Permission to Try: https://amzn.to/41BcilI
Establish Yourself: https://amzn.to/3Lr4oWZ
Speaker 0 (00:00:00) All right. I think we are live. Hello. Hello everyone. Welcome back to the Purpose and Pixie Dust podcast. I am super excited for you all to meet Annie Francesi. She, well, I'm gonna let her introduce herself, but when I was reading, I, I'm sure I only read like a little sliver of the things that you have actually done. I was like, oh my gosh, this girl, that's so cool. So Annie, tell us a little bit about you, who you are, how you got to do what you have done, and, um, we'll go from there.
Speaker 1 (00:00:29) - Well, thank you so much for having me. When I saw like purpose in Pixie Dust, I was like, I am in, I am a hundred percent in, um, I, I am a lifelong Disney fan and I did used to work for the company. So a very short version of my story is, um, I grew up loving Disney movies. The Muppets in particular really wanna be in the film industry. And so I did what you have to do, which is, I moved, um, I moved from North Carolina to LA and had a career in the film industry. Kind of worked my way up to a dream job at Disney, literally at the Walt Disney Studios. Uh, helping tell stories for movies like Maleficent and Cinderella. And I realized once I got that job that it was just a dream job and not a dream life. So 10 years ago, this September, I quit that job, um, moved back home and reinvented myself as an entrepreneur. So now I have a company called Greatest Story Creative, and I help you brand, streamline and grow your greatest business, not the one everybody is telling you to have.
Speaker 0 (00:01:28) - Oh my gosh, I love that. And I, I love that such a big part of your story is that love for Disney and it led you to working there and you're like, and it was like a stepping stone for me. And then I was okay with leaving that behind. So what exactly did you do for them, for them when you say that you were working on those stories?
Speaker 1 (00:01:48) - Right. So I, my first role actually at Disney was working at Walt Disney Animation, and I was the assistant to all the directors and producers of a film that did not get made, um, which is how I left that first position. I was a movie called King of the Elves. Um, you can Google it and learn all about it, but it was supposed to come out and, um, six months into the project, they shut it down. And I was without a job, but it was one of the best things that ever happened to me, um, because I got recruited to a brand new team at the time, which was their franchise management team. And so Disney at, you know, at Studio, I think it's now been reintegrated into a different team, but at the time they, I was a founding member of this group that it was their job to help coordinate all the product development, but really to communicate about upcoming films way earlier than when marketing would be able to spend time on them.
Speaker 1 (00:02:37) - So people don't realize it takes years and years to make some of these films. Um, and we have to be talking about them as a company years and years before they come out. And marketing doesn't have bandwidth to touch that until like maybe a year, maybe 18 months before the movie's coming out. Um, so what do you do when you have to tell a story and you don't wanna inundate the filmmaker as well? You have a little team that interfaces with that filmmaker, gets to know the story, reads a script, and puts together a pitch deck. So that really became my job. I kind of got seen and known for my ability to write and design, um, and kind of tell this cohesive story. And so, uh, my VP bosses were having me write presentations for like ComicCon for our president production, still a present production, Sean Bailey and other executives to go present at D 23 Comic Con, things like that. So I would have to read the script for like Maleficent, Cinderella, Franken Weenie, John Carter, um, movies like Tomorrowland, I dunno if you've saw that. This is like a d we're going deep into Disney
Speaker 0 (00:03:34) - Cannon. Yeah, yeah.
Speaker 1 (00:03:35) - Um, but Damon Lindelof wrote that. So I had to take a Damon Lindel off script who, you know, who wrote lost and some of these other really complicated films and make a 30 minute presentation deck that didn't give away the whole story, but made sense, um, and gave away some of the mystery. And he liked it enough that he did it. So he used my pitch to talk about the film. So I was like, all right, that's cool. Pretty amazing. But yeah, it was,
Speaker 0 (00:03:55) - Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome.
Speaker 1 (00:03:55) - Incredible.
Speaker 0 (00:03:56) - Mm-hmm. . Oh, that's really cool. Okay, so let's talk a little bit about your transition to building your own thing. Yes. Were you, was it just like a one time like, okay, I'm gonna go ahead and move, we're stopping this chapter, or were you kind of working on that behind the scenes while you were still working your corporate job?
