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Last Updated on October 27, 2022
Welcome to the Success With Soul podcast! Today, I’m sitting down with three amazing entrepreneurs and we’re going deep on the high, lows, and lessons we’ve learned in creating and leading strong teams. So if you’re an entrepreneur who’s just starting to build your team, or you’ve been at it for a while, you’re going to love this episode with Jordan Gill, Katie Read, and Kelsey Kerslake. There’s no holding back — we’re honest and real about the mistakes we’ve made, what we’d do differently, and what we’ve learned about what makes a team great.
Table of Contents
There is no getting around it: building and leading a team is hard, hard work.
Even if you’re a charismatic people-person. Even if you’ve managed people inside a corporate environment before. Even if you understand in concept what makes a team great.
There’s just so much energy and emotion that goes into creating this group of people who are helping you carry out the vision of your business, and whose livelihood and wellbeing also become part of your care and awareness.
It’s vulnerable, humbling work that’s FULL of mistakes.
And — when you start to find your groove and you’re figuring out how to hire, train, and how to manage a team successfully, it’s truly amazing. You get to see that great energy at work. You get to feel what it’s like to have people who communicate well and who care about each other and about the business. You get to experience the joy of visions and projects and campaigns coming together. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Today, I’m sitting down with three women I admire so much and who have helped me in countless ways to become a better entrepreneur, leader, and person.
They’re coming into this conversation with such honesty, and I think that’s precisely why it’s such an important episode for any entrepreneur who’s genuinely committed to being a solid leader of integrity and learning what makes a team great, efficient, and engaged.
I’ve known these ladies for years, and I would trust them with pretty much anything. They are wise and kind and curious. They’re kickass businesswomen. They each bring their own strengths and passions to their work and to this conversation, and they each offer their own wisdom on how to build an effective team and on what makes a team great.
Jordan Gill is the operations consultant and founder of Systems Saved Me. She helps overworked one-woman shows become streamlined solopreneurs. Her jam is creating a cohesive operating system for managing your tasks, files, and Inbox.
She’s been on podcasts like What Works and CEO Vibes sharing her love of replacing monthly retainers with one-day virtual intensives. She currently lives in Dallas TX with her Cavapoo Vivienne and collection of 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles.
Kelsey Kerslake is Founder and Creative Director of Pinegate Road and creator of the Aligned Business Academy. She’s been helping entrepreneurs and businesses build their brands and online presence for over a decade. She deeply believes that everyone has the potential to make their dreams reality, and her agency helps people do just that.
Katie Read, LMFT, is the Clini-Coach and Founder of the Clini-Coach Academy. She helps therapists grow and outgrow their private practices by leading them into vibrant secondary income streams in coaching, consulting, and course creation.
Katie helps clinicians overcome scarcity-mindset, get clear on their most meaningful work, and create additional income streams in coaching, writing, retreat leadership, speaking, course creation, and more!
This episode is in the books as the longest one we’ve ever recorded! We blew right past the usual time and kept talking, I think in part because there’s so much to share about this complex topic.
And each one of us has had slightly different experiences, and you’ll even hear how one approach worked for one of us and not for another.
As with everything in running an online business … there is no one way to do anything.
Whether you’re talking about the systems you use, or how to build an effective team, which platforms we love, or how you approach selling, or how you manage a team successfully — you’ll always hear multiple perspectives on this podcast.
A look into each of our teams. You’ll get to hear the setup of Jordan’s, Katie’s, Kelcey’s, and my team. This includes a look into full-time, part-time, commissioned, and contractor options — and hopefully it will give you a feel for how to build an effective team in a variety of ways, depending on the needs of your own business.
The challenges and perks of running remote teams. Learning how to build an effective team is made extra interesting when the team is remote and the business is virtual. One thing that we all have in common is working to find that balance between being flexible and also just needing to set certain boundaries and expectations when leading a remote team.
We share our biggest mistakes, biggest wins, and biggest lessons. It’s all a journey, and hearing the unvarnished truth helps us all be better!
