Episode 36 // How to Not Be Lazy with Tommy Walker

September 8, 2015

Today Tommy Walker of Shopify’s Enterprise Ecommerce blog is joining us to talk about procrastination, feeling overwhelmed or scared, and how not to be a lazy entrepreneur without burning out by raising the bar, meeting your deadlines, not getting too precious about the work, and the importance of mentors.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"The more accountable you hold yourself, the further you're going to get in our modern working world."
- Tommy Walker

Discussed in this Episode

  • Finding what makes you feel lazy/procrastination
  • Feeling lazy vs being unproductive
  • How to get in the right mindset to raise the bar every time
  • Habits and routines to avoid procrastination and laziness
  • How to hold yourself accountable

Resources

More from Tommy Walker

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.

Transcript

Kathleen Shannon 0:04
Get your business together, get yourself into what you do and see it through

Emily Thompson 0:10
being bosses hard. Lending work in life is messy. Making a dream job of your own isn't easy, but getting

Kathleen Shannon 0:17
paid for it, becoming known for it. And finding purpose in it is so doable if you do the work. being bossed is a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. Brought to you by Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon.

Emily Thompson 0:32
Hi, I'm Emily and I own indie typography, where I help passionate entrepreneurs establish and grow their business online. By helping them build brands that attract and websites that sell. I help my clients launch their business so they can do more of what they love, and make money doing it.

Kathleen Shannon 0:50
And I'm Kathleen, I'm the CO owner of brave creative where I specialize in branding and business visioning for creative entrepreneurs who want to blend who they are with what they do narrow in on their core genius and shape their content so they can position themselves as experts to attract more dream clients.

Emily Thompson 1:09
And being boss as a podcast where we're talking shop, giving you a peek behind the scenes of what it takes to build a business, interviewing other working creatives and figuring it out. As we go right there with you.

Kathleen Shannon 1:21
Check out our archives at loving boss calm.

Emily Thompson 1:24
Welcome to episode number 36. This episode is brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting. In today's episode, we're going to talk about procrastination feeling overwhelmed or scared and how to not be a lazy entrepreneur. But all without burning out or feeling like you have to be perfect before you can do the work.

Kathleen Shannon 1:47
Just this morning, I got an email from a creative entrepreneur who said they were excited to make the leap from day job to building their own dream job but felt totally overwhelmed by the money side of things. I think often creatives use this as an excuse. But really all you need is freshbooks. You don't have to have a degree in accounting to use freshbooks because it actually guides you through the process of billing your client from estimate to invoice. And it helps you easily capture and organize your expenses in tax friendly categories. It's like it's doing all the work for you. I'm also a big fan of the customer service. freshbooks provides not only in helping me troubleshoot any issues I'm having that they're super proactive and constantly updating their services to fit your needs. Just this morning, I got an email saying you can now accept partial payments, which is something my business really needed. freshbooks is the easy to use online cloud accounting designed specifically for creative entrepreneurs who did not major in financing. They're there to help you run your business and make you look like a pro while doing it. Try fresh books for free today. Go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and select being boss in the How did you hear about us section. Alright, so today's episode is all about getting your ass in gear and doing the work without burning out. And we've got Tony Walker from Shopify here to chat with us about jumping in and talking about what it takes to be a successful creative entrepreneur. And Okay, so we're Skyping right now. And Tommy literally just took like a swig of beer. I know, I saw that. We were meant to be friends. Alright, so it's funny because Tommy emailed us. And we usually we haven't been responding to a lot of cold requests to come on the podcast. It's usually through friends or mutual friends that we get people on the show, but we're kind of interested in Tommy's story. And, and but we hopped on Skype last week to chat a little bit. And it came down to this like just to wrap up our conversation that we had last week. And whenever it comes to being a successful creative entrepreneur, it's about raising the bar every time meeting your deadlines, not getting too precious about the work and mentoring other people and how that helps you grow. And I was like that is pretty boss. So I'm Tommy, we're glad to have you on the show. And to chat about these points a little bit more about first, tell us about yourself a little bit.

Tommy Walker 4:13
Oh, thank you very much. I'm very happy to be on the show. So I'm Tommy Walker. I am the editor in chief of the brand new Shopify plus blog. We deal with enterprise level conversion rate optimization and high growth problems. And it's very cool to be there. Primarily because six years ago, I was living in a boarding house and got my start with my business on a broken laptop. Wait,

Unknown Speaker 4:41
what does that mean? boarding house so what are you talking so

Tommy Walker 4:43
so I rented a room out of a house with other people who were also renting rooms out of a much bigger house? Yeah, like there was there was, there was a guy whose legs were purple, and like just really transient people. Um, really great people, a really great, lovely folks. But everybody there was like, you know, it was like 300 bucks a month. So that comes with a bunch of other stuff when you can only afford $300 a month in rent So, so yeah, I got my start I started my business with a with a laptop that was just barely functioning. And, and, and in a boarding house with $300 a month in rent. I was like, when I started my business, I was actually scraping in between the couch cushions to like, get 50 cent, you know, start crunches at the at the local convenience store to be able to like say I ate something that day like it was bad.

Kathleen Shannon 5:40
I know. It's so funny, because whenever we're having conversations with creatives, sometimes the struggles are not that like it's it takes perspective. Right, right. And I think that your story is, I will not know exactly like Emily's, but where you put in the hustle and did the work because you had to you were relying on it, you have to pay the bills with it, your family's relying on it. Whereas I come from a position where if I couldn't pay the bills for a couple months, it's not a super big deal, because I'm married. And fortunately, you have a supportive partner who could cover the bills if I couldn't, that said, I'm a boss, and I make my own money. But I just wanted to talk today about how there's lots of different spectrums of, I guess, motivation to do the work. And okay, so we wanted to talk a little bit today about and this came out of our conversation last week, Tommy, which is whenever you're just feeling lazy, how to get over that so you can do the work. So obviously, paying your $300 a month rent on your boarding room is a great way to get over feeling lazy. And but I want to know now today in present time, you're the editor in chief of Shopify, and everyone's doing pretty well for themselves. So I'm curious, I want to know, when do you guys feel the most lazy?

