Empowering women to create 6-figure digital product businesses.
Have you heard the term virtual assistant? Online business manager? Operations assistant? Many are surprised to learn that professionals like this exist to help you run your business with ease, virtually.
If you are in need of help in your business but you just don’t know where to look, this episode of the Empowered Business podcast is for you!
Natalie Gingrich is the founder of The Ops Authority, where she certifies and mentors women who leverage their natural skillset of operations and administration. She’s driven to help women earn an income with ease while doing what comes most naturally to them.
She spent 15 years in corporate operations and leadership. Her professional life has been built around human resources, project management, process development, and people leadership. Natalie ended her corporate career as the Chief of Staff for a Fortune 150 CEO. With legacy being her driver, Natalie left corporate America in search of balance and matched her leadership and operational skills to create her own business.
Natalie has scaled dozens of online businesses to 7 and 8 figures, worked alongside industry icons, and developed diverse teams. She merged her corporate career with her entrepreneurial learnings to create the Director of Operations Certification Program, the only strategic operations certification for leaders.
Do you need someone to help you with implementation, management, strategy, or vision in your business? After hearing this episode, I hope you are able to tell the difference between the different types of online professionals and get the help you really need to achieve your business goals.
Hiring the right person can make a huge difference in the growth and success of your business. If you need more help with deciding who to hire, make sure you check out Natalie’s resources on her social media, podcast and website linked below!
Ready to start your digital product business? Join me for my free training to learn the 3 secrets to creating digital products that sell like crazy! You can register here.
Head over to http://monicafroese.com/listen to listen to this episode and previous episodes on your favorite podcast platform!
Monica Froese 00:04
You’re listening to the Empowered business podcast. I’m your host, Monica Froese, a mom of two and your secret weapon to creating a six figure digital product business. I’m on a mission to help 1000 Women make $100,000 a year. That’s right $100 million towards financial independence for women. As an online business expert, I am teaching you everything I know, right here week after week. So you can join us on the journey to $100 million dollars. Sound good? Then let’s jump in. Have you heard the term virtual assistant, Online Business Manager, Operations Manager, Operations Assistant Director of Operations Chief of Staff, I don’t know about you. But when I started my business, even though I have a corporate background, I really did not understand what my org chart should look like in terms of hiring people. And before I really had money to hire someone on payroll, I had no idea how to hire a freelancer to get the right support that I needed in my business. And that is when my good friend Natalie came in and connected me with Teresa, who you heard in a previous episode. She was my very first operations manager. She worked on a contracting basis with me, but she is who I credit with getting you to actually start hiring employees which completely changed the trajectory of my business. So today I want to talk to Natalie and Natalie is the founder of the ops authority where she certifies mentors women who leverage their natural skill set of operations and administration. She’s driven to help women earn an income with ease while doing what comes most naturally to them. She spent 15 years in corporate operations and leadership. Her professional life has been built around human resources, project management, process development, and people leadership. Natalie ended her corporate career as the Chief of Staff for a fortune 150 CEO. With legacy being her driver, Natalie left corporate America in search of balance and matched her leadership and operational skills to create her own business. Natalie has scaled dozens of online businesses to seven eight figures, working alongside industry icons and developed diverse teams. She merged her corporate career with her entrepreneurial learnings to create the Director of Operations certification program, the only strategic operations certification for leaders and let me tell you, she has had some amazing people come out of this program. And Natalie’s journey is super interesting. I actually I’ve known her for a very long time, and I learned some new things, talking to her in this episode. So I really think you’ll enjoy this episode, especially if you need help in your business, and you just don’t know where to look. So let’s dive right in.
