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042: How to Create an Operations Strategy with Natalie Gingrich

If you’re wondering how to build your team, create your operations strategy, and actually build systems that work to create sustainability and organization in your business–then this episode is for you!

Struggling with your operations strategy?

Establishing and implementing an online business operations strategy is no joke!

Today, we’re talking about how to set up processes and systems in your own business to allow for greater success and more profit in less time. Learn all the nitty-gritty details on operations, systems, organization, and processes to take your business to the next level.

This episode is for you if:

  • you’re lost on how to structure the back end, behind-the-scenes part of your online business
  • you want to become a Director of Operations
  • you want to hire a Director of Operations
  • you want to learn how to create a certification program

How to Hire + Build a Team

Today we’re digging into something that has been the hardest part of growing my business: building a team.

Specifically, it’s figuring out the right roles for the right people at the right time for your business.

Should you hire a virtual assistant (VA), an Online Business Manager (OBM), a director of operations (DOO), an integrator, a projector manager–it all gets so confusing, right?

Luckily today, we’re breaking down the structure of a leadership team, what qualities to look for, and how to conduct an interview.

My guest today, Natalie Gingrich, has spent two decades in the operations industry. She spent much of that in corporate America as a Human Resources leader and a certified Project Manager. She left corporate and quickly began filling a gap in the small business market by teaching and mentoring 6 and 7 figure business leaders about the nuances of operations. Her gift is in simplifying complex business strategies to show CEOs how to scale through operations.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to create a certification you can stand behind
  • What qualities should you look for in a great Director of Operations? How is this different from a Virtual Assistant, or Online Business Manager, or Integrator?
  • A framework for how to know when you’re ready to hire a team
  • What’s the best project management software or tool?
  • How to set 30/60/90 day goals for you and your team, and how to evaluate if the costs are worth the return
  • What interview questions to ask when hiring a leadership position

Subscribe and Review

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The Success with Soul Podcast on Apple Podcasts so we can improve and better serve you in the future. Plus, you could be featured on a future episode during our listener spotlights. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts to get automatic updates. My goal for this podcast is to inspire those who seek flexibility and freedom in their lives by making something happen with holistic, soulful, step-by-step strategies from me and other experts.

Links + Resources Mentioned in this Episode: 

Related Episodes:

More Ways to Enjoy Success with Soul

Kate Kordsmeier 0:00

Welcome back to the Success with Soul podcast. I'm your host, Kate Kordsmeier. Today we're digging into something that has been the hardest part of growing my business really and truly, and that is building a team. Specifically, it's figuring out the right roles for the right people at the right time for your business. And a lot of that comes down to whether or not you should hire a VA, a virtual assistant, an OBM, an online business manager, or a director of operations, a DLL, or sometimes called an integrator. So my guest today is Natalie Gingrich, and she is the founder of the Director of Operations certification. I was introduced to Natalie earlier this year, when I was looking to hire an integrator for my company. And over the last year, she has helped me with so many hiring decisions. She works with entrepreneurs and online business, primarily those six and seven figure business owners that are looking to scale. And her company, the opposite authority of what she has a podcast by the same name is instrumental in helping with this whole team building, hiring HR operations, all of it, you can hire Natalie to help you hire a director of operations. If you are a director of operations, or maybe you just have that skill set and you didn't know that there was a job for this. You can take Natalie's Certification Program, or if you're ready to scale, but you're not ready to hire a big team Natalie even has a program called the a team accelerator that will help you set up processes and systems in your own business to allow for greater success and more profit in less time. Or you can just listen to today's episode and get all the nitty gritty details on operations and systems and organization and processes and just everything you need to know to take your business to the next level. So without further ado, take it away Natalie. You're listening to the Success with Soul podcast with Kate Kordsmeier ex journalist turned CEO of a multi six figure blog in online business. But it wasn't that long ago that Kate was a struggling entrepreneur who lacked confidence, clarity, and let's be honest money. But all those failures, experiments and lessons learned helped Kate create a thriving business that impacts 1000s and brings freedom, flexibility and fulfillment to her life. If you're ready to do the same and make something happen with holistic, soulful, step by step strategies from Kate and other experts, you're in the right place. here's your host, writer, educator, Mom, recovering perfectionist, bookworm and sushi connoisseur, Kate Kordsmeier. Welcome, Natalie, I'm so happy to have you on the show.

Natalie Gingrich 3:03

Yes, one of my favorite people. I'm super excited to be here too.

Kate Kordsmeier 3:07

Well, it was just fate that brought us together, because well, actually, it was Jessica Butz, who brought us together. And she's been on the show, too. So I've known you for most of this year, I guess we met earlier, maybe February. And you've helped me grow my team so much. And I come to you with all of my hiring decisions and questions. And you're so amazing. And I'm glad to be able to share your advice at large now. So you are an expert in operations. How did you get here?

Natalie Gingrich 3:43

You know what the so this is so cool. And I think a lot of people can, especially females can identify with us, I shouldn't say especially females, but I talked to a lot of females. But operations was never a title or a word that I would have used to describe myself when I was younger. But now that I have put so much time and energy into the discipline of operations, I think I've done and been a product of this for my entire life. And so what I mean by that is, I can specifically look back to like the age of eight and making to do lists and organizing things in my in my little bedroom. Like at that point. That was like the biggest thing to me, right. But I would make to do lists on what I needed to do. And it would be just like an ordinary To Do List of, you know, here's what I'm going to do for the day it would be like wake up at eight are probably back then it was like wake up at seven curl hair brush teeth. So that's what was important back then. But that was really an indicator as I look backward. It's always so cool to look in reverse at who we were and the course of life that we have taken to really get us to the point that we're at today because I believe across the board all of us can look back and glean some some good insights. what works and what doesn't work. But that's a natural skill set that I've had. And then over my professional career, my my degree is in nursing and business, which is very strange, but

Kate Kordsmeier 5:11

wow, I didn't know that.

Natalie Gingrich 5:13

Yeah. So it's, again, looking backwards, I'll be able to look back and connect the dots for you guys. But I started in nursing and then went into human resources, really looking for that Healthcare Management kind of tract. And so I, I coupled business with nursing and went into the HR space. And then from there, I went into corporate America, I moved away from the traditional hospital life. And in corporate America, I worked in HR project management. And then I ended my 15 year career in a fortune 150 as the Chief of Staff for our sheet for our CEO. And so, with all of that, like it sounds crazy, like a lot of people that I meet now in this phase of my life are like, Oh, my goodness, I have no, I had no idea that you were a nurse back in the day. And as I look back and connect the dots, nursing, teaching, administration, like a lot of the the careers that a lot of us females will take over time. Come back to operations. I mean, we systematize lots and lots of things as a nurse, I mean, yes, we've got a treatment plan. And it's our job as a nurse to uphold the treatment plan. So you start to see project management, you start to see administration, you start to see leadership being able to make solid decisions. So I would say I'm your question was like, how the world did you get to operations, I believe I was born in with an operational mind. And I've been lucky to select careers along my journey, that that align with that which make it easy to show up and to give and to support the people that I come in, into, in touch with.

