[00:00:00] Emily Thompson:
Welcome to Being Boss, a podcast for creatives, business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I'm your host, Emily Thompson. And in this episode I'm joined by my friend Dana Kaye, to talk about growing and scaling your business with a team and taking the impact of your business to a whole new level.
[00:00:21] You can find all the tools, books, and links we reference on the show notes at www.beingboss.club. And if you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to this show and share us with a friend.
[00:00:35] As we all know, being an entrepreneur feels less lonely and more approachable when you hear about the journeys of those who came before you or who are making their way alongside you. And if more of those stories is what you're hungry for. Queue up an episode of the Finding Founder's podcast, hosted by Sam Donner, brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, designed to inspire finding founders as a podcast about vulnerability and entrepreneurship where you learn from the life stories of founders, activists, and even drug lords.
[00:01:06] For something a little more boss aligned, check out the recent interview with Jen Levy, who turned a passion for gardening into a mission to build community farms and teach others to grow food locally. You can listen to finding founders wherever you get your podcasts.
[00:01:27] Dana Kaye is a lifelong entrepreneur who believes in the power of storytelling and authentic personal branding. In 2009, she founded Kaye Publicity, Inc. A literary public relations agency, known for her innovative ideas and knowledge of current trends. She coaches her clients on how to identify and establish their unique personal brands.
[00:01:48] In 2016, Dana launched Midwest Mystery Conference, Formerly Murder in Mayhem in Chicago, a one day conference dedicated to crime fiction with mystery author Lori Rader Day. She is also the author of two books, Your book, Your Brand, The Step by Step Guide to Launching your book and Boosting Your Sales and the Personal Brand Workbook and serves on the advisory board of Propel PR.
[00:02:14] You can check out previous conversations with Dana in episodes number 250 and 262. You'll also hear some references to Dana's involvement in the Being Boss C-Suite, my mastermind group for six figure and above creative business owners, which she has been a member of since June, 2020.
[00:02:31] Dana, welcome back to Being Boss.
[00:02:33] I'm so glad you're here.
[00:02:34] Dana Kaye: It's great to see you, Emily. Thanks for having me.
[00:02:37] Emily Thompson: Of course. It's not like we don't see each other every single week. Every week, right? So long time no see would be a lie.
[00:02:45] Dana Kaye: That's true. Long time no see in the public. In the public sphere, outside of our little private bubble.
[00:02:52] Emily Thompson: Indeed, indeed.
[00:02:53] I'm excited to have you on today to chat. We'll include in the show notes a link to Dana's previous episodes if you would like to go get to know her and her business a little bit more. I think to give us just like a good little intro, feel free to tell us a little bit about what you do, or like where your business currently is beyond your intro.
[00:03:15] And then what have you been up to since you were last on the show, which I looked up was in July, 2021, which I cannot believe it was that long ago.
[00:03:25] Dana Kaye: And yet it feel, it feels like a decade ago. July of 2021, doesn't it?
[00:03:30] Emily Thompson: Yes, that does. But like you on the show over a year ago. That's wild.
[00:03:35] Dana Kaye: I know, but it's, it is what it is.
[00:03:38] So we, yeah, I am a literary public relations agency owner. I've had my business for going on 14 years in February. So long time business owner, kind of career lifetime freelancer, entrepreneur. Never had a real job. Never wanted a real job. And since we last spoke in July of 2021, I had to look at up to confirm, we had just hired two new employees and since then we've hired an additional three.
[00:04:11] And so our business, our team specifically, has grown exponentially in the past two years and it's interesting because I say I was a career, or excuse me, a lifetime entrepreneur, freelancer. I always knew I wanted to work for myself. I always knew I wanted to do things my own way, on my own terms.
[00:04:35] Like so much of so many of us do. But manager was never a title that I aspired to and I think a lot of bosses can relate. I was never like, I wanna manage a team of people. I was like, I wanna read books and write and get paid for it. That's all I wanted to do. So it has been a really big growing year for me professionally as we build out our team to what it is now.
[00:05:05] Emily Thompson: Yeah. You've done a lot of hiring and I've, I've watched you sort of make that transition from, I guess when we started hanging out most together, you've always had. A couple team members, but now growing to the size that you are, you really are. Would you say you're like, I, what is the time split between like managing and doing, would you say now?
[00:05:29] Dana Kaye: Very limited doing.
[00:05:32] Emily Thompson: Lots of managing.
[00:05:33] Dana Kaye: Lots of lots of managing, and I'd say the majority of my time is spent doing sales, client relations and vision, business development strategy stuff. Aside from we were speaking before we hit record, aside from me shipping lots of books, that's, that's the doing for me because I'm the, I'm the one with the garage, so all the books live here.[00:06:00]
[00:06:00] So I do have a, hour or so every day where I'm mailing and chasing down our postal employee. But really there's very limited doing. The majority of my day is spent on calls with potential clients, current clients, and team members. Yeah.
[00:06:19] Emily Thompson: Whenever you found yourself making that switch from less, doing more managing, do you remember what that mindset shift was?
[00:06:28] Or like why you like sort of put that to bed as something you needed to do? Like what was, what was that time like for you? What was going on in your head when you were making that transition from doing to more managing?
[00:06:42] Dana Kaye: So I'll preface this by saying I made my first hire. Within the first year of business.
[00:06:50] So I realized very quickly we grew very quickly. We went from zero to 30 clients in less than a year. So I saw very quickly that I could not do all this myself, and that there was tons of stuff that I didn't need to do myself. And so I quickly looked at what are the things that are really easy to offload?
[00:07:10] Like I don't need to manage client calendars. I don't necessarily need to do bookkeeping. I don't necessarily, I looked at all the things that were really easy to offload and were very, just very straightforward. There was, they were systematized. There was a process, there was very little nuance. Those were the easiest things to offload.
[00:07:30] The challenging part came when I needed to offload more of the. Publicity, outreach and the sales. So I do, I did offload a lot of sales because when I first started, my company authors came to me. For me, it was a very personal brand, Sun Trick business. They came to me because I was doing things differently.
[00:07:56] There's many, I laugh because I used to say the broads, like the old school PR people, and now I feel like I'm, I'm abroad now. Yep. And they, they were doing things the way things always were done. And I am very innovative, very creative. I like to think outside the box, love taking risks, love trying new things.