Tommy Walker 7:06
Oh, gosh, for me, it's when when everything's going right, right, and I'm in a position now like, I have to struggle against that I struggle against that, because everything is going right now. Like I've got a team, and people are producing content and, and everything is good. They're all super talented. And the, for me, it's it's this now I have my big challenges going. I've got this part of the process down really well. How do I improve on another area? Right? What are some challenges like it was much easier to stay motivated, for me what it was like, you know, we're not gonna make rent next month, and I need to put out 333 or four articles for 200 bucks apiece to in order to make the rent and like now it's 18 hour days and like Hustle, Hustle, Hustle,

Kathleen Shannon 7:53
right? Because it's like you had a really clear objective and really concrete, whereas now it's more about kind of refining systems.

Tommy Walker 8:03
Exactly, exactly. I mean, part of it's part of its refining the system. So my challenge now, like, I'm a horribly disorganized person, like, like, you can't see what my desk looks like right now. And that's by design. Because I keep this area where you can actually like where the camera goes, that looks clean, everything around me is a mess. And for me, the big challenge right now is knowing that I'm leading a team of people is to design systems that make it so I can keep everybody managed and keep it all managed. Because it's either that or I'm going to be overwhelmed by work in a week, right? And I have a family, I've got two kids now I've got, you know, my wife and we spend more time together, kids are getting older. And to me, that challenge is no longer like pay the rent and pay the bills to stay alive. Now it's like I have to keep on top of my systems and processes in order to make sure that my quality of life once I get home is going to be better, right? Like I don't want my kids to just see me like working on my laptop at home because I didn't manage to schedule my meetings the right way earlier in the day that's not their fault. Or hey, so you know that's that's a big part of it for me now is like the the challenge of getting that stuff in order is what kind of keeps me motivated and I'm constantly looking for new ways to add on top of that, as well. I don't know if that makes a lot of sense. But

Emily Thompson 9:33
I find that that like adding on top of things is what makes me feel the most lazy to like I've got a good daily grind going now, like you get up, get shit done. Come home, hang out. Dude, you got to do at home, cook, have fun rest Washington TV, go to bed, do it all again the next day, but it's whenever I have to. So whenever I have to figure out what those next steps are. No, it becomes a little open. whelming and that's when I start feeling lazy is when, when I get when I know that there are new things to implement so that I can keep going to the next level. That's when my laziness sets in. Like, I'd rather just do my day to day sometimes and keep on going. But having bigger goals and wanting to do more things, it's a lot of work. And it makes me want to just lay in bed and not do anything. Right.

Kathleen Shannon 10:24
I definitely feel I'm with you guys. I think I feel the laziest around my own project. So I can always meet my client deadlines 100% of the time. But that means that oftentimes I'm putting my own work last, or I get some serious procrastination going whenever it comes to just doing my own projects. And I would say it really comes down to implementing new systems. I feel so lazy around that, in fact, our braid assistant just sent me a video on a new CRM, which is a customer retention, customers Relationship Manager,

Unknown Speaker 11:05
what is Customer Relationship Manager?

Unknown Speaker 11:09
There we go.

Emily Thompson 11:11
Around acronyms.

Kathleen Shannon 11:18
Um, so we definitely have, after four years of being in business, have found the need to refine our systems as we grow and, and it exhausts me. Yeah, so but even things like writing our own e course, or Emily, you and I have plans around being boss, and that stuff's not happening. lazy about

Emily Thompson 11:42
something.

Kathleen Shannon 11:43
I don't know if it's because we're lazy, or if we're just crunching out all the other stuff.

Tommy Walker 11:48
Well, let me let me flip the tables on you for a second, right? What would it be? Why is that happening? Like if it is because it's really easy to put, you know, I'm not being lazy. I'm just focusing on other things. But that means you're not prioritizing something else, like something else is always getting priority. Over the thing that you're procrastinating on in the question is, is what is it mentally that's holding you back about it? And the other quarter? The second part of that is, is it something that truly doesn't need your attention right now? Does it need to grow right now? Does it need to happen or have that attention?

Emily Thompson 12:23
I mean, I think Kathleen and I are both procrastinate. And maybe maybe we should change the theme of this whole episode from lazy because none of us are actually very lazy. Now,

Kathleen Shannon 12:35
but you know, I think that is something that a lot of creative, creative entrepreneurs feel. I think that whenever we feel like we're prioritizing other things, I think sometimes we feel bad for feeling bad, or we feel like we're being lazy or not working hard enough. At least that's how I am. And I think it comes from a place of perfectionism. whenever it's really and so I think that's what leads to burnout. So really, probably, I imagine that this episode, we're going to be talking about avoiding burnout, because, okay, sorry, I'm gonna go off on a tangent here a little bit. Whenever people say Just do your best. I'm like, Okay, my best is way up here. Like, I know, I can do better every single time every single day, every single project, every single podcast, I know, I can do better. So do I beat myself up about it? Or do I just hunker down and do the work? And I think like Tommy said, kind of prioritize and feel good about my decisions about why I'm putting certain things in priority over others. And so yeah, but I think it translates to feeling lazy a lot of times is

Emily Thompson 13:41
you and a priority, here definitely is the thing, because if you are feeling lazy, it's because you're not doing what you should be doing. I think that feeling of laziness comes afterwards when you realize that you wasted time doing something you shouldn't be doing and whether that's being truly physically lazy. And just like hanging out with Netflix, or if it's answering emails when you should have been doing client projects. I think laziness comes whenever you look back and realize that you didn't prioritize something correctly. So in that, whether whether or not you're lazy looks like my Sundays, or you're lazy looks like Kathleen's Monday mornings. I think it's all about prioritizing and that that's the key to not being lazy. prioritize your shit.

