Kathleen Shannon 0:01
Hello, and welcome to being boss,
Emily Thompson 0:04
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.
Unknown Speaker 0:08
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.
Jenny Brown 0:10
I'm Jenny Brown, and I'm being boss.
Sophie Davies 0:13
I'm Sophie Davis, and I'm being box.
Kathleen Shannon 0:19
Today we are speaking with Sophie Davies and Jenny brown of print marketing, all about collaborating and partnering up, and all that good stuff. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes at WWW dot being boss dot club. All right, you guys imagine this you're racing against the clock to wrap up three projects. You're prepping for a meeting later in the afternoon, all while trying to tackle a mountain of paperwork. Welcome to life as a freelancer, small business owner, Boss who's wearing all the hats. Challenging, yes, but our friends at freshbooks believe the rewards are worth it. the working world has changed with the growth of the internet, there's never been more opportunities for the self employed. So to meet this need, freshbooks is excited to announce the launch of an all new version of their cloud accounting software. It's been redesigned from the ground up and custom built for exactly the way you work. Get ready for the simplest way to be more productive, organized, and most importantly, get paid quickly. The all new fresh books is not only ridiculously easy to use, it's packed full of powerful features. You can create and send professional looking invoices in less than 30 seconds, you can set up online payments and with just a couple of clicks get paid up to 40 faster. And you can see when your client has seen your invoice putting an end to all the guessing games freshbooks is offering a 30 day unrestricted free trial to our listeners to claim it. Just go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section? All right, so Sophie Jenny, welcome to the show. Thanks so
Jenny Brown 2:02
much for having us. Hi, Emily. Hi, Kathleen. It's
Sophie Davies 2:06
great to be here. This is Sophie with a British accent, by the way for your listeners.
Jenny Brown 2:11
And this is Jenny with the regular accent. The non exciting accent.
Emily Thompson 2:18
Whenever whenever we were talking about having you guys on I was like yes, we have to have Sophie, we love you, Jenny. But we have to have Sophie on so that she can she can just woo everyone with her British accent.
Sophie Davies 2:30
I know I was super smart with this accent.
Emily Thompson 2:36
And so charming.
Sophie Davies 2:37
I used to be very conscious of my accent when I lived in London because I thought, you know, I had a real London accent a bit like Adele. And I worked with a lot of high class chicks in the fashion PR industry. But now I've moved here. I have like a halo I almost have this virtual Halo that anything that comes out my mouth is smart and intelligent just because I have a British accent. I love it.
Emily Thompson 2:59
Jenny Brown 3:01
I love it. I've told other people like best business tip go in business into business with somebody who's British, like just put them in front of your clients. And everyone's like, yes, Sophie will do whatever. So it's been it's been a smart investment on our part.
Kathleen Shannon 3:19
So to give our listeners a little bit of background, you guys have prims marketing. And Sophie, you are a content strategist there and Jenny, you are a web and brand strategist there you guys both co founded print marketing together. And we met the two of you at being boss, New Orleans. So our very first vacation a couple of years ago, which was so much fun. And we really had such a good time that you both really stood out. And then Jenny, we came across you again in Palm Springs. And we started a conversation about being type A and his personality and and collaborating and having a business bestie and everything that goes into that. So I really thought it would be great to bring that conversation to being boss because we were talking about a lot of things and getting really vulnerable. And I think it's a conversation that our listeners need to hear whether or not you are partnering with someone. Collaboration has helped us bring our game to a whole new level. It's helped Emily and I create something bigger than ourselves both in our personal businesses with braid creative and indicia typography and then, of course, what we're creating and being bossed together. So I would love to just jump right in. And the first thing that I'd love to know is how you both came to be partners in print marketing where you friends first three days business colleagues, how did you ultimately decide to partner up?
Sophie Davies 4:48
Okay, well, my background is predominantly in public relations, which kind of organically evolved into social media marketing. And I actually started working at a publishing publicist office in the East Bay during the summer of 2013, which is where I met Jenny. We had a great time working together. It was probably one of the best jobs I've ever done. But unfortunately, the firm had to change its client structure and had to let most of the employees go, including us just a couple of weeks before Christmas of 2013, which was a Merry Christmas. It's a real bummer. But bad timing. Yeah. But a few weeks later, we just decided to take destiny into our own hands and umbrella, our individual skill sets and try starting our own business. So that was January 2014. So we're kind of rolling into our third year this month.
Emily Thompson 5:44
Yeah. So you guys, so you guys were working together. But were you guys like hanging out? Like, were you getting drunk together? Or like talking about making babies are just like straight? Hey, I'm at the office, let's grab a soda and talk about this client.
Jenny Brown 6:02
was more of a business relationship at that point. at that. That's right, Sophie,
Emily Thompson 6:08
we do you thought so too, right.
Jenny Brown 6:12
So when Sophie says the East Bay, we're in the Bay Area, I'm in San Francisco and Sophie's in northern Marin. And at the time, this job was in the East Bay. So we were both commuting across the bay, which for both of us, it was like 45 minutes an hour. Is that right? So yeah. So at that time, we really like enjoyed the work we were doing together in the office, there was some really great synergy that was happening in that it was a PR firm, but I was doing a lot of like the marketing, the creating of assets,
design, email marketing. And then Sophie was really great at taking my work and seeing like, how can we promote and create this? Or you know, who needs who needs? Who do we need to share it with? How can we cross promote it? How can we make more of the opportunity. And so it just really felt like there was some nice back and forth between the work that we were doing together. But definitely when we got in the car, at the end of the day, we both sort of went back to our respective lives. So we had young kids at the time, I think your kids were two and five,
Sophie Davies 7:15
yes, two and five at the time. Yeah.
