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Life as a perfectionist can be wonderful. You get things done exactly the way you want them, when you want them. And you feel like a hero for “doing it all.” Unfortunately, getting carried away by perfectionism means you have failed to delegate, making you a victim of your own success. Recently Susan and Melinda Wittstock chatted on Melinda’s podcast Wings of Inspired Business about just that.

Balancing the perfectionist urge with delegation takes some unlearning of old habits, but it can be done. Susan shares tips on how to let go so that you can make sure your business grows. Listen as they talk about:

  • Avoiding overwhelm
  • Balancing the “chaos” of innovation with the “chaos” of poor delegation and “doing it all” perfectionism
  • Harnessing your inner control freak and learn how to delegate
  • Knowing the right time to hire help
  • Why perfection gets confused with mastery and how to know the difference
  • Tools to help you control the chaos in your business
  • And much more!

Please find the full audio transcript below. 

Melinda Wittstock:  After almost 30 years spent founding and growing businesses entering other female founders, I’ve come to the conclusion there should be an AA for perfectionists. Seriously. We can all get so caught up in this idea of perfectionism that we fail to delegate even the most menial tasks. It’s a trap that prevents most of us from scaling our businesses to a million and beyond. And leaves many women entrepreneurs overwhelmed and spent. It doesn’t have to be that way.

I’m Melinda Wittstock. Today on Wings of Inspired Business, we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who’s made it her mission to rid all businesses of chaos. That’s right. No more chaos. It means building your delegation muscles. Susan Fennema is the Chaos Eradicating Officer, or CEO, of Beyond the Chaos, a consultancy helping entrepreneurs and small business owners simplify their operations and manage their projects so they can grow their businesses without overwhelm and get their lives back. I can’t wait to introduce you to Susan first.

Thanks for downloading this episode. And please make sure you take a moment and subscribe to the show at Please also join our community on Podopolo, the world’s first socially interactive and gamified podcasting network where you win rewards as you interact within the Wings community and with all the other amazing podcasts in the network. Just download Podopolo on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

You can also follow Wings of Inspired Business on Facebook @WingsPodcast, Twitter @MelindaWings, and on Instagram @MelindaWoodstock2020. And if you have Alexa, you can now listen to Wings there. Simply ask it to play Wings of inspired business. And if you like what you’re hearing, please review us on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. More episodes at

We often talk on this podcast about the power of community to grow your business. There’s nothing like a community to make your customers feel heard and seen, and it builds powerful buy-in and engagement from those you wish to attract with your offers. Maruxa Murphy is the queen of community building. And, Maruxa, what’s the biggest secret of building successful communities.

Maruxa Murphy:  Hi, Melinda. Great to be back on W. This year taught us the value of connection and having community now more than ever. Businesses realized that having community accessible to them online and through strategic digital venues, like having their own online community where they could continue conversations even through a global pandemic, was absolutely important.

It was the way in which they could increase revenues when the world was shutting down. And we as individuals also felt the need to be back with our peers, our family, and friends. And we were that much more passionate not to take this for granted after this pandemic. I believe that right now, we’re in an era, actually a renaissance of community. And really have, now at this point in our lives, the opportunity to grow communities faster and more powerfully than ever before, I think it’s going to be what we need to focus on for these next 10 years.

And now more than ever, we as entrepreneurs need to figure out how to develop communities in such a way that we’re not putting a ton of effort into developing, let’s say, a Facebook group without knowing what the return would be. Everything matters. And so right now, I believe the biggest secret of successful and profitable communities is really laying out a strategic and connected plan to growing communities profitably. Because without having that blueprint to lead the way 95% of online communities and Facebook groups will absolutely fail. And truthfully, I’m here to stop that nonsense. Because, in fact, there is a way to do it intentionally and profitably starting today.

Melinda Wittstock:  Hmm. That’s amazing. Well, listen on, because Maruxa will be back a little later on the podcast with some actionable tips on how to make your community on Facebook, LinkedIn, or anywhere, work magic for your business.Podcasts junkie, casual listener, social butterfly, if you want to turn all those ah-has from the podcast you listened to into meaningful conversation and connection, I’ve got an exclusive invite for you.

Podopolo is about to release a totally new version of its groundbreaking social podcasting app where you can build your personalized listening library from 2.5 million podcasts, connect with hosts and friends, old and new, contribute to shows, and win rewards as you do it. We’d love you to join our private beta. So simply go to and sign up. It’s free. And we can’t wait to show you around.

