Episode 66 // Managing Your Calendar with Gavin Zuchlinski of Acuity Scheduling

April 5, 2016

Today we’re talking to Gavin Zuchlinski, founder of Acuity Scheduling, all about time management and taking control of your calendar. We’re also talking about setting boundaries with your time and integrating calendar automation systems into your business in a way that still feels personal and human.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"You're not having a quality interaction with someone when you're flipping through your calendar."
- Gavin Zuchlinski

Discussed in this Episode

  • Common mistakes people make for online scheduling
  • Blocking off time in your calendar for specific types of meetings
  • Using systems with your calendar integrations and with appointment making
  • Does systemizing your business make you lose the human touch?
  • Setting boundaries with your calendar and in your systems
  • Personalizing your systems so they work seamlessly with your business

Resources

More from Gavin Zuchlinski

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.

Transcript

Emily Thompson 0:00
Hello and welcome to being boss, episode number 66. This episode is brought to you by fresh books, cloud accounting

thing, boss and work and life is being in it.

Kathleen Shannon 0:16
It's being who we are doing the work, breaking some rules. And even though we each have to do it on our own

Emily Thompson 0:23
being boss is knowing we're in it together.

Kathleen Shannon 0:28
One of the things that I really like doing in my business that helps me feel more boss is make little monsters for myself. And one of my very favorites I've been using since the beginning is money is only as good as you make it. Sometimes that can be really uncomfortable charging people for something that you naturally really good at which most of us creative entrepreneurs love our jobs. So it's something that we do for free, but we deserve to get paid to. So it can be uncomfortable, or almost even emotional talking about money. And that's one of the things that I love about fresh books cloud accounting is that freshbooks really helps you take the emotion out of it, and really make you a professional boss like you are. What's really cool is that customers who sign up for freshbooks typically end up doubling their revenue in the first 24 months. That is seriously, Boss freshbooks is the easy to use invoicing software designed specifically for creative entrepreneurs. Try your free trial today at freshbooks comm slash being boss and mentioned being boss in the How did you hear about us section. Today we are talking to our friend Gavin sequency of acuity scheduling. But you guys, he is an overall tech nerd, allegedly, and coffee lover. He likes to buy our boss's beers whenever we go on vacation. And we're going to be jamming about all things, scheduling and calendar. This is such an important system to have in place so that you can be boss and I'm really excited to be chatting with Gavin, because I feel like my calendar is a wreck. And I need to like personally talk to a CEO of a company to get it in order. So let's begin.

Emily Thompson 2:12
Now acuity scheduling is one of our sponsors here at being boss. So you best bet we're super appreciative of them. But as a creative entrepreneur, I also use them in my business to help me be more boss. If you'd like to sign up for your own trial of acuity scheduling, or maybe just pull up their website so that you can follow along, head on over to acuity scheduling.com slash being boss. Not only will you be showing them, that you support them and us, but you'll also have access to a 60 day free trial. And you'll be making strides in building a more badass systemized business for yourself. Stay tuned and we will show you how.

Unknown Speaker 2:55
Gavin welcome.

Gavin Zuchlinski 2:56
Thank you for having me.

Emily Thompson 2:58
So I want to talk about how it is how it is that you got into this online scheduling thing like in my brain, I envision you being like one of those people like Kathleen, who had a crazy schedule that was out of control, and you decide to fix it. But how did it happen? How did you get here.

Gavin Zuchlinski 3:16
So it's a little bit different than that I am a tech nerd by trade. I started as a computer programmer and mathematician and worked in the intelligence community for a while. But my mom, somebody very close to me, I'm very close to her. She's a massage therapist, and she sees clients days day in and day out. And we got too chatty in one day. And she was just complaining about how much time she was spending like going back and forth with her clients to schedule a massage, and all of the other little things around that. And we were in the car for a while and we started thinking like, I could probably help you out with this mom and it only take a little while. So acuity scheduling started out for my mom, massage therapist just to help her book her clients take money and handle everything, just that she could focus on doing massages. And that was in 2007. And then since then it's it's taken on a whole new life way outside of her but she was the inspiration and still a user of it.

Emily Thompson 4:19
That's the best founders story ever.

Unknown Speaker 4:23
Oh my God, thank you. So

Kathleen Shannon 4:23
my dream is that like, My dream is that my kiddo one day will be creating things for me that make me more

Gavin Zuchlinski 4:30
honestly, she loves that every time I tell that story to I think it just warms her heart to but honestly I like it. And I really like that I have somebody that I can bounce ideas off of. And she really served as the model user even before I read all the sort of like founding document like the recommendations always have a target user in mind. My target user is her and I ruin ever we talk to users and add new features and all of that I have her in the back of my mind that we're really developing things for somebody who just spends day like not a technical person at all she is is very nice and all of that, but definitely not a technical person. And we still have to help her with some of the basic things. But she spends her day just doing massage therapy for woman and doing doula and some trainings and everything. So she uses acuity for all of that now. And just as acuity has grown, all of our features have grown to support her when she started out, she used to just do massage therapy, and then she started selling products. And that's why we have a little online store to sell things. And then she started doing classes hypno, birthing and a few other things. And that's sort of how classes started to get involved in acuity where along with just doing one on one appointments, you can do group classes, and offer that at specific times and do workshops for people. So it has grown along with her. But outside of that it's well beyond her to 10s of 1000s of other businesses from all over the world doing all sorts of crazy things that I never would have anticipated from the beginning.

