Episode 19 // Communicate Like a Boss

May 12, 2015

In today’s episode of Being Boss, Emily and Kathleen talk about communication – whether it’s in-person, over Skype, via email, on the telephone or even text. We cover managing your inbox and writing effective emails to talking about phone phobias and the best way to handle miscommunications.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"You can train your clients to communicate with you exactly the way you need to communicate."
- Emily Thompson

Discussed in this Episode

  • Kathleen's client onboarding process + the communication and life of a project with Braid Creative
  • Emily's client onboarding process + the communication and life of a project with Indie Shopography
  • Being overwhelmed by email and how to manage your time spent in your inbox: Assistants, unsubscribing to unnecessary emails, turning off unnecessary email notifications
  • Email etiquette: Keeping it short and realizing when you don't need to reply
  • Sending emails to get the responses you want by only sending one request or using numbering, bullet points, highlighting or bolding to make it scannable
  • Email tones and determining the line of when to use exclamation points or smiley faces. Experimenting with voice recordings.
  • Meeting the communication styles of your clients and the pros and cons of emails vs. voice/video/in-person
  • How to have effective phone calls and establishing a meeting length/hard stop from the beginning
  • Maintaining a balance between being professional and conversational in concise emails

Resources

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.

Transcript

Kathleen Shannon 0:04
get your business together get yourself into what you do

Emily Thompson 0:08
and see it through because being boss is hard winning work and life is messy making a dream job of your own isn't easy

Kathleen Shannon 0:18
but getting paid for it becoming known for it and finding purpose in it is so doable

Emily Thompson 0:25
if you do the work being boss a podcast for creative entrepreneurs from Emily Thompson and kathleen seamus welcome to episode 19 communicate like a boss brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting

Kathleen Shannon 0:42
alright you guys today we're talking all about communication that means how you get your message across to your clients and your creative colleagues whether it's in person over skype via email or on the telephone do people even say telephone anymore or is it just phone phone okay over the phone or even over text we're gonna be chatting about how to manage your inbox and write effective emails we're also going to be talking about phone phobias and the best way to handle miscommunications but first an announcement our first secret episode is live and ready for download on our website this episode is all about cultivating confidence for creative entrepreneurs because sometimes living the dream can be scary find out more information at loving boss calm also i think that we have finally resolved our tech issues knock on wood on our youtube page so if you prefer watching our podcast find the link to our youtube page at love being boss calm and that reminds me i forgot to put on my lipstick today

Emily Thompson 1:52
kathleen how do you practically naked now

Unknown Speaker 1:57
all right

Kathleen Shannon 1:58
so let's dive in i wanted to share a little bit about how like we communicate with our clients and kind of like from beginning to end so i just wanted to walk everyone through my client onboarding process a little bit yeah and so i'll start by sharing the life of a project of what it looks like whenever it comes to client communication here at braid creative so first things first the potential customer will typically send in an inquiry through the contact form on our website and emily you talked a lot about contact forms on websites whenever we were chatting on our website podcasts and how important that is but one thing that it's done is it's kept me from getting a lot of like just random emails to my inbox so people send us an email through the contact form and this actually goes straight to my virtual assistant who responds with a canned response that outlines all the details of what we offer and how we work now a canned response is a response that you plug in it's the same every single time so you're not literally typing out the email and we do customize it for each person that emails kind of based on what they're saying but we have like customizable sections and if it seems like a fit from there we schedule a kickoff skype session so that we can make sure it's a good fit for everyone before moving forward with the actual project so it's a way for us to really meet face to face and get to know each other i find that whenever we have a kickoff skype session with a potential client we close on i mean i would say nine out of 10 of those skype sessions i think there's something about just getting like face to face in front of each other that helps close deals alright so from there we skype and we send a series of emails to set all the meeting dates for the life of a project so this could be like a whole other podcast but we have we have a certain process or braid method and so with that we know there will be so many meetings and we just scheduled them all in advance i was just reading on our facebook page a lot of creatives are having problems with their clients cancelling meetings and that's just never an issue with us because once the meeting is set like we're squeezing everything into our calendar and then that's that if the meeting is missed it might be another couple of weeks before we can meet with the client again so anyway we we email to set all the dates for those meetings we also put it into our google calendar and all of our meetings happen face to face via skype sometimes in person if it's a local client but this is so important because i think what it does is it creates a lot of trust and i mean just like personable facetime with our clients and then in between those tight meetings are sometimes like a little bit of email back and forth but 90% of the time i would say all of our big decisions are made via Skype. And I would say the same is true for even creative collaboration. So, Emily, you and I, I mean, we do a lot of correspondence over Evernote and by email, but like whenever it's something that we're not really sure about, or we just kind of need to like work through it, we'll hop on Skype, and we'll talk to each other in person. So that's how we do it. I'm sure that there might even be more questions like, But wait, what about, and we'll try and cover it all in this episode. But if you have any other questions, feel free to ask on our Facebook group. Emily, I'm curious how you prefer to communicate with your clients and kind of what that process looks like for you.

Emily Thompson 5:36
Yeah, so ours, ours is really very similar. We, we have people contact us via our website, we also have Canvas bonds and cell slides that we send to clients whenever their potential clients whenever they might want to work with us. And then we also or I set up a meeting, actually, Chris said set up for me, she sets up a meeting for me to talk with them to answer any questions, tell them a little bit more about our process. And again, sort of get that face to face time. We do some of those via Skype. But I'll tell you, lately, Skype has been letting me down.

Kathleen Shannon 6:11
So bad. Are you still doing it over video?

