How to Stop Doing Too Much in Your Business with Kiva Slade

Nov 16, 2021

What if you could have more success in your business by personally doing less?

Sounds too good to be true. Seems almost impossible for that to be the case as your business consumes your day and night, shower time, friend and family time, and keeps you up at night. When you take the time to create systems, build a strong foundation and truly focus on creating your team you will get countless times back in your life.

Today we have Kiva Slade of 516 Collective with us to help you map out your business so you can focus on what matters most and stop doing what doesn’t. If you have been back and forth about what your prices should be Kiva has a strong suggestion for how you should change them.

If you are ready to do less and be more successful, this is the episode for you.

  • The five critical pieces of business foundations
  • The bonus side-effects of knowing your numbers
  • The signs you might not be paid enough
  • Why scaling isn’t really about money (and what it IS about)
  • The thought process that will keep you trapped as an employee of your company rather than a CEO
  • The common misconceptions of putting systems in place within your business
  • How do you know if something is off with an existing system
  • Three benefits of putting systems in place within your business
  • Tips around hiring and building a solid team
  • Unicorns aren’t real and what that means for your business

Solid business foundations

Human Resources- You’ll need a team of some kind. Whether this is a full-time team or your freelancers or contract workers. When you are building a successful foundation, eventually you will no longer be able to do everything yourself. Who you have supporting and keeping track of the things outside your zone of genius will be crucial?

Financials- Knowing your costs. You will need to know what money you have coming in and what you are paying out. What are your material costs if you have a product-based business? What are your overheads for services you are paying for to automate your business?

Operations- These are your systems. The nitty-gritty of how you do anything and everything inside your business. How does your playbook look? What is in place for onboarding employees/ Onboarding your clients? Off-boarding, practices should be in place for clients and employees as well. The ins and outs of your business should be well documented for a future team, and for the potential to one day sell your company.

Marketing- You need to be visible. Where are you showing up online or in your marketing materials? Are you running ads? What is the return on those ads? What platforms are getting your full attention and where can you repurpose your content?

Mindset- The belief you will be successful. Change your mindset and change your life. You will have to get out of your way and know that what you got you to your current place in business will not get you to the next level you are going after.

 Your time isn't free. - Kiva Slade. Click to Tweet.

When you are trying to do less in your business you are going to have to relinquish some of your tasks and operations to your team. They will be able to step up, see what you need, implement effectively, and help you create an even better product by giving you the space you need to focus on what you do best.

Tips for taking things off your plate with a team.

  1. List out everything single thing you do in your business. Brain dump every single task. Write out the small stuff and the big stuff. From writing copy, updating landing pages, preparing client material, working on automation, checking emails, updating your calendar. Anything and everything you do, write it down.
  2. Assess what all the things you do in your business are the things only YOU can do. What tasks are 100% on you and no one else could possibly do them? Divide up these tasks into sections of you and could be someone else. Then assign all those tasks an ROI amount and see just how much work is really there and if you are doing the little stuff that could be done cheaply by someone else is really worth your time.
  3. From the task only you can do and from your list of what others can do how can you fill these. Would those be able to be completed by a general VA? A tech-focused VA? A freelancer of some kind for website design, ads, and marketing? What type of outside help would you need to get those tasks done to completion?
  4. Determine what will stay and what will go. What are the things you are going to keep doing and what are the things you are going to say no to? Understanding how valuable your time truly is so that you can say no to the things that are not producing a high ROI for you verse where you can be placing your time and your attention.
  5. When you are finally ready to start the hiring process you need to make sure that your vision, mission statements, and values are front and center. This allows you to call in the right people who can help support your mission most authentically.
  6. Refining and detailing each job description that you put out. Looking for a unicorn who can do everything single thing in the world and accept the pay you are offering is going to be more harmful than helpful. Don’t oversell or undersell the jobs and be upfront about what you need and what skills, knowledge, and commitment you expect from the hire.


You can't be the cheapest and the best. Kiva Slade. Click To Tweet.

References Mentioned 

If you’re looking to hire and want to know 101 things you can ask a Virtual Assistant to help with, download Kiva’s free guide at

Join Kiva’s Facebook Group “The Collab - A Community for Female Business Owners.”