Tommy Walker 14:30
Yeah. And I think it's, there's, there's also a difference. And I think, I think you were starting to touch on this a little bit earlier is that it's all relative, right? Like, you can feel lazy but still be productive. Like, it's all important stuff. And, and for me, like, I before I ever got into marketing, I went to acting conservatory and there was something that one of my teachers said, that's always stuck out with me and he's like, you're not always going to reach your high bar. He's like, there's a reason why it's the high bar and you're Never gonna beat it every time, the goal for you is not to reach your high bar every time and try to beat it every time, the goal for you is to be so good that your low bar is higher than the other guys high bar. And and I think that that's great because, for me, what that's done is that that's made it. So when I have the systems that are created, right, like I have this whole process in Trello, right now where I manage six different writers at the same time and, and we have this whole process for moving content and making sure that content is developed in onpoint. And we can communicate with each other on that. For me, it's knowing that that process is in place. So even if I am having a lazy day, I'm not like searching through my inbox and going like, oh, what was that article that so and so sent me and blah, blah, blah, like, No, I've got a process in place that makes it so even on my worst day, I can still keep track of all that stuff. And I'm still in a much better position than any of the other editors that people might be working with. So, and I might feel lazy that day. But there's a there's a backup system in place. You see what I'm saying? I

Kathleen Shannon 16:06
love having I mean, Emily and I are definitely process oriented in our own work. And for sure, having a process, at least for me, eliminates the fear of is this project is the claim green like this project, because I can just rely on the process. So I think I feel lazy whenever it comes to creating the process in the first, which for me right now I've got my creative processes down. Now it's kind of rewinding and backing into some more of the organizational processes. I'm excited

Emily Thompson 16:39
to see what comes out of this carefully

Kathleen Shannon 16:41
out of this episode,

Emily Thompson 16:43
no out of you systemising all your other things, right, so I'm gonna become a force to be reckoned

Kathleen Shannon 16:50
by.

All right, so I have a question, then how do you get in the right mindset to raise the bar every time or to kind of raise the low bar or at least a little bit higher every

Tommy Walker 17:06
short? So in order to really answer that though, I have to look back at because it's different now. And I'm redefining this now because I've got I'm at a different point in my career. When I was about four years into my career, I had gotten to the point where I had had client processes, and I had bs filters. So I didn't you know, have the wrong type of client working with me and wasting my time and ended up having somebody work with me that got through all of the BS filters and made it so we had to you know, they ended up doing half payments, and then that second half of the payment ended up coming a little bit later. And then and then just not at all so I had to fire the client and I was no position in order to do that. I had you know, I was my wife was expecting we had already had a son we were miles away from civilization. And and I had tried applying for other jobs.

Kathleen Shannon 18:04
Wait regularly pause you for a second. Why were you miles away from civilization?

Tommy Walker 18:08
Just because there's so there was there was some such there was a situation within my family where it was a housing situation and that fell through.

Kathleen Shannon 18:20
So you guys were like living in the woods.

Tommy Walker 18:22
Yeah, we were we were about a mile away from the beach, but like two or three miles away from any place that actually had any like we weren't within walking distance of anything. And before we had gotten into this situation, we were right within the downtown area. So even if something like the car broke down, we could still walk to a downtown area and get groceries on our own for example. So I exaggerate a little bit when I say we were miles away from or when we were in the middle of nowhere it wasn't quite that bad. But it was not expect Kathleen

Emily Thompson 18:55
to

Kathleen Shannon 18:57
know I'm just failing visualize, like living in I don't know, tense.

Tommy Walker 19:03
This close. It was actually it was really close to the house that we were in was built in the 1930s I had no insulation. We were in coastal Maine. So we were in a we were in a really weird situation where we were actually thinking about going into a tent, like we were we were in at that place where we were contemplating the merits of, you know, moving a family of three, almost four into a tent in the campground in order to save money to, like, get into a better position. Like it was that bad because we were living off of I think like $2,000 a month which doesn't seem like a lot but I'm like I'm the only person making money. So at the time. Um, so anyways, we started I looked for jobs, I looked for regular jobs, I thought my my consulting career was over I thought it was done. And I was looking for jobs and you know, gas station work and you know, lead generation For Home Depot, all of these jobs, they all said no. And the reason they said no is because I've been working for myself for so long that it was somebody who had been working for some, like working with another company working for the company for a long time, they had better qualifications, because they'd already been working for the man for a while. So. So my only option at that point was to write articles for 200 bucks a pop, and then get them out as fast as possible. So to go back to the original question of how do you, how do you keep that, you know, process going my back was against the wall, when that was happening, because there were no other options. So for me, raising that bar, every time was literally a matter of like, Am I going to get paid or not. And, and it was, you know, I couldn't spend the time in a lengthy editorial process in order to get an article approved to get for publication. So I needed to make sure that there were minimal revisions necessary for the next thing to get approved and to keep going. And for me, that made it so my process moving forward, and has continued through to today has made it so I do the best work I can on the first draft, right, I do that like, because I don't have time to just and I didn't have time to wait two or three days. Because even if I submitted an article at that time, that doesn't mean that they're going to get to it right away. Right. So it might be three or four days before I even hear anything back. So that's where it was, for me My back was against the wall and was literally a matter of like life or death. Are we going to be able to get groceries? Like, can we pay these bills? Are we going to be able to fill the oil tank, it's wintertime in Maine, and we're live like we live off the we lived off the coast of Maine, it's always cold. And that's what it was. And today, it's a little bit more difficult. Because today, I'm salaried, right? Today, I don't have a um, so.

