I’m Illana Burk, CEO of Your Life’s Workshop, coach to entrepreneurs and solopreneurs across dozens of industries and host of Good Business. With nearly 20 years experience helping hundreds of clients create profitable, ethically driven and sustainable businesses based on their life’s work, I’m here to teach you how to do great work, make great money, and make a positive impact without feeling like you need a shower afterwards.
Hi there. Welcome to the Good Business podcast. Today’s episode is about how to pay attention and notice the ways in which your processes in your business, and your life, really, are either nurturing your work or hindering your success. Not only do processes hold you back from success, oftentimes when you’re not really paying attention to them, they can also have the collateral effect of bottle necking the growth of those around you. Really what inspired this conversation today is a call I had with a potential new client recently. And I’m going to get into that in just a second. But first up, I want to be really, really clear that this is not an episode about the wonders of a good project management software or a good scheduler or a good invoicing platform. There’s plenty of blog posts out there that can direct you in the right places for all of that.
I have suggestions, of course. Every business is different and really what we’re focusing on today is the fact that it’s not about the right thing. It’s about the right set of things. It’s about doing, choosing the things that you use in your business to organize, to invoice, to connect with your clientele and using them well, and making sure that you understand what’s underneath a ton of the burnout and not making enough money and struggling and hardship and all that crap. That’s underneath. Like what causes that? Very, very, very often among the clients that I work with and what I’ve observed is that processes can really be at the heart of it, whether you’re a new business owner or one that’s more established. So we’re going to really pay attention to how to get out of your own way in this one specific area of your business that many, many people cope with and oftentimes don’t even realize it.
Especially when you get more established, it gets harder and harder to notice that your processes are broken. You get so in the habit of doing everything one way. So that’s where I want to really start today, is talking a little bit about this consult. To give you a bit of a backstory, the potential client was a referral from somebody I’ve worked with for very long time. This person’s business was very, very different from the original referer, and somebody who works entirely in brick and mortar. So, not an online business person. This is not somebody with tons of social media. This is not somebody with the kind of online stature that many of you might be more familiar with. actually work with people from kind of every industry and lots of brick and mortar and lots of online. That’s part of what the Good Business podcast is really about. Developing the concept that good business is good business, no matter how you sell it, no matter where you sell it, no matter what your outlets or networking is, good is good and the rest of it doesn’t really matter.
So, at first when I got on the phone with this person, it was fun. It was interesting because their assistant joined us on the call, which almost never happens. Usually it’s a one on one. Somebody is interested in coaching with me and I get to talk to them directly. I was totally caught off guard by the fact that they brought their office assistant on the call to kind of observe and pay attention.
I very quickly realized that my own stuff was coming up and I needed to reorganize how I’m thinking about this. Beyond that, I also realized that I needed to pay attention to the fact that they’re not necessarily thinking through process in general. Of recognizing that a coaching relationship starts on that first call. Recognizing that there was inherent inefficiency of having two people on one call for one hour when only one was actually necessary. These were small indicators to me, as somebody who pays really close attention to people’s behaviors as they relate to their process. That was sort of thing number one that I just want to throw out there as part of setting the stage for this experience.
This person is a crafts person. They’re an artist. Not in a painting sense, but they make practical items in a very high end environment. Their business is making over a million dollars a year. They’re doing very well, but they have a lot of employees, they have extremely high overhead and are feeling like they were living paycheck to paycheck. The business was extremely successful and they were well regarded. The biggest pain point that they were coming to me with, the reason why they thought they were coming to me, was to deal with the feelings of constantly being a firefighter. He was saying that all he did was put out fires. All he was doing was answer the phone all day and deal with all these ancillary people who had direct access to him.
That was his symptom. And he had a ton of support that actually could have solved that problem quite easily. I’ll get into the solves and into how to look at your own symptoms in a minute. I want you to notice that he had assets at his disposal. He had an office manager who was extremely competent from what I could tell on the phone and I could totally get a great feel for what she was like. She was looking for solutions for him and he wasn’t able to align with them until a third party. It seemed like by the end of the call they were getting the impression that she had some really great ideas to streamline and was also extremely open to other people’s ideas.