Natalie Gingrich 03:02
Natalie, welcome to the Empowered business podcast. Thank you for having me. Miss Monica. I’m super excited to be here. I’m super excited to talk to you. You’re one of my favorite humans to talk to so it’s gonna be great. I like to start every interview with asking about your entrepreneurial journey. Why are you an entrepreneur? How’d you get started? And more importantly, what are you doing today? Oh, my goodness, this is all the good stuff. And I hope it won’t take too long. You can take as long as you need. How is it all? Fantastic. Well, my journey started I did the traditional I was I went to college, got several degrees, went back and got a master’s degree that could start the conversation with highly ambitious, you know, high achiever. Just I really enjoy learning. And so there it begins. And I went that traditional, quote unquote, traditional path of going through the university and college system. And then as luck would have it, and by the way, at that point, I was starting nursing, kinesiology and business those are the my, that’s where my background is. So definitely come from a place of service really loved the healthcare space. I saw myself at this point, going into hospital administration, leveraging more of the managerial part of it, but on my path to get there. I I was a nurse and so I did that Friday net note that I had no idea I knew about your corporate experience, but I did not know you were a nurse. Yeah, sure. Ram. Yep, sure was, by the way, how long? How long? Were you a nurse for six years? Wow. Okay, that’s cool. Yeah, yeah. So my husband was on his journey, and he was getting his master’s degree and his PhD and so we had traveled all over the country for his education and mind and in mind, and then when we had finished up he got a job offer in San Diego and San Antonio, Texas for the exact same dollar amount. So doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which path we took. We have now been in San Antonio for over 20 years, but that brought us here And when we came back to Texas, just the minutiae, which probably is not entertaining to the person listening to this today, but Medicare rules the nursing system here in the health care system in the in the US, and we arrived in Texas, every single state has a different expectations and regulations from a Medicare perspective. And so when I came here, all those degrees were like, flattened. And so I had just come off of a $65,000 master’s degree which we completely funded ourselves in debt, of course. So when we got back here, what I was getting paid in Colorado was going to be almost half in Texas. And this the field that we were working in because they didn’t use a nurse to do this, they use more of like a technician to do what I had just gotten a master’s degree for. So I went to work with like, Man, I’m going to have to figure out my my, I started asking myself, at that point, what are your natural skills? Like, what can you do, because this isn’t going to cut the cookie like we have a at that we now have $180,000 in debt and just my college debt. So, you know, yeah, that’s not an easy pill. And if you start working the math, it’s it’s not going to work out earning, you know, 20 bucks an hour. So anyway, started thinking I’m in the eighth largest city in the country, I know I’m a great leader, I know that I can learn anything, I will figure this out, I started thinking, I guess I’m going to take the traditional like route of going through corporate. So I started applying hundreds of job applications later, I knew as soon as I could get in the door, it was going to be you know, I would have a much greater chance. But the fact that I was coming from a, you know, a background that was extremely technical, you know, that was going to be my uphill battle, ended up going into corporate and worked in corporate for 15 years at a fortune 150 company, I was super, I’ll be indebted to Miss Julie Bryan forever, for taking a gamble on me and bringing somebody with a nursing background into the world of HR. But I spent my first decade there in human resources and really worked across lots of different HR disciplines, moved into leadership. And then from there, they plucked me out, I went into project management into that organization, again, finding my true skill set my true passions, which, you know, corporate can get a bad, you know, they can have a bad rap sometimes. But when I think through my journey, of course, there’s lots of frustrations, but when I think through my journey, I’m like, wow, they at least were able to find the natural gifts that I have. And they, I always found myself in a position where I was leveraging those. And if I stayed in the nursing field, you know, I, it would have been a completely different path. So my last two years there, I was the Chief of Staff for our CEO. And that was really the combination, I never stood taller, I never felt more confident about my calling as a human being in the professional environment. And it allowed me to do everything I’m really, really good at which was leading people and we had 600 people who reported up to me, it was obviously a huge job for a company with almost 40,000 employees. And I just had so much opportunity to learn perfect and improve in both strategy and operations. And none of those words would have even made sense when I was looking for that for you know, this next step in my career, which led me to corporate. And then I had that epiphany moment, which a lot of us can, if you’re an entrepreneur, and you’re listening today, you you likely maybe you did start off as an entrepreneur, but a lot of us make that journey into entrepreneurship and leverage, and it comes off the hills of corporate experience, or maybe, you know, something else, some other experience for you. But I at this point, I had children, and they were nine and six, we were paying somebody to drive my kids all over the city to different activities in the afternoon, because I wanted them to live