Client Showcase

Episode 140: Clients Part 2 (Erin, Laken)

December 27, 2022

Chasing Simple Marketing


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I'm  Amanda — simplicity-focused content marketing strategist.  I'm here to help you fit your marketing into your business.

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Client Introductions, Part 2 | Chasing Simple Podcast

Client Introductions, Part 2

We’re in the middle of a three part series where you’ll get to meet six of the incredible women I worked with this year, and you’ll hear about what their biggest business win was for the year, what their biggest lesson of the year was, and also about what it is that they do and how they serve their people well.

Last week we heard from Emma – a boudoir photographer, and Amy a financial coach. Today, you’ll get to know Laken and Erin.

After graduating from the University of Texas, Laken Strum moved to New York City to be an actuary at New York Life Insurance. While working full time in the insurance industry for almost ten years, she started a YouTube channel and discovered her passion for teaching and inspiring others to achieve their personal goals. Laken helps over 15 thousand people work towards their own goals each week through her popular YouTube Channel, Plan with Laken, and her Patreon community, Goals with Laken.

Erin is a virtual assistant with a passion for scheduling and organization. she works with women in the creative industry who want to put more time and passion back into their business all while improving their work-life balance.

✈️ Love traveling, HGTV, & baseball

👨🏻‍🚒 Wife to her firefighting husband, Ross

🐶 Dog Mom to her puppy, Bogey

👶 First time mom to a baby boy

🤠 Born & raised Texan

👍🏻 Texas A&M Alum: Bachelor’s & Master’s

And for those that are college football fans, you’ll notice that I included a Longhorns and A&M fan in the same episode. Yes, that was intentional. Really for no reason other than I think I’m funny. And with that, we’re going to go ahead and dive on in.

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

After graduating from the University of Texas, Laken Strum moved to New York City to be an actuary at New York Life Insurance. While working full time in the insurance industry for almost ten years, she started a YouTube channel and discovered her passion for teaching and inspiring others to achieve their personal goals. Laken helps over 15 thousand people work towards their own goals each week through her popular YouTube Channel, Plan with Laken, and her Patreon community, Goals with Laken.

Laken Social Links:

I’m a virtual assistant with a passion for scheduling and organization. I work with women in the creatives industry who want to put more time and passion back into their business all while improving their work-life balance.

✈️ Love traveling, HGTV, & baseball

👨🏻‍🚒 Wife to my firefighting husband, Ross

🐶 Dog Mom to my puppy, Bogey

👶 Soon to be first time mom to a baby boy

🤠 Born & raised Texan

👍🏻 Texas A&M Alum: Bachelor’s & Master’s

Erin Social Links:

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Have a comment about today’s episode, or a topic you’d like to suggest for a future episode? Shoot me an email over at hello@amandawarfield.com!

Rather Read? – Here’s the Transcript!

*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate.

[00:00:00] Amanda: You’re listening to episode 140 of The Chasing Simple Podcast, and I’m your host, Amanda Warfield. We’re in the middle of a three part series where you’ll get to meet six of the incredible women I work with this year, and you’ll hear more about what their biggest business win was for the year, what their biggest business lesson of the year was, and also about what it is that they do and how they serve their people well. 

[00:00:23] Amanda: Last week we heard from Emma, a Boudoir photographer, and Amy a financial coach. And today you’re going to hear from Laken and Erin. After graduating from the University of Texas, Laken Strom moved to New York City to be an actuary at New York Life Insurance, and while working full time in the insurance industry for almost 10 years, she started a YouTube channel and discovered her passion for teaching and inspiring others to achieve their personal goals.

[00:00:47] Amanda: Laken helped over 15,000 people work towards their own goals each week through her popular YouTube channel Plan with Laken and her Patreon community Goals with Laken. Erin is a virtual assistant with a passion for scheduling an organization, and she works with women in the creative industry who want to put more time and passion back into their business, all while improving their work-life balance.

[00:01:08] Amanda: She loves traveling HGTV and baseball. She’s the wife to her firefighting husband, Ross Dog mom her PO Bogie and first time mom to a new baby boy born back in October. She’s a born and raised Texan, and she’s a Texas A&M alum for both her bachelor’s and her masters. . and for those of you that are college football fans, you’ll notice that I included a Longhorns and an A&M fan in the same episode.

[00:01:31] Amanda: Yes. That was intentional. Really just for no other reason, because I think I’m funny. So with that, we’re gonna go ahead and dive on in.

[00:01:39] Amanda: Laken, I am so excited to have you back. For anyone that has somehow not caught episode 67 with Laken. , which again, this is like one of the most listened to most download episodes of Chasing simple of all time. Seriously. It really is. And like by a landslide too. So if you somehow have not listened to that, go back to episode 67 from July, 2021, How to stop neglecting your personal goals with Laken.

[00:02:06] Amanda: But like I am so glad to have you back. Go ahead and introduce yourself for anyone who again, somehow might not know who you are already. 

[00:02:12] Laken: Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be back. So, yes, my name is Laken pronounced like Bacon. You can find me pretty much anywhere at Plan with Laken. I am a personal goals coach with a focus on planning and organizing your time.

