Laurie Cantus, CEO and Founder of Go2Girls, has a passion for helping small business owners implement their big ideas. Amassing over 10 years of executive administrative support experience and 12 years of military service taught Laurie superb organizational skills, creative problem solving, how to work with extremely diverse groups of people and how to meet tight deadlines without batting an eye. She honed her highly regarded skills as an executive assistant and launched Go2Girls in 2006. An Internet-based virtual assistant company, Go2Girls works with online business owners who are ready to grow their businesses, want to eliminate the frustration of having to do it all themselves and only want to focus on the parts of their business they enjoy and that make money.
A member of the International Virtual Assistants Association and The Southern California Virtual Assistants Group, Laurie Cantus is highly respected by her peers in the virtual professional world and is sought after for her insights, both as a businesswoman and a virtual assistant. Her clients describe her as organized, efficient, professional, intelligent and a reliable problem solver.
At Go2Girls, Laurie Cantus and her talented team of virtual assistants support small businesses through implementing e-commerce solutions like blogging, website, and social networking support, creating and implementing Internet marketing strategies and more.
What are you working on right now?
We are working on creating a line of do-it-yourself options for clients who aren’t quite ready to hire their own stellar virtual assistant team to do things for them. We have talked to a lot of people over the years who have asked, “can you just teach me how to do…” So yes, now we can!
Our first home study is around a passion of mine – virtual event production, specifically teleseminars.
Where did the idea for Go2Girls come from?
From my earliest years, I always loved to help. Whether it was getting the other kids’ horses under control for them in my horseback riding class, helping to teach karate classes and train the champions for their competitions or being a volunteer candy striper. I loved to be the helper, the analyzer and the one behind the scenes figuring out how to get things done and make them better.
I’ve always been a good team player, but really found my passion as a team leader. My love for adventure and fast-paced action led me to a career in the military where I really got to experience the ultimate teamwork experience in action. After I had enough of that, I moved on to the fashion industry – another fast-paced and interesting field where I supported senior management as an executive assistant.
I’ve always been good at being the driving force behind the success of others, but I always felt I could do more. I wanted complete freedom to explore and learn new things and discover better ways to do thing “my way” in order to help others accomplish more.
That is when I opened the virtual doors to Go2girls.
I’ve learned throughout my years of observing the great leaders I’ve worked for and with that nobody who accomplishes anything great does it alone. There is just way too much to do around accomplishing greatness that has nothing to do with the “great thing” you are doing. I started my VA business because I wanted to help small business owners get more done. I expanded the business to be a team when I realized that there was so much more I could offer people that I couldn’t do effectively on my own. What we do is so important because we help people attain their greatness, fulfill their dreams, build their businesses or do whatever it is they want.
What does your typical day look like?
It typically looks like a 3-ring circus. Incredibly busy, a little scary, but entertaining and amazing at the same time. So, here are the dirty details: my day always starts with coffee (with flavored creamer). I try to accomplish 1 important thing on my list before I dive into my email. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it usually sets me up for a productive day. Today I started off with a project manager meeting to discuss setting up new productivity systems. Then I answer emails. This tends to dictate the rest of my day. I take care of anything that needs my attention with current clients first and then move into new client inquiries toward the end of the day.
I’m not sure that my days are all that typical. After my must-do’s are finished, I tend to work on whatever seems inspiring to me at the moment.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Coffee. lots of coffee. And using my own amazing team. Just as I coach others to do, I embrace delegation and letting go. When I have an idea, I do the work that I can and then I hand it off to be completed. I look around me and determine who is really good at doing parts of whatever project I need to get done and then I let them do it. You can’t do it all yourself, ya know?
3 trends that excite you?
- The popularity and rising trend of virtual events. Just a few years ago, the primary way that people got training or access to professionals was from live events. Now, as an attendee, we can get great experiences from attending events via teleseminars, webinars or live streams. As a business owner or trainer, this is very exciting because you can reach and impact SO many more people by harnessing the power of technology and virtual events. You can bring the event to participants in their personal and comfortable spaces. No plane ticket or suit required. What’s not to love about that?
