#55 | Building a Business that Solves a Hair on Fire Problem, Designing Your Tech Stack for Scale

Sam speaks with business owner & consultant Adriana Fierastrau. Adriana shares how her path to entrepreneurship emerged from a desire to solve a problem she experienced firsthand and why following a similar solution-focused approach provides the perfect foundation for others interested in entrepreneurship. Later in the episode, Adriana provides tips for how small businesses can proactively design their tech stack and operational processes to empower their long-term growth and success.

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Building a Business That Solves a Hair on Fire Problem | Designing Growth #55 ft. Adriana Fierastrau

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Episode transcript:

[00:00:09] Sam Chlebowski: Happy Thursday, everybody. And welcome back to Designing Growth. Sam Chlebowski here, co-founder of Motion.io and host of this podcast joining you for another episode. 

[00:00:22] Sam Chlebowski:On today’s episode, I have a fantastic guest that I am super excited to talk with Adriana Fierastrau who is the owner of Ontario Assistant.

[00:00:31] Sam Chlebowski: Which is an online business management company that caters to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Adriana, how are you doing?

[00:00:38] Adriana Fierastrau: Sam. I’m good. Thanks. How are you?

[00:00:40] Sam Chlebowski: I’m doing good. 

[00:00:41] Sam Chlebowski: You know, it is Wednesday here. I say happy Thursday at the beginning of the episode, but obviously I’m not always recording episodes on Thursday. this evening flying down to Austin actually to visit some family. That’s where my brother lives now. So we’re doing kind of like an early Thanksgiving When is Canadian Thanksgiving?

[00:01:00] Adriana Fierastrau: we had it already. We had it in October. It’s, so funny. It always goes our Thanksgiving. Then you guys, there’s black Friday somewhere in there and then Christmas. So it’s just kind of goes, That’s fun though. You get to see family. I’m in the middle of a move.

[00:01:13] Adriana Fierastrau: So honestly, my life’s been kind of upside down this entire time. So I’m really glad that we got to schedule this ahead of time because I’m super excited to be here. So thank you.

[00:01:22] Sam Chlebowski: Yeah, and thank you for taking the time out of the move. Hate moving. It is one of my least favorite

[00:01:29] Adriana Fierastrau: likes moving? 

[00:01:30] Sam Chlebowski: I think there are some people that are like excited to be in a new place, I kind of made the vow to only move basically once 10 years, whenever possible

[00:01:40] Adriana Fierastrau: or you just avoid it completely. Be like, this is where I live now.

[00:01:44] Sam Chlebowski: I wanted to get down to business here and ask you a little bit about your business. before I go into that, though, I do want to just say it’s very exciting to be speaking with another podcast host, you have a show called negotiating

[00:02:00] Adriana Fierastrau: that’s right. I do. And it’s a podcast and it’s also a radio show. We go live on Mondays in New Orleans on 107. 7 FM. And. I get to talk to people like you, entrepreneurs. I get to kind of dissect what is your journey and how did you get there and what makes you happy. And it’s wild to see the different motivations that people have to kind of go on this crazy journey.

[00:02:28] Adriana Fierastrau: So I was super excited when I saw your podcast because I’m like, aha, my people right here.

[00:02:34] Sam Chlebowski: you’re based. Just outside of Toronto, but the show actually airs on a radio station in addition to being on the streaming platforms, but it airs on a radio station in New Orleans. How did you make that connection?

[00:02:46] Adriana Fierastrau: I know some of the producers who know the station owner and the producer that I know. I’ve known them for a really long time and they also have a radio show and we’ve done media together. And actually, fun fact, we were on a ghost show together, like a paranormal show. We were filming and it’s a whole other story for a whole other day, but it’s just funny the way that life’s brings people together. So that’s how I knew the person that was involved in the station and I had always talked about, you know, I want to learn from more entrepreneurs.

[00:03:14] Adriana Fierastrau: I want to be able to share what I have and I want people to not be so afraid of starting on this entrepreneurial journey. And she said, perfect. Perfect. We have a slot. I think you need to put it out there. So that’s how it started.

[00:03:27] Sam Chlebowski: Amazing. Yeah, that’s cool. And that connection, especially, I will say New Orleans is like one of my favorite cities in the United States. It’s just so cool. The food, the culture, you walk around it like, One in the morning on a Wednesday and there’s people out in the street hanging out, partying, grilling oysters and stuff.

[00:03:45] Sam Chlebowski: And the reason why I mention this my wife and I, did a ghost tour in New

[00:03:49] Adriana Fierastrau: that’s amazing.

