Are you trapped in doing subcontracting work? Do you feel that you have the skills and the tenacity to start having your own clients and making it a business? Where and how do you start?
If you dream of breaking free from subcontract work, this episode is such a treat for you because I’m having an amazing conversation with Jennifer Feeney. She’s been providing excellent support to CEOs since 2007 and now she’s the founder of Elite Executive Solutions. Jennifer is also a wife, a mother, a grandma, a dog mom to 10 dogs, a runner, and a bodybuilder. She has quite the resume!
- The challenge of saying goodbye to subcontracting clients
- How to use subcontracting as your education platform
- Staying in your zone of genius
- How to find clients when you’re just starting
- Why you sometimes have to slow down to speed up
- Having a relationship with your goals
- Approaching business with the mindset of “start with the end in mind”
- Where to find a community that sets you up for success
If you think executive assistance or project management is not a scalable business, think again! Jennifer was able to go from $2,300 a month as a subcontractor to having a $9,000 month when she took steps to scale her business on her own terms.
Be sure to tune in to next week’s episode. The May income report is one you are not going to want to miss, I promise!
Where to Find Jennifer:
Don’t forget to sign up for my free training >> How to Scale to Consistent 10K Months Without Hiring a Team
Hello, Serve Scale Soar family! I am so excited because today I have Jennifer on here with us and we are diving into so many fun topics and I'm so excited for you to get to know her. She's one of our members of the Serve Scale Soar membership. And I cannot wait to hear her story because they think there's a lot of gold in here that I don't even know about. So I'm excited to have you, Jennifer. So tell my listeners about you, who you are as a person, who you serve and how you serve them?
Hi, Serve Scale Soar. I'm Jennifer Feeney. My company is the Elite Executive Solutions. I am a virtual executive assistant and I specifically serve CEOs in the corporate world, specifically small to mid-sized companies. Who I am as a person. I am a mother, a wife. I'm a dog mom to 10 dogs. I'm a runner and a bodybuilder.
Oh, my gosh, you're so fun. Oh, hold on. How do you have ten dogs? We can't just like skip over this.
Now, let's let's talk about it. My husband in the last five months decided to breed miniature bull terriers. So in a period of five months, we acquired seven miniature bull terrier puppies and five of them are from Eastern Europe.
Very, very cool. And then you do bodybuilding. Did I hear that right?
You did. You did. And I've never done I've never done a show. I've never done a show. But I've been bodybuilding for four years.
That's incredible. You are such a fun person. I'm like, so boring. And you have all these fun facts about yourself. I love that. OK. So let's jump into what everyone wants to know. And that is you are on the podcast because you are celebrating your highest months. And as an executive assistant, I think a lot of times we hear that this is not a scalable service, which I've always totally been like, that's not true. You can scale any service as long as you love doing it and you have the systems in place to support you. So I love when we have someone who is not a Facebook ad manager or a podcast manager or something like that, but an executive assistant. Because what this is going to do is break the belief barriers for people who think you can't scale when you're doing like project management or OBM or executive assistant. So I'm excited to dive into this. And so before we started recording, we were chatting about January. You had your highest month at $9,000 and then you decided to let go of your subcontracting work. And you still had an incredible month in February, $6,300. So I want to chat about this $9,000-month and how many clients that look like, what you were doing, how much subcontracting work? I really want to dive into that topic. So can you tell us a little bit about that?
Sure. The month of January, like you said, was my highest earning month. But I was also it was also the craziest month. I found Serve Scale Soar in October of 2019. And at that point I had an existing three subcontracts and I did work full time. It was 40 hours a week. And then in developing my skills in Serve Scale Soar by January 2020, I had three of my own clients, two of which were part time and one full time. So the month of January, I was working 50 hour weeks and it took a lot of planning in advance, time blocking, totally staying off social media, keeping my door closed, letting the kids know I wasn't available. So it really stretched me. But the income gap, it just felt like it happened overnight. It seemed really set in and it was like, all of a sudden I have three of my own clients and I have the subcontract work. So I did get to a point where I need to make a decision.
