Episode 054

54: Bringing on a Virtual Assistant with Davii Mandel

Do you ever feel overwhelmed or like you’re choking your business with all the tasks you have to do? You might need to outsource some of your tasks and that can feel scary, but today’s episode will help you think about what could be outsourced and learn how to get started.

Davii Mandel is one of my clients. She is a virtual assistant who runs an agency for virtual assistants called Office Girlz. Davii has been working in the administrative office space and/or running her own business for 15 years, and loves to help small business owners succeed.

Join Davii and I for a conversation about supporting you as the business owner, and the types of work you can hire out so that you can stay in your zone of genius. We talk about what Davii has learned since starting her business, and how her business has changed since joining my coaching program.

The doors close today (November 22nd, 2022) for my 9-month group coaching program, Wired for Wealth! Learn how to balance your work and your life, starting with a 4-hour intensive workshop, and truly become the CEO of your own business. Click here to join the program, which begins November 28.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How Davii came to be a virtual assistant and run her own business.
  • What it means to be a virtual assistant and why a virtual assistant is important, even in a recession.
  • How to get started with a virtual assistant.
  • Why looking at your finances is such an important part of business growth.
  • How Davii’s business has changed since she started working with me.
  • What Davii’s business goals are and how she’s getting there.

Resources

Read the full transcript now

You’re listening to the Mastering Money in Midlife podcast with Debbie Sassen, Episode 54.

Welcome to Mastering Money in Midlife, a podcast for midlife women in business to overcome financial anxiety and make more money without burning out or sacrificing their families. Join Certified Life and Money Coach Debbie Sassen, as she shares practical business strategies and mindset shifts that help you dissolve the money blocks that keep you stuck in a cycle of under earning and under saving, sabotage the growth of your business and prevent you from building the wealth that you desire.

Debbie Sassen: Hello, my friends. And, welcome back to the podcast. I have a fabulous interview for you today with my client, Davii Mandel. Davii is a virtual assistant, and she also runs an agency for virtual assistants called, Office Girlz; that’s girls with a Z at the end.

We are going to talk about supporting you, as the business owner, and the types of work that you can hire out, outsource to virtual assistants, so that you can stay in your zone of genius. So many times, business owners choke their growth and suffocate their profits, because they hold on to all the tasks in their business. And, they don’t take the time out to outsource to people who are also uniquely wired to do the office work.

Davii and I have a fabulous interview for you. But before we tune into the interview, I want to let you know that if you’re listening to this podcast on November 22, which is the day that the podcast airs, today is the last day to enroll in my mastermind Wired for Wealth. Wired for Wealth is a nine-month program for business owners.

We have a virtual live event coming up on Monday, November 28. We’re going to spend four hours together really getting you to think about yourself as a CEO. So many times, we business owners think of ourselves as the thing we do. Like, I’m a coach and I coach people. Davii is a virtual assistant, and she helps people with the back-office tasks in their business. A graphic artist is a designer. A copywriter is a writer.

But whatever you do in your business, you are a business owner first. And it’s important to think strategically for long-term business growth; that’s your business growth in 2023, 2024, 2025, and beyond. So, the live event is going to be virtual on Zoom®. It’s going to start by getting you to rewire your brain and your mindset to think of yourself as a CEO. And, to plan the next year accordingly.

I love to help my clients plan quarterly, so we can start setting some seeds down in December. And hey, December is a great time for buyers. There’s a lot of consumer buying going on. And business-to-business buying is also going on in the last month of the year. And so, if we meet together on November 28, you can also put new plans and strategies in place to reach your clients and customers during the last month of 2022.

And then, you hit the ground running in 2023 with your plan. You know exactly what you’re going to focus on in the first quarter of the year. What you’re going to focus on in the second, and the third, and the fourth, for your long-term business growth.

Sometimes you’re going to be putting systems in place; payment processes, you’re going to focus on your marketing, on your copywriting, or on your sales techniques. We’re going to do that all in the mastermind. I have a process that is laid out, that’s going to take you from where you are today to quantum leaps over the course of the next year.

And of course, we’re going to work on your money mindset and your family of origin story about money; that it might be bad or evil, or greedy, or salesy, or sleazy. Whatever comes up for you when it comes to money. The triggers that we have in our body; a lot of times we feel it in our chest or in our gut.

And also, the thoughts we have in our brain that are looping on autoplay; we’re going to deal with it all. So, if you have been thinking about Wired for Wealth, press pause, go to my website, DebbieSassen.com/wired-for-wealth and sign up for a consultation. You’ve got all the details on the page, and there’s a signup link.

If you sign up by today, November 22, even if there’s no room on my calendar for today, but it’s later in the week, there’s also room to invite you into Wired for Wealth. I look forward to seeing you in the group and at our virtual live event on Monday, November 28. All right, that’s what I got for you for an introduction. And now, let’s meet Davii Mandel.

