Meet Brenna, the incomparable operations manager for Bad To The Bone Pet Care and owner of BB Virtual Assistance. Not only does Brenna manage the day-to-day running of Bad To The Bone through vital support to her team and ensuring the business functions effectively, but she also helps other businesses do the same. Brenna shares her journey, starting as a pet sitter but gradually taking on additional responsibilities until she became the operations manager of Bad to the Bone’s very busy team. Brenna is passionate about teaching and supporting her team, ensuring the business delivers high-quality service.
In her work at BB Virtual Assistance, she helps business owners streamline their operations and maximize their efficiency. She discusses her role as a VA, the challenges of juggling numerous roles, and why delegating tasks can prevent burnout. She emphasizes the importance of teamwork and how sharing the workload of managing a business can make it more effective and more successful.
This episode delves into key considerations for effectively managing a pet care business, how business owners can work with a manager or VA, and highlights the importance of building trusting relationships along with the vital necessity of taking care of oneself.
Things Brenna is passionate about:
– All the animals!
– Teaching a team & building them up for success
– The positive impact we have on our client’s lives
Topic time stamps:
0:00 Introducing Brenna Beumer
07:12 Brenna’s Transition to Operations Manager
11:33 The Importance of Trust in Management
19:28 The Importance of Putting Your Team First
22:59 Working Together: Operations Manager and Business Owner
29:18 The Challenges of Being an Operations Manager
33:33 The Need for an Assistant
37:06 The Launch of BB Virtual Assistance
42:15 The Need for a Real Vacation
Guest links & Resources Mentioned:
Perfectly imperfect transcript generated by Descript:
[00:00:00] Brenna: , It’s the little things, but the little things are the most important. So it just gets really overwhelming sometimes, and I think it’s so important to have help. Can’t do this alone. And you can’t do everything by yourself because I mean, you could, but you’re gonna, you’re gonna burn out. You’re gonna burn out completely. I just think everyone deserves, that extra set of hands and that extra mind, someone to bounce ideas off of. And wanna be able to help their business go down the right path to success.
[00:00:28] Morgan: Hey everyone. Welcome to the Lucky Pup Podcast, where we’re taking big ideas and weaving them together in a way that makes the big picture relatable and hopefully also a bit inspirational and educational too. You are gonna find candid and authentic conversations about the struggles we’ve encountered as we try to live more full and happy lives. I’m your host, Morgan Weber, and today I’m joined by Brenna.
[00:00:49] Introducing Brenna: The Operations Manager
[00:00:49] Morgan: Brenna is the operations manager at Badge The Bone Pet Care, which is the company that Doug Keeling founded. You can hear more from Doug in episode six. Now, Brenna was a pet sitter before becoming Doug’s right hand woman at Badge the Bone. She manages the business and has so many skills from managing the team to handling the behind the scenes work to make the business function.
[00:01:09] Brenna is also the owner of BBVA, a virtual assistant service for professional PET sitters. If you’ve ever thought about having an operations manager in your business or wondered how to even get started with an administrative assistant or an office manager, Brenna is gonna be a great resource for you.
[00:01:25] So without further delay, here’s Brenna.
[00:01:28] Well, Brenna, thank you so much being with me here today. I’m super excited to have this conversation ’cause Doug and I have already had a conversation.
[00:01:38] Morgan: And for those who don’t know you are, I would say the power behind badge of the bone, right? Like, Doug’s out there doing all the things and, and chatting with all the people, and you are the behind the scenes master who is making the business run. So for those, again, who don’t know you want, you give people a little bit of an introduction to who you are.
[00:01:57] Brenna: Okay. Yeah. Thank you for having me. I so appreciate it. I am Brenna. I am the operations manager for Bat of Bone Pet Care. And I’ve been . The manager since like 20, it’s been four years. It just turned four years actually this month. So I just had my four year work adversary, . But I’ve been pet sitting since I was 20, so eight years now.
[00:02:22] Morgan: Fantastic.
[00:02:23] Brenna: so yeah, I live in Jacksonville, Florida, originally from Denver, but I started pet sitting in Miami when I was 20.
[00:02:31] One thing that a lot of people think about as their business starts to get bigger is, do I need an operations manager? Should I have an operations manager? You know,
[00:02:38] who is that manager me? Is that manager somebody else? And we’ve been talking a lot in the podcast here about just how everybody shouldn’t do all of the things. Because none of us are good at all of the things, and that sometimes when we aren’t a great manager ourselves, whether that’s of the team or of the, you know, kind of the, the admin side of the work, it can be helpful to bring in somebody who is good at those things. So how did you find your way into that kind of role?
[00:03:05] Brenna: I applied just to be a PEs sitter for Bad to the Bone. I was working at a corporate job when I first moved to Jacksonville and . I just, you know, it just, I hated it, , so I, I hated it. And, I wanted to get back into pet sitting. So I applied just online with Bad to the Bone. I met with Doug and just started pet sitting just as a pet sitter.
[00:03:29] And then we just started getting busier and busier and so I just took on more and more and more and eventually just quit my corporate job when I got to a point of being able to financially do that So That’s how I started with Bad to the Bone. And you know, I just worked really hard.