[00:08:18] And so the, the biggest challenge for me to offload those pieces was, and this was something we discussed in the C-suite, Can you teach creativity?
[00:08:28] Dana Kaye: Can you systematize creativity? Can I make this the model for other people? And that was probably the biggest journey, maybe like even a five year journey of me figuring out how I can bring my mind and train other people to think the way I think, not think the same things, not come to the same conclusion, but the process of thinking so that they can do the same things I do and deliver the same level of service that I can.
[00:09:01] I think we all. Who are all of us who are service providers. If you're a maker in theory, you can make the same thing over and over, train someone else to make that thing. But with service providers, the reason clients come to us is because of our, of how we deliver our, how we deliver our services, what our philosophy is, all of those things.
[00:09:22] And it's takes a while to systematize that and train for that. So I think that was the biggest hurdle. So when, for example, when, my publicity manager, Julia, started bringing on her own clients, that was great. That was a great way to scale the business, but also teaching her how to run a sales call and teaching her what to look for and how to answer and how to actively listen when they say, Oh, I did this with my publisher, will handle.
[00:09:54] How we can actively say like, That's so great. They're supporting you. There's always a chance that they may not do these things, so that's why you hire us. We're the insurance policy. Talking through those more nuanced things, that takes a lot of training and it takes a lot of brain power for me because again, we don't think about it.
[00:10:17] Like, Emily, you're probably the same way. Like you're in a call with, a potential advertiser or a new member or whatever, and you're, you're not really thinking about like, how am I talking to this person? And so to try to download that process and download your brain into someone else's, that's a lot.
[00:10:34] It takes a lot of work and training and reflection on our part.
[00:10:40] Emily Thompson: Yeah. And I feel like that piece is what keeps a lot of people from making the first, second, or fifth hire. But I feel like it's easy to do some of those, like easily replicable things that, you hand off to a VA or whatever, but whenever you start bringing on people to do what you are doing right, to be the you in the business, I feel like we're often talking about like getting the things out of your brain into someone else's.
[00:11:04] Like what does it look like to take all of that and put it into someone else's brain? And I think a lot of bosses stop before they ever get there because that is such a scary process or like a scary thing to even think about doing. Do you still think it's scary and have you done it?
[00:11:21] Dana Kaye: Oh, completely.
[00:11:23] I think I, I wouldn't call it scary. Definitely not scared of it. I think there was a business owner who asked like, who, why would they stay with you? Like if you taught them everything? Of how to do sales and how to do it. Like why wouldn't they just go start their own? I'm confident enough in, in the level of support I provide in our company culture that people don't want to go it alone.
[00:11:45] They see how much support being a part of K publicity. We have name recognition like our company now. It's been a long journey to get out of the personal brand and just brand the company. But capability has name recognition. They see the value in that. So I wouldn't say I'm scared. I think the biggest challenge is letting them fail.
[00:12:07] Yeah. Letting them make the mistakes. So we have a new higher, a new publicity director. Now, this was my first very senior level employee, so my other. Two senior level employees. They worked with me for a long time, so they started at entry level and worked their way up. This was someone I made a big investment in really quickly.
[00:12:32] And so she's going to be doing, she's gonna be taking over almost all of the sales calls. So we've been doing them together and me, Emily, it's so hard for me not to jump in . And, and so I sat there and listened to her in my mind, make some mistakes, and I said, There's a chance that this made backfire.
[00:12:52] I, I had some ideas about how to backed, but she made some mistakes about going in with the money too fast, kind of talking too much. That was the biggest feedback was, you need to let them talk. We're not, we're not talk, we don't need to talk to them. We just need to ask questions and get them talking.
[00:13:10] So there was, were the things that in the beginning she sat in on my sales call, so she listened to me. And then we started doing them. We kind of do them together. And now she's at the stage where I'm just flying the wall listening and I had to let her make some mistakes. And then afterwards we debrief, and then of course she sees she'll never make those again.
[00:13:29] But I think that's the biggest challenge is they are going to fail. There's going to be some kinks. As we discussed in the C-suite, I hired this person the day I went on a two week vacation. ? Yep. That one, one star. Do not recommend . Not, not, not a good idea. It just, again, sometimes it just happened that way.
[00:13:53] We did it. But there was a lot of growing the, the entire month of August because of that vacation and because of the, the team growth so quickly, there was a lot of growing pain. So there were things that were dropped. There was communications. Our systems fell apart a little bit. Our SOP started getting ignored where we had to all come together again and say, Okay guys, like, I don't know what happened, but like the wheels are off the train.
[00:14:19] Like we are, like, we need to rebuild a little bit. And I'm happy to say that we've gotten back on track, but I think that knowing that things are going to go wrong, I think we spend a lot of time, you know me, I'm a systems nerd, so I have a lot of systems, a lot of automations, , but adding people to your team are gonna, is gonna test those.
[00:14:40] And so I think understanding that, understanding that your new team members are gonna make mistakes and that has to be okay. We are not brain surge. I don't know anyone listening as a brain surgeon, but like we are for the most part, not brain surgeon, not life saving, , we're not putting lives at risk.
[00:14:58] And so I think knowing that they're gonna make mistakes and knowing that as much as you prepared, There's going to be things that just don't work and being okay with that and treating it as a development opportunity.
[00:15:10] Emily Thompson: Yeah.
[00:15:11] I feel like you've just given voice to like the, do I wanna call it the fear?
[00:15:18] Maybe, but like the process that bosses. Are afraid to begin as they consider hiring and scaling and growing their business. Right? Like you're bringing someone in, you have to teach them everything that you know. Are they gonna do it in the same way that you do? Are they gonna do it as good as you do? How are you going to help them figure it out?
[00:15:40] How am I going to let go? How am I going to let them mess up? How am I gonna deal with it when it all falls apart.
[00:15:47] Dana Kaye: Well, and you're not hiring because you're bad at if, like, if you're bad at what you do, you wouldn't have a business that needs more people.
[00:15:55] Emily Thompson: Exactly.
[00:15:55] Exactly. That's exactly where I wanted to go with this is that once you are [00:16:00] at a place where you are hiring in this way, your business is doing its job.
[00:16:04] Like your business is doing a great job at what it is here to do and it needs support in order to do it. I would love to hear from you before we start diving into like some of these questions around these things, and I really appreciate you sort of painting this picture of like what this has looked like for you over the past couple of years.