Speaker 1 (00:04:12) - It was kind of the latter. And, and the thing is, is, you know, if you're curious, so like why on earth would Annie quit a dream job at Disney? It sounds amazing. It was amazing. It is still my favorite company on the planet. And if you want the full answer to this, I've written my first book, uh, I have written two books actually, but my first book is called Permission to Try. And it is a pep talk to anybody is who's thinking about giving up something good, um, to hopefully get to a life that is great and you don't know what's gonna happen and spoiler alerts, you have to give yourself permission to try. And I share a lot of insider baseball and stories of this year, like to your question this year of thought that I went through of, well, what do I want?
Speaker 1 (00:04:48) - Like, I've gotten the thing, I'm kind of finally on this track. I went through the toxic managers in the corporate America and all that still exists at Disney. And I got to this path, I was like, okay, I finally got this. Like, is this fulfilling? Is this what I really want? Um, and I looked around and went, this is not enough. Like, this is not as impactful as I thought I would be. So I spent about a year of deliberation and at first it felt like, would I be crazy to like quit this job and leave LA and maybe become an entrepreneur? Which I, you know, never thought I would be, but like kind of do my own thing, help other people tell their story. And I just, it sounded crazy, but by the end of the year, it was like, I'd be crazy not to.
Speaker 1 (00:05:25) - Um, and I share a lot of the stories about like the, basically the whole book is structured as 11 things you need to hear when you're scared to change your life. And that's cuz it was a coffee conversation with myself of like, well I can't do that cuz what if I fail? And like, well, I told everybody I was gonna do this and like, what are people gonna think? And like, you know, those sorts of arguments we have with ourselves about making a big change. And so it is, it's still a big deal to me that I left my job, but I can tell you a decade on the other side of that decision, I didn't stay one day too little and one day too much. Like I said, just the right amount of time. I'm so grateful for that experience and the relationships and all that I learned. I use it every day. I trade on it every day, but to everything there is a season, even Disney. And I, I just, you know, don't worry, I, they went from paying me to, I pay them now. I just, you know, just keep Disney direct deposit. Yeah,
Speaker 0 (00:06:15) - Yeah. Yes. I love that. Oh my gosh, I can't wait to check out your book because that sounds like it's gonna be so powerful regardless of what that thing is for you in your life, whether it is a big career change in jumping into entrepreneurship, which I know is the thing for so many women listening. Um, so I definitely wanna dive more into that with the storytelling. Um, but however, I wanna, before I forget, you were telling me before we have to hear live something about a Disney business retreat on a cruise ship. Okay. Yes. So what, what is this magicalness fill us in a little bit about that.
Speaker 1 (00:06:46) - Yes, so, um, a little bit of back history here is one of the things that I have figured out that I need to do in my business is I take the month of December off, so I call it batch December. I started doing this um, back in 2016 because I had this huge influx of clients and no systems. So I shut everything down and was like, I need to spend some time every year making the business better. And so I have already built all this intentionality of taking this like kind of restful business development time. And then I had this wild hair of idea, cause that's been so successful for me. Like, well what else could I do? And I'm like, I love Disney. Could I go to Disney as part of my business? Um, and so originally I had this idea that I was gonna, um, I'd like to share this part of the story cause I think it's really important for everybody here, which is I originally thought the only way I could do get away with doing that was to throw a, um, business retreat and, and sell tickets to it, like host it and do it with other speakers.
Speaker 1 (00:07:41) - And so I did all this work, I invited all these people to go and I quickly found out market research. There was just not enough people that were available that weekend, didn't get seasick, you know, like Disney, like cruises. It was like a Venn diagram that only ended up like one or two people. And the best decision I made was like, you know what? I'm going anyway, so I went with my virtual assistant who is also a client, I'm a client of hers as well. And so we went and we were like, look, we're gonna mastermind. It's a pure mastermind. And we went to Walt Disney World for a night, um, in a day. And I met up with a friend of mine who's a cast member and she got us into Epcot. Um, and then we went on the wish, the Disney wish for, for three nights and we're two, um, you know, six figure plus business owners, but also toddler moms who don't get a break.
