The pandemic has made it challenging for many small businesses and entrepreneurs to conduct “business as usual.” In today’s episode, Rae of Light Concepts founder Rae Burrell discusses what strategies business owners can take to overcome their challenges now, and in the future.
This week on the Live. Love. Engage. Podcast:
- Rae shares what led her to start her own business
- Learn why it’s important to have a team to support your business
- The value of instituting an apprenticeship program
- Why systems are so useful for business owners
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Gloria: Namaste and welcome to Live. Love. Engage. I am Gloria Grace Rand. And today on the program, we are going to be talking about businesses and the challenges that business owners are facing right now, especially during this time when we’re dealing with COVID because as we’re recording, this is the middle of may, already can’t believe it. And my guest today knows a lot about this because she helps mission driven business owners spread their message by strengthening their business. Her name is Rae Burrell and she gives owners freedom and peace of mind by creating systems and processes that allow them to delegate tasks to a fully capable team, which is so important. If you want to grow your business. I have learned that the hard way, her company is called Rae of Light Concepts, and she believes that all businesses should be built to last and takes pride in helping business owners create a legacy their way. So welcome to live love, engage. Right. I’m so glad you’re here.
Rae: Yes. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so glad to be here.
Gloria: Yeah. Well, I thought before we get into a little bit about the challenges, I thought I’d first ask you a little bit more about you and what led you to start your own business.
Rae: Okay. So, my father is an entrepreneur. He’s had his own business for my entire life. and he was always stuck inside of his business. So we’d go out to dinner and, you know, he’d be on the line with a, person to buy a car. He’s a, he would buy and sell, fix them up, he would fix up cars and then sell them. so, that’s the sort of background that I had as far as entrepreneurship. And then my mother was, you know, she worked as a nurse for 12 hours, She used to pick up extra shifts because she was a single mom with four kids. So she would work six days a week, 12 hours at a time. And, that just seems so crazy to me. And even though like my father was stuck in his business and I hated that he was always on some call with someone. He felt like that was the route that I wanted to take because I knew that there was a way to build your business where you didn’t have to be there. so fast forward. I came to a place in my spirituality where I was trying to reach the next and I was really trying to figure out, okay, what is it that I’m supposed to be doing? And, there was a lot of prayer and meditation and over a couple of months, I was led to leave my job. So I went and this job was a perfect job. Fantastic boss, amazing coworkers. I mean, perfect. So I was like, Oh bummer. But ok. So I went and I told my boss that, I was gonna go ahead and I was going to start my own business and. He had just purchased my contract from a temp agency. So I felt terrible. And I told him from, you know, I don’t think that he’s going to call me into doing a business and then leave you guys high and dry. Like that’s not the person that I believe in. So I told him, you know, take your time, really vet the people and find who it is that you want. And, and I will, we’ll stay as long as you need me to train them. So, three months later is when I finally left my job, and I started off as a virtual assistant. It was really great. I was helping, I’m also an audio engineer, so I was helping my clients with their audio and kind of structuring out their business and making things flow well. But I was, I felt there was a disconnect. I wasn’t really happy doing that. So, I put pause on everything and in 2018 started to do some trainings. Once I did those trainings, I really found my passion in helping people figure out how to get from point a to point B, and how to make this vision that seems, you know, really hard to achieve how to make it a reality. So. Going and helping them in 2018 do that. And in 2019, I did a soft launch of what is now Rae of Light Concepts, where I just took on a couple of clients with that I was interested in working with, really shape up my business. And now I am here.
Gloria: Well, I love that you come from an entrepreneurial background and that you were able to see some of the drawbacks that a lot of business owners find themselves in where they are working too many hours. And they’re…
Rae: I’ve been there.
Gloria: Not finding that balance because it is tough. I know when I first started, my husband was like, you know, why, why are you working weekends? And I’m like, well, you know, I’m trying to get things going. And so, yeah, it’s tough. Well, as now that you’ve been working with some clients and. What do you see, especially as maybe sort of the biggest challenge facing business owners right now, especially in light of this pandemic we’ve been dealing with.
Rae: So the problem that most of my creatives, mission driven business owners are having right now is their entire business is built around them. They have everything pretty much in their head. Even if they have a team nothing’s really documented down, there’s nothing really in place for other people to really take full control over, you know, different tasks that they need to get done. So a lot of them are having issues, you know, launching their new products or announcing services that they already have, that would be perfect because they’re the ones that have to do it. So since it’s so loud on social media right now, they’re not able to really break through that because they’re, they have far too many hats on. The simple fact is, is I actually have paid employees and I also have an apprenticeship and I help, after we come up with the strategies on how they’re going to get to their vision, I’d take time to help them figure out how they’re going to start an apprenticeship, of their own so that they can get low cost or no cost help in exchange for mentorship and kind of shape out the people that are going to be perfect for their team. That’s what, that’s what we’re working towards now to kind of help them. Where they are now is stuck. And get them to a point where they can start delegating out those tasks to different people.
