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Episode 104: Business Growth Through Diversified Efforts

Your business should not revolve around the expertise of a single person. Learn Amber's approach to building a business to withstand the unanticipated

Listen to Episode (40:24)

Synopsis

Many factors go into building and running a business successfully. With that in mind, Amber provides her unique approach to building businesses and teams.

Amber Morningstar owns an operations agency for online entrepreneurs. She’s best known for her ability to create LIFT (Leveraged Impact, Freedom and Time) through systems and team building.

Transcript

Chris: 00:23 Welcome to the ActiveCampaign Podcast. I’m your host, Chris Davis. On this episode, I have Amber Morningstar who owns an operation agency for online entrepreneurs. She uses systems and team building to implement and execute for those visionary entrepreneurs that may not necessarily have what it takes technically to do what needs to be done in their business.

Chris: 00:51 That is really the highlight of this episode is what you’ll hear from Amber is how her approach to diversification in business has led to great success. A lot of times we hear about diversification in income in our portfolio, but we don’t often think about it in terms of business. Amber breaks down exactly what that looks like to future-proof your business and to help you be a better owner, as well as get the most out of the people in your business, your team members. It’s all on this episode, enjoy.

Chris: 01:29 Amber, welcome to podcast, glad to have you on. How are you doing?

Amber: 01:34 Thank you so much for having me, Chris. I am doing fantastic and really excited to be recording an episode with you today.

Chris: 01:40 Yes, yes, I had the privilege, everybody listening, I had the privilege of meeting Amber in person at one of our Study Halls. This was the one in Tampa, I believe. It’s always nice to connect in person, and then record a podcast.

Amber: 02:00 I agree. It allows you to sort of have a pre-existing connection so that the conversation flows much more smoothly.

Chris: 02:07 Yes, yes, absolutely. What people don’t know yet is that I almost got carried away talking to you before this podcast.

Amber: 02:17 Yes.

Chris: 02:18 There was so much there, and I’m going to try my hardest to get it all in here. So let’s start from the top. Give our listeners a little bit about your background and your business.

Amber: 02:30 All right, so I like to call this the Coles Notes version of a very long story. If I had to summarize it very quickly, I would say I started going to university as an honor student for psychology. I wanted to be a psychologist. Obviously, I’m not, but I then moved into doing retail management, and I managed a couple stores in Canada. I remember one in particular I took from the worst performing store to the best performing store within eight months.

Amber: 02:58 After that, I moved to corporate sales. I wanted something more nine to five, did very well there. Ran a few million dollar projects, which then after, moved into doing online fitness coaching. Fitness was always a personal passion for me, and my Instagram and social media was kind of taking off. I wanted to see if I could basically build something of my own and leverage my social media platform in order to do that. I enjoyed doing the fitness coaching stuff, but it made my whole life about fitness. And don’t get me wrong, I do love fitness, but I needed some breakup in that.

Amber: 03:35 For that reason, I transitioned into what I’m doing now, which is more like online business consulting, done-for-you operations, if I had to summarize that. I feel like that gives me a nice disconnect. I can still have my personal passions for fitness. I still compete and post on social media for fitness, but now my business is something separate that I’m able to sort of step away and have something different for myself.

Chris: 03:59 Wow, and you know what I like about that? Well, there’s two things. I have one question, but one thing that really stands out to me is oftentimes we hear people instruct people to do, “Hey, is that what you’re passionate about? Is that what you love to do? Make a business out of it, and you’ll never work another day in your life.” Sometimes that’s true, but sometimes, like you mentioned, “Okay, I like this enough for it to be separate than my business,” you know?

Amber: 04:27 Exactly, yeah, you don’t have to profit off of personal passions. Sometimes making it the thing that you want to do as your business kinda sucks the fun out of it.

Chris: 04:36 You don’t have to profit off of personal passions. That’s a good one. So, Amber, it sounds to me like when I’m listening to your story, it sounds like sales came natural to you. Sales and process, and process improvement I should say, sales and process improvement. Were those things that you identified at an early stage in life that you had, or you just kind of, they emerged as you had the opportunity?

