Today, we’re talking about one of my very favorite things in the topic of productivity: technology. I tell people all the time that if I could just set up people’s offices with Apple technology so that they could be paperless and wildly productive, I would be in heaven. Technology is an amazing tool if used properly, but it can get out of hand when you end up with more apps and technology than you could ever use and when you end up spending more time and money on apps and tech than you’re saving. When you’re looking at using technology to increase your productivity, there are three things you want to ask yourself:
First, what is the job that needs to be done here? You have to know what you're doing before you figure out how to do it or else you may spend much more time on a simple task than you should. Sometimes we get so set in our ways of doing things that we don’t take the time to think through processes and the steps it takes to get something done. So before you pull in technology, double check and make sure you’ve got solid processes in place, then use the technology to help things go faster.
Next, ask yourself “Is this app going to save time or money?” When I’m looking at a new tool or app to pull into my business, the thing I’m always thinking about is whether or not this is going to save me time. If something is going to save me 5 hours in a week, it’s a no brainer. Also, hiring an app or a piece of software to do a job is so much less expensive than paying a person (even yourself) to do it.
Finally, you need to ask “Will this app fit into the way I like to do things?” Consider if the app will be something that will play to your strengths and be something you will actually use. For me, I communicate better through videos than through messaging, but that’s just a personal preference. Just because I do it one way doesn’t mean that you’ll want to do it that way. You have to make sure that the technology you use fits your style.
These questions may seem overwhelming, but this week, I want you to take some action. Take a look at the technology you’re using during the day. Do you know how to use it all? Are there things you’re not using right now? Are there things you need to learn? Are there new apps you need to consider adding to your stack? Asking these questions will help you answer the big questions we’ve talked about today. Getting your time back by using technology is a no-brainer, but you have to actually commit to trying new things and to using the things you have if you want to increase your productivity.
“It doesn’t matter if everyone is using a piece of technology if it doesn’t fit with who you are and how you like to do things.”
“We want these tools and technology to be a permanent part of how you think about productivity in your business.”
Pay attention, new business owners. Our guest today has something that I needed to know ten years ago, and it can fast track you as an entrepreneur. Even if you’re a seasoned business owner, you might learn something new today. Our guest, Sylvia Inks, is a finance expert, and we are talking about the five tools that every business owner needs. These tools are so helpful, and they lead to increased productivity and sanity of mind, so I know that you’ll get so many good nuggets today!
As all of you small business owners know, there’s a lot to invest in when you are first starting out. Sometimes, you don’t have the funds to get it all. Out of Sylvia’s five basic tools, there is one that she suggests investing in first: a scheduling tool. Scheduling tools will arrange your appointments for you and will save you from time-consuming emails as you try to schedule appointments. Sylvia’s preference is booklikeaboss because it offers multiple appointment types. Whatever tool you use, it will definitely have a positive impact on both you and your clients.
Once you have the first tool, there are 4 other tools you should get as you’re starting your business. You will want a contract signing tool because it helps you get things signed faster, and that increases your productivity so that you can start working instead of waiting for something to get signed. Sylvia also suggests getting freshbooks to keep track of invoices and payments. This next one is so important: get a cloud system. You’ll never have the pain of losing important documents if you have them in a cloud. Sylvia suggests using Microsoft 365 because you are the undisputed owner of all documents you upload. Finally, make sure you have at least one business bank account. You can have multiple business accounts that serve different functions, but make sure that your business accounts are completely separate from your personal accounts. These five tools that we talk about are essential for every new and seasoned business owner.
I absolutely love Sylvia’s five tools because they will increase your productivity, something that I am passionate about. Many of these tools simplify your processes so that you can make more money and have more time doing the things that you love. If you want more details on these tools so that you can increase your productivity, I invite you to listen to the podcast!
#1 tool business owners need to invest in
5 tools business owners should start out with
“People don’t realize that if you don’t have a scheduling tool, and it takes 3-5 emails to get an appointment time with you or a consultation call with a prospect, you could potentially lose a sale.”
“If a prospect is excited and wants to work with you, get them committed. Once they sign the contract, they’re even more committed.”
If you’re like many of my clients, you might be sitting at your desk right now surrounded by piles of post-it notes or notebooks full of to-do lists. There’s so much we need to get done in a day, and I don’t know about you, but in the past, I used to look up and wonder where the day had gone. I was in meetings all day, and then I would realize I had a to-do list that was full of things to do and no time to do them! Today, I will be teaching you about time blocking, a practice that is foundational to my massive productivity. If you do it consistently, it will get you closer to your goal of having the balance and the peace of mind you crave.
