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How to Become a Passion Driven Remote Leader with Lisa Foley

Lisa Somers Foley has a background in psychology, and she is currently the CMO at Marketplace SuperHeroes and the Chief Operations Officer at Grow My Reach.

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Luis:

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the DistantJob Podcast. The podcast about building and leading awesome remote teams. I am your host Luis. Today I have with me as my guest, Lisa Foley. Lisa is the CMO at Marketplace SuperHeroes and the Chief Operations Officer at Grow My Reach. Lisa, welcome to the show.

Lisa Foley:

Thank you so much. I’m really, really excited to be here, to finally talk about remote work and all the things that I do every day and never get to talk to anybody about, so it’s nice to finally be able to have a conversation about it, right?

Luis:

Yeah. I had the conversation with your brother, Stephen. He told me that if I really wanted to know about how to manage the team, the remote team, that kind of thing that I needed to go to you, so here we are right? Here you are. Why don’t you start by, A, tell me a bit more about your career path and how you happen to become the CMO and the Chief Operations Officer at Marketplace SuperHeroes and at Grow My Reach. Then tell us how remote work made those organizations possible in their current state or better than they would be if there was no remote.

Lisa Foley:

Yeah. I guess in terms of my own journey it weirdly started out in a trampoline park. I used to run kids birthday parties and clean up, not so nice things off trampolines. From there, I was studying psychology at university, so I really wanted to be a psychologist. That was always my goal in life. Then I just got really disillusioned with the length of time it would take to qualify properly to do a PhD and all of those things. At the time my brother Stephen was starting this company called Marketplace SuperHeroes. It was an online business and everyone was afraid. It was a scam. We had all of that go on. I said to him, “Maybe I could do like customer support for you for a few hours a week or something while I figure out what I want to do with my life.”

Lisa Foley:

And so he said, yes, and I started working with the company then. Back then the team was… We had like maybe five or six people on the team. It was really, really small so communication was easy obviously. Then we just started growing and more and more people joined our programs. In case anyone was wondering, we teach people how to sell products on Amazon FBA. We have an education business and now a lot of other businesses that stem from that, but back then it was a small course and people just kept joining, signing up and gradually I moved into more of a leadership role within that team as we grew. It’s all just taken off from there. I would recognize the problem, try to solve it and just gradually move up as we hired more people.

Lisa Foley:

So that’s been my journey so far, I guess. I suppose in terms of remote work we have had a remote team since, as far as I can remember really. But the great thing about it has been that it’s always been that way for us. I know a lot of people struggle with the transition from having everybody in one office to suddenly know having team members all over the world. But for us really, it’s always been that way. We’ve met the same struggles that other companies meet, but we’ve never known any different, so it’s always been something we’ve had to work through. It’s been great because we’re building this online community of people that go through our program, but there are people within there who are so talented at what they do in their past or maybe in their day job.

Lisa Foley:

So it’s been really useful to be able to look at that pool of people as a place to hire from because all of those people are building businesses from home. They’re all used to working remotely. They are usually a really good fit for what we want to do and the kind of culture we have as a company. I guess that’s how remote work… It’s really everything for us. We just don’t know any different.

Luis:

Nice, nice. That’s very interesting and I want to go a bit deep. First of all your career path took the opposite direction that it usually happens in Portugal, right? Usually in Portugal, people start with the PhD in philosophy and then they go work to the trampoline park. That’s how it usually goes. So you kind of inverted that direction. That’s very interesting about the hiring. What do you think makes your former clients the best fit to work to become your employees? What’s what happens in your company, in the way your company works to make that happen? I think this is a very unique characteristic. Most companies wouldn’t say that. Most companies wouldn’t say that we graduate clients into teammates. That sounds a very unique thing to me. Would you like to elaborate that on…?

Lisa Foley:

Yes. Sure. I think its Herb Kelleher. I looked this up for a year because I didn’t want to misquote somebody. But there’s a whole argument of hiring for attitude and training for skill. And that’s something-

Luis:

Well this is the internet so every quote is either from Mae West or Einstein so …

Lisa Foley:

Exactly. Yeah, I could say it was an original by me, but it’s not. We always try to do that, to hire for their personality and their attitude and their enthusiasm. Then we can teach things along the way. That’s always been my attitude because that’s how I learned honestly. The only reason I am where I am is because I was enthusiastic, because I was passionate about the company. I cared and I really wanted to do well. I always try to hire people who have that same mentality, because I just find they excel. They’re not, they don’t have that typical employee mindset of like, “Well, this is what’s in my job description. I’m not going to do any more than that.” The people we hire have been awesome in terms of, they move around into different roles.

