Episode 27 // Organizing Like a Boss with Val Geisler

July 7, 2015

Business systems guru, Val Geiser is joining us today to talk about setting up & creating systems for your creative business, finding project management tools to create a smoother business & client experience, and creating automations within your business to eliminate time sucks and focus on the work you want to do.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
"Setting up systems can make it really easy for potential clients to say yes."
- Val Geisler

Discussed in this Episode

  • Networking in real life and going on networking retreats
  • Creating systems and recording steps for your process
  • Finding tools to use for project management in your business
  • How project management tools help your business
  • How setting up systems impacts your clients/customers
  • Favorite tools to automate

Resources

More from Val Geisler

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.

This Episode Brought to You By:

Transcript

Kathleen Shannon 0:04
Get your business together, get yourself into what you do, and see it through. Because being boss is hard,

Emily Thompson 0:12
winning work and life is messy. Making your dream job of your own isn't easy.

Kathleen Shannon 0:18
But getting paid for it, becoming known for it. And finding purpose in it is so doable if you do the work,

Emily Thompson 0:28
being boss, a podcast for creative entrepreneurs from Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. Welcome to episode number 27 with our special guest, Val Geisler. This episode is brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting.

Kathleen Shannon 0:44
Alright, you will this podcast has been a long time coming. It's time to talk all things productivity, and organization. So today we're jamming on getting organized and getting systems in place for your business with our guest Val Geisler. Now Val is a self described chronic organizer who is on a mission to help other creative entrepreneurs get organized so that you can spend less time feeling scattered and more time doing whatever it is that you do best. She's also going to be touching on client facing systems to help you improve customer experience, which probably leads to a bigger paycheck. So Val, Hello. Hey,

Val Geisler 1:23
happy to be here. You

Kathleen Shannon 1:24
guys. Oh, God to have We're so glad to have you on volun. I have a connection through. We both have a little baby. So fox is 16 months and how old is your baby? Val?

Val Geisler 1:37
13. Months l&r. 13 months. Yeah.

Kathleen Shannon 1:41
And so kind of through like the creative entrepreneur, crew. And then being boss in the Facebook group, you've been really active in our Facebook group and helping all the bosses, they're kind of giving them tips and advice on how to get organized. So we wanted to bring you on the show so that you can tell all of our listeners how to get their stuff together.

Val Geisler 2:01
It's so cool to be here. Because I remember reading your blog, Kathleen. And like, I was like, I need to know what the heck to wear when I'm pregnant lady. You had that series, right? Yeah, that, like what you were wearing? And I was like, Yeah, I need some personal style, and have it integrate with being pregnant. And I I've totally dog at the end like that. those last few weeks when you were like, it's like liking skies. I'm wearing my workout clothes every day. Oh, yeah. And I was like, Yes, thank you, yoga pants are all that fit at some point, right? So it's nice to be able to like, kind of come full circle from that life and then have that whole life changing experience for both of us and, and watching you and a few other people that were like a little a couple months ahead of me gave me a little preview of what was to come and I think like I had a lot of the same ideas about not only like having a kid and how I wanted to raise them and and and then how that never really works out the way you want it to. And and the same for business to like you talk a lot about that on in Kathleen and and on the braid blog. So I you know, as a longtime reader and, and follower like Instagram and all that jazz. It's kind of nice to be able to come together now and chat about how all of those business parts and pieces come together and and sometimes are like you can systemize and make plans and you can create structure. And then you also have to add in room for flow. 100%

Unknown Speaker 3:46
Totally, yeah.

Emily Thompson 3:47
Hey, man.

Kathleen Shannon 3:48
We got to be in early early. I know.

Emily Thompson 3:52
I made a point to get that one in really early.

Val Geisler 3:54
There's a drinking game in the group now. And I know

Emily Thompson 3:58
we're so we're recording our episode yesterday Lisa Congdon. So that will be Episode 26. And at the end of it I think Kathleen actually says amen and then it becomes a funny conversation where I learned that there's a drinking game because I was previously unaware and so now I will be working on it a lot to get all of our bosses really trashed

Val Geisler 4:19
and when we go to New Orleans Can you do a lot of a man's for the live episode so we can all my we need

Kathleen Shannon 4:27
like a boss rainy is okay we need to have like shots lined up and everyone with our hangman's in our

Val Geisler 4:36
There we go. When is the New Orleans theme basa drink for the podcast taping. Yes. Alright, so

Kathleen Shannon 4:43
this is a good time to talk about our new orleans trip.

Unknown Speaker 4:47
Right and go in who's going? Everyone going?

Emily Thompson 4:52
So yeah, in October we are we're joining or getting joined by a whole bunch of being boss listeners too. Had to New Orleans and just have a weekend of hanging out and but also doing some ball stuff there's going to be a masterclass a live podcast recording. We're going to do a ghost, a ghost tour, there's a cocktail meet and greet. And like a community dinner. It's going to be a ton of fun.

