Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.
Hey everybody, welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today my guest is Laura Early. Laura is the Chief Experience at WISE Advise Assist Team, and it’s a virtual team of Military spouses, veteran spouses, and veterans who help small businesses fulfill their needs in areas like public relations, business strategy, bookkeeping, digital marketing, web design, and a whole lot more. Um, and they exist to solve military spouse, Unemployment and underemployment by providing a one stop shop for outsourcing where small business owners can get the support that they need. Uh, today [00:01:00] we’re going to be discussing more about this employment problem and ways that it can be fixed. So, uh, before we get into all that, uh, welcome to the show, Laura.
I’m really glad to have you here.
Laura Early: Yeah. Thanks so much. It’s great to be here.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, you bet. Um, so for the listeners, the viewers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Laura Early: Yeah. So I have been with WISE now for almost, well, over eight years. So we started the company eight years ago. I have a co founder who’s also a military spouse. Uh, we met, uh, I guess almost a decade ago. When our husbands were, uh, working right outside, uh, Fort Moore, which is right outside Atlanta and Columbus, Georgia.
Um, so we met volunteering and, and talking and we were facing some of the same problems. I had had three jobs in my first four years as an active duty military spouse. And I was looking at probably having to quit another job and get another job because we were moving again. And she was kind of in the same boat.
She’d been working remotely for a company for a long time. And, uh, they were [00:02:00] wanting her to come into the office because this was back before remote work was the cool thing to do. And, um, so we really just started talking. We’re both freelancing at the time, started blending, uh, talked about how we could blend our backgrounds.
She’s very tech operations, finance minded. I am much more creative marketing people focused. So, um, we just decided to combine our skill sets to support small business owners. So I became an accidental entrepreneur. It was not my goal. It’s not what I wanted to do. I had this. Big career in international nonprofit for many years that I loved.
And then they married my husband who’s in the Army and they don’t have international nonprofits everywhere the Army takes you. Uh, so we founded WISE in a Panera bread in Columbus, Georgia. And um, we started with the two of us just serving clients. And then we grew our team that year to about eight people.
And now we have close to 40 military spouses, veterans and veteran spouses on our team who help us support small business owners. And we do it all. virtually and um, it’s been really, really fun. So I, [00:03:00] uh, jumped into entrepreneurship doing that originally from, we were talking about it before the show started from Rhode Island and I grew up there and started my career in nonprofit and then transitioned into what I do now.
Scott DeLuzio: That’s awesome
because I know, um, the area that I live in now, uh, is right near an Air Force base. So many, uh, Air Force families around and we’ve gotten to know several of the families and they move all over the place. Um, you know, they’re here for a few years and then they move off to another, uh, location and it’s really hard for the spouse to… Go out, interview for a job knowing full well that they’re only going to be here for a couple of years. Um, and a lot of times employers aren’t looking for, uh, that short term type of employment. They’re looking for someone who’s going to be in it for the long haul for, uh, you know, five, 10 plus
years. Um, you know, ideally is what they’re looking for. Um, but if you know right off the bat that you’re only going to be here for another two years, [00:04:00] they just may pass on you as far as a candidate. And you may be perfectly well qualified and, and everything like that. And, but you know, a lot of times, uh, especially with the people I’ve, I’ve. Spoken to, um, the, the spouse as a, you know, a four year degree.
They’ve, they had a career up until they, they, you know, got married and they started moving around with their, uh, their spouse and they really haven’t
been able to find work, so they just become, you know, a stay at home mom or, you know, that type of thing. And, um. You know, they, they have a lot to offer to the family as far as, um, you know, financial resources from, you know, income from employment and everything, but it’s hard to find those types of jobs.
So, um, so tell us a little bit more about the company
and what it’s doing to help the employment situation for military spouses and everybody else.
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Laura Early: Yeah, so military spouses face an unemployment rate four times the national average because we move Every year to two years and not just on top of moving, but we need to be available Most the time it’s a few children to be the solo parent and while during deployments and duty You’ve got to be able to be flexible in your work and not all employers, especially Pre pandemic, didn’t really understand remote and flexibility.
So WISE exists to kind of solve two problems. We want to create a place where both small business owners and military spouses, veterans and veteran spouses can have the life, family, and career that they’ve always dreamed of because we believe that both, all three kind of are possible and that that looks different for everybody.
So for military spouses and veterans, that looks like having a flexible [00:07:00] remote career that moves with them, that adjusts. To the needs of their family lifestyle that utilizes their skillset can grow. They have opportunity to grow. We really believe in careers for military connected individuals, not just a job, because a lot of people don’t just wanna go somewhere and be there for a year or two and leave.
They wanna be able to be promoted and grow. So that’s the career side. And then for small business owners, we found this perfect marriage between. Um, what military connected individuals offer and what small businesses need. Small businesses and small business owners need support that is flexible, that can grow with them as their business grows, that can scale back in seasons maybe where they’re scaling back.
