E168: Mads Singers on the Right Way to Delegate

In this podcast, I’m joined by Mads Singers, a business coach who owns a management consulting firm specializing in ecommerce entrepreneurs. He also owns a VA company in Davao, Philippines.

When you’re a seven-figure Amazon seller, it’s tough staying on top of every little business detail. And if you’re anything like me, you experience separation anxiety whenever you need to hand over work to someone else to do. But as Mads explains, delegation is a necessary evil. As a business owner, you need to free your time so you can focus on big-ticket items.

Here are some highlights from our discussion.

Taking genuine ownership of tasks

It’s always better to give employees genuine ownership of their tasks rather than an SOP they have to follow every time they do a task. Genuine ownership means giving your employees your vote of confidence and empowering them to take a process you have and improve on it.

“Deer in the headlights”

Mads employs the DISC behavior framework with his clients to help them understand themselves as well as the people they work with. Understanding your employees’ individual traits and characteristics will allow you to assign them the right type of task.

“Now, because someone sells themselves really well, doesn’t mean they’re going to be great for that job. And being able to see through that personality and understand what this person is really good at could be immensely important.”, explains Mads.

What tasks should you delegate?

  1. Things you hate doing
  2. Things you’re not good at
  3. Things that take up a lot of time for you to do
  4. Low-priority tasks

Other Useful Resources:


Mads Singers Management Consulting

Thanks for listening to this episode! If you enjoyed listening and think this episode has been useful to you, please take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy selling!

Full Audio Transcript

Mike: This is Mike and welcome to episode number 168 of the EcomCrew Podcast. You can go to EcomCrew.com/168 to get to the show notes for this episode. And today on the show I have someone really cool. His name is Mads. I met him originally out in Hong Kong at our mastermind. My good friend Dave Haas brought him along as his business coach. And man, the guy just contributed so much awesome stuff to the mastermind, and he happens to be here staying at our house here for a couple of days.

He lives over in the Philippines right now. But he's over here for a couple of days on his way over to Denver to go to a mastermind, and was nice enough to hop on the podcast with me today to do a quick interview. So I hope you guys enjoy this. And stay tuned to the end here. He does this stuff for other people as well, and I definitely think you should check out his stuff. Again, someone that did just made a really big awesome impression for me in our mastermind that we did in Hong Kong. And I think you guys are going to enjoy this. So after the introduction, we're going to jump right into it with Mads.

Mike: Hey Mads, welcome to the EcomCrew Podcast.

Mads: Hello Mike, thank you very much for having me.

Mike: No problems. So let me give you guys a little background out there about who Mads is, and how we got here today. We're sitting in my office. Mads lives in the Val [ph] Philippines by way of originally from Denmark and the UK and Ireland, and a whole bunch of other crap that we were talking about yesterday, super interesting guy. But I first met Mads at our Hong Kong mastermind and that he was there with Dave Haas another really good friend of mine from the e-commerce universe. And Mads is basically like a business coach and stuff for Dave.

And that's what we really want to talk about today is just some of the stuff that Mads has like this amazing knowledge base on, because one thing that was awesome about Mads being at the mastermind, I didn't know this going into it, but he became like one of the leaders in the mastermind and the guy just had awesome hints and tips and tricks for everyone at the event and it was awesome. So, before getting into like what exactly you do, maybe just give us a 30 seconds to a minute background on your history before getting into e-commerce and getting out to the Philippines.

Mads: Yeah. So my background just shortly, I used to work corporate with lots of companies like Xerox and IBM. And at IBM I worked with and managed a whole bunch of people and I learned a lot of good corporate management skills, I learned a lot of what you should and definitely shouldn't do, and I think generally it was a good sort of pillar for me to get started. And overall I started my coaching business while I still worked at IBM. And at one point I would go up and I realize my 10 hours of coaching outside working hours was making me more money than I made working 70/80 hours a week for IBM. I was like that doesn't really make sense.

So I quit my job and I moved to the Philippines. Initially, it was really because there was a huge amount of entrepreneurs out and out in Asia. And I was really — I was keen on helping entrepreneurs. Like initially I was doing coaching with more corporate type people, but it's not like if you coach five people in Coca Cola, it's not like you see coke or stock prices just explode, right? Whereas when I'm helping and working with entrepreneurs, like you really see businesses significantly, like explode. And I mean, some of the guys I've worked with have 10, 20 xed in a short period of time, right? And it makes a huge difference. So from a rewarding self reward perspective, it's just much more interesting working with that type of audience.

