How many times have you felt or said “I don’t have time for ____ ”?
The honest answer is “more times than I can count”, if you’re anything like who I was! I’ve worked to heal my once toxic relationship trying to “manage time” and have redefined T.I.M.E. in a way that’s allowed me to become way more present & productive professionally AND personally.
Today, you get to meet a PARKer that has been instrumental in giving me MORE TIME to do what I love & shows how you can too!
Connect on Instagram @RomaineBPalmer
Hi PARKer, this is Marly Q and welcome to Episode 22 with Romaine Brown-Palmer. I can hardly believe we're nearing the end of August. In just a few days, I'm doing with baby number two, and I'll be taking a few months off. But don't you worry, you can still count on making Time to be Kind every Wednesday because my husband, Bert, and I have been dedicating a lot of time behind the scenes to make sure we bring you inspiring interviews each week.
I'm making the time to B.R.A.G. (yep, that's an acronym for Be Real And Grateful), because we've got a stellar line up of episodes already recorded, edited and in cue practically for the rest of the year, and that's worthy of a moment to brag, right?!
And that's what today's episode is all about, I get to BRAG about my team and how I've redefined T.I.M.E. management. Here's a hint, TIME is another acronym. J
So, without further ado, our guest today is Romaine Brown-Palmer, she's the founder of the Executive Administrative Group, a boutique, virtual support and project management firm based in South Florida. She's also a small business administrative consultant and a coach for Virtual Assistants nationwide, and she recently launched a merchandise line for digital entrepreneurs, which I love called Black Shirt, White Letters. In her VA business, Romaine and her awesome team of four work with coaches, event planners and solo entrepreneurs, like me, to help them better manage their time by streamlining their business through the power of delegation.
So, if learning how to better manage your time is a topic that interests you, sit back, relax and enjoy this timely interview.
I am so excited to have my executive admin, my friend, my PARKer for over five years on the show, Romaine Brown-Palmer, thank you so much for making the Time to be Kind!
[02:06] Romaine: I mean, it's my honor, I'm so excited. When I got the request, I was just like, "Yes, yes, yes.", so yes, this is amazing. Thank you.
[02:16] Marly Q: Yes, yes, yes, I love that. You know, you are someone that's just so incredibly special to me in so many different ways. Personally, you are just such an emotional support and such a great friend but professionally, you have just been like my jackpot, my savior in business with the incredible work that you do behind the scenes to help me manage my event business, my speaking and even my teaching and my coaching business as it was launching as well, you helped me launch all of that behind the scenes as my executive admin. Thank you.
[02:55] Romaine: Thank you. I love that jackpot; I'm going to add that to the list of nicknames.
[02:59] Marly Q: Yeah, you've got several really good nicknames, don't you?
Queen of Logistics, The Brain! You've got a wonderful slew of really well earned, well-deserved nicknames, because you are truly a magician of orchestrating details behind the scene to allow business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, event planners, just people that are out there basically solo-preneuring, allowing them to be more efficient and be more productive in their businesses. And you have definitely helped me do that as of the last, little over five years or so that we've been working together, is that right?
[03:40] Romaine: Yeah, that took-- that flew by, that really did. And so yeah, it's been incredible to also be able to support the growth, right? So, it's like, one of the benefits of working with our support team is that, it allows you the flexibility to flex your wings like, be like, "I can do this because I know he or she has my back.", so, I love that.
[04:03] Marly Q: Yes, and have my back you do. You know, backtracking for our PARKers listening at that point in my life, this is probably 2014 I believe, I had the mindset of, "I can't afford to hire a VA or a virtual assistant, I can't afford that.", you know? But I wanted to reach out to you and have you on my team so badly, and I just kind of blocked myself from having that opportunity. And now, fast forward, you know, five, six years later, I can't NOT afford to have you on my team, you are just such an important and key piece of anything, any project that I take on. I'm immediately thinking, "Wow, Romaine would just be a wizard in being able to handle this logistically behind the scenes.", keeping everything on track and your team, right? That you manage. So, would you mind sharing, you know, with us a little bit more about what you do, because it's so valuable and I think that there's a lot of people that can relate, if they're business owners or solo-preneurs listening, that mindset of you know, "I can't afford to hire a virtual assistant to help me.".