What if there was a way to delegate tasks and know that your team will get them done exactly the way you want? It would be transformational, right? I remember a mentor asking me what my hourly rate would be if I was landing a major contract, creating valuable IP, or bringing in a major investor, as opposed to what I would pay someone to fix a broken link or schedule calls or, for that matter, do my laundry. Think about it.

If an hour of my work brought in, say $50,000, my hourly would be at least 5,000. Now, what would it cost me to pay someone to fix that broken link? 25 bucks? 50? When we think we’re heroes for doing it all, we’re actually short-changing our businesses and ourselves. It can create chaos, certainly slows your growth, and it stands in the way of scale.

Susan Fennema says she knew how to beat the chaos as a three-year-old when she color-coded and organized her seamstress’s mother’s thousands of buttons. Now with 30 years of operations and project management experience in professional services, Susan is now on a mission to improve American society exponentially, helping business owners focus on what they do best and delegate the rest.

Today, you’ll hear how you can balance your perfectionist urge with delegation and what tools can help you control the chaos in your business. Let’s put on our Wings with the inspiring Susan Fennema. Susan, welcome to Wings.

Susan Fennema:  Hi, Melinda. Thanks so much for having me.

Melinda Wittstock:  I love that you’re called the Chaos Eradicating Officer. So tell me, what led you to take on a mission of eradicating chaos?

Susan Fennema:  It started when I was a kid. It turns out that I have an innate talent to bring order to chaos. Even when I was three years old, I would sit while my mom sewed. She was a good seamstress. She made all of our clothes when we were little. And she would dump out this big jar of buttons. I actually still have the jar on my desk. And she would dump out this big jar buttons, and I would sit on the floor and I would organize them by color and size and how many colors and build them into this little graph so that it went from highest to lowest. So even as a three or four-year-old, I was controlling the chaos. So it just seemed like a natural thing to bring to business.

Melinda Wittstock:  Right. So it makes a lot of sense. Chaos, obviously, has a negative connotation, and on the other side, there’s a certain chaos that comes with innovation. Where’s chaos good and where’s chaos bad?

Susan Fennema:  Oh, that’s a great question. Chaos is great if it inspires you. I worked in an advertising agency for 10 years. There was a lot of chaos around the creative aspects of the job. It helped to have people shouting at each other with their points sometimes. Because it made better work. It helped to have people pushed up against a deadline. Because the creative that comes out of being pushed out up against a deadline is usually than what if you give somebody six months to come up with a very what might not do it at all. So there is some degree of chaos there that’s good. But where it comes in that it’s not good is what is the process to get to that chaos.

So in that same scenario, not having a deadline, or missing your deadline, that’s the type of chaos that becomes bad, not having something to create against. So a process where you have started with a creative brief with your client so that you understand the scope of what you’re trying to create, that you have a method after that, that creative is established to make sure everybody in the company, in the agency, is on board and has the same buy-in to it, and doesn’t have another idea, and that there’s not a typo and all of those things. That’s the process around doing that creative process. That can be bad if it’s not in place.

Melinda Wittstock:  And often there is chaos in business when there’s no clear mission, where employees don’t really even know how they’re being measured or what success is. What are some of the steps, when you’re helping people, to make sure, first of all, that that communication, that alignment, all of that is in place?

Susan Fennema:  So the first thing is to establish your process. So what is that process and what part of that process are policies? Those are the rules. Those are the things that everybody has to abide by. That might be, do your timesheet before you go home every day, or before you sign off. That’s a policy. And then you would have process and procedures. Processes are usually written. Procedures are usually like checklists.

And those types of things, instilled, can share both your vision. So as a business owner, being able to share what is my expectation? What do I want this to look like? What is the output I want when someone follows this process? That needs to go into the process. And once you get there, then you have the ability to hold people accountable. And you do that two ways you can either… Well, I actually suggest this as one whole process, but it’s two steps.

So the first thing is that if you find people not delivering what you expect, you can go back and blame the process instead of blaming the person. So the first step is, “That’s not what I was expecting to get out of this. Let’s go look at the process and you can maybe explain to me where you got confused or where it wasn’t clear so that we can fix that so that you and other people doing this are more clear on what to deliver.” That’s great. Nine times out of 10 that person’s going to respond, “Great. You’re going to have a better process and you’re going to keep going on.”