Emily Thompson 6:14
No, we're we're actually doing a lot of them over the phone these days. So we we've been using Uber conference, which is just a free, I think it's free. Do we pay for that? I don't think we pay for Uber conference, where it's just like one phone number that to Kristen's to everyone that we are having a phone call with. And then I have the same number we just sort of call in at the same time. That way, there's no juggling like screen names. Do they still call them screen names is that?

Kathleen Shannon 6:42
I mean, I never know. Like, I'm always like, send me your skype handle,

Emily Thompson 6:46
right? Yeah, your name, whatever that means that thing is. So there's no more juggling Skype names, or telephone numbers, or any telephone, telephone numbers or any of those things. We just all have one number that we like meet up at which works really, really great for us, at least at the moment, I do prefer this being able to Skype and do face to face. But it's just seems to be so spotty that I would rather like just do a meeting, don't have to worry about it.

Kathleen Shannon 7:14
One reason I like Skype is because we're not only whenever we're closing on a deal, we send our sales slides as well. But whenever we're Skyping, we actually share screen and sometimes walk the potential clients through a case study to actually show them what it looks and feels like. So that screen share aspect is really handy. Yeah, and I bet you can always send them a PDF and talk to them over the phone with a PDF open.

Emily Thompson 7:40
Yeah, I do that a lot, actually. And that that seems to work well enough. I do miss because I used to do all of my meetings via Skype. And I do miss constantly having that good face to face time. But it's simply like really streamline my process, at least lately, to do these Uberconference phone calls where we just sort of meet up, we talk things out. And then once they book, we do the same thing. So we have a set number of of meetings that we have for indie beam project, at least during the first three months because you can book an indie beam project that's anywhere from four months to 12 months. So we have like a set number of like strategy meetings that we do with our clients. And we go ahead and set those up as well. So they're on my calendar, they're on their calendar. And then we go from there. And those usually are either via Skype or by phone. Sometimes, especially if it's like a website reveal. I do like to do like screen sharing. So I can walk through websites with them are things like that, but I do switch it up a lot between Skype and these days. A lot of Uberconference.

Kathleen Shannon 8:44
I prefer doing my creative coaching phone calls over the phone. Yeah. So rather than Skype, I mean, I will do Skype if my client prefers that, yes, but I really like whenever I'm coaching to do it over the phone. And maybe it's because that's how I like to be coached, right is I can just like get in my headspace. I don't have to get distracted about what I look like on the Skype screen. Right? Um, so I've found that. Yeah, there's something about coaching that I really like just that voice connection. whenever it comes to my clients. I really do like a face to face connection.

Emily Thompson 9:19
I do too. I prefer that a lot too. But technology, Skype,

Unknown Speaker 9:22
get your shit together.

Kathleen Shannon 9:25
I know, right? Like every time I'm on Skype, and there's issues I'm like, Oh my god, it's 2015. Like, why? Why? Let's talk about email. Because I feel like that is probably the primary way most of us are communicating every single day. And I don't know about you, but I'm overwhelmed by email. Like I have so much freaking email.

Emily Thompson 9:50
It's ridiculous. Actually, before we got on this podcast, I have 30 minutes to like, sit down and filter as much email as possible. Just to like, just to manage I joke but it's not really a joke. I joke sometimes that for the past five years, I have not been coming been becoming an expertise at web design and development. I've been becoming an expert at email.

Kathleen Shannon 10:14
And I like I like how you say that you spent 30 minutes just filtering through it, because in 30 minutes, I can maybe answer two emails, maybe. Sometimes even one. And so like filtering, like all click on them and do mark as read for the ones that don't, that I actually don't need to read. Yep. Okay, so let's talk about like, I'm overwhelmed by email, you're overwhelmed by email. And I know that we were just talking earlier this week, about a new time management app that we're both trying out called your family. And you're able to track your time by emailing. And how many hours did you say you spent emailing

Emily Thompson 10:52
in NYC five days or one week plus three days, so eight days of like business work? my team's that me? Cory, and Chris, this does not include David, who really he's usually spend most of his time emailing to. So this does not include David, we spent 22 hours between the three of us in eight days on email.

Kathleen Shannon 11:18
Alright, so what are some things that you're thinking about doing to spend less time emailing?

Emily Thompson 11:24
Well, I actually I talked to we talked about this, because I saw that number. And I was like, you've got to be kidding me. You want to absolutely be kidding me. But it's not abnormal, really, for me to be spending that much time on email. So I talked to Chris about it. And we decided that we're going to stop emailing everything or stop replying to everything. So if you're emailing me, there's a good chance that it unless it is actionable, we may not be answering it if he and not not that we're ignoring was I definitely read everything that comes through my inbox, I really, really do. Whenever people reply to our indie tactics, emails, like we archive those away, I read through them. I read everything that comes through, I just don't have time to answer everything. So um,

Kathleen Shannon 12:10
so you know, I even got an email from Chris earlier today. And and all the only reply that it warranted was a Thank you. Yeah. And I thought that it would be more thankful to not send her another email than to actually say thank you. Yeah, but like, so yeah, let's make this agreement right here. Like between you and I, if we're emailing each other. And Chris, you're listening to this? If it doesn't need a reply, I'm just imagine that I've seen it. I'm smiling. I'm closing.

Emily Thompson 12:43
Yes. And that's it.

Kathleen Shannon 12:44
I'm thankful. Yeah. But I'm sending my heart. And I'm not sending it to your inbox.

Emily Thompson 12:51
I agreed. I agreed to this. I actually was talking to a friend of mine the other day, and I was telling him, like, how crazy these emails are. And he says he likes to make a game out of how short he can make his responses. And so is his very favorite one. And he sent it to me a couple of times is just 10 for

Kathleen Shannon 13:11
10 for nice, but that's kind of like oh, this is more annoying whenever you had to pay for texts before I messaged came out. But you know, if someone if you're if you're texting someone, and they just email or text back with a K, okay. I just paid 10 cents for that K. Okay, so one thing that I've seen people doing is signing off as an RN. And that stands for no response needed. Yes. Which is something that you can do whenever you're sending an email, which is really nice.

