Recently, a book came along that impacted the way I attract, hire, train and transition my team members.
It’s called Make ‘Em Beg to Work for You, written by the inspirational Dr Angela Lauria.
As the founder of The Author Incubator, Dr. Angela E. Lauria has helped over 1,000 authors in the transformation space to write, publish, and promote their books. Angela is the author of Make ‘Em Beg to Work For You, Make ‘Em Beg to Be Your Client, Make ‘Em Beg to Publish Your Book, The Incubated Author, and The Difference.
I tell you, I have referenced Make ‘Em Beg to Work for You so many times in recent months, and am finding the suggestions that I’m implementing with my team are making a huge difference to my business.
That’s why I’m so excited to have Angela as a guest on The Intuitive Entrepreneur Podcast. No matter what stage your business is at, you will find some brilliant tips and ideas in this interview.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
- How thinking of employees as clients will change your business (for the better)
- How to communicate your value to make ‘em beg to work for you
- How to set the vibrational match to call in your dream candidates
- Why “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” is the ultimate employee training principle
- When to be authentically vulnerable with your team for best results
- Setting up the hiring process as a win-win situation
- The importance of creating clarity for your team and how to communicate priorities
- Why releasing a team member can be of massive value to them (and how to do it with grace)
- Letting go with love – how to implement a respectful exit strategy that honors both parties
Brigit: Welcome to the Intuitive Entrepreneur podcast. I'm your host Brigit Esselmont, intuitive business strategist and mentor. As the founder of Biddy Tarot, I turned my love for tarot into an abundant seven-figure business. The secret to my success? Making intuition and strategy my entrepreneurial superpower, and now, I'm inviting you to do the same. In this weekly podcast, I'll be sharing advice, tools, and real life examples from some of the best intuitive entrepreneurs to show you how you can trust your intuition, align with your purpose, and create a positive impact through your work. Let's make it happen.
Brigit: Hello, and welcome to the Intuitive Entrepreneur podcast. Today, I am talking with Dr. Angela Lauria, who is the founder of the Author Incubator, and she's helped over a thousand authors in transformation to write, publish, and promote their books. Angela is also the author of Make 'Em Beg To Work For You, Make 'Em Beg To Be Your Client, Make 'Em Beg To Publish Your Book, and the Incubator Author. She has a BA and a MA in journalism and media affairs from the George Washington University, and a PhD in communications from the European Graduate School, and I can tell you what, Angela loves to learn.
Brigit: Now I met Angela a few years ago as part of the Collective, which was a mastermind of 30 female entrepreneurs, and I can tell you Angela certainly stood out, but what I loved most about Angela is that she's running a highly successful company. She shares in this interview it's an $18 million company and it continues to grow at a very rapid pace. Angela has a unique outlook on things. She has this beautiful innate sense of being able to combine her intuition and her spirituality with very focused and targeted business strategy, and you'll hear more about how she does that in this interview. Also in this interview, you'll hear Angela share about some of her new and I would say more evolved ways of looking at how we can attract, hire, manage, support, and even release our team members. These are practices that I've learned from reading her book Make 'Em Beg To Work For You and then also applying it in our business. I can tell you what, just the results so far have been amazing and it has given me so much clarity.
Brigit: So, with all that in mind, I can't wait to share this interview with you. Let's go.
Brigit: All right, welcome, Angela. I'm so excited to have you here on this call. How are you doing today?
Angela: I'm fantastic. I'm so excited to be here.
Brigit: Awesome. Oh, so many things to talk with you today about, but first, I want to get to know a little bit more about what led you to where you are now, where you are running the Author Incubator, an $18 million company. How did you get here?
Angela: So, I was journalism major in college, and my professor senior year recommended me for a job working for a New York Times bestselling author. For the next 19 years, I was the girl who never got a job. I always had one referral to the next to the next. I wasn't trying to start a business; I was going to finish this project and then I was going to finally get a real job, and a couple of decades passed and I never got a real job, so I was kind of the butt of a lot of my family's jokes. Whenever I'd go home for Christmas, they'd be like, "Are you still doing that weird book-writing stuff?" I would say, "Yeah," and I would be really embarrassed that I'd never gotten around to getting a job, because I had all this potential, but all I was doing was ghostwriting books and editing books, and doing PR for books, and doing websites for authors. I didn't have a real job. It always felt kind of like dog-walking. There was one time I was, I think you know this about me, but I was a Crowded House groupie. So I was-
Brigit: I didn't know that.
Angela: You didn't? Oh, well I spent four years on the road with Crowded House. I was at a Crowded House show in Perth, and I was walking through Kings Park in Perth with another Crowded House fan, and we met some guy in the park who was working on a book. I just talked to him in the park because I talk to strangers, and he hired me to work on his book. That's not a real job.