Emily Thompson 6:00
So So doing crazy things. I want to talk about that for a second, because your mom is a massage therapist, and you are offering a scheduling system for the online world, which means all kinds of people. What are some of the like, craziest, coolest businesses you've seen come across your platform,

Gavin Zuchlinski 6:18
there are so many, it's hard to decide. So overall, we have a lot who are in the physical world, folks like my mom who's to see people face to face. And then we have the other half of them that are online folks. There's a lot of just either doing appointments remotely over Skype over GoToMeeting or anything else. So we have a lot of use cases sort of divided into there. So we have folks like you who schedule podcasts and to manage their day to day with that doing like online coaching and everything accepting money through there folks like my mom, who are massage therapists who are very, very normal, all that is very straightforward. And then it gets a little bit more advanced one of my favorite use cases not too crazy, but are just sales teams that use it because it works. So well. You have a team of I don't know 10 people, everybody manages their own availability, you send your leads with single link, all of their sales teams availability is all pooled together, the the lead just picks their time fills out whatever like information you need before the appointment to qualify them. It's automatically assigned to somebody who's available at that time instantly added to the GoToMeeting account for the company. The meeting information is sent off to everybody. So there's none of that back and forth or setup required for it. So not too crazy. But it's just one of those beautiful use cases that I really like.

Unknown Speaker 7:39
Are there. No, I mean, like,

Gavin Zuchlinski 7:43
no, they're all Oh my god, they're totally art. So like the normal crazy. Yeah, so and maybe 2008 or something a year after it was created there was there was a lady of the night to sign up and was using it. And she just, she just asked normal questions. And then I looked at her account, and I was like, This is not what I was expecting. Yeah, I never judge anybody for what their businesses are. And I love seeing all the creative ones. But I was so impressed how tech savvy she was, like in 2008, before acuity was even popular before we were doing ads or anything like she had to be actively looking for appointment scheduling. And that amazed me

Emily Thompson 8:27
that need to be solved.

Gavin Zuchlinski 8:29
No, and it totally makes sense. Like you probably want to limit I don't know the amount of back and forth that you're actually talking to them collect the information in advance like it fits the use case pretty well. So I love that one too. I wasn't gonna bring that up. But since you guys did,

Unknown Speaker 8:49
I can't help.

Gavin Zuchlinski 8:49
I know.

Kathleen Shannon 8:50
Okay, I love it. I have a question. And this is like really getting down to brass tacks. So online scheduling, like, what are the general? I guess? What are the general mistakes that are people are making in online scheduling? And my second question is how to organize you have to be on the back end. And maybe I can explain a little bit more about this as it relates to my specifically, that looks like a person. What are the common mistakes that people make whenever they're scheduling? And like, why is it important to have a system around scheduling?

Gavin Zuchlinski 9:22
Yes, there's a couple common mistakes that we see people make. So the biggest one is really not fully committing to online scheduling. There are some people who are really using it to replace the contact form on their website. And that's all they're doing for it. They're not really taking control of the hours that they're available. The services are using anything more advanced, they're just using it to have people pick a time and that's it. So to really be effective with using an online scheduler, I feel you need to really put every single appointment that you have into there. That way you get the full advantage of having all of your availability accurately represented in there for when new people come on. So that way you completely avoid the back and forth and people can feel instantly confirmed. And then also making sure that you have everybody in there so that you can see them in their client history. That way, if somebody uses it to book an appointment for themselves, you see them in your history versus maybe the first time they did it, they talked to you on the phone, because they had other questions, and then you set them up. That way, you can see how they progress over time, and you're using it for more than just a contact form, but you're using it to collect the full history of them. And then along like that, it's a lot more than just a contact form. Our goal is to really save you from all of the busy work that you do around an appointment, which is not your bailiwick at all. And so you can focus on what you're best at your business. So that means taking away things like making, making handling payments at the time of appointment or any of that like dealing with the dirty money collecting information, people are still sending back and forth PDF sometimes that I see. And it's so much better just to take the time once that you can set up something like custom intake forms and acuity. That way, you can quickly search through all of their information, see how their answers had changed over time, without going back to paper or PDFs or anything. And then also connecting it to your other calendars that if you're using acuity all the time, and all of your appointments are in there, that's totally fine. You can block off time for when you're running out to lunch. Or if you have another calendar system like Google Calendar, iCloud office 365, connect to your calendar today is the simplest way to go from being

Emily Thompson 11:38
totally devoid of an online scheduler to diving right into without having to transfer all that information over. That's awesome. So we've started using it really hardcore, and Andy and I can absolutely attest to the fact that getting your calendar synced up with the calendar that people see and acuity and like, and I keep everything in that calendar. So whether whether I'm working out or whether I'm taking my daughter somewhere, or whether it's like a standing meeting that I have with my team, like it's all in that calendar so that whenever people are trying to schedule with me, there's no overlaps that get into really awkward email conversations like it has saved so much time. And that being my favorite feature has saved so much time and in just managing that one part of my business so that I'm so much more able to do all the other things that I need to do. And Kathleen, we need to get your calendaring.

Kathleen Shannon 12:34
I know so like, here's my issue. And I don't know if this is like a common problem. But this is why I'm even scared to automate and systemize. My calendar is that the calendar is like a crazy quilt of appointments. And it's good, but like I don't have and this is mainly like even talking about behind the scenes as far as getting more structure to our calendar so that we're not so reactive in our businesses. But for me, I don't have like a recurring tasks or designated days for working on certain things or designated times for meetings. So I feel like I need to get that organized on the back end, like just in my life in general. Before I could really utilize something like acuity scheduling. So Gavin, tell me where I'm wrong. Like, how can I start to integrate? Or do I just need to get organized shit together, Kathleen?