[00:03:50] Sam Chlebowski: that was way more interesting than I would have ever imagined. So if anybody’s in New Orleans, go for a ghost tour because we just picked like the highest rated one on TripAdvisor. It was super

[00:04:02] Adriana Fierastrau: Honestly, in the amount of history that New Orleans has, it’s impossible not to find that stuff interesting. Do you know what I mean? Like it’s not a place that is lacking in detail of any kind and variety. So definitely do that.

[00:04:17] Sam Chlebowski: Focusing back to your business. You own a online business management company. I would love to know and this is generally the first question I ask in all of these episodes, if we don’t get sidetracked by talking about New Orleans and radio shows and being podcast hosts.

[00:04:34] Sam Chlebowski: How did you get your start and what led you to become an entrepreneur and start this business?

[00:04:38] Adriana Fierastrau: I love this question, and I never get tired of telling people how I started because it’s such an ordinary start that I feel like it encourages people to kind of go for it. I’ve always known that I wanted to work for myself. I just could never put my finger on it. So my background is in legal and licensed paralegal here in the province of Ontario.

[00:04:56] Adriana Fierastrau: And I loved the work. It just wasn’t. Completely the environment that I wanted to be in. So I basically said it’s fine. It’s such a useful thing to have that. I will turn it into something else, fast forward a couple of years. I was on mat leave. I have a 3 year old, at the time he was a baby only and.

[00:05:13] Adriana Fierastrau: it stemmed from having some health issues, which is really random. I was calling around to get, a physiotherapist appointment. And out of like the 10 that I called in the city, only two got back to me. And all I kept thinking was, you can tell they’re like solo practitioners, solo entrepreneurs, because nobody was getting back to their leads, their emails and all of that.

[00:05:34] Adriana Fierastrau: And I. identified this gap that I could easily fix. So I did start out as a VA. It was definitely something new for anybody here in my area. I know that it was super popular, you know, in Australia, in the UK, a lot of European countries and the States too. But it wasn’t quite. you know, mainstream kind of here.

[00:05:52] Adriana Fierastrau: So I started out that way, but I quickly found myself doing a lot more high level development type of ops, like specifically operations. So that’s how we developed into online business management. But basically my beginnings came out of a struggle with some health issues after having a baby, which I feel like every mom can sort of relate to that.

[00:06:14] Adriana Fierastrau: I’m just really glad that I identified that gap in business for these solo practitioners when I did, because that was the spark of it. That was me. You know, my brain was kind of running and over time thinking you could totally fix this with tech, not just hiring somebody, so that’s where my journey started 

[00:06:33] Sam Chlebowski: I love the way that your foundation for this business was out of a problem that you were experiencing. And it’s something that we’ve talked about a number of times on this show. And. We talk about it literally every day amongst our team at motion. io, which is, how do you fix that hair on fire problem or that problem that you’re experiencing that you want to be solved so badly and your specific example, I really love because it’s something that quite honestly, the.

[00:07:06] Sam Chlebowski: Drives me a little bit crazy when I’m reaching out to a company, I’m like, Hey, I want to do business with you or I want to pay you for these services and you just don’t hear back. I will say that I get it it’s hard I totally get it. being a solo owner operator and oftentimes the first thing that gets dropped is paying attention to the new leads that come in and.

[00:07:30] Sam Chlebowski: In my opinion, why that happens is a solo owner operator. They’re focused on their current

[00:07:34] Sam Chlebowski: clients, 

[00:07:35] Adriana Fierastrau: That’s 

[00:07:36] Adriana Fierastrau: right. current business. They want to keep them happy. 

[00:07:38] Sam Chlebowski: And they feel like the returns aren’t always worth it to make that effort to. connect with leads or set up a system that’s going to do it for them.

[00:07:47] Sam Chlebowski: so I love how you went out on a mission to solve that one thing. And it sounds like you’ve expanded a lot since then, but just want to say kudos cause I love your decision and what kind of led you to start this 

[00:07:59] Adriana Fierastrau: Yeah, I, I have so many comments. Oh, my God. I’m so glad I really am talking to my people here. Yes, a lot of business owners think that way. we call it working. In the business rather than on the business, right? So when you’re working in the business, you’re doing the client work. That’s exactly why you need people like us.

[00:08:16] Adriana Fierastrau: You need the tech, you need the VAs, you need the OBMs to kind of keep things, connected and running at the same time. You can’t do it all by yourself. And the moment you realize that’s when you start elevating your growth, you’re building your base. And I would say this, that yes, at some point as a business owner, you.