Emily Thompson 13:48
Yeah, I love that I actually need to start employing that, Chris, you're listening, feel free to start using an RN?

Kathleen Shannon 13:55
Well, let's talk about that later. Let's talk about that, too. So you have Chris and I have Caitlin. So we both have. Well, I have a virtual assistant, she, I don't know about the word virtual. She's my assistant. Right? She's the braid assistant, Chris is your assistant. And so I actually hired Caitlin to help. I mean, my my main catalyst for hiring someone was to help me with my emails. Yes. And so how does Chris How does your assistant help you with your emails? Is she actually in your inbox responding to your emails? Is she pretending to be you?

Emily Thompson 14:29
Um, sometimes she dies? Is that a bad thing? I don't know. I've read blog posts about it and there seem to be different views but she does sometimes she replies is me. But a lot actually, she only desperate and this is bad. And maybe this is a horrible thing. You guys can judge me if you want. But there are sometimes there are clients that need to be responded to as me because if it comes from Chris, they won't respond back. And this isn't something that I have to do anymore. So like getting current clients and stuff like nom nom like not bad here by any means but but it has happened in the past where sometimes it needs to come from me which is kind of ridiculous but kind of how it works and in like she has my permission to do so let me just send it from my email address it's fine but she did she actually has access to all of my emails i have my email account on her computer on her like mac apple app or whatever or mail app and she does she will go through and she filters out my email for me sometimes and she'll take things that she can reply to and she'll drag them to her inbox and then she'll reply to them from there so she does she has access to all of my emails which i know freaks a lot of people out i was telling a coaching client the su array and she was like well what about all your personal emails and i was like well i have a personal email account for that

Kathleen Shannon 15:56
see okay that's actually a good point i just have one email account

Unknown Speaker 16:00
for every new that stresses me out kathleen

Kathleen Shannon 16:04
yeah i mean hopefully i never run for president and someone has to like weed through all my even if i read your face no one's like wait like is someone like going through all my emails

Unknown Speaker 16:17
right right

Unknown Speaker 16:19
we'll deal with that

Kathleen Shannon 16:20
okay so um can we talk for a minute about canned responses

Emily Thompson 16:25
yes

Kathleen Shannon 16:26
all right and i'm kind of like just hearing us probably fine it's all original it's all emails so camera responses are a google feature so if you have gmail you can create a response for certain types of emails that you get like if you get the same kind of email over and over again and you're sending the same kind of response create a canned response and this is in the i'm probably not the person to be advising on this

Emily Thompson 16:56
but give some some tech tutorial

Kathleen Shannon 16:59
yeah right google canned responses and watch the tutorial because it's really great um

Emily Thompson 17:05
i do the same thing i have to say i do the same thing except i keep i keep an evernote notebook that is just email responses and so like sales emails replies just like easy things that that come in the things that i'm writing over and over again we actually have a big like shared email notebook and evernote where we have them all organized by like what kind of response they are for and we use them that way and we have little sections in there where we put in like custom content so you know if a client's emailing us because they want a website because they want more customers then our follow up email is going to address the fact that they want to get more customers so we do keep it really personable but it really speeds up the process so that i'm not spending 44 hours a week writing emails

Kathleen Shannon 17:54
alright so one thing that i do and i feel like we've talked about i'm having deja vu like have we already done an episode on this i don't think so i

Emily Thompson 18:02
think we just talked about it and

Kathleen Shannon 18:03
okay i know that we've talked we've probably touched on it on in a previous episode but i'm still having email issues so we can probably never talk about it enough okay so one thing that i've been doing to get better email responses from people is like so there's nothing more frustrating than sending out like a really concise email and then getting nothing back or you know or getting like the wrong thing like the wrong answer back the answer so what i've been doing is yeah i've been only asking one question or request per email like emailing someone who i know can handle it like you i might email you like three things but i'll number them or bullet them or bold them in a way that it is scannable so that you can just reply to what is needed and this is actually something that my sister is really good at whenever she's emailing me because she knows that i'm

Emily Thompson 19:01
she's a boss email he knows that like my comprehension is zilch after a year of no sleep and so she she's really good about like highlighting and bolding and making certain areas bigger but with a degree in design she knows how to like not make it too cluttered with all the highlighting and bolding and anyway so numbering and bulleting and highlighting is so important and asking that one question i want to go back to that for a second because i actually had someone i did a little survey in our facebook group recently just trying to get an idea of what sort of sort of things people are interested in and someone even asked this question like i or was stating the problem that she she has a hard time emailing her clients and they'll not reply to or they won't answer all of your questions and i yeah so whoever you are because i can't remember your name or who we were exactly but just ask one question per email or Bullet pointed. So like write your email and then at the bottom, say, here's what I need from you and then bullet point out your four questions. And then magically, they will begin answering all of them.

Kathleen Shannon 20:12
Yes, you sent me one of those emails recently. And I loved it because you sent me It had to be a long email because we were about to launch the branding for designer, a book, a rare breed creative. And so it was this long email of like, okay, here's where we're at, here's what we're doing. And at the end, you said what I need from you. And it was like four bullets. Yep, bam, dun, dun, dun. Okay, another way to and I'm kind of just jumping all over the place. But let's talk a little bit more about managing your inbox. So we've talked about having an assistant help you with your inbox, and unsubscribe to unnecessary emails.