[00:02:26] Laken: So what stemmed from sharing my own life and how I plan, organize my time has evolved into a business where I am on a mission to help you achieve whatever your personal goals are.

[00:02:38] Amanda: Which is so important. And again, I think this is why your previous episode was so important and so downloaded, because I really often as business owners we’re like, Okay, well I have all of these business goals that I’m working towards, right?

[00:02:52] Amanda: And we completely just forget about the personal side of things. Or even if we don’t forget about them, we don’t set aside that time to actually work on them. So again, everyone goes in episode 67, so you haven’t already, but Laken, I want to know. What so far this year for everyone’s references, we’re recording this.

[00:03:11] Amanda: It is only August, so we’re only a little over halfway through the year, but so far in 2022, what has been your your biggest accomplishment in business? 

[00:03:21] Laken: So to give a little bit of a backstory, for the longest time my business was my side hustle and I was working a full-time, nine to five corporate job, and I quit my corporate job to go full-time into my business in November of 2021.

[00:03:37] Laken: So, This year has really been like the first year that I’ve been full time, a hundred percent working for myself, which has come with a lot of ups and downs. A lot of things that I’ve been proud of and also a lot of things that I’ve struggled with. I would probably say my number one business accomplishment was the in-person workshop that I hosted that also came with a virtual component.

[00:03:59] Laken: I sort of went back and. A lot at the beginning of the year whether I was going to prioritize this or not prioritize it. And then it all just kind of fell into place with the right partner and the right date and it the right topic, and it ended up being such an incredible event, both for me personally, getting me excited about my business, but also for all of the attendees to really getting.

[00:04:23] Laken: Going for the second half of the year and just as something that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this year and then ended up following through on it was really one of the most meaningful points of my business this year. 

[00:04:35] Amanda: Well, and I know that. We all at this point in time are just dying for that in-person community again.

[00:04:42] Amanda: Yes. And you had people travel all the way from North Carolina up to New York and they drove, right? Yes. They gave that whole way just to come to that in-person event and that’s just incredible. What would you say was your favorite part of the event specifically, and then what also have you heard from attendees that their favorite part of it was?

[00:05:05] Laken: Yeah, so for me it is always getting to meet people in person, like people that I’ve interacted with online and I know their name, I know their face. But then being able to actually see them and give them a hug and, and get to chat. And so the way I set it up is it was part workshop, part reception. So the workshop piece was virtual as well and had a lot of great content and was awesome.

[00:05:29] Laken: But then afterwards we just like hung out and chatted and. The nicest part I both, for me and hearing from the people that were able to attend in person, was just being able to get to know people both. Chatting with me, yes. But getting to know each other as well. Especially the ones that did live in New York.

[00:05:47] Laken: It was nice that they were like, Oh, we both live here. We have clearly, we have things in common if we’re both at this event. And just getting to see them make those connections was absolutely incredible. And then hearing from them how impactful it was. That to me, like as much as I love that my connection with them seeing their connections with each other means the world. 

[00:06:10] Amanda: I’m gonna put you on the spot here, but are you planning on doing another one of these maybe later this year or next year? 

[00:06:18] Laken: Yes. So yes, definitely. The details for sure have not been finalized as of the recording of this episode. I, I definitely wanna do another one. On a, a personal note, we are actually leaving New York City and moving to Chicago in February of 2023.

[00:06:35] Laken: So I would like to squeeze in one more New York City one before we leave, and then hopefully I, I’ve gotta get my bearings, obviously once I get there, but then hopefully one in Chicago once we get there. And then if, if the world continues to, to operate the way it’s operating, hopefully other cities in the future. 

[00:06:53] Amanda: That’d be so exciting. Can you do one them here in South Carolina? . Okay. 

[00:06:57] Laken: Maybe. Maybe if Texas comes to play, it’ll give me an excuse to travel down there and like two birds one soon. Highly likely 

[00:07:04] Amanda: actually. Yep. And we should plan something anyways. That’s a side tangent. . But, Well, you know, I’m all for SEC Football.

[00:07:12] Amanda: I wanna ask this question, but I also feel like, well here, let’s just remove the obvious answer. You can’t say your wedding. For this, but on the personal side of things, what would you say your biggest accomplishment or the most exciting thing you’ve done this year, which you’ve done so much, I’m just in awe of all that you’ve done this year.

[00:07:30] Amanda: But on the personal side of things, 

[00:07:32] Laken: what’s your biggest accomplishment? Yeah, so I’m not allowed to say that I got married. Am I allowed to say I also went on a honeymoon? No, that you can’t 

[00:07:38] Amanda: say that either. Although you’re honeymoon. Oh my goodness. Looked amazing. 

[00:07:43] Laken: It, it really was. Honestly, I think, so my husband also owns his own business as well, and so we do have the, the benefit of the flexibility of being business owners, but also a lot of the pressure, and I would say so in addition to our wedding, we actually have six other weddings this year and the ability that we have made, and they’re.

[00:08:02] Laken: We’ve had to travel or either have or will have to travel to all of them. The, the fact that we have prioritized that and are being there to celebrate all of our friends and family on their special days, I think has been the, one of the things I’m the most excited for and proud of from this year personally.

