Invest time and energy in making your team feel appreciated. This is SO important. A little appreciation really goes a long way here. Make it a point to notice the little things as well as the big stuff. If someone was on time all week or arrived 5 minutes early one day, let them know how much you appreciate their punctuality. Anytime you notice someone doing something correctly or well, you should compliment them. I also like to thank my team often, and let them know how much I appreciate their hard work.
I had the pleasure to interview Mia Stallard. Mia helps entrepreneurs build businesses they can run from anywhere in the world by increasing their reach through social media marketing. When she’s not on her laptop working, she’s traveling to an exotic location on whim, throwing a lavish tea party, attending a yoga class, or practicing her henna skills.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Ever since I was about 8 years old I wanted to become a digital nomad (before that was even a thing). I read every article and blog on the internet in search of online job opportunities and seldom came up with any real information. If you’ve ever researched this topic you know what I’m talking about. In the midst of all this research, I became an expert budget traveler; I knew how to get super cheap tickets and travel anywhere on a shoestring budget. Last year I came across a deal I couldn’t turn down, to a place I had always wanted to go: it was only $350 for a round trip ticket from LA to Thailand. I knew I had to take this opportunity so I dropped everything and left. When I returned home I had abruptly lost my source of income, putting me in a financially desperate situation, which inspired me to finally take action and start the online business I had always dreamed of starting. Two weeks later I had my first client, and I’ve been location-independent and loving my life ever since! (P.S. If any of this resonates with you, I invite you to join my Facebook group The Digital Nomad)
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I think what’s most interesting to me is all the ways you can leverage your social media, which I had no knowledge of before starting my company. For example, last year I received a free luxury yoga retreat ($3,000 value) in northern California directly through Instagram. It was the most incredible experience! I took my mom, and we had a private cabin in the forest with a beautiful balcony surrounded by giant redwoods. When most people think about leveraging social media, they think about marketing their business and gaining new leads. What people don’t realize is all the other ways you can use your social media to acquire things unrelated to business — like free travel, accommodation, and merchandise. Also, with micro influencing on the rise, you don’t even need a lot of followers to take advantage of these kinds of opportunities like you once did. I received that yoga retreat and only had 900 followers at the time! This is also one of my favorite things to help my clients achieve because it’s really fun and exciting work once you discover all the possibilities in your niche.
Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! I’m currently working on an Instagram course. My goal for 2019 is to expand my reach even further and help more entrepreneurs understand the potential of social media and all the possibilities it can bring for them and their business. So I’m putting all of my Instagram knowledge into a self-guided course where students can not only learn how to properly use the platform to market their brand but also how to use it to their full potential and receive free products and brand partnerships!
Ok, lets jump to the main part of our interview. According to this study cited in Forbes, more than half of the US workforce is unhappy. Why do you think that number is so high?
There are many different things that factor into this statistic so it’s hard to give a reason that covers all circumstances. Generally, I think as corporations have expanded over the years they’ve attempted to eliminate as much human activity as possible and moved more into mechanical automation to cut costs. This has eliminated the need for creative input and decisions to be made by employees which, in turn, would cause them to feel less important and not as vital to the business. I also think we’ve lost a lot of values in this country that were once so important in business; for example, in customer service and leadership. I frequently walk into establishments and am ignored or have to deal with unfriendly and unwelcoming staff. I think this stems from a serious lack of training which just ends up perpetuating poor business practices and making work an unhappy place for everyone involved. I believe, as a business owner, it’s in your best interest to prioritize the needs of your employees as well as your customers, even if it means taking a personal loss as the CEO (financial or otherwise) because you wouldn’t have a business without either. I don’t think people understand how important this is to the longevity and sustainability of a business.
Based on your experience or research, how do you think an unhappy workforce will impact a) company productivity b) company profitability c) and employee health and wellbeing?
When employees don’t feel appreciated, they’re not going to be as invested in the company’s success, which means more mistakes that could have been avoided are likely to occur. This could potentially cost the company a lot by wasting productivity on fixing these mistakes. As for the health and wellbeing aspect, everything I’ve mentioned leads to excessive stress on the employees, which is not healthy and will lead to burnout and, eventually, cause great employees to seek work elsewhere. This is also costly because you’ll have to train new people.
Can you share 5 things that managers and executives should be doing to improve their company work culture? Can you give a personal story or example for each?
1. Everyone communicates differently.
Not everyone has the same communication style, and it’s worth investing the time into learning how everyone on your team communicates and likes to receive information. Some people are better with clear deadlines; for example: “I need you to do X by this date.” Some people work better with a kinder approach; for example: “Hey! I hope you’ve had a good morning! When you get a chance, can you do X? I’m hoping we can have this done by X date. Thanks so much!” A good leader can usually pick up on different personality styles right away, but if you’re unable to gauge how someone prefers to be taught/communicated with, you can always ask the person or have them complete a simple personality test upon hiring to give you some insight.
2. Create a safe space for questions.
I’ve worked jobs before where I’ve been terrified to ask questions because the boss was always yelling at people. This is a horrendous way to run a productive business. You NEVER want your employees to feel scared to come to you with a question or concern. This will only cause them to make uninformed executive decisions, which will end up costing you money down the road. Instead, make it clear to your employees that questions are highly encouraged and you are always happy to answer them or deal with an issue they’re having.
