The Perfect Week with Emma Mills

**Greg:** [00:00:00] Are you tired of the week not going quite as you anticipated? You get to Friday and realise all those tasks you’d set out for the entire week have gone untouched and all you’ve been doing all week has been firefighting. Well, if that’s the case, you’re really going to enjoy this week’s podcast because we’re talking about how to design the perfect week and what sort of help you might need in order to achieve that. We’ve got Emma Mills who’s talking to us from MyPA. She specialises in finding VAs and PAs for executives like yourself who are trying to run a business and need a bit of free time so they can then run their perfect week. We’re going to look at the strategies you need to implement into your business to make this happen. So let’s jump in.

**Greg:** [00:00:46] Emma Mills, great to have you on the show today. Appreciate you joining us.

**Emma Mills:** [00:00:50] I am very happy to be here, Greg. Thanks for having me.

**Greg:** [00:00:54] Awesome. We’ve been connected for quite a while, haven’t we? A few years back in the DENT community, which I think was our first connection.

**Emma Mills:** [00:01:00] Most definitely. Yeah. Like Daniel’s books and courses. And then I feel like COVID happened, and we were all just in a whirlwind of stuff. And I don’t think I’ve spoken to you properly since 2019. It’s been a while.

**Greg:** [00:01:15] Yeah. Awesome. So yeah, Daniel Priestley is great. He actually spoke at one of our events last year, which was awesome.

**Emma Mills:** [00:01:21] Oh wow.

**Greg:** [00:01:22] Really blown up on social media now. I know he was on the Diary of a CEO podcast the other day. So he’s often on, isn’t he?

**Emma Mills:** [00:01:29] Yeah. Well, I feel like saying at least we knew him before he was famous. You know, like so he’s just Dan you can chat to, and now he’s a celebrity.

**Greg:** [00:01:37] He really is. Yeah. So Emma, great to have you on. We’re talking about the subject today of winning the week, which I think is such a vital subject to talk about. Construction business owners that are listening to this and any business owner really, I think the reality is that you start your week with good intentions and then all of a sudden you get to Friday and think, what have I actually achieved? It’s been an absolute [00:02:00] disaster. So I think talking to you and learning the strategies about how we can win the week is going to be really vital. But first of all, maybe we could just have a bit of an introduction on why you’re the person we should be speaking to about this. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your business, Emma?

**Emma Mills:** [00:02:18] Yeah, of course, Greg. So my potted bio is that I was an executive assistant for six, seven years and started my own business providing executive assistance to lots of business owners. I’m in a unique spot in that I really enjoyed being a PA, creating a relationship, and understanding the impact that a really good PA has on somebody’s life. It’s just like an immediate stress relief. Similarly, I also understand how difficult and roller-coastery running a business can be. So yeah, at my PA, we’re in a unique position that we provide virtual assistance and our staff are trained to understand the nuances and the very specific mindset that business owners are in. It’s very unique. No one gets it until you’re in it, do they? So ultimately, that’s my quick backstory. My PA has been in existence for 16 years, and we do three things. Ultimately, we were founded on executive PA support, which is virtual PA support. Our clients are predominantly in the UK, and we provide them with support on a retainer basis. We also answer phone calls, so that immediate quick win of getting calls off your plate, capturing the info, not wasting leads, and following up on leads. So I guess what I should come up with is a really slick name for more hybrid business support because we can pick up operationally in quite a few places. But our heritage is in executive PA support because that’s what I was back in the day.

**Greg:** [00:04:00] That’s fantastic. Yeah. And I know your business has really expanded and grown over the last few years. It’s been a challenging few years though, hasn’t it, for all businesses? But I imagine it may have helped you a little bit with virtual VAs and PAs with COVID. How did COVID and remote working change over the last few years? What differences have you noticed?