[00:03:47] I showed how much I was passionate about . Pet sitting and just eventually built this relationship with Doug. And you know, I saw that he needed help and, and he saw my potential. And it was really nerve wracking, but also like an honor that he was like. I need an operations manager. I need, I need someone to do, you know, all of the things that like I struggle with just by myself And so that’s just kind of how it started, like with me being an operations manager and think that we built this relationship of working together. That is just like amazing. So I just think that if you have like a big company and a big team, I just think it’s really important to have another person on the admin side to help you with all of these daily things that may be small, but really important that could easily like fall through the cracks.
[00:04:47] Morgan: Mm-Hmm.
[00:04:48] Brenna: Yeah. Mm-Hmm.
[00:04:49] Morgan: I definitely see that as our, we have a team of seven now, including myself and my husband. So, not a huge team, but it is definitely to the point where it is easy for things to kind of slip by. Like you said, especially if someone’s, you also pet sitting. So if you’re out pet sitting and you’re trying to do the admin side, it gets really complicated to keep up with all the messages that come through, make sure the invoices are being sent, you know, make sure that When somebody updates a profile that that gets relayed to everybody. There’s a lot of these little details and for those of us who aren’t great at that detail work, it can be really hard and really challenging. I think a lot of people get into a burnout state with pet sitting because they are maybe just. Doing too much of the stuff that they’re really not great at, and if they could find somebody to help them with those things, it would make their enjoyment of pet sitting and the enjoyment of their business just so much better.
[00:05:43] Brenna: I agree. I agree. And, if you’re getting overwhelmed with all of the admin work, it, it’s like you’re answering phone calls while you’re walking a dog and it’s not fair to the dogs. It’s not fair to the animals if you’re doing admin work at a visit or when you shouldn’t be. So it’s start, it’s like you’re starting to lose interest and even like . doing those things. So it, it’s good to have help. It’s, it’s, it’s important.
[00:06:09] Morgan: Or you feel like you have to, ’cause there’s no other option.
[00:06:12] Like I know I’ve felt that way where it’s like, yeah, I’m on my way to walk a dog, but I also have this client who needs, I need to call back or I need to, you know, be posting this thing, or I need to message this other person and I just don’t have enough hours in the day.
[00:06:24] And I, you know, it’s like I’m either in a car or I’m walking a dog or I’m doing, you know, and it’s just I think when we kind of give ourselves that you said it so well, like you give yourself the freedom to fully commit to what you’re doing in the moment, you are only gonna give a better service to your clients.
[00:06:38] Brenna: Exactly, and it’s also just like not safe, you know, like it, you’re constantly in a car driving to all of these visits, but your phone is blowing up and it’s like once you get to the visit, it’s like, well, I have to focus on this visit. So it, it delays. The, the getting back to the new client that just signed up.
[00:06:57] ’cause you wanna get back to them as soon as possible because they’re looking elsewhere. So you’re delaying things and delaying things until you get home and able to do this. And then you’re just on overload all of the time. So it’s, it is important. It’s, it’s important to have manager help.
[00:07:12] Brenna’s Transition to Operations Manager
[00:07:12] Morgan: So when You were doing the pet sitting for Badge the Bone and Doug started chatting with you? Or was he just like chatting in general about needing an operations manager? Had you kind of reached out to him and said like, Hey, it looks like you could really use help with X and I’m really good at X.
[00:07:28] Like would you let me help you? I mean, how did those conversations even get started?
[00:07:32] Brenna: Yeah, he just was like, it’s just me in Jacksonville, like speaking about himself. He’s like, it’s just me. I need help. Because me and him would have like these meetings and so it just, one time he just kind of threw it out there like, Hey, do you wanna take over a scheduling and invoicing and hiring?
[00:07:50] And like, you know, I’ll always be here to help you. It’s like he just would, tell me like, you’re doing so well. I think you’re able to do this. I see the potential in you. And he just kind of threw it out there to see if I like, was interested and I was like never done that, but Sure.
[00:08:06] And I didn’t realize like I would be so good at it. I never really saw myself, as a leader. I’ve always kind of just been like the socially awkward, introverted weirdo, but then again, like us pet sitters are kind of like all weirdos . So just, did not see myself being a manager at all.
[00:08:29] So I was really nervous when he like . Threw that up in the air. I was like, I don’t know. But once I, I started, I was like, wow, I actually really love this because I’m able to teach people like what, what I know and how to be a good pet sitter. It was awesome. It was like a light bulb that turned on in my head, honestly.
[00:08:50] Morgan: So your corporate job did that relate at all to like the work that you did before being Did it have a relation to being an operations manager or was it pretty different types of work?
[00:08:59] Brenna: Oh, it was so different because I was just a number, at this corporate job and just came in, clocked in, did whatever I had to do on the computer and leave, and I was just another person, another number. It just was completely different
[00:09:14] Morgan: I think It’s helpful when somebody has worked those types of jobs though, to be able to say like, this is what I lacked in a manager at some point, or this is what I lacked, you know, this is, these are the gaps I saw in the management team or in the way people were leading things. And I would think that that can be a really big asset though. ’cause now you can take that forward and say , Hey, I wanna not be that, I
[00:09:36] wanna do this differently, or I wanna do things better.
