Have you ever wondered how you can nail your job interview? In this episode, Camille welcomes Mandi Love-Keen, a graduate of the 60 Days to VA program who now runs her own virtual assistant business.
In this part two, Mandi shares her experience of how she overcame her fear of starting something new and how she was able to land her clients within a short period of time after completing the program. She shares her real-life experience of what set her apart from other applicants and some of the tips to help increase confidence for a successful job interview.
Whether you’re applying as a virtual assistant or any job in general, tune into this episode to hear Mandi’s advice on how you too can find your wow factor and land your ideal clients.
Connect with Mandi:
Follow Mandi on Instagram: www.instagram.com/livinglovelywithmandi/
MANDI LOVE-KEEN [0:00]
But you know that you have those skills. You know that you can help them. And you’re driving up confidence from that, the knowledge that you have the skills that they need, and then you’re able to reassure them that you’re there to help them. And I think that is so huge too.
CAMILLE WALKER [0:18]
So you want to make an impact. You’re thinking about starting a business sharing your voice. How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We’ll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call me CEO.
Hey, everyone. And welcome back to Call Me CEO. This is Camille Walker. And I'm here with Mandi Keen. This is part two of the exploration of the 60 Days to VA course. Mandi is a graduate. And today, we’re going to be talking about how to nail your interview as a virtual assistant or really in any scenario. We’re going to be volleying back and forth a little bit, but I’m really grateful to Mandi for being here with us today.
Mandi, thank you so much for being on the show. Please introduce yourself for those who may not have heard the last episode.
As Camille said, my name is Mandi and I did Camille’s VA course 60 Days to VA. I’m coming from a very tiny town over in Washington state. I have 2 amazing boys who are 6 and 9 and I`ve been married for almost 13 years to my awesome husband. I also have basically a little mini zoo at my house, so it's a little hectic around here, but we love it.
I love it. So, what I hear you saying is you're a busy mom, which when I have people say, “Could I even do this thing? Could I do this course?” Is this something that you’ve been able to manage and bring into your life? Let’s talk about that a little bit because we didn’t on the last episode.
That's true. We didn’t. Definitely, I love the flexibility that this position brings. Both of my kids play multiple sports all the seasons. And so, I’m constantly running around from place to place, park to park and I just pop it on my phone or bring in my laptop and getting some work done. I can do work when the boys are in bed at night or just different times that I have available. And I absolutely love the flexibility tha that brings for me. I can still be present and be mom and be accessible for them, but also being able to bring some income in for my family.
Yeah. Let’s talk about that little bit with the income that you’ve been able to bring into your family. What kind of a difference has that made for your home?
That’s been huge for us. As other families potentially have, we have debt that we’re trying to pay off. And we have vacations that we’re wanting to save up for. And just knowing that we have that extra money coming in every month has been absolutely huge for us.
That’s awesome. So, talk to me a little bit. In the last episode, we talked about overcoming fear and stepping into something new. Was your husband always on board with you starting this new venture and starting a new business of your own?
Yes. I would say he is definitely my biggest cheerleader. He is the extrovert in the relationship and he always thinks any of my ideas are just, “Yeah, let’s go for it. That sounds great,” which can get scary sometimes, but also great to have that support.
I love it. I will tell you, as many calls I have, some students that take my course are single and I’ve even had some more recently who are going through a divorce and navigating the waters of how do I provide for my family? And then, also others like yourself who are busy moms. And so, it really can work with any lifestyle where you’re needing to work from anywhere with Wi-Fi. Really, it’s made to be built with flexibility, which is so fantastic.
So, for this episode, we talked a little bit more about the course in the last one. This one is more about nailing the interview. And the reason why I wanted to bring Mandi on here is because with my program, I also help many of my graduates land jobs. And Mandi was no exception to that. I think I got her as many hours as she was looking for within just a couple weeks, which a big part of that too is that you nailed the interview. That’s not everyone's story.
And so, even for some of my graduates, I told them, “Let’s get her on here, so she can tell us her secrets of how she’s able to have such an amazing interview and present herself so well.” And I’m really excited to dig into this because I think this can apply to anyone presenting themselves in any interview situation.
So, first starting out, I would love to know how you prepare yourself for an interview. Is there anything that you do to hype yourself up or to put yourself in the mental state of being ready for that interview?
So, one of the things I do, I am such a researcher and I like to at least do a little digging in on my potential client, just to get an idea of who they are and things that they’re trying to accomplish. And maybe that's not always as evident with doing research. But just getting a general overall idea of who they are I think is a great starting point.