They need professional, um, support in a lot of different areas. Social media, web design, admin, project management. But they want to get that in one place without having to talk to 17 different people and they don’t have the ability sometimes to be able to hire and pay six or seven salaries to people. So we found this marriage between the skills of the military connected [00:08:00] community and what they need and can offer and what the small business owner is looking for.
So, um, we work with small businesses in all kinds of different industries, but the common thread is that they’re looking to grow and scale their business without taking on the burden of full time employees.
Scott DeLuzio: And I know as an entrepreneur
myself, I had a business for almost 10 years that I recently sold, um, just finding the right talent,
uh, for various things that you need, um, you know, like graphic design and, uh, you know, bookkeeping even, and other things that you, you are. Needing to do in your business, um, a lot of times it, it lands on your plate.
If you don’t
have that other person, uh, that you’ve either hired or outsourced to a freelancer or something like that, you, it’s on you, you need to do it. And, um, you know, it, it’s great to have this one stop shop of professional, uh, employees, you know, that aren’t [00:09:00] your necessarily your employee, you’re paying for them, you know, on a, almost as a. As needed basis, I would imagine, right? Is that kind of the way that
Laura Early: Yeah, it’s a monthly retainer. So you pay a retainer to hold our services because obviously we’re holding team members for you. Um, and then you’re tasking out the work. So we do all of the hiring, the interviewing, the staffing. We do all of the matching as well. So you tell us what you need. You tell us what you’re looking for in a person.
Uh, what kind of characteristics you work back with, work best with, what type of communication, all of that. And then we match you, you have an onboarding call, and you’re off to the races with a team member, um, in terms of just getting immediate support. You don’t have to worry, like you said, about even just finding someone, finding someone takes a lot of effort.
You want to vet them, call the references, make sure they can do what they need. And then if you just need, I don’t know, one PDF created. You’re doing hours and hours of work to find someone to do an hour of work that, you know, you could have done yourself. But again, it’s [00:10:00] not what you have time for, and it’s not typically where your area of expertise is as an entrepreneur.
We can do a lot of things. We can figure out anything, right? But that doesn’t mean that it’s leaning into our area of genius. Yeah.
Scott DeLuzio: Right. Exactly. And when you spend all that time going and interviewing people or, you know, even searching, uh, you know, those, those other
job sites that are out there, you know, those, the freelancer type sites, um, you don’t know what you’re going to get from, it could just, cause pretty much anyone can sign up a profile on those things and, um, say that they’re an expert. Graphic designer or web designer or whatever. And, and you get something that looks like it was made in, you know, 1996 or something, and it’s like, not, not really what you were looking for, but you know, you’re, you’re kind of stuck with it. And, uh, then you gotta go find somebody else. And it just takes time and time as any business owner knows, time is super valuable.
It’s a one thing that you can’t get more of, um, without. getting more people involved. And [00:11:00] so, uh, you know, it’s important to get the right people involved at the right time. And I think especially military spouses, um, they’re underappreciated as far as their, um, their value goes, as far as, uh, their, their abilities to, um, you know, contribute to the workforce because there’s so much, uh, that they, they can do a lot.
Very often they’re, they’re highly educated, but it’s just, Where can they go to find a job that’s only going to last for a couple of years. But, um, you know, with this, uh, I guess. Kind of a blessing in disguise that with the pandemic that that came through, um, you know, we all got more used to remote work, right?
And, and so I think virtual, uh, working has kind of gained that momentum recently. And, um, you know, I, how do you guys work with other businesses to kind of leverage, um, the, the, this idea of remote work and, and create these new opportunities for these military spouses and everybody else.
Laura Early: Yeah, the pandemic was such an interesting time for us [00:12:00] because we grew during the pandemic, unlike most businesses that didn’t, because we were remote before it was cool. So we already knew how to do it. Like, we already had a team. We already worked virtually in systems. We already had communication policies and work policies that a lot of people didn’t.
They were like, Oh, wait, what are you, what do you mean? We just like get on email and Slack or Teams or whatever. And, uh, I always say, because my job’s the people at WISE, you, you have to be 10 times more intentional virtually with your team than you have to in person because you’re not walking by, you know, their office, you’re not walking to your car together, you’re not going out for lunch, you’re not doing those things virtually, you’re literally online working and then you’re off.
And so for us, um, it’s important. With clients and with the team that we really set clear expectations. There’s a lot of things that you don’t necessarily talk about when you start, get started with someone, um, on both sides that you’re working with, but we talk a lot about like, you know, like what time zone are you in?
Like what are your working hours? What are your preferences? Are you a text? Are you a phone? Are you an email? [00:13:00] Are you a Slack? Are you a teams? What do you like to be? And, um, you know, a lot of clients are like, Oh, I don’t care. I’m easy. And I’m like, no, everyone cares. They have a preference. That first time someone does something outside of your communication preference, you learn you have a preference.
