For this first episode of season 5 (!), our team got to record in person! For the first time ever, three of us were in the same room—normally we work from the U.S. and Portugal. Our time together inspired us to record an episode all about our work. We cover:
- What it’s like meeting for the first time in person
- The pros and cons of remote team dynamics
- What it’s been like for me (Stacy) to go from working on my own to leading a team
- How we’ve stayed connected while living so far apart
- The risks we’ve each taken to go after our dreams
- Our wonderful clients and why we love working with them
- What we value in each person on the team
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Transcripts for Episode 105
These transcripts were generated by robots, not writers.
Stacy: Welcome. Welcome. I am really excited to kick off season five. This is a really special episode because we have two people on the team here. One all the way from the United States, and the other that lives here in Portugal, really close to me, at least for now, which we’ll talk about a little bit later. And so I’d love to introduce you to these two amazing people. And then we’re going of just have a conversation about working together as a team, creating content, serving clients, working in publishing, just kind of this whole world that we’re in. So I’ll start with Catherine. If you’re on YouTube, you can see she’s right here. The Amazing Catherine Fishman. Catherine is a systems savvy operations coordinator who geeks out on Asana, loves connecting with aspiring authors, and has innate well developed understanding of the book writing process. She has a love of systems and everything efficiency, and her expertise is in planning, strategizing, and executing complex projects.
Stacy: Catherine joined the team in 2017, right before we left, moved to Thailand. So a whirlwind time and is really an integral part of client and student success and making sure the team runs efficiently. Catherine kind of lives in Portland, which we’ll talk about later, but has been having this amazing European adventure. And then there is Rita Dominguez. Rita is an artist who is passionate about the creative process. She uses her creativity and eye for design. As my social media manager and marketing coordinator, she is currently studying graphic design at the Lisbon School of Design. And in her free time, you can find her soaking up the sun and exploring her home country of Portugal. So welcome. Yesterday was the first time that we got to actually be together, all three of us in person, while my family was in the US. You guys were able to connect because Catherine stayed at our house and you guys were able to connect in Portugal.
Stacy: But tell me a little bit about what it was like for you two to meet before we all three got to meet, and then I’ll tell you a little bit about my thoughts when I got time with you together yesterday.
Rita: Yeah, it was kind of strange because you know each other for like a year and a half on a screen, and all of a sudden it’s like, oh my God, you’re real. We’re here. And yeah, we hit it off really well. And it was amazing to be able to work together, and the productivity was awesome. And yeah, it was all good things to say.
Stacy: It is weird when you have I mean, because you’ve now known Catherine for about a year and a half.
Stacy: And you and I get to work together all the time because we currently live five minutes from each other. But it is kind of weird when you just know somebody on the screen and then th it’s like, oh, you actually have a body
I know we hugged each other, and we’re like, oh, no, we’re real. There’s a person here. So, yeah, that was super fun.
Stacy: How about you? What was your feeling or impression?
Catherine: Yeah, I think if you haven’t met each other offline, there’s like, a certain kind of online persona that just is natural, I think, for everyone to have.
Catherine: Like, you can’t utilize your whole body to express yourself, and it’s confined to this work environment. And then to be out and about and walking and talking and having leisure time, for me, was being able to see the whole person. And now what I feel is that it’s just going to inform and make the work that we do even better and more efficient and more fun because we have this dynamic that has the context of real in person interaction. I think it’s interesting because I’ve worked with a lot of people solely online, and I’m like what maybe was missing just as a little spark that I think now will be there because we’ve met.
Rita: Yeah, you definitely need that human connection, for sure. And I think, like you said, it will really help for the future of the work that we’re doing together and just, like, building that relationship. It’s nice.
Stacy: Yeah, it’s so important. And I think the last time I saw you, I was trying to think if it was in Seattle, it would have been 20, maybe 2019. It would have been 2019, I think. Okay, well, yeah, it’s been a while, and so, of course, we meet weekly. We’re constantly in contact, but, yeah, it was amazing for me when I saw you yesterday, and I was like, oh, this is just so wonderful. We were able to have breakfast together, and then we had a strategy session, and I feel like we had a lot of fun, and we did chitchat a lot in our strategy session, but I think we made this one big identification piece of the brand that I think we’ve been struggling to find for a long time. But just being together, and I think us, like, you would say something, and I would jump in, and Catherine would be like, well, wait a second.
Stacy: And then there wasn’t the Zoom lag. I think it let us be real.