Kate Kordsmeier 6:54

I'm having this like very sexist thought come through my mind as you're saying this, because I'm like, if you think about traditional women's roles, it's maintaining the household, right. And it's, I was thinking last year, I hired a personal assistant. And in the job description, I said, What I'm really looking for is a wife, because I need somebody to come in and make all the things happen in my house so that things are cleaned, and meals are cooked and fridges are stocked and all this stuff. And just as you were describing them like this is what I'm looking for. And in my business, too, when you're hiring a director of operations is like I need a wife or my business. Of course, it's kind of a horrible thing to say, because obviously women are this is not the role that I've tried. couldn't help but share that thought as you're speaking especially thinking about, like you were saying Nursing and Health Care. And yeah,

Natalie Gingrich 7:51

no, it's something I have spent a lot of time in thinking just as I'm hiring for people who want, you know, operators in their business, they don't have to be females. But I will say that females typically are from an aggregate perspective, we are born as nurtures as, as those types of people who have nurturing skills are going to create systems to be able to nurture better, and so yeah, definitely. Female heavy, but I've had many, many men, especially males that have been in the military turn out to be phenomenal operators, random, random tidbit for you, Kate. Yeah,

Kate Kordsmeier 8:31

I love it. Well, okay, so you, you kind of left us where you left your corporate career. And now, what's your business model now? I mean, I know how we, you and I have worked together, but there's beyond that, too.

Natalie Gingrich 8:44

Yeah. So I exited corporate. And when I exited corporate, I was really looking for a rebuilding life utilizing the skills I was looking for ease the biggest word that really you know, I don't know if you guys have done the whole word of the year thing but my word that year was ease. I'm gonna walk you through that because I think if you've chosen a word or you have a mantra that you're really like, working to manifest in your life, that word ease, ease, ease, I kept thinking about that. And when I came up with that word, I was still in corporate and as life would have it, the CEO left as a CEO as the time at the time that he was leaving the new one was coming in with his new staff and it was a great time for me to be able to to reevaluate where I wanted to be so I could have stayed in this company I was definitely desired inside of the company. But I started to think of ease and I needed ease in my life that the pace the stress the worry the the the integrity that the things that were filling that were really filling my cup were very superficial and we're not really Natalie and so I went into this quest for legacy so ease kind of lead into legacy at this time, I I left corporate I left a very healthy executive position. And you know that with that came with a healthy paycheck. And so I just I really reevaluated everything and left that safe environment and came into the land of entrepreneurship because I wanted to really be able to uphold those two things which ease and legacy are our big tenants in my life I had, at that point, I had kids that were nine and six, and were just requiring a different part of me. And I wanted to show up differently than I than I was. And so I transitioned into supporting businesses like yours in a one to one capacity. And so I used all of that experience that I had gained over those 15 years in corporate, I never bashed corporate, I know, you don't have a corporate background. But those of you guys that are listening today, corporate gets a, you know, a lot of times when people make the transition into entrepreneurship, they, you know, they will really, really be frustrated with corporate and it was so good to me, it gave me I mean, I got paid to learn the things I'm now implementing, and changing small business owners lives in a way that of course, I couldn't have could have imagined at the time that I was learning them in corporate. So lots of goods and Bad's with corporate, but I really feel grateful for that experience. And it definitely led to helping me today. So I started in a one to one capacity, working in supporting, you know, one to three businesses at any, at any given point. I remember making the decision as I was, as I was making this transition. I was unfamiliar, I had no idea that there were these businesses online, I had really only understood healthcare and corporate. And so I had no idea that there were so many successful and interesting and passion filled businesses out there that were that were profitable. I had a skewed vision of what small business look like, I really thought that they were kind of hobbyist I thought that they were making enough for themselves. But I really didn't see it. I didn't see small businesses having the amount of leverage that they do on the economy, at least here in the US as they do today. And so that was a big learning and something that really helped me to get more confident in what I was offering. Because when I first came into this, I was trying to replace that income. And I kept thinking, how am I going to replace this income, doing low level work, which was way underneath what I was doing in corporate right, like I was coming in thinking I was going to take more of the virtual assistant path because you give me an objective, and I'm going to I will no doubt I will figure out a way to make it happen. And I just had way too much experience to to go down that path at that time. Could I do it? Absolutely. But I just challenged myself to stay in integrity. And so I started serving in a one to one capacity from a leadership perspective, not necessarily in a in a codependent perspective, or a submissive probably isn't just another sexist word that probably doesn't work here. But it was not an implementation, it was more at the strategy level. And so I wanted to make sure that I was still leveraged as a leader. And that's how I supported people. And it was different than what I was seeing in the industry. And so I really, I leveraged all of the project management, and my specialty and HR to really create kind of a niche for me in this space. And I was supporting business owners in a way that they hadn't been supported. So it gave me a lot of fuel and a lot of experience. I did that for three years, which doesn't. Now looking back on my life, three years doesn't seem like a whole lot. But again, it gives me a lot of great experience a lot of great intellectual property, a lot of foundation. And I took all of that and I've made a certification. Because business owners like UK would come to me and say I need a Natalie, how do I get a Natalie? Well, if I can only serve two to four clients at any time, I have a passion for making sure that specific. In my world, specifically, these small business owners are equipped to have this kind of support. The support doesn't require a unicorn, it doesn't require you to have X figures in your business, everyone needs it. And you know, I know it needs to be purposeful and on time, but if I was could only take three clients, I needed to multiply that and so I ended up really thinking hard and deliberate about how we were going to do that. And we ended up creating a certification for directors of operation. And that's where I am today that kind of catches us up on the last. And the last five years that I've been in business for myself. So we have a certification and in that certification, we are looking for natural born operators. Again, we're not looking for corporate or any type of prescriptive experience, I'm looking for a natural born operator. And we really help them to uplevel what they're what they're offering, the type of clients that they're working with and also of course the the income so that they can live the same life. See life that they set out for just like I have? Yeah. So cool. So I have a

Kate Kordsmeier 15:07

tangent question that asked you that. Not at all what I plan to ask you today. But what was the process like of creating a certification? I mean, can anybody just say, I'm going to create a certification and do it? Or is there like, do you have to get certified to make a certification? What's the process?

Natalie Gingrich 15:24

Ooh, that's a good question. I, my first thought was, I'm going to make a course, right, because there's a lot of information on how to create courses out there. And so what I found and I did go that path just to be really transparent, I did through the path of creating a course. And what was out of alignment. For me, Kate was the fact that I wanted to protect this information in a way that, of course, doesn't allow that. So I didn't want this information to be skewed or taken out of context. And at the same time, I started to see from the course perspective, anybody can take a course, there's no criteria on who can push, who can, who can press by. So I wanted to make sure that I was getting true leaders, because if I at the end at the as a deliverable, and as the product, at the end of the certification, if I was going to be matching them with a company like yours, I wouldn't be able to stand behind this person. And without putting that criteria and structure together, I was getting people who really I couldn't stand behind. And so did it. I mean, there's a lot of risk and doing the certification, there's a lot of benefit, of course, but from a risk perspective, it my funnel, or the the the number of people that can come through, you know, I just qualified, right, like a few people. So. But from a certification perspective, anybody can create a certification, there are some legal things that you need to do to set up. One of the biggest things and the thing that took a lot of my time and energy I spend, I can be very detailed in the fact finding space. It may not take everybody this amount of time, but I needed to understand what criteria was going to be important. Because legally, to create a certification, you have to have some type of criteria, that if you are audited, you've got you know, you've got some boundaries in place. And so that took me a lot of time, because, you know, the servant and me felt bad, or the pleaser and me would feel bad for disqualifying. But by it's really helped me and from a brand perspective, I believe our brand has been elevated, because of the exclusivity. And saying no to people is always hard. But it's been the right thing for us.