The vulnerability of leading by example and radical candor. A big part of what makes a team great — and I’ve found this especially true for Team KK — is creating a workplace where it’s actually okay to make mistakes. And that includes me as the boss! I found that once I started being honest about my mess-ups, and modeling how I was using those mistakes as a learning opportunity, the feel of the team shifted.
How to move from “the poster on the wall” to embodied, clear values. Our values, truly practiced, are what makes a team great. Each of my guests shares how she brings life to stated team values, so they’re not just vague and theoretical, but something that can actually be lived out in the day to day workings of the business.
Dealing with the guilt of being a (recovering!) control freak and perfectionist. On the list of what makes a team great, “micro-managing everything myself” is definitely NOT a key item! But old habits die hard, especially for entrepreneurs who are super passionate and have a very clear vision for how they want things to be.
And when you’re just starting out, often it is just you, so you get used to wearing all the hats, doing all the things, and doing them in a very specific way. Jordan, Katie, Kelsey, and I all get very honest about how we’re learning to let go, and learning how to build an effective team by giving our team the power to do things their own way and not have to slow things down my stepping in all the time.
This is just an overview of everything we cover, so be sure to listen all the way through to get all the good stuff!
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.
You can find us all here! Come say hello. 🙂
Each of our guests today touched on this in their own way, and I loved it. So one of our core values at Team KK is “We make mistakes.” And that might sound odd to have that as a value, but it serves us so well and goes a long way to healthy remote team building! It has a cascading effect: when people know it’s okay to make mistakes (because we’re learning), there’s an increased chance that they’ll own their roles and seek to support one another in making things better. Less blame, more responsibility, WAY more freedom. Everyone wins.
Yes indeed! Inside the Success With Soul Incubator, we cover ALL the aspects of what makes a team great and how to create a business that is specifically designed with your whole life in mind — and that includes helping you build a team you can lean on, trust, and get shit done with!
Kate Kordsmeier 0:00
Welcome, welcome. Welcome to the Success with Soul podcast. I'm your host, Kate Kordsmeier. And I am so excited to share this brand new series that we are going to go through over the next seven weeks. It's called behind the team, and you're going to have a chance to meet the core members that make up my current team over at Team KK, we're going to be talking to some friends of mine and other entrepreneurs who have had their own team experiences. And y'all know, vulnerability and transparency are some of my top core values. And I have not been shy about my struggles with learning how to be a leader, and how to hire and onboard and train and retain and create a team culture and make sure we have all of our systems in place and SOPs and project management and communication tools, and how to delegate properly, and how to make sure that everybody is aligned with our core values, and even figuring out what are our core values. It's a lot. And here's what I'm going to say, figuring out how to build an amazing team that works well together that's aligned, that can get things done, that you can truly trust, and that have the same mission of wanting to serve whoever it is that you serve, it's really hard. It's really freaking hard. But it is also so worth it, we have been able to do things in my business that I never dreamed possible and that I never could have done alone because that's the other thing. You cannot do this alone, you cannot create a multiple six figure or seven figure business that impacts dozens or hundreds of people all by yourself. And so learning how to delegate and work with others and be a boss and be a leader. And all the things is so important. And it's such a big part of making your dreams a reality. And really serving your clients to the best of your ability providing them with the most value. If you're trying to do it alone, there's just so much less that you're going to be able to give your impact is just going to be smaller naturally. So let's go big. Let's get vulnerable up in here. It is a little bit scary for me to share this with you guys. But I have a team now that I hope is my team forever. They are amazing, incredibly brilliant, kind, compassionate, talented, thoughtful, skilled, just absolutely incredible people, and I can't wait for you to meet them and hear a little bit about what it's like behind the scenes over at Tim Kay. All right, here we go.
