Guy and Margaret ‘Maggie’ Timberlake are the Chief Visionary Officer and President, respectively, of GovCon Club, which empowers government and industry with practical visibility and access to the information, knowledge, and relationships considered key to making forward progress.
Built on an indisputable culture framed by the members, partners and staff of The American Small Business Coalition, Guy and Maggie continue their unwavering commitment to helping companies and agencies succeed. Their rich legacy of actively cultivating victories for their members and partners is something they significantly build onto.
They are practitioners, innovators and thought leaders of market research for agencies and business development lifecycle tactics and tools for vendors, and are recognized leaders in cultivating knowledge that empowers stakeholders to achieve their important goals.
“It all started in 2004 with the American Small Business Coalition,” Guy shares. “Neither Maggie nor I’d ever run a professional organization before – Maggie had an HR background and I was a contractor.
“So we knew the content really well, just not the structure. We ended up growing to the point where we needed more of us – more capacity – so that we could actually scale and deliver and be efficient doing those things.
“It was with Michael Hyatt that I learned about BELAY and how he used BELAY over the years. We had a chance to meet at one of the events and kind of got the wheels in motion.”
And just like that, Guy reached out to BELAY for help – and he cuts right to the chase as to how it’s all played out with his Virtual Assistant, Amanda.
“So I don’t know if you know, but I work for Amanda now,” he laughs. “Quite literally, I have my wife boss, and then I have my Amanda boss.
“I told Maggie early on that I know I’m an obstacle because, throughout my career, I started with companies at the bottom and worked my way up. So I learned how to do everything organically and I’m not afraid to do it. It doesn’t faze me to do it.”
But while he laughs about who he answers to, Guy admits that it did take him some time to build trust with Amanda.
“For me, there were probably some inherent trust issues that I had just because I’d worked with some people who were awesome – and ones that weren’t.
“When I was a supervisor, I would pick up the slack for my team to ensure everything was completed. We hit our goals — but I was missing the opportunity to help my team members grow.”
But BELAY came in with a plan.
“[BELAY said] here are the best things you can do to get your VA to get things done,” he says. “So we put a plan in place, and Maggie and I talked a lot about what we [were] going to give her [to] kind of hit the ground running.
“Part of the plan was using some automation tools – SaneBox was one of them. So [Amanda] started learning the names of organizations and people. And we came up with a routine where we could take messages as they came in, put them to the side, and then use the automation to have them show up again at a certain time of day. That way I could kind of keep my eyes focused on work and not email.
“If things were urgent, they went in the right place. If they weren’t and they could wait a day, they went to another place.”
Then there was the small matter of letting Amanda reply to emails to further increase their efficiency.
“That’s never been anything I’ve ever been comfortable with,” Guy confesses. “I speak a certain way and I react a certain way. People know if it’s me talking – they can pick me out of a crowd in six words.
“I was very nervous. I was pushed out of my comfort zone – [but] when I started getting feedback from people about her, they were like, ‘Who is that? She was really awesome.’”
But GovCon Club’s clients weren’t the only ones who saw how ‘awesome’ Amanda was.
“The a-ha moment for me was Guy’s inbox – which was usually about 5,000 emails – was down to three,” Maggie adds. “And I’m looking at mine that has 500 and I’m like, ‘This is my own doing.’”
“I don’t have any email in my inbox. She tamed the beast,” Maggie says.
But the Timberlakes weren’t done taming. Because next, they added Megan, a BELAY Social Media Manager, to their roster.
“We have a very good presence [on social media] – especially from the standpoint of pretty much not really having a clue what I’m doing,” Guy says. “I’m good at those things as much as I need to be – not an expert at all – [but] it came down to, ‘Is this a good use of my time?’
“And Amanda said it wasn’t.”
So while Guy and Maggie had their doubts, Megan very quickly earned their trust.
“Megan hit the ground running,” Guy says. “She came with a vengeance; she was on a mission.
“I also taunted her a little bit with the fact that Amanda hit her 90-day plan in 60 days,” Guy laughs.
“So she just came in ready to go with a plan [that] knocked our socks off,” Maggie adds. “We were like, ‘She got it. She hit everything.’ She put into words everything that we hadn’t been able to articulate about the brands. And that for us was just like, ‘Whoa.’”
“I think in the last 30 days, LinkedIn has grown by a hundred followers and engagement has gone up an average of 3-4 percent,” Guy says.
“The BELAY relationship is honestly critical,” Guy shares. “We are seeing the benefit of the relationship with BELAY. Amanda has saved me time. She has made us money. Megan is doing the same thing. [Things] still get done – and get done well and make us money.
“[That] they can ignore the noise of everything else going on and focus on getting that done well is tremendous. And that’s a huge value for us.”
But, as is the case for most entrepreneurs, the benefits aren’t strictly professional.
“The dream for most people when they create something is that it can last and endure – and I’m no different,” Guy says. “I want to be able to create something that survives us, that we can leave for our daughter.
“And that’s what we’ve been able to do with BELAY. It’s the quintessential ‘hit-by-a-bus’ theory. ‘What happens if you step off the curb today and get hit by a bus?’
“[We] lived through this 11 years ago. [I was] in the hospital for a couple of weeks and our daughter was six months old. Maggie is a brand new mom, running the business, and nursing me at the same time. And the only way we survived that is because we had members and friends and community that stepped up and supported us so that we didn’t go away.
“So that was the first time that I really saw scale for what it was. And so I want this organization to be one that can operate without Maggie and me being at the wheel so that it can continue.”
“Both Guy and I have the same type of personality – ’I’ll just do it. I’ll just do it. I’ll just do it.’ But Amanda just takes stuff off of Guy’s plate so that he can focus on growing the business as opposed to the nitty-gritty of those emails or responding to a call,” Maggie shares.
“[She] gives him more time for family. That’s been a huge, huge thing that he is able to shut down in the evenings. And that’s the reason we did this.”
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