There are other people that are just going to say, “Oh yeah, I didn’t look at that.” And then when they go back, they’ll say, “Oh, I see. I should have paid attention.” And they are not going to do it next time either. So that gives you the ability to hold someone accountable as well. So you’re losing the blame part of it, at the beginning, but you’re still maintaining the accountability part to reach the vision and the goal that you had in mind

Melinda Wittstock: Hmm. Right. And is it also important for team members to really understand why? Like, why the process exists, right? Not just, here’s the process.

Susan Fennema:  I’m a firm believer in that. And so, usually, if you’re writing a process, especially if you’re introducing it to new team members or to people that might be new to your field or new to the whole concept of what you’re doing, you want to put something in there that’s like, the purpose of this, or the main goal of this or the outcome I expect from this is. So you can begin your process by explaining what you’re trying to get to in the end. You should be able to follow the steps without knowing the why, but you certainly do get more buy-in when people understand it.

Melinda Wittstock:  Absolutely. Because it just makes a team much more cohesive that everyone’s aligned and pulling in the same direction and they kind of understand where they fit in the particular puzzle, which is really, really important. So a business that doesn’t have any kind of structure hasn’t aligned around the why, what kind of happens? Obviously, it would seem that it’s not going to be running at its most efficient, but from the standpoint of the founder or the CEO, it’s got to lead to all kinds of chaos-inducing feeling of overwhelmed.

Susan Fennema:  So overwhelm is actually the main key that we work with. Many business owners who do not have the process and structure in place suffer from major overwhelm, because all they’re doing is putting out fires, solving problems, handling little bitty details that drive most people crazy like calling the bank and being on hold for three hours because of a clerical error. Those types of things. And you cannot have people in place executing against your vision if you don’t have things written down.

And so what begins to happen is, if you have two or three people, you can talk to them every day. You can explain, here are our goals today. That might be okay. But once you start to scale, that is an exponential problem. And you can’t do that. You need some systems in place so that that kind of thing runs by itself, that you have a bookkeeper that you can say, “Hey, please call the bank on that.” That you have an assistant that can make sure that your schedule is not double booked and that your emails cleared out, and all of those great things that those people in those skillsets know how to handle. Otherwise, you don’t have any time to figure out how to grow your business because you’re too busy working in it.

Melinda Wittstock:  Oh yeah. Well, this is the classic. A lot of it. I think Susan ties back to the fact that so many women think they have to do it all. It’s kind of this control freak perfectionist kind of gene, right? And I see it play out where women are afraid to hire early enough in their businesses because they’re looking at those hires as an expense rather than as an investment that’s going to bring a return.

Susan Fennema:  That’s a very good point. And I’m not going to lie. I am absolutely a perfectionist control freak. That’s why my processes are so clear and detailed. I want my vision to be executed. I want to be able to trust my team members to execute it without me having to handhold them the whole time. Otherwise, what’s the point, right? I’ll just do it myself. But to your point about how do you decide when it’s time to hire and when the overhead is okay.

I’ll give you a quick, simple exercise. Take a piece of paper. And as somebody who is not into paper, that’s a big thing for me to say. Take a piece of paper, you’ll need a pen, too, and write down the tasks that you’re performing throughout the day. Do it for about a week and just go through those things. You might be able to group some. You might be able to strike some as, I never do this. This is one totally out of the blue thing.

And you’ll get a list of those things that you normally do. And then start rating those. Are those admin-level tasks? Are they technician tasks? Or are they management C-level CEO tasks? And when you do that, put a pay rate to each of those things and start to decide real quick what is your time worth?

Melinda Wittstock:  Oh, this is so, so important. A mentor of mine, early on, really took me through, “Okay, I can spend my time fixing links or like doing the laundry, or I could land a client that’s worth quarter of a million dollars for the business, okay? So what’s my right?”

Susan Fennema:  Right?

Melinda Wittstock:  And then all of a sudden it becomes much easier to pay those other people to do those other tasks that are things that other people can do for you. And quite honestly, if you look at it from the standpoint of affecting society positively, you’re creating jobs, you’re giving other people money to perform work. So that is growing the economy. That’s growing your local world, whatever your local world is, mine is actually a virtual natural national world, but whatever your world is, you’re growing that and contributing to it, not just taking from it.

