I AM CEO PODCASTProductivity

IAM390- Business Partners Help Businesses Scale by Providing Top-notch Virtual Employees

Podcast Interview with Anne & Mark Lackey

Together Anne & Mark Lackey own and operate several businesses. In 2015, they determined they were working harder and not smarter, so they embarked on their newest business – HireSmart Virtual Assistants which helps business owners scale by providing top-notch virtual employees. Anne & Mark wrote seven books (3 became best sellers in hours) and developed multiple training modules in the area of Real Estate Investing, Property Management, and Business Ownership to help other entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

  • CEO Hack: One-on-one with team-leads
  • CEO Nugget: Everything doesn't have to be perfect – get things moving
  • CEO Defined: Responsibility and leading in a servant mindset

Website: https://www.hiresmartvas.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HireSmartVAs/
Anne – https://www.facebook.com/AnneLackey
Mark – https://www.facebook.com/markslackey
Twitter: https://twitter.com/annelackey
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annelackey/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/annelackey
LinkedIn: Anne – https://www.linkedin.com/in/annelackey/
Mark – https://www.linkedin.com/in/markslackey/
https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Lackey/e/B00IA6YAFW


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Transcription

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INTRO 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:29

Hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have two very special guests on the show today. I've Anne & Mark Lackey of HireSmart Virtual Assistants. Anne & Mark, its awesome to have you on the show.

Anne & Mark Lackey 0:39

Thanks for having us greatly appreciate it. Great to be here. Thank you.

Gresham Harkless 0:43

Yeah, definitely super excited to have you both on and what I wanted to do, which is read a little bit more about Anne & Mark, so you can hear about all the awesome things that they've been doing. Together Anne & Mark Lackey own and operate several businesses. In 2015. They determined they were working harder and not smarter. So they embarked on their newest business, HireSmart Virtual Assistants, which helps business owners scale by providing top-notch virtual employees. Anne & Mark wrote seven books, three became bestsellers in ours, and developed multiple training modules in the area of real estate investing, property management, and business ownership to help other entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Anne & Mark, are you ready to speak to the IMCEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”] – Beginning

Anne & Mark Lackey 1:23

We are thrilled to be here. Awesome.

Gresham Harkless 1:25

Let's do it. So they kick everything off, I want to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO stories. And what led you guys to start your business?

Anne Lackey 1:32

All right, so we have had kind of a convoluted journey like most people, right, it's never a straight and narrow shot. Back in 2001, one of our really dear friends got ill. And we watched him for over a year decline before he unfortunately died. He was a high commission sales rep much like we were at the time. And so that really had an impact on us thinking, Oh, my goodness, what are we going to do? Do we keep working for every dollar? And so we started thinking, what can we do, and we came up with three options. And I'll let Mark, take it.

Mark Lackey 2:04

Yeah, we can either do online marketing or internet network marketing. And we weren't great at that. We could start a business, which was a big thing. We wanted to try to do something concurrent with our corporate jobs at that time period. And the other was doing rental real estate. So we started out getting into rental real estate because Ann's family and mine had both had that in our past history. So we kind of had it in, our genes, so to say.

So we started buying homes, and we got good at buying the homes, putting tenants in them, and keeping them there. And then our friends came to us and said, Oh, you're good at doing this. I've got investors who want a property management company, I can sell them homes, but would you manage their property? So by their request, we opened up a property management business.

Anne Lackey 2:50

And then fast forward, kind of like most of our businesses started, we had a problem in one of our businesses, and we fixed that by using full-time dedicated virtual staff. And our friends go, Hey, you're good at that. Can you help? So we started that business a little over four and a half years ago, and literally have not looked back. And that's one of our favorites.

Mark Lackey 3:13

The key is listening to what people need to start the business rather than you have the idea. And you go and create something, right?

Gresham Harkless 3:20

Yeah, absolutely. It's awesome to hear, you know, how people you know, start businesses, and their businesses sometimes even blossom into other businesses just because they saw another need for themselves. And then next thing, you know, there's all these people knocking on the door, say, hey, helped me too.

Anne Lackey 3:34

Yeah, it's a wonderful thing. I think most all of our businesses have started that way, you know, we kind of did it for ourselves and thought this is a problem that needs to be fixed. And other people go, Well, that's a problem. But I don't want to learn how to fix it. I'll just use you and your expertise to fix it. And it's worked out really well.

Mark Lackey 3:52

Although we have started some other ideas and concepts that we thought were great. And they didn't go anywhere, right? We've got the failures as long as so as well as the successes.