Um, so we do a lot of work around that in terms of, um, setting up a good match between a WISE team member and a client, but then also making sure that we’re, we’re doing a really good job setting expectations and communication around how do you want things delivered? Like, do you want. A weekly report just on Fridays.
Do you want something on Mondays and Fridays? Do you want to have a meeting every week? You want to meet once a month and just do everything else via email? Um, we flex a lot in that regard and, and make recommendations obviously to clients to what works well for them. So, communication is the key. I tell everyone to success.
I think in life in general, but especially in remote work, you have to over communicate. You really have to, um, be curious and seek clarity from people because… You can’t read tone in an email. So if you’ve never [00:14:00] met someone, you don’t know if they’re like, you know, Hey, what’s up? Or if they’re like, hey, what’s up?
I need this right now. You could interpret it many different ways,
Scott DeLuzio: yeah. And that’s true because the, that tone gets lost in translation on, uh, a text based message, like an
email or a text message or, um, you know, other things like you mentioned Slack or whatever, like those, uh, those nuances in communication that you might have when you’re speaking with someone, um, Especially in person, you get the best form of communication probably
in person, but, you know, next best would be something like what we’re doing right now, uh, with a video and, you know, I can see you, you can see me, um, you can see facial expressions and that type of stuff.
So, you know, like if I said something, you know, if I’m joking, right, because there’s, you know, maybe a little smile, a smirk or something like that, that. communicates that, but over a text based communication,
Laura Early: you don’t
Scott DeLuzio: there’s none of that. And you, you have no idea, you know, until you get to know the
person, um, you know, you may [00:15:00] not be able to tell, uh, necessarily if that person’s actually, uh, are they, are they more of a serious
Do they like to joke around that type of thing? And, um, so, so it is, it’s difficult, but you know, I think that like you were saying, uh, that. Almost over communication.
Um, you know, not, not to the point where you’re nagging being annoying.
Um, but to the point where it’s, it’s like, I just want to make sure everything’s being taken care of. Um, I honestly, I think that that’s some, that’s a lost art. It’s something
that’s totally lost these days. Um, you know, even going into a restaurant and, you know, sitting down to
eat, it’s like you. You see the waitress or the waiter when you’re ordering your food, you see them when they deliver
the food, and then when the check comes, and there’s like no communication at all any other time, and it’s like, where are these people?
Laura Early: Yeah, well, there can be generational gaps as well, so we have a multi generational team, we serve clients that are multi generational, and so that’s something to remember as well, like, some of our [00:16:00] more senior clients aren’t as tech savvy, they’ve really had to embrace and learn in this remote world, and then we have some, you know, younger team members that I have to be like, this is a phone, you can use it to call people, wow, like, amazing concept, you can call someone, you And instead of sending 15 emails back and forth, you can have a 5 minute phone conversation and solve the problem, right?
So, you have all these different things that you have to think about when you’re working remotely, even if it’s just as a business owner with a freelancer, whether it’s with a team, like all these different avenues. And then, um, part of it is just really building trust, right? Trust takes time. And when you’re working virtually with people, you don’t have as much time face to face with them to build that trust.
And so when mistakes happen, when conflict arises, it takes, I think, a little bit more self control and self awareness to say, I’m not going to jump to conclusions. Um, as Brene Brown says, I’m not going to tell myself a story, you know, that’s not true. I’m going to like, be a little bit more curious, assume some positive intent and like.
maybe find out what’s [00:17:00] going on before I go from zero to 60. Um, because you don’t know, like, if I send an email that says okay, it might mean just simply okay. If you send an email that says okay, maybe that’s very short for you and that would mean you’re upset because you would never just say okay and that’s it in an email.
You have to learn these things.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And again, that, that face to face
communication, you’re going to, you’re going to get that tone a little bit
more like, Oh yeah, it’s fine. You
know, that kind of thing. You’ll get that a whole lot better. Um, but you know, I, I think. The important thing is, uh, just kind of bringing this back where we’re getting employment for these people who otherwise may not be able to get jobs. And to me, that’s, that’s such a huge thing because, um, you know, yeah, taking care of kids, super important. Um, but you know, if the kids are off at school or, you know, they’re, you know, whatever it is that they, they might be doing, um, you [00:18:00] know, you’re, you’re sitting at home, you’re kind of stewing and it’s like. I feel like there’s more to give, there’s more to do. And it’s like, how, how do I do that? And so this is, I think a perfect opportunity, um, because yeah, sure. Anyone can go out and try to freelance on their own. Um, that becomes, they become that entrepreneur
that we were just talking about where, where there’s the bookkeeping involved, there’s, you gotta go chasing clients for, you know, paying bills and, um, you gotta be customer support.
