Episode 127 - Entrepreneurship and Leveraging Freelance Talent with Sandra Reimer

Hello and welcome to the real bottom line where ambitious entrepreneurs who want to grow their company come to meet other fellow entrepreneurs on the journey. Welcome Sandra Reimer. You and I met just recently through a Challenge. I was running and you found me on LinkedIn. So I'd love to hear like, how do you use LinkedIn?

When you are out finding people to, to Collaborate with.

Yeah. So one of the things I like to do is follow people that look interesting and then I watch what they're posting and I see if I resonate with their thought leadership. Maybe I'll comment on some of their posts. I see if they're engaging back.

And yeah, it usually just goes from there. And then I might have a look at their website, see what they're offering, and kind of get to know them through their, their, maybe their free offers or their low cost offers that are meant to be a taste of the service. So that's why I tried your challenge.

Oh, awesome.

Thank you, Sandra. And I also love sharing stories about how people came into being an entrepreneur and started growing a company. So Sandra, how, what's your journey like into entrepreneurship? How'd you get here?

Well, it, like many people, it wasn't necessarily on purpose. So I actually have a degree in community development and I was working for a nonprofit doing community relations for them.

So telling their story helping them market themselves. And they had to downsize me in 2004. And after I got over the shock, I thought, what am I gonna do now? And then I thought, okay, well, why don't I start a business doing the same thing doing communications? And, yeah, I discovered I loved entrepreneurship that's building my own business and basically it became about helping people, but there's a price tag involved and that's exciting.

My tagline for my freelance business is helping world changers tell their stories and nothing's more exciting to me than sitting with a visionary, hearing their story. And then say, you got to share this with the world and then helping them figure out how to do that. That's so

cool. Do you have you found?

So, wow, if I'm listening, right? 20 years that you generating your own paycheck. That's right. Question has the way we tell stories changed or are our story become more important? Like, tell me about your thoughts on story.

I think stories always been important, but it's become even more important. And now there are so many more tools to tell stories.

When I started, it was print newsletters and maybe a little email to begin with. And then over the years, I've had to evolve to include website content, e newsletters, all that kind of stuff. We have a fantastic number of tools, which means more people have their stories out there, which means you need to be even better at telling your story.

Is there a wrong way to tell your story? Inauthentically and in a boring way. I guess I see the only wrong way. And in a way that doesn't consider your reader or your listener and the end person. I think that's critical is to know why you're telling the story. Because it's not just about telling any parts of your story.

It's a Select just the right details to tell the right story, and know what you want your listener to get out of it, or your reader, or your watcher. Do you

feel like it's easier to be authentic now? Like, that's kind of what I'm thinking, that people that people want authenticity, maybe more than the posturing we may have seen, you know, back in the 90s, or even early 2000s.


want real. They do want real. But is there a pressure to manufacture real? I don't know.

Okay, that's fascinating. So is there a particular element or I guess there's, is there any commonalities to telling stories that people should be aware of?

I think When you show enough vulnerability to be relatable without spilling your guts in a way that's really better in a therapist's office or with a close friend,


I hear you on that one. Oh, that's so funny. Is there any time you shouldn't tell your story? Like I feel like it's almost a mistake that sometimes we don't put anything out there and we think that's okay versus telling something. Like it, you know, it's being silent, but I, I think silence is probably better than an authentic inauthenticity, but, you know, is it the right thing to do at times?

I think listening is always the first thing to do, and when you see receptivity or when it makes sense to communicate your story because it would benefit the other person or people in some way, that's the time to tell your story. If people aren't interested in hearing, I wouldn't waste my story.

Yeah, okay.

Interesting. And then you started Colabornation. That's correct. When did that start and why did you start that?

Yeah, I started it because I loved being an entrepreneur so much. What I love about being an entrepreneur is as I understand my strengths and what I'm good at, I can choose the kinds of projects and people.

to do that with. So I can choose clients I believe in, doing things I can get results on, that energize me and I love to do. I call those my highest value activities. And it's been an amazing life. It's been a flexible life. And I thought, I can't keep this to myself. I want to help other Canadians figure this out how to build a thriving business around their strengths and what they can get results on.

And I call it their superpowers.

Yeah, I call it their genius or unique ability. But yeah, their superpower.