[00:08:32] Adriana Fierastrau: Think that it’s not as important, but you would be wrong respectfully because that’s what’s going to keep the train moving. That’s what’s going to bring in more growth for you. At some point, you just stall. and a lot of people fall into this and I was the same, I fell into this retainer situation, which was comfortable and it was bringing in, you know, it was paying the bills and I loved my clients.

[00:08:54] Adriana Fierastrau: I still do, but it wasn’t bringing me the leads that I wanted to kind of elevate where I was. So You can’t scale, you can’t build a business that’s working for you. You’re always going to be working for the business. Right. And I think the whole idea is that you gain freedom from your business.

[00:09:12] Adriana Fierastrau: That’s what success really is. Or else you’ve just got yourself another nine to five. That’s actually like 24/7 So I’ve been there, I’ve been there and I see it all the time with people that are working and you’re right. being problem aware is one thing, but being solution aware is a completely different aspect of it.

[00:09:32] Adriana Fierastrau: And this is where a lot of tech and a lot of consultants come in handy.

[00:09:36] Sam Chlebowski: Yeah. Sort of that, deeper layer of. Needs within your business. Getting to a point where you can transition from trading your. Time for dollars to building a business where those things don’t have to go hand in hand anymore.

[00:09:53] Sam Chlebowski: Building these systems that allow you to. Either remove yourself from parts of the business or delegate specific tasks to other people that you bring on so that you’re no longer doing that one to one exchange.

[00:10:06] Sam Chlebowski: And I see a lot of small businesses, specifically in the online space, tend to stall out. At that point, because they think I don’t want to hire anybody or I don’t want to set up some of these systems. I’m happy with the way I’m doing things, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think that it’s important to be aware of that structure that develops because in the early days.

[00:10:27] Sam Chlebowski: It’s okay to do things that don’t scale, but if you want to grow and build a business, that’s bigger than just yourself, that is going to offer you more flexibility, maybe a better income, you need to be aware of the systems that you have and what’s going to need reworked or improved down the line.

[00:10:47] Adriana Fierastrau: It’s true, and a lot of the times, because you’re talking to other entrepreneurs, they don’t understand the solution. Because it’s not being put in numbers for them. So the moment I start calculating, the moment I start analyzing, Okay, how much time are you spending doing this? How much time are you spending doing that?

[00:11:06] Adriana Fierastrau: And then once they figure out that they can save hundreds of hours every year. Maybe you know, those hours you’re spending with your family, maybe you’re traveling, maybe you’re investing them back into your business because you’re right. Some people want to scale. Some people don’t. I’ve seen business owners that blew up, had a team of 10, 15 people, But then they scaled back down because it just wasn’t. The structure that they were hoping for, but they didn’t let go of the processes because the process is still help them scale back down to a manageable workload while still making good profit. So the systems are never going to go away. It’s just the way that you run them.

[00:11:48] Adriana Fierastrau: So that’s why I love. Learning about new tech. I love learning about how people structure their businesses It’s really impossible to find a piece of tech that is 100 percent perfect to your business. That’s why it’s really good to have a good consultant.

[00:12:03] Adriana Fierastrau: It’s because you can manipulate it that way. Or are you going to build your own tech, which a lot of the times the answer is going to be no. You’re not going to have custom tech in there. So it’s really good to understand what you want out of your business. How do you want to run it? And what can we do before we get to the point of hiring?

[00:12:22] Adriana Fierastrau: Because hiring is scary for a lot of business owners. So we play this game called automate, delegate and keep. The goal is the keep column has to have the least amount of tasks possible, because we want you to be in your zone of genius, right? Your zone of genius is not replying to leads or qualifying leads.

[00:12:42] Adriana Fierastrau: Your zone of genius is doing the thing, right? The service, the product, the whatever, the developing, making partnerships. That’s your zone of genius. That’s why you are the head of this sort of operation. The automate and delegate parts are so important a lot of the times, and I’m super guilty of this too.

[00:12:59] Adriana Fierastrau: I have a hard time letting go of things. I do, you know, I’m sure you can relate some things you just want to deal with yourself. 

[00:13:07] Sam Chlebowski: Giving away your Legos is something that is, it’s basically written in pen on the walls of our brand new Motion. io office, just the three of us in an office, one room office. But still, that’s something that we say a lot because it’s there’s going to become a point where you have to give things that you love doing.

