Bonnie Schutz’s way wasn’t an ordinary one. That’s why I felt it was important to put it out here and share it with you.
Listen to her speak about how stars aligned to make her business happen⬇️⬇️
Get hold of Bonnie here: https://tandemresourcesolutions.com/TRSHOME.html
Last Thursday, we had an enlightening episode of EEA featuring the incredible Bonnie Schutz as my guest.
Together, we explored the transformative journey of finding your true calling and purpose. Bonnie shared invaluable insights on aligning with your passion and finding where you are truly meant to be, drawing from her own experiences transitioning from traditional admin roles to becoming a trailblazing entrepreneur.
Listen to the episode now and be inspired by this captivating conversation with Bonnie Schutz!
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RJ Redden [00:00:00]:
Hold on to your goggles, because it is time for the Epic Engagement Adventure. With me today is an amazing human. And you're used to hearing about amazing humans on this podcast, but this person is near and dear to my heart, and here's why. She was stuck in a maze of corporate it hell for a long time and broke out of that to become her own person. And she's funny, she's brilliant. Her name is Bonnie Schultz. Bonnie. Welcome to the epic engagement, adventurer.
Bonnie Schutz [00:00:41]:
Thank you. Thank you for having me.
RJ Redden [00:00:44]:
We're so glad to have you here. Tell the people your story because I have a feeling a few of them are going to recognize some elements in here.
Bonnie Schutz [00:00:54]:
Well, you weren't lying. And I had way too many years in a corporate situation. I'll just say, it's just what happened. It's life. And that number, which I am proud to say is 27 years. I was the person that didn't go to college. Started in the fast food world and then went to got married at 20, had to make a dollar. So started as a receptionist for my Taco Bell franchise. Still love to this day my Taco Bell flash forward. I was in the shoes of every administrative position you could imagine, up to where as high as I could go, which was executive assistant to the CEO, was always in mid size companies, as you can imagine. I mean, by that time, I was just getting to my fifty s and I'm just like, done with the shiz. I'm done with the corporate politics. But suffered highly from impostor syndrome. Like, what the heck could I do any more than this? I've hit the top. I've hit the ceiling, I say, which matches great with your background. My stars aligned and things just happened. Some corporate politics and somebody doing something to me. That's another oprah. I was just like, it's time I'm doing my own thing. So I took the leap and I left corporate in 2017 and just decided I was going to start my own business. And I had no idea what I was doing. No seed money, no nothing. I had no money saved. It was totally on a whim. All I knew how to do was be an EA. And I had spoken to a recruiter friend of mine who said, you really got what it takes to become a recruiter. And like, wow, Epiphany, right? Yeah, I could easily recruit administrative people. So her and I actually started the company together, and we were solely a recruiting firm, so we would recruit for administrative professionals, and she did tech. And as we moved forward, we realized that through our networking circles and through asking questions of successful people, that we needed to give it 100% to make it work. She was unable to quit her full time job, so she could only keep it a side hustle. And that's when we kind of parted ways and I went on to do it myself, because I was in a place as an empty nester and had a spouse that had insurance. So it was, like, just kind of worked for me. And all I knew how to do is be an EA. So to fill the gaps in between recruitments, I had to brainstorm what to do. Because if you know anything about the recruiting world, it ebbs and flows. It's good money. But if you don't know how to be a salesperson and find people that are willing to take on a solo recruiter with no experience, you had to figure something out. All I knew had to be was an EA. So I had heard about this thing called virtual assisting. I said, yeah, pretty much all my bosses traveled. And if I was in the office and they were traveling, I was already a virtual assistant, right? Yeah, exactly. I'm like, I can do this, so where the heck do I find this? I looked at Craigslist, and I found a VA virtual assistant gig on Craigslist. It was legit. I took it, and it got my feet wet. Right? Well, I'm a big Linkedinner, as you are, and I've always been, and I just because I don't ever like to burn bridges, and I like to stay in touch with my colleagues and ex colleagues and future colleagues, our clients now. And so I kind of announced it to the world what I was doing, and lo and behold, my doors were knocked down. They were like, I want to work for you. I was, like, completely humbled. Like, little old me, you want to work for me, right? I was like, no way. There's that imposter syndrome. Like, why on earth would you want to work for the CEO's assistant pretending to be a CEO?