[00:08:17] Amanda: Yeah. That’s so cool. And you, I mean, for one of them you went to Ireland. Yes. , Yes. Just so much cool travel this year. I love, I love following you because obviously. Love to travel too, and I’m just like, Ooh, where’s she going now? ? 

[00:08:29] Laken: Yes. Yeah, the weddings have been definitely all over the place too, but it gives, we, we love to travel too, so it gives us an excuse to travel as well.

[00:08:39] Laken: Yeah. 

[00:08:39] Amanda: And you guys did a whole your own trip in Ireland before even going to the wedding. Yes. Which was cool. I, I was stalking those highlights again like yesterday, so , That’s fine. 

[00:08:50] Laken: Planning a trip to Ireland over there. 

[00:08:51] Amanda: You’re fully planning a trip to Ireland. Yeah. Love it. Hopefully next year we’ll see.

[00:08:55] Amanda: But what would you say the biggest lesson that you’ve learned 

[00:09:00] Amanda: this year has?

[00:09:00] Laken: Yeah, so kind of going back to to the comment I made where this was my first year working full-time for myself. The summary is that more time doesn’t necessarily mean things are going to be easier. In fact, for me, I have found that they’ve actually been harder in how to manage that time.

[00:09:19] Laken: What to prioritize. How to prioritize. When I was working my nine to five job, I was very good at getting. Clear on where I was gonna spend my business hours because I didn’t have as many of them. And when I did have them, I was ultra focused and very diligent and disciplined. Now that I have way more time to work on my business, sometimes I find myself struggling with prioritizing and getting focused on certain things, especially because now I have the time to do a lot more.

[00:09:52] Laken: My choice type projects, right? Not like, Oh, I need to get this YouTube video up. Oh, I need to, to host this Zoom call. It’s like, well, I want to do this thing, I want to do this thing. And that has been a lot harder. So I don’t even know if it’s a lesson so much cuz I’m so working on it. It’s still something that I do feel like I struggle with on a very regular basis.

[00:10:13] Laken: But just knowing. Having more time doesn’t necessarily think like it doesn’t make things easier. And that was something I have been learning hard way. 

[00:10:21] Amanda: And I think a lot of times we think that once we go full time in our business, not only are we going to have more time to do all the things, but we’re also going to see faster growth because we have that more time.

[00:10:34] Amanda: And in reality, When you’re so focused and you know, I have to do this thing, this thing, and this thing, you only have the time for the things that are gonna move the needle most for you. And so those things get done, and that’s why you do see that growth when you see it as a side hustler. But when you have more time, it’s not like there’s necessarily more that you can or will do to move the needle even faster.

[00:10:58] Amanda: It’s still kind of the same growth. pace. 

[00:11:00] Laken: Very, That is very, very accurate and something I definitely did not expect until it happened. So that has been the biggest, biggest kind of learning experience. And not in a, not in a bad way, but in that’s, that is how business operates. 

[00:11:16] Amanda: Yeah. And it’s a lot of it’s mindset too.

[00:11:19] Amanda: Yeah. And I know you said you’re still working on this and it’s still a work in progress, but is there anything that you have done or that you’re doing that has helped you more with managing your time, I guess, or how you’re spending your time? Is there anything that you found that does work for you? 

[00:11:36] Laken: I.

[00:11:37] Laken: My ultimate pause there because I feel like not quite, like, I do feel like for, like you said, it’s a lot of mindset. So one of the mindsets I’m really working on is like you don’t have to do all the things. that have to get done this week and put off the want to do projects for when you have all the time because there’s always gonna be things that pop up that have to get done.

[00:12:01] Laken: And if I always continue to prioritize those, I’m never gonna get to those things that I want to do. And. That has been hard for me cuz I am like, well this thing, even though it doesn’t have to get done this week, it has to get done eventually, so I might as well just do it now. but the, then those things keep popping up.

[00:12:17] Laken: So that’s one of the things that I, I wish I had a great answer, but it’s just a mindset that I have been trying to get over and again, that I think has come with just having more freedom is needing to get over that, that mindset. I feel like I’m still working on it, but having a place to organize all of that, all of those thoughts is absolutely key. And I have tried so many. Normally I am pretty good at being like, this is the planner system or the tool that’s going to work for me. And this has been one of those things that I have not been able to figure that.

[00:12:51] Laken: On the first try. I have tried paper, I’ve tried digital, I’ve tried a hybrid. I have tried pretty much anything I could think of to organize all of my business projects and tasks. And to be honest, as of the recording of this, I still have not figured that out. Even though it’s been eight months and I have been trying to figure it out.

[00:13:10] Laken: So don’t feel bad if you are also struggling with how to organize your business projects and systems. I think that there. So many wonderful tools out there. It doesn’t mean that they’re gonna work for you, and it’s okay if it doesn’t click right away. 

[00:13:24] Amanda: And I think it’s also important to note that with each new season of life mm-hmm.

[00:13:30] Amanda: it’s all gonna be completely thrown upside down. I had a system in place that was working really, really well, and then Russell started shift work at the beginning of this month and now everything is up in the air and everything’s chaos. And that’s okay because I had a system I can build on that and we’ll figure it out and there will be a transition, but just know that you don’t have to perfect it.