Catherine: With each other, and we’re I think, you know, it’s just absolutely insane to think about being on Zoom more than 2 hours. Right. But for us to be able to be in person, take a walk after you’re working 2 hours and come back and of course, I’m big on walking, gets ideas flowing, and breakthroughs happen after that. So to have that too, together right. That, to me, felt really special because you can’t get that with Zoom. You go on a walk, you’re talking with each other, whether it’s even about business or not. It’s like you’re still in that mode, like, your brains are syncing up, and then you get back and it’s like, okay, dig back and chew on this stuff. And yeah, I feel like were able to accomplish what maybe would have taken months through online back and forth, and we got this intensive, and it was yeah.
Stacy: And it’s interesting. So I’d love to hear your perspectives on this, but I’ve been reflecting a lot this last month, being in Idaho on just how I work in the world and what I enjoy and what I don’t enjoy. And I think now I’ve been in business for nearly 14 years, and I think in the beginning, when I was just a solopreneur and I didn’t have my sight set on where I am now, I just was, like, crafting a business, and I wanted to replace my income as a teacher. I was pretty happy just being alone. And then I think I’ve gotten a little bored of that over time, even though when it comes to writing and creativity, I cannot have any sound. I need complete silence and no distractions. But when it comes to all of the other work that I do, just the things that I’m I don’t know, like emailing, I would rather sit alongside other people who are emailing so that we’re just kind of like in a space together.
Stacy: I was working a little bit at a co working space over my month off. I worked two days, and I loved it. I took a lunch break and I sat at a table with people and we chatted, and it was really nice. So I’m curious to hear I know you’re about to go into kind of a life transition, so we can hear about that in a moment, too, and how you’re thinking about that. But I also know that you have very much been in that space of being alone a lot while you’re working, and now you’re on this kind of explorative life adventure, which I’d love you to talk a little bit about. What realizations have you had about your own work and the way that you communicate with other people and form community and want to be in the world? How has that shifted for you as you’ve gotten older, as you’ve traveled?
Stacy: Tell me a little bit about that.
Catherine: Funny you should ask, because I was just writing about this morning in my journal. That’s one thing I’ve been doing is journaling every day while I’ve been traveling the last four weeks, I guess. And that’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about. And I think, like you had mentioned in the beginning, when you’re trying to get into your flow and make this thing work and be serious about it, I think having a loan time is really helpful. But then once that becomes more of a default and you’re used to it and that itself is not new, I think, yeah, it can get a little boring, like you crave that in person. And so what I was writing about today was I’m realizing wherever I’m going to be, if I continue this remote work, I need to organize it so that I’m in a co working space.
Catherine: And I was thinking about how if you’ve ever been to a yoga class or a meditation class, it is so much easier to get into meditation if you’re around other people.
Catherine: And I think there’s a similar thing at play when you’re working around other people. I know, I felt it with Rena and I was like, I can keep going. Whereas at home I’ll be like, okay, 90 minutes, I need to get off my computer. I need to go walk. Because I think you’re interslicing conversation and having those little mini breaks that allow your brain to shift away from the screen for a little bit and then come back and all of that. Even if at a co working space, you’re observing your environment, that is like input that is stimulating your brain in a different way. Kind of thinking about this, how do I want to phrase it? So I think that’s much different than looking at the wall behind your monitor.
Stacy: And my Taylor Swift albums only go so far for stimulation.
Catherine: I think community, this has been in my personal life, realizing that cannot be replaced, that cannot be something that you get solely online. I think we are physical beings that need to have that physical aspect in some way, shape or form. So going from this end of when COVID started, everyone was like, this is crazy. We’re all at home. And now he’s like, this is my life.
This is literally what I’ve been doing for ten years.
Catherine: Yeah, exactly. And now coming out COVID, I’m like, I think I need a change, and I think I need to make sure to give myself that in person element, however that may look. I don’t even necessarily need to be talking to other people, although that will naturally happen if you’re around them. But yeah, I see in my know, trying to figure out, I was living in Portland for a while and now I’m kind of in between. I’m on this European adventure and trying to choose where I will go next. And I think that’s going to be a piece that is going to help me determine where I want to go. I would like there to be kind of a community established or at least access to something like that, where I can work with other people and like minded people doing similar things who like to be efficient in community.
Stacy: Yeah, I love all that. And those are some of the realizations that I’ve had too. It’s like, just because something has worked really well for a long time, it doesn’t mean there’s not a better way to do it. I know you are about to have also a total life of people. It’s like a theme, I think. Tell us a little bit about kind of where you’re at now and what your next steps look like as you move into design school and what do you kind of envision shifting and changing for you and how you work.