I have an exciting guest for you to hear today. I am with my client Davii Mandel. Davii is a wife, a mom, and grandmother. I love that we share that in common, that we have big families and lots of grandchildren, which is beautiful. We both live in Israel; Davii moved to Israel a year and a half ago. And, she came during COVID.

When she arrived in Israel, she started her business as a virtual assistant. Now, she is not only providing services as a virtual assistant, but she’s actually running a virtual assistant agency. And for my listeners who don’t know what a virtual assistant is, Davii is going to explain to us exactly what that is, so that you can hear all of her wisdom.

Today, Davii has a six-figure business doing what she loves, and providing remote work for other immigrants to Israel. Good morning, Davii, and welcome to the podcast.

Davii Handel: Good morning.

Debbie: So, tell us a little bit about how you started your business.

Davii: So, my business started like many others do, out of necessity. I was a caterer and a high-end event planner for over 20 years. COVID just put a hard break on that. Overnight, we stopped; we were out of business. In addition, in the background of that, was that we were planning to make Aliyah.

My husband and I were talking about what kind of work I could do in Israel, and ideally, make an American income. We had started to talk about the idea of me doing something like this, you know, behind the scenes office work remotely. But, you know, once COVID came, we just had to get into gear right away.

So, I had a couple of clients by word of mouth. One, was actually my son for his business, and then, a friend. And, it started from there. They recommended me to other people, and I was able to start growing it as an actual business.

Debbie: What did your previous experience in catering teach you about office work, that you’re able to bring into the work that you do now.

Davii: So, I worked as a partner with my daughter, my married daughter. She was always the design person, basically design and that type of planning. And, I always took care of the office work. So, it’s funny, it’s kind of a switch from today’s days, where the younger people who are good at computers. But I’m actually the one that’s more talented at that type of thing, of the tech stuff.

So, I did the bookkeeping. I typed the menus. I spoke to the customers. I did everything that had to do with admin, in the catering and the event planning business. I’ve always been good at that type of work. I’m very detail oriented. I enjoy it. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from just having things run smoothly and the way they’re supposed to.

And, I’m always thinking of a better way to do it. So, yeah, I use those skills in catering and hone them. And, I was all set to do something like this as a business.

Debbie: I want to just share my excitement that you’re working with your family. Like, first, you were working with your daughter in catering. And now, you’re providing V.A. services to your son. Tell my listeners how many kids you have.

Davii: I have 11 kids.

Debbie: As we say in Hebrew, Bli Ayin Hara, right? “Against the evil eye,” is the translation. So, I have a small family; I only have eight children, right? So, I love that we have that in common; we have big families. And there is something about families when you have a connection. That we all learn, you know, how to focus on our gifts, the things that we bring to the world.

Our, we call in business, your unique selling proposition, which you knew straightaway was always your organizational skills and having things in order. And even using your creativity; because I think we’re all born with creativity. But your creativity is how to make things more efficient. How to make the office work run more smoothly.

So, for my listeners who don’t understand yet, what a virtual assistant can bring to the business… Because so many of us grew up in a model where there is somebody in the office; there is a secretary, and a personal assistant who could be in the office. What are the benefits of having an assistant who works remotely? And isn’t sitting next to you to take your, you know, stenography and take your notes at meetings?

Davii: So, it’s funny, Debbie, I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as a virtual assistant business. I just thought I had come up with a new idea. That, hey, you don’t need me to be there. I can do all these things from afar, exactly the same way as I would do it in the office. Then, I found out, oh, this has been around for a couple of years. It just became more popular and more well-known during COVID.

While there are some drawbacks and there are things that don’t work with having a virtual assistant, I think the benefits really outweigh the drawbacks. So, having somebody in the office means you’ve got them; they’re there. You’ve got their attention. They’re there to work for you. And you may not have enough work to keep somebody busy 20 hours a week or 40 hours a week, but you’ve got their body, their presence there. Whenever you need it, you have it.

On the other hand, you’re paying, sometimes many hours, for the work. I’ve worked in many offices, and this is a very common theme, that there’s not always work to do. So, you’re paying for all those hours. You’re paying to have that body sit and warm the chair.

With a virtual assistant, they are just logging in the hours that they work for you. So, they may have multiple clients, but they will log out of that client and log into your work. Meaning, using a timer system. And you’re just paying for the amount of hours that you actually need.

Number two, you’re not paying, necessarily, for office space. And, many businesses don’t need office space. I have clients who just work from their home. Or, they don’t need an office at all, they jump in their car, and they go; they’re a plumber and they go to do a job. So, they don’t need to rent office space to have a secretary sitting there. So, that’s a big savings. And the big, you know, overhead savings.