[00:13:51] Amanda: Totally. in order to have it work for you, because at some point it’s gonna, it’s gonna expire. Every new routine that you make has an expiration date. So hopefully that’s encouraging to everyone. Also, go back and listen to episode 58, which is why you don’t need a 40 hour work week. Because I think a lot of times when we’re in that side hustle mode where like I just, I need to, I need more time.

[00:14:16] Amanda: I need more time to work, and. While obviously it’s great to be a full-time entrepreneur for a ton of different reasons, I don’t want anyone to feel like. That’s the only time you’re gonna see growth. You’re gonna see so much growth working 5, 10, 20 hours a week on your side hustle, and you’re gonna see good growth then.

[00:14:32] Amanda: And it’s not necessarily gonna get sped up just because you have 40 hours to work if you would like or more. But please don’t do that. 

[00:14:38] Laken: Amanda’s always the proponent of taking your breaks, taking lunch, taking, taking time off, and I completely agree with that. And I, I think that was also a, a mindset shift as well.

[00:14:50] Laken: When I was gonna quit, I had this whole plan of how I was gonna spend like 40 plus hours a week on my business where I was gonna spend those hours, what I was gonna be doing. That has never come to fruition I have to remind myself why I wanted to work for myself in the first place. It was so I could have that flexibility and I could have that freedom to have more hours here and less hours there, depending on what else was going on in my life.

[00:15:14] Amanda: Well, and if you think about when you’re working a full-time job for someone else, of those 40 hours, how many are actually working? Yeah, probably half, right? For the most part, it’s. Messing around with something else, or standing by the quote, unquote water cooler and chatting with coworkers, like, it’s not possible.

[00:15:33] Amanda: I mean, studies have been done. It’s not possible to actually work a full 40 hour work week. It’s just, it’s too much for our brains. So anyways, that’s, that’s a tangent, but 

[00:15:42] Laken: always a good reminder though. Yeah. 

[00:15:44] Amanda: So important. And I, I have to remind myself all the time like this, you’re getting nowhere. Walk away.

[00:15:48] Amanda: You’re not making any progress. Walk away, . Go take a nap. Go eat a snack. Tell us about your Patreon, because earlier you mentioned how much you loved getting to meet. All the attendees to your in-person event, but you also talked about how great it was for them to meet and connect with each other. And while we obviously all would love to be able to go to thousands of in-person events a year in order to do that, that’s not always possible.

[00:16:16] Amanda: But you have cultivated a really strong community within your Patreon. So tell us a little bit about that. 

[00:16:21] Laken: Yeah, so I, I started my Patreon summer of 2020 when I finally had the downtime to focus and really feel like I could dedicate the time I needed to dedicate to launch it. And the priority of it was kind of two pieces.

[00:16:38] Laken: One was to be able to hold my community accountable cuz accountability when it comes to personal goals seem to be like the number one struggle when it came to. Accomplishing your goals. And then number two was that community aspect was for them to be able to find other people who, regardless of whether they were working on similar goals or not, that wasn’t really important to me it that everyone was working on the same goal.

[00:17:04] Laken: It was that there were other people who were also trying to achieve things outside of their current. Commitments and situation. And sometimes personal goals can be hard to talk about the people in your like everyday life, like your circle of people, whether it’s family or friends or coworkers. It’s hard to be like, I have a goal to do this thing and so I’m gonna spend 30 minutes a day focusing on it.

[00:17:30] Laken: And sometimes those people in your everyday life don’t fully understand why that’s important to you. And so having a group of people that allow you to, to talk about those things and ask questions and share struggles can be really helpful and supportive. And so I wanted to create a space where I could help hold them accountable.

[00:17:48] Laken: They could hold each other accountable and. Get to know each other and have this like goal focused community. And so it’s a combination of a Facebook group, which I have to say I deleted social media for the two weeks. I was gone for my honeymoon. And so I had a couple moderators in the Facebook group that were there in case anything blew up.

[00:18:06] Laken: But really it was, I was like, keep sharing, keep supporting each other. And when I came back and read through all of the posts and comments and and support that went on while I was gone, it. It gave me goosebumps. It was amazing. So we have our Facebook group that’s really like where the community aspect happens.

[00:18:22] Laken: And then we have monthly Zoom calls where we hop on and either it’s general q and a. And while I love to give my advice and suggestions and support for the q and a, it’s also incredible to see other people answer the questions, who have been there, who have that exact life experience who can say, Here’s what I did when I was in your situation.

[00:18:45] Laken: And then we also have a goal setting session every month where we literally sit down on Zoom and we set up all of our goals for the next month while we reflect on the prior month first. That’s important. And then set up goals for the next month so that everyone is held accountable to checking in with their goals on a regular basis.

[00:19:04] Amanda: and something that I’ve realized that I think you are highlighting beautifully within your community, but something I’ve realized, especially in recently, is that there are some of us that are very into self-improvement. Mm-hmm. and working on those goals. And for a long time I thought that was just a natural, like everyone has that pull.

