Lea is the voice behind LeaPica.com—she describes herself as a digital marketer and analyst turned data-storytelling evangelist. She's all about the art and science of presenting data so that it empowers and makes an impact. She feels like she's still playing small though, and she's on the cusp of some massive growth. Let's see if I can give her a boost!
Lea was actually on the show all the way back in Episode 347, when she asked me what my podcasting workflow looks like. You can hear more from Lea on her podcast—The Present Beyond Measure Show—and you can find her on LinkedIn and Twitter @LeaPica.
We start off by chatting a little about what Lea does—it's fascinating and super important. She relays her struggles growing her team and getting to the next level, and we dive right in. I suggest hiring an Integrator—otherwise known as an OBM or Project Manager. We talk through some strategies for the future, and Lea wraps up the call with a new, exciting perspective on her next steps.
In this episode I recommend Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters—it's an awesome book that will help you on the way to growing your business to the next level. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
What You'll Learn:
Learn critical strategies for hiring key team members and creating massive growth for your business.
AskPat 1055 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 1055 of AskPat 2.0. What you're about to listen to is a coaching call between myself and an entrepreneur like you and we go over entrepreneur's specific issues, problems, pains, and I dig in and I try to figure out how to help, and hopefully I can help you too along the way. Today we're going to be talking with Lea Pica from LeaPica.com. She is a data storytelling expert. She helps take numbers and data and turn them into things that are actually useful and inspirational and applicable for businesses and presentations and all those sorts of things. It's a really amazing thing and a very great talent to have.
She is trying to figure out how to take her business to the next level. You'll hear where's she at and what she needs help with and I'm going to give her and you a very clear, quick resource that you can use . . . it can literally change the course of your business and it is, in my conversations with business owners over the last couple years, probably the answer for a lot of many people's problems, so make sure you stick around and listen all the way through.
Before we get into the conversation with Lea, I do want to thank today's sponsor which is FreshBooks, an amazing cloud accounting software to help you manage your business finances and as a byproduct remove a lot of the headaches you might have when it comes to organizing the finances of your business. This is everything from keeping track of your invoices and all the income coming in, income going out—they can automatically do that with a connection to any sort of credit cards and those kinds of things so you don't have to keep a manual record, it does it automatically for you.
I really love the invoicing feature of FreshBooks, which allows you to, in less than thirty seconds create a professional looking invoice that you can send out to people who you're billing and you can even keep track of people who, not just who have paid you and who have owed you, but even people who have yet to even open their invoice so you understand how to follow up with them so you can get paid sooner, all those great things. If you want to check out FreshBooks and get a completely free thirty-day trial, all you have to do is go to FreshBooks.com/askpat and just make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.
Awesome, now let's just dive right in. Here's the conversation with Lea. I'm excited to introduce her to you, and let's get started.
Hey Lea, welcome back to AskPat—AskPat 2.0 this time. How are you?
Lea Pica: I'm amazing. Thank you so much for having me, Pat.
Pat: Yeah, absolutely, and having you back because you were on Episode 347 and what some people might not even know is the first 1000 episodes were voicemail questions that came in, and it was my answer and that was it. Now we get to have a real conversation which I'm really excited about. For everybody who doesn't know you or hasn't listened to Episode 347 yet, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Lea: Sure thing. I am the voice behind a site called LeaPica.com. I am a digital marketer and analyst turned data-storytelling evangelist and I train and teach and podcast all about the art and science of presenting data so that your audience doesn't fall asleep, and they might actually be inspired to take action. It helps my practitioners create credibility for themselves in their organizations and helps organizations capitalize on the investigation they make in understanding what's happening in their digital experiences.
Pat: I love that. Is there a specific type of client or person that you have as your avatar or is it anybody and all kinds of data?
Lea: Right, so my avatar is someone who works with digital marketing or analytics data. We build these websites and social media experiences and they create volumes of data that require a really nifty set of skills to go in and understand fundamental questions about whether those experiences are achieving the business objectives for an organization. So the avatar might be a digital analyst inside of a company like Starwood, understanding how bookings are going on the site, or it might be a conversion rate optimization specialist who is helping Fortune 500 brands with their landing page sales. It could also be search marketers. It could be marketers themselves that deal with digital campaigns, but the key is that I've niched down to anyone working with a digital experience.