[00:16:22] I would love to hear from you. So like you've done the thing, you're not like reading and writing and serving your clients. That's not what, or you do, but that's not what you're doing on a daily basis. You are doing more managing, which is something that you, were not here to do. You're dealing with like all of this stuff.
[00:16:44] What are the benefits and how do you feel about it?
[00:16:48] Dana Kaye: So I, for those of you who know me, I'm highly introverted. I, I like peop, I like individuals, but not people as a whole. in general. Like I am, when the pandemic happened, I was perfectly content to just like be in my little hole doing things and not seeing anybody.
[00:17:08] But when you have a team, so I, my brain functions very differently than my team members. Mm-hmm. . And so that, I will say has been a big adjustment. That's something that I've, something that I have learned. And I think that something that I, I shouldn't say I've learned. I am learning. It's an ongoing, it's an ongoing process.
[00:17:33] So the thing that I really enjoy though about the management piece, there's two things I really enjoy. One is we have an awesome company with great work culture where we value employees, where there's flexibility. They, and what I didn't fully realize until I, until I really started to get my to know my employees, there is a lot of people with a lot of workplace [00:18:00] trauma.
[00:18:01] Emily Thompson: Yep, Yep.
[00:18:02] Dana Kaye: I had no idea. One of our employees said that she had to notify someone if she went to the bathroom. What? This only came up. This only came up because I asked her, Oh. I asked, she said that she was, she was getting behind on some projects and I asked her, So again, we're showing up with curiosity.
[00:18:26] That's one of the management things I've learned cuz I'm very quick to be like, I see a problem, let's fix it. Show up with curiosity. I noticed that you're falling behind on some projects. What is happening? She said, I get a little derailed because people are g chatting me and I feel like I need to go do something else.
[00:18:43] And then I'm task switching all the time. And, it's, it's intrusive. So I asked her, Well, why is your status available? Why don't you put away? And she said, Well then how will you know that I'm working? And I said, I won't, I'm not girl. I'm not, I don't, I'm not looking at you like I . I seriously don't have time to like check it.
[00:19:08] But her other job, Would look and would see if she was idle for more than five minutes, there would be like some sort of issue. And, what else? So I think that the thing that I, so as much as I managing people and talking to people is not my favorite thing to do, it makes me feel really good that were giving people a space where they can take ownership over their work life, where they feel that they have agency where there's trust, and frankly we have like a really good gig.
[00:19:41] You work remotely and work with books and, do fun things. And that's really what makes me feel good. So what, when we went to hire our, we hired three new people this year, and two of them were entry level positions. So like 40 to 45,000 a year was the range. We had 300 plus applicants. It was insane.
[00:20:06] And. And it's funny because I've heard other people say how hard it is to find people, and I realize it's because we're remote. There's a lot of agency, we give benefits. Like we work with books. Like it's a really good gig. And the one of the women who came to work for us had been, I wanna say 10 years working as a school librarian.
[00:20:30] And she left that because she didn't wanna go into work anymore. She didn't wanna deal with the bureaucracy of, she was in a county that was banning books. This is the other workplace trauma. Her county was banning books, so she had to take LGBTQ books off the shelf. She had to take books off the shelf that dealt with, slavery and, critical race theory and things like that.
[00:20:54] So again, I think that giving, I feel like it's like a safe haven . Like I feel like I'm providing this like safe haven. It's like your work can be rewarding. Let's heal your trauma together. And I think that's the thing that keeps me going. So when I show up for, when I show up for my, my direct reports, which that has now shifted.
[00:21:17] So I dunno if you wanna get into the weeds too much, but when you begin hiring, it's like you're, you, you're the person, right? You're the person for everybody. Everyone's reporting to you. The biggest change that happened this year is now we're a pyramid. So these new employees, except for the senior level one, the two entry level employees don't report to me.
[00:21:37] I now only have three direct reports, which is awesome cuz I had I think six, five or six before, which is a lot too much. And so like to see that to, for me to show up for my direct reports in their weekly meetings and. Help them become better leaders, help them become better at their jobs, and then just in general teach them what work can be like.
[00:22:03] So when one of my people says, I have a doctor's appointment at four, is it okay if I take off early? You don't have to ask my permission. , you are an adult. Just though like it's . And so I think being able to give that to people has been, has made all of the learning curve on my part worthwhile.
[00:22:30] Emily Thompson: It's October and that means we are in the final countdown to meet our goals in our businesses for the year. And in this macroeconomic climate, you're also probably thinking about how to best optimize things like budgets and making sure you're scaling your operations into the new year, but you don't want the best probable solution to deal with whatever comes back.
[00:22:53] You want the best solution period. Whatever stage of business you're in, HubSpot CRM platform is ready to grow with you at the flip of a metaphorical switch with totally customizable hubs. HubSpot has thousands of apps that you can easily integrate, use, and get rid of whenever you need them or don't.
[00:23:13] Plus clear pricing and an easy to use interface means you're not left guessing about whether or not you're getting what you need. That's because HubSpot isn't here to probably grow your business. It's here to help you grow your business, period. Learn how HubSpot can help you grow your business better at hubspot.com.
[00:23:38] Yeah. Okay. I love that personal impact piece and I think you hit the nail on the head there. It's something that I feel as well when you know you get to a level of success and business and that's good and great and love that, but I feel like most of us who find ourselves in that place, Then see the next level of that as expanding the impact that you're here to make by building the team and having an impact on people's lives in that way, by bringing the culture to those people.
[00:24:09] It's something that I like, resonate with a hundred percent, and the number of times have been like same. You don't have to ask me to go to the doctor. Go, I'll see you tomorrow or whatever.
[00:24:21] Dana Kaye: I also your calendar, right? Yeah, yeah. Mark on your calendar not to tell me, just so I don't bother you.
[00:24:27] Emily Thompson: Yeah. Yes.
[00:24:28] Dana Kaye: Like it's not reporting to me, mark on your calendar. Cause if I know that you have, like one of our people has her, her daughter is a teenager and has orthodontics appointments every a like every, whatever, Friday afternoon, whatever. I don't need you to tell me as like a, like I'm keeping tabs on you, but like, tell me, put it in your calendar so I don't schedule a meeting.