Also, they don’t have to provide any equipment. You don’t have to take taxes, you don’t have to pay for insurances, anything like that. It’s so hassle free, in so many ways, that again, I think the benefits really outweigh any drawbacks of not having a person in the office.

Debbie: When I thought about bringing you on for an interview, to let my listeners know how they could bring a virtual assistant into their business, one of the first thoughts that I had, is now there is a global recession. We’re in the middle of it, the beginning stages. We’ll know when we get out of it, exactly what stage we’re in, in November 2022.

I noticed, in the last couple of weeks, that some large companies, like Facebook®, like Stripe®, like other companies, are having massive layoffs. And when the economy goes into a recession, many business owners pull back on their businesses. They, understandably, are thinking about where they can cut costs.

I know that you and I have discussed before, how many small business owners are overwhelmed. When they’re overwhelmed, there’s too much work to do. They’re trying to do the thing that they do well, like, let’s talk about a plumber; that was one example that you brought up.

When a plumber is worried that maybe people won’t be doing renovations on their home, they won’t be replacing pipes, so the plumber might think, “You know, I’m just going to do the office work by myself.” And that’s not the genius, the zone of genius, that the plumber works in, right? They know how to do the pipes, and that’s also a specialization.

But, you know, this is a time where people might be thinking, “I need to save costs in my business. So, I’m not going to have an assistant do the work. I’m going to do my bookkeeping and my invoicing. I’m going to do my social media, all by myself.”

I want you to just share with us, really, how your business, as a virtual assistant working remotely, helps people. And why people might want to think twice about actually bringing somebody into their business, even when we’re in a recession.

Davii: So, it’s very interesting. After having done this for, going on two, three years now, one thing that I see very clearly, is how having a V.A. can give a business owner so much freedom, in reality. Because freedom of time to be able to actually do more. But also, emotionally, because they’re able to concentrate on building their business into the business that they dreamed of when they started it.

Having someone to delegate those tasks, that they are not talented at, that they maybe don’t even have any knowledge about. Or, somebody who just has so much more experienced and is more organized than they are. Being able to delegate that, frees up their mind to create the business that they are trying to create.

I actually onboarded a new customer three months ago, who told me the other day… He and I, and one of my other assistants, participated in a Zoom® interview for him to hire somebody to do a specific part of his business that we don’t do. And he was so relieved that we were there with him, because he admitted to me that he has ADHD; which many of my clients seem to have.

He said he has a very hard time just concentrating on one task and getting it done from beginning to end. But because we helped him, and we were there with him; just our presence, we didn’t do anything. It helped him concentrate and get the interview done. And, he realized that he’s getting much more done just knowing that he has a team behind him.

So, this is a benefit to a business owner. Even when we’re not doing anything, just being there on his team, for a very reasonable price, can help the business owner get to where they want to be.

As far as recession, we all have ups and downs in our businesses. The nice thing about a business like ours, is we have multiple packages to choose from. If somebody sees that their business is kind of slower now, they can always downgrade to a lower package, without completely giving up that office help that they need.

Debbie: I actually think that, if we’re in a recession, now is the perfect time to onboard a V.A., for a couple of reasons. It could be that the business is experiencing a slowdown in clients, in income. Which could also mean that the business has a little bit more time. And then, the business owner might think, “Oh, I have more time on my hands. Now, I’m going to do the office work myself.” That’s not, again, my gift to the world, my zone of genius.

And when you have a slowdown in your activity, it gives you the space to onboard the V.A. It also, and I think you just pointed this out, is if your client has ADHD; can’t concentrate, can’t focus on doing the office work that they’re not, you know, uniquely wired to do. Then, being able to give it over to somebody else means that you freed up all of this space in your head to think more creatively about your business.

Because there is, you know, maybe a global recession, or slowdown in economic activity, so you want to actually put more of your focus time into how you can serve your clients better. But if you’re busy with the office work, that’s just taking up valuable time in your calendar. It’s taking up valuable thinking space in your mind.

And I like to say, like, if we’re in the winter, these are the times that you should be planting the seeds. Or, in the fall, whatever. But you’re like, now’s a great time to plant the seeds in your business. And, they’re going to sprout in the spring; I don’t know if the spring will be 2023 or 2024. But let’s get the foundation set now, so that your business can grow, and thrive, and produce beautiful fruit when economic activity picks up.

And if your business is not experiencing a slowdown in activity, this is still a great time for you to bring an assistant into your business. Because that will also just, I love the word that you used, relieved, right? Your client was so relieved to have you on his team. And if you have someone there with you guiding, you know, holding your hand through the tasks that you don’t want to do, you have that brain space.

So, let’s just talk about your clients, who are in this place where they want to bring a V.A. into their business. How do they do that?