[00:13:26] Sam Chlebowski: For the betterment of your business. What can make it easier from my experience is before you ever make the decision to hire in the early days of your business. Understand what you want that business to look like within a year, two years, three years down the line. You don’t have to go super into specifics, but what does it look like?

[00:13:48] Sam Chlebowski: Are you always just working by yourself or do you want a team? Because if you want a team, I think that there’s things that you can be doing to plan for that. 

[00:13:58] Adriana Fierastrau: you’re 100 percent right. If you want to see your business grow, you have to plan for it. And it’s not just about you know, where I would like to be in quotes here. It’s about plan it, write it out, talk about it, change your mindset so that your actions can start matching those ideas. So even with my team, I have a small team and they do very specific things for me.

[00:14:23] Adriana Fierastrau: It’s not a free for all. It’s not like a bucket where they get to pick. a very calculated role, right? Somebody’s doing social. Somebody’s doing SEO and tech stuff. And somebody is doing, all of the more admin tasks related to it. Well, I get to do the strategy, the planning, the development, right?

[00:14:45] Adriana Fierastrau: So I think once you figure out, All right. you want to do and what you don’t want to do versus what is on your plate and what could be on your plate. Then you figure out, okay, I don’t want to let this business go because it’s profitable, but I want somebody else to be able to do it because I don’t want to do it.

[00:15:06] Adriana Fierastrau: So as long as you plan for, in two years, are you going to be happy doing this? No, then you should probably not do it now. So start planning ahead for what you want your outcome to be two, five years from now. Is it always? realistic, no, I think I would love to just be able to do the development and like the networking and the bringing in sales eventually and just overlook everything.

[00:15:31] Adriana Fierastrau: But that doesn’t mean I can drop that now. That’s more of a long term goal. So you just have to identify when we talk on the show, what makes you happy? It’s not like a frivolous thing. It’s actually a planning thing, right? What makes you happy? Will you be doing these same tasks in two years? No.

[00:15:45] Adriana Fierastrau: Okay. So figure it out. Do you want to delegate or do you want to automate it? that’s all we do is operations. So even hiring for other people, we approach it the same way. It’s don’t just hire people because you think you need help. You first have to develop some sort of process.

[00:15:59] Adriana Fierastrau: I can’t tell you how many times people would come to me with horror stories about hiring VAs, whether they’re overseas or local, it doesn’t matter. When you don’t have systems in place, because you’re running your business out of your head, you’re not going to be a good communicator. You’re not going to be a good manager.

[00:16:14] Adriana Fierastrau: You’re not giving them the tasks that you want them to do. You’re not going to be happy with their work. And they’re also not going to be happy with the way that you handle it. So you just have to be very intentional and you have to sit down and figure out. What do you want to do? And this is where the hard parts come in, the letting go, you know, giving away your Legos and figuring out, but you know what?

[00:16:34] Adriana Fierastrau: I’m giving away those Legos, but over there, there’s a whole pile of them that I haven’t even tapped into yet. Do you know what I mean? So you gotta be intentional and it’s the same with operations, you know, defining your client journey, defining their experience I was listening actually to one of your episodes, you know, talking about.

[00:16:53] Adriana Fierastrau: How use to give people the advice that they need to niche down, And maybe sometimes they don’t, just depends, but they should at least go through that phase of trying to niche down, even if they don’t end up doing it, because what happens is your messaging comes out and your intention of what you want to do and what kind of services you want to offer, because from there, it just trickles down into your team, because why would you hire 10 days if you’re not going to be.

[00:17:17] Adriana Fierastrau: Thank you. You know, seeking out the people that need admin help. I don’t want those people. I want the people that want to optimize their operations. That’s what I want, you have to get clear on it. I talk about embracing failure all the time.

[00:17:28] Adriana Fierastrau: Do like a postmortem quote, unquote, what went wrong? Why? And then you can learn from that to be like, okay, well, clearly I didn’t have the right Systems in place, they were confused because I was confused 

[00:17:40] Sam Chlebowski: I really love. you approach operations and management and goal settings within your business. It’s all tied to this bigger idea of happiness, which is something that I feel like can be so often overlooked in favor of, growth, the sheer numbers on the paper.

[00:17:59] Sam Chlebowski: when you broke that down for me, I can see that If you can define the things that make you happy, the things that you want to be doing within your business, how your business intersects with your life, it can be really powerful in ways that I hadn’t ever considered before. me, for example, like the things that I want to be doing the most I love meeting customers.