Lisa Foley:

They move to different companies within our overarching umbrella of companies. Also, they have that knowledge about the company. One of the hardest parts I have found a bit training outside people is that they don’t really care about what we do. They’re not really enthusiastic and passionate about the mission and the goal of what we’re trying to achieve. Whereas people who’ve gone through the program, they’ve started their own Amazon business. They have done that successfully, and now a lot of the time they want to give back, so they excellent coaches to other members who now want to do the same thing. It’s great for us because there’s, built-in credibility. There’s built in like testimonials there, in that these people wouldn’t want to come back and work with us and help us grow the company if it didn’t work, if it was all a scam and all of that.

Lisa Foley:

It’s lovely in that respect that when people come into our community now… All of our team pretty much 90% have done this before, have built the business that they want to build. It’s very reassuring if you’re a new member to come into an environment like that, where people really understand, they really get it. They know all of the mindset blocks you’re going to have. The great thing that’s come from that then is a lot of our team members have helped us create programs, have helped us create offers and different services because they needed it when they were building their own business inside through our program. They would say, “Yeah, I wish you guys had like a freight company because these freight forwarders are terrible.”

Lisa Foley:

And so we went and did that. We built a freight company, right? But it’s having those people who really understand, and they really, really care. Plus they have a massive array of skill sets. We have people who came from corporate America and now they’re coaches with us, and now they run some of our companies. Also, they really helped to… We create businesses stemmed off the original one, which is Marketplace SuperHeroes. A big reason we can do that is because we have the people there who know what’s next and we can plug them into whatever we need to. I would say that’s been a game changer for us hiring from within. When a lot of people say, “Well, how do we know the quality of, of that team member will be any good, or maybe they want to do their own thing because they’re successful with their business, right?”

Lisa Foley:

But actually pretty much everybody on our team, they still run their business successfully. They didn’t have to give it up to come and work with us, because that’s the nature of the business model we teach. It’s relatively passive income, right? It’s not a full-time commitment and therefore they have time, they want to give back and they also want to be connected to us as a company. We have so many team members who they’re grateful to even just jump on a call with us and chat with us, learn from us. That’s been really important in developing those people as well, because it becomes a really nice cycle then that we’ve really used to great effect in the company I would say.

Luis:

That sounds like a really good cycle, actually. That sounds like a very virtuous cycle to two have. It’s quite amazing what you’ve built there. Obviously I guess that there’s a survivorship bias there, right? The students that do well then are obviously the ones that come back to you and that join you to become part of the business. The students that don’t do so well, probably you don’t hear from them again. But the apart from that picking from the winners, let’s say, what are some traits that you look for to see that people will be successful working specifically remotely, right? Because depending on their function, obviously you’re going to evaluate different skills, but for working remotely, what do you think are the necessary skills that make them successful at working from home, at working from home, from a café, from somewhere else?

Lisa Foley:

Yeah. I love to hire good communicators. I feel like that’s probably a cliché answer, something you hear a lot. But it really is the most important thing for us, especially as we’ve grown as a company. Like I said, when we had 16 members, everything felt easy. You could have one team call. Everybody was on a similar time zone and it was fine. Then when you get open to having 80 team members, you don’t have that luxury anymore. Having people who are good communicators that can convey information to other people is really important. I don’t really like hiring people who want to just exist in their own little bunker and do their work and not speak to people. Obviously there is a place for that, depending on the role they’re in. Some people don’t need to communicate as much as others. But overall that would be one thing.

Lisa Foley:

And then also, I think just having each other’s back is really, really important as a remote team especially. You don’t have that luxury again of going into the boss’ office and explaining why didn’t work out, bringing your coworker with you for support. You don’t have that. To have people who will send a quick Slack message and say, “Hey, I think we’re supposed to have this done. You want to jump on a call and get that sorted?” That’s great for us, because it means that we don’t have to have this sort of like dictatorship of leadership. We get to empower the team, to allow them to lift each other up. Obviously we do our best to do that as well. But having, especially departmental leaders, which is something we split the team into in the last year or two, because it was always… There was the team and then there was probably me, and then there was Robert and Stephen and above me.