[00:09:38] Brenna: Oh yeah, that, that’s actually so true. I’ve, I’ve had different, managers when I lived in Miami when I did PET sitting in Miami before the corporate job. I think I’ve learned actually like what you just said a lot on how I did not wanna run a a pet sitting business. And so that, that’s really true. And then like meeting someone like Doug who has like the most pure intentions it just it changed my mindset a lot.
[00:10:04] Morgan: I’m a big believer that we can run our businesses differently. I think small business owners especially have the one of the greatest abilities to make the most change in you know, in people’s lives and our clients’ lives and our team’s lives, and for people who do want to make change there’s some really cool things you can do when you are a manager, whether you’re an operations manager, whether you’re the business owner, like there is so much opportunity to have so much influence and we don’t always about that, and we don’t always bring like those personal values forward in our business. But I think there is a really great opportunity to do that.
[00:10:40] Brenna: Yeah. No, no, I agree. I totally agree. We have the power to, to change anything. especially as a small business owner, if I wanted to change how we ran things tomorrow, we, we probably could. it’s nice to have that power of able to change things within your business.
[00:11:00] Morgan: Has there been a point where maybe you and Doug sat down or you came to Doug, or Doug came to you and either one of you said like, Hey, things have to change and I’ve been seeing X and it really needs to be y and how did you guys even navigate those conversations? So I think there’s a lot of people who think I don’t know if I could ever have an operations manager because I’m not ready to give up any control or I’m not ready to share this thing, or I am, you
[00:11:25] know, it just scares me to give somebody else some control over this thing that I’ve built. So
[00:11:31] how did you guys even work through those things?
[00:11:33] The Importance of Trust in Management
[00:11:33] Brenna: It’s just about being able to trust one another. If you know how Doug is, like Doug would’ve never just given this role to like Just anybody. It was, it was a relationship that was just like built and, and there was a trust that, an understanding of like our end goal together. No matter what we had to go through to get there, the certain changes we had to do along the way we had a goal. We, we both just like understood each other and related so much to each other and were able to trust each other, and had the same like work ethic too. Good communication between each other and brutal honesty. So it just have, you have to find someone if it’s even within your team, like one of your pet sitters. That’s usually where I honestly, I would start is some, is within the team, but someone that you, you can trust, wholeheartedly,
[00:12:31] Morgan: And it does take time to, to get to that trust
[00:12:34] because. I think not only is it, you know, it’s kind of our baby, right? This
[00:12:39] thing that we’ve been building, but, but then also like there is so much responsibility
[00:12:45] that comes along, especially with a direct service job like we have is, clients are, are counting on us.
[00:12:51] Our team is counting on us. You know, there’s.
[00:12:53] So many, so many components that are all wrapped into this. And if you you don’t have that trust, it’s much harder to meet those goals or to even start having a conversation about goals. And I think, you know, some of that has to come from the person who’s Being the visionary who says like, Hey, this is the vision that I have and this is the goal that I have, and can you help me get there? And I think there’s definitely room for a person who is an operations minded person to be able to get the gap between what somebody wants to happen and the actual day-to-Day work that has to occur for that big vision to happen because it’s really easy to say, I have a goal, or I have a vision, or, Hey, this is the way I wanna run things. But if you can’t Get everybody on board and pushing in the same direction. That’s never gonna actually happen.
[00:13:42] Brenna: Oh yeah, yeah, definitely. You really have to be able to like, prove yourself in a way. That’s why I said, I mentioned something about like . , I would hire within like my own team because like I could see their work ethic. Like I know how they are, I know how I trust them with, with our clients and everything. So it’s just a relationship that we’ve built together. And I, I know that our team has the same mindset, I think it’s important.
[00:14:10] Morgan: You did a lot of the hiring for bad to the bone. I mean, were you ever. Hiring folks with kind of an eye on, oh, maybe, we hire somebody who has this skillset and they’ll be able to help us in the future. Were you ever kind of thinking ahead, or did it kind of just work out where you ended up with people
[00:14:26] who had these kind of, I don’t wanna call ’em necessarily hidden talents, but who had this extra skillset that is more beneficial to that admin work and the managerial work of the business?
[00:14:36] Brenna: Yeah, I didn’t go into like my hiring process, with like a mindset of I’m gonna hire this person in possibly get some help with admin work. I kind of went into it as just starting out as a pet sitter. Like how I did, I, I was just a pet sitter because I need to know how they are as a pet sitter first before working your way up to being
[00:14:58] In the administrative role. I need to see how you are with our clients and our, our animals first. But it just kind of worked out with my assistant Amber, because she has been on the team as long as I have. And . I have always seen of how amazing she, she was with her clients and she was even paying attention to all of the clients in Jacksonville when she lives in Plant City. So she just was like amazing and went above and beyond all the time. And so I’m like, that’s someone who I trust. But everyone else who I’ve hired, I just strictly started as, as pet sitters. ’cause I need to know how they are as a PEs sitter first.
[00:15:36] Morgan: That’s a great point that you make because somebody might seem like they’ve got a certain skillset and, but it doesn’t matter if they’re not great with the clients, they don’t have great communication, they don’t have that special set of values or they don’t, you know, have that same mission that the business has.
[00:15:53] And things
[00:15:53] are kind of hard to, to piece together um, or to recognize somebody until they’ve kind of been doing the job for a little while. You wanna make sure they have a, an understanding of the work before you start handing over certain, you know, admin side options.