Kate Kordsmeier 17:39

Yeah, I just think there's so many different people types of people listening, that are going to get something out of this episode, because our original, you know, reason for bringing one was to bring information to entrepreneurs who are like, I need help in my business with the operations piece. What does that look like? So we're gonna get into that, of course. And then there's also like, oh, there's this cool business model of creating a certification. And then there's this third piece that like maybe somebody's listening to, I don't really want to be the entrepreneur, I would love to be the operations person for somebody, and they're gonna hear these are the characteristics that are make a great operator, these are the personality types and stuff. So if you're listening and you feel that way, go check out Natalie certification, maybe that's going to be the best career path for you. So what are some of the I think this this question will knock out kind of two of those pieces? What are some of the criteria that you look for in people who are applying for your certification, which I think then also helps people who are looking for an operator? What should they look for?

Natalie Gingrich 18:45

Right? So leadership is number one, and it's the most difficult to screen for, but I'm looking for leaders, because a director just in the title itself, Director of Operations, versus a virtual assistant, or even a business manager, those titles aren't they differentiate the level of support just in the title, right. So, you know, titles can also be ambiguous. So I don't put a whole lot of stock into that. But if I'm going to deliver a product is going to be a director level thinker. I've got to make sure that I have somebody who is in it, who has innate leadership. I'm not here, there are plenty of people out there who can teach you leadership. That's not my specialty. But I need to make sure that when they're coming in, they are leaders, when I say that, that means that they're able to open up two way communication with a with a client, because they're going to be a strategic leader. You want them in your business to partner with you on thoughts, products, and team. And so you're going to you're going to need to have two way communication. And if I cannot see that they are open to to leadership, maybe they're leaders because they're strong and they have experience Well, that doesn't that doesn't necessarily mean the kind of leadership that I'm looking for. I need someone who can sit Peer to Peer with Kate. And Kate has her zone of genius and this person zone of genius is going to be coupling them has a different perspective or a different slant. But they're going to be in the operation space, whereas Kate is going to be maybe in the marketing space or something like that. So,

Kate Kordsmeier 20:17

so important just right there, because it's so easy. When you start hiring to we're attracted, you know, like attracts like, I want you to hire somebody who Oh, I would be friends with this person, we have so much in common. I would love to work with them. And sometimes that may work. But sometimes it's like you need somebody in this in this role to really compliment you not to not compete and not to have like I realized, I don't actually want somebody who's the same as me. I need somebody who fills those gaps that I don't have.

Natalie Gingrich 20:49

Yes. Oh, my goodness, that is so so true. And it's so natural, especially in the beginning phases of our business, to want to find somebody who is just like us, because we want a companion that wants someone to chit chat with, to brainstorm with. But what you really need for the growth of your business is a compliment not not the exact same?

Kate Kordsmeier 21:10

Yeah, yeah. Because entrepreneurship in the early days, especially is is lonely, it's isolating, and you're like, Oh, my gosh, I have somebody to be able to talk to and like, really enjoy their company. And but I think you can find both, hopefully, is that yes, there's somebody who's really complimentary to you, who's also not just a carbon copy.

Natalie Gingrich 21:30

Yeah. And I will definitely get into into that piece later. So if you're listening, and that sounds good, we'll come back to it. But the other thing outside of leadership, they have to have leadership, if they don't have leadership, they cannot come in. Because difficult conversations are going to come up, you're going to have to speak with candor and kindness as you're developing in their business. And this, it's a delicate place to be to it's Kate's business, after all. So it's You are the CEO, you are the leader of the business, but I need to, I need to come in and be able to be on equal playing field, but knowing that you're the person that is the ultimate decision maker, when you start to feel conflict, you can be too literally, and the way that you can come off, like it's my way or the highway. And that's not the role that a Director of Operations has. In addition to that, we look at things that you need to be a project, you need to have the project management skill set, meaning you can organize, you can segment, you can follow up and you can lead people to achieve a task to accomplish a task. So you don't have to be a project manager. And so I always like to point out, there's two different, I'm talking about two different things, a skill set. A skill set is different than a career path or a title. I could have, I was a project manager at eight years old. I just didn't have the title until someone in corporate thought that I should have that title. So I'm looking for the skill set, not necessarily 15 years of project management experience. That's not important. And again, we kind of get into that sexist space where I believe that most moms are phenomenal project managers because, yeah, literally managing humans.

Kate Kordsmeier 23:11

Right, right. Yeah, I

know, I feel like I've been thinking about that comment that I made too, and being like, oh, should I cut that out? You know, I don't know if that's what I want to say. Because obviously, I believe, I mean, I said, this is a very sexist way of looking at it. But I do think there is something inherent that not all women are this way you there's not like women shouldn't shouldn't strive to be this way. But I do think that naturally, a lot of women are just natural born operators, like you said,

Natalie Gingrich 23:41

honestly, to lighten this a little bit and to put to take that out. If you don't want to look at this from a sexist place. Kate, it's still like energy, if you want to look at feminine energy and masculine energy. A lot of project managers, regardless of their sex, are have a lot of masculine energy. Yeah, like, that's, that's me. I mean, I'm a female, but I definitely have a lot of masculine energy, which is the drive which is the, you know, the completion and it takes leadership. So you know, you can take the sexism out of it and look at it energetically. Better. Wow.

Kate Kordsmeier 24:14

I like saying that. Thank you. Okay, so they've got the leadership, they've got the project management skills. Anything else?

Natalie Gingrich 24:22

Yes. So we look at the Kolbe. And I know that this is something that you and I have talked about offline, but Kolbe is KOLBE. And it is a tool that is looking at your cognitive abilities, and I'm probably losing some of you guys out there. But if you're listening, and I think all of us really love assessment, so we'd like to know what our enneagram is, what our disc is, what our what our Strength Finders and what our Myers Briggs, you know, all of those things are so exciting and fun and cool and kind of like the Zodiac thing. Like we can go and look at our horoscopes and just, there's a lot of fun in that. And that all of those tests that we just talked about. are looking at the affective part. So it's your personality. And those are an important part of the selection process. But from a director of operations, I'm looking, the cognitive ability is the way that you're, that you naturally process work. So it's something that never changes over time. I don't care if you're an introvert or an extrovert, or if you it, none of those things matter to me, what I need to know is how does this person process work. And so I've worked with Kolbe to understand what a right fit for this role is. And so the product of taking the Kolbe assessment is you, it turns up four different numbers for four different criteria. And every single person can take this and I mean, it's, it's, it's out there for everyone. But we know what works for operators and businesses. So the Kolbe is the only test out there that looks at your coded of abilities. Again, that is the way that your that your mind naturally works on our accomplishes tasks. And so we know the profile that works best for this skill for this job for this role. So we leverage the Kolbe in that in my decision making on who comes in and who doesn't.

