THE VIRTUALLY FREE PODCAST
Lisa R. Wells is a marketing, operations and systems guide for female coaches, consultants, and virtual assistants. As a consultant and trainer since 2005, Lisa currently offers time-saving one-on-one coaching, proven forms and ebooks, and practical courses to grow your business and simplify the marketing and technical side.
Lisa is also a military spouse, proud wife to her husband of 28 years and mom to sons, Eddie and Brett. Originally from Southern California, she feels at home now in NC but loves working remotely with clients all over the country. In her free time, she loves belly dancing, reading, and breakfasts at greasy diners. You might also find her enjoying fireflies and lightning storms because – forget sunny days – cold and rainy ones are always when the magic happens!
CONNECT WITH LISA
Book mentioned in podcast: You Are a Bad Ass by Jen Sincero
Amy Demone: Welcome back to this week’s episode of Virtually Free. I have the wonderful Lisa Wells with me. Welcome.
Lisa Wells: Hi, Amy. Thanks for having me.
Amy Demone: It’s a pleasure. I’m excited to talk to you today, but before we dive in, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your journey from beginning a VA business and how you now help VAs become unstuck.
Lisa Wells: Okay, so when I always tell this story, I always feel that it’s like, “Oh, it’s just a run-of-the-mill thing,” but I always get people coming up tome afterwards saying, “You know, that inspired me.” It all started when … I’m from California, and my husband’s in the military. He was approaching 16 years in the military, so we were thinking, “Oh, we’re going to finish up in California. He’s going to retire,” but he gets orders out of the blue to move to North Carolina. I was so not prepared because we … Kids are in school. I’m two classes away from graduating college. A lot of people go through this where they’re like, you know. The timing was so bad, and so we get the orders, and there was just no jobs where we were moving to. In California, there’s lots of opportunities, and there’s so many places you can work, so many industries. North Carolina where we’re moving, not so much.
Lisa Wells: I was doing some research, and I came across this site that was for military spouses becoming a virtual assistant. I thought, “Well, that’s interesting, never heard of it before.” Then, I soon learned there’s an entire industry. I thought, “This is what I’ve always wanted to do, always wanted to start my own business.” For me, it wasn’t really that hard. I mean I was forced into it. I didn’t really have a day job to transition out of. When you get orders, you have to pack up and move in three months. We packed and moved in three months, and I started my business the month before we left. You just started getting business cards, websites done. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, thought I was all prepared because I thought, “Oh, I work in a business. I know how to deal with people.” It’s not at all what I thought it was going to be.
Lisa Wells: We moved, and it took a while. It took me six months to actually get that first client, and so that’s why I tell people, “Don’t be so hard on yourself when it does take time.” I mean you’re building a business. You’re building your career. You’re building your life. That doesn’t happen overnight. The people that do have that happen, they’re like the pink unicorn, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Nowadays, I help other Vas. I think just being as a mentor that you can have a business and build it up, and even 12 years later, it’s going to evolve. Don’t worry about it. I help them with tools. How to package up your services, how to get started, how to deal with clients. I show them examples.
Lisa Wells: I would not call myself a coach because coaches help you birth the baby kind of thing. I’m not trained as a coach. I don’t have the patience for being a coach. I like to tell people what to do, so that’s how I help VAs. Sometimes, I overwhelm them by saying, “This is what you need to do,” and giving them a list of stuff to do. They’re like, “Yes, I’ll take it slow,” which I get frustrated because I’m like, “But you have so much potential.” I’m trying to temper that part of how I deal with VAs, but now, I have training programs and online store and e-guides and training, training manuals. That’s how I help VAs.
Amy Demone: That’s awesome. I’m laughing in the background because that’s very much my mentality. I’m like, “I don’t want to be a coach, but I want to tell people what to do.” It just seems like the micromanager/project manager in me that is just like, “I like bossing people around.”
Lisa Wells: Yes.
Amy Demone: You know, some people, I find in the VA industry, and I love that you started and are still in the VA industry because a lot of the speakers on … Excuse me. A lot of the speakers so far that have been on Virtually Free, they are content writers and coaches and sales funnels magicians and all that. We’re all in pretty much the same space container in online business, but I love talking to other VAs because it’s like a subculture of the online business world, almost. I’m very excited to be talking with you.