Totally. And how can I help more people figure out how to. serve people around them with their superpowers. So then I started dreaming, what would it be like to help freelancers figure out businesses?

And so I started Co Labor Nation in 2020, in 2020, and I thought it was going to be about coaching and helping them create the right systems, which I've certainly been doing that. But I found what their biggest need was. Was for help connecting with clients. Ah, yes. And then I did interviews on the other side.

I started interviewing small business owners and startup founders to say, Hey, you know, do you have a need for freelancers or staff or where are your pain points? And I found corresponding pain points.

Okay. So that's interesting. So in the challenge that you and I met with I call it bottleneck to break through and it's all about increasing the value of your business by not working in your business as much on all the things.

Right. And I think when we start a business, we're the only person sometimes. So we do everything, but then it's becomes this, there comes a point where that actually limits the ability of that come up your company. Okay. To grow and produce more revenues, help more clients, et cetera. And so when we look at that and then letting go, one of the options, obviously, is to deal with freelancers or to bring people in.

What do you see is the biggest barrier from a business owner standpoint? To recognizing or pulling the trigger to bring that extra resource

in. I think one of the things is that they're got their heads down and they're just doing the work. Like you said, working in their businesses that it's hard to even take a breath long enough to think.

How would I get everything out of my head into somebody else's head so that they can start taking it off my plate. So number one is taking enough of a breather. To do that. And then when I interviewed people, I heard that they felt daunted by the prospect of looking for good people who weren't going to let them down, who weren't going to charge unfair rates and things like that.

And so then that felt like, oh, shoot, I might as well just keep doing it myself.

Well, and I think to your point that we can fall into that trap as business owners. It's faster to do it myself and I think that we all can fall into that because that that point of documenting and training and being clear and communicating well what your desired outcome was can be hard.

Yeah. What have you seen for successful business owners that they take that on, they do that little bit of work, they put their head up, they do that little bit of infrastructure building, and then they bring in a freelancer? What are the results that you're seeing as a result, as a result of that tactic?

So it frees them up from, to then do more CEO level tasks. Planning for their business or getting out there and meeting high level customers or maybe distributors if they have products and doing those things on their to do list that really are priority, but they're not urgent. The important, not urgent



exactly. And so and then it hiring a freelancer also allows them to bring in expertise. They just don't have and would take way too long to learn. So I think of a client who. Had done her own Shopify site, and it was functional, but not awesome. And then I have a freelance talent collective through ColaborNation these days.

I have this Shopify whiz, and she came in and cleaned up this Shopify site. And just made it work exactly how it should. And then when it came time for the holiday season for this business owner to do her sales, her sales were up because her Shopify site was working beautifully. So that's an example of where you might hire a freelancer with really niche expertise to clear out a log jam that leads to higher revenue.


love that story. I think I think sometimes We think we can do all of the things ourselves. And if we looked at the amount of time and effort, like, if your client had ended up saying, no, I'm going to do this myself. So she has to go research. She probably took a course or 2 and she's learning how to do this where this person came in and probably in a.

A matter of hours or days had it sorted so much faster. So you're you're actually hitting the mark quicker

as a result of that. Totally. And you're freeing up your time for your highest value activities where so highest value activities are where. You just are, because you're wired in a certain way, you're able to get those things done more quickly.

Ooh. And we all have those things that are a slog. Yes. And I, I say there's three ways you should know you should delegate something. And one of them is that it drains your energy. Another is that your results are only ever gonna be mediocre. That's a hard

one for people to admit, Sandra, I would imagine.

Mm hmm. Yeah. What's the third thing?

The third one, I should I'm gonna have to look that up now. I'm a little, we'll put it in the show notes at the end. Okay. Okay. But yeah, basically it's that it drains your energy. You're mediocre at it. And that really it's lower value, lower value price point than you should be.

Paying yourself as the CEO to it could be easily done by somebody else better. Yeah,

I think that sometimes we forget that like one of the exercises and the challenge that I have people do is actually list some of those draining tasks and then how many hours a week they spend on it and what the value of their time is versus.