Angela: One time I was in London also going to a Crowded House show in Islington. I was on the tube and I met this guy on the tube who was the Chief Marketing Officer for Clark Shoes. He hired me to do the Clark Shoes 150th anniversary coffee table book, so I traveled around the world writing about Clark Shoes, but it wasn't like it was a real job. It was just some guy I met on the tube who hired me.
Angela: I just thought this happened to everybody. It's like people ask you to babysit or ask you to walk a dog, ghostwrite a book, like obviously. So, I was always very disappointed in myself and always felt like a total failure, and was always trying to find my job. I thought I might be a personal injury attorney. I wanted to go to law school. I was always reading self-help books on finding your purpose and doing all the quizzes and the personality tests to figure out when was I going to grow up and be an adult and figure out what I loved. I was doing a life-coaching workshop, which I did like all the personal growth workshops. I was perpetually studying but stuck making $10 an hour doing freelance writing, basically. I did this one workshop with an amazing coach named Brooke Castillo, and she had us pair off and we interviewed each other.
Angela: It was a podcast ten years in the future, and the interviewer was saying, "Hey, how did you get here? What happened? How did you get here?", and my mouth said all these things that made no sense to me, but what my mouth said was, "I live in a lake house in West Virginia, and women come to my house and they write their books, and then sometimes we go to the spa or we have people come and give massages. They get their books done and they're all personal growth books that are about using your intuition and metaphysics and connecting with source energy. They're all the things I love and I do this all day long." This did not exist at the time. I was doing a book called Windows Server Backup 2.0, so clearly this is not my life.
Angela: Do you ever second-guess yourself? Like if you're doing a past life regression or a visualization and you kind of second-guess yourself? I was like, "I only came up with that because I was in a wedding," and the wedding was in West Virginia. We did like a girls weekend at a lake house in West Virginia, and it was the week before. So I was like, "That was just a dumb exercise where I came up with an example base don what I did the week before. It doesn't count. It's not a real thing that I'm going to do," and then I did a vision board with pictures of my lake house in West Virginia. I still kind of thought it was dumb, but I was doing all the steps anyway. Then one day, I was driving past the national zoo, and I looked up at the panda poster. Then there was a stop sign in front of me and I knew I had to step on the brake. I stepped on the brake, so it was however long it takes to stop for a stop sign. Ten seconds, and my whole business plan I got as a complete download from the universe in that moment. It was like, "Here's what you're going to do. Here's how you're going to do it. Here's who you're going to work with."
Angela: I knew everything. I could see my whole future in that moment, and not that long after, that was in October. I started working on a website, and I launched my company in February, so a few months later. I was supposed to launch it in January, but that's when I launched the Author Incubator. Now, I live in a castle, not a lake house, and it's on a river, not a lake, and it's in Virginia, not West Virginia, but women come and write their books there and we market their books, and they're all about metaphysics and personal growth and wellness and health and alignment with source, and everything I love.
Brigit: That's amazing.
Angela: That's how it happened. It's so crazy.
Brigit: How many people are you serving like each month? Because I want people to understand the scale of your business.
Angela: Yeah, so I started at five people a month, and we capped out at 40 people a month. So we help 40 people a month write a book. We have a 99.6% success rate. Basically if you sign up with us, your book will be finished. I'll sit next to you and type it for you if I have to. So about 500 people a year, and we do about $1.5 million a month in revenue. 44 employees. We have two locations: we have the castle on the Potomac River for our events and celebrations, picnics, and parties, and now we have the Author Training Academy near Georgetown University in Georgetown, also on the Potomac, so I can see the river for both places. Four floors, 17,000 square feet, classrooms, and the largest collection of giant crystals in North America because I love giant crystals, and now I get to just buy them so my clients can enjoy them.
Brigit: I love it. Something that I really love and appreciate about you, Angela, is just your ability, I don't even want to say "think big." I think it's like "think infinite," right? Because you can completely expand into a massive possibility that I have not seen in many other people, so I find that just so exciting to watch.
Angela: I want to say thank you but this is what I want to say "thank you" for: I feel like I have one job, and I call it "feet in the dirt." That's what it feels like for me, which is like staying connected to the source field. For me, I go down and in. I know a lot of people go up, like crown chakra. When they think about God, they think up. For me, it's feet in the dirt. It's down into Delta, so I kind of go down and in to connect with source. The bigger you get, the more employees you get, the more buildings you get, the more lawyers that come into your life, the more finance conversations you have. It gets harder and harder to keep your feet in the dirt to stay connected to source, to stay connected to your intuition.
Angela: The thing I really give myself credit for is doing my own work because I would say it would be easy not to. It's actually impossible for me not to now, but that's the thing I've done. I grew up Catholic, and there's a Catholic prayer, which is the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. It's, "Make me an instrument of peace." Since I was a little girl [inaudible 00:11:57], "Make me an instrument of peace" has been my favorite prayer. Sinead O'Connor does a version of it. I'm always like, "How can I be a clean enough instrument for source to work through me?", and that is effort. That's not not work, but once I do that, God takes care of everything else.