[00:16:07] Brenna: And like my team, like as I’ve gotten to know them for, for a while and see how they work. I have found hidden talents within the team. I have one who’s like a journalist who is amazing and I have another one who I brought to our events that we have done and she is like. Amazing at events, and I lack that.
[00:16:27] I’m, I’m not good at doing events, but she is. And I have another girl who’s amazing at social media. So like, I have gotten to know these hidden talents and I’m like, well, this could definitely help our, our business. we were talking about a little bit like, I am not good at everything.
[00:16:45] You know what I mean? Doug isn’t good at everything. So it’s really awesome how we all can just like, work together as, as a, a business.
[00:16:53] Morgan: I love that. So do you have suggestions for people when they’re trying to be a better manager or they’re, needing to hire somebody maybe to do that work, but how did you connect with your team members in a way that. Helps you find those hidden talents?
[00:17:10] Brenna: I am just really observant and I just know that they are more than just a pet sitter. So I’m observant and I just . Get to know them. I go to a lot of meet and greets with them.
[00:17:26] So we’ll talk before or after and just kind of like, I, I wanna get to know them and I’m talking to them every day anyways, like with scheduling. So, I mean, sometimes they’ll mention . Something and I’ll just keep it in mind. And we also get together like at canine social sometimes, or like at a coffee place and have like work meetings and just a, a time for all of us just to get to know each other more. Just because we’re all sharing these clients and, and we’re all working together. I think it’s good for us to feel comfortable with each other and get to know each other on maybe a personal level too.
[00:18:00] Morgan: And I would think, especially as a team grows, it can be a challenge to keep up with that many people I know, like I said, we’re, you know, we have five employees right now and that’s about as many people I feel like I can manage. is about five people.
[00:18:15] Brenna: Oh man.
[00:18:16] Morgan: be because it is, it’s just really hard to. To know somebody well enough to know like, Hey, it seems like you’re having a challenge right now and there’s extra things going on in your life and, you know, maybe do we need to take some, some fewer pet visits because you got this other stuff going on.
[00:18:30] And being that that empathetic person, because like you said, we all have more in our lives than just the pet sitting visits that we do, and. The nature of our work is that we are usually somebody’s second, third, or fourth priority, because they probably have a full-time job. They probably have, at the very least, you know, they got friends and they got family, they’ve got a hobby.
[00:18:50] We aren’t probably the, the top item in their life. And so being understanding of that, I
[00:18:57] mean, I, I hear a lot of , I can’t hire anybody because they don’t take this as seriously as I do. And it’s like, well they’re, of course they’re not gonna take this as seriously as you do.
[00:19:04] Like you’re the business owner and this is probably their part-time job where they’re working maybe five hours a week.
[00:19:09] Of course they’re not gonna take it as seriously. And I don’t know if you have any tips for folks on just, how to manage some of those relationships.
[00:19:16] Brenna: I, I try to be . As compassionate as possible. I’m try to be as patient as I can, like with, with people’s needs.
[00:19:28] The Importance of Putting Your Team First
[00:19:28] Brenna: I just think like putting our team first, I. Is like the number one priority because if our team is not taken care of, then our clients are not gonna be taken care of. So I really try to just build these relationships with each person.
[00:19:45] Even if they only work like a few hours a week, like they’re still extremely important to me. I just try to be as empathetic and compassionate and just let them know how much they mean to me. All the time. I let them know how much I appreciate them. ’cause it’s true we wouldn’t be here without these team members.
[00:20:07] Morgan: I love how you said, our team is our first priority, and so often people say, well, my client has to be the first priority and we’ll do Anything at all to make this work for our clients. And I know you and Doug and I all have a very similar, viewpoint if we try to do as much as we can, but, we can’t do everything. And if we are burning out our team members, they’re not gonna be with us for very long. And, there is something to be said about putting your team members first.
[00:20:30] Brenna: Yeah, I mean, probably sounds weird that you’re not putting like your client first, but the person who is taking care of that client has to be first, because if they’re not well taken care of, they’re gonna do a not so great job. Or they’re not going to care as much and that’s the last thing you want.
[00:20:49] Morgan: Absolutely. It is a challenge sometimes when we make these decisions as business owners, we sometimes forget how much everything is interwoven together and, how much our team is interwoven with our clients and we always think, oh gosh, I gotta do this for my client. But, you gotta think about the team and like for you, do you feel like your team appreciates having an operations manager somebody who they can reach out to who is solely focused on the operations side, whereas, sometimes with business owners you’ve got. So many overarching things that need to be taken care of, that aren’t necessarily directly related to the team doing their work or the clients being taken care of. My husband the other day was like, well, what are you working on? It’s like, well, I had to reach out to the attorney for this and then I had to reach out to the bookkeeper about that. You know, and there’s all of these other things that need to happen. And do you ever. See that where you know, the team is like, man, I really appreciate having somebody whose job is just to help take care of me too.
[00:21:47] Brenna: Yeah. Oh man. Yeah, I, I have sitters who call me all of the time just to get advice about something like sometimes personal, but of course maybe if they feel a certain conflict that they’re having at a visit or something, like, just call me. We’ll talk about it. I’ll be there for you.