Mike: Yeah, I can definitely relate to that. I mean with our EcomCrew Premium stuff, we see that happen with our students. And it’s just really cool to see something we were talking to someone the other day that was saying they were selling an average of like one to two units per day on their listing and after some things that we helped them, they were selling eight to 10. So, like just seeing that like four to five x growth on a small business like that is really definitely awesome. So all right, so obviously you were working at IBM, you were out in the Philippines at this point, you decided to quit, who were your first couple of clients and what were you doing back then and what year was that?

Mads: Yeah, so back then, what when I left IBM that was about — I started my coaching already in 2011 with a few corporate clients, right. And I left IBM in 2014, beginning of 14 and basically at that point, I already had a fair amount of corporate clients. When I moved to the Philippines, basically that shifted. I started only bringing on new client that was actually entrepreneur type, mostly online businesses, so everything from e-commerce, a lot of SEO companies, a lot of like all these similar to myself like coaches and generally small online business owners. And that was the type of audience that I was mostly working with at the time.

And generally that was yeah, it scaled up pretty well. Eventually I also started a virtual assistant company because one of the things I could see for most of my coaching clients was they really struggled to get quality stuff. And obviously one of my big benefits was I was really good at recruiting and I was really good at finding great people, and I lived in the Philippines at the same time. So, it gave me a huge edge in terms of finding great VAs for clients. So, I started up a VA company and I still have that today, and we have about 100 VAs working for various clients.

And today I mean I have a whole team that I've managed to train very well. So they basically deal with everything now. So I just yeah oversee the day- to-day. But again that's one of the areas where I've been able to utilize my management background because I've literally been able to build a company where I do very little. I still do a few sales calls and stuff but that's more or less it for the outsourcing.

Mike: So you're living like the four hour workweek.

Mads: No, I mean, honestly I love coaching people so much. And I really — initially I kind of had the goal of sticking to about 10 hours a week for coaching. I have increased that slightly just because I really like it so much. It's so rewarding. And the one thing that ever happened is initially I started out working with very, very small guys. And again, the smaller a company you work with, the longer I would generally take to see the impact, right? Whereas now the guys I'm working with is often slightly bigger and they often – they’re at a stage where they're not far off doing things really right, and some small adjustment can often mean huge growth.

And a lot of people actually like I work with is for example replacing themselves. So, they're the CEO, they’re the spider, they're sitting having their hand on every pie in the company and it's just one of those things that just it just stops it from growing. I mean, one person can only manage that much, right? So, really working with them to help them delegate, helping bring in the right people to help do what they do, so that they can actually start focusing on the high level stuff. That's some of the stuff that's so critical and that's what I work with a lot of clients on.

Mike: Got you. So let's segue right into that because it’s evident that's what you're helping most people on. I mean, I think that I can certainly relate to this. This is a problem that I've had in the past and still have where the CEO is trying to do too much and doesn't delegate enough. So, let's — we obviously only have 30 minutes on the podcast, but let's go through some tips and tricks of things that you can do. Let's just start with, in your experience, where do you see that consistently become a problem? Like, typically I think it's around like the $1 million mark and at least in e-commerce, but where do you see that start to become a problem, and how do you start to correct it?

Mads: It tends to be actually a number of people. So obviously, different people have different profit margins and so on, right? They also have different lives. So some people can work themselves to 12 hours a day and still feel somewhat productive even though they're not right.

Mike: You are on a single 22 year old versus the family guy.

Mads: Exactly right. So it does depend slightly. What I would say is in general, when you look at the big picture, it tend to be based on number of people. I mean, if you start going above sort of 7, 8, 9, 10 staff, it tend to become — like you actually spend majority of your time activating that staff and “giving them work” rather than actually doing work and rather than delegating responsibility. So one of the main thing that I see and that's actually common a lot from sort of the VA space and the online entrepreneur community, as people have been told, like, oh, yeah, just build SOP and give it to someone and tell them to do it, right.

And SOPs are great. But the problem is giving people a task like that does not give them ownership, right? And if you do not give people ownership, you own it, right? And that means you're constantly sitting again, being the spider like telling them, oh, that's good. That's good. That's not good. You made a mistake, like that screwed up, right? Whereas really fundamentally, and that’s not a big difference in how people do it. But the fundamental like, if you have someone sitting doing your Amazon customer service, the difference between saying, okay, every day you need to sit down, you need to follow this process and answer these emails.