Lisa Foley:

It was always me being the bottleneck in the company then of like, if they needed anything, it came to me and I would communicate it to the guys. Now we split into department leaders. We have like a coaching team leader, sales team, all of that. Those people just advocating for each other and helping to pull their own team up. Also, people who are inclined to move towards that common goal. Looking at opportunity and saying, how can we move the whole company forward? Like, those are the kinds of people I love, because like I said, they come up with ideas for new programs, they improve communication massively. They look at what we’re doing and say, “I could actually talk to this team about that and help them to do it as well.”

Lisa Foley:

They’re not just out to help themselves. The last piece I would say that’s really, really important is that idea of, like I said before, we don’t typically hire people who have that old school employee mentality of here’s my job description, I do know more than this. We hire people who are, like I said, already business owners, they have their own Amazon business and maybe another business as well. They typically have an attitude of, “Yeah, I want to grow this thing. Yes I’m willing to go above and beyond, because I know that if I do that the rewards will come, and also the team will really value my support, and they’re happy to go above and beyond for the company and for their fellow team members. Those kinds of people are really what I try to zero in on and hire when we’re thinking about bringing in new people.

Luis:

Tell me a bit how your documentation process looks like, because in order for things to work as you’re describing, it seems to me that everyone in the company should have a way of seeing how every little system works without necessarily falling victim to overload. Meaning if I just have every little piece of information in the company fed into my head every day, I’m not going to be able to stand that. But if I’m curious about how something operates and I can easily and freely look it up, then I can offer my contribution. How do you organize that kind of thing?

Lisa Foley:

Like I said we have the department leaders and every week we have a senior team meeting. We bring all the department leaders onto a call. We basically all just talk about what’s going on in the various areas of the businesses. It could be as simple as our design team might say, “Yeah, we’re using this manual process at the moment to find out this information.” Then head of our tech team will be on there and he’d say, “You know what? I’m actually thinking there’s an easier way to do that. Let’s jump on a call and let’s collaborate on that.” He might even bring that back to his own team then and say, ‘Right, let’s make a list of the things that we could improve on.” We really encourage people interdepartmentally to get on calls, to have a chat with both of their teams.

Lisa Foley:

It usually starts from those senior team leaders. Then they bring it down to everybody else that’s on their team. Some teams are small, some are bigger, but that really works well for us. Then once a month we have a larger team meeting with the whole team. Again, we’re talking about things that are coming up there. We might say something like, “We’re seeing a lot of people are struggling to get their Amazon accounts set up. If you guys want to have a think about maybe what solution could we provide there that resolves that issue for clients. Maybe a program, maybe done for use. Just go off and have a think about that.” Then we’ll point them to someone, so we’ll say, “Speak to Lisa, if you have a suggestion, or speak to your team leader.”

Lisa Foley:

Then that usually will come back to that senior team call and we can chat it out there. We really try to give everybody the ability to come up with things and to share ideas. Our support team, for example, which are a group of people I think they get written off in a lot of companies as like unimportant or whatever. For us they’re so, so important because they’re on the front lines, they see everything that comes in, they know what people are struggling with. One of our support team came to me the other day with a brilliant idea for a new program.

Lisa Foley:

That’s only because they feel they can do that and they feel they’ll be listened to, which is another thing that I am very, very adamant about in the company is like, if someone has an idea, it doesn’t matter if they are the CEO or someone in support, we listen to that idea. Yeah, we may not run with them all, but I want everyone to feel like they can come to us with something because that’s where the best ideas have come from for us honestly, is from having that open door policy for anyone on the team.

Luis:

Interesting. How do you evaluate those ideas? Because at the end of the day, there’s infinite ideas, but there’s a very limited amount of resources. How do you decide right, what gets implemented and what doesn’t? What’s your thought process there?

Lisa Foley:

Yeah. Usually I will take the idea to, like I said, that senior call, or maybe just to Robert and Stephen and we’ll chat about it. If we like it, then usually what we will do is we will put it out to the community then in a intriguing, hidden way. We’ll say, “What would you guys think if we put together something on this?” Or whatever. Then if a lot of people engage with that and they come back and say they’re interested. Then usually we will move on to fluff that idea out more and look into the logistics of actually running that program or doing that thing. Yeah, it is a little bit of like gut instinct I will say on my part, and of course on Robert and Stephen’s part.