[00:24:50] Yeah. So I'm not g chatting you, so I'm not stressing you out while you get a message from me and you're in the doctor's office. Like, because I don't know, that's really what it's about. It's putting it on your calendars is just communicating and I will support, support you.
[00:25:05] Emily Thompson: Yeah, for sure.
[00:25:05] Especially for, especially for something like that. Same thing with vacations for me. Like, I don't, like don't ask me, just put it on the calendar. Like, just tell me when you're not gonna be here. Then we'll work around it as needed. That's especially true for my remote team, my retail team. It's a little bit different.
[00:25:20] Right. But, I suppose. There was another little note that I wanted to make there. So expanding the impact with your team, with building the team and having that in that space. Oh, nightmare story. I wanted to share really quick as you were sharing this, like telling people to go to the, that you're going to the bathroom.
[00:25:38] I remember early in the pandemic hanging out with a, or not like super early, don't wanna like at some point in the pandemic, hanging out with a couple of friends of mine who had corporate jobs that went remote. And they were sharing their tactics for looking busy when they weren't. So like, one of them had literally bought a, like a mouse mover to like
[00:25:59] and I was like, Fucking, excuse me, like,
[00:26:03] what do you mean your mouse has to keep moving and then, you don't wanna look away all of these things so they could like go make lunch or whatever it was they were going to do.
[00:26:12] And I was baffled by this culture that was being built in remote work by overbearing managers who like would not let their people take, more than the allotted 30 minute lunch break or whatever. Crazy. Okay. So you shared though, this sort of personal benefit of of growing a team and transitioning your roles in this way.
[00:26:38] What is it doing for your business?
[00:26:41] Dana Kaye: So, when I was thinking about making the hires last year and then now the hires this year, I, a lot of it is looking at where I'm seeing the growth potential and like where I'm seeing the holes. So the one thing I'm like knocking on all the wood, cuz I don't wanna this to drown , but one of the things that we've always had is tons of leads, tons of potential clients.
[00:27:06] That is something like hashtag blessed and all that stuff. It's not, it's not like luck, but it, it's just a lot of word of mouth and I, it just, again, we market need. That's another, I think another conversation. So what I saw was, We had more quality people that I wanted to work with than we had bandwidth to support them.
[00:27:30] So then I start looking, Okay, well where do we need the bandwidth? Like, who's squeezed? So I started hiring publicity contractors quite early. There's, there's no shortage of freelance publicists, and there's several, The two that work for me are both, like, I won't say new moms, but like, they have young kids.
[00:27:51] They want flexible hours. They don't, they wanna work part-time, They wanna work at odd hours. And they're seasoned publicists, like they have been in this role doing this for a long time so they can just like come and do work and get out. So I started hiring them because then again, it's, it's, you're paying a premium in terms of their rate, but you're not giving them benefits.
[00:28:12] You're not, you don't owe them anything. And so I started with them and I was quick, I was quickly seeing that. We could support a full-time publicist and. I could easily support a full-time publicist if I dropped some hours with the contractors. It's like this constant level, level setting with everyone's bandwidth and workload.
[00:28:33] And so the, the publicists were the first. So every, just to kinda give an overview of our, of a, what a PR campaign looks like for us. Every client has a account executive, that's the person who brings them in, manages their project, has a publicist who does all the media outreach. Has a marketer who handles all the social media, the influencer outreach, helps 'em with their website, all those things and events.
[00:29:00] So people booking events, virtual and in person. So in the beginning, the marketing and events was hap handled by the same person and the publicist, handle all the media coverage. And the accounts person was me on all of them, . And so that's where I looked at like who's being squeezed. So the publicists for each campaign probably have the most work.
[00:29:21] So we need more publicists than we do marketers cuz marketers aren't doing as much for each client so they can work on more clients. But then quickly we saw the marketer was getting squeezed, so we needed to add another marketer. And then when I was looking at this year, what was becoming the heaviest lift, it was events.
[00:29:44] The two people on my marketing team events event, they just have a different brains work differently. Events was not their zone of genius. We needed someone who was a dedicated events person, especially as we were coming out of Covid, where some are in person, some are virtual, some are hybrid, some are getting, we're in person and oops, now we're moving to virtual.
[00:30:04] All of those things. So that I just looked at our, we keep track of our time, which if you're a listener, I assuming you do too, time, track, love, time tracking, , and you can see where things are getting squeezed. So you can see like, okay, this person is clocking 35 to 40 hours a week, which means they're probably working more and it's mostly on things that are tagged events or tagged marketing or tagged whatever.
[00:30:32] And that's where we would make our next hire. So the biggest thing that this has done for our business is that we can now take on all the clients we want to take on. I was in a position earlier this year where I had to say no to some people that. I really, they wanted to say yes to, but it was bandwidth.
[00:30:53] It was just too much. And so now that we are fully staffed, anyone that's a quality lead that's like, this is a great book, great person wanna work on it, we're staffed to do it. So that has been the biggest impact, I will say, cuz I believe in speaking candidly about money and things, when you make a big high, when you make hires, especially full-time hires, that payroll needs to run every two weeks no matter what.
[00:31:24] So you're looking a little diff, you're looking at the books a little bit closer. You're looking at your cash flow a little closer. You, in the beginning when you first hire, they are not working at full capacity. I would say they're probably not gonna work at full capacity for 90 days, if not longer.
[00:31:44] So I would say 50 per, They're working at 50% capacity for the first 90 days, maybe 80% after six months. After a year. They need to be fully like working at their full potential. But I think that if you think about it in that way is like you're gonna be getting 20 hours worth of quality work, but paying a full time salary.
[00:32:04] For a little while. So that takes a lot of planning. So some of the things that I did in the beginning before I made these hires, well, you I, I did start doing, I did start doing some work. We had like a quickie project that was like, you know what, I'm just gonna take this, do it, grab the cash, not even worry my team members about it and bank that for our cash reserve account.
[00:32:28] I took out a line of credit and we have used it that if, if someone is late, if our clients are late to pay, I can't tell our employees like, Well, we're waiting on these checks to come in, so I can't do your payroll. Like, that's not how it works. So I have used the line of credit a couple times and so those are the things that I would look for is like, if you can stack up some cash reserves and have a cushion as a line of credit that will allow you to grow your business.