Yearning for deep connection with other inspiring female founders? Craving so much deserves pampering and fun after a year of lockdown? Desiring some actionable business ah-has or life hacks for your health, wealth, and happiness? I have a special invitation for you today to join our curated community of top women entrepreneurs in pristine five-star luxury in Costa Rica this October for rejuvenation and reconnection at the Wings retreat. Learn more at That’s Expect magic.

Remember that those community-building secrets I promised? Well, Maruxa Murphy is the community maven and online community architect for over a hundred six and seven-figure brands. She’s been featured in Forbes, Reader’s Digest, and recently was highlighted at the United Nations during Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, as one of 10 women-owned brands to be on the lookout for her coffee company, Perky Perky. And she’s here again with her top three tips on attracting, growing, and engaging your tribe on social media.

Maruxa Murphy:  Hi, again, Melinda. Here’s the deal. Communities have to be created with intention. So the first thing I like to do is to invite our listener to come to their community with a vision, know exactly what we want to design before we hit that “Create Group” button on Facebook, for example. And if you’ve already built a community and it’s just sitting there and disengaged, take a moment to slow down and really envision what you want to create with your community. This is what I call slow down to go fast. And it allows you and your team to get on the same page with what you’re developing and how to communicate this with everyone you serve.

The second thing to do is to take that vision and to use a proven process, a proven profit process, to figure out which model to use to create profitability with your group. I have dissected over 100 plus that I’ve had the privilege of building personally and bring what’s working into what I call the five proven profit path models to figure out how to bring revenue into developing out your community.

And number three, I want to invite you to connect with your people from a place of seeing them as people with heartbeats. We’re so used to focusing, as entrepreneurs, on our numbers, but remember your people, when interacted with as people, feel what I call the sacred for, they feel seen, they feel safe, they feel heard, and they feel honored and respected. That’s what our aim is in building community. And when we have that, we can develop the community with opportunities to grow with our people more powerfully than we’ve probably done in the past.

Melinda Wittstock:  Such good advice. Maruxa is working her community-building magic with my interactive social podcasting platform, Podopolo. And honestly, you’re not going to want to miss the opportunity to work with her, too. Maruxa has a special offer for you. So stay tuned. We’ve got all the details coming.

And we’re back with Susan Fennema, she’s the CEO and founder of Beyond the Chaos. This is an interesting thing that perfectionism can live at the same time as delegating. Because I understand that the desire to have your business be in alignment with your vision, obviously, there’s a reason you founded it, right?

Susan Fennema:  Right.

Melinda Wittstock:  And you have this vision in your mind’s eye. I think with perfectionism, though, it sometimes gets confused with mastery. So perfectionism in my mind often manifests, unfortunately, not in the way that you’re talking about, but more like, I’ve got to do it all myself because I’m afraid to let someone else see my work until it’s perfect. It’s kind of like a person who cleans her house before the cleaners come, right?

Susan Fennema:  There is a degree of that. And I’ll tell you, I suffered from that early in my career. And it’s limiting. It’s very, very limiting. You have to let some things go. I work with a lot of software developers. Man, you want to talk about people that can get down into the smallest little details of code? It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a product that ships. So at some point, you have to say good enough, because… And you have to be able to understand and be okay with the fact that good enough is not bad.

Melinda Wittstock:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan Fennema:  That’s, I think, the differentiator between perfectionists and normal people. Normal people are like, good enough. That’s great. And-

Melinda Wittstock:  Well, you know it’s interesting in that context, right?

Susan Fennema:  Yeah.

Melinda Wittstock:  Like if you have an iPhone, right? Or an Android, right? And you take it out and you look at it right now, okay? And so look at all the things that it does, but then when the iPhone first came out, or actually not even pre the iPhone, when you first got a mobile phone, it was pretty exciting, right? all the things you could do. Was it the iPhone? No. Is the current day iPhone the same as the original one? Like you have this vision of ultimately where you’re going, but the first iteration, you’ve never had to market if this continues, right?

Susan Fennema:  You wouldn’t ever get it there. You would never make any money. You would never provide value to your clients or customers. And you would just sit there and keep working. And that doesn’t help anyone. Think of how the iPhone changed the world. I remember before the iPhone came out, and I was carrying in my purse, I would carry my cell phone, a PalmPilot, and a camera. And I remember thinking, “Man, all these things are going to be one thing.” And sure enough, they’re all one thing. But if you waited for that, people would get the iPhone and they’d be like, “I don’t know how to work this.” Because they haven’t been moved up to it either.