I will preface by saying I do also get very nervous going into these interviews. Sometimes I am in here right before, just doing some push ups or things to get some of that nervous energy out. But yeah, I think for me, just feeling as prepared as possible helps with some of that anxiety going into it. Having my notebook, like I said, that is a comfort thing for me. My notebook and my pen. Those are definitely ways that I prepare right before.
Yeah. I love that. And in our house, just this is something that I talk about with my kids all the time is that the way that our body processes anxiety or nervousness is very similar to the same place where we experience excitement or happiness.
So, in our family, we actually call it nerxcited, I’m nervous and excited or anxcited. I’m anxious, but I’m excited. And so, as you're prepping for something or maybe you’re about to present or you’re in a situation where those nerves are coming in, we say, I’m excited, I’m excited, I’m excited or I’m nerxcited. So, it’s like, yeah, I’m a little nervous, but that’s your body's way for preparing you for doing something great.
So, when I talk to my kids or to people like yourself that I'm talking to about prepping for an interview, I’ll say, it’s okay that you’re nervous or that you’re feeling anxious because that's a good sign. That shows that you care. And so, I love that you do that, that you prep and you study and you research ahead because really when I get into an interview situation and I can tell that someone’s prepped to talk to me, it automatically puts my mind at ease that I know that they care about the meeting and that they’re there to show up and to serve.
Right. And I think too something to remember is pretty much everybody gets at least a little bit nervous, even the person who is doing the interview. This is something a lot of times new for them, especially in this situation where maybe it’s the first time they’re really hiring somebody in this capacity for their own personal business.
And so, something else that I would say is in the beginning, I will try to say a little bit about myself, a little bit of my background. But really, I ask them a lot of questions. And I just sit back and listen. And there’s two pieces to this.
The first one is that eventually they’re going to say something that you can really connect with on a personal level. And so, when you’re able to have that personal connection with somebody, it does take away a lot of that anxiety and nervousness and it makes you feel like you’re having a conversation with a new friend.
And then, the other part of it is that it allows me to take notes and really start to focus in on what are some of the ways that they want to grow the business? What are some of their pain points? What are some of the things they’re excited about and passionate about with their business? And so, I think that really just taking that moment to tell a brief background on yourself, but then asking those questions and then listening, that is super important.
Yeah. I love those points that you just said because finding relatability or a common ground with anyone automatically gives you a sense of closeness where it’s like, we’re just people. We’re just people coming together.
And you know what? Honestly, a lot of the coaching that I do with my virtual assistants is with confidence. But also on the flip side, a lot of the coaching that I do with entrepreneurs looking to expand their team is also with confidence because, like you said, they are nervous too about allowing someone into the intimate concerns and goals of their business, which is very much like sharing a child because a business and an entrepreneur, it’s like you’re blood, sweat, and tears. It’s hours of time spent. It really is a trust moment.
So, I love that you said to find common ground and to listen because I think that that is where you can really find where you could be of service or where you could create a partnership of really creating something even better together.
Yeah. And I think the other thing too is when you’re getting to listen to what they’re excited about and passionate about with their business, you can also match that excitement and not in a disingenuous way, but usually, there is some piece of it that is really exciting to you as well.
As a VA, a lot of us tend to have similar skill sets or just different things where we get excited about thinking with organizing or making up systems or even just the thought of helping somebody else build their business. Because a lot of times, as VAs, we are also natural helpers. And so, there’s just ways that you can be excited too in that call getting on that same level with them. And I think that’s something that’s really cool and that’s something that helps relate to them as well and let them know that you're in it too.
Mandi, I love that. And I’m not going to say specifically for you, but it’s like in my mind. And it was funny because a lot of items, we'll get follow-up from the entrepreneurs that will say things that they liked about the person that they interviewed or having trouble knowing who to pick, that’s another real thing. But there's something that you did that really set you apart and I think I told you what it is. Do you know what I'm referring to?
I’m guessing, are you talking about the follow-up questions?
Okay. So, that also definitely ties in with the questions and listening. When I know their different pain points or the different ways that they might want to be bring me in to partner with them and I’m taking those notes during that interview, later on, I can come back. And it’s a great way with the follow-up to showcase your skills and what you bring to the table and also to show them that you are listening and you are excited to help them and showing them ways that you can help them.
And so, with my first client, I knew that she did a lot of traveling and that she was looking to grow her LinkedIn account. And so, after the interview, I ended up making a couple different documents in Canva and it was just something where I put together a pretend itinerary that could potentially be based on something real, just based on some of the notes that I took during the interview.
And then, I put together some tips on ways to grow your LinkedIn account. And I emailed that over to her the next morning, just letting her know that it was so great talking with her and I wanted to put together these documents that I could show her ways that I know I could come in and help her with her business.