Kate Kordsmeier 26:14

Yeah. Taking a quick break from regular programming to share with you a new piece of software that has revolutionized my business this year. So it's called Kartra. And let me just say, this is truly an all in one platform. Unlike other platforms, which promise to be a jack of all trades, but function more like master of none. Kartra literally provides everything you need to operate your business, all in one place. So earlier this year, I was using six different tools to manage my business, I was spending a ton of money on all this software. And yet, I was still missing some of the functionality that I wanted. And it was really confusing trying to get all these different tools to communicate. So after a lot of careful research, I decided to give kartra a shot and I am so happy I did Kartra has enabled us to streamline our systems, simplify our processes, easily track all of our metrics, and finally achieved the advanced functionality we needed for automations like segmenting, tracking and getting even down to subscriber value. And we saved a whopping $12,000 a year. So Kartra has given me everything I needed. And with no sacrificing quality. No matter what stage you're at in your business. If you're looking for an easy to use platform that has all the features you need to operate seamlessly and potentially save you 1000s of dollars at the same time. I highly recommend you give Kartra a try. We've actually got a 14 day free trial for our listeners. So go to Kate That's K-A-R-T-R-A to get started today. Kartra offers a 30 day money back guarantee. So don't be afraid to give it a shot. Again, that's

So I'm not familiar. I mean, I'm familiar with the Kolbe. I haven't taken it. And you know, I don't understand the process as much. But there are a couple other assessments that you mentioned that I do think are beneficial. And we mentioned Jessica Butz already she was episode five of the Success with Soul podcast and we talked about Myers Briggs and we even talked about in that episode, who makes for a good operations person or integrator, which I'll mention in a second. And Jessica says the S j piece of the Myers Briggs. So you're either an N or an S. And then you're either a j or a P, and go back to that episode and listen to it for for more context. But do you agree that s j is a good a good thing to look for in an operations person?

Natalie Gingrich 29:04

Yes, I don't believe that it's exclusive. But I believe that it is a great indicator of the type of work that you're going to do or or the type of work that you're naturally inclined to do. The one thing about Myers Briggs is it changes it will change over time. It can change because it's effective. It's a feeling. It's a feeling. It's not the way that you're it's not a doing. It's a feeling so, but I'm an ESF J. And you see lots of people in my community that are isfjs.

Kate Kordsmeier 29:33

Interesting. And actually, I remember once Amy Porterfield had a podcast episode with her integrator, and they mentioned that less important was it an S or an N, but that whatever the visionary is, that the integrator should be the same. So do you do you think that's more important or do you think no an S is just a better fit for this.

Natalie Gingrich 29:58

I actually am not a definitely support what Jessica says, Yeah, but the Myers Briggs in total is more of a personality complement. So even when I'm working with a client on hiring an operator in their business, I want to look at the Kolbe first. Okay? I want it because that's going to tell me if how they understand task, how their mind naturally breaks down tasks or compartmentalizes tasks. And then when we get over into the Myers Briggs side, now we're looking at personality, who would I like to go to lunch with? Is this person A complement? to who I am? And so, I mean, I think that you can be an S or an N, and still be a fantastic operator, I don't believe that the Myers Briggs would disqualify you. But it could amplify if I'm deciding between two different clients, it will help me in deciding who this who the ultimate pick should be or could be,

Kate Kordsmeier 30:58

right. Another assessment that exists out there. And this is actually also part of a broader concept is this idea I mentioned visionary integrator. So there's a book called rocket fuel that really lays this all out and visionary being the CEO, the founder, the entrepreneur, and then integrator being this role that is very similar to director of operations, that this book would argue any business, no matter the size needs to be successful. And there's a quiz you can even take, they call it like the crystallizer assessment or something. And you I've had people who I've been considering for this role in my company, take that just to see, are you more of a big picture person, or small details person? And I mean, there's a lot more to it than that. But do you ever use those assessments either as well,

Natalie Gingrich 31:47

we actually require everybody who comes who completes an application, they complete the so there's two different quizzes, they have both the integrator quiz, and then the visionary quiz, I have them do both so that we can get their numbers mostly it's for data, it's not a qualifying factor for me. But I have never because I look at the other criteria, we do not have one certified director of operation that is a visionary. Yeah, I see him as an integrator.

Kate Kordsmeier 32:13

it to me that assessment is felt so important, too. And especially, you know, we looked at a few people that came in kind of close, like, where their scores were not full on visionary, not full on integrator. And I thought, you know, I, again, it's not gonna, if everything else was amazing, and this one thing wasn't a fit, it's not gonna make or break something. But it was kind of a nice way to go through especially we had, you know, over 100 applications for this job. And I could just go through who has higher than a 75 on the integrator scale, and look at them, and then, and if somebody was too big picture, or too much of an entrepreneur, it's like, you're not going to be happy in this role, you're not going to want to translate my vision into reality, you're gonna want to help me co create a vision, and that may not be what you're looking for.

Natalie Gingrich 33:01

Right? And that may not be what you need, what's going to help you to scale your business that may actually create more complexity, or have you go down a business model that doesn't feel good to Kate. But all of these any whichever quiz or assessment tool that you're going to look at, that you feel partial to all, all these things do is help you to create a story on the applicant themselves. And so they complement, like my process, we'll look at the written version to qualify the skills. So we give them an application, just like you did in years. And we want them to complete the application, because now it's one dimensional. I'm just understanding, like you said, like, you could easily disqualify people, you can create criteria off of those responses, but that qualifies the skills. And then we can start looking at some of this other criteria to understand personality, as well, as, you know, they're coded over how well they would actually do at this role.