[05:07] Romaine: Yeah. So, what I tell people, because in addition to the work that I do with my virtual assistant agency, as you mentioned, I have the team. I also work with solo entrepreneurs to help them like, map out system and figure out the back end so that, those relationships when they're ready to engage are successful. And one of the first things that always come up is, you know, "I don't think I can afford a VA right now, but I want to be ready for when the time is.", and I think it's like this big thing in your head, like, "Oh, it has to be all in.", and you immediately think it has to be this big retainer, where it's 40 hours a month, or 50 hours a month. And what I tell people is, exactly what you said, you may feel like you can't afford a virtual assistant but in reality, you cannot not afford a virtual assistant because you cannot afford to not have that support in your business. And you're actually probably losing business because of there's so many things that, as a business owner, you shouldn't have to touch and because you're touching it and you're not doing it in the way that is serving yourself or serving your community or serving like, I even had a conversation with someone today about the invoicing conversation, and how awkward it can be as a business owner to try and do collections, right? You've developed this relationship with people, and they are excited to be working with you, but something comes up financially and now, you have to be the one to say, "Hey, this invoice didn't get paid.", and it becomes awkward and then, it intrudes on the working relationship and the creative relationship that you have with them. And so, having somebody else handle that will allow you to one, release not having to worry about collections and all that good stuff but also create a lovely barrier where you're able to stay in your zone of genius, versus handling administrative tasks.
One thing I could tell some people and just walk away with is, imagine what you could create in your business if you were allowed to stay 100%, solely in your zone of genius. Like, if you could only focus on why you went into business, what would you be able to do? What would the next two months look like? What would the next three months? What would the next year look like? Right? So many people I know, they're interested in launching something, and it just stays on their wish list or stays on their vision board forever, because they can never find enough time, enough mental bandwidth to get it done. And so, that's what you're paying for when you hire someone to help support you in bringing your vision to life. It's taking away the limitations of time, duplicating your efforts, giving your clients more than what they expected, right? Because that's always the goal with customer service is, making sure that your clients are over the moon excited and you're building an incredible trust bank for them so that, you know, in case something happens, they're like, "Listen, you're amazing 99.9% of the time.", so, if 1% something happens, your trust bank is full. But when you're trying to do everything by yourself, you deplete that trust bank so quickly because you slip up and things are not consistent and one person that was referred gets one experience of you and then the other person gets a completely different experience of you because you're trying to recreate the wheel every time. You may feel like you can't afford to hire support but if you're providing a service, if you're providing anything in business, you can't afford to not have support because there's literally not one business in the entire world that can operate without administration.
[08:51] Marly Q: Absolutely. And the right support and the right team, that's something else that I love about you and your business executive admin group is, you know, there's a lot of different kinds of VAs, right? So, it's getting the right team. And by working with you, I realize I've got access to all the right people that I need to free me up of the time, like you said, of things that sure I could do, of course I can send out my own invoicing, of course I can send out my own email blast, of course I can draft content for, you know, a campaign or whatnot, of course, I can create that Excel spreadsheet to keep track of you know, x, y, and z, is that the best use of my time as the CEO of my company? Is that the best use of my mental space and my energy? And is that taking away from the experience that I'm trying to create and the relationship that I'm nurturing with my client, right? Like, I feel like that's the gift, big gift that you give is, the gift of time and energy and the right support system.
[9:55] Romaine: Yeah, you're absolutely right. I tell people, you could even start small.
What are the top three things in your business that are causing you the most headache and eating up the most time?
You can delegate just that and grow organically into those relationships. So, if you're like, "Okay, my emails and my invoicing are driving me crazy and it's sucking up 10 hours a week.", you can find a virtual assistant that you can pay, you know, a generalist VA $15-$20 an hour to manage that. And now, you have 10 extra hours to work on business development, you have 10 extra hours to work on being creative, if you're a coach, that's content time, right? Can you imagine as a coach having 10 extra hours to focus on creating bomb content that everybody is just-- that's going to bring more revenue and more people to you? But you're spending that time, you know, checking emails?
[10:52] Marly Q: Checking emails, exactly. No, no. So, here, today's episode we are talking about I mean, you're the guru of “time management”. You know, I actually don't even believe in time management as a concept, because I don't even believe that time anymore is even real, after becoming a mom, I'm like, "What is this funny thing we call time? What is this time?".
The only time is now, what's happening in this moment is the only thing that actually matters and is actually happening.
And coming from a planner, that took me a very long time to realize and to--
[11:27] Romaine: That's a big relief.
[11:29] Marly Q: Yeah, big one. So much so that you know, I love acronyms as an acronomist over here, lover of--
[11:36] Romaine: I love that, I'm going to make you a T shirt that says, "I'm an acronomist".
[11:42] Marly Q: A professional, serial acronomist, I would love that.
But you know, TIME to me, stands for This Is My Experience, and what I feel that you have given me so much of, is the ability, the “time” if you will, to experience the actual parts of my business that I love...