Lisa Foley:

If someone comes with an idea, we may feel, you know what? That’s going to be too complicated, or we’re not going to get the return from that we think we will. Sometimes we will stop it at that point. But if it goes beyond that gut instinct test, then usually the next port of call is to ask the community, see what they think. Then we get into actually, right, how do we make this happen? And when are we going to make this happen?

Luis:

Interesting, interesting. That sounds like a very healthy process. You’ve already talked to me about your weekly team meetings, team leadership meetings, but let’s get a bit more granular. You’re the CMO, right? And then you’re Chief Operations Officer at Grow My Reach. You’re in a high level leadership position. How many direct reports do you have?

Lisa Foley:

Yeah, that’s a great question. I actually thought you might ask me this, and I was trying to think about it myself. I suppose for me, the marketing team as a whole are probably all direct reports to me. I have about maybe seven people there, inside Grow My Reach there’s another maybe three, and then I have departmental leaders then would come to me. All in all, it’s probably about 15 to 20 people, but I will say some of those I interact with a lot more than others. Like some of them I really only need to speak to them on that weekly call, and then others I speak to every day. There’s probably about six or seven people that I speak to most days.

Luis:

Okay. So why don’t you take me through a typical day? What does that look like?

Lisa Foley:

I basically have Zoom surgically attached to me at this point, because that’s how I live my life most of the time. I usually have a call with the marketing team first thing on a Monday morning, if we use Monday as an example. I’ll check in with them. We’ll look at the upcoming promotions. We use Asana for our project management. We’ll go through that and see what’s coming up, are we all organized? And then usually our copywriter run angles by me of the emails and the funnel and all of that, so that we can make sure we’re on the right track. Then I usually I’ll move into like just doing some email and admin stuff, which is obviously very exciting. Then mostly then I’m into checking in with existing projects are happening, making sure that we’re on track.

Lisa Foley:

Then I spend a lot of time coming up with offers for things, filling out our promotional calendar, which we run everything on a weekly basis. We have that filled out for every week. Then for Grow My Reach, then a lot of my time at the moment is we’re in the middle of a program where we’re teaching apprentices to learn the skills that they need to become good marketers. I’m teaching that. I’m usually writing slides and presentations for that to make sure we have everything. Yeah, that’s really… I would say I have a good split between strategic tasks and then Zoom calls, catching up with people. And then obviously podcasts and stuff like this as well with people like yourself, I’m on those kinds of things. Yeah, that’s probably it. It’s mostly calls I will say.

Luis:

Yeah. Doesn’t that get exhausting? A lot of people I talk to get really exhausted really fast by the zoom in zoom out situation. How do you manage it?

Lisa Foley:

Yeah. I have different ways in different locations I would say is a big thing for me. I might take a call while I’m out on a walk is a great way for me to kill two birds with one stone rather than always be sitting in front of the screen, so that. And then also just really trying to space things out, which I have a good grasp of now. I used to try to front-load everything and give myself five hours of calls on a Monday morning or something, but now I’m much better at spacing out my week, looking at when I’m most productive as well right? And if I do my best work, my best deep work in the morning, then I don’t want that taken up with calls. For example, on a Wednesday, I don’t know why, but Wednesday is like my least productive day. I don’t schedule any heavy work, I suppose it’s because it’s the middle of the week, right? Every –

Luis:

Hump day. It must be that hump days.

Lisa Foley:

Well, that’s it. No, I’m not good at hump days. I usually will leave all the heavy stuff aside for like a Tuesday is a great day for me to not really take calls and get a lot of my own stuff done. Then Mondays and Fridays as well, calls are like, those are my two main days for calls because it just works better for me. I try to limit it and also to finish up early sometimes to take the afternoon off to just chill out. I’m not a believer in working crazy hours. I would much prefer that it takes six months longer to grow something and not burn out, because that’s just really important to me is my own relationships at home, like with my husband and everything. If I’m a disaster, because I’m on calls 24/7 then that’s going to spill over into other areas of my life. It’s really important to me to have a handle on that and not let it run away with me.