Amy Demone: I know, and I know this will be for VAs. This will be for a lot of different people in different industries for the question I’m about to ask, but I know especially in the beginning, people are paralyzed by, “Oh, how am I going to make this much money and this? How am I going to get clients? How am I going to get that?” A lot of them realize that they’re stuck in some sort of faction or whatever you want to call it. What are some really telling signs that you may be getting stuck for the people that aren’t as aware that they are stuck?
Lisa Wells: Oh, good, because I’ve been in that space. I can’t tell you how many times. I mean in 12 years, I’ve been, gosh. I think I can name that space. It’s like a room. Telling signs for me are when things just feel too hard, you know? I know that when I’m in that state of not having clarity, things look fuzzy, then I start with the FOMO. I start feeling like things are … I fear of missing out. Then, I end up chasing things that aren’t any help. They cost me money. Then, I start feeling like maybe this wasn’t the right path for me. Then, I start feeling like an impostor and that everyone else is smarter than me. I mean that’s my usual journey. If things start to feel too hard, I don’t feel clear. If somebody comes up with an idea, I chase it. I end up losing money. Then, I’m like, “Well, that was a big waste of time.”
Lisa Wells: When it gets to that space, I’m getting a lot better about just sitting back and understanding this is definitely a part of being in business. Everybody goes through it, and meditating for a little bit and just thinking, “Is this the right way to go,” because that’s the worst place to be, is when you’re feeling, “This isn’t working. Why don’t I just look at the classifieds for a day job because this building a business thing is just so hard.” That’s one of them. That’s definitely a telling sign.
Lisa Wells: Then, what I call stepping on the gas, stepping on the brake at the same time. You’re definitely going to be stuck when you do that. This is an example. Here is an example. [Sally 00:07:45] VA wants to take her family on a trip. She’s been dreaming about this trip. She wants to make it this amazing adventure. She wants to travel in luxury, nice hotels. They want to have a personal guide. She is thinking big. This is how people are supposed to be. Thinking big, thinking about living that luxurious travel life, nothing is overlooked, and she totals it up, and it’s going to cost, I don’t know, $10, 000. That’s what this kind of trips cost, right?
Amy Demone: Yes.
Lisa Wells: She’s thinking big. She’s thinking. She’s got full speed on that gas pedal. She is going. Same thing, this is an analogy for business. She’s just going full speed, and so she thinks, “You know what? I’m going to have to make some money to finance this trip,” so how do you do that? You increase your rates. That’s where her decision is. “I’m going to increase my rates.” I feel like it’s not that hard to increase your rates. You tell your clients you’re going to increase your rate. You choose a date when they go into effect. You change your packages on your website. It’s not that hard, but then, like so many people I’ve seen that you can guess what’s going to happen.
Lisa Wells: She starts pumping on the brakes because she’s feeling like, well … She starts rationalizing. “I’m going to lose clients if I raise my rates,” or “Maybe I need to learn something more,” or “I don’t want to leave my dogs when I go on vacation.” She starts thinking, “Well, maybe my family’s not even going to like what I planned.” This is an analogy for so many things. This is why, people, they start off thinking big, and “This is what I want my life to look like. This is what I want my business to look like.” Then, they start their … I don’t know what it’s called. After the ego, but they start … Your body wants to be comfortable, and the minute it starts to become uncomfortable, then your body starts trying to take care of itself. I don’t know what that’s called, but it prevents so many people from thinking bigger is what I was trying to get at.
Lisa Wells: That’s the other thing about feeling stuck on your business, as if when you’re stepping on that gas and stepping on the brake at the same time, of course, you’re going to be stuck. Once you recognize it, it’s easier to go through, but I think a lot of people get to that place where they’re like, “Oh, I don’t want to … I know I need to build my business, but I don’t want to go to an event. Events are big, and they’re noisy. I’m an introvert. I don’t want to spend money.” Then, I’m like, “Well, I’m sorry, but you have to do some things that you’re uncomfortable with.”
Amy Demone: I love that you used that analogy with the raising of prices because this is something that happened to me about three months ago where I was like, I was all geared towards it. I was super excited. Then, I did it. Then, I started having conversations with my clients, and I freaked out a little bit. I got over myself, and I was able to move forward and raise my prices, but it’s really scary. It’s really interesting, the … I don’t know if it’s a chemical reaction or what it is that happens in your body where one day you’re like, “Yes, I can take on the world,” and the next day, your body is literally like, “No, no, no. That’s a no. Come back. It’s safe here.” You’re just like, “Okay. Let’s do that.”