RJ Redden [00:05:12]:
Bonnie Schutz [00:05:13]:
But they did. And I thought, oh, my gosh, this is fantastic. I can run this company and not have to do the work. So today I have approximately 30 virtual assistants that work for me. And at any given time, ten or 15 of them are actively supporting clients. They all have their own businesses as solo VAS, but then we supplement their income for them. But they find our services are so helpful for them, not just the client, because they have a team. We have an in tandem team, we call it, because Tandem Resource Solutions is my company. And I just imagined it at the beginning, me and that former partner as two girls on a bike. On an in tandem bike. So that's how I came up with the name. But we really do work in tandem behind the scenes. And I'm at this place in my life where I just really want to give back. I'm not greedy. I want to give back to people who have been in places that maybe I've been in in my life. So I particularly love to help get gigs or work for women that are single mothers, stay at home moms. Let's see, military wives, BIPOC VAS, and maybe women who've been aged out of corporate, which I find a lot of those happening. And so it's just so fulfilling for me when I can help get them work. As far as clients, it ran the gamut, but I'm lucky enough lately to say that in my journey, I have now reached the second stage of business and am able to selectively choose clients that really work in harmony with us, harmonize with us in tandem, and are just kind of our thing. It's kind of turning out to be organically, turning out to niche us out into marketing agencies. We support. We support a lot of therapists. Let's see a lot of individual entrepreneurs that have their toes dipped in many different ventures, kind of personal assisting and things like that. But I have something on my website called the 101 Things a VA Can do. And that's where I refer people because it's way more than you think. We're not just an admin. We're not just administrative. And it's wonderful. I can still recruit, and my VAS help the clients. I still recruit. I've written a couple of books. I say books, but literally chapters in books. A couple of multi. One of them is Phoenix rising. And that was like my personal journey, where I kind of coming from some adversity in my life into finding my place in life as a person. And then this one kind of went into the why did I heck did I leave corporate? And it's some great stories on that, too. And I'm absolutely happy to have met all the people that collaborated on those books. That was another LinkedIn connection that found me and got me to read a book or write a book. Read a book, actually, because I don't hardly ever read books, honestly. I had a good friend call me out on that, by the way. She's like, you wrote a book you don't even read.
RJ Redden [00:08:35]:
You knew me well.
Bonnie Schutz [00:08:37]:
Okay, 50 Shades of Gray counts, right?
RJ Redden [00:08:39]:
Yes, I read about every shade of gray in there.
Bonnie Schutz [00:08:46]:
But yes, she gave me the writing bug. And luckily, being in this second stage of business growth has allowed me to get into these things, being creative and doing things I never would have had the opportunity to do, which is something just like this. Being on these podcasts and actually getting my rear on a panel for Denver Startup Week this year, which is a big tech event for startups. And I couldn't be happier in my career. So thank you so much for showcasing that with me today.
RJ Redden [00:09:20]:
I'm so happy to because some of the things that you're talking about just resonate so much with me. Like when you leave corporate and, oh, my God, I have no idea what's going on here, and how isolating that.
Bonnie Schutz [00:09:41]:
RJ Redden [00:09:43]:
How crazy that is that you can make your own decisions. I remember standing in the Panera parking lot at like, 130 in the afternoon going, I can just walk around like this.
Bonnie Schutz [00:09:57]:
There's people out here.
RJ Redden [00:09:59]:
This is awesome. There's so many overwhelming things that happen in those first few months. And so I love hearing you talk about your journey, because it really is a journey that you make on the end of the tree branch, drawing in the future tree branch.
Bonnie Schutz [00:10:25]:
Do you know what I mean?