Speaker 1 (00:08:28) - And it was just the best. Like I cannot wait to go back. I was really like an experiment like, can we do this? Is it gonna be useful? And I just tell people, I'm like, oh my gosh, the ability to not have to take care of people and to just focus on the business and like, we're literally in line to get on their water slide. And I'm like, what should I charge for this workshop? You know, like we're like spitballing stuff. I'm like, you could absolutely do business at Disney Disney And you absolutely should if you can, you know, justify it. But, you know, know Disney's such a big part of my brand and the fun of it all. Like yeah. D you know,
Speaker 0 (00:08:59) - Let's let, oh my gosh, I love that. Make that happen. You're speaking my language. . So did you actually get worked on on the cruise ship ? Yeah,
Speaker 1 (00:09:05) - We did. I
Speaker 0 (00:09:06) - Dunno that I would be disciplined enough to do that
Speaker 1 (00:09:08) - . So it was different for me and for Sarah. So Sarah, um, and Sarah runs a company called Joyfully Organized. So if you're curious about what she does, uh, but Sarah, Sarah did more batch work than I did. But I think it was really meeting our seasons where we were. So I was in a space head space where I needed a better mindset and I needed to be really thinking clearly and literally thousands of miles away from home and like, just kind of like not in the muck of the day-to-day staff. And so I needed strategic time to think and, and talk through ideas. So that's what we were doing over dinners. I was like running things by her and processing Id, you know, f future goals, especially this year for the business. And Sarah on the other hand just never has time to do some of these things she needed to do in her business, like create an onboarding guide for her new team.
Speaker 1 (00:09:51) - So she went from like a staff of one to, she has like eight people on her team. So she, from the minute we got there to the minute, you know, she's typing it up by the time we're leaving that she made this whole handbook for um, new team members while she was there. So it was like a huge win for her. And we both just shared on the la we were on the private island Castaway Key and we're talking and we're like, this just really filled up our cups like personally and professionally. So I know the big question is did you actually work? I was like, yeah, we did. And I think it was, we literally sat in the ocean and talked about like speaking career and like these things, big ideas that you just never have the time to dive into when you're at home.
Speaker 0 (00:10:27) - I love that. And you're not Yeah, I could see, I could see that for sure the masterminding and the ideation, um, you know, when you're on your excursion and dinner and at the pool and all that. For sure. It's
Speaker 1 (00:10:37) - Also the experience too. So I don't know if you have read, have you heard of a book called Be Guest?
Speaker 0 (00:10:42) - I have, yeah, I have it upstairs. I haven't read it yet though.
Speaker 1 (00:10:45) - It's awesome. So I started reading that even before this experience and it really, I think being, you know, it's joking. It's like, oh yeah, you went to Disney to write it off whatever. I'm like, no, if you go, if you're really trying to make your business better going and studying at the feet of Disney, like when you go get immersed and we went to the parks and we saw the Skyliner and we saw the new cruise ship and like the way they tell stories and the way they take care of their clients and customers, it's like it is the perfect place to be growing a business that you want to be fun and profitable and rewarding and great for your clients and great for you. So like, it's silly and it sounds silly, but it's actually like such a genius.
Speaker 0 (00:11:21) - Oh no, I agree. Like every time I go, um, especially Epcot and uh, Magic Kingdom for me, I'm always just like in all of all the ideas I get from my own business and for, I mean I know, you know, this this podcast and cuz my, a lot of my things are Disney, Disney themed as a business,
Speaker 1 (00:11:42) - business. It's a business.
Speaker 0 (00:11:43) - Yeah, it's a business. But Disney themed as well in my business and I'm like this customer service, um, you know, the way everything is always cleaned Yeah. And well taken care of and they're a step ahead like such a great mentor for business just like all the way around. So I hundred, a hundred percent agree the
Speaker 1 (00:11:59) - Immersion. Yeah,
Speaker 0 (00:12:00) - Yeah, yeah. Um, and I dunno if you know this, I'm actually hosting a Disney business retreat this summer, so ,
Speaker 1 (00:12:06) - Where are you going? Yeah, you
Speaker 0 (00:12:08) - Go. Yeah, we're going.
Speaker 1 (00:12:09) - I
Speaker 0 (00:12:10) - Mean the house in Orlando and we're gonna go to Magic Kingdom a day. Um, but the, I love it. The cruise ship definitely sounds freaking awesome and I it was awesome on the wish. Yeah, yeah,
Speaker 1 (00:12:21) - Yeah.
Speaker 0 (00:12:22) - It was you like highly recommend, recommend. So let's talk about storytelling and developing your brand and how you're able to use storytelling to do that. So I'm not sure if you have a specific area where it is easiest to start, but where can one start maybe to, to start developing this and um, making it a little better, their craft a little better to do this in their business?