Luis:

Yeah, I absolutely understand. It’s easy to get run over for that. Just two weeks ago, I had to take some time off to do a reset because when you’re working from home, that’s just the situation that you tend on… It’s easy to take on a lot more than you’re able to and without noticing it. All of a sudden it’s just work hours are supposedly done, but you’re still checking up on stuff and you keep delaying stuff and et cetera. It’s definitely important to have that pacing, and to suit that… like you said, to the way you, you feel your system naturally adapts to it.

Luis:

For example I try never to schedule anything for Fridays and then so when something unpredictable, when an extra task pops up during the week, I just push it to Friday right?I know that Friday is my taking care of unpredictable stuff day whenever it can be pushed. Let’s get real here. We’re not necessarily doing hard surgery here, so most things can be put off to Friday, right?

Lisa Foley:

Yes. Well, actually that’s a good point you make, because I think when I started especially in the more leadership roles, right?

Luis:

Yeah.

Lisa Foley:

It’s different when you’re just doing support or whatever. But when I started into this looking after the marketing and the operations of companies, I put a lot of pressure on myself initially, which I think a lot of people do. Like, oh now this is serious. I can’t put anything off or I can’t have a day off because I have to get everything… there’s so much to do. This company is growing so fast. I’m going to let people down. Then I realized I’m not going to let people down if they have to wait for the weekend. They’ve probably forgotten all about whatever the thing is they asked me for, and now I’m panicking, trying to like cram it in.

Lisa Foley:

A great thing I did actually was I switched off all of my notifications from Slack, from email, from Facebook messenger everywhere and I only checked them when I want to check them now. I don’t let other people dictate my time anymore, which is really, really important because you can wind up feeling so frustrated and so unable to get to the important work or the highest leverage work if you’re constantly just at everybody’s beck and call, which is what happens when you’re in a leadership position, everybody has questions. They want to get your opinion on stuff. For me, having designated times where I check in with the team, where I’m on calls and available versus times that I am not available and I’m doing my own work or I’m off is really, really…

Lisa Foley:

That’s been so important for me just from the perspective of my own wellbeing, as well as the productivity of the company, because the company didn’t suffer just because I didn’t answer an email at 10 o’clock on a Friday night. Nothing negative happened, but a lot of positive came from that, so that’s been an important lesson for me.

Luis:

Exactly. That makes complete sense about the – if nothing else. Right? I recommend people care about their wellbeing and the wellbeing of people working for them, but just even if you want to remove that out of the equation and focus on productivity alone. I get very disturbed when some people think that, “Oh, remote workers, they work extra hours because they’re working from home. That they end up giving us extra productivity and that’s just so good.”I’m like, “No. That’s not the way to look at it because there’s a cost to that.” There’s no free lunch. Eventually they’re going to crash and you’re going to lose that productivity and then some. So what you say is absolutely true. It’s much better if people pace themselves.

Luis:

Now of course, when I hire someone, that’s obviously driven that I can see that they have that mentality that I’m going to do the best job I possibly can, and I’m going to work on this project as if it was my company. Obviously I love that, but then when I see that people start taking on too much stuff, I’m going to work on this project and that project, and I have this idea and don’t worry, Luis I’m going to take care of it.”I see people starting to pile up stuff to themselves. Then I start worrying. Then I’m not getting happy, I’m getting worried because I’m starting to see that either this person is going to crash or the quality of their work will begin to suffer or both. There’s definitely a balance to strike that. I definitely don’t advocate for getting employees that are passionate about the job. No one wants to have employees like that, but at the same time it’s important to know how to reign ourselves in and as leaders, how to reign our people in.

Lisa Foley:

Yeah. And to lead by example as well. I take some time off now and again, and I always encouraged the team to do that. We give our team a number of, we call them down days, every quarter and we just encourage them to take them. Because like I said I would much prefer you take three or four days off than you burn out and now you’re off for a month because you can’t work anymore right?

Luis:

Exactly.

Lisa Foley:

That’s not a good scenario for me. Also because a lot of the work we do is very creative, like copywriting. All of that requires a lot of mental energy. If you’re burned out… It’s not a very robotic tasks that you can just do anyway, you have to be in the right head space to do that. That is important. If I didn’t follow my own example there, I can’t expect my team to. Sometimes it’s hard if you’re working on stuff that you’re excited about. Like you said, if you’re passionate about it, you don’t want to take time off, but you have to, because you’re setting an example for the people around you.