[00:19:26] Amanda: But that’s not the case. And that’s okay that this is not to, to judge anyone else who doesn’t have that drive, but I think most of us as entrepreneurs do have that drive. Yeah, but that’s not always the case. Outside of the entrepreneurial world, and there are a lot of people who, whether they’re just really happy with the way their life is going or not, the people whose set goals aren’t, but they just don’t have that interest in setting goals or maybe they’re in a season of life where that’s just not, it’s not, goals are not happening, they’re just in survival mode.

[00:19:55] Amanda: Whatever that looks like, there is this, this divide almost where there are people who get it and people who. And so to have that community that you’ve created that really brings in people that get it, I think it’s just so spectacular. So anyone who’s listening that’s interested in joining your Patreon, tell us more about that and what that looks like and how they can get inside to really find that community for themselves.

[00:20:21] Laken: Yeah, so you can find it on my website planwithLaken.com/community, and it’s very much. You can join at any time. You can join whenever you want, and there are multiple tiers depending on how much accountability and support that you need. If you just need that like a little bit of community and a place to kind of maybe meet other people at the lowest here, you can hang out in the Facebook group if you need kind of a little bit more support.

[00:20:48] Laken: Those monthly Zoom calls that I talked about. Submittal tier where we’ve got a monthly q and a and then our monthly goal setting session. And if you are like, I have a really big goal, or I need a little bit more one-on-one attention, I also have a highest tier where you get access to text with me on a regular basis.

[00:21:05] Laken: So I send a daily motivational text that’s either a quote or question or a tip, something to kind of remind you to think about your goals every single day I hear. That’s what it is for a lot of the members at that tier. It’s not even like that. Oh, some of ’em say that specific text that day really hit home and that was what they needed to hear.

[00:21:26] Laken: But for some of them, they’re like, Just seeing you pop up on my phone is like, Oh yeah, let me think about my goals today. And then it allows you, And I to have a more one-on-one conversation about what it is that you need. Do you need me asking you every Wednesday at 2:00 PM if you did X, Y, or Z, do you, do you need to brainstorm how to break down a goal because you have no idea what the next step is in that goal?

[00:21:51] Laken: It gives us that ability to have a more personalized like attention and accountability 

[00:21:57] Amanda: and knowing that all of these are subject to change. But just, just, just throwing that out there, but to, to showcase how affordable this is. Yeah. Especially as a business expense. Tell us what those tier prices are currently as the time of recording.

[00:22:12] Laken: As of the time of recording, the lowest tier with the Facebook group, and then a monthly co-working session, which is an idea I stole from Amanda, is a $5 a month. The next tier, which comes with the lowest here as well, but the two additional Zoom calls is $10. And then if you wanna tack on texting with me, it’s $30 a month.

[00:22:30] Amanda: So super, super, super affordable if you are looking for some accountability to hitting those goals, especially those personal goals with some people that get it. So I will have all of this linked in the show notes along with all of Laken’s other links and website and all of the things. 

[00:22:46] Laken: But 

[00:22:47] Amanda: before we say goodbye, you know, I need to ask for a book recommendation.

[00:22:50] Amanda: Yeah. So what would you recommend that everyone. 

[00:22:53] Laken: So the book recommendation actually was my favorite book from 2021 because I read it after we recorded in 2021. But it was the book. I’d also decided to gift all of my girlfriends for the holidays. I, I don’t know where I heard that idea, where you, I’m a, I’m a huge reader and most of my friends, my close friends are also big readers.

[00:23:14] Laken: And so I heard whatever your favorite book was for the year, like gift that to your girlfriends for the holiday. Love that idea. So the book, it was actually my 2021 favorite, but it was, We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rogers, which I think you probably recommended in a podcast episode as I’m saying those words.

[00:23:29] Laken: But regardless, even if you did, highly recommend needs to be shared again. Yes, absolutely. Yeah. And even if you’re not a business owner and you’re just here listening, cuz we talk about goals. Like, I, I think every, I think every human, definitely women, but I think every person should read. Over and 

[00:23:48] Amanda: over and over again.

[00:23:49] Amanda: I’m actually feeling I second reread soon. Yes. Yes. It’s like one of those yearly, like Okay. End of the year’s coming. Preparing for the new year. Time to read this book 

[00:23:58] Laken: again. I agree. And I think I’m also gonna put it on my like Q4 to read list 

[00:24:04] Amanda: Laken, thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for being open and honest about the things that you’re learning in your first year as a full-time entrepreneur.

[00:24:12] Amanda: I really appreciate it. 

[00:24:13] Laken: Thank you for having me.

[00:24:15] Amanda: Erin, I am so glad that you were able to come on and chat with me for this episode. Can you go ahead and just introduce who you are, what your business is, and who it is that you serve? 

[00:24:27] Erin: Awesome. Thank you Amanda. My name is Erin Hammond and I own Circle E Studios. So I’m a virtual assistant business, but then I also kind of dabble in project management side my motto is I help businesses ditch those time sucking tasks and get back to what they love doing the most. So, you know, if that’s I just wanna help businesses and I, I work with, I do work with women only, . And then I like to work with creatives in industries, so copywriters, graphic designers you know, business, business developers, just anybody kind of in the creative industry.