Speaker 1 (00:12:44) - Yeah, I think it's really important that you be able to brand the magic of your story. I think that that's the thing that really is gonna set you apart. And I think I work with so many people who feel really intimidated, but I think what the tradi what have become the, you have tos of our industry, which is like you have to be on social media, you have to socially promote. And so getting started with that I think is not about what most people teach it is, at least that was my experience. Like I kind of worshiped at the feet of the marketing gurus, tried all the social media advice, had burnt the heck out, like it almost like killed my business in 2016. And I just said, you know what? I'm going to do my own thing. I am gonna double down on what makes sense.
Speaker 1 (00:13:24) - I'm gonna double down on the people I already know and I'm gonna embrace the magic of my story. Um, and I call that I came up with a framework for it, which I call Establish Yourself, which is my second book. Um, so it's called Establish Yourself Brand, streamline and Grow your Greatest Business. A k a Not the Business Everybody's telling you You should have. So what I teach as a framework to help you grow that is not a hundred percent reliant on social media or being a social media marketer or being the queen of self-promotion. It is this e establish yourself cuz it's e, s T. And so E if you follow e s t, you can take your service-based business to the next level. So that means passionate and profitable. So that first e like what does e stand for is the most important thing and the most the really where I recommend getting started, which is e is stands for embrace your story.
Speaker 1 (00:14:16) - So this is the branding of it all. Like what is it that you are greatest at? What do you want to be known for? Like, you don't start with marketing. That's a big part of my working theory is like we're all doing the wrong thing, we're focused on the marketing and that's fix what I call fixating on frosting. It's like we can have a cake that's just cake, but if all we do is care about the frosting, people are gonna bite in our cake and realize there's nothing there, right. If they even try it. Right? We need to care about what the foundation is and really where we are the best. Right? So where are we the greatest experts? And I think part of that, when I say embrace your story, it's akin to like when Brene Brown talks about like owning our stories is the bravest thing we'll ever do.
Speaker 1 (00:14:57) - It just says something to that effect. And I had to go through this process of imposter syndrome, overcoming it in my business because after the first few years I kind of realized I wasn't selling myself. This was kinda the big epiphany I had. I was like not selling myself a confidence cuz I was like, I don't have the perfect story to do branding, you know, the core of what I do is, um, branding, writing people's messages, creating their website, creating their logo, that kind of thing. And I'm like, I don't have the textbook background for that. I worked at Disney. Yes. But like, I kind of self-taught myself a lot of these things. And it took really confidently owning my story and saying, you know what? I may not have the picture perfect resume, but I do have a lot of great things in my story that make me really valuable and I am not serving anybody by not owning that and not fully embracing it. So that's my advice is like, you know, if you are really wanting to establish yourself, like the the next step is not a webinar, a funnel, a great piece of marketing, it is choosing, you know, to embrace who you are and the magic of your own story.
Speaker 0 (00:16:01) - I love that and I love that. That's the title of the second book . It's like, so would you recommend, do, do your books kind of go in order or could you They do read them. Okay. Okay. So we need to,
Speaker 1 (00:16:12) - They do, it's one's kind of the prequel. So permission to try is great if you were evaluating kind of changing direction, you know, maybe you're gonna quit a job, you're gonna start a business. I cover both of those things. So I talk about the stories of leaving Disney and then I wrote it five years after I left Disney. So you can kind of hear the story of like, well then what happened and how did the business get started and all that. And then establish yourself as kind of the sequel. So if you read a permission to try and you start a business or you've started a business pr establish yourself as really a business book with it comes with a free workbook is probably very akin to a lot of what you teach, but it helps you optimize six areas of your business from branding to ops to sales, client experience, relationships and marketing with that marketing one being at the very end. Because if you optimize all those other things, your marketing's just gonna be that much easier, work that much better and not be this what I call like, you know, tactic tornado that sucks you down into the black hole of online marketing.
Speaker 0 (00:17:06) - Yeah. Yeah. So do you help your clients build all of this without relying on social media? Is there like kind of a, a method to that madness or is that kind of pulled into that last marketing piece?
Speaker 1 (00:17:22) - It's definitely represented. So like you, I'm not saying that I, you know, I'm careful not to be like, you know, you can grow a business and never be on social media. It's like I, I do think that that's possible, but I don't think that social media is the bad guy here. I just think it's been made out to be the only guy. Yeah. And it's really not. And I see too many people making these mistakes of like, they're not taking care of their existing clients cuz they're chasing new ones, for example. And so a lot of what I teach in and what I talk about and establish yourself is this notion of what I call reverse revenue. And so what most marketers are teaching these days is I think really backwards because it's all about optimizing, taking someone who has never heard of you a cold lead and turning them into a client.
