Soulpreneur Scaling Stories Podcast: 29. From Virtual Assistant to CEO of a Thriving Agency | Sophie Zollmann

Tired of the scarcity mindset? Ditch that nonsense and embrace the abundance mentality with Sophie Zollmann! In this juicy episode, Sophie spills all the tea on her journey from a $12/hour online business manager to the CEO of a thriving agency.

Buckle up as she shares hilarious tales of burning out, getting smacked by the universe’s intuition stick, and realizing that trying to be a Virtual Assistant and OBM at the same time is like juggling chainsaws while belly dancing (spoiler alert: it doesn’t work!).

But that’s not all, Sophie dishes out golden nuggets on why competition is a myth, the art of saying “no” to mismatched clients, and the importance of picking a lane (unless you want to start an agency and rule them all!).

If you’re a virtual assistant or service provider yearning for more purpose, profit, and the occasional cosmic intervention, this episode is a MUST-LISTEN. Sophie’s wit and wisdom will have you laughing, nodding, and maybe even manifesting your own team of unicorn workers. So grab your headphones, a notebook, and get ready to be inspired!

Connect with Sophie:

https://sophiezo.com/
www.facebook.com/SophieZo
www.linkedin.com/in/sophiazollmann/
www.instagram.com/thesophiezo/
Podcast: Building Your Empire With SophieZo
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🎧 Podcast produced and edited with love by @FerAssists 🩵

Transcript

[00:00:00] Andrea Elibero: welcome to Solpreneur Scaling Stories. Today we have Sophie Zollman, who’s a certified online business manager, amongst many other things that she’s going to share with us. And she’s going to share her scaling story, what she does now, and all of the tips and tricks and all the things behind the scenes.

So thank you so much, Sophie, for being here.

[00:01:32] Sophie Zollmann: Thank you for having me. I’m really excited to be here, Andrea. I, I love that, you know, we, you and I are very similar in what we do, yet we have our distinctions and, you know, I’m all about cooperation, not competition. So, you know, this is, this is definitely us being collaborative and cooperative, not going, you’re my competition.

I don’t want to talk to you.

[00:01:55] Andrea Elibero: Listen, there, it’s so interesting that you say that, but we’re going to get into like your story in a second, because I don’t understand, like, I really don’t understand this, like, scarcity mindset. Because there is a gazillion people in the world, not officially, but there’s, you know, a gazillion people in the world.

And I am so happy if somebody listens to this and it’s like, oh my god, Sophie is my person and I, like, would love to work with her. Or if somebody listens to this, oh, Andrew is my person, I’d love to work with her. Because, like, people are meant to work with different people and at different times. And it’s all about who you resonate with.

And, and, like, you know, Yeah, and all of these things would make me so happy. And I appreciate that you also feel the same way. And I feel like as women too, we all need to be supportive of each other and each other’s businesses. Right. And there’s not actually any such thing as competition because let’s say if I’m like, Oh, like Sophie would be amazing for you.

And then later on in the future, you’re like, Oh, Andrew would be the great person for you. You know, like, like that, that to me is a much more beautiful existence than like, these are my people. You can’t have

[00:02:57] Sophie Zollmann: Oh, yes, most definitely. I am. I am all about partnering, collaborating, all of those things because a, I can’t help everybody in the world, obviously, and in truth and honesty, I don’t want to help everybody. Not everybody is a fit for me. You have to resonate with the person. You have to have the same kind of mission and vision and you have to have compatibility with on so many levels to work with someone.

It’s not just like, Oh, it’s an open door. Just come on in. I take

[00:03:31] Andrea Elibero: No, and that’s also a recipe,

[00:03:33] Sophie Zollmann: that would kill us all. I mean, you know, it would drive you crazy going, Oh, I love this person. Oh wait, this person and I don’t gel. So now I got to, uh, Uh, you know, we don’t, you know, it’s like, let’s all work together, do what’s best for everybody involved.

This is about everybody, not

[00:03:49] Andrea Elibero: And we’re lifting the entire, like, womanhood, you know? We’re like, by working together and collaborating, we’re lifting each other up. And we all win that way. And, no, you also, not only do you not want to work with everybody, it would also be really detrimental to your business. Because it would really suck.

Like, and you wouldn’t do a good job with the people you’re not meant to work with.