Amber: 05:06 I definitely was always an overachiever in school. I was always looking at ways to do things the better or more efficient way. I was that person in math class that was always saying, “Well, why can’t I just skip a few steps and do it this way instead because this is easier?” That was kind of definitely something that I’ve had around me and had been a part of me since a very early stage in life.

Amber: 05:31 I love the ability to take something that other people find very daunting, confusing, or overwhelming, and just simplify. Simplify and add structure. Especially, I feel, in entrepreneurial world, the types of people who want to be entrepreneurs and start their own businesses usually want it because they want freedom. But that freedom sometimes lacks structure, which as a result removes freedom because you’re constantly tied to your business, trading your time for money because there’s no automation or structure behind what you’re doing.

Chris: 06:02 Yeah, yeah, the structure is everything. I remember a gentleman that I knew that was working his job, and on the side he had a business, and he was a motivational speaker. He was just saying, “You know, when I leave my job, I’m going to be able to speak even more passionately and in more places. You all just wait.” And then he left his job, and it was actually the opposite.

Chris: 06:26 What he didn’t realize was that his job was providing a structure for him to operate in that his personal business was benefiting from. When he left that structure, he didn’t realize it was now on him to create the structure, and he just, he didn’t meet that call, and his business suffered from it.

Amber: 06:48 Yeah, and I think that a lot of entrepreneurs go about it the wrong way in that they sort of fear structure because, to the point of the story you just told, he kind of was exploring the freedom, and that’s kind of what drew him into pursuing his personal passion as a business. But you don’t have to suffocate under structure. There’s a way for you to have structure and still feel free. That’s what I feel that me and my team really bring to other businesses, is allowing them to have that structure, but not ever feel suffocated by it.

Chris: 07:16 Yeah, I love that, suffocated under structure. Amber, you’re just full … you know what? Normally it’s me with the sayings, but I see, I am going to have to decrease on this podcast, so you can increase that. But I do, I really love that, suffocating under structure. It’s mainly because a lot of people haven’t seen it done right.

Amber: 07:37 Exactly.

Chris: 07:38 It’s almost like they have an abusive relationship with structure. They’re like, “Oh, corporate world. Throw everything out. I left the corporate world. I’m no longer an employee.” Everything about being an employee, they just mark as negative, throwing the baby out with the bathwater. But there are some things that corporations do that we should do, right?

Amber: 07:59 Yes.

Chris: 08:00 And we have to be able to identify, not just X it out. Okay, it may not look like that, but I need some structure, right? It may not be-

Amber: 08:09 I agree.

Chris: 08:09 … as structured, but there’s some level of structure that I need from the corporate world that I experienced in my business.

Amber: 08:14 I think the opposite is quite true as well. I think a lot of larger corporations stand to learn from a lot of the more millennial new-age, entrepreneurial startup businesses. Because when they become so corporate, they lose connection. When you lose connection, whether it’s with your client or with your employee, it’s not something, a road you want to go down.

Amber: 08:36 People want connection, they want authenticity. They want to feel a part of something. If you can’t give that to them, they will go elsewhere where they can find that. We’re seeing examples of that just in and of the fact that so many small startup businesses are popping up in different niches and doing so extremely well because when you buy something from a small business, and they send you a hand-written letter, you feel special.

Chris: 08:58 Yeah, I agree. I agree. The connection piece is huge. And we do see, I know there’s corporations that I’ve seen. I don’t know if I can give their names now, but that are going and actively hiring entrepreneurs, and people studying digital marketing to help train them on how to leverage this new online space, whether it be commerce or just facilitate that connection.

Chris: 09:25 So we’re seeing it, and you, so what I want to do is I want to jump into a little bit of the business, all right?

Amber: 09:31 Awesome.