Gavin Zuchlinski 13:28
No. So I see both ways. Some people are hyper organized where and when we help them out, we see things like 10:02pm, like or 10 or 2am, get some coffee 10:03am drink coffee, and down to that level of detail. And then there's other people I'm with you there, I don't keep very well organized with anything. But what I do instead is I block off times when I'm willing to have people book certain things with me. So if I'm just going to do sort of an intro call with somebody, I'll make sure that that's really only available Mondays and Fridays. And that way I have the rest of the week to focus on regular business. And I narrow down my schedule by like the sort of the type of things that I want to do with people. And I've seen other businesses use that very effectively to that way you can spend most of your time on the types of clients who make you money and are really progressing your business. And you limit the hours that you're using on like potential fluff folks that you don't have fluff folks throughout the week filling up your schedule and you can you can wrangle down those people who you maybe care a little bit less about just a specific times two,

Emily Thompson 14:36
I've done this exact same thing and it works out really really well. So on Tuesdays and Wednesdays I have my calendar open for client meetings, so anything that's like super directly business related, and then I have another little little section of my acuity that is for like fringe chat. So if it's like past clients or just people I want to meet up with and those are available on Monday Note, let's say it's Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. So I have to like intermingle days, that's usually just full of meetings my Tuesday and Wednesday. And then Friday, if there is a meeting, it's just a friend meeting. And then my Monday and Thursdays, I'm free to just work. So doing that, for me helped a ton and a great structure, both for myself, but also for my clients, my clients know that they can only reach me on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and also for my team. So they know that Tuesdays or Wednesdays, I'm going to be booked up. But the rest of the week, I'm going to be able to get all of my tasks checked off.

Gavin Zuchlinski 15:34
Yeah, totally, that is a great way to do it, then and block off times when you know, you have something else, I generally put that onto my Google Calendar. And I actually use Google to see whenever I have appointments or blocked off times or anything else, and acuity is the conduit into there where acuity collects all the information, and then you see it in Google. And that way, you can quickly block off things through there. And then using the availability within acuity to really narrow down the the types of things that I want to work on each day, which generally To me, it's leads versus things that are core to the business and will end up like resulting in something progressive that people will see are making money. And then yeah, and then the other thing that I see a lot of people make a mistake on to is having acuity more as a standalone thing. So sort of related to that where some people don't connect it to their calendar to block off tasks on other things. You might also be I don't know, like, what are the things are you doing whenever somebody schedules an appointment? Like, are you adding it into a CRM for new leads? Or are you like creating a project and something I

Kathleen Shannon 16:43
just my Google Calendar, like I live and die by it, and then probably it would then end up becoming a task in Asana, if there are actionable items that come out of the meeting, like my meetings, and I don't know if your life is like this, Gavin. But in my businesses, I kind of focus on the one to many aspects. And so while my team is working on client work, I'm doing a lot of things like giving interviews or recording podcasts, or you just like, I feel like my days are kind of a little bit more random. One thing, sorry. And this might be a little bit tangent. But Emily, I love that you block off time for chatting with your friends, because I feel like those are like extras in my life that I never actually scheduled for I like never scheduled time for those kinds of incidentals that happen every week, and I've never scheduled time for it. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 17:32
I think it's huge. And one of my favorite things about about doing that. And I that is the only thing that I allow on my Friday calendar is almost at the end of almost every Friday, I have just a friend chat. And it's usually with a glass of wine or a cocktail. And we just sort of like end our week that way. And having that having that type of meeting and an acuity, both like gives me the ability to easily do that. But also like creates a fun little incentive. And an easy way for me to easily share that with with friends. So if if and not so much to you, because we just have standing meetings every week. But if it is like an old client or a friend who email and just want to chat, it's so easy for me to be even if it's a long email where I need to be giving it time and thinking and writing it out. I can just say, let's say hey, let's chat about this. Here's a link go sign up. I'll see you on Friday.

Kathleen Shannon 18:22
And it works out really well. And this is like okay, but Gavin, I kind of deflected your question, because I'm not. I'm not the best. And when it comes to systems, and Emily is whipping me into shape, like I live in dynamite, my Google Calendar. And that's pretty much it. But like I'm really starting to get into a sauna. And we also use co schedule now for our website. And so we're getting into software that helps us with our systems and Edgar we have our rotor of Edgar on our podcast. So like, it's huge, but what what kinds of systems do you think are best like hooked into acuity and how do you best leverage and utilize all of that technology together?

Gavin Zuchlinski 19:07
Well, first back to the friend one. I had never heard anybody use it to schedule friends like that. But now I'm imagining intake forms on there. Would you like Cabernet or or bourbon on there? And you could get all of this out of the way and just get straight down to the good stuff whenever you see them. That's great. I love it. Yeah, so for systems. Asana is one that I've seen somebody wrote up about recently connecting acuity with Asana so that whenever they have new client projects started out they have a meeting where they they have the intro meeting for the project that kicks off some a new project and Asana and then they have the follow up ones get assigned to there with sort of like the template of the project created and everything using Zapier to connect that together. Since they have some really good customization going on, I thought that was a really cool use case.

Emily Thompson 20:04
It is a nice one. I haven't hooked it up to Asana yet and Zapier stresses me out on a like on a level that I recognize how amazing it is. And I don't know if I can handle it.

Unknown Speaker 20:15
I mean, I can't even log into my online banking

Unknown Speaker 20:20
that we just don't like Cathleen touch these things.