The difference between doing that and taking someone aside and saying, hey Mike, you're freaking awesome with these customers; I love the way you work with them. I want you to be responsible for our customer service. Here is the key goal we have. So we need to respond to the customers within this time, we need to have maybe a certain quality of satisfaction rating and this is the process we use today. However, I want you to own this thing. And if you think it can be done better, I want you to improve this.

The difference in those two ways of handing over a task to people and giving people responsibility is so fundamentally different. And particularly when you handle the tasks rather than sit and monitor each and everything they do, whenever you're able to put KPIs on it and look at raw numbers in there in the beginning of every week or whatever and say, okay Mike, you answered all the emails within 24 hours, awesome, customers are happy for what we're doing, awesome, keep it up. And being able to do that rather than say then like looking at every message they have sent out to try and check the quality and everything is such a huge, huge difference.

Mike: Yeah right.

Mads: And depending on the personality of people, some people have an easy time with it, some people really struggle with handing over that responsibility because they're so, oh what if they say the wrong thing. The point is when you started; you didn't know what to do. So your starting point was very low. Now someone starting working with you that already have and understand your process, even though they might not do it to the level you're at, they will still do it above the level where you started, because they already have your knowledge base and they have some of the benefits from seeing what you've done in the past and avoiding some of the mistakes you've made. And that's just a huge game changer, right?

And again just like yourself, if you sit down and try and learn something new, you're not perfect from day one and don't expect people to be it. But the thing is like normally as a business owner, if you're doing customer service as a tiny part of it, like let's say half an hour a day or an hour day, it's one of your least important thing. So it's one of the things that you care least about, so you're flying through it, right? Whereas if you have someone who had the core responsibility of doing customer service, that's what they do, like their focus and their energy, even though they might start out below you in a skill set, in a short period of time, they will generally get to your level or even above because they just focus on that.

So, that for me, that's a huge, huge game changer. And that's one of the things that people can really learn from me and being able to delegate effectively and being able to really handle responsibility.

Mike: So how do you — it's funny you mention the personality thing, that was the first thing I was thinking of, because we've had issues with that. I think that some of it is cultural like I've seen like it's skewed more in the Philippines especially where like, they seem to be like a little bit more cautious or worried about that. I've also seen it in the US like a lot where are people just like they're afraid to do something without approval, even though you've tried your best to show them that they have autonomy. And it's interesting and I always have a hard time I think it's human nature relating to something that you can't really understand.

Like for me, I can't understand being afraid to like get something wrong or do something wrong, because that's just how I learn, right? I mean, I'm just going to – and I’ll try not to make the same mistake again, but I certainly loath the way about someone yelling at me for making a mistake. So I know I don't have that aspect. But obviously like our employees make mistakes and things go wrong and I take that as an opportunity to make sure that they realize that I support them and they continue to just do their best. But even still, like I see certain people have this attribute or this trait where they're just like almost like a deer in headlights. They're just frozen in fear. How do you help with that and get people like off and around?

Mads: So what I do a lot — actually in my management training, one of the things I do is I teach a behavioral framework or DISC, a bit similar to Myers Briggs if you’ve heard about that? But basically what that's about is learning and understanding different people's personalities. And that really help you – it both help you understand yourself, it really helps you understand people who are different than you and kind of understand what are their — a lot of time it comes down to their motivations, how they think. A simple example would be some people would rather deliver on time, even if they're 90% done. On the opposite, some people would rather be two weeks late, but deliver 100%.

Now reality is none of those are right or wrong in every situation, right? But if you understand how the people you work with think and if you understand their mindset with those kind of things, it enables you to be much more effective with them. But also it really helps you understand what type of tasks to what type of people, because again, you have a lot of these people who go fire, fire, fire, fire, fire, and you have people who say, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim, fire, right? Now the thing is different people is beneficial in doing different things, because again, if you're going out with dinner with the team after a busy work week, you don't need to spend like 16 hours researching the best restaurant, right?


