Responding to Emails

October 28, 2016

Today’s minisode is all about ways to manage your email or make it more fun as a creative entrepreneur. We’re sharing ways we keep our inboxes out of control and eliminate the stress of responding to emails.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"Only touch your emails once."
- Kathleen Shannon

Resources

Today's minisode question comes from Being Boss Clubhouse member, Carrie:

carrieCarrie Morley is a tech-savvy Virtual Assistant dedicated to helping soul-centered business owners change the world. She brings her years of hands-on tech experience to help her clients launch online courses, improve their email marketing systems, and create sales pages that convert. Learn more and connect with her at CarrieMorley.com.

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.

Transcript

Emily Thompson 0:02
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Emily Thompson 1:14
Hello, and welcome to being boss. This minisode is all about dealing with all the emails in your inbox.

Carrie Morley 1:29
Hey, Kathleen and Emily. This is Carrie Morley and I am a techie virtual assistant. That helps my clients mainly with website updates, email marketing, and online course creation. And the thing that holds me up the most in my routine is responding to emails. I hate emails so much. And I always feel like I can never get caught up in my email inbox. So my question for you guys is Do you have any fun tips or tricks to make the process of responding to emails more enjoyable? Or any productivity tips that can cut down on the amount of emails that I have to respond to? Thank you?

Emily Thompson 2:14
No,

Kathleen Shannon 2:17
no ways to make email fun?

Emily Thompson 2:19
No, no, not that I could think of, um, I don't know do email is just part of it. If you want to run an online business, or these days, if you want to work, like school teachers have email accounts now, like email is just part of living in the modern world like

Kathleen Shannon 2:35
cost of business,

Emily Thompson 2:37
right cost of do it cost of being an adult, basically, um, I don't know. Not this makes it easier and more fun by any means. But I've totally taken a ton of stress off myself with emails over the past, probably six to 12 months, where I have no problem letting an email sit in my inbox for up to five days. Unless it's a client that needs immediate attention or some sort of thing with a deadline. Like if it's just someone sending me a long a nice note. Or if it's just sort of a general inquiry, like I no longer feel the need to have an zero inbox on the daily. Like if I can leave it in the day Friday with a zero inbox then I have accomplished some amazing, amazing magic for the week. But by taking away the stress, or this feel this need to answer emails, as soon as they hit my inbox by removing that from my life. It's made my inbox less of a focus for me. So now I can sort of come in every day I filter out the junk out of my email, I trash things that I don't need in there, I answer the most important things. And that may be like two or three out of like 30 emails, I'll answer the most important things that need immediate attention. And otherwise, the rest of them will sit there. And then usually end of day Friday, before I leave for the week, I'll go in and answer all of the things. And then I'll go and it's fine. And by taking off that daily stress of having to give my inbox so much and so much attention. I have a much more pleasurable time doing all the work that I have to do knowing that I don't have this looming inbox, or at least not seeing it as looming anymore. And everything still gets answered. And it's all good. No one gets mad. It works out pretty well. What about you, Kathleen, do you love your inbox and I mean,

Kathleen Shannon 4:37
no email has been one of the biggest struggles in how I manage my time. And I'm really truly being sincere here. It is definitely one of the hardest things that I've had to tackle whenever it comes to running a business online. So for me a couple of things that have worked is I only touch it once. Now, okay, disclaimer here. Everything that I'm sharing here is really aspirational and super ideal. I don't always actually do these things. But if I lived in a perfect world, and I was perfect, I would be doing these things. So touching it once is where whenever you open the email, you immediately respond to it, delete it, do whatever you've got to do with it. But you're only opening that email, once you're not opening it, reading through it, and then marking as unread to deal with later, you just need to deal with it as it comes in. So that might look like tasking it out in Asana, if there are some actions associated with it. And Asana is the project management tool that we use. But however you need to task it out. And only reply as needed, I get a bunch of emails that really just don't need a reply. Or if I do want to reply, I'll keep it really super brief. I might throw in an emoji or an exclamation point in there, because I know that brevity can come across as cold. So I really do want people to know that I'm happily reading their email, I'm just not going to send a novel back. That's another thing too, is that Emily and I get a lot of really long, really super nice emails, and they make our day. And I want you all to know that if you're sending us love notes, we are reading them with a smile on our faces. I used to feel like I needed to write a novel back, or it let's say I was getting a question that I needed to write an entire response back. Now I use those emails as content for our podcasts, or as content for a newsletter. I kind of respond to the person by sharing with everybody how I might respond to their question. And, but if it's like a more specific question relating to a deadline, or something that we're working on, I just like to keep it brief. Um, I'm also with you, Emily, where I'm not concerned about having an inbox at zero every single day. I do like to in the morning, go through, like all my newsletters or junk mail, and either unsubscribe or mark is read, I don't need to even open every single email. And then oh, something that made a big difference in my email game. I don't know if this directly relates to Kerry's question, and carries a VA. So like one of my answers is, I send them to my VA to respond to you, right. So Carrie, you've got to double but one of the things that I did that really changed my email game was a contact form on my website. So if someone's emailing me about a specific issue, like tech, or the E course, or they're interested in working with me one on one, their emails are automatically sorted and sent to the person that can best respond to them most quickly. I am no longer getting all the emails, because I can no longer respond in a timely fashion that they deserve. So that's been a big part of it is separating segmenting and, and sending emails to the people who can respond the quickest. Also, Emily, are you using Boomerang now?

