Guilt-Free Weekends with Justine Parsons - Season 2, Episode 13 [Lockdown Special!]
Updated: Aug 31
3 top tips from Justine Parsons
1. Do your research!
So as I said, we were introduced to EOS by a client and I went and did my research, work through some of the tools. So I had an awareness of EOS. And I knew it was a good fit for us.
2. Take the time to think.
Think about where you're at in your business now, and where you want to be in any years time. I knew if I didn't change, nothing would change. And I really wanted to get to a different place.
3. Chat with Debra Chantry-Taylor
Have a no strings chat with the lovely Debra. Because you (Debra) Don't hold back and you say it like you say it, and you need to talk to someone outside of your team.
Get in touch with Justine Parsons by going to yourva.co.nz
business, core values, eos, team, tools, justine, clients, people, virtual assistant, work, implementer, integrator, meetings, months, chat, implementing, person, helped, leadership team, exercise
Justine Parsons, Debra Chantry-Taylor
Debra Chantry-Taylor 00:12
Welcome to another episode of Better Business, Better Life. I'm your host, Debra Chantry-Taylor. I'm passionate about helping entrepreneurs and their leadership teams get what they want at a business and life. On the show, I invite successful business owners and expert speakers to share their successes. They are open and honest about the highs and lows of business and also life as a business owner. We want to share those learnings with you to inspire you, but also to help you avoid some of the common mistakes. My hope is that you take something from each of these short episodes that you can put into action to help you get what you want, not only out of your business, but also your life. So good morning, welcome to another episode of better business better life. I am here today with a beautiful Justin Parsons, who is the founder and visionary for your virtual assistant here in New Zealand. Welcome, Justin. Lovely to have you.
Justine Parsons 01:03
lovely to be here. Thank you deeply
Debra Chantry-Taylor 01:05
Pleasure. So Justine and I have actually known each other for many, many years, we go a long, long way back. But it was really interesting. We hadn't actually spoken for a while now out of the blue. I got a phone call from Justine in early 2020 saying that she saw I was doing EOS as an implementer. And could we have a chat. And so we got together, we had a chat. And from there began, I suppose what I would call your EOS journey. So we're gonna talk a little bit more about that this morning and what that's been like. But before we start, Justine would love the listeners to get a sense of who you are. So could you share a professional and personal best with me, please?
Justine Parsons 01:37
Okay, a professional best is... And this goes back to working with you with ALS and finding out what our core values which has been priceless in terms of who we work with, and who we work for. And so last week, we and successfully when a client saved the children, I'm really passionate about supporting businesses who are out there doing God and changing the world. So, so huge when we were up against a temp agency. So as virtual assistant business, we were more expensive. And so yeah, that's a huge one. installations, that's fine. Um, personally, it remains the fact that I don't work weekends, I catch up on my emails on a Sunday night. But just having that time to recharge, get away from work is so good at doing it guilt free. And so that's something I'm really proud of and grateful for.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 02:48
Because there's a real skill isn't that you can take the time off of you spend the whole time worrying about the business or feeling guilty about it, then you might as well not bother.
Justine Parsons 02:56
Exactly. And so some time away is just recharging. That's wonderful.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 03:01
Hey, look. So let's talk a little bit about your EOS journey. So we had that fateful call. It was before this whole covid 19 pandemic. And we came in and we talked about what EOS was telling a little bit about, you know, how did you come across EOS? Why did you come to me Tell me all about the story.
Justine Parsons 03:18
We were approached late not 2019 by a client wanting as to support him and an integrator role. And I hadn't heard of ALS. So I did some research online thought, oh, wow, this is simple. It's actionable. And this heaps of free tools, I can do this myself. And so I spent a week working through all the tolls and got really excited and then life and jumped right down the priority list. You know, client work always comes first. So it got pushed aside. And so then when I saw on LinkedIn that you'd become accredited. I was like, wow, I know, deep, I trusted. I would love to work with you. And so I reached out to you. Yeah. And just said, Look, this has got a bit of a sense of your business. So you run a virtual assistant business, but it's a little bit different than all of your virtual assistants are based here in New Zealand. They're all from a variety of backgrounds. How many do you have now on the team? And we've got 27 at the moment. Yep. And the business has been going for 22 years. Is that right? years for the last 10 years? I went from just being made to having growing a team of contractors. Yep. And trying to get away from a job or more towards a business. Yeah, so that's what we do. We support businesses with virtual assistant services.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 04:52
And so just for those of you who don't really understand virtual assistant services, or maybe just thought it's all about taking it offshore, tell me what your team is. Do Why do they exist?