[00:24:59] Erin: I really enjoy. Just helping them get back to what they love doing. Not get stuck on those tasks that take so much time away from them. So just a little side note about myself. Born and raised in Texas. My husband’s a firefighter, so I’m a fire wife, dog mom. And then I’ll soon to be a human mom in October,

[00:25:19] Erin: that’s just a little bit. Yeah. And 

[00:25:21] Amanda: it’s funny because the interview on this episode right before yours, I know you’re a big a and m fan. Yes. The interview before this was Laken Edwards, and she’s a big Texas fan, so 

[00:25:31] Erin: Oh, that’s funny.

[00:25:32] Amanda: I don’t know if anyone else caught that, but I, it made me chuckle when I grouped the interviews.

[00:25:37] Amanda: I was like, Oh, that’s a good one. That’s funny. , Oh, SEC football in there. What is your favorite part of working with your clients? Because I know for us, as we offload those tasks to you, they’re kind of like those, like, Ugh, I’m so glad to be rid of this kind of thing. But then you’re the one that takes all of that on.

[00:25:55] Amanda: So what’s your favorite part of helping others with those tasks? 

[00:25:59] Erin: I think my favorite part is seeing how much it actually helps the clients, which I know that sounds, you know, weird, but even just, I have a client. She absolutely hates scheduling her newsletters and blogs and so they, it wasn’t getting done.

[00:26:16] Erin: She’d have all this content written and ready to go, but the actual scheduling part wouldn’t happen, and so then the content would never get published. And just seeing the relief and the joy on her face that those things are actually getting publish. In my mind, it’s so simple to go into her WordPress and, you know, schedule those blogs, but to her that was a daunting task.

[00:26:39] Erin: That just took too much time. So I think just seeing how much time I can help give back to the clients is a win for me. Because there are so many things that we try to take on as a business owner. Just all the little things we think we can do ourselves and we don’t realize how much time. Actually, I don’t wanna say wasting, but actually spending on little things and it adds up and is taking away from the big projects.

[00:27:03] Erin: So that’s, that’s something I really enjoy is just seeing how much time they realize they can get back by tasking out even the simplest of projects. Well, and I 

[00:27:14] Amanda: think, let’s take scheduling in particular. Sure. The scheduling doesn’t take that long, but the mental energy. That they get to pass off to you when you’re taking on that, Honestly, not super time consuming task, which is a win-win for everybody because then they can start small with hiring a VA and work their way up and things like that.

[00:27:35] Amanda: But being able to offer that task that. , they know in the back of their mind isn’t gonna take them that long, but they can’t bring themselves to do, for whatever reason, for whatever the mental block is there. They’re not only seeing results because, oh look, my content is actually going out there and I’m showing up consistently and I’m able to make sales and connect with people and do all the things that our content’s supposed to do with us.

[00:27:58] Amanda: They’re not a only able to see that benefit, but they’re able to see the benefit of that. Taken off of their plate because we’ve all got those scheduling tasks or whatever it may be, where it’s like, you know, I know I need to do this. I know it’s not gonna take me that long, but I can’t make myself do it.

[00:28:15] Amanda: And then we feel bad because we can’t force ourselves to do it, even though we know it’s not gonna take us that long. 

[00:28:21] Erin: Right, Right. And another area I see is, you know, social media engagement. Even if you say that you’re gonna do it for 15 minutes a day, just replying to comments or 15 minutes. Sometimes you tend to push off your own business stuff to focus on client work.

[00:28:39] Erin: So you may not get to the 15 minutes for your own business, and then it just keeps getting, you know, pushed to the side and you never do it. And so if you hire someone to help you, even for 15 minutes a day, you can see improvement, engagement you know, growth on your accounts. 

[00:28:55] Amanda: Yeah, it’s, it’s amazing what small actions can do, but a lot of times we just don’t have the time and space for ’em, which is why Right.

[00:29:02] Amanda: PA can be such a huge help. So, pivoting away from your clients’ businesses and now talking about your own, what would you say your biggest accomplishment of this year so far has been?

[00:29:13] Erin: So I think last year I wasn’t completely full time and this year has. I, I’ve been completely full time with my business.

[00:29:21] Erin: No other source of income for me coming in. And so being able to be booked out or almost booked out, I’ve got like one or two slots left is a huge accomplishment for me. I mean, it was, it was scary leaving my corporate job because it was, you know, a safe income, but it was something that I wanted to do, especially becoming a new mom, being able to not have to put him in daycare.

[00:29:45] Erin: and all of that. So seeing that I’ve been able to be successful, hold onto clients, you know, for months and months and months and not, you know, have a bunch of turnover, that’s been a huge accomplishment for me so that I can actually build my business heavy, sustainable help, you know, support my family and not leave it all to my husband.

[00:30:06] Erin: That’s been just a huge accomplishment that I’m almost. Almost full, but I’m still, you know, I’m making more than I was in my corporate job and I’m having more flexibility. And so that’s just, that’s just a big win for me. 

[00:30:18] Amanda: Well, and congratulations because going full-time in your business is, Huge. It’s such an accomplishment. But on top of that, you also are getting ready to take a maternity leave very soon. And I know you haven’t done it yet, but even the fact that you are preparing for that ahead of time and you know you’re going to be able to take a little bit of time off, like that’s a huge 

[00:30:38] Erin: accomplishment in my book as well.