Kathleen Shannon 5:18
So I haven't mentioned this yet, but if my brother is in town, I'm going to try and get him to do a private performance, which sounds like makes him sound like a stripper.

Unknown Speaker 5:29
Perfect. My

Kathleen Shannon 5:30
brother is I don't know, my brother is a sideshow performer and so he swallows fire. No, he's full of swords, he breathes fire, hammers nails into his head, but he's a really amazing sideshow performer. And so I'm going to try and get him to do a performance for us if he's in town if he's not on tour. So that would be an extra special treat. But you can find out more about our about our trip to New Orleans and our vacation there and how you can join us at love being boss calm slash Nola

Val Geisler 6:03
the trips really cool, because I just came back from a conference. And, and it was so amazing to be face to face. I mean, there's Skype, but which is lovely, but like, actually human contact face to face with other people who think the way you do and who run businesses the way you do, because, quite honestly, like, my husband is a nurse, and he loves being a nurse. And he has no interest in ever being an entrepreneur running his own business. And, um, and you know, it's different than like, like David being able to support your business, Emily, and like being a part of, you know, any shop biography and everything that you do. And just Greg has no interest in that. And so in my like, internal circle, and even my close friends, it's hard to find that connection. And so being in real life with people is so valuable. And the things that came out of three days of spending time with people who, you know, believe what I believe in, think the way I do and can build businesses together. It's amazing, you know, courses that people are creating together and masterminds that have come together out of it. And just that real connection that you get from, like, IRL time,

Emily Thompson 7:21
a great aim.

Val Geisler 7:23
That's, I mean, that's the whole, that's the whole like impetus for the trip. So yeah, I would just say, if you haven't, if you've been on the fence about coming to the trip, for anyone who's listening on the fence about it, take the dive and, you know, come and put yourself out there there are people looking for roommates in the there's a little group and so just, you know, extend yourself and know that there's people like they're shy people there, there's, you know, extroverted people there. I'll be the introvert who like needs some alone time and the weekends totally built for that, which is beautiful.

Emily Thompson 7:58
Yeah, that's, that's why we built it. I think, well, Catalina and I first met at a conference. And so like everything that we have now really stemmed from the relationship we were building beforehand, but then actually meeting realize that we're real people. And then doing this this trip the way we did it, we didn't want to do, we didn't want to do a conference with lots of roundtables and like, and things we want it to be something where people could go like, have a vacation enjoy themselves, because we all work our butts off all the time. Like,

Unknown Speaker 8:27
yeah, I have a man Amen.

Unknown Speaker 8:30
I like networking in a bikini.

Emily Thompson 8:32
Yeah, yes, I went to like hang out with people by a pool. And I want to wander streets and just like hang out with people. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities. So if I could, like, walk around with a couple people who's never been in one of my favorite places and show them some of my favorite like nooks and crannies. Like that's how I want to spend my time with really amazing people who think the way I think, because it is a really rare thing. Like I live in a town where they're like four of us, or something. So like being able to be around people who get you is so huge. And that's what we built the trip. Kathleen and I are stoked. We've been planning this literally for like, what, five years now?

Kathleen Shannon 9:09
Yeah, we're like, We're going either way on vacation together, we might as well and a whole bunch of other classes. Okay, but back to you, Val. Um, can you tell us a little bit about your job and what you do for a living?

Val Geisler 9:22
Sure. So I work with digital entrepreneurs to improve their customer experience through systems and processes that really streamline everything from inside of their business, the way that they interact with their own business, and then the way people who experience them their clients and customers and even just community like tribe that you're building around you and how they experience your business and it all ties back into systems. And that's what's really beautiful about it. Like, there's this whole I don't know if you've heard or people say sometimes like systems are sexy that I've never heard of Not, not like, people say that. And like that, that's great for the people that feel that way that systems are sexy, I don't, I don't think they're sexy, I think that they are functional. And that the I'd say the only sexy thing about them is that they really like, give your give you the ultimate experience of running your business so that you can focus on your people, that's what's sexy about them, there's nothing sexy about like a, either a spreadsheet or a checklist, there just isn't, but what sexy is that they, they allow you to, to know that you're doing everything the way you want to be doing it so that you can focus on what actually matters, because we all start businesses to, like, pursue our passion and to share our dream with the world. Not to I've heard you say this on like, some of the freshbooks moments is like, we don't start businesses to stare at spreadsheets and financials and an invoice people. And so that it comes that comes in with every type of system. So that's what I really love to teach people is how systems and processes can give you hours back in your day, and give your customers and clients a really amazing experience of your brand. And okay, so

Kathleen Shannon 11:21
a question real quick, what does it mean to be a digital entrepreneur?