Davii: It’s very interesting. I have a very interesting range of clients. I have the ones who have been in business for years. They’re naturally organized. They’re keeping their business going. They’ve just gotten to the point where they need to outsource some of the tasks that either, they don’t know how to do, or they just don’t have the time. They are my easy clients. They’re clear about their instructions.

I have one client who is amazing. She has written up pages and pages and pages of standard operating procedure, which she just gave us. And she gives us step-by-step; this is how it needs to be done. And, it’s fantastic.

But then, I have many clients who are a little bit all over the place. They have great ideas, they have a wonderful business model, but they don’t have the experience to make sure that all aspects of the business are running correctly. So, they know how to do the specific business, and that’s it.

But that doesn’t include all of the admin that goes with a business. And, these clients need a lot of help. What I love, is that myself and my assistants, all of us, have either been in business for ourselves, at one point or another, or have worked closely with other businesses. So, we can help our clients, especially people who are… Their business is young, we can help them get organized.

We can say, “You know what? You kind of neglected to get liability insurance. It’s really important, you need to do that. I’ll research it for you. And, I’ll get you signed up for something. Or, we need to make sure that we’re putting money aside in a tax account, please open a savings account. We’re going to put money aside so you can pay your quarterly taxes.

So, we really do try to help, not only just do what they tell us to do, but actually give them suggestions and advice on running the business more correctly. But as far as onboarding a new client, again, it depends on the type of business; they’re all different.

One of the most basic things is logins; we need to discuss what programs and websites your business uses. And, we need logins to all of those sites. One thing that I find, is small business owners are so accustomed to doing everything themselves.

I would say, 90% of my businesses, have just one person in the business. They have a really hard time delegating. And sometimes they’ll choose a package, and then they kind of just don’t give us any work to do.

So, what I’ve learned over the time, is to immediately, from the beginning, set up a recurring Zoom meeting at least once a week. And this way, once you’re talking to the person face-to-face, they’ll come up with ideas of things that they need you to do.

But when you’re not seeing each other constantly, they’re just used to doing it themselves, and they continue doing it themselves. So, we find that this helps our clients slowly get used to delegating tasks. Which is really good for them, because this is part of being a business owner, you need to delegate.

Debbie: I think both of us probably know how to delegate because we have a lot of children. So, we can say like, “You fold the laundry. You do the dishes. You sweep the floor.” We’re probably amazing delegators. I think the one thing, as a mom, is I just assume that my children know how to do things like me.

So, even as a business owner, I can assume that my, you know, virtual assistant knows how to do things like me. But that’s where we have to take responsibility and slow ourselves down, and assume that nobody knows how to fold the laundry like me, unless I tell them how to do it.

Davii: And, take the time to train. Yes, I’m learning that now, as my business grows and I’m bringing on new V.A.s. I want them to just immediately know how to do it the way I did it up till now. And they don’t, necessarily; some are quicker than others to learn. And, I have to spend the time training.

Debbie: Now, you have to learn how to be that business owner for yourself. Like, the business owners who are hiring you, right? You have to learn now, to have your own standard operating procedures in place; how to onboard your own V.A.s for your business, and how to train your people, and how to appreciate that their brains are also going to work differently from yours.

You probably have great training, as a mom of a large family, knowing that each of your children has a different operating system in their mind. And so, probably gives you a lot of flexibility with your own employees.

So, you and I have been working together for about six months. Where was your business when we started working together? And, what’s changed over the last six months?

Davii: That’s a great question. So, my business started in March of 2020. And until this past June, of 2022, it was pretty steady. You know, here and there a client moved on, or I moved on from a client, and I would take on one more, whatever. I had one assistant working with me. Plus, a bookkeeper who does the QuickBooks® work for any of my clients who need bookkeeping. That was fine, and it was working fine.

I remember having a free consultation with you, and saying, “I just can’t decide if I want to grow.” Do you remember that?

Debbie: I do. Yep.

Davii: And you said, “That’s the decision that you need to make. Do you want to grow? Or, do you just want to continue in the way you’re going?” I’m not even sure now, what made me finally make that decision. But I think what it was, I had one of my clients move on. His business was actually growing to the point where he needed an in-house secretary and bookkeeper.

And I realized, wow, by losing one client, that tips everything. My income has to adjust to a lower amount. I have to cut back on hours for my assistant. And, all of a sudden, I realized, wait this is too on the edge. This is on the edge of the cliff, and one foot off… It hit me that I needed to make that decision; that I’m going to grow.

I knew this was going to be hard, it’s going to be hard work. And it’s going to, all of a sudden, I’m going to be over, if it does start growing, I’m going to be overwhelmed, and I expected it. I just made the decision that I was going to do it. You came out with your group coaching promotion, and I just decided; okay, I’m just going to try this. I’m going to do it.