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 on sushi connoisseur Kate Kordsmeier
Welcome back to this week's episode of the Success with Soul podcast. I'm your guest host Indira and I'm so excited to bring you another behind the team episode. This time we have our newest member of Team KK. Olivia Blass who is our Operations Assistant. Olivia has followed many different paths and passions as a true Gemini since graduating in 2015 with a degree in International Studies and community development. She's worked primarily in the nonprofit sector serving as a writer and a program manager at organizations that serve women and youth. Her passion for seeing others live their best lives is what motivates her to support Team KK and all the amazing women we serve. Currently she lives in Madrid, Spain and is loving the European life and wine. I am so excited to dive right in. Let's get to it. Well, hello, hello. Welcome to this week's episode of the Success with Soul podcast. I am so excited to be here with our very own Olivia BLUs who is our operations admin. Olivia Welcome to the sixth That's what's so podcast.
Olivia Blase 5:02
Hey, Indira, I'm so excited.
Yay. So Olivia is the newest member of our team. So please tell us a little bit about who you are, what part of the world you're in.
Olivia Blase 5:15
Yes. So, correction, I'm actually the Operations Assistant. Yeah, I just want to point out, you know, credit to Jayce for being the admin. Yeah, so I am Well, currently, I'm in Raleigh, Durham, area of North Carolina, but I live in Madrid, Spain. I've lived there for the last two years. So if I was there, I could show you the lovely European views, but I'm here for the summer. So
nice. Um, and like you mentioned, you are the Operations Assistant, Jayce is our admin. So tell us about your role in the company?
Olivia Blase 5:51
Yeah, so I came on to definitely help out Jayce our amazing tech guru with a lot of the tasks that especially more so like customer client service, so and I helped Kate and others manage their inboxes. So if someone emails us or emails, Kate, there's a good chance that I will be the one responding. And I love that part of my job, for sure. And then yeah, just helping out sort of filling in the cracks with back end systems, or also starting to get a little bit more into writing some emails and helping with that creative contribution as well. So assisting as it says, in my in my job description role.
Tell us a little bit about what your previous experience before working with Team pay k was like.
Olivia Blase 6:44
Yeah, so before. So I'm a Gemini, and that is very evident in my resume before working with Team K. K. A lot of my work was in the nonprofit sector. So before this directly, I did work as teaching English in Spain, which was a big reason why I moved there. Before that I was managing an educational program at a nonprofit in Orlando, Florida, where I lived at the time, I worked at another nonprofit. And because nonprofit work always doesn't pay the bills all the way I did a lot of serving and coffee shop work, which is where my love for customer service was born or realized. And then I've also done like freelance writing and social media work for different clients along the way, as well. So a little smattering of different things here and there for the last several years since I graduated. So yeah, that's
definitely a mixed bag. I would say I've learning astrology. And that's something that we say when people have different elements for their sun, moon and rising. And so I'm wondering, like, what would you say is your zone of genius, then?
Olivia Blase 7:57
Definitely a mix of I mean, what comes out in the customer work, customer service work, like I'm, I really love working with people and understanding them, helping them solve problems, helping them grow, develop. So that is definitely an area that I I thrive in, and as well as, like writing and some of the creative work as well, in terms of like, yeah, producing content that's engaging for people, and that makes them think or grow or offers them something. So yeah, that's definitely where my passions lie. And most of the time, my jobs have somehow integrated one of those two things. So
awesome. So this is a little bit like off topic, in terms of zone of genius, but I'm just wondering, like, what are whichever team values? Do you feel like you embody the most and I can remind you what our values are. We are scrappy, growth oriented achievers, we actually care. We make mistakes. We're always learning we are boundary pushing confident badasses, who ask why not us? We take care of ourselves, and we leave the world a better place.
Olivia Blase 9:18
Oh, man, they're all amazing things to embody. And I'm striving for all all of them. I think naturally. I definitely resonate a lot with we actually care. I really do. And, you know, it is interesting sometimes like, yeah, I care. I care too much sometimes I think, which has been a growing process for me. But yeah, I think that I see that too. In the in our team, like everyone really does care about each client and talking through a lot of the emails that come through, you know, like being intentional with how we interact with people. And then learning always learning. I definitely am like a lifelong learner. So I love that I love to see every, every challenge every good thing as a learning opportunity. So, and I'm learning a lot here for sure.