[00:22:06] I will literally drive there and, and help you with anything you need. So I think that they do appreciate that I am there to lean on literally anytime. I don’t care I just, I care about their comfort and I have been there where actually I didn’t have anybody to call before and I just had to figure it out by myself and like, I wish I did have someone where I could have just called. And this was before Doug, of course, like this is before Doug. This is when I lived in Miami.
[00:22:35] But I, I’ve been there where I didn’t have anybody and it was like a bad situation and. Just call me and be honest. Like if you’re, just however you’re feeling about a certain pet sit, if you’re not comfortable with something, but just tell me, be transparent. I’ll get it covered. I’ll refer them out. I will do it myself. I don’t care. Just call me. So, I think that they appreciate that.
[00:22:59] Working Together: Operations Manager and Business Owner
[00:22:59] Morgan: You’ve been an operations manager now, like you said, for four years. You said your four year work adversary. So have you found a good way for an operations manager to work together with a business owner? Or it could be either way. The business owner might be the operations manager and maybe they’re hiring somebody to help them with all of the other things that need to be done.
[00:23:20] So, you know, just in general, some tips maybe or some things that you’ve really enjoyed about being an operations manager and how you can work together with the, the owner of the business.
[00:23:30] Brenna: Yeah, I mean I I think it’s awesome that we’re able to bounce ideas off of each other. That’s like the main thing I can think of, honestly. But I. I think it’s important just to have like weekly meetings and really just like, go over what happened last week and what you wanna do this week and what goals we have for this week and how we’re gonna accomplish those goals.
[00:23:56] So I think it’s, it’s good to have like, have weekly meetings and just be open and transparent with each other.
[00:24:03] Morgan: Was there ever a time where you were becoming More ingrained into the operations and you’re starting to take over more and more things. And it was really hard maybe for Doug to let go of something and you were like, Hey, like this is my job. This is what you hired me to do. And were there any struggles that. Trying to figure out some of those dynamics. if someone’s been running something on their own it is gonna be hard to start handing over some of those other works.
[00:24:30] But at the same time, you’re like, but again, this is, this is my job, this is what I’m supposed to be doing for you.
[00:24:35] Brenna: Yeah. That’s so funny. The first thing I’m thinking about is payroll. It took Doug like a while to hand over the payroll duty. And I understand now because now I don’t think I could give it up to someone. not yet because it’s so . Complicated. And you could easily mess up someone’s pay.
[00:24:57] Of course you can fix it, but I think that was Doug’s like hardest thing to let go of. I was like, just teach me, train me. So we, we had like multiple trading sessions until I felt comfortable and finally he just was like, . Here you go. Like, he hated doing it, but for some reason he just didn’t wanna let it go.
[00:25:18] And I get it. ’cause you’re literally you, you have people’s money that you’re, that you’re working with and it’s really important ’cause you could mess up the business’ bank account. So that was, that was a big thing that Doug didn’t wanna let go of. Everything else he literally did. He just was like, there you go.
[00:25:37] Morgan: Take it. Just take it. Please. Please hurry.
[00:25:40] Brenna: Please just take this off my hands. And so yeah, I can’t think of anything else. That was like the main thing, honestly.
[00:25:47] Morgan: And so I’m sure at some point, you had an idea where you, you were like, Doug, I really think that this is a thing that we should do. I mean, was that ever hard for you to bring those ideas or did you, again, you had a good enough relationship that It was a pretty smooth process for you to kind of, not necessarily push back on things, but , you said brutal honesty earlier, having those conversations or you know, saying like, Doug, this is really something I’m seeing right now and I think we need to make a change or we need to do something different.
[00:26:15] Brenna: Oh yeah. That, that’s happened a lot. There’s a been a lot of times where I was like, this has to change. Like this isn’t sustainable. Like I do not like this. It’s . Driving me insane. It’s driving our team insane. And Doug is an open book and he’s like, all right, let’s, let’s try it. Let’s try it, if it, if it works, it works. Like we talked about earlier, being a small business, we have that power and making those changes. So he’s, he would open book, he lets me try whatever I need to try. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, we’re gonna go back to how we used to do it or maybe a different way. So, but a lot of those times it it worked out great. Sometimes it was just like, nah, that didn’t really, that didn’t really go with, I thought, but that’s okay. We tried. So it, it’s always been really easy to tell him what I wanted to change.
[00:27:06] Morgan: I think that can be hard for a business owner, but I think so important to get to that comfort level. And I think, you know, you talked again a lot about trust of building that trusting relationship before you have to hand over some of these big items can really make that process smoother. Because I can imagine if. He had not been like that, that it would’ve made your job infinitely more challenging or, not even really possible if he was always micromanaging things that you needed to do or, oh, you have to report back on everything. You There’s always a time for training. But after that, I would think that your job as an operations manager, that It means you’re gonna manage the operations and so if you have somebody else who’s always trying to insert themselves, that would not be as successful.
[00:27:49] Brenna: Yeah. And there was even a lot of times that I would come to him and be like, Hey, like, can we change this? And he is like, well, you don’t even need to ask me. Like just do it. Like just, you know what you’re doing, just do it. So that really boost my self-esteem and my confidence a lot because I was like, wow. He trusts me with literally anything in this company to the point where I don’t even need to ask him. And he’s like, I don’t even want you to ask me. Like, just do it.