Gavin Zuchlinski 20:26
Oh my gosh, that that is totally fine. So we get we get all sorts of people with acuity. Zapier is definitely one of the more complex things but it's so crazy powerful once you dive into it that I definitely recommend it the common ones we have just baked into acuity, so you can just click Connect to your MailChimp account and then automatically have people added to your MailChimp mailing list whenever they schedule an appointment. And that way you can tell them whenever you have deals or anything else going on. The other big one is goto meeting. And I like that one. Because if you're running a virtual appointment that makes a lot of sense where we have some people do in person and virtual ones. And then whenever an appointment is booked in, they can just automatically have a goto meeting created, have that information sent off and a calendar invite in the emails that go out. And it's all automatically taken care of or something like fresh books, too. If you're doing accounting for projects, you can have clients automatically added or invoices drafted up so that the main accounting program you use, we just connect straight into it. Are you friends with hospitals? Oh, we love those guys. I've never chatted directly with them, though. But we're really stepping in all the same places with sponsorships. Now

Unknown Speaker 21:40
I feel like you guys need to be friends. Like you guys need to be buddies.

Gavin Zuchlinski 21:45
I know they I like them as a company too. They're so good with customer service, which we really love to. And I think that they were they were bootstrapped for the longest time until they took funding and we're bootstrapped too. So I love the independence.

Kathleen Shannon 22:01
Yeah. Can we talk about your team a little bit? Like I'm so curious, because, okay, this is really embarrassing to admit. But I didn't even know that you're the founder of acuity until like a couple months ago. And I said, Hey, Gavin, let's schedule something with the founder and on the podcast. And you're like, that's me.

Gavin Zuchlinski 22:19
Oh, I know totally. So I I generally try to stay out of the any interviews or anything else unless, unless it's an acuity user or find folks like you who are sponsoring. Because generally we don't, we don't do that much to advertise about the business, we're only starting to do that more and more recently with some sponsorships, because we get so much through word of mouth. And a lot of that is thanks to our really awesome customer support team where people just love to share about acuity, and we can't help it no matter what. So we're really small team. I worked at the government for the longest time. So I am trying so hard as we grow to keep things small, because it's so much easier and so much more relaxed, just to keep it small. So we're a team of 10 people, with most folks, as customer support. We have somebody in Scotland, myself in New York, somebody in Pennsylvania, three people in Chicago, Seattle, and then one person helping us out from Costa Rica to so it's all over totally remote team people can work from home. I so I really I left a job that I loved to do acuity full time and I vowed to keep it as something that I loved. So that's why we try to keep the team small and keep it fun and keep it where everybody can work from their house and not worry so much about business. So just like we're trying to help people save time doing their business thing on their business with appointment scheduling not so that they can do more appointments but so that they can get back and do the things that they love. We tried to do that too. So we have a bunch of fine folks and customer support and the whole team even I still do development, another developer and another designer, we all do support as well. And try to keep it fun. So you'll talk to all of us too. And we all work from home. We I try really hard to just because we do so much with customer support. That is definitely one of the most soul draining jobs that you can have. You get so many positive interactions but that takes so much to respond creatively and like nice to the hundreds of emails that you get that we are. We had six hour workdays for a while and now we're at seven hour days I'm trying really hard to manage our our support folks that we can get back to six hour days before the summer too and just keep everybody happy. And you'll see the copy throughout the site too. We have an amazing copywriter who I love and and she has helped keep that whole feeling that I really want to give throughout the website. So you'll see little things sneaked in throughout there as you hover over tool tips and all of that too. I try to keep it happy. So, to me, that's the biggest thing. I'm not trying to make money with any of this. I'm not trying to grow like crazy, which is why I try to stay out and you hadn't heard of me beforehand.

Unknown Speaker 25:10
Wait, you're not trying to make money?

Kathleen Shannon 25:15
I mean, come on.

Gavin Zuchlinski 25:16
So we're profitable. And I, I we're a profitable company. And I view that as a benefit to our users. Because it staying profitable is the biggest way to keep out outside hands from ruining some of the things that make me enjoy it. Like it'd be very easy to cut down some staff and have everybody worked eight hour days, but it's so much nicer to have happy people who just work six hour days and can respond with like, genuine passion and emails for customer support. So since we are profitable, I'm not trying to like, increase that so much more. I'm really happy where we are.

Kathleen Shannon 25:56
That's awesome. And it's cool that like, I think, because you're seeing small and I don't know if he listened to our episode with David Heinemeier Hansson from base camp, but they have a similar philosophy. I think that they're only Emily, do you remember? Like, 50 people? Yes, I

Emily Thompson 26:10
think so.

Kathleen Shannon 26:11
Anyway, they're trying to stay really small for the same reason because David Heinemeier Hansson, who's like a total rock star, he still is developing, including things like Ruby on Rails, and, you know, still wants to be able to do that. And I know that my husband is also a computer, like electronic engineer. And as you start to grow in your role and move up the ladder, the further you get away from actually doing your tech skills. And I've Emily and I have found the same thing with coding out websites and doing graphic design and the things that we brought were brought up doing that we love doing that as we kind of grow in our businesses, we end up losing a little more touch with unless we stay really intentional about it. But I wanted to go back to the customer service thing, because I just forgot I had a friend that mutual friend, they're asking me about our sponsors. Okay, so I went on this trip to Mexico last week, and a couple of my friends were like, how do you how do you keep your sponsor ads, you know, feeling so genuine. And I was like, because we really believe in them. And they're great people. And so one of them forwarded me an email that she got from acuity scheduling, just where she was sending some positive feedback. And they sent her back a message that was like, Oh, my gosh, you're making us ugly cry Allah Kim Kardashian and attached to give of Kim Kardashian crying, like from this sweet note, and I just thought that was so funny and personable and I love the way that you guys bring personality into your brand. Is that ever scary? like bringing an even whenever you first started sponsoring us you're like, all by your bosses and beer. Like it was just so casual and conversational. Does that ever? Oh,

Gavin Zuchlinski 27:49
I love hearing Oh, I, I had no idea that they would send something like that. Well, I knew that it said something like that or not that exact one. No,