Gresham Harkless 4:03

Exactly you guys it sounds like when you started these ventures, it sounds like you have that market fit and that market kind of validation. So you can understand that if you of course can use it somebody else can use it it then it works perfectly. So I know you touched on it a little bit wanted to hear a little bit more about HireSmart and everything that you guys are doing with that.

Anne Lackey 4:22

Sure. So the reason HireSmart started was again a business problem and that issue was we had an employee very valuable employee quit via text on my first vacation in seven years. And yes, I'm still a little bitter about that however, what always typically happens right is out of tragedy becomes you know, success and triumph. And so, Mark and I just started thinking we're like there's gotta be a different way for this staff like to keep this churn down because churn in any business, whether it be your customer base, your employee base, it doesn't really matter. Like churn can cost you a lot of time and energy effort which translates to physical dollars.

So we started looking at all the different options, you know, you've got call centers, you've got outsource providers, you've got all of these other things that you can choose from. But Mark and I are very conservative people, we like to build relationships, and that's very important to us. And we wanted somebody who was fully invested in our business as much as we were but wasn't physically located here with us.

So we then started looking across the globe, like who has the best blend for culture, service hearts, all events, so we picked the Philippines because we've really felt like, there's a reason that all the Fortune 500 companies have relocated their call centers over there, right, in our training them how to deal with Americans and customer service. We're also people, who don't like to reinvent the wheel totally either. So we said, if they're smart enough to know that that's the place, maybe that's the place, let's just figure out what do we need to do to get the best talent.

Mark Lackey 6:01

And that position we had was to work on the phone and work on the computer. So it could be done anywhere, There wasn't a limitation. And that decision we made to go to the Philippines turned out very positive for us.

Anne Lackey 6:15

So then the business problem that we saw for our clients is okay, I understand that I want a dedicated person and I want them from offshore, I want them in the Philippines. But I don't know how to find them. I don't know how to vet them. I don't know how to make sure that they're good.

Mark Lackey 6:34

The seamless exchange, because our clients call in, they don't realize they're calling halfway around the world. And then the phone gets transferred back to me. And it goes all the way back around the world. You know, in a matter of a millisecond. I'm on the phone and they don't know. So how do you get that transparency? That's one thing and has been perfect and helpful.

Anne Lackey 6:53

Well, thank God it Yeah, it is. So what we did is we started the two parts of our business, which is one is recruiting, finding the right person for the right seat and the right bus, right. That's what that's, that's in and of itself as a recruiter role. Very important. Then you have what we call the certification or training role, like how do you train these people? Like how do you and again, training can not isn't just in your job, it's how to communicate, right? Because there are some cultural differences there that need to be addressed.

So we saw both of those problems through the recruiting and we call our certification one-week boot camp that we provide to our clients, we're literally making sure that the candidates that our clients get placed with are amazing, they're good communicators. Then we support our clients as the HR function after the placement too. So just a few minutes ago, one of my clients says, Hey, I'm having a little bit of a challenge with this issue, can you help, that's what we're here for to help kind of bridge that gap.

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So they're not alone in this process, because we've heard a lot of times, you know, I like the idea, but they go dark, or I can't communicate with them, or, you know, I just can't get them to show up. Because we have a community because we have the resources because we have the methodology in the process. We fix a lot of those ails. Now, again, people are people, no matter what. They still have issues with family, there are things we cannot solve that world problem, unfortunately. But I can at least get at the bar a lot higher and get better results.

Mark Lackey 8:26

And one thing that's really come out of this, it's been positive, you know, we've got a very low unemployment rate right now. So finding people is challenging. It's always been challenging when there is high employment, right? I had trouble finding people that really wanted to work and do repetitive tasks, mundane. We call the drudgery, jobs, that answer the phone and repeated questions, and so forth.

So what we've done is we found people to do those types of jobs, so that the Americans that are working in that office can elevate and work at a higher level, and the actually at their highest efficient level. So when our clients pay a VA and VA supporting the virtual assistant supports that individual, they can do so much more and so much better. And Excel Zoom. So that's been a very positive thing for our clients.

Anne Lackey 9:17

And to because we are such a cost savings in addition to all the other great stuff that we just talked about, right? You know, that allowed us to bonus Our in-house people a little bit more based on performance. So now we have longevity there with our in-house team. And so it works out really great. We're taking those, those tasks that our in-house staff didn't really want to do. elevating them, as Mark said, able to do more with less.