[00:32:58] and have that kind of safety net while they are training. I think I learned, I used to be, cuz again I didn't hire, I had the only two employees for say nine years. It was only two, it was only three of us total. And it was stressful because I really didn't wanna hire until I knew I could afford them. And it's this weird shift to say if I continue on this trajectory, I'm going to need somebody.
[00:33:31] So I'm gonna proactively hire understand that like cash is gonna be tight for a few months and that it's gonna pay off at the end of the year.
[00:33:39] So that we are still in, the cash is tight and it's going to pay off in the end of the year mode. But I'm also seeing already. For a good example is I had, I have five new client, potential, potential client calls this week, and I had Monday off, and I could not have possibly, and they were all great.
[00:34:05] I could not have possibly read all those books, done all those proposals by myself, we're we're sharing and splitting. And so even that in and of itself is showing me that this is going to pay off quite soon.
[00:34:19] Emily Thompson: Yeah. And when you say payoff, what does that metric look like for you?
[00:34:26] Dana Kaye: Payoff meaning our revenue will increase , our revenue will increase at a greater percentage than our expenses increased.
[00:34:37] Yeah. That's what I view it as. So right now our revenue is increasing. But our, our expenses increased a lot. Like I said, she's a senior level employee, so she is like top, this was top dollar for this young woman, . But worth it, . And so that's what, that's the metric I look at in terms of quarterly, when we do our CEO day, every quarter I look at the, I look at the profit and loss and I look at the percent changed.
[00:35:10] And so our revenue, right now, our revenue has increased, but our expenses have increased more. And I want that to be flipped.
[00:35:19] Emily Thompson: Yeah. Yep. And what does it mean for your time? What will it mean for your time? Maybe that's really the question.
[00:35:27] Dana Kaye: No, I wanna, Yeah, I wanna be really candid. I work 15 to 20 hours a week.
[00:35:33] Mm-hmm. . So very candid about that. I am the primary parent for a neuro atypical son, who requires lots of advocacy, let's call it advocacy, and inter advocacy and interventions. And so I do not have the, I don't, and I cannot work at night. Like I can mail my books at night. That's what I did last night, boxed up some influencer swag, but I cannot do qual like too deep work at night.
[00:36:03] So, yeah, it's really my time has been, I still work the same amount of time. However, the two things that I've noticed slowly changing hasn't fully pivoted yet. I'm Emily, but slowly changing. One is that before I re I should say this, I do read manuscripts. So that's the one thing I do do at night is read.
[00:36:27] I am not power reading manuscripts. There was one week where I had three books to read in a week, and, and the irony was one was a book on meditation, which I found so entertaining as I'm speed reading, speed reading, a book of meditation.
[00:36:47] Emily Thompson: Universe has flopped that one in your face.
[00:36:50] Dana Kaye: I know. Irony was not lost on me.
[00:36:53] But so I'm not power reading. I'm reading. I've read books for pleasure again this month. I, I track that. That's another metric I track is, am I reading for Pleasure Is Every Night Client work? And the last thing is that we had, and we can talk about this with culture. We had a team, we do a team retreat.
[00:37:12] We've been doing one every year for the past three years and at our team retreat a lot of things came up and I, I'm, I dunno if this resonates with you. Things came up about changes we wanna make things, we wanna implement, things we wanna stop doing little things that could happen immediately, but the big stuff, right?
[00:37:32] We have great plans, great ideas, and then we go back to our little holes and our desks and it just goes by the wayside. So the thing that I've noticed is that I've been able to implement a lot of the things that we discussed during our retreat, those big picture things and like make sure that those which are important to our business, it's easy.
[00:37:54] Before when I was just like getting back into work and getting back into the grind and now it's more the visioning, big picture, systematic changes that we're making to the business. I've had more time to do those things. And truthfully, that is my happy place. I love. Making zps and tracking data and templates, all those things.
[00:38:17] So it's really about doing more of the things I really enjoy doing. Yeah. And I think a lot of people would be like, Oh, you could totally outsource shipping those books. I probably could, but it's really like I listen to an audio book or watch some Netflix and box up some books and it's really fine.
[00:38:36] And I'd much rather do that than coordinate someone coming to my house to do all those things. So it's not just looking at what you can outsource, it's also what you want to outsource. I would much rather a marketing manager who lives really close to me, who would come and help if it's super big. I'd much rather her doing something else.
[00:38:54] Yeah. Like I'd much rather, there's so many other things I'd rather her focus on than coming over to my house to box up books for sure.
[00:39:05] Emily Thompson: Late payments from clients and customers is often the worst part of doing business. Not only does it mess with that ever precious cash flow, it's also just awkward and honestly pretty maddening. I mean, you have enough to worry about. So why not let fresh books chase down those unpaid invoices for you, which is the power of their automated late payment reminders.
[00:39:27] Not only will it save you time, it will also keep you from that awkward exchange with your clients about their overdue payments. You can customize these emails and then FreshBooks sends them out, and you just keep yourself focused on the other things that need your attention. Try FreshBooks free for 30 days no credit card required to go to freshbooks.com/beingboss to get started today.
[00:39:53] Oh, I so appreciate that illustration you've just made for us, or painting this picture of what this can look and feel like. I feel like you are not quite on the other side, but like I feel like the end is in sight almost of like you being on the other side of making this big move in your business that has you, I don't know, scaling in this way, in a way that I think a lot of bosses are really freaked out by.
[00:40:22] Dana Kaye: I mean, and it's a, so it's a choice. I should also say that like when you're presented with something like you're, we are all presented with opportunities. It doesn't mean we have to take them. And so when I started hiring and hiring quite rapidly, I would, I feel like again, the, we had in the past two years, so since June of 2021, we have five new employees.
[00:40:50] From a company that had two plus myself. So three, like That's insane. Yeah. So, but this was a choice. So the universe was showing me that we had way more inbound clients than we knew what to do with. And they weren't just any inbounds. These were people like I wanted to work with. And so I had a choice to say and to keep our team as is and be even pickier and just increase our prices as we got better, do other, whatever that looked like.
[00:41:21] But I really, this goes back to understanding your why. My why for my company is I do believe everyone is a reader. They just need to find the right book. And if I want to continue that mission, I need to help as many authors as possible find those readers. And I need help to do that. Yeah. And so I think that answering, I decided to take that opportunity.