Time block is not time tracking. Time tracking is when you figure out how long something will take to finish. Time blocking, on the other hand, is when we block off the time in our calendar to get things done. We’re removing that disconnect between writing things down on the to-do list and actually making time to accomplish those things. When you block off time to complete tasks on your calendar - even 15 minutes at a time - it changes the game.
I’m going to walk you through how to do this real quick. The first thing you’re going to do is block off the things that you need to do for yourself and for your family. As an entrepreneur, you are the machine that keeps the business running, and if you don’t take care of yourself, if the machine breaks, the whole thing falls apart. You might need to block off time to eat or to exercise. You might even need to block off time to sleep. Make sure you block off these essential things first.
The next thing you’re going to do is block off the meetings and appointments you need to attend on your calendar. Make sure that all this time is accounted for, including the time it takes to drive to the meeting or appointment. Then, with the time you have left, look at your to do list and allot time to complete those tasks on your calendar. If you’re not sure how long it will take you to complete something, make your best guess. You can always add a block of time later. Add the list items to your calendar until everything has a time assigned to it. Now your mind doesn’t need to be anxious! You can just move from thing to thing on your calendar and know that you aren’t missing anything and that you have time to get everything done. It’s so freeing!
I know that if you try this, it will make all the difference in the world. This habit, this practice is what allows me to show up in all the areas of my life present and focused and with the confidence that I’m getting shit done. My challenge for you is to give this a try! Plan some time tomorrow to block out next week. You can be present and balanced and have a great weekend if you give this a try!
“When you block off time to complete tasks on your calendar—even 15 minutes at a time—it changes the game. You know that you have allotted time to complete the tasks you need to complete.”
“Time blocking is the foundational practice and habit that turns your frustration into freedom.”
If you’re in branding, this podcast is one you’re going to want to listen to because we’re really going to dive into how to decode your story brand. Now, before you think that you know all of this stuff already, you should know that you probably don’t. Even though I work with these ideas all the time, I am always learning something new from every single person that I talk to. Our guest today is Aleya Harris. Aleya is a StoryBrand certified guide, so she has so much wisdom to share on branding.
Something you may not realize is that your brand story is not about you. It’s all about your client and how you can help them. Your client is the hero, and you are their guide. This concept comes directly from Campbell’s hero’s journey. It works so well because people naturally see themselves as the heroes of their own stories. What they need is not another hero to compete with, but a guide that can help them overcome obstacles. You want to make sure that your role as a guide and the problem that you will help your hero overcome are very clear to your clients.
Your role and the problem you solve are essential parts of your brand, and that brand must be in everything you do. Your brand story should be in your social media posts, podcasts, blogs, and emails. Remember that everything you do should contribute in some way to your overall story. If something doesn’t align with your brand, you need to change it or get rid of it.
Something you must understand about your brand story is that it is always evolving, so don’t be afraid of change! You will need to adapt your story to new problems as the needs of your clients change. As you make these pivots, be absolutely certain that you are consistent. Make sure that you update all of your content as soon as possible because different stories in different places just creates confusion for your clients.
I love the StoryBrand Framework so much, and I love getting to talk to passionate people like Aleya about it. Having a brand story is foundational for everything you do. It is a basic framework that you can use to drive your processes over and over again. It also helps you connect with people because your focus shifts from you to them. In the end, it leads to more productivity and profitability. If you want to learn more about story brands, please listen to this podcast!
What is a brand story?
How to incorporate your brand story into everything you do
How to let your brand story evolve
“You need to package yourself, and the first part of your package is the problem that you solve.”
“Your brandstory should be in every word you write, regardless of where it is.”
“You don’t need to hold on to everyone...You have to realize that people are not always meant to be in your life forever.”
Even though I had to wait a few months, this guest was worth the wait. You all know how to wait for good things, and today, the wait is finally over! I know that all of you are a leader in some way, but just because you call yourself a leader doesn’t mean you’re actually livin’ it and doin’ it. And even when you’re not leading, you need to be following the right leaders. You’re definitely going to want to listen to this podcast because we are going to be talking about the qualities of leadership that you can build in yourself and that the leaders you should follow have inside. Our guest is Tim Spiker, founder of The Aperio, a leadership development brand. Tim has over 15 years of experience in leadership, and he has some real truth to share.
One of the biggest things you should take away from Tim is the “who not what” principle. Tim says that leadership is not about what people do, but about who they are. How do people feel when they are around you? You can’t expect to lead people who don’t like and respect you as a person. Think about a big, beautiful tree: you don’t see the roots, but the roots are what make the tree what it is. Leaders, like beautiful trees, are grounded below the surface, and that’s what makes them successful.