Most of my clients report that you know, normally they they would have peak employees in the office. It's six, seven o'clock at night trying to get everything done. Now at 5:30. There's it's like cricket like they're there. People can go home, everything's taken care of. All of that work is done and they're saving a significant amount of money.

Gresham Harkless 9:58

Yeah, absolutely. Who can put a cost on peace of mind and just knowing that things are being taken care of everybody gets to work in their zones of geniuses, so to speak. So I think it's awesome that you guys are doing that and have been able to implement that. So I wanted to ask you, if this can be for both of you, or it can be for the organization. And you might have already touched on this, but I usually ask for what I call a secret sauce. And this can be what you feel kind of distinguishes you or sets you apart.

Anne Lackey 10:21

I actually think our secret sauce is our passion. I really care about every placement I do. I care for our clients, I want them to be better. And I think that that passion of really wanting everybody to excel is what you would call the secret sauce. Because you know, it's not just a job, it's we're changing the world we have we are impacting, probably at this point 1000 families here and in the Philippines, that's going to have a very big ripple effect. And it's something that we like this year, we were able to, we came to a profitability where we could provide health care to our virtual assistants at no cost to our clients.

Mark Lackey 11:02

Fortune 500 firms over there. But the call centers don't provide that too. So we've got sticking with our clients, because of those types of things that we do.

Gresham Harkless 11:12
Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And whenever you're able to leverage that expertise and be in something you're truly passionate about and love to do, I think that secret sauce usually takes it to an entirely different level. So it's great to hear you guys have been able to implement it yourself, but also for everybody that you've been able to have on that time, so to speak.

So I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you guys for what I call a CEO hack. This could be an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Anne Lackey 11:41

So I'll start with the hack. What are the biggest things I implemented in my business this year, which I think has been transformational is basically one-on-ones with my team, my team leads, you know, the reality is I talk to the people all the time, but having that 15=20 minutes where literally they know that I'm just settled and listening to what they have to say asking their opinion, asking how I can help them, how can I serve them has been transformational.

Gresham Harkless 12:10

I love that hack. Just because a lot of times, especially in the virtual world, you want to have some type of connection. So consistency is everything. So they have and know that you're having that weekly meeting for you know, your teammate, but also for the team member itself, it probably helps you know, being on that same page helps everything flow a lot smoother, and it does get everybody on the same page.

So I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. Or if you could happen to be a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Mark Lackey 12:38

I'd like to answer that because I'm a perfectionist like many of our business owners are right, and you got to do everything yourself to make it right. What I learned, and it was very instrumental in me being able to get over to the next level was, that everything doesn't have to be perfect. It can be done at a high level, I can still do some checking, sometimes things not being done correctly, were my fault, too. So it's not like things can be done wrong, and it doesn't end the world. So getting something going is better than just leaving it there.

Gresham Harkless 13:15

Yeah, I always say don't let the perfect get in the way of the possible. So I think that echoes exact same thing that you got to get things done, you got to get it moving, and get the ball rolling. And a lot of times you can always say it's a 1.0 version and just say you're moving up to 2.0 as you start to evolve.

So now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote-unquote, CEOs on the show. So I want to ask both of you, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Anne Lackey 13:41

Oh, well, I think being a CEO, for me is the responsibility of my team and being able to lead in a way that again, is incongruent with who I am, which is in that servant mindset, like, I certainly I want to be profitable, and I want to make money and I want to do all that stuff. But for me, the responsibility of being a CEO is planning and implementing a plan that's not perfect but protects others as best we can.

Mark Lackey 14:13

Yeah, and because you know, you think about it on a day-to-day basis, we make a lot of decisions.

Gresham Harkless 14:18

Yeah, I love that perspective. And that definitely those definitions, we just because a lot of times, we sometimes we think it's either or, but a lot of times you can hit both where you can remember that a lot of times we forget that when you peel back the onion of a business or organization, it's made up of people have different things that are worries and things that they want to take care of like health insurance, as you guys mentioned. So being able to take care of that and get the ball rolling and get things done and build a profitable business is hitting all of those aspects.

So I appreciate that holistic definition, and I appreciate your time even more what I wanted to do was pass the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know and then of course how best they can get a hold of you and hear about all the awesome things you guys are doing.

Anne Lackey 15:00

But we certainly would like to make an offer to anyone who's listening we would like to give them our best-selling book, multiply yourself, and all you have to do is go to our website, which is www.hiresmartvas.com. And they should be able to just put in their email and it will get delivered to them. It's a great way to get kind of a comparison between employees and virtual staff and costs and things like that.