Val Geisler 11:25
Oh, yeah. So there's kind of two branches. One is someone who runs their business entirely online, and where you know, they never really interact face to face with their customers. And whether you are a service provider, or a product maker, and an entirely online business. The other branch of it is if you have a brick and mortar business, and you have an online element, and so does that digital experience of your brand? Does it match up with what people experience in the store? You know, a lot of people work really hard on on the brick and mortar side to have this great customer service experience in the store. And then what's happening on the digital side. So I kind of work with people on both. But I do mainly work with people who run entirely online businesses.

Emily Thompson 12:15
I think what you do is fascinating and necessary and so many ways. So I have been recently obsessed with systems. It's like my new obsession. And I've been reading a book called work the system by Sam carpenter. I've read most of it. He's he talks a little too much for my liking personally. But it's a really, really great book. Yeah, it's, it's a, if I read a book, I'm gonna be a little talkative too. But, um, but it's a really good one. And I think, I think that it's something that creatives struggle with a ton. And if they would learn to wrap their heads around systems better, the struggles are, like, cut exponentially. From just yeah, from anything from invoicing or packaging, or I don't know, selling and marketing. So the idea of taking taking something that you do constantly so let's say you have like a Facebook strategy that you just sort of like worked up for for, I don't know, however many years you've been doing it? How is it that you take something that a digital entrepreneur has just been doing and assist them and building that into an actual system that will give back? What does that look like?

Val Geisler 13:35
Yeah, so I think about it, like the, the idea of making your bed in the morning. So, um, you know, sometimes when you make your bed, and then you're like, oh, now I'm gonna straighten up the things on my dresser. And then you know what, I'm gonna pull the vacuum out and vacuum the rug, you just let either. Just so you know, it's like that idea. You know, things start to my mom always said, your room looks like 90% cleaner if you make your bed and shut your closet door. I remember her saying that when I was a kid, and that was like, huge for me that you can start the process by doing one thing. So I, you know, I I strongly encourage people to just look at one piece of your business, whether it is your invoicing process or something that you know really well. For a lot of people, it's the client intake, what does it look like when somebody says I want to work with you and and just start to systemize start to write down every single thing that happens in that process. That's building a system into your business. And when you realize you have that done, then you go, Okay, what else can I write down and you just kind of go from there because it can be really overwhelming.

Kathleen Shannon 14:53
Okay, but then when it happens once you write it down, like So Emily just did that with our podcast. Actually. You So writing it down from start to finish what it's like to create a podcast episode because the hope is for us that we can then either delegate or package it up and sell it and teach other people how to do a podcast from start to finish. So like, what do you recommend people do once they write it down? Are they analyzing What's happening? are they finding in efficiencies?

Val Geisler 15:22
Yep. So it's great to be able to share it with someone else. So whether it's within your mastermind group, or a business BFF or, or someone like me, who has the ability to look at the big picture and and know, some of those minute details that can really change and, and take a look at that list and say, What can be delegated, even if you don't have anyone to delegate it to right now, like, highlight it in this color, or whatever you do, if like, I love to, I love digital systems, and I love my notepads. So and so I like to write things down by hand and then kind of like circle or star next to things that could be delegated out. And, and, and just knowing like, wow, I can really hand off probably 80% of this process. And, and it just kind of gives you a little impetus for making that happen. And and then I'm a big fan of creating a template from it. So I know, I know, you guys have talked about using Evernote for your podcast planning. So you can build a checklist and Evernote and use it as a template. And every single time you do a podcast, you just go through that checklist and check it off. Because that's going to show you where the gaps are. So use the list Once you've created it. And then you might realize, Oh, I missed that step along the way, as you go through and physically check it off, it feels a little bit silly, especially when you are a solopreneur to like check off a list that you made of your own tasks. But it actually reveals a lot to you about what's missing in your process and what you can improve and where you can streamline even more.

Emily Thompson 17:05
Oh, I like the idea of making it into a checklist. So so just to like illustrate yesterday I did I sat down yesterday and did I think it was like 10 files or something that was like step by step process of how it is that we go from like from episode agenda which Kathleen does have like outlining what an episode is to like marketing. So it's been edited, show notes have been created, they've been loaded in the podcast has been loading up, we've created the social sharing images. And it's essentially done at that point. So this huge, like it took me hours. And then I handed off the pieces that I don't do to those who do do them and told them to complete them. And what I was able to do so there have been a couple of things that have been floating around in my head, like whenever we load the show into buzz feed note guys sprout, which is what sends it to iTunes, you know, adding a link in there to send it to send people to love being boss.com for show notes, easy things like that, that I've been thinking need to be done. But I just haven't done them because I'm like so set in the system that I've been doing. So as I was able to go through the system that we've been doing anyway, and make it better, like erasing sections that weren't necessary anymore, or updating sections that would simply make it better. And I never probably would have done that if I hadn't written it out. And so I was able to streamline it and improve it by taking a couple of hours to write out a system that we do twice a week. Anyway. So I think writing down systems is huge. And on top of that, some of the later part of the systems that we never actually systemize it's just been things that I've been doing that we've built along the way like like writing and scheduling the newsletter, things like that, that go out on Tuesday, whenever we launch our podcasts, I was able to go through that. And once the system is created, those can now go off to Chris he was who's my assistant and like does a large part of that now, and now she can do even more of it. Because we have a system outlined which frees up our time

Val Geisler 19:10
to do other things. That's right, and getting your team involved in the system creation is huge, too. And so I guarantee you there are people listening right now and I know creatives. And I'll tell you why about that in a second as soon as I finish the thought but I know that people are going hours, Emily, that sounds awful. And Kathleen's face kind of says that right now.

