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Michaela Light 0:01
Welcome back to the show and I'm here today with Madeline Lambert. And we're going to be talking about how you can replace yourself as CEO of your company and how she used intuitive hiring to do that. And she had a very important reason for replacing herself because she had a new baby on the way and there was a deadline for the birth that was not going to change so she had to get organized for maternity leave she is now on but she's very kindly agreed to tell us about her experience
and if you don't know Madeline she's the CEO of content refined which is a content marketing agency Collingwood, Canada and she's won a prize ticket to go to the dynamite circle summit in Bangkok, Thailand last year around this time because she had the best entrepreneurial success and passion of all candidates who applied and she recorded podcast now I'll put the link to that in the notes. And she just had her first baby Ethan in June. So we're gonna wait Thank you so much. Sure What Ethan is saying that.
Yes, sir. Same. Thank you have to pause this video. I'm sorry.
Michaela Light 1:21
All right. We just had a breastfeeding video pools break they're keeping this show PG rated.
Michaela Light 1:33
So great to have you on on the show. Madeline
Yeah. So I imagine it could have been quite stressful thinking that you've got this unbelievable deadline that where you've got to replace yourself if you're going to keep the business running, if not growing? While Yeah. And and how long are you going to be away from the business for
about six months. So I I feel Next up on June 14. And then I'll be going back sometime in mid mid January.
Michaela Light 2:07
Well, I imagine a lot of entrepreneurs listening to this. And managers we get a little stressed thinking about going on a one week vacation.
And here you are taking six months of from your business. And you were the leader of the business. Yes. So the one who, you know, made it grow and dealt with hiring and all kinds of other things.
Michaela Light 2:34
And we're going to talk about all the roles you used to have in the business a bit later in the show. But
why don't you tell me how you use your intuition to find the person who would replace you during the six months?
Well, um, basically, as soon as I found out that I was expecting, I knew that this was going to be a ticking time bomb. And, you know, if I valued you know, taking some time off and spending it with my child, but I would have to figure out a solution to to replace me in the business. So I started interviewing a bunch of different candidates. I and basically, I came across one candidate who I I had met in the community before, she's a local girl here, but she didn't have any real sort of content marketing experience.
So I really, really liked her. Um, and so I decided to hire her part time to see if,
if she would be able to sort of understand the business and hit the ground running. And I was incredibly
surprised, like pleasantly surprised. And she she's just taken a and she's and she ran with it. And she turned out to be the perfect higher regardless of the fact that she had a, you know, no experience in this in this field. Really.
Michaela Light 4:18
sorry. That's quite a leap of faith you made there.
Yes. Yeah, it was a quite a leap of faith. But I
I think that Yeah, just went back to the intuition thing, you know, if if you have a good feeling about somebody and and you think that they
have what it takes in terms of grit? I think that they I think that there's a lot to say about that.
Michaela Light 4:46
Now it how do you said you had a good feeling about her? You saying your gut feel good about it, or your heart? Or tell me more about how you knew your intuition said, Yeah, thumbs up on this person.
I just felt
I felt like a trusted her. And I think trust plays a huge part in your intuition. You know, if you feel like you can trust somebody from the get go, I think that that says a lot about them.
Hmm. Especially when you're a business owner, who's been you know, jaded by crappy employees in the past, you know, you you
definitely are quick to not trust somebody. So I think that this, yeah, she, she was great hire, I really trusted her right off the bat. And
it turns out that she's, she's doing an amazing job, and the business is growing. And I won't ask for my job back,
you'll get a better job back when you go back there.
Michaela Light 5:53
So yeah, that role is still being defined in terms of what I will do when I go back to work, but or I'm definitely leaning towards sort of a business development and,
Michaela Light 6:07
you know, sales manager position, right? Wow. So she's gonna be she the CEO Now, what does she have a title,
um, she is the, like, business manager right now. So she essentially manages everything
from from managing our, our teams of product managers from doing our sort of marketing initiatives are our, our sales, she's wearing a bunch of different hats right now, which is, which is a lot of work and she's pulling very long, long weeks, and I I'm very appreciative of that. And she's learning a ton and she's Yeah, she's running with it. I'm various.