I love that. When you look at our company culture, like, what's one thing that people might be surprised about like Team KK, or, or even gate,
Olivia Blase 10:27
we talk about like that we learned like, again to the learning like we learned from our mistakes. And it's something that's easy to say. But a lot of times like I don't think our work culture in general like in the country advocates for that attitude. So it was surprising to me to see that in action, actually being on the team being like, you know, even see Kate be like, I made this mistake and like seeing it as a learning opportunity. And everyone sort of rallies to help rectify things. So that is was so it's still surprising sometimes. And yeah, and I think also like working with Kate, you know, she's mentioned before, like, I think she can be a little self critical in terms of like her leadership of a team. And she has been open about like, how that was a challenge for her, at least at the beginning. I'm sure she would still say the same. And I'm like, I feel like she is great at like trusting her team members and asking for their opinions, and really like being part of a team. So yeah, I would love for people to know that. She's actually a great leader. So
yeah, yeah, I think I think we all agree with that. I think that our team is so successful. And that's a testament of our leader, which is Kate. Yeah, for sure. So what piece of advice would you give to someone who is hiring for your position,
Olivia Blase 11:55
I would definitely say that, from my position. There's, I think, and I saw like this with you guys, too. Like, there's a balance that's needed between hiring, you know, an Operations Assistant, so like someone who has the hard skills to be able to assist, they're not always the one like creating or brainstorming. So it has like a heart for what they're doing. And then, like operations, that they can actually get stuff done and troubleshoot. But then also, you know, for whatever your team culture is, which, you know, in my hiring interview process, like really making sure that this person can gel with the team. And I think for the most part, like, you know, you guys recognize that, like, I could learn the things I didn't know already. So having a good balance of like, if this person like gels with our culture, like we can make sure that they learn the things they need to know. But also, you know, with the position, this act this role, like making sure that I had the skills to come in and not be too overwhelmed when I when I started. So
yeah, that's a great point. So I hired you. And I do have to say that, for me, it was what impressed me most about Olivia was not so much her hard skills, because we have, one of the things that I love about our team is our SOPs, so we have SOPs for everything and anything. And so I'm a believer that if you find an amazing candidate as Olivia was, that has the soft skills that we know is like such a match for the team, the hard skills can be learned. And we have SOPs in place. And it's like sometimes you really need to balance. I mean, that's not to say that you're gonna hire someone who has a soft skills but has a for like example, a tech VA for kartra. And they have, they don't even know what kartra is, I don't mean that right. But to really strike a balance of yeah, they have all the hard skills, but as we had a candidate who had checked off all the boxes, but when it came to like, is this person really going to match with our team? We were like, Nope, not at all. So I love that you bring that up because I think a lot of the times entrepreneurs have this checklist of what they want and they forget that soft skills are just as important
Olivia Blase 14:26
Yeah, and I think your interview process to like really allowed for getting to know that you know, like I had two or three interviews to with you, I don't know quite a few and then the long like a very in depth like questionnaire so it was like they're really putting in the work to make sure you hire someone that will gel and hopefully stay for a long time forever. Whatever, you know. Yeah.
I love that. You brought that up to one of the things that we are trying to do here at Team K K is to build a team that is going to grow with us and stay with us long term. So I love that you mentioned that. So tell us a fun fact about yell have ya like some sort of what's something that our audience would be like? Ooh.
Olivia Blase 15:14
Oh, gosh, I always struggle with this. I mean, my go to which I don't mean to sound braggy. But I've, I've been to 22 countries.
Yeah. That's amazing. I'm so jealous.
Olivia Blase 15:27
I mean, I'm so I'm so blessed. Like, and I could talk for days about, like, getting creative with your finances to be able to travel. Because ultimately, that's what it came down to. But yeah, I've I've been to, I mean, some interesting places I've definitely enjoyed like India, Ukraine was amazing. Sweden, Costa Rica is mainly you know, Honduras. I mean, some interesting places that a lot of people probably have gone to as well and others that I'm really, really loved the unique experience. So yeah, I love to
travel. Ask were you able to, you know, facilitate that kind of travel because you work remotely?