Kate Kordsmeier 33:58

Yeah. And, you know, I got not necessarily pushback, but I got some comments from people who I invited to the next round of so the first round is just they apply for the job by submitting resume and cover letter. And I then invited them to sort of this assessment and I asked them take these quizzes I had him take Myers Briggs enneagram I didn't require the Kolbe because it's paid but I said if you've taken it in the past share with me what were your results and the the visionary integrator one and then what I did is I got a spreadsheet of all of these results. And first I went through and I moved anybody who had the S j to the net, like kind of to not the next round, but to a separate spreadsheet. Then I went through anybody who had above a 75 on the visionary I mean on the integrator, move them over anybody who had I thought, I'm curious what you think, for an operations person, what are the best enneagram types? Were nines ones or twos,

nines ones or twos? Okay, interesting. So I think Thought, ones, eights or sixes, was what I thought would be good. But again, the enneagram was more just like, I kind of just want to get to know your personality, it wasn't as much of a deciding factor. I don't think I actually moved anybody over because of that. And then so then I went back and I looked through, okay, who's left, let me really like start reviewing their stuff. And then a lot of times, it really was like, Okay, this person isn't right for the job and had nothing to do with those personality tests. But it was like a quick way to sort of weed people out and then and then move on. So I know we're kind of bouncing around here. I think one question that's probably coming up for people who are also entrepreneurs listening is, when am I ready for this? When is a good time? Is it you hit a certain dollar amount? Is it you have a certain size business? Like, when are you ready for this? And then secondly, you mentioned before VA versus OBM, online business manager versus director of operations, is

Natalie Gingrich 36:03

there like an order you think that people start with a VA upgrade to an OBM? Then go to the DLL? Or what's the process? The journey? This is such a good question, Kate. And I believe it's something that every single person that's listening, regardless of your size of business, regardless of how much profit or how much revenue you're bringing in, everybody has this question. And we come back to this question over and over and over in our journey of owning and running a business. And so I'm going to share a framework if, if you're comfortable with that, and I believe that this will help you and lots of other people, and getting clear in what your next step is, or what kind of organization you want to develop, because every single person is going to have should have an independent vision of what their organization is going to look like, Kate, maybe building a similar business to me, but I may build an organization differently than Kate. So there is I am firmly against a copy and paste, we mentioned Amy Porterfield, the way she has built a business is great, I may want the same size of business as her. But I may or may not. And I certainly do not want you to think that you have to copy and paste her business model or her organization, I believe that we need to have autonomy. And it needs to fit who you are as a leader of your business. And so just kind of put that disclaimer out there. But here, here is the here's the framework for you, you've got two different sides of business, you've got the front side of business, and you've got the back side, the front side is marketing. And so this is how you bring customers, students, consumers, clients, how they become attracted to you how they fall into the whole know, like and trust, idea how they become followers, how they become fans. That's the journey, there's a lot of content on that side of your business, right. So we're creating blogs and podcasts and going to networking events. And that's all of that leads up to the sale. So if you think about all the things that transact or all the things that go on in your business, up until they press buy, or sell or pay whatever you want to look at there. All of that is considered marketing, that's the front side of business. Once they say yes to you, the you have a whole other side. whole other practice of what's about to transpire, how do you fulfill on what they have just purchased? Everything that happens now would be in the back side of business, which is what we call operations. And you can take that same front side back side to anything to a local brick and mortar to a online business to a corporation. That is the way that operations and marketing are divided, before sell and after the sell. And so once you as a business owner as we're starting our businesses, and Kate, anyone who's listening, if you're in business, you can I know for myself, I have had to support both the front side and the back side of business. I have been the marketer and I have been the deliver of that product or content for the first three years of my business. And I mean, when we come into business, that's why businesses overwhelming. That's why people give up. That's why people you know, can fail. We are literally wearing the hats of like six or seven different functions. I mean,

Kate Kordsmeier 39:23

yeah, and we're not good at all of them. Like nobody is good at all the things

Natalie Gingrich 39:27

No, absolutely not. So, you know, there's not, there's not ever going to be $1 amount that I'm going to feel comfortable with telling you to start looking at separating those. It has to fit, you have to you have to know where your boundaries are. And you and you also have to have a level of success and success is as a word that I can't quantify for you. It could be time, it could be money, it could be stress, it could be ease, like there's so many different ways that I have had success in my own business, and it's not all monetary. I can promise you that. Sometimes it's just being able to drive my kids to and from practice and having the space to do that. So, you know, I just I want to make sure that success isn't looked at as a monetary thing for me. But what, once you get some of that success, you start to really, I believe that we come back to the business model and where you want to show up as the leader, what parts of this business have been harder for you, and which parts are easier for you. And so you do that self reflection. And I want you to look at that based on the front side, and the back side, or the marketing and the operation side. So if this is your baby, and you've been pouring all of this time and attention into this, which side feels most comfortable for you? Is it marketing, or is it operations. So lots of business owners that I have worked with feel better, in the marketing side, they like getting out there and being the face of the product, they like doing those things, the things that really just, they don't love doing our, you know, building a team, they don't like putting processes and standard operating processes together, they don't like procedures, they don't, it's not that they don't like them, they don't want to be the one creating them. They don't want to set up the financials, you know, the bookkeeping side, they don't want to do the project management piece. And so looking at data may not be their jam, if any of those things that I just said to you kind of made your hair stand up a little bit, you probably need to lean into the marketing side. So now you have a division of labor, where you know, you're, you know, the path that you need to go on. If you're just growing and you're not ready to go all in and getting somebody to support you and compliment you on the other side, then you may have to hold on to maybe the bookkeeping, and maybe the data and maybe you know another piece, but you start to see where it is that you can start looking for entry level support, maybe it's the technical side. So look at it first as Which side do you naturally gravitate to. And now you have a general now this is a big bubble, you have a big bubble of operations, which you want. That's like a goal, like I want to get operations completely off of my desk. Now that's a nice goal, but you're not going to start there. So now you know which side you're going to go on. And we have four different layers. And these layers are going to be you have these layers in both the marketing side as well as the operation side, this is going to help you with understanding who your next hire should be or could be, at the very top is the visionary. And then you've underneath that you've got the strategist, underneath that is the manager. And at the entry level or at the bottom is the implementer. So let me explain what those four levels look like. Remember, you're going to need these, all of these layers are going to have to be satisfied on both the marketing side, as well as the operation side. Before we go any further, be very, very clear that this does not mean that you need eight people in your business, these are four different areas, which are going to need to be covered. So one person can have up to two layers of responsibility. It's not fair to you or to them, to expect them to have more than two. If you do if you hire for that, and they and they accept that I promise you that they will leave your business very, very soon. It's It's too much. It's too variable for them. So starting at the top, the visionary, this is where this is where you cast the vision, this is it's your baby, you know where you're headed. So a vision I have in my business is I would like 500 My vision is to have 500 certified directors of operations by 2025. That's my vision. I personally, am inclined clearly to the operation side of business. So I've put all of my extra resources and bringing in people on the marketing side.

Kate Kordsmeier 43:49

Which is saying I didn't think about like, Yeah, what if you are the operations person as the entrepreneur, then you gotta hire the opposite? Yeah,