[00:04:10] Sophie Zollmann: Oh, yeah. Yeah. And my team would be miserable and they’d leave me and, you know, and then I would, you know, it would all fall apart because, you know, it’s all, you know, when you’re a team based business like I am, you, I’m not just thinking for myself. I am thinking for my whole team, my business, my culture, because if I’m taking on clients that are quite frankly, a pain in the ass, my team is going to be not happy, they’re not going to do their best.

And if I don’t do something about it as the CEO and leader of the company, They’re going to leave and everything’s going to fall apart. And so my business will fall apart and then my reputation and everything that goes with it. And it’s just not worth it to try to do it all and do it for everyone, no matter who they are walking in the door.

That’s why there’s no buy button on my website because you can’t just buy now and you know, come on in the door.

[00:05:02] Andrea Elibero: So let’s back up like 15 steps and actually talk about who you are and what you do, what your business looks like today.

[00:05:12] Sophie Zollmann: Sure. So I’m Sophie Zollman. I’m in Nashville, Tennessee. I am the CEO and owner of Sophie’s own next level business support. And we help CEOs get out of the weeds, make more money and have more peace of mind on a daily basis. We’re an all in one marketing and operations team to help them build and scale easily and sustainably with an entire team.

Team managed business, starting with operations and marketing. And then we go from there. Uh, we have a signature seven step process to dive into the 12 pillars of business success that we base scaling their business on, figure out what’s working, what’s not. And then we come up with a strategic execution plan to move forward with the necessary priorities of pillars.

to start getting things effective, efficient, generating more revenue and extracting the CEO from the day to day, getting them out of the weeds so they can work on the business, not in the business. Oh, and they can have a life and love their life. And even love their business again, cause they might be to the point where they hate their business and they’re thinking about throwing in the towel.

We can, we can back all that up and go, no, no, no, no, no. It’s not, it’s not that bad. Just let us come in and support you. You’re not alone and you can’t do this alone. It’s time to invest in yourself, invest in your business and make it that dream that you had those years ago and get your life back. And all of those things by doing this one thing.

[00:06:46] Andrea Elibero: Amazing. So this is a very developed, you have a team, there’s this framework, there’s all sorts of things right happening and going on. I’m going to guess that when you started your entrepreneurial journey, none of this existed. Is that a safe bet?

[00:07:00] Sophie Zollmann: Oh, no, no, my entrepreneurial journey goes back over 20 years. Um, when my, I have two children, my youngest was about a year and a half, two years old. And I needed to make money for the family and going to a J O B would just go to daycare for my two children. And so it didn’t make sense to try to go get a job.

So I did the, the freelance thing I got online on what is now called guru. com and I got myself a freelance role as a customer service representative for an online e commerce business. Um, back in the day. And, you know, I, I was, I started doing that, you know, remotely. He did employ me technically instead of being, you know, 1099, but it started there.

And I spent four years with him growing his company from 50 grand a year to a half a million a year. Uh, and I was doing it all by myself, except for the techie piece of the website. And I was doing it for a whopping 12

[00:08:02] Andrea Elibero: Oh girl.

[00:08:03] Sophie Zollmann: hour.

[00:08:04] Andrea Elibero: Let me ask you, you were doing all these things, were these to grow his business, or did you already have these skills, or were these things that you were kind of figuring out in your experience in this position?

[00:08:18] Sophie Zollmann: Most of the skills I had from my previous job experience, I was just taking it online and doing it remote instead of in person. I did have to learn some tech and some things like that, but thankfully I’m a tech savvy kind of person and the online apps and softwares and whatnot. Uh, definitely, you know, made it fairly easy to figure it all out and do it.

And, you know, I mean, yes, there were phone calls and, you know, things like that, but, you know, I grew into, I grew into an online business manager before I even knew what one was and long before I got certified in

[00:08:48] Andrea Elibero: it’s so funny. So let’s actually define that. Cause I think a lot of the service providers listening are like, well, what does this mean? What’s the difference between an VA? Like what, like tell me. So, so, uh, I don’t remember if I said, look, it’s been seven minutes. I’m like, did I say this? I don’t even remember, but we’re both certified online business managers.

We’re both in this community. And it’s so funny because before I, when I was a VA, uh, cause that’s how I started out, I was like, what is this? Like. OBM thing. You know, I was kind of like, what do I do next? Like, what’s the next level after the VA? And I found the online business manager and I was like, oh, that sounds interesting.