Kathleen Shannon 19:40
And I'm like I don't even know how to like edit this file.

Val Geisler 19:45
And, and so so I always tell people look if you don't want to write it down, like if that just seems totally overwhelming and maybe the whole podcast process. This wouldn't work for but something like sending a newsletter just next time you're doing it. hit rate

Kathleen Shannon 25:00
You can customize it with your own logo, put in your payment terms and client info and freshbooks shoots out a legit invoice that you can either email or snail mail to your client. From there, you can see client payment history, you can send out late notice reminders, and your clients can pay you online. It's so fast and easy. And again, it makes you look legit. Stay on top of your business all year long with a clear picture of its financial health with fresh books. Try fresh books for free today, go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section? Alright, back to our show. All right, Val, I have a question of all of the clients that you're working with, what are some, like really top line? common things that people need to have systems around?

Unknown Speaker 25:53
project management? Alright, let's

Unknown Speaker 25:55
talk about that.

Unknown Speaker 25:56
Let's dig. Let's do project management. What does that?

Val Geisler 26:01
Oh, right. So project management is taking a look at all of the things you're working on. So and so all of the clients that you have all of your internal projects, too. So whether you're designing a new ebook, or creating a course with somebody, all of those things fall into the list of projects, and then each individual client project and, and I would even include, like, if you're doing any writing for guest posts on other people's blogs, like that's a project of itself, right. So anything that takes up time in your business is a project. Um, and a lot of those projects live in our brains, and, and they're the things that like swim over your head at night while you're trying to go to sleep. And you can't because you don't want to forget that one thing that you have to do. So by implementing a project management system or tool into your business, you get all those things out of your head and down on to digital paper. So that so that you can easily pass things off to other people. And even if you don't have anyone involved in your business yet, you just get it out of your head, and you can start to organize and put some timeframe around things and to get some perspective on Oh, I have 37 projects going on right now. And what does that mean for my business and my productivity? And how do I kind of start to shift some of that. And

Kathleen Shannon 27:30
so what are some project management tools that you recommend?

Val Geisler 27:34
Yeah, my absolute favorite is Asana. And I think they actually call it Asana. But I'm a yogi. So. So Asana is a free project management tool, and it's so robust that I almost can't believe it's free. They have it's aseana calm, and you can go and sign up for an account. And you can share projects with other people. So you can have an entire workspace you have like, in your case, just for an example, Kathleen, you'd have the braid, creative workspace. And inside of that, you'd have all your braid clients and all of your braid projects, like the ebook, e courses and things like that. And then you could have a different workspace just for the being boss podcast that you'd share then with Emily and the brave workspace you share with Tara and everybody else in the braid team. But Emily doesn't need to see all that because she's only in the being boss workspace right. And you kind of have like each podcast episode as a project. And what's great about Asana is that it links to Google Docs and Dropbox so you can very easily add things into one place. So everything's all in one place. And it also does it links to harvest for time tracking. So if you are someone who needs to track your hours and you're not necessarily working on like retainer or some other kind of terms, if you need to track your hours, you can do that inside of the project itself. So you don't have to have all these different windows open to work on something. And you can also have conversations inside Asana so it gets you out of your email inbox, which is like gold.

Emily Thompson 29:19
That sounds amazing. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 29:21
I haven't tried

Unknown Speaker 29:22
that one.

Val Geisler 29:22
I think that may be one that I haven't tried. Weird blasting is great. And it's there's tons of videos inside of Asana on like how to get started and they do a great job of teaching how their product works. And my other favorite is Evernote and I know you all use that Evernote is fantastic for collaboration and then just kind of for like, I use it mostly as like ideation. So it's my digital version of the notebook that sits on my desk. It's where I keep all my I use the Evernote Web Clipper in Chrome and I keep all my little clips Like my newspaper clippings in Evernote. And so if I find a link that I want to reference back to later on, so I use Evernote a lot for my internal organization and then Asana for my external one I need to interface with clients. So there's a ton of other project management tools that help systemize and streamline all the projects you have going on in your business. There's Basecamp is a really popular one for designers. I think like Asana is very linear. So if you are a list maker, and you like things kind of orderly and organized in that way, and living in a linear style, you're going to like Asana, if you are more visual, and you're like a tack board, and kind of visual learner and thinker, you might like something like Basecamp a little bit better. And it's just kind of about taking a tour, I always tell people don't get caught up in shiny object syndrome of like, what's new and what you haven't seen before. Just go into it, take a look at I mean, don't spend more than five minutes looking at the website for it. And you'll instantly know like, do I feel like this is something I want in my life on a daily basis, because a tool is only as good as the person using it. So you want to be sure that you're going to want to use it. Oh, I like that.