RJ Redden [00:10:28]:
I think that's fascinating. Now, with virtual assistants, everybody seems to have a past, right? With virtual assistants, and if it's a great past, they don't need your help. And if it's a terrible past, they probably three times need your help. And so with the virtual assistants, everybody seems to have kind of a thing in mind of who that is and what they do. You have all kinds of flexible opportunities. The way you talk about your workforce, too, it's not only flexible for the people hiring, it's flexible for the people working with you.
Bonnie Schutz [00:11:12]:
Exactly right. They love it. It's so flexible. And then you got people like me who still sit at our desk eight to five, Monday through Friday. But I have the ability when on a whim, I feel like going to lunch with a client like I did today. It's like a wonderful feeling. It's something I never would have been able to do. Like you said in corporate. Go to Panera at 01:00 and sit there and like, what are these people doing? I had no idea there was another life outside of my four walls of an office. I never left so many years. I'm like, what is networking? I had no idea what that was. I didn't know how to sell anything. And I am lucky and fortunate enough now that I don't have to do much selling. I have a great referral network and been fortunate enough to get those referrals from that have a great referral program. If anybody's ever interested in learning about the referral program. And I was talking to RJ earlier, and it's one of these things where I am not greedy. I love to throw money at people. And it's funny enough that even when somebody refers somebody to me, they duck when I try to throw money at them. But literally, no strings. You send me somebody, they sign a contract, here's some cash. They spend three months with me, here's some more cash. I appreciate the people in my world because they help me to be better and help me do more things. So I'm learning so much doing this. It's fun, it's scary, it's isolating, like you said. And there are those days where it can really take you down. It's having that support system. And those are my sisters and brothers in arms that have been assistants in the past, and we can commiserate. I do it with my team, too, behind the scenes, it's important for the team to have that because they're isolated and they're working home alone too. So having us that they can reach out to ask for a best practice or training on a tool, let's do it. That's what we do. That's what I'm all about. Let's help each other.
RJ Redden [00:13:30]:
Well, we're always better together. One question I do want to ask you. A lot of times coaches listen to this show. Those are my people. How do you know? How do you know when you need somebody?
Bonnie Schutz [00:13:48]:
Well, there's that thing called burnout. There's that thing called when you just don't like something you're doing or you're working 70 hours a week. I didn't become an entrepreneur to do that, and I refused. I set my boundaries. I set my hours. I put them in my signature on my email. I have learned that for my own self care, I need to set those boundaries. But coaches, again, are another thing that comes to us organically, because coaches know themselves that's what they're training. If they're like a business coach, they're training their clients to do just this and that is get that stuff off your plate. That doesn't bring you joy or money, if that is joy or whatever it is, those things that just drag you down. And I have the unique experience of being on both sides because when I became an entrepreneur, I had no assistant. I did it myself. And today I have four people helping me because I couldn't do it anymore. I asked my husband, I don't know, about two years ago, I said, when can I stop taking clients? Isn't that awful? What an awful predicament. And he said, never. Oh, crap. How am I going to do all this? But I did it. I did it by delegating. And I have not only knew how to be a delegate, but now I can be a delegator. And it really frees me up. It's scary, and I will admit that. But I am always available to help somebody when they're struggling with delegation. And I'll have one off calls just to talk to people like, help me. How do I put my trust in this person and how much access do I give them, that kind of thing. And I feel with my years of experience, I've hit every scenario in the works. Good, bad, ugly.
RJ Redden [00:15:49]:
Bonnie Schutz [00:15:50]:
What's worked for me the most, I'll give you this tip is when you have an assistant of any kind, even if it's an employee, let them in. That's a really short sentence, but it's very powerful because my best relationships with clients or bosses in the past have been when they let me in to their vision for the company or their business and a little bit into their personal life because I work with heart. And if I'm connected to you personally, it's going to bring out that mother in me and that I need to help you. I need to make your life easier and better. And I think most executive assistants or VAS kind of have that same feeling.
RJ Redden [00:16:30]:
Yeah. Well, yeah. And when you find somebody who is really amazing, there's nothing like it. I mean, it's like that tandem thing that you're talking about. To me, the folks that I have found that are really good are nothing short of amazing, including the person doing my video editing. Hi, Sarah.