Michaela Light 6:56
Yeah, well, she surprised when you hire them for this.
She said she didn't have experience. I think that she well, so I hired her
like a part time employee at first. So I think that she was very happy when we asked her to come on board full time and then gave her sort of increased responsibilities huh
Michaela Light 7:23
yeah. So she didn't she wasn't overwhelmed by having lows, hats
where I think that there was a moment when we were going through sort of our our maternity leave checklist and I had
I had written down
sort of everything that I I've been doing and everything that sort of falls on my plate I think that there was a there's been a few moments where she feels overwhelmed by the the volume and just like the sheer amount of work that she has to do but you know she's been she's been well compensated for it and she's been exposed to a ton of different different stuff that she wouldn't have been otherwise if I if I go on maternity leave. So Wow,
Michaela Light 8:10
how did you do that? You mentioned on maternity leave checklist which sounds like a wonderful idea Oh yeah, what what else did you do to make the handover goes smoothly, because I guess off you'd left, you know, it's not like she could call you in the hospital when you having your baby.
Well, she could she
I've definitely kept that door open. And we do have like, weekly meetings so that I'm on everything that's going on. And I have sort of weekly KPIs that I look for, and we have a week nice or spreadsheet that she fills out so that I understand business. Um, but
in terms of,
yeah, in terms of the handoff and preparation, we
interesting that you asked, I believe, you listen to my talk in Austin at Austin. So there was a part of that, that talk where I spoke about my org chart and my sort of portfolio of so piece so standard operating procedures.
And so what I did
and what I was sort of a little bit obsessive compulsive about before I left was making sure that my library of so for us was
was complete and so that if Laura ever had
like a question or procedural
like little hiccups, she could always just just refer back to that portfolio of so P is that which would outline every single activity that I do in the business to a tee. And so she wouldn't have to call me um, but of course, like they're human. And sometimes, you know, you you aren't as clear as you mean to be, and your your thoughts don't get put down on paper the way they the way they should. And so yeah, of course, she calls me every now and then to clarify some stuff. But but that libraries have recipes have served very, very well in terms of giving her guidance on day to day activities
Michaela Light 10:29
is great. He did that. Now, I'm imagining that some people listening to this like, well, I wish I had a detailed org chart all the roles to find and great so piece written, but I just don't have time to do that. And I'm wondering how you, you were running this business, you were getting ready to have a baby? How on earth did you find time to document all this stuff?
That is, that's a great question. But whoever says they don't have time to do
so piece for their business have a very flawed way of thinking. Because you would never, you would never build a house without a set of plans. Right? You would never have a construction project without going by a set of plans. And that's what your recipes are. And your business will fall apart if you don't have those. And so, so that is the most important part of your business and everything else comes secondary, even even fulfillment. Because like, yeah, if there was any point where I was feeling stretched, and I had like a fulfillment side of the business to do, versus like some filling out an ESOP. The ESOP is always going to come come first on my priority list.
And I believe that that's, that's the best way to go about building your business.
Michaela Light 12:00
So did you I'm curious, did you, you know, spend an hour each morning doing this, or you work late into the night doing your recipes.
I basically, every single time I did something, I, I would have a Google Doc open, and I would take screenshots of what I was doing step by step, and then write out the steps. So step one, followed by a screenshot, step two, followed by screenshot, so yeah, everything took a little bit longer. But so so worth my time, because it's allowed me to step away from business, hmm, are you today, organically, you know, just during your day, as you did a new task that you haven't documented before. Yeah. And then if there were things like, we have a big checklist of basically everything that that anybody would need to do in the business. And so if there was a missing so up, I would work later into the night to make sure that the, we're done before I left.
Wow, right. Dedicated.
I mean, you It's hard work, but it's like, it's so worth it. It's, it's the glue that keeps your your company together,
right. And it really helps everyone else be organized, and, and understand how to do things.
And it sounds like it made it a lot easier for you to step away for six months.
Absolutely. I couldn't have done it. I couldn't have done this without that.