Pat: Love it, thank you. In your experience before we dive into how I can help you, with all the data in that particular realm, which is obviously of interest to me, that you've analyzed, what are the biggest problems that businesses are having related to data? What should they be looking at and learning about that they are not?
Lea: Oh Pat, this is the question I seek to answer.
Pat: I guess it's different for every company, right?
Lea: You nailed it. Well, it is . . . the questions are going to be different, but the act of asking the question is the common starting point I recommend everyone does, and this is whether it's the analyst or the stakeholder receiving the information. It's, are you starting with an actual question? What is important to you? What would make the company successful this quarter? What are the biggest challenges holding you back in keeping your customers happy and keeping them from leaving?
Oftentimes what I find happens is that in organizations the internet is like a fun plaything, and we launch a website and people want to know, how many visits did we get? But they kind of tend to lose sight . . . that's a fun little gamifiction angle, but what people can really lose sight of—is this experience that we spend all this money building actually moving our company forward, and what are the indicators and pulse checks that we're going to use to make sure it's keeping up it's end of the bargain, essentially.
Pat: Well, thank you for that, I appreciate it, I just want to have a full conversation all about that.
Lea: Time and place.
Pat: But this is about you and so what's on your mind?
Lea: A lot, as an entrepreneur, I'm sure you know. If I had to boil it down, I started my training workshop practice a few years ago with a podcast and blog and I always had a bit of a safety net in terms of a side job. Last year was the first year that I really went solo and I said this is where I'm going to reap what I sow, I'm not going to rely on a safety net, and I really want to start treating this like a business and not like a paid hobby.
I've been really blessed to have a number of high-profile speaking engagements in my industry and I would say that I have a really nice brand going. I love what I do, and every day I still feel like even though I'm scrambling to get all this work done I'm still playing small, and I have this feeling it's because I'm not producing work in a really organized fashion and there isn't a clear structure to what I'm doing every day to how I'm working with some of my resources.
I realized I make a terrible employee, which is why I think entrepreneurship is great for me, but I don't have that accountability the way I'd have a boss typically, for giving me direction on getting the things done that are most important. I hate reinventing the wheel and I look to people like you, the best at what they're doing, but I'd really love to get more insight into having an organizational structure when your business is really starting to reach a tipping point.
Pat: Yeah, tell me, how many people are working with you in your business right now?
Lea: Well, it really varies. I have about ten speaking engagements per year and then between six to twelve workshops per year, and I'm also on the verge of launching a virtual web class so that I can get my content to a much wider audience than just individual companies who would hire me for a private workshop. It could really range. It could range between twenty-five subjects in a year to many, many more if I'm able to get this web class off the ground and market it correctly, which is another topic. But that's kind of my scope right now.
Pat: Gotcha, and then in terms of the people that you employ or that are partners or that you work with for your business, is it just you or do you have other people on your team?
Lea: I have a couple of resources. I have one main virtual assistant who is so amazing, and I'm cognizant that as I'm getting better at wanting to delegate, which is very challenging for me, I'm also cognizant that I might be overwhelming her and I don't want to take her out of her zones of genius. I have another person that I'm trying to establish a sort of more personal assistant role, but I'm having a little bit of trouble really getting into a well-oiled machine position with that. I'm afraid that I'm falling into that super-VA trap, and that's one of the questions I was going to have for you, is how do you evaluate what your ideal team structure would look like when another resource makes sense, essentially?
Pat: Right, and this is a fantastic question. You're at a point in business now where if you were to just continue the way you are doing things, either things are just not going to get done that you want to do, you being a visionary in your brand . . . You are the idea person, you are the let's go get this done, without thought of . . . And this is okay, this is the type of people you and I are, we don't think about all the details and the roadmap and the scheduling and all the little dirty details that we just don't want to think about, because it's not in our DNA, right?
Lea: It's not fun.
Pat: We are relationship people. We are the people who are on camera, who are . . . like if you were to watch the news and you see somebody on camera, you're known for being that person. But however, if you were to zoom in on that person's ear you would notice that there's a little bit of like a little earpiece and there's a person in the back room who's actually directing most of what's going on, what shots are there, what segments are about to happen, and keeping that news person that everybody sees on schedule.