Speaker 1 (00:18:02) - And that's the probably the hardest thing you can possibly do. Yeah. Right. Take someone who doesn't know who you are and establish a relationship with them. And look, if you've got the financial resources and the staff, it's up to invest in, in the perfect funnel and getting enough people in your funnel that somebody's gonna do like the automating that relationship building or go the opposite direction and really optimize your business from the people who already know you, the people in your network, your existing clients. Like how can you be treating your, your existing clients better? Are you offering them profitable services? Cuz you make their experiences better. You know, people refer, right? Like, and, and we all know the value of a customer you already have is so much more valuable than the one you have to go chase after. Yeah. Um, so that is really what I'm here to say about that.
Speaker 1 (00:18:46) - I think social media is really important. I don't think it's everything. And so what I te you know, to give you the short version of what I teach in the book is I think it's really important that you have what I would call a consistency container. So you might have heard of it as thought leadership, other kinds of things, some sort of signature content. But have, I am not a consistent person by nature and I need a system. And I think so many of my clients, like they're like, I need to do social media, but they'll put up a post and it's like agony and then they don't touch it for six months. What I recommend is coming up with some sort of consistency container system, one of which should be email marketing, one of which should be at least one platform on social media.
Speaker 1 (00:19:23) - And so, like what I do is I come up with content pillars, I sort of talk about certain things, right? Different tips, business, that kind of stuff. I batch content and then I have my assistant put it into smarter q um, which is one of these like Hootsuite, you know, later these scheduling batching kind of things. I haven't heard of that one, never. I never have to worry about it. I, I really like Smarter Q because it lets you set a weekly schedule via category and you can rerun posts. Um, so you're, oh, like, you know, 20 posts can run for more than a year if you run them three times. So it goes one through 20, one through 21 through 20, right. So you're not constantly on the content creation train. Right. So, oh, that's nice. So I'm all about that. You know, you create or create something like are you gonna have, like I, for years I had a talk series called Brandy with Annie that I would host once a month.
Speaker 1 (00:20:13) - So that gave something to talk about on social media. Mm-hmm. I, to to this day, I don't do a newsletter. I do a show called Branding with Friends. And so I have people come on branding with friends and we talk about different topics like branding and LinkedIn branding and s e o and that helps me have content for my newsletter, get to know more people, grow my audience, like it kind of double, triple, quadruple dips, but it gives me that social content. Right. So I think social's important. It's a credibility builder. Yes. Many people build businesses on it, but I come from a world having worked with hundreds of coaches and consultants who the grit, vast majority don't use social media and they hate it and they don't like to self-promote. So I start with like, Hey, why don't you do all these other things first and get those things working because yeah, you're not, you're not getting any of this other stuff done and you're not growing your business because you think it has to be all about this magic gold rush of social, which doesn't even make sense to you. So it's really speaking to that niche versus people who are like, I love social, I totally get it. I'm on it all day. Right,
Speaker 0 (00:21:13) - Right. Well and I feel like what you are totally speaking to is that person who's like, I'm posting all the time on social media and not seeing results. Yes. It's probably because they're missing a lot of those components that you have shared. Some of them being the relationships and or not knowing their story, who they're serving, like all those pieces and they're just posting based off what they've seen other people do, but it doesn't work for them.
Speaker 1 (00:21:40) - A huge problem I see with this, and I'm, I'm, I have a workshop coming out on this, on this topic is most people are not selling anything either. So they are just like constantly putting out content and being like, I'm not getting anything. And like I call that looking for like applause and not action. So it's like you are not, if you are not selling anything, if you're not talking and driving people to talk to you, Hey I've got this program, they're just like, Hey, I'm putting out tips and stuff and no one's contacting me for my services. I'm like, that's cuz you're just entertaining them and you're also just looking for emotional validation at this point. Like that's unfortunately what I think a lot of social has become in this. Oh I need all these likes so I can feel like I should post again.
Speaker 1 (00:22:20) - You know, if people and if people aren't liking it then I'm not posting. Right. It's like that's part of why I love that I've bat shit. I don't touch much of it honestly. Um, I don't even think about it except if people are commenting because it's like, oh it's great, somebody commented . Because it can too easily become that like, Hey, I'm being vulnerable and like, does anyone like this? And it's like, no, actually the question you should be asking is what did you wanna be sharing about what do you, what's the goal of doing any of this? Are you putting some calls to action in these things and even do people know what you do? Like that's a huge challenge that I see all I'm helping new people. Correct. Is they think it's a marketing problem. Like most often when I talk to people they are really unclear on what they're selling and what they do. When you really talk to them and they're like, well I don't have any clients. I'm like, well because you haven't articulated, you don't even know what you're selling. You're so busy marketing that you haven't figured out what the business is and that that's a, you know, classic fixating on frosting.