Michaela Light 13:30
Yeah, yeah. Now, you mentioned there a, your chart. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs like org chart chart, that's what you know, big businesses have, ah, why do I need one when he was only three of us in the office. So I have many there are
well, um, if you plan on growing, like, if you have a business that that you intend on sort of keeping, keeping relatively small, and with, you know, two, three employees, maybe, you know, need to nurture but I have a business that I on growing and trying to scale, and that's going to require different roles and more employees. And so in order to sort of project out,
you know, six months down the line a year down the line five years down the line,
you need to have an idea of where your business is currently, and where you want your business to be by then, and, and so you need to imagine what that looks like, and imagine what kind of rules you might need. And so you have to build out that org chart, sort of, hypothetically, at first and, and then, like, do goal setting to figure out how to how to get there and how to expand your company in a way that reflects your, your future. org chart.
Hmm. So you you'd you'd write out the org chart showing where you wanted your business to be in a few years? Yeah, you might have been wearing several of the hats from the org chart
Yes, when you do, but mostly in every single box
at one point. And so then you need to just figure out how how you're going to fill that and who you're going to fill it with and make sure that there's a bunch of supporting so P is that will teach somebody exactly how to do that job.
sounds sounds amazing. This process you did
Yes. It's been good. I mean, it obviously has had its fair share of pickups as well. But But yeah, I'm happy with the way that with it from a business and organize the business and and plan the business because I think that's a very important piece as well, as well as the planning of the business.
Michaela Light 15:56
It's almost like having those so peas and organization or it provides a safety net while you're on the tightrope, with your intuition taking chances on people like,
definitely, do you feel you've taken more chances in business? Since you you connect you with your business intuition? Or?
That's a great question. I
I'm not going to say that I haven't been jaded by by sort of crappy employees in the past.
So I do feel as though I have a a stronger business intuition that I did when I first started. Because there's a certain when you first start a business,
you can be sort of nine youth and you can give people the benefit of the doubt based on a CV or, or a cover letter. And,
but then when you talk to them, and you don't feel right, and you hire them anyways, that leads you to be a little bit jaded sometimes. So I think that I've learned how to how to sort of trust my gut, regardless of how somebody is a, you know, cover letter and, and CV looks.
Michaela Light 17:28
so Tell, tell me about some of the people you don't have to name names. But you said you hired them because they look great on paper, or
I'll give you an example. I somebody had referred
a contractor to me,
and they said, We had such great, great luck with this guy. He, he was pivotal for business. And this is what I was looking for a very specific role with a very specific skill that I didn't actually have.
so I hired him. And I was like, okay, we're going to do a four month trial. These are my goals. This is where I want to be after after this four month. So trial, can you get me these results? And he said, Yeah, no problem, no problem, no problem. And he sent me a list of things that I needed to provide him with, to make make the
don't want to say exactly what the role is, just in case something. Yeah.
And so he provided provided him with all of the materials that he needed to make this, this initiative work. And he started plugging away at at this job. And, you know, when the results weren't coming in, in his favor, he started sort of, like, blaming me for it. And,
and I was perplexed by this, because, like, I had hired him to do this job. And I had, he had, like, great experience, he had an amazing
sort of, like, portfolio in terms of who, what kind of clients you've worked with in the past. And so I think that, yeah, I was like, very disappointed in terms of our, our results. And we, you know, pissed away a lot of money on that initiative. And it was a failed test, I'd say, um, but yeah, I was just extremely surprised that somebody who possessed this very unique, unique and, and technical skill would would turn around and blame me when he wasn't able to produce the results that we were looking for.
Now, looking back, what do you think your intuition was trying to tell you about him? Um,
the first time I spoke to him, I didn't really like him. And, and I couldn't figure it couldn't figure out why. Because he had, you know, a similar lifestyle as me he had experienced and exactly what I was looking for. And so there's like, no reason, really, why I shouldn't have hired him from that from that first initial meeting, except for the fact that I didn't really like them. So if I hadn't, you know, trust my intuition a little bit, maybe I would have kept looking elsewhere.