This is all to say that he had assets at his disposal that he wasn’t leveraging well enough. That he wasn’t using well enough. He was continuing to do the same behaviors over and over again that exhausted him and took him away from his core work. I’m sure at this point people are starting to go, oh yeah, it is all the same. Whether you’re sitting there listening to this in yoga pants while you create memes for your own coaching business, and listen to me in one ear and are trying to figure out your Instagram strategy at the same time. Or you’re somebody who’s a brick and mortar business owner and you’re noticing that your business gobbles up your energy but you feel like you’re getting nothing done. These are all the same symptoms. It’s super, super, common, right?
It gets even more common the longer you’re in business and the less you pay attention to this. The common part is that you focus on what you’re doing and not how you’re doing it. Then you add to that the fact that, if you’re here and you’re listening to me and you like me, then you also probably have some pretty significant archetype will rebel tendencies that are super sticky when it comes to processes and figuring out the cadence of how to do what, in what order, and when. The more you create a process, the more you’re giving yourself something to say, “fuck it,” and not do. I know this. I know this very, very well on a very personal level. I want to explain that by telling a little bit of a story.
I’m great at creating complexity in my own business. I’m awesome at taking a very small idea and then letting it expand to a degree in my mind that it gets crushed under the bigness of it and can barely approach it. It took me a year and a half to start a podcast because of all of the multitudes of complex ways that I thought I could approach this. So this is something I get in my bones and it’s something that I can say that every client I’ve ever worked with gets this too in some way – that the more you create frame, the more you want to break the frame, whether you do it consciously or not. Some of us are more conscientious and aware of our tendencies in this department than others. I think it’s safe to say that most of you are nodding along right now.
When I first started my business, back in what feels like the Dark Ages in internet time all of about 10 years ago, blogging was everything. Everybody was blogging. I started my business as a blogger wanting to live the dream of the laptop on a beach lifestyle. I remember reading a post from a million years ago by Chris Guillebeau from The Art of Non-Conformity, or, at least I think it was his. It was about how you need to post regularly and as often as you can. My little overachiever brain went, okay, if everyone else is posting weekly, I’m going to post daily and I’m going to break down a content strategy where I can post a blog every single freaking day.
If posting weekly meant that they got to viral success in a year, if I post daily it’s going to happen practically fucking overnight. So that’s what I did. I created a content strategy. I spent a week or more, I don’t even know how much time I spent, breaking down concepts into bite-sized chunks that I could write blog posts about. Then I spent a ton of time inputting it into my schedule and putting down what I was going to write, creating a whole content calendar, and how it was all going to feed into all of these other things. Now there might be people out there that would follow something like that. I’m sure there’s probably an analytical one or two of you that’s like, oh my God, that would be amazing if I just knew what to write.
I have no problem breaking down concepts and figuring out what to write. That wasn’t my problem early on. My problem was that the minute I wrote down, you have to write about x today, was the roughly millisecond before I went, fuck that. I don’t feel like writing about that. I’m going to write about whatever else. I’m going to write about purple birds and trees today because that’s what I want to write about and it’s my fucking business so I’ll do what I want. That’s me. I pushed back. If a process or a concept gets too big, I’m way more apt to burn it the fuck down than I am to actually attack it and follow through on it. Now, lots of rebel types are like this and there are lots of rebel types in the entrepreneurial world because they fundamentally go together really well. I want to live outside society. I don’t want to be part of the rat race. I want to be something different. I want to live my life differently.
Well, that’s the rebel types. We’re also extremely rare from an archetype standpoint, which means that we’ll behave against our own self interest just for something to do. Just for our own fucking entertainment to keep life interesting. Then we beat ourselves up about it. That’s all tied into this whole process conversation because so often we as business owners will choose not to find a good process or not follow what everyone else says is great and a great way to manage x. Your money, your invoicing, whatever x is, we’ll go, “no, no, no, their way works for them but my business is different, my needs are different. I couldn’t possibly wedge what I need into an out of the box solution.”