From then, we started in late June, and now it is November. So, it’s about five months later, and the change has been dramatic. We grew from about eight clients then; we have around 20 now. And, I have six women working part-time for me, as contractors. They’re all handling multiple clients, and it’s incredible. It’s incredible.

Debbie: So, you have gone from being a solopreneur to running an agency. Like, that’s huge.

Davii: In five months.

Debbie: In five months, wow. That is beautiful growth. What sort of limiting beliefs and money blocks did you have to overcome, in order to do that?

Davii: So, I’ve been into, you know, positive thinking and all these type of things for years. And it’s been good; it changed my life very, very much for the positive. But money was always just not quite getting to where I wanted it to be. There was always a stopping point that I couldn’t identify.

And, your Wired for Wealth program really helped me tap into those subconscious money blocks; the negative money messages that we’re always telling ourselves. That we’re not even aware that we’re telling ourselves. I was able to finally face those things, decode them, break them down, and identify them. And that made such a big shift; there was just a sudden shift in everything.

Debbie: I really want to shout you out. Because when we had our first meeting, back in June, you jumped in, like two feet. Your whole body, headfirst, like everything. You just decided. Some people can be more slow. They want to dip their toe into the water, into the pool, and see if the water is going to be cold. And, some people jump and start swimming.

And, that’s what you’ve done. By the way, both of them are fine; the water is going to be cold either way. I’m kind of also, just jump in and do it. Just start swimming, and you’re gonna figure it out. But people are wired differently. And the fact that you’ve gone from, what did you say? Eight clients to 20 clients, in five months? That’s like, mind-blowing.

Davii: That’s mind blowing. And having six people working for me, is also very mind blowing. I’m still getting used to that.

Debbie: Yeah, you’re a CEO. We’ve talked about how you’re now implementing the Profit First Method™. I spoke about this a few weeks ago on the podcast; how to plan for profit first. And that’s a lot of your growth, with money and managing money. What’s going on for you there?

Davii: I told you at one point, that I don’t want to look at my expenses. And, you said, “Why?” And I said, “Because I’m afraid that you, or myself, that I’m going to have to tell myself that I’m spending too much, or I need to cut back. And, I really feel like I’m not. But I don’t want to really look at it and have to face the music.”

I really had a block there, and I knew it was a block. And, I was ashamed of myself. Because I am advising business owners in this very genre; you need to look at your expenses. You need to look at your income. You need to get it all figured out. I’m going to assign you a bookkeeper, she’s going to help you do this.

And yet, I’m not doing it. I only started using a bookkeeper for my business a few months ago. I finally said, “This is ridiculous. I don’t know my numbers. I don’t know my profit and loss. I have to do this.” But that was a big, big block.

So, when you told me about Profit First, I actually went to YouTube® first and watched a 15-minute summary of the entire book. And I said, “Wow, this is unbelievable. This turns the entire bookkeeping model for a business, on its head. And, it makes so much sense.”

I was immediately hooked. I bought the book; I’ve been listening to it on Audible®. Yesterday, I spent hours just setting up new bank accounts, getting everything organized, letting my bookkeeper know that she is now going to have six bank accounts to look at instead of two.

Debbie: Wow, okay.

Davii: She will not thank me for it, I’m sure. And, just moving money around and getting it all organized. And then, I did this chart where you actually have to look at the real numbers and see what your percentages are, and how everything works.

I’m telling you, Debbie, I am an emotional eater. And if I wasn’t doing intermittent fasting, I would have been all over the cookies and the cakes. Because I was so stressed from doing those numbers. But afterwards, I felt so relieved, even though they weren’t where I wanted them to be.

And he keeps saying that, in the book, “You will have negative numbers. You will have numbers that are not where they should be. That’s fine and this is where we’re starting.” But it was such a relief to see everything in black-and-white, and to know. But it was only a relief after I calmed down and de-stressed a little bit.

Debbie: That’s what it is. It’s like, once you get the diagnosis, now you know your numbers. Now, you know where you are. Now, you can work with the cure. You know what the cure is. In his book, Profit First, Mike Michalowicz, the author, gives us target numbers, right?

When you have a certain level of income, what you should be putting aside for profits; the percentage for profits, the percentage for expenses, expenses are last, owner’s compensation, and taxes. Those are just targets. And, you start where you are. The targets are what you put into your GPS, into your navigator, and you’re just aiming at those targets.

It could be that your business is going to have a different percentage of profits, or a different percentage of owner’s compensation. But at least, now we know where we’re starting. And just tweak, tweak, tweak, and we’re gonna get there, one step at a time.

But I love the fact that, first of all, you just were very open and said, “Yeah, I wasn’t doing it. And, I felt ashamed.” So many business owners are in that exact same place. So, we’re just going to just say, you don’t need to feel like that. It’s just part of where we are, and what we do, and how we grow.