Emily Thompson 31:23
Okay, so let's talk about let's talk about the effects of like getting your project management, like under wraps. So say someone's having a hard time like getting project management, like wrapped around their head, or their head wrapped around it, I suppose. But so so what do you tell someone who's struggling with with that? Like, what will getting some good project management systems in place? How will that help their business?

Val Geisler 31:45
Sure. So it gets you out of that kind of cycle, feel like you're on the hamster wheel of your brain of all the things that need to happen. And it actually shows you when you get everything into some kind of system, have all your projects listed out and all the to dues that go along with it, it actually shows you that you probably don't have as much, hopefully you don't have as much as you think that you do. Because sometimes your brain just goes on like hyperdrive of like I do this, and this and this and this, and this, all the things, all the things. And if you just write it out, I mean, it's like, it's like when you go to the grocery store, I mean, you open your fridge, and you're like I have nothing, I have to go buy everything at the grocery store. And then you actually like take a second, and you make a list of what's missing from your fridge or your pantry. And you go, Okay, I really just need like eight things. And so you don't go to the grocery store or grocery store, like without a list and buy, you know, $400 with groceries. So it's the same idea for your projects in in your business, that you get it out of your head, and you start to realize how things really line up for you. And then you can also see like, Okay, well, I have three different offerings in my business. And all these projects, like, you know, nine out of 10 of my projects are in this one type of offering. And then I have one on this other offering and no one is in this other last one, right. So then you can realize, like where your efforts need to be in your business, if you want to grow certain offerings, or maybe it's just like, no one's taking you up on it. And it just needs to come down off your website. And you can focus on these other areas. So it helps you get some focus around the way you're going to grow your business, just by knowing exactly what you need to do every day. Plus, then you wake up in the morning and you go, Okay, I have my projects, like I don't have to sit in front of my computer for an hour figuring out how I'm going to get started and end up on like in my just answering emails right away, or scrolling through Facebook, wondering how I can get connect with people because I have all my projects laid out. So for me as the mom of a busy 13 months old, with I have 24 hours in a week of daycare. So she goes to daycare, which is great. And because I need I need that focus work time, it makes me a better mom. But I have 24 hours and a whole week of time where she's not here. And so I need to have that kind of focus of what am I going to work on next? What needs my attention right now and what can wait until next week or next month.

Unknown Speaker 34:32
I think that's huge.

Emily Thompson 34:33
I think the fact that moral of the story is like systems to help you deal with overwhelm, which is something that like I know our listeners are always struggling with me as an entrepreneur, General creative or otherwise or just human being living in 2015. overwhelm is an issue. A huge issue and needing to find focus is what fixes, overwhelm and have systems allow you to do that. Adopt systems.

Val Geisler 35:02
They also allow you to do things like take a vacation. Yeah, um, which, you know, I know a lot of people who own their own business and they, they're like, yeah, I'm going on vacation, but I'll be checking my email, you know, a couple of times every day while I'm away. And don't worry clients, I'll be checking in with you I'm on isn't to loom. I'm like, do you don't have to, if you have systems and processes in place to organize your days, so that you are prepped for your vacation to have, like I said, those kind of like checklists laid out so that someone else can help you out while you're on vacation. And so that your clients understand like, this is a time that I'm not going to be around and here's what you can do instead.

Emily Thompson 35:51
Yeah, that's huge. taking vacations is important. I went to New York last week. And it was, I think, one of the first like, more than just like a day off, that I've been able to do in a long time, actually ever, I think and still have my studio be fully functional. And so I was gone. And I didn't have to answer email. And I didn't have to I had to do the Brady course. While I was gone, but that was only because I never handed that system off. And it was the it was the last one. So I kind of had to do it for like, old times sake, in a way, but but I was able to completely leave a studio of like, full of projects and do what I need to do, because I had systems in place that would allow my team to do the jobs for me or for themselves, really. And I was able to take legit like five day vacation, which was using so nice,

Kathleen Shannon 36:47
but you know what was cool about your vacation, Emily is something that I actually kind of noticed, and want to verbalize here is I feel like a lot of creative entrepreneurs whenever they're taking a vacation. It's like this thing, like it's a big deal. Like, okay, everyone, like, we're 60 days out from my five day vacation in New York, be prepared, you know, and then Okay, team, we're 30 days out. I'm going on vacation. From Ellie's like as someone who works intimately with you, Emily, not only on this podcast, but on my own business. There was never any of that, which I feel like may have been the case even a couple of years ago, but you it just seemed like you were up and gone in New York. And I forgot that you were even in New York until I saw my Instagram. And it's not because you're necessarily replying to my emails, because I was still emailing you because I didn't even realize but it was just because because your studio was up and running because you do have systems in place. And it didn't feel like this big production.