Instead of finding a solution that everyone else is using that works really well and going to that solution and saying, how can I make my process work within that framework? We’ll go the opposite way. It’s a confirmation bias. We go into a process or a platform. I’ll use my own business. I have been investigating using Dubsado, which is, a project management, invoicing, scheduling, kind of all in one entrepreneurial solution, for all the process system stuff. Instead of going in with the attitude of, how can I make all of the pieces that I currently use four different platforms for all fit into that, and work with that and look for the ways in which I might be able to reinvent some of my processes to fit better into a more cost effective platform, I’m looking at it like, does it look as pretty as my other invoicing software? Will it be as efficient? I bet it won’t be.
That’s my basic assumption. I bet it won’t be as good as what I already have because I have an ego about it. It took me forever to set this shit up so I don’t want to really change. But I know that sometimes evolution is necessary and I have to coach myself on the things that I’m always teaching others. So confirmation bias is really common. If everyone else is doing it, it must not be right for me. Again, that causes us to act against our own self interests.
Back to my core client. I’m on the phone with them and he’s talking about how he feels like he spends all of his time getting random phone calls that interrupt his flow. I asked, “well, why isn’t your office manager taking them?” He says, “I don’t know, they just call my cell phone.” “Why do they have your cell phone number?” “Because it’s on my business card.” “So get new cards printed that don’t have your phone number on it.” it was like this kind of like A-ha moment that hadn’t even occurred to him. He could still have a high touch customer experience as part of his process while also allowing his office manager to do her job better. This is the part where it gets interesting because you could potentially be bottle necking the growth of the people that you most want to support. If you’re somebody out there that has employees or a team or contractors, if you’re working with other people, oftentimes you’re doing that thing where you clean the house before the maid comes.
You don’t want to put upon those around you, you want to be a good boss or a good manager and you actually fail to let them shine at their own work. Process is where that happens. A bad process, a bad system, or maybe inefficient is a better word for that. An inefficient system, an inefficient way of doing things, can actually harm the people that you most want to support. For me, I love paying people and I know that a lot of entrepreneurs that feel that way. I overpay my people that work for me and that work with me. I tend to take their bid and then add 15 or 20% because I want to always be their first priority. and because most of the time I think people under charge.
I’m interested in elevating the work of others. That means I have to get out of the fucking way. I have to let them earn it. In a mistaken trend towards wanting to be a good boss, that means not giving them the hard work or the work they might not want to do or the stuff that makes me anxious or irritated to work on. I certainly don’t want to hand that off to someone else. The actual right way of thinking about that is, if it irritates me and it’s something I don’t like to do, that just means it’s not the right thing for me to be spending my time and energy doing. If you hire the right person and that does light them up, then you’re giving them an opportunity to do their best work.
Oftentimes a process can be tied to all of these other things. This guy that I was on the phone with overpays his people. He doesn’t take much of a paycheck himself. He really fosters the growth in education and development of his people. I love that he talked about how his people were his coworkers, not his employees. That was the word he chose. He was super invested and I joked with him that it’s like, I bet if you were running more efficiently and making more money, the first thing you would do is give your people a raise, right? He goes, absolutely, no doubt about it. He’s the right kind of business owner, the one that’s already doing good business, but getting it his own way. That’s what we’re talking about here. That’s what inspired this episode. Thinking through that process stuff.
When we think about how to figure out your own processes, how to know if this is a problem, the first thing is notice the symptoms in yourself. Notice the symptoms in your business. Are you seeing financial growth but profit losses? Are you seeing exhaustion or burnout on your part, but everyone around you seems kind of fine? Maybe even a little bored? Are you finding yourself not doing the parts of your business that you love the most because you’re bogged down in the stuff that you have to do that just has to get done? Are you apologizing to clients all the time because you forgot to do something clerical or you missed an email or didn’t reply fast enough or you aren’t getting paid on time because you don’t want to be the bad guy and bug your people about it?
All of those things are related to your processes. I think now’s probably a good time to define what I mean by process. We’ve spoken about this in kind of generalities and the symptoms. There’s more to it than that because process and systems are two different things, but they’re very intrinsically linked. Process is everything from the attitude in which you approach each stage of your work and, and creating systems and using systems that fit within that. Process is a little bit more of an esoteric concept. It has to do with attitude as much as it does with logistics. It has to do with approaching your own work with the sense of self respect and boundaries, and expecting the same of those you work with both internally and externally.