Jenny Brown 7:18
And I was in a full time master's degree. So we were there a couple days a week. But we also had like very full lives and schedules outside of that specific job.
Sophie Davies 7:28
So we were basically figuring things out, okay, we're going to start a business, we knew how to do the work, but neither of us had run our own business. So the huge learning curve. And while we were figuring things out, we were hired by our first clients, who pretty much took a chance on us, not only did we bootstrap ourselves, but it really accelerated our setup. Because we had to quickly decide on a name, we had to for myself as an entity, the client needed to pay us. So we need a bank account
Jenny Brown 8:01
with a bank account, to put the check in.
Sophie Davies 8:05
And we worked with a great, a great person who's now one of our partners to create our logo and our brand's identity. So we just we just started doing the work, you know what you guys are always talking about on this podcast, we didn't even have our first website until six months later, we just wanted to do the work and have a better understanding of what services we wanted to offer. And more importantly, what we didn't want to offer, and how we prefer to work with our clients.
Kathleen Shannon 8:35
I want to mention this thing about you guys. Well, first, I want to ask you what the conversation was like, whenever you guys both got laid off? I mean, where you call each other on the phone, like, Oh, shit, me, too.
What are you going to do? Well, what are you going to do? I mean, how did it turn? I want to know the specifics of like, well, what if we did this thing together, having never run your own business, and having to make it up as you go, which is another thing I want to touch on. I know that whenever I worked at an ad agency, it's it's almost like having parents, whenever you have someone else, that's the boss, and you never think that they're having to figure it out, you know, like my son, and Sophie, your kids probably never think, Wow, mom has no idea what she's doing. She's right. Like we look at our parents as this authority that has it figured out, you never imagined that they ever had to make it up as they go. And so I just want to point that out. Because I think that in the grand scheme of things, we're all making it up, right. And even working in the most secure places. I mean, I've seen really big brands that are still making it up as they go to. So I just love that. You mentioned that and I want to point out that like everyone feels that way. But back to like the literal conversation you get laid off. Are you calling each other on the phone? What did you happen to like cross paths? You know, during that last week at the office, what did that look like?
Jenny Brown 9:59
So we We're really fortunate in that everyone who it was a really boutique firm, it was pretty small. So everyone was still really sweet. And the founder felt really terrible about, you know, having to let us go, she obviously didn't want to. And so she kept throwing us freelance work or contract work that she could no longer take in. And I think we had a couple of phone calls early, where we're jumping on the phone with a client. And it almost felt like, for me, it felt like we're falling back into that old rhythm of like, Okay, well, I'm going to make it and then Sophie is going to figure out how to promote it. And the seed was sort of planted when we're talking to a client, and we're proposing some work. And he said, Okay, well, who do I pay? Do I pay you? Or do I pay her? And like, if that was sort of the moment that it was, like, hold on timeout, and like, Sophie Khmer, like we'll get a client, and they'll give us money. And we'll split it. High five business plan, like it was, there was no like premeditated strategy or like, even some of the things that we've learned, that are so important later, like rolls and sticking to our sweet spots, and how to scale like all those things, we knew none of it, it was just, we knew we liked working together, we knew that we had some synergy. And we knew that clients were confused in terms of who to pay. That was it. And we didn't even in our formation process, like we hired an attorney. But it was like 5050, high five, let's business. And I think looking back, I'm grateful for that. Because I think if I would have known sort of everything that can be involved in a partnership, not that I would I regret the way we did it. But I think I would have like, perhaps talked myself out of it. Like if I would have gone down the path of like, here's everything that could go wrong in a partnership and all the things you need to think about, I might have overwhelmed myself, but we sort of just like jumped in with both feet and said, like, let's try it on and see if it works. What's the worst that could happen?
Sophie Davies 12:05
I agree. And when we first started, we didn't really know too many people in a similar situation to us. This was probably a few months before you guys had started the podcast. It was a few months before we discovered a co working space that we now work from. So we didn't have a community of people that we could, you know, ask, Well, how does everyone else do this? How does everyone else figure this out? So we were really it was a lot of trial and error in those first few months. And then we started to find a community through our co working spaces a women's only co working space, in southern marine. So it's our halfway point that we can come together and work and do all our client meetings. And then I have to say, I mean not to, you know, the south or south or anything. But we learned a lot from listening to your podcast, this was you guys were saving grace for us. And we were scribbling we were frantically taking notes during the podcast. And, and we loved when you guys started the community on Facebook. And we found a lot of great partners through the Facebook group, but also meeting people face to face at your retreat. And I feel like the online community through being boss and the offline community through our co working space gave us the support that we needed. And you know, at the end of the day, you can't create in a vacuum, it takes a village. And we needed other people's perspectives and other people's help to grow and become the business that we are today.
Kathleen Shannon 13:39
So it sounds like you know, Jenny, you're like we just split the check 5050 like there was no business plan, other than we liked each other. And we knew that we worked well together. And I think that's some of how it sounds like. And I just want to say I think that's how some of the best collaborations are set up and even with my sister. That's how we set our business up. And just in the last few months, we've had to really consider some of the things that some people probably think about when they first start partnering up. So did you have any reservations or consider it considerations going into partnering up? Or do you think that some of that has come much later?
