What Owners Need to Know About Hiring an Executive Assistant – Derek Volk

What Owners Need to Know About Hiring an Executive Assistant - Derek Volk

As an owner, do you have too many things to get done in a day? Are you often the bottleneck in your own business growth? Do you find yourself working late nights and weekends, and missing time with your family? Have you considered hiring an Executive Assistant? Derek Volk, President of Volk Packaging, shares with us how his life and business have changed since he brought on his EA.

Discover the trigger point for hiring an EA, how the hiring process works, and how to get the most out of your EA in this episode of Fast Forward Maine.

Rich: Our next guest is president of Volk Packaging Corporation, a third generation family owned and operated corrugated box manufacturer in Biddeford, Maine. Our guest is a Maine businessman, author, radio personality, volunteer, and philanthropist, who along with his family was named the 2015 Spurwink Humanitarian of the Year.

Volk Packaging was a winner of the Institute of Family Owned Businesses, “Family Business of the Year- Governor’s Award for Business Excellence”, and named one of the best places to work in Maine. The company has a significant social media presence, especially for a manufacturer, you can find them at volk.boxes.com.

A speech communications major at the University of Maine at Orono, our guest has always been comfortable speaking to an audience. He’s traveled all across America speaking about autism after authoring the Amazon bestseller, Chasing the Rabbit – A Dad’s Life Raising a Son on the Spectrum. His book and more information are available at chasingtherabbit.org.

Happily married to his high school sweetheart Amy for 29 years, they are the proud parents of four children. We’re looking forward to diving into the topic of what you need to know about executive assistants with Derek Volk. Derek, welcome to the podcast.

Derek: Thank you, Rich. Nice to see you guys.

Yury: That is awesome. Derek, let’s start with the basics. What is an EA, or an executive assistant? Please, tell us.

Derek: Yeah. I had to learn that myself as well. Basically my executive assistant helps me with everything that I have on my plate that I don’t have to be the one doing. And that’s kind of how it was described to me when I first was presented the idea. The gentleman that suggested it said, sit down and write down everything that you do, that you don’t have to do, that somebody else could do.

You know, there are certain things that only I can do. Only I can go to a customer as the owner and say, “We appreciate your business”, she can’t do that. But she can check my mail. She can check my voicemail. She can arrange podcasts for me to be on. So she manages my calendar, she manages my meetings, she takes calls to me. I mean, there’s a lot that she does. That list I came up with had 117 things on it.

Rich: Wow. Well, and so you had this moment in time, Derek, where all of a sudden you had this incident where you met somebody and they tip the scales for you, you decided you need it. But what was it that caused you to say I needed an EA? Especially because you have a team of employees. And I find myself in the same boat. It sounds wonderful having somebody to do all this sort of stuff. But you have an entire team at Volk Packaging, what was it that caused you to get an executive assistant rather than just assigning these tasks to somebody who worked for you?

Derek: Well first of all, I have to give my wife credit because she was telling me for 20 years that I needed an assistant and I kept insisting that I didn’t. And so I was telling Rich before when we were arranging this, I said I made one of the all-time dumb husband mistakes. I went out for breakfast with this guy that I had just met and I was going to be a speaker for an event that he was hosting. When we got done he said, “Have your assistant send me your bio and photo.” And I said, “All right, I’ll do that.” And he said, “What do you mean you’ll do it?” I said, “Well, you’re looking at my assistant.” And he said, “What are you talking about?” And I said, “Well, I don’t have an assistant. I don’t have anybody. I do that stuff myself.”

And he went off and started listing all the things that I do with my book and my radio show at the time, and running a business and having four kids. And he said, “You don’t have anybody that helps you with that?” And I said, “Nope.” And he said, “Why?” And I said, “I don’t know, I’m too cheap.” And he said, “Are you too cheap or are you a control freak?” And I said, “Well, maybe a little of both.”

And so I then went home and told my wife, who’d been telling me for 20 years to get an assistant, that this guy that I just met told me to get an executive assistant and I think I’m going to do it. So that was not one of the great husband moves of all time, which I’ll never live down. But what he said to me was, you know, like I said, write down everything that you do that you don’t have to do, you have too much on your plate. And I was burning out, and that’s really what it came down to is I couldn’t keep up that pace.

You know, it’s one thing to keep up that pace when you’re 35, but I’m 51 now and I just can’t do everything that I could do with the same amount of energy. And so I need to focus on bigger picture things. And the only way to do that is to get some of the daily stuff, for lack of a better word, offline and that’s what an executive assistant did for me.