Chris: 09:32 I believe everybody has a good understanding of who you are. You’re very articulate. You’re an overachiever. You’re a break-the-boundaries type of individual. Like, “Okay, why are we doing it this way? What if we just do it that way? What if I just scrap all of that and do it this way? Look at how that’s working.”

Amber: 09:48 Yeah.

Chris: 09:48 And you’re strong mentally and physically. So just so everybody knows, you compete professionally in bodybuilding. Did I say that right?

Amber: 09:58 Correct, yep, yeah. I compete in the bikini division in NPC right now. That’s definitely something I love having as a personal passion for me on the side. I think it takes a lot of strength both physically and mentally, and being able to bring that back into my business, I feel, has really helped me to have the discipline that it takes to excel.

Chris: 10:19 Yes, yes, I love it because we bring our whole self to our business, right?

Amber: 10:24 Yes. People don’t realize that.

Chris: 10:26 You can’t just say, “Hey, this portion of me will be in business, this will stay home.” No, your whole self comes and your whole self shows through. So for you, I think your results are a direct correlation to that, right? Your commitment to personal growth and development, whether it be directly towards business or just a personal passion of yours. And one of them was a recent launch. Talk about this fitness challenge that you recently executed.

Amber: 10:55 Yes. That was a fat-loss challenge. We ran that challenge for a client of ours. When he went to run that, he kind of explained to me, “We’re not doing so hot this year. It’s definitely not doing the volume that I wanted it to. Can you take a look at it?” I said, “Okay, sure. Let’s pop in there, and let’s see. What do you have going on for email sequences?” And his answer was, “Nothing.” I said, “Okay, well, let’s change that. Let’s dress up the funnel a little bit more.” It was a little outdated. “Let’s optimize that.”

Amber: 11:27 We kind of went in and just did a rebrand halfway into December, and ran that campaign through until January 1st. In the back half of December alone he made over 80% of the $50,000 that we ended up closing for that fat-loss challenge. It was a low-ticket item too. It wasn’t a high-ticket, coaching. It was a low-ticket challenge. We did $50,000 in the back half of December, just from adding in some email sequences and just some funnel optimization.

Chris: 11:54 Yup, I love it because the timing was perfect, right?

Amber: 11:57 Yes.

Chris: 11:58 New Year’s resolution. Everybody wants to get skinny all over for the next 30 to 60 days until they start eating cakes and pies again. I love that. And in that, you know what just stood out to me as you mentioned this, is that though you’re not monetizing your personal passion, you’ve created an entity where you can help people whose business is your personal passion, right?

Chris: 12:27 It’s almost like you can be in it, but still keep your separate, right? So you can help-

Amber: 12:33 Exactly.

Chris: 12:34 … fitness folk, you can help folks in the fitness industry, but it’s not your sole business. You kind of get that fix, you know, in a sense.

Amber: 12:43 Exactly. Yeah, I think that’s a really accurate way of putting it. It allows me, what I love is that it allows me to show up on social media with no agenda. Not that there’s anything wrong with people monetizing their brands on social media. I personally just love that I can show up on Instagram every single day, and just post because I want to post, or say what I want to say, and not ever have this pressure or feeling of, hopefully somebody hits that purchase button or opts into an email sequence as a result of this post. I just like having that corner of my content that’s just very free. It allows me to do that, but to your point, still help other people in fitness through the clients that I serve.

Chris: 13:24 Yeah, and that’s the front-end piece, right? That’s the piece that everybody, well, what you alluded to earlier, was the piece that everybody interacts with, right? They see the challenge. They opt in. They get the emails. They buy the low-ticket item or whatnot, but there’s also the backend piece. Talk to us a little bit about the backend structure that you put in place to ensure that they could handle the capacity your funnel optimizations allowed them to capture.

Amber: 13:54 Yeah, well, I always tell my team, “Goals are golden, and that’s why in ActiveCampaign goals are the color yellow.” Every automation that we build will always have a goal in place. We do that for the specific purpose of optimization of employee performance, so that we can go in and very easily find data.