Let me go get certified in that. So explain to our friends what an OBM is and what we do.

[00:09:33] Sophie Zollmann: So an online business manager is really just a manager. And while just make it sound, may make it sound easy. It’s more of a differentiator. The virtual assistant is the doer. They’re the person that is given the task to do the things that implement the strategy that the business is implementing to market, scale, sell, whatever they do.

And the me the online business manager is the person between the CEO and the rest of the people doing the work, whether that’s VAs, graphic designers, whatever it may be. They’re the manager, they’re the operational manager of the company, handling team, handling project management, handling all the things that are the day to day minutiae on the management level.

Now there are OBMs that try to do it all, and generally speaking, that’s frowned upon, at least in my world, because that’s the way I started when I first declared myself an OBM before I even got certified. I still was trying to do the whole OBM, VA thing. And I found out very quickly the hard way that that does not work.

And so I had to regroup, rethink, and that’s actually what sparked me to get my certification. Cause I’m like, you know, I know there’s something deeper here that I need to know that I don’t know based on my own management experience and whatnot. And so that’s where I went and got certified and was like, Oh my gosh, there is more to it.

And then there’s all that, but there’s, there is, but there isn’t, it’s just like, it was really getting deep and nitty gritty about truly managing. Some of it was the mindset of, okay, You’re a manager or a doer. You can’t do both. It’s kind of like multitasking. That’s a myth. You can’t multitask and do anything worth a darn if you’re multitasking.

It’s the same thing because you’re basically multitasking by being a manager and a

[00:11:26] Andrea Elibero: that’s what I wanted to get into. You saying, well, no, I quickly learned that I couldn’t do both. And I, I want to elaborate on why because I think two things happen is that I see a lot of people say, I’m a VA slash OBM. I’m like, what does that mean? You know, so like me as somebody who has been both like, what do you mean you’re, you’re both?

And two, there’s so many VAs who are accidentally doing OBM things and falling into that role. And they’re not realizing that that’s a thing and that they need to, you know, To think about, you know, restructuring or charging more, you know, I thought that this is not VA work. So why didn’t it work for you?

Like, what do you mean by it? No, that didn’t work like that. This is not a good thing when you’re being both things.

[00:12:07] Sophie Zollmann: Uh, it didn’t work for me because when you’re, when you’re splitting your focus between two different, completely different roles, which a lot of people don’t even realize that they, that’s why they, they think it’s the same, but it really isn’t. And when you’re splitting your focus between two different roles that require different skill sets, different thought processes, different perspective, You blur the lines, you blur your ability to do a good job at either one.

Because if you’re over here trying to do VA work and you’re thinking about, Oh, wait, did I do that management thing? Did I task out the project? Did I, did I do X, Y, Z management wise? And, and then it’s like, and you’re distracted from the work at hand and you’re not going to do a good job. Same thing on the management side.

And when you’re in the nitty gritty, setting up the projects, the tasks, the things, leading the team, leading the meetings, and you’re thinking, Oh my God, I have to get 10 VA tasks done by the end of the day, or I’m going to be, we’re going to be off deadline and I’m going to, you know, fail. And, and, you know, it just really garbles your brain and garbles your mind and, and causes you to lose focus and do a poor job on both things instead of a great job on one or the other.

[00:13:20] Andrea Elibero: said, beautifully said. So I would highly recommend anybody who’s saying I am both things to pick, pick one, pick lane and be amazing at that thing because,

[00:13:33] Sophie Zollmann: Yeah, definitely pick a lane or if you really want to do both or do it all start an agency

[00:13:40] Andrea Elibero: okay. So let’s talk about that.

[00:13:43] Sophie Zollmann: an agency and a team based business and then you can

[00:13:46] Andrea Elibero: Okay, so what was the thing that you said, okay, so you became, so you became certified your online business manager because we, we heard like, okay, this was like the road that you led down. What was the thing that said, Ooh, the agency, that’s the route for me. What made you feel that way?

Yeah,

[00:14:05] Sophie Zollmann: to, it goes back further than before, it’s, it’s pre certification because after I burned out as a 12 an hour business manager in the e commerce, commerce world, took a break. For about eight months, uh, then needed to go back to work, got into transcription, which led me to the online entrepreneur world, the, the non e commerce ones, the coaches, consultants, strategists, you know, product, uh, info product people.

I was, I was transcribing their teleseminars. Remember those? Now I’m

[00:14:37] Andrea Elibero: you are.