Olivia Blase 16:10
Definitely a big part of it. And a big reason why I love teaching. And I loved like, last few years teaching, but I wanted to make a shift back to remote work, because yeah, and my family lives all over the world. So it was important to me to invest in a work life where I could see them more regularly. Yeah, but also, I was traveling quite a bit when I was not working remotely. And so yeah, it's just figuring out your priorities and how you spend your vacation time and, and different things. So yeah.
Kate Kordsmeier 16:46
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So I'm gonna ask this question as the newest member of our team, coming into Team KK gosh, I remember the first week you're like, Oh, it's a lot. And then like the next week. So is there something that we do that you think like, Wow, all entrepreneurs should be doing all businesses should be doing this. They should implement this as part of their team?
Olivia Blase 18:58
Oh, gosh, I just said something the other day in a meeting. And I
I think what you mentioned was your 15. Five.
Olivia Blase 19:05
Yes. I mentioned in the 15. Five, I
think that you mentioned like everyone should or was it run like clockwork time tracking?
Olivia Blase 19:15
Yeah. The truth is I've had that thought so many times that I it's hard to like remember one because yeah, I mean, I definitely think that the check ins that we do, like you mentioned the 15 five which I yeah, like we do such great check ins every day and every week at the end of the week. So and again with the intentionality we care like everyone reads them, everyone digest them. So that's amazing. Like in terms of really bonding as a team. I wish I could remember the specific one I said because it was something that I was just like this is so good. I'd have to go back and try to find it. We could play
Ah, so what what Olivia saying. So we do end of day check ins. So first of all, our work week is Monday through Thursday, which is
Olivia Blase 20:08
amazing. That paid for it.
So Monday through Wednesday, we do end of day check ins where we come into our Slack channel. And we just answer some quick questions. What are your wins? What are you celebrating? Where are you stuck? What are your challenges? What's your focus for tomorrow. And we do that as a team to not so much to micromanage, but rather to like, support one another. To know where you know, to just kind of check the pulse on a team, we're all working remotely. So this really helps us to feel like we are working together. And then on Thursday, we do our 15 Five, which I know other team members have mentioned. And it's an amazing just, you know, you take 15 minutes to just write down, take 15 minutes, and it should take your manager five minutes to read. So those are the guidelines. And I believe that this comes from Profit First, if I remember correctly, and we just adjusted it a little bit to kind of ask some questions that are relevant to you know, our culture. And those questions really can be like what felt hard this week? What was easy? What do you want to grow on? What's your mantra for next week? And it's just amazing that our team does that. I've never ever worked for a company that does either end of day, every day or you know, the stand up? So I don't have to say that. I think it's magnificent.
Olivia Blase 21:39
Yeah. Yeah, no, I agree. And I think I feel like it's like a no brainer button. And I mentioned it, just as a reminder, like, the work life balance boundaries of this company are amazing. Like you mentioned, we work Monday to Thursday, that is respected. We have like, you know, our, whatever nine to five hours, whatever they may be, and like those are respected. So like working from home, never the pressure to like, respond to a Slack attendant night. And it's like, it's amazing, because we get everything done. We're like this company has grown so much, and in a few years. So it's like, you can run a successful company, giving your workers like the freedom to be able to live their lives. And it's just a lie. It's a myth that the American work culture tells us we're like, you have to be available all the time, and work all the time to get things done. That's not true. So every company should take a hard look at it, for sure. But
yeah, I love that. And I mean, we are genuinely practicing what we preach and teach them inside of the incubator.
Olivia Blase 22:48
Yeah. 100%. So
Olivia, this is my favorite part. This is the part of the podcast that which we call the lightning round. So I'll just ask you, I ask everyone the same questions. Don't overthink it, whatever comes to mind. So the first one is what's your favorite way to make time for self care?