Emily Thompson 20:52
Yes. Oh, this is such a hard one to do, though the other the other day, I was like spending an hour going through my email. And there was an email in there. Oh, it was from disco cam. And I love some disco cam. And I was like, You know what, I don't need this email in my inbox. And I went to unsubscribe. And then I couldn't bring myself to then I realized that I probably have a problem. But I do have very few email subscriptions. And another one that ties into this that's very important, is turn off email notifications.

Kathleen Shannon 21:24
That's That's exactly what I was thinking about, like Facebook notifications, even like, whenever someone signs up for our newsletter, I get notified every single time and sometimes that's nice, because yes, you know that there's like action happening on your website.

Unknown Speaker 21:39
Yeah. Turn it off. Kathleen.

Unknown Speaker 21:42
I think you did. I think you did turn it. Oh, good. I

Emily Thompson 21:45
say I think we talked a good I did,

Kathleen Shannon 21:48
I but you know, like, you get all these alerts for different things. And some alerts I keep on is actually through freshbooks. So my sister handles all of our accounting and invoicing and billing. But I still get an email notification from freshbooks saying when someone has been invoiced and when we've gotten payment, and even though I'm not the one handling that I like seeing it come through my inbox, because it just makes me feel a little more in touch with my business and in touch with the financial aspect of our business.

Emily Thompson 22:20
Yeah, yes, definitely keep some of them on, I still receive those notifications. But all other notifications have been turned off, because that's just more emails for you to filter through. Especially considering I'm not reading all of the Facebook notifications that come to my inbox, or all of the like we used to do just in the studio to manage to dues between team members, I turn off those certifications, because if I want to see what you completed, I'll just go over to the to do list and look and see works out much better.

Kathleen Shannon 22:50
I want to talk about the tone of emails. And this is more under like client management, the client management aspect of emailing back and forth. So I have found that depending on my mood, I can get easily offended by emails. So let's say a client emails and they're like, I don't, I don't really like the color pink. And I would like to bring in more green into the brand platform or something like that, right? If I read it like, Oh, I hate the color pink. That sucks. Why did you even choose pink? You know, like I can write in that tone. And so so emailed tone, what I've started doing is I read every email, as if it were like sunshiny and positive like, Hey, I don't really love the color pink, but I love green. Please hook me up. Thank you, you know, so that way Don't get mad or offended. And I have found that like, getting my tone across, like so I found that Okay, so we've talked earlier about keeping emails short, keeping them shorter, and I've been trying to practice I've been trying to practice to give what I want to receive. So if it's short emails, I want to send out short emails. But I don't want to sound short. I want it to be short, but then still warm. So I find myself using a lot of exclamation points in my emails. Because I want people to know that I'm excited and I'm so happy they're emailing and No, but

Emily Thompson 24:29
I but then you sound like a crazy.

Kathleen Shannon 24:31
Exactly. I sound like a crazy person or you sound juvenile using too many exclamation marks or it's like, does this really need an exclamation mark? Really? Um, but I find you know, even my sister was texting me the other day. And I was like, you need to put in some like emojis or exclamation marks. I know that you're not mad. Yeah.

Emily Thompson 24:51
Well, and that's what I was about to say. I'm the same way and what I found what I've found over the years of becoming an expert emailer is that the more You can email how you would talk. Usually the easier it comes across and use exclamation points. Like I've even told David before David, whenever he started doing like, managing the money side of my business and asking people to pay him, which is really like, one of his job descriptions is go after money from clients. Um, God, that sounds aggressive. He doesn't do that. I mean, David is the least aggressive person I've ever met. But I remember telling him like, put a couple of exclamation points in there, just to sort of show that excitement. And I've also I hate some emojis are used to hate some emojis. But I found myself like, even in emails, if used very sparingly. I mean, like, if it's a long email, I may put one if it's short email, I probably won't put any. But I have found that occasionally throwing in just a nice little smiley face. As long as it's not overdone is not juvenile at all, it just helps express that little bit of emotion so you can get across whatever emotion it is that you're trying to get across. And there is a line there. And it's kind of like a gray one. But but I I am okay with defining my professionalism in a way that whenever I'm excited about something, I'm gonna send you an emoji.

Kathleen Shannon 26:21
I've been responding only in emojis like on Instagram, whenever people tag as I mean, same kind of thing. Like, yeah, I can see so much more with little like, yes. So this if you're watching on YouTube with the hands up, and then the hands in prayer, that's my Amen. I hope everyone like hears me saying that, like every time you see that, and so I'm trying to find this email from one of my previous clients, because and speaking of like, emailing the way that you talk, I had this client once and she was so cool. I mean, we would talk on the phone and we'd be cracking up. She was hilarious. She was real. She was awesome. And then I was, I was telling my sister, I was like, Oh, we just got the coolest client. She's real. She's hilarious. She's amazing. And then we were doing some email correspondence back and forth to set those meeting dates. And all of a sudden, this client that we had started sounding like a robot, like legit robot, I can't even remember exactly what she said. But it was like it was it just kind of blew my mind. And my sister was like, she couldn't hardly even decipher what the email was trying to say. It was so like formal and, and kind of corporates speak sounding. Anyway, I thought that that was funny. I like that, that she sounded so just official in her email. And so this is like, this is kind of a personal branding issue is that whenever you are emailing with someone, your brand should shine through your personality should shine through. So right like you speak

Emily Thompson 28:05
cohesive online presence. Like it also goes into your email.

Kathleen Shannon 28:10
Exactly. emails, like just one form of correspondence. So read through your email and say, is this something that I would really say, like, and this applies to, you know, even blogging? Oh, I'm going off topic here. I want to say that, like, I know how I'm blogging, like, everyone's like, hey, lovelies, like Do you ever say lovelies, in real life?