[00:30:40] Erin: Mm-hmm. . Yeah, it is a little scary. You know, even just taking a month, which some people look at me like I’m crazy, like, you’re not gonna take more than that. And it. I love what I do, so I don’t wanna be away from it too long. But I love having the flexibility that if I do need more time, I have that availability as well.

[00:30:58] Erin: And that’s what’s great about like the freelance industry. Yeah, 

[00:31:02] Amanda: you, you get to be your own boss and you get to decide, you know, I need more time. Or maybe you go back, but with shorter hours, you’ve got so much flexibility in what you can do. So yeah, I think that that’s huge. Congratulations on all of that.

[00:31:15] Erin: Thank you, .Thank you.

[00:31:17] Amanda: I would also love to 

[00:31:18] Amanda: know what has been the biggest lesson that you’ve learned this year as a business owner? 

[00:31:23] Erin: For me it’s been routine, which sounds strange, but at first when I started freelancing I was like, Oh, I have so much time, which I do because I’m not commuting. Cause I was commuting an hour one way to my corporate job and.

[00:31:39] Erin: Traffic and all that, but, and so I was like, Oh, I get, you know, two hours back in my day and I can sleep in. But having, I noticed that if I don’t have a routine, then I was getting behind and stuff like that. So that’s one lesson that I found is setting a routine, having time blocks. Like I have clients work that I work on Monday, Wednesdays, and I have other clients that I work on Tuesday, Thursdays.

[00:32:03] Erin: And that way I’m not trying to cram. Everything into every single day and getting behind and losing focus. And so having routine stopping for lunch at a certain time stopping the workday at a certain time. It’s really helped me stay organized and stay focused and actually get more work done because I’m not all over the place.

[00:32:23] Amanda: and those are such hard lessons to learn. It seems like, I know you said you’re like, Oh, it seems simple and, and basic. Yeah, but it’s . It’s not something we’ve ever really learned about because I, I mean, I can always speak for my personal experience, but I didn’t get a lunch break when I was teaching. I wasn’t encouraged to have those kind of boundaries.

[00:32:44] Amanda: And so it’s something we have to teach ourselves as business owners when we do start working for ourselves. So I. It’s a, it’s a really important lesson to learn and it’s great that you’re learning it so early on in your business because can you imagine going two, three years down the road and then having to learn, Oh, I’m burned out and I don’t have time to take a maternity leave, and I, you know, like, I think it’s huge that that’s a lesson that you learned this year.

[00:33:09] Erin: Yeah, it’s, it’s been really helpful cuz it wasn’t that way from the beginning. I thought, Oh, I can just go to Target at two o’clock in the afternoon and then come back and it just, I told myself, no, you have to have, you have to have some type of routine. It doesn’t have to be as strict as nine to five job and all this stuff, but you have to have some type of structure to be successful.

[00:33:31] Erin: Yeah,

[00:33:31] Amanda: structure, flexible structure, that’s the yes. Balance, right? Trying to find that somehow 

[00:33:37] Erin: within all of the, all the things 

[00:33:39] Amanda: you need to do, but then also all the care for yourself, which is such an important part of being a business owner. If you’re not taking care of yourself, who’s gonna take care of the business.

[00:33:48] Erin: Yeah. So , 

[00:33:50] Amanda: earlier you were talking about your scheduling services and your services in general. If someone’s listening and they’re like, I feel that guilt about scheduling or I feel that guilt about not being on Pinterest or I feel that guilt about insert whatever it is that they feel guilty about, that they really just know they should probably hand off to someone else.

[00:34:09] Amanda: Can you tell us a little bit more about your services, where we can learn more if we’re interested in hiring you and all of that fun stuff? 

[00:34:15] Erin: Sure. So scheduling, it’s kind of a it’s. To a sense, like I’ve, for some clients I help schedule their weekly or monthly or whatever their, their newsletter you know, plan is.

[00:34:28] Erin: But scheduling the emails that go out to their subscribers, I’ll help schedule blogs social media, anything from just static posts to reels to stories Pinterest. And then I also help with some people with like invoices. Maybe they don’t wanna. Reoccurring invoices when they get a new client. So doing that calendars, you know, if, if I have one client that does a lot of traveling, so helping just manage her traveling calendar, anything that you could think would be scheduling I can help with.

[00:34:59] Erin: And then, You know, for finding my services my website, circleestudios.com, it has kind of my package pricing and then my hourly pricing. So I do offer those two different options. Cuz I know everybody’s different. Some people don’t wanna pay for a package for a month. yeah, scheduling is definitely the main thing that I offer.

[00:35:20] Erin: But of course, project management Helping get projects ready to go. I feel like that also does go into scheduling because if you don’t have, a system set up, scheduling doesn’t really happen. So I think scheduling can be a broad term, but I try to narrow it down in the sense of really anything that helps you achieve your business goals and doesn’t, doesn’t make you get stuck.