Speaker 0 (00:23:14) - Yeah. And I love the fixating on frosting. I'm totally gonna use that now. medical makes so much sense. Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm , total sense . Um, I just, I just had a birthday too with and we had like this whole thing with the pink frosting too and it's like, yes, yes totally
Speaker 1 (00:23:29) - Crossing is great right? But if the cake is no good,
Speaker 0 (00:23:32) - Yeah.
Speaker 1 (00:23:33) - It's just gonna put you outta business faster.
Speaker 0 (00:23:35) - Yeah, a hundred percent. I love that so much . So is there anything else that you delegate in your business? Because you mentioned yes, um, you're a scheduler so can you share some of that of that? Cuz I know you're a busy mom too. Yes. And a lot of my listeners are also busy moms, so how can we help streamline this?
Speaker 1 (00:23:51) - Yes. So I am the, I am the quintessential person who can do everything in my business. So it took me a long time to learn how to delegate. Um, and I really had to when uh, you know, you'll love this tidbit, I came back from my first maternity leave two weeks into the US shut down for Covid.
Speaker 0 (00:24:07) - Oh
Speaker 1 (00:24:07) - No. So my son is three. Yeah. I was like, oh my gosh, how is this gonna go? And of course I was the only breadwinner in my family and still am. Um, and so it really forced me, like I had a virtual assistant who was Sarah, um, but I really wasn't using her to the extent. And so I talk a lot about this in the book, but the short version of it is I had to learn that just cuz I can do everything I shouldn't. Um, and to use, and one of the biggest game changers for me with using Sarah was um, what I call s so S sessions sorted out with Sarah. So, um, realizing that with my virtual assistant, I did not have to have it all figured out that if you have a good VA you can meet with them. And I literally start most of those like, uh, I don't know, like even to this day like showing up to those meetings and not being perfect the way I need to be or want to be with clients.
Speaker 1 (00:24:50) - Um, and going through what's going on and getting her help and thought to like prioritize things. And that has really helped me hand more off because I'm going, oh, you can handle that and oh, I'll just, you know, hey let's come up with that process and then you can run it with it. Cuz so often I was the bottleneck to delegating. So that's a way I've used virtual assistant. I use acuity for scheduling, which I cannot say enough good things that shows saves me hours and hours and hours. I use Smarter Q for batching my social media, which has been a delight and also very easy to delegate to my assistant. Um, I'm trying to think of a couple other things, but you know, those are the biggest things. And I think, you know, for me in that first year especially of delegating, I remember getting an invoice for Sarah for 40 hours for that month.
Speaker 1 (00:25:35) - And I usually about 20 just right now. And, but that was me cor correcting and I remember I was so tired. I had a, you know, five month old at home, wasn't sleeping yet. And I just felt like so grateful when I got that invoice cuz I was like, you know what? I had made more money having her and that was 40 hours that needed to happen in this business that I didn't have to do. And that has been hundred mindset. Mindset has been huge and I was like the biggest skeptic. It did not wanna hire, it did not want, you know, like if you told me like, oh you would have a v you know, assistant who does 20 hours a month for you. I'm like, oh yeah, she consistently does 20 hour hours a month. It's a significant investment. She is, you know, not the like the fiber option. And and she's incredible. Her team is incredible and um, just not having to do it myself. And it's really also challenged me, you know, more than any like app or whatever tool is to come up with processes. So things like, you know, branding with friends, all I have to do is record an episode and they can do the rest. Cuz I built it like a repeatable system with templates so they follow the, you know, the standard operating procedures SOP and I don't have to do it. It's,
Speaker 0 (00:26:39) - Yeah. Yeah. That was one of the things when I started working with a VA was making sure that anything that I did that I didn't have to do, I just like recorded it one time of me doing it. Yes. And how like my systems and then saved it in a Google doc and I'm like, here's the things and
Speaker 1 (00:26:55) - It, I've, I've done videos too that really helped me as well. Like I heard somebody told me that they were like, oh I trade my VA just like recording videos. I was like, oh, I thought I had to write all this out. Like I didn't realize I could just like talk it out. So Great. Yep.