[00:18:21] Sam Chlebowski: I love. Hosting events. I love doing podcasts like this. That is the thing that fills my cup up within this business. we are in the earlier days of launching this company and got to do a lot more. And there’s things that I like in there. For example, I took a step away from designing for years. I started my career as a web designer, freelance graphic designer before then. And I hadn’t designed anything until we started motion. io. And I found that I like it and I’m learning a lot and updating myself on my skills. But that’s one thing that I already know. Like One of the first things on the chopping block is let’s get a real designer in here who can build out some of this stuff for me. 

[00:19:04] Adriana Fierastrau: not to say that the numbers don’t matter because they do, but the numbers are tools. The numbers aren’t your end goal. Your end goal is happiness. And then you work down from that. So you figure out where you want to be. Then you look down to see what numbers do I need to support that and then you keep working down from there.

[00:19:22] Adriana Fierastrau: Just to add to your example of hiring versus contracting, go through an exercise of what is the threshold. moSt of the times I’ll say just contract somebody out for now until you figure out, is this sufficient? Is it not? And what is your threshold? You should always know if they hit X amount of hours at X amount of pay, it’s actually cheaper for me to hire them full time.

[00:19:46] Adriana Fierastrau: You do have to do a lot of math because you have to take in, Benefits and here we have, CPP, which is like your pension contributions and employment insurance and all that kind of stuff. And you factor it all in. It’s all available online. You just need to have somebody to help you navigate to do that math.

[00:20:02] Adriana Fierastrau: And you have that in the back. of your mind to be like, yeah, we did that exercise. So if you ever hit anywhere near that, it’s actually going to be better for tax purposes or like, it depends. Are you a sole proprietorship? Are you incorporated? I know you guys have LLCs and like other types of structures, but it works the same way.

[00:20:18] Adriana Fierastrau: So as long as you do keep in mind the numbers and you do the math, you can plan a lot more successfully, but people, you’re right, get bogged down. Happiness is not frivolous. Happiness is the goal. The numbers are just the tools.

[00:20:31] Sam Chlebowski: When it does come to… Looking at the specific numbers on the paper, how do you look at the importance of communicating those numbers and those goals that you’re setting to the team? How are you doing that in your business? 

[00:20:44] Adriana Fierastrau: It’s the same idea of, speaking it into existence. If anybody that’s, you know, super into manifesting, I think it’s interesting. It’s an interesting concept, what it does is it just changes your mindset. You have to have these kind of planning meetings or strategy meetings. If you do have a bigger team or you, let’s say you do it individually, right?

[00:21:02] Adriana Fierastrau: I usually talk to my team individually because we work on different things together. But I will tell them ahead of time. Of hey, this is my goal for the next quarter. This is my goal for 2024 because then you’re kind of planting the seed in their head to be like, okay, that means that I’m going to have to switch my schedule around or be present for X, Y, Z days or so you just have to treat your team.

[00:21:27] Adriana Fierastrau: Like they’re part of your plan, right? They want to be included. They want to know that they’re doing a great job and they want to know where are we headed. Could this be better instead of being kept in the dark and then. All of a sudden they’re moving on somewhere else.

[00:21:43] Adriana Fierastrau: So I think you just have to make them a part of the planning and just say, my goal is to do this. Does anybody have any ideas, comments, questions, concerns? And sometimes a, it’s a mess, right? And they’re like, yeah, cool. We don’t have anything to add. And sometimes it’s they come up with certain things because they see other clients or they, you know, they’re in the digital space out there.

[00:22:02] Adriana Fierastrau: They learn things and you’re like, oh. I never thought I could do it this way. You know what I mean? So you have to continuously collaborate with your team just because you’re delegating things to them. It doesn’t mean that they’re not a part of the big plan. .

[00:22:12] Sam Chlebowski: Switching gears for a second. I wanted to talk about tech. What are some of the favorite tools that you’ve been using or you’ve been using with clients that you’ve come across recently? And what are you using them for?

[00:22:27] Adriana Fierastrau: So I love this idea of trying to integrate as many platforms as possible because what I’m finding is. People are very overwhelmed, they’ll start, getting a subscription for a CRM and they’re going to start getting a subscription for project management tool and there’s those tools that kind of can do both.

[00:22:46] Adriana Fierastrau: So then they end up overlapping and it’s a waste of resources. And also there, there’s no way they’re learning four platforms at the same time. So I tried to do a little bit of cleanup. I love. Just having a CRM and then a project management tool. They don’t necessarily have to talk to each other depending on the industry that you’re in.

