Please tell us a bit about yourself, and describe your company.
I am Zsófia of Myprocesses and I help busy entrepreneurs to automate and outsource their time-consuming tasks without sacrificing their profit. If you are looking to make the 4-hour workweek a reality, or simply avoid burnout, then I have a lot to tell you.
I have a degree both in History and in Finance plus corporate-world experience that is an unusual background and enables me to look at business problems in a different light. I truly believe entrepreneurs should not be the employees of their company. Burnout is a real problem for business owners, but with carefully set processes (SOPs) and efficient outsourcing they can avoid such breakdown, or they can even achieve the dream of 4-hour work week.
As an operational outsourcing manager I map out processes to spot tasks for automation and outsourcing, and I also handle the whole process with backup solutions and training as well to make outsourcing safe and affordable.
I like to emphasize I am not a coach, I do not keep talking about problems, I am more like a ‘let’s-get-things-done’ kind of person. I keep thinking about solutions, options to simplify things, save time and save money for my clients.
Why do clients work with me instead of simply using Upwork or Fiverr? Upwork, Fiverr, or other similar freelancing websites can be a fine solution. You go there, search for someone who can give you a certain service or you post a project and hire freelancers based on their reviews, trusting your gut feeling and hope for the best. And do not get me wrong: you can find amazing talents there and you can achieve a lot together. But you can have very bad experiences as well with freelancers not delivering the results, or not on the quality you expected, or even disappearing during the project. We all hear nightmare stories. I think if you have a limited project or task, it is really fine to turn to freelancer sites. But if your business needs more extended help, a project for the long run that needs to perform on consistent quality, it is better to set it up with an outsourcing operational manager like me. Besides having a great pool of freelancers also from second offices. I help to set up the entire process, find tasks that can be also automated, prepare and maintain training and I always ensure backup solutions.
Busy entrepreneurs and small companies also should have the chance to look at their processes from a bird’s eye view, as big multinational companies do. In this way we ensure efficiency and effectiveness, find tasks to automate or outsource. I would like to highlight the importance of SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), advice on how to prepare for outsourcing either in the short or in the long run, how to manage the remote team. As my motto says: Stop fire fighting, be the creator of your company.
What has been the most challenging thing you have faced in the first two years of operating your business? How did you overcome it?
I guess self-doubt is a common enemy for all those who start a business. You officially start your business, and you expect drums and cheers all around, and nothing happens. I have managed various projects as an employee in bigger firms, have gone through really demanding and challenging situations, but the fact that you are on your own, there is no one you can expect sales and salary from is terrifying. Then you take one step further and start to build up your team. And that’s when it becomes truly terrifying as they rely on you. I have a mantra I say to myself at least once a day, sometimes even more often. It is actually a quote from Carrie Fisher: “Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually, the confidence will follow.”
Fear is normal in every aspect of our life – we are all afraid of many things. Fear is an excellent tool from nature to keep us sharp, makes us aware of consequences, but we must not let it stop us from progress. When I feel fear, I know I am on the right track. This was especially true in the beginning of my business when I doubted if this is the right path.
Another challenge was to put myself out there. I act as the face of this business, and in 2021 we are living the area of social media, content marketing, and especially video marketing. I had to realize that there is no way to hide. If I want to attract my ideal client I have to show my face practically every day, produce videos, go to podcasts and speak, teach and entertain. I consider myself lucky because I have the confidence to do so, but it was still hard to put my fingers on the technical aspects of social media or YouTube video creation – surprisingly this has become my favorite thing.
I have started my business together with the spread of Covid. First, it was hard to get clients because many businesses went into a hibernation mode, so things evolved slowly. But looking back I think it was a lucky time to start. I had no temptation during my days to do anything else, I was also in lockdown and the best I could do is to learn, research, and always do one more step further for my business. Also, companies who used to work only in-house had a new realization of remote work. As they discovered the possibilities of online work they also became more and more open to outsourcing, therefore my possible client base has significantly broadened.