Jenny Brown 14:25
I'm shaking my head because no I didn't do
Sophie Davies 14:29
i would i would jump into say that we are roles for very defined when we started working with our first clients. So I was predominantly doing the social media marketing on behalf of the client. They were starting from scratch so as building their audience through social media, and Jenny was helping them with their brand guidelines and helping them on the creative side and also with email marketing.
Kathleen Shannon 14:54
I think that that was the way that we decided to start out you know how I said we went To umbrella or skill sets, and that was very defined. And I was about to say where those roles defined kind of in your previous working situation. So you kind of went into it already knowing the kinds of roles that you've had before together. Yeah, right. But even aside from the roles, like the the partnering of Emily and I have talked before about how sometimes bringing on a business partner is more serious than bringing on a marriage, oh, assets and money and
Jenny Brown 15:32
but we learn that later. That's what I'm saying. Like, I don't I think, in the beginning, had I had we known maybe we might have, I don't know, maybe just been more hesitant or dragged your feet or, but I think we learned for I don't know what it was for you. So if you vote for me, it was like, the second year of prims. At that time, I was in the second year of my full time, master's degree. And I had this moment where I was like, Oh, shit, like, we started a business. Like, this isn't just a little gig where we hustle for some money, and they hand us a check. Like, we share a bank account, we, you know, have, we have to file taxes together? Like it's, it's, it was a lot more, it weighed more than I expected when we started sometimes
Kathleen Shannon 16:13
not even just the taxes and the bank account, but the vision. Yeah, getting on the same page with the vision and where are we taking this thing? Because if you're not on the same page there, that can cause a lot of tension and strife. You know, like miscommunication and, okay, so Emily, do you have any questions? I'm like, really? No,
Emily Thompson 16:36
no, no, yeah, I'm so good. I'm gonna come out with some big shit in a minute. You guys just wait.
Jenny Brown 16:41
Okay. Well, to sort of touch on that, or
Sophie Davies 16:45
I think Jenny was about to about to say the same thing. You were just saying, you know, starting up a business with someone else, having a business partner is like having a second spouse. It got to the point where I was speaking to Jenny, just as much, if not more than my own husband. Yeah. So it is a second marriage. And I think like Jenny was saying, in the second year of most businesses, you know, maybe there's teething problems at the beginning. But the second year, you're really scaling and you're really growing. And you really have to put your big girl pants on. And I think we realized that we needed to bring someone else on to help us do that. And we joke that this transitional coach that we worked with, was our marriage counselor. She really helped us negotiate. Like we were saying, like the whole point of like, the title of this podcast is navigating your role to find your sweet spot. And I think that was a big thing that we were doing in the second year of business. Yeah. And Jenny
Unknown Speaker 17:48
quit, what was the title of our podcasts
Sophie Davies 17:50
again? Maybe it might find your sweet spots.
Kathleen Shannon 17:56
So then let's talk about that that relationship that you had with your transitional business coach, what did you learn about your roles? What did you learn about, you know, and how did your roles change? After working with that person, tell us a little bit about that experience?
Jenny Brown 18:11
Well, we brought her on in an interesting time in our business. To sort of dovetail what Sophie was saying about that second year, and like how we were building things. That second year, we were really focused on growth. And like we knew sort of the first year, you're sort of, you're amazed that anyone's paid you money for anything. You're just like, Oh, my gosh, this is a miracle. I made something and somebody paid us for it. But the second year, you really start looking into like, how can we do that again, and bigger? How can we double it? How can we, you know, do more. And the path that we organically gravitated towards was sort of in this makes sense. In hindsight, people knew to ask for logos and websites and certain things on the creative side. So we were getting a lot of requests for that. And our business really swung in the creative direction, where we were doing a lot of logos, a lot of websites, you know, a lot more on the creative side, we were having to bring in partners to support because you know, that's something that I can do but can't do alone. But we really actually like our business model shifted in that second year. And sort of what you were saying about holding the vision. I wouldn't say we got off track because we were still in the formative years. But we really swung to one side of our sweet spot, so to say. So it was that time for both of us was tense and frustrating. Because I was holding a lot of the work. Sofia's core genius wasn't being expressed in the vision and we just weren't really sure how to move forward in a way that that made money and and worked like it just felt like we all were really trying really hard. And we at the end of after paying out all the partners were like well, this this isn't really wasn't as much as we wanted or expected. And so what are we doing wrong and how do we fix this? So Laura was really helpful in coming in and she had us do a couple of exercises. But one of the things she had us do is really sort of pinpoint what brings us joy? What brings us energy, what lights us up? And how are those things different? And then where are the holes, and those holes became places that we then started bringing in an assistant or a project manager or VA. And so we really, there's a lot of shifts that happened as a result of that. And I'll let Sophie tell you some of those. But one of them was really in our roles where Sophie really moved more into business development, doing workshops, being sort of out meeting people connecting because she's just a natural, amazing connector. And I really moved more into some of the business structures and systems. So setting up systems for the business, managing our cash being sort of our CFO, which were things that I think before, perhaps we were both trying to do at the same time, because it was 5050. And so we should be sharing the load. And really, that wasn't serving any of us. So
Sophie Davies 21:02
I think a lot of your viewers who are listening into this episode are either solopreneurs, or perhaps they do have business partners. And I think for that first year, a lot of the roles can naturally overlap when you're passionate about similar subjects. And I think it can either happen in that first year or perhaps more in the second year, like it did for us, where you start really identifying Okay, what are my strengths? And what are my weaknesses? And what weaknesses Can I outsource to other people. And, and by working with this transitional coach, she was able to identify what energized us and what drained us. So she was asking us to basically write out our job descriptions to see what those natural overlaps were, and really negotiate our roles to make sure that you know, like, Jenny is a creative wizard. And she also loves numbers. She loves analytics. So she geeks out on that kind of thing. I hate that kind of thing. I used to work with a lot of big budgets in my old PR job, and I hated it. But I now bring in the sales, I'm now doing all the sales calls and bringing in all new client work, which I love doing. So it was it was just basically navigating that. And really understanding what each person enjoy doing and what you didn't enjoy doing. And how can I outsource that. So someone is doing it better than me, rather than me trying to do it, and not doing it? Well.