**Emma Mills:** [00:04:20] Massively is perception. So before this podcast, I just had a little look out of interest. At the end of 2019, there were 10 million daily participants in a Zoom meeting. Four months later, there were 300 million per day. So just that in its own light, the perception of not needing to be sat next to the person that’s having an impact on your business just disappeared overnight. Now we all use Zoom, and I remember the amount of clients who were getting their PA in our office to help them implement setting up Zoom links and meetings. It was a new thing; it wasn’t so prolific. So to answer your question, 100%, and because we’re at the coalface, ultimately all of our clients went through it with them as they adjusted and we adjusted. But we did grow a lot, and for me, one big part of it is the perception of virtual working. It made people think about doing things differently rather than just recruiting from their local area. They realised they could get talent from wherever in the world. I think that perception of how you do things changed significantly. There was lots of money being loaned out, and I think it was like this perfect storm of having time to do things differently with money. So it had a direct impact on our business as well because there was so much more education on virtual assistants. People were like, “Oh, I get it. I want to try it. I want to use it. I want to implement it.” So yeah, the world has changed so much.

**Greg:** [00:07:00] It really has. Interestingly enough, when people initially enroll on my course, one of the first things we’re always talking about is getting a virtual assistant and getting that support just to take off those mundane tasks. It’s such a crucial part, and we know it’s the ones that implement that who can really make massive progress quickly. But just focusing in on your business specifically, we know how other businesses had to adapt to COVID, and we’ve seen this acceptance of virtual working. How did you get on with your business? Because I know you have got an office, you’ve got people working in the office. How did you adapt to virtual working, and how did you expand your business during that period?

**Emma Mills:** [00:07:28] Yeah, totally. So two key things. In that first month in April, it was panic stations for everyone, drinking a lot of wine. We had clients pause and cancel because people were unsure. Then from the middle of May onwards, when it became quite apparent we didn’t know how long it was going to last, there was support, and our business got busier and busier. It was an avalanche of inquiries. Perception changed as well, and everything that I’ve just said. But also, from my point of running the business, we had at that point in time 12 people in the business; now we have 36. So we’ve grown a lot over the past few years. At that point in time, the 12 looked after the clients that we had. I had, for the first time, time to work, to have weeks that were not just busyness because so much pulled back in terms of clients. I had time to reflect on what was the best use of my time. It was kind of the precursor to me talking about winning the week because it was a very unusual situation for a lot of us. As the year progressed, we all got busier. Interestingly, my business is based in Manchester, and very much the culture, community, and team spirit of my PA is a key part of it. We do have people who work with us remotely as well, but the core essence of my PA is us together in the office in Manchester, where I am now. Personally, for me, it completely flipped my realisation of working on the right things, planning the week, and understanding that if I worked on these really high-priority things, the impact it was having. It was a moment in time where I stepped out of reactivity and got clear on what the needle movers were.

**Greg:** [00:10:00] That’s interesting. It’s so important to do because we can just get wrapped up in the day-to-day stuff. But I think that is the phrase, isn’t it? The needle movers. What’s going to impact my business? What decisions am I going to make this week or work on that’s going to have the biggest impact? Let’s talk about winning the week and its importance to long-term goals and the long-term vision of a business.

**Emma Mills:** [00:10:20] Quite simply, everything I talk about comes from my own experience. I’ve had my PA for 16 years. Like any business owner, I’ve had years where we’ve grown and scaled, but I’ve also had years where I’ve made plans and not achieved them. At the beginning of the year,

you might say, “I want to grow my business by this much,” and none of it happens. Winning the week was highlighted by the more time we had in 2020. I used to talk about what I wanted to achieve, but if you said to me, “When are you going to do that?” back in the years when I didn’t achieve, it was because this time wasn’t planned in the diary. It’s very well to sit aside from everything else and say, “I would love to achieve this,” but if you don’t plan it in, it won’t happen. Most of us miss that. It’s just a tweak to start to progress what you want to achieve in the year. Ultimately, I talk about winning the week 52 times a year because if you start at the beginning of the year and look at what you want to achieve, you need to break it down and plan some time on it every day. Even if it’s an hour or 90 minutes, if you don’t have it in the diary, it won’t get done. Most of us dream of these goals but never break them down into the actions that need to go with them.