a life that was better and different than what I’ve had a great life. Don’t get me wrong. But when I was growing up, it was a single parent family. We had a lot of monetary and financial, you know, struggles. And so I we were able to provide these great things for our kids, but they came at the expense of having someone else basically fill in for the role of mother. And I remember that gal calling me one day and I was sitting in my office corner office executive making good money, having a lot of autonomy really doing what I thought was my life’s calling. I remember this, our sitter calling me and being frustrated over something that the daycare and I was so mad at her. I mean, I was super, super frustrated at her. And then I got off the phone and you know, I was fuming. It’s just like you do and you’re mad. And then I just took like a deep breath and started thinking, oh my gosh, like I’m mad at the person that’s literally being me for my kids. Like this is crazy. I went home that night and I told my husband who we were both very happy being a dual income family. And I went home that night and I was like, we aren’t doing this anymore. Like this person is not going to be driving our kids around. We’re gonna figure this out. And of course, we’re both like, we’re a dual income family. And he’s like my mom He’s not walking away from corporate right now. So that was the bug and that the incident, I would say that just kind of started me thinking about the next version of me because I felt like it was limiting my ability to be a parent. And I just got super fixated on that moment. And the word I ended up working with an executive coach to help me in that journey of figuring out what was next for me. But I remember feeling and latching on to the word of legacy. And we all have legacy to give every single person has like, it’s easy to give, but we get to define it. And I remember working through that very much like counseling thinking like, Oh, my goodness, the only legacy that is going to come out of me is through my kids like these people that I think I’m so valuable to incorporate. I’m not like Quit fooling yourself, Natalie. And as soon as I started working through that I naturally was detaching from the identity. That was everything to me in that corporate space. And as soon as that started unraveling, I got a lot more confidence, my husband and I started having a lot, our conversations changed to how do we make this possible? We are both if you guys know anything about the Colby, we have very, we have almost exact Cobis. And I’m a slow start, which means I take very, very slow action, and methodical analytical like that’s the profile behind me, my husband is the same way. So for the two of us to reach honestly, we can’t pick out a couch in two years, like it takes us forever. So you can tell that my journey into entrepreneurship was very, very calculated. But with that, I gave them 90 days. And very, very quickly after that epiphany moment that I had, but gave them 90 days. And there I begin the journey, or at least the possibility of entrepreneurship, I really didn’t know what it was going to look like my very first business that I had started was called the Moore mom movement. And at that point, I was going to save the working women of America, I was going to figure out how to help them kind of balance this really the life coaching now that I’m in this space, and I’m more aware of the types of coaching that are out there. That’s what I thought I was going to do. And that was the foray into building a business. And it was like the hardest business ever. MONICA I it was short lived. It was so difficult, but it enlightened me in entrepreneurship, I got to meet amazing people, we had tons of coffee chats, Facebook was very different back then you and I connected this way, you know, you know, I had the ability in the time to make a lot of connections. And even though I was running I was I was in this space because I was trying to stand up the more mom movement, the more I started to see that as I was connecting organically with these newfound online friends. We were solving the problems I diverted and reverted back to who I really was the easiest part of me, which was me and Monica hop on a phone call, she starts talking about the struggles he’s having in business and the block she’s having. And then the natural operational strategist, all those skills that I was so proud of, in those last couple of years in corporate just started to come out. And you know, I really fast tracked in the entrepreneurial space by owning them and not minimizing them it was it would have been easy to say, I’ll be a virtual assistant and get my feet wet and try to figure this out. And then I’m like, Man, I’m a six figure executive at a fortune 150 company, I am not going to do that. So I put all my eggs in a basket and got rid of the more mom movement and at the same time, just doubled down on where my skills were started selling them through organic conversations. And my business, the ops authority has had many renditions and different pivots over time, been in business for the last six years. So of course that has come with lots of different offers and services and, and even avatars over that timeframe. But that’s that’s a little bit a lot of bit of my background and how we got
Monica Froese 13:52
