EP 008: Why This Entrepreneur Still Flies Solo, Without a VA


Digital futurist, keynote speaker, and multi-hyphenate Brian Fanzo has done a lot of soul-searching over the years. He knows that being brutally honest with yourself is one of the keys to successful entrepreneurship (and successful human-hood, honestly).

So Brian has done the introspection and knows who he is. He was diagnosed with ADHD in his early 30s and has found ways to turn his ADHD traits into superpowers—things that fuel his creativity and work. 

He’s learned that he is a textbook extrovert and gets much of his energy from connecting with other people. That’s why podcasting and public speaking are such natural fits for him and his talents. 

And he’s aware of his propensity to over-deliver, overthink, and feel in service to others—sometimes to a fault. Whether that’s creating an elaborate video response to what could have been a simple email or hesitating in hiring help because he doesn’t want to be a burden to another professional, he can recognize this trait in himself.

Brian has done many of the things we at Don’t Panic Management recommend to those who are thinking about hiring a VA. He’s tracked his time to see where his hours go each week. He’s identified the tasks he dreads doing that could probably be delegated. But Brian has come out on the other side of this work still firm in his conviction that a VA is not the right fit for him.

Brian says the main thing holding him back is the irregularity of his work. As someone who (prior to 2020, at least) derived the bulk of his income from public speaking, he’s at the whims of a seasonal business.

He also does work as a creator, writer, and influencer, but like many of his speaking gigs, these projects are one-offs. He’s not embedded in a team somewhere. His workload and tasks shift constantly.

Brian hasn’t made the decision to forego an assistant blindly. Prior to his life as an entrepreneur, he held a number of more traditional roles where he had access to an assistant. 

Now, as an entrepreneur, Brian channels his ADHD energy into doing a little bit of everything. He loves bouncing from one task to another. And because he’s done the internal work of really knowing himself, he can usually stop himself from falling into rabbit holes along the way.

But as the insightful and attuned person he is, Brian is still able to identify the benefits of working with someone. And he also knows the myth of entrepreneurship—that everyone is out there, hustling hard and doing it all themselves—is, in fact, false. So while he still hasn’t partnered with a VA just yet, he remains in the “never say never” camp when it comes to hiring a righthand person in his business.

Key Takeaways

  • Self-awareness is the key to a better life—personally and professionally. Be so honest with yourself that you uncover things you wouldn’t want your closest friends, partner, or family to know.
  • Hiring a VA isn’t really about what the hire gives you back, it’s about what you aren’t forced to give up when you have a second set of hands.
  • Learn how to block your time in a way that makes sense for you. Morning person? Do your heavy-lifting in the AM. Night owl? Do strategic deep-dives after the rest of the household is asleep. There is no one-size-fits-all model for productivity.

Top Quotes

“Me onstage is, ‘Know what you don’t know, and surround yourself with people who know what you don’t.’ I 1,000% agree.” – Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz on the value of working with others to fill your #knowledge gaps. Click To Tweet “If I am not hyper-transparent about, not only my ADHD but also how I work, it’s not going to work.” – Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz on why #transparency is key in a VA/client relationship. Click To Tweet “[In the past,] I allowed other people to determine what I considered valuable. And you can’t really push back on that until you are so hyper-self-aware.” – Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz on the importance of #selfawareness Click To Tweet

Resources From This Episode

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