Systems are like the brass tacks of systems. Systems are how you invoice your clients, how you schedule with clients, how people are on-boarded. When you get a new client, what happens then? If you have a multistage work flow when you’re actually in process with a client, then your process is how you manage that workflow. How do you know where you’re at with people? It’s all of that stuff. It’s kind of all wrapped into one. It’s not the work that you do, it’s how you do the work that you do. As you figure out where there’s gaps and what’s not working, if you have any of those things I just listed off, you probably have a process problem somewhere. If you still love what you do, what you actually offer to clients….that’s what I’m talking about when I say what you do. I mean what you actually offer to clients, not what you do in your day to day….If you still love the work but you are getting to the place where you kind of hate your business, then you have process problems. You don’t have business problems, you have process problems. You have boundary problems oftentimes.
The good news is this is not as hard to fix as it might seem because once you see the symptoms, it’s a little bit like you pull back the curtain and see the wizard. All of a sudden you can’t unsee it and you start to notice pain points everywhere, You start to notice the places where you’re the bottle neck. The challenge is that it requires a massive ego check. You have to go, “all right, I am not the boss of everything. I don’t know how to do everything, I’m not good at everything and there’s probably other ways of doing things that would be more efficient and free up my time and energy and emotional space to feel energized by my work again instead of exhausted by it all the time.” A lack of good process is really heavily tied to that entrepreneurial martyrdom that is so, so common. If I’m not working 70 hours a week or 90 hours a week or 16 hour days or whatever, you know, dumb and probably untrue metric you’re using, then you’re not working hard enough. You’re not hustling hard enough. If your processes are good, you shouldn’t have to hustle that much. You shouldn’t have to work that hard because there’s a lot of great processes out there and there’s a lot of inefficiencies in our inherent assumptions about how we do things.
So back to my core client that I’m talking about here, or potential client because I haven’t heard back from him yet. Back to his story. His basic assumption that caused one of his primary pain points, the primary pain point that he came to me with, is he feels like a firefighter. He’s always solving problems on the phone and apologizing and then rushing out the door to go deal with a client issue. He doesn’t get the time to do the stuff that he actually loves. Reinforcing the problem in the symptomatic issue there. The actual underneath part was that he had a basic assumption that the customer’s always right. It’s not uncommon. I’m not saying that you should treat your customers badly, obviously.
However, that’s an antiquated concept and it’s one that got us to a place that none of us really enjoy. We’ve all walked into a store and been greeted by a syrupy sweet smile that you know is completely fake because that’s the brand of customer service that they’re trained to employ, but it’s completely disingenuous. Bending over backwards for people that complain is all tied to a pretty antiquated way of doing business and service. Back when there was more care. It comes from a time where people that worked in retail or in any kind of customer facing position, it was more of a career. You could make a living at that. That hearkens back to when there was a middle class. That we don’t really have anymore, but we still have all the shadows of it. We still have all of the behaviors related to it, and when you start a business, oftentimes that’s the one and only customer service assumption and a guiding light that people take. The customer is always right. If I just bend over backwards enough, there’ll be happy. It works to a point, but it’s unsustainable and it’s going to foster a negative behavior spiral on both sides. It’s going to create a situation where the practitioner, the service provider is going to burn out because customers don’t understand the limits of what you offer when you’re willing to do anything for them. You’re not giving them an opportunity to value your work when you allow them to behave as if they are always right. Fundamentally we are all humans. We approach our businesses, we approach service providers, no matter which side of the equation you’re on, as humans.
One of the first things I tell my clients when I start with them on the first call is that we meet in the middle. You’re not paying me so therefore you get to abuse me. You’re not paying me so therefore you get to beat me up or push my limits. You’re paying me to do good work for you. If you want me to do good work for you, then you have to meet me in the middle because there’s certain conditions that need to be met for me to do my best work for you. You have to do some of the heavy lifting on that. Your job isn’t over when you pay me.
Now for me, that actually does a double service to my clients. First, it sets boundaries. Clear ones. It says, I might cancel on you if my kid needs me more than you do. I expect the same from you. And that’s okay because we’re human beings and we treat each other with respect. You’re not more important than my life. You’re not more important than the other priorities within it. Now, when I’m with you, I’m giving you everything I’ve got. That’s not everything right there – short of being an emergency trauma surgeon – there’s nothing in your work that’s so emergent that it has to be taken care of the second that person has a question. Anything can wait. That’s what I told my potential client; that those questions can wait. There are processes you could put in place for emergency situations because he happens to be in a business where if he’s not super responsive in a timely manner, in some circumstances it could hold up the work of a whole bunch of other people because he is in a business that has a multi-step process.
We talked about that. Let’s figure out a process for that, so that you train your clients how to deal with that. You train them, you teach them. It’s part of what you do in working with you is that you have to teach them how to behave. I don’t mean that to sound demeaning, it’s that every single one of us in any industry, in any kind of business has a certain set of conditions that need to be met to do our best work. It is our responsibility as practitioners, as service providers, as business owners, to 1) understand what those are for ourselves and 2) create a scenario where the client can understand that in the simplest way possible. That means we’re back to the ego check. To look closely at this stuff, you have to think hard about what assumptions are you making that are creating this negative feedback loop?
What are you doing that’s making this go bad and what could you do differently? Which is very, very hard to do for yourself by the way. That’s why there’s people like me. If I was on TV, I’d be pointing at the call now button, because it does take someone on the outside looking in. If you know how to ask really specific questions of past clients that you trust, that’s a really great place to start. Such as, what about working with me didn’t work for you? What were the things that you felt like you tripped over in the process? Getting some data points for evaluation can be really important while also recognizing that there’s going to be biases all around. So you need a good bit of information and data before you start making any changes. Asking one or two clients isn’t enough.
Have somebody pop the hood on your business and look under the hood and see what’s working well, what’s efficient, and how could you be spending your time and energy differently? I want to break down the difference of this process and why it’s important for two different phases of business owner. I probably have both of you listening today. For the new business owners, dotting I’s, crossing t’s, it’s crazy important. Oftentimes in the world of reading blog posts and getting business advice that says, get to your minimum viable product and just hustle and get out there. You’ll hear me talk about this more, I’m sure, in later episodes, but I personally think that’s bullshit. Especially in competitive markets. Yes, it’s handy to start getting work out there, but putting your best foot forward and putting a foot forward that says, “I gave every step of my work thought and attention. I gave every bit of my brand,” which, by the way, is part of your process, “the attention it deserves so that when you want to hire me, you see that.” If you value your own work, people will value you more.
It’s important, but only to a point. Oftentimes, the dark side of that is for new business owners. You can end up spinning your tires in the mud, trying to get everything perfect for years instead of just getting something fucking started. To new business owners or to early stage business owners, the parts of your process that you need to pay closest attention to are how you market, which underneath that is what does your brand look like and say, and how you’re putting yourself out there. Find some simple ways to put yourself out there that works for both who you are and who you want to work with.
Then how you get your money. Figure out a simple clean process of how you get paid. It should be easy. You always want to make it easy from a process stand point. Make it easy for people to give you money and how you communicate and liaise with clients. Under the communication umbrella, there could be a project management software if you have really complex offers. It could be a really detailed spreadsheet. It could be whether or not you allow a certain amount of communication with clients and how they reach you. I’ve seen everybody use everything from Voxer for voicemailing back and forth, to being perfectly happy with email only, to giving people your cell phone number, which seriously people stop giving clients your cell phone numbers. Have some freaking boundaries. I have had hundreds of clients over the years and without exception, none of them has my cell phone number because I need to have a life.
I need to not feel that tension of my phone ringing and “Oh my God, what if it’s a client?” I need to have the ability to create space for myself. That’s what I need to be able to function well as a practitioner and as someone who gets paid a good bit of money to help people. I tell my clients that. So make sure you’re paying close attention to all of that. It should be as simple as you can make it. As few pieces as you need. Just getting out there means that how you communicate is like, “I’m good with email, but that’s my boundary.” That’s it. I don’t use anything else but email and I make sure it’s compartmentalized so that I can use it efficiently. The idea is to make as simple decisions as you can about each of those three areas. So it’s kind of minimum viable systems and processes. Viable is the key word there. Viable means it has to be efficient, it has to work well, and you have to understand why you’re making the decisions that you’re making about it.
Then if we move on to more established business owners, establishing your pain points is always the first step. Then you can move on to taking some clear inventory of the resources that you have available to you and what you’re currently doing. Think about things like how long have I been doing things exactly the same way and what’s happened to my profitability and level of happiness in that time. Oftentimes, like with this client, they have a spreadsheet for all of their client processes. All of their clients and what they’re doing was all in one spreadsheet.
Now, they have a project system that is very multistage. There are several steps that each thing has to go through before it’s ready for delivery. So a spreadsheet is about the least efficient way to do that. Spreadsheets are great for a lot of things, but process really isn’t one of them because it requires so much updating and it has such a high level of user and human error attached to it. There’s no communication mechanism in it, short of color coding and then having to teach everyone the color coding or macros. There’s a level of complexity to it that’s sort of unnecessary to make it really work efficiently for that. Thinking about that, okay, we’re using a spreadsheet for a million dollar business for all of these very high end clients that are paying a lot of money for their products to come through there and everything’s managed on a spreadsheet that only some people have access to.
Instead, why not use something that is more full featured, that allows for communication, that allows for tagging different processes. Instead of a spreadsheet, maybe you should be using a project management platform. That can help ease your process problems, and It centralizes communication, it centralizes money, it centralizes invoicing. As an established business owner, look at the places where you’re spending the most time and energy. Look at the places that you find yourself apologizing. Look at the places where you find yourself stressing out and figure out if there’s other ways of doing things and just go one by one. Just on a consult call. I do long consults. It was an hour long. We got into consulting on the call, but we attacked the phone problem.
Take your cell phone off of your business cards. That’s going to solve problem number one, allowing your office manager to filter calls and be more of a gatekeeper, and then you reply to emails, maybe two hours a day, boom. Total change of process. That could be a revolutionary shift in how they function on a day to day basis. Moving over everything from a spreadsheet to a project management platform that allows employees to engage with the information and interact with it and make their own notes and communicate about it in a way that’s all contextual. That’s a process change that yes, it may take more time up front, but it’s going to make everything function better over time. So again, improving process elevates everyone’s ability to be efficient, communicate, be productive, and feel like an empowered part of the process. One of his highest priorities was to empower employees and give them opportunities and create a working environment where they felt they were doing their life’s work.
For established business owners, notice your symptoms and then start looking at how to move backwards from that. It may mean something as simple as googling, “how to manage projects.” If you notice that you have a spreadsheet and it feels kind of inefficient, start googling how to manage projects better and you’re going to get a bunch of project management software. Do demos, watch videos, pay attention to Youtube. There’s a lot of ways to do this and there’s a lot of information out there. That’s where I want to remind you that a good process is a simple process. As simple as you can make it, in as few steps as possible. “How can you make fewer steps?” should be the clearest answer to efficiency and productivity, especially as a solo entrepreneur or as part of a very small team.
The fewest steps you take to everything is the best. That’s my very profound statement. It good. It’s something that I learned when I was 19 and I worked at a shoe store and had a manager who was lovely and wonderful and taught me so many things. She was also one of those people who was just efficient all the time. I was fascinated by her. I remember during our training she said, don’t focus on being helpful, focus on being efficient for people. If you focus on being efficient, then it will be felt as being helpful. I didn’t really understand what she meant by that. I started watching. We were this really small team in a small retail store, which can be rife with toxicity and crap for anybody who’s worked in retail. You’re looking at people’s feet all day and I kid you not, this was the most fun job I ever had because of how it was managed and how we were taught. The magic thing that clicked for me was when I watched her pick up stacks of shoes that other service people had discarded. People trying stuff on and then they’d set it aside. I watched her constantly. She never went to the back room with empty hands and she never came out with empty hands. Ever. It didn’t matter how busy or slow we were, she always had something in her hands. I asked her about it and she said, well, it’s the most efficient way to function – take the fewest number of steps.
If that’s your steps or other people’s steps, if you see something needs to be done, you just do it. It’s not about teamwork and it’s not about being a team player. It’s about being efficient and the way that we all experienced it was she was always so helpful. We all started doing the exact same thing and we all worked on commission, we all made our individual money, but we all knew that taking the fewest number of steps was the most efficient way for us all to be successful because by supporting each other, by me not having to take my own shoes back after a client worked with me, that meant that I get to spend more time with the client. That meant I get to spend more time talking and seeing how their fit was and learning about their story. They ended up buying more. Then we collectively all would win sales contests. We all had camaraderie even though we were wildly different people. It was all women, which can be sticky or can be cool and supportive and that’s what ours was. If I could go back to working at that little store on College Avenue in Oakland, California, when I was 19. If I could go back to doing that every day of my life, I think I probably might. It was fun. It was fun going to work every day and I didn’t bring stress home with me. That’s something you can create in your business. You can totally do that. That is a thing that you are allowed. You are allowed to not be stressed out all the time.
You are allowed to go to work, feeling relaxed and come home feeling equally relaxed. You’re allowed to feel enriched by your work. That’s something that when the customer is always right, when anybody says jump and you say how high, when you hustle like your life depends on it constantly, you burn out. You feel stressed all the time. You feel exhausted all the time and it’s so completely unnecessary. If you can drop the martyrdom, you can drop your ego enough to pay attention to the ways in which you are failing. You’re failing yourself, you’re failing your business, you’re failing those around you if you’re stressed out all the time. Notice that. Pay attention to that. What assumptions are you making? What’s the leanest process to accomplish the same thing, that you can think of, but that’s also really efficient and hits all the right notes. What tools exist to help you clean up the messes that you make over and over and over again? We all make the same messes over and over again for ourselves. Ask yourself what becomes possible when you aren’t spending all your time and energy tripping over your own feet and apologizing all the time? Pay really, really, really close attention to each platform that’s possible for you. How you use it. Don’t be afraid to hack it. Use it. See something that others don’t see. Put on a critical thinking hat and go, hey, how can I use this to create that?
There’s a lot out there. My project management software I use is Asana. It’s a project management platform and I use it both internally and externally. Meaning all my clients have their own dashboard portal. Now, it’s not designed to do that at all. It’s really not. I figured out a way that functioned well and allowed me to communicate with clients in a way that I can track everything. It helps me keep track of all my calls. It does so much. It’s something that I created a template for, now on-boarding takes me three minutes instead of all day. Communicating with clients means nothing ever gets lost. Everything is tracked. It means that if I dropped the ball, I’m accountable for it just like my clients are and we hold each other accountable to that with equality. Good business means that you not only take care of the people around you, but it also means that you take care of the thing that allows you to do the work that you love, which is you. It’s your business itself. It’s nurturing it. It’s having clean, efficient, simple processes that make your job easier. It means that you’re creating opportunities for growth and newness and possibilities and scale-ability all wrapped into one.
Thank you very much for your attention today. It’s been a joy to be with you as always. For more information, visit www.thegoodbusiness.co or www.yourlifesworkshop.com
Today’s episode of The Good Business Podcast is all about my very favorite quote in the whole world. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” by Arthur Ashe
Today’s episode is less of a lesson than recent episodes. Instead, today we’re making a case for a topic we’ll be talking a LOT more about in the future: IMPACT. What it is. Why it matters. And how to pay attention to it.
Today is a branch off of our stakeholder conversation. If you listened to that episode, you should have a clear picture of exactly who matters to you and your work and why, as well as how much time you have for your work without sacrificing what those VIPs need and expect from you. Next up, we talk about exposure, protection, and the responsibility you have to those who matter most.
In this episode, I’m going to walk you through how to think about establishing your stakeholders, the steps you need to take to do so, and how to make decisions based on who they are without compromising those big fat dreams we’ve been talking about.
Today’s episode dovetails on our last one, where we talked all about how your value isn’t determined by your price tag. Today, we’re talking about discounts. First, we’ll talk about why businesses offer them, what their purpose is and when they ARE a good idea. Then we’ll talk about why they are probably a bad idea for you and what to do instead.
This episode breaks down the popular trope that if you don’t charge a lot, people won’t value your work. First, we talk about the conditions that make this a common piece of advice. Then I lay out why this is complete crap for certain kinds of businesses. Finally, the episode wraps up with a brief primer on how to think about pricing in a way that serves your people AND your bigger dreams for yourself.