Rich: I would also say there’s times in any entrepreneur’s life where you’ve got to sprint and you’re just busy, like 24/7 it seems like, but you can’t keep that pace up. And it’s not just the 30 year old version of you versus the 50 year old version of you. It’s just like whenever there comes a point when there’s just too much work on your plate. I’m glad you saw it and got good advice from apparently two different people that perhaps you’re doing too much.

Derek: Yeah, you’re right. And I mean, that’s one of the things that I learned over the last year, well it’ll be two years in a couple of weeks that she’s been my executive assistant. And I sit there and I think, oh my gosh, imagine what I could have gotten done in the last 20 years if I had done this earlier, because it’s been such an incredible weight off my shoulders.

We’re putting in a new machine right now that I’ve said to people that I would not have that machine if it wasn’t for her. And she knew nothing about buying a machine, but what she did is she allowed me to go travel around and visit different companies to see what they have from machinery, talk to machine companies, and have endless meetings about it. I would never have been able to do that if I knew that the whole time my emails would just be cranking up and building and building and building. Because she goes through my emails and cleans out my emails, it’s just been, it was one of the best decisions that I’ve made in my career. And I would advise anybody who’s an executive to take my error and make it their success, and do it way sooner than I did.

Yury: Derek, for those who may start contemplating or entertaining the idea of, all right, Derek is a legit guy, I like everything that he has to say, great insights. But is there anything that you may say that people can identify themselves when it’s time for them to have an executive assistant? Like, you know, way too many emails, spending five hours a day just answering emails or filtering the email, versus spending five hours selling. Are there any of these kind of like little, I don’t know, maybe a little formula for us to consider and apply it to ourselves, besides the fact that we’re just busy?

Derek: I think a really good thing to do would be to write down what it is that you add value. How do you add value to the company that you either work for or own a run, or whatever the case may be? And are you spending your time on those issues. What are the 5-10 things that you do that truly drive value into the company that you own or manage or run or whatever, and is that how you’re spending your time? And then look at your time and see how I’m spending my time and if it’s not, that’s a good clue.

Another good clue is can you go away, can you get away? Because we all – and I’m still guilty of not being very good at it – I’m sure Rich is probably the same way, it’s hard to get away when you own the business and it’s yours. It’s very hard to disconnect. But it’s also very unhealthy to not ever disconnect.

I went on a trip right before I hired her. Actually, we took a trip to Nicaragua with my four kids and two boyfriends, one who’s now a son-in-law and one who now is, who knows where. And I came home after and I said, “I’m going to disconnect. I’m going to go off the grid for 10 days and just enjoy my trip to Nicaragua with a family.” And I did, it was wonderful. But I came home to like 1,400 emails. And I spent the next three weeks miserable because I was constantly trying to catch, up every email I sent three came back, and I remember saying, “I will never do that again.” I will never take a vacation again, where I don’t at least get up in the morning and spend half an hour to 45 minutes just getting caught up on emails and things, because it was so unpleasant to come back to 1,400 emails.

And then I hired Kara, and last September my wife and I went on a trip to Scotland and Ireland. We were both turning 50 and celebrating our 30th anniversary. And I said, “I’m going to disconnect.” And she was like, “Well, I thought you said you were never going to do that again.” I said, “Well, I have Kara now, so I should be able to do it.” And, oh my gosh, I had my phone with me and I would open up my phone in the morning and it would say I had 83 unread emails, and I would put it away and say, “Don’t look at those.” And then I would pick my phone up later in the day to take a picture of something and I’d have 21 unread emails. She was going through and flushing out, she was following up with people, setting up appointments. So when I get back and I came back and I had maybe 40 unread emails that she felt were stuff that I needed to answer directly, that she didn’t feel comfortable answering. And that was it.

Rich: Much more manageable than the 1,400.

Derek: It was so wonderful. And it was so relaxing to be able to actually disconnect and get away and know that it wasn’t just all piling up and piling up and piling up.

Rich: Derek you and I both know – and so does Yury – that obviously taking time off is important. Everybody needs to recharge their batteries, that goes without saying. But you also joked that you’re a control freak. So how did you manage delegating that much responsibility, and was there anything you’re just like, “You can’t touch this, this is mine.” Like, what was that decision making process like for you?