You have to do the actual work yourself. And you’re. You’re becoming a jack of all
trades, um, when, when you take that on, whereas a company like, like yours, it enables people to go and do the work that they want to do and let somebody else handle finding the clients and, and chasing after the bills and all the, all the other things that go along with it, um, That you maybe don’t necessarily want
to do, but you may end up [00:19:00] finding yourself doing out of necessity, just because you have no other way of doing the work that you want to
Laura Early: Right. Yeah. I mean, it really just helps, um, both clients and team members hone into their area of genius and stay focused there. Like, we have a graphic designer who loves graphic design. Like, she is incredible. Does she want to send invoices to clients or deal with them? Figure out what’s going on.
No, she just wants to be able to design and do it and she’s able to do that. And then the other part of it is team. I think so much of what people don’t realize in the military community is that a lot of your identity becomes the military, becomes the service, being a part of the service. You kind of become Um, I always say a plus one, right?
Like everyone talks about the service member, everyone talks about your spouse all the time, wherever you go. Thank them for their service, all of these things, which we absolutely should. Um, but people forget that the families serve too, and that all of the things that happen to our service members. Also, not all of them, but the, the lifestyle happens to us too.
We’re moving. We’re starting over. We’re [00:20:00] building new community. We have to find new friends, new schools, all of these things. And so, one of the things I think is so beautiful about our team, from the military perspective, is the camaraderie. I go to work every day with people who understand my life. They get it.
I don’t have to explain acronyms. I don’t have to explain that I have zero notice that my husband is leaving tomorrow for six months. They’re just like, Of course he is. Yes, of course. Sure. What can I do? How can I cover it? Right? So there’s that part of it as well. Not only do you get to work in your area of genius and serve awesome clients, we really serve amazing clients, but you get to do it alongside people who totally get it.
So you feel less out of place. You feel less alone. It’s one less thing you have to start over. When you move, you already have your job. You have people who get it that when you move, like it’s. It’s not just two days and you’ve moved, you have to like set up all of these things, um, and they, you know, they laugh and joke alongside you, but they also, our team really cares for each other when things happen.
And otherwise, you know, and I had this, that’s why I started a company. I had a boss who just like didn’t get [00:21:00] it. He’s like, what do you mean you don’t have any notice for this thing that’s happening? And I was like. Welcome to the government. Like, we don’t get any notice for anything. Um, this is, this is so normal for us, but for a regular employer, that can become really frustrating.
Oh, you need to take an afternoon off again. Oh, you have this happening. Oh, this happened. And it’s, you know, for us, we’re like, we get it. We want to support you through it. And we want to see you thrive and have an amazing career and your own identity outside of your service member, um, and your family.
Just stand on your own as a professional.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And you brought up an interesting point too, because just a couple of episodes ago, I had, uh, some realtors on who
help with military moves and they were talking about, you know, when you move to a new location, uh, transferring from one base to another, whatever the situation is. Um, when, when you get to that new location, you really very often, you don’t know anybody.
Laura Early: Yeah.
Scott DeLuzio: And when you have a team of people that you’re working with, um, like, you know, [00:22:00] kind of in what you were just describing, um, you have that team of people, and that’s going to be the same team of people that you’re working with when, doesn’t matter if you’re, you know, at Fort Campbell or if you’re at you know, any place else
that, you know, around the country, you could be anywhere, uh, or even quite frankly, probably around the world, you can be, uh, you know, deployed to Germany or, or, you know, someplace else you could be, be anywhere.
And, um, you still have that same. Team of people that you’re working with. And yeah, I know it’s all virtual remote type stuff and you’re not, uh, you know, going out for lunch together and, you know, meeting up for a happy hour on, you know, Fridays or things like that. But you still have that connection where you, you know, these people, you, you can talk to them, you can call them, you can, you can work with them.
And, uh, I got to imagine that a lot of times the, the people that are working, uh, for you. Their areas of expertise kind of cross [00:23:00] over, like you mentioned, a
graphic designer, a web designer, um, you know, those, they may need to collaborate and they, they work together and, uh, you know, come up with a one end product for whoever the client is, uh, in this case, right?
So, so they have that camaraderie and they, they get to, to stay working together, even though one of them or, or more of them have moved to different areas and you don’t. Just all of a sudden lose all of those connections that you’ve taken time to build over that time, right?
Laura Early: Yeah, absolutely. And we do, we do virtual coffee hours, virtual happy hours. We do virtual book club. We do all kinds of things to stay connected beyond just the work. But yeah, it’s an, it is, it is, as someone who just, I just moved again for the, what, sixth or seventh time since Starting WISE this summer, to a brand new area, somewhere where I knew very few people, and it’s nice to not have one area of your life that doesn’t have to start over again, and to be able to Continue like I’m still the same person at work.
I still work with the same people. [00:24:00] I still can serve the same clients. I was serving in D. C. and now I’m serving them from Carolina and, you know, it’s fun. I have a new backdrop on zoom that I didn’t have before. So that’s always a fun topic of conversation, but, um, you know, new location, but the work hasn’t changed.
And so it really does help. I think that transition of. not only security of people and team and camaraderie, but also income. We live in a dual income society and, uh, newsflash world, the military doesn’t pay fantastic. Everyone thinks it does. It doesn’t pay super well. Um, so when you’re moving, like for me, we lived in Washington, DC, one of the most expensive places to live in the United States.