here. I feel like I could take this so many directions. I’m trying to think of where I want to go with this. I have questions. I remember the the more mom more my movement, right? I remember that. I think I’m still in the Facebook group. It still exists. Yeah, I’m still in it, which in a lot of ways, I think was very similar to how I started redefining mom, different catalysts like your kids were already functioning, and mine had just been born. And mine came out of need for postpartum. But it’s interesting, because so I still function. I think you do too. You work very corporate type hours still on your terms, but you keep pretty regular hours. Yes. And I think that there’s this thing in the online space when moms particularly get started that they think it’s going to be this like fluid thing where your kids are going to be around you yelling and you’re going to be like so successful at the same time. And personally, I think I had a brief period where I thought that too. And I quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen. I honestly don’t even know if that’s possible. I guess there could be exceptions to the rule. But what I find what what happened for me and I this Just came to fruition yesterday, I was thinking through this, I was looking at my calendar and I realized, Oh, my daughter has an orthodontist appointment. And it’s right after school. So I’m just gonna go pick her up from school, she wasn’t expecting me cuz usually my nanny picks her up. I’m going to go pick her up. And then we ended up getting our nails done together, we did all the stuff together. And I thought, Now, this was the point of why I wanted out of corporate much to what you were saying, you know, someone else is driving your kids around all the time. But it’s always on my terms. Like, I don’t have to be the one to pick her up from school. But when she needs me to, or when I want to, I have a lot of Friday’s that I just shut down, because I’m just done. I’m fried. And I’m like, I’m gonna go get her from school, and we’re gonna go hang out when we get ice cream, and she gets ice cream. I don’t get ice cream anymore. But
Natalie Gingrich 15:45
I don’t know. It’s just it’s it’s really weird. Because I feel like I also we want it to like, help all these other working moms to live life on their own terms, I guess. Yeah, maybe you can sum it up. But that’s like a really tall order to take on. And yeah, it’s, it’s like, where do you even start with that. And so instead, I feel like for both of us, our journey kind of lent itself to our strengths came out. And then we built businesses around our strengths, still, with the core function of wanting to impact Yes, yes, and I’m not going to say that any of these are, like, easy. But when you are building a business based off of your skills, if it can combine with your passion and your skills, it does become easier. I’m not gonna say it’s like a cent, you know, but it is so much easier. I can speak to it, you just think about, you know, messaging, articulating your value, what your promise is going to be, that was very, very gray in my first business, because number one, it was it was new, but the order was so tall Monica, like it was Yeah, I don’t think one person could have solved that.
Monica Froese 16:43
I have I have really big ambitions for I want redefining mom to be in the future. Like, I can’t give up the brand. And I mean, even when we’re on video right now, you can actually see the name right behind me. I feel like it can be something but to be honest, for it to be the impact I want it to be I need it capital was going to go into debt and the business or just a lot of things. And I think I needed the experience more experience first before I could take on that kind of level of impact, I guess. And so we keep sidelining it, I have like the plans for 2023. But honestly, it might be 2024 I don’t know, it just, it just kind of depends. I I feel like I’m in my zone of genius right now as well. So I’m just gonna stay in my lane, like, like you’re doing. Okay. So here, here’s questions I have about the ABS authority. Because when so I feel like when I met you, you were doing the more mom movement, and you’re also working on a contracting basis for other business owners. Right? So how long did you contract for before the ops authority really became a thing.
So when I first started, I short I was trying, I mean, I’m a perfectionist. And I always say that I’m not, I’m a perfectionist that doesn’t want to be told that you shouldn’t be perfectionist, I’m not going to be recovering, because I enjoy being a perfectionist. But when I first started, I shortcut it. And I just my business name was Natalie King rec.com. And from the very beginning of that we were providing I was definitely selling services, and I was selling project management, and team management or people leadership, whatever you want to look at it. So which does go hand in hand with project management, so that I did that. And then I was doing that from like, project to project. And then once I would get into people’s businesses, they were like, wow, we have a lot of projects. Can I just keep you on retainer. Now at this point, Monica all these are like new terms to me, like I am like retainer, sure what you mean, you’re going to pay me on a on a ongoing basis. And I’m, of course going to be delivering on an ongoing basis. But wow, this is like employment again, like this felt really good and safe for someone who is, you know, risk averse and likes that stability and consistency. So I started working in that capacity in a couple of businesses. And then I really grew quite quickly because what I was offering the service, the deliverables, the the I mean, I don’t want to brag on myself, but I will, it was different than the experience they were having with a lot of the other freelancers. And I do. Yes, that’s my work ethic. Yes, that’s my level of commitment. I also feel like that’s the expectation in corporate and I had just come out of 15 years of you don’t like you are can if you don’t do what you say you’re going to do, period. And so the ethics of delivering were very important. And the level of excellence is just something that I’m personally driven by and so when that word got out, it was easy for my you know, my clients, friends and friends of friends to refer completely referral based business. I served in a one to one capacity for four years actually for, you know, up until the last two years, I was working one to one and sometimes I was taking on additional projects and working in different you know, in different levels inside of businesses, but I served in a one to one capacity for four years.