Yeah, yeah, it's too bad. But I, you know, won't make that mistake. Again,
Michaela Light 20:52
how else do you? Do you hear your intuitive messages to you? Do you hear words in your head? Or you get a feeling and your body? Are you saying you feel certain emotions?
I think it's just a
Yeah, I think it again, goes hand in hand with with trust and a gut feeling and feeling good after a conversation with somebody. So, you know, that conversation with the, the contractor that I wasn't overly overwhelmed with?
yeah, the just the difference between my first conversation with him versus my first conversation with Laura who's who's now managing the business day and night, you know, so I think that Yeah, your your gut, definitely, there's something to say about listening to it
for you. How do you know whether it's a gut feeling? Or it's just the way too bad hamburger for lunch?
that's a good, that's a good question. Um,
yeah, I don't know how to how to explain it. I think it's, it's, you know, whether you get on with that person or not. And after, after you hang up, whether you feel good about the conversation, are you feel bad about the conversation,
Michaela Light 22:22
right? Other any other intuitive methods you use in your business? Like, you know, visualizing your goals?
Well, I think that,
yes, definitely visualizing are our goals we have,
we have a spreadsheet that
we created for our weekly for our weekly meeting, and that the first page of
has our goals down on it. So we've written written down our goals. And then we've written down our, our mission and our values. And our goals always have to be aligned with our vision, our mission and our values. And I think that's a good way of visualizing that if you're before every weekly meeting, if you're going through
through those goals, and making sure that they're aligned with your, your company values. I think that's a really good way of visualizing stuff, and projecting forward.
So D, you're sharing all those vision and mission and values with every employee every week,
every employee every week, yeah, yeah. And making sure that, you know, our, our goals reflect that. Mm hmm. And if we're making goals that don't reflect that, then we need to reevaluate our articles. Because our, our mission and our values are, are not to change.
Michaela Light 23:53
Yeah, now, I'm curious what you see from people seeing that every week companies come up with vision statements, values, and what have you, but then they put them away in a cupboard locked up for the next five years,
right. So I think that's the value of having it on the front page of our of our weekly meeting template is, is that we go through them every week, and they're not lost. And they're the first thing that we touch on every week,
which I think is very important in keeping people aligned and on the same page
and it's very very neat that you do that
so any other business intuition
tips or stories you'd like to share with listeners
business intuition tips or stories
Well, during that, that dcvc kk,
you know, prize giveaway that that I received from Greg last year,
I feel like I used my intuition in that interview with him. And I feel as though I was able to, to answer the questions or answer his questions in a way that
that would make him want to give me that prize
feel like I I use my intuition in terms of what kind of person he was. And now what kind of
answers he was looking for. So I felt like I use my intuition, my benefit there for sure.
Michaela Light 25:43
Now, tell me how that works for you when you're talking. And it sounds like you probably use that skill when you're talking with potential clients, I'm guessing as well. Yes. Yeah. So how does that work for you, your your someone asked your question, how do you know to answer the question Can a certain way to get some kind of nudge? Yeah,
yeah, so I think it's about reading people.
And yeah, it's about reading people. And, you know, I use this in sales calls on time and figuring out what
what problem they're looking to solve, and then angling your answers in a way that will solve their problems.
that way you could does make sense is there any way you could bottle with skill so our listeners could
bottle the skills or let's
put the essence of this skill into a bottle weekend? sell it
I'll try, I'll try.
Michaela Light 26:50
Yeah, I mean, how did you? Were you always this way, you could read people using your intuition? Or is it something you've been able to grow
when you're forced into a, you know, sales position for your business? You I think that that's something that comes with time and practice
and, and being able to sort of sell yourself and that's,
that's something that comes with lots and lots of sales calls
yeah, do you
do you do any journaling about your sales calls, or some other way to reflect back on this is what worked or didn't work,
there are times that I,
there are times where I'll record them.
