Being a startup CEO is TOUGH. Amy Volas knows this because she’s living in the sales, marketing, customer success and every single other side of her business, every day. In this episode of James Picks Brains, we wanted to know what it’s like to be that person with a hand in everything. What’s it like being a startup CEO, knowing that a startup CEO wears multiple hats every day. Amy doesn’t hold back in this episode!
Here’s your next episode of James Picks Brains…
James: What does your average day look like?
Amy: What is an average day? There is no such thing. This is my company and I am involved in many different parts of it. There is the sales side of me, there is the delivery side of me, there is the recruiting side of me, there is the networking side of me, there is the marketing side of me and I have chunks of time blocked out for the things I need to do. Calendly is a friend of mine. I have my time so you can block it, you can schedule it, modify it to give yourself wiggle room. Nobody can get on my calendar on Friday cause that is my day to catch up on all the admin stuff I do.
Honestly, every day I wish I could tell people about routine, every day looks different, but the number one thing is I am a huge believer in that pipeline trumps all and it is about the right work with the right people and consistency. I don’t care if my ceiling is falling down and water is pouring out of it, I will always be doing something to make sure that that pipeline is fierce, that I am delivering for my clients, that we are closely connected because without that, nothing else matters.
James: Salespeople historically struggle with work-life balance. In a few words. Tell me, what do you think about work-life balance? Is it a thing or is it just a figment of our imagination?
Amy: I think it’s the next iteration of work-life integration. I have been one of those people, I don’t know what that word is and I struggle with it. I would be lying if I said: “Yes, I live this perfect life and I have an off switch and this on switch and from this time to this time I do this”. That is not my reality. My career is very much a part of me and it always has been. I don’t know what an off switch looks like and I am consciously working on that because I don’t want to kill myself in the process.
So for me it’s about how do I integrate the important things of my life into my day to day and maybe that’s “I want to do pilates” which is something I started doing. They have an app where I schedule it and I look at my calendar and it gets scheduled in, I might work till 10 o’clock that night. It’s more about making sure the things that are priorities and important to me happen regardless of knowing there is an endless supply of work I could do.
James: What have you accomplished before 9:00 AM every day?
Amy: I don’t wake up until 11. What are you talking about? Yeah no, I wish I could tell you I wake up at 4:30 in the morning and by the time it’s 9 o’clock I’ve worked out for 3 hours and I’ve saved a cat out of a tree. Here’s the thing. I set intentions so before 9 am, I am thinking about all the things I need to do. I am a big believer that before the day is over, I know I did that day and know what I want to do the next day. Things happen and I am one of those people, I wake up and my phone is in my hand and lots of things can creep up. How do I reprioritize my day? Do I need to reprioritize my day? Take time to think about that before I get into anything else.
Before 9 am, also, I am reading something. I committed to myself that I don’t care what is going on in my life, sometimes its in the morning, sometimes in the evening, sometimes its both – I am reading a chapter of whatever book I am reading. In addition to that, I am getting into LinkedIn. I am a really big LinkedIn person. I live there. People think I don’t do anything besides live on LinkedIn. It is a full-time job as well as me running this business. I start my LinkedIn engagement and interaction well before 9 am and there is a lot I do then so I can focus on the rest of my day. So those are a few things. Oh and a big huge cup of tea.
James: Who were the people that you looked up to as you climbed up and decided that you would be an entrepreneur?
Amy: I come from a long lineage of salesmen. My dad, my grandfather. I wish he was still with us today because I would love to talk shop with him. He was a depression baby, had an 8th-grade education, and was a WWII fighter pilot. He was a titan of the industry and ran companies, big mega major companies and I wanted to be like him when I grew up because he didn’t do dirty business. He wasn’t a dirtbag and I idolized that.
It starts there and then also I have had really good mentors. There was a person early on in my career who took a chance on me. His name is Darren Roberts. He was first and foremost my boss and a mentor after we stopped working together and actually my business partner when I started that business in 2008. He certainly has had an indelible impression on me. A person named Elaine Eastwood Field from Indeed was another phenomenal mentor. There have been people that have taken me along the way, but I still have them to this day.
I believe you are a sum of your parts and who you chose to surround yourself with is huge.
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