Justine Parsons 05:02
We partner with our clients, we work with them across the business. And I pair them up with what we call a lead VA who gets to know the inbuilt relationship with our client, and gets to know the business. And they then project manage that clients tasks amongst the team. And so we've got, for example, graphic designer, WordPress, social media content writers, and so that you've got the best person for that particular job.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 05:32
Yep. So it's not like a traditional kind of VA could just be one person, and they might try and do everything for you. But there's some challenges around that in terms of specialty, but also what happens if they're not available? Right?
Justine Parsons 05:44
Absolutely. So it's a one when our model, and that our clients are getting that expertise for the particular task. And from a team point of view, our unbillable time is much less because we're not constantly trying to learn different things. Yeah.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 06:02
Okay. Excellent. And what is one of your ideal clients look like?
Justine Parsons 06:07
They're out there. Yes. Making a difference in the world. They share our core values, they're great communicators, they're respectful, they're not micromanagers.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 06:21
And they see the value and what we can do for them. Fantastic. Okay. So we go back to 2020, when we had that sort of that initial catch up, and I know we're very excited, and we're all very keen to get on board. And then of course, COVID, hit right. And I reached out to you and I was, Debra, can
Justine Parsons 06:38
we postpone this? I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know what clients we're going to lose. I'm scared and uncertain. And yeah, can we pause?
Debra Chantry-Taylor 06:49
Yep. And what was my response?
Justine Parsons 06:51
Yes, I'm more than happy to pause. But think about adjusting. It's just not the best time to be looking at a system like AoE. So no matter what the future brings, we're ready for it.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 07:05
Yeah, perfect. And I'm so pleased that you kind of thought about that and came on board. So we actually started back in March, I think was the end of March 2020, which was just as everything had locked down. Now fortunately, because you're a virtual team, and I can hold my sessions, virtually, we were able to get stuck into it, then. And we do we go beside them with a focus day. And that was so that was almost 16 months ago. Now. I think in the beginning, tell us what that journey was like for you.
Justine Parsons 07:34
I came to you because I know it's now his tomb, but we'd hit the ceiling. And 2019 there's been a whole lot of virtual assistants come to the market. So we were no longer getting that really good organic growth. So I was a bit tired, but losing the passion. And I knew I needed to do something to be in a different place in the future. So like I said, I tried self implementing and but having those initial days with you really shone the light on the fact that me implementing AI always was wondering each No, and having the value of someone outside of our organization and bringing in our leadership team to work on our veto and our core values and our accountability chat. Or I can do everything I'd done by myself.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 08:41
And what was the value of having an external person? So I often get asked this, I mean, I'm all for people's self image. But as long as people use EOS, I'm a happy person, right? Because I just want people to have a better life for a better business. So please, everybody, you know, do whatever you can to get us into your business. But what do you think the the key differences are between trying to do it yourself as a self implementer and actually working with a professional EOS implementer?
Justine Parsons 09:07
The key differences Where are these so many? One, you taught US Airways and the order it should be taught. And so you took us through the exercises, the planning sessions, and we got the very best out of airways whereas I was picking what was fun today. Another factor is you we're accountable to you. So because I trust you but also because we are paying for your support. I can afford to not make the most use about so there's that accountability factor. You call me on my budget excuses. You encouraged me to have some difficult conversations when I would have gone around that road, because I don't like confrontations. And so you pushed me and my team to what's word at to do more? Yep. Okay.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 10:16
So pushing yourself to to lift that game. That's fair enough. And I remember in the beginning, when we now know that you're the visionary, right, but you were actually wearing many, many hats in the beginning, weren't you?
Justine Parsons 10:28
Yes. person to wear those hats on not
Debra Chantry-Taylor 10:35
that we not, we've now got to wait to say we're 16 months into the journey. We've actually gone through our annual planning session just recently. And it was really wonderful. We've now got a full team, we've got an integrator in the business, we've got you as the visionary. We've got a person's looking after operations, we've got the finance side, you still were some of the sales and marketing at the moment, don't you? Is that right? Yes. Yeah. But in general, what is what's the change been like for you to be able to get to that and and what was it like having to let go?