Rita: Yeah, well, just going back on what Catherine was saying about the community sense, and you’ve had that realization as well while you were at home and in the co working space. It’s been kind of feeling the same for me the last couple of months. It’s like that struggling of like, okay, I’m at home and this is great, but you distracted and you crave that in person, communicating with each other and just like, having those little breaks, like you were saying. So it’s funny that I feel like we’re all on that same boat right now, and hopefully Catherine can come join us in Europe so we can do this more. Maybe Porto? Yeah, I’m about to go to Porto in just a little over two weeks. It’s kind of terrifying, but really exciting.
Stacy: I’m so happy for you. But I’m so sad because I love our dynamic. I love having you here to work with. I know for us, it’s going to be an adjustment because we’ve got to figure out how are we going to still meet on a somewhat regular basis. We have Web summit coming up in November. We’ll be there.
Rita: That’ll be exciting.
Stacy: But you’re also going to be adding school to your life, which it’ll be interesting because you’re going to have a lot of community and you might be craving actually some of that space.
Rita: Well, yeah, I guess maybe it will be an adjustment, for sure. It’s been, like, I don’t know, eight years since Alice was in school, so it will be like a big adjustment. But I think I don’t know. For me, one of the things, especially as a creative, is the fact that I’m going to be in a different city, surrounded by just different things, like coffee shops, like different supermarket, different ways that you walk home, different people that I think that would really help with the creativity side that I will need for my course. And yeah, to your point, I think having my own time to be able to work by myself will be very good to balance that too. But I don’t know, it will be an experiment. Maybe we can have this conversation again in a month and see how it’s going. But yeah, it’s an exciting journey, and I’m really sad that we’re not going to see each other every week and get to work together, but we will definitely catch up.
Rita: I feel like at least every couple of months with me coming down here.
Stacy: It’s such a tiny country, too.
Rita: It’s not even an hour flight.
Stacy: I know. I don’t think people realize how small Portugal is because you can drive, I think, from the bottom to the top in like, six and a half hours.
Catherine: About that, which is the same distance from Portland, where I live, back to Boise.
Stacy: And, like, our family vacations, normally we would drive, and it would take, like, eight to 9 hours to get to the coast. So it just is, like, nothing to Americans, the whole country. Yeah.
Rita: But we’ll just keep hanging out with each other every time we can. And like you said, we’ve got Web summit to look forward to.
Rita: That’ll be November.
Stacy: Yeah. That’s going to be a really fun experience. This will be a massive conference, so I think a lot of fun over in Lisbon. Yeah, in yeah. Okay. So I want to talk a little bit about just our work with clients, because I tell people this all the time, but I think that they think I’m being hyperbolic. But I really think that we have the best clients in the world. They are amazing, and I think that part of what makes them so great is they all have one of our criteria for working with people is that they put good into the world. So I think that just kind of naturally brings us people that are big hearted. They care about making the world a better place, and that takes a lot of different shapes. It might be a social equity project, or it might be a leadership book, or they might have an expertise in health and wellness that can make people’s lives better.
Stacy: But I’d love to hear a little bit from you both on just what the experience has been like for you working with our clients. What have you noticed about them? And maybe we’ll start with you, Rita. What has been your kind of overall sentiment as you’ve gotten to know the people that we support?
Rita: For me, it’s been super inspiring, especially coming from a hospitality background where you’ve got that contact with people and you hear the stories, but it’s a very short interaction.
Rita: And getting to know the clients and their stories and their books, it’s so inspiring to just keep doing the work that you are doing and helping you to achieve all these great things and for them to publish their books or it’s just so amazing and inspiring. And it has been huge for me, for example, taking the step to wanting to go to school and do better for myself and become a better professional. It comes a lot from being inspired by the clients of we want to better, we want to do better for the world. And, yeah, this has been my overall experience, and I’m just so happy that we get to do that every day.
Stacy: Yeah, I look forward to talking to them right. Where it’s like I hear from a lot of friends and colleagues that they’ll tell me these horror stories, or they’ll be like, I’ve got this pain client, that they’re just so frustrating. And I’m like, oh, that stinks. But mine are amazing. Generally, across the board, they’re pretty awesome.
Rita: Yeah. I think because you always have this sentiment of it’s not just you are the suitable person for them, but they’re also the suitable person for you. Right. You have to have that connection with your clients. And I think that’s huge in any business and probably why the success. And we’re just like our clients are great because having that mutual connection.