And then we moved, you know, somewhere else, thankfully that’s a little less expensive, but that’s happening all the time. So to have that consistency. in your income, um, from the spouse side, from the family side, it is really important to a lot of families and has helped them be able to do things for their lives and for their families that they’ve wanted to, um, but were, you know, weren’t always sure what was going to happen and where they were going to head next in the military.[00:25:00]
Scott DeLuzio: Right. Exactly. Um, so we, we talked about kind of how this has made, you know, pretty
significant impact on the lives of the, of, of the, the folks who are working for you. Um, but can you tell us a little bit about, a little more about the services that, that your company offers to small businesses and, and how it helps, um, those businesses and how they can really, the process of
how they work with WISE.
Laura Early: So one of the things we’re most proud of is that we help businesses grow by an average of 35%. Um, that’s something that we’ve worked with, um, and calculated over the years, working with clients. We’ve worked with almost 800 clients over the last eight years. Um, and we really love partnering with clients.
That’s what makes. What makes WISE, I think, different than other agencies is we want to partner with you for growth. We don’t just want to be task rabbits. We don’t just want to do whatever it is you decide you need done today. We will do that and we do do that, right? But we want to partner with you and make sure that we’re aligned [00:26:00] with whatever the goals are for your business, that we’re helping you get there.
We’re not just, you’re not just saying, hey, do this. And we’re just like, okay, we’re going to say, hey, have you ever considered using this other software or doing it this way? Or, you know, Your clientele isn’t really on Instagram. Have you considered coming off of Instagram and really focusing your time on LinkedIn or Facebook or whatever it is when we’re doing social media?
So we really want to work alongside clients that are focused on growth and that’s where we’ve helped clients grow. One of my favorite conversations with a client is where they’ve grown to the point of, Hey, I need to make a decision to hire someone full time in house because of the support that you’ve given us, you know, over the last year or two years, five years, we’re now.
We’ve grown so much as a company that we need full time support and we need an employee. That’s an amazing phone call. And that happens, you know, every. Every couple months for me with a client where we get to the point of like, we’ve served you really, really well for a long time. No one wants to say goodbye, but it makes sense for us to now have a full time person.
Um, so it’s really exciting when that [00:27:00] happens. But to work with WISE, what it looks like is, um, everyone at WISE has one point of contact, which is another thing that clients really love about us because yes, we offer bookkeeping and digital marketing, including social and email. Graphic design, web design, um, administrative services, um, and so many other things.
We offer over 60 services, but they don’t want to come and talk to 7 different people. That’s the whole point of going with an agency versus 7 different freelancers. So every, um, client is assigned a project manager. Or a client facing point of contact with us. And that’s the person they talk to every week.
That’s the person who takes in everything that they need. They delegate the tasks out to our team. They QA the tasks and make sure they’re done really well before it’s turned back over to the client. So they have this extra layer of service in a project manager at WISE, who’s really, again, managing all aspects of their business.
And for some clients that could just be. an administrative assistant and social media. But for several of our clients, they’re using us for web, [00:28:00] social, bookkeeping, admin, research, um, e commerce. And so that’s a lot of functional areas that you would have to manage as a client. And they get to do it with one project manager on our side, which is really cool.
Um, so that’s how we work with clients. We do monthly retainers. So it’s month to month contracts, which is another benefit for small businesses because things like pandemics happen and you don’t know. What’s going to happen in your business. Um, and then we work alongside you to really, again, push and achieve your goals.
I think one of the things that clients love the most is that if we can find a better, more efficient, faster way to do something, we’re going to tell them, even if that means less hours for us, because that’s what’s best for them and for their growth.
Scott DeLuzio: That is, uh, important to have that type of team on your side, because, um, obviously, you know, any business wants to make as
much money as possible. Um, but when you’re working with other businesses, they also want to make as much money as possible. And, uh, in order for them to be [00:29:00] successful, which in turn makes you
successful, you have to help them, um, you know, As far as the expenses that they have, if you’re just racking up fees, that’s sucking money from them. Um, and while yes, you may be doing some of the work, if you can find, uh, more efficient, better ways of doing things, maybe it’s changed the software that you’re using, or, uh, like you said, like, let’s not spend so much time on this one social media platform because none of your clients happen to be there.
Let’s go to this other one. Um. You know, yeah, um, you probably could get them to continue using it and still continue to make, uh, you know, money on, on that, but that’s not helping them. And, and that in the longterm, that’s not going to help you either. So, you know, having that sort of attitude, I think is super important. Um, so, so the companies come to you and they, they basically have this, this point of contact, uh, that. Delegates to whoever the experts are in your, your company, um, to get that work done, whatever it is that they’re, they’re [00:30:00] looking for. Um, and you mentioned there’s a monthly retainer. I imagine that changes based on the level of, uh, needs that they have, right?