Derek: It was interesting because I had never had an assistant. So I always joke with her and, I’ll say stuff like, “You are the worst assistant I’ve ever had”. And she’ll be like, “Yeah, but I’m also the best assistant you have ever had.” And I’m like, “Yeah, that’s true.”

And so I said to her when we started, “You know, I don’t really know what this job is. So we’re going to have to kind of create it together because I have no template. I’ve never had an assistant. So I don’t know where those lines are yet. We’re going to have to figure those out together.”

But I said the first thing that’s going to have to happen if this is going to work, is I need to  give you access to everything. Because if you only have access to this little part of me, then it’s going to be very hard because a lot of the things that I do have nothing to do with Volk Packaging. So if I just hired her for Volk Packaging, it wouldn’t be workable.

So she took over booking all my flights for my book tours and setting up hotel rooms and all the other things that I do outside of Volk Packaging as well. I said here’s what you need to know before we start, I’m not having an affair, so you’re not going to find anything salacious in my email that you’re not going to want to look at. I’m not a member of ISIS and I’m not trying to fix any elections with Vladimir Putin. So yeah, if we can knock those three out then we’re in pretty good shape. And so I gave her full access to everything.

She has all my passwords. She could make it very unpleasant for me. But I felt that was the only way that we could go forward successfully is to give her open access so that she could manage all the different balls that I had going in the air. And she does a great job with it.

Yury: Derek, you know, for me I just wanted to kind of make sure that I’m understanding the fine line between secretary or administrative assistant versus the executive assistant. So the executive assistant basically manages the operations of you as an individual, related to booking travel, communication, all that stuff. If someone is just working at the company and thinking about the secretary, secretary would be primarily focused on activities associated with the company and not necessarily with the activities of you as an individual, is that correct?

Derek: Yeah. I think that’s a perfect way to explain it. A secretary or just maybe an office admin or something like that would be somebody that you could say, here’s this document that I need, make a spreadsheet out of it and give it back to me. An executive assistant takes all the data, different facets of your life as an executive. And my life as an executive includes things that are not necessarily Volk Packaging related, but they are all part of who I am.

I have a veteran’s wall out my window that I built for to honor our veterans, and she took that over. And so she handles when people want a new tile and making sure that they like the proof, and lining up when Capozza Tile comes and puts the next 25 tiles on the wall, and all that’s is just, yeah, it’s been great.

Yury: It sounds like the benefits are right there. So I’m sure a lot of listeners are like, alright, this is getting real, this is exciting. So how do we go about it, how do you find an executive assistant? Do you just put out an ad or is there something different that needs to transpire in order for you to have the executive assistant?

Derek: Well, so my HR manager and her assistant – my HR manager had an assistant before I did – so she found an assistant for me, which was kind of ironic. So they put out an ad and the first thing we had to do is figure out what are the qualifications that somebody needs. And I did a lot of reading. I Googled it, “What is an executive assistant? What does an executive assistant do? What do they make?” I mean, I didn’t know where to even begin.

 And then they did the initial interviews and I gave them some guidelines as to what I wanted. And some of it were just little things about a person that I felt I needed, and then little things that they felt that I needed.

So my HR manager has been with us for 20 years, so she knows me pretty well. And she said, we need to find someone that can keep up with you, and that’s going to be the biggest challenge is somebody that can keep up with your pace. Because if somebody can’t keep up with your pace then they’re not going to be able to manage what you do. So I said, well that’s a good point.

So here’s something to keep in mind. When you interview this person, if you will walk from the lobby to even the conference room or your office to interview him or her, and you have to pause or slow your pace of walking down, that’s not the person I want. Because when I leave my office and go out into the plant and say, Come with me, I want to look at something”, and I walked fast, I don’t want to be sitting there going, “Where the heck did she go?” So believe it or not, even the pace of the person’s walk was important to me.

And then after that, we looked at who had experience. And actually to be perfectly honest, at one point I said, “Look, I don’t want a millennial. Don’t hire a millennial. I don’t want to deal with that. I don’t want someone who’s using this as a stepping stone to just go on and do something else in a year because I’m opening myself up to so much information that I want someone who’s looking to do this.”

So they came in about two weeks later or after doing a bunch of interviews. And they said, “We have good news and bad news. The good news is that we’ve had two really great candidates.” I said, “Okay, what’s the bad news?”  One is 27, and one’s 29, eight. They’re both millennials. And I said, alright, let’s take a look. I trusted them, I said if you feel that those are the best candidates, then I’ll interview them.