Right. OK. I love that. So what were you doing leading up to, you said you had only subcontracting work when you started Serve Scale Soar in October, so what were those months like? What were you making October, November and December monthly working as a subcontractor for people working 40 hours a week?
Sure. I was making $2,732 a month.
And you jumped up to $9,000?
I did. I did. I was so excited. I remember being on the Serve Scale Soar, our Facebook group and seeing the post, for your best month ever. And I was like, wait a minute, I completely qualify for this month. And then I did the math and I was like, oh, my goodness. It was a shock.
That's incredible. And I know some of our listeners are like, but I like there's no way I want to work 50 hours a week. And what I want to change, because I know some of them are sitting there like she was working 50 hours a week to make $9,000 in a month. First off, that's not everyone's goal. And you'll probably let us know that you don't have to work 50 hours a week to have a $9,000 month. But people with 9 to 5 that are making that $9,000 a month, which is probably like a very small percentage of people that are doing it, are working more than 50 hours. And you did it on your own terms, in your own house. I know that I would have been like yoga pants and t-shirt status, not full suit on status. So even if anyone's listening to this and they're like, but 50 hours? But holy cow, $9,000 in one month for 50 hours, that's still like incredible, like mind-blowing.
But I know that you had subcontracting work and you let that subcontracting work go in February and dropped down to $6,300, which is still super impressive. So what did February looked like for you and what was your decision to let go? Because it's always scary. I remember when October I let clients go so I could learn Facebook ads. So tell me, what was your thought process when you were like, OK, I need to let these subcontracting clients go.
Sure. This subcontract clients were work I had through a national agency and I worked with them for a year and a half. It was a great experience. And most importantly, it was almost like an education platform for me being a former executive assistant in the corporate world. It really is different skills. It's a lot more traditional with the software project management tools than moving into the virtual space. So I decided that I wanted to just completely have my own clients. So that's from January to February. I wanted to be a purist and just have all my work be my own. While it was challenging to say goodbye to those clients that were subcontracted, but I knew it would free up time and space and and give me the additional time I was looking for. I was already anticipating my daughter giving birth to her first son in March. It happened a month early. So the timing of everything just worked out perfectly and. Having my own three clients, I do have room for more.
So you drop down to just your three clients at sixty three hundred. So you're turning premium prices, which I like. I love that.
I think I am.
Yeah. You're doing good. OK. And then there's always room for growth. So you can always raise those prices.
But I love this. And so how much of your time did you get back when you let go of those subcontractors?
I'm going to say I got back 20 hours a week.
So then in February, were you working about 30 hours per week?
I love that. So and I think that 30 hours. People ask me all the time how many hours a week I work and I honestly don't know. I know when you're on an executive assistant level, you do know a little bit better, like where your time is going. And so I love that you were able to draw down and sometimes like the revenue is great, but it's not worth it if there's things in your life like your daughter having a baby and now you're able to be there for them but still making a full time income, working 30 hours a week is incredible. And now it freed up time for your marketing minute. So once your daughters, you know, the baby is doing well. She's doing well. Now you have all this time for marketing minutes because you're not going to spend 20 hours a week marketing. But you could and that would get you another client to put you right back up in there. And I think there's so much power in us having our own clients instead of subcontracting. But after we had an episode with Brianna, which will link up, just knowing how powerful subcontracting is for confidence levels, because you're working kind of behind like you're not the face, but you get clients and you get to make your skills better, which gives you the confidence to go out and serve your own clients. So can you tell us, like, what was your subcontracting experience like? What didn't you like? What did you learn? I would love to know all of those things.