Amber: 14:13 So making sure that you set goals appropriately in your automations is very important. Then one thing that I love that we learned from the workshop, that I even went in and implemented thereafter, was making sure that your automations are quite simple and not creating this whole spiderweb automation that accomplishes 17 different goals. So making sure that we had pieces in place for every step of the client journey, right through from prospect landing onto the opt-in page, all the way through to the whole 16 weeks of them being in the challenge.

Amber: 14:45 We still have clients that are being serviced, getting emails and touchpoints every single week throughout the entire challenge. That’s keeping them accountable, keeping them motivated, and making them more likely to repurchase this challenge come next year when we relaunch it. And because it’s built well this time around, we can tweak and optimize copy, but the automation’s built. So now he can run this again every year, and not have to worry about manually sending reminder emails to people or anything like that.

Chris: 15:13 Oh, I love it. Because another thing we talk about at the Study Hall is maturing your automations, right?

Amber: 15:21 Yes.

Chris: 15:22 Making them mature, and then leveraging what you’ve built.

Amber: 15:27 Exactly.

Chris: 15:27 That is the only way, like you said, next year he’ll be able to, or they’ll be able to, leverage what’s been built, but it will be even better, right?

Amber: 15:37 100%.

Chris: 15:39 Because they have more information. They have more experience, and even you, you’ll be able to start implementing things on top of a solid foundation, which will more than likely increase the performance as well.

Amber: 15:53 Exactly, I mean, last time, this we all implemented in, I want to say, a week’s time because we were halfway through December, and I really wanted to make this successful for him. Now we have a whole year to prepare, and we have all the data from this year to help optimize. I’m a big believer in numbers are the only thing that aren’t going to lie to you, don’t tell me you think something did well, show me the numbers. Now I have that data to understand, “Hey, this email didn’t perform with the open-rate that we wanted, or this one didn’t have the click-through rate we were looking for. Clients didn’t respond favorably to X, Y, and Z pieces of the automation. Let’s tweak those.”

Amber: 16:29 But to your point, the base, the foundation is there, so it’s just optimizing and maturing the automations. It’s not starting from scratch. You really only have to do it once, and then just make it better.

Chris: 16:38 Yeah, I love it, and if there’s a nugget here, since we’re talking about goals and gold, why not throw a gold nugget out there?

Amber: 16:48 Yep.

Chris: 16:49 And for those of you listening, if you’re building an ActiveCampaign right now, I just want to highlight what Amber said because it’s one of the things that we see work time and time again very well, and that is building functionally, so these smaller automations instead of these big, spider automations, or trying to put everything on one canvas.

Chris: 17:07 Then within those functional automations having that goal because, just as Amber alluded to, she can now go in and have her checkpoints. And say, “Oh, this part of the system isn’t performing well. Let’s optimize this.” Or, “Oh, this is performing really well. Keep a note on that. Let’s reuse that.” Right? And it just helps you streamline, not just streamline your process, but really capitalize on the time spent with respect to whatever you’re getting in return.

Amber: 17:38 Yes, and then one other point that you brought up at the workshop that was really valuable was that the smaller you break your automations down into, the easier it is to identify problems, where you don’t have to take down the whole spiderweb to fix the one problem.

Chris: 17:51 Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. So I’ve noticed you’ve mentioned the word we a few times. Tell me about the early stages of your business, how you were operating in it, and now how you’re operating in your business.

Amber: 18:08 When I first started my business independently, I was working as a COO for an influencer. I was working as a contractor for him, so technically he was my one and only client at the time. Then I started to bring on additional clients. I was working full-time for him, and then overtime for my own business. And just trying to get experience, get knowledge, and have experience with different clientele, and get them results, right? Because results speak volumes, and I really stand by the results that I get for my clients.

Amber: 18:42 I wanted to build up a portfolio that was reputable so that I could attract higher quality clients. It got to a point, obviously, where the business grew to a point where it just didn’t make sense to have that other project as an opportunity for me. I had done a lot in that company. I took it from 1.6 million to a three million run rate. I transitioned out and went all-in on my own thing.