And so we sat down and I interviewed these two candidates and they were both terrific. I mean, the other young woman was really good as well. What it came down to in the end between the two candidates was one question that threw it up for me was, I said, “Let’s not right away because I know you don’t know me right now, but let’s say a year from now or a year and a half from now I come to you with an idea or a project or something I want to do.

And it’s just a dumb idea, it’s stupid, it’s not going to work. You’ve been around it long enough at that point to know that it’s some wild idea that I have and it’s not a good idea. What do you do?” And the first young woman said, “Well, if you think it’s a good idea and I work for you, then I’ll do the best I can to help you make it work.” And Kara, my assistant, she said, “Well, I would probably hear you out. And then maybe think about it a little bit and then come back and say, have you looked at it from this angle, and try to show you that maybe you haven’t thought this thing through, and maybe it’s not such a great idea after all.” And that was the deciding factor. I didn’t want somebody that’s just going to tell me that everything I come up with is great. Because what she’s become in a sense is she’s become one of my closest advisers. I wish I could stop, but I’m constantly coming up with things I want to do and ideas and initiatives, and she’s the first person I run them by. I mean, I usually run it by her before I run it by my wife, because I often go see her before I get home. And so I’ll sit down with Kara and I’ll say, “Hey, I’m thinking about this idea, what do you think?” And she’ll tell me flat out that’s not going to work, that’s a bad idea.

And that’s great. I think that’s what everybody needs.  At least that’s what I needed. I needed somebody that wasn’t going to tell me everything that I was coming up with was great, because some ideas I come up with are stupid.

Rich: Derek, I don’t want you to tell us Kara’s salary, but I am curious, what do you think that a Maine owner should expect to pay for an executive assistant? What is the range of salary for somebody who’s doing this kind of work?

Derek: The range that we put out there based on what we did for our research and what we found during the interview process was in the $45k to $60k range. That’s kind of the range that we’re finding from the low to the high of people that had the qualifications. I mean, we got applications and resumes with people that had no experience and no business being an executive assistant. Kara had done it before, she had experience, and that’s kind of the range that we fell in. Then there were people that had maybe even too much experience that were on the higher end of that range. And then we had some people asking for way more than that, and I was like, I really can’t justify that.

Rich: This is not New York City, this is Maine.

Derek: Yeah. And then I try to do a lot of other things for Kara as well, because she’s just become a real key part of my work life and my life, frankly. Sometimes I feel like I have five kids now because she’s the same age. She’s two weeks younger than my son. So it’s really been a great experience. So in a couple of weeks she’ll be there two years, and it seems like she’s been here for ten. I trust her and I’m comfortable enough with her to take on just about anything that I throw at her at this point, that it seems like she’s been here way longer than two years.

Yury: Have you found any challenges in working together? Because everything that I’m hearing sounds remarkable, from contributions to your personal successes, the successes of your company. That just sounds like a match made in heaven. But reality sometimes sets in and certain things may happen that may not necessarily be what you wanted it to be. So were there any things that rub you the wrong way or some that other individuals that may consider this as an opportunity should be thinking about?

Derek: I feel very blessed that I found Kara, because it doesn’t always work out. I have a friend actually right now who was telling me last weekend that he’s really struggling with his executive assistant because he can’t trust her to do anything. He gives her an assignment and then it doesn’t get done, or it doesn’t get done the way he wants it. So that took some trial and error.

The biggest challenge I think for sure, executives is the giving up of control. And that’s I think where it can go bad quickly is if everything she did I said, “Well, that’s not the way I would do it “, and then I ended up redoing it. That’s not going to work. Or thinking that your way is the only way that something can be done, which I think I kind of did honestly. Before I had her I kind of thought that how I did something was always the way that I wanted it done. And I think you need to be flexible in that sometimes somebody else might have a better way of doing something.

And I would probably say that you should know pretty soon after you hire the person if it’s somebody that you feel comfortable with. Because if you don’t feel comfortable sharing information with that person because you don’t trust them, I can’t see how it would possibly work out.

So if it doesn’t seem like a good fit, you should probably pull the plug quickly before they get in too deep. Because once they get in too deep into your company, they know they have a lot of information and they can be dangerous. I mean, let’s be honest.

Rich: You mentioned how much benefit it was while you were on vacation to have Kara going through your emails and handling other things. What happens to you when she goes on vacation? What’s that like?