Sure. I would say overall, my subcontracting time was awesome. And like I mentioned earlier, it I really viewed it as an educational platform for me. It allowed me to have a better understanding of some of the basics. G-suite. When I was a executive assistant in the corporate world's, G suite wasn't as popular. So even though I see G-suite as something that's fairly simple, it's so allowed me to learn that platform and the different apps within G-suite better. Project management tools like a Asana, Trello ClickUp. In the corporate world, we didn't use those. I know the company I worked with didn't use those and I would just feel like my exposure, even if I wasn't necessarily hands on with a particular app or platform or web programs. It still just gave me such a tremendous exposure and my clients were really diverse. I had a client who was V.P. of sales in the craft brewing industry. A CEO of a retail company and then also a CTO of an I.T. company. So it really gave me a diverse portfolio of clients and it helped me hone in on the type of client or industry that I prefer to work with, because I feel like my calling has always been to directly support CEOs. So in my subcontract work in applying for the contents of the contracts, I didn't always know for sure if they were a CEO, they would just say C-suite executive. So it allowed me to see there's that there is a big difference between the CEO and CFO, a COO. They all are C-suite, but really my sweet spot as a CEO.
I love that. You said it was a national agency. And so can you say who it was?
It was Belay Solutions.
Ok. Perfect. Because I know that was going to be someone's question that we were going to e-mail about 'what company?' So, OK. I'm familiar with them. And then I think this is what's so funny is like sometimes when we work in our zone of genius, we're like, oh, it's simple. Like you said that about G Suite. G Suite and I do not get along and I feel like I'm a pretty techy person. But like, I get into Google and I'm like, oh, my God, I hate Google, I hate G Suite. It's not intuitive. But the funny thing is people get into Facebook and they're like, this is not intuitive. Like, I don't know ads manager. And I'm like 'what? You click a few buttons.' And it's just so funny that when we work in our zone of genius, we don't find it difficult. And so I think that's what's so fun about interviewing people with different specialties is we find that we all feel like ours is easy. And we also get hung up on we don't want to charge more because it's easy. But to the person that we're serving, it's not necessarily easy for them. So I love that you just brought up G Suite because this is like a constant struggle with our team. I'm like, I hate G Suite. We have to figure this out. I don't know how to work it. So I just thought that was so funny. But I know the next question is. You had been doing subcontracting work. And so that means that you weren't necessarily have to go out and market yourself all the time. You got three clients from October to January. So how are you finding those clients?
I will say one client was a former subcontracted client and I approached my client. He is a CEO of a company and I explained to him that I've always been an entrepreneur and looking down the road where I saw myself and where I saw my career taking me, it wasn't staying with the National Agency, it wasn't staying with Belay. And that I already had some feet on the ground. I was running with this and that I would love for him to continue forward with me. And if not, I understood. And he said, oh, no, we're not. I'm not gonna let you go. So with with Belay, there is a buyout fee. So I will. I'll be this. I'll give a few details, just about some technicalities. But in that buyout fee and then and also presenting this client with my contract, we agreed we came to a mutual agreement that we would split the buyout fee and dilute that fee over two years. So this contract was signed for two years. And he did choose. I was already providing a full time level of support. So that was just an automatic kind of transfer to my full time package. But for two years, it is a somewhat of a reduced rate just to offset that buyout fee.
Right and this is all the stuff that we don't think about when we do stuff like subcontracting and for you, it's so great because you still have this amazing client. But like this is what I tell people all the time is you have to really if you decide to go into subcontracting, you really have to be willing to read the contract and know 'Does this fit by long term goal or is this a short term solution?' Because a lot of them you can't use your results as case studies, you can't use testimonials. You're restricted by what you can and cannot do. And if a client falls in love with you, you had a buyout fee. But some of them, like you can't contact that person, they can't leave. So I think there is benefits to subcontracting. But I'm in the favor of if you don't have to subcontract, don't subcontract because it gets a little sticky and messy in situations. But I do believe that there's a time and place and we learn so much from these experiences. So I'm not judging people. I want them to make sure, though, that they're reading all the fine prints and really thinking about does this support my long term vision or is this a short term fix?
I agree. It was it was great to just get into the virtual space and I would say that I had probably an easier time than maybe some others in leaving those subcontract clients behinds and just to finish up your question, the other my the other two clients that are 100% mine, those both came from LinkedIn.