Connect with Kiva  on LinkedIn 

Work with Kiva to gain clarity in your business.

Ready For More:

  • Looking for more tips to optimize your business join us inside our private Facebook Community for Lean Coffee with Crista and team Lean Out Method every week. These 20 - 30-minute sessions combine training with Q&A where you can get your burning business questions answered.
  • Wanting an even deeper connection, more planning, and being surrounded by empowering women? Join us this January for our virtual retreat.


Like this post? Click to Tweet.



Welcome to the Lean Out Your Business Podcast, a show dedicated to helping entrepreneurs accelerate business growth and simplify success. I'm your host, Crista Grasso, and I've been working with businesses for more than two decades to help them lean out and optimize what's working while eliminating anything that's not adding value. So, if you are ready to get more time back in your day, more profit in your business, and to do business differently growing and scaling on your terms. Let's dive into today's episode.


Hello, hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Lean Out Your Business podcast. Today we are talking about some of my favorite topics ever. And I have with you Kiva Slade and Kiva is amazing. And when I first met her through a group that we are both a member of I was like, ”Oh, we just could talk all day long, about business and about operations and about strategy. And that's what we're going to do today. So, let me tell you a little bit about Kiva. And then we're going to dive into an amazing episode today. So, Kiva Slade is the CEO and owner of the 516 Collaborative. As a change agent, a certified Director of Operations, and an online business manager, she is committed to providing small business CEOs with top-notch strategic growth through high-level strategy, business planning, team leadership, and operational excellence that they need to show up as their best self in their business and personal lives through integrity, candor, curiosity, optimism, and fun. She helps you execute your vision so that you can make the most of your time. Kiva holds a master's degree in public administration and has operated her own jewelry business, something else that we have in common. And her 20 years of experience run the gamut from Legislative Director for a Congress member to Chief Encouragement Officer for her teenage children of which we had a fun chat about before we started recording today. So, Kiva Welcome. I'm so excited that you're here today.


Thanks so much, Crista, I'm excited. And I'm looking forward to this conversation.


Alright, so I want to dive in, let's get right into business and foundations. So, as we all know, a solid business foundation is really critical, really important. But what do you consider to be those critical pieces of having solid business foundations?


Yeah, so one of the things I love to share with people is that for most of us, we've built our businesses, and we really do have visions of them lasting for a long time. You know, we're not here for like a flash in the pan and then, “okay, that was it. That was fun.” So, when we're looking at having a solid business foundation, we really need to talk about HR or any human resources in our teams. Okay, financials, marketing, operations and systems. And then the big one mindset, because if we're honest, we can have all the other ones really nice and tidy. But if our mindset isn't where it needs to be, it's kind of useless at that point for the rest of the things to be nice and tidy, if those things are not going to actually be implemented, or we're thinking we can't move forward. HR is really about that team. Okay, because for most of us, if you're a solo entrepreneur, you will grow to a point where you realize like, yeah, I can't continue to do this all by myself, okay, without continuing to sacrifice, sleep, family, relationships, I don't know, bathing, all of the things that come with that if you're spending that much time in your business. And we think about marketing, which we touched on a little before in our conversation, there's a need everyone has for visibility, we cannot pretend that you know, folks are just going to find us. You know, even if we're in a referral network, people have to know what you do in order to refer you to someone else, which really comes down to that marketing visibility. And then there are financials. I have like yourself, you know, having run a product-based business, it is so crucial, like, let's just be honest, product-based business financials are a heck of a lot harder than service-based businesses. You know, that's just the crux of it. Because if you're dealing with materials or in our case, it's jewelry, like I purchased 100 beads, okay, that's my starting inventory. And now I have 50 beads left at the end of the year. What does this mean? How much was it? Okay, thanks, services don't have to have that level. But it's important to have that solid understanding of your financials, whether that's a spreadsheet for where you are right now, whether that's QuickBooks, or some other service that you're utilizing. Having that in place, it gives you a world of peace, just relief, especially at the end of the year when it comes time for taxes. But also, it allows you to know your numbers, and knowing the numbers allows you to pay yourself. And that is a huge thing for me when I work with entrepreneurs that this thought of “let's put everything back into the business,” it's like, you burn yourself out. If you're not collecting something from that business, that something, whether it's a small amount or a larger amount helps keep you motivated to move forward. And then lastly, operations and systems honestly, as much as we love to talk about them, not all of them are things. Okay, sometimes operations are really your people, you know, what do your people look like in terms of how does that system come together. And so really starting to delve into that part of it as well. And really make sure that whether it's you, yourself, or you plus a virtual assistant, you still have systems in your business, you may not call them systems, because you're seeing it as just what I do every single time that I have to do X, Y, or Z. But that's actually the beginning part of that system. And those systems need to be looked at, they need to be written and then obviously tweaked as your team continues to grow and your business grows.