And just like you got thrown into your business by COVID, it wasn’t something that you planned; you started it; you have gifts. A lot of people do that, they jump in and are like, “Yeah, I could do this, and people want to pay me for it. And, isn’t that wonderful?” The money’s coming in. And then, all of a sudden, you can’t pay for your groceries because somehow the money disappears. So many of my clients…

Davii: And, you don’t know why. It’s so frustrating. If I would have stayed with the typical accounting model for business, which is income – expenses = profit. If I had actually looked at those numbers, with that model, I would have just despaired. Like, “What am I doing? I’m bringing in six figures a year. I have people working for me. I figured out how much I can afford to pay them. But this doesn’t make sense, this model isn’t profitable.”

Because it was all at the same time, that I finally made the decision that I’m going to look at my numbers, and then, you, right at the same time, told me about  Profit First. Now, I’m able to have hope, and know that my business is on the right track. And I’m very close to profit; very close to being a profitable business.

Debbie: Thank you for sharing that. And also, not making that a problem,  that your business is not yet profitable. First of all, you’ve been in the business for two and a half years. And if we were thinking about a brick-and-mortar business, not a remote business, a brick-and-mortar business starts in the minus. They start in debt, right? You have to rent a place or buy a place. You have to get the water turned on, the electricity turned on. You have to buy inventory. You have to hire people; before you even sell.

Let’s say you’re really a little, you know, supermarket. Before you sell one bag of milk, or a loaf of bread, or a, you know, a dozen eggs, your business is not profitable. And, it will take time before you generate a profit. We never want to make that a problem.

A business might take three or even five years to generate a profit. That doesn’t mean that a business owner should not be paying herself. The business can be in minus while the business owner is getting paid a salary.

I think that that’s where the Profit First model starts turning bookkeeping on its head. Because you make sure that you’re setting aside money for the salary, for the owner’s compensation, of the person who’s running a business.

Otherwise, you’re just working hours and hours a day, and banging your head against the wall wondering why nothing’s working. And then, you’re just gonna go and close down your business.

Davii: Something else that he said, that I didn’t understand before, is that in the early stages, your business pays 50% to the owner. But in later stages, as your business earns more money, the profit margin goes up and the salary of the owner goes down. Because you will actually take that profit instead of a high salary. I was flabbergasted. That was amazing. What an amazing idea.

Debbie: I think that’s something that you need to be in touch with your accountant, because are you getting paid a salary? Or, are you taking the profit as dividends in your business? Right now, we might be getting a little bit technical, but you always want to be in touch with your accountant, every step of the way. Whether you’re meeting with your accountant quarterly or monthly, or you know, once or twice a year.

But you want to make sure that you are not overpaying on taxes. Because you’re either taking, you know, “too much” as salary, or “too much” as dividends. You want to make sure that you’re on top of your numbers. You can only be on top of your numbers when you are looking at your numbers.

So, folks, if you’re not looking at your numbers, here is your invitation to look at your numbers. And I will also say, because I love talking about this, is that if your business is not profitable, and again, we’re not making that a problem. It is okay, I believe, to borrow money, right?

Borrowing money is just the way we buy money, from our future self. And that way, just like a brick-and-mortar business will borrow money to rent the place, and get the inventory, and hire the people. Also, a virtual business can borrow money, so that you have cash in your account.

You can make sure that you continue to pay your salary over time. And then, you’ll be able to pay back your business loan over five years or seven years. Whatever the timeframe is that’s right for you. But you don’t want to be working and chasing your tail all the time; not earning a salary and wondering why your business isn’t working.

It’s really important that you feel like you’re getting compensated for the work that you do. Whether it’s $100 a month, or $500 a month, whatever you can afford and squeak out in the beginning stages of your business. It’s so important that you have that joy of receiving money from your business. Right?

Your brain wants to see, you want, we want, to be rewarded. We’re just like, you know, we’re just like fancy animals, us humans. We want that treat; we want that reward. So, it’s really, really important that you don’t starve yourself and choke your business, by reinvesting everything in your business. You have to have money coming into your personal account.

Davii: 100%. 100%.

Debbie: What are your business owners… How do they react when you start working on their books, and sharing with them what’s going on in their business?

Davii: I’m just still getting the Profit First technicalities down pat, and I have a couple of clients in mind that I do want to share the idea with, because I think it will be very, very beneficial for them.

I do have a client specifically, who always tells me, “I’m bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of business, and there’s nothing in the bank account. My bank account is down to $4,000, and I don’t understand why.” And with him, it’s a real mindset shift because he tends to think people are taking advantage of him.

People are, you know, somehow, not stealing exactly, but somehow getting the money from him. And, he doesn’t know where it’s going or why. It’s completely fuzzy for him. And I understand that, because I’ve been there. I have in mind to try to get him on board with this plan, because it’ll just make everything more clear.