Kathleen Shannon 27:58
it's really good. Yeah,

Gavin Zuchlinski 27:59
I love I love getting surprised by the things they send, I set the general tone of like beef fun. We're not a stuffing company. So be that way. And we definitely maybe like one out of 10 people get offended by that. But for the other nine, we get people who love us so much more. So it's totally worth it. And that is a really great one. We do occasionally get people who are offended by that too. And there's a couple of bad cases. But the general rule is, if you're okay, having that shared online and see having everybody in the world see it, go ahead, just answer it like our baseline is we have to answer your question. And then everything else above that, as long as you're answering things, I don't care what you say, just just keep it happy. Keep it light, make sure that people have a smile on their face, too. Since scheduling is not really a life or death thing. So some people get so concerned about it, because it is really core to your business. So we have to lighten that up sometimes and honestly, our days, so much more fun when we can look at kitten gifts online, instead of just answering technical emails about availability and thinking. But on the bad side of that, like we changed our pricing once and grandfathered in all the existing users. So he sent out an email that said, Mazel Tov your grandfather, and sent that out to I don't know, like 80,000 people and got one insanely negative reply back. That was three pages long about how we offended this person in Saudi Arabia. And all of our team felt so terrible about that we but we just we closed it and then just moved on because you're like, Is there a person really that anti semitic, and we would definitely send that email out again, because it brought smile to so many more faces with how it's written.

Emily Thompson 29:57
That's always a tough thing. Like people want He's read into things what they want to read. But I love I love your data do you actually think someone, someone and I can't remember exactly what it was? Someone told me that they had signed up for acuity because you guys had said something on your website. They were like I saw it said this. So I was in and just totally signed up. I think that that like, that feeling you guys are getting across is definitely doing what you want it to do.

Gavin Zuchlinski 30:23
Oh, well, thank you.

Emily Thompson 30:26
This whole episode is about scheduling your clients like a boss, so that you can get back to doing what you love, all made possible by a company that stays small and approachable with a knack for keeping something as seemingly mundane like calendar management, up beats, and dare I say fun to

Unknown Speaker 30:45
tackle

Emily Thompson 30:46
acuity scheduling has won me over from their support of this podcast to how they support my business by helping me keep my calendar wrangled, and my time freed up to do what's important. Whether you charge for your appointments, or just need to schedule some face time with clients or friends, use acuity scheduling to help you sync your clients, your calendar, and your cash. Schedule clients without sacrificing yourself. Sign up for a free 60 day trial of scheduling sanity at acuity scheduling.com slash being boss. Now, let's get back at it.

Kathleen Shannon 31:24
Okay, but I have a question about this. Because like you guys have such hands on customer service, and even our relationship with you, like, has been so awesome. So here's another fear of mine whenever it comes to online scheduling and automating something even Emily and I were having a conversation this morning where she was like helping God to delegate this one thing out, Lindsey, but what what if so, my fear? And I wonder if any of our listeners have this fear of using something like acuity scheduling, do you think it takes away some of that human touch? Do you feel like sometimes, like our clients may appreciate the back and forth and email even if it's inefficient? How do you respond to that?

Gavin Zuchlinski 32:05
Yeah, that's a really good question. So sort of it is, it is really funny what you said earlier about to that somebody getting attracted just because the copy it's we try to put that was one of something that I did intentionally was trying to put the human touch into acuity because the service itself no matter which online service it is, it's very different than having like a receptionist in your office that you can joke around with. So we do try to put that human touch and you'll see videos of each one of our customer support people on the website, which is very intentional. And we do have people who sign up who's not necessarily a good fit for it. Like we have a service that uses us for donut delivery, which is a really creative use of acuity, and they really love our copy and personality. But keep asking for features which aren't quite down our alley, but we work well enough, and I have no better solution. So that's it. But yeah, and then so similar to that, it's um, yeah, it doesn't happen, people go to a website and fill out a form to pick your time, isn't that a little less personal? I honestly, I don't think so. What we hear from people too, who have that objection is over time, they find that you're not having a quality interaction with somebody, when you're flipping through your calendar and trying to pick out a date that isn't connecting with them in any level, what is a quality interaction is when they can handle that all without you. And you have five extra minutes that you can chat about your kids or anything else. So the hope is that you spend that free up time again, enjoying life and trying to connect with their client a little more, instead of dealing with that rote task of going back and forth on your calendar, that that isn't a quality interaction that you're having. So I hope that we solve a little bit of that. So you have more time to be happy, you

Kathleen Shannon 33:53
know, like maybe a little bit of human touch is a little lost. But I find the more Emily whipped me into shape with our systems. And the more we're using things like acuity. And you know, even I just remember and I talk about them all the time. And obviously they're a sponsor of ours as well. But like whenever I first started using fresh books, I felt so legit. And I think the same thing goes for acuity or any project management software, invoicing software, anything where you can simplify your systems and get more streamlined the more boss you're going to feel. And I think it's just like kind of jumping over that own your own internal hurdle of like, Well, you know, it's in personal to just be more boss.