[00:14:39] Sophie Zollmann: And. I’m really dating myself long before the zoom thing. Um, but I found who I wanted to work for as a virtual assistant. So I relaunched myself as a virtual assistant, um, got on social media and within six months of networking and connecting VA, other VAs were asking to subcontract to me and I went, Oh.

This means I need to get serious and create a business. And that’s when Sophie Zoe was first born. It was Sophie Zoe, um, uh, virtually there for you back in the day. And, and even then I soon became aware of the fact that I couldn’t do it all. Um, I thought I did, cause I was like, Oh, I’m going to be the VA.

They get personal service and they’re going to get it all. And I quickly learned, Oh wait, I don’t know everything. And there’s stuff I don’t want to do because I don’t like doing it. So my mentor at the time was like, build a team. I’m like,

[00:15:33] Andrea Elibero: So, so let me say, because I had a totally different experience, so I had a similar timeline in that I was a VA. I got all these clients. I couldn’t serve them all. I said, let me randomly start an agency. I don’t know. It just kind of happened. But, but it happened for me because my business led me. And I didn’t actually like it and I just did it because I was getting clients and I didn’t want to say no, I didn’t know what to do.

And I said, okay, I’ll hire, you know, I’ll hire people and have subcontractors so that at that point I burned it to the ground, became a certified OBM, started there, adding coaching onto that, et cetera, et cetera. So, so for those. who are unfamiliar with me and this podcast, if this is your first one listening, I do two things.

So currently I do systems build with another certified OBM. I have a couple of OBM clients and I do coaching for service providers looking to pivot and deepen and grow for more purpose and profit. So that’s kind of my story. So I’m, I’m very multi passionate in different areas. However, the agency of route Again, it was not a decision that came from me.

It came from my circumstance. But interestingly, it sounded like it was your circumstance, but it was for you. So I’m curious how that, like, intersected.

[00:16:43] Sophie Zollmann: so for me, it was, it was what I was doing is if I got a client that wanted services, I didn’t know how to do, I was referring them to other people. And that’s when my mentor said, why turn that business away? When you can hire, you can have that subcontract to that person. You’re referring it to it’s a win win for everybody.

They still get the work. They still get paid, but you still get paid too because you’re the one being hired on the high level. And then you’re assigning the work to team members. So back in the day, I built my first team and agency, just, It just fell into my lap. I mean, a lot of what I did in the early years just happened to me because every time I said something like, Oh, well, I don’t want to do X, Y, Z in my business.

The next thing, you know, the universe was hitting me upside the head going, Oh no, you’re going to do this because it’s a good thing and it will

[00:17:33] Andrea Elibero: So, so did,

[00:17:34] Sophie Zollmann: I’m like, okay,

[00:17:35] Andrea Elibero: so did you feel like, okay, like, this is what’s happening. Like, let me try it out and see if it’s something that I like doing. And then you were like, oh, I actually really enjoy this. Is that kind of accurate? It sounded like a business decision.

[00:17:49] Sophie Zollmann: yes and no. I mean, it was a matter of, let me try it. And other times it was. I just did it and was like, Oh, I guess I do like that. Or I guess it does work because, you know, you only know so much when you’re first getting started and you think you know more than you really know. And then, you know, then you really try something, you’re, you get involved in something that’s just, you know, it’s an opportunity that is really good for you.

And you know, it’s like sometimes, you know, you have to get a little nudge from the universe or whatever you, you, you believe in there. Um, you know, and a lot of my business has been intuition based. I mean, both listening to my intuition and also getting smacked upside the head by my intuition going, you didn’t listen to me.

And now look where you are. Let’s, let’s regroup. Let’s do this again. Let’s do it this way.

[00:18:37] Andrea Elibero: an example for you of, and yes, I, I’ve, I understand. But, and so I’m a love of intuition talk. So give an example of something that happened when your intuition was like, oh, yes, If we should do that and what that felt like. Like how you knew that was your intuition telling you that?

[00:18:56] Sophie Zollmann: Um, well it actually, the best example I can give is in 2018 I decided to go exclusive with a big client. They were going to pay me, they were paying me six figures and I was said, okay, I’ve been with you a while. This is a good ride, kind of done with being the jack of all trades and having multiple clients balancing all those, those plates.