Lisa Foley:

One thing that’s very important to me is to not let my own frustrations about anything, like it could be personal stuff or work stuff. I don’t want that to spill over into my like team calls with people. I don’t want to be snappy and rude because I’m tired or I’m burned out, so I have to really manage my own self because I have to run a tight ship. That’s very, very important as well.

Luis:

Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. At the end of the day, when you go away that it’s not that bad. Like I said, I went away for two weeks when I come back, was there some stuff that happened while I was away that I wasn’t happy about? Sure. But by and large, the company kept running, everything survived, everything was peachy. We got some nice clients. At the end of the day, if us as leaders do a good job, then the business can survive without us for some amount of time. Not to say that that’s some stuff won’t be dropped right? Sure it will but it shouldn’t be anything unrecoverable.

Lisa Foley:

For sure.

Luis:

I want to be respectful of your time, of course. I want to ask you some rapid fire questions. The questions are rapid fire, but the answers don’t need to be. Please take as long as you would like in responding. The first thing is when you start your workday and you open your computer, what browser tabs do you have open? What are the apps that you start your day with? What’s your virtual office look like when you arrive?

Lisa Foley:

Yeah. First app is Google Calendar. I plug everything into the calendar, even my lunch, so I open that up to see what’s going on. Then I will usually check in on Slack, if there’s anything urgent there from team. Email, then I suppose probably next up. Then I’m usually on to Spotify to get some good maybe podcast or just music to listen to while I work.

Luis:

Nice. Nice. Okay. Tell me something. If you had $100 to use to buy something for each person working for you, and you need to buy in bulk? Number one, you can’t ask them what they want. Number two, you can’t give them the money or a gift card. That’s the same thing as money. What would you get? What would you get everyone working with you?

Lisa Foley:

That’s such a good question. I would probably get something that’s helped me hugely is Headspace the meditation app. I’m sure you probably know of it, it’s fairly huge at this point. I would probably get everybody a subscription to Headspace because I use that every day. Honestly that has changed my life, I would say in terms of productivity my relationships with other people, all of that. Yeah, I would probably get something that will create a little bit of peace in everybody’s life and that would be it for me.

Luis:

That’s a great one. I’ve recommended something similar. I’ve recommended another app that’s similar to Headspace, it’s Waking Up to the people on my Slack channel, on my company. The feedback has been amazing. It sounds so weird that these things… It still sounds a bit weird that-

Lisa Foley:

I know.

Luis:

… meditation works, right?

Lisa Foley:

Yes.

Luis:

That it’s something that’s like as beneficial to you as going to the gym. It’s a bit hard to believe. A bit hard to believe. How is doing a mental exercise for 30 minutes every day, going to improve my work-life balance, my life, really everything? But it really does. Thank you for this suggestion. It’s actually the second time it’s suggested on the show and I think it really hits the mark, so thank you for that.

Lisa Foley:

Yeah, no worries.

Luis:

What about yourself? What purchase have you made in the last six months or a year that has massively improved your wellbeing, productivity work-life balance, the metrics you care about?

Lisa Foley:

Well, productivity-wise is probably the best example for me. I always buy a really good set of headphones. That has just been so important for me in terms of productivity. I feel so much better when I have a nice set of headphones. The sound quality is good. I can do my calls, a good microphone on them is obviously important as well, because I’m doing calls all the time. That, and probably keeping my laptop up-to-date.Not having a super old laptop which I had.I remember in college my laptop keys would get stuck and I would take half an hour to write something because it’s so old. So yeah, just keeping that up to date and headphones have been really, really useful for productivity.

Luis:

Yeah, I absolutely 100% agree. Do you have any brand that you would recommend for headphones?

Lisa Foley:

Yeah. Well, I have Sony ones at the moment which are great, I really like those. Then I had a Bose pair before. I know Stephen my brother has the Apple, the max air pod ones, they’re the over ears. He really likes those. Then I have the little air pods, just the in ears if I’m going for a run and I don’t want like big over ear massive headphones.

Luis:

Yeah.Those freak me out so much. I just feel that they’re going to fall out at any moment.

Lisa Foley:

You think that right? I have small ears. None of you can see me at the moment, but I do have small years and they haven’t fallen out once. I rate them quite highly from that perspective because that was my fear too with tiny ears.

Luis:

Well good to know it just works. Tell me about books. Do you enjoy gifting books? Is gifting books a thing that you do?

