How To Build A Successful Business Around A Thriving Life

About the show:

The Agency Spark Podcast, hosted by Sara Nay, is a collection of short-form interviews from thought leaders in the marketing consultancy and agency space. Each episode focuses on a single topic with actionable insights you can apply today.

About this episode:

In this episode of the Agency Spark Podcast, Sara talks with Nicole Bandes on how to build a successful business around a thriving life.

After losing her 17 year old son, Nicole Bandes discovered her purpose: encourage others to make time for what matters most.

In 2017, Nicole founded Virtual A Team, a virtual services agency helping overwhelmed coaches and consultants who want to define success by the wealth of their lives, not the size of their bank accounts.

Nicole now walks the walk working less than 20 hours a week and also hosts the Coach’s Copilot: Your Online Business Manager podcast.

Key topics:

  • Setting up your business to better align with your intentions and life goals
  • How established businesses can reorganize to allow better work/life balance
  • Why outsourcing tasks doesn’t end up saving you much if any time at all

More from Nicole Bandes:


Sara Nay (00:00): Welcome to the agency spark podcast.

Sara Nay (00:22): This is your host, Sarah nay. And today I have Nicole bandes after losing her 17 year old son, Nicole discovered her purpose, encourage others to make time for what matters the most. In 2017, she founded virtual a team, a virtual services agency, helping overwhelmed coaches and consultants who want to define success by the wealth of their lives. Not by the size of their bank accounts. Nicole now walks the walk working less than 20 hours a week, and also hosts the coaches. Co-pilot your online business manager podcast. So welcome to show Nicole,

Nicole Bandes (00:59): Hey, how are you?

Sara Nay (01:00): I'm doing great. I'm excited to, to have you here. And before we started recording today, we were doing a little discussion and you just mentioned, you just got back from a six week vacation. And so the topic that we are gonna talk about and dive in today, I think is absolutely relevant to the fact that you just got back from a six week vacation. And so I wanna hear more from you because I know you, you talk a lot about this and help people do. This is the fact that you believe that people can build a successful business around an amazing life. And here is how so Nicole, the show is yours. Let's hear it.

Nicole Bandes (01:35): Yeah. I love this topic because I think many of us begin to believe that success is defined by the size of our bank account. And we often forget that at the end of the day, you can't take that with you. So what matters more to me is building a life of your dreams today and not waiting until you can retire. And for many people that might be being able to work more on building and growing their business. But if you can build and grow a business that allows you to spend more time building and growing your business, isn't that still a win-win. So that idea of saying, put your life first and build a business that works around that because tomorrow's not guaranteed. And I don't, I don't wanna go into huge detail about it, but for me, my husband and I lost our son in 2013.

Nicole Bandes (02:34): And that's that moment that I realized that life truly is not guaranteed. And I would much rather spend my time being with family and friends than building and growing my business. But at the same time, I still wanna build and grow a business. So how do we do that? How do we build a business around a thriving life? And I would say that the first thing that you need to do is set that intention because intention is everything. We don't start out building a coaching practice and thinking, you know what? I don't wanna be attached to working a ton of hours every day. I wanna build something that I can take time off, whether it's a one week vacation or a six week vacation. Yeah. But when you set the intention from day one, that this is gonna be something that you want to do in your business.

Nicole Bandes (03:26): Then the decisions that you make focus on that you will decide to create systems that are duplicatable in your business so that you can hand those off to team members that you bring on board. You will look to hiring and outsourcing certain tasks sooner, rather than later, you're gonna create more evergreen products in your business and things that exist and bring in income. Even if you are not there to be providing the actual service. And again, it doesn't mean that you can't provide services. I know a lot of coaches are like, I wanna scale my business, but I still wanna work one on one with clients. You can totally do that, but you can do more of it when you are building a business that works around your life. Yeah. From there, when you create that intention, you begin to build the systems. You begin to create programs.

Nicole Bandes (04:26): Then it's really about where do you bring on team? Who do you hire first? And this is gonna vary greatly. But one of, one of the common myths is that you need to hire a VA first and a virtual assistant is that person that's going to be able to complete tasks for you. Uh, but a lot of times when you're in that business mode of growing and scaling, you're not quite yet ready because you don't have the systems in place for those tasks. You don't have repeatable processes that you can hand off and really repeatable things are where VAs are gonna shine for you. If you need help creating those systems, if you need help with more strategy, then a VA might not be the first person for you to hire first. And then you might look at hiring an expert around strategy or an expert to help you create your landing pages or your marketing.