Derek: I try to play my vacations around hers. No. It’s weird, even if she takes a day off I do feel a little off because I don’t actually put almost hardly anything in my calendar anymore. Somebody will say, “Hey, I’m going to be in the area next Wednesday, can I stop in?” I’ll look and if Wednesday’s open I’ll say, “Yeah, come on at 11 o’clock”, or whatever time we come up with. And then I send it to Kara and Kara puts it in my calendar. Because if I start putting things in my calendar, then she’s not going to know what’s there, and it just works better to just let her do it.

She also came up with a really good system of time management, because that was one of the things we really struggled with at first is how her she should be spending her time. Because I came up with 117 things, and there’s a lot of things that she does today that weren’t even on that list. So how she manages that time. So we came up with this – we’ve actually utilized it throughout the company now – but it’s the “1,2,3,4 system”.

So when I send her an email, in the subject line, it says either “1-“ whatever the subject is, “2-“, “3-“ or “4-“.  So 1 means drop whatever you’re doing, this is top priority, I need this done immediately. Like, this is crisis mode, jump on this, put everything else aside.

2 is this is important, I need this by the end of the day. So it could be something as simple as five minutes before this call, I started getting on my email to look at Rich’s cheat sheet thing that he sent me. And as I started to do it, Kara walked in and said, “This is what you wanted me to give you before your call with Rich.” And that is exactly what I was going to go find in my email. And she had it all printed out, ready to go right in front of me. So 2 is the things that I need by the end of the day.

3 are things that can be done any time in the next week would be fine. And then 4 is whenever you get to it, there’s no hurry.

So let’s say I get an email from somebody and I want them added to my Constant Contact. Then that’s a 4. Whether it gets out of this week or next week, it doesn’t really matter. I rarely give her 1’s, it’s very rare that I want her to drop everything. Most things can be done by the end of the day.

And then we’ve even figured out quick things. Like one day she came in and she said, “You know, every time you want me to print something, you don’t have to write, “Hi, Kara. Can you please print this for me? Thanks Derek.” She said that’s a waste of your time. Just put whatever the number is. So let’s say 2, 3 or whatever you want, and then just put “PP” and I’ll know to print it. Please print. That’s it. So if I want this thing printed that Rich did, I’ll send it to her and I’ll just say, “3-PP”. And I don’t have to write anything. I don’t have to change the email. She’s like, I know you thank me. And I know you’re saying, please, so you don’t have to write that in every single email. So even little things like that, which we figured out over time that make things work smoother.

Yury: Do you guys have like a masterclass in time management? Because I’m listening to this process and I am like, “Oh my God, that makes so much sense.” And I wish our company used the same thing because sometimes it always feels like we’re just putting out fires when there are no fires, but for some reason it feels that we just, that’s what we need to do, drop everything and get it done. But with a system like this in place, it sounds pretty straight forward. Kudos.

Derek: She came up with it, I can’t take credit for it. And as soon as we kind of figured out what 1, 2, 3 and 4 meant, I went to my sales department and I said, “Listen, guys, we’re going to use this throughout the company”. Because I get things all the time, I get emails that I think, oh that can wait till tomorrow. But I didn’t know that the sales rep was waiting for it to give a customer an answer that day. So they’ll put 1,2,3,4 on there. And it’s nice, because at the end of the day when I have 20 minutes left before I want to leave, I sort through my subject line of my emails and I make sure that I’ve taken care of any 1’s or 2’s, because everything else can wait. So it’s any way to make sure that last 20 minutes of the day I take care of any 2’s. And if it was sitting there all day and I don’t have time to do it, then I’ll usually call the person and say, “Listen, I, I just saw this. I see that it’s a 2. Do you need it by the end of today, or do you need it by tomorrow morning? Because I could work on it first thing in the morning, or I could work on it tonight and get it done, but I have to leave in 20 minutes.” So it’s been a great system.

And even that took a little tweaking so that people would write, “number three”. I’m like, no, if you write the word “number”, it doesn’t help me because at the end of the day, I can’t sort by number. So you have to just put “3 -“, and then whatever you want to put after that is fine. So it’s been a great system.

Yury: Wow, that is awesome. Well one thing, speaking about the system, systems, may lead to magical things. They make magical things happen. And speaking about magical things, I wanted to ask you this question that we usually ask at the end of the show. What is one thing you would change if you could to improve the business ecosystem here in Maine?