Mark Lackey 15:29

And then if you have any other questions, you can go to hiresmartvas.com/appointment. And you can get on the calendar and look at a 30-minute block that works for you. That'll work for us so we can further answer your questions.

Gresham Harkless 15:42

Awesome. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate your time. Appreciate all the things you guys are doing. We will have both of those links in the show notes as well too, just so that anybody can scroll down and then click through and set up that time and get that download that you guys are offering. Thank you so much again, and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Anne & Mark Lackey 15:58

It's our pleasure. Thanks so much for having us.

OUTRO 16:02

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

INTRO 0:02

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Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:29

Hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have two very special guests on the show today. I've Anne & Mark Lackey of HireSmart Virtual Assistants. Anne & Mark, its awesome to have you on the show.

Anne & Mark Lackey 0:39

Thanks for having us greatly appreciate it. Great to be here. Thank you.

Gresham Harkless 0:43

Yeah, definitely super excited to have you both on and what I wanted to do, which is read a little bit more about Anne & Mark, so you can hear about all the awesome things that they've been doing. Together Anne & Mark Lackey own and operate several businesses. In 2015. They determined they were working harder and not smarter. So they embarked on their newest business, HireSmart Virtual Assistants, which helps business owners scale by providing top notch virtual employees. Anne & Mark wrote seven books, three became bestsellers in ours, and develop multiple training modules in the area of real estate investing, property management and business ownership to help other entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Anne & Mark, are you ready to speak to the IMCEO community?

Anne & Mark Lackey 1:23

We are thrilled to be here. Awesome.

Gresham Harkless 1:25

Let's do it. So they kick everything off, I want to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO stories. And what led you guys to start your business?

Anne Lackey 1:32

All right, so we have had kind of a convoluted journey like most people, right, it's never a straight and narrow shot. Back in 2001, one of our really dear friends got ill. And we watched him over a year decline before he unfortunately died. He was a high commission sales rep much like we were at the time. And so that really had an impact on us thinking, Oh, my goodness, what are we going to do? We keep working for every dollar? And so we started thinking, what what can we do, and we came up with three options. And I'll let Mark, take it.

Mark Lackey 2:04

Yeah, we can either do online marketing and internet network marketing. And we weren't great at that. We could start a business, which was a big thing. We wanted to try to do something concurrent with our corporate jobs at that time period. And the other was doing rental real estate. So we started out getting into rental real estate because Ann's family and mine had both had that in our past history. So we kind of had it in our, our genes, so to say. So we started buying homes, we got good at buying the home, putting tenants in them and keeping them there. And then our friends came to us and said, Oh, you're good at doing this. I've got investors that want a property management company, I can sell them homes, would you manage their property. So by their request, we opened up a property management business.

Anne Lackey 2:50

And then fast forward, kind of like most of our businesses started, we had a problem in one of our businesses, and we fix that through using full time dedicated virtual staff. And our friends go, Hey, you're good at that. Can you help? So we started that business a little over four and a half years ago, and literally have not looked back. And that's one of our favorite.

Mark Lackey 3:13

The key is listening to what people need to start the business rather than you have the idea. And you go and create something, right.

Gresham Harkless 3:20

Yeah, absolutely. It's awesome to hear, you know, how people you know, start businesses and their businesses sometimes even blossom into other businesses just because they saw another need for themselves. And then next thing, you know, there's all these people knocking on the door, say, hey, helped me too.

Anne Lackey 3:34

Yeah, it's a wonderful thing. I think most all of our businesses have started that way, you know, we kind of did it for ourselves and thought this is a problem that needs to be fixed. And other people go, Well, that's a problem. But I don't want to learn how to fix it. I'll just use you and your expertise to fix it. And it's worked out really well.

Mark Lackey 3:52

Although we have started some other ideas and concepts that we thought were great. And they didn't go anywhere, right? We've got the failures as long as so as well as the successes.

Gresham Harkless 4:03

Exactly you guys it sounds like when you started these ventures, it sounds like you have that market fit and that market kind of validation. So you can understand that if you of course can use it somebody else can use it then it then it works perfectly. So I know you touched on it a little bit wanted to hear a little bit more about HireSmart and everything that you guys are doing with that.

