Don’t strengthen your weaknesses, hire them out instead. It’s seductive to want to work on your weaknesses. They’re weaknesses after all. Doesn’t it make sense to make them stronger? Honestly? Not really. First off, you’re likely going to invest a significant amount of time and energy working on your weaknesses, you likely will find that a better use of that time and energy would be getting your strengths out into the world. Secondly, no matter how much you work on your weaknesses, you likely are never going to be all that great at them. Maybe you’ll work yourself up to average, but is it truly worth all of that time and energy when you could … just … hire your weaknesses out? Yes, I know. In some ways it’s easier to hire someone who has the same strengths as you. You’ll likely connect with them on a deeper level than someone who is strong in your weaknesses. But, you’ll likely find you’re more successful when you focus on surrounding yourself with people who are strong in your weaknesses rather than people who are strong in your strengths.
I had the pleasure to interview Michele PW (Pariza Wacek). Michele is the author of the bestselling “Love-Based Business” series of books, which includes “Love-Based Copy”, “Love-Based Online Marketing”, “Love-Based Money and Mindset” and “Love-Based Goals”. These books share how you can sell more with love and build a solid, profitable business on a foundation of love versus a foundation of fear. In addition, she’s also a bestselling fiction writer (she’s published 2 psychological thrillers/suspense/mystery novels and has a new 3-book series due out summer of 2018) and holds a double major in English and Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently she lives in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona with her husband Paul and southern squirrel hunter Cassie.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was three years old, I taught myself to read because I wanted to write stories so badly. As you can imagine, writing has been a driving force my entire life.
Along with becoming a bestselling fiction and nonfiction author, I’ve also founded an international copywriting company and have birthed a new way of writing copy that I call love-based copywriting, which teaches how to sell and persuade using love. I’ve successfully helped sell nearly $50M in products and services for my clients using love-based copy and marketing over the past eight years.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
This is going to sound kind of funny but I realized I actually liked owning and leading a business.
You see, back in 1998 when I quit my job to become a freelance copywriter (which I eventually grew to a copywriting company) I didn’t do it because I had this deep need to own a business. I did it because I wanted to write, and that felt like the easiest way to do it.
In a lot of ways, I felt like a reluctant entrepreneur.
However, the longer I owned a business, and the more I hung out with other entrepreneurs, the more I started to realize not only did I actually DID enjoy business but I also loved hanging out with other entrepreneurs. And eventually I came to realize how much I did love business.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I don’t know if any of the mistakes I made would be considered funny, but here’s one thing that happened to me is when I decided to pull up my big girl panties and get some business coaching from SCORE.
(This was in 1998, before all the online business training and mentoring that’s available now.)
When my SCORE counselor found out I was a freelance copywriter, he brought in a retired freelance copywriter to talk to me.
I was so excited. I was sure I was going to walk away with a plan to get my business started off right.
Instead, the retired copywriter spent the entire hour trying to talk me out of being a freelance.
“You should get your job back,” she said.
“I can’t,” I said.
“It’s really difficult to be a freelance copywriter,” she said. “Do you think you could try and get your job back?”
“I can’t get my job back,” I said.
“You know, you could do freelance work nights and weekends and build it up while you’re working at your job during the day,” she said.
“I can’t get my job back,” I said.
You get the picture.
Near the end, when she realized she couldn’t talk me out of it, she gave me a few tips, which were pretty worthless.
All in all, the lesson I took away from this was be careful of your mentors or who you ask for business advice.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
How I specialize in love-based copy and marketing. In a nutshell, in order to persuade anyone to do anything, you need to tap into their emotions. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to get your children to go to bed at a decent bedtime or you’re trying to make an offer, it’s all about the emotions.
And you have a choice. You can tap into fear-based emotions (shame, fear, guilt, anger) or love-based (love, hope, passion).
When you tap into fear-based emotions, that’s when your marketing and sales can start to feel hype-y or sales-y or inauthentic.
What I teach is how to sell and persuade using love, and when you do that, you build your business on a foundation of love versus fear.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I just launched a Love-Based Copy School, which is an evergreen online done-WITH-you copy school. For a very affordable price, students can get both training and feedback on their copy so they can learn to sell using love.
I feel like part of my mission is to educate people on love-based copy, so people realize they have a choice. They can choose to persuade and sell using love or using fear.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
It starts with you. The more you work on yourself and your own inner development, the better leader you’ll become.
Take time for your own self care. Meditate, journal, exercise. Read self development books. Work on your emotional intelligence. Become the leader your team wants to work for.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Get help. Find someone you can trust to become the COO. If you don’t, you run the risk of spending all of your time and energy managing other people, which means you’re not doing the things that are yours to do.
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?
I’ve had so many people help me over the years, and I’m grateful to every single one of them. If I were to share a story, it would probably be for my spiritual mentor, Christine Aryo.
The year 2012 was one of the most difficult years for me personally, culminating with my mother being diagnosed with cancer. I reached a point where I could no longer cope the way I always did, and Christine stepped in to show me a new way.