Stacy: Yeah, we’ve learned a lot about just the vetting process and it’s never a judgment on the person or their project. Right. But it’s like now we have all these steps that we say, okay, this is a red flag to us because it doesn’t align with our values. Even when I was on vacation, we had a number of applications that came into the program that I’m running this fall. And again, no judgment on them, no judgment on their book. But it was like a pretty instant, not a good fit. And we’re going to tell them like, thank you so much. And we always try to give them a referral on, but we’re so selective about the people that we take on. And it’s very much like an abundance mindset. We never go into one thinking like, oh, I have to get this client. It’s like, does this fully align?
Stacy: I think that’s been a journey, though, over time. Talk a little bit about your own experience and kind of like maybe some of the things that we’ve learned along the way in creating the dynamic that we’ve created, maybe even in the programs, like the just gorgeous atmosphere in the programs are just incredible.
Catherine: I think a couple of things come to mind for me. One is this sense of clarity, even if it’s not in the specifics, but all the clients, I think whether we’ve been aware of it or not, the people who thrive are and the people that tend to really resonate are people who have a really clear vision of what they want. They may not have a super clear vision of the specifics, and that’s where we come in.
Catherine: But they are focused and they have something that they’re really trying to accomplish. It’s not this nebulous thing. And for me, Rita talked about it being inspiring. I am so inspired by that. To me, being in an environment where that’s the norm for people know you are like the people that you spend time with. So I’ve taken that to be like, oh yeah, of course you have to have that.
Rita: How do you know where you’re going.
Catherine: To go if you don’t know where you’re going or how to get there? You know that thing?
Catherine: I think that just being the foundation on which they start to me feels number one. And then it has been a process. I know were really passionate about people successfully accomplishing what they want to do. This is not just about making money or making sales. This is about actually accomplishing the goal together. With them. So for us, we feel if someone hasn’t written their book, when that’s the goal they set out to do, we take that on as, Wait, no, this is not okay. We will go above and beyond of reaching out, trying to give them more support, because the point isn’t to make money. The point is to accomplish these goals and get information out into the world that it needs. And I love books, and I’m interested in books and do a lot of different things around books, including with your clients, because of I’ve always said the ideal job is to be able to learn, to get paid to learn. So that’s why I think this is the best job you could have, because.
Catherine: We get to talk to people who are educating us just through the mere process of speaking with us and even giving us the information we need in order to help them. So that is such a gift, and I think I feel so grateful for that. And that feeds into my desire to truly want to serve and give them everything that we can. Right. Because just in the interaction, they’ve now given me so much and I want. To give them so much.
Catherine: So it’s truly an exchange. I feel like that’s another thing, is there’s this sense of an exchange versus you’re my service provider. And I’m right, there’s none of that energy ever. And I think that’s where you can get some nightmare clients, is when they kind of look at you that way, like, you work for me, lady. And there’s never been any of that. It’s been very much like gratitude and learning on both ends and being able to shine in our expertise, and that allows us to let them shine in their expertise.
Rita: Like walking alongside a journey, I feel like.
Stacy: Yeah, there’s like, trust there, right? Yeah. It got me thinking as you were talking too, about my own professional evolution. And I was just thinking back to when I started my business. I’ve talked about this on the podcast before, but I was living in the Dominican Republic. We only had air conditioner in the bedroom. So I would sit on our bed with my crazy kitten attacking me from pouncing on me and scratching my face. And I was like, I’d work these long hours as a teacher. I was working like 60 to 70 hours a week. And then on the nights and weekends, I would start this new business that was initially a complete failure. And I remember just creating my first proposal and how scary that was. And I had a friend who had government experience that reviewed it for me. I can think of one particular pretty bad client really early on in the first real year when I was working full time in my business.
Stacy: And I have had a lot of learning experiences, but I think what has let me today feel so I think when I talk to somebody and I tell them that we’re not a good fit, or I tell them I think we are a good fit. I feel so confident and anchored in the fact that we are going to help them be successful in writing their book, whether it’s through ghost writing or it’s through consulting or through coaching or through a coaching program. I feel so confident about that. And I think that’s time that’s proven over, working on so many books and seeing so many people be successful. But I think it’s also like growing up, because I was 24 when I started my business, 23 or 24, and I was, like, learning to my expertise as I was building my business, whereas a lot of people I know, they’ll start their business when they’re already experts.
Stacy: So it was like a journey. It was a lot to develop. And just where we are today, it just feels so stable. It feels so joyful. I love our model of taking on a fewer number of people at a higher price point so that we can be really there and not have to be overextended. And then I think, just me as a person, I’ve let go of that. I mean, I’m still like hustle mentality sometimes. I’ll be honest. It’s a constant struggle for me. This morning I woke up at 04:00, and I was like, I have so much to do I should get out of bed.
Stacy: I’m like, no, Stacy, you have to sleep. It’s a struggle for me, but I’ve come so far in this idea that I had to kill myself at all times to build this business that’s been a huge growth area for me. I’d love to hear from both of you. I mean, maybe I’ll start with you, catherine, because we’ve known each other for a long time now, and we’ve kind of grown together in our own because you have a business as well as being on the team with me. Tell me a little bit about that for you, what that’s been like and what you’ve realized over the years as you’ve developed as a professional business owner.
Catherine: Oh, man. I have to say, I think this is why being an entrepreneur is so fun, because you and I both and Rita too, we’re learners, and I think that is an absolute number one requirement to be an entrepreneur. Like, whatever your path is, that’s great, but I think that is essential to being an entrepreneur.
Stacy: Problem solver, too.
Catherine: Problem solving, for sure. Yeah, because there’s no hand. I mean, there’s handbooks out there claiming to know how to tell you what to do, but once you get into them, it’s so customized. Right? You have to have a customized solution. Yeah. So I’m constantly learning, and to me, it’s like being an entrepreneur is in direct relationship to my growth as a human being, which I love that. I love that about it. But I live or I say, and I currently live in the States and that is a place where if you’re not careful, that hustle mode, that work is everything mentality can just become how you are. And I’m someone who is particularly prone to that as well. I’m a workhorse. I love working. I love accomplishing things, I love to do lists and checking things off. And that is part of why at this time in my life, I’m 33 and I’m exploring maybe some other options because I feel like I might do better overall as a person if I’m not in an environment that is emphasizing that and making that more, bringing that out in me.
Catherine: Because I went to school in New York and kind of went a little off the deep end there in terms of just it burnt me know? And then I had to come back to Idaho and it’s been a learning process of how to come back to that core of work. Work isn’t everything and it shouldn’t be everything, but you can have this relationship where it is definitely enriching your life. So that balance I think, is so important. Yeah. And I’ve been learning my biggest thing and of course we’re all different, but I need to be really excited about the clients that I work with. So if I’m looking at you as a client right, which you are, you’re my longest standing client. I’m excited to work with you. I’m passionate about it. I’m really looking forward to see where the business goes and grows and being a part of that and kind of laying the foundations for that over the years.
Catherine: So where I’ve landed, just to go back a little bit to the client conversation were having, how that’s kind of come through for me is I will not work on something if I am not fully lit up by it. And that I think is absolutely core because I know there’s this whole fake it till you make it saying out there. And I think in some ways that can be helpful, but not like interactions need to be genuine and so just doing something because you think you should or it would be a good opportunity, that’s not quite the same as being enthusiastic and truly lit up by it. So that’s my big thing. That’s not how I move through the world even if I have a client and I take a call with them. And if it doesn’t, I mean, you mentioned fully aligned. That’s another way of saying it.
Catherine: But I think as an entrepreneur you learn what that kind of looks like in that call in your body. What does that feel like? We’ve talked so much about this. But that’s a huge part of my path as an entrepreneur is being able to honor my body and what it needs. And you can’t sit at the computer for 8 hours straight. You need to get up and there’s all these. Small things that I’ve just had to kind of shift into. So those are the biggest ones for me. It’s always expanding and always growing and talk to me in two weeks and.
Stacy: I’ll have another thing. Yeah. And I think it’s like I always try to be mindful when I’m where you’re at, I think is a very advanced stage of entrepreneur like mindset. Advanced stage. And I know I try to remind myself in the early days when you’re building a business, sometimes you just have to say yes to things.
Stacy: I think it’s easy to look back and be like, oh, I would have done everything differently, but if I had, would I have what I have today? But I think that personally, I could have rather than like, ten years to get to a certain mindset. It could have taken me like a year or two years if I had at least awareness that where I was sitting was not good for my body and my mind. Like, I was overextending myself and I had a quicker end date where I’m like, I’m going to go fully in, I’m going to do this thing, and then I have this mindset that I’m going to start scaling back and start being more selective. It just took me a long time to get to where I think we both are today. And then, Rita, I’d love to hear some of your perspective on this because you mentioned a little of your backstory in hospitality.