Nicole Bandes (05:27): I know there's a lot of listeners on here that do a lot of those kind of strategy calls and that kind of thing. Or it might be to hire an online or a virtual business manager that you can say, here's my big vision. Now help me implement that. Another term for these is often a, an implementer or an integrator. And these are the people that are gonna be your right hand in your business so that you don't have to have all the answers. You don't have to know how to create an email funnel or how to go out and find a copywriter or a graphic designer. They're gonna help you with all of these things. Yeah. And when you begin to bring these roles into your business, then your business can function without you. And you get to that point where for me on this last six week trip, the role that was most important to me was to have somebody that was, that I could lean on to answer the questions for my team, because in the past, that's what my primary role was, answer the questions to the team and bring on new clients.

Nicole Bandes (06:38): And so I wanted to have that person that was the go to, how do I do this? How do I set this up? What do I do in this case? And so that was that person that I hired that online business manager for my own team. And it was fabulous because I literally worked less than two hours a week for six weeks straight. So yeah, having that person to answer all the questions was just fabulous when she could, she didn't know the answer, she'd come to me. And that's when we'd have that quick powwow. And then I could be back hiking on those trails in Colorado or scaling Pikes peak or doing the via ferrata and U Ray doing all of those amazing things that I have dreamed my entire life. And so that's, uh, kind of where it comes.

Sara Nay (07:25): Yeah. I love it. I love everything that you shared. It absolutely resonates with me. I think the fact that you mentioned starting with the intention, what are you trying to build? What's important to you in life? And I have two young kids. So all that stuff resonates with me, obviously wanna be present for their life, but I also wanna be successful in business. And so it's finding what's important to you personally, and then designing a business around that. My question to you on all of that is, let's say you're working with someone that's already established as a business that hasn't built their business around an intention of work life balance from the beginning. How do you help them take a step back? So maybe they're working 40, 50, 60 hours a week and they want to focus more on like their actual priorities in life. How do you take an existing business and help them reflect and reorganizing and restructure to, to focus more on the life piece?

Nicole Bandes (08:19): We love working with clients like that. Yeah. In my business. And these are the clients that they have a passion for what they're doing, and they need to begin to offload some of those tasks. So the first thing we do with them is we'll go through and say, okay, what are all the projects? What are your big visions? What are the projects that you have going on? Where are your priorities? And how can we take some of these things off of the plate for you? How can we, we assume one of my biggest things when outsourcing, I always recommend outsource projects, not tasks. And the difference is if you're outsourcing a task, you have to manage that task. If you outsource a project, then whomever you're outsourcing that to will be managing the project and all of the tasks for you. So really focus on that. Instead of trying to say, I can, I need to post my blogs. I need to create some social media graphics. These are all tasks. Instead of saying, I need to create social media graphics, and I need to research hashtags and I can offload those things instead say, can I outsource the social media of my business? Yeah. And so you're outsourcing the entire project instead of the individual moving parts of it. That's the best way to take from that 60 to 80 hours. And really CU that down to a minimum at a quicker rate.

Sara Nay (09:49): Yeah, I think that's great. And a lot of times when people are initially thinking about delegation, I agree. It's like thinking a little bit too small. Like they create their task list and someone can handle this and this. And as you said, great point, you're still managing it is still taking considerable amount of your time versus finding someone that might be an expert in something like social media, use some strategic work on the front end, and then basically take that off of your plate. So I love the idea of thinking a little bit bigger in terms of delegation and project based versus simple tasks,

Nicole Bandes (10:17): Right? When you're doing tasks, you're really trading the time doing the task for the time, managing the person that's now doing the task. So you're not saving yourself any time. You're basically just taking something off your plate that maybe you didn't care to do in the first place, but you're not saving any time cuz you're still have to manage all the details.

Sara Nay (10:35): Yeah. Great. And one more question, before we wrap up today, you talked earlier on and I wanna go back to the whole idea of setting your intentions. And so do you help people initially help set their intentions? What does a perfect life work balance look like for you? And if so, how do you help people determine what's important to them?

Nicole Bandes (10:53): It's this is such a personal and individual thing. Our business directors are very focused on helping our clients to, to understand the big picture and what they want to accomplish primarily with their business. But a lot of times, because we are the right hand for them, we're also gonna get to know what's going on in their personal life and what are their personal goals. So we're not coaches in the sense that we don't coach them around. What are your goals? What are your objectives? Yeah, but we certainly help focus them in on the things that can gain some clarity around.

Sara Nay (11:28): Love it. Well, this is resonating with anyone that is listening today, where can they find you online to learn more?

Nicole Bandes (11:36): Our website is virtual, a And from there you can get links to all of our social media resources and access and catch me on my podcast, coaches co-pilot dot com as well.

Sara Nay (11:49): Love it. Thanks so much for being here, Nicole. I appreciate it. Having a conversation and learning from you. Thank you all for listening to agency spark podcast. This is your host, Sarah, nay, and see you next.



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