Kathleen Shannon 22:05
But do you still find I mean, I find this whenever I start getting sloppy, and making mistakes, I'm like, okay, it's kind of a clue to step back and see what's going on. So it's still even happens in my work, where I forget to email someone or things more often than not start falling through the cracks. And it means that even though I feel like I'm working more, I'm not working very efficiently.

Emily Thompson 22:33
I think there's a lot to say there too, about how productivity and not laziness comes from facing your own music, a little bit like, actually not ignoring what's going on in your life, or what's going on in your business. Because I think whenever things start going south, we tend to like turn a blind eye and hope that it kind of fixes itself or, or that's where we just start getting lazy, because we don't see how we're going to be able to fix it, whatever it may be. And I think that that productivity and getting shit done happens when you actually look at the reality of what's happening, or what you want to accomplish, and you do the work to make it do. Because that's huge. I mean, I feel like so many of us are starting these businesses from a place of I don't want to call it desperation. Because that's even that's a little more negative than I want to do it but necessity, just simple necessity of you have skills, you can sell skills and make money and live. And I think that that facing that truth and and finding that your necessity to do that, whether it is money, or whether it's finding creative freedom or financial freedom, or whatever it is. It's facing your own music. It's it's realizing the position you're in now, and doing the work to get you out of that position, or at least to where you want to be in the future. I think that's, that's huge to just realize, look at where you are now. And if you don't want to be there work to get out of it.

Kathleen Shannon 24:14
You know, I think that one of the things that you were saying Tell me about just that desperation of paying the mortgage and paying the bills. I actually still even though I was never in a place where I was living in a tent in the middle of the woods by a beach elega that kind of sounds like my dream. situation is not dreamy. But I do still hold the standard in place Alicia's to get things started of what can I do to make $100 today? Yeah, even though my projects are much more than $100. Sometimes it's as simple as writing an email. Or even more recently, I found that we weren't closing on a lot of client deals and so like Emily suggests my sister who is my business partner, we really faced our own music. And we were like what's happening in our client onboarding process? Have we made this too complicated? Have we even our potential clients too many hoops to jump through. And so we've put a lot of rules and processes in place. But now we're breaking them a little bit to kind of to get a new perspective on them. Like, maybe we need to break this a little bit to see how we can do it better. But still going back to that how to make How can I make $100 today still brings that kind of sense of hustle back into my job,

Emily Thompson 25:39
it's hustle, but it also brings a sense of ownership of like, You are the one who owns your destiny. Basically, like if you are struggling with laziness that's on you. So if you need to, like have the idea of, you know, making $100 a day, just get you up and get you going, then use that I think that's huge. One of my favorite ways to look at this, and my favorite way to get in the mindset of just get the hell up and do what you got to do is that time passes anyway. I mean, whether you're sitting on the couch, or if you're hustling something out, the time will pass. So you might as well make something of it. Because other like, if you don't, you will get nothing at the end. But if you're working, when you get to the end, you'll have something to show for it. And I'd much rather have something to show for it, then you know what ass and having all my Netflix checked off, like,

Kathleen Shannon 26:34
that's what I would prefer, I use that philosophy when it comes to building my six pack.

Unknown Speaker 26:39
There you go,

Emily Thompson 26:40
there we go do it.

Tommy Walker 26:41
My, my, my wife is actually my biggest inspiration when it comes to this type of stuff. Because when we were in that position of like, like one of the things for us is like my car had broken down, right the engine in our car had blown and I had said we're not relying on family members in order to get us out of this situation. So I had a very tangible financial goal of like, we need to get $5,000 saved up while also living in order to get that going. My wife though, like something that was was brilliant about this time, like she's she's in the fortunate position, or depends on how you want to look at it, actually, because she stays at home with the kids, right? She stays at home. And it's awful. God bless her I like I love her to death. And I appreciate every minute that she does what she does, because it is hard, hard, hard work. And I do not take that for granted even a little bit. The thing that she had done at the time was that she she really was looking to do she wanted like an interesting like this really neat baby carrier, right. And what she had done was she reversed engineered how much money she needed in order to get it and then looked at the different ways that she could have earned that money given the skill set that she had, and the resume and time and everything else that kind of went into that. And one of the things she ended up doing was looking at enteric to get like transcription jobs, right? These are not very good paying gigs. But she did enough of them, that when she got the money to buy the thing that she wanted, it was way more symbolic and way more meaningful to be able to do that. And, and I think that if you're feeling lazy and you're feeling like you're complacent in like you're relying on your processes, and all of that stuff, like working towards that goal. And then reverse engineering it from there to say how many how many, you know, how many things do I need to do in order to get to this place? Right?

Kathleen Shannon 28:41
Yeah, and you know, what I love about this is that, and your wife was really specific in what she wanted, specifically wanted this baby carrier. And I think that's something that happens in creative entrepreneurship is as you raise the bar and you hit some goals, you start becoming complacent and getting specific about what you want. Because also, whenever you first start, it's like you Tommy, I just need to make the rent, or I just need to get one freaking client. So it is about getting really specific about what you want. And so even more recently, and why you want it and why you want it.

Tommy Walker 29:16
Like that's, to me that was always bigger. It wasn't it wasn't just a matter of going like, you know, I need to be able to get out of the boarding house. It's like I need to be able to get out of the boarding house and also have a place that has a washer and dryer. Right and like very specific stuff around that because it's like quality of life, not just like, hey, let's let's get out of where we are. But let me get to where I really want to be.

Kathleen Shannon 29:38
And what are some habits and routines that you have to be a badass creative entrepreneur and to manage a team of six people for Shopify,

Tommy Walker 29:49
my habits are terrible. My habits are absolutely

Emily Thompson 29:54
calculated.