But if you're launching new products, that level of detail, orientation, and really spending, putting the energy behind doing the full research is really important, right. So knowing like both the right type of personalities for the right sort of jobs, but also knowing where you're maybe not so strong. Because a lot of the e-commerce people I've worked with, they tend to be either super detail oriented and really good at the detail but they're often too slow to move, right? And they can choose to benefit from surrounding yourself with people who can actually help them execute.

Mike: Yeah, right.

Mads: Whereas others that are really good at executing, they sometimes skip the details. They're like, oh yeah, I found this product this morning, let's go launch it, right?

Mike: That's my — I'm in that group.

Mads: You’re in that group, right? And again, sometimes you are lucky. But the key thing is understanding what people to have around to do the different kinds of tasks. That's one of the things where definitely my training with business owners is hugely beneficial, because it really helps them understand both themselves as I said, but also really the people they work with. And when they do hiring, figuring out how to find the people that they actually need for a job. So, a great example is like sales people, for example, often sell themselves really well.

Now, one of their weaknesses is often details, right? I mean, every time you talk with sales people they hate doing the paperwork. Now, because someone sell themselves really well, it doesn't necessarily mean they're going to be great for that job, right? And being able to actually see through that personality piece and understand what is this person really good at can be immensely important.

And very often the most detailed perfectionist, they're really, really poor at signing themselves because if you ask, are you good at ecommerce? Even if they've spent 10 years on it though, they'll say, oh, I'm okay. Whereas the sales guy will spend two weeks on it would say, oh, yeah, I'm awesome. And if you're able to see through that and understand the personality behind it, you're much more likely to get the right kind of characters into your business.

Mike: So I mean, is the answer then to before you hire someone or as soon as you hire someone to put them through that DISC test and see how you match up with them or their personality matches up with the skill they are about to do?

Mads: Yeah, so that's one way. One of the problems with any kind of personality test is its spelt based on your self perception, right? So like for me, I always judge people. I mean I generally say when you learn this stuff, it takes you 20 seconds. Like when some guy or woman sit down in a flight seat next to me, I can tell them stuff about themselves they don't know, right? I mean, that's the sort of level of sophistication you'll kick into it with stuff like this and when you learn to do that, that's really powerful. But generally the test is a good starting point. They definitely give you some kind of idea of where people are.

And what I would say is really try and think about what's the type of personality you're looking for in a role. So for example, again, if you're looking for a product researcher, think about the specific things that you're looking for and look for confirmation that they have actually done that stuff in the past. Again, sometime people sell themselves well but if you ask for specific examples, they will probably not have it. Other people, you can ask for specific examples.

I mean a simple thing in finding detail oriented people is generally finding people who are naturally really good at Excel, because Excel is the same like development and accountant and stuff like that, they're all very detail oriented and majority of them, like if you take a sales guy and try to teach them how to program, they will never be successful. It absolutely will not happen just because their mindset is not logical enough to understand a code and to write it in a sensible way. So they will not be successful. And then spreadsheets specifically, people who are generally good with working with spreadsheets and reading spreadsheets and understanding spreadsheets are generally very, very detail oriented as an example.

Mike: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. So let's say you've hired someone for this customer service role, I’m thinking of like the types of roles that are kind of public facing. So customer service, social media management, marketing or something like that, where people you want them to have the autonomy to go off and do it but they're afraid to make that mistake or say the wrong thing or whatever. How do you help kind of correct that, course correct that or give them the confidence that they can do it?

Mads: Yeah, so a couple of things, again, giving people the authority in the beginning is really, really important, right? So I said, being clear that you're giving them ownership. Some people like yourself, if people give you a task; you take ownership no matter what.

Mike: Yeah.

Mads: But others, they feel uncomfortable. They're not like, oh, I don't know if I'm allowed to do this. I don't know if I have that authority to do this, right. So generally, my core management process is very simple, you make sure you do weekly one to ones with every one of your staff that report directly to you. So, not people that report to your managers, but only the people that report directly to you. And again, some of the things you've got to do there is definitely like how they're coping with tasks, how they’re coping with responsibility, and make sure you encourage it, right.

Some people have been in a job where they have been given authority, and really have gotten the confidence to do it. Some people need some encouragement to say, okay, you're doing well. I trust you, right? Similar when people always come and ask you questions. In the beginning, it's easy to just give the answers, but really what you want to do is you want to ask them for their opinion, what do you think? What's the right choice in your opinion, right? And when they constantly get the right choice, you then say, hey man, you always know what to do. You don't need to ask. And it's a little bit the same thing.