Like, you know, someone who’s using all of the services, you know, everything from bookkeeping to graphic design and web design and digital marketing, everything else, they’re going to pay a little bit more than someone who’s just using like one or two of the services, right?
Laura Early: Yeah,
Scott DeLuzio: so so as, as they grow, you know, the plan changes, the plan grows and, and that only benefits you.
So it, you know, it, I mean, no, I can’t say that only benefits you. That’s not the way I meant
that to come out. Um, you know, it benefits them obviously because they’re growing, but, but also, um, you know, helps everybody who is, is working there because they are getting the work consistently and steadily, you know, month after month.
And that, that’s, that’s really helping everybody to grow. Right.
Laura Early: Yeah. No, absolutely. I mean, the clients come with us, they may, a lot of times we find we do a free discovery call with any client who’s interested in working with us because we want to make sure that we’re a fit for them. And if we’re not a fit for you, we’ll tell you, [00:31:00] um, because we want to make sure it’s successful.
So in that discovery call, we might talk about, Oh, you know, Scott’s coming to us cause he needs some help just making some graphics to go with the podcast and, um, maybe do some competitor analysis. Yes. Cool. And then, you know, after a month, you build trust with our team and you’re really liking what we’re doing.
You’re like, Oh, I really, um, I’ve been thinking about branching out into, um, doing a lot more reels on social or I’m wanting to add, um, I need an executive assistant because I’m just so busy now. I’m doing all this stuff. I just want to be able to focus on. the business and recording the podcast episodes.
And so you might add in that service and then eventually that can add into more. So part of it too, is them getting to know us, building trust and really realizing not only, um, what we’re capable of, but what you need. I think a lot of times is a, especially a solopreneur or as an entrepreneur, small business owner is like, you’re so overwhelmed by everything that has to get done that it’s not until some things are taken off of your plate that you’re actually like.
Oh, okay. Yeah. I could probably give this up too. And [00:32:00] I could have someone else help with this and you have more creative energy to say, Oh, I’d really love to start doing monthly newsletters or an email marketing campaign or whatever it is. But a lot of times we don’t have the space and creative energy to think about those things because we’re just trying to keep the book straight, get clients and take care of the work on a day to day basis.
Scott DeLuzio: Well, one thing I noticed when I was running my business is I would come up with all these ideas, these great ideas. Well, I thought they were great ideas anyways, of, you know, different ways to market the business, different promotional ideas, different things that I wanted to do. And. The vast majority of them never got
done because it was just, I didn’t have the time to do them. And if I had a team of people that I could even just for, you know, this one, one off project and say, Hey, I’d like to do this, you know, maybe there’s a better way of implementing it. Or, and that’s another thing too, of the things
that did. I did do, maybe I didn’t do them all that well because I wasn’t focusing on the work that I was [00:33:00] supposed to be doing.
I was working on, you know, the marketing
side of things. And, um, you know, maybe I’m not the best at marketing. Maybe I, you know, as far as the social media marketing, all that kind of stuff, maybe I’m not the best at that. And so. You know, I came up with all these ideas, a small percentage of them actually got implemented and of the ones that did, they probably weren’t even done all that well.
So, um, you know, having a team of people on my side who can, uh, come back and be like, Hey, you know what? That’s a, it’s a good idea, but what if we did it this way? It would be 10 times better. Um, It’s like, okay, well, yeah, definitely let’s roll with that, you
know, and that’s totally worth it. I think as a small business owner to have people there in your corner who are willing to be able to bounce back ideas, not just, you know, be a robot and, and say, okay, well, they said they wanted this.
So I’m just going to do that.
And as opposed to coming back and, uh, you know, working with you, um, instead of just working for you, if that makes sense.
Laura Early: It does. And it is one of the things we love too, is that, [00:34:00] and by doing that as a small business owner, you’re supporting the military community, everyone on our team is military connected, we represent all the branches of service, and it’s kind of a cool way to be able to give back and, um, you know, work within again, keeping business in America, all of those things while American based, some of our team members are stationed overseas.
But, um, you know, you get to, you get to kind of have that social impact, um, as well as getting really amazing professional support in what you need. And so for me, it’s, it’s a win, win, even for myself as a small business owner. I mean, having an executive assistant of my own and having people do social for us here at WISENow, um, has been such an amazing blessing in our business because you know, in the first couple of years we were doing it all ourselves and.
It was fine. We made it work, but it’s so much better when you have someone who one is really good at it, but it’s also passionate about it and really enjoys whatever aspect of the business it is that you’re giving them to handle.
Scott DeLuzio: Now for the military spouses, I know a lot of times, uh, they’re, uh, they’re significant other, their spouse, whoever, um, [00:35:00] they might be deployed. And so now
they’re, uh, they’re stuck home. I don’t want to say stuck home, but they’re at home
and they’re Now the primary caregiver for their children. Um, are the schedules flexible for those people?