Emily Thompson 8:11
No, not officially, I downloaded it and used it for like one set of emails that I needed to go out like personally, but needed to schedule them for a couple hours out. So I just use it the ones there are times when I feel like I may need that. But I don't use my browser for email, I use my mail app. So it's kind of this really uncomfortable thing for me to have to go into my browser to answer email. So now I'm not really using Boomerang, but I could certainly see myself using it for like, if I'm on vacation and or like going on vacation, for example, in the schedule things out. Or if I'm taking a moment on the weekend for some crazy reason to answer email, but don't want them to go out until Monday morning or something like that I can see using them. But that doesn't actually help make my job of answering emails any more fun.

Kathleen Shannon 9:03
Well, I think that there's a function in Boomerang, I could be wrong, but I heard someone else talking about it, where I think it might batch in your emails at a certain time, where all of your emails come into your inbox at one time. Versus God That sounds frightening. might be good that so that if let's say you schedule it so that all of your emails come into your inbox at 6am. And then that's it for the day. You're not tempted to go back and check your emails. I mean, the only thing that would worry me is what if someone had something urgent? I guess they call me on the telephone.

Emily Thompson 9:40
Good. They could. Yeah, I mean, email is just part of the job and it's not like actually, here's a way you that one could make it more fun, but I cannot do and that's Jeff's. So I know a lot of people are using gems these days and make emailing a little More fun but a couple of times that I've thought about doing this, I ended up spending 15 minutes spiraling into those Jeff library websites and like not actually sending my email so then I just cancelled it out and I send a regular old email it's fine and good. But that could be way you could make it more fun if you had a good solid searchable library with minimal options and high impact funnies

Kathleen Shannon 10:23
I love that I'm actually going to challenge myself to put a GIF in every email for like the next week. No, I love it. You know who I learned that from is acuity scheduling. They put gifs all of their emails, even their customer support is putting gifs in their emails. And I think that it's so fun. And I bet that they just have like a go to library on their desktop that they go to.

Emily Thompson 10:46
right because if you Google that it is overwhelming,

Kathleen Shannon 10:48
but like super cute animals is always a good option that's always going to cheer someone up and I'm like all sorry unicorns.

Emily Thompson 10:56
It's always a good one as well.

Kathleen Shannon 10:57
That might also be a good way to if you are going to keep your email super brief still inject some personality and fun into it.

Emily Thompson 11:04
Definitely

Kathleen Shannon 11:05
that's the winning answer gifs right for just forget like the time time management and Boomerang

Emily Thompson 11:14
whatever farting unicorns and you win

Kathleen Shannon 11:19
done. And thank you so much. Great for your question. Good luck with your email. I know that it's a struggle. I think that you just truly have to find what works for you try out a few different things. And for me, I think that it's just taken a lot of time to get comfortable with how I respond and the boundaries around my inbox,

Emily Thompson 11:39
right and taking the pressure off. Not everything needs to be answered immediately. Hey, their bosses. One of my favorite things about running an online business is being able to automate so much of my business. I love the tools that allow me to work smarter, not harder. One such tool that I use consistently in my business is ConvertKit. using them to automatically educate and sell to my new subscribers without me having to lift a finger. Kathleen and I are big fans of drip content, the sequence of emails that automatically goes out to subscribers when they join our list. These emails can introduce new subscribers to your brand and mission. Let them know what they can expect from your emails, fill them in on your products and services, and more through a sequence of a few pre written and scheduled emails. to employ this genius tactic for our businesses, we use ConvertKit to schedule these emails and track the effectiveness of them all in one place. So we have control over the content that gets sent out and can make smart decisions when it comes time to check in on refreshing that content. If you're heavy on content generation in your online business, we recommend you check out ConvertKit they totally helped us kick our email marketing up a very boss notch. Try Convert Kit for free for 30 days go to ConvertKit.com/beingboss to learn more. Did you like this minisode Be sure to check us out on our website at beingboss.club. There you can find more from being boss including our full episodes minisodes and blog posts. And while you're there, be sure to sign up for our mailing list so that you can get access to behind the scenes and exclusive content from Kathleen and myself to help you be more boss in your work and life. Do the work be boss