The Chicago Journal

Robert Nickell Shares How VAs Make Your Business Better

Starting a new business is exciting—and exhausting too, right? It’s no surprise that many startups don’t have enough revenue coming in each month to hire employees right from the start. When you’re in the planning stages, flying solo may not seem like that big of a deal because you’re certain that your will to succeed will carry you through.

How long did it take for reality to set in? 

Those everyday tasks that are crucial to operations can really bog you down quickly. If your normal work day lasts long into the night, you’ll likely be kissing your social life goodbye until you get things under control. On top of that, if you’re spending all your time trying to man every position, you can’t find any time to focus on scaling your business.

All Work and No Play Wears You Down

You don’t want to get stuck in a rut that you can’t get out of because your business will eventually fail. There’s also the fact that being in a constant state of exhaustion is bad for your health. Moreover, having no time to spend with family and friends plays a negative part in this scenario too because it affects your personal and business relationships and your health as well.

Robert Nickell founded Rocket Station because he found himself in your shoes once. “When I started my first business, it wasn’t long before I was completely overwhelmed. I was so busy trying to keep up with the day to day task management that I couldn’t find enough time to properly focus on scaling my business,” he said.

There was no way the budget included setting up an actual office space and hiring employees, but he knew something had to give. Nickell had heard about other entrepreneurs who began moving forward after hiring virtual assistants to manage day-to-day operations. He knew that was the missing link that he needed to strengthen his company.

Discovering the Process Took Trial and Error

Nickell admits that things didn’t go very smoothly in the beginning. “At first, all I managed to do was create even more work for myself. I hired my VA, handed over the tasks I wanted completed, and because I made sure they had experience in the field, I assumed that would be that—it wasn’t. Things weren’t being done correctly, and so I was still up until the wee hours of the morning fixing the mistakes.”

He didn’t give up on his dream to make virtual assistants work though. He knew it was the key to freeing up his time so that he could grow the business. “I finally realized that just because I made sure my VAs had experience when I hired them, they didn’t know my specific process for completing the work. So I took the time to document exactly what I wanted done and we tried again. It still didn’t hit the mark.”

After several false starts, Robert finally sat down and documented every single step he took to complete a task. And when he says every step of the process, he means everything—to the point of specifying “press enter!” 

Once he did that, he saw things change for the better immediately. It spawned Robert’s idea to start Rocket Station and the company has grown to be a dynamic force in the remote workforce industry.

You Can Soar to New Heights

Nickell believes that any task that can be completed over the phone or on a computer can be handled by virtual assistants. “The rule applies across the board,” Nickell said. “It doesn’t matter what type of industry you’re in. VAs are just as valuable to a real estate investor as they are to an agent working for a larger corporation. The secret to making it work is to get all your processes documented and stored in a place where they are readily accessible.” 

It can take a while to get that process completed, but once it’s finished, Nickell says you’re almost ready to start the hiring process. The first step being to create an ad that includes all the qualities that you’re looking for in the successful candidate. 

Make sure you include the following:

● A detailed list of duties

● The skill set you expect them to possess

● Personality traits that fit your culture

“You want to be very specific when you write your ad because you’ll be far more likely to hire the right person for the job the first time.” Nickell advised. “Business owners understand how costly it is having to train and then re-train someone for the same position. It cuts your profit margin and slows down productivity which is the opposite direction of where you want to be heading.”

He’s right. 

It’s typical for the average company to lose between 1% to 2.5% of their total revenue during the time it takes to hire a new employee and bring them up to speed. If you have to continually repeat the process, it begins to drain your profits pretty quickly.

According to Nickell, you should map out your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) before actually placing your ad too. That’s because managing virtual employees can be a bit of a challenge and you want to be able to define success in a way that promotes growth. 

He explained that your KPIs allow you to communicate more effectively, realize where you need to tweak your process, and your VAs will better perform their tasks. Of course, the fact that you don’t have to incur the expense of providing a physical location is a huge factor in this equation too. 

Until fairly recently, many business owners thought that hiring a virtual assistant to handle simple tasks, such as an email campaign or calendar management, was the extent of their value. That theory has been blown out of the water because the remote workforce continues to grow exponentially—and there’s no end in sight.

Marshon Thomas Holds All the Secrets to Succeed in Business

Serial entrepreneur Marshon Thomas has come a long way in his business career. The business coach started as the owner of a small janitorial service and is now a leading expert in marketing. Along the way, he has built businesses and let them go. Today, Marshon is helping high-tech startups take their business to the next level with the aid of his keen business acumen.

Marshon Thomas works with businesses with a problem in customer service. Often, the problem is so severe it affects their bottom line. Business owners will often lose out on repeat business because their clients are dissatisfied with their products or services. These mistakes are costing them thousands of dollars a month, and often, the business owner is finding it difficult to stay afloat. 