Lisa Foley:

Books have been probably my number one thing in my whole life since I’m really little. I read I would say at least one book a week, I’m a huge reader. I’m a massive Stephen King fan so not business related, but I love anything like horror or thriller. Yeah, I have a big collection of pretty much every book he’s written and I’m a huge fan. But in terms of like business books and all of that, I read a lot of business books over the years I know Stephen mentioned Millionaire Fastlane, M. J. DeMarco, Unscripted is another great book. There’s so many. But honestly the, the books I’ve got the most value from have been things like Stillness Is the Key by Ryan Holiday. That’s one of my favorite books and I’ve bought that book for a number of people actually, because that books me-

Luis:

Why?

Lisa Foley:

Yeah, it’s really about choosing peace over progress or over success and the typical metrics that we feel are so valuable, and really how that can eat you up inside if you don’t come at it from the right mentality. That’s just something that’s been so important to me is not losing my own well-being or happiness in the midst of all these growing businesses. Because they come with… Let’s face it, they come with lots of frustration and challenges because things break and you have to fix them and all of that, and you’re constantly innovating. So anything where I can master my own or try to master my own mind and how I think about things and my relationships with other people, those are the books that I find I get the most value from, especially as a leader of other people, you know?

Luis:

Nice. So I want to go a couple of places there, follow up with a couple of things. Obviously Stillness is Key is actually the one Ryan Holiday book that I don’t own. I don’t know why I never got to purchasing him, but I do have… Our listeners can’t see it, but behind me I have a shelf where I have the books that have influenced me the most. I have them displayed there instead of the place where I have all my other books specifically so I can look at them all the time and be reminded of the lessons. I actually have two books by Ryan Holiday there so I do quite like that author but for some reason I haven’t gotten to Stillness is Key. But you said that you’re also a big fiction fan.

Luis:

On my shelf of books that have influenced me the most, a decent percentage maybe half, maybe 50% are actually fiction books. I’m a big fan of taking life lessons away from fiction books, because I think they can teach us stuff that it’s hard to be taught directly. What would your picks be like? What were the fiction books that have influenced the way you lead the most, the way you run your businesses the most?

Lisa Foley:

Wow fiction books. I don’t know if I can give you a specific example, but actually what I tend to do more is look at the author of the book. I’ll take Stephen King as a good example. I aspire to be as prolific as he is. He puts out book after book, after book. He doesn’t like go, “Oh, there’s no more ideas. There’s nothing else I could say.”

Luis:

I’m done.

Lisa Foley:

He always has something new and I love them.

Luis:

Have you read his memory on writing?

Lisa Foley:

Yeah. It’s-

Luis:

Yeah. It’s up there on my shelf.

Lisa Foley:

Oh amazing.

Luis:

Yeah.

Lisa Foley:

I try to take the characteristics more so of the author is probably what I tend to do in terms of having a long career like that. Not getting jaded or… He’s still so passionate about what he does and that’s what I aspire to be honestly is in years to come that I still love what I do, and I’m obviously able to make a good living and have a very comfortable life because of that. But I love that the joy that those books bring to so many people and obviously to him as a writer and creator that he just keeps going and keeps creating, but for the love of it, right? Because he doesn’t need the money, let’s face it. He’s quite a wealthy man at this stage.

Lisa Foley:

So yeah, I think that’s probably the thing that I look at the most. And honestly then just… I’ve read a lot of like… There’s an author called Matt Haig that I like, and he writes a lot about mental health, but through the lens of fictional characters, and things in there that I’ve personally not struggled with, but just to look at the people around me I find and say, you never know what someone’s dealing with. You have to be kind to people. You have to behave in a way that is respectful and understanding of all of the things that may be going on in someone’s life. I just try to look at different walks of life, different perspectives on things. One thing I learned big time the last few years is to always look at what information someone has when you’re engaging with them.

Lisa Foley:

If you’re unhappy with what someone has done, if you look at what information they have from an emotional standpoint, maybe they’re not as good at conflict as you are or at talking about their emotions. Also then from an informational standpoint you might feel like you haven’t been recognized enough for something or people don’t value what you do, but then did they know all the stuff you’re doing? Probably not, because they have their own stuff going on. Trying not to view the world as being so focused on you and looking at just like, other people have their own stuff they’re dealing with, their own to-do lists the length of their arm and so we have to try to remove ourselves from that. We’re not the most important thing in the world.

