Customer Spotlight

How the CEO of Co Lab generated $100k revenue with the help of her Double

Customer since 2021
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA
Professional Training & Coaching

Maxine Minter loves her job because she loves working with people: “There’s nothing more joyful than watching someone grow and supporting them,” she says. Whether it’s the moment a leader nails a tough conversation with a team member that unblocks an issue, or when an idea is executed flawlessly, Maxine’s goal is to empower people to do their best work.

That’s just one of the reasons she started Co Lab, a network of C-suite leaders and coaches who guide company leadership and operations teams to success.

Through coaching, advising, and training, Co Lab helps leaders and teams achieve growth and excellence in their businesses. Leaders get access to a highly curated network that offers the guidance necessary to take their professional paths to the next level. Co Lab strives to empower companies from the most impactful points within their organizations, so it focuses on leadership and operations teams.

Maxine is Co Lab’s CEO, which means she runs the entire company. She does high-level work, like setting strategy for sales and product, and on the ground work, like holding conversations with clients and coaches. She’s responsible for building Co Lab’s community of vetted coaches, which involves relationship building and networking with folks ranging from seasoned CEOs to subject matter experts and university professors. She also handles all operational and administrative work, like making sure client notices go out on time, and overseeing the company’s finances. Last but not least, she works with customers to make sure they’re happy, engages the community, and connects coaches to one another to help them level up, too.

“Intellectually, being the CEO of Co Lab is fascinating: We partner with the best in the world to nerd out on leadership and operations, both of which I’m passionate about,” she says. It’s true: Maxine is obsessed with getting the most out of her day. As a former attorney, she got used to billing in six minute increments—and now plans her day in 15 minute chunks. She also labels her calendar and tracks time in Airtable to see how she’s spending her days.

But dedicating her (highly efficient and planned) days to helping leaders and operations teams succeed isn’t without its challenges. “My biggest priority with respect to the business changes every so often, but my most enduring challenge is staying thoughtful, present, and engaged with the people I’m interacting with,” Maxine says. “The hardest part of growing Co Lab is scaling my ability to interact with thoughtfulness.”

Too much time spent on administrative work

To overcome the challenge of finding the time and energy to engage with everyone—in between running a business and helping the world’s best leaders and operations teams get top-notch coaching—Maxine developed several strategies to stay on top of her processes and thoughtful with her interactions:

An obsession with operations: Maxine believes in automating work when possible. To that end, she’s built systems that enable humans to do the most human part of the process and systematized everything else away.

Thinking ahead: “I believe in the concept of a constitutional moment, where you think about how you want to respond to a circumstance before it arises,” Maxine says. “So when the circumstance presents itself, you can respond instead of reacting.” To do this, Maxine has built a lot of ‘if this, then that’ process algorithms that support her on things, such as which kinds of emails get which responses.

Prioritizing, aggressively: Maxine always prioritizes what she will and won’t engage with. “I prefer to do a good job on a handful of things than be spread so thin that I’m not able to show up in the way I want to,” she explains. So, for example, she’s decided she wants to respond to pitch decks with care (because in addition to being a CEO, she’s also an angel investor!). As a founder, she’s experienced the flippant responses some investors send that can be demoralizing and painful. As a result, she prioritized building a process that enables her to save founders from a negative interaction and communicate value to them.

It was when Maxine realized that she wasn’t getting to the end of her inbox every day and spending much of her time on admin tasks that she knew something had to change. “I knew that as Co Lab grew, the administrative load wouldn’t slow, so a more optimized system was the only way to get there,” she says. But, when the business got to the point where it had sufficient cash flow to hire someone, Maxine didn’t have enough work for a full-time employee or the time to hire a recruiting agency.

Building trust with her Double

To begin with, Maxine developed a job description to outline what she was looking for in an EA. It included helping with Co Lab’s CRM, expenses, payroll, and her email inbox. She also wanted someone to develop prospect lists, manage LinkedIn, Twitter, and her calendar, and provide admin support with scheduling, templatizing, reporting, and researching.

When she brought her Double on board, Maxine delegated tasks based on a trust waterfall: “I believe in building layers of trust—one through three—after someone has demonstrated their abilities and trustworthiness,” she says. Level three is the top level of trust, where she knows someone can execute from beginning to end. But she knew that it would set her Double up for failure if she put them in trust level three from the beginning. “Even if you know they can do a task, you need the chance to confirm and resolve issues as they come up,” she explains.

So she started with her Double at trust level one to build the foundations. This included working on basic data entry, adding things to Airtable, draft scheduling, buying travel, and expense management. Over time, she gave her more and more responsibility. Now, Maxine’s Double has reached trust level three. She owns Maxine’s email inboxes, manages the leadership handbook product segment of Co Lab, handles all client scheduling and Maxine’s calendar, and manages other support tools and staff that automate Maxine’s processes.

Scaling herself—with the help of her Double

Maxine’s Double has done exactly what Maxine hoped: she’s enabled her to scale herself so that she—and Co Lab—can do more. “Being able to scale myself is the biggest benefit of my Double,” she says. “Knowing that the quality of the person who is stepping in is as high as if I were doing the work myself means that every interaction with clients, founders, or friends, will be thoughtful and engaging.”

With scaling herself comes a better ability to focus on generating opportunities and revenue for Co Lab. For example, instead of spending hours drafting responses to emails, Maxine can spend an hour pitching clients. And when she calculates the dollar value of this time spent actively creating value for Co Lab, it amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

What’s more, Maxine has peace of mind. “There’s a huge mental relief in knowing there’s a safe pair of hands managing parts of my work, which is great for my overall mental health,” she says. Instead of worrying about all of the balls in the air, Maxine knows that her Double has a big bucket that will help her catch them.

Finally, using technology alongside her Double helps Maxine get even more out of their relationship. “The Double app is always open on my split screen,” she says. They use the app to manage tasks and leave detailed notes in a shared workspace. Having everything in one place streamlines their working process and leaves no task behind

Empowering herself to empower her customers

As someone who’s obsessed with building systems that empower humans to do the most human part of the work and systematizing the rest away, Maxine has found the perfect balance between technology and humanity in Double. “My Double helps me automate processes so that all I have to do is inject my thoughtfulness where it’s needed,” she says.

With her Double, the work that used to bog down her day happens seamlessly and she can focus on driving value, whether it’s through generating revenue or making someone feel seen and heard on their journey as a leader of a company. “The way I see it, we all benefit from the support I get from my Double,” she says

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