Yes to all of that. I agree so much with all of it. And I will say it's really interesting, having started my product-based businesses first. You know, the consulting that I had done through my corporate clients early on was really easy. I got basically the equivalent of a paycheck, so I didn't have to worry about a lot of finances. And then I started my jewelry business. And oh, yeah, that was, that was a fun ride. But by then, when I did open my own consulting business, my newer one, it was so much easier. I mean, so much easier coming out of the product space. I was like, “Oh, I got this.”


Absolutely. You're like, oh, I can do this with my eyes closed. Right? It is a whole other thing dealing with starting inventory and ending inventory and cost of goods sold and a whole host of other things that you're like, oh my gosh, is that a clog like a shoe or a cog in a wheel? Like what? What are these names and acronyms people are asking me that people are expecting you to know and you're trying to figure out what's my overhead? Oh, goodness, am I charging for this part? Oh, you know, and it's needed, so that you're not out there just willy nilly with your pricing and actually making a profit, you know,  which can feel hard. If you're on some platforms like Etsy or Shopify, you're like, a race to the bottom. And, hey, let's be honest, over cost. So, if you're paying X amount of dollar per ounce like you need to factor that in to make sure that when it comes time to price, those earrings, that necklace that you're actually recouping your cost and hopefully making a profit to actually be able to pay yourself. But yeah, the financial end is totally different when you're just like, oh, service base, I love this, I got Active Campaign check. It's just like, I don't have a starting and ending inventory. All of a sudden, you feel like you could go dance in a puddle. Because there's not a lot of extra work. So, 100% agree with you that the financial side is a lot easier.


Absolutely. And then the other piece of that, I think the one benefit of the finances, being a bit complex with a product-based business, is you do get really careful with your costs, in figuring out how much you're going to charge for your products. And I think that downside to an online business, in a coaching business, you had mentioned paying yourself, we sometimes forget that our time needs to be factored into the cost of things. And it's really important to do that, even if you don't pay yourself today, which I hope every single one of you listening, pays yourself and pays yourself well. But if you're in a place where you aren't, imagine you are when you're figuring your pricing, because your time is not free.


Your time isn't free. And I think we want to think about the things that we are paying for that help us deliver whatever it is that our services, but yeah, you need to have an hourly rate. What is that hourly rate? You know, and I don't want you pulling a number out of the sky, you know, it feels pretty good. Like, oh, my hourly rates $50. Because I think that's what people are paying. And you start to realize, though, you know, you feel grumpy when you're doing your service. When you're running your business, you're like, “Oh, my goodness, I have to do this for this client. And at this particular point, I'm just not happy.” And there's that rub that you're constantly getting. That's typical because you've hit that point of I'm not charging enough for this, I am not getting paid. What I should get paid for this. And we can debate whether or not we should charge our worth and what that means and how you define it. But you should be able to calculate based on your value, your education, what are you bringing to the table? What is your hourly rate? And if you're doing a consulting business, okay, then I want you to 2.5x that hourly rate, like because that's what it is when you're doing consult. So really start to think through what that number is. And like crystal, as you said, have a number, have a number. Because if you don't have a number, it gets really murky. And it's not a good feeling. When you have to have like, you're at that 11th hour of trying to meet a deadline, and the whole time, you're cranky, because you're just like, I can't believe I charged x for this, this is so much more valuable. Being the cheapest may feel good at first, because you're like, I just want to get some clients. But after a while, you're going to realize being the cheapest; it's hurting you, it's hurting you because people have a perception like, she's the cheapest, that doesn't mean she's the best, you know, because you can't be both, you can't be the cheapest and be the best. They don't agree, you know. So important, though, to have a number. And if you have a number and you feel it's a little low after you've sold three to five of those, I want you to raise that, you know, after you sell another three to five, I want you to raise that number again, because in most cases, especially as women, we're still not at the number we need to be, even after we've raised it to three, four times, we're still in many cases, undercharging and undervaluing what we do in our client's lives and in their businesses. So have a number. You know, if you need a little extra support in that number, you know, start looking around in some Facebook groups, and let's do some online searches. But definitely have a number and look to increase that number. And when you feel like you want to throw up, add another $100 on because then you're probably actually close to where you need to be when you're ready to just like, I can't possibly say this number. And then you start to say it and you're like, I think I'm going to feel sick. Yeah, then you're pretty close.