Natalie Gingrich 43:59

yeah, absolutely. Remind me to come back to that. That's, that's actually a thought because people in your space, if they like creating content, and they and they are bloggers, and they lots of bloggers have a lot of the same skill sets that I have, because we're scrappy. We go in there, we learned the tech, we build this stuff all on our own. And so maybe you really like that part. So don't let me forget to come back to that. Okay. So I have hired on the marketing side, and I had my vision. So I didn't need anybody to fulfill that vision. I don't want someone coming in telling me what my vision is going to be. I've got the vision taken care of. So we can check that off. And if I were creating a, you know, an org chart, my name would be next to that. Mm hmm. The next thing is the strategist. The strategy is, do I have somebody on the marketing side that can create a strategy around bringing in 500 certified directors of operations. So what is the strategy and do I as the CEO of this company? Do I want to be the person that is bringing in the strength Maybe Maybe not. And at a certain point in my business, absolutely, because I couldn't afford it. Or I was taking a great course or I had, I mean, in your in your your sixth FBA, you're creating a lot of strategies that someone can just take in and pull into their business, but maybe they don't want to be the implementer of them. Right? Right. So courses and coaches have massively supported us. In that strategic level, depending on business, you may want someone who comes into your business who knows strategy, so you don't have to worry about it. Or you may have the strategy that so in that case, I would be both the visionary and the strategist, right? The manager is the project is, I would say, is the project manager, they're going to be both on the team side, as well as the project side. So that's where you start getting out of the day to day management of the people, you still lead them. But you're the you're not having to follow up on task and saying, Hey, where is this? Where is that? Why is it late? What are you doing, you've got someone, that's what the manager does the project manager, that's that component. And then underneath that, and that entry level, which is where a lot of us and I would advise it all of a start, if you're just now growing a team, you're looking for people who can come in, and you've got the vision, you've got the strategy, maybe you have to manage them for now, but you need people to write the post to post the post to does that, that sounds kind of funny post the post. But you need doers. And so that's that first level, but understand when you bring in doers that you have to manage them, you have to bring the strategy and some of the disconnect that we feel as entrepreneurs is that you want someone to come in and to just to just know what to do. That's not the way it works. So we have to own our responsibility in this. But I really feel like looking at those four different layers in or needs in your business and checking off what you're going to hold on to, because none of us are going to be able to just like outsource all of marketing, and you probably don't even want that. So personally in my business I hired I came in and I just hired at the management level to begin with, because I didn't want to be I didn't have the space and the time to be managing that plus, I needed to be able to create the content myself. So we hired an implementer and a manager, and then we just now brought in a Director of Marketing at that strategy level.

Kate Kordsmeier 47:24

Okay, cool. So where does the Director of Operations fit in this hierarchy here?

Natalie Gingrich 47:32

Perfect. So director of operations is going to be at the strategic level. So you want someone to come in to understand and to create strategies around your finances around your data, you need someone data is a great point, actually, who is looking at your analytics and can give you suggestions on what to do based off of what they're seeing. And so that's a great example of strategy. That's not a management level, that is a strategy level. So a director of operations is at the strategic level, then management level is more of your business manager. And then at the implementation, you're probably looking at an operations assistant or a VA or an executive assistant. That is the implementer level.

Kate Kordsmeier 48:14

Yeah. And I like that what you said a little bit earlier, too, about like you don't necessarily start at hiring do like on day one. And it may be I'm and and not copy pasting other people's because the other thing, even if you were to say, but she I just loved the way that she did it, you can't hire the exact same people that they did. And people are different. I mean, it's so obvious, it feels even stupid to say it. But I just think about my own journey of I started with a VA that that particular VA ended up becoming a full time Content Manager and writing basically everything that goes out in my company. And then after she was there, I was like, Well, now I need a new VA. So then I hired a new VA, that person ended up becoming the director of operations in my company only for later this year for me to realize she's actually not a director of operations. She's amazing and fantastic. And I'm glad to have her on the team. But she would get better and this program manager role, so you move her then we are hiring for that. So it's like you can't predict who is going to do what in your business and what's going to work and how they're going to compliment you. You have to kind of just start and I know a lot of people that start with a VA and they either grow groom them into something else on their company, or then having a VA gives them the ability to be able to step back and see okay, now what holes Do I need to fill?

Natalie Gingrich 49:45

Yep. And you'll never solve the team puzzle. This is just one framework that will help you and to what you're saying Kate, being able to develop them and we're going to have great talent. That is an any great talent needs to be developed further. Right? Even for me All of us needs to continue to be developed, which is why we have coaches and masterminds, etc. But we want to continuously develop the people that are good fits for us. And so yeah, the VA, we groom them, they get to know you they, they become a valuable asset. And now we give them a specialty role on our team. Right and totally happen. And in in your director of operations. Yes, it's, you know, is a lateral move for her it was a reassignment, but it's still development, because now she has become a specialist inside of a business where she was a generalist.

Kate Kordsmeier 50:35

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I think it never felt like a demotion or, and it certainly is, you know, it was very much like it, I'm a big fan of trying to get everybody on the team operating in their zone of genius as much as possible. And one zone of genius is not better than another. There, I don't really even like having like the hierarchy, right. It's like you're not above or below somebody, you're just in a different position, because your skills are in this area, and their skills are in this area. And somebody might technically on an org chart look like they're above you, because they're a manager, but it doesn't mean they're better or worse, it just means they're better at managing people and leading people than doing stuff. And so yeah, that's been so helpful. And I know I've been to a lot unboxer asking you all these questions, because team building is hard. And it just takes so much thought. And I think that's part of why I like these assessments, and even like learning team members love languages and things like that to figure out, how do I best motivate and empower and inspire my team so that we're all operating together and rowing in the same direction, believing in the same mission? And that's, that's really challenging. Yeah, especially working remotely. And like, you don't even see these people.

Natalie Gingrich 51:57

Right? That's really, to me that the biggest change is when we as leaders move out of the management space and into true leadership. And that's where, you know, I would tell you that you are, like we've been managing, and we've been driving this, the ship for so long, that now it's elevating myself, and somebody else has responsibility of the day to day management. And I'm the true leader, not only visually to the outside of the world, but also to the vision and to the individuals that make up my team. And so there's a shift that that I had to make as well, from manager to leader. Yeah.

Kate Kordsmeier 52:35

Do you have any good resources for how you've made that shift, like I said, books that have been helpful or courses you've taken, or just living it,

Natalie Gingrich 52:46

I would say mostly, it's everything is experience, and surrounding myself and having good solid partnerships, mostly in the form of masterminds of people who are before me, like I've been in a mastermind for three years, with some gals, it's just pure lead. It's not any, it's not anything, like a purchase asset. But women who shares the same who share the same values as me, and we're at all different stages of business, we have a variety of different business models. That's been the easiest way for us to collectively encourage and call each other out. That's probably the best way that I have learned to step out of management, and or be able to feel comfortable with letting other people manage Hello, I'm total type a control freak like I am, you're? Yes, yes. Yes, yes. So you know, that's me. And so being. So if you have that, if you if those are words, that that you identify with, stepping out of that management means releasing control, it means letting somebody else have a big, big say, in the out in the product of what I stand for, and what I've created by myself. And so that mean, of course, it's scary, but really having that support. I can't say it like a coach or anything like that. But I believe more in the community, a tight community of people who cannot really understand where I'm going. And yes, and that this this isn't an integrity,

Kate Kordsmeier 54:10

right? For sure. I love that.

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Okay, let's shift gears a little bit and get into some nitty gritty stuff. So when it comes to project management, there's so many tools out there. Asana, Monday, teamwork. clickup, do you have a favorite?