Derek: Oh, yeah. Well, that’s a really loaded question.

Yury: Is there a system that would allow us to do that? Do you know, 1,2,3,4?

Derek: Yeah. I don’t think it’s that simple, but I think that the general business climate and attitude towards business in Augusta needs to change. I’ve thought that for a long time, it’s had its ups and downs. I won’t get into the politics of that on your show here, but I tell you, I went and testified for a business bill 20 something years ago and I walked out and it was a very anti-business legislation. And I felt strongly enough to go and testify at the public hearing about it. And I walked out, I went to the bathroom, I came out of the bathroom and a gentleman named Gary Knight – who’s now retired from the legislature – he was the Senator from Livermore Falls area and he thanked me for my testimony. And I said thanks. And he said, “But you know what your problem is?” And I said, “No, what?” And he said, “Your problem is you don’t realize that 75% of the people in this building hate your guts.” I was like, excuse me. He said,”There’s a huge anti-business climate up here, and it’s got to change because it’s not good for Maine.”

And ironically there used to be a show, Rich might remember, there was a show called Made in Maine with a guy named Lou McNally. And he went around and he did a show every week called Made in Maine that featured three companies a week. And back in the eighties, it was actually so popular, it was on Thursday nights at 8:00, and it got better ratings than The Cosby Show in the state of Maine. That’s how popular Made in Maine was.

And so we were on that show in 1991 and I just watched it relatively recently. I put it on YouTube a few years ago, and my father says we need to change the business climate here in the state of Maine. We need to welcome businesses here because that’s how people are successful, by successful businesses. And if we drive businesses away from the state, then there’s going to end up being a lot of people on the welfare rolls. That was in 1991. And here we are in almost 2021, and I’m saying basically the same thing. We need to improve the overall attitude.

There’s this feeling by too many people that businesses are people like Rich and me, and I don’t know what you do Yury, the we’re just greedy and looking out for the bottom line and it’s all about interests. And they don’t realize what we give to the community, what a business means to a community, the 90 families that we employ here, and the things that we do, the donations that we make to the community. There’s no Walmart little league team, there’s no Home Depot little league team. Volk Packaging has been sponsoring little league teams, this is our 45th year sponsoring a little league. So those are the kinds of things that we need. I mean it’s changed the overall business climate. Just be more welcoming, especially to locally owned businesses like flyte new media and Volk Packaging.

Rich: Here, here. Completely agree. Derek, this has been great. And if people want to check out more about you, more about Volk Packaging, where can we send them?

Derek: They can go to our website, Volkboxes.com. That’s the best place to find us atbulkboxes.com. And they can also follow us on Facebook @Volkpackagingfans, which is facebook.com/volkboxes, but the page is called @VolkPackagingfans. And that’s a fun way to follow us and all the things that we’re doing here at the company.

Rich: Awesome. Derek, thank you so much for your time today. Much appreciate it.

Derek: Thanks a lot, Rich and Yury. I appreciate it.

Rich: Thank you. We really enjoyed it. That was good.

Rich: Lot of great stuff to think about that Derek shared with us today. If you want a full transcript of today’s episode, just head on over to our website. That’s at fastforwardmaine.com/65.

Now we’ve come to the part of the show where Yury and I talk about our “fast takes”. Yury, what was your “fast take” for today?

Yury: The “fast take” for today is actually the system that I wanted to amplify and remind our listeners about. The 1,2,3,4 time management system that Derek and his executive assistant, Kara, developed together. And what it stands for is 1 – drop everything top priority. It’s the subject line and the email to, dash (-) whatever the subject line is. 2 – Its important, but it can wait until the end of the day, and its fine to be done by the end of the day. 3 – can be done in a week. And number 4 – get it done at your convenience. And I think it’s a very remarkable, simple way of prioritizing tasks and managing your incoming emails that seems like every day we’re getting more and more of those. So anyway, those are my “fast takes”, I hope it resonates with you listeners. Rich, what is your “fast take”?

Rich: My “fast take” is I find myself in Derek shoes from two years ago. And I know that I need an executive assistant, just listening to his stories about how it’s improved his productivity, helped with the growth of the company, made it more relaxing to go on vacation. I think most Maine business owners, if you can afford to do this, this sounds like an amazing idea to really help grow your company. So definitely make this part of your 2021 plans to bring on an executive assistant.