Melinda Wittstock:  Yeah. Like, remember the Blackberry. So the Blackberry was like a huge game-changer, but then it was… Right? So the thing is innovation. It’s continually moving. And so say for instance, you have your vision of what your vision is and your vision today might be very different from your vision six months from now in the sense that you’ve learned more and your customers have helped understand how to meet their needs better. It’s just a constantly evolving thing.

So to be a perfectionist in any given moment, it’s such fast-moving, right? And so the entrepreneur, and this is a question for you because the entrepreneur necessarily has to be comfortable with change. Because not only is the entrepreneur changing something by solving a problem, inherently, but every day involves change, every day involves things you can’t control, unexpected events, all kinds of stuff. Right? So you got to come to peace with change. But change can feel chaotic

Susan Fennema:  While being good. Right? It does. And to a degree, we all operate in a little bit of that. But the important part, from my perspective, is those things that don’t have to be chaotic make them be so bad that you don’t even notice them, so that when an emergency happens, or when a change opportunity presents itself, you have the bandwidth to think about that and to be excited about it, not to be worn out over the idea of even thinking about it.

Melinda Wittstock:  Yeah. So I think that’s where most businesses get stuck. There’s a statistic that only 3% of women entrepreneurs get to a million dollars or more in revenue. And I think the main reason is what you’re describing. Because if you haven’t set up the systems, if you haven’t hired early enough, if you’re trying to do it all yourself, you’re going to stay stuck and not overwhelm and just be on this task treadmill and never really grow your business.

Susan Fennema:  Absolutely. That is something that… I suffer from a little of that, where I want to do everything at my household, and I want to do everything in my business. But if you don’t let it go, you just cannot go to the next level.

I’ve I have an example with my VA, who is great. She’s worked with us for about six months now. And when she first started, there were a lot of questions around my email. Well, every single time one came up, we documented what to do with that type of email or whatnot. So on, she got to know the business, she got to know me. And now here we are, six months later, and I can not open my email for the entire day and I’ll have four or five that I might have to reply to. That’s huge.

Now, is there a chance that I missed something? Yeah. Is there a chance that I miss something important? No. So being able to let go like that and say, “Yeah, I might miss something, but it won’t matter,” is important.

Melinda Wittstock:  Absolutely. So having systems in place are important, but also technology, right? There are all kinds of tools, all kinds of things. What do you recommend there, specifically to control the chaos?

Susan Fennema:  So tools are majorly important, especially in this virtual world. The important thing is to pick one and stick with it. That’s the first thing I’ll tell you. But you have to also make sure you know what they do. So in general, most businesses need a CRM. That’s where you track your clients, or sales, the deals, you’re making that kind of thing. You will probably need some sort of a project or fulfillment tool. That could be a project management tool. It could be an issue tracker. It could be something very specific to your business of what you fulfill. And then you need a financial tool. And you need a communication tool.

So if you’re looking for me to set up your professional services business that runs creative projects, for example, with clients, I would probably send you down the path of set up slack for your team communications, use HubSpot as your CRM, use as your project management tool, and use QuickBooks as your invoicing system and your financial system. That right there can run your business.

I have interacted with a lot of people who come and they’re, “I use Basecamp and it doesn’t work.” Or, “I tried TeamWork and it just doesn’t do what I need it to do.” And with tools, it’s important to note that just because you have the tool doesn’t automatically make things happen. You have to actually develop a process around it, and you have to make sure that you’re following that process and using that tool to its biggest successes. So I liken that to get a hammer and nail and put them down on the table next to you and see how fast the picture gets hung.

Melinda Wittstock:  Yeah. I think with tools sometimes there’s tool fatigue, too. So you can have all these different things that don’t integrate very well. I know my own business. We’ve just moved almost everything over into Zoho because we can do all the things that Salesforce and HubSpot does.

And so this works really well. It all integrates perfectly and it’s it gets rid of all the huge numbers of different tools we had going. But really, it’s important. And I get what you say about sticking with them so people get good at them and then documenting like your SOP is around them and all that kind of good stuff.