Stacy: I wonder if you’d share a little bit about your own transition into the work that you’re doing today and then kind of where you’re going and how much has changed for you just in the last however long. I think it’s a really cool journey and really inspiring, and I’d love for you to just tell our viewers and listeners a little bit more about it.
Rita: So it kind of all started when I moved to the UK about ten years ago, eleven years ago, and I was there for a few years. I end up working in hospitality because it’s just the easiest way to get into something, to learn the language, and I loved it. I am a people person, so it was great to have that as a work, to get to talk to people every day and just like, kind of what you were saying, a working horse, just always being there and always trying to do better. But it got to a point that, again, when you start listening to your body and growing up, you’re like, okay, this is not where I envision my life going. Because for anyone that’s worked hospitality, it’s like terrible hours. You’re on your feet a lot. You don’t have schedules, really, for sleeping, eating.
Stacy: You smell like food all the time.
Rita: Exactly. You don’t really have social life because you end up just being very secluded with the people that you’re working.
Rita: And I was studying full time at the time as well. And I think I was 18/19, and I was basically fully independent, so I had to work full time and I had to study full time. So it was kind of tough and it was kind of hard. But I’m really glad that I went through that because it brought me to where I am today. Going back to what you were saying, yes, it could have taken you like a year or two to figure out what took you ten, but would you be where you are now? And I have those thoughts, a lot of like, okay, how would it have been if I didn’t have to go through? So, yeah, ended up coming back to Portugal, carried on hospitality, it was all I knew. And after COVID, I was like, right, things got to change. It was really tough, I think, for the service industry in general, it was really tough times, and for me, it just wasn’t aligning with what I wanted anymore and how I envisioned my life going.
Rita: So that’s when I quit and did a project management course, thinking that I’m going to be a project manager, because at this point I was managing restaurants and I thought, oh, this is a great way to transition. And then got the job with you as a personal assisting, and just naturally with my creative eye and just started giving certain tips. And you gave me the opportunity to like, okay, if you want to take this thing like social media, go ahead, just try it out, go ahead.
I was like, Please take it!
Rita: And I was like, okay, sure. And I think just naturally, the last year and a half, working with both of you, it’s been probably the most that I’ve grown in my whole life in terms of professionally and personally. It’s been such a wonderful journey, again, with the clients as well, that inspiration of just wanting to better and achieving better and just being in sync with what is important for you as a person as well makes a lot of sense. So with all of that, I decided to go back to school and just study graphic design, which is what I wanted to do ten years ago. And unfortunately, life didn’t leave me that way. But again, I am where I need to be right now, and I’m just super excited for what the future will come. Will bring. Yes.
Catherine: And I think sometimes when it takes you said ten years ago that’s what you wanted to do, it’s been this dream that’s been percolating, and now you’re in a position to fully grasp it, fully dive in, you know that you’re going to soak up this entire thing, right?
Catherine: Whereas I think sometimes, let’s say ten years ago, or maybe eight years ago you did it wouldn’t have had the same depth to it, and my priorities were different.
Rita: Right? Yeah.
Catherine: You have all this creative ideas and input that have come from your interactions with all these amazing people that you’ve got to meet through hospitality right. And other artists that you meet because of that. So, yeah, I think it’s beautiful. I capture life stories for a living as one of the things I do. So every time I think it enriches your journey.
Rita: No, I’m just really grateful that I landed working with you guys. And we’ve been working all this time together, and now we’re here in person, and I don’t know, it’s just so exciting. And after the meeting we had yesterday of Strategizing and what you were saying, building the foundations of where you want to take your business and how we’re envisioning the brand and just being part of something like that, it’s so cool. And it’s like you said, it lights you up, you’re still alive, and you’re just like, this is yeah, because it will help inspiring others and yeah. Our mission.
Catherine: Yes. I think that comes to a point that I wanted to ask you, Stacey, if I take the floor, which is, you know, I think when Rita and I met, we kind of course, reflected on this experience we’ve had with.
Stacy: You and working with you.
Catherine: And were thinking, like, gosh, it’s so cool because we’re in similar positions where when we started working with you, weren’t maybe as experienced and had the background or the title or maybe even the specific qualification someone may have been looking for the work that we’re now in. And so I’m just curious if you would speak a little bit about how you look at bringing on team members, because it seems like you have a very unique mindset in what you look for in people that you want on your team.