Emily Thompson 22:36
So you guys ended up getting a coach to help you do this? Had you tried to have that conversation before? Or was the coach someone who came in and just like, hey, by the way, you guys need to have this conversation.
Sophie Davies 22:49
We were having that conversation, but obviously not as well as we thought we were. Yeah. And I think it took us working with this particular transitional coach, but also working with a sales coach as well, which she was another person that asked us to do some really interesting and insightful exercises about each service that we offered everything that went into that service, how much revenue went went into it, how much we're paying our partners, and really take a step back and look at the big picture, what's serving us and what's not serving us as a business. And I think that's the beauty of working with outside consultants and experts. I think sometimes when you're in it, your nose is too close to the painting. And you need someone else to hold a mirror up and say, okay, girls, look at what's happening here.
Kathleen Shannon 23:45
We need to rethink this business model. I think also, as creatives, it's really easy to take our business super personal. And it's hard to look at it at it as this objective entity on its own. That requires its own kind of lifeblood, right. And so for us, for me and Emily, this is actually an exercise that we take our clubhouse members through is that kind of job role description, even if you're working for yourself, it's so important to outline all the roles that you are fulfilling in your business so that you can grow and so that you can see where you're maybe having energy leaks or time is being wasted. Another thing I want to bring up in this conversation is I feel like there's this societal pressure to pay your dues and that work should feel hard. And we are all working for ourselves as creatives because we want to live what we love, but I still think there's this little aspect of if it doesn't feel hard, you're not doing it right. So I think that a lot of us put pressure on ourselves to do the things that we don't like doing because it feels like hard work. Does
Jenny Brown 24:57
that make sense? Totally. And I think I think that was, I don't know, if we felt necessarily that specific pressure. I think, you know, you're just in those first couple years, you're just like running as hard as you can to keep the thing alive. You know, like, Don't die, don't die. Right. Please. But I, I, I do think that some of that was also we really experienced that in terms of what Sophie was just talking about in terms of our business model transition. So if you want to think about the transitional code, she's sort of helped us look at like, Who are you guys as people? And what do you need to be doing in order for you to be happy, healthy, contributing partners in this business? And then the sales coach looked at the business model and said, like, what is your key differentiator? What can you do better than anybody else? What makes you more money? And how are you going to put together a profitable statistics sustainable business? And guess what surprise, usually the things that you love doing are also the things that feel easy, and give you that key differentiator mode. So what ended up happening there was sort of at you know, that we're having the second year, it's kind of, you know, we're really heavily creatively focused, it's a tense experience, sort of for both of us. And I think we had tried to talk about it, between us. But you know, just like a marriage therapist, anybody who's been with a partner and sort of been with therapy, like having that objective third person, just sort of like, help you see the other person like, I think this was the biggest part was like, This furious curiosity of who is my partner? And who does she really need to be to be fully expressed? And how do I just see that and harness that with the business versus like, trying to force something into something that doesn't work. So that was work with Laura, and the transitional coach. And then when we went over to the sales side, we had, we were working with somebody, we have a mentor, who had been appointed to us through the SBDC, which is the Small Business Development Center. So for any of your listeners, there is so much free resources that you can get through the government. If you go to their website, you know, Sophie was able to find us like a free mentor, that would check in on our books and help us make all these decisions. So as we were looking at how we were going to change the revenue model, you know, these, the sales coach, and this other person from the SBDC, sort of looked at everything we offered, and they said, Well, you guys have this thing called the brand plan. And it represents the core genius of both of your work and you're telling me that it's easy unprofitable, why are you not putting all your eggs in that basket. And that was sort of a critical turning point for us where it was like we weren't really, we decided to stop doing just websites and logos. But really, that became the entry point where we start with the foundation. We do like, you know, as you say, Kathleen, the brand on the inside, right? And then once clients come through that we can open up and talk about logos, or websites or social media or any of these other things. But if they don't come to us for that first part where we can really intimately do our best work, then, you know, they're welcome to go to other people. And once we sort of focus that way, I just felt like it unlocked so much for us both as partners, profitability, felt like the business model housed our sweet spots, versus trying to like make ourselves fit into a business that wasn't holding us.
Kathleen Shannon 28:28
It also sounds like a much more proactive approach to running a business versus reactive. Oh, you need a website, you need a logo, I can do that. I can do that. And then Sue Sophie's probably like, well, then what the hell am I do? Um, okay, one thing that you guys keep mentioning that I really want to touch on is that second year, so you keep bringing up the second year, and it almost feels like this coming of age for your business. Definitely. And I horrible teenager. I know that being boss has experienced that in our first year. It was a passion project, honestly, that accidentally made money. Then in our second year, the question that we started to ask ourselves was how do we continue to grow this thing strategically, without squashing the organic, passionate energy that created it? So I'm curious to hear from you guys. What was your second year, almost coming of age question. Like if you had to have a question that you were asking yourself in that second year to kind of give your growth focus and direction, what would what would that question be?