Debbie: I think so many business owners take money out of their business, without even realizing that they’re taking money out of their business. There could be a little bit of loose boundaries between their personal bank account and their business bank account. Right? So, it could he is getting paid from his business, he’s just not thinking that he’s getting paid from his business.

Davii: He’s getting paid, but because everything is so murky and gray, and he doesn’t really see those numbers every month, he thinks, “Oh, well, here I took $600. And then, I took $700. And, it can’t be that much; it doesn’t add up to that much.” But you know what? It does add up.

Debbie: It really, really adds up. And if he has a car that he’s charging to the business, as a business expense, like that’s also an expense that you don’t have to have in your personal budget. So, we have to also remember that there are a lot of perks that we have as business owners, that if we weren’t owning a business, we would have to fund it some other way.

Seeing the numbers, is just like, I don’t know, like the sun is shining. Right? All of a sudden, the colors in the sky look different; they’re not murky and gray. Now, there’s bright blues and bright yellows, and trees are greener.

Davii: Yes. I would tell that, to anybody who, like me, was scared to look at their numbers, scared to face the reality, “It’s going to be hard to get over that hump. But once you’re over it, wow. It’s such a feeling of freedom.” Like, okay, my numbers aren’t quite where I want them to be. But that’s okay. Now, I can get them, and work towards getting them where I want them to be, because I understand where they’re at.

Debbie: So, how are you going to make decisions going forward, for how you are going to hire? Are you just going to now, start working with worksheets? Or, you’re implementing Profit First with QuickBooks? How are you doing that, with your tech?

Davii: Again, I’m still learning Profit First. I’m not 100% clear on everything I need to do. I can tell you something interesting, which kind of was the opposite of what he talks about in his book. Which is, that my expenses are actually lower than the percentage that he allots. That was surprising.

Debbie: Okay. You’re a remote business.

Davii: I’m remote; I don’t have tons of overhead. I have about $1,000 a month in just software and online programs, that we use to make our business easy, work more smoothly. So, the main growth for me, is going to be getting more clients. Because those expenses aren’t really going to change, per se.

The only expenses that will change, is my subcontractors maybe needing more hours, in order to fulfill the work time that’s needed. And then, that will help put me over the hump on my salary being what it should be.

Debbie: So, you have a goal in mind for your salary.

Davii: Oh, yeah. I mean, I take a salary. But we all want more salary.

Debbie: Sure. Where do you see your business going in the next two to three years?

Davii: I definitely want it to grow. I have income goals for the business, and for myself. I love the fact that my contractors are all immigrants to Israel, as I am. And they are just lovely, lovely, experienced, smart women who I want to give more hours to. And, I want to be able to give them as many hours as they would like to have. So, I feel a responsibility.

And I also feel really good about helping to support other families, besides my own. So, I am working towards reaching those income goals for all of us.

Debbie: I love that. All of your employees are freelancers that are working for you.

Davii: Correct.

Debbie:  So, just like when you were talking about one of your clients hiring a remote assistant; they’re not paying the social benefits. They’re not worrying about the healthcare, and medical care, and everything that you have to give to your employees in-house; it works the same way for you.

Davii: Correct.

Debbie: Do you ever see yourself changing that model?

Davii: I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it. I had, originally, a dream of perhaps buying a home in Israel, and actually having a basement where women could come and work, in person. They would be working for my clients remotely, but they would actually be working in person, in my place.

But on the other hand, all the people that I’ve hired now, don’t live close enough to come in person. And, that would be a real burden on them. They love the fact that they’re working from home. So, you know, I may have to just take my own advice, that I give to my clients, which is, it’s okay to have remote workers. You know, so, they have that benefit, too.

Debbie: Right. There is a benefit for working in a hub; there’s just that energy. And especially as moms, moms of large families, the laundry is always calling us, the food is always calling us. And sometimes, it is challenging to stay focused in our business during business hours. But yeah, the world is going, you know, different ways.

I actually think that one beautiful thing that COVID gave us, was the realization that a woman can work from home. She can sort out her own schedule. She can be extremely productive and valuable to her clients, to her company, wherever she’s working. And, she can be very valuable to her family. And not have to have the drain and the time suck of traveling.

Davii: Yeah, 100%. So true.

Debbie: I just think it’s so beneficial. And, I think that society benefits. There are certain synergies of being in person, that you just mentioned, and the energy and whatever. But I think so much has opened up to us, as women and women business owners, because of COVID.

There were other movements that have been in place for the last 50 or so years, but this is just another realization that we have so much to give. We’re so valuable. We can be productive from home, and not lose it on traveling that time. Unless you go to yoga class for 45 minutes or an hour. Or, you know, go workout instead of spending it in traffic.

Davii: Yeah, and Zoom has really revolutionized everything, too, because I have regular Zooms with my contractors. And it kind of makes us feel, you know, the same way as I do with my clients. Where we can really get on board with things when we’re face-to-face. And face-to-face these days is Zoom. And, that’s okay.