... you have been able to give me my time back so that I can focus on serving my client, keeping my relationships healthy, focus on the content that I want to deliver, focus on my next project and not on you know, not that they're not important tasks, but just the administrative tasks that were sucking up my time and my energy and the experience, you know, of burning out! I wanted to stop that experience of burning out. So, I consider you to be the real time manager as far as managing your experience. I know that you are a self-professed weekender, right?
[12:40] Romaine: I'm a professional weekender. And so, in order to do that, I have to make sure that I get all my work done every week. And you know, at our highest point, I think we had 14 clients, and none of our clients felt that way, right? And I think that's another challenge that a lot of people have with wanting to hire a virtual assistant is, feeling like, "Oh, I want them when I want, like, I want to be able to text or slack or whatever and have them available to me full time.". But the reality is, if you're working with a really good VA, who knows kind of like what you're talking about with time management, who knows how to properly manage their time and time block, you will be able to get what you need done and release that frantic mess around, "I need this and I need this now.", right? Because you guys will work together to prepare things well in advance and they will be sending you things in advance to give you peace of mind that things are being taken care of. There's so many benefits to having the type of support, especially if you're in a digital business, especially if you're a solo entrepreneur, that can help you level up and behave as if you're a fortune 500 company.
VAs bring so much to the table, beyond just the granular day to day tasks, you have great VAs that specifically only do funnels and work with people in funnels or only do social media management. I think it's just educating yourself on, "Hey, what do I really need? And let me find someone within my niche, within my budget and within my wheelhouse of the things that I need.", to really just propel you to that next level, and just making sure that person can grow organically with you. When we started working together, Marly, we started working together specifically on, I think it was just like one event, like we just did one event that we did every year. And we've been able to grow exponentially from that one event.
But we didn't say, "Oh, let's not work together.", just because you couldn't have me do every single event that you were a part of, or every single business venture that you were a part of. We started with one and then got comfortable, you were able to free up time and space, which was able to help you bring in more opportunities. And so, it really is a mutually beneficial relationship and that's what it can be for everyone, knowing that whoever you bring into your company, especially since they're a contractor and not an employee, as your business grows, it's in their best interest so they can grow organically with you. No one wants to be out there searching for clients every 5 minutes. So, if your business does well, and you're able to give them more hours and to give them more within their scope of work, the two of you are just going to be able to take over the world. It's going to be phenomenal. So yes, big believer, time.
[15:32] Marly Q: Yes, yes, I am a big believer in your T.I.M.E. Management skills, which is why I wanted to have you on the show, on the podcast, just really to thank you and to express gratitude and to celebrate and BRAG (Be Real And Grateful) about how am I able to -
I get asked that question, "Marly, but you know, you always seem to be like, all over the place, you have so many events and you're a speaker too. And you're a yoga teacher also? And you just launched an online course? And you did a TED talk? And how are you doing everything"?!
Well, let me introduce you to Romaine Brown-Palmer and the Executive Admin Group and you should reach out to her. And I will make sure to include all your links and your Instagram in our show notes for people to connect with you and just reach out because I do think that there's a lot of people who are in their own way of their own growth in their business, out of fear that they can't afford it or that they, you know, don't think that a VA will be able to, you know, do the work as good as them and all these other things where--
[16:35] Romaine: We had that conversation with someone today, and by the end of the conversation, she was just like, "Ah.", you know, I ended up saying to her, I was just like, "I understand you're not ready for--", because like I said, there's levels of virtual assistant and so, we fall into the executive and project management level and that may not be in everyone's budget. However, the first thing that we're doing together is sitting down and doing what's called a freedom think session and the freedom think session is where we're going to prepare her for everything that she needs. So, you know, there's four systems that you need as a digital entrepreneur, right? And she only had two of those in place so, yeah, what would end up happening is, you go to hire a virtual assistant and then the relationship crumbles because your back-end systems are not ready. And so, instead of being able to dive in and give you the space and time that you're looking for, they're diving in and having to create everything in your business from scratch. So, we're going to be preparing her and I'm looking-- I'm so looking forward to that session, we're going to be able to prepare her. And that's one of the things that, you don't even know that that's the pre work that needs to happen sometimes, it's just, have somebody lock you in a room for four hours, a virtual or physical room and make you work on the back-end systems of your business, get it out of your head so that other people can do it just as amazing as you can, because it's not just existing as this process in your head.