I love it. That's what I thought. Because you've been hitting LinkedIn hard. So did this come once you joined Serve Scale Soar and then you went through the LinkedIn Decline Accelerator or were you already marketing on LinkedIn? How did you get into LinkedIn?
I was dabbling with LinkedIn prior to Serve Scale Soar through Abbey Ashley. It was Abbey Ashley's program, the Savvy System. But you have a LinkedIn segment in there. And so that's actually how I first was introduced to you. And I think at that point, LinkedIn still really wasn't making sense to me. I was fumbling around. And then there was a lot more clarity after joining Serve Scale Soar and my LinkedIn connections are still and I think I'm still below 350. It's slow.
No. It's not slow because you got two clients. That is not slow. That is impressive because you could have 500 connections, but no clients in them. So what? You have five hundred connections. But you have 300 connections and two clients. I would not say that slow.
And in the last two weeks, I've had two inquiries on LinkedIn. So I can keep them in my warm lead category. And this past week on Serve Scale Soar, I reached out to the group and I'm looking for referrals just because I'm in a place where it's like, what's my next step? And how do I want to expand? I have an income goal to reach. I'd like to double where I'm at.
I love that.
But I want to be really strategic about how I get there, not rush. There is there's no need to rush now.
Sometimes like a word, noticing this right now in my business, is sometimes we have to slow down to speed up. And that's exactly what I did before. I transition to Facebook ads. We slowed down to speed up. You just did that this month. Our February going from $9,000 to $6,300. You slow down so you can get things in place, systems, so you can speed up. So there's nothing wrong with that. So we will link up some resources, we have an episode Where to Market Your Services. We'll link that up in the show notes. We'll also link up our LinkedIn profile optimization and then also I want to do some final thoughts with you.
So I have loved this conversation so much because we have talked about so many things that we haven't talked about before. Like you just bring such a different story and I have loved it so much. But right now, I want to do some rapid fire. Are you ready for this it up.
Bring it on.
OK. So what is the favorite part of your business?
Supporting CEOs. It's really satisfying.
I love that.
It may seem really broad in general, but that's super satisfying to me.
No, I think when you find the person that you love to serve, serving them becomes like the best thing ever. I feel the same way when I'm in a launch with a client, so I totally get that. I love that. OK, so what is your favorite software tool that you can't live without?
It's not a software tool. It's actually something that's that I can put in my hands. It's my one thing planner.
One thing. Is it based on the book One Thing?
Yes. OK. I've read the book. I did not know they had a planner, so we'll make sure to link that up. That's something different that people never say. So I love that. And so what do you love about this planner? It's a physical planner.
It's a physical planner. It gives me a relationship with my goals. So every morning is we all we we all have goals. And I think it's really important when we get them down in front of us. I know recently you've talked about journaling. So when we get our goals down in front of us and the One Thing Planner is intended to be something that you're looking at every day. So I made a commitment. When I wake up in the morning, instead of grabbing my phone, whatever, whatever else I may grab, I grab my One Thing Planner. And I look over what I've already committed to for that month.
I love that, I love it so much. OK. What is the best conference virtual or in-person you've ever attended?
I don't think I've ever been to a conference at all.
Are you going any this year? Do you plan on going to any.
I don't have any in the books.
That's totally OK. You should go listen to our podcast episode 'Why you should go to conferences'
But I wanted to come to Serve Scale Soar but I was anticipating the birth of my grandson.
So now it's totally fine. Being there with your grandson is way more important than a live event so I totally get that. Ok. So tell me the best piece of business advice you've ever received.
I'm going to say it's from Stephen Covey, to start out with the end in mind.
Oh, I like that. And that kind of goes off of our what I was just talking about with the big picture or short term gain. So I love that. And how does that apply to your business, that quote or how you approach business?
How do I approach it? Well, along with that quote and my one thing planner, you're you're putting in front of you on a regular basis what are my someday goals? What are my five year goals? One year and then breaking it down. So I have an idea of where I'd like to end up. What are the actions I need to take on a daily basis to lead me in the direction and get to that "final destination."