Bonnie Schutz [00:16:57]:
You'll see, Sarah? You're awesome.
RJ Redden [00:17:01]:
She is amazing. Now, I'll ask you the question that I ask everyone on the engagement adventure here. So how do you engage your people?
Bonnie Schutz [00:17:16]:
When you say my people, do you mean my clients or my team?
RJ Redden [00:17:20]:
Your clients. How do you keep them get them engaged. Keep them engaged?
Bonnie Schutz [00:17:25]:
You bet. So when I said I had four people helping me, three of which are virtual account managers, we call them VAMS. And so we have gone so far as to make sure we are checking in consistently with the clients and the VA to make sure everything is harmonious and moving forward and thinking outside the box and reminding them that they have these account managers plus Bonnie's big brain to help think of Things outside the box that Their VA Could be helping them with. And so I think that's that little added nugget that working with an agency, like a boutiqueish agency like mine, gives us that edge, I think, with our clients. So as far as engaging and finding new clients, I'll refer back to the referral program that's kind of been sustaining us at this level. But I am, again, huge on LinkedIn. I pay attention to who my target client is on LinkedIn. I watch what they're doing. I connect with them. I've never really cold outreach. There's got to be some sort of connection. Either we know the same person, we used to work at the same place, we live in the same town to where I can bring up a natural conversation. When I try to connect with them, I'll connect with them, and then I'll interact, because a lot of times you connect and you forget. But if you interact, you share their posts, you name drop them in a post. There's lots of things you can do, and that's given me a lot more exposure the more active I am on LinkedIn. And it's something that I'm working with my account managers to start doing on our behalf as well. I think it's super effective.
RJ Redden [00:19:09]:
It is super effective. Have you tried those newsletters, my friend?
Bonnie Schutz [00:19:13]:
I have not. I honestly have never done a newsletter. It's on my radar big time right now.
RJ Redden [00:19:18]:
Oh, yeah, because LinkedIn promotes it for you. Did you know that?
Bonnie Schutz [00:19:22]:
That's right, I do know that. I follow a couple of them, yeah. That's awesome.
RJ Redden [00:19:27]:
It's crazy. I've never been on another platform that A, cared about you doing any business at all, and B, actually promoted your stuff on their own. Yeah. No, I love mine. I need to be a little more regular about writing. Beautiful. Well, so for anybody out there kind of going through, god, I hate doing this, for the 87th time today, for anybody who says what burnout? But you're accidentally putting out the fire on your head. For those people, there are solutions. There are people who will work with you. Not necessarily just for you, some robot taking orders, but there are people who are very interested in what's the flow of your business? What do you do? How can this be? Can we help you evaluate something? You have a calendar link that you gave us. I'm going to put that bad boy up on this.
Bonnie Schutz [00:20:38]:
RJ Redden [00:20:39]:
Yeah, you bet you yeah.
Bonnie Schutz [00:20:41]:
I'm happy to have a little chat, a 15 or 2030 minutes chat about what you got going on in your business and help you decide if you think a VA or an employee, an executive assistant or something like that is something that you need. I'm open to those conversations anytime.
RJ Redden [00:21:01]:
To me, that's awesome, because the worst thing, I think is when folks just burn out. I know a lot of coaches close their doors every single year because they're sick of they're doing their own marketing. That's why I do what I do. There is help. There are good people who want to help and gosh. I'm happy to also kind of chat with another LinkedIn networker.
Bonnie Schutz [00:21:40]:
Yes. I don't know why everyone is not on it.
RJ Redden [00:21:47]:
The reputation is at least when I first kind of popped on, it was an HR website.
Bonnie Schutz [00:21:53]:
Yeah. I'm not looking for a job, so I'm not on LinkedIn. Right. That's not what it's for. I mean, it can help you find a job, too, but there you go. For independent business owners, especially B to B, at least that I know. It's a great place to be, and I'm on it daily, several times a day.