Emily Thompson 37:47
Yeah, no, it wasn't. And that also allows you to enjoy it so much more like I just went on vacation, I didn't have to prep anything I just left. Yeah, because systems were in place that allowed me to do it. And I mean, and will in this big 40 day thing I'm about to do or traveling out west and doing what I'm doing. Actually, one of the things that this this studio will be doing while I'm gone is doing more systems like so we have like communication systems, systems drawn out. And we have like client intake and like a lot of that stuff done. But what we're doing now is doing out systems for a lot of the grosser things like how to how to set up like an email account for you know, telling clients how to do that, but also doing that in house whenever we update computers, because that's always a hassle, putting email accounts on a computer, but also things like, like how it is that we develop individual parts of a website or the steps of creating a new Business Catalyst website. And traffic today apparently is no joke. You guys here

Unknown Speaker 38:55
remoted their motorcycle,

Emily Thompson 38:57
vehicles and trucks. There's a guy like mowing grass across the street. Now it's gonna be a busy one. But no systems are huge. And it is what allows me to do the traveling that I have to do to be a healthy person. And then for this big 40 day thing where we're going out west, like my studio will not stop by any means there will be plenty of days where I have no access to Wi Fi. And I anticipate no issues because systems are in place that allow me to do it. It's not fun, like writing systems is one of the least fun things I think I've ever done in my life. But it allows me to have so much more fun that I'll do it won't care.

Val Geisler 39:38
Well, and you know, Kathleen, you mentioned something about like you're still emailing her and when she was in New York and so let's talk a little bit about how setting up systems in your business actually like impacts your clients and customers and people who work with you because ultimately Having systems in place, trains people and how to communicate with you. And I know you guys talked about on the communicate episode like, that is so crucial that you can train people how to respond. So the fact that Emily has systems in place, had you trained Kathleen to not like expect an immediate response from her from an email, and it wasn't about whether she was in New York or not. But it was just like, that's okay. Yeah, I'm going to email her and she'll respond when she is ready to respond, right? Or

Emily Thompson 40:35
my team will if it's super imperative, so yeah, there are systems in place for like,

Kathleen Shannon 40:40
the real like, I'm not saving lives for a living so like nothing is that anyway, so the ecourse is a big deal. But again, like no one's going to die if they don't have immediate access to the ecourse. Right.

Emily Thompson 40:53
But But also, so the ecourse like launching the last like braid like individual ecourse before we relaunched the new one. It was so systemized that literally like so and I'll even like get real real, we went out the night that I was supposed to be prepping the ecourse. But I knew that it was so systemized and I knew what I was supposed to do,

Unknown Speaker 41:15
like I can do this hangover,

Emily Thompson 41:17
I woke up the next morning at six o'clock had it done in 45 minutes, and it was good to go and there was no problems. So like just the fact that something like that was so systemized, that I could really enjoy my time and get it done so quickly and so efficiently. And with no issues. And granted, this is a system that's been perfected over two years, like I have done it every month for two years. But having those systems in place really does allow it to work off well, or go off well. But also know students knew that it had been prepped, you know, 45 minutes before they got the email, they all got access perfectly. So having that really hardcore system in place not only made my life better, but made your student experience go off without a hitch.

Kathleen Shannon 42:01
And from like an internal and external facing system, which I want to talk with you Val a little bit more about the client facing systems. But it is interesting, because I'm kind of in charge of the client facing system for the ecourse, which is the emails that go out after someone signs up for the course and even working with Emily. And seeing, okay, what happens internally? And how can I start to communicate that to the people who sign up for the course, externally so that they know what to expect, so that they're never left guessing. And so that's kind of been a really cool thing is, is taking something that feels very internal, and sharing it with the outside world in a way that feels, you know, appropriate, they don't need to they don't need to know the nitty gritty of how it works or when it works. It just needs to work for them. But letting them know what to expect has been huge. And like bacteriophage. Yeah, exactly. So okay, I want to talk a little bit and about client facing systems.