**Greg:** [00:11:35] Really good point there. What often happens now in society is that you follow all these YouTube stars and whatever else, and they’re all saying, “Visualise this and think about this, and you’ll achieve your goals if you manifest it.” The reality is half of it is just daydreaming. You’re not going to get anywhere without a plan and time to implement the plan. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time, aren’t you?

**Emma Mills:** [00:12:00] Yeah, totally. It’s very well talking about doing things, but if you don’t plan it in, it won’t happen. I think that coupled with understanding the power of what you do in an hour is crucial. Not all hours are the same. I could spend an hour in my inbox replying to emails, or I could spend an hour calling people I’ve met recently or discussing potential work. Those two hours aren’t the same. Understanding the value of what you’re about to do in the next hour and whether it’s worth it is important. Being intentional about how we spend our time and realising that some tasks can be done by others is a game-changer. It’s about making the best use of your time.

**Greg:** [00:12:45] That’s an important realisation for business owners because sometimes you think you’re busy and productive, but you’re not. Interestingly enough, we do a similar exercise in our program where we analyse what people are actually doing with their time. By assigning hourly rates to tasks, you can predict someone’s earnings based on where they spend their time. If they’re doing low-value tasks half the time, it reflects in their earnings. If you want to earn a certain amount, you need to work on tasks that earn you that rate per hour. So, if someone’s done this exercise and realised they shouldn’t be doing these small tasks, they might delay hiring because they’re unsure. What holds people back from hiring a VA?

**Emma Mills:** [00:13:40] Some key reasons are the mindset of “It’s quicker to do it myself.” This thinking holds people back because it feels painful to train someone else. But virtual assistants are great because they can take over tasks without you needing to outline everything. A PA will figure things out and move forward. It’s possible to find someone who can take things off your plate. Another reason is not fully understanding the value of their time and not following through on the maths. Even if revenue is low, if you focus on high-value tasks and get an assistant for a few hours a month, you can see the benefits. It might feel uncertain initially, but if you commit to doing high-value work with the time you save, it pays off.

**Greg:** [00:14:25] Trusting yourself and backing yourself is crucial. People often think small tasks only take a few minutes, but it’s the accumulation that adds up. Let’s talk about the time audit. How do you recommend people do a time audit to be honest about where their time goes?

**Emma Mills:** [00:14:50] Keeping it simple is key. There are many software options, but a straightforward approach is often best. We have a productivity pad at my PA, a PDF or physical one that we can send out. Even one day’s data is a good starting point. Note down what you’re doing and when. It helps you realise where your time goes. Analyzing what tasks can be done by others is essential. Most tasks can be handed off with a process in place. A time audit helps you see how you spend your day and what can be delegated.

**Greg:** [00:15:45] Protection of time is crucial. It’s difficult to do when it’s just you. I recently got an executive assistant, and it’s had a massive impact on my time. I can’t believe I didn’t do it 10 years ago. There’s a difference between a PA and an admin person. A PA is proactive and protects your time. They understand your priorities and manage your schedule to ensure you focus on high-value tasks. It ties back to winning the week because a good executive assistant helps you protect your week and avoid mundane tasks.

**Emma Mills:** [00:16:30] Most definitely. Sharing your goals with your assistant and giving them ownership helps them manage your time effectively. Having a clear understanding of what winning the week looks like allows them to protect your time. For example, my Mondays are for internal meetings, Tuesdays for marketing, and Wednesdays are free of meetings for strategic work. Planning a great week and communicating it to your assistant ensures they can help you achieve it.

**Greg:** [00:17:00] Absolutely. If someone wanted to talk to you about getting assistance and winning their week, how could they contact you?

**Emma Mills:** [00:17:10] I’ve got great resources on my website, emmamills.co.uk, to help people win the week. You can find time audits and other helpful tools there. If you add “win the week” to the end of the URL, you’ll find the resources to download.

**Greg:** [00:17:25] Perfect. We’ll stick that in the show notes. Thanks for your time, Emma, and all the best with your business going forward.

**Emma Mills:** [00:17:30] Thanks, Greg.

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