And then to know that six months later, you're going to look back and say, I can't believe that's all I charged.


Absolutely. And you're like, I want to kick myself again, just go ahead and raise it and change all your stuff. Keep it going, keep moving.


So, I want to dive into operations and the team. But before we do, I really love that you included mindset in you know, the importance of a business foundation, because I think it's critical. Like I am a big strategy person, of course. But all the strategies, all the tactics, everything mean nothing, if you keep getting in your own way. And so, we just talked about pricing as one thing. But are there other things from a mindset perspective that you see, quite often that you end up helping people through?



Absolutely. And, you know, just so we're clear on the mindset, it never ends, it really doesn't. Because even after those six months, when you just realized that you didn't charge enough and you start to charge more, you're going to have some mindset issues, the next thing that happens six months from then you're going to have additional mindset issues. So that's one area that never ends in your business, in every single level you grow to you're going to have to continue to deal with that. I think another area that I see a lot is obviously that first one, which is human resources.


You know, a lot of times we think of scaling in terms of money, scaling is really team scaling, is that team growth, and what does that look like for you? And a lot of times, our businesses are like our kids, you know, and who remembers, like the commercial and it's like the first babysitter, you're like, I need them to have a Ph.D. by the second child, you're like, “hey, car mechanic, dude, can you can you watch the baby?” You know, it's that kind of way. But our business was like the first kid. And we're like, so no, oh, goodness, I need help. But nobody, absolutely no one can do any of the things that I do. And if you're running a business where no one can do anything, but you, then you don't have a business. I'm just going to tell you that. Because the reality is, other people can do what you can do. And the reality also is, they can probably do it better than you. You know, like it's, you're operating pretty much outside of like what we would call your zone of genius, which in many cases as a visionary, big picture planning, it is not in the nitty gritty of did that get tagged right in Active Campaign and is the three-foot workflow about to kick off. That's just so not even your life. But that's where we find ourselves operating because in many cases, we've had to, we started our businesses, and until we feel that we're making enough money, that's a whole other conversation, we don't want to hire. So that's a huge part that I see a lot. And I think the other part is, is within the operations and systems. It's that thinking that either A, I've documented some things in my business or have a few SOPs that I've done good enough, you know, I have a few systems that are mapped out good enough. I've looked at them twice in the last 12 years, you know, that was good enough, and good enough will keep you as an employee of your business and not the owner of your business. And that's the part I think people miss when it comes to operating systems, processes, automation integrations, all the things that come under that umbrella, because of the fact it's not sexy, let's be honest, it's not fun stuff. It's the stuff we, you know we all have that closet, push everything in there that you just don't really know where this goes, Oh, I might hold it, I might, I might get rid of it. Right now, just go put it in the closet. Everybody in your house knows where the closet is. You have multiple closets. But that one is the one that everybody knows to go put that stuff. And it's great until what? You go to open the door to the closet. And it's like, there's a lot of stuff in here, what are we going to do now, or the door just comes off the hinges and you're forced to deal with the closet.