Gloria: I love that. I love that concept of having an apprenticeship program, because I mean, that’s actually in a way how this country was founded is that people would start, they would apprentice with now this is more, you know, the types of before we got to be this computer age, but when we’re more in dealing with industrial arts and things like that, you would have people doing that type of work. So I love that you’re doing that for businesses, because I know from my experience, like even when I first hired a virtual assistant for the first time, I definitely learned. Like what not to do, because I didn’t have really good clear systems in place for her. And then I also didn’t even set boundaries and, and like what to do when and when to call me. And, and so the relationship did not work out as well, but it was a good experience. I learned from my mistakes and the next time around, it was a lot better. But I know that some businesses also may need to pivot in this time, because of, for whatever reason, they, they can’t really offer the same types of services that they were doing before so if a business needs to pivot, how do they go about doing that?
Rae: Okay. So you start every project, every undertaking for your business, with a brain dump, you can’t figure out how to sort out a vision if you can’t see it down on paper. So start off by whether you’re a sketchbook person. I have a sketchbook for my really complicated sort of, projects that I need to map out and, or I typically use Asana and I just opened up, open up a little tab. And label it ideas and then bring them all of what I want that project to turn out to be. And what, who needs to delegate who aren’t, who needs to do what and how things are going to flow with the pricing, is anything that I can think of that’s related to that project. I put in the description and then I go from there. I start to organize it, you know, put it into categories, give it subcategories, go into a little bit more detail. And then once it’s in a good place in that description area, me and my EA we’ll talk about, you know, we’ll go over it and then we’ll start to actually put it into a task into Asana. And then from there, it’s just making sure that you’re managing and keeping up with all of those things.
Gloria: That’s good. Yeah. I use Asana. I love that for, for those of you who are watching or listening, or may not be aware of it, it’s a great tool to be able to set tasks up, like during the day and you can set deadlines. And I use that to really keep myself organized during the day. Cause I love being able to say complete. System. Yes, it’s off, it’s off my plate for the day.
Rae: And I like those little animations.
Gloria: Exactly. Exactly. What have you found, maybe in, in working with business, are there any types of businesses that you find, that you’ve really enjoying working with? Are there any particular industries that you’re sort of drawn to or…
Rae: I’m actually drawn to a certain type of person. Right now I am focusing more on the creative coaches and I’m sorry, on the creatives, consultants and strategists, but mostly, I gravitate towards people with a creative spirit because I too have a creative spirit. So some of these people are, you know, in accounting and there’s nothing really creative or fun about it, but because they’re who they are, they found a way to bring creativity to their accounting business. Those are the people that, because they have big visions and the things just don’t seem like they should fit and they don’t really know how to make it work. Those are the people that I typically connect most with. And those are the ones that, you know, I’m able to train to continuously create new visions.
Gloria: That’s awesome. Yeah. Cause you wouldn’t, I’m married to an accountant. But I think, but he does have a creative side to him ‘cause I know he always used to love to write, he would write stories and things. So I think that’s cool that you’re able to especially gravitate towards creative accountants. People wouldn’t necessarily think those two things go together, but, But they can. I like that. What other, what other advice maybe would you have for a business owners, especially, maybe related to customers in, in dealing with customers? Cause you know, a lot of times it seems like the last few years, it’s like you hear a lot about the lack of customer service I think sometimes.
Rae: My grandfather had the light off. We can’t…
Gloria: uh oh. It’s a little bit of mood lighting. It’s, it’s all good. Yeah. So, so what do you think about like, what kind of advice would you have for people? Business owners in particular, how to be able to make sure that they’re still providing a good customer experience.
Rae: So… everything needs to start off with a list and a brain dump. This goes back to that same, that same thing in order to get projects done. In order to maintain your clients and give them a consistent experience, you need to know what steps you need to consistently do and document those down and really get into details as to, how to do certain things to make, to make things happen. So you’re going to start off with your basic workflow of, first we have our onboarding meeting and then we have, then I build out the plan and then we go into this and then we go into that and so on. but there’s also more details on the other side of that. So after you map out what your client experience looks like, you can easily go back and start to put in where the back end stuff is. So, so in order for them to easily click the pay me now button and it actually be able for them to self checkout, I, on my end, I’m going to have to decide which software I’m going to use. How I’m going to send up the follow-ups, in the follow up email. Is that something that’s going to be automated? You have to think about those things, put those things into place so that your systems can help you maintain that consistency. And all you have to do is make sure that everything is hitting your check, your check marks.
Gloria: Very good. Yeah. That makes sense. Cause it is so important to be able to have systems in place to then be able to make sure that you are providing the service that you need to be providing and so that you can keep them happy. Cause that’s ultimately what it comes down to, right?