Justine Parsons 11:04
and leaving go wasn't once I had the right people. So it took us a little while to, for example, find an integrator. It took us a little while to find Nikki as our operations manager, because it was so important to get the right people because we're about people. Once once we did that, then leaving go was easy, because the trust was the planning and the foundational work that we're done with you with there. Yeah. Yeah. So leaving go, as opposed to seeing the value and bringing more heads into the game was one one.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 11:44
Yeah. And so now, I mean, I know that people, people are often looking for that kind of magic silver bullet. I always say to anybody, if you're looking for a magic silver bullet, or magic potion, EOS is not it because it takes hard work, it takes consistency, it really means you have to stick at it and adopt the process really purely. The first six months, would you How would you say it was in terms of the business? Was it? What were the challenges along the way?
Justine Parsons 12:11
You know, that cheese egg, good things take time? Yes. The first six months was slow, we were getting our systems up to speed, we were working hard to make sure that they will follow by or so all that non exciting, and league work. But so we'd look. And we were so focused on issues, we had to make a really strong point to look back at what we'd achieved each week, and each month and each quarter. But the momentum picked up. So our successes and our achievements, and that coming faster. And and I mean, we've got some big goals that we've worked on with you. We want to go from a team of 27 as soon as now 510 years. And but I know that we've got the foundational work to be able to do that. In a good way.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 13:16
Yep. Fantastic. And you now so now you have really kind of embrace that visionary role. And I've seen what that's done for the business. But can you share a little bit with us? What that has meant for you to be freed up to do what we would call your God given talent or your unique ability? What does that feel like? What is it meant for you?
Justine Parsons 13:36
Oh, that's so exciting. And we've, for the past five years, I've been wanting to do online courses. And so having this base has made that we've launched our virtual business manager Academy. Yep. It's mean that I'm spending much more time like we've recently implemented one on one tech chats where they each have the time. And I have one a week, which is just priceless. It's about, you know, those personal connections that I really care about, which you don't get time for when you're, you know, swapping hats. All day lives. Yeah. They would be the biggest things, just having the space to get things done that have been on the back burner. And those relationships.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 14:30
Yep. Okay. So what's the, I mean, it's different for every company. So you can't say hey, look at month seven, suddenly everything falls into place. But when do you think everything did start to fall into place and you can start to see sort of some measurable results because it isn't an overnight thing?
Justine Parsons 14:48
No, it would have been late last year. We were hitting our financial targets. We weren't having some of our intangible Whoa. Like we've got a happiness scale and things like that. And so late last year, we really started to say we were, we were achieving 90% of our weekly to dues, we were on track with our quarterly wraps. And we were much more focused about what we could achieve. So we will be more realistic with our weekly level team meetings. Yes, so late last year. Okay.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 15:30
And how did that feel?
Justine Parsons 15:31
Well, like, um, and I think I've said this to you before, I had a small business mentality when I came to you, oh, it's me, and my team. And we've, I'm now at the helm of a business that I'm so proud of that we know what our strengths are. We know who we want to work with. We know what our goals are. So knowing where we going has been huge. Yeah, I'm so proud of that. And, of course, to do that annual planning session just a month ago,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 16:05
I think it was and, and reviewing the annual planning session, we review the year that has been, and you had a fantastic year last year, right?
Justine Parsons 16:12
We did. And, and yet you still helped us make identify a whole lot of issues that we still wait, working through that SWOT analysis with you. Yep. Beginning black leadership team involved? I keep referring back to it do. So yeah, what around it shows? What are our opportunities? Um, yeah, I was nervous coming into there. And you're planning because I didn't want to let you down. It's not about me. And I had a picture of what we were going to achieve, and you hit it out of the park. And you can always do that without someone outside who's helping you see things that you wouldn't say in your little comfort zone?
Debra Chantry-Taylor 17:03
Yeah, it's one of the things I talk about, you know, my role within those days is basically three fold. You know, I am a teacher in terms of helping you to understand how to use the EOS tools in the program proven process in the right way. I'm also a facilitator, and people who are listening in can't see, but I've got my elephant here in the back of the podcast room, and I use my elephant my other tools to actually help facilitate to get people comfortable with being uncomfortable, and having those sometimes difficult conversations. And then I am the coach, which is the person who if you think about a coach or of a sports team, they actually are not in the team in the weeds doing the stuff, they can actually take a much more holistic view, because they're not in that involved. And I think that's one of the key things that I love is that I I treat every one of my cards, it was my own business. But at the same time, I am actually able to see it from a coaching perspective, which is looking at what you're doing from the outside and being able to give some insight from that perspective.