It's bringing in a freelancer because typically as CEO, you're the, you're like the best salesperson, the best deliverer. So that means your value per time is way up there and you can get a, you know, it's probably 70, it's a hundred, 300, 400 times what a

freelancer would cost. Yeah, I heard somebody once say to value your time as if it costs 600 an hour and then would you do your own Shopify website?

No, not if you were paid 600 an hour. One of

the interesting pieces we had a conversation around in the challenge was around making sure that you redirected your time to high value activities. Do you see that happening? Do people naturally go into that or do they actually just, is it more of a give themselves a break because they've been doing too much? Like, what's the mindset of the people who are hiring the freelancers?

Often, it really is where they hit a wall of expertise and they realize.

I can't want to I can't learn that or I don't want to learn that. I have a set of expertise and the learning curve is just going to cost me too much time. Yeah. And that's I would say the biggest reason. So a lot of the business owners I serve through Colibra Nation are. 40, 40 plus who maybe didn't grow up on the internet, as my kids would say, and that they're not as familiar with the new marketing tools and digital marketing because, let's face it, like, it is super complex and things have just gotten so specific and niche around all these different things, it's way easier to hire someone who spends time building their expertise on social media content creation, paid ads, building websites, And they're up on all the latest on those things.

Yes. They're niche focus. Yeah,

it's, it's as natural to them as what something that was to us. Right. So when it comes to hiring, like, I know there are a lot of sites that you know that you can go in and do. So you're actually. Doing all the vetting yourself. So you're trying to figure out the expertise.

You're trying to do all that. What I find interesting about your offering is that you're, you're kind of like, I'm going to go find the right person for you versus you even as a business owner, I can actually delegate that piece to you. In addition to once the freelancers on the project, because I think, you know, vetting out that, that expertise, like, tell me how you go about that for your, for the freelancers on your site or that you


So, yeah, I pre vet the freelancers and I do like, I know kind of what business owners are requesting. And so when I go to vet a freelancer, first, I have them do an application. That's a fairly detailed. So. And I'm looking for people who have all their business systems in place, because I want people who are organized, who can deliver on their promises.

I checked their portfolios, so they put in their portfolio links. And I'm also looking for people who are continuous learners. I want to see demonstration that they're getting micro certifications, they're up on the latest in whatever their specialty is. I'm looking for their experience, where they've worked before if they've worked for agencies, which is excellent training.

I'm looking for also, I ask about personal and professional interests, because I believe what makes a match between a business owner and a freelancer extra special is when there is an alignment with passion values and interests. So, I'll give you an example. I am geeky about road cycling. I I have one of those bicycles.

I have more than one bicycle. That's the starter, and I have all the geeky spandex clothing and all that stuff. So I pitched my services as a marketing consultant to my local bike shop, and I did a communi communication planning with their people, and because I belong to their target market, I bring all this extra knowledge, passion, and all these geeky little insights that you can't get from somebody who, eh, knows marketing but doesn't really care about cycling.

Yes. So I ask about that in the application and in the interview. And then when I go to match, that's in my back of my brain, Ooh, this person would be fabulous for this business owner because I know they have this experience. Mm-Hmm. . So I'll give you an example of a match that I had consultant who works with parents and educators who have with children with autism.

Yes. And she wanted social media content creation, and the match I made for her was a social media content creator who happened to lead a group for teenagers with autism with her husband. So she has that insider knowledge, she's obviously got the experience, the foundational experience of knowing her stuff in her discipline, social media content creation, but she also has values, interests, alignment.

Oh, I

love that you're doing that. What do you see is the biggest mistake that entrepreneurs will make when they're hiring freelance

talent for them? I would say sometimes maybe they don't know how to judge if that person is good at what they do. Oh, okay. And maybe they don't check the portfolios. I would say maybe getting Taking advantage of by a really slick sales offer and then maybe not checking recommendations, reviews, or even references.

That's where it's nice to have a warm referral, even from friends, colleagues, others in your circle, or, of course, somebody like me, Coliburnation, but where there's some kind of warm trust or knowledge. And then I think, too, not knowing yourself and what you want and need in a freelancer is a mistake, where you know, you're not, you don't give them specific enough instructions.

You're not understanding. Maybe you hire someone like yourself when really you need somebody who compliments you.

Yeah, I think that's a big thing about hiring. You know, if it's, if you're doing, if you've made mistakes in the past, is going back and looking at those. So being realistic about where your blind spots as an employer can be.