[00:23:04] Adriana Fierastrau: I also love using two way API integrations, . If not, then use something like Zapier but motion. io is very similar. Now that you guys have done so much work with the portals, I think it’s so useful. I use similar tools to motion. io right now, but I think this could be a really good fit for the clients that have a lot of back and forth with their own clients because the portal is, a very succinct place where I don’t then have to connect, like Dropbox and Google drive and like all this other stuff that, creates more and more spaces, which I’m the worst for this because every single one of my clients, I swear works on a different system. So one day I’ll be, doing things on one drive and then I’ll be.

[00:23:50] Adriana Fierastrau: On Dropbox and then Google drive and everything else in between. So I love to take a CRM connected to a project management tool. It keeps us both on track. And if it’s for their client work, it keeps them on track. 

[00:24:02] Sam Chlebowski: I love the way that you have not. Really tied yourself to any one tool. Rather, you’re looking for the best tools and the best fit for your specific clients. And I think that is so hugely valuable.

[00:24:16] Adriana Fierastrau: I don’t do like affiliate kind of market. Like I, if it happens great, if it happens to be the tool that I’m using, but it’s not something that I rely on, which is very freeing because I work with different service providers and different industries and not everything works for them.

[00:24:32] Adriana Fierastrau: That’s why I’m super excited to check out another tool because it’s, Motion has all of the right things, whereas some of the other ones, maybe not I’ll give you an example. HoneyBook is great and it’s really user friendly, but it doesn’t have any automation workflows and all that stuff.

[00:24:48] Adriana Fierastrau: Most of my clients need a little bit more. But HoneyBook might be great for somebody who just does here’s your service, here’s your invoice, and that’s it. definitely look at what is best for the client. And I think they appreciate that, not just from different price points, because at that point I’ll say, listen, the investment is worth it. I can show you the amount of hours that you’re going to save every year. it’s really about the quality of the product.

[00:25:12] Sam Chlebowski: On the flip side, with Motion. io, we built it for primarily small businesses, online service based businesses. It wouldn’t be a good fit if somebody is primarily selling products or digital products online. We’re just not for that. And I think that we’ve all taken a stance where we are fine with that.

[00:25:31] Sam Chlebowski: We understand that, but I think it’s also important to not try and be Everything for everybody, whether that’s in a product, whether that’s in the services that you’re offering in your business, even if you don’t have a very specific niche that you are going into, there’s a tremendous value being able to explain who you are for versus who you are not, I

[00:25:55] Adriana Fierastrau: And that’s a really good business advice for anybody that’s listening. you can treat your business the exact same way. You don’t have to be for everybody. But when you are for somebody, you better be good because that’s what’s going to make you stand out. 

[00:26:06] Sam Chlebowski: could not agree more. Oh my gosh. Another thing that I wanted to mention in there was what you had shared at the very beginning. When I asked you about tools that you were using and some of your favorite technologies and how you approach that you had mentioned preventing overlap. And I think that is a really key piece.

[00:26:26] Sam Chlebowski: I mean, there are literally. Software products out there that are built now to track all of your subscriptions. It’s kind of for larger companies, but they literally track all of your subscriptions. They keep track of what SAS apps you are paying for and where there is overlap between them. So you can figure out what you know, need to cancel.

[00:26:45] Sam Chlebowski: I think though there’s immense value in having somebody like yourself come in and say, Hey. Use this for this, use this for the other thing and this for the third thing. And we can cut out four through 10 of these other platforms that you’re

[00:27:01] Adriana Fierastrau: It’s wild. It’s just wild because it is overwhelming. I recently decided to compile a list of platforms and AI. That would be super helpful for business owners. We’re in the process of making it look pretty so that we can start distributing it. But. It is overwhelming when we had to sit down and figure out the categories that they fit in.

[00:27:23] Adriana Fierastrau: It’s like, this thing fits in like 10 categories. How do we make it work? But imagine being blasted with that every single time you’re on social media, every single time you’re looking for a piece of information, you’ll get all of these comparison blogs and, goodness of backlinks and SEO.

[00:27:38] Adriana Fierastrau: But it’s overwhelming as somebody who. I like tech. I can’t imagine what people that don’t use tech at all like, I know people who are still running their business out of Excel sheets and no disrespect to Microsoft Excel, but at some point they will fail. They will fail so bad.