RJ Redden [00:22:15]:
Yeah, well, folks, get to know Bonnie, get to know what makes her tick. Get to know her and her company, because you never know. I mean, maybe you're not in a position yourself to be looking for someone right now. Maybe you're all squared away. But let me tell you, you're probably one of the few that are all squared away.
Bonnie Schutz [00:22:40]:
Okay, then we'll take you to that next level. You stay in your squared away zone. You offshoot a few things in your business to somebody else. You can get to that next level.
RJ Redden [00:22:51]:
Yeah. Beautiful. Any further words of wisdom for the peeps?
Bonnie Schutz [00:22:59]:
So many words, so little time. No. Again, do your research. If and when you look for a VA, having a solo VA is great, but finding them a little more difficult. There's millions. The Pandemic turned everybody into a VA. Look for reputable companies. There's places like the association of Virtual Assistants, of which I was on their advisory board for a couple of years. There's places like that. And ping me on LinkedIn for a message I'll send you to some other places. But do your research, and you do get what you pay for. You really do. And I can share with you the pay scales for what a solo VA makes and what agencies charge. And you'd be surprised at what I don't want to throw anybody under the bus, but some of the big guys charge an awful lot that don't pay their VAS enough, and that's my opinion. I want to help people, and it's not about I have to make a little money because I have to live. But it's not about profit, profit. Profit for me. Although I do have that book Profit First right behind me. What a hypocrite.
RJ Redden [00:24:20]:
Oh, you're fine.
Bonnie Schutz [00:24:24]:
But, yeah, do your research. Ping people in your network that know something about it. You've got me. Now ping me. I'm anal retentive when it comes to the red dots and the bold print. I have to address it in some form or fashion. Total OCD.
RJ Redden [00:24:43]:
No, I think we're all a little bit that way now. Well, there you have it, my folks. Not just about the virtual assistant stuff, but also if you're feeling isolated, if you're feeling alone, if everything around you is scary, have a support system. Have a network of people you can lean on. Do not go through this alone. That whole vision of we're Americans, we need to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Okay, a, what's a bootstrap? B, put the boots on. Why are you pulling yourself up all of a sudden? I thought you were pulling the boot up. It's a whole misnomer that you need to do this alone, because you know what? The folks that do it alone usually don't make it. Get a network. Talk to Bonnie. See what you need out there. Make a plan. Have a support network. My friends don't go around without one. And that's it. That's it for the day. Hey, if you're out there and you want to do some networking next week, we got a thing. It's called Power networking, and it is powerful.
Bonnie Schutz [00:25:57]:
RJ Redden [00:25:57]:
You knew that was coming, weren't, didn't you? It is powerful. Come meet the crowd, meet the people and see where you fit in on our tribe because we'd love to have you. It's may central. That's where I am. So 11:00 a.m Pacific 02:00 p.m Eastern. Come join us and we'll be back next week with another amazing guest. But I don't know how we're going to beat this one right here.
Bonnie Schutz [00:26:24]:
Thank you. Thank you for having me. It's so much fun. And I hope to be at your next Power networking event.
RJ Redden [00:26:31]:
Beautiful. We'd love to have you, buddy. Yes. Cool. All right, my friends, same bot time, same bot channel next week. We'll see you later. Bye.
Bonnie is a 27-year executive assistant turned corporate dropout - turned entrepreneur in her "second act." She is the founder, CEO, and Sr. Recruiter at Tandem Resource Solutions (TRS), headquartered in Colorado. It is an almost 8-year-old boutique Virtual Assistance (VA) agency and Administrative Recruiting firm for direct-hire roles. Aside from managing her day-to-day company initiatives and team of over 30 VAs, she is an Amazon Best Selling Author, event panelist, and master networker. She especially loves to support and connect with single mothers/fathers, Stay at home parents, military spouses, and women like herself, who may have been "aged out" of their corporate positions. She loves to inspire others with her story of coming from a place of insecurity and imposter syndrome to finding where she was meant to be.