[00:35:48] Erin: You know, sitting at a computer and scheduling out social media posts that you could have someone else do, and that way that’s 30 minutes back into your day that you could be doing something else. So, 

[00:36:01] Amanda: yeah, absolutely. We will link to that in the show notes. Friends, if you are interested in learning more about hiring a va, that will be there in the show notes.

[00:36:07] Amanda: You can learn more about Erin’s packages and her pricing and all of that. Erin, where would be the best place for everyone to connect with you? 

[00:36:16] Erin: I would say either my website, there’s a contact page or even just messaging me on my Instagram. And the dms is fine. I get, I get people reaching out on both, and I am actively checking both of those.

[00:36:30] Erin: So, either one of those is fine. 

[00:36:33] Amanda: Okay, perfect. Well, so we’ll link to all that in the show notes. Now we end every episode with a book recommendation over here. So if there’s one book that you would recommend that everyone go read, what would it be? 

[00:36:42] Erin: So I , I had to kind of look back at this. There was one book I read a couple months ago.

[00:36:48] Erin: It’s called Seven In An Experiment Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. It’s by Jen Hatmaker, and it was a book about, she took seven. areas in her world. So it was food, clothing, possessions, media, waste, spending and stress. And she focused on one of those seven categories for 30 days each. So, so it went on for seven months, seven habits, 30 days each.

[00:37:17] Erin: And she kind of just looked at her world in terms of. Clothing. So she would pick seven items to wear for those 30 days, and it just was looking at the excess that we have in our life and identifying the areas where maybe her and her family spend too much or they stress too much over these certain things, or they’re spending too much time on media, or they have too many possessions and kind of just.

[00:37:43] Erin: Fighting against she, the way she put it was fighting against modern day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence. And so that’s something I’ve been trying to focus on. I picked a little different categories for me. Food wasn’t an option for me. I wasn’t gonna eat seven, the same, seven ingredients for 30 days.

[00:38:02] Erin: so I pick different areas, but it’s kind of just getting rid of the unnecessary, especially before the baby comes getting rid of junk in our house and trying to, you know, spend more time reading or spend more time with my husband. So that’s a book that I, I recommend just because it really does make you focus on the necessaries in life and, not just the once.

[00:38:27] Erin: So it was a really good book. 

[00:38:29] Amanda: So did you actually like do a similar experiment in your own life?

[00:38:33] Erin: I did, but I didn’t do, She has , she did it for 30 days each, but she kind of has little different ways that you can do it. So I didn’t do 30 days each, cuz there was no way I was gonna make it through some of those.

[00:38:47] Erin: So I would do like, like seven days each. So it would be, you know, For seven days, I got rid of seven items out of my house a day. So, you know, going through and and doing that or seven items, I got rid of seven items of clothing cuz I have a lot of clothes that I don’t wear anymore cause I don’t go into a corporate job.

[00:39:09] Erin: So I kind of changed it a little bit, but I still tried to stick with like the seven. Categories and doing things for seven days in each category. So yeah, I just read this a couple 

[00:39:22] Amanda: months ago and loved it, and I didn’t, I didn’t do the experiment myself so that I, Yeah, now I’m rethinking, maybe I should do that

[00:39:28] Amanda: But I loved how real she was. In each chapter, like I think every single chapter had at least one entry, where it was like, Today sucks. This sucks. 

[00:39:37] Erin: I hate this . And 

[00:39:39] Amanda: she’s so vulnerable and open with what she actually goes through that month. And it’s not just, here’s what I learned and here were the 

[00:39:47] Amanda: positives.

[00:39:47] Amanda: And she does 

[00:39:48] Amanda: say those things, but she also is very. Open about the things that she struggled with and where she fell short and how important her community, because she had friends doing it with her, how important that was and how that helped. And yeah. I’m really glad that you said this one. 

[00:40:05] Erin: Yeah, 

[00:40:05] Amanda: I really like this book, and now I feel like I need to actually go try some of these experiments.

[00:40:09] Erin: I know. I kind of wanna try them again. Maybe not. Consecutively again, . But I don’t know. I think definitely getting rid of things. I know one rule that we had growing up is if we got a new toy, we had to get rid of a toy just because it helped us understand. Like, well, if you don’t play with this anymore, you should get rid of it.

[00:40:31] Erin: So, I don’t know. I just think that it was a good book to, as a reminder to kind of look at. Controls your life and maybe take a step back and reevaluate 

[00:40:41] Amanda: well and where all of your time is going because even if it’s just things. It, it’s still, it’s things that you have to put away or it’s things that are taking up space that maybe make it more difficult for you to put other things.

[00:40:53] Amanda: You know, like there’s so much that goes into it and it really is such a testament to, okay, where is your time and your attention going. 

[00:40:59] Amanda: Mm-hmm. , and it really, it’s a great mindset shifter for sure. So that was perfect. That’s a great book. I’m really glad that you shared that because a lot of times people will share like, 

[00:41:08] Amanda: Oh, here’s this business book that I really love, which I’m all for.

[00:41:12] Amanda: But this one’s different, so I like that. Erin, thank you so much for being here today, for being open and vulnerable and sharing not only your wins this year, but also some things that you’ve been learning. I really 

[00:41:23] Amanda: appreciate it. 

[00:41:24] Erin: Well, thank you for having me. Of course.

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