Monica Froese 19:59
Yeah. I remember, well, first of all, like your name definitely got around on a referral basis because, and it’s so as a corporate girl myself, there’s some really funky things in the online world that just kind of make me scratch my head. Namely, one of the things that really threw me early on was this, like, general advice that general virtual assistants like very generalist type people should be charging 50 $60 an hour. And I don’t understand that. I think somewhere, sometimes what we hear in online business, they missed the concept, the economic concept of supply and demand. And so there’s like a whole lot of supply coming for from these very general charge a lot VAs and the demand, isn’t there. Because anyone who’s gonna be successful in business, like I would consider myself successful in business, I think you would as well. I know the difference between what I’m paint like someone who’s delivering to the caliber I want them to and somebody who has no idea what they’re doing. Yes. And I think I remember talking to you about this whole, what’s a virtual assistant versus an online business manager versus what you teach people to be, which is a director of operations. I remember having a conversation because I didn’t know what I need it. But I knew I was dealing with constantly cycling through people who could not operate at the caliber that I expected. And they were charging outrageous rates for the the type of delivery, essentially. So like, Okay, can you first tell us the difference between those three things? And then how you ended up training director of operations? And yeah, because I hired one of yours, and she changed my business.
Natalie Gingrich 21:44
Oh, awesome. Yes. So think of a pyramid that’s got four different levels. The bottom is implementation. The next is management, on top of management is strategy. And at the very tip top is vision. So those are the four functions that you see and you will need in your business. Now, if you are looking for implementation only, that’s where you’re going to find out your virtual assistants. When you start to overlay the implementation with a little bit of management, now you’re bringing in more of a specialist who’s got that skill set in project and people maybe even marketing, it could be any discipline, you’re starting to want or need more oversight. So maybe you as the CEO and the leader of your business aren’t having to show up in that capacity as much. This is this is the progression of how we get, you know, how we build our teams, really, it’s how we structure and how we help people to build their teams. And then on top of that management layer, you have strategy, and this is about the capacity in which small business really stops. Most people don’t need a visionary in the operations space, because we’re trying to cut margins and be as efficient and lean as possible. But we can have a whole other conversation on that. So when you think of implementation, it’s your more of your operational assistant or your virtual assistant, definitely entry level. The next you’re going to find your operations coordinators are managers, where they have more autonomy, they also bring more experience. And then your strategist will strategist or what we call directors of operations. And at that point, you’re combining strategy. So you’re able to take the vision from the leader, the leader that has all the ideas, who doesn’t know how to prioritize them. And once I’m all done yesterday, we are the counterpart directors of operations are the counterpart that comes in, takes those big ideas, creates a strategic plan prioritizes those and truly serves as a strategic partner to the business. I like to say that a director of operations is a yes, maybe person and not a yes, ma’am. That yes, ma’am. Is the person that sits more than entry level, that implementation layer where it’s like, you know, what, I need this, you know, that put together I need this done, I need that. And they just continuously Yes, yes, yes. Yes. Like a checklist. They, they do the checklist? Yes. And they’re fantastic at it. And we need them in our business, I’m certainly not minimizing them, we, they’re critical in our business. And for most of us, it’s the first layer that we are going to outsource to somebody. But any of those layers that are not covered, the leader is typically holding on to those right. So as leaders as we grow, and as our businesses evolve, we’re stripping apart that triangle that I just shared with you, verbally, we’re pulling that away so that we can continuously get closer to owning the vision and having people around us to fill in where our gaps are or what we want to get rid of. And so the director of operations is sits at the strategic level, and you’re going to find like your business managers are oftentimes in that managerial space as well. All three of them are very critical. The reality is, one person can cover two layers of this, but when we start thinking that we’re going to and we see this misrepresented in the online space quite a bit, talking about the you know, a unicorn horn right where that unicorn is the person that covers all four layers and friends, that never works, you may think you have your unicorn, but what really happens is burnout, exhaustion, overwhelm, those people end up turning over in your business, those are the people that ghost you. So as business leaders and owners, we have to be really clear on what it is that you want. Because the part that’s not being covered is the part that you actually own