Tommy Walker 29:57
My habits are terrible. My processes are Are immaculate. And my processes are immaculate because my habits are terrible. So for example, I have a system in Trello that I use, where it's like, if you you start on the left side of the board where we're talking about, you know, Article ideas. And the idea is to move it all the way to the right side of the board where it's like done and scheduled and ready for production. And in between those two steps are things like for review, and there's a labeling system that we use, and I have, we use the comments to go back and forth and things like that, right. And that makes it so when I look at my email, my email is not also trying to be my content management system and my communication system with my writers, right, that works really well. I have, I have a way that I break down my Google Drive to make it so I don't have 100 images in one folder called images. It's in a folder that's broken down by like, month by article by ear, like, into a very specific folder that there might only be 10 images in that folder. But those are the only 10 images that are relevant to that piece. Right? And I do that I do I create those processes. They're very specific to me right now. Because I am terrible. With habits. Like, if I if I were, if you were to say to me, like if you were to take all of this stuff away, and like rewind back two years ago, and say, Okay, you've got six people to manage, I'd be done in two weeks, I'd be it'd be terrible, because I'm like, I don't know how to talk to you know, these people are scheduled these conversations. And now like I live and die by my calendar, and I'll be honest, like we didn't put we didn't do a calendar invite for today's meeting. And like two hours ago, I was like, Oh shit, I haven't podcast interview today. And like, it's important to me, but because I don't have that process in place. And I didn't follow the technique that I have, in order to like, keep track of that. I was like, oh, like, you know, writing down my notes of things that I wanted to cover in all of this.

Kathleen Shannon 31:59
Oh, that's funny. I so I'm kind of the opposite of you, where my habits and discipline are pretty impeccable. But my processes, especially content management systems are not on par. But like you I live and die by my calendar. So this was in my calendar. I just for me, I will manage the calendar of myself and my team, but usually not externally. Because most people have their own calendar systems, right? That's on you, Tommy? Oh, no.

Tommy Walker 32:29
It totally is. I just didn't. And usually my process is to go, Hey, can you shoot me a calendar invite? And I know, right. So like, so there was just like that moment where I had that moment of panic. And then I'm like, this is totally unnecessary stress within my day, but it's totally cool.

Kathleen Shannon 32:45
Okay, but let me ask you this. How did you how did you figure out that we had the podcast interview, if you hadn't had it in your calendar? what point did you realize like, Oh, yeah,

Tommy Walker 32:55
I opened up Skype, Skype and saw your contact info. And then I was like, let me backtrack in my email. And it was just this whole process where I'm like, I panicked unnecessarily for 10 minutes, because I didn't take two minutes, the last time to go, Hey, can you shoot me a calendar? Right. So when that for me, that's the habit. And if I if I forget to you do that habit, then I don't have the process in place afterwards. And I had like two phone calls that came in today that also weren't in my calendar. And we had scheduled them in LinkedIn. And I didn't say if you say in LinkedIn, because it's like, I'm getting sloppy, right? I didn't say in LinkedIn, Hey, can you shoot me a calendar invite at my email address? Like? He was just like, Oh, yeah, totally cool. We'll meet on Wednesday at two o'clock. And then I'm like, Wednesday's, two o'clock, and someone's calling me What the hell is going on? Who is this? Like? Why do you have my phone number? Oh, it's every

Emily Thompson 33:48
I think that there's important thing to note here that systems are important. And habits are important. But they're really only important when you have them both at the same day. Yes. Or they're really most of them when you're doing both at the same time. Because like, systems are great. I mean, you will hear Kathleen and I preach systems like crazy all the time, and is what makes all the things that we do even possible. I mean, I would be sitting here like spinning my wheels constantly if I did not have systems in place to do what we do. But if you don't have the habits to like, use those systems every time something happens, then things fall fall through the cracks. I think that is I'm glad that you brought up that you're so bad at habits. I never really thought about it quite like that before.

Tommy Walker 34:35
Oh, it's awful. That's awful.

Kathleen Shannon 34:37
What about you, Emily, do you think that do you feel like you have good habits? Or do you feel like you have good systems or both? I think

Emily Thompson 34:45
yeah, I think definitely both. I could definitely do both better. I'm definitely better at both than most. I think my big thing with like habits and routines is just just Doing it just doing it for me like actually called David before we got on this on this call and I told him, I was like, when am I lazy? And he was like, never. Because like I'm constant like, I think I'm pretty much operating on autopilot now like, I don't give myself time to even think about being lazy. I'm actually there's a lie I don't really I think about being lazy all the time, but I don't like I think for me, the biggest habit that you have is just getting up and doing it. And then it's the routines and the systems that you put in place that make it all happen. Better, Faster, smoother, more happily. Yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 35:41
that's one of the things that Paul Jarvis told us, or maybe it was on his podcast. Either way. One of the things our boss boyfriend, Paul, Jarvis said, was to schedule everything in advance, because once it's scheduled, then it's just happening. So he schedules out his newsletters. And I feel like we're definitely in that place. And in that flow, and anyone who is accountable to deadlines and getting things done is going to have that in place. And so I'm down with scheduling everything because like you, Emily, I don't have time to even make the decision to not do the work because it's already in my calendar. Yes,

Emily Thompson 36:19
yeah, just this morning was one of those day Actually, no, that was yesterday morning, yesterday morning was one of those days, where I very easily could have not gotten out of bed, like we're trying to buy a house, we got an email that made me mad. So I really just wanted to be lazy all day. But I couldn't like I couldn't even bring myself to, to do that. Because I have things to do. And I have people expecting me to get up and do things and other people who hold hold me accountable, but also me holding myself accountable. And I think I think that's probably a really big key there is I don't think people hold themselves accountable quite as much as they should. I think people a lot of people expect accountability from outside forces, from either your family or your boss or your kids or whatever. And I think that you give away too much of your personal power, when you expect everyone else to hold you accountable. But if you hold yourself accountable to be boss as fuck, you are going to get up and do it. Yeah, I

Tommy Walker 37:22
want to, I want to add to that, too, because that's that, um, as we move more towards distributed teams, and and you know, the linchpin, the thought, like methodology, and like that whole scenario, like, we don't work, and we're not going to be working in a world where your boss dictates everything that you do to you like companies and I work for a very fast growing startup companies do not want somebody that they have to handhold the entire time, clients don't want to have somebody that they have to handhold the entire time, I was just talking to this about something, we're talking about this kind of, in a roundabout way with somebody the other day, there were like, I don't give my clients a ton of options, because they expect me to be the expert. They expect me to know what it is what the best option for them is based on the stuff that they are talking about. And I think that that's, that's great. And, and the more countable you hold yourself, the further you're going to get in our modern working world. Right?