Amber: 19:05 Within two months of being on my own, I said, “Okay, I need a team.” It’s something that I preach very heavily. I think having a team to support you is important. And so I didn’t want to be the same as my clients in the sense that they’re hesitant to get a team because they don’t know where to find people or how to hire. I wanted to get a jump on that right away.

Amber: 19:26 The first thing I did was go out and look for somebody to bring onto my team, and take them under my wing, and sort of teach them the ropes. I wasn’t necessarily looking for an expert in digital marketing. I more so wanted somebody who was hungry to learn and had a passion to be a part of what I was trying to build. I brought on my first team member in November of last year. I now have a team of six.

Chris: 19:49 Nice, nice. So you were never, you never subscribed fully to the idea of the solopreneur, run your business all by yourself, you don’t need anybody?

Amber: 20:03 No, and that’s why my company is growing as fast as it is because I’m not afraid to bring more people onto my team and leverage.

Chris: 20:09 Yes, and the reason why I love this is because a lot of people right now, Amber, are walking around with weight, and the weight that they feel is them trying to be everything to and for their business. I mean, they feel like if they don’t do it all, it won’t get done. Part of it is control, right? Some of us just need to let it go.

Amber: 20:33 Yeah.

Chris: 20:34 You can’t control everything, and if you are trying to control everything, that speaks to your level of understanding in what true leadership is, right? You should be able to transfer those skills into someone else. It’s going to take time, as you’ve mentioned, but it will be worth it. You’ve taken that time. I wanted to highlight that because somebody’s listening to this podcast right now, and they’ve been on the fence whether or not they should hire somebody. They know they feel like they need help. They don’t know how to approach help. Some people feel like it’s them not being authentic to running a business all by themselves if I get help, but this is how business is built. You have to own the knowledge, own the expertise, transfer it into people that can help you execute to increase your capacity for clients.

Amber: 21:29 Yes, and I don’t know who said this quote, but it goes something like, “True success is when you can create success for others.” I think people automatically think about their clients when they hear stuff like this, and with a lot of things, but just as importantly it’s your team, right? You need to be able to create success within your team, and be able to transfer that knowledge over, like you said. That is true success because that’s the only way that you can leverage and grow.

Amber: 21:55 You can solopreneur your heart out, but there will be a ceiling, and you will eventually hit that. Whether or not you break through that is really up to you, and how you’re able to step into a newer version of yourself as a leader, and leverage yourself and your team and grow. Because as good as you are at running your business right now, let’s be real, you are not the expert at every part of your business, nor should you be. Find what you’re the expert at, and hire out for all the other pieces. Don’t completely be blind to them where you don’t know if somebody’s doing good work or not. Be competent in those areas, but you don’t have to be the expert in every area.

Chris: 22:28 Yeah, and just for you all listening, we’re not bashing solopreneurs. What we’re saying is just don’t X out having a team. When we say team, it’s really up to you, right? I know people who have a team of three, and are operating very efficiently. They’re hitting the numbers that they want. I know people who it’s just them and a VA, and that’s fine. I just don’t want people to feel like they have to do it all themselves. If you choose to, and that ceiling that you mentioned, Amber, if you choose to do it all yourself, and that ceiling you’re fine with, maybe that ceiling is 250,000 a year, and you’re like, “Look, I’m not trying to make a million. 250,000 is four times what my parents made. I’m fine.” That’s fine, right?

Amber: 23:16 Yep.

Chris: 23:16 If that’s your goal in business, but now you know if you do ever want to remove that ceiling and go higher, you at least understand the steps involved to doing it, right?

Amber: 23:29 Yeah, the door is there, you just have to open it.

Chris: 23:31 Yup, absolutely. I wanted to talk a little bit about the team dynamics. You have, so what you’ve done is as a COO you were optimizing the process. You were helping the owner capitalize on this online presence. As you said, you grew the revenue, the run rate. It sounds like you tripled it, right? At least tripled it.

Amber: 23:53 Basically, yeah.