Jenny Brown 29:41
That's a really good question.
Sophie Davies 29:43
I would say I kept coming up with it. I kept coming back to the question is this the best use of my time. So if I was spending an hour doing admin work, such as onboarding clients, rather than getting Thinking about lining up the next prospect prospect. And then I knew that I was not using my time in the right way. So I had to. So that was a big turning point. For me. That was a question I kept thinking, was this the best use of my time? So I, in terms of us writing down our job descriptions, we had to really think about what are the what's the kind of minutia? What's the admin that we're doing? That's just not. It's not for the greater good of print marketing. And we need to be outsourcing that work. What was it for you, Jenny?
Jenny Brown 30:35
I think I had a question at the time that I was asking myself, and there was a second question that I learned to ask later, that opened a few things up. So at the time, it was like, how do we set this up to be productive? Like, because I'm the systems person, right? I like the numbers and the structure. So it was like, What is the structure need to be? So that it's, it's allowing our clients to move through the process successfully. It's allowing us to have the work life balance we want. And it's allowing us to, to, you know, ultimately be a profitable business. So I think that that time that was sort of the thing that I was really wrestling with, like, how do we set the structure so that we're creating what we want to create. But I think what really helped unlock some of the things that we experienced in this last year, this third year of really finding our sweet spot was more close was closer to the question that Sophie was asking the first year. And my mantra this last year has been, is this work that only I can do? Because, you know, I may love for the first couple years, for example, I was doing our bookkeeping, which I liked. But I'm not the only person in the world who can do bookkeeping. I am the only person in the world who can see my clients and help them crystallize and crystallize their vision for their business and put words and designs to what they're trying to create. I'm the only person that can do that.
Kathleen Shannon 32:02
And so no, it's funny. It's like from an outside view, there might be a day Jenny, where someone else can do that, too. And then what does your role become? And how does your role evolve then?
Jenny Brown 32:14
I think we're asking ourselves that now like now, the word of the business like what you know, I think was it terrigen till Gentilly that was on your podcast talking about legacy businesses. That's a lifestyle versus lifestyle businesses. So that's even been something that we're thinking like,
Unknown Speaker 32:32
Jenny Brown 32:33
know, what, what's the next phase? And yeah, exactly, which that feels probably scary, right? Where you're outsourcing only worth it you can do.
Kathleen Shannon 32:42
I once heard someone say that whenever you're the founder, or you know, CEO of your business, really, the only thing that cannot be replaced, is the vision that you hold the vision for where you want to take this ship. And that's something that nobody else can replace for you, which I think is really interesting, especially as I start to build being boss with Emily. And even thinking about braid creative. My role, which was very similar to yours, Jenny that I thought nobody could replace. I've been replaced, but I still have to find my worth and my importance and my passion over at braid creative by holding the vision. Exactly. So I'm Emily, what about you? Have you felt any of that second year, coming of age questioning? whenever
Emily Thompson 33:34
it comes to indie shop? graphy or even being boss? It each of our view is old enough that I don't even remember I think it was just like, is this worth it? Maybe? Or why am I doing this? so long?
Jenny Brown 33:50
web work, anyone writes in web asked me that I should
Emily Thompson 33:53
write exactly why am I doing this to myself? Um, I think for for being boss. Like, I almost have you know, how after you have a kid you don't have any memories of the first two years. Right? You know, like, I kind of feel like that with being welcoming. I obviously have tons of memories, but I can only look back at it. Like this lens of like, I remember the best parts. And all of the all the nasty things or all the questions or like, you know, this poopy diapers, you just don't really remember. Or like it was just part of the process. And maybe that's just me, like, having been a business owner for I don't know, over a decade now in one capacity or another. Like, I just I don't,
Unknown Speaker 34:35
I don't remember.
Kathleen Shannon 34:37
I will say I think one of my guiding questions to this day that I'm always asking myself and it's a question that I asked myself as I was quitting my day job was, who am I working for? or What am I working for? And it really keeps my my integrity in check whenever it comes to who I'm serving. What it is that what is the country of life I want to create so like, what am I bringing in a paycheck for? And do I really need to hustle it out to make X amount more dollars if I'm working for something that I already have? anyway? Um, so I'm curious Jenny, one of the conversations that we were having poolside in Palm Springs was about being type A and your admittedly type a
Emily Thompson 35:26
meteor. And it was
Kathleen Shannon 35:28
Kathleen. I think I think a lot of us creatives are well, at least creatives who are turning our creativity into a profitable business and wearing a lot of hats. So I'm curious. Um, you know, you guys worked with a lot of coaches. Did you ever examine your personalities and look at how those play a role?
Jenny Brown 35:47
Yeah, I mean, Laura, Laura, did personality tests with us. Correct. Sophie?
Sophie Davies 35:52
She did? She did. Yeah. Yeah. You
Kathleen Shannon 35:54
guys mind sharing Laura's name? Like do you think that our listeners Oh,
Jenny Brown 35:58
yeah, I got word of her work. Her name is Laura Reardon. And she is at I believe it's Laura Reardon calm. We can can we send you links? And, of course,
Kathleen Shannon 36:08
we'll be sure to include that in our show notes.