as the leader. So directors of operations come in as a strategic partner to help take that integrate that vision that you have. And we work with the team, we work with the tools, we work with the projects, to make sure that you continuously move forward towards your vision. So we I was doing this after the project management experience and offer that I had initially. And I started to work on a more recurring basis and more on a retainer basis inside of these businesses. I started to see myself as kind of the same way I left corporate as that Chief of Staff and Chief of Staff, just the title alone doesn’t make sense in a small business. And there’s a lot of beliefs I have around this that can be unpopular, but what I did was translate that holistic operational view, which is where my gifts were, which is where my experience came from, at a corporate. And I put that into small business, I figured out and rewired how to deliver what was so valuable in corporate to the small business. And when we did that, we were able to, we came up with the title Director of Operations, which is obviously not unique to me. But that’s that’s how we really got our foothold in side of the market that we’re serving today. I think I heard from your first cohort from the program. Yes, it’s a certification program, correct? Yes. So I started doing this Monica myself. And then at that point, of course, different time of day, in business and in the in the cycle in the economy. And it was pre pandemic. So I was speaking almost once a month, maybe even twice a month in different masterminds on different stages. And as as visibility and exposure go, I would hop off the stage talking about what a Director of Operations does. And all of the peers, all of the participants all have, you know, the students would be there and saying, I need a Natalie. And I’m thinking, wow, this. I mean, this is cool. Like, this is fantastic. But I’m booked out. So what do I do now? I’m like firing clients early. Like what I wasn’t doing that I was thinking through this, like, how can I do this? And again, very, very slow action taker, very methodical. I was like, You know what, I’ve got this army of people around me people that I have good, honest, hardworking people that share the same values. I believe that they have the skills. So you know what, Monica, if you’re looking for a Director of Operations, I’m going to tell you that my friend Sally would be great for you. Well, Sally comes and works for you. And you call me because we’re friends. You call me up and you’re like, Sally just ghosted me or Sally did me wrong. Or Sally, you said she was great at HR, she knows nothing. And I, as an Enneagram, two felt terrible about making that recommendation, right. So I started to doubt myself. And then I now put myself into a place where I’m like, Oh, I guess I need to go work for Monica and help her do this, because that’s her need. And I know I have the solution, a lot of crazy, like mental stuff going on for me. And then one day, I remember waking up and saying, I can actually qualify people, I can put them through a training program, where I can share what makes me unique, what makes me high functioning, which makes me you know, which keeps me employed with these people. I’ve worked for some of these people for four straight years, like, I was doing something, right. Because in all my peers, were cycling through people every three months, six months, no one was staying for a year, and I had several clients that I served for multiple years. And so I thought, well, I’ll create a training program where I can download what’s working the processes, I’m using the systems, I mean, that’s part of my gift is that piece. And so I’ll put that into training materials. And then it wasn’t okay enough, we we both have a really high standard of delivery and expectation for ourselves. And so, you know, at that point, this is now three years ago, and at that point, courses were were the big thing that was the main method of delivery. And I thought I can put this into a course. And then I went to work a little bit deeper. And I was like, wait, I want to make sure when I’m sending my people to Monica, that they actually like, it can’t be a passive product. This has to be something where I’m involved where you know, and I could see it getting bigger and bigger, but that is where we shifted the mentality from more of a, you know, a course to maybe a group program and then we landed in the certification. We’ve now certified over 200 people and it’s, you know, it’s obviously been a massive gift for us to be able to help women our focus has changed now from you know, getting an equipping directors public If you take that one level higher, now it’s serving the the female professional economy to leverage the skills that they already have so that more businesses can actually scale. Because most visionaries are incapable of scaling a business through people, they’re going to scale a business through more products, more offers, and all of that, which is fine, but someone has to manage the back end of that. And so, you know, I, we are so on fire to just see this, this movement, it turned from really like a skill based thing more into a movement, where the impact is so much more powerful than where it started. And where it started was still very impactful. I did not realize that you had certified 200 people, that is a lot of people that are going to change a lot of businesses. So is that what you do now? Do you even have clients anymore? No, no, last two years. So