Chris: 23:54 Yup, right? So you’ve had high level success, and the only way that you get success in the millions is by really getting a holistic experience over everything, right?

Amber: 24:04 Yeah.

Chris: 24:04 Now that you have that, you’re building out a team, and of course you’re implementing ActiveCampaign. Just talk about your approach to how you’re training your team members to implement ActiveCampaign at this level.

Amber: 24:21 The best way to do it is just to have them shadow me when I’m building for clients. Then they’re able to take over certain pieces from there. So whether it’s us building out engagement scoring, pipelines, client-journey automations, failed cart stuff, whatever we’re looking to build. If it’s new, I’ll say, “Okay, if it’s your account, hop on with me. We’ll build it together.” I just go through it, and I explain to them every step that I’m taking.

Amber: 24:46 Then I quiz them part way through. Like, “Okay, what do you think we should do next?” Just to see if they’re keeping track of what we’re doing, and sort of picking up on the process. If I can’t have them jump on with me, then Loom is a really awesome feature. I’ll just screen record through Loom, and I’ll just send them a Loom. And say, “Hey, I need you to check this out, and then come back to me and answer these questions, so that I know that you understand it.”

Amber: 25:09 That’s the best way to teach your team is just to have them actually get into the software and learn how to use it. It may seem time consuming, but it will free up so much time for you as they start to pick stuff up and take it off your plate.

Chris: 25:20 Nice, nice. And you didn’t just settle for one person, right?

Amber: 25:25 No, no.

Chris: 25:29 Talk about your thought process and saying, “Well, if I could just get one person to do this, I’d be good. Wait a minute, I don’t need just one.” What was your thought process and approach to that?

Amber: 25:40 I like to predict for the future, and so I like to understand, well, if I could handle X amount of clients, I know that anyone that I hire on, once they’re at a place where they’re capable of taking on clients and being responsible for them, they’re probably going to be able to handle, let’s say, half of the capacity that I can to start. That means if we hit X number more clients, I need another person.

Amber: 26:02 And so we hit that, and so I knew I needed to bring somebody else on. Not only for the capacity feature, so that nobody feels overwhelmed, but also just to leverage from a safety net perspective, I guess, for lack of a better term. If somebody wants to go on vacation, or they’re sick, or if they transition out to a different or better opportunity, which is totally fine and great for them, I still want my business to be covered. I don’t ever want to be left in the position where one person goes on vacation for a week, and now all the work that they would’ve done that week is on me because I’m the only other person that knows how to do it.

Chris: 26:37 Yeah, and how many of us have experienced that, right?

Amber: 26:43 Yeah.

Chris: 26:44 You can’t get mad at somebody for taking a break, or getting sick, or just saying, “I have a better opportunity.” All you can do is look in the mirror, and say, “Okay, how can I improve this so that it doesn’t happen again?”

Amber: 26:58 Exactly. So I always tell businesses, people get caught up on trying to hire as little or as few people as possible because it’s less to manage. I prefer to hire more. I’d rather have two part-time employees than one full-time employee because of that reason. It gives both of them the leverage and the ability to still have a good work-life balance. They’ll work more effectively because they’re happier, and then you’re also covered because if one of them, like we said, gets sick, goes on vacation, or leaves, you’re not at square one trying to train someone brand new.

Amber: 27:30 Or at the very least, have your full-time person, and have a very part-time person that’s underneath them, supporting them, so that that person is available to become the successor if that person leaves, transitions out, whatever. Or even if you promote them, right? Because if you promote somebody, and you have no one else to fulfill that void after, you’re still in the same place. You’re stuck at square one. That prevents you from allowing your team to elevate and to grow with you as the business grows.

Chris: 27:59 You know what? This is the first time I’ve heard that, and I think you have made me an instant believer in it. This is specific to small business growth, startups, and people who are building teams, and it’s all about hiring. You have money, this is different, but for small businesses, growing your team, I really like the idea of two part-time instead of one full-time. I mean, I just have never thought of it in those terms because a lot of times people are thinking, “I hire one full-time then wait, then hire another full.” It’s all full-time, but if you diversify that, right? You’ll at least have more, it’s almost like a chair. One strong leg or two legs.