That's the same in our businesses systems. It's like, I think and I want to talk about that one day, one day never comes. It doesn't come. What winds up happening is something breaks in our business. And typically, it breaks within a system or process. Okay, you want to scale and you're like I have the team. But your team was not onboarded properly. Team onboarding is a system. And if you don't do that, well, you might have some bad apples in the hiring bunch that you just had. And then you realize that after the fact, and now you're like, oh, VAs are horrible, because sorry, I've had three of them. And none of them worked out. How did you onboard them? Well, I hired them. And I just tell them to get to work, you know, and it's like, okay, so when that didn't work out the first and second time you tried it a third and thought there would be a different result? You know, so and then it's like, how do we get rid of clients? Like, there needs to be an off-boarding process? You know, are you gathering testimonials, maybe there's a case study, you know, there's something else a referral bonus or something? Oh, well, when we're done, I tell them, and it's like, we need a system for that. And when we start to take the time documenting out those systems, and looking at what our process is, and trust me, you will change your process, now maybe you’re a small business, maybe you're on MailChimp, and there's a way that you have a system for communicating with your clients, okay? Maybe you hit 1000 subscribers on MailChimp, and you say I want to move to Active Campaign. This is how you've migrated them. And now that you're on active campaign, the same system that you were using for MailChimp is going to be different. So, you're going to need to audit that and say, This is how we now communicate with clients using this particular software application. Okay, and what that looks like, who on the team was responsible for different parts of that, and it's like the systems that ops, they're just not the things that we love to focus on. But in many of the instances, those are the things that once again, move you from an employee of your business where you're just like, Kiva, I don't have time, Crista, I can't do one more thing. I can't even think of one more thing to oh, I'm utilizing my CEO day today. And by CEO day, I'm going to the park and I'm going to go dream about what the next level of my business is, you don't have CEO days when you have no system. You're like CEO day yeah, I had a quick thought in the shower this morning, man, it was great, but I didn't write it down. You're like what happened to what's next in my business? So obviously, I can go into a rant. But I won't, you know, but like, those are things that I see that are just constants. It's a mindset, looking at the team, it's also looking at ops, and really realizing that they are parts of our business that as we continue to grow, we will need to revisit, and we will need to hone and we will need to audit in many cases to ensure that what we have in place now is actually going to serve us for the next level that we see ourselves grow into.


Yeah, I agree 100%, with everything that you just said. And there is this natural resistance quite often to developing systems. And I think of course, as the visionary leader in your business, you're the idea generator, you probably have like 40 great ideas before breakfast, right? You're not thinking about systematizing things, but you should be recognizing the importance of them. And I think sometimes people mistakenly think that that system is going to give them too much like rigidity in their business, it's going to limit them, whereas it's the exact opposite. It's what gives you the freedom and the flexibility to actually step away from your business. What do you kind of see, how do you help people work through some of that almost like misperceptions about operations and systems?


Yeah, definitely. And you know, we like to start off a lot of times with just mapping out what's going on in your business, you know, what do you feel that feels clunky in your business because when we take the moment to step back, most of us will have something that's like

that Client Onboarding, then some days, we seem to have it and it's working, it's some days, something kind of goes off the rails, you know. And when you see something within your business that isn't yielding you consistent results, it typically means there's something wrong in that system, there's something wrong in the way that that's being delivered, that is not constantly hitting the mark, that means you need to pay attention to it. You know, it's really starting to talk through what feels like it's working, what feels like it's not working. And those seem like simple questions, but they really do get the brain to start to really analyze what actually doesn't feel good in my business right now. And a lot of times, we might hold on to something that we feel, I’m the only one who can do this part, you know, and by you holding it so long, your team has been waiting, in many cases to take a stab at it, like, oh, we could still do that in a much better way. You know, but we're in our own way for that. So starting to ask that those general questions of what feels clunky, you know, what feels like it's not working, what actually feels really good in your business. And I tell people all the time, as you said, the system doesn't mean rigidity at all, it is actually freeing. It's the freedom that you're absolutely looking for. And it doesn't have to be complicated. And I think that's the thing that really serves as a hurdle for a lot of people because they're thinking like, oh my gosh, I remember to incorporate a ginormous SOP manual, and it was five binders big, you know, and you're just like, “oh, you want me to create that, oh, that's not going to happen!”