Brigit: I love it. It's such a good reminder. I really resonate with the idea of needing to really ground down as things get bigger and more expansive, because I've seen examples where folks are very much up in their spirit world but can't bring all of that good juju down into the practical, the physical, the manifesting, the making it real and solidifying it in this earthly realm.
Brigit: I'm curious about how are you using intuition and your spirituality in your consciousness. Like in your business, what does it look like when that's present?
Angela: So first of all, it's everywhere. It's not like, "Well, I do a marketing funnel and I write emails, and I do a coaching call, and then I pray, or then I connect to source." It's in everything everywhere all the time. As an example, my Chief Marketing Officer is a shaman. Part of his job is making sure the "funnel," like our webpage, any energy that's negative or dark around our funnel, our pages, we do spiritual cleansings on all of our employees. That's part of working here on the space, on all of our digital assets. It's built into who we are.
Angela: I'll give you like a dumb, practical, everyday example of what that looks like. We created our own essential own blend, which all of our salespeople have. In between each sales call, they wash their hands, and we usually set them up with filters so it's like de-alkalized and whatever. They wash their hand and then they use this essential oil, and we just use like a three-breath breathing technique so that between each call with a potential author, that the admissions officer, we call them "acquisition editors," that they're clean and showing up present. They're reminded to be connected with that one author, but they also get enough time built into their schedule that they're not going back=to-back on calls. We never want to just "close business" or think of business as sales. We wan theo think of them as actual humans we actually care about, and taking that extra five or ten minutes to wash our hands, use some essential oil, ground down, connect to source, ask for guidance, and then do a sales call. Takes like no time, but completely changes even who would take a job with us, right? When we tell people in the interview, "This is what we're going to do," they'll know if it's not a fit. You can see the look in their eyes.
Angela: That's throughout all aspects of our business. That's why we have the crystals on-site, why we clean them. We do full moon rituals, and then by the way, let me just say, we're super serious about our revenue numbers. We know exactly what our sales goal is ever month. We start every Monday and each salesperson has to have 15 calls on the books for that week for us to hit our numbers. If not, we spend more on advertising; we drop $150,000 a month in advertising. We do all the left brain stuff too; it's not either or, but they're both so interconnected.
Brigit: I think that's the essential key right here. I don't think you can just do, "Oh, let's find out what the lunar cycle is right now and hope for the best with the rest," right? It is about this full integration, and I love hearing about how you've fully integrated intuition and spirituality into your business where it's not just a "nice to have"; it sounds like this is a way of doing business. It's like, "What else is there? This is how we do it, right?
Angela: Yeah. So there's a little trick for me. Because I serve, I call them "magic bakers," but it's people healers, people who are truly healing the planet and I think evolving the human species. Because that is who I serve, there's like an extra level of pressure on me to be in full integrity because these people can smell it, right? It's not like I'm serving real estate agents, and not that there aren't spiritual real estate agents because there are and we have them, but the people who come to us, they're empaths, they're almost all psychic. They use their intuition and psychic gifts. If there were anything about you that were out of alignment, we wouldn't be able to grow our business. When something is out of alignment, because things get out of alignment all the time, but we're on it. We acknowledge it. Sometimes we'll do a ritual, sometimes we'll just write an apology email, but we're never trying to be out of integrity, and if we are called on it, we consider it a "calling in," so we act on it in that way. I think that's the bonus of choosing this niche.
Angela: I think it's like if you're a relationship coach, you're going to be working on your relationship because if that's out of alignment, you're not going to get clients.
Brigit: Yeah, absolutely.
Angela: Our mission statement is, "We believe magic is real," and our mission is to amplify the voices of our fellow magic-makers so they can bring hope, healing, and transformation to the planet.
Brigit: Love it. [inaudible 00:17:51] drop in. It's so powerful, and then I contrast that with or combine it with how many people you are serving and that whole ripple effect of that magic going out and amplifying voices. Yes, love it. So good.
Angela: Yeah. That's the fun thing too about serving authors, because they have so many readers and they have clients. So even though we only have like 500 clients a year, which is a pretty boutique shop, we've got almost one employee for every ten clients, but they're serving so many people, so exponentially, we know that we have that reach.
Brigit: Do you ever get any pushback for integrating spirituality, consciousness, intuition into your business, perhaps by other business owners, entrepreneurs, people on the outside?
Angela: I really don't, except from actually my old friends. I am a student of A Course of Miracles, but I was a student of Course of Miracles in like 1994. All my friends knew it, like it wasn't a secret, but it was like a thing I did. Like one of my friends was into basketball. It was just like, I don't know, a hobby or something. I did a lot of these workshops and it's like, "Oh, how cute. Angela's going to one of her silent mediation retreats," but I also, I don't know, did sign language and they didn't do sign language. It was just like a hobby or a thing about me that they accepted and loved, but it never came up. Then when I started talking about it in my marketing and in social media, and obviously I was friends with my friends on social media, it was like I had cooties and they all sort of stopped talking to me, because it's like, you don't talk about religion or politics or sex I guess. I don't know. I was breaking all these unwritten rules. They were totally supportive when I did life coach training; they were like, "Oh, how fun."