Unknown Speaker 28:31
Do?

Emily Thompson 28:32
I call everyone honey in real life, too?

Kathleen Shannon 28:35
I like that. Why don't you ever call me honey in your emails? I will. Hi, honey.

Emily Thompson 28:42
But yeah, I agree. So if you don't say things in real life, don't say it in an email. I also want to I also want to talk really quickly about something that I've done a couple of times, and I've had a couple of people do it to me, and I love it. Absolutely love it is sending emails of small voice recordings. Oh, yeah, I've done it a couple of times. And I loved it. Like if I'm having a day where I've literally just spent the past six hours going through my email. And by the end of it, I'm done. And so I'll just like, open up QuickTime and record a couple of responses and then send them on. And I can get done with Wow, two hours worth of email, and like 15 minutes of just recording things and pulling them into emails and sending them and my clients love it.

Kathleen Shannon 29:25
Okay, I'm going to have to think on this on whether or not I would like it because I'm actually like, I have a phobia of voicemail. Like if I see the little red dot next to my voicemail on my phone. I, I it makes me want to like, I don't know, like break out in hives and itch my skin off my face.

Emily Thompson 29:50
Do we send you to voicemail therapy?

Unknown Speaker 29:52
I think so. I hate voicemail. I hate

Emily Thompson 29:56
listening to them. I hate it when people leave them for me. cobia it's just like, I don't have time to listen to this.

Kathleen Shannon 30:02
So if you hate voicemail like isn't it the same thing getting a voice recording via email?

Emily Thompson 30:11
No. And here's here's the thing. Here's because the people who usually leave me voicemail is family. Or God, I've been like putting off doing this this interview thing for my life insurance is off my list. But I've been getting plenty of voicemails, because they always call me at the most inopportune moments like I do not have time to sit here right now and answer no to all these health questions. Um, so I don't know, it's usually not the kinds of things that I really want to listen to, like. I've joked with David about this before my family uses voicemail as like as, as the way to be dramatic about things that isn't really dramatic. And so like, I've always hated listening to my voicemails because it's not that dramatic. So emails are completely different to me like that. It's clients. It's like, it's friends, it's those sorts of things. So whenever I say those things coming into my email, like it doesn't mean I don't I don't equate that at all to what a voicemail would be on my phone.

Kathleen Shannon 31:14
Okay, whenever you send a little quick time memo, email, this is like blowing my mind right now. Can you play it right in your mailbox? Or do you have to like open it up into iTunes and then listen there.

Emily Thompson 31:29
Now? Well, I don't know on a Mac, you don't on a Mac, you can open any file by just like pressing the spacebar and it pops up. And you can play it from there. Kendrick actually can drag myself coach last episode. She's introduced me to it about a year ago. And she actually did one for me the other day when we got off the podcast recording. And it was just like a little player right there in my email. And I clicked it and it was just like a minute like saying thank you. She was like picking up her kid from school and just wanted to like, follow up real quick. So it's, and I never do important emails, she's picking up her kid from school. So

Kathleen Shannon 32:05
she's not opening quick time and some new new

Emily Thompson 32:08
she's doing it from voice recorder on cell phone, I've done that as well is you can just open up your voice recorder. So like you're going through the grocery store and you look at your email and someone just sent you a quick something and you want to reply quickly, but it doesn't warrant like needing to go home and open up your laptop and do it. They're like quick voice recording attached to an email and send it on.

Kathleen Shannon 32:27
Fascinating. Okay, pros and cons to this. Like I think that and I have done here later talking like whenever you talk over the phone or via Skype to always follow up with an email with like bullet points of the actionable items. So I think it's good to talk things through. But the problem with this memo, voicemail thing is that, let's say in a week, I remembered that you told me this thing I needed to do. But it was over a voicemail and or you know, over this like memo recording, when not over email text, and I can't search for it in my inbox like I do so much searching in my inbox.

Emily Thompson 33:10
Yeah, me too. I never do voice recordings for really important things. Like because I'm one of those or really even phone calls that in a lot of ways. And that's something especially once we get really deep into a project and we're doing website edits and things like that. Like I don't want to talk about that stuff over the phone. I want that stuff in writing. And then if we need to discuss it, then we can discuss it. But the voice recordings, I never voice record anything that needs to be written down.

Kathleen Shannon 33:37
It will only be just quick replies. So it might be stuff that's more like love notes or brainstorming or I think it's a great idea. Go for it. Okay,

Emily Thompson 33:46
whatever that say.

Kathleen Shannon 33:48
Yeah, okay, gotcha. All right. I'm going to start trying this a little bit. I'm going to start trying

Emily Thompson 33:52
to Oh, send me one.

Kathleen Shannon 33:55
Oh, I'll have to see like, what works better doing the quick time recording. So I'm used to doing that with the podcast, or doing a voice memo on my phone and then knowing how to attach it or send it. Yeah. I mean, I know that like whenever you're sending a text there's a little microphone and I've never used that before not

Emily Thompson 34:12
use it. I so Mikey and I use it and David a little bit David doesn't usually reply to me. No one ever replies to me. I use it all the time. The Little Voice thing. It's like, it's genius. Absolutely genius. All right, this

Kathleen Shannon 34:26
reminds me of the last podcast we recorded. I left my QuickTime Player just yelling. I never hit stop. And I couldn't figure out how to edit down this quick time. So I tell you, Emily, who I'm speaking to right now, it's like okay, don't listen to the rest of this. Like who knows where I was saying or talking about or you probably heard Fox

Emily Thompson 34:54
melting down probably knows. Yeah, no, I'll just get to the end and cut it off and I don't care. But But anyway, going back to these emails and these voice these voice memos, I've also done it a couple of times with video. And especially if I'm wanting to send someone like a special like I sent was sent on client like a birthday message once just like iPhone video like Happy Birthday sind. And those need to be really short because they don't send very big ones. But it's also just sort of a fun way to to communicate with people in a really quick, easy way. And it's almost more thoughtful even though it takes less time than writing an email for certain types of things. So using email, like if you're going to do text, like organize it, well highlight bold, bullet point, love bullet points. But then for easy things like try out different ways of doing it and doing a quick voice memo or record a cute little video of your sweet pace. And send that along to someone because i think that i think that everyone deals with shit tons of emails. And if you don't, you will someday, so learn to manage it now. And you will be much better off and doing doing quick things like voice memos and videos I think speeds up a lot of processes.