- The way we communicate and stay in touch via social media. I love social media. It’s great that you can reach so many people. I like the way it keeps businesses accountable and I love the way I can instantly find out what’s going on in the world at any time. Instant, uncensored, raw information. I love it.
- Mobile technology. I don’t know where I’d be without my Android phone and iPad. I love having information at my fingertips–and the iPad is yet another tool and trend that we can use in our businesses.
What is the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
It was definitely Starbucks, my first job out of active duty military in the year following 9/11. Don’t get me wrong, I love Starbucks as a company and I’m a frequent and loyal customer, but it wasn’t meant for me. The things I learned were don’t just work for the sake of working and find something you can be passionate about and that truly inspires you and go for THAT. Also, as a manager, give your subordinates responsibilities, make them accountable and then stand back. You don’t have to dictate every detail. Freedom breeds pride. (Backstory: my manager made me wear a stopwatch around my neck and when it beeped every 10 minutes, I had to go wipe the tables and check the bathrooms for cleanliness.)
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have compared myself to others much less.
What is the one thing you did/do as an entrepreneur that you would do over and over again and recommend everybody else do?
Delegate early. Figure out what you don’t like or is not your area of expertise and let someone else do it. Your “UGH” is somebody else’s “OMG, I LOVE THAT STUFF.” Being productive doesn’t mean that you have to do all the work. Embrace that.
Tell us a secret…
I have an irrational fear of wild boars. They freak me out.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Don’t worry about or obsess over perfection. Just go for it and figure it out later. This isn’t to say you should be irresponsible or sloppy but it’s more like dump the perfectionist. Don’t hold up your website because you are still trying to decide on the perfect shade of blue or because you want a video on your homepage but it isn’t finished yet. Add pages later. Get booked as a speaker as soon as you have a talk title and outline. Fill in the details of your speech later. Once you have momentum, you can go anywhere and you might end up someplace you never imagined that happens to be amazing.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Seriously? Just one? Oye.
Okay, one of my favorites is REWORK by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, because it’s all about the idea of DOING, and trusting your intuition–and it’s just awesome. It’s also an easy read with pictures. Can’t beat that.
If you weren’t busy with Go2Girls, what would you be doing?
Starting a business that teaches parents how to sign with their pre-verbal babies and toddlers. Baby sign language is another passion of mine.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why.
@someecards – because sometimes you just need a good distraction that makes you laugh tremendously hard.
@CandyTX – because everyone should know a hilarious bookkeeper.
@nametagscott – because he is brilliant and has been wearing a name tag for over 4,000 days.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laugh out loud most every day and my children tend to be at the center of it. I have 3 boys under the age of 5. Their honest, naïve and enthusiastic views of the world are incredibly fun and hilarious. One particular instance was my 4 year old talking about God. “…and God gives us our bread. And we buy our bread from Ralph’s. So God gives Ralph’s the bread for us. And Fresh and Easy.” (Ralph’s and Fresh & Easy are our local grocery stores).
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Scott Ginsberg, the entrepreneur and author who wears a nametag every single day to make people friendlier.
Why and what should entrepreneurs consider delegating and outsourcing?
When you are able to focus on your core gifts–your blessing, purpose, talent and passion (i.e., the business and the services you provide), you can make BIG progress and impact the lives of the people who need you. Finding the right people to delegate to (employees, professional service firms, etc.) will allow you to dedicate your time and energy to doing the things you’re best at and that you love most so you can:
– Eliminate hours of frustration and wasted energy by delegating the work you do not enjoy or is not your area of expertise.
– Regain valuable time in your day to do whatever you want to do instead of what you “need to” or “should” do.
– Clear your headspace to create successful products and services that energize you and inspire others.
The 2 things you should delegate are:
1. Anything not in your area of expertise.
2. Anything that someone else can do faster, cheaper or better.
And, the order you should give things away is:
1. Activities that can help bring in revenue like getting that ebook out, launching your teleseminar or perhaps having someone do warm-lead follow-up calls for you.
2. Business tasks that take up the most time such as social media, newsletters, writing articles, article submissions and so on.
How did your experience in the military impact your success as an entrepreneur?
It definitely made me realize the importance of having a strong and cohesive team. I said it in response to a question above, but it’s worth repeating: nobody who accomplishes anything great does it alone.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.