Gavin Zuchlinski 34:41
Oh my gosh, yeah. And another story that I heard this one is actually from my mom. She was telling me about an old lady 70 or 80 year old lady who had scheduled her appointment online and paid online and everything. And as she was leaving, the lady turned around after her massage and and told my mom oh my gosh i feel like i can just breathe in and breathe out of here because she said she had never felt more relaxed after a massage because she didn't have to worry about like getting ground back into the earth again having to look at your calendar and like wrangle dates back and forth and hand money back and forth like all of that was taken care of in advance and she knew she could go on and book online so it really kept her in the moment then too so even though they weren't talking together her client felt so much better because of that too

Emily Thompson 35:33
we talked about this a whole lot this idea of of like taking the emotion out of out of so much of our business or as much of our business as we can and should and i know kathleen for you your calendar is probably the most sacred place you own right i mean i mean really

Kathleen Shannon 35:53
and i mean so it's funny because it is i am probably mostly because it's i just like you book friend time emily i booked time to go to the gym i booked time like i use my calendar as a way to create space in my life and bernie brown talked about on our episode with her which i think is episode number 42 that the best thing you can do to really achieve balance is to schedule in whitespace as she calls it and that's time where you just don't get touched so yeah my calendar is pretty sacred right

Gavin Zuchlinski 36:28
yeah and say no to a lot of people to i do that a ton where i say no to most of the meetings that people want with me they're like trying to get us to integrate with them or do some sort of sponsorships or anything else and i wish acuity could help with that more where where they're after you get to the yes but having that gatekeeper before people even get to your calendar is very important too

Kathleen Shannon 36:50
i was just gonna say i think that having those designated spots keeps you from having to say no in a way because if they don't if what someone wants out of you does not align with the kind of appointment they're going to schedule it's kind of like oh sorry i'm already booked up right you don't have space in my calendar for that meeting i know i agree i

Emily Thompson 37:10
have a perfect story and this happened this happened today so yesterday i got an email from someone who is local and wants to schedule or wanted to schedule like coffee or lunch next week and like we're trying to launch the beam boss website i can't think at the moment like it's just it's not working nor could i even think about what i'm going to be doing early next week so i just sent her my friend my friend link and was like you know here just schedule something and she ended up scheduling it for like three weeks from now so it wasn't even a thing where like i don't even have to worry about it early next week now she kind of said no for me by using that link to look at my calendar look at her own calendar get something three weeks from now which wasn't me telling her no it wasn't me telling her that like i'm too busy right now it was simply me sending her a link letting her choose and it working out perfectly and i think i think that whenever you allow systems like acuity to help you make those decisions like i would not have even made that decision i would have scheduled her for monday and probably like freaked out the entire time but because i just let the system do what it's supposed to do and because i had my availability open as needed she scheduled it when she could and i'll talk to her in three weeks and i think that that that sort of taking the emotion out of it letting a system do its job which which i know is something that a lot of people sincerely struggle with we all have these subscriptions to all of these services that we probably only half use to their capability but if we actually let them do their job they do their job and it works really well so so yeah i think that you know saying no pushing things sort of setting your own boundaries is hard enough like when you have to do it yourself so let us system do it for you

Gavin Zuchlinski 38:55
oh that is a really great point when nothing is available except for one day three weeks from now that's a great way to see how important it really is for them and some really like one of the little features in acuity is like you might be technically available from i don't know like 9am to 9pm but you don't want to be packed with appointments all day so you can set things like don't allow more than three appointments per day are just like maybe you want to allow your clients to be able to fill up that time but more no more than two new clients per day or something like that so you're able to set those limits and then hopefully when people see your page they'll know like emily you're kind of busy so get in line a few weeks from now

Unknown Speaker 39:37
yeah

Kathleen Shannon 39:39
alright so before we wrap up i just want to talk about integrating acuity scheduling into someone's workflow let's say someone is new to online scheduling their new two systems what are literally the next steps and how will acuity scheduling really fit into their workflow and what's next for them

Gavin Zuchlinski 39:58
oh yeah so um First, with online appointments scheduled, like we mentioned before, make sure that it connects into like all of your other systems. And at the very least into your calendar, pretty much everybody these days uses something like Google calendar or any of that. So after you sign up, you set the hours that you that you are available, you set the different types of services that you can have, if it's a 15 minute coffee or an hour long discussion, and you can try to collect as much information in advance of the appointment that you need to be effective and get down to business then, since without that, a lot of times people will spend the first 10 minutes just talking about things trying to figure out beforehand, like just asking for their existing websites that you can take a couple minutes and check it out in advance of the meeting is incredibly useful. So after you set it up, setting up intake forms to collect all of that basic information, and you have those different services and set the types of limits you want. And the next thing that I find, totally depends on the type of business. But I really like to see when people give a little bit of their personality and brand to something. So taking the time to add your logo, change the colors on it, so that you just don't look like everybody else. That is totally one of my pet peeves that I see, unfortunately, with some of our competitors, that they don't allow a whole ton of customization. So like, and adding it to your website, too. So depending on your use for we get a lot of people who are like, like you with with clients coming in or like massage therapists or coaches were, like life coaches are a great example to they'll start out a lot of times where they have a free discovery call that anybody can book. And they have that one publicly on their website, usually somewhere like a contact page or our book a discussion with me, they use that to collect their leads, they can limit the amount of days that they do have that. So if you have different tracks that you send clients down, whether it's like doing something like design, or I don't know, like spiritual discovery versus financial like nickel and dime counting, you could send them down to those specific appointment types. And and give that to them as their next step after your initial discovery call, then they can book themselves and pay online and everything else. Pain is another big one that I see with people. Having people pay online can save you so much headache, just getting quickly set up with a payment processor like stripe, which is incredibly easy. It means that you don't have to spend the time sending back and forth invoices or anything else, you can have that all taken care of in advance. And you can also make sure that any of your leads won't, won't be non paying, you don't have to go after them. And afterwards, because you already have it in advance, you can keep credit cards on file if you want and charge them afterwards too, if there's any run up in fees, and having that sort of like go into your workflow as or as a really great way, we do some seats a lot more advanced cases too. So that's sort of the basic one where you have you set your availability connected with your existing calendar, or just manage it all through acuity and set up the types of things you want clients to book and sort of the next steps afterwards if you want them to book anything else, and then make sure that it's branded and accept payments. Sometimes people have those other systems to like go to meetings, CRM programs, invoicing, and all of that, that you can have connected to acuity and, and use with your clients too. So if you are going into Asana later on for project management with them, it's one less thing that you have to manually type over. Or if you have a developer, we do have a really powerful API. And we've seen some really cool use cases where people will be taking things from like, the membership software on their website and passing in client informations that they if they're, I don't know, a Fitness Studio, they can use their same login from the Fitness Studio to pass that into acuity. And it all fits within like their existing workflow there too. So it's really beautiful. That's awesome.