Yeah. You guys, I’m just over here like, yes! Cheering. So, all throughout the course of 60 Days to VA, I talk about the power of wow like taking the next step to really set yourself apart. And I can tell you when I got that email and she was like,”She put together a pretend itinerary for me.” She was just like, “What? I’m so blown away.”
And, of course, with the other part too how to help grow on LInkedIn, that just shows so much initiative in showing that you really cared about what those pain points were and how you can be an asset on your team. And I know she was sold. It didn’t take long. So, I just think that that’s such a cool example of that.
With your next interview that came just a few days later, do you have examples of that that you think were reasons that help set you apart or is there an example of that that you think helped?
So, I think for that one, both my clients are absolutely amazing and I connect with them in so many different ways. My second client, she has something that she's building with business and it just happens to be something that I’m also very passionate about.
And so, we were able to really find common ground with that and it goes back to that whole being excited and passionate about what they're doing. But it was honestly more of a friend conversation than an interview. It was just like, “Oh my gosh, yes, I love this thing and I've heard about this.”
And it was more of that when we were just having this connection about something that she was building and my past experience as well with that. And so, I think for that, it was just being able to find that together.
Yeah, that is so cool. And what I love about this too is that as many interests as you have and skill sets that you have, there is someone who is out there who is possibly looking for those skill sets and would gel with you the same way in the scenario you did with your person. And I think that that is so powerful because there are more than ever people who are needing help in this scenario.
And the number one thing that I tell people who are interested in virtual assistant business or freelance work or doing this kind of work is that if you have a can-do attitude and that if you are willing to learn and also that you love to organize and to systematize, most entrepreneurs are visionaries and they are creatives. And they are distracted.
And what's really fun about this too is that because I created it on the side of knowing both that I had been the entrepreneur and trained virtual assistants, I think that I love seeing both sides of that coin because I do not like creating charts or systems or anything like that.
So, I knew to grow my business I really need to find people who are strong where I am weak. And that’s what helps business owners to really expand and grow and have a balanced life is if you celebrate those strengths and look for people to help you with those weaknesses.
Right. And I think really the other thing, obviously, we are all so busy, but I think something to always remember going into these interviews is these are really busy women who are starting to build a business. And it’s a huge undertaking and they might feel super overwhelmed. I don’t want to say might, I’m sure they feel super overwhelmed. And they're at a point where they’re wanting to take this time to find somebody to bring onto their team.
And so, if you can reassure them that you're somebody who is going, “I’ve got you. I’m excited to grow this business with you,” and just exuding that confidence that maybe you don’t feel necessarily, but it’s because you’re just nervous for that talking portion, but you know that you have those skills. You know you can help them and you’re driving up confidence from that ,the knowledge that you have the skills that they need. And then, you’re able to reassure them that you're there to help them. And I think that is so huge too.
Yes. I’m actually really glad that you brought that up because surprisingly, in fact, I had a conversation. And listen, I talk to entrepreneurs who are making anywhere from thousands to millions and it’s really interesting for me to hear them say things like, “I’ve worked in corporate for years. I really just want someone that I can have an accountability conversation with once a week or someone who will help me to anticipate needs or to help me keep on top of my schedule or to have another set of eyes on my copy.”
And there are so many things that to you may be like, “I’ve got that.” But to them, they’re like, “That would be life-changing for me, just to feel that load lifted off.” And I think that that can be so empowering, like you said, to be like, “I got you. Let’s do this.” And I think that’s where magic really happens.
Right, exactly. Because like I said, I think we so often undersell ourselves. And if we can go into that interview being like, “You know what? Yes, maybe I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for a long time and maybe I haven't been out in the job world,” but really, you’ve been doing so many things that are so valuable to a lot of people. And going in there knowing you have those skills that can help them, I think that is just super important to reassure them, like I said to reiterate.
Yeah, no. That’s so great. I appreciate you sharing these tips. I think this has been so helpful. And if you're listening to this right now and wondering if you maybe want to find more information, you can reach out to me @camillewalker.co and find out more opportunities either to find a virtual assistant or to start your own virtual assistant business. And I am happy to help you and help you create that reality, which is really exciting.
So, Mandi, thank you again for being on this episode and opening up about your story and you have done amazing things. And you're just getting started. I can’t wait to see what you do next.
Thank you so much, Camile.
Hey, CEOs. Thank you so much for spending your time with me. If you’ve found this episode inspiring or helpful, please let me know in a comment and a 5-start review. You could have the chance of being a featured review on an upcoming episode. Continue the conversation on Instagram @callmeceopodcast. And remember, you are the boss!
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