Leaders are made up of two main qualities: they are inwardly sound and others-focused. They are inwardly sound because they are not easily thrown off course. Their stability encourages people to trust them. When you are trustworthy, the engagement of those around you increases, which leads to better results. If you wonder how you can build people’s trust in you, ask yourself how you can become more trustworthy first. Again, your ability to lead has everything to do with who you are inside. Remember also that good leaders are unselfish. They want others, especially those in their charge, to thrive.
If you are looking to build the qualities of a leader in yourself, start with focusing on others. Develop genuine curiosity in the lives and perspectives of other people. Ask them follow-up questions. Then, focus on improving yourself by asking for feedback from others on what you could do better. This takes courage, and keeping yourself from becoming defensive is so hard, but you’ll learn so much if you do! If right now you are looking for leaders to follow, make sure that they are others-focused and inwardly sound. There is so much more to learn about leaders worth following, so I hope you’ll join us by listening to the podcast!
The “Who not What” principle
Aspects of a well-developed leader
Tips on developing yourself as a leader
“We have to work on who we are if we want the part of leadership that everybody sees and follows to be big and strong and healthy.”
“When we get inwardly sound and others-focused, we become more trustworthy.”
“The best leaders are self-aware, and they create space for genuine feedback from the people that they are leading so they can understand where they’re doing well and where their shortcomings are.”
If you’re wondering how to drive your revenue and how to do work that actually makes you proud, then you’re going to love our podcast today! Some people think that you have to sacrifice your sense of purpose to make money, but they are so wrong! You can be fulfilled and successful at the same time. In fact, doing what you feel called to do can make you even more successful. Today, we’re bringing in Lisa McLeod, the global expert on selling with purpose. Together, we’ll talk about your noble purpose and how it can be a huge asset in your career.
Purpose, profit, and productivity are all connected. According to Lisa, the top performers in sales are usually the ones who have a purpose. These are the individuals who care about more than just the money. They care about the individuals. We’ve all had experiences with slimy car salesmen, and let's face it, none of us have enjoyed them. Those people don’t care, and we can tell. These people are not the top performers, but we associate them with everything sales. The real salespeople are the ones who care about their jobs and customers, and they are the ones who are truly successful. Their sense of purpose gives them a competitive edge that leads to greater success.
A purpose can be a hard thing to find and maintain, and there are a few things we do that make these things even harder. Even though we are wired to want to make a difference, we get caught up in numbers or money instead. We focus too much on closing a deal and not enough on helping someone get what they need. The more we focus on making a difference, the better we are doing at accomplishing our purpose.
One thing you absolutely need to have in order to fulfill your purpose is empathy. Most of us women have an easier time tapping into it, but men can do it too. You may use stories to encourage empathy because stories help us connect with each other. Stories generate emotion in listeners and in tellers. They will help customers, clients, and even you feel connected through empathy. Empathy can turn your purpose into impact. If you would like to share our journey as we discuss the power of purpose, please listen to the podcast!
The link between purpose and profit
Things that get in the way of our purpose
How to tap into empathy
“When you have that sense of noble purpose in your heart, you can translate that to your customers, and you will actually drive more revenue.”
“Your passion for making a difference to customers is your competitive edge.”
“You want to take the emotion out of the money and put the emotion into making a difference to your customers.”
I hope that y’all are ready to get the rundown on how to really become an entrepreneur because, if you’re listening, and something is holding you back, we’re going to change that today. Our guest is Sean Castrina, a serial entrepreneur. I know you hear of serial entrepreneurs a lot, but Sean is different. He has started more than 20 different companies in the last two decades, and he still looks to launch a new venture annually. Because of all this experience, Sean really understands where and how good businesses start, so that’s what we are talking about today.
You all know that the small business world is risky and that so many small businesses fail. Why is this? To Sean, it probably starts with the initial idea. Some of us get so excited about our ideas that we don’t stop to think if they’re even good ideas. Bad ideas don’t work. It is hard to tell which ideas are bad or good when we’re just so eager. Because of this, we need outside input. Start asking people if your ideas sound good. There is nothing wrong with testing the market with your ideas before they become a reality. In fact, this will save you time and money because you’ll know if there is any demand for your idea.
As you make your good ideas a reality, you should really follow some kind of business plan. If you can’t build a home without a blueprint, then how do you expect to build a business without a plan? Every plan has critical components, and there are questions you must ask yourself to get started. Sean has his own list of good questions, but the more questions you ask, the more you will know.
Even though you’re beginning as a humble small business, you can still think like a Fortune 500 company. Think big, dream big. You got this. Once things get rolling, don’t allow your business to stop growing. You’ve got to keep feeding it. Eventually, things will grow, so don’t be afraid to have confidence in your vision from the start. There is so much more to learn from Sean, so if you entrepreneurs are looking for even more amazing beginner’s advice, start here with our podcast!
- Why so many small businesses fail
- The necessity of a business plan
- How to think like a Fortune 500 Company
- “An idea that is untexted has no value because you don’t know how well it’s going to be received.”
- “It’s never going to be perfect. You’re never going to have everything perfect, but a business plan has some very critical components that you need.”
- “Get the survival mode out of your mind and start thinking about how you are going to grow.”
If you’re a small business owner or if you’re thinking about opening a small business, understanding financing and credit are so important. It is crucial that you understand what you are doing when you are running or thinking of running a small business. Our guest today, Gerri Detweiler, is an absolute expert on all of the things that you need to know. Even though these are the not-so-fun things about running a business, Gerri actually makes it fun and enjoyable to talk about them. She and I are talking about some of the things you need to know about credit and financing.
If you’re in need of financing, there’s a few things you should know. 2020, crazy year that it was, changed a lot about financing. The usual processes are taking much longer, and lenders are much stricter with their requirements. They are asking for higher credit scores, higher revenue levels, and more time in business than they did previously. You should know that they will look at your business credit scores, and in some cases, your personal credit scores too. Be aware of these things and make decisions with them in mind.
So many of you have wonderful dreams, and you give up so much for them. When you want to fund these dreams, there are other ways to go about it besides second mortgaging your house. Before you do anything crazy, make sure you have a business mentor that you can talk to about your ideas! An easy thing you can try is crowdfunding. There are a lot of other options too, and you should definitely look at all of them before acting.
When handling your finances, you need to keep them clean and organized. Get a separate business bank account and credit card and do not ever use them for things other than business. Keep your personal and business finances separate. Trust me, it will save you from huge headaches. Also, try not to use your account overdrafts. Lenders may look at your accounts and see overdraft usages as risky behavior.
You should try to look at your finances at least once a month. Take time to reconcile, or ensure that your records are accurate, every month. Checking your accounts every month is super beneficial because it helps you learn a lot about your business and what has happened to it on the financial side. If you don’t take time to look at it, you could miss lots of opportunities or problems. All of this stuff is so important, so I hope you take time to listen to the podcast to learn even more!
What to expect when applying for financing
Ways to fund your business
How to position your business for financial success
Things you should look at consistently
“As soon as possible, you want to set up the systems so that you can build credit and use credit in the name of your business and move away from the personal financing of your business.”
“I never try to shame people because you don’t always know what you don’t know.”
“I recommend that business owners make sure that they stay on top of both their business and personal credit.”
I hope y’all are ready for some nerd talk today! It’s going to be so much fun and so helpful for all of you who are looking to scale your businesses. Our guest today is Ravi Abuvalla, CEO and founder of Scaling with Systems, and he may be as much of a data nerd as I am. You guys have no idea how refreshing it is for me to be talking to someone else who actually geeks out about this stuff. Together, we’ll be talking about a few things you can do to drive your online sales and scale your business.
You may be worried about how to scale your business because you have no start-up capital, but that actually might be a benefit for you. Having no money in the beginning helps you to learn super fast because you have less room for mistakes. You can start by networking with those who know you. This may seem daunting because you don’t want the people you love to invest in you before you know what you’re doing, but you have no idea how willing people are to help you. They are much more likely to invest in you than a total stranger because they know and trust you while those you cold contact don’t. Start networking with the people you know and then gradually expand to those you don’t know.
Another simple thing you can do to scale your business is to prequalify your potential clients. You might be worried that prequalifying people will scare them away, but the truth is that the people who run off aren’t the clients you want anyways. The clients who will be valuable to you understand why you need to ask them questions. Prequalifying is a pretty great way to weed out the people that will waste your time.
It’s amazing how much your business can grow if you start using a virtual assistant. Their services are cheap, and they do all of the mundane stuff you don’t want to do. They keep your calendar full so that you can focus on doing the things for your business that only you can do. They’re super helpful, but you need to make sure that you train them up front. They won’t know how to help you unless you show them how. Once you’ve trained them, you’ll start seeing lots of benefits. If you want to learn more about scaling your business, be sure to listen to the podcast!
How to scale your business without any startup capital
Learning to prequalify your clients
Why you should use Virtual Assistants
“You really have to get your mindset right. You really have to believe that you deserve this. You have to believe that it’s possible.”
“You have got to be willing to be selfish for a while and understand that in order to help others, you kind of have to help yourself first.”
“If you’re running a service based business, you need someone whose full-time job is keeping your calendar full.”