And that has actually allowed me to come up with a pretty open like script for sales calls to figure out
to figure out who they are, what their businesses what their needs are, very quickly and very, like organic fashion. So that it doesn't seem like on the listing requirements from them. That just kind of seems like I'm, I'm just shooting the shit with them a bit. And
just yeah, chatting with them. But but it allows me to sort of draw out key information that will then allow me to sell better to them
based on their answers. Mm hmm. Oh, yeah. So I think having like, a big script
is important, and just just different ways of asking the same questions so that you're getting the the answers that you're looking for.
Now, I'm curious, because you're you haven't been in the business for a few months now? Yeah? Do you have a face to your business? And if so, who is that face
to face? Yeah, so I have,
we actually done this really cute thing. It's called the ladies of the laptops series, oh, on our blog content, or find calm and it's essentially
it allows our clients and potential clients to know who their project managers are. And so you can go on there, and you can click through and see who each like key member of our team is, in terms of our project management team, and then find out a little bit more about them. So there's picture of them, there's pictures of of their, what they like to do in their spare time, a little bit of information about their professional background, but then their personal background as well. So that has been sort of our effort to diversify the face of our company. And because I don't want it just to be me, and,
and I think that people want to feel personally connected to the people that they're working with. And so this has drastically minimized,
you know, emails coming to me about problems.
Yeah, so, it's been great, because if I was just always the face of the company on on, one who's getting the, the complaints, right, and I'm the one who's getting the emails, I'm sort of asking for clarification on different processes. Whereas I think that since we've diversified the the face of the company to sort of reflect all of our project managers that that responsibility to gets gets divided up between our management team, which is really nice. And it gives people like, a more personal touch on who they're dealing with, you know, so. So clients and, and this is like, we've, we've been measuring this. And since this lady of the laptop series, we've received less complaints we've received less than, like, nasty emails, because people feel connected them feel like they know who they're dealing with. And it's not just somebody sitting behind a computer, huh? Yeah,
I love that.
Michaela Light 31:14
So let's wrap this up by asking you a couple of questions. One is, why are you proud to use your business intuition?
Why am I proud to use my business intuition?
I'm Man, these are tough questions. Okay.
I think I'm proud to use my business intuition, because it has allowed me to make pivotal decisions in my business that has allowed me to scale Hmm.
Michaela Light 31:50
And then, as you probably know, I'm on a mission to all business owners and managers to open the US that business intuition work, because they'll make more money, be more happy, less stress.
So my final question here is, what would it take to make business intuition more open the us this year,
product coaching on
how to use it, and why you should use it, because a lot of people
make data driven decisions.
And I have been I make data driven decisions as well all the time. But I think there's a time and a place for that. And I think that, especially when it comes to like hiring, I think that using your your business intuition
is, is a smarter strategy than doing and making data decision or driven decisions.
Michaela Light 32:57
Yeah. All right. That makes sense to me. I mean, I don't think there's anything wrong with database decisions or logic based decisions. It's like a, you know, a tool chest, you've got screwdrivers and hammers and saws. And if you're trying to put a nail in the wall, don't use the screwdriver,
Nothing wrong with a screwdriver.
Know exactly, exactly.
So if people want to find you online, what are the best ways to do that?
Well, find us at content refined.com.
And if anybody is interested in
in testing other service, or or I mean, every business needs content. So if somebody if anybody's tired of writing their own content, and would like to try out content or find they can get a 20% off discount?
Yeah, by using the
promo code podcast,
right. I will put that in the show notes though. It's pretty easy to remember.
Michaela Light 34:07
Yeah. And I'll put the link to your website along with the other things we mentioned during the episode. And are you decent to come back on the video to say goodbye? Or are you still I am this guy has been
Yes. I didn't even
hear you. There we
Michaela Light 34:38
You're using young babies use their intuition
young babies have
I'm not sure how much intuition young babies
babies especially at this age have have three needs of sleep food and cuddles.
Well that sounds good to me. That sounds pretty good if you're older than a baby Really? Yes yes
I agree. But yeah, so that any listeners out there have a little baby is just make sure you get all the cuddles because that's that's really all they need. Yeah.
Well, thanks so much for being on the show.
Thank you so much for having me. It was great. Catching up. And um, yeah, thank you so much. Right.