And so tell me a little bit, Susan, about your clients? Who’s your ideal client and what are the main… I know we’ve discussed the overwhelm and the need for systems and things. What are some of the other problems that your clients tend to face?

Susan Fennema:  We work with small professional services companies, think 25 people or fewer, that provide the services like advertising or creative services, software development, or accounting, boutiques, and home services. So the people that actually are essentially running projects with their clients. That’s who we mostly serve. And in general, the number one thing that we help them with is overwhelmed, but we do process development, we do project management.

And we do help them, or help the business owner manage their schedule so that they are more able to prevent interruptions. So faint calendar management, calendar blocking, how to handle phone calls. What do you do with those. How to handle emails. How to handle those interruptions. Even how to handle making time to work with your team and communicating with your team. So all of that goes into the operational processes, which is what we are mostly dealing with, with our clients.

Melinda Wittstock:   Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan Fennema:  Yeah, exactly. Because once those operations are really set up and once your team is working great, they know how they’re being measured, they know what success is, you got all that stuff going, you can really start to focus on other areas of your business where you’re adding the most value.

And it changes depending on your business model. It starts to change over time. I know that this is my fifth business now. We’re entering into a period of rapid scale with a lot of hiring, a lot of growth, a lot of really fast growth. So it’s been very much about laying the foundations for that scale. And then once people are…

And my job as a CEO has transitioned so much more to hiring and onboarding and making sure that the people are set up for success. I can move on to the next area of the business that needs my attention, and the next, and the next. Sometimes it feels like you’re going a little slower to be able to move faster, but it works when you’re very aware of these things, for sure.

Melinda Wittstock:  Absolutely. I think that it is important when you’re scaling to have that plan to what is my job and what is the job of the rest of the team. I’m at the position now where my team knows the type of people that we need to hire. So really, I only have to do the last interview to make sure that we have the right person. They do all the rest. We work through a whole system. Shockingly, we have a process for that.

And then that lets me, right now, focus on marketing and sales. That’s where my focus is. Perhaps one day that’s something I grow out of there and maybe I am just, hopefully, doing that four-hour-a-week E-Myth plan, where I’m just checking in, making sure everything’s humming along like I want it to.

Susan Fennema:  It’s a funny feeling, actually, that when you show up, it happened this week for me, where you show up at a meeting and you’re really not even needed, right?

Susan Fennema:  I’d like… Great. This awesome. This is humming really well. They don’t actually need me. It’s weird feeling, but it’s also liberating it.

Melinda Wittstock:  And I do work with clients that fear that. Well, what if I work myself out of a job? Well, that’s what we’re trying to.

Susan Fennema: That’s the whole point, right?

Melinda Wittstock:  Right.

Susan Fennema:  A lot of people go into entrepreneurship really creating a job for themselves rather than really looking at it in terms of it’s a wealth creation exercises. SO it’s leverage. It’s like all these things. It does require a big mindset shift.

Melinda Wittstock:  Definitely, definitely. That is a hard one, is to sometimes figure out what are you going to do with your time when you have free time?

Susan Fennema:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Melinda wittstock:  And that’s part of dreaming. And if we’re not dreaming, then we are not even working towards anything, we’re just working. So what made you take the entrepreneurial leap, Susan? Like what was the moment, the aha moment, and you said, okay, now that’s enough, I’ve got to go help people figure this out?

Susan Fennema:  It was very late in life for me. I’ve been in business for about five years now, or maybe… Yeah, five years. So I did beat that five-year mark, right? Five years is like the last mark of when people go out of business. So I made that and I made it through COVID. So high five to me.

Melinda Wittstock:  That’s great.

Susan Fennema:  But what inspired me was, when I was ready to leave my last job, I started looking at job listings and I thought to myself, “I would rather stab myself in the eye than do any of these.” I want to do what I do best. And what I do best takes two or three years to earn the trust of teams and the people that I’m working for as an employee. So how could I do this instead where I can offer it to the world, offer it to all small business owners, and help more than one at a time?

Melinda Wittstock:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan Fennema:  And that’s where it got born. Let’s just do it myself and make it happen.

Melinda Wittstock:  That’s great. So what were some of the toughest things for you in those early stages? I guess that has informed how you help people now, right? You go through it yourself so you can help others?

Susan Fennema:  Absolutely. And also, the things that you learn as you go, everything forms your business and, as you pointed out earlier, changes your vision. So when I started, I wanted to be a solopreneur. I didn’t want to have to mess with team members. And I didn’t want to get into management. I didn’t want to do any of that. I’m just like, I just want to help people and move on.