Rae: Education is key. So you being able to meet, to communicate to your team, how things are supposed to go. You reviewing that with your team, fixing it and going back so we can get to make it better and better. You know, those are the types of things that as a business owner is just going to help you. Right now, it seems real tedious, real mundane. It doesn’t seem like it matters, but once you get to a place where you have team members to actually come in and do things in your clients, or haven’t even noticed that you’re not the one that’s doing it, you know, there’s freedom in that there’s, I can breathe.
Gloria: Absolutely. Yeah. Cause that’s it. I mean, you can’t, you can only do everything yourself only for so long, but if you really have dreams of being able to, you know, earn six figures or seven figures in your business, you’re going to have to bring people on and to make it happen. ‘Cause I think. I mean, even, you know, like people like, like say Tony Robbins, somebody like that, he’s got a huge staff. He’s got coaches working for him. He doesn’t do everything himself. He doesn’t do marketing, you know, he’s the face of it, but he clearly doesn’t do…
Rae: He has a show up position. Figuring out everything. And all he has to do is follow that, follow that, itinerary for the day
Gloria: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Is there any other advice that you would have maybe even for someone who is maybe who’s been like laid off from a job now and deciding that, you know, I’d always had this dream of starting my own business, maybe I’m just going to take this as a sign now to go ahead and do it. What would you say would be maybe the first thing, that someone wanting to start their own business should do.
Rae: Okay. So, um, we’re going to sound repetitive here, but you want to start with a brain dump, really kind of brain dump all the different ideas, because I know when I first started, there were a bunch of different options of what I could do. I knew that I was going to go for virtual assistants. Like I said, I had been meditating and talking about it, researching doing all of that jazz. So, but in the meantime, there was a bunch of research in there. I started off with a virtual assistance business, only because it put me in a fantastic position to be able to work with several different types of people in several different industries so that I can see different businesses from the inside and then make it even further determination as to where I wanted to go. So, start with brain dump and research and, if you can’t figure it out, hold on one second, Alyssa babe, I am actively in a thing right now…
Gloria: it’s all good. See, this is what happens when we’re dealing with pandemics and you’re, you know, we’re doing stuff from home. Everyone’s working from home and things happen. It’s all good. It’s all right. I’ve had my husband open the door before, during one of these. So it’s it’s okay. It’s good.
Rae: I’ve actively kind of like nicely nudged her away. Any who, so. What are we were talking about?
Gloria: And we were talking about brain dump and we were talking about, let’s see, research. You had mentioned doing research.
Rae: Yes. So definitely when you’re trying to figure out, Oh, that’s where I was. So if you can’t at all kind of determine what you want to do a good industry to kind of get into is virtual assistant. I had a specialty in audio engineering, so that kind of set me apart and I was able to use that. But if your thing is writing and be a virtual assistant to authors, if your thing is, you know, art and gallery go and find an artist who owns a gallery and those that starts off with your ICA. So you can figure out how to get into more, you know, art gallery folks. So. But virtual assistance is a really good industry to start in when you’re trying to figure it out. If you just want to start, I’m an AFP, we get ideas and we kind of go for them until another idea comes. But that is also why I do what I do because. You can’t, that’s not practical. You can’t keep chasing new ideas.
Gloria: Absolutely. Some, yeah. At some point you have to start just plant your flag and do it. So that’s good. Yeah. Awesome. Well, if someone wants to be able to get a hold of you and they’re are looking for help with their business, what is the best way for someone to contact you?
Rae: So you can email me and my team at shine at rae burrell dot com. Right now I am fully active on Facebook. So my handle is C Rae Burrell. If you’re there, you’re going to start hearing some awesome stuff about a, a virtual summit that’s coming up that will, go over what we’ve been talking about, building out, you know, your team and, how to, how to start off with a project. And have that project kind of shape your business and start to incorporate those team members and really start to make your vision become a reality without you having to be the one that’s solely responsible for doing it.
Gloria: Awesome. Well, I will have all that information in the show notes, so don’t worry about it. If you’ve missed how to spell her name and things like that, so don’t worry about it. And so I really appreciate you being on the show today and enlightening our audience about how to manage their businesses better because we can have whatever the circumstances in our world are. You still need to know how to run your business. So thank you.
Rae: Yes. Thank you for having me. I had a good time. I hope that I was able to help people. And remember when in doubt, start with a brain dump.
Gloria: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So, so thank you all who have been watching the show and either watching on YouTube or listening on your podcast platform of choice. I appreciate you doing that. And, I look forward to connecting with you all the next time. So. Leave me a comment on YouTube or iTunes. It’d be great to hear from you. And until next time, as always, I encourage you to live fully love deeply and engage authentically. One more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the live love engage podcast, I want to help you shine your light in the world. Not only while you’re listening to the show, but all day, every day of the week, that’s why I created the group. Live Love Engage, spiritual awakening community on Facebook. It’s a place for you to gather with other business professionals and entrepreneurs who are committed to living the life of their dreams. If you want to be a part of this community and receive free trainings from me, go to live love, engage.com and request to join. That’s L I V E L O V E E N G AG E dot com.