Angela: But yeah, so I lost a bunch of friendships that way, but in terms of my business circle, my clients and my employees and all that, I only attract people that are kind of in this orbit now-
Brigit: [crosstalk 00:20:15]-
Angela: But there are a bunch of friendships that didn't make it through.
Brigit: Yeah, yeah, because I think there's a choice there about whether you're going to let that affect you and you sort of hide in your shell, but knowing you, Angela, that's not going to happen.
Angela: But see, I did for so many years.
Angela: That was those 19 years as a freelance writer. It was like I didn't want to claim what was all there and mine. It was all right there the whole time. Obviously it was under my nose. The reason I was able to download my business plan that quickly from sources, I'd been doing it for 19 years. What I do now isn't that different. It was just claiming it. I think I didn't want to claim it because it felt like it was me, like it felt arrogant. I didn't want people to not like me. I didn't want to be too successful, or like it just might not look good. When I realized like, "I'm just an agent of source. This is just source working through me, and my job is to make the biggest impact I can," then the option of letting those friendships fall away was like, "Oh, I'm either living my mission on the planet or I have a bunch of friends who don't really see me. It became kind of an easy choice.
Brigit: It's really sound advice because I know many people are in that place of struggling with it, people judging them or thinking that they're a little weird because they're using their intuition. Sometimes it can be hiding away from that, but you can't be a full channel to all of this beautiful energy that's available to you if you keep going in that denial framework, and there has to be a point at which you claim it, you own it, and it's what makes you you.
Angela: That's it. It was the difference between, spirituality used to be something I did and it became who I am.
Brigit: Yes, yes. You nailed it. Yeah.
Angela: It's a big transition, and yet it takes a second. If you've been doing the work and you felt connected to source, like it was so fast for me and then so fucking slow, like exhaustingly slow. There were so many [inaudible 00:22:33] like 19 years where I was like, "What am I going to be when I grow up?" I was always the poor one. My parents would have like an anniversary, my sisters would pay for me. If we went out to dinner, I would never pay. There were always family jokes about, "Well you know Angela's not going to pay." If there was a vacation, my mom or my sisters would pay. I was always at the back of the pack for so long, and I thought I would never catch up.
Brigit: You definitely turned the tables on that one. That's-
Angela: That's really hard for people too because they're like, "Wait. I'm supposed to be more successful than her. How did this go wrong?" That's part of why I think a lot of people liked me, is at least they're more successful than me.
Brigit: I'd like to switch gears a little bit and talk about team and leading teams, and particularly off the back of your new book, which is How To Make 'Em Beg To Work For You. I've got to tell you, Angela, I read it once and I thought, "Okay. I've got to be taking a lot of notes here because there is so much good stuff in here," and I reckon every week, I am going back into your book and referring to different ideas that you've shared. In fact, there's a number of things that we've already implemented in our team, and I'm seeing awesome results. So, the thing that I love about this particular book is it is like a whole new level to how we can lead our teams and manage our people, and attract people into our businesses.
Brigit: I want to start with the idea around the job ad. We can go from this really dry job ad of, "Here are the roles and responsibilities" and so on to what is effectively a sales page to attract the people that you want to have work for you, and even starting at the point of having an ideal candidate avatar to then drive what's your sales page effectively going to look like. Tell me more about that.
Angela: Yeah, so the first thing to understand is the key switch for me in building my team was thinking of employees like clients. So clients, I felt like I have to give them a ton of value because they give me a ton of money, so I have a boutique program. It's very expensive. I've got to deliver. Our program, we say it's like Harvard. If they wouldn't do it at Harvard, we're not going to do it here, but for employees, I thought, "Well I'm giving them money, so they should take what's available, like eat the scraps." I wasn't thinking I had to deliver for them; they have to deliver for me. I'm giving them money. Then when I thought, "Wow, time is actually more valuable than money," money, I believe you can always make more of. Money, to me, our program is tens of thousands of dollars, but if you compare that for 40 hours a week for a year, nobody's going to take a job for the amount that our program is. Their time, our employees are our most valuable customers. I have to deliver more to them than to my clients.
Angela: So if I have to deliver more to them, I have to communicate my value to make them beg to work for me. So my book before this is called Make 'Em Beg To Be Your Client, and I took all of the techniques that I used to get people. We have 2,000 or 3,000 applications for every 40 spots in our program. I was like, "What if I had 2,000 or 3,000 applications for every 40 spots in my business? We get about 200 applications for every job. What would happen then? What would the quality of my program be? The quality of my employees be? If I'm going to have 200 people begging to work here, what am I giving them, and more importantly, how do I communicate that?" We know how to do that with our clients already, so you already have a sales page. You already know you can't say, "Give me money. I'll tell you what you're going to get out of it later," right?