Lea: Of course.
Pat: Do you have a person like that that is helping support with the scheduling and the accountability, or are these team members that you have, like the VAs, they're essential doing work that you delegate but not essentially delegating you?
Lea: I think you're hitting on my struggle. I thought that by having accountability to my VAs, that would keep me relatively on track, but that dynamic right now isn't falling into place the way I'd hoped. In terms of coaching, I worked with a couple of coaching programs. I worked with the Videofruit Elite team over at Bryan Harris's group, got some great stuff there but it didn't continue, and now I've joined Grant Baldwin's Speaker Lab, which has propelled me in terms of systematizing my speaking business.
I think what you are talking about . . . this is something I was pondering where I Googled “rent-a-boss,” which sounds ridiculous, but I found a company, I don't know that they're taking new customers, but I found a company called Boss As a Service, and they seemed to describe exactly what people like me need, where there is someone who takes our goals and our objectives and they hold us accountable to them, possibly with financial punishment if you don't finish it.
Lea: I've just been pondering all these different options, but I don't know if the simplest answer is just a business coach, and I guess I don't know where to start there, so I'll let you—
Pat: You know, a business coach would be somebody who is more like an advisor. They are going to have conversations like I'm having with you now which are here's what's working, tell me what's going on, and here are my suggestions.
Lea: Got it.
Pat: You need an Integrator. Have you heard of that term recently? Integrator?
Lea: Integrator? I mean, I use integrate, but never in that context.
Pat: These kinds of people have been around for a while, but for whatever the reason the hot keyword nowadays is called an Integrator. There's a book that was recently published called Rocket Fuel, which I would highly recommend, because when you read this the first chapter is, “Okay, let's see what kind of person you are. Are you a visionary or are you an integrator?” And when you read the visionary part you're going to be like, “This is totally me and these are totally my superpowers but also these are totally my weaknesses.” [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
This book is for people like you who are at this point in their business where you've done all the work to get it to where you're at yourself. You've hired a few people to help you along the way, but now you need the person to be that earbud in your ear to direct the big visions that you have in your business and to lay out the roadmap for that and to be an honest approach to that versus . . .
You are just like me, Lea. In 2013 my head was going crazy. I was getting overwhelmed. I had all these big plans and no idea how to do them because it's not in my DNA to get into that detail. So I found Matt, who is my Integrator, also known as an OBM, which is an Online Business Manager, sometimes also known as a project manager, who then is the person who will talk to your VAs, who takes care of the communications with them, who puts out fires before you even know they exist. You can then remain as the person who is going to conferences and speaking, who is building those relationships with other people, who is the big idea thinker, and the integrator is the, “Okay, that's what you want to do? Let me lay out a plan for how we're going to do it and I'll tell you what our constraints are and how much it's going to cost.”
To me, I was like, “There are people actually out there in this world who like that?”
Lea: You're blowing my mind right now, Pat. I had no idea this even existed.
Pat: Yes, it does. Rocket Fuel is the book, and this has been something that over the last year I've just noticed in conversations with many up-and-coming business owners and entrepreneurs, that's the answer and that's what they need. I have a couple students of mine, Azul and Steve, who are in my Accelerator Program who just recently hired their first integrator. It was a scary thing because number one, having done business all on your own for so long, it's a very scary thing to hand off a lot of those important decisions to somebody else, number one. I don't know if you're like me; I'm just like, “But this is my baby, I don't trust anybody with it.”
Lea: I'm like white knuckle right now even thinking about it.
Pat: Right, and you can work on this . . . it doesn't have to be a full-fledged, “Okay, here's everything, go.” It could be “Okay, here's the first project I want to run. I want to run this web class. This is how we're going to do it, how I want it done, and now you help me put it together.”
Pat: Can you imagine what it would be like to have that conversation and then this person then lays out the plan and then comes back to you, Lea, and goes, “Okay, we've got it laid out. It's going to take maybe two and half a months if you want this launch date that you said. We could push that back if you want, but by these dates I need this number of videos from you, I need you to make a decision on which web platform that we're going to use for our classes. Here are three that I found and here's my top recommendation. Can I trust you to film these videos by this time and then I'll have it integrated in? Or I'll have the VA put it into the course for us.” That's the kind of work that they do.