Kathleen Shannon 44:07
I love all of that. And one of the things that Emily and I talked about a lot is money and money being only as weird as you make it. The one thing I was thinking along the money line, and a new client line is that I've heard of younger people who are younger in their business meeting with a client and meeting with them for like four hours. And I feel like something like acuity would be so good for setting boundaries, not not just around time but around payment and money. And those are some things that will help you run a really successful business. Because if you can't, if you're awkward around money or if you're awkward around saying like I have a hard stop in an hour, something like acuity is going to help you nip that in the bud in advance.

Emily Thompson 44:56
Amen.

Gavin Zuchlinski 44:56
Yeah, especially the payment thing so many people are weirded out Just by saying their price, and you can definitely do things like hide prices and that but I think it's so useful that person knows in advance, and they're still booking the appointment for you. They've said yes to whatever you're charging.

Kathleen Shannon 45:12
And I also think it's a great way if your business model really depends on having client retention. Just having a place where people can book themselves is really awesome.

Gavin Zuchlinski 45:23
Oh, yeah. And then we have a lot of things in acuity to just to like preventing no shows, I take that one for granted right now. Because reminder, emails and SMS isn't everything. Oh, my gosh, so useful. One saved appointment is will usually net you more than likely the cost of a couple months of acuity.

Kathleen Shannon 45:45
Yeah, like I hear so many life coaches asking me or you know, wellness coaches saying that people will just not show up to appointments. And I think that committing through some like acuity and getting those reminders would be so helpful.

Emily Thompson 45:59
Oh, and I also want to point out something we were saying earlier about, like infusing your brand into into a system like acuity or whatever systems you're using to run your business like changing logos and colors on a platform, it can be very important. But that's one of my favorite things about acuity is that those reminder emails and the autoresponders. And all of those, like you can customize those as well with like that brand voice. And that's one of the things that like, in what I do is very important that I make all my clients who went to their websites and things. Because I call those like the dark spaces of your website or in the sense it's like dark spaces of your online scheduling where where you should brand those those follow ups, those autoresponders those like reminder emails, just on the same level that you would anything else and because those like little pieces are really where you can make the difference like with a potential client, and where you can also start putting that human touch back into something that could be very robotic, you can you can still put some personality in there and make them love you even in an autoresponder.

Kathleen Shannon 47:02
I've had people ask me a lot lately how to find your voice. And I think that little touches, like autoresponders. And even like the utility nav on your website or disclaimers, I think that those are fun places to add a little bit of human touch. And one way that I've been telling people to do this is just by reading it out loud, asking yourself, Is it true? How would I say this in real life? How would I say this to, let's say, a business acquaintance that I've met a few times and feel really comfortable with, I think that that's really the tone that you should be using. Don't be afraid of turning people off. If anything, just like Gavin and his team, you're gonna put a smile on their face. And and you don't have to be super funny to have a voice like you can also be you could be I mean, I think that we're all pretty funny. So it's hard to think of anything else other than funny.

Emily Thompson 47:57
You can just be snarky, that's fine, too.

Gavin Zuchlinski 48:01
Or at the very least, if you have like a vocabulary for your business, if you don't call them appointments, and you call them sessions. Since I really wanted to keep a small team, we don't have acuity translated into other languages, the lazy way out of that was we created or I created a tool to let you point and click on anything on the website and change what it says, which was originally intended for translating into other languages and people do that successfully. But you can also use that to click on anything and change appointment to say session or, or like Freaky Friday time to put your voice into it too. And that way, if you're having like little things, too, if you're I don't know, like a guidance counselor. Instead of saying like name, you can say student name and that way are all speaking the same language and it feels more like part of you instead of we try to use a generic vocabulary, but that way you can really infuse like your business's vocabulary into the website.

Kathleen Shannon 48:55
I love that so much. Um, and I think that's so smart. And okay, one thing I love about small teams, especially when it comes to software, like between you guys, and I mean, I just love smaller software companies, because I feel like I could literally email you and be like, Hey, can you put this functionality in there? Like, would this make sense? And you'd be like, yeah, I've been working on it or

Emily Thompson 49:19
basically Kathleen's requesting an all access pass to your upcoming features.

Gavin Zuchlinski 49:27
We will totally add your vote to anything like wow, yeah. I like that, too. I, I hate large teams too, because they're not always more productive. And especially around like this point, it takes a lot more work to keep everybody on the same page. So when you're small, it just happens naturally. And you can have people in naturally orthogonal positions, so that when you ask me to add a feature, I can actually do it just on my own without asking for approval and coming up with an implementation plan. So if I like Your idea? I'll totally add it for you. Thanks,

Emily Thompson 50:05
Kathleen, you have to start using it first.

Gavin Zuchlinski 50:09
Oh, yeah, that's a great point.

Unknown Speaker 50:11
I mean, like Gavin, can you just

Unknown Speaker 50:13
set this up?