I had that that very typical moment where I was serving multiple audiences. And the marketing was getting confusing. I had people signing up for a group program that thought that they were coming in for the certification. That happened two times, and I like slap myself around, and I’m risk averse. I’m very, very scared to go all in very calculated risk. And so I remember thinking, Okay, if this has happened twice, this is a problem. And we all know that multiple avatars is not scalable, or sustainable. And so I had a very, very strong moment in talking with a mentor and a friend of mine, and said, it’s time, it’s time, you’ve already tested, you’ve vetted this, just trust yourself. And the great thing at this point, I was, you know, for four years in the business, she’s like, if everything goes wrong, what’s the worst thing that can happen? You know, how to build businesses? Like this is what you do, you need to take your own advice. And so I really rip the band aid off and just went directly into growing that Director of Operations certification program. And that’s where we are. And the people who go through the program, are they mainly working on a contracting basis with their with people? Or do they actually go into full time roles? I, you know, Monica, it’s shifting right now. So until, actually, until the pandemic, we saw a lot of freelancers. And by the way, 70% of our students come through wanting to build their own business, we have 30% that are employer sponsor. So if you have a full time or even a part time person that works in your business at that level, and you want them to gain more skills, or you want them to have the certification, those people still come, we have two different tracks. And so that is out there. We are seeing we’re just about to record a podcast on this as well. But we are seeing the industry kind of change a little bit. And I think that it’s a product of the of the market, I also think that there’s a quality of service that people are demanding and expecting. And I also think and know that there is a way to merge why you and I were so called to start these businesses, which is on the search for freedom for allowing women to become greater, more and extremely instilled extremely valued, to still do that inside of a full time commitment. And that is not what I thought of when I was leaving corporate. So I really think that the market is shifting a little bit, I’m not going to say that, you know, freelancing is going to go away. I do not believe that. I think that that’s always going to be a possibility out there. And I love that for so many people. On the flip side, I also think that the market, the employers out there are starting to see the value of really hiring for values, getting people in who, who you truly understand they want to be moms, they want to be wives, they want to have robust and full lives and still be highly professional, highly, you know, high, high level of service still given to you. I don’t think it’s an either or. And six years ago, it felt like an either or today it’s starting to feel like like we have a choice.
Monica Froese 33:52
I absolutely agree with you. I agree that I feel like that’s how I see the train going. So here’s the thing, I would not be where I am if I hadn’t taken the leap to have full time employees, which was a product of so I hired Teresa, who is She’s a couple episodes before you. This is airing as my first Director of Operations, because she went through your program, you recommended her I was completely overwhelmed. And she basically changed my life because she had me hire employees, which was the catalyst for everything like and what I recognize as an employer. With my full time employees right now I have small children. And when I connect back to the mission of why I started this to begin with, I am not going to treat them like I was treated in corporate. But here’s the thing because I knew all along I was capable of the high level of excellence I put out in corporate but I felt very controlled. And I felt like control is for people who need to be micromanaged. And that wasn’t me, I got my work done and I was good at it. And those are the type of women I want to work with. So I want to give them the balance of you don’t have to you don’t have to always take on the risk of being an entrepreneur. But you can see Still, I would never ever tell any of them to you know, your deadline at work comes before your sick child or your child who needs you or anything like that. And I’m very, very much about outcomes. So it’s very apparent, if you’re not getting your work done, we’re going to have to have a conversation if you’re not, but honestly, I don’t need to know where you are, every second of the day, if we have a live call, and you’re supposed to be on it, and you don’t show up, there’s gonna be a problem. Like, that’s part of your responsibility. But, you know, if your kid has a half day, I very I catch myself saying all the time, I’m not going to put you put in for time off for this, you know, like, don’t work I half a day, because of whatever circumstance happened. I’m like, I’m not going to dock you time, because you still got your work done. And you went over and above to make sure that I wasn’t put out for it. And so I don’t know, there’s this like, I want more of that, I’d love to see because not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, not everyone’s cut out to be an entrepreneur, but
Natalie Gingrich 35:56