Val Geisler 43:03
Yeah, so go. Ready, go. Um, so I have this exercise I do with my clients, and it's the and then what exercise. So I a lot of people like, ultimately, at the end of the day, if you don't write down all your systems and processes, you can still be in business. But if you don't have clients, you can't still it's a hobby, it's not a business, right, you're not being boss, if you don't have clients. And so by creating really happy clients, you are building out a referral system, you don't have to spend money on marketing, because people are sending people to you. And people are raving about you on social media channels and, and finding ways to hire you again, because they really enjoyed working with you. And part of that is systemising your client experience. So even if none of that internal talk, like all the stuff we talked about, about you know, writing down your own systems, if none of that rang true to you as a listener, then I'd say take a peek at your external client facing systems, and where, where that really impacts your bottom line. And so the exercise I do with my clients of the and then what exercise is everybody comes to me and says, and so I want to talk about like my the way people are experienced the client intake process in my business. I want to get make that better. Okay, so let's start with before they're ever even a client, and they come to your website, and you guys might actually do this too as as designers, so they come to your website and they and then what and typically it's and then they read through my blogs and eventually they sign up on my list or they look at my work with me page or whatever. So we get them on our email list. And then what and then they start getting my emails Okay, so that's where we start is setting up the system of what setting those expectations? What are they seeing, as soon as they sign up? What's the thank you page look like on that sign up for the emails? Um, what is, you know, what's that first email telling them? How are they being kind of brought into your community. And then that same experience extends into once their clients, somebody hires you. Okay, so they said they want to hire me, we have a little quick call and make sure we're a good fit. And then, and then I send them the PayPal in that voice, and, and then what, and then I usually send them an email with like, a bunch of different times that we can have our first call, and we go back and forth and email five or six times, and pick the time for our first call. And then I send them all the documents that they need to get started. And they have to print off the contract and sign it and send it back to me and like scan it and send it back. And so right like, just right there, there are three or four systems you can put in place to just make that process so much easier. Because you want to make it an easy, yes. And when you start putting in things like now I have to print and scan a contract, and my printer is out of ink because I haven't bought ink. And since God knows when,

Emily Thompson 46:28
and we're for people who still want you to fax it

Val Geisler 46:34
the worst, or write you a check, because you don't take digital payments, because you don't have fresh books set up for that. Right. So you know, all those things make it harder for people to say yes. And if they haven't yet paid or signed a contract, then it's very easy for them to say you know what, never mind. So you want to make it really easy. And setting up systems can do that. So just in that little bit of example, you know, by by sending, having that first call and scheduling time with them, and using a scheduling tool. My favorite is acuity scheduling, but you have, you're able to send them a link to say, go ahead and book some time with me and you create an appointment type. That's the kickoff call, and it's an hour, whatever you spend with people, and they can go in and pick a time and it lines up with your Google calendar or whatever calendar you use, as long as it's not paper, whatever digital calendar and, and they just pick a time that works for them. And, and say, you know, you send them this link that says go ahead and pick your time. And for our kickoff call, here's your I'm gonna send you your invoice by freshbooks. And you can make that payment online. And then I'm also sending you a contract, and it's an E contract through echosign. And I talked about that before. It's called document cloud now,

Emily Thompson 48:04
oh, that's a new name, we can never have what the new name is document.

Val Geisler 48:08
And Adobe has come a long way with that. But they be right there. Because it used to be really clunky. And I used to hate recommending it. But the other one that I know a lot of designers like is hellosign. So creatives really liked hellosign. It's a beautiful user experience. And y'all like beautiful things. So. So you know, just sending your contracts through with a digital v sign, all you have to do is click and sign it. And it'll send a copy to both of us. And we'll get started. And then you kind of look through there. And that's exactly the process I do with people in in a little program I have called the perfect process. I love that I

Emily Thompson 48:48
think it's so huge. I think it's so huge. What you did were like, you make someone speak about Lean and talk about it, like talk about what their process is. And then you break it down and make it simpler. Because that's that's really all it is. It's it's getting it out because it's all in our head, like all the things are just in our head, getting it out on paper, and then going bit by bit and finding how you can make it more efficient and more pleasant for that customer experience. I think that's it's massively huge.

Val Geisler 49:19
It's not really it's Thank you. And it's not about making people wrong. Like I never want to make people feel wrong in the way that they're doing things. And so I just want everyone to know like, if you are asking people to fax contracts, that's fine. And let's figure out how it can be even better. And because maybe fax becomes like an option you have we work with people who use fax machines and they want to fax great and you have a digital signing option. So you know it's not about making people wrong, because you don't know what you don't know. And

Kathleen Shannon 49:55
exactly, and that's where I think value has been so amazing. And our Facebook As far as sharing your gifts and knowledge, because you'll identify opportunities where people are saying, like, I don't know what to do here, and they're describing the problem, and you're like, there has already been a tool or resource or an app that addresses that issue. So I feel like you might be a little bit of an app or resource guru. So I'm curious, are there any other like apps or resources that you can recommend that maybe even you have on your phone that you just love?