What are some of the biggest digital marketing challenges you have faced to date? How have you overcome them?
My biggest digital marketing challenge is finding a way to use Facebook groups to establish partnerships, valuable connections and potentially generate leads. I feel I have not overcome it yet.
There are plenty of FB groups out there with tens of thousands of potential customers. There are groups that allow self-promotion within certain rules. My biggest problem is that all have their different set of rules and I find it impossible to keep in mind, track and comply with them.
After some unpleasant experiences I gave up on the whole idea, however, I think it is really a pity given the immense potential of FB groups.
Please tell us what led you to the path of entrepreneurship.
I always thought I am not a born-to-be entrepreneur. Now I strongly believe you rather grow into business.
More than 5 years ago I started a small venture, a webshop. I planned to start it as a side-hustle and only give up my full-time job once it generates enough revenue. It was a sound plan but there was an issue: I could not bear the workload: I was a full-time employee, a newly-wed, my husband (also employed full-time) was attending a post-graduate university program. I could not yet afford to give up the full-time job, not even to hire someone to help, but I could not cope with the endless work. I remember this situation pushed me to the edge of burnout. I could not remember what is fun, just kept working, focusing, and worrying day and night. I had to stop it before my health or my marriage was damaged. So I did and gave up on business for years. If I knew more about outsourcing back then, it would have turned out really differently. I am not proud of giving up, but I am proud of the lesson learned.
Later my career as an employee transitioned from being a tax expert to an operational manager: I helped the company I was working for to set up their processes. Later, they became my biggest clients. I realized that this service is much needed for small and middle-sized businesses, but they cannot necessarily afford a full-time operational manager. This is the point where I am ready to step in.
What are the three most important things every woman entrepreneur should do, when first thinking about starting a business?
Find your supporting network. Be a cheerleader for others, and also make sure you have your own cheerleaders. There will be times when you face rejection when you will be talking to crickets in social media: no one engaging with your posts, no one watching your videos. Wins and losses come and go, and many times it feels you have more loss than a win. Honestly, it is part of the job description of an entrepreneur. But we are all humans, and you will need friends and family to encourage you. Even better if you have fellow entrepreneurs who support you on the road and help you to brainstorm together.
Be clear about your own strength and weaknesses. We entrepreneurs have this superhero complex. ‘I can do it all’ – sure you can. But do you really have to? Jumping into all tasks on your own, get it done just because you can – it is an easy way towards burnout. I already mentioned my motto: Stop fire fighting, be the creator of your company.
As an entrepreneur, your job is to create, to innovate, to lead towards the future, and if you keep yourself busy with day-to-day activities and mundane tasks, you will not achieve your real potential. So find your strengths and do those. And find a way to let go of tasks that you are not the best person to do. Might sound simple but I found it is a real challenge for women in business.
This also leads me to my next point: Reach out for help.
Are there actionable steps a woman in business should take to ensure that her company is successful in two years?
Stay on the top of your game: the market will change, your clients will change, so you have to change too, quicker than you’d expect.
Keep your finances in order. You can only run a healthy business if it is financially healthy. Unless you are an accountant or a finance professional yourself, I suggest you outsource your accounting even before you could afford it.
Eliminate, automate and outsource. To keep yourself and your team relaxed, and more importantly to maintain the quality of your services and serve your clients on the best possible level, always try to eliminate unnecessary tasks from your processes, find the tasks that can be automated to save on human work and avoid mistakes, and also find tasks that you can safely outsource. Check out my Outsourcing Decision Guide here: http://myprocess.es/freebies/. It can help you to identify tasks in all the 3 categories.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and start a YouTube channel or create video content. This is truly the future of marketing and video content really makes a difference. I am always happy to share my story as a small YouTuber. My tiny channel can even deliver outstanding results for my business.
Getting help does not need to be expensive. I do not advise you to exploit freebies unethically, but there are plenty of amazing professionals out there who offer free help in many instances. For example, if you need help with your workload pick my brain in a scale-up consultation.