Stacy: Oh, that’s such a good question. Actually, it made me think of the person that I learned from. So I don’t know. There’s a woman named Jennifer Wheeler. I don’t know if you guys have seen communication with her at some point, but she gave me my first opportunity in writing, and the job required, so I’m going to nerd for a second. But I had to know AP style. So Associated Press style. So that’s what they use for anybody who’s unfamiliar for The New York Times or any kind of press media. And I was in college, so I thought it meant APA style, which is American Psychological Association style, which is an academic. Anyway, very nerdy. But I told her that, like, had this experience with this style guide, and I had not ever opened the style guide. Not lying, but I was confused. And then I realized my error, and between realizing my error and going to the interview, I had gone to the library.
Stacy: I’d researched the style guide. I’d familiarized myself with it. I’d done enough that I was like, I can totally do this. I can learn this, no problem. And even though I didn’t have one of the key qualifications for that job. She hired me because of the problem solving and because I was a learner, and she saw that in me and she gave me an opportunity. It was my first magazine I’d ever written for. I had an assist or internship at the University of the Alumni magazine. I wrote the obituaries for a while, yes, but I actually had the honor of writing my professor’s obituary who passed away in a house fire. So it kind of, like, led me to that. And I think she taught me that you could teach most skills, but actually the person should be also willing to teach themselves and problem solve.
Stacy: And then I think also there’s like a personality piece to it that is just like a warmth and connectedness, and I think you kind of get that right away. And when I met both of you guys, I was super impressed with I mean, I remember we met an eagle, I think. What’s the no, it was your office. It was in my office. Sorry. Yeah, that’s right. I had an office in Boise that I rented. It was like, in America, they have these, like maybe they have this in other cities in Portugal, but they have these big buildings and you can rent, like, an office, and then they have a shared room, but it’s not like a WeWork it’s like a boring office. They’re not cute.
Stacy: But I rented the really kind of corporate conference room, and we had a big long table and we sat at one corner and interestingly, I had interviewed somebody else at the time, which was an assistant job right. Who I knew really well. She was really smart, and I think she kind of assumed she was going to get the job because I’d known her for a really long time. And even though it would have made a lot of sense to go with her, because she’d had experience and she had really good personality and I’d known her for a long time, I just remember ending our conversation and being like, that is a really intelligent person. She is clearly very driven. And you had demonstrated that through just some of the pursuits that you had professionally. You didn’t go into detail in our first conversation, but I knew that you had overcome some things in your life that were very inspiring to me and that you had risen and grown from it, which I can relate to myself.
Stacy: And then I think also, you’re very articulate. Your written voice is incredible. And I was looking for that. So that was initially, I think, and then I think, just over time gosh, it’s been a long time now, but just continue to see you. If we have something on the team that we don’t know how to do, I don’t have to be like, Here, let me send you the Help article on it, which, surprisingly, is a lot of how people function. It’s kind of shocking to me, but it’s like, just Google it first and try to figure it out. And if you can’t figure it out, I probably still don’t know the answer, so find somebody else to ask. Right, but you’ve always just been like, I’m going to find the answer, and if I can’t find it, I’m going to get on chat, and I’m going to get help.
Stacy: And then you’re constantly like, I’ve never met anybody who takes more education courses.
Catherine: It’s a problem.
Stacy: It’s always something that you’re learning, and it’s random stuff, too. Sometimes I’m like, oh, okay. That’s cool. But it’s cool. It’s like it’s just, like, so random. But you’re just such a learner. And so to me, that was super impressive, and it’s been the continued thing. And with you, Rita, it was really similar, actually, because you were referred by a close friend of mine, and he first of like, I’ve never heard anybody rave about somebody as much as they raved about you. This person raved about you, and I think at the time we met correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve been applying for different things for a while, and you didn’t really put a lot of effort into my I don’t think you wrote a cover letter. I think you just clicked, like, the LinkedIn thing.
Rita: I think I added cover letter, and I added because I was doing that.
Stacy: For, like but I think it was pretty basic.
Rita: And I didn’t apply through the email.
Stacy: You didn’t follow the direction through LinkedIn because you were at this point, it’s, like, almost six months. And I was like, it was literally the last job I applied, and I was like, right, if this doesn’t work, I’m going to go back to hospitality.
Stacy: Really? I didn’t know that.
Rita: And figure out something else.
Stacy: And then it came through, and I was like, oh, I feel really lucky that our mutual friend raved about you so much, because I don’t think I would have because I had this vetting criteria on the application that was like, if this person does not follow this criteria, I will not interview them. But where you were, I totally get that. I would have done the same thing, just like, okay, check. I’ll try to just spread and see what hits. But then when I met you, I think, was our first virtual one first.
