry. But I also like to look at corporate, and as much as I despise anything corporate and feel allergic to anything corporate, I do feel like there's a lot that we can still learn from corporate in terms of how to do systems, and processes, and productivity, and a lot of corporate stuff is also very unproductive, but we can still learn a lot from them.
Salome Schillack (37:16):
So I looked at them and I go, "Well, where does a general manager fit in, and where does an operations' manager fit in?" So maybe talk to me a little bit, what do you think about those two?
Chloe Porter (37:28):
So I usually see it as, you have the CEO at the top, and you have the business integrator or OBM. Usually OBM and business integrator are meshed into one.
Salome Schillack (37:40):
OBM stands for Online Business Manager?
Chloe Porter (37:42):
Online Business Manager, yep. But sometimes businesses will have just a business integrator and then an OBM. But that's usually when they're much bigger. So the OBM, her brain has to go somewhere else, not just on project management anymore. But they can mesh, and they usually tend to.
Chloe Porter (37:58):
Then below there is where you are usually really have a marketing manager, or a general manager, or something like that, kind of depends on how broad your business is, I guess.
Chloe Porter (38:08):
And then underneath that, your VA, your junior-level team members and all those things. That's how I see it, but it's very dependent on the business type, your businesses, all of those things.
Salome Schillack (38:26):
Yeah. Because one of the things that I've been thinking through is, the business operations in a business where marketing is the job, there's no difference between the business manager and the marketing manager.
Chloe Porter (38:42):
Salome Schillack (38:43):
There really isn't. Because the only thing that, that marketing manager ... The only business piece that doesn't fall under that marketing manager is finance and HR, which is a small piece of what the CEO needs to do anyway. So in my mind I was kind of like, okay, so the business manager and the marketing manager in a business where the job is marketing is the same thing.
Chloe Porter (39:11):
Salome Schillack (39:12):
Kind of helping me a little bit.
Chloe Porter (39:14):
Yeah. So you just need to look at what's your business made up of? What are the areas, what are the main ... Start with the big chunky areas, and then work your way down.
Salome Schillack (39:26):
And in an online courses business, the big chunky areas is going to be traffic. So finding new people, to bring new people into your community, either via podcast, a blog, or a video, something, YouTube channel, and then social media to drive people to those channels, Facebook and Instagram ads, ACO, anything that brings traffic to you, conversion is the second big chunk. That's your online course launches. It's your evergreen funnels. It's all of that.
Salome Schillack (39:59):
And then retention or customer service, which is your delivery of your program, so you showing up as the coach, you showing up as the teacher, someone building it in Kajabi or in whatever platform you use, and then handling customer service, I guess. So those really or the big chunks.
Chloe Porter (40:18):
Salome Schillack (40:19):
Yeah. Okay. How does someone into a job like yours?
Chloe Porter (40:27):
Oh, good question. I got lucky. So we were originally Virtual Infinity founded by Leanne. And we started off as virtual assistants, doing general kind of things, research and smaller admin tasks, all of those things. And then I found Leanne, and was super interested in this kind of work. I thought I've never heard of this before, sounds really interesting, and I'm always up for learning new things. And I always have wanted a role where I'm continually growing, like the growth never stops. Yeah.
Chloe Porter (41:12):
And so I kind of landed in her lap that way and we just gelled. We just got on before we knew people, our clients, and friends, and things were starting to think we were actually sisters. We had a client that we had had for, I think about two years at the time, and one night she was talking to us and she said something about sisters. And I said, "What?" And then she's like, "Yeah, you're sisters." And we were like, "No, we're not." And she's mind blown, couldn't believe that we were not sisters.
Chloe Porter (41:45):
And then before we knew it, we were actually doing more than just virtual assistant work. We were making big decisions with clients, helping them create new products, and new courses constantly strategizing with them, finding ways to better streamline their business. All of those things that then we went, we're no longer VAs, we're with something more. And then that's how Audacious Empire came about, and our team started to grow as well.
Chloe Porter (42:16):
We had people with special technology skills, people with strategy skills, people with marketing skills, all of those things. And we just grew. But I remember just doing virtual assistant kind of tasks, and then starting to do the more strategic things, and operations, and organizational structure and stuff, that's when we looked at everything again and went, "We're more than a virtual assistant now." We just grew. Our skills had grown, we constantly invest in training, we're always upskilling, all those things, that's when we went, "We're not a VA anymore." We are online business managers, we are business integrators, without us, a lot of people couldn't be where they are. But that's how Audacious Empires came about.
Salome Schillack (43:09):
Fantastic. That's awesome. So I guess it starts with just learning VA stuff and then like anything, the more you learn, the more you learn, the better you get at it.
Chloe Porter (43:19):
Salome Schillack (43:19):
And the more you understand the big picture, the better you'll be able to then serve someone as, not just a VA, but as an integrator.
Chloe Porter (43:28):
Yeah. That's right. So constantly just learning, learning, learning, having experience in things. But being an online business manager and a business integrator, it's not something you can just learn. You do have to have the skill for it. A lot of people will say, "I'm an online business manager now," but then you work with them all the things you're doing, and you kind of like, "Well, are you ..." It's not-
Salome Schillack (43:56):
It's not advanced admin.
Chloe Porter (43:59):
It's not something everyone can just learn, and then go, okay, I have the skills now, I'm an online business manager.
Salome Schillack (44:05):
Yeah, I agree with that.
Chloe Porter (44:06):
Like you really have to pick [crosstalk 00:44:09] part of you.
Salome Schillack (44:10):
There's a passive function. There's a very specific brain function in terms of having the ability to see both the big picture, and be incredibly detail driven as well.