[00:28:19] Morgan: Just report back
[00:28:20] Brenna: Just, just let me know, like the change and, but don’t ask me, just do it. So I think that, I think that’s so important. And like who wants to micromanage? Like your operations manager or even your team. I don’t like to, I don’t like to micromanage my team either because I trust them and I know that they’re gonna make the right decision. And if they don’t, then we’ll fix it. We’ll have a learning time and we’ll fix it together. It was nice to have Doug trust me, which turns into me trusting my team, so just was a cycle.
[00:28:57] Morgan: That’s a great point where if I could see where it would be a lot harder if the business owner or the lead manager didn’t trust the next level of management down, well that level of management’s gonna have a hard time trusting, everything rolls downhill, right? So and how that would then affect the whole dynamic. So the company.
[00:29:13] Brenna: exactly. Exactly. And it’s just a big relief to have that.
[00:29:18] The Challenges of Being an Operations Manager
[00:29:18] Morgan: What are things that you’ve really enjoyed as the operations manager of Badge the Bone? Like what are the things that you love getting to do or the things that you’ve realized as you were doing the job where you said, I need an assistant to the, to the manager here to, to take some of those things.
[00:29:32] Brenna: I love teaching. I love teaching our team. Because kind of like what I said earlier, I didn’t really have that when I first started pet sitting. So now that I have gained so much knowledge over eight years of pet sitting, I love being able to just teach our team Exactly what to do at a visit from like the beginning to the end.
[00:29:56] And I just like seeing that light bulb come on when a team member is really struggling with something that’s fixable. They just have to be more confident in themselves.
[00:30:09] So I will will let them know that they’re amazing, they’re doing the right thing, and teach them through whatever they’re dealing with.
[00:30:16] So that’s my favorite thing, is being able to help my team grow and get them on the right path to success because I didn’t have that when I first started, so it’s, that’s my favorite thing about being an operations manager. I guess my least favorite thing to when I was like, I need some help is just how busy we got.
[00:30:36] I mean, I’m pretty sure we got like four new client signups today that Amber just took over and handled herself. So You have to prioritize learning how to prioritize where to start. You have like 10 different tasks that are super important that need to be done today, and it’s learning how to strategize.
[00:30:54] And be smart about where you start, and that can be really overwhelming. So that’s why I was like, I need some help. give her a list of things to do in the morning. that was My least favorite thing was being so overwhelmed with really important things.
[00:31:08] Morgan: know, if you’re really into the team management side, well you still have to worry about these new clients coming in. You still have to worry about the scheduling, you know, and the pet update side. And so especially with a big team, like Bad To The Bone has, there’s a lot of people management that needs to happen outside of the client management side.
[00:31:25] So Like you said, to not have to be trying to split your day or split your time of trying to focus on multiple things, to have somebody else who can just take those things and and make ’em happen, that’s a huge win.
[00:31:40] Brenna: It’s the little things, but the little things are like the most important. So it just gets really overwhelming sometimes, and I think it’s so important to have help. Can’t do this alone. And you can’t do everything by yourself because I mean, you could, but you’re gonna, you’re gonna burn out. You’re gonna burn out completely.
[00:31:58] Morgan: When you’re trying to deliver AVIP service or you’re trying to deliver a really high touch, high quality service, again, we say little things in quotes, right? Quote unquote little things,
[00:32:08] but those are the things that the clients Really care about,
[00:32:12] you know, obviously they care about the ramifications of the team management.
[00:32:17] They care about the ramifications of the, the pet update side, but they really care about, did somebody get back to me? Like, how long
[00:32:23] has my visit request been pending? You know did somebody even acknowledge that I sent an update through, you know, all of those, again, they’re the little things, but they are really the big things because that’s what the clients see and that’s what they feel
[00:32:36] and It can be really easy for us to forget about some of that stuff, especially when we get busy. We hit our busy time, we hit the holidays, we hit the summer rush, and for us, that’s sometimes a lower priority item because Yeah. we’re trying to get people paid. We’re trying to, you know, do all these other things. But the clients don’t care. They only care about the service that they receive.
[00:32:58] Brenna: Yeah. No, that’s, that’s so true. And it’s easy to forget, a new client signup, even if you make a note about it. You, you have like a sitter is locked out of a house. Well, I need to deal with that first before I deal
[00:33:10] Morgan: Right
[00:33:11] Brenna: You know what I mean? . So it’s like, it, it’s so easy to forget about those little things, even though the not little. So that’s where having an assistant or some admin help is so important because I can go out in the field and I can help our new sitter who just got locked out or something, and Amber can do that onboard with the new, the new client.
[00:33:33] The Need for an Assistant
[00:33:33] Brenna: so it’s, it’s so helpful. It’s so helpful.
[00:33:36] Morgan: Yeah. And you don’t always realize how often you’re putting out fires until maybe you start keeping track
[00:33:43] Brenna: Oh
[00:33:43] Morgan: realizing, you
[00:33:44] know, like, oh my gosh. Like, I’ve sometimes had that where I’m like, oh, I have five hours today where there’s nothing on my schedule. I’m gonna get so much done. And then something happens and then there’s an email and then, you know, like you said, you’ve gotta go have a key crisis and you know, whatever the thing is. And suddenly the day is gone and it’s like, gosh, I. Thought I was gonna get so much done today. And you don’t, because like you said, there’s a triage of what needs to get done and sometimes the most important thing isn’t the most urgent thing. And that can be a, a challenge to balance too.