I've had to do that because I realized I was hiring the same person over and over again that never worked out. So, you know, it's one of those things. Okay, well, all right. Why do I keep hiring that person? Well, they're very high and social, which means they can answer any question I throw at them in a way that makes me think I've done the work.

But yet, you know. Their quick thinking and their socialness has masked the fact that they're probably

not a good fit. Oh, and to that point, I think it's also something I use when I hire freelancers and virtual assistants for my own business, because I hire them for my clients and for my own freelance business, and I use objective assessments.

Which you and I have talked about, working genius, which I'm super jazzed about. And so I have found when somebody scores on this assessment for these 2 particular geniuses that they're a good fit for me. Right. So there are six geniuses and the top two, is it okay if I go through and explain this?

Yeah, please

do. And then what we'll do is we'll put a link to that site also in the notes. For sure.

So working genius basically you talk about zone of genius. This is just a tool somebody at the table group has developed to identify that objectively. So the top two are wonder and invention. People with the genius of wonder.

Create wonderful ideas and they're your visionaries, they're those high level sky, pie in the sky people. Invention are the next people down in the project who take those ideas and know how to come up with a novel solution to make those ideas happen. The next level of genius are discernment and galvanizing.

Discernment are people who know what's a good idea, what's worth putting in money into, time into. They just have a gut on those good ideas. And galvanizing. Galvanizing people with that genius, get other people on board, say, Hey, come on, this is a great idea. Let's get behind this thing. Yeah. And then the last two are enablement.

Those are the people who say, how can I make your dream happen? And they just see a path to put all the details in place. to make your vision happen. Tenacity are the people who push it across the finish line. They can't rest until a deadline is met. Oh, nice. And I, the last several assistants I've hired, they have either enablement or tenacity, and I know they'll bug me until I give them what they need to meet a deadline.

They won't rest until it's done. That's amazing.

Do you see that freelancers, that whole, it's as an industry, it feels like it's getting bigger and bigger. It absolutely is. Is it because of the need for this, this such huge specialization or is it just that people don't want to hire full time employees anymore?

Like when you're talking with the entrepreneurs, what's what's driving that, that that this rise of the, of the freelancer?

Yeah, actually. So on the. Business owner side, there is a talent gap. So they're finding it difficult to hire employees. I would say the rise in gig employment or freelance employment is coming more from the individual side, the freelancer side.

So we heard, we have heard about you know, the great resignation and the pandemic. Quiet quitting. Yeah. Quiet quitting. People just reexamined. What am I doing? Why am I doing it? What's the purpose of my life? Who am I? How do I want to contribute to the world? And they're thinking, they're considering entrepreneurship and the The gateway to becoming a business owner is that solopreneur, you know, and then there's this rise.

There's this absolute, this rise in solopreneurship. The statscan shows it. I think it's up around like a quarter of Canadians either have a side gig or some kind of entrepreneurial gig going on full time, part time. It's really grown.

Wow. Okay. Any final tips or comments around hiring, bringing in people to help yourself and getting those resources in place?

I would say know yourself, what your strengths are, what your highest value activities are, and then those activities that drain your energy that you'll only ever produce mediocre results on. Put them down on the list and Lift your head up, allow things to fall apart for a little while, because taking that space to get those things off your plate is, is critical and worth it, worth the time.

on so many

levels. Sandra, this has been a fascinating conversation. How can people get a hold of

you? So they can connect with me on LinkedIn, either with my personal profile, Sandra Reimer, or on my business profile, CoLabourNation. And they're also welcome to visit my website, CoLabourNation. ca, and I would love to connect with them.

Awesome. I think the real bottom line here today then is, it is possible. To work in your zone of genius, but you're going to have to bring in some talent to do so. Thanks for your time today, Sandra.

Thank you, Wendy.

Creators and Guests

Wendy Brookhouse
Wendy Brookhouse
The Financial Planner for ambitious growth oriented Entrepreneurs
Shaun Whynacht
Shaun Whynacht
I’m the founder of Blue Cow Marketing and father of an amazing little boy. helping other business owners overcome challenges is my passion.
Episode 127 - Entrepreneurship and Leveraging Freelance Talent with Sandra Reimer
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