Justine Parsons 17:57
And that's what I think a lot of businesses are missing. Is that outside that coaching that implementer? Yeah. And you don't realize how much further you can push yourself with the out there?
Debra Chantry-Taylor 18:12
Yes. One of the things we did in the annual planning session, and we always do as a little team health exercise, you can even think about it. Can you tell us a little bit about you know what that was like for you? Because I know you're a bit nervous about it? And then what do you how you felt afterwards?
Justine Parsons 18:29
That was really hard. Um, yeah, you took us into that exercise, saying, Here's a fun little exercise. And each of us, each of the leadership team had to think really hard at we've put the one thing that we need to work on that came out of that exercise. It's, we touch on it and our weekly level team meetings. Yeah. We can't take it off until the end of the year. But that, that was really hard. And it really helped to grow the trust and support that we have on the team.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 19:11
Yeah. Okay. Good. Cause I know you were you were very nervous about. That's great to see that you're using it. Okay.
Justine Parsons 19:19
I actually teared up during the exercise. So your vision of fun and mine are slightly different.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 19:29
Okay, so I might be a little bit of a sadist as to why that's the case. What, both perhaps, hey, just from a tool perspective, EOS has got a huge sort of, well, not huge raft of tools. It's got a core set of tools and some additional tools that actually help. And the one of the things we love about EOS is how simple it is. But simple doesn't always mean easy, right? So simple. We use we use tools like a SWOT, which has been around for many, many centuries, but is about how you actually implement it. Do you have a favorite tool Do you think from the EOS toolkit?
Justine Parsons 20:03
I mentioned working through our core values with you was one of the most pivotal things that we've done. IDS-ing saying we're still getting better at, I've asked my integrator to become an expert on it so that we can make that something we do as an entire team. And as part of our day to day, the level-10 meetings, yeah. is my favorite tool. Yeah,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 20:37
I should. It's one of my favorite ones, too. I actually think that if, if you did nothing else, but instigate level 10 meetings, I think it has a fundamental impact on the business that you just can't get from any other tool
Justine Parsons 20:49
out traction, and our momentum comes from those weekly level-10 meetings.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 20:55
And I remember back in the beginning, I hope you don't mind me sharing this, you know, we I always teach people how to do the level 10 meetings, and I come and check in to see how they're going. And I think we had our check in and we recognize a few things that could be tweaked. And we helped with that. And then you kind of fell off the wagon a little bit with a level 10 meetings with them didn't you
Justine Parsons 21:12
work with brought on the ashphalt and still, we still. How many months have we been on this journey? Yep. Last week, at our level-10 team, we were talking like I said about IDS-ing. And I said to the ladies, FDA was an honors meeting, which she'd be proud of how we've just IDS, these issues. And we decided you wouldn't be proud, which is why today as to go away and become an expert and IDS-ing. I think the problem was I IDS and I didn't let the team contribute. So I talked for five minutes, came out with the solution and said, Okay, so we can take tick off, it's down.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 22:05
At least you're recognizing, and that's the that's part of why I say it's a journey, right? Because it doesn't, you can't just start doing it and get it all absolutely 100%. Right. In the beginning, it takes time to to strengthen like muscles at the gym, right? It's time to strengthen those muscles in the business. And the stronger they get. And we talked about working on those six components, then the stronger you get in those six key components, the better the business got becomes, the stronger the business overall becomes. Absolutely, yeah. Okay, cool. So, in terms of the journey, obviously, you know, you've been doing it for a while now, could you share with us sort of three top tips that you would give to somebody else who might be considering going on a similar journey?
Justine Parsons 22:45
Yes, absolutely. So as I said, we were introduced to EOS by a client and I went and did my research, work through some of the tools. So I had an awareness of EOS. And I knew it was a good fit for us. The second tip, I would say, would be to think about where you're at in your business now, and where you want to be in any years time. I knew if I didn't change, nothing would change. And I really wanted to get to a different place. And the third thing would be to have a no strings chat with the lovely Debra. Because you (Debra) Don't hold back and you say it like you say it, and you need to talk to someone outside of your team.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 23:35
Yeah. Fair enough. That's great. And like I said, I mean, I'm not, I'm not a pressure sales person at all. In fact, I don't actually mind if you work with me or not. I'm just really passionate about seeing people have a better life. And I think the EOS tools help us to do that by creating that better business. So the free tools are amazing, aren't they? You I'm always gobsmacked by how much EOS just gives to people without any expectation in return. And I guess that comes back to our core value of health first, but it is amazing what you can get online without any handing over money, no commitment. It's just they want to help you to do better.