Chloe Porter (44:23):
Salome Schillack (44:24):
And I am big picture, will never be able to do the details. So I have absolute admiration for anyone who can do both those things. An amazing skill. It's a rare skill as well.
Chloe Porter (44:37):
It is. And you have to be extremely driven and extremely committed. It takes a lot of brain power, a lot of patience. Some things that we know businesses need, they can't be built in a week, or even a month, or two months, it takes time. You can do it the really quick way, but you're not going to get the high end result that you want. You'll get something that might work, but has 20 bumps in it, and then it's kind of like, well, does it really work?
Chloe Porter (45:11):
It takes time and it takes a lot of patience. And all you need to do is trust your online business manager, or your business integrator to know that they are experienced, and do know what they're doing, because the minute you start trying to micromanage too much or change things without telling them, that's where you're going to get a lot of bumps, because your partners, you need to work together. You need to understand things together. You need to make decisions together. Because if you've got one person working on something, then somebody else working on something completely different, it's all just going to clash. It's not going to work. You're going to have more headaches.
Salome Schillack (45:50):
Yes, you are. Yes, you are. And I hope that I am a good client for you guys, and I hope that I have left you to do your work as you've done incredible work. So thank you for that. So if somebody wants to ... Do you guys actually do VA work as well or do you just do integrator work?
Chloe Porter (46:08):
So we don't offer anything that's hourly. So if someone says, "I need 20 hours a week or anything like that," we don't do that. We don't do reception. We don't do really minor admin tasks and management, social scheduling, all those things. And we don't do that because we know that our audience needs an integrator that can see the bigger picture, and do the bigger picture to get the result that they need.
Chloe Porter (46:35):
We have clients that have had massive results when we do it that way, and therefore, we do not like to do smaller things. Sure, we can help every now and again, but it's not something we like to focus on because you're not going to achieve the big mind blowing results that you would and that we've seen should you have of hired and integrator to do all the other things.
Salome Schillack (46:57):
Yes. And I feel like you guys came into my life at exactly the right time to just work your magic, clean things up, shape things a little bit, and that's just our springboard to the next level. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much for-
Chloe Porter (47:15):
You're very welcome.
Salome Schillack (47:15):
... for pouring all your magical Chloe love into my business. Your fingerprints are everywhere. I love it. Where can people learn more about Audacious Empires if they're looking for integrators too?
Chloe Porter (47:28):
They can head to audaciousempires.com. We also have a dedicated online business integrator page, which is audaciousempires.com/onlinebusinessintegrator. And that's where you can learn a little bit more about online business integrators. You can see all of the mind blowing results that clients have achieved, and the kinds of people we like to work with, and it will also tell you how you know if you're ready for a business integrator as well.
Salome Schillack (47:58):
That's awesome. And we have so many listeners in other countries outside of Australia, do you guys work with people in the U.S. and maybe in the UK as well?
Chloe Porter (48:08):
We most definitely do, and we have, and we still do. The only thing I would say that they need to consider is, are you going to be okay with not having that 24/7 contact because of the time difference?
Salome Schillack (48:22):
Chloe Porter (48:23):
Is that something we can definitely be okay with that? And we are okay with that, but you need to ask yourself, is that something and you're okay with too, because obviously we're not going to be awake at two o'clock in the morning when you're.
Salome Schillack (48:36):
Of course. And it's kind of similar to the clients that we work with that I have to say, if they're in the UK or the U.S., I have to say to them, "Look, we have dedicated office hours. It is Australian times. And we have such good systems in place because we've been doing it for so long. We do it with our eyes closed. We know it can work, but we've got to plan to work and work the plan. And then it can work." And it's usually the people who like the chaos that it doesn't quite work so well with. And then we just say, "Well, you like chaos, we don't like chaos. Happy travel."
Chloe Porter (49:11):
That's right. That's right. So it can work, you just need to ask yourself, are you going to be okay with it? Can you trust somebody to be able to do things without you constantly looking and-
Salome Schillack (49:22):
Yes. And the nice thing, what I've heard from my friends in the U.S., or from our clients in the U.S., what they've said to me, what's so nice for them is, they wake up in the morning and everything is in their inbox, and then they can work, and then they reply, and they do whatever they do, and there's a little bit of an overlap where they're on and we're on. Especially if you're on the West Coast in the U.S., there's a bit more of an overlap when we're both on, and then we log of, and then the next morning they come in, and it's all sitting in their inbox again for them.
Chloe Porter (49:56):
Yep, yep. And what I used to like doing with a client that did work in the U.S. was, leave her recorded videos, so it felt like we were still looking at each other and we'd reply and recorded videos. Even if it wasn't anything work-related to talk about, it was still nice to go, "Hi, this is my face. Just wanted to see how's your weekend?" Doing things like that, so you still feel connected to.
Salome Schillack (50:20):
Yeah. And I think that is the future. And that's why we can build businesses that work better for us. Because we can balance our time and create more time, freedom, and build businesses with doing jobs that we actually love, and that we feel passionate about.
Chloe Porter (50:39):
Yeah, that's right.
Salome Schillack (50:40):
Yeah. Chloe, thank you so much for being here and for sharing all of this with all of the listeners today.
Chloe Porter (50:45):
No worries. Thank you for having me.
Salome Schillack (50:47):
Salome Schillack (50:48):
Well, I hope you enjoyed that as much as I enjoy working with Chloe and having her part of my team every single day. Remember you can get hold of Chloe by going to www.audaciousempires.com or find the Audacious Empires team on Instagram or Facebook at @Audacious Empires. I hope you have a wonderful week and I'll catch you again next week. Bye.
Salome Schillack (51:11):
Thank you so much for listening. If you had fun, please come back next week and remember to hit that subscribe button, so you never miss a thing.