Unknown Speaker 36:10
Kathleen Shannon 36:12
Okay, so you did personality tests? What did you learn?
Sophie Davies 36:15
Well, we learned that I suppose I don't want to label myself. But you could call me a reformed Taipei. Because I refer to my old life as being a fashion PR director in the fashion industry in London. And I worked a lot of long hours, weekends. And I worked hard and played hard, which and my boss, my husband, which was my boyfriend at the time traveled a lot as well, and it suited me. But after a decade of working at that kind of unsustainable pace, I felt completely burnt out around the time that I moved to San Francisco. So So now I'm my own boss, raising two young kids, I definitely now believe in having a more sustainable work pace, and a more realistic to do list. Because I think as you know, with both of you being moms as well, life throws you uncertain curveballs when you have two young kids. So having a back to back work schedule, without any space doesn't serve anyone involved.
Kathleen Shannon 37:16
So I'm a little curious about some, like real specific, what does it look like? What does that space look like for you? And how do you actually tactically manage that slower pace? And do you ever get anxiety over like, yeah, I could I could be making this happen so much faster if I would just work 40 more hours a week? Yeah,
Sophie Davies 37:37
yeah. So in our first year, I was not good at balancing work and taking care of two young kids at school, I wasn't doing very well, I was taking client calls. At ATM. While I was trying to get the kids out the door to daycare and preschool. I was taking calls from clients on weekends, which is ridiculous. And I was even wrapping up calls, as I was literally crossing the playing field to pick up my kids from summer camp. So I wasn't allowing any transitional time from business owner mindset to mother mindset. And that started to make a person angry, yes. stressed out and guilty that I wasn't doing either job very well. So in the second year, I had to really set healthier boundaries for myself, for my family, for my business owner, my business partner, sorry, Jenny, and for my clients. So so what I came up with was, so
Emily Thompson 38:40
you chose to be an adult.
Sophie Davies 38:45
What helped me a great deal, Emily was that I broke up my weekdays into levels of time. So now I have great a time, which is my dedicated working time while the kids are at school or an extended childcare. I have Grade B time where they're two afternoons a week that I've already picked up the kids from school, and they're working on their homework, but I'm still answering emails and having phone calls with Jenny. And then my great see time is when I five o'clock onwards on a weekday. That's when I shop shop closed down, and I focus on being a mom. So I know that my grade A time is those times that I take my sales calls, I have my one on one client meetings, they're the times I'm fully engaged in prims. Because if I'm trying to do both things at the same time, it doesn't work out for anyone involved.
Kathleen Shannon 39:41
So did you physically map this time out? So I'm only thinking about my acuity schedule, and I never thought about it as like Grade A or B time but really just deciding Okay, I'm only taking meetings on Wednesdays and if I only make that time available in my acuity calendar, then it's going to kind of hold the guard For me, so did you do that with your calendar and only allow for meetings during that time but not fill up that time with other stuff? That wouldn't be great a time stuff?
Sophie Davies 40:10
Yes. So I've integrated those chunks of time into my acuity scheduling.
Unknown Speaker 40:20
Ud scheduling.com, slash being boss.
Sophie Davies 40:23
And now Jenny, and our assistant knows when's the best time to schedule joint meetings, for our clients, and for any leads, who are scheduling calls, during my great a time through the website. And I and they know what times to I'm just not available when I'm with my kids.
Jenny Brown 40:41
I wouldn't say that that also helped me as a partner, just I mean, I, I don't have kids, but at the time, I was in my, you know, doing a full time master's program. So I was pretty involved, but which
Kathleen Shannon 40:52
is basically your baby, let's be real here.
Jenny Brown 40:55
Well, nobody woke me up in the middle of the night or pooped on me. So I don't know.
Kathleen Shannon 41:00
Except your own crippling anxiety of
Jenny Brown 41:07
Crying on myself. But it did help me because I'm a verbal processor, Sophie, poor, Sophie has to like hear me think things out loud. So I can figure out what I think. But knowing when it was her Grade A time to get her client work done, I can just shoot her an email and say, Hey, let me know when you're ready to talk about this versus like, in the first year, I was like, you know, like just bulldozing my way into her workday.
Unknown Speaker 41:31
Jenny Brown 41:32
I need to talk about this. So I can work. And so some of that is just sort of like learning the nuance of a partner and really beginning to like, be self aware of not only what do I need and how to communicate that. But what does she need? And what is the best time to integrate with either her work schedule or have a tough conversation? Or, you know, going back to that question of is this work that only I can do? Or is this the work that I need to do right now. So having some of those clear boundaries between the two of us, I think helped us figure out how to integrate a little better. Jenny, did you adopt any of the grade A grade b
Kathleen Shannon 42:06
grade c time and your own schedule after learning Sophie's tricks for that? I
Jenny Brown 42:11
Kathleen Shannon 42:13
And that's okay, too. But how have you? Okay, here's my, here's my questions. Like, I think that as, as empathic creatives, it might be easy for us to feel hesitant or shy or even guilty about saying, for Sophie to be like, hey, Jenny, I have this great a time and I need you to not email me or schedule anything during that time. Right? Like, it feels awkward. It almost feels like it could be mean, but sometimes boundaries are the kindest thing you can do for your business partners, and even you all working relationships, and even your personal relationships. So did you find a point Jenny, where you had to really bring in your own boundaries to like reciprocate that kind of kindness and that kind of communication? Yes.