Lisa Wells: Yes, yes.
Amy Demone: It’s like a perfect example, and it happened in so many other places as well, as you were saying. You gave us a lot of examples. I’ve seen that happen a lot. It doesn’t happen with VAs either. It happens with everybody, but I have another question for you because those are the big really obvious ones. Are there any subtle ones, because me as a VA, and maybe this is more of a personal, I would like to know if I’m stuck somewhere, but I’m super analytical. I like to … I was going to say pretend, but I like to think that I’m a pretty self-aware person, but as there are self-aware people, our mind is able to trick us. I’m wondering if there’s any super secret signs that you’re on stuck that maybe aren’t normal. Maybe not normal but are a little out there in this kind of discourse.
Lisa Wells: I think because I’m the same way. Very analytical, I always have said I’m a behind-the-scenes, left-brained operational kind of person. By no stretch am I any kind of woo, woo-woo, kind of spiritual. Honestly, I mean I consider myself an atheist, very not religious, just very scientific-based, right?
Amy Demone: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Lisa Wells: Once I started opening up my mind to the possibilities that other things are out there, other things work, and it took me years to get to that place because I’m like, “No, I’m such a skeptic.” I think opening up the possibilities to that there is other things and that your actions are having an effect on other things. Synchronicity and all that stuff. It’s been very interesting. This has only been for the last two years, has this been really happening. One of the things that I’ve been … Instead of reading philosophical, by the masters, you know like Kant and Benton and philosophy kind of things, which is more up my alley. I’ve been doing a lot more of the, I don’t know, law of attraction kind of things and just seeing things unfold to see where it’s going to take you. Stop trying to control everything. I think that’s what I think people like us try to do because we do like things to be very orderly and organized and freak out when thing’s aren’t that way.
Lisa Wells: Giving yourself permission to be, do and have what you want, that you have just as much right and quit being differential to your clients because you think that because they pay you, you’re less than they are, that you have every right as every other human on this planet to live an abundant lifestyle. There’s nothing wrong with it. There’s nothing inherently bad about it. Once you start thinking about it in those terms, I think just things … You’re just more open to the possibilities.
Amy Demone: Awesome. I feel like that’s a perfect segue into my next question for you. As you were talking about how instead of reading Kant and all that. I like Aristotle and the really old philosophy guys. What kind of books or what type of … Not type of books. What are some title of books that you’re reading right now that are helping you help your clients in this journey?
Lisa Wells: Oh, I just finished a book last week. I loved the book. It was You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero. I read her first book, really liked it because of a lot of the law of attraction. She doesn’t come right out and say it, “This is a law of attraction book,” or anything like that, but if you’re a fan of those kind of things or higher power is another thing, and you want to attract abundance, it’s a great read. I mean her approach is a little bit unconventional. She frequently mentions the word universe, so it is a little bit woo-woo, but her methods, they’re so motivating. She’s hilarious. I mean I laughed out loud so many times reading the book, very relatable. She’s a really good storyteller. She’ll put it in terms of ways that I can understand because I’ve read a lot of these other books.
Lisa Wells: Even Tony Robbins, there’s a little bit of the law of attraction, Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday, those kind of things. They all have their way of trying to relate something, but for some reason, this book related it to where I can like, “Oh, now, I get it. Now I get what they’re trying to say,” because she was literally poor, didn’t have two nickels to rub together, and the woman is now a millionaire. She was just like, “It wasn’t … I didn’t need to learn anything new. I didn’t need to run right out, attend yet another webinar,” like so many VAs do. They’re like, “Just in case I need that tomorrow, I’m going to attend this webinar, learn something.” She was like, “Everything you have right now is in you,” so just shifting your mindset just a little bit. I love that book, highly, highly recommend it.
Amy Demone: I’ll be sure to include that in the show notes, so for anyone that’s listening that wants to take a peek into that book, you’ll have easy access to it.