Kathleen Shannon 38:25
You know, it's so funny, because I think that a lot of the appeal of a day job is security. And right now, as we're talking about this, I'm seeing that the link with security might not actually be that regular paycheck or someone else paying your taxes for you. It might be that accountability part. So I want to actually unpack this a little bit and talk about what are ways that people can hold themselves accountable. So for me, it's my calendar, my calendar and scheduling, everything holds me accountable. And probably also my family on a personal level, I want to be okay, so one thing that holds me accountable as a parent is this idea that I want to show my son how cool it is to be an adult in this world. So I have to live a cool life. I can't sacrifice everything to be a good mom. I'm putting that in quotes. Because then it means that I'm not being a cool adult. And that's really my primary job for him. So anyway, but going back to being a creative entrepreneur, what are some other ways that we can hold ourselves accountable?

Emily Thompson 39:30
I think you cultivate responsibilities that bring you joy.

Kathleen Shannon 39:41
She like shocked herself like that one came from

Emily Thompson 39:46
like that one came from deep within.

Kathleen Shannon 39:48
God was speaking through you.

Unknown Speaker 39:56
And I'm not right.

Unknown Speaker 39:58
When you say it again, what

Kathleen Shannon 39:59
was it that you said? You're so distracted by your face. And

Emily Thompson 40:04
I hear that one often. How you cultivate responsibilities that bring you joy. So whether that is your kids, or for me, I love. I love my team. I love my team, and I'm going to get up every day, not because they're holding me responsible, but because I'm holding myself responsible

Kathleen Shannon 40:24
for them. Almost. Does that make sense? Yeah. So being a good leader, and so called qualities of leadership is definitely a good way to bring some accountability into your life.

Emily Thompson 40:39
Exactly. Or for me, what if my current issues is this stupid house that I'm buying. And for me, like the responsibility of becoming a homeowner, and having a house for myself and my family, and it's a really cool house pay, which makes me really excited. Like, that is a responsibility that brings me joy, that gets my ass out of bed every single day, at least at the moment. Um, so it is, it's, it's about, it's about cultivating things in your life responsibilities, and just Nadi, I think you also have a responsibility to yourself to enjoy your life. So whether that's, you know, we were talking this weekend, I don't mean to throw this at you about like going camping this weekend. And so that, for me, like, is a responsibility that I will hold myself accountable to, that will make me get up and get my shit done.

Kathleen Shannon 41:37
What about you tell me?

Tommy Walker 41:38
Oh, I've got a few. Um, my older boy is definitely one of the one of the big ones. He's been asking me lately. Like, how do you feel about being an adult today? Like, that is literally the conversation that we had that conversation like, last night before bed as I'm putting them to sleep. He's like, how did you feel about being an adult today? And he's been asking me this every day. And I'm like, some days, it's like, I feel pretty good about being an adult man being adult rocks. And then other days, I'm like, today sucks. Like, I have to pay,

Emily Thompson 42:08
like, Cheetos for

Tommy Walker 42:09
Yeah. So like, so that he asked me such a pointed question like that, like, really puts a lot of this into focus for me. And, you know, I definitely can resonate like the the being a cool adult and leading a cool life like that, yes. 100%. For me, like, I want my son to know that everything, like anything that you want to do in the world is possible, if you if you put the work in, but you're also smart about it. And you're not just like living for your work, right? Amen. You know, my work is a means to an end. And my work is a means to an end to have a better like lifestyle for my family, and I want to be filthy, stinking rich one day, no doubt about it. But in order to get to that point, I have to be able to do it and still lead a quality life. So that's, that's, that's part of it. For me. The other part of it is I have this really unique perspective on on marketing and technology and boss and all of that, because of the life that I've led and where it's brought me and for me, like I was recruited by Shopify. You know, I hustled into the position that I was in when I became editor of the last blog, but they recruited me and I was being scouted by four different companies at the same time, all of them with really cool missions, and one of them was going to Shopify, his main competitors, and I chose Shopify as a result of hearing brand values and company values and everything. And for me, it's it's this, you know, bigger position, it's, it's more global than just, you know, doing something for my son, but it's doing something that will bring change into the world. The thing I love about

Emily Thompson 43:51
possibilities that bring you joy,

Tommy Walker 43:53
yeah, it's a responsibility that brings me joy. But it's also like, I am fortunate enough, and I promised I wouldn't do the big company plug in. I'm gonna try not to, but it's hard if

Kathleen Shannon 44:03
you plug it, it's funny, because when you first contact I say, I was like, What? What are you doing? What

Unknown Speaker 44:08
do you like to do? Why

Kathleen Shannon 44:09
do you want to come on this? Like nothing? I just want to chat. I'm like,

Unknown Speaker 44:15
I know. But yeah, so

Kathleen Shannon 44:15
about it.