And so I went exclusive with the client and you know, within, I don’t know, six months or so I realized. That just killed my ability to scale my business and scale my revenue because if I’m only working for them, that’s the revenue I have. That’s the pay I get. There’s nothing more, no bonuses. I mean, I might get a raise every now and again, but it, it really was like a J O B again.

And I went, wait, not sure. I really liked that. So I decided I was, I decided to create a second wing of the business, so to speak. And I started developing a digital marketing agency. So And I was building that out and, and working on that. And I did a soft launch at the end of 2018 and January 9th, 2019, they let me go.

I literally lost it all in one fell swoop. And I had my digital marketing agency to fall back on. It was a good thing I had put that all together and was ready to start it because basically I had to start all over and but I already had the beginnings of this agency in place The foundations the structure the the packaging all those things and so it was like, okay Good thing.

I looked I listened to my intuition to have this other revenue stream because Otherwise I would have really literally been starting from scratch with almost nothing. And, um, you know, and it really knocked me down. And it was also the best thing that could have happened to me because that beginning in digital marketing agency has led to where we are today.

And I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had stayed with that company and I would not be as happy, healthy and, and, and scaling and making the revenue I want to make if I’d stayed there and, you know, everybody I talked to my husband, my family, my coach at the time when I, you know, called them in tears or went down to my husband’s office in tears and told them I had been fired, they all looked at me and said, good. And I was like, excuse me, what are you talking about? I am bawling my eyes out. I have just lost it, lost everything in my mind. And it was going good. You needed that because they were treating you bad. They were this, they were that, whatever. And in hindsight, they were exactly right. It was one of those cases where the universe had to hit me upside the head a little bit and say, you know, you’re, you really were kind of miserable there.

And, you know, this whole secondary revenue stream is really where you need to be going anyway. You need, cause you wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything with it, to be honest, because I was more or less full time with them. So my intuition helped me. get to the point where even though the universe had to really kind of smack me a little again to go, no, you need to stop working there and focus on this.

And I had a wonderful coach and mentor at the time I was in a coaching program. And, and thank, thankfully he’s both a mindset coach and a, you know, and then he has a team for the business side of things because between them, I recovered quickly. I, I happened to have a VIP day with them that I had bought right before I got fired.

So, you know, it all, you know, the, the intuition to buy the VIP day, knowing I need more VIP day, all these things presented themselves and I followed them. And it’s good thing I did because I would be in a whole different place if I hadn’t. And I quickly recovered six figures in 15 months. Took me 15 months to get back up to six figures and within the next 12 months, I was multi six figures and I’ve been multi six figures and growing steadily ever since.

And it’s like, you know, sometimes disaster is actually a blessing in disguise. And that’s definitely what that

[00:23:20] Andrea Elibero: So let’s talk about running a multi six figure agency because that’s a lot. You have a lot. So talk about the things that, I don’t know, if there’s anything maybe in particular you want to share in addition to how any tips you can give for somebody who’s interested, like that peaks their interest. You’re like, oh, like I want to have an agency, but I want to have an agency like this girl.

Like I want a Sophie agency where it’s like multi six figure, this big, like What are the really important things, the big lessons that you’ve learned in setting it up and how it runs and all of that.

[00:23:53] Sophie Zollmann: Um, well, it is definitely a process. It cannot be rushed. You need to do, you need to get a base team in place because I can tell you I’ve been, I’ve had several, my base team players have been with me for minimum of four years. Uh, one member has been with me all like 10 years and, and I’ve been doing this agency thing since 2019 and those core people that I got in place, Are the difference between being able to continue and grow the team and grow the business and all of that Um, that’s the first step and then As as an as an online business manager or someone with very good management skills Don’t get stuck in the management of it My most recent lesson has come from reading the book, who not how by Dan Sullivan and Dr.

Um, Ben Brady, because you know, as, as an OBM, a VA and whatnot, you know, I was like, I’m the master delegator. I know what to do. I know how to do this. Oh girl, there is so much more to it that I was just so blind to because I was just kind of stuck and set in my ways from all my years of experience. It’s like, I can run the company and they can do the thing and, and I can tell them what to do and how to do it.

And who not how opened my eyes and took off the blinders and said, it’s not just about the who doing the how it’s letting those who’s figure out the house or create the house, you know, and come in and let them do their job. If they’re truly an expert in what you’re hiring them for, they can come in and take over their role and figure out the house and do the house on their own.