Jenny Brown 43:05
And I think I didn't really hit that point until about a year after Sophie did. So she was kind enough to let me tire myself out. I think, you know, she should say things like, you should eat lunch, and you know, turn off the computer, and I wouldn't, she'd be like, Oh, wait, you'll you'll eventually get there. Right. But I think so I hit that point. December of 2015. Like, right after I finished my degree. And I think part of it is and like maybe this is similar to doing your first year of business, or maybe you guys have experiences in times of hustle. It's like, I think one of my superpowers is I can work harder than anyone I know. And I love kathlyn what you actually have said about like, doing my best might kill me, like, my best is really good. I might kill myself and everyone else in the process. And I, I've had to learn that like, you know, just the same way like a cheetah can run it like 200 miles an hour. It can't always run a 200 miles an hour. And it was the painful part for me was not so much like putting my ass in the chair and getting shit done. It was more about figuring out what does like a regular normal pace. Just like Sophie had had to find space. How do I give myself space from the business in space, from my own deadlines and my own personal passion projects like I you know, not taking on a book and a master's degree and a business like that. I had a ton of excitement and passion and love for all of those things. But it was a tremendous amount to take on. So what I actually did during that year, like once I finished the degree and was tired and could not stop crying for the first like two months. I hired a women's coach just on my own. She's phenomenal. She's this little hippie that lives in a cottage In the redwood forest in Marin, she's like,
Kathleen Shannon 45:02
Yes, you are. Yeah, her in Palm Springs mitering. Her Yes, her
Jenny Brown 45:06
name is Rachel osito. She's a real rose, holistic, I'll give you her link as well. She was so wonderful. She basically gave me rules of like, you must, like, she had me set up a little meditation area in my office, like I have a little space. And she's like, I don't care if you meditate. But you have to sit on the rug for 15 minutes every day before you turn on your computer. So it was sort of like those little baby steps. Like I felt like a draft like trying to figure out how to walk. But like, as she forced me to have space, I felt like I was able to slow down. And that just opened up so many things between just not even like our relationship, but outsourcing and delegating, and just not not holding our business so close to me where it was like, everything has to be done yesterday. And I think also holding off on the ambition of like, Okay, so now we're at the mountain top, we're having this success, what are we going to do next, like right away, but really being able to hold the space and say, like, let's celebrate and be proud of everything we've accomplished, full stop, you know, just sort of letting that the past work that I've done, continued to, you know, slow the pace for the future versus like constantly being in that high mode.
Kathleen Shannon 46:21
And how has that worked out? Like, as has business fallen off the face of the earth? Or you could do you guys, like, here's what I've done in my own type A tendencies is I have connected a sense of urgency and stress with success. Like to me I have, you know, bulldoze those neural pathways so that they are connected in my mind, if, if I slow down, it means I'm going to go hungry from that Cheetah and I stopped running at 200 miles an hour, I'm not going to catch dinner that right? It almost feels primal. So it sounds like you've been able to slow down, and I'm sure it's a constant practice, correct me if I'm wrong. But what have you learned through that, like is business still happening is
Jenny Brown 47:05
every craziest part, I realized through this process, and Sophie has probably been waiting for me to realize this for a year. I'm in my own way, I'm in everybody's way. It's more than like, as soon as I slow down, profitability goes up. Happiness has gone up, we've we've brought on more partners. So we have more people supporting in the work. And I don't know if you guys feel this way. But to me, when a client question comes in, and you watch your team member address it and the problem goes away, that feels like a miracle. To me, it's magic, oh my gosh. So it was more like me getting out of the way and letting Sophie do what she's actually very good at. And me getting out of the way and letting our VA is our VA or social media support or whoever. Just let them do their job. And I find that the more I get out of the way, the better we're all doing. So it's, it's tough. But
Kathleen Shannon 48:04
yeah, the most boss thing you can do is delegate your way out of a job. Alright, so I'm curious, you know, coming full circle, you guys entered your relationship more as creative colleagues. I'm curious, do you feel like you have a more meaningful relationship? Now? Does it still feel like all business? Or does it feel a little more? Like you're in the trenches, like war buddies together? What's it like now,
Sophie Davies 48:35
I think our working relationship has really improved. And we were very open with one another, we're very open with one another. And we're very, as Jenny was saying, we're more self aware. We're more considerate to one another. And I think like anything in life, challenges make you stronger. If everything was just running smooth, I don't think we would have learned from any mistakes. So like, like, in parenting, I keep telling God, it's just like, when you become a parent, you learn from the mistakes you make, and it makes you stronger. So I think that's the case with with running a business as a solopreneur. And with a business partner, any challenges that come your way you learn from them, and you get stronger and you move on. wiser. Yeah,
Jenny Brown 49:27
I think so. So I've had some people ask me before, like, you know, are you guys best buds now? Like, are you you know, are you besties and I feel maybe weird, like guilty saying this, but like, I think of our relationship differently than that. And maybe perhaps in the same way that I would think about, like my husband, for example, like, sure, he's my friend, but he's also so much more than my friend and he's also not the person that I would go to talk to about certain. certain places like some things you just need to take two girlfriends And I kind of feel like, for me, our relationship is kind of the same way where it's like Sophia is so much more than my friend, you know, we have so much other experience outside of just a friendship. And then there's other areas where we have to take things to separate people outside of our business relationship to sort of, like, learn and process. So, like, maybe we're buddies as one, but like, I just think that like partners in any way that know you like inside and out flaws in xiety moments like you have, I think you have this really interesting relationship that, like, friendship doesn't really capture you know, it's so much more and so much different sometimes. And I think that that's good, because you have to have that sort of, like, sense of strength and objectivity in your person. You know,
Sophie Davies 50:48
beautiful. I, she's a writer, she's got a beautiful way with
Emily Thompson 50:55
Kathleen, I feel so much stronger for you then.