Gavin Zuchlinski 50:18
So one of the funny things too, is we used to have so many people have troubles, I really like like talking about the branding embedded into your website, I think it's so useful. So it looks like part of your site instead of us. And people used to email back and forth. And we'd be like, just like, drag it, drag it a little bit, and it'll look great. So we started adding something where people can just like, click a thing on the website, like just embed the scheduler for me, they just give us their temporary login and password. And we'll go ahead and do it for you. So if you want, we can do part of that already. And no, no lie. Like, it sounds great for you guys. But honestly, it saves us so much back and forth. In the end, like it's so much easier, just we do this 1000 times. So there's nothing we need to learn most website builders are the same. And we can do it and two minutes where it might take somebody else like half an hour. So we're more than happy to do little things like that.

Emily Thompson 51:13
Oh, it's fantastic. This is another reason why I love I love what you guys are doing. I think that I think that keeping teams small and like just and showing, showing our listeners that you can build important effective things, while like maintaining, like maintaining humor, and also this like fun way of working. And this really like close knit community, both within your company and with the people that you serve is is totally doable without you know, becoming a company of 100 people and actually, it's probably not doable if you grow too large. And and that you guys are doing doing such a great service for the people who, for people who just want to do what they need to do. But having to wrangle their calendar is so hard like you guys are passionate about this in a really adorable way.

Gavin Zuchlinski 52:03
Oh, thank you so much. And I really like the customer service part of it too. Like acuity scheduling is an awesome product. And I have a ton of fun with it. But I feel one of the best things is just learning how we do that. And then having this team of really awesome customer support people that I would take with me anywhere even if it weren't acuity. So

Kathleen Shannon 52:24
I know like I wish all customer support would send me gifts of Kim Kardashian, right. It's so awesome. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 52:31
you can just take note.

Kathleen Shannon 52:33
I forwarded I forwarded you that oh my god, I

Gavin Zuchlinski 52:36
can't wait to check that out. You should also just email in and ask for baby goat videos because we've got a lot of work. If you ask for kitten and puppy pictures, we have some fantastic ones including exclusive to the internet acuity only kitten pictures too.

Kathleen Shannon 52:52
All right challenge to our being bosses, nurse email acuity. what's the what's the best email address support at acuity schedule? Yes,

Gavin Zuchlinski 52:59
you got it. That is the absolute and the subject

Kathleen Shannon 53:02
line is puppy and kittens.

Gavin Zuchlinski 53:06
Yeah, you will get inundated with only the finest kitten pictures and puppy pictures found on the internet.

Kathleen Shannon 53:13
I really want our listeners to try this out. And I really want you guys to keep track of how many emails you get. I want it to be like a thought, oh

Gavin Zuchlinski 53:19
my god, I can't wait. I am totally down with this. We will scour for even more. You will regret that or you'll have a lot of fun. I would love it.

Kathleen Shannon 53:29
No, they're either emailing you I mean, we're not even gonna see it. You're Oh no, I'm

Gavin Zuchlinski 53:33
gonna forward you every single one. Or at the very least, if you guys want to forward us kitten pictures, too. We need an endless supply of them because we go hundreds and hundreds of customer support questions every day. That takes a lot of kitten pictures.

Kathleen Shannon 53:49
All right. So

Emily Thompson 53:52
wait, no, I'm imagining this being one of those like, you know, remember the chain letters from back in the day that like you have to afford it. I feel like this could become that but like with email and kitten photos.

Gavin Zuchlinski 54:07
Oh, yeah, totally. I appreciate the custom ones too. Like I really wanted to send somebody a picture of a cat with a bottle of scotch the other day, and I couldn't find any good ones on the internet. So I had my wife pose our cat with a scotch bottle, and she has this adorable sultry look in her eyes too. So if you guys have pictures of your kittens that you think are amazing and should be memes on the internet. send them our way and we'll do our part to send that off into the world. Done.

Kathleen Shannon 54:40
Get ready Gavin you're about to get so many cat emails from our relationship is moving to a whole new level.

Emily Thompson 54:47
Yeah, you may.

Kathleen Shannon 54:53
Gavin, thanks so much for joining us. We have so much fun chatting with you. It's been so good getting to know you a little bit better and I hope all of our listeners find acuity scheduling as useful as we have we so appreciate your support to the for the podcast and making it possible and whenever our listeners support you it supports us so win win win win win

Unknown Speaker 55:14
yeah

Gavin Zuchlinski 55:16
thank you so much i love you guys in your audience this is a lot of fun

Kathleen Shannon 55:21
and you're working with paul jarvis and jason slipknot right yes

there are possibly

Gavin Zuchlinski 55:28
oh my god those guys are fantastic too we just sponsored an amazing video that they're putting out so i can't wait for that to a podcast rap video

Emily Thompson 55:43
i love to do them

Kathleen Shannon 55:47
thank you for listening to being boss please be sure to visit our website at being boss club where you can find show notes for this episode listen to past episodes and discover more of our content that will help you be boss in work and life did you like this episode please share it with a friend and show us some love by leaving a rating and review on itunes

Emily Thompson 56:07
and if you're looking for a community of bosses to help take your creative business to the next level be sure to check out our exclusive community at being boss clubs slash clubhouse where you get access to our closed and very vibrant slack group monthly q&a calls with kathleen and myself a book club and more cultivate your tribe and find your wolf pack at being boss dot club slash clubhouse do the work be boss and we'll see you next week

Kathleen Shannon 56:44
man um all right well thanks again for joining us we won't take up too much more of your time

Gavin Zuchlinski 56:50
oh no thanks this was a lot of fun and i can't wait to get all of those kitten pictures to from people

Kathleen Shannon 56:54
that is going to be awesome

Gavin Zuchlinski 56:56
i know i will keep track of it too i'm debating whether or not to tell my support folks that i made this what when does this when will this come out