To a certain extent. I mean, you don’t just bring them in and let them go, but the onboarding and the training is much more minimal if you’re not going, okay, you have to do a, b, c, d, e. I mean, it’s because I don’t know everything. Imagine that. And you know, the way I do things work for me, but it may not work for somebody else.

Everybody thinks differently, perceives differently, works differently, and can do things differently, and it’s not a bad thing, and it’s not wrong either. So I have recently had multiple lessons in truly, really letting

[00:26:22] Andrea Elibero: so scary, right? Like,

[00:26:26] Sophie Zollmann: including the management. Because I hired a business, I hired an OBM last October. And it’s now what, six months later ish? And, and I’m just finally figuring out that I was still like holding on to a lot of the reins, you know, control, not controlling her, but controlling the situations. And, you know, and I’ve had a few thumps here and there along the way. It’s like, no. And then when I read that book, I’m like, Oh, wow.

I’ve really got to let go. I haven’t let go Near as much as I thought I did. I thought I had let go and was stepping into the leadership, the CEO position. And I discovered after reading that book twice back to back that I was not, there really is an art to letting go. And after many years of being that person, I can see my own struggle and I can see why CEOs I work with struggle to really let go.

I’m in that same boat now and I’m like, Oh, now I get it. I so get

[00:27:30] Andrea Elibero: That’s so interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:27:38] Sophie Zollmann: And I’m like, yeah, I know. I know. It’s like, I really know she does got what she, she’s got my back. I’ve got her back. We make a great team. She’s great at what she does, and I just gotta let her do her job 100%, not 50%, not 75%, a hundred percent.

Let her do her job knowing she’ll come to me if she needs. to run something by me. Uh, if a situation comes up that she’s not ever had before, whatever the case may be, I know she’s going to come to me and say, Hey, we’ve got this situation. This is what happened. This is the potential solution. Um, but I’d like your, you know, your thoughts on it or, you know, you know, that kind of a thing.

And so that was a really huge epiphany for me in the last few months is I’ve always been a, you don’t do it alone. Delegate, delegate, delegate, let go. Don’t be a, you know, micromanager, all of those things. And you know, I wasn’t fully walking my talk, uh, which, you know, I’m human. It’s, it is what it is. And I’m not beating myself up over it, but it’s just, it’s mind blowing when the right information comes to you at the right time.

Because, you know, I was thinking, you know, initially when I read, I’m like, Oh, if I’d known that years ago, and it’s like. No, I wasn’t ready for this years ago. Now I’m ready to receive it and listen to it and do it because if I’d had it years ago, I probably wouldn’t like, yeah, whatever. You know, now I truly see because of my experience, because of what’s going on inside of my business and outside of my business with clients and their people and all those things.

And it’s like, wow. And it’s just like, The agency thing is a process. You definitely want to have your ducks in a row with SOPs, processes, procedures, and most especially your hiring process, because I have some really great people in my core team that have been here for years, but over the last six months and trying to expand my team and bring on more VAs, more people, even more managers.

I have, you know, had some bad eggs come in and, and had some bad experiences with different roles, even though I have a pretty damn good hiring process, job description, all those things. Today’s world of hiring post COVID is so different. Because you have so many people Glutting the industry no matter what the industry Because they all came out of the woodwork during covid working from home and declared i’m a va i’m a digital marketer I’m a this i’m that and they can snow job you really well through all the interview process, through everything, and they can come in and they can do a good job.

And then all of a sudden their true coach come out and they start slacking. They start making massive mistakes. They show that they can’t really do what they said they can do. And then it kind of starts to blow up. And then you’re like, Oh, OK, got to get, get them out. Get someone else in. Where did we go wrong?

You know, always evaluate when stuff happens. You’ve got to reflect on what happened. Why, if you can determine why great, but even if you can’t look at the solution and things you can do differently to make it potentially not happen again in the future, it’s always a work in progress, especially when it comes to hiring and get building a team.

But I’ve also learned from that book and a few other things that the culture is very key. What my mission and vision and values are, uh, Is very key to building my team because that’s the other thing is my team is all remote. Um, we have a great relationship. I do meet with each one of them individually once a month.

Um, but it’s very casual and laid back, which is a good thing, but I also haven’t really pulled them into the full visionary picture of my business.

[00:31:36] Andrea Elibero: I was gonna say, was there a reason or

[00:31:38] Sophie Zollmann: I started,

[00:31:39] Andrea Elibero: just kind of overlooked that piece previously?