Anne Lackey 4:22

Sure. So the reason HireSmart started was again a business problem and that issue was we had an employee very valuable employee quit via text on my first vacation in seven years. And yes, I'm still a little bitter about that however, what always typically happens right is out of tragedy becomes you know, success and triumph. And so, Mark and I just started thinking we're like there's gotta be a different way for this staff like to keep this churn down because churn in any business, whether it be your customer base, your employee base, it doesn't really matter. Like churn can cost you a lot of time and energy effort and which translates to physical dollars. And so we started looking at all the different options, you know, you've got call centers, you've got outsource providers, you've got all of these other things that you can choose from. But Mark and I are very conservative people, we like to build relationships, that's very important to us. And we wanted somebody that was fully invested in our business as much as we were, but wasn't physically located here with us. And so we then started looking across the globe, like who has the best blend for culture, service hearts, all events, so we picked the Philippines, because we've really felt like, there's a reason that all the fortune 500 companies have relocated their call centers over there, right, in our training them how to deal with Americans and customer service. We're also people, they don't like to reinvent the wheel totally either. So we said, if if they're smart enough to know that that's the place, maybe that's the place, let's just figure out what do we need to do to get the best talent.

Mark Lackey 6:01

And that position we had was work on the phone and work on the computer. So it could be done anywhere, There wasn't a limitation. And that decision we made to go to the Philippines turned out very positive for us.

Anne Lackey 6:15

So then the business problem that we saw for our clients is okay, I understand that I want a dedicated person and I want them from offshore, I want them in the Philippines. But I don't know how to find them. I don't know how to vet them. I don't know how to make sure that they're good.

Mark Lackey 6:34

The seamless exchange, because our clients call in, they don't realize they're calling halfway around the world. And then the phone gets transferred back to me. And it goes all the way back around the world. You know, in a matter of a millisecond. I'm on the phone and they don't know. So how do you get that transparency? That's one thing and has been perfect and helping?

Anne Lackey 6:53

Well, thank God it Yeah, it is. So what we did is we started the two parts of our business, which is one is the recruiting, finding the right person for the right seat and the right bus, right. That's what that's, that's in and of itself as a recruiter role. Very important. Then you have the what we call the certification or training role, like how do you train these people? Like how do you and again, training can not isn't just in your job, it's how to communicate, right? Because there are some cultural differences there that need to be addressed. So we saw both of those problems through the recruiting and we call our certification one week bootcamp that we provide to our clients, we're literally we're making sure that the candidates that our clients get placed with are amazing, they're good communicators. And then we support our clients as the HR function after the placement too. So just a few minutes ago, one of my clients says, Hey, I'm having a little bit of a challenge with this issue, can you help, that's what we're here for to help kind of bridge that gap. So they're not alone in this process, because we've heard a lot of times, you know, I like the idea, but they go dark, or I can't communicate with them, or, you know, I just can't get them to show up. Because we have a community because we have the resources because we have the methodology in the process. We fix a lot of those ails. Now, again, people are people, no matter what. They still have issues with family, there's things we cannot solve that world problem, unfortunately. But I can at least get at the bar a lot higher and get better results.

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Mark Lackey 8:26

And one thing that's really come out of this, it's been positive, you know, we've got a very low unemployment rate right now. So finding people is challenging. It's always been challenging when there was a high employment, right? I had trouble finding people that really wanted to work, do repetitive tasks, mundane. We call the drudgery, jobs, that answer the phone and repeated questions and so forth. So what we've done is we found people to do those types of jobs, so that the Americans that are working in that office can elevate and work at a higher level, and the actually at their highest efficient level. So when our clients paying a VA and VA supporting the virtual assistant supports that individual, they can do so much more and so much better. And Excel zoom. So that's been a very positive thing for our clients.

Anne Lackey 9:17

And to because we are such a cost savings in addition to all the other great stuff that we just talked about, right? You know, that allowed us to bonus Our in house people a little bit more based on performance. So now we have a longevity there with our in house team. And so it works out really great. We're taking those, those tasks that our in house staff didn't really want to do. elevating them, as Mark said, able to do more with less. And most of my clients report that you know, normally they were they would have peak employees in the office. It's six, seven o'clock at night trying to get everything done. Now at 5:30. There's it's like cricket, like they're there. People can go home, everything's taken care of. All of that work is done and they're saving a significant amount of money.

Gresham Harkless 9:58

Yeah, absolutely. Who can put a cost on a peace of mind and just knowing that things are being taken care of everybody gets to work in their zones of geniuses, so to speak. So I think it's awesome that you guys are doing that and been able to implement that. So I wanted to ask you, and this can be for both of you, or it can be for the organization. And you might have already touched on this, but I usually ask for what I call a secret sauce. And this can be what you feel kind of distinguishes you or sets you apart.