Rita: Yes, we did.
Stacy: And then we met at a little coffee shop in town. And yeah, it was kind of the same thing. I was really impressed by the fact that you quit your job. You signed up for this project management certificate. Like, you actually did this program to learn a new skill. You put it all on the line to change direction. I think that’s incredibly courageous, and most people would not do that because it’s really risky. That was kind of, like, a dangerous thing to do, right? Just to quit. It wasn’t like you didn’t have a plan. You had a plan.
Stacy: You knew what you’re going to do. But then the more you talked and something that I learned that was new for me is that actually I think that hospitality is an amazing training ground.
Rita: Yeah, 100%.
Stacy: And now we’re moving you into a new role, and we’re looking for a new assistant. I’m actually more interested in people that were in hospitality because there’s so much that you have to learn and, like, the people aspect of it and multitasking and organization and just all of it. I didn’t know that, though, at the time. That was something I learned. But then once we got into it and I would give you little, like I mean, I knew they were little tester projects. I’d give you little tester projects. At first, we just kind of got into the role, and then I’d give you these little tester projects, and you always completely blew it out of the water. And then I remember I brought you in on a client call once, and I was just bringing you in to give some tips, and you put together, like, a full presentation.
Stacy: You had gone through their social media profiles. You had specific tips for them. And I just remember thinking, like, you can’t train this. This is like, a person who’s driven, a person who just am. I feel really grateful that I’m glad those six months happened because we wouldn’t have you. And I think Catherine was really glad to get a bunch of things off her plate.
Catherine: Take it, please.
Stacy: So, yeah, it’s been a pretty amazing journey. And just like, getting a team atmosphere, which is new for me. It’s been something I’ve been growing into, learning not to micromanage things or really develop systems so I can let go of things and not have to just be the person that does it from first word to publication and really just being able to free up some space and time.
Rita: Yeah, it’s been an amazing journey, for sure, and it’s been a pleasure to work with you.
Stacy: I love that question. I feel like I talked for, like, 20 minutes about it.
Catherine: I mean, just to reflect back and I think it’s useful for anyone who maybe is there right now an entrepreneur who’s shifting into being more business owner and having a team. I think you hit on qualities, you observed qualities in us that are so key to having a team. I hear a lot of some places have really high turnover, and that’s fine. Fire fast is definitely a good, I think, philosophy when you’re an entrepreneur, but I think you just hit on a lot of things that are important for a business owner to be looking for in a person who the other thing that you have is that you want people to grow. Right? You’re bringing someone in, and it’s like this assistant position phase one, and then phase two, phase three, right. Keep it filled, and god bless you for that, because we get to thrive.
Catherine: And grow as people, and I think you’ll find someone who will naturally fit in there, but I think you really want people to be doing what they’re meant to be doing and what they’re good at. Zone of genius. This idea of zone of genius, like, you want to be in your zone of genius, and, you know the way to do that is to have other people in their zone of genius. And so I think you’re really good at identifying that and being like, okay, you go here. It’s like you’re putting together a know to make sure that the image comes through. And you’ve done that really well with me and rita. And I know that you have a good eye and good judge of character and seeing, okay, these people are going to work well in these spaces. And it’s been really great because that’s how we have this going.
Rita: For me, it’s like know, pushing me to, oh, rita, by the way, if you do want to learn something, you tell me, because I would love to support you on that. And just knowing that, oh, this person doesn’t just want me to. What you were saying before getting paid to learn, it’s amazing. And for me, that was huge, just having that motivation to keep learning and learning about ads and SEO, and it started as a sisting job, and all of a sudden, there’s so many different hats and so many different things, and it’s so amazing to just keep your brain constantly learning something new and improving ourselves. You’re awesome at it.
Stacy: It’s so good to have you both here, and thanks for your time and energy. We’re on athleisure today because we’re about to go to sagrej together for a fun day, get some gelato after, and just kind of enjoy our time together today. So I’m really excited for that and just grateful. Thank you for being here.
Catherine: It’s been a total dream.
Stacy: I love you guys. I’m so grateful to have you in my life and on the team, and thank you for joining our love fest today. This is a really special episode, as I said. I don’t know when we’ll get an opportunity to record another one in the future. Hopefully sooner than hopefully we can get this lady here, and we can yes. And know robin and kim at some I did get to see robin and zurich, so maybe next time she’ll come here and we can get kim out at some point. That would be pretty cool. Everybody together, but thank you for joining us, and I will be back with you before you know it.