Her coaching helped me get rid of the anxiety and worry that had plagued me throughout most of my life, which helped me focus and become a better leader. In addition, her coaching prepared me for the love-based copy philosophy (which was downloaded into me January of 2014). I owe quite a bit to her helping me get a handle on my emotions.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Along with letting people know there’s another way to sell and market themselves by using love, I also talk a lot about my own breakthrough around worry and anxiety. I know how awful it is to try and function every day when what’s going on in your head is a trainwreck, and if my journey can help even one person experience peace, that will be worth it to me.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Your #1 job is to hold the vision.
Initially, when I first started hiring a team, I was excited. Suddenly I had my time freed up because other people were doing the work.
This was great!
Until, that is, I found myself spending more and more of time managing people.
There were a couple of problems with that. I didn’t start my business to be a manager, but, yet, here we were.
Worse, the more I found myself stuck in the details of management, the less I was able to focus on holding the vision of where the company wanted to go.
And my growth suffered.
You can hire people to do just about every other task in your company … other than hold the vision. If you’re not holding the vision, then it’s really easy to lose your way.
Your team wants to follow you, but they can’t if they don’t know where you’re going.
2. Don’t strengthen your weaknesses, hire them out instead.
It’s seductive to want to work on your weaknesses. They’re weaknesses after all. Doesn’t it make sense to make them stronger?
Honestly? Not really.
First off, you’re likely going to invest a significant amount of time and energy working on your weaknesses, you likely will find that a better use of that time and energy would be getting your strengths out into the world.
Secondly, no matter how much you work on your weaknesses, you likely are never going to be all that great at them. Maybe you’ll work yourself up to average, but is it truly worth all of that time and energy when you could … just … hire your weaknesses out?
Yes, I know. In some ways it’s easier to hire someone who has the same strengths as you. You’ll likely connect with them on a deeper level than someone who is strong in your weaknesses. But, you’ll likely find you’re more successful when you focus on surrounding yourself with people who are strong in your weaknesses rather than people who are strong in your strengths.
3. Don’t step in too quickly with the solution.
This one took me awhile to get the hang of.
I always wanted to be a hands off manager. And, most of the time, that was the type of manager I was.
Except for those moments when I would see something that I would think needed to be dealt with immediately, and would go take care of it myself.
The problem with this is it sends a mixed message to your team. Either step in or don’t step in. Be consistent, or your team doesn’t know what to do and will likely do nothing.
But, know if you do decide to step in, you’re always going to be stepping in. If you don’t allow your team the space to make decisions, they never will. Which means YOU will always have to be involved.
If you want your team to be able to function without you, then you need to let them.
4. It’s okay if your team doesn’t do things the way you do.
I think this is the biggest problem I see when entrepreneurs start hiring their team.
No one is going to do things precisely the way you do. But, that doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong.
If you try and micromanage your team, you’re going to end up with the same situation as #3. Your team won’t feel empowered to take action on their own, which means they’ll never be able to function without you. And, you’ll likely be feeling stressed because you’ll likely find yourself doing their job along with paying them, which will make you wonder why you’re doing that.
Just as long as a project is getting done on time and within budget (and the quality is high) then how your team gets there is a moot point.
But, if you want an even stranger safety net, keep reading.
5. Set up systems so you can sleep at night.
An even better way to support your team is to set up systems so necessary projects are also done in a consistent matter.
Now, I realize setting up systems is a drag, but it’s also a drag when you wake up in the middle of the night wondering if someone on your team and followed up with a client.
The more you can get your backend set up, with systems and processes, the easier it’s going to be to:
* Train your team
* Replace a team member (regardless if they’re sick, on vacation or stop working for you)
* Manage your team. (You can put checks and balances in your system to make it easy for you to check if a team member is doing the work or not.)
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 would love to inspire people to feel their emotions — all of their emotions, including their fear-based ones.
I believe that the reason why so many people get stuck is because their emotions stop them. For instance, let’s say they have a dream to write a book, but every time they think about writing it, they feel grief or anger or shame or that they’re wasting their time. So, they never sit down and start writing.
They let their emotions dictate their actions.
But, if they sit down and write their book despite their emotions, what’s going to happen?
Their book will eventually get written.
Or, let’s look at how our emotions derail us from being a leader. Let’s say we’re quick to anger and we yell at our team. Maybe it’s even justified. After all, they messed up. We should be able to yell at them. Right?
Well, if we do that enough, we’ll likely start to experience a high team turnover. Maybe we’ll even end up with a reputation of being difficult to work for, which will make it more challenging to attract and retain the best talent. (And, without a talented team, we may find ourselves being angry and yelling at the team more, which means we’re stuck in a difficult cycle.)
There are so many examples where our emotions derail what we want in life. But, if we simply learn to feel our emotions and let them move through us without reacting to them, it’s amazing how much our lives will change for the better.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, by Albert Einstein.
This is the quote I always go back to when I’m feeling stuck in my life and frustrated because I’ve been unable to change my circumstances. I start asking myself if I’m making the same choices and taking the same actions. If I am, then the first thing I do is start taking different actions.
If nothing else, that at least breaks the pattern I’ve been stuck in so I can start to see a different way.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Well Oprah, of course. (I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a private breakfast with Oprah?) Also Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown.