Hey, thanks for tuning in to another Partner Spotlight interview at OutsourceSchool.
My name is Connor Gillivan. I’m the CMO and an Owner of Outsource School.
We’re on a mission to help 10,000+ business owners master hiring virtual assistants and freelancers, and industry partnerships is a big way that we’re able to make it happen.
We’re all about creating win-win partnerships where we are able to grow with other companies in the eCommerce, agency, SAAS, and online space.
In this exclusive interview, we interview Mary Zargarian from Zargarian Consulting.
Connor: Hey Mary, thanks for taking the time to chat with us here. We love getting to know our partners better so that our community can benefit from what our partners are offering and doing in the industry. To get started, can you give us a high level overview of Zargarian Consulting and how it got started?
Mary: Zargarian Consulting helps organizations be more effective towards their big goals by transforming with innovative technology, scalable business processes and high-performing teams. My background is in corporate human resources, focusing on helping leaders and organizations do this very thing. Now, we take the same methodologies and approach to SMBs and Non-profit organizations who may or may not have had the access to resources and support to do these things in-house.
Connor: Love that! Can you dive a bit more into how you help transform organizations with innovative technology, scalable business processes and high-performing teams? I’m sure our audience would love to know exactly what problems you could solve for them.
Mary: Absolutely! We begin by gaining a crystal-clear understanding of a client’s organizational objectives. Are they seeking to enhance innovation without expanding their workforce? Perhaps they’re entering a growth phase and need to ensure seamless scalability. Or maybe they’re aiming to resolve existing issues that are hindering progress. These are just a few examples of what we can explore together. We then delve into various aspects of their business, including organizational structure, business processes, system utilization, and the culture they foster for their teams to flourish. If there is any misalignment between their goals and current status, that’s when we roll up our sleeves and collaborate with our clients to drive change.
Connor: Jumping off of that…if there was one problem you’d say that Zargarian Consulting solves best for your clients, what would it be? Why?
Mary: I believe it’s about maximizing the investments a business has already made to achieve their intended goals. Frequently, clients have the necessary tools and personnel in place to accomplish significant feats, but they fail to fully utilize these resources. Consequently, they end up with underutilized tools, redundant efforts, and confusion regarding roles within the organization. This creates a vicious cycle of unproductive meetings, busy work, and a sense that additional personnel and systems are required to resolve issues.
Connor: As the company continues to grow over the next year, what are your plans for expansion? Any new products or offerings or enhancements to your current products?
Mary: It took us a little while to get to the point of clarity we are at with our market and our offers. Now, it’s a matter of building up brand awareness with who we are and what we do.
We just launched a new (and dare we say free) online community for service professionals so we can all support each other through the work that we do. I’m a huge believer in enabling others to do amazing things and this is our way to encourage that type of communal support. Later this year our vision for the membership is to have a paid tier that allows access to trainings, templates, and other valuable resources.
We are also about to open up public workshops focused on leadership development and team effectiveness on topics like Personal Influence, Conflict Management, and Collaborative Connections to name a few. This is already something that we are working with clients on behind the scenes to offer to their teams. Now, we’ll be hosting these for the public to sign up for an upcoming session for their own professional development.
Connor: And how specifically would you say that Zargarian Consulting and your team is different from other similar businesses in the industry?
Mary: Often for the type of work that we do, corporations turn to the big McKinsey and Deloitte consulting firms. These organizations have large global teams that do heavy research and come with a hefty pricetag, making them inaccessible and disconnected from the SMB and non-profit markets we serve. Smaller organizations that offer what we do are often coaches who have done a lot of work around individual or small group leadership development, but don’t always have the business process, systems, and consultative approach that we do.
One of our strengths is that we can meet a business where they are at. We won’t throw out huge, crazy change recommendations for an organization that is burned out by change. We won’t recommend system migrations and alot of investment if they have tools today that can be optimized for their growing needs. This approach is what our clients say they love about us – and why many of them are coming back as repeat relationships!
Connor: What’s your outsourcing story? We find that everyone has a different experience when outsourcing and hiring online. What is your first memory that comes to mind?
Mary: At this point last year I was running my business as an operations agency and my whole team of 8 were all contractors. Each of them were running their own freelance businesses and serving other clients in addition to our work. Today, my team are still contractors and although I have condensed the team to meet our new priorities, I still believe in the power of intrapreneurship – having a team of entrepreneurs helping me co-create a business with that spirit.
With the way the world is changing and typical corporate roles are being let go left and right, I see this as a prime opportunity for our team to help organizations reevaluate their org design and adapt with the change.
Connor: Love it! Talking more about outsourcing, what advice would you give to yourself if you were just about to start outsourcing and hiring online?
Mary: Do it! Look for that spirit and drive in someone just as much as the experience and skillset to do the work. That innate quality in someone to be curious, dig in and look for a different way to solve a problem is what will ultimately give you relief with the tasks you are looking to delegate.
Connor: How about this one…how do you communicate with the people you hire online? What’s your best practices there and how has it changed over time?
Mary: When I first started with my team, I wanted anything and everything to be in our project management tool. I fought the need for Slack for a while because I had so much negative baggage associated with it from my corporate days. One team member suggested we give it a go and I’m glad I listened. It’s given us a platform to get each other’s attention on work.
I have Zapier integrating Slack with our CRM and project management systems so they are all working together in one amazing ecosystem. Now when a new inquiry comes into the CRM, it’s announced on slack in our #new-leads channel. Then when a contract is signed a new channel specific to that client is automatically set up, as well as a client project folder and account management project in our ClickUp tool. It saves us so much time and we know exactly where to go to work together for each client.
Connor: Finally, this is one that I think our community will love, who’s been your best online hire? What do they do for you? Why are they your best hire? Tell us all about them and that story!
Mary: Oh wow, there have been a few of them but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my right-hand consultant that’s still with me, Maia. Maia reached out to me following a spotlight I received as an Online Business Manager to watch in 2022. We had a great conversation about what she does and how she could potentially be someone that I could have as a primary consultant for clients.
The business has evolved over the past year, but she’s been right there with me through that evolution – providing me feedback along the way as well as asking for feedback. Her willingness to learn and adapt and talk through all ideas big and small with me has made us a great team.
Connor: As we close this out, I just have one more question. Where is the best place to find and follow you and the company online? Also, if you have one, is there any special offer that you’ll be offering to the community today?
Mary: You can find us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/zargarian/ or at https://www.linkedin.com/in/maryzargarian. Our website is https://www.zargarian.org and where you can also find out more information about our new community and soon-to-be upcoming workshops. Looking for a more personal side of being a service provider? Then you’ll want to head on over to Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/coachmaryz.
Join the email list and get early access and pricing to our new workshops. We’re so excited to be releasing them very soon! You can sign up over at https://www.zargarian.org/articles.