Natalie Gingrich 56:24

This is this is not what you want to hear, because you're probably looking for a specific tool. The only project management tool that matters is the one that you use. Yes. Now to answer your question, in the way that I use it, I prefer Trello. I'm a visual. It's just the model that works for me. Plus, I have a project management background and agile and compound. And those are nerdy kind of ways. But that's what Trello is built off of. And so it works for me, I also, I've been inside every project management tool on the market. And they're all wonderful if they're used. Yeah,

Kate Kordsmeier 57:04

I can totally relate to that. Because for a while we had Asana and it was like, we would sometimes check it sometimes add things there. But then we just had to say, if it's not an Asana, it's not happening. And it needs to become part of like it is a requirement, that and whatever your tool is that everyone on the team logs in first thing in the morning, and the last thing at the end of the day, to make sure that we're all using it. And someone has to have ownership of that

Natalie Gingrich 57:33

tool because someone needs to understand whether it's you or whether it's a manager on your team. But someone needs to understand what's not happening. And I know it provides the team structure and a communication tool. I would also say that, you know, even even in my corporate days, we didn't have tools like I'm seeing in the in this in this space that we're in today, we had, you know, we would use spreadsheets and things like that which are fine. Here's the difference. To me, the difference is in the communication. So like in Asana, we can create notes back and forth in clickup. In Trello, we can create that, that ongoing communication, which is really important in a project management tool that a spreadsheet or a piece of paper God love I love a good piece of paper. A good paper list. But communication.

Kate Kordsmeier 58:19

Yeah, for sure. And I mean, my on my team, like we have Asana and that's where it like very task specific and I'm not in love with Asana, so use whatever you want. Don't take this as like Kate likes Asana go for that. But we also everybody makes their own written Eisenhower matrix at the beginning of the week, because I love actually getting things truly prioritized. And then we scream, we take a picture and box each other everybody's thing. Sometimes, like you just glanced at it and you're like, Okay, that's what they're doing this week. I'm sure once we have a real DLL come in, but it won't be just glanced at anymore. But sometimes I can look at it and go, Oh, no, no, no, that is not a high priority move that to not important and not urgent, this other thing needs to go in this category. And so I think that helps for like more of the looking at your week as a whole rather than looking at like a list of 100 tasks.

Natalie Gingrich 59:14

Yes. And that's just another communication style that you've developed in your team.

Kate Kordsmeier 59:18

Right, right. So other any other tools or software, anything one thing we had tried for a while this year was a tool called 15 five and that was a little bit more for like team communication, kind of checking in seeing how everybody's feeling and talk, you know, a way to kind of check in on those sorts of things. And then also tracking some KPIs and metrics and things like that. It ended up becoming too expensive for us that we were like we could kind of do this on our on a spreadsheet ourselves, but maybe there's a better way out a better thing out there. Do you have any you like?

Natalie Gingrich 59:54

So this is tool specific. It's more of a you hit it on the head, but The 30 6090 day is, so like making goals 3060 and 90 day goals for every single person on the team is so important. And if you have a team, and you are thinking, Oh my gosh, there's no way I'm going to be able to do all of this, and involve your team in it. This is not a technical tool like this is not technology. And this is nothing that will transform the outcome, the output of every person on your team. Most of the time, our team, our teammates, don't know what they're really shooting for. They know what to do in that day to day like, Here's to your point, here's this long, long list of all the things I need to get done. But what what does it connect to? What is the next big thing and I think a tool like 15, five, that's the goal of it, but you don't have to have a fancy tool, you can easily have a spreadsheet you hold on? Yeah, yeah. And you know, you and that person be able to have a conversation, you're creating that two way conversation, which is so important to me. But you're creating it because Kate is able to say, Hey, this is your 30 day goal, or these are your 330 day goals. Now you figure out what you're going to do to meet those goals, right? And so,

Kate Kordsmeier 1:01:11

so what are some good 30 6090 day goals, if somebody is hiring this DLL position, what do they set those as?

Natalie Gingrich 1:01:19

So 30 6090, it's really going to be it can be industry specific, it can be, you know, specific to your to your space. But a lot of times we're looking at financial goals, and we're looking at getting your return on investment from this person. So that may be that can come through time, it can come through like freeing up your time. So if your Kate is currently spending six hours a week on doing meetings with her team, if this person could come in and can do that for you and save you six hours, your that time translates clearly into time that Kate can use for revenue generating activities for creating new content, or creating new products, etc. So time, energy, I know that as all every single person that's listening, we put our heart and soul into these businesses with the expectation that they are going to turn a profit, the energy and the effort that we put into that is is not quantifiable. So if we can bring out a true strategic partner that's going to release some of that some of that some of the effort, then it will translate for you from a mental perspective. And then the last thing, speaking of the mental part is the stress. So this is something that I always train our directors of operations, how can I come indicates business and minimize the amount of stress or anxiety that not just Kate but the entire team? And maybe maybe it's your clients? Right? Maybe you're providing a transformational service? And as an operator, what can I do to minimize the stress? And so it's it's not that you're coming in to be the savior to the business, but what are the tactical things I can do in 30 days, to minimize the stress of Kate, the stress of the director of marketing, the stress of the client? So those are, those are some of the things that you need to look at those are categories, and then you need to specialize those inside of your own business. what that would look like for you. Is it creating a customer service journey? Is it creating processes and procedures and which ones are most important, that are going to have the greatest return in the first 30 days, the first 60 days and 90 days? Right?

Kate Kordsmeier 1:03:32

I love that you say that so much. Because of course, it's so easy to just look at the very tangible return on financial investment. And I go, Well, if I hire you, and I pay you $100,000, and you need to make me $100,000 or more. And that is important. I want to come back to that in just a sec. But there's so much more I mean, thinking about how much time is going to have freed up from not having to hold all of these things myself, and not feel so stressed. I mean, that to me is like, Oh, I don't even care if they give me $1 back on this. It's just gonna feel so much better. Right? But I know people and we said this in the beginning, is there $1 amount of revenue that you can say, okay, you're ready to hire when you've reached this revenue? And and there's not. But I wonder if there is I just think hiring in general is so hard to know when the right time to do it is as a small business. Because so many times you don't have the money yet. Do you have anything that I've heard some people say like, you don't need to have 12 months of their salary, but maybe have three months to pay or something like that. Do you have any kind of I don't know system that helps people make that financial decision.

Natalie Gingrich 1:04:48

Yes. I always believe that if you can, if you can save three months of that person's of what that the fee is or the how much you're going to pay them. Three months is great. Of course. I mean, the more you can save the better but Most of us as we're growing a business can't really aren't at the place where we're pocketing that money and holding on to it, and hashtag goals. But as you start to hire somebody, I want you to think about on the marketing side, remember, we have the marketing and the operation side. On the marketing side, those people actually have a hard return, most of them have a hard return, meaning, if I'm going to hire a Facebook ads agency, I'm going to pay them X amount, with the understanding that we're going to get that same amount back plus some, right. So that's called a hard return where you can actually see money coming back in on the operations side, there is a lot of times there can be some hard returns. But a lot of times you're going to get soft returns, which are the ones that we just talked about the time, the effort, the stress. And so if Kate has less stress, more energy to dedicate to her business, that typically translates it's a soft trade into a profit producing, she's able to create more content, she's able to have more sales calls, she's able, etc, etc. So that's the hard return that can come in. So I would tell you to go back to remember when we talked about do you fit more on the marketing side or more on the operations side, if you don't have any savings, and you're not looking and you don't have a way to create that right now, you I would advise you to hire somebody that can bring you a return a true hard return on that investment. So you're probably looking on the marketing side first. Right? If you know, and if you can start saving, that's when you're going to be able to create a bucket of cash for the person who's going to come in onto the operation side. Most people are going to hire on the marketing side first, because it helps them with both time and investment.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:06:52