Luis:

Absolutely. What I usually tell my people is the other people think about you exactly as often as you think about them, which is really almost never at all. We’re all thinking about ourselves mostly. I say that no judgment. It’s just our default state is egocentric. That’s just the way we’re built, so I definitely agree with that. That makes a lot of sense. My final question is a bit of a longer set up, so please bear with me. But let’s say that it’s okay for us to all go dine together, right? So you’re organizing a dinner, you’re organizing a big huge dinner and you’re inviting the decision-makers off the top tech companies from all around the world for a dinner round table about remote work.

Luis:

Here’s the twist. The twist is that the dinner is happening at the Chinese restaurant so you as the host get to pick a message that’s going to go inside the fortune cookie. When these people open up their fortune cookies, what are they going to read?

Lisa Foley:

Okay. I have a bit of a mantra that I live my life by, or try to live my life by which I think I would put in there because these guys don’t need to know how to be more productive or make more money because they’ve already got that down. I think I would say to be kind, even when it’s hard. That’s my thing that I try to do, because again, like I said the money comes, the success comes if you keep going at something hard enough and long enough. But you can often lose your empathy and your kindness if you get so caught up in those things. I think be kind when it’s hard, that’s something I just try and practice every day. I don’t always get it right, I don’t think anyone does, but I think I’d put that in a fortune cookie.

Luis:

That’s a beautiful way to, to end I think. Nice fortune cookie. It was a pleasure having you here, Lisa. It’s been a really great conversation. Thank you so much. I had a lot of fun and I hope the listeners had too. If they want to continue the conversation, where can they find you and where can they learn more about your businesses and what they offer?

Lisa Foley:

Sure. I guess in terms of Amazon FBA, if you want to learn about that, our website is marketplacesuperheroes.com, you can go there. In terms of, if you have an existing business, we teach clients how to grow their business to create repeatable, predictable, profitable promotions in there, so you can go to growmyreach.com for that. Those are probably the best places to connect I would say for now.

Luis:

Okay, well that sounds lovely. Again thank you so much for being a guest. It was my pleasure. Ladies and gentlemen, this was Luis Magalhaes with the DistantJob podcast. A podcast about building and leading awesome remote teams, and my guest today was Lisa Foley, that CMOs at Marketplace SuperHeroes, and Chief Operation Officer at Grow My Reach, see you next week.

Luis:

And so we close another episode of the DistantJob podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, please, you can help us out by sharing it on social media. That would be great. It’s how we reach more listeners. The more listeners we have, the more awesome guests I can get in touch and convince to participate in these conversations that are a joy to have for me and I hope they’re a joy for you to listen to as well. You can also help a lot leaving reviews on iTunes or your podcast syndication service of choice. Reviews are surprisingly helpful in helping the podcast gets to more listeners. Now, another thing that you might want to do is go to distantJob.com/blog/podcast. Click on your favorite episode and any episode really and subscribe.

Luis:

By subscribing you will get a notification whenever a new episode is up and whenever we get the transcripts of the episode up, so you can actually peruse the conversations in text form. And, of course, if you need to find a great employee for your team, a great remote employee you should take the whole world into consideration and not just look to hire locally, not just look to hire in your country. Look around the whole world because that’s the talent pool that contains the best talent. To help you with that again, distantjob.com is the perfect place to start. You will tell us who you need and we will make sure that you get the best possible candidate 40% faster than the industry standard. With that I bid you adieu. See you next week on the next episode of DistantJob podcast.

 

More ways to listen:

Being a successful remote leader/employee is beyond being a great communicator or having time-management skills. It’s also about being passionate and going above and beyond in what you do.

During this podcast episode, Lisa Foley shares insights on her professional journey from a background in psychology to being the CMO at Marketplace Superheroes. She reveals that passion is a key ingredient to being successful in any type of environment, whether remote or not.

The only reason I am where I am is because I was enthusiastic and passionate about the company. I cared and I really wanted to do well. I always try to hire people who have that same mentality. Click To Tweet

Highlights:

  • Why you should hire passionate remote employees
  • Insights about how their former clients become their employees
  • The traits that successful remote employees have
  • Brainstorming process in remote teams
  • The importance of self-management
  • How to avoid burnout as a remote employee

Book Recommendations:

 

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