Or is there, there ways that they can kind of work around, um, you know, that, that type of thing where they can, uh, kind of come and go as needed, um, and maybe reduce the amount of hours that they’re going to be working or that they’re available to be working. Uh, if that type of situation arises.
Laura Early: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s one of our, one of our kind of core values is being adaptable and working with our team. Um, so we offer both part time work all the way to full time work and really we’re more focused on are you getting The work that you’re, that’s assigned to you done then are you doing it at, you know, 1:00 PM on Tuesday?
I don’t really care if you do it at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, or if you do it at 1:00 AM on Tuesday. I just care that you’ve met the deadline and you’re getting the work done for clients. So, um, we’re super flexible. We’ve had lots of different seasons, [00:36:00] um, on our team from deployments to, um, You know, the pandemic was really crazy for us because while work increased, everyone was at home.
Everyone’s kids were at home. It was a whole special vibe for all of us. So we have to be incredibly flexible with each other and really supportive. So, um, yeah, we absolutely flex with our, with our spouses. We work with them, um, to find a schedule that works best for them, for their family and for us. And that’s where that client alignment comes in, because not only do we need to work with clients.
Um, that kind of understand the remote dynamic, but they also need to understand that our team is military connected and there are going to be things that come up that we have no choice in the matter. We have no say in it. We’ve got to just roll with it. And are you going to also flex with us in those seasons if we need to transition you to a different team member or if maybe your team member goes from being available?
You know, from 9 to 5 every day, and now it’s 9 to 2, because they have to go pick up their kids from school or whatever. So, we do it on both sides, but absolutely, it’s a big part of what we do in our [00:37:00] mission, is that this is about life, family, and career, um, and the ability to have all of those. And part of that is flexing when, uh, when deployments come up, or TDYs, or whatever it might be for their families.
Scott DeLuzio: That’s right. Yeah. Um, could you share any success stories of, uh, not, not just the, from the, the business side, but also
from maybe the military spouses who, uh, are getting employment through your, your company, um, and, and how they’re able to work together and be successful together.
Laura Early: Yeah, I mean, I love that we have, we just celebrated a five year anniversary, um, for one of our leaders on our team, who’s a graphic designer, and, um, that was such a gift to, like, she’s been in the same place for five years. I think she’s moved three times in five years, and she’s been able to maintain that role.
So, um, that’s a huge achievement when you, when you talk about, um, you know, this year on our team, I think we had 17 moves, 17. So that’s like half of our team. Yeah. moved this year and we [00:38:00] were able to continue and still have work and all of that. So those are amazing. I also love the stories when team members are able to provide for their families.
We have one team member who was able to purchase a service dog for her son because of her career at WISE, because of the extra income that they have through working with us. We’ve had team members be like, I was able to get a pool at my house. In retirement because I worked at WISE and I’m like, cool. I love that.
That’s life, family and career. Um, and then just being able to grow, like we have so many people on our team that started, um, with very little professional experience because they weren’t able. To to, to work in their career fund. Many of them maybe took 10 years off of work to raise their family, or they’ve taken several years off of work.
And then they come in, they come in as just kind of a general virtual assistant doing kind of any time tasks, admin, research, whatever’s asked. And now we have several that have grown into being senior project managers on our team. Who are certified in softwares like monday. com and Asana and are able to do operational work for clients.
So [00:39:00] I, I just love that anytime a team member was like, man, I really. Love, I was able to provide for my family or I was able to find something that I really love doing. We had someone who started with us in admin and now is a social media strategist. You know, we paid for her to go through some training.
She’s done some training on her own and has switched career paths. It’s even within the same company. So it’s just really cool. Um, anytime team members share those stories of how they were able to maintain work or how they were able to make a purchase for their family or, um, support in some way. That’s really why I wake up and do this every day is to be able to, you know, provide for, for our team and their families.
And then, you know, obviously the business side we’ve talked a little bit about, but, um, it’s just really awesome to be a part of company. and to see companies expand to the point of where, hey, I need to hire someone because our marketing has grown so much because of the work that you’re doing in social media.
We need a full time, you know, CMO at our company. We need someone doing this, [00:40:00] um, full time. Or they’ve, businesses grown, they’re now bringing in, they used to have one WISE team member, now they have six WISE team members. We’re telling them maybe you should consider a full time employee and they’re like, no, I’ll just I’ll just keep white labeling with you guys It’s gonna be fine.
Um, so it is cool to see that growth and some of our clients are military connected as well So it’s nice to see you know, they’re Their careers be able to take off. ’cause for a lot of military spouses, you know, this is our chance at a career For the veterans on our team, it’s, it’s their second career.
They had a full amazing career and the military retired and now they’re working on career number two. But for a lot of our active duty spouses, this is their first career. It’s their opportunity to grow and, and kind of have that. So to see them kind of grow in roles, make shifts. Um, and even some of them move on from us.