Speaker 0 (00:27:09) - A hundred percent. Yeah. That's so great. Um, what point in your business did you finally hire a va? Do you know? Like was there a certain
Speaker 1 (00:27:18) - Uh, 2017.
Speaker 0 (00:27:20) - Oh, so so
Speaker 1 (00:27:21) - It was, so it was um, four years in to my business. Okay. And that really that those, I would say 2017 to 2019 Sarah was really only typing up like, like things that I felt like I could delegate by writing out the process. So she was setting up mm-hmm home bases for clients and transcribing um, client interviews for me. So it was like, yeah, I wanna say it was three or four hours. So we went from three to four hours to 20 plus hours.
Speaker 0 (00:27:46) - Love it.
Speaker 1 (00:27:47) - Just by literally show permission to show up and not have all the answers and let her take some things off my plate.
Speaker 0 (00:27:56) - My dog is doing the Bark . I'm sure you probably hear that.
Speaker 1 (00:28:01) - Is that Pluto or Doug or is
Speaker 0 (00:28:03) - It some sort of name was actually Bella.
Speaker 1 (00:28:05) - There you go.
Speaker 0 (00:28:11) - Sorry. I was, I was like hearing her come down the driveway and I'm like, I'm going to be unmuted at the exact moment. My dog realizes that she's fully down the driveway. No, her name is Bella, yet her name came with her cause she's a rescue dog from Puerto Rico, but, but we like to, she's got a little Disney princess collar on, so she's still representing. Of course.
Speaker 1 (00:28:30) - I had no doubt
Speaker 0 (00:28:32) - , you're like, I knew I knew it. Um, okay, so how I'd like to wrap up all of our podcast interviews. I would love to hear either what you are currently reading, um, personal development or not and or a personal development business book that has like really kind of blown your mind or changed something that you were doing.
Speaker 1 (00:28:53) - Personal development, business book. Um, excuse me. Um, so what I'm currently reading is I'm reading Ashley Kirkwood's book, which is called Speak Your Way to Cash. Um, she's really great, she's a former lawyer, um, and she, a lot of what she teaches is stuff that I would teach and I have seen to be very true about how to price yourself above the market when it comes to being a speaker. I'm also a speaker in my business and so I was learning okay. I was literally listening to that at Castaway Key and um, absolutely looking in what she had to say, which I think, you know, great book for that. Um, okay. Something that, uh, you know, this is, this is more personal development, so I, but I think a book that's really changed some things for me in the past few years is a book, uh, one be our Guest, I think Be Our Guest is a great if you're a Disney file and you wanna customer series, but personally there's a book is, the title is Terrible, which is, um, what is it? Uh, children of Emotionally Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents,
Speaker 0 (00:29:50) - . Oh, I think I've heard of that before
Speaker 1 (00:29:53) - Actually. So, uh, my cousin told me about it. Oh my gosh. It was just really, you know, I don't know if people listening, if you're like a younger mom, like you're maybe in your like thirties or forties, like I think reading when you are, when you become a parent, you start to really question how you were parented, right? Like, you have to make new decisions, you have to reparent yourself. And it just really helped me to un better understand my family and where I come from and what some of those patterns are with the hope that like, I won't repeat them. And I think that that is something that permeates everything I do. Not even just, you know, business and we're talking here talking about business, but this is like the stuff that is really gonna matter about our lives and our legacy and that, that was really eyeopening. So if you have struggled with, um, you know, I thought I had an idyllic, you know, pretty great childhood, but it's not that it taught me, I didn't, but it helped me understand some things and it has helped me to, um, the way I phrase it is like, love my family but not become them, like, not become the things that I've struggled with or that have been tougher for me as a grownup, you know, as a, you know, what I wanna be when I grow up. Grow
Speaker 0 (00:30:50) - Up. Yeah. Yeah. That's so good. I will have to, we will link all these in the show notes too, guys, so you can check out Annie's books and then also the ones that she recommended . Um, okay. Since you are a Disney lover. Yes. Um, favorite Disney Park. Do you have one? Oh,
Speaker 1 (00:31:06) - That's
Speaker 0 (00:31:07) - A, I know this is so hard one. I know, I know. It's a
Speaker 1 (00:31:09) - Hard one. Um,
Speaker 0 (00:31:10) - We can do a top two if you want.