Olivia Blase 23:07
Definitely. Quiet time alone. That would include either like a coffee or wine depending on the time of the day, and no phone, probably a book or something I love like I need to turn my mind off. So reading a book or watching Netflix, but I know that I need to balance with that. So yeah.
Awesome. So what's one tool or strategy that you use to help with time management?
Olivia Blase 23:39
Definitely, my calendar, I mean, my my little app, like Google calendar on my phone, and I block out my times I use all the time like reminders, like do this in two hours or whatever, like, yeah, because I definitely use that a lot. And then we've talked about too on the team, like in terms of like getting things done in a workday, I kind of have a hierarchy in my mind of like what things need to get done, that require a lot of brain energy and knowing myself like I'm more productive in the mornings. And so I try to schedule out like the work that I do that would require more brain energy in the mornings and the hierarchy of like, who needs who's depending on me for this and whatnot, and then the things that would be less energy consuming. I leave for the afternoon. So definitely like being aware of the tasks I have to do and my energy levels and then using my calendar to just like, plan them out.
I love that. You know what's so funny? I just had an interview with an incubator client and that's exactly what she does. She does she does like levels of like, okay, what's going to have the most impact and requires the least effort and she kind of does that and he uses the cyclical living thing to also pair to begin to understand like, Oh, this is going to take maximum effort, but I, on terms of like, my cyclical cycle, it's not going to work. So I thought that was awesome that she was doing that. And I love that you do that as well. Yeah. So you mentioned reading so I'm curious, what's the most powerful business mindset entrepreneurial book that you've ever read?
Olivia Blase 25:24
I would have to say, maybe not ever, but recently, and that has stuck with me is one called contagious, how things catch on, or why things catch on by Jonah Berger. And it's more like marketing mindset. But not only it's just like a really a bit of a higher level, think about like, why certain things become popular or people are interested in them. So yeah, that one is definitely made an impression on me and just in like, in marketing, and in putting yourself in the shoes of the person that you're trying to serve and figuring out like, what appeals to them? What do they need?
I love that. So what would you say is your favorite quote, or mantra or affirmation? This is what you use when things gets tough, or you feel like giving up.
Olivia Blase 26:23
I've always lived by ever since I was in like middle school, my dad told me some advice that if something scares you, you should probably do it. As long as it doesn't hurt like yourself or other people. And I've always lived by that. I think what I love too, that we talked about was like the imposter syndrome. And I think, yeah, at the core of a lot of things like hard days is like, fear of like not succeeding. And so yeah, that's a big one that I live by of like, don't let fear stop you from doing something.
I love that. And finally, this is a Success with Soul podcast, right? So what does Success with Soul mean to you, Olivia?
Olivia Blase 27:06
I think definitely, knowing my values of how I want to live my life. And I, as maybe as evidenced by my resume and my past jobs, I do have a tendency of like living my life in a way of like, this is interesting now. So I'm going to do this now. I'm not a big planner. But I think I've always had to be aware of like, okay, but what are my values? What do I want to invest in? And knowing yourself and being giving myself permission to like care? I mean, I'm in Enneagram two, I'm a I'm a people pleaser. So a lot of times my decisions are made, like based on what other people expect or want. So I think that's the soul part for sure is knowing yourself and tending to your soul to my soul, and allowing her to grow and like and blossom. I think that success for me, I mean, is, I think that's kind of a niche answer to like people who could relate with living a life, a lot of times for others. And so right now, at least in my season of life, it's to live my life for me, and to feel everyday like I've done the things I've done and invest in things I invest in, because it's what feeds my soul. So
I love that. So that's it for today. We have met Olivia, she is the newest member of our team, but we love her and she has fit right in like she's always been with us. And I loved it. Thank you so much, Olivia.
Olivia Blase 28:46
Thanks, Indira. Thank you. Have a great day.
You too. Bye, everyone.
Kate Kordsmeier 28:55
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We are an LGBTQIA-affirming, interfaith-oriented, diverse organization. We are committed to social and environmental justice, including civil rights, dismantling systems of oppression like the Patriarchy, White Supremacy and Diet Culture. We believe Black Lives Matter.