[00:34:15] Brenna: Oh yeah. That’s so true. And then it’s also like. Taking care of yourself too.
[00:34:20] It, it’s good to have time blocking where you just have a few hours just to take care of yourself. Because if you’re not taking care of yourself, then how can you take care of your team and your clients? And that’s another thing that is so awesome about having some help with admin because, you could take a break. We all need a break.
[00:34:41] Morgan: Yeah, well, I, I remember, so we were all at the Pet Sitters International Conference together last year and about, this is about the time where you’re gonna get your admin assistant, and Doug at he’s like, we need to fix this for Brenna, because we were all out to dinner and you were like messaging with clients and messaging with the team and we were supposed to be enjoying dinner for 45 minutes and you couldn’t even turn work off because there was so much to do. I’m a big believer in living. I call it a full and happy life. And need time to do these important things, but also the business has to keep going.
[00:35:15] And so what can we do to make sure both happen?
[00:35:19] And I’m also a big believer that the business owner shouldn’t just be the most privileged person in a business. Like we should be able to offer some of that to our team as well. It shouldn’t just be like, oh, I’ve got an operations manager and my operations manager is gonna do all of this for me. You can’t just shift your problems to somebody else and assume that they’re gonna take on all of that stuff. Like, you also need to have a break.
[00:35:43] And so for you to be able to say like, Hey, now I’ve got my, I’ve got my assistant, I’ve got this other person who can take over some of this stuff when, when I need help.
[00:35:52] Brenna: Definitely, definitely. And I am constantly like checking on her because she has clients. She’s still in the field, so like she still has clients and she has kids and a life, and so I’m always checking on her too. I’m like, . How are you feeling today? Like how is, how is your mental today? Do you need a break?
[00:36:10] I can help you. Let me know when you are, are like overwhelmed or like you need a break ’cause I’ll just hop in and vice versa. We, we do it for each other. So it’s so important to just to have someone there to help you. It really is.
[00:36:24] Morgan: and I think anybody who has a business or has managed a business has that feeling of coming home at the end of the day and saying, oh my gosh, there is so much to do. And, if we don’t do it one day, it just bleeds into the next day. And it can be really hard, just that pull of there is always more on the to-do list than you can get done in any given day.
[00:36:44] And the stress of that and having somebody where you can delegate some things to, you can have someone take them things off your plate can be so helpful. And I feel like this is a, great segue to talk about how you are gonna help More business owners do this thing. Right. So tell us more about kind of this next adventure that you’re adding to your plate.
[00:37:05] Brenna: Yeah.
[00:37:06] The Launch of BB Virtual Assistance
[00:37:06] Brenna: Yeah. So I am starting a business, a va, a virtual assistant business. Now that I have a little more free time and some help . With bad of the bone. I want to now help other business owners because like we’ve been talking about, I know how hard it can be to just do this alone. And I think that everyone deserves that admin person. To help them. And I think I could be a big impact, on business owners and businesses. I’m gonna help with like scheduling and invoicing and new client onboarding and possibly some training for employees. I’m really excited.
[00:37:47] Morgan: I have had this conversation with Doug and I know other people have also had this conversation with Doug, but people have just said, what I really need in my business is like I need a Brenna. And now they can get a Brenna in their businesses. Because I think, like you said, it can be So hard, especially maybe if somebody’s not at the point where they can give a ton of work to like an admin person, whether that’s somebody on their team or
[00:38:11] it’s a different person outside of their team. It can be hard sometimes even to know where to start and to have somebody who has been doing this work for a long time and you obviously you need to be trained on each individual business, and every business runs differently, but nobody needs to teach you how to be a pet sitter. Nobody needs to teach you how to do the scheduling. Whereas if they were trying to promote from within That’s a big task to take on to teach somebody like, here’s all of our clients and here’s how to do the scheduling. And by the way, don’t forget the route and you need to know where everybody lives. All of those things can be such a challenge. And, you can say like, Hey, teach me how you do it, but you don’t have to teach me absolutely everything.
[00:38:51] Brenna: Yeah, and through the years of managing that to the bone, I see where businesses might need the most help. And that’s like SOPs and like organization and I just wanna uplift the entire industry, like one business at a time. And I know it’s gonna be completely different with each business. And I feel like a lot of people don’t really have sOPs for everything, so I think it would be awesome to be able to help them.
[00:39:17] Morgan: I feel like you should change that phrase, which is, most businesses don’t have SOPs for anything.
[00:39:23] Brenna: Oh my gosh. Yeah. That’s not good.
[00:39:25] Morgan: As a person who does not enjoy that operations side, I know I’ve said this
[00:39:31] before, but I am personally am not a person who enjoys doing the operations side. And so like for me to put together an SOP, a standard operating procedure, a plan for how to do a certain thing, it is hard for me and it takes so much brain focus and energy and time and it can be hard for me just to sit down and do it. And I know it’s not gonna take that long once I do it, but. It still takes time. Like I just wrote one for our birthday cards , we used to do automated birthday cards and I didn’t love them. And I was like, no, we’re gonna take this back in house. And I think I actually heard the way that you guys do it at bad to the bone. And I was like, yes. Like, I like that. I wanna, I wanna take a piece of that and do it for ourselves.