Angela: There's a structured way you communicate that, and I have in the book a structured way to write a job ad like a sales letter that will attract many candidates that are of a much higher quality because you're telling them what they're going to get out of it. Instead of telling them what you're going to get out of it, that job list, the list of tasks that most people's job description is, that's the list of what you get out of it. That's like putting up a sales page that says, "You'll watch videos. You'll listen to recordings, you'll read transcripts. You'll spend 39 hours alone with your laptop." That is not going to make somebody buy your program. You have to tell them the value of doing those tasks to their life.
Brigit: Yes, and I also feel like that is what will help potential candidates to see if they are in alignment. Now whether that's happening at a conscious level or an unconscious level, I believe that there's something in them that will either just go, "Yes, this is it," or they'll go, "Eh, I'm not sure."
Angela: You know there's like, I can give away one little tip from the job description. It has, I don't know if I talk about this in the book, but there's a secret numerology component to it. Do I talk about that?
Angela: So we do a couple things with intuition in our job descriptions, but one of them is each job has a code number, which we call it "the secret code" for each job. It's based on numerology. Sometimes I'll look at enneagrams, sometimes it'll be a tarot card pull. Sometimes it's just straight numerology, like a master number, but we look at the features that we want the candidate who takes this job to have and we make the secret code aligned with that number so that vibrationally, it'll be more attractive to the right candidates.
Brigit: I love it. So I didn't know that tip. I knew that you were using like a number, and we started using the same, but I love that it has an even deeper and deeper connection to it.
Angela: I know. I leave some things out. That's one of our little secrets that's not in there, but yeah. We'll sometimes do like an astrology date, but whoever the hiring manager is, that secret code number that we put in the descriptions has some special meaning not for the hiring manager, but for what the hiring manager believes their candidate will have. It's all about being vibrationally aligned with the people who are applying, and then the secret to this trick, just to finish it out, is you bury the secret code in the job description and then you tell candidates they have to put the secret code in the subject line or you won't open the application. I just set up filters in my email so that there's a folder called "Marketing Manager," and we know #59 is Marketing Manager. All the applications that say "59" show right up in that folder. I don't even read the other ones that don't have the code.
Brigit: I think that really weeds out certainly detail orientation and desire to work with you.
Brigit: Something interesting I am noticing is in the hiring process, I have had experiences where I see someone and I know it's an exact match, and it happens like that. In a half an hour conversation, like, "You're it. In you go," and they hit the ground running, and it's amazing. Other times, I've been through a very long process, say maybe like one or even two months of recruitment, hiring, doing all of the tests, which feels really robust and rigorous, but sometimes that's a hit, sometimes it's a miss. I'm really curious: does it have to be a really rigorous process, or is there validity in just going, "You, energy match, now?"
Angela: Yeah, so here's the thing: I find, and this is where you got to put your big girl pants on as an entrepreneur, but I find that people work out in a role about half the time. Whether you spend three months trying to hire them or three minutes trying to hire them, until they're actually working in your energy, you will not know if it's a match. The cost of waiting to hire someone, I really want you to get this, the cost of waiting to hire someone means you are going to lose the best candidates. The best candidates are going somewhere else because people are begging them to work for them. If you want people to beg to work for you, you have to have the best people, which means you have to be ready to act fast. It's either going to work or it's not going to work. You could either adjust or find another way to part as friends, but people are so afraid of making the mistake that they'll cost their business months of productivity with a new employee by trying to make sure they don't make the mistake. That, to me, is the mistake.
Angela: Most people say, "Hire slow, fire fast." My mantra is, "Hire fast, fire slow," which seems really expensive to people, but I promise you it's so much cheaper than waiting and losing out on great candidates and trying to play God. You don't know if it's going to work, so if you get the intuitive hit somebody's right, get them working in your business, evaluate 90 days later if it's working, and if it's not working, adjust or make some other plans. Everyone is so much more resilient than they believe: you, if you need to let someone go, but also the employee, and there's a really hard story in my book about how I learned the value of letting people go when they aren't a fit and not dragging people along. I don't mean the value to me or my business; I mean the value to them.
Brigit: Because ultimately, we all want to do our very best work. I feel that if you're in a situation where you're supported for success and it's not happening, sometimes that's just because it is out of alignment, and it's almost doing a disservice trying to fit someone into the square peg, round hole, whatever it might be. Yeah, and it's actually better for all parties just to let it go.
Angela: Everything's always changing. So you could do the three-month process, hire someone, be 100% sure it's perfect, and then they have an ectopic pregnancy. Two weeks later, they're in a depression because they lost a baby in a very painful way. You do not know the future. You don't know what's supposed to happen. You don't know that person's life path. You don't know what role that person has in your business, so there's no way to get it right. I think slowing things down is another way of saying "we're trying to control the universe," and I promise you you can't. Lean into your intuition.