Anne Lackey 10:21

I actually think our secret sauce is our passion. I really care about every placement I do. I care for our clients, I want them to be better. And I think that that passion of really wanting everybody to excel is what you would call the secret sauce. Because you know, it's not just a job, it's we're changing the world we have we are impacting, probably at this point 1000 families here and in the Philippines, that's going to have a very big ripple effect. And it's something that we like this year, we were able to, we came to a profitability where we could provide health care to our virtual assistants at no cost to our clients.

Mark Lackey 11:02

We were fortune 500 firms over there. But the call centers don't provide that too. So we've got sticking with our clients, because of those types of things that we do.

Gresham Harkless 11:12

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And whenever you're able to leverage that expertise, and to be in something you're truly passionate about and love to do, I think that secret sauce usually takes it to an entirely different level. So it's great to hear you guys have been able to implement it yourself, but also for everybody that you've been able to have on that time, so to speak. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you guys for what I call a CEO hack. And this could be an app, a book or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Anne Lackey 11:41

So I'll start with the hack. What are the biggest things I implemented in my business this year, which I think has been transformational is basically one on ones with my team, my team leads, you know, the reality is I talk to the people all the time, but having that 15=20 minutes where literally they know that I'm just settled and listening to what they have to say asking their opinion, asking how I can help them, how can I serve them has been transformational.

Gresham Harkless 12:10

I love that hack. Just because a lot of times, especially in the virtual world, you want to have some type of connection. So consistency is everything. So the have and know that you're having that weekly meeting for you know, your teammate, but also for the team member itself, it probably helps you know, being on that same page helps everything flow a lot smoother, and it does get everybody on the same page. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. Or if you can happen to a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Mark Lackey 12:38

I'd like to answer that because I'm a perfectionist like many of our business owners are right, and you got to do everything yourself to make it right. What what I learned, and it was very instrumental in me being able to get over into the next level was, everything doesn't have to be perfect. It can be done at a high level, I can still do some checking, sometimes things not being done correctly, were my fault, too. So it's not like things can be done wrong, and it doesn't end the world. So getting something going is better than just leaving it there.

Gresham Harkless 13:15

Yeah I always say don't let the perfect get in the way the possible. So I think that echoes exact same thing that you got to get things done, you got to get it moving, and get the ball rolling. And a lot of times you can always say it's 1.0 version and just say you're moving up to 2.0 as you start to evolve. So now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote-unquote, CEOs on the show. So I want to ask the both of you, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Anne Lackey 13:41

Oh, well, I think being a CEO, for me is the responsibility of my team and being able to lead in a way that again, is incongruent with who I am, which is in that servant mindset, like, I certainly I want to be profitable, and I want to make money and I want to do all that stuff. But for me, the responsibility of being a CEO is planning and implementing a plan that's not perfect, but protects others as best we can.

Mark Lackey 14:13

Yeah, and because you know, you think about it on a day to day basis, we make a lot of decisions.

Gresham Harkless 14:18

Yeah, I love that perspective. And that definitely those definitions, we just because a lot of times, we sometimes we think it's either or, but a lot of times you can hit both where you can remember that a lot of times we forget that when you peel back the onion of a business or organization, it's made up of people people have different things that are worries and things that they want to take care of like health insurance, as you guys mentioned. So being able to take care of that and get the ball rolling and get things done and build a profitable businesses is hitting all of those aspects. So I appreciate that holistic definition, and I appreciate your time even more and what I wanted to do was pass the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know and then of course how best they can get a hold of you and hear about all the awesome things you guys are doing.

Anne Lackey 15:00

But we certainly would like to make an offer to anyone who's listening that we would like to give them our best selling book, multiply yourself, all you have to do is go to our website, which is www.hiresmartvas.com. And they should be able to just to put in their email and it will get delivered to them. It's a great way to get kind of the comparison between employees and virtual staff and costs and things like that.

Mark Lackey 15:29

And then if you have any other questions, you can go to hiresmartvas.com/appointment. And you can get on the calendar and look at a 30 minute block that works for you. That'll work for us so we can further answer your questions.

Gresham Harkless 15:42

Awesome. Well, I thank you so much. I appreciate your time. Appreciate all the things you guys are doing. We will have both of those links in the show notes as well too, just so that anybody can scroll down and then click through and set up that time and get that download that you guys are offering. Thank you so much again, and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Anne & Mark Lackey 15:58

It's our pleasure. Thanks so much for having us.

OUTRO 16:02

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

[/restrict] – End

Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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