Tommy Walker 44:16
So for me like working for a company like Shopify is amazing, because we make the technology to sell stuff online a million times easier. And when you get the customer at the end of the day, they're yours, right? You do this with something like Amazon or eBay. And at the end of the day, you don't even have permission to contact a customer after they've bought from you because that's Amazon's customer. That's eBay's customer. That's SES customer. And for me, like my world, I don't know what the hell I would have done if it wasn't for WordPress. Right. And this is this is obviously very different companies and they're competing technology now and all of that but like the reality of the situation is, is my words never would have gotten out to other people in the world. And I would have never been in the position that I'm in now. If I didn't have a platform. In order to do that on, and it's very cliche to, and I realize how cliche, it is, in some ways to say like, oh, the internet changed my life. But it wasn't the internet. So much like the being able to disseminate the information to a bunch of people, it's not that it's that I get to work with a platform and help get that platform that can change people's lives out there. And to me, like I see this, when I, when I talk to people internally, I see this when I talk to people externally. It's, it's my position, or my, my, my thought process, and the way I see the world, right, that makes it so that's unique, and it gives me a stronger sense of purpose, then than just like, Oh, I have to go to work today. And I and that's very valuable to me, because I know that I can have in some way some impact on the world at large. Bringing it back into a little bit more concrete area, I manage a team of six people, right, and if I if I'm not following my processes in and if I'm not following, if I don't have good habits that day, I've got some Pay Pal invoices to pay today, people don't get paid, right. And if I'm not showing their value in the work that or the value that they're bringing to the table, and I'm not trying to enhance their value, then the company might make a company decision to say, they can't, we can't work together with these people anymore, because we just don't see the value in it. And for me, like, that's the more tangible sort of thing where it's like, you know, you get if you're working, if you have a team that you work with, like you want to be able to do well by them and do well by the client, you know, and, and that, for me is like, super valuable, too, because I want to be able to take the position that I've put myself in, in the work that I've done, and I want to use that to help other people. Right, not just like on the day to day grind work for where people are going to, you know, write for me, and we publish articles together and whatever. But also, the people who those pieces go out to write, like, when I was at my last company, people would send in things and be like, thank you so much for the work that you put in. Because it helped me increase my revenues by 300%. Right. And like that's allowed them to bring on more people. And I'm like, I got paid $200 for that article, which is not a whole lot. But that sort of like knowing that the way that I process the information that I got from other people and the way that I put it out there into the world, just with my fingertips and like, that's really powerful to me. And that that's, that's more of like my driving factor at the end of the day, because like it creates a legacy of some sort. And it's really esoteric, and but that's what it is. That's what it is for me. So yeah,

Emily Thompson 47:52
no, I think that's huge. I think that's a really good point there. I think whatever like looking at habits and routines to like help you feel productive and keep from being lazy, I think I think that gratefulness there is probably one of the hugest ones that none of us even talked about. But it is such an important thing. Like I think if you're feeling lazy, if you're feeling unproductive, like stopping, and being grateful for what it is that you do have or if someone else is grateful for you for something because I know there are some days when you know, organizing things for the podcast or stopping my day to record a little hard. But it's like the Grateful emails that we get that has me pumped and ready to go. Do record the next one. I think that i think that that that is such a such a huge thing. And so whether it's you being grateful to yourself, or do the things and people around you, or having grateful served your way, I think that's such a powerful way to, to get out of the the wheel spinning of laziness and getting back to being productive and realizing why it is that you're doing it. I think finding purpose in what you do is definitely what drives the creative entrepreneur more than anything. And I think getting back to that purpose. Sometimes when you're having a day where your purpose is above the clouds. Then getting back to that purpose is is what

Kathleen Shannon 49:18
makes you get up and do well. And then I want to circle back around to Tommy's comment about not getting too precious about the work that he does. Then there's the days where it's like, oh, okay, have you guys ever seen on Wet Hot American Summer? Yes, Paul Rudd and Yes, hello. It's so good.

Unknown Speaker 49:35
So there's this series is hilarious.

Kathleen Shannon 49:37
Okay, I just started watching it. Anyway. So we're watching the original movie. My husband hasn't seen it. So we were catching up. And there's a scene and it makes me laugh so hard, where Paul Rudd is in the cafeteria alone and Janine groffle is in there and he like, throws his cafeteria tray of food on the floor, and she's like, pick that up. Oh, sorry. She's like, pick that up. And he's like, oh, and like just groaning and like picking up every piece and just like, oh, and sometimes that's how I feel about the work like, especially where I feel lazy, like, Oh, God, you had to record a podcast now. And I think I happen to your office. And that's not necessarily getting precious about the word, but maybe a little bit like taking, like, whenever I'm taking myself a little too seriously, which I trying to avoid at all costs most days. But, uh, so yeah, anyway, let's talk about that a little bit, like not getting too precious about the work. What are your views on that? Tommy,

Tommy Walker 50:40
I want to circle back to the being grateful for just a second. And then oh, yeah, over to that. So one of the things that I do in order to keep myself reminded and grounded, because like, there's a big step from you know, there's a lot of journey that goes from being fired, you know, over a pair of pants to like, we're running an enterprise team.

Kathleen Shannon 50:59
One of the things we're fired to repair pants with,

Tommy Walker 51:01
yeah, that's, that's a whole nother podcast, we've got like, okay, the the big thing like living in a boarding house, let's start there. So there's a big jump that goes from there. And one of the things that I try to do on a regular basis just to keep myself grounded is every single milestone that I I reach, I send a thank you note to one of my mentors that helped put the wheels in motion. And I'll give them a plug to john Morrow. I took his guest blogging comm program years ago, like I was in the first run. And that program is one of the things that single handedly made it so I could like, make connections and meet new people and start writing for other blogs and whatnot. And that path, even though it might be you know, years removed from that now, I still know that like, the reason I was able to get to where I am now is because of the training. I learned that and so I try to make sure I say thank you every time even if it's been a year or two since the last time I talked to him.