Again in the beginning in a new role, or when a new responsibility, it’s okay they come and ask like, hey, do you think this is a good idea? I mean, they're really looking for some confirmation that they're not lost, right? So it's okay to work a little bit with them in the beginning. I tend to always say yes, unless they're about to break my company, I say yes.

Mike: Yeah, I'm the same because, I mean, like a lot of things there's 50 different right answers, right? It might not be the exact same answer that you would have given, but there's lots of right answers on the spectrum of what you can say to a customer and responsibility. I mean, there's all kinds of ways you can word something or that you would do a lot with Facebook ads, like what audience you're trying or what age range or how long you're going to run it and how many split tests you're going to do.

There's a lot of like right answers to things you could do. And as long as they aren't doing something or saying something that's like ridiculous, then I tend to just go with it because you want to let them know that they have the autonomy and continue to want to do that versus kind of always telling them no which never gives them confidence.

Mads: Yeah, a lot of business owners fall in this trap. When people come up with something that’s like, oh no I don't think you should do that. I think you do it like this, right? And again it’s just there's no point. Now one of the horrible things that I realized was the other way of work just as well, meaning sometimes I was like, oh that's going to fail. And then they come back and deliver me better results than I ever expected. And I'm like…

Mike: We're going through that right now with our marketing person doing Facebook ads. So we've been kind of — I've been giving headline suggestions and marketing copy or whatever, but also letting her like create hers. And the ones that she came up with I’m like that's going to be embarrassing failure, and they've actually beat mine. So, sometimes this is how you actually become better as well, like letting people do their thing and sometimes they are better than you. I mean, there's definitely been a couple of Facebook tasks that have worked out that way. And so it's always be testing and trying new things, and you never know where things are going to go.

Mads: And the key thing again, as a business owner, again, if you're doing Facebook ads, it's not eight hours a day you do that.

Mike: Right yeah.

Mads: If you have someone that sit down and just focus on that, or it's a huge part of their responsibility, like yeah, they will make mistakes, but over time, they will really get significantly better than you. And that's where you want to get.

Mike: It was like the Malcolm Gladwell thing, right? I mean, those get to the 10,000 hours way before you will, because they can focus on it.

Mads: Exactly. And the fundamental aspect is that as long as you're the expert, the more areas you're the expert at in your business, the more dependent to listen to you. The second you’re your people will literally better in an individual aspect of you and pretty much anything, that's the time where you can step out of your business.

Mads: Yeah, right. That's the time where you can pick someone else to run the business because you have the knowledge within the business not in your head.

Mike: Yeah, I think it's possible to like know a little bit about everything and a lot about nothing. You can't possibly be like the best accountant, the best Facebook ads manager, the best social media manager, the best shipping guy or the best email marketing, best copywriter, package designer, graphic designer, web designer. I mean it's impossible to be the best in every one of these tasks. So bringing people in that are better than you I completely agree and plugging them in particular roles and we've done that here with Jacqueline and Madeline. I mean like trying to get people that are with way more experience.

But the struggle is and this is the thing I want to kind of segue into next is when do you do that? And then like you can't obviously as a young business hire all those different people. I just kind of mentioned all those expertise, so like which places – and let’s like kind of focus on e-commerce since we're kind of an e-commerce podcast because every business is different. Some businesses will need an accountant before they'll ever need a graphic designer and vice, or whatever. But for e-commerce I mean like what do you see as the first holes to plug for business owners trying to like hire these staff and get that person that's dedicated to a role?

Mads: So what I tend to go around, I have three things I look at when I look at delegation. I look at the things I hate doing, or things you hate doing. Because the thing is, it's like doing your yearly taxes, everyone hates doing it. It doesn't take that long but the problem is it's boggling your mind for months, right? It's sitting in the back of your head and it really it cripples you from doing a lot of other things effectively. So whenever you have stuff that you’re either really bad at or that you hate doing number one, because if you can get that stuff off your plate, you free up so much mental capacity and bandwidth that…

Mike: Yeah, yeah, sure. In life sure you should be enjoying what you're doing and not spending every day doing things you hate doing all day long.

Mads: Exactly right. And again if you get someone that loves doing just that thing, again, they're going to be better than you. Well, maybe even before they start.