[00:31:44] Sophie Zollmann: you know, I just kind of like, I didn’t, I didn’t see that the team needed to be a part of it too, to be able to truly, you know, Implement my vision to grow, to get my vision that, you know, going, because I was like, I’m the only one that needs to know my vision and mission, you know, because, you know, I, I mean, they know what my goals are.

I would share my goals for the company, for them, for the team, whatever. But the true vision of what we really want to be and become was, you know, not shared as thoroughly. And I mean, I’ve, I’ve literally written down our value statement, our mission statement, our vision statement, and shared it with them.

It was all

[00:32:22] Andrea Elibero: do you feel the difference?

[00:32:24] Sophie Zollmann: mention,

[00:32:24] Andrea Elibero: Yeah, now that you’ve shared that. Yeah,

[00:32:26] Sophie Zollmann: I do. Oh, I do. And the last, the newest VA team I brought on, they were the first new hires to experience The vision statement and all those things and an, and a very updated onboarding process. And, and it was much better and still they were like, they were getting, they gave really good constructive feedback on, I would have liked to seen this in the onboarding process, or let’s, we’re going to jump in here and we’re going to help you fine tune your onboarding process.

And it was just like, you know, night and day difference because They see my vision, they see my mission, and they can actually participate in bringing that vision to life with their ideas, their suggestions, and by who not how, letting them bring me the hows that I’m not doing or I’m doing differently. Is opening things up tremendously and it gives them buy in.

It gives them a stake in the business, you know, not financially in the sense of they’re not stakeholders, but they know now they’re a part of something bigger, their start, they’re a part of something that’s going to have an impact on them, me and many others. And if we’re bonded together in that, in that process, it’s going to be way more successful and it’s going to go, go somewhat faster.

because everybody knows what the ultimate vision and goal is besides money. Because I was always like, yeah, we want to make this much this year. We want this many new clients, yada, yada, yada. And they’re like, okay, yeah, fine. But now they know the why, the purpose, the mission. And they’re like, Oh, that makes so much sense.

And means it means more than to just say, I

[00:34:12] Andrea Elibero: No, 100 percent and it’s the same for, it’s funny because you’re like, no, I had the, you know, I had it myself. A lot of people don’t, in their own businesses, they don’t know what their values, what their mission, what their vision is. And that to me, that’s like the first thing, because when things get tough, when things, you know, when things happen and you’re like, oh, maybe I should go, as you say, to get a JOB, you come back to that, right?

You come back to your vision, to your mission, to what you actually want to be doing. And that’s going to hold you there. And that’s the same when you have your team. It’s like, Oh no, like I’m not just doing this, like whatever VA work, like I’m here to, to, to help change lives or do this, and this is how I’m doing it.

And then you have people who are so excited to be there and like, they’re so excited to help you. So I think that’s, that’s a beautiful reminder to, for like, no matter what level of business you’re at is to really own that piece. And even if you have like one person on your team, like to have them know what you’re doing and to share that with them, it changes everything.

You know, so I think that’s beautiful. Is there anything else that you would like to share in terms of, like, your biggest, maybe, tip for somebody who’s like, oh, I want to be Sophie. How do I be Sophie? So I know you’ve shared a lot, but is there anything that is like, I want to have this amazing agency and serve all of these people and do that, that we haven’t covered or that you want to reiterate?

[00:35:34] Sophie Zollmann: I just, you know, everything is possible. If you just put your mind to it. That’s it. Do your homework, talk to people. I am of the mind and I, you know, many people like you and I are, you know, my humble beginnings, I got a lot of help and I would, you know, free help, so to speak, from people in the industry.

When I was launching that VA business all those years ago, those VAs Um, that were asking me to subcontract and therefore causing me to create my business, all three of them participated in helping me name it, do the legal stuff, launch it, build a website. And they all did it out of the, you know, in a pay it forward kind of a thing.

They’d been there, done that. They wanted to help. They didn’t charge me for any of this stuff. They basically gave, they, they gave me their knowledge and wisdom and their support. And I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for these three VAs. And I tell them that I’m still in touch with them all these years later.

And then we run into each other online or whatnot. And I remind them how grateful I am. And so I like to do the same thing. If there’s a VA out there trying to become a VA and OBM, who’s struggling with online business management, and now. Someone who is interested in doing an agency. I am happy to let them get on a call with me for 30 minutes to an hour and pick my brain for free.