[00:41:46] I decided to say, you know what? We have a lot of inbounds. I'm gonna just go and scale and I will, and I'm going to keep growing to the capacity that we need to keep serving the clients that we want to serve. [00:42:00] So, who knows if we have, I'm laughing because we might be on the other side of this. We currently have proposals out for three publisher clients, which means , Emily knows.
[00:42:13] So when we work with a publisher, we work on a lot of their books, not just, it's not just one book. So each of these publishers are gonna have any, You have to do it again, aren't you? Maybe everyone has like, I think seven to 12 books next year. Yeah. And so if all of those proposals come through, yeah, we might have to do it all again.
[00:42:38] But fortunately again, it goes back to the contractors. I believe in having a good mix of contractors and employees. Because the contractors are more flexible. So like right now I'm not using my contractors very much. Like I got a staff, but I'm glad that I have them in the wings because if we get these projects on, it may not be worth hiring a full-time employee.
[00:43:00] But these contractors can help with some of the, some of the work.
[00:43:03] Emily Thompson: Yeah. And like you said, there's like this, this sort of balance that you have to, like, you, use contractors until you have enough room to bring out another client. Like there is this sort of like, trade off that happens. Just to paint another side of this picture, Almanac is doing similar things.
[00:43:24] I feel like if you are not in the Being Boss Clubhouse, you are not listening to the Making a Business podcast where I'm talking about all the things that are happening at Almanac every single month. And this summer I did an episode around, did I do an episode around hiring or is that one just still in my brain and I haven't gotten it out yet.
[00:43:40] Dana Kaye: think you did a couple on hiring for Being Boss, but okay. I'm not sure if the ones are making a business has dropped.
[00:43:46] Emily Thompson: Well then that will probably be next one's episode then, cuz it has already happened in my head. Where, at the beginning of this year, Almanac was a company of three people. Me, David, and a candle maker.[00:44:00]
[00:44:00] That was us. Now we are a team of eight, nine, or something like that. And like actively hiring and for. Two more position. No, one more position. I just, I made a hire earlier this week, just so we know. Very excited about it. Thank you. And then we'll do another round of hiring next month for sales associates for the store, for the holiday season.
[00:44:27] I imagine at the, imagine at the height of this year, I'll probably have 15 people. In my employee, which is, which less than a year ago, there were three of us . And, and that's not counting the fact that, I've also brought some Being Boss team members into Almanac a bit to do content, and some online marketing for us as well.
[00:44:50] So if you wanna add them in, I mean, we're looking at. Incredible team growth here on this side of things. In the past, literally like six months.
[00:45:00] Dana Kaye: Is that the most employees you've ever had? Like if you think back to like tanning salon Indu, like is this the most employees you've ever had?
[00:45:09] Emily Thompson: I will, It will be the most in employees.
[00:45:12] Yes. At the height of Indy, there were 15 of us. That was a mixture of employees and contractors, but at Almanac there are no contractors. It's just, it's just employees. So, so yes, this will be the biggest team I've ever run. And that's just the one team. There's still Being Boss team too.
[00:45:32] Dana Kaye: Well, and I also like what you're doing with the moving people from one to another.
[00:45:38] Yeah. Because it goes back to that balance, right? Like it's, if Being Boss is like having a hot month or you're doing some big initiative, you might need to borrow from one. When it's holiday shopping season, like it's an all hands on deck situation. .
[00:45:54] Emily Thompson: Absolutely.
[00:45:54] Dana Kaye: And so it goes back to like the, the contractors we work with, we have worked with them for, I wanna say five or six years.
[00:46:03] And again, there's been the lean times, there's, there the times where during Covid and a lot of people pulled, their contracts or pulled back and I had to tell the contractors like, We're gonna have less work for you. And then there's been times where the contractors like, I can, I can't take on any more projects, And so it's always, the contractors are the ones who can ebb and flow.
[00:46:26] The employees are consistent. Yes. And so you ebb and flow. As business owners, we ebb and flow and so the contractors are there to like pad it in. So if you think about like a wave, like a up and down when you're up. And the employees are, half in the halfway fill line. This is not helpful to listeners.
[00:46:45] I'm realizing.
[00:46:48] Emily Thompson: There's a lot of hand movement going on here. Just of you know.
[00:46:51] Dana Kaye: I gesture. And so there's a lot of, So when you get to those up movements where you're at your peak, at your busiest, and the employees only have so much bandwidth, that's where you pad that in with the contractors.
[00:47:03] Emily Thompson: Yeah.
[00:47:04] Yes. I love that. And at Being Boss, we have done that in the past, like con we have some great contractors that we will work with on occasion. Almanac has been a little bit different, but in a way I'm almost contracting Being Boss team for that padding in some ways, for some things, which is working out nicely.
[00:47:21] And I will say that everything that you've just said is exactly the things that I'm going through as well, right? Like how do I get all these things out of my head and, and into their head? Making your own, pivots into that manager role of like, now I spend a lot of time. In meetings and within my team, and I love that it's local cuz we're doing breakfast meetings again, which is literally just my favorite thing.
[00:47:48] If I'm gonna have to have a meeting, can you put food in my face? , Like, I'll be much more happy to be there. But there's another piece of this that I wanna point out that I have found, especially at Almanac. I feel like this is not [00:48:00] as much of a thing if you are in a service based business such as yours.
[00:48:03] But I think you just illustrated that this, that this is a thing. But I feel like a very large part of my job now is hiring and training. Mm-hmm. . In a way that like, when you have the same team for five plus years or whatever it may be, you hire once and then you train and then you're done and you can coast for a while.
[00:48:23] But at the level of business that we are both at, it is an ongoing part of my role that I am hiring and training new people.
[00:48:31] Dana Kaye: Well, and I think that training, that's an interesting distinction cuz yes, you might not be hiring all the time, but I actually think training is ongoing. Yeah. I feel like it is.
[00:48:42] There's so much that I am training on because one, the nature of media, Right, It changes and one of our, let's say superpowers you in me is that we can, we have our finger on the pulse of what's coming, right? Yep. So I like to think so. At least I think so. I think we both, I think that's why we're the CEOs.