Brigit: Yeah, we used to do it where we'd hire someone for the role, like a long-term employment with a three-month trial period. Basically, you're in your role [inaudible 00:33:59] three months' trail, but what I found is actually, now we shifted to "I'm hiring you for three months, and then at the end of that three months, we'll decide together"-
Angela: I love it.
Brigit: "If we hire you long-term. My intention is that you stay with us long-term; I would love for that to happen, but right now, we're going to focus on the next 90 days. I'm going to support you to be 100% successful as much as you can be, and then we'll know by the end of that 90 days if you're in or if it's out of alignment."
Angela: Both of us, right? It's like "try before you buy."
Angela: It's great.
Brigit: I find too, I'm still moving through this process right now, but my energy around it is a little bit different because in the past, I might have got to that three months and felt awfully disappointed. "Oh, it's a failure," "I put all this investment in hiring and onboarding," "Oh, it's a failure." Now, if I just set my sight on the end of that 90 days, whichever way it goes, it's a success, right? I do think-
Angela: I love this. I always like to think about life as a tic-tac-toe game when you can set it up so there's two ways to win and no way to lose. So it's like, "At the end of 90 days, I have a great employee. Awesome." "At the end of 90 days, I found out this person isn't who I want to work with." "At the end of 90 days, I have a project done and they don't want to work with me, but I got a great project." It's just literally set up so there's no way to lose. We have more information, everybody wins. I love it.
Brigit: Something else that I'm doing as a result of reading your book is putting in place, what I call like our "performance milestones." "So over the first 90 days, what are the things that you need to be able to do?" By the end of 30 days, by 60 days, and 90 days. What I'm finding in this process is it's very clear about my expectations because in the past, I had very high standards and high expectations, and I'm not always great at communicating that. The framework that you have in your book has really supported me in articulating that, and then it's also helping out new hires to know, "Exactly what is expected of me? How do I know I'm on track, and where do I need to get extra training? If it's saying I need to know about the growth strategy for next year, right, I better go learn. 'What is that?'" You also include "the babies die" principle. I'd love for you to just talk a little bit about that too.
Angela: Yeah, so we talk about this in our company a lot. It's like, what are the things that if they don't have, it's the equivalent of babies will die. What I mean by that is usually most things, I would really like all of our books in alphabetical order by author's last name, and if it's hyphenated, please do it on the first last name, not the second last night, but the truth is no babies are going to die if our books aren't alphabetized, but it's really hard for employees to know, like for us, the biggest "babies die" is that our authors finish their manuscript by the due date. We have a 99.6% rate. We really want it to be 100%. The author must finish their book. That is a "babies die" if the books aren't finished, but alphabetizing the books in my office library, it's not a "babies die" thing.
Angela: You think as the entrepreneur this is obvious. "Alphabetizing books doesn't matter. Finishing the manuscript matters." Your employees do not know. Everything feels equally important. So what I say is each employee ideally should only have no mo than five, ideally one to three, "babies will die" metrics. These the things that you are in business, your job, your role in this company is to make sure these babies don't die. "These are the babies, they can't die. The other stuff, please make it happen. It's important. We would like it to happen, but as long as you hit those goals, we're going to be fine." By the way, if a baby is going to die, it's your responsibility to tell other people on the team, like tell your boss, tell me, "Hey, there's a baby about to die." We would like to do something about that. We don't want to find out later a baby died.
Angela: I think this is in the clockwork method. They call it "protecting the queen bee." So for us, each role knows what is the queen bee that they have to protect. What's the baby that they're responsible for keeping alive, and then everything else becomes within their discretion. If you have to do it in order for that outcome, great, but you can work around it.
Brigit: What I love about all of this is just the clarity it brings to each team member. You can't get into a team and go, "Oh, I didn't know what I was meant to do" when you have this kind of structure set up. It's fantastic, and I'll tell you what, it does take a lot of brain power to really nail it and get it right. I remember you coaching me on those 30 days/60 days/90 days where I'm like, "Oh, I want you to do 20 things." You're like, "No. It will always take that little bit longer, and you should have that expectation that things will take longer." It's better that they're done well than to have everything in place from day one.
Angela: Yeah, it's that "slow is smooth, smooth is fast." As an entrepreneur, there's so much stuff in our head and so much stuff that we're downloading from source that we know how to do, like of course if you're going to edit something, why would you not use "Track Changes?" You don't want to teach somebody that. Like geez, it's so obvious, but there are other ways people do things. You have to go super slow and say, "Here's how we edit," and everything as an entrepreneur feels like, "I have to go this slow? Really?", but if you're willing to do that with new employees, if you're willing to give them like 90 days before you expect them to be productive for you in any way, they can probably be productive at 30 days, but if you expect them to be productive right away, you're just going to be disappointed. Then you'll be frustrated. Then your energy will just become a mirror and they're going to be frustrated that you're frustrated, and then that's not doing to make them work harder.