[00:27:57] Adriana Fierastrau: I’ve been there. We’ve had entire databases get corrupted from the silliest little things. they’ll fail. Eventually I always say start moving away from this, maybe go cloud based and have some sort of backup with that, right? But if you can have a platform like Motion that allows you to kind of have everything in one spot, it is gold, it’s gold because even after I implement these things for clients, they don’t necessarily start using them right away.

[00:28:26] Adriana Fierastrau: They lose track. They get super overwhelmed with it. I do like custom video walkthroughs of here’s where you find this, that blah, blah, blah. We’ll have a little transcript of it. So if they’re ever looking for it, they’ll know exactly where to go in the video and you’ll be able to see it.

[00:28:41] Adriana Fierastrau: Super helpful. But when you’re actually, meant to sit down and learn how to do it, which that’s the part that I can’t do for them unless I’m managing it for them. I can’t help them with that. It’s crazy. The amount of information that they’re going to need to retain. So imagine doing that with four different platforms, five, six, it’s insane.

[00:28:59] Adriana Fierastrau: It can’t happen. So that’s why I love platforms like Motion.io because everything is there. The scheduling, the portal the invoices, the contracts, the proposals, and you have one. Folder quote unquote for your client, you will find all of the information there. And also if it can connect to your website and all of the information just gets fed through, you’re not, you’re no longer in the dark ages where you’re sitting there, like inputting, doing onboarding, literally like typing out email addresses and, you know, client information.

[00:29:29] Adriana Fierastrau: It’s, it’s just wild how far we’ve come. And I’ve worked in brick and mortar companies that. still do a lot of that by hand. They are getting better. So if you ever work at a law firm here, up until the pandemic, everybody was still doing everything by paper because the courts were doing everything by paper.

[00:29:48] Adriana Fierastrau: It was complete chaos, utter chaos. Like you’re sitting there and you’re filling out intake forms on paper and it’s just complete chaos. They’re slowly changing, but it’s my goal. Got to get everybody off of that.

[00:30:01] Sam Chlebowski: we’re building things into motion. io based on the request that we’ve heard. One of the things we actually have in beta right now is our Zapier integration. So you can have a lead form filled out on your site, automatically create a portal in motion.

[00:30:14] Sam Chlebowski: io and then signatures. Because that was one thing that we realized people were paying for that we could do in motion. io was like, Hey, in most cases, you don’t need all of the functionality of DocuSign. You just need a way for somebody to sign a contract and be able to do it in their portal. So that’s something that we have releasing probably next

[00:30:34] Adriana Fierastrau: That’s amazing. That’s huge.

[00:30:36] Sam Chlebowski: I would also love when this list of AI platforms and kind of how you can use them. If you could send that to me, I would love to take a look

[00:30:44] Adriana Fierastrau: Yes.

[00:30:45] Sam Chlebowski: because I think that there is just so much bad information about AI out there that it would be really nice to have one guide from somebody I trust I’ve spoken to.

[00:30:55] Adriana Fierastrau: I just remember when everybody was freaking out online about AI basically taking over their jobs and I’m like, okay we need to step back a little bit here. Let’s not go completely off the wall here. Let’s just see how we can use it. And as a business owner, if you’re a smaller business.

[00:31:11] Adriana Fierastrau: they’re such great tools. You can’t convince me otherwise, even if, yes, I do think I work with a lot of copywriters and they’re very good at what they do. And I do agree with them. I’ve gotten a lot of their feedback on AI for writing different copy or for sales pages because it is a very niche, you know, conversion copywriting.

[00:31:28] Adriana Fierastrau: I do agree that is not quite up to par yet. I always call it like, even if you have the bones, you can add the meat to it. Do you know what I mean? Like you have a starting point. I think any tool that you have is never going to be perfect. It just depends on how you use it. You still have to use your brain to actually make it work for you. 

[00:31:45] Sam Chlebowski: yeah. Yeah. So 

[00:31:46] Sam Chlebowski: This has been amazing talking with you. Adriana, I could probably sit here all day and we could do like a four

[00:31:53] Adriana Fierastrau: Just swap like ideas, right?

[00:31:56] Sam Chlebowski: Yeah, exactly. Cause like at the end of this, like we got into the stuff that gets me super,

[00:32:01] Adriana Fierastrau: Same.

[00:32:01] Sam Chlebowski: about technology and all of the things you can use it for.

[00:32:04] Sam Chlebowski: That’s like kind of where I’ve always slotted in at the companies I’ve worked at. so I would love to have you back on in another episode to expand on this further, but until then, two final questions for you to end our episode today. The first one is if people want to learn more about you and the work that you’re doing, where should they go online to find you?