People don’t stay with us forever, but because of their experience with us, we’ve had people go on to get jobs as director of operations for big companies or, um, you know, to start their own companies or to take over in, um, you know, some sort of C level [00:41:00] or director level role because of the work they’ve done at WISE, which is also really cool to kind of see the impact continue outside of these other companies.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And you brought up a good point here too, which I, I actually hadn’t thought about really, uh, until you, you mentioned it just now, but, uh, for some people who, You know, maybe they, um, you know, we’re working before they, they met their, their spouse and, uh, then their, their spouse, um, they, they got married and they’re, then they started moving all over the place and they, they haven’t been able to find a job, um, you know, all this time, and maybe their spouse stays in 20 years, um,
You know, they, they retire, they get out and they hadn’t been working for that entire 20 year period.
Now going to find a job with a big 20 year gap in your resume doesn’t look as good as somebody who has had
consistent work throughout their, their working career. And so it makes it that much harder again, unfortunately, even though they may be stable as far as their location goes, um, makes it just that much harder for them to be able to [00:42:00] find that job once when they do. Stop traveling around all
over the place and, and everything. So it’s, it’s really, I think it’s a great opportunity. I think there needs to be more of this. And, and I’m absolutely positive that there are people out there who. Probably are listening to this, like, Hey, I, I need this type of, uh, you know, work in my life. Um, or, or even businesses out there who are like, this sounds perfect because it has all the different, uh, you know, types of things that I might need. And, and it can be, you know, kind of custom tailored to, uh, what it is that, that I
need and not just, uh, you know, off the shelf solution, you know, uncustomizable, if you will, um, And where can people go to find out more, either if they’re businesses to kind of partner, uh, or if they’re, um, you know, the, those people who are looking for, uh, work to go in and, uh, you know, find that opportunity, uh, through WISE.
Laura Early: Yeah. [00:43:00] So our website’s probably the best WISEAdviseTeam.com. You can either go WISEAdviseTeam.com/careers. If you’re looking for, um, a job with us, you wanna see what’s available. And then if you’re a potential client, you can actually schedule a free discovery call with us straight from our website.
Uh, so just go there, find a time that works for you and one of our amazing client acquisition specialists. We’ll spend some time with you and see if we’re a fit where you can find us at at WISE advise team on. every social platform there is. You can send us a little message there if you’re more comfortable with doing it on social versus the website.
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Perfect. And I’ll have links to all of that in the show notes too, for, uh, the listeners who are interested and want to get in touch and find out more about, uh, you know, either how to work with you as, as a business or even as a, a freelancer, uh, type. type person who is doing, uh, whatever their expertise is in, um, and I’m, and I’m sure at some point along the lines, you know, you’ll, you’ll [00:45:00] have a need for even more than the, the types of areas, uh, you know, graphic design, web design and other, uh, things like that down the line.
Uh, and so people who maybe have a skill that maybe hasn’t been mentioned, uh, in this episode, um, I’m, I’m sure it doesn’t hurt to reach out and say, Hey, I have this. Skill, this background, um, you know, could this fit in? Um, I’m sure there could be that discussion at least and see, maybe, maybe it will. Um, Um,
so, so anyways, um, so at this point in the show, I like to add some humor to the show.
Um, sometimes the episodes that we have kind of heavy topics and, you know, I like to lighten things up a little bit at the end, typically either telling a joke, watching a funny video of people doing stupid things. But, um, some of the jokes I’ve done are pretty corny. Um, but, As long as it gets someone to laugh, I’m willing to make a fool of myself.
So I don’t really care. Um, so we’ve, we’ve all heard of Area 51, right? Well, late in, [00:46:00] late one afternoon, uh, the, the folks out at Area 51 were surprised to see a Cessna, like a small plane landing at their base. Um, so they immediately rushed out and pounded the, the plane and, uh, took the pilot out to an interrogation room. Uh, the pilot’s story was that he took off from Vegas, got lost, spotted the base, just as he was about to run out of fuel, and the Air Force started a background check on the pilot, held him overnight for, uh, an investigation. By the next day, they were convinced that the pilot, uh, was actually lost. He wasn’t a spy or, you know, trying to, uh, sabotage anything.
So they gassed up his plane, gave him a terrifying speech. You didn’t see anything, you know, that kind of warning, pointed him in the direction of Vegas and sent him on his way. Uh, the day after that though, the same Cessna showed up again. Once again, the MPs surrounded the plane, only this time there were two people in the plane. Same pilot jumped out and said, Do anything you want to me, but my wife’s in the plane and you have to tell her where I was last night. [00:47:00] Ugh, anyways,
um, thank you for indulging me in that.
Laura Early: that’s
Scott DeLuzio: That kind of corny joke.
Um, anyways, it.
was a, it was a pleasure, uh, speaking with you today. Uh, and I, I really do appreciate everything that you’re doing, uh, for the military community and for the small businesses out there who, um, you know, are thriving because of the type of work that you, you offer.
So, so thank you again for everything that you do.
Laura Early: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me, Scott. It’s great to be here.
Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, [00:48:00] YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.