As a business coach, Marshon Thomas has helped several businesses stay afloat and significantly generate more income. Marshon is a pro at helping businesses excel to new heights.

Marshon Thomas has developed a mind for business. As a business coach, his most lucrative trait is his perceptive ability to forecast. As a serial entrepreneur, he knows that the most important thing a business must do to succeed is to predict the next big thing and stay ahead of the competition.

Additionally, Marshon knows how to coach others without being condescending. In his time in the navy, he learned that it is always better to encourage than to discourage, and he has taken this lesson to heart. Marshon has conducted countless training and coaching sessions in the military and civilian world. He is often praised for being a kind and understanding coach.

Marshon Thomas has gained coaching experience in stock trading, social media management, business scaling, and advanced English. He studied the stock market in the late nineties and started investing soon after. He has earned well over six figures in trading and investing. This longtime interest in the stock market has led him to dabble in cryptocurrency recently.

He has coached IT professionals in advanced English to help them reach new heights in their careers as well as Japanese and Chinese students learning English for the first time.

As a social media consultant, Marshon Thomas has worked on many well-known projects, most notably Spike Lee’s Kickstarter project, which raised $1.4 million. His latest project is helping high-tech startup companies scale their business.

Marshon’s fifteen years of serving customers have taught him that their satisfaction is of the utmost importance. Early on in his career, he quickly learned that to be successful in business, one must be perceptive to their customer’s feedback. Marshon would often go out of his way to make sure his customer was satisfied with his service. The entrepreneur learned that every negative experience is an opportunity to learn when it comes to business. 

Marshon Thomas is looking forward to starting his own branding agency in the future. He hopes that his story can inspire every reader to pursue their dreams and become the best they can be and to let go of all the things stopping them from achieving their fullest potential.

Stay up-to-date with Marshon’s career on LinkedIn and IMDb.

Business Coach Shermikia Lemon Is Out on a Mission to Empower Women in Business

Women in business continue to face many obstacles in the field that remains to be male-dominated. But this challenge has only spawned a league of successful businesswomen who have made it their mission to give smaller entrepreneurs a leg up in the industry. Shermikia Lemon is an innovator and expert in business development who has set out to help entrepreneurs reach their goals.

Shermikia is a researcher, learning and development consultant, entrepreneur, and speaker with eight years’ worth of experience consulting for senior-level executives, leaders, and entrepreneurs. Her signature coaching and training programs have taught countless other leaders profitable growth strategies and employee retention strategies, among other things.

Her latest program is Strength in Number$, a comprehensive course for creating, growing, and promoting businesses to their highest potential by helping business owners gain a clear understanding of their prospects’ needs. Strength in Number$ goes over a proven step-by-step process to help pinpoint prospects’ “pain point” so that a business can successfully deliver their offer and generate more revenue. It is the first of its kind to teach online business owners effective ways to grow revenue without losing authenticity. The course is designed for female entrepreneurs and business owners looking to scale or pivot their businesses.

She manages her own coaching and training company, Mediation Solutions Group LLC, which helps organizations with employee retention strategies through leadership, productivity, and workplace conflict programs.

She has developed an on-site training program that highly motivates employees to be more productive to increase bottom-line profit. As a coach, she works with clients individually to help them be more productive and reach their personal goals. Shermikia’s success has lent her the opportunity to speak in front of hundreds of leaders, CEOs, business managers, and executives to deliver her signature presentation. Her hard work and expertise has been well featured on many podcasts and has been seen in Forsyth Woman Magazine, Stars & Stripes (Europe), and HRMAG. She is a regular trainer for the Women’s Resource Center.

Shermikia is also the host of the Peacefully Profitable Podcast, a weekly conversation on discovering one’s passion and turning it into profit, productively balancing life, and finding peace. As a believer in peace and staying true to one’s life journey, her training and resources are always geared toward improving one’s life both mentally and physically.

Shermikia considers herself a multi-passionate business owner who is on a mission to renew strength in women through innovation and inspiration. She was deemed an “executive coach” by Forbes, “boardroom powerhouse” for IBM, JP Morgan Chase, and Duke Energy, and a creative expert by many of her clients. She is often praised for her calm and composed aura.

At a very young age, she knew that she wanted to run a business and be able to serve and help others along the way. She was motivated and empowered by the idea of building legacy, wealth, and freedom on her own terms. She knew that her unique purpose in life was to build a brand that would help others significantly.

Shermikia is confident in her momentum and sees herself and her brand growing to new heights year by year. She aims to become a household name in the business field—one that is often mentioned for the work that she has done for others. She is looking to grow herself an amazing hand-picked team to help continue her business legacy. She aims to reach more and more people through her podcast and social media.Find out more about Shermikia Lemon on her website.