Founded as a general machine shop in 1953, Criterion is run by President Tanya DiSalvo, a third-generation owner. It prides itself on being a female-owned, non-union, precision machine shop that strives for excellence in machining for the ‘no-failure’ industries of medical device, aerospace, defense and photonics.
It all started, as Tanya explains, when she was, “… fat, dumb and happy – and not focusing on the right things.”
Money was good; business was good. She had fallen into the “hustle fallacy.” From legal issues to falling behind on payables and receivables, Criterion began suffering issues as a result. It was, as she describes it, a horrible trickle-down effect of no one paying attention.
And Tanya wasn’t spared, either.
Her sleep suffered because 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. proved to be the only time she could accomplish all the tasks that needed to get done, including emails, including replies, and all the things that only she could do.
Tanya was at her “wit’s end” when she heard about virtual assistants.
So after hemming and hawing, she relented. “What’s the worst that’ll happen?” she asked herself. “What if we just got a little bit better, and I carved out a little bit more time for myself?”
Tanya admits that, like many other business owners, she felt she was ‘a unicorn’ – that no one could do what she could do or as well as she could.
She felt like no one could manage her schedule as well as she could – even though she was dubious of how good a job she was actually doing as things were slipping and falling through the cracks.
“I kind of started feeling this panic like, ‘OK. Maybe I need some help,” she says. “Nobody likes to ask for help. Nobody likes to know that everybody’s in their personal crap. There’s the business me and then there’s the mom of two – the one that schedules everything and takes care of all that.”
Then BELAY paired her with her Virtual Assistant Jheri.
Jheri handles Tanya’s emails several times a day. She handles her scheduling. She books her travel. She manages a couple of projects for Tanya.
She even designed Tanya’s perfect week. “[Jheri] said, ‘I’ll have that for you by the time next time we speak. And I’m like, ‘You gotta be kidding me.’”
But Jheri was not, in fact, kidding.
“Managing that is a load off my mind,” Tanya shares. I don’t think, “Oh my gosh. I’ve got to check my emails because I’ll miss something’ anymore. That is such a relief.”
Once Tanya realized that her time would be better spent doing the things only she can do, everything – including her time – seemed to open up.
“I’m not really good at some things,” Tanya admits. “So why the hell am I doing them?”
“[But] the biggest thing I’ve noticed is I now have the headspace to pause. I like to be Mach 50 with my hair on fire. And now, I actually have time to think beyond tomorrow and what I want next for my business.”