Cydelle Stewart, How to Simplify, Sexify, and Systemise Your Business – InnovaBuzz 416
Cydelle Stewart, Business Operations Architect
In this episode, I’m really excited to have as my guest, Cydelle Stewart, a Business Operations Architect, Virtual Assistant Mentor, Founder of VA Agency Onit! Communications, and a self-titled PosAbility Ambassador. She makes it posAble for Online Coaches, Consultants, and Experts to get Slick, Sexy & Systemised™ so they can delight clients, increase their impact and make more money focusing on the work that lights them up.
Process-driven and passionate about excellence, Cydelle simplifies and transforms the back-office and online customer journey for her clients, elevating their businesses from successful to exceptional. Clients describe her work as “efficient, essential, transformational, innovative and futuristic.” citing her as “revolutionising the way” that they do business.
Having begun her career in the corporate world of Executive Office Support and Operations some 27 years ago, ahead of spending the last 11 running her VA business, Cydelle has a small team, an end-to-end overview of what makes a virtual office run to optimum efficiency, and a wealth of experience that gives her the insight required to set her clients up for success in ways that enable them to enjoy balance over burn-out.
In our discussion, Cydelle talked to me about:
- Why your first hire shouldn’t be a Virtual Assistant (VA) and who you should hire instead
- The VA mindset and heartset
- Creating client delight
Tamara Glick in episode 350 introduced us to Cydelle.
Listen to the podcast to find out more.
Listen to the PodcastYour first hire should not be a virtual assistant but a systems analyst who can help you work out what your business infrastructure should be and where you need to go next. – Cydelle Stewart on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet
Show Notes from this episode with Cydelle Stewart, Business Operations Architect
Key points and takeaways from this episode include:
- It doesn’t matter what disability you have. There is always something you can do and are capable of – posAbility.
- Your first hire should not be a virtual assistant but a systems analyst who can help you work out what your business infrastructure should be and where you need to go next.
- A business needs systems in order for it to function.
- Having a virtual assistant enables you to focus on the things that light you up and the things that you enjoy.
- Be open to having systems in your business even if you don’t initially see the benefit.
- Success takes time, effort, and preparation. If you’re going to hire somebody, you need to have systems in place to prepare them for success and not for failure.
- You can’t expect anyone in your business to instantly know what to do just because they have organisational skills.
- Start with something as simple as a screen recorder to capture your screen whilst doing your work.
- Be open and honest to your team that you know the outcome you want but you’re not 100% certain if you’re doing the right thing. It empowers them because it gives them the autonomy to build your process, add their own flavour, improve the process, and ultimately, come up with something that works.
- Start by doing a brain exercise where you jot down the things that you do on a regular basis. Categorise them into how much of those do have to do yourself. Understand the type the skills you need and how much of those things can be done as a one-off project and those that need to be done on an ongoing basis.
- Make sure that the skillsets of the outcome that you need match the skillsets of the person you are going to hire.
- The best way to advertise when you’re looking for a VA is to use a form. Ask very specific questions and clearly state what you are looking for, the values of your business, the brand you represent and have a budget in mind.
- Virtual Assistants are not employees. They are a business. They are going to have other clients. They are going to help you achieve your goals but they are doing so in addition to a lot of other things. Be clear around your expectations in what you are hoping to get out of the relationship and give them the respect that other business owners deserve.
- Focus on the business you have as a virtual assistant as opposed to just the skills that you have.
- Virtual Assistants are always focused on being of service. You want to serve and please. It’s an amazing position to be in but you also have to recognise that as a business owner, you bring a lot of insights. Therefore, you also need to present yourself in a way that people can recognise you as a business and treat you as such.
- As a Virtual Assistant, you want to be in a position where you feel empowered to add value and do things that light you up, but you also have to make sure that the business owner feels that he/she made the right investment.
- A VA’s mindset should be one that is coupled with heartset.
- Build the relationship early on. Build that trust and let people know that they can rely on you.
- Believe in yourself. Believe that the work you do has an impact. Know what your client’s business is about, who they serve, what their priorities are, and what they are trying to achieve. It helps position yourself as someone that is valuable to the business and become successful in the work you do.
- A business is there to serve you and the life that you want to live, and in doing that, be able to impact other people’s lives as well.
- Create intentional steps from the first touchpoint that a person has with your business.
- Focus on the perception in addition to what you actually deliver.
- Make sure that you show up professionally. Make sure that the information you present is always aligned and have people have a very clear and easy way to touch base with you.
- Be clear about what you want your customers to do. Have call-to-actions that are succinct and clear as possible, and make sure that when someone actually gets in touch with you, they don’t end up getting lost somewhere in the system.
- Use an auto-scheduler or a system where people can book a call with you, so that even if they don’t get speak to you immediately, they will feel satisfied because it’s already in your diary. And by the time they get on the call with you, they already have an experience with your brand. They know how you operate and they will feel assured because they’ve had different touchpoints.
- Get rid of your contact form. If you have a link to a calendar or a discovery call, you no longer need a contact form. People will always choose to book a call over filling out a form and having to wait for you to come back to them.
- Automation is key. You can use automation to be more human.
- Map out your automated processes in a very natural way. Set reasonable timelines and make your language feel conversational. It doesn’t have to be stiff and robotic. Put your humour and inject your personality into your automated communications.
- Automation gives you the flexibility to play around and create real experiences that you want people to have when they work with you.
The Buzz – Our Innovation Round
Here are Cydelle’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.
- #1 thing to be more innovative – Spend some time playing and not working all the time. Find something that you enjoy and spend time in it.
- Best thing for new ideas – Travel.
- Favourite tool for innovation – Slack, Airtable, Zapier
- Keep project/client on track – Project management tool – ClickUp. Keep clients up to date.
- Differentiate – Make an impression for the right reasons. Perception is everything. You only get one chance to make a first impression. If that first impression is poor, it stays with you. Be memorable for the right reasons.
To Be a Leader
Before you go ahead and engage a VA, think about the processes and systems that you have in your business. If you don’t have any, reach out to someone. Think about what it is that you are trying to achieve in your business and where you feel stuck. Start to explore what those processes could look like. Most businesses are not necessarily sure about the processes they need until somebody highlights what they could be doing.
You can reach out and thank Cydelle through her website.
Cydelle suggested we have a conversation with clarity coach and pricing strategist, Natalie Freeman. So Natalie, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz Podcast, courtesy of Cydelle Stewart.
Cool Things About Cydelle
- She’s the daughter of Barbara Stewart- a Disability Rights Activist, Benefits specialist, original Pos-Ability Ambassador – and an expert.
- She studied at Thames Valley University.
- She worked as an Executive Assistant at Warner Bros Entertainment and the Guardian News & Media prior to starting her own business.