Speaker 1 (00:31:14) - Um, okay. We could do top two, I would say Magic Kingdom or Disneyland because I think that that is, um, disneyland's interesting to me because I, I used to think it was not that great. Mm-hmm. And then I worked there and you, at the time you got like a silver pass and so you could go like most days of the year plus three people. And so Disney became like my home base. Like I go, I got to go Disneyland all the time. And it's like, yeah. Whether it's Magic Main Street, USA there or in Magic Kingdom, there's, you know, that that's what, you know, Disneyland is a place that Walt actually walked and like had this vision that nobody else had. Right. Um, that has endured the test of time and the company's going through, you know, it's hundredth anniversary. Disneyland, um, just said it's 50th 50th and it's like, I don't know, there's just no other place where the magic resides. And I think walking, walking down Main Street USA in Disneyland. Okay, well, we'll say it's Disneyland. I'm really surprised to say that, but, um, I love world cause it's closer to me. Um, and I grew up going to the, like the resort's my favorite Wal Disney World resort. Like we can, we can get really granular here, Uhhuh, but land is like so incredible because he walked that like, he didn't get to see World Disney World built. Right. And so, yeah.
Speaker 0 (00:32:23) - Yeah.
Speaker 1 (00:32:23) - You know, and you've got the, um, the window to his dad that's on the street, the Elias Disney, I don't know if you've seen, have you seen Saving Mr. Banks?
Speaker 0 (00:32:31) - Yeah. Yeah. I loved that movie.
Speaker 1 (00:32:33) - So a lot of the, the sets there were like still there part of really close to where I worked. They shot on the lot, all of that, but that is, you know, can really connect you back to that kind of thing. So it helped me to, I think there's something really magical about that and if there's something really magical about, um, the, the insane reality that I was once a cast member, um, yeah. And kind of ca bottling that magic for me. So I think, oh, that's so fun. Disneyland, you win
Speaker 0 (00:32:58) - , Disneyland, , you're like, after we've talked this out, the actual dang Disneyland . Yeah. Now, you know, now you know.
Speaker 1 (00:33:04) - I love them all though. They're all good.
Speaker 0 (00:33:06) - Yeah. Have you been to Disneyland, Paris?
Speaker 1 (00:33:09) - I've not, but I've had the wild hair of like, maybe we should do that. Like I've, I kind of wanna do, I'm big on the cruises. Um, I've went on my fifth Disney cruise since the cruise line has been around and I really kinda wanna do a Mediterranean cruise or European cruise at some
Speaker 0 (00:33:23) - Point. Yeah. So yeah, that'd be really awesome. We, so I did my first ever cruise and it was a Disney cruise at Christmas 2021. And it was, um, it was just a four day I think, and then we did, we loved it so much that we booked a June, 2022. So we just went on it last summer, um, to Alaska and it was also Disney. So I'm like, I don't know if I can ever do a cruise line now that's not Disney .
Speaker 1 (00:33:49) - I mean, why would you spoiled
Speaker 0 (00:33:51) - Like ? I know my dad's always like, well, we should try another one. And I, and I'm like, I don't think we need to ,
Speaker 1 (00:33:57) - I'm in enough of these Facebook groups for the Disney Cruise Lion. And it's like, yeah, no, like some people, you know, sometimes they say like, for older kids or for mm-hmm. adults, but like, I'm such a Disney adult. I'm like, just no, I know what I like here.
Speaker 0 (00:34:10) - . Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I'm like, I don't need the casino. I'm like, I don't need all this other, these shows that aren't Disney show, like, no, . A hundred percent. Well thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much Annie for sharing all of this. Please tell everyone where can they connect with you. Um, remind us the name of your books again and everyone I will make sure that all this is in the show notes, so you can just click the links super easily.
Speaker 1 (00:34:33) - Awesome. Well, the easiest way to find me [email protected] So that's my website, greatest Story Creative and my books are permission to try, which you can [email protected] and Establish Yourself, which you can find it, howtoestablish yourself.com.
Speaker 0 (00:34:50) - I love that. I love that. And I can't wait to grab them. I'm going to go grab both of them tonight so that I can add them to I will, I I'm probably going to read, um, the customer service one, the VR guest, because I don't have that. I got that for Christmas and it's literally been sitting next to my bed. . I need, it's a good one. Need start reading.
Speaker 1 (00:35:08) - Great. For your retreat too. I've always thought if I were to lead a, um, a retreat down there and I may with, with clients like that would be great reading for that.
Speaker 0 (00:35:17) - Mm-hmm. Okay. Good to know. Yeah, making a mental note of that as well. . All right, Annie. Well thank you so much everyone, when you are listening to this, please make sure to screenshot it, tag us on social and we would love to chat with you more. Thank you. Thank you.
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