Mike: There are people that love doing tedious stuff. Like, I mean, like they thrive on it. I mean, we have a couple of employees here that love doing tedious things, like they get enjoyment out of it versus me. I'm like, if I had to sit there and do copy, paste, copy, paste, copy paste to reply to the same type of question over and over and over again, I lose my mind.

Mads: One of my best example, I had a coaching client and she was like, oh yeah, I have this task and it's horrible. The team always fail doing it. It's every time they go on trips, they need to report expenses and they always do it wrong and all that. And I asked a simple thing, do you have one person in your team that are good at it? They said, yeah, I have one person. And I said; get that one person to do it for everyone. It's like, why would she do such a horrible task? I’m like if she's good at it, she likes it, to her it’s probably not horrible. And she’s like how, I don't believe that.

She actually went and talked to her. And like, within a couple of weeks, this girl was doing it for the entire team and she loved sitting punching receipts information into a spreadsheet. She loved doing that. She loved making sure everything was accurate. And the way it took off the team shoulders, like it eliminated like 99% of the mistakes because this person knew what they were doing, they like doing it and did it well.

Mike: Yeah, right.

Mads: A typical example. So other things is a time that takes up a lot of time for you. Now, a lot of time can always be relative, right? But again, if you have something taking up 30, 40, 50% of your time, that's probably a good place to start, both because if you can free up 50% of your time, that's a lot. But also, again, it's one of those things that just financially it makes the most sense to chunk away at the biggest object first, right? And sometimes with some of this stuff, in the beginning when you're a new business you can't afford to hire the biggest of the best. But even if you bring in a new person, and even if you still spend an amount of time on this thing for a period of time, eventually they will get there, right?


And the key thing for you is to make sure that over time, they again, become better, and they take over more and more. And eventually, you don't have to and then you can move on to the next off.

Mike: If they're spending 100% of their time on it, then they're going to get better at it naturally, right? Okay so things you hate, things that take up a lot of your time. What's the third one?

Mads: It's low priority items. So a lot of business owners still — so one of the things when I look at delegation, I always look at it as a pyramid, right? And for you to be worth more to your company, what you do should have a higher dollar value, right? So for example, if you're sitting, copying and pasting, even if it only takes you 10 minutes a day or whatever copying pasting stuff, that's like $2 an hour work.

Now if you're doing $2 an hour work, you're not doing $200 an hour work. So stuff that's worth very little to the company or stuff that could be done by someone getting paid a lot less than you is generally the third thing, right? So stuff that you do that are really simple, sometimes you can even get automated, like pay a guy onetime fee to build an automation or something, but sometimes it's easier to do it with manpower, right? But that's the third thing.

So we're looking at stuff where — and that's even when you grow your ecommerce business, the way you look at your managers is the same way, how do you get them to delegate the stuff that have the lowest value so they can get more stuff from you. One of the key fundamentals like hiring experts into business or hiring higher level managers can be great and it can fail, because when you hire someone into a business, they come with experience, they come with their way of doing things, and that's very different from how you do it. Sometimes that can actually wreck a company.

It's always easier to hire people in the bottom and then grow people from within. Now sometimes if your company grows at a significant scale, that's difficult, and you need to hire at higher levels. But when you can hire from the bottom and promoting from within, it means they get the culture, you know how they work, you know how they think and when you promote them, you generally know what to expect. Whereas when you — I have seen a lot of times a manager coming in from the outside, I've seen it with a few SEO companies where this manager come in and have a totally different view of how to do SEO.

Again there's not a right or wrong way to do it, but different ways. And it means he then spent three months redoing like everything they have done the last six months because he had a different way of looking at it, and then eventually end up realizing it wasn't a good fit and you have to start all over.

Mike: They are all wrong anyway because the algorithm keeps changing. You wait long enough, it’s going to be wrong no matter what.

Mads: Exactly right, and that's the whole fundamental thing. So I'm a keen believer in always bringing up people from the bottom. I mean my team in the Philippines like I hired literally 18 year old people in the beginning, a guy straight out of college or whatever and some of these guys are managing 20, 30 people now. And they're like some of my best employees is somebody youngest. So it's not an age thing, it's not — like again, when you find the right people, like for me attitude and mentality trumps anything, right. I mean if you find people who really, really, really want to really burn for what they do, who want to be successful, who want to make it a success, I really don't care what skills they have.

Mike: Attitude is like 90% of it, right?