Emily Thompson 52:01
It's a magnificent practice.

Tommy Walker 52:03
Yeah. And it's just because I try to be grateful for all of those steps because I remember where I came from. Right, like, and that's important, like Jenny from the block. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Don't be fooled by the rock. Thank God. Um, so, um,

Kathleen Shannon 52:20
so you know, I feel some I feel I feel bad whenever anyone brings up thank you notes. I'm the worst about saying thank you. I know. I say thank you, but I'm bad about like sending gifts. I'm really bad. Whatever you're asked to me. I've gotten more than one gift in the mail from you. So

Emily Thompson 52:39
Oh, I'm gonna gifting I've got a thank you cards. I'm bad. thank you cards. Chris does my thank you cards officially. That's

Unknown Speaker 52:44
the system I

Emily Thompson 52:45
put in place because I know what's up good. Thank you.

Tommy Walker 52:50
That's that's a habit I wanted to get into because I um, there's, there's there's this thing in the blogosphere where it's really easy for your head to get inflated? Right? Like, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So like, for me, I went down that path for a while where I'm like, I'm a thought leader. And I'm an influencer. And people want to get in touch with me to promote their stuff. And I can say no, and they'll never get reach if I don't put it out there and like, screw all that like, like,

Kathleen Shannon 53:19
Wait, is that true? It's good thing. We have you on this show? Yeah,

Tommy Walker 53:22
yeah, exactly. Like being reminding myself to go like, say thank you to the people who helped get you here. Like, I still think the person who like when I was like, at my most depressed said, you need to get out of the house and go to the Super Bowl party, because that's what led me to get my first client. Like, if it wasn't for that, like, if I don't remember that that's what happened. Then it's real easy to just like Miss attribute all of my success. Until like to be thinking that it was all just me. Like, it wasn't just me. It never was all just me. So you know, I love that.

Kathleen Shannon 53:55
Yeah, one of the things that we always talk about is how you can kind of tap your tribe and be boss by cultivating your creative pack. But maybe in this episode, how about everyone just go and say thank you to someone like that's a good way to cultivate your creative pack is just to go say thank you

Tommy Walker 54:12
just go give back. Like I just I did, I did my official blog launch through some of the people within my LinkedIn network that was just like, hey, in some way you helped get me to this point. And I've got one more ask for you right now. And I promise I will never do another please share my post or email again. But like this is this is like you helped get me here. And like, That part is so important because like the internet itself, in social media itself has become Unfortunately, this big soap like if I were to look at my Facebook feed right now, it's this big soap box for people like talking about causes and there's really little communication beyond like I disagree with your point. And I think you're stupid like no, that's ridiculous because we now have the ability to collaborate with each other and help elevate each other and if you use the tools that you have vailable and get outside of your own head for a minute. And remember that like everybody knows somebody that can help you get to that point. And you're grateful for that. And you don't just look at people as you know, their connection or their number, their reach, and you try to connect on that level, then, and you remember that as you build up, one, you're not going to be seen as an asshole later on down the road when you just like walk over everybody to get to that point where you finally want to be. But the other part is, you remember that you were just some person at some point who didn't know anybody,

Kathleen Shannon 55:28
right? You're still just some person, you're still

Tommy Walker 55:31
just some person. You just happen to like, people just happen to pay some attention to you. Right, like, and that's and that's something that's very important. I don't remember the question that we started on here.

Kathleen Shannon 55:41
I thought that's a good point to end on. All right. I like it. It's fantastic. So

Tommy Walker 55:46
I get really fired up about this stuff. I could go on all day. But like, but yeah, I mean, it's important to be grateful. It's important. Oh, not getting precious about the work. It's important to also not self aggrandized yourself and go like, at some point, you have to meet your deadline, right? At some point, you have to release this thing because it's important to get it out there to the world. That does not mean release crap into the world. But that means make sure that you're trying to raise that low bar, and and put your best foot forward as best as you can. And within a deadline. That way, you can move on to the next thing and meet more people and do more stuff and be cooler. And be a boss.

Emily Thompson 56:23
Amen.

Kathleen Shannon 56:24
Amen.

Yeah, thanks for coming on. Tell me how can people find out more about you or Shopify?

Tommy Walker 56:33
You can find me at Tommy has my name on Twitter and the Shopify blog that I run is shopify.com forward slash enterprise.

Emily Thompson 56:44
Hey, bosses. I'm gonna take a second to interrupt this episode to tell you that if you're liking Deane boss, and you're ready to level up your game, we've got something just for you. Check out the being boss bundle. It's Kathleen's DIY coaching for creatives. And my Get your shit together series bundled together at one low price just for you bosses. You can find that at love being boss comm slash bundle.

Kathleen Shannon 57:10
If you like being boss, be sure to sign up for our newsletter at love being boss calm, where you'll get episode worksheets, secret content, and other goodies delivered straight to your inbox every week. Again, that's love being boss calm. Do the work. The boss and we'll see you next week.

Thank you.

Tommy Walker 57:52
All right. Thank you guys. So it was fun having you on it was great. It was I appreciate you taking the chance.

Unknown Speaker 57:58
Yeah, of course. No,

Emily Thompson 58:00
we don't do it all. Expect a thank you card.

Unknown Speaker 58:03
I will I will I will.

Tommy Walker 58:07
I will I will get my assistant to I will.

Kathleen Shannon 58:11
And then I'll get my assistant to write all your Thank you No one get your assistance right anyone that ain't

Emily Thompson 58:20
with y'all people.

Tommy Walker 58:23
legit thank you card. I just wanted to get my assistant to get your address.

Emily Thompson 58:32
We're all Vince massholes is

Tommy Walker 58:33
what he wants. The podcast is over. That's what happens right? Oh

Unknown Speaker 58:42
we're fantastic.

Unknown Speaker 58:44
I'm sure