[00:40:10] Brenna: Yeah.
[00:40:10] Morgan: So like I wrote an, an operating procedure for how to do birthday cards the other day, and I think it took me like two hours to sit down and, and do all the things. ’cause like, oh, it’s not that hard. And I was like, well, it’s not hard for me to do it, but if I have to teach somebody else how to go in and create the mail merge and get the labels and you know, sort the spreadsheet and all of these things, like it adds up and it’s like, okay, well what if we don’t have stamps? Like, okay, I’ve gotta tell people to use the company card and go buy some stamps.
[00:40:38] You know, there’s .All of these layers of things that you don’t really think about being involved because when you yourself do them, you don’t have to think about those things. But then trying to teach somebody else to take that task, it was, it was hard. And so I am so I empathize with anybody out there who does not have their whole book of standardization processes and procedures done. I am with you there, but It is, it’s also really important because what if you know, there’s always the what if in life and what if somebody, I always say, what if someone gets hit by a bus on their way to a walk? And is your business capable of running without you? And for most of us, I would say that’s probably a no because we are so involved in everything. But you know, we had a series of terrible events in 2020 personally, and like I just had to leave for like a week and I was like, good luck team. I’m really sorry that not everything’s buttoned up, but like I’ve, I can’t, I need to, I need a break for you know, a week and thankfully things were in a good spot, but I. If that was a longer term item, if I broke my leg tomorrow and I had to do surgeries and all these things like that would be very detrimental. And so having somebody who knows the business, like who’s not you can be such a benefit. It.
[00:41:57] Brenna: Oh yeah, you definitely need that. You, you just need that for emergency situations for sure. It, it’s really important. And they deserve a break. , they deserve a break and they deserve someone who knows how to run their business. If something were to happen, for sure.
[00:42:15] The Need for a Real Vacation
[00:42:15] Morgan: Maybe have like a real vacation.
[00:42:16] Brenna: yeah,
[00:42:18] Morgan: Here’s an idea.
[00:42:19] Brenna: people are like, what’s a vacation? I’m here to help you with that. So, . Yeah, I think it’s important. So it’s called bebe’s virtual assistants, and I’m so excited
[00:42:31] Morgan: I am super excited for you. ‘ it’s getting better over the years, but still, like, I go on vacation and, as an example, one of our employees got in a car accident and literally they were boarding the airplane and she calls me and she’s like, Hey, this is what just happened. You know, like everybody’s fine, but like, here’s a situation. And I was like, okay, I’m literally about to get on an airplane, like I’ve got. Five minutes to get this figured out before, you know, I’ve gotta go find a seat. And thankfully my husband was there with me, so I was like, you call these people, I’m gonna call these people. Like we’re gonna get this handled. But it was one of those things where it’s like, if there had been one more person in our business who could handle those things, like that would’ve been really helpful. Or, you know, I’ve been on vacation and I’ve answered client messages or, you know, approved service requests and Then that doesn’t really become an actual, like, rejuvenating vacation because you’re still working. So now you’re just working in a different location. You’re not really taking a vacation. You are just, you know, working from a virtual office. And so if someone can actually get a real vacation, like that is so important. And like you talked about earlier, we need time to not be thinking about other people. Like we need time to just do something for ourselves.
[00:43:44] Brenna: exactly, because you will eventually burn out and then not enjoy what you’re doing. So . That’s, that’s like the worst thing that could happen, you know? And so I, I wanna be there for people who are doing it alone. And they, they need help. ’cause I think everyone deserves help because there’s been times where I just don’t know what I would do if, like Doug and Amber weren’t there.
[00:44:12] You know, I wouldn’t be able to go on vacation. I wouldn’t be able to have a day off to just spend with my own animals and go do something with them. And so I, I just think it’s important.
[00:44:22] Morgan: I know how much passion you have for pet sitting and for the industry as a whole, and for helping business owners run their business very effectively and very well, and deliver with high quality service and that you’re gonna able to help people with their mission, I think is such a cool gift. And again, a gift that not every business owner has like and for you to be able to kind of step in and help people along that journey can be just so impactful.
[00:44:50] Brenna: Oh, thank you so much. I’m so excited. I just think everyone deserves, that that extra set of hands and that extra mind to bounce ideas off of. And I wanna be able to help business go down the right path And
[00:45:04] Morgan: Thank you so much Brenda, for coming and joining me today and sharing all of this because, I think you have a gift that not every business owner has and I think that you are gonna be able to bring that to, to new clients and being able to see what they want and help them move that vision forward is, is just gonna be really awesome. So thank you so much,
[00:45:22] Brenna: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:45:25] Morgan: Thank you so much for listening today, you can find show notes. Transcripts and more on our website. Lucky pub pod.com. Don’t forget. Review comment, like share this conversation with your friends. Then don’t forget to reach out. You can find us on Instagram at lucky pup pod or lucky pup podcast on Facebook. Or send us an email [email protected] until then don’t forget to live a more full and happy life. We’ll talk to you soon.