I love that and I love that it's all about taking action. You know how big I am on us taking action. So I love that. Okay, so this is never in the questions we send you but what is your favorite part about being in Serve Scale Soar?
I'm going to say the community.
Everyone always does. And what do you love about the community?
What I love about the community, I personally am more of an introvert personality. So my calendar is not full of external activities and I contend to just kind of pull up and not make an effort to go out and meet people. So Serve Scale Soar provides me with a community of other like-minded females and male. And it's just like this last week I've had about seven chats with some of the other members in the groups and most of them are all Zoom calls. It's just great to have. The people we surround ourselves with, it takes us in a direction or it raises us up. And I feel like all the ladies in the group do that for me.
I love that too much. And all this. It's so funny because I know that there's all these coffee chat Zoom calls that happen. And I think it's so cool that it all comes from a group that didn't know each other beforehand which I think is so freaking cool with the online community that we can have friends that we don't necessarily get to see in real life all the time but we feel like we're best friends with the Serve Scale Soar event about to come up as we're recording this in March. I'm just so excited. I'm like, wait, I haven't met these people in real life, some of them but I feel like we have and it's such a cool experience when we can create those just like coffee dates and making that a priority. So I love that. So thank you so much, Jennifer, for being on the podcast. I want all my listeners to see where they can reach out to you. So where's the best place for them to find more about you?
The best place to find out more about me is my web site www.EliteExecutiveSolutions.com. I'm also on LinkedIn.
I love that. I knew your address I linked to and her LinkedIn profile is really good. So thank you so much for being on here Jennifer. I hope you have a wonderful rest your day.
Thank you, Brandi.
Serve Scale Surf family, you were in for a treat today because I have Jennifer on here and she is an executive assistant and she's dropping so many value bombs. One, we're really digging in to how she went from $2,700 a month to $9,000 in three short months, but then dropped her subcontracting work and went down to $6,300 and why she decided to do that. What it's like working as a subcontractor for a national agency, how she's been able to use the power of LinkedIn to get clients, and how working 50 hours a week was not supporting her goals. She did all this as an executive assistant. So if you are out there like you can't scale as an executive assistant, she is here to show you otherwise. So I'm so excited. Let's go in and jump into this week's episode.
Y'all, that was such a good episode.
Jennifer was so transparent and open with us about what it's like working as a subcontractor and how she was able to make that decision to leave subcontracting behind to support her bigger long term goals. I love that she uses a physical planner and keeps her big visions in front of her every single day. And I just loved her story and her transparency. And I think a lot of us have thought about subcontracting or we've done subcontracting or maybe we have just got to a point where we're making great money, but we need to slow down to speed up. And this episode really dug into all of that. And so I would love for you to reach out to Jennifer and just let her know how freakin incredible she is and how this episode impacted your life. And if you like to meet people like Jennifer and other ones, head to my free training: How to Scale to a Consistent Ten Thousand Dollar Months without Hiring a Team and we'll see you inside the membership. Head to ServescaleSoar.com/10k and check out that free training. But this week I want you to go out, serve your clients, scale your business and soar into that six figure year you deserve.
Subscribe & Review on Apple Podcasts
Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today so you don’t miss any future episodes! I already have so many amazing guests and topics lined up, I would hate for you to miss a single one! Click here to subscribe on Apple Podcasts
Could I ask a big favor? If you are loving the podcast, I would LOVE it if you would leave me a review on Apple Podcasts. I read each and every review. Plus, you get to pay it forward because it will allow other service providers like you to find the podcast! Wondering how to leave a review? Click here to review, then select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review”. So easy and so appreciated!
Brandi Mowles is the host of the Serve Scale Soar podcast which is a podcast dedicated to helping service-based entrepreneurs scale their online business to five-figure months so they can soar into six-figure years. Brandi is a wife, mom and in less than one year, created a six-figure business. Now she is spilling all her secrets so you can too.