Kathleen Shannon 51:02
So, Emily did her top 10 for 2016. Right when you 16 it was like she I loved your caption, it was something like just me with my two spouses because I have photos were me and Emily and half were Emily and David. Right.
Emily Thompson 51:16
It was it was me and the two people that I'm married to. I filed taxes with these two people. That's mine were
Jenny Brown 51:24
half me and my husband and half, designer, vacate, and Palm Springs. So
Kathleen Shannon 51:30
there you go. And it's and it's funny too, because I recently hired Emily's man to keep track of my finances. So it's getting real sister wife up in here. Okay, so final question to wrap this up. I'm curious to hear from both of you. What makes you feel most boss?
Unknown Speaker 51:48
Sophie Davies 51:48
good question, like a question. I feel most boss when I, when it's a day where I'm not working from home, and I get dressed for a client meeting. And I'd say well, I'm going to be forward facing with my community. I've said this, I think I've said this before, I get into a really good mindset by literally putting a great podcast like being boss in the car when I'm driving on highway 101, to the CO working space, and then coming through a door and seeing this community of amazing business owners. And knowing that there are women that I work with that I can bounce ideas off and get different perspectives. I think it's those days when I'm in a community of other business owners. And I also teach workshops there, and I love the energy when women support other women. That is when I feel the most boss.
Kathleen Shannon 52:49
Love it. Jenny, what about you?
Jenny Brown 52:52
Um, so I think as like the resident, like systems geek, I think I get or even just like, as a generator as like a designer or a maker. I think I feel really boss when we've made a thing. And we can watch other people interact with that thing and have success. So whether that's like setting up a really killer email funnel in, like, for example, Convert Kit or the brand plan is a process that we've set up from end to end and where it's like, there's automation involved, we've created systems that allow us to not be in the minutiae, and just watching. It's like a little mousetrap, you just watch, you know, all the pieces come together and the client feels held through the entire thing, and they get a really amazing experience. But we're not actually touching every single part every single time like but that always makes me feel like we've built something phenomenal. So I think that makes me feel lost.
Emily Thompson 53:51
Right? Where can people find more about you guys online?
Unknown Speaker 53:56
Jenny Brown 53:57
we email@example.com it is PR i m d.com. And you can find us on all of the socials at at prim pri MD marketing. Did I miss anything? Sophie?
Sophie Davies 54:10
No, just to say that all we spend most of our time on Instagram. That's our that's our main place.
Emily Thompson 54:16
Yes, they're adorable. You have to go look at their faces.
Kathleen Shannon 54:21
It has been so much fun hanging out with you guys. It's so insightful to see how other people are partnering up and the challenges that come with it. And I think that our listeners are going to learn so much just listening to the conversation and knowing that they can do it too, and that we're all in this together. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Sophie Davies 54:42
Thanks so thank you so much for having us. We're really excited to be on the podcast at last Yeah. Thanks, guys.
Kathleen Shannon 54:52
You guys in 2016 my calendar was insane. There were literally days I would go without eating lunch because my calendar was so beautiful. Have appointments and meetings and you regular listeners know how much I love my food. So I finally got on the acuity scheduling train. The best part about setting up acuity was actually taking a step back and deciding what I wanted my schedule to actually look like. I then designated times for work and times for meetings. And my calendar is looking so much more same these days. Also, for those of you who aren't very tech savvy, don't fret acuity scheduling is really easy, and not so hard to set up. It takes a little bit of groundwork upfront but you'll be so thankful for it whenever your calendar looks exactly the way you want it to sign up for a free 60 day trial of scheduling sanity at acuity scheduling calm slash being boss. Thank you for listening to being boss. Find Articles show notes and downloads at WWW dot being boss club.
Emily Thompson 55:56
If you're a creative entrepreneur, Freelancer or small business owner who is ready to take your goals to the next level, check out the being boss clubhouse, a two day online retreat followed by a year of community support, monthly master classes book club secret episodes and optional in person retreats. Find more at www dot being boss club slash clubhouse.
Kathleen Shannon 56:20
Thank you so much to our team and sponsors who make being boss possible our sound engineer and web developer Corey winter. Our editorial director and content manager Caitlin brains, our community manager and social media director Sharon lukey. And art the encounter David Austin, with support from braid creative and indicia biography.
Emily Thompson 56:38
Do the work for you boss, and we'll see you next week.
Kathleen Shannon 56:51
Emily, any thoughts?
Unknown Speaker 56:52
I'm good at
Emily Thompson 56:56
just keep going but at the moment. my bladder no I'm good. We're almost we got it.
Kathleen Shannon 57:02
We're gonna wrap it up here.
Emily Thompson 57:07
that by the way, please
Unknown Speaker 57:09
should leave it in Cory
Unknown Speaker 57:11
it'll probably be the blooper. There we go. blooper roll, right.
Kathleen Shannon 57:15
Actually, I would love it if that's a blooper so someone can hear me say Emily, do you have anything to add? You say no, I just got people I can get off my ass. Right about it. Okay, back to the interview.