Can it take time? Absolutely. I am not going to be you know, beating around the bush, it could literally take anywhere from three to six months to have all the things documented. However, kind of like insurance, you know, I don't know if I'll ever really need it. But you have it. And that's the same thing. When you have that part documented and you have all of your systems pretty laid out. Like you have your market, you have your client recording, all the things product fulfillment, everything that you have going on. It makes it so much easier now to hey, we're about to launch a new program and we were expecting an influx of 50 people. Okay, great. Let's look quickly at this. Go through the onboarding. We can tweak this superfast to now accommodate these 50 people. Okay, great. We got these 22 rolling off of this program. This is what we need to do next. You have it already in place, and it doesn't feel then like an extra burden. Had we never written any of this down and Sally left and Sally was the only one who did this. And now you're looking for a new Sally and no one knows what exactly Sally did. It can be overwhelming. But now you don't have that problem. You have the systems you have it documented. And it is such an insurance policy for your business. Because let me tell you something, at some point, some of you are sitting on a business that you would actually be able to sell. And that buyer does not want you as the owner to walk out of the business with all of the information. Having documented procedures, having documented systems actually increase the value of your business. Because they're like, oh my gosh, we can actually keep this going in a turnkey fashion because you're not taking all of that valuable information with you. They are able to see if they're able to see a document, you're able to replicate what's been taking place and replicate it with the same consistency that the client base is familiar with. So, it actually benefits you financially. And it benefits you with time as the CEO. There's an amazing book Built to Sell by John Warrillow. Even if you're never thinking of selling, he so hones in on the importance of systematizing your business. Some of us are doing way too much because we won't systematize. And so we're trying to keep all the balls in the air that if we took the time to systematize, we'd realize like, I actually don't have to do those other 22 things. And then we're like, what am I going to do with this now the time? You can do so many other things when the time is given back to you and your business. And it allows you I think, for visionary CEOs, it allows the closing of mental tabs, like, I don't know, if we always talk enough about the mental load that we carry us, business owners. And when you can't sleep at night, your family feels you're distracted. You're you know, your significant other says you're at your desk 24/7 365, do you ever have time for anything else in life. And it's because we're carrying that mental load with this, just get done, what happens is systems are those things that allow us to close these tabs, so that when we are, you know, Crista and I are having wine out on beachfront chairs, we're like, totally not talking and worrying about business during our conversation about everything else, because those mental tasks have been closed, and we're not carrying the load. So long story short, it is not sexy, I will give you that. It is not the most exciting thing in your business. It's not sales, so you're not going to feel it's a wise investment of time and or money. But the reality is that part of a firm foundation and solid foundation actually opens you up to more money in your business and more time in your life.


Yeah, I agree completely. And there was so much gold in everything that you just said there. Yes. 100%. And so I've got one last question for you before I want to, you know, have you tell everybody all about you, and then ask you the ending question that I ask everybody, but that's for those who maybe are in a place where they have either been a little reluctant to build their team, or maybe they're ready to grow their team, and they aren't quite sure what to do next. What are some of the tips that you have for them around building a really solid team?