Amy Demone: Lisa, I’ve also read that book, and I absolutely love it. I remember, I think I read it about a year and a half ago, and I remember being in the bathtub and just like … You’re right, laughing out loud. She does a great job at making it a very, not to use her word, but a badass book. It’s really wonderful. I think for me, because I read a lot about law of attraction and all those more woo-woo kind of things, and it’s complicated. It’s multilevel. It’s multifaceted. It’s really, really confusing, and Jen Sincero has done an amazing job at taking it and being able to tell us common folk what law of attraction really is, so …
Lisa Wells: Yes. I think she mentions it to the whole book. She doesn’t come out and say, “This is the steps to doing law of” … It’s more about just, I mean like the … When you read the book, everybody, when you run out and read this book, she’s got this story about the goats, you know, and how she handled setbacks and whether it’s mindset or financial setbacks or dealing with family members, it just is such a fun, fun book. I think you’ll really like it.
Amy Demone: There’s also some really great exercises in there as well. I feel like this episode has turned into sponsoring this book haha.
Lisa Wells: I know, I’m sorry.
Amy Demone: No, don’t apologize at all. It’s actually a great book, and I urge everybody listening to also go and grab a copy. It’s really, really interesting, but I was wondering if you have exercises to help get unstuck as well, or whatever that you do that helps you fire up creativity and break through that inner child comfort zone.
Lisa Wells: Yes, I do. I think the first thing is, and I don’t know why this is, but when I talk to people, and well, I’m guilty of it too, but get clear about what you want. What type of business do you want? What’s your ideal day look like? What types of clients do you want to work with? How much money do you want to make per month? What kind of services do you want to provide because I imagine nobody starts off thinking, wanting to work with nightmare clients or undercharging or working nights and weekends, which is what happened to me because I didn’t sit down and really take a good look at what I wanted. I was like, “Oh, I want to start a business, so I’m just going to put it out there. Whatever comes, comes.”
Lisa Wells: I definitely tell people, “Get clear that you want.” It goes back to law of attraction because what you focus on is what’s going to start showing up for you. I think it’s just, a lot of times, people, they just haven’t taken the time to sift and sort. What do they like? What do they not like, because you should be clear in that part of it. If you’re not, this is why things are starting to show up, and you don’t even know why you feel the way that you do. First step, get clear so you know what you’re working towards. Have that vision.
Lisa Wells: Then, the next one, and this is what I do with my clients a lot with helping them come up with a roadmap because what are you going to do that will get you to your goal? When I ask them that, “What are your goals, because you have to know where you’re starting from in order to know where you want to go.” They’re like, “I don’t know what my goals are,” so you have to. You have to know that. It’s going to require some serious thinking because not only are you coming up with short-term goals and long-term goals but also think about the roadblocks that are going to come up because those roadblocks are going to get you every time. The minute something becomes too hard or it didn’t go the way you wanted or maybe you’re seeming to attract the wrong types of clients, we’ve all been there.
Lisa Wells: Like I said, you’re taking every free training that comes along, or somebody’s going to tell you something that you should do. You’re starting to get … You have that feeling in your gut like, “I don’t know if that’s really the best thing I want to do,” but you’ll listen to what they’re saying. You have to know what are the roadblocks. Do we have time for another quick story? I wanted to …
Amy Demone: Absolutely.
Lisa Wells: Okay. This actually happened to me. I was at an event, conference, those three-day conferences where the coach tries to get you to buy her program on day two at night. It’s always the same.
Amy Demone: Oh, yes. I’m aware of those.
Lisa Wells: I did. I went back to the room and called my husband. He was like, “Are you on crack, because those things are not cheap.” I signed up for this, for a year-long coaching program, lots of money. One of the perks was that you got to travel up to where she lived, and you’re in a room with all the other people who bought the coaching program, which is great for a VA because not a lot of VAs do that, and if you’re in a room with 100 people who need VAs, totally good for you.
Amy Demone: Oh, yes.
Lisa Wells: At this point, I was trying to transition away from long-term clients, doing the back-end shopping carts for them. I wanted to do more one-on-one packages, optimizing their business kind of thing, so a little bit of shifting away from VA work to more consulting work. One of the people in the room was asking the coach like, “You’re taking about a VA. What’s a VA?” She’s like, “Hey, are there any VAs in the house?” Of course, nobody raised their hand. I’m like, everybody at my table who knew me, knew my background was like, “Oh, raise your hand, raise your hand.” I thought, “Okay,” so I raised my hand. She goes, “Come up to the mic. Introduce yourself.” I’m like, “Oh my God.” I mean I’m not a public speaker, so I went up and explained what a VA is, what do they do. I had literally 30 people rush over to the table afterwards saying, “I need your help.”