[00:49:03] I think that's the piece that I have to remind myself. Sometimes I'm like, Why didn't they see this coming? And I'm like, Oh wait, because we're in our positions because we see things coming. They're just, they're just doing their jobs. So I think there's an ongoing piece. So when I see like certain medias closing or certain influencers are all going pay to play, or when, like Spotify just announced audio books, which I am very interested in how that's gonna play out.
[00:49:33] Yeah. And so those sorts of things, like I can take notice and then we have to train on that. I can test the new software. I can like listen to new platforms. The, the team doesn't always have the power to do that. At our company retreat, There's plenty of eating . There's plenty of socializing, , but there's also training.
[00:49:54] One of the trainings was time management and productivity. I, I don't wanna say productivity, it's kind of a nasty word right now, Let's say time management and me training on the things that I take for granted. I understand we don't task switch. I understand that I leave my phone in the other room when I'm doing deep brick.
[00:50:11] I understand what deep work means. Those are things that we need to train people on, and as people, as your client list, increase as your demand, let's say your candle maker, all of a sudden she was producing, these numbers are outta my head. So like she's producing 20 candles during a shift and now the orders are for 50.
[00:50:35] You might need to retrain on like, here are some new systems we need to. To increase that productivity, or we're gonna package these candles in a different way when we get a new jar or whatever it, like, there's a lot of ongoing training that happens. And so I think that that's also something that I love teaching.
[00:50:53] I love training and teaching and coaching. And so as much as dealing with people and personalities and being in meetings is not my favorite. My love of teaching and coaching kind of trumps that. And so I think if you, if you're looking to hire, understand, like practicing teaching a skill to somebody, practice coaching someone on something, that will sharpen, sharpen your skills for that when new new hires come in.
[00:51:23] Emily Thompson: Yeah, and I would say in regards to this too, You're not gonna do great the first time you do it, you're not gonna do great. The second or third or fourth, you're gonna do really great the 15th time you do it.
[00:51:34] Dana Kaye: I have to tell you this. Remind. So we had, so I always had one employee or two employees and we, but we always had interns.
[00:51:41] Mm-hmm. , when we had the office, I shouldn't say always. When we had our office, I always had interns cuz I, again, I believe in providing training and paying it forward, all those things. But I was not, I was really intense. I was not like a good manager. I remember for the interview with the, there was like 10 intern.
[00:52:01] I did an interview with 10 interns at once. There was a stopwatch involved. I know they had to write something on the spot. It was, it was like crazy. And what video did you watch that tells you to do that? No, it was just me. It was just me being, taking some risks. Emily. Thinking outside the box.
[00:52:22] And so like even the intern that we ended up hiring who worked for us for, a semester, I ended up giving her a offer for a full-time job. And she passed . And then when, we hired our, at the time, an assistant, but now I'm our marketing manager. She is friendly with one of our former interns. And she asked like, you interned for Dana.
[00:52:49] Like, what did you think? She's like, Oh, I could never work for Dana. And he, it was like, Wait, really? She's like, Oh yeah, she's nuts. . She's very intense. She's intense. I could not work under that pr I'm so glad Haley rolled the dice and came to work for us. Cause and then she's like, I don't find that at all, but I work, But she worked for me
[00:53:08] like it was a three year time difference and I learned so much during that time. And so I think like we learned so much, we learned so much during that period, of like how to be better, like good, at least the good ones do. I learned how to be, No one teaches you how to be a manager. I learned from my, my wife works in corporate and has always been a leader and manages lots of people and coaches, lots of people.
[00:53:34] So she's been a good resource for me. I've talked to folks in the C-suite about, talking about leading and managing and that's been a good resource. But none of us like, took a course in like how to inspire people or how to lead people or how to motivate people. None of us and none of us started our business because that's what we like doing.
[00:53:55] And so it really takes a lot of time. And that's been my, the focus of my professional development probably for the past eight years. Since I, since I made, like, since I decided I was a bad manager. In the past eight years has been doing all of that work.
[00:54:12] Emily Thompson: Yeah.
[00:54:13] Oh, thanks so much for a peek inside of all of that.
[00:54:17] I want everyone listening to this to know that we did not get to a single one of our questions. I don't think, which I love so much because these are the kinds of conversations that like, once we dive in, let's just see where it goes. And I feel like, I feel like what we were able to accomplish here is that like really amazing insight
[00:54:34] look at what it looks like. To make the transition from being a business owner to being a literal boss in what I think is the most boss way possible, right? Of like you are growing and learning, you're inspiring others to grow and learn. You're doing it for the benefit of everybody and including customers and clients.
[00:54:56] And in a way that even if you don't go into what you're doing with the idea that you're going to do this one day, you can still find it incredibly fulfilling to find yourself in that place, where you were doing that. One of my favorite sort of illustrations of this is cuz I hear a lot of time bosses saying, I don't wanna give up the thing I don't wanna manage.
[00:55:16] I wanted you to sit here and put my head down and do the work. And I get that. And I remember back in the Indy days, my web design agency that I ran for about eight years back in, when I started in 2010, I think. So you do that math as needed. I remember hiring on Corey, who still works with me 10 years later, edits this podcast.
[00:55:38] Hi Corey. Who, he came on to be a web developer for me at my agency, and I had a really hard time giving up the development of websites. I had a har because I loved doing it. I would go in there in the evening, I would put in my headphones and I would code for hours and hours. And I loved it so much.
[00:55:57] And I remember having a really hard time [00:56:00] giving up those reigns. I did make that decision to do that, and this was about the time that Being Boss became a thing. And I really didn't have the time to do it. And whenever I looked at all of my things, the easiest thing for me to off board to someone else was developing websites.
[00:56:16] And I remember, I remember very consciously sitting down one day and going, This is gonna be the last website I ever developed. And I did it, and I let it go. And can I tell everyone right now, I don't miss it at all.
[00:56:29] Dana Kaye: But here's the thing I wanna remind you cuz if, and tell me if I'm off base, but I seem to recall that when Almanac had a website over haul, weren't you quite involved in the design and development?
[00:56:41] Emily Thompson: I was quite.
[00:56:43] I bought a template , right? Like I bought a template. So like, it kind of, but no, I certainly did not develop it. I may still design, but I haven't touched a hefty piece of code in, in years. Years, like eight years or so. So I think it, it, there is an evolution to everyone in their career and, I haven't, I haven't given up podcasting, like I haven't handed that off to someone.