Kathleen Shannon 36:12
I want to take a second to chat about our sponsor fresh books. Fresh books is the easy to use invoicing software designed to help creative entrepreneurs get organized, save time invoicing, and get paid faster. I've been using fresh books from the very beginning since I first started freelancing. And I remember I felt super legit finally signing up for something that I could invoice and Bill people from. And one thing that I love about it is that sometimes it's uncomfortable asking people to pay you. And whenever you send out an invoice via freshbooks, the invoice is going out directly through freshbooks. Or even in the mail, you can have their invoices printed and sent in the mail from freshbooks. So it kind of feels like a like a little buffer in between you and the client. So it makes you a little more brave whenever it comes to invoicing and asking for money. And whenever it comes to invoicing, you can accept credit cards for online payments, it makes it super easy for your client to pay you. You can accept payments via PayPal or stripe. You can see when your clients view your invoice. And you can look at that invoice history with date and timestamps and all actions. You can send out late payment reminders. So if those people aren't paying you, you can schedule and customize automatic reminders for slow paying clients. Stay on top of your business with a clear picture of its financial health. Try fresh books for free today. Go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section. Alright, back to our show. I want to talk a little bit I mean like about the value of face to face time. And so I love the idea of sending a little video and I've even sent one of my friends that has a baby the same age as Fox will send each other little videos just to say hi and a lot of times because we literally can't be texting, right with our thumbs because our kids need so much of our attention. So we'll send each other little videos and I just never thought about doing for work, which is genius. But one thing that I will do is, and this is probably not so much with my clients, but with my team or people that I'm collaborating with like you, for example, if there is something that kind of just needs discussion, like I think I've gotten so used to emailing back and forth that I've forgotten, or sometimes I need to be reminded of like the value of just brainstorming it out in person. Yeah. And so I can come to a decision so much faster, is for example, with the podcast, like let's say we want to have march for our podcast, and I'm trying to decide between a mug or some pencils, or some notebooks or t shirts. I'll just say instead of typing it all out and the pros and cons of each and sending you a huge email, I'll say, hey, let's just hop on Skype really quick. And so I'll send you an Evernote chat, or a quick email saying hey, can you hop on Skype and then we'll just hop on Skype and have a 10 minute conversation. Even though it's really hard for us to keep our chats in 10 minutes.

Emily Thompson 39:26
I know whenever it's in minutes, but yeah, it's a really great thing to do also with clients if, if a client does send you an email with of edits or something that just is kind of blowing your mind a little bit. Or if if there's a customer service issue or something with with something that you've sent out or with a client hop on the phone like so much more can be solved by talking with someone and I know there are tons of people out there with serious phone phobias. But I have more of a like client being pissed off at me phobia person. For sure, like I get on the phone and talk it out. Because there's something, there's something really magical that comes from running an online business and doing most of your communication via email. And sort of breaking that cycle occasionally to get on the phone or to do a face to face. Because what I found, I used to do no phone or Skype with my clients, I used to not do any, like, there are clients I had in the past, I have no idea what their voice sounds like. And it was really easy for them to forget that I was a human. Because Yeah, constantly emailing each other. And then sometimes things start getting a little a little snappy, and not not that anything is going wrong, they've just simply forgot that there's a human on the other side of this email chain. And so what I found is by incorporating phone calls, because I used to have a phone phobia, too, I used to hate doing it. But by incorporating either Skype or phone conversations into how it is that you do business, and whether you're a product business, and you're managing customer service, or trying to deal with your vendors, or if you are, you know service base, and you're working with clients or contractors, get on the phone sometimes and assist people in remembering that you are a human being and that you have feelings that you need to be taught to kindly well, and

Kathleen Shannon 41:19
it's an it's a good reminder that your client is a human to Yes, because it's real easy to get pissy with a client for it, because you're on your 10th round of revisions, right, and so hop on the phone. And I like a little blend of both. And so I've also have had clients who want to literally call me and walk through and this is before probably pre braid method would arise more just freelancing. And who would want to walk through every single revision over the phone. And it would make me frustrated. And because I couldn't like hold all of those revisions in my mind. And in even taking notes, like some things would get lost in translation. So but it's remembering that sometimes, and I mean, people have different communication styles. So if your client prefers phone, but you prefer email, do a blend of both, where you talk over the revisions over the phone, but then follow up with a bulleted list of what those revisions are so that you can both see if you've missed anything, or you know it or put it on your client to do that, say like, yes, let's have this phone conversation. So we can talk it through that way you can even advise against revisions that you don't really agree with or defend your position. And, and then say okay, but I want you to follow up and send me a list a bulleted list of these revisions as well. And that works for anything, not just not just client relationships and managing projects. But like even with us with the podcast. And whenever we're making big decisions, we'll talk it through and then we'll send an email or put a note in Evernote of what we discussed.