Angela: So now you're expecting somebody to be better at energy management and self-coaching than you. Why would you beg to work somewhere where your boss doesn't even know how to manage their energy, and they're just going to find another job or you're going to fire them. So, setting an expectation that it's going to take longer to bring someone on board, that, to me, was a big part of learning patience, but a big part of my success in building a team. I am not good at patience. That was a challenge.
Brigit: So something I'm really interested in in terms of your ideas and thoughts is when you are part of a rapidly changing and evolving business and you attract people who are the right for you at that point in time in the business, and yet the business continues to change and evolve, and shed its own skin and create new skin, how do you keep your existing team in alignment with his newer version of the business, and do you keep them in alignment, or is there an alternative?
Angela: So the answer to the question the way you phrased it is if they're meant to stay, they're going to stay if you're totally vulnerable. You have to be honest and vulnerable, and if they are your soulmate employees, if they are supposed to be building this dream with you, they will connect with that vulnerability and that journey, and evolution will resonate with their soul. But, if you're trying to make it seem like you have your shit together, you will not even know if you're an energy match or if you're generating. So to be vulnerable, you have to be willing to give those relationships up. Not all of them will make it.
Angela: So for me, one of the things that's really helpful, I learned this from an employee who's a millennial. She was telling me like, "There's no job for any amount of money that I would stay in if I weren't happy. Too much of my time is too much of my life,' and I believe in my mission. I'm so excited about my mission, but I realized if she was unhappy, I wouldn't want her to be in that job either, right? I wouldn't want anybody, not your kids, not my kids, not the neighbor's kids. I wouldn't want anyone to spend 40 hours a week in a job they don't like. When that became my first principle, then I had to say, "How do I relationships that are honest enough with people that I'll find out and help them quit? Help them find another job, help them move to Vietnam, help them start a business. How can I help them get out?", because as a soul, my soul doesn't want you to be trapped somewhere you don't want be, except for I'm the one with the money. I'm the one paying your paychecks. So how do I get them to be honest and say, "I hate this job?"
Angela: Well for me, the answer to that has been vulnerability. The shit is not together. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm making it up and it changes all the time. I'm listening to source, and sometimes I get sent in different directions. I'm fucking scared, a lot. Having the responsibility of the salaries and the families, and the rent, and two places, it keeps me up at night. When I can share all of those truths, which people get at different levels, but when I can share that and really be honest with them, it gives them permission to be more honest with me. We do some other things like putting in some levels of management where it's easier to communicate than sometimes it's more scary communicating to me directly, but if you have a small team, if you have one or two people, even if they're freelancers and contractors, and you feel like before you talk to your employees, you have to get your shit together, I would encourage you don't worry about getting your shit together.
Angela: Things are changing all the time. You are here serving at the pleasure of the universe doing your very best, inventing things, creating, selling, trying new stuff. It's not always going to be an energy fit for everyone, but I'm not going to turn into a big jerk. If it's not an energy fit for me or for you, we're going to have an adult conversation. We're going to see if we can change the energy, and if we can't, we're going to figure out an exit strategy with love. I've had this work both ways: I've had employees I didn't want to leave, leave. I've had people who wanted to stay that I had to tell to leave, but for it to work, it has to work for both of us, right? It can't be "you love the job and I hate you in it," it can't be "you hate the job and I love you in it," but we have to talk and have a conversation and see if we can realign, and if we can't realign, then we find a way to say goodbye with love.
Angela: Everybody's actually reasonable if you're honest. If you don't BS them, if you're like, "Listen, I can't afford to pay you for nothing, but I don't want to just pull the rug out. I can imagine being in a position where I depended on this job to pay the rent. Can you help me think of a way that I could continue to pay you and it'll make sense for me because obviously you don't want to steal money from me, and it gives you some value, and it gives you time to go find a job. By the way, are there any of my clients you like that I can make introductions to? Can I do a social media post about how awesome you are? Can I look at your resume? Can I write you a recommendation letter while you're here and I'm still paying you?" They come up with much more generous ideas than I would about how they can add value, how they can stay here, how they can create a transition that doesn't feel scary for them. It doesn't have to be like, "You're fired." That's a weird, old paradigm. We can actually just do this with love as grownups and find a way that works for everyone.
Brigit: I do think vulnerability, truth, and honesty are really core to that. In fact, for me, the book by Brene Brown, Dare to Lead, has been pivotal in helping me understand as a leader how to use vulnerability in a very constructive, helpful way for the team.
Angela: Yeah, because there's a balance. You don't want to freak them out. You don't want to make people feel like, "Well I shouldn't work there. This lady's crazy," "She doesn't know what she's doing." At the same time, you want to be vulnerable. There is an art to it, for sure.
Brigit: Yes, yes. Definitely.
Brigit: So Angela, what's happening for you over the next 12 months? What's coming up for you?