Lisa Wells: At this point, I was already charging more than 75 an hour. I did not want to do yet another newsletter for somebody or set up their Aweber. I just wanted out of that, but I had everybody coming up to me saying, “Oh my God. You’re going to be so full after this event. You’re going to have all these clients.” In my head, I’m like, “But I’m trying to get away from doing this.” I didn’t want another, because there were like, oh my God. I can afford 25 an hour, and I’m like, “Oh my God, no, no,” but they kept telling me this is what I should do. I spent the whole time building these little 250-dollar packages to do their newsletter for them and do some set-up programs. Not one person bought it, so I should have listened to my gut and said, “I’m sorry, but if you need help with streamlining and optimizing your business, I’m your girl, but if you need a VA, here are some resources for you.”
Lisa Wells: I could have easily done that, but I have listened to everybody telling me what I should be doing. I’d be wasting opportunities if I didn’t jump on this. I wasn’t listening to my roadmap. If I had it out in front of me, or like my coach told me when I joined Weight Watchers a couple months ago. She’s like, “You need to list those why’s because the minute you start feeling like this is too hard. I’m going to go back to eating bagels and cream cheese.” You have to know what your why is. It’s part of the whole roadmap and the roadblocks that you’re going to come up against and knowing what to say when that happens, listening to your gut. That’s what, I feel, a lot of people spin their wheels so much doing when it’s just having things on … For me, having things on paper really help but understanding what you’re trying to accomplish and knowing that those are going to come up. Okay, that’s my story. I’m done.
Amy Demone: No, that’s awesome. No, and I like that you mention because I feel like I see it a lot. People get so hang up on, “Well, this person is saying that I have to do this to make so much money. This person’s saying this if I want to stand out in the crowd,” and like yes, you are learning experiences from all these people, but the reality is 99.9% of everybody in online business got into it in order to make a life on their own terms. We have to remember that when we’re making decisions. I know for me, I’ve done a lot of things, like you said, like you were explaining about where it’s like, “I know that the industry expects me to do this, so that’s why I’m going to do it,” or “This is the industry’s standard operating procedures,” or whatever, so I do it. Oh, this is things like how I grow my business and not in my client’s business but how I grow my own.
Amy Demone: A lot of times, you get … Sometimes, you get to this place of being stuck because you’ve taken on everybody else’s why. I love that you mentioned that. I know you said it before off-air that you ramble a lot, but I’m loving this conversation. There’s so much gold from everything you said. It’s so important that people really listen to this because I don’t know how it was at your beginning of building your VA business, but for me, I was weighing it for way too long. It was because, “Oh, I’m not a coach. I’m not this. I’m not going to be a business. I’m just a freelancer.” We think that we’re immune to all the issues at some points, or at least I did anyways, but I was quickly slapped in the face and reminded that, that’s not true. There’s so much. There’s so much to take from this conversation. I want to thank you so much for being here with me today.
Amy Demone: As I always ask my audience … Not my audience members. My guest speakers is I would absolutely love it if you could leave the audience with some words of wisdom.
Lisa Wells: Oh, gosh. I think back to the roadmap. What will get you to your goal? I think if you can just sit down and figure that part out and be open to what happens. I think you’re going to find that you’re not going to be hitting your head on the desk because yet another client showed up that you didn’t want or that you’re not making the money that you want. I think just figuring out what do you want out of your business? The same thing happened to me thought, Amy, is that I, for so long, people thought, “Lisa, if you don’t have a team, you’re never going to have the business that you want.” For years, I thought, “Maybe I should have a team. Maybe,” but I didn’t want that. I love the fact that I can do what I want. I’m basically the solopreneur. I don’t have to be responsible for other people. I love that.
Lisa Wells: It doesn’t have to be all about the six-figure stuff. Don’t buy into that. The money you desire is here for you, the clients you ant, the opportunities, the lifestyle that you crave is all here for you right now. You just have to, I think, wake up and let it in because we all show up with unique desires and gifts and talents. As you journey through your life and your job, your only job in life is to discover what your are and nurture them. Like you said, don’t take on other people’s things, their why’s and their suggestions because I love to sit around and do Infusionsoft campaigns all day long. Is that going to get me to six figures? Maybe, but for me, that is where I’m just so happy. Time is flying by. I know that I’m in complete alignment with that. That’s all you can really ask from your business is, are you happy? Does it make you happy? If it doesn’t, do something to change it.