I pay it forward because I had so many great people helping me along the way without charging me a dime. And, and I, you know, I, I feel it in my heart to be able to do that for others because it’s hard to start a business or it’s hard to change a business. It’s hard if you don’t know what you’re doing and if so many people want to hold onto their information or make you pay for it.

Oh, I’ve got a course you can buy to learn how to build an agency. No, no. I mean, granted, I’m not going to do this

[00:37:36] Andrea Elibero: That’s not your, your business. You’re, you’re there. And it’s interesting because you’re both empowering the team that works with you, the business owners, and you’re like, you know what, like, I love this, this, this vision of like, let me pay it back. And I think that that’s so important that we all do that.

And, you know, like, in whatever way possible for us. Now, if your calendar starts getting filled with all these people wanting for, you know, then maybe you have to put some boundaries in place. But like, in terms of.

[00:38:03] Sophie Zollmann: yes. I definitely would put boundaries in place. And like another way I decided to pay forward this year. Um, you know, I, I have a few friends and colleagues. Um, who are in business, they’re struggling and they want to, they want to get to six figures or they want to get to multiple six figures. And because I know them, uh, I mean, one of them is my chiropractor and one of them is a very dear friend.

And I’m like, well, you know, if you want to do this, you need. You need more than what you’re doing on your own. And I know you’re not, you know, ready to buy a, you know, coaching program from anybody or a mentoring program or anything like that. In fact, my chiropractor actually has been through one and it didn’t really get him anywhere.

And I said, well, you know, let’s do it this way for a minimal, for a, you know, for a set hourly rate on an as needed basis at your pace. within reason. I am going to kick your butt some if you’re like lollygagging and not doing a darn thing. But you know, I will give you a discounted hourly rate to basically be your business consultant to help you put together these things, these offers, these programs, that are going to catapult your business into those six figures or multiple six figures and that kind of a thing.

And we’ll just work together on that kind of a basis and you know, you’ll do the work. But I’ll be guiding you, reviewing, providing feedback, giving you structure, whatever, you know, recommending software apps, whatever the case may be. And you’ll be getting the kind of support you can afford for one and two that isn’t cookie cutter for one, cause I’m

[00:39:47] Andrea Elibero: Me too. We’re on the same wavelength there. Yeah,

[00:39:53] Sophie Zollmann: um, you know, and it allows them to really, Relax in developing these, these products and services for their business and not be all stressed out because they don’t know what to do. They, you know, they, they don’t know where to start. They don’t know how to organize it system, you know, all of those things.

And I can give that to them at that rate, knowing that what goes around comes around. I mean, I, you know, I’m putting out good stuff and I’m paying it forward, even though I am charging these people a little money. I’m still paying it forward knowing that I will get good in return in one way, shape, or form in my life and my business.

And I’m more than happy to do that because I know the more good I put out in the world, whether it’s free or paid, the more is going to come

[00:40:38] Andrea Elibero: love that. I think this is the perfect note to wrap this up on. And I really, really hope that people embody that message because I think that’s so important. That’s also how we make the world a better place. You know, just in general, like let’s all do good and give back and pay it forward to other people.

I think that’s amazing. So let us know how we can stay in touch with you. If you have any gifts, is there anything that you want to share? Now is your time.

[00:41:02] Sophie Zollmann: So of course my website is sophiezo. com. S O P H I E Z O. com. On that website you will see my free gift of, you know, the, the ultimate guide to taking back your time. You will also see buttons to book that free 30 minute call to see if we’re a fit to learn more. And then if you go to sophiezo. com forward slash welcome, you will see the little video that.

Very quickly briefly and succinctly Describes what we do and gives you a really quick idea of whether it’s what you’re looking for or not So I encourage you to go look there that page is obviously free It’s a video right there and that will also help you determine if you want to do a free call with me And then of course i’m on social media facebook instagram linkedin Um, Twitter, I’m not on TikTok.

Uh, I’m on YouTube, all your typical places. You’ll find me as Sophie Zoe or the Sophie Zoe if someone had my moniker before I got on

[00:42:03] Andrea Elibero: Beautiful. Thank you so much for chatting with me today. Sophie, that was amazing.

[00:42:10] Sophie Zollmann: Thank you so much for having me. I’m really honored to be here on your show.