[00:32:24] Adriana Fierastrau: First of all, thank you so much for having me. I’ve had such a good time, and I would love to come back, because obviously we can sit here for hours talking about this stuff. And if people want to find me, I’m on Instagram at assistant. Ontario and my website is Ontarioassistant. com. And you’ll be able to see what kind of services that we have.

[00:32:45] Adriana Fierastrau: We have a page for the podcast if anybody’s interested. And if you just want to send me a quick message. Feel free, use the contact form. It comes right into my inbox, well, into my CRM, actually. And uh, we’ll, definitely try and answer any questions that anybody may have.

[00:33:03] Sam Chlebowski: Amazing. And we will put links to all of that stuff in the show notes of this episode. So please go ahead and check those out. With that, my final question for you today. Within the last year, best things you have read, watched, and listened to. One for each category.

[00:33:19] Adriana Fierastrau: Ooh. Okay. Burnout. I highly recommend this book. literally It explains the science of burnout Here, I’m just going to look it up.

[00:33:27] Adriana Fierastrau: So burnout the secret to unlocking the stress cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski. It is fantastic gives real life examples and it explains how you can break the cycle so that you don’t keep the stress in. I think that was. Amazing. A podcast that I really enjoyed outside of this one, it’s the mind your business podcast. I’ve listened to a couple of episodes and first of all, they’re really funny, but I could resonate with some of the things that they were saying. And if you like kind of. this whole more like spiritual side of things. I think they do include some of it in there, but I think their business ideas are fantastic.

[00:34:04] Adriana Fierastrau: What was it? And watched? Oh, honestly, watching for me is when I get to turn my brain off. So, I don’t even know. I don’t even know what I watch. I also have a three year old. So, If I’m completely honest with you, I think putting on an episode of Bluey and just letting it play in the background has been my favorite thing ever because he’s quiet and also some of the jokes that they make in there are definitely scripted for adults.

[00:34:29] Adriana Fierastrau: So unfortunately it’s nothing you can learn from. It’s just kind of a, oh, this is a nice quiet moment.

[00:34:35] Sam Chlebowski: My son is 9 months old, coming up on 10 months. so we’re not quite at the cartoon age yet, but we’re almost there. I’m very much so looking

[00:34:45] Adriana Fierastrau: yeah, it’s it’s very interesting that some of the cartoons are, I think we watched a lot of Wiggles and we’ve actually watched them live. It is a full blown concert. There is, it’s amazing.

[00:34:56] Sam Chlebowski: musicians. Real musicians.

[00:34:59] Adriana Fierastrau: Yes, it was amazing, I think I would take him again, but it’s a full blown concert with a bunch of kids screaming.

[00:35:05] Adriana Fierastrau: So be prepared for that. Um, yEah, but Bluey is definitely a favorite because like they just sometimes, I don’t know if you know Bluey at all. 

[00:35:14] Sam Chlebowski: I am familiar. I’ve, I’ve like, like seen clips on YouTube, but have not watched full episodes.

[00:35:21] Adriana Fierastrau: parents that are just doing their best with their kids. And it’s just so relatable. Like I just sometimes I feel like that there’s one where they played this game. It’s okay, what can we play where we don’t have to move and then they become mountains. So the kids just like climb on top of them and they make a whole storyline out of it.

[00:35:38] Adriana Fierastrau: It was just hilarious. I’m like, I remember sitting there on the floor and just being like, all right, I’m done. 

[00:35:43] Sam Chlebowski: Some great recommendations, we will put links to the show notes, not to Episodes of

[00:35:47] Adriana Fierastrau: Yes.

[00:35:48] Sam Chlebowski: the book and the podcast that you mentioned.

[00:35:50] Adriana Fierastrau: Yeah. Definitely. So embarrassing.

[00:35:53] Sam Chlebowski: Thank you. Thank you so much for joining me. This has been like the best way to spend my Wednesday morning here in Colorado. And thank you for everything that you’ve shared with that.

[00:36:04] Sam Chlebowski: This has been another great episode of Designing Growth. Hope you enjoyed this episode. If you liked it, it would mean the world to us. If you went ahead and left us a five star review on Apple or Spotify helps the show get in front of more people and keeps. Me committed to creating more great episodes like this one with that.[00:36:22]

Sam Chlebowski: Thank you so much again, Adriana, and we’ll talk to you next week. Take care, everybody. Bye bye.

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