Mads: It is right. I mean, I'll take 80% less skill or 10% attitude, right.

Mike: I agree. I mean, and I can relate to that because I feel like that's my personality. Like I don't have any skills, like I didn't have any skills. And whatever it was I was doing, I figured it out. But I have the attitude of like, I will figure this out. And in this day and age, there's no excuse, really. I mean, Google and YouTube are such a great resource that if you can't figure stuff out, then you probably aren't going to be a good fit here, because it's so easy to figure out realistically.

Mads: That's my own career. I mean, when I first joined Xerox, like I hadn't even finished college or the equivalent, and then Mike right. And I literally have no not even formal college education. But I went into Xerox and I realized really quickly what I wanted to do with management, right? And everyone was telling me; oh go take this four year management degree. And I was like, no way I'm going to spend four years sitting in school. And I went out, I learned it. And I realized really quickly even though every job role on a job board says you need to have this degree, the one thing that matters is can you deliver results? And if you show people you deliver results consistently, you will have a good time.

And like I worked with IBM for about five years and I think I held seven different positions, and like a lot of promotions. And it's like if you show you can deliver, and if you show you do a good job like, again, like in your own business, it doesn't matter if you're following the right rules, and it doesn't matter like what you do in that regard. What matters is do you deliver the right results. Actually, one of my favorite books is First Break All the Rules: What the World's Best Managers Do Differently. And what's so great about this book, it goes in and looks at all these successful people. And it looks at how different they are, right?

One of the problems is, many people go in and say, oh, I want to be like Elon Musk. Dude, you're not an asshole; you'll never be like Elon Musk. But if you try and be someone you're not, you're not going to be successful. You need to figure out what is it within you that makes you successful? How can you utilize your strength to be the best possible manager? And that book really sums up, it really shows a lot of good examples of people who are really, really successful doing things their way. So that's really important.

Mike: Very cool. Unfortunately we're already 35 minutes into this thing. So I got a ton of — we have to get you back on for a part two someday next time we catch up in somewhere over in Asia maybe when I'm over that way. But I know you do this stuff for a bunch of people. You're here with Dave Haas who is I know how much his business has grown because of so much stuff you've helped him with. So, if people are looking for business coaching or Philippines manager or management of their staff over there, how can they find you and all that good stuff.

Mads: Madssingers.com is my main website. So, actually our VA outsourcing business doesn't even have a website. We are growing too fast already and we can't handle the scale at the moment. But yeah, I mean we love working specifically with e-commerce guys and SEO guys. So if you're within that business, definitely hit me up and I'll be happy to help.

Mike: Okay and spell the website just so people can make sure they find it.

Mads: Yeah, Mads, M-A-D-S and then Singers S-I-N-G-E-R-S.com.

Mike: Madssingers.com, we'll throw it in the show notes. Well, I thank you so much for coming on and doing the show today. And you're doing a little bit of a tour of the US, you're heading off to Denver next and then over to Europe, right?

Mads: Yeah, we're heading to Denver for a mastermind with Ezra Firestone. So and that will be — we were there in Nashville earlier this year, and it's got to be another good round I think.

Mike: I think so. Cool. Well, safe travels and hopefully we'll catch up again soon.

Mads: Thank you very much Mike.

Mike: And that's a wrap folks. I hope you enjoyed the 168th edition of the EcomCrew Podcast. Just one more reminder, you can go to EcomCrew.com/168 to get to the show notes for this episode. And if you've been enjoying the EcomCrew Podcast, I'm down on my knees begging and groveling and pleading, please leave us a review if you get a chance. I know it's a pain in the butt. But head over to iTunes, leave us a review.

We're at about 102 reviews as of recording this, but we have tens of thousands of listeners. So, you guys have got to go leave a review for us. It helps us get noticed more. It helps us be able to rank higher and stay motivated to keep putting out this awesome content. And for those of you who have left a review, I want to thank you personally again for doing that and taking the time to do it. It's much appreciated. So, until the next episode everybody, happy selling, and we'll talk to you then.

Michael Jackness

Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.


  1. Hi Mike, this interview with Mads Singers was amazing! Great questions and very insightful answers on delegating and building a great team. I read that book that Mad loves – First Break All The Rules, many years ago. Time to read it again.

    1. He’s an awesome guy as well! One of the most intelligent people I’ve met when it comes to staff management for small companies (not just VAs).

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