Okay. So my first client really was like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. I essentially created myself a job where I was working for someone else, again, as with my first client. And I fired my first client. And I learned a lot from that experience, how I wanted to shape my business.

I continued through the end of that first year as the solo consultant to finding the work, selling the work, doing the work. And it was wearing me down. Because of what I do is so detailed, and because it involved project management one-on-one, I couldn’t do anything else. I was glued to my computer. To my chair. I wasn’t coming up with any great new ideas. And I wasn’t… I wasn’t learning. I was just doing what I already knew.

And so I thought to myself, okay, I can help more people this way, but you know what would really help more people? Have more people helping more people. Have more people helped me figure out how to help more people. And so I got over my whole, let’s keep this simple and do it myself thing, and stopped being a freelancer and became a business owner. And so that was the transition I made into that, let’s scale and let’s help more people.

Melinda Wittstock:  Yeah, I think that’s great. So what are some of the issues? Do you work mostly with them women?

Susan Fennema:  You know, I don’t. I work mostly with men. But my team is all women. And interestingly enough, that was not by design. I haven’t actually even interviewed a man to work on my team. Now they’ll probably look at my team and they won’t even be interested. But what we do is very detail-oriented, very process-driven. And women seem to just be better at this than men.

Melinda Wittstock:  We’re better at that. Yeah. I think that’s broadly true. Although I must be an anomaly, though, because I’m like the vision person, right? Where I need that operational people to do all the detail for me. I wonder whether men fall into the overwhelm as deeply as women do only because, God, 600 or so episodes in here to Wings. One of the things that we really noticed that women have a harder time delegating than men. Men just seem to be much better at just asking people to go do things. Does not bear that out of most of your clients are men? Do they struggle with asking people to do things?

Susan Fennema:  Most of my clients do not struggle with asking them to do things, but they certainly struggle with finding success when they do. And that’s because they don’t have that attention to detail. That’s why they need us.

Melinda Wittstock:  I see.

Susan Fennema:  So they say, “Hey, just go do that.” Right? [inaudible 00:40:39] person has no idea what they’re supposed to do.

Melinda Wittstock:  They often expect their minds to be read. They often expect that you have this job at another company, so do it the same way. But that’s not at all what I wanted you to do.

Susan Fennema:  There’s a lot of that. And they don’t have structure in their business. So they struggle to grow. They’re fine with delegating, they’re fine with hiring other people to do the work, but then growing past a certain number is a challenge because they only have so much bandwidth to talk to those people every day. And they’re having to go back and correct all the time what their team is doing because they have not managed to figure out how to give that clear direction.

Melinda Wittstock:  Yeah. Absolutely. Oh my goodness. There’s so much to talk about. So I want to make sure, though, that people can find you and with you, Susan, if they are the right type of business and fit for you, what’s the best way?

Susan Fennema:  Reach out to me. Go to You can download there our free ebook, 3 Ways to Control Chaos in Your Business. And you’ll be able to also… There are ways to contact us directly if you just want to go for that there as well.

Melinda Wittstock:  Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.

Susan Fennema:  Thanks so much for making me feel like a supershero today.

Melinda Wittstock:  Susan Fennema is the CEO, that’s Chaos Eradicating Officer, and founder of Beyond the Chaos, a consultancy helping small business owners and entrepreneurs simplify their operations and manage their projects so they can grow their businesses and get their lives back.

It’s such a joy to bring you so much practical advice for how to grow and scale your business in alignment with the true you. So make sure you take advantage of this special offer from Maruxa Murphy. I’ve seen, firsthand, her results. So, Maruxa, tell us all about your offer.

Maruxa Murphy:  Thanks, Melinda. Yes, I’m offering everyone here the ability to figure out what your unique profit path would be. Remember, I mentioned earlier the five proven profit paths to creating a profitable Facebook group or online community. Well, you have the ability to take it as well.

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Melinda Wittstock:  Thanks, Maruxa. So, everyone, makes sure you go to That’s it for today’s episode. Head on over to and subscribe to the show. And when you do, you’ll instantly get my special gift. The Wings Success Formula. Women, Innovating, Networking Growing Scaling is the Wings of inspired business formula for daily success in your business and your life.

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