3. Invest time and energy in making your team feel appreciated.
This is SO important. A little appreciation really goes a long way here. Make it a point to notice the little things as well as the big stuff. If someone was on time all week or arrived 5 minutes early one day, let them know how much you appreciate their punctuality. Anytime you notice someone doing something correctly or well, you should compliment them. I also like to thank my team often, and let them know how much I appreciate their hard work.
4. Offer performance incentives.
Don’t just scold people when they make a mistake; reward them when they do something right. Even if the “reward” is just a compliment, it’s important that people feel noticed when they perform well because that will encourage them to continue to strive for excellence. I worked a job once where I was by far the best and most productive employee they had, I was always on time and was the only one that took the job seriously. I was never praised for any of this and I was 10 minutes late ONE time and was reprimanded and told “time is money” instead of listening to my emergency. I felt so unappreciated and unsupported that I put in my notice and quit. Now that business has massive turnover rate and recurring issues with hiring quality employees. That business owner could have saved SO much money simply by making staff feel appreciated.
5. Work as a team.
Restructure the way you word your requests to make everyone that works for you feel like they’re part of something bigger and not just a robot to wind up and pump out work for you. Instead of constantly coming at your team with a “do this, do that” attitude, try using language that implies this is a collective effort. This is also a great tactic to point out a problem or mistake without making them feel alienated. For example: “I really like what you did here with [something specific] but next time it would be really great if we can do it more like [this] because of [this reason]”. When someone feels like they have a hand in creating a bigger picture, they’ll likely go above and beyond in their work because they feel they’re a critical piece to the success of the business. You can also ask for input from your employees, which does a lot to also make someone feel respected. And again, when someone feels valued, appreciated, and respected, they’ll go above and beyond.
It’s very nice to suggest ideas, but it seems like we have to “change the culture regarding work culture”. What can we do as a society to make a broader change in the US workforce’s work culture?
Invest more into training people in management positions to create better leaders. I also think companies should prioritize the needs of their employees and give them more flexibility and creative input.
How would you describe your leadership or management style? Can you give us a few examples?
In my business, I’m all about teamwork. I really try to approach my employees as teammates and I try to get to know each person so I know their learning style and how to effectively communicate with them. If there is a mistake made or issue I have to address, I have a process that I think works with any personality type; I don’t dwell on the mistake, instead I talk about the individuals strengths, point out what they did do right, and then suggest a different way of doing something next time, and why it’s a more efficient choice. This avoids any negative feelings and empowers them to take a new approach next time. I also make sure I’m frequently praising my team and making them feel appreciated.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Yes, and thank you for giving me the space to do this. There are honestly so many people who’ve helped me get where I am, but the ones who had the biggest impact would be my friend Melia Paulden; she was the very first person who made me feel like what I wanted was achievable. My first client, Ellen Coule, took a chance on me and hired me before I had anything to show for my business, and she’s also become a friend and mentor to me throughout the years. I’m forever grateful for crossing paths with her! My business mentor, Amber Blewett, she’s helped me scale my business in a way that works for me. And, of course, my parents (Susan Kohl and Nick Stallard) for teaching me the leadership skills I use every day in my business.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
The most rewarding part of my work is being able to help my clients create their dream life. The business owners I work with have an incredible product or service but just need help getting seen by more people, which is exactly what I do. The increased reach I’m able to get them results in increased income, which means I get to watch my clients go from working multiple jobs to being able to quit them all and either travel or spend more time with their kids. Knowing this is what my work can result in absolutely lights me up! I’ve also been able to donate time and money to my local animal shelter which definitely brings joy to this world because who doesn’t love animals?! Also, on a side note, I think just by being successful and showing others what’s possible, I think we all have the ability to create a positive ripple effect by the way we choose to live our lives.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“There are people less qualified than you, doing the things you want to do, simply because they chose to believe in themselves,” and “Hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle.” I love those quotes! They’re so true and very relevant to my life because people are always intrigued by my lifestyle and then suddenly shocked when they realize how I created it (without financial support, formal training, or a degree). I also think these quotes are really motivating and inspiring because it reminds us that anyone can create anything they want in life if they just take the action required to make it happen.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I wish we lived in a world where people felt encouraged to tackle their craziest ideas and wildest dreams. I think too many extraordinary people are kept small by the projection of others, which keeps the world an in a low vibration because the majority of people aren’t living a life that lights them up. When I was younger and I described my dream life (the life I’m currently living) to people, they used to laugh in my face or actually think I was crazy. “Wait… you want to have a good paying job that allows you to travel the world full time AND you don’t want to go to college?!… Yeah, keep dreaming” or something along those lines is what they would say. Those limiting words eventually became a negative inner voice that I constantly work to overcome. I’m now at a place where I have compassion for those people because I understand their negativity had nothing to do with my potential and everything to do with their own self-doubt, but people who want to live a bold life and pursue a dream on their terms shouldn’t be made to feel like outcasts; this should be the norm. So, the movement I would love to inspire is to speak to everyone in a way that makes them feel like anything is possible.