Emily Thompson 43:05
Yeah, I think that's really important, really important to have that blend. And I also want to point out really quickly because someone said something about this in the group or in that survey or something, and they were talking about how it is that you get your clients to communicate the way you do. And I think it's really important as part of your onboarding process, and like taking on a client to be very clear as to how it is that you communicate. And that's something that you and I have both done in setting these setting these. These meeting dates, like immediately, so they know that there will be face to face time. But then also when how you email them, people tend to mirror that back to you. So if you're one of those people who send these really long winded emails, you can expect your clients to start sending you really long winded emails as well. But if you are really short and concise, then you can train your clients to do the same thing. There is so much to be said about how it is that you do business and how clients will mirror that back to you. So you can train your clients to to communicate with you exactly the way that you need to be communicated to. But also making it very clear whenever you're taking on a client how it is that you like to be liked to be talked to. So one way that I we used to do this I don't think this is in our cell slides anymore, but used to it was actually in my like client intake paperwork that like, here's the email address. And here's when we email back and here is like the sort of turnaround times that we have here is the phone number that you can reach us and we recently took our phone number off things I don't like being called randomly that drives me insane. But you know, we have phones for meetings. And then, you know, we'll do most communications about your project via Basecamp, which we don't use Basecamp anymore. But being very clear with your clients as to how it is that you expect them to communicate with you during the life of a project is the best way to solve any communications you problems that you would normally have from the very beginning, and then train your clients to talk to you the way that you need them to talk to you.

Kathleen Shannon 45:10
And sometimes I will get Facebook messages from people who are interested. And I will, I will say, Hey, I suck at Facebook messaging, like it will fall through the cracks. And so you it's not there. It's not their fault. I mean, everyone is on Facebook. So I will always say, Hey, I got this, but please email me at my email address, and I'll give them my email address, so that it doesn't fall through the cracks. Because I've developed such a process with my inbox, that everything typically gets taken care of in there, it's a rare day, whenever something falls through the cracks there, that Facebook or even text, and it will, it will like fall through. I just can't, you know, I like everything to be in one place. And that's usually my inbox, I would say is kind of the hub. Okay, I want to talk about like, really quick before we finish this episode about whenever you are having face to face meetings, how to make them the most effective. And one of the things I found is, before you are like, right, whenever you get on the call to say, Okay, I have a hard stop at this time. Yeah. So that you know that this meeting is only going to be 15 minutes or 30 minutes or 45 minutes. And then it's done. Because you've got another meeting to go into. And that also kind of setting that expectation from the get go.

Emily Thompson 46:36
I agree, I do that. And it's such an important way to keep it, even you and I do this, like we do this. And so it's not a rude thing. Like no one sees it as being rude. If anything, you're being more respectful of people's time, which is more important than gabbing it out for three hours.

Kathleen Shannon 46:52
I mean, you and I can give it out all day long. It's why we started a podcast, but

Emily Thompson 46:57
we asked to see if we have time like this exactly like look, okay, I got two hours, Kathleen.

Unknown Speaker 47:03
Right,

Emily Thompson 47:04
here's what we're gonna do. And we'll go for it. So so I think that and again, that's one of like training a client, because once you do that once, if you're setting like 30 minutes for each, each call, your client will not go over that 30 minutes like I'm doing. I'm doing mentoring meetings with my clients, I'm wrapping up my first couple of 12 month in Debian projects. And at this point, our meetings are like clockwork, we get on just in time we do our one hour meeting and we're off and no one feels miffed. Like it is not an issue in keeping keeping true to what you say as far as what how much time you're going to take from someone is, it's just respectful and nice. And

Kathleen Shannon 47:45
I will say like whenever it comes to my clients, I'm more willing to go over on time, no big deal because they're paying me good money. Right to to talk and the meetings that I'm really specific usually about having a hard stop on our whenever I'm doing probably interviews or Q and A's, or even like speaking to potential sponsors for the podcast. Right. Now I'll say I've got 15 minutes.

Emily Thompson 48:12
Yeah. And it gets all the fluff out to exactly. So you can really get to the point and get going on. And really that is sort of the over arching theme of this entire thing is get to the point and get shit done. Because that's really what it comes down to is lay out everything that you need to lay out make it as easy as people are easy as possible for people to respond or take action or reply to your questions in a way that just sort of saves time for everyone because email and just meetings, meetings, eat my eat up my life just as much as me emails due to being able to go into it concisely and have a game plan and be training your clients to do what needs to be done. One

Kathleen Shannon 49:04
thing I wanted to mention, because you keep on talking about training your clients and I think that whenever you're in a business like we are where you're doing a lot of mentoring and coaching, you're not just training them on how to communicate with you, but you're training them on how to be effective communicators, by example for their clients. And I know that I learned from people who are a few steps ahead of me whenever it comes to their emails and how they're doing it. Even newsletters and things like that

Emily Thompson 49:35
will in so much of like I'm a good email. I can run a damn good email but definitely a lot of how I email now came from Tara and like working Yeah, because Tara like does very concise emailing. Yeah, she

Kathleen Shannon 49:50
is the master email. She should write an ebook on how to how to structure an email.

Emily Thompson 49:56
She definitely definitely should it would be it would be genius. Um What you do the people that you work with? Who communicate online, but none of us grow up learning how to email? Like, not really, I mean, we learn how to talk from our parents and on the phone and I guess Lily, these Lily texts now.

Kathleen Shannon 50:18
I'm not kidding. She She has her own phone.

Emily Thompson 50:21
No, she has an iPad that she uses. It's like an old cracked up one.

Kathleen Shannon 50:25
If she likes to new emojis,

Emily Thompson 50:28
emojis, she loves sending me emojis. She does little voice, there's little voice texting. So like, if it's something she can't spell out, she'll voice text me.

