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EXCLUSIVE: This Entrepreneur Built A $12M Company With A 100% Remote Team. Here’s How She Runs It

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A little while ago, we did a Q&A with an amazing entrepreneur who did what all great founders do: Get frustrated with a problem. Then solve it.

The way she did this was by creating a universal, truly global co-working operation — and one that’s now grown to $12M in value, world-class investor backing and a newly minted partnership with the co-working giant itself, WeWork.

If you recall, Great Briton Leanne Beesley built and launched Coworker.com in just three years. And she runs with a 100% remote team, all the while traveling the world.

(Just check her IG. It’s super lit.)

Well, we still have more beastly Beeesley gems to share.

In Part II of this interview, Leanne breaks down how she runs a fully remote team of 19 folks across 11 countries, the biggest mistake she made, and how one minor change changed everything about her business.

For the better. Enjoy.

How do you run your team?

We’re a fully remote/distributed team of 19 people spanning across 11 countries. As a startup founder, the biggest mistake I made during our first two years of Coworker was not delegating enough or focusing on the team.

Coming from a freelancer and solopreneur background—where your worth is based on your personal output—I was totally self absorbed in my own “busy work” and my inability to delegate was a massive bottleneck hindering our growth. I cringe now looking back at how inefficiently I used to run the team. Management and leadership were definitely my major weakness.

What changed?

In late 2017 I read “High Output Management” by former Intel CEO Andrew Grove. This book totally changed our trajectory and the way I run things.

As I read through it, it dawned on me that I had been so focused on my own personal output that I wasn’t even thinking about the output of my team members. But optimizing the collective output of the team would have a much bigger impact on our growth than my own singular output ever could. It was like a light-bulb went off in my head!

Then what happened?

The next day, I totally restructured the company and the way I run the team.

What was the first thing you changed?

Instead of trying to manage everyone myself, I identified which members of our team already demonstrated leadership qualities and moved them into senior leadership roles with other team members reporting into them.

Nice.

I also created extremely detailed job descriptions for everyone, with every responsibility clearly defined along with their KPIs outlined and a list of what they need to report on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. These get updated every quarter to reflect any changes in their role.

I implemented quarterly OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) which is the same goal setting framework used by Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and tons of other major companies. This made a big impact on our growth almost immediately.

What followed then?

I started sending a Monday update to the entire team to get them pumped up for the week. This includes a video where I answer any questions they submitted through the anonymous “Ask Leanne” Google Form each week.

Super dope! Why was that helpful?

As well as sharing our KPIs from the previous week and highlights of awesome stuff different team members worked on, it’s a great opportunity for me to reinforce the vision and mission on a regular basis!

These probably all sound like obvious things that I should have been doing from the beginning, but it took a major mindset shift for me to realize I needed to do them!

You’d be surprised. I guarantee you tons of people are going “Aha!” right now.

It seems like common sense in retrospect. How else can you run a team if you’re not delegating and tracking?

Which leads me to my next question. Project management. You run a remote team exclusively. You travel all over the world. How do you run your team?

When it comes to tools, we use Slack for internal team communications and Basecamp as a project management tool. We try to use email as little as possible; it’s such a productivity killer.

From a culture perspective, we definitely all have an entrepreneurial spirit. Many of our team members are former or current entrepreneurs, and were members of co-working spaces long before they joined Coworker.

For example our Community Manager, March Brenwall, owns her own ecommerce store – MarchFifth – selling fitness themed apparel and jewelry—which her team of VAs now manage since she joined Coworker—and has been traveling around the world for years working out of co-working spaces in Asia, Europe and North America.

Do you look for that when hiring, an entrepreneurial background?

I like hiring people who have had a slightly unconventional career path, especially if they’ve taught themselves skills and built things along the way. A history of proactivity and bias towards action are key indicators for whether someone will fit well into Coworker culture.

You guys have been offering a vehicle for smaller co-working companies to play on an even field with WeWork. But you recently cut a deal with them. Why?

When we first launched Coworker in 2015, we were focused on helping freelancers and solo entrepreneurs find co-working spaces. But as we grew, we noticed more and more companies were using Coworker to find offices for their teams.

The co-working industry is diversifying as it matures because demand is increasing for all types of flexible workspace. It’s similar to the way there are so many different types of hotels, from boutique design hotels to 5-star luxury resorts. People have unique needs and look for different things in a co-working space.

We realized that if we wanted Coworker to be the ultimate destination for finding & booking co-working spaces we needed to have the full range of co-working space inventory on the platform, allowing people to filter and choose whichever is right for them.

What’s been the reaction from previous partners?