Right. And that's mostly what I've done. And it makes sense because sometimes, I don't know, I kind of felt like I didn't need a full on operations person until I had other people that needed managing when it was, you know, just me was like, Well, I mean, there is a lot of operation stuff happening. And that is helpful. But I think it was the managing of all the new people, even if they were just contractors, that worked for us a few hours a week doing our Facebook ads or something like that. It just packing up

Natalie Gingrich 1:07:22

thinking about all the things that happen in the blog world, right. Like you've got, you've got writers you've got, you potentially have ad agencies, you have graphics, I mean, a lot of those types of skills, have a hard return, if we can get that out there, if we can amplify this or do it better, or get more stickiness, all of that has a hard return.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:07:42

Right. And I just found that I would get to a place and this is just happened to me recently. And then you know, I hire and then you it kind of fills that propels you to the next place. And then you plateau a little bit. And that plateau for me was okay, I hired all these people, then it freed me up to create some new programs and offers, but then I was still having to manage all these people. So then I stopped being able to Okay, I can't dream up the next thing yet, I don't have time to take this next course and figure out what's next for the company because I'm stuck in the weeds. And so the return is, like you said, it's almost an indirect where it's not like the operations brought in X number of dollars, it's that the operations person freed up 20 hours a week for me to now generate those new ideas that I didn't have time for before.

Natalie Gingrich 1:08:36

Increased quality, increase revenue streams and increase the like the quality of life. Yeah, those are the outcomes for you.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:08:46

And so important. Okay, some final questions as we end finish up here. So when you're interviewing Director of Operations for your company, what are great questions to ask,

like, what's one,

a couple of your favorites that really are telling.

Natalie Gingrich 1:09:02

So if you have a system, a system is just something that's repeatable in your business. So what I like to ask them, here's the situation, how would you create, you know, how would you break this down? What I'm looking for is the way that they break this down make sense to me, it doesn't have to be the exact the exact same way. But do they understand enough about? Do they? Do they ask questions? I'm always looking for questions in that interview. Like, if they don't have questions, they're going to be more of a yes person. They're likely not to be as candid with me and and that that's always like, I can't have somebody in a leadership position, who's not going to be bold enough to ask me questions. So but I like to see the way that their mind works to be able to break down tasks. And so I could say, Hey, I produce a podcast every single week. How would you help me what process? You know, it doesn't have to be I always tell them, like, I know that you're in the real world. You're gonna need time to break this down, but for right now What are some high level things? How would you break down the podcast production that I'm going to have every single week? And then all I'm looking for is how their mind processes a complex or a multi step process. I love that.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:10:15

And I love your Yes, person thing. That was actually I wish I had talked to you, of course, before I interviewed all of my videos. But that was a question that I asked in there. And sometimes I like throwing in a couple questions that like they think there's an answer that I'm looking for, but it's actually not what they think. So I asked, Are you a yes person? And some people said,


I will make whatever you want happen. And I was like, that's actually not what I want to hear. The people that stood out are the people that said, No, I'm a why person or no. I don't just say yes, to make you happier to please you, I'm going to challenge you. I'm going to push back, I'm going to bring my own ideas, I'm going to you know, and it was like, same thing for we asked, How quickly do you respond to emails? And I don't, they probably think I want somebody who says 30 minutes to an hour. I mean, I'm there I'm on top of my inbox. I'm like, Well, I want you to be on top of it. But I don't want somebody who's constantly distracted by emails coming in all day. Like, I'm actually looking for a different answer.

Natalie Gingrich 1:11:19

Yeah, and something I asked a lot is what's more important to you speed or quality. And, you know, everyone says quality. I mean, I literally, I just sorted an application, a candidate pool last night, and 110 applicants, one out of 110, put speed, everybody put quality. So when I get them on a phone call, I'm like, Okay, tell me about a time that, you know, tell me tell me about a project that was super high quality that you were really proud about. And they get excited to tell me about this quality product that they put out. And the next question is, what what happened poorly during that project? Nobody has a project that goes smoothly, right. So now how do you deal with things when when speed really does matter? Mm hmm. Because we don't have all the time in the world either. So yes, I would rather have somebody who understands that quality is important. But now what do we do when when speed actually is a thing? We don't have?

Kate Kordsmeier 1:12:13

Yeah, this has to be done by next week. So how can we maintain a certain level of quality? and get it done in this time? Yeah, yeah. Okay, any other questions you'd like to ask during interviews or skills assessments that you like them to do? I'm a big fan of having them complete a couple little projects. To give you an idea of how they actually work.

Natalie Gingrich 1:12:33

I always ask them, What are boundaries that you have you personally have in your in your life right now. values are the basis of every job decision that I've ever had. So I fully believe that if someone and I tried to be very articulate in my job descriptions, about the value, and you do a very good job of this on your website, as well as on your on your job, descriptions and applications, and having someone understand what the values are of Kate, which are reflected in your business today. And so I want to make sure I just like to double check, because it's easy for someone to say yes, and an application. But once I get face to face, I'm like, Hey, what are your boundaries, which is another way of looking at your values. And, you know, a value for me has always, which has been limiting to some people. But a value for me is spending time with my family and a boundary that as a result of that is, I'm going to be with my kids between three and nine o'clock every single day, you probably not going to catch me. And so that I want to be honest. And so one way that I can get that. And another way, instead of saying what are your values, which is typically the positive part of this is what are the boundaries, like what are your real boundaries, and you will learn a lot about somebody who tells you, actually, you'll learn a lot about people just by asking that question. But when they come back, and they don't have an answer for you, I question how authentic they are being in that moment. Because every human has a boundary. Yeah, you may not have done the work to know what those boundaries are. But if you're bringing somebody in at the leadership level in your business, they need to be able to articulate their boundaries. Yeah.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:14:09

So good. Natalie, thank you so much for being here with us today. It was so helpful to chat with you and I love that we kind of covered covered the gamut of whether you're interested in being a DOO, hiring one, want to create a certification any final thoughts before we part ways

Natalie Gingrich 1:14:29

this has been so much fun, I wish we were neighbors because we would just will maybe a non COVID times we would just be hanging out together.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:14:35

I know me too. Oh, before we go tell people where they can find you.

Natalie Gingrich 1:14:40

So my business is the ops and you can find me on Facebook on Instagram all the places underneath the ops authority title and I know that we've talked about becoming a D o as well as being a looking for a deal o or looking for anybody in the operation side and we have We actually can handle and we actually work with both of those clients. So, either way, come join us and come take a peek at the office Insider. That's our Facebook group. You can definitely come hang out in the ops insiders, which is our Facebook group, but the would be the place to find us. Awesome.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:15:21

Thank you.

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