[00:57:09] Right. There are things that you are here to do that are yours to do, and I love that for you. But I would imagine that for most bosses listening to this, 80% of what is on your plate doesn't need to be and can be handed off to someone else.
[00:57:23] Dana Kaye: I mean, in theory a hundred percent could. Yeah, for sure. I mean, that's the argument, right?
[00:57:28] If we're looking at it as a business. So I think we all know in this community, Mr. Mike Malowitz indeed may have heard of him .
[00:57:38] Emily Thompson: We'll have references in the show notes as needed.
[00:57:42] Dana Kaye: His argument is that these are not people, these are roles. Yeah. All a role. And you should have different people who can do different roles.
[00:57:52] And you can't, And if any, if there's any one person, any role that's like only can be done by you. It's like if it's a person that's a problem. So I start thinking of me as a role. I am a role. And yeah, maybe no one on our team can do it as good as I can, but like, it's, it's a role that in theory, someone could replace me.
[00:58:11] Like that is a, not going to do that if any clients are listening. But like in theory, I could sell the business. I could sell the business and someone else, it could keep running without me. Like, it really could. And my point about your website was that. We all, I gave up, I felt the same way when I gave up pitching. There is still a high, there is still a high that happens when, you
[00:58:36] Emily Thompson: pick your face when you're saying this too .
[00:58:39] Dana Kaye: It happened the other day cuz I actually picked up my phone, which I likes them do. And it was someone from the Today Show and I was like, ah. Yeah. And so there's this high that happens when you pitch a big media outlet and you get it and you like have to rush.
[00:58:52] Like I remember there was a moment where it was like Friday night and it was, I wanna say CBS this morning or Good Morning America, one of the big shows. And I'm in my car, my wife is waiting for me to have a dinner reservation and I'm negotia I'm trying to like get, they want a segment with one of our authors and I'm getting 'em on a flight that out and to do a segment, all these things.
[00:59:12] And there's such a high that happens when I know like something I did on Friday night is gonna like, make this author's student's gonna blow up this author's career. And I, it was hard to let that go. However, My point, I, you can always pick it back up as needed. Right. So like, there might be times where one of our clients, one of our publicists, one of our publicists went on a medical leave and I did pick up a lot of pitching.
[00:59:37] I realized that I, my, my media contacts are quite rusty and quite stale. Fortunately we have a good media database in place with lots of notes. But I was able to pick it up. There's gonna be times where, you might have to buy a template and design a website. There might be times where I have to pitch again, it's not forever.
[00:59:56] But I think it's hard to let go, but it's, it's going to end up being for the greater good.
[01:00:00] Emily Thompson: For sure. And what I love too is actually just this morning on the being Vos team, we were having a conversation about bandwidth for the website. And I think a lot of people given that like conversation would be like, I don't even know what you're talking about.
[01:00:11] Like, what does this mean? What do you mean we have to upgrade? Like we're over what It's a website. How are their overages anyway? I get those conversations, I get those conversations, and I know what kinds of questions to ask. And I know, know that, if we need to do an audit to our website to see if something is overloading it or if we need to move, like what is the thing you, you learn these things that make you better.
[01:00:32] But you're just able to use the knowledge, not necessarily spending all of your time doing the thing, and you can move on to do other things. And that's what hiring teams in this way allows you to do and letting go of things that. Are keeping you from serving yourself, your team, your customers and clients and all of those things.
[01:00:50] It's an important part of the evolution if you choose to take that path. For sure. So I super appreciate you coming and sharing all those little insights. I think I'm gonna have to have you back for these questions though, cuz I feel like we just laid a beautiful framework, that we can move into these questions with.
[01:01:07] So everyone stay tuned. Subscribe. , I don't think I've ever said that in body episode.
[01:01:11] Dana Kaye: Being Boss everywhere for Dana's return.
[01:01:15] Emily Thompson: For Dana's return to talk about what it looks like to actually hire and build a company culture because that is such, it's such an important part of this and I feel like not one that we, that really anyone super talks about on the level that I really wanna have a conversation with you about.
[01:01:30] So if you wouldn't mind, tell everybody where they can find you around the internet.
[01:01:35] Dana Kaye: They can find me kayepublicity.com. That's K A Y E publicity.com. And then if you are an author looking to launch your breakout book, you can go to yourbreakoutbook.com.
[01:01:48] Emily Thompson: Perfect. And Dana, what's making you feel most boss?
[01:01:54] Dana Kaye: I honestly think it's, this is gonna sound super dorky, but those are my fa, so spending time com, so spending time with spreadsheets and charts and data, and being able to have a bird's eye view of the company and having the space to think and to read the stories of this data. Again, data's just a story.
[01:02:24] You just have to figure out what's telling you and having the space to do that, whereas I don't think I have that space. This time a month ago. Yeah. So that's been making me feel most boss. And secondly, our CEO day is coming up because we're recording this almost in October, the end of September and Erica from Rare Dal lives near me and we always do our CEO days together.
[01:02:50] And that's always a very boss feeling.
[01:02:53] Emily Thompson: Oh my God, can I just fly to Chicago to CEO Day with the two of you?
[01:02:57] Dana Kaye: She's a great cook and she always makes us [01:03:00] lunch.
[01:03:01] Emily Thompson: I love that you're like selling Erica to me in this moment. That's hysterical. Love it. Maybe I will. Perfect. I love that. Yes to Dana, yes, to spending all of your time just
[01:03:12] pouring over it. That also makes me feel very boss and is very fitting for you for sure. Dana, thank you so much for coming and hanging out with me. This has been a treat.
[01:03:22] Dana Kaye: Thank you, Emily, as always.
[01:03:26] Emily Thompson: All right, boss, Because you're here, I know you want to be a better creative at business owner, which means I've got something for you each week
[01:03:33] the team at Being Boss is scouring the news, the best entrepreneurial publications and updates and releases of the apps and tools that run our businesses, and is curating it all into a weekly email that delivers the must know tips and tactics in the realms of mindset, money, and productivity. This email is called Brewed.
[01:03:51] We brew it up for you each week to give you the insight you need to make decisions and move forward in your creative business. Check it out now and sign up for yourself at beingboss.club/brewed. That's beingboss.club/B R E W E D. Now, until next time, do the work be boss.