Unknown Speaker 50:37
I wish she can text me right this second.

Emily Thompson 50:40
The first time it ever happened. We were in Chattanooga, we were at the aquarium and I'm like sending her like photos of us because a bunch of grown ups went to the aquarium sitting in her photos, and she's sending back emojis and like voice tags, it was like the one of the most heartwarming days I will never forget that day, my first text from Lily. Um, so we grow up learning how to do a lot of communicating, but we don't learn how to write emails, unless they have classes about that. They should know. So you do you learn from the people that you work with online and, and so it almost is our responsibility because we know how to do it, to show the people that we work with how to do it so that they can be successful in their business as well. So if you hire Kathleen, and I not only do we brand and website, you, we also show you how to email like a boss,

Kathleen Shannon 51:31
you know, and I wanted to bring up one more thing that I forgot to mention that I probably just am taking for granted or glossing over the from my agency days is whenever I would email creative to the account manager, who would then be sending it onto the client, I wanted to make sure to make the account manager's job as easy as possible. So I always wrote my emails as if they were going to be forwarded, or you know, directly copied and pasted. And I think that the same really does still apply now. And so I'm really sure to be thorough enough and concise enough that no matter who opened this email, like they would kind of be able to understand what was happening. And so, so creatives, if you're sending an email to your client, let's say, and it's a project that you've been working on, don't don't take it for granted, especially if they need to show it to someone else for approval if they're not the only decision maker. And don't take for granted like a little brief, creative rationale, like just a few bullet points on why you did what you did or why you made the decisions that you made. And that can apply to anything. So write your emails as if they are going to be forwarded.

Emily Thompson 52:49
Yes. Oh, I like that idea. But definitely puts a little more filtering and the information that you put in which is important. And I think that's what a lot of it is is like is filter it like keep with the niceties. ask people how they are and tell them how you're doing like, you know, be conversational. But that's like two sentences.

Kathleen Shannon 53:09
I would say I mean, yeah. And I think that that just depends on relationships sometimes like I mean, if I'm emailing you, I'm just to the point.

Emily Thompson 53:17
Yes, it does. It depends a lot on relate. I'll never forget I had a client once who at the towards the end of a project. He was mad at me because I didn't ask how he was every time I sent him an email anymore. And I remember being like, I email you like five times a day because we're launching a website and you want me to ask, but I was like fine. How are you doing today?

Kathleen Shannon 53:38
Oh, Emily, he was probably stressed out because he was about to launch a website he

Emily Thompson 53:42
was he Oh, he definitely I mean it wasn't like a bad thing. But you do sort of have to fill out those those circumstances I can definitely. I always know a client that I can that I can talk to via email very easily. That's going to be completely okay. Whoa, motorcycle that's going to be completely okay with with a one word or one sentence response. I'll never forget even Lindsey clues ginger tonic botanicals, one of our favorite braid in the combo clients that like the third or fourth email ever sent her I told her I was excited to see her face. And I remember sending that email and thinking that I just tell a client that I was excited to see her face like that's something that I would tell you that seem like bad. Well, a little like I had never set it to a comment like that before. And like granted, like she's definitely the kind of person now that like I want to see her face when I see your face. But you you can start to start to see the kinds of people that you can talk to very easily like that. And then there are some clients that even now like I have to remain a little more professional for because that's simply what they're expecting. So I don't know you'll learn to read the room. In a way, once you do emails as long and as often as we do,

Kathleen Shannon 55:07
I'm still working to that zero inbox. You know, I was just thinking like maybe zero inboxes just a ridiculous goal. Like, do I really desire a zero inbox?

Emily Thompson 55:18
I want greatness. For me, at least these days greatness equates to a zeroed inbox. I don't know. I think that's just, I don't know. That's one of my goals. It doesn't have to be yours, Kathleen, but it is one of mine. I like my communications to be under wraps. I just snapped youtubers I just met.

Kathleen Shannon 55:43
Alright, and I want to talk to the designers for a minute, go for it about our branding for designers ebook. So you wouldn't be this amazing creative designer who works for themselves. But it comes with all this fear of rejection, self doubt and uncertainty. You might even be asking yourself is this a real job, but you do it anyway because you love design and you want to create a working life for yourself that you love. So I want to tell our designer listeners about the free ebook available for download upgrade creative calm. It's called seven ways designers become and brand themselves as creative experts. My sister Tara and I started Bri creative to write design and develop brands for creative entrepreneurs while coaching them through their vision. So we got especially fired up to write this how to do it guide especially for the designers. We know if you can get that creative expert blend into what you do, then everyone else will see it to get the brain ebook for designers at Brave creative.com. And we'll try to write you in four emails to next to get on that Tara,

Emily Thompson 56:52
Tara, actionable to do for you. We'll send you an email recap as soon as we're done. And if you are a creative entrepreneur who's ready to step up your online game with the cohesive and strategic brand and website that totally rocks your socks, and makes it easy for your dream customer defined and by you visit me at nd shop biography.com. And check out our one on one engagement in the boom where we work with you to build an online presence that's tailored specifically to you and your business. And the best part is that we do many of these projects in partnership with Greg creative to pull in their branding and business visioning expertise for building a powerful personal brand. So you get the best of both of our worlds and just the tools you need to build your dreams. Find out more at indie Chef agafay.com slash indie boom. All right. Thank you guys for listening to being boss from Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. You can find our Show Notes for this episode at loving boss calm. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to new episodes on our website on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher. If you like our podcast show us some love by reviewing being boss on iTunes and share it with a friend. Do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.

Oh my gosh, you have choreographed Amen. That's what you have just done with him.