we get to lead that what I feel on on the business ownership side, and on the CEO side as I am in masterminds is I am with, you know, my peers. I’m always like, I learned so much from corporate and I gave it a I already gave it the shout out that it deserves. We also were burned that control that, you know, high achieving, or not being recognized or being margin, like, all those things definitely happened. And as I build this business, I get to build it knowing having had all those experiences, I get to build this differently. We launch every couple months. And obviously that’s a big effort inside of our business. And I always tell them, like we don’t work nights and weekends, even though you know, they’ve they’ve been freelancers, they’ve also worked in other businesses and other corporations. And so they feel like, oh, the launch is coming up, we’re gonna, I’m going to be you know, don’t worry that I’m going to be available all weekend long. No, nothing happens here. That is that important. Like we are changing lives. And we can do it on Monday morning at 10 o’clock in the morning, we do not need to do it on Saturday night at 6pm. That is download time. It is a happy hour time it is be with your family time, but it is not Natalie Gaynor time like you need to. But when we show that like every time I say something like this, they’re like, Are you sure I’m like, Oh, those are wounds like that is those are wounds that are coming out of something and have a poor experience. And it doesn’t have to be like that. And I think that the more of us that are kind of leading this and showing this, it’s how we continue to attract really great people into our business to
Monica Froese 37:32
Yeah, you know, because there’s different, you know, small business can I don’t offer the type of benefits, I had it fortunate my fortune 100 company, but there are a lot of other ways that you can make up for it. And I feel like, you know, we talk a lot about making an impact on our students and helping the people we teach like your with your certification and stuff. And through my programs, I definitely feel like I make an impact there. But I’ve started to realize over the last year that one of the biggest impacts I can make are the people around me and the people that I employ and making their lives better. It’s almost like, you know, and even I have a full time nanny too. And I pay her fairly, of course, and I pay her legally as well, that’ll do that. I’ve come to learn, but it’s like, that’s part of the impact that we’re having. You know, and I don’t know, I just, I think that your certification program has changed a lot of lives. I mean, I know it changed mine.
Natalie Gingrich 38:28
Thank you. It’s, I mean, that really is a nice, unintended consequence and blessing. The opposite of consequence. It’s been surprised, like, that’s, that’s not what we started this, I really wanted to, you know, to get operations and have business owners understand what operations is. And as a byproduct, we’ve been able to empower so many women to look at their God given skills to be able to leverage those, monetize those, and serve people and all of my people are high high servants, like they want to come in and to, they really want to solve your problem. And they want to do it as an invasive as possible. And that’s their gift. And it’s a unique gift. It’s a gift that they have probably not even thought of as a gift for so long. Forever, probably. And, you know, I think just we don’t have to go deep into the whole female thing. But you know, a lot of us have been told to be valued, you have to have a degree to be valued, you have to have this kind of background to be valued, you need to do X, Y, and Z. And I think we’re at a place where luckily we get to rewrite that and we have a lot of freedom to write that and to help other people see that and I’m holding on to that big time. Yeah, and think about what you just said is basically what you started the more mom movement to do, but you ended up just doing it through by showing up with the skills that you’re great at. So yeah, it’s not lost on me for sure. Yeah, no, I think it’s amazing. Okay, so if people want to learn more about you, I know you have a podcast and and the certification And how do we find you? Yep. So the podcast is the ops authority. And we publish every single week, lots of information on operators. So if you’re listening and you are an operator, it’d be a great place for you to go. If you’re listening, and you’re the business owner, and you’ve got somebody in your business, who is functioning as an operator at any of the levels that we talked about today, it’ll be fantastic tactical advice for them to be able to make an impact in your business. But you can also visit us on we’re primarily active on Facebook, and our website is the opposite authority as well. Awesome. Of course, we’ll link to all this for you. Thank you so much for joining me and sharing your journey. I really appreciate it. Yes. Thanks, Monica.
Monica Froese 40:39
Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the Empowered business podcast. If you want to get started creating your own digital products and don’t know where to start, we have a brand new training that can help. It’s called the passion to profit. How to discover your unique million dollar digital product formula, head on over to empowered business.co forward slash profit to join the training for free. Plus, we’ve added on a private podcast feed to make consuming the content even easier. You can choose to consume it via video or a private podcast feed. I can’t wait to see you back here next wee