Amber: 28:42 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: 28:43 I would rather have those two legs while I’m building, and potentially I could multiply those two legs to four, and then now maybe somebody’s showing that they really have what it takes to go to the next level. I’m really building in a way that never puts me in a position to be, like you said, left out because somebody has to take some time off, have a family emergency, anything, as life happens that it does the way that it does. Anything happens, and I’m at a disadvantage, or worse off, Amber, you’re in a position where they really need to take some time off, or they really need to do something, and you’re telling them no, right?

Amber: 29:23 Yeah. Yep.

Chris: 29:23 Like even just saying that made me cringe.

Amber: 29:26 Yes, and it’s going to increase longevity of the employee or team member as well too for that reason because you can offer them that. Also, let’s say, God forbid, you have a dry spell for a month or two. You can’t necessarily give the same number of hours that you were giving before. If you have a full-time employee, they’re counting on you for their bread and butter. They’re paying their rent through the work they do for you. So if you have a dry spell, and you can’t give them 40 hours, that’s going to mean that they’re going to start looking for something else.

Amber: 29:57 Now if you have two other part-time people, and they have another job outside of this. As you’re scaling and allowing them more hours, and you hit a dry spell, they can pick up other hours at another place that they’re working. You’re not their sole provider for income, so you don’t have that pressure anymore for your team as well. That, “Hey, I need to always have these hours available for them because if I can’t give them that, especially as a small business, then they’re going to leave me,” right?

Chris: 30:22 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amber: 30:23 Small businesses can’t always sustain a full-time employee right out of the gate, and so finding people who want to work up to full-time is much more beneficial, in my opinion, because it takes a lot of pressure off you as well. It gives everybody what they need, and it allows everyone involved to sort of test the waters, and make sure that you guys actually like working together, and work effectively together.

Chris: 30:44 Yes, you know what? You jogged my memory, and as I just think back in the last five years, all of the CEOs, all of the startups, all of the businesses I’ve interacted with at a high capacity. Many of them have the story of a VA starting part-time, going full-time, and that position being like the critical thing that helped them go to the next level, but they very much started part-time, got a feel for, “Okay, what’s the vibe like in this company? What’s the CEO like? What’s the work like? Hey, I like this. I’ll do more.”

Amber: 31:22 Yes. I think hiring full-time in a small business is like moving in with somebody after the first date. If you date someone for a little bit, you get to find out more about them before you say, “Okay, move in with me,” right?

Chris: 31:34 Yeah.

Amber: 31:34 I think part-time employment gives you that opportunity for you guys to test those waters first, and make sure it’s the right fit, right? Because somebody could be a very proficient person, but it’s just not the right fit for them. That’s okay, but let’s figure that out when we’re not spending full-time salary amounts, and we’re also not, like I said, putting ourselves at risk because we’re putting all our eggs in that one basket.

Chris: 31:57 Yeah, and you know what? Nobody is perfect, or it’s not even about being perfect. Nobody can see it all in an interview, right?

Amber: 32:08 Yes.

Chris: 32:08 I’ve hired many people, and they show up well. You do your job, right? You check their digital footprint. You ask previous employers. All of this, you’re like, “Yes, they’re going to rock it.” And then you give them work, and sometimes, a lot of times, it’s just not that, right? It’s not … you thought that they were going to show up and just blow it out, just knock it out of the park. Of course, in those instances, you saw something.

Chris: 32:34 There’s just going to be a little more time than you anticipated, right? A little more time hands-on with them, helping them understand your expectations and X, Y, Z. If they match up to what your initial assessment was, they’ll eventually be that, but again, coming in just full force, like, “Hey, full-time, do all of this.” That’s a tall order for a small business, especially when your time is spread. You still have to run the business.