[18:00] Marly Q: Oh, yeah. And you're just such a magical wizard at that. I know that we've sat down and you know, there's a course that I just released recently called B.E.S.T. Way to Stress Less™, this pandemic kind of inspired me to work on that course first, but you and I had a freedom think session and you forced me to sit down and get a whole lot out of my brain for another course and a product that I wanted to share called Event in a Box, which will be coming to you soon. So, if you're out there wanting to plan an event, Miss Romaine Brown-Palmer helped me with one of these Freedom Think Sessions to actually get all the information out of my brain and be able to organize an outline and, "Here's what you need. And here are the deadlines.", and just organize your life for you, just give you time.
[18:45] Romaine: By the end of that, I was just like, "Seriously? All this brilliance just sitting in your head?".
[18:50] Marly Q: For years.
[18:51] Romaine: So, we pulled all of that out, and I'm so excited for that as well. Like, I can't even tell you, but--
[18:59] Marly Q: It'll be coming soon.
[19:01] Romaine: Yeah, but it's, you know, you tell people all the time, all the things that you know, and all the things that you're able to bring to the table but when you sit down with someone, and you pull out what they know, and you look at it and you're just like, you get goose bumps because you're just like, "How does this one person possess all this knowledge and it's not getting to anyone simply because … time?".
[19:24] Marly Q: Time … and some people just don't know how to go from concept, you know, to fruition and you just bridge that gap so wonderfully, so seamlessly, it looks so effortless for you, and I know it takes a lot of effort and you're just so great at it. So, I'm eternally grateful for you, to have you on the team and for your team to be on my team, who is an extension of you. And you know, I am really looking forward to, before we wrap up this conversation, I will not gloss over the fact that on top of you having your virtual assistant business, you're also helping other VAs launch their businesses and you also have your own merchandise line. So, when you were saying that you're going to create a t-shirt for me, you mean it because you have a t-shirt line too! Tell us about that.
[20:07] Romaine: Yes, I have a t-shirt line called Black Shirt, White Letters, and it's really for virtual assistants and virtual entrepreneurs, just empowering t-shirts that say either fun or funny, like my goal with anything that I do is the three E's, right? Oh, look, I have one too.
The three E's are, Educate, Empower, Entertain, right?
Educate you in any way that I can, Empower you to make decisions, empower you with time, empower you with freedom, and Entertain, at the very least, like, let's make it funny, let's have some fun with it!
So, that's exactly what I do with the T shirt line, it's kind of a manifestation of my personal mantra. So, it allows everyone to wear things that you know, speak to them and who they are. And then, we also are launching, we do this quarterly, where we do, what I call the be spoke, where you're able to request by emailing email@example.com, you're able to request what you want on a t-shirt and we throw it up there and you're able to order it in the Black Shirt, White Letters style. So, if you want to put your mantra that says,
"I am Kindness", I'll put that on a shirt in the Black Shirt, White Letters style, and you can order it and have it delivered directly to you. But yeah, I like to have fun with everything that I do, and that's like a, whenever I need a creative outlet, and I'm like, "I need to design a t-shirt."!
[21:40] Marly Q: Yeah, you are definitely a creator and so much fun! And it's awesome to have you a part of any team, any project that you're ever a part of, I know that there's always going to be like you said, your three E's, your Education, your Empowerment, and the Entertainment. We always have a great time. I know that we have so much more that we can share, you are just a resource filled with all those three E's. So, I will make sure to include your Instagram handle and your links to your merchandise line and people want to connect with you personally about exploring virtual assistance, I will include all of that in the show notes for sure so that people can connect with the awesomeness that is Romaine Brown-Palmer.
[22:25] Romaine: Love it, thank you so much. I truly appreciate having the opportunity to be here, and to be a part of all the magic, and I look forward to helping other people explore their magic and focus on their magic as well.
[22:42] Marly Q: Thank you so much for making the Time to be Kind, always. Thank you.
[22:47] Outro: I really hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as we did. Romaine is truly a PARKer who is passionate about helping people, she's the real deal when it comes to T.I.M.E. (This Is My Experience) Management, and she gives me all the support, peace of mind and freedom that I need to focus on doing what I love and furthering my mission to spread kindness worldwide.
When she's not making magic happen in other people's businesses, she loves spending quality time with her husband and daughter as a professional weekender. How does she do it? Well, lucky for you, you can connect with Romaine and her brain and get free access to her time management advice, finding all of her links over on this episode's show notes and transcription page at marlyq.com/22.
[23:28] Thank you for listening. If you're inspired to make a little more time to be kind, please subscribe, leave a kind review and share with a friend who would appreciate this podcast too. Thank you for being the spark of kindness. See you next time. [23:45]