I've worked with Michelle for years and known her even longer so I can attest to how awesome she is. But I thought it would be fun to interview her about her life outside of work, why she started Done By 5, and her favorite thing about helping small businesses thrive, so that you could get to know the power woman behind DB5. Hope you enjoy!
1. What experience do you have as a business Assistant?
When I started Done By 5 I had recently moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area from Utah. It was 2006 and the job market was slim. I had experience in customer service and administrative work from years of working in different offices growing up, and then on the American Express customer service team.
I had also done work assisting quadriplegics with day to day activities and working as a nanny. These two jobs gave me experience working closely with people in their personal space.
Combining my skills as a personal assistant and in the world of business (big and small) it made perfect sense to start a small business as an executive and personal assistant. It was essentially what I had been doing just fragmented in different parts of my life. Speaking with my mentors and a few clients who had connections to the small business world I found a niche market of small business owners who couldn’t afford a full time assistant but needed help managing so much of the behind-the-scenes work. I began attending meetings and networking groups like BNI and when the need for a contracted small business assistant kept coming up I knew I had found a perfect niche of what I love, what I’m good at, and what small businesses needed.
2. What is your philosophy towards work?
I believe in ease and efficiency when it comes to completing work. Complicating a task or dwelling on incidental details usually just causes confusion and delays productivity. That being said, ease and efficiency cannot compromise quality and attention to detail. I make sure that the important details are carefully attended to. If it takes a little longer to make something excellent, I believe that time investment is worth it (it usually saves money and time in the long run).
3. Describe your management style.
Organized. I like creating a relaxed and trusting work environment and relationship with my small business clients and team members. To facilitate that while producing the best work possible I try to be as organized as possible and streamline that through my work with my team and my clients.
Trust is another important part of management for me. I enjoy working with people who I can trust and who trust me. That means I want my clients to feel comfortable around me and able to talk about anything they need. I put my trust in my clients and the work they need done and want them to feel the same about the work that I do.
4. Tell me about yourself.
I have always been a combination of easy going and relaxed by also rigid on certain things with a level of OCD. I like things done right, but like I said before, surround myself with people who I trust to do so, and so that takes out a level of needing to micro-manage in both my small business and my life.
I think having fun is important and try to take the time to do things that I love and relax. Getting outdoors is a big one for me. I love going camping or hiking with my husband and our pets, really anything that gets me out of the city and around nature and animals is something I enjoy.
Adventure is also big in my book. I plan things out constantly for clients whether that be travel itineraries, weekly personal schedules, or project timelines, I like to have everything set out to the minute. But in my personal life I couldn’t be more opposite. I tend to just go without a plan and great things usually happen.
5. What is your most important accomplishment to date?
Continuing to grow and learn in my small business and life. Staying malleable and open to new things has always been a strength throughout my life. That, and being able to maintain a balance between entrepreneurship and making space to spend quality time with people that are important in my life.
6. Why did you choose this career?
Being a virtual assistant/ business assistant keeps me on my toes; it’s like a new job everyday and I love it. I love being able to work on various types of tasks and projects with so many different people. That diversity and challenge keeps me going.
7. What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
5 years from now only looks up. I see Done By 5 as a growing company. I also see some kids. Family and home life is important to me and I would like to focus some energy into building that part of my life alongside my small business.
8. What is your greatest weakness?
I emphasize quality in everything I do and am always striving to make my work better. But perfectionism can be a double edged sword. Sometimes I can get into a rut of over-analyzing and perfecting which can block producing anything.
9. What is your greatest strength?
Some of the best feedback I get is that my clients, across the board, say I make it easy for them to trust me. Part of it is the consistent quality of my work, but I think a lot of it has to do with being able to connect with people and understand where they are coming from. Understanding how a client thinks and why, along with being committed and invested in their work, allows us to create and plan as a team.
And that's Michelle in a nutshell!