Angela: Oh my God, that's so exciting. So you and I went to Necker Island to Sir Richard Branson's island in the British Virgin Islands. While I was there, I had a semi-disaster back at the office. Once of my employees spontaneously quit over something I said, and she waited until I was gone. We were actually at dinner when she quit in a one sentence Slack message, and was like, "I hate you. Bye." Wasn't exactly that, but it was pretty close. I took this really hard. I obviously couldn't do anything about it. I couldn't fix it. She wasn't open to talking. I did kind of an HR review. I had a conversation with me about whether I was a fit in the day-to-day in my business. The exact thing you're talking about with employees, like, "Is it still an energy match?" I actually realized the energy of my business had outgrown me. I wasn't a fit for the company.
Angela: So when we got back from Necker, I fired myself with love, which is the last chapter in my book about letting go with love, and I created a six-month exit plan for myself. In the next 12 months, I will transition out of my business; I've got about three or four months left. I'll transition out of my business into the role of owner, and my goal is I'm coaching just a couple people, consulting with a couple people, and this stuff. How to build their business, how to hire, how to create a team that's really energized and working for you instead of against you. So just a handful, like three or four people that I'm going to consult me, and one of my clients will be the Author Incubator, so I'll still be consulting for the company and coming in as a guest speaker from time to time and obviously still be an owner, but kind of taking a step back and seeing what that's like.
Brigit: It's exciting times.
Angela: It'll be a totally new experience, yeah.
Brigit: As you're doing this, what aspect of yourself do you feel that you are starting to express?
Angela: Oh God, that's the best question ever. Oh, God. I want to spend a week on that question. I think for me, I love about myself that I have no filter, but an interesting version of restraint. So I'm watching myself not have to say as much. At first, I said everything, kind of critiquing what was happening in the business. That's what led to this employee quitting, right? Then I've noticed myself pull back, and I still see it, and I say it, but I say it more quietly behind the scenes. One of the things that Richard Branson taught us is, I don't even know if you'll remember this. It was a side comment but it was a huge pop for me. He said, "With your team, you only give positive reinforcement."
Angela: So, I took that and I ran with it. To my top three people, I will say something like, "If I were doing it, I might not have done it that way," but I do it privately now, which I never did before. I've noticed I need to do it less sand less. It's fading away, and my idea of what's important is really changing. It feels a little bit wiser. I have always felt smart and clever, but this feels like a wiser, kind of more of the crone coming into bloom and more of a "I don't need to jump on everyone like a puppy; I can just watch this evolve." So, it's very interesting.
Brigit: I think that's your beauty. I think that's the goal of the crystal within, to really step into that space. I'm so excited to see what unfolds for you, for sure.
Brigit: Angela, where can people get a copy of your book? Because man, I would be getting it and I would be putting sticky notes all over it. If you've got even just one person on your team, get this book. It is amazing, and it's not a hard read either. It's super easy. So where can we get your book?
Angela: Yeah, so it's Make 'Em Beg To Work For You. I'm grabbing my copy so I can read my subtitle. Make 'Em Beg To Work For You: 7 Steps to Find, Hire, Manage, Reward, and Release All-star Players to Help Make your Dream a Reality. You can get it on Amazon, or if you want a free copy, you can go to theauthorincubator.com. A magical little popup will pop up, and so you can get it there, or you can go to theauthorincubator.com/freebook2019. "Freebook 2-0-1-9" and get a free copy there.
Brigit: Oh, fantastic. I love that you've made a free copy too.
Brigit: Of course, I'm sure that people can find out more about writing books at theauthorincubator.com as well. Anywhere else that people can find you?
Angela: Yeah, so definitely Instagram, @authorincubator. So instagram.com/authorincubator. No "the" on that one. What's fun about that is if you like crystals, there are always lots of pictures of our pretty crystals and our beautiful authors on that page, so for the visual among us, enjoy the delights, the sights, and sounds of the Author Training Academy.
Brigit: Fabulous, and you can never get enough of crystal porn, thank you very much.
Angela: Right? I agree.
Brigit: Brilliant. Well thank you so very much, Angela. I have thoroughly enjoyed today's conversation, so rich with information. I really appreciate your generosity of sharing today.
Angela: Me too. Thank you so much for having me.
Brigit: Thank you for joining me for today's episode of the Intuitive Entrepreneur podcast. If you loved this episode, please leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. It really helps to get the word out, and of course I read every single comment. Now, if you're an intuitive entrepreneur with a desire to build a business fueled by purpose, passion, and profit, then you're invited to join me in an intimate group of female business owners in the Intuitive Entrepreneurs Mastermind. All you need to do is add your name to the wait list, and you'll be the first to know when applications are open. So head on over to brigit.me/mastermind. That's "B-R-I-G-I-T" dot "me," forward slash "mastermind." I'll see you there, and bye for now.
Links and Resources Mentioned:
- Make Em Beg to Work for You
- Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
- The Author Incubator
- The Author Incubator on Instagram