Debbie: It is okay. Fabulous. What final words do you have to share with my listeners today?

Davii: Well, I did want to tell you that, and I told you this before but I’m gonna say it for your listeners, that the sessions that we have in the Wired for Wealth group coaching has not only opened up my heart and my mind to receiving money, but it also has really helped me with being more fearless to look inside of myself. And, just understand why I react to any situation.

I think I told you the story, but I was in the grocery store the other day and I checked out, and it was like 800 shekels. Bill and I confidently pulled out my American Chase Card™ to pay it, as I always do in that same store, and it was declined. I knew there was enough money in the account, without a problem. I tried it a couple of times, it was declined again.

I tried all three of my different Chase cards, and they were all declined. Then, I tried my Schwab™ card. I was dying from embarrassment. The clerk was sitting there watching me go through all this embarrassment. I finally found an Israeli card that worked.

I left the store, red with embarrassment. I came to the car. And as I was walking to my car to unload the grocery cart, I started thinking about it. Why was I so embarrassed? These things happen. I know the money was there. So, there was clearly just a problem with probably their processor. I was able to dive in, just while I’m unloading the cart into the trunk of the car, was just able to dive into my feelings and come to a conclusion.

That there, you know, there really wasn’t anything to be ashamed of. It was okay to feel a little bit uncomfortable at the time, but there was no reason to be ashamed. And, I’ve never done that before. I’ve just felt that embarrassment. Not looked at it closely, not unpacked it, and tried to put it out of my mind.

This group coaching just gave me tools to be able to investigate it. And then, to be able to put it out of my mind comfortably, and with love.

Debbie: I love that. Thank you for sharing. I’m also going to tell you that I also had a charge declined, not in the supermarket. But I did an online payment from my Schwab account to my credit card, and it was declined. I also felt that surge of energy, like in my body. And then, I was like, “Oh,” that was like the dread. Like, “Oh, now I have to go and deal with this.” It was my fault; I put the numbers into the system incorrectly.

And so, once I got it sorted out, everything went through. But yeah, even the credit cards and the credit card machines, they also don’t always work. Like you said, you knew the money was there. But sometimes we’re just so charged that we go into fight-or-flight. We want to fight it or we want to run away, there’s like something… That’s happening.

We can just slow down and take a deep breath. There’s no reason to be ashamed. It’s just a normal thing that happens to people all the time. But we feel like the whole world is staring at us. So, we just want to run away. Or, we want the ground to open up and swallow us. So, we don’t have to feel this experience.

Davii: I want to leave my entire cart full of groceries. Leave and go home, and crawl under my covers.

Debbie: I’ve had clients who really have been in situations like that; they really did not have the money in the bank. Your nervous system gets quite a shock and a jolt. I’m glad for you, that you actually were, you got to the place where you found a different card and it worked. But I also want to normalize it for other people who are in debt and the cards to get declined.

It feels horrible inside your body. We could just, you know, take a deep breath, finish your stress cycle, and get back to, you know, remembering that this is a normal event that happens to so many people in the world. And, it can be sorted out. Invite that possibility into your life. Your relationship with money can really change.

Davii: Somehow, and I’m not even sure what the connection is, but somehow, going through your course, has given me a much more fearless attitude towards facing life; facing the money, facing the financials of my business, facing things that just happen on a daily basis in my life. I told myself, “You’re going to face this fearlessly.” I tell myself this over and over and over as things come up. And, it’s only been since I started this coaching. So, it’s affected all parts of my life. And, I thank you for that.

Debbie: Thank you so much for being with us today, Davii. And for all of my listeners, I just want to point out that since Davii joined the mastermind, she joined the June cohort… And if I remember correctly, she actually signed up in early enrollment, at the end of May. Immediately, it changed her mindset. It opened up possibilities about how much she could grow her business.

As you heard in the interview, she grew her business from two employees to six employees, just in the last five months. And then, she grew her clientele from eight clients to twenty clients in that same period.

When you commit to your business growth, and to unblocking those limiting beliefs about money, and really doing some deep nervous system healing and rewiring and reprogramming, everything else in your business becomes easier.

Because money is the thing that stops us from showing up more visibly. Asking for money, becoming that safe, sacred container for receiving money, taking care of the money mechanics, and managing our money better for our business growth and our long-term wealth.

I look forward to seeing you in the Wired for Wealth mastermind. Go to my sales page now, DebbieSassen.com/wired-for-wealth. Check out all the details and to sign up for a consultation. I look forward to seeing you there. Bye for now.

Thanks for listening to Mastering Money in Midlife. If you want more information on Debbie Sassen or the resources from the podcast visit MasteringMoneyinMidlife.com.

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