A few independent co-working space managers emailed us to express their concern when WeWork joined Coworker in July [2018], but we’ve crunched the data and it really hasn’t affected their own conversion rates at all. WeWork has a very strong brand but Coworker is a level playing field.

The booking request conversion rate for co-working spaces with over 10 reviews is on average 487% higher than spaces with no reviews, and unlike on Google there are no PPC bidding wars to spiral marketing costs out of control if co-working spaces want to appear at the top of Coworker’s search results for their city.

Although we do have almost all the larger co-working space networks on Coworker, including WeWork, Tribes, Industrious, Spaces, IOS Offices, 91 Springboard, etc, these make up only 12% of the co-working spaces on Coworker.

88% of the 9200+ co-working spaces on Coworker are independent spaces so the majority of booking requests made are still to them.

In part III, Leanne breaks down her growth strategies, what lies ahead and her thoughts on the co-working industry as a whole.

Entrepreneurs

Here’s How Apple’s CEO Tim Cook Starts His Day (And What He Does Might Surprise You)

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Apple has became a trillion-dollar company. Despite the tech giant’s great numbers, how does its CEO Tim Cook actually start his day?

In a recent Axios interview, Cook revealed he starts each day just before 4 a.m. with a strict morning routine.

What that consists of might surprise you: He reads user comments about Apple products.

“I like to take the first hour and go through user comments and things like this that sort of focus on the external people that are so important to us,” Cook says.

In other words, he reads comments from fans, trolls and everything in between.

You’d think the CEO never bothers to read stuff like that; that he’d have an assistant ready to give him the rundown.

“And then I go to the gym and work out for an hour because it keeps my stress at bay.”

Workouts can be super critical. Billionaires and other successful entrepreneurs cite fitness as a key component to their success (and overall sanity).

“I seriously doubt that I would have been as successful in my career (and happy in my personal life),” Branson once wrote in a blog post. “If I hadn’t always placed importance on my health and fitness.”

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Entrepreneurs

Gary Vee’s ‘$1.80’ Instagram Strategy To Hack Your Follower Count

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Entrepreneur and bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk—aka Gary Vee!— is one of the biggest business on social media today.

His IG currently boasts 4M followers while his YouTube has near 1.6M subscribers.

The CEO of Vayner Media, Gary uses (and absolutely loves) social media to propel the growth of his business, now valued at a whopping $125 million, which even includes a media franchise.

(And no, WealthLAB’s not for sale, G.)

Obviously, if you’re someone just starting out in business, you’re looking for ways to get your business out there. How to get more followers.

For 90%+, you pick a couple of platforms, you post. More often than not, you end up with dwindling traffic, or no shares or comments.

So how do you get around that?

According to Gary Vee, you can get more followers and more engagement through a $1.80 strategy. (Well, sorta.)

Here’s how you do it.

Make a list of every hashtag that fit the work your business does. Apart from this, check out the other tags people use when generating content similar to yours.

With this in hand, check out any hashtag for the top posts surrounding that description—and then share your two cents about it as a comment.

If you were to do this ten times over, your work would equal $0.02*9 posts*the hashtags= $1.80. (Yeah, kinda corny, but you get the logic.)

Check it out here, in his own words.

Over time, this can help you snag followers, and you will continuously learn about what matters to many of your followers.

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Entrepreneurs

6 Questions You Must Ask Yourself To Improve Your Health And Productivity

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Engaging the right mentality. Whether it’s fitness, business or just self-improvement, setting your personal goals is just like setting any other major goals in life:

You need to be in the right state of mind in order to develop the discipline for progress. 

Below are some mental exercise questions to help you gauge where you are mentally. Ask yourself the following questions.

Q1: Why is it important to be honest with myself?

Being honest with myself not only helps me identify a problem but more importantly, identify a solution. 

By being honest with myself, not only do I give myself an opportunity to understand how I confront my problems, but I also give myself room to understand my priorities and goals.

Q2: What contributed to my current state of health?

Not exercising consistently, eating out on a daily basis, nurturing destructive habits with my current habits and routines. In other words, set a plan to address it—and then do.

Q3: How can I achieve a better state of health?

Follow a workout plan, develop the habit of consistent exercise, hiring a personal trainer who can guide me towards my goals. Create a list of healthy foods to eat, reach out to a friend who has similar goals and work together.

Accountability is everything.

Q4: What has been my biggest setback from reaching my goals?

Procrastination, not having a clear set of goals, and bad habits. It’s really that simple.

Q5: Why have I not applied these solutions yet?

Example Answer: “I’m not sure where to start, I haven’t taken the time to think about these things.”

Q6: Is it possible to change any of the negative answers I listed?

ABSOLUTELY! If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me! 

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