Lea: I mean, I'm feeling crazy electricity going through my body because I'm feeling this wave of relief that these are all decisions that . . . I'm a technical person as an analyst, so sometimes I like messing around with webinar jam, but other times I'm like, this is not what I should be spending my time on. I need to be getting more posts out, I need to be doing more lives and—
Pat: Yeah, getting on stage.
Lea: Yes, exactly, so this is blowing my mind for sure.
Pat: This book will tell you how to find an integrator, what their qualities are, how to work with them, because it's tough. I mean, they're often called the bearer of bad news, the integrators, to us entrepreneurs, which Matt is that to me a lot. More so not a bearer of bad news like, “Oh, we had a launch and it failed,” but more so, “Pat, we can't do that in this amount of time. There's no way we could do that,” or “We're going to have to spend a lot more money than you think. Here's the real truth behind this.”
Lea: They're the realists.
Pat: The realists, yes.
Lea: Which us optimistic . . . I'm like, a realistic entrepreneur, but even I get caught up in my ideals and that grounding I think could be so invaluable. So I—
Pat: Right, and like I said, you can work with them on a small project first or at least help you to determine what the plan might be, just to see if there's a fit, and then you can execute with that person too.
Lea: Maybe the book details this, but it might be valuable for people to hear it: Was there an appropriate tipping point that it helped you find, where you said . . . because I'm spending money on building funnels and launching this class and my VAs, and of course it's not nearly as much as what I'm earning, that wouldn't work, but I am cognizant of how much I'm spending with regards to earning, and was there an opportunity cross-point that made sense for you?
Pat: It was less related to money and more related to time, and for me a lot of the work that I was doing back in 2013 to get certain coursework and other things together, I was just like, “This is a complete waste of my time. I know I need to do it, but I shouldn't be doing this anymore. I am not where I was in 2008 as the solo, scrappy entrepreneur. I have to grow up now.”
Lea: Yes. That's what I want this to do. I want this business to grow up.
Pat: Right, and I think if you . . . Perhaps you don't want to spend money right now on an Integrator, you have things in place that are helping to supplement what an integrator may cost, in which case it might mean removing a lot of the projects that you have in front of you and focusing on the one that you know is going to work or that you have the most energy for, which may very well be the web class, but it could be these workshops. You could have the workshops be something that supplements that or what have you, but I really do think that you're at that point in business where an integrator or somebody like that would make sense. You don't have to hire them full time. They could also be contracted for a period of time. They can at least lay out the plan and the roadmap for you to then execute if you just wanted to work with them on a minimal basis.
We aren't superhuman, and we have our own special DNA, but in order for our business to be at this level now doesn't just require support from our DNA. We need the DNA of others that are in the weeds in the day-to-day who enjoy the day-to-day and those kinds of things. That's the answer. That's exactly what you need.
Lea: Pat, I'm so glad that you're saying this because I have to admit when I've looked at other entrepreneurs like you or Grant or John Lee Dumas, I'm sure there are folks out there with more discipline than I've been able to instill into my business and I'm sure there are less, and for me I've compared myself to the ones that seem to just be these machines that never stop, where the day is penciled out in this militant fashion and there's not a beat ever missed. I've really been hard on myself because I have just felt like maybe there was a severe quality lacking in that because I just want to write and speak all day and connect with my audience.
Pat: You're built for that. I mean, I would take a bird's eye perspective on your business and go, “What would it take for me to just do those things? Maybe it won't get there right away, but how can I at least put myself in a direction to go there?” And first of all, none of us are machines, except maybe John Lee Dumas is.
Lea: I know, maybe.
Pat: Maybe he is, and he does come from a military background so he has that work ethic. But I know I don't, and I definitely wouldn't be here doing what I'm doing, creating what I'm creating, publishing what I'm publishing without Matt and then the team that he has actually helped to influence, that we hired. Because when I have new projects, for example a new podcast, I go to him and I go, “All right, I want to have this new podcast called AskPat come out,” and he tells me straight up, “There's no way we can do this unless we hire somebody to help.” Then I hired somebody to help and it blew up and it did very well.