Amber: 33:04 Yes. Yeah, and I think for anyone who’s listening who has a business that involves sales, I think if you’re hiring for sales, this especially applies. Especially if you are doing the sales solely yourself. I think the worst thing you can do is say, “Okay, I’m ready to leverage sales out because I don’t want to do it. I’m just going to hire someone to do full-time sales for me.” And just hire that person and give them all of your leads. They’re new, and there’s going to be a ramp-up time. You’re going to see a decrease in revenue from bringing on a new sales person.

Amber: 33:33 It’s just going to happen. They need to get used to your process, to your product, to your system, to your client. If you give them all your leads, that’s a larger decrease that you’re going to see in revenue while they’re getting their feet wet and getting their ground. If you put them part-time, and then you come in part-time, or whoever else is doing sales for you maintains a certain level, and you ease someone into it, not only will they end up being more successful as a result, because there’s less pressure, but you’ll lose less revenue for that ramp-up time as well too.

Chris: 34:01 I love it. I love it. Amber, this is gold, and you know what? You know what? I’m just listening to you as you talk, and I’m thinking about when you’re with this COO, and it’s just been, it’s been embedded in you not to rely on one single source, one single person. I’m talking about in business, so just confirm this assumption here. When you were working as a COO, as fruitful and as much growth as you were experiencing and money that you were making, the thing that drove you to always keep the door open for more clients is that you knew the frailty of having all of your revenue in one source.

Amber: 34:52 Yes. Diversify, whether it’s your team, your revenue sources, anything. I never put all my eggs in one basket. I’ve always been that way, whether it’s having three jobs while I was through university, or having multiple client sets. I just don’t, because you just never know, and I’d rather have safeguards in place to predict for basically anything that’s going to happen.

Chris: 35:15 Absolutely.

Amber: 35:16 Because you can’t see the future. I don’t know if tomorrow I’m going to wake up and one of my account managers says to me, “Hey, I’ve decided to transition to something else.” I mean, obviously, that blows going to hurt because they do help with a big piece of my business, but at the same time, I have another account manager who’s equally as competent. Between the two of us now, now I’m only getting 50% of that workload back not 100.

Chris: 35:39 Yes, yes, absolutely. Well, listen, Amber, this has been absolutely, absolutely, amazing. I’ve enjoyed this. I’m glad we talked about everything that we talked about because I feel like you have given everybody the full picture. It could have been … You know what, Amber? We could have easily jumped in here, and just talked about all the automation that you’ve built, the tagging systems, the pipelines, and all of that.

Chris: 36:06 Perhaps, if people want you back on, maybe we just have an episode dedicated to that, but you have such a wide breadth of knowledge just around business in general. It would have been a disservice to not put that all on display so that people can listen to this and start understanding what it really takes to be successful in building a business that leverages the online space for their success. So I appreciate that.

Amber: 36:33 Well, I appreciate that compliment. That was very nice of you. Thank you so much for having me on. If everyone wants us to talk again, and talk more specifics of email automation, I mean, I’m happy to do so as well. But I hope this was valuable for everybody listening today.

Chris: 36:46 Absolutely. So where can people stay connected, get connected and stay connected with you, Amber?

Amber: 36:53 Great question. If you’re into fitness, then I want to direct you to my Instagram, which is @dropset.gorgeous. It’s D-R-O-P, drop, S-E-T, set, .gorgeous. On Facebook, I’m just Amber Morningstar. You can’t miss me, I have very bright red hair, so you’ll know it’s me when you see my profile picture. If you’re into business, and you want more information on the business side of things, Facebook is definitely the best place to connect with me.

Chris: 37:21 Great, great, we’ll have that link in the show notes. Again, Amber, thank you for taking the time to come onto the podcast, and give our listeners such valuable content. I am greatly appreciative of it. It was great meeting you in person, and equally as great on the podcast, so thank you.

Amber: 37:38 Thank you so much, Chris, appreciate it.

Chris: 37:41 Yes, no problem. I’ll see you online, Amber.

Amber: 37:44 Thanks, take care.

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