Yes, definitely. I think one of the first things is really starting to make a list. And it's, you know, kind of we all learn like the back of the envelope kind of a process. But what exactly do you do in your business? Like, literally list it all out, brain dump all the things that you do. And then I want you to think about when you start to look at that list, start to break it down even further. Okay, is it kind of $1,000 tasks in your business in terms of like an ROI, salary, for example, strategy, okay, that's something you as a visionary might want to hold on to. All right, importing the CSV file from Zoom into your mail program, hmm, I'm going to put that down and say like a $20 task, okay, that's a virtual assistant task, but you find yourself doing it and doing it on a regular basis. Once you have that brain dump, I want you to really be honest with yourself and start parsing out what you absolutely are the only person in your business that can do that particular thing. And what other things can someone else do? Put the ego aside. And really think about that. And once you get that, you might divide them into like, maybe it's a VA task, maybe it's you are at a point in your team or your life or your business where you have someone who is like you're a little higher than a virtual assistant, maybe you also have a ton of tech in your business and you need a tech VA, in addition to it an administrative fee, whatever that is, I want you to have that column over there only tasks that you can complete. And when you start that process, you'll start to hone in on where you need to fill in better gaps. Okay, I think another key thing when looking to build a team is understanding yourself. And I don't know if we do enough of that. Take a Strength Finders, there are enough tests that are out there. I personally like Kobe, because it's not personality-based. It really looks at how you as a person approach things in life. So how you approach problems and how you function. Understanding yourself better helps you become a better leader when you have a team. So, understand yourself, understand what you are doing and what you probably should stop doing. All right, and then start to build from there and say, Okay, I need to hold these tasks for me, I need to get rid of and stop doing these tasks. How do I move this forward? Okay, and it might be you need to start small because let's be honest, we can't all go out there and hire like our dream team. So maybe we start small, we start small with hiring, if you don't have a virtual assistant, you hire that virtual assistant. If you need a techie, you hire the techie. If maybe you're at a point in your business where you're like, I got three VAs, I got this going on, you know, maybe then you're ready for an online business manager, or director, depending on like, where the revenue is in your business. So depending on where you find yourself, that's what I want you to start thinking through, starting with the brain dump of everything that you do, I don't want you to leave anything off that list every single day. And when you sit there and do that a lot of times people have really a cathartic experience, because they're like, “Whoa, I didn't realize I was doing all of that.” And most of the time we don't, because it just has become part of our habit of what we do. We get up in the morning, we sit down at our desk, and then we do digital delivery. And it's like, wow, I was doing a whole lot. And so once you start to figure out what you shouldn't hold on to, and you start inciting, what do you need to do, I want you to if you haven't already started, define for your business, mission, vision, and values. People are like Kiva, but what for? Because if you're going to hire, we want to attract people who actually understand and can buy into your mission, vision, and values. If you don't have any, you'll attract all kinds of people, they may be your people, they may not be your people. But when building a team, you want people who align with you, you want people who understand, who buy it. And that allows you to at least have some longevity with a team. Because let's be honest, hiring is expensive. And if you spend time investing in the wrong hire, and then when that hire leaves, you're feeling burnt. And now you know, you have to spend money again, to hire again and retrain someone else. So having that good, really strong understanding of your mission, vision, and values before you put out a job description. Okay, using that brain dump to even define what those tasks are. And be honest with yourself. I have to tell people a secret sometimes. Unicorns, don’t exist.  I'm sorry, I hate to again burst the bubble. But I see job descriptions where it's like, I need an admin, financial funnel copywriter, unicorn, you've just mentioned five positions. You will be disappointed with every single person because there is not one person who's going to live up well, every single one of those areas, and you're going to be frustrated, don't frustrate yourself. Don't frustrate yourself. If you really only need the admin person for 10 hours a week, that tech person on a project basis, the copywriter every quarter, be honest about that. Like, hey, this is what I'm looking for. This is what I need. Okay, don't oversell what you need. Don't undersell it. Just be really honest with yourself and say, my budget is this. This is what I need right now. And this is what I can do. And I think that's something that we overlook, when it comes to hiring, we're like, Kiva, I really can't hire. For those of us in the United States, the minimum wage is less than $15. Like you would be surprised the people who are like, I'd love to take that on at $15 at $20 an hour, at $22 an hour. And it's you're building like a business and you are contributing to someone else's household in a way that allows them freedom, and allows them to contribute to their own household in a way that gives them dignity and respect. And I think that that's something that's super important as well. So don't think that you can't hire because you're like, oh, gosh, I don't have $45 an hour, you can definitely do that. And do it in a way that aligns with you and your values. So, all that to say, know yourself, because if you don't know yourself, you're more than likely going to bring on the wrong type of hire, know your business in terms of your mission, vision, and values. Because if they're not defined, you can attract some people who are not aligned with you and your business. And if they're client-facing that can spell just disaster. All right, and then after you do the brain dump, get it all out of your head and don't hide from yourself what it is that you actually do in your business. Because like you have to be honest with yourself, list it all out, and start to then decide what is your next hire? What is your next best hire after that one? What is your next best hire? After that one, it's a process. And you really want it to be a process. So you want it to be a process, don't rush the process. And just really be, I can't stress enough how clear you need to be in what it is that you're looking for, and also that unicorns are not real. I just have to say that.