They're able to see things we can't because we are way too in the clouds. Which is good, we're in the clouds and we're reaching high, but we need that other person on the ground.
Lea: And we're so emotionally close to our own vision. It's our baby.
Pat: For sure, for sure, but it's also great when you can find somebody who does that kind of work for you who also believes in the mission, who also believes in what you do versus . . . typically VAs will be just like, “Okay, you tell me what to do and I'll do it. I really have no emotional connection to what you're doing.”
Lea: Right, and I think I've been lucky in that my VA is uniquely very passionate about what I do.
Pat: Oh, that's awesome.
Lea: Which, that makes us really aligned, and she's still in that role of taking on work that I'm requesting, but what you're talking about is what I'm hoping, is that it would help enforce a really defined structure day to day that I can eventually get into a groove the way I did when I was working for corporate for twelve years. That was a groove that I kind of lost when I went solo.
Pat: Yeah, let's get back there.
Lea: Yeah, almost.
Pat: How are you feeling after all this?
Lea: Pat, I feel like this was the answer I was looking for. I can't believe it was that easy.
Pat: Well, Rocket Fuel is on Audible and it is a pretty short listen. It's four hours and I listened on one and a half speed so it could be even less, and just in a day you'll have more of the info related to what you might need. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
Lea: That's incredible. Game changing.
Pat: Cool. Well, where can people go to find out more about you and all the great things you have going on, Lea?
Lea: Sure, so my main website is LeaPica.com, but if you'd like to catch my podcast I'm at LeaPica.com/podcast, it's called The Present Beyond Measure Show. I have a presence on LinkedIn and Twitter. I'm always @LeaPica, very easy to find.
Pat: Lea Pica.
Pat: Awesome. Thank you, Lea. I appreciate you. Good luck and we'll connect soon and perhaps have you back on to tell us how everything goes.
Lea: Sure, and would it be possible for me to say something really quick in closing?
Pat: Yes, and obviously I can always edit it out if it's bad. But no, I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding. We'll keep it in.
Lea: Oh wait, never mind.
Pat: I trust you. I trust you.
Lea: No, I mean, I just want to take a minute to say, Pat, I want to speak for the hundred of thousands or even millions of people that your work has touched. I know that you receive accolades pretty much everywhere you go, but I don't know that you realize that you help people create their dreams and bring them to life, and the way you do it is from such a sincere place of service and that's something I'm really in awe of and I want to emulate. On behalf of all of us, I want to thank you so much, Pat.
Pat: Thank you, Lea, that's . . . man. Before I cry, just thank you, you're amazing. I appreciate that. I'm here to serve. The world always has this amazing way of paying me back for being as helpful as I can, so I'm just going to continue to do that.
Lea: That's well said.
Pat: Thank you, Lea. I appreciate you. Take care.
Lea: Of course. You too.
Pat: All right, I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Lea. You can find her, again at LeaPica.com, and again that tool and resource, the book that I mentioned which I just actually finished re-listening to, is called Rocket Fuel. You've got to check out Rocket Fuel. We'll have links in the show notes. You can also go to AskPat.com/rocketfuel if you'd like to check that out through my affiliate link, so I do get a commission if you go through that, if you buy through Amazon, and I just want to wish you all the best of luck. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
Lea, again, thank you so much for your time and your authenticity and for what you do. You are a unique person in the world of business who can take a lot of this data that we come up with or have or have access to and turn it into something useful and exciting, that especially speaks to analysts and marketers and such. Thank you so much for that. Thank you all for listening. I appreciate you, Team Flynn. You're amazing.
If you want to have your chance at getting featured here on the show just like Lea today and have me coach you through a process and answer questions for you, let's make it happen. It can only happen if you apply through AskPat.com. There's an application button there and unfortunately I cannot pick everybody, but obviously I won't pick you if you don't actually give yourself a chance. So AskPat.com, put in your application there. I may select you. I'll reach out to you when it makes sense, if it makes sense, and we'll just take it from there.
So again, Team Flynn, you're amazing. Thank you. Until the next episode, just keep crushing it. I appreciate you. Team Flynn for the win. Bye.
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