Justine Parsons 24:10
And they're also Yes, so they're invaluable as you're doing your research, and possibly I know some companies do look at self implementing. They're also invaluable when you're working with like, we still refer back to them. If we're doing a quarterly team meeting and we want to talk about clarity breaks or something. We'll go to the free tools and
Debra Chantry-Taylor 24:35
this is your quarterly, your whole team meeting that you have right?
Justine Parsons 24:39
Debra Chantry-Taylor 24:40
Time to roll it out now into those next levels down and getting people to start using those tools in their everyday life as well.
Justine Parsons 24:47
Absolutely. It's doing our business no good if it's just the leadership team who's embracing our Eos. We want to we want our clients to benefit from it as well, so we need the whole team to use it. Yeah, fantastic.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 25:03
Well, I've got to say, I have genuinely loved working with you again, in a different capacity this time around, but I've loved it. I've loved seeing you build up the team. I mean, having those right people is just so important. And I know, you've got a really great team around you now, which makes it much easier for you. If somebody wanted to get in contact with you, Justine, and find out more about how you might be to help their business or even just talk about EOS. I know you're very, very generous about talking about EOS and what it's done for you. How would they get in contact with you?
Justine Parsons 25:29
I'm on LinkedIn, Justine Parsons, or go to our website and yourva.co.nz, I'm happy to talk to anyone.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 25:39
And I'm going to put you on the spot here. Now what we've talked about core values, I know that you do use them, because you're always looking for new VA is as well. So if they just happened to be somebody who either wants to become a VA or know somebody wants to become a VA, what would be the core values you're looking for in your virtual assistants. And I have put you on the spot there. I know.
Justine Parsons 26:01
You have put us on the spot. And we are looking for we've got six core values, and our right through our onboarding process. And so we are humbly confident, we want to exceed expectations were positively determined, socially authentic, ethically honest. And we're trailblazers.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 26:25
Yeah, fantastic. And I know when you do your core values, speech, you've got a whole lot of stuff behind that, that really helps people understand how do you use those when it comes to employing people? What do you do to to make sure that they actually because people can say, Oh, yes, no, I'm, I'm definitely humbly confident Look, 100 confident I am.
Justine Parsons 26:43
Yeah, they're in the application form that's on our website, if you're looking to apply to join us there. So just simply, we list our core values, and we ask applicants to explain what that term means to them. And we asked them what their core values that we talked about it, onboarding, they apply, then they do a series of tests. And because we don't want everage people working with us, we want,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 27:18
Justine Parsons 27:20
we go through the values and Zoom before they joined the team ending we have an onboarding dashboard. And so they're repeated in there. And we also recognize one of the time each month who has represented our core values, or one of our core values, and, and we look for those same values when we're working with clients. So that integral and everything that we do, I can see that that's wonderful. Hey, look,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 27:52
thank you again, for spending some time with me. I mean, I'm fortunate I get to talk to you quite regularly. It's really nice of you to actually share your knowledge with our listeners and and with me again, so thank you so much. I look forward to seeing you know, I know what we've got planned for this year. I can't wait to see you achieve it. I know that you will. So yeah, thank you very much.
Justine Parsons 28:10
Thank you for inviting me on. It's a pleasure to share my journey and I'm just really thankful that you're part of it.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 28:17
Thanks Justine. Wonderful. Thank you. Talk to you soon.
Justine Parsons 28:21
Thank you. Bye.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 28:23
Thanks again for joining us on better business better life with me Your host Debra Chantry-Taylor. If you enjoyed what you heard, then please subscribe to this podcast. And let us help you to get what you want out of business in life. Each week we release a new short episode which will give us success story and three takeouts to put into action immediately. These will help you take your business from good to great. The podcast is also supported by free resources, templates and useful tools, which you can find at DebraChantry-Taylor.com. I am a trained entrepreneur leadership and business coach, a professional EOS implementer and an established business owner myself. I work with established businesses to help them get what they want. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to have a chat about how I might be to help you. Or if you'd like to join me as a guest on this podcast. Thanks again to entered audio editors for producing this podcast. See you on the next episode.
Professional EOS Implementer | Entrepreneurial Leadership & Business Coach | Business Owner
Professional EOS Implementer New Zealand
Professional EOS Implementer Australia
Professional EOS Implementer UK
Professional EOS Implementer NZ