I love that. But it is so true. It is so true. And I've made that hiring mistake before too. I've literally put out a job posting, saying, looking for a unicorn, I need somebody who can write. And I think we all start there. Because we're like if I could just hire one person who could do all the things and it's so enticing. I mean, we definitely want that person in theory. But the problem is, nobody is that good at all things. So even if you found a random person who was experienced at all the things, they aren't going to probably get you the results that you want. And it's going to be disappointing for everybody involved. So, I love those super actionable strategies there. So, thank you. And yes, guys, as sad as it is, unicorns are not real. We're sorry. We all want them we do we really do. So, tell everybody what's going on with you what's coming up? And where can they find more about you? And you know, if they're interested in working with you just tell us a little bit about that.



Sure, definitely, you can always check me out on my website, at terms of what's coming up, I have an offer where you can work with me, I literally come into your business, we do all the things, we start off with a huge audit of every single one of your systems, okay, all of your everything. And then from there, we dig even deeper into what's working, what's not working, after we understand what is exactly going on at this particular point. And then we actually go through the documenting process. So, it really is a lot of the behind-the-scenes that's getting done while you're still able to focus on what you excel at in your business and not have to worry about that backend. So that's one way that people can definitely work with me. On my website, there's actually, for those that are looking to hire, I have a freebie on what it looks like to hire that first virtual assistant. So, feel free to visit the and download that. I include a list of 101 tasks that a virtual assistant could help with. I have a Facebook group, which is the Collab Community. I'm a firm believer in collaboration. And I always joke that whether it's you know, brownies, pizza, or gluten-free tiramisu, there's enough for all of us. So, I really do believe in that. And I think as women, we can harness so much power and leverage and have such a greater impact by actually working together and not feeling like there's competition. So, you can definitely join me there as well. So that's where you can find me.



Excellent. I love it. And so the final question that I'm so excited to hear your answer to, is how do you work smarter, not harder, and keep things lean in your business?


Oh, that's such a good one, Crista. For me, I almost feel like it's a daily struggle in the sense of learning how to best lean on my team. So, for me, it's a lot of communication. And talking about the things that I am either thinking about and or have due that I'm doing, that my team doesn't exactly know about. And when I do that, I find that not only the verbalization of it, then my team is like oh, so we'll take that off your plate because sometimes they do, I'll be honest, they have to literally take some things because I still struggle. But it's literally, it's being very open with my team with where we're going and what we're doing. So, they actually feel empowered, if I'm honest, to literally come and say, “We're gonna take that from you and work on this and get it back to you.” And that's the thing that I need. And I'm still a work in progress and that I'm working on being even more communicative with them so that it's not even a step that I have to stumble over. So yep, I really just communicate well with my team and that is what I found has been very freeing for me to work very lean in my business.


Brilliant. I absolutely love it. And I love the transparency, right? It's we're all making this up as we go along. Some of us have different levels of success, but it's never like we know it all, have it all figured out. And so I love everything that you shared today. Thank you so much for being such an amazing guest and everyone, you'll find all the links, all the things down in the show notes, do go check everything out. I can't wait to have you back again in the future. Thank you again for being here today. Everyone, we'll see you again next week.



Thank you for joining me for another episode of the Lean Out your Business Podcast. I hope you got a lot of value and actionable insights from today's show. And we'd love it if you take a moment to leave us a review. If you have any questions on today's episode or on how to lean out your business, join us over in our private Facebook community where every week we do live training and Q&A. I'd love to have you be part of the conversation head to And before you go, be sure to subscribe to the show. So you're the first to know when we release a new episode. We'll see you next week.


by Crista Grasso

Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale.  Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business.  She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast. She is also the founder and CVO of the Profitable Planner Co and Criscara Jewelry.


 Join us for Lean Coffee every week

where we do a mini-training followed by answering your business questions LIVE


Never Miss an Update

Like this post?  Well, there's more where that came from.  Sign up to get lean tips, free resources, and doses of inspiration delivered to your inbox to help you accelerate results and lean out and level up your growing business!

Your information is always safe with us - we promise we'll never share it.