Val Geisler 50:31
Yes. Um, people always ask me, can you give me your top app are Yes,

Kathleen Shannon 50:36
that's what we want. We want your

Val Geisler 50:39
list. That's like picking your favorite child. All of us only have one child. So we can just say our that's it. Um, but no, it truly is. Because it depends. And I'll say that they appear. And If This Then That those two go together, they're my twin children, they that's my absolute favorite. Because what they do is connect things that aren't inherently connected. So my current running favorite if this than that is a recipe that I'm so if i favorite something on Twitter, so if I give it a little star, then If This Then That takes that tweet and puts it into a Google Doc spreadsheet, so I can reuse it. So now when I retweet something, I make sure I favorite it because every time I retweet something, I think I wouldn't be able to use that again. But then it just gets lost in the mess that is Twitter. And so I use if this than that to like wrap my brain around Twitter a little bit and be able to grab those things that I retweeted two days ago and plug them into I use Edgar for my social media but plug them into my social media again. And instead of retweeting it over and over using it as native content then I'm so I can continue to share other people's cool things. But I don't have to think about going back in that. Oh, when I retweeted Emily's thing like four days ago and Digg is spending all this time to dig through if this than that does the work for me and then I just go grab the link and plug it in.

Emily Thompson 52:12
Oh, that's genius. I love if the if this than that. I don't use it for that. But now I will Chris I know you're listening this implement immediately.

Val Geisler 52:21
I also have a pollen alert on my phone for if this than that, because I have crazy allergies, and so does my little girl. And so I get a little alert on my phone. If Pauline is going to be high on a particular guy didn't wait, you just don't go out and doesn't Yeah, I just know to not go for a walk because we walk a lot. And that's actually how I listened to most of being bosses on walks with the dog and the baby. Oh, and so I just know that we're gonna have an inside play day on those high pollen days. And it also helps me know, like, if I'm feeling really heady and tired, it's not about anything that I did or didn't do. Like, I don't need to make another cup of coffee. It's just a high pollen day. So it helps me It gives me some like peace of mind and, and helps me understand why things happen. I wouldn't

Kathleen Shannon 53:10
do like if Mercury is in retrograde,

Unknown Speaker 53:13
then which is always don't buy

Kathleen Shannon 53:15
a house or sign any contracts or you

Unknown Speaker 53:19
know, whatever it is,

Emily Thompson 53:21
as I say if Mercury's in retrograde just put my autoresponder up as like I'm right vailable

Kathleen Shannon 53:28
their website, like If This Then That

Val Geisler 53:30
ideas because they have recipes on there. So you can kind of browse around like, there's all kinds of if you're a crazy sports fan, and it's like baseball season and you want to keep up with that there's baseball recipes in there, that's

Emily Thompson 53:45
my favorite way to use it is if if I Instagram something and then hashtag it, Twitter, then it will feed my Instagram image to my Twitter feed. So that I like so that actually feeds in as an image instead of a link and I can dictate which ones go to Twitter a lot easier. That's one way that I use

Unknown Speaker 54:03
our assistant does that for braids, social media. Oh

Unknown Speaker 54:07
yeah.

Emily Thompson 54:08
Huge it for easy things like that.

Val Geisler 54:11
APR is really cool because it will do things very similar things but if this and that is a little more like app focused. And then xAPI is a little more like systems and tools focus. So I have as APR set up that when somebody books a particular appointment with me in acuity so in my scheduling tool, they book a particular appointment and and then it Zapier tells Asana to get a project set up for that client. So it takes the template that I have in Asana and makes a new client project Shut up.

Unknown Speaker 54:46
So you are living in the future.

Val Geisler 54:52
I'm gonna have I really want to do this to my house. I want to have that that kind of house are you like walk in a room and the lights turn over like

Emily Thompson 54:58
that in the

Val Geisler 55:00
do its magic, magic. That's what I want. I want to have, if I leave my garage door up, I get a notification on my phone. You can do that, by the way, I just have to, like buy the technology for it. But yeah, there's no there's like some Kathleen, you'll love this. There's there's a speaker system that you can get for your house, where as you move from room to room the music turns on, or it's like a soundtrack

Kathleen Shannon 55:25
to your life, no matter where you're going.

Unknown Speaker 55:28
Basically,

Emily Thompson 55:29
I wouldn't like that. I have the tiger every day.

Unknown Speaker 55:31
And can you do it

Kathleen Shannon 55:33
like auto where like, if you're going from like the kitchen into like your bedroom? instantly? It's like mood music. It

Unknown Speaker 55:40
just follows with you. Yeah, I

Kathleen Shannon 55:42
was gonna say like it switches music changes, like changes from, like, nice cooking music to like sexy times music.

Val Geisler 55:49
Yeah. That would be amazing. That will happen. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 55:54
I love what you're talking about, though, with automation, and how that makes your life so much easier. And four hour workweek is like it's a very controversial thing more or less. But But one of the things that he like preaches is automation, and how it really does make your life easier. You don't have to automate like, you know, your one on one time with clients like that, you know, anything that would be controversial. But you can automate all the other things with systems that just go off without a hitch every single time that will make your life easier. I mean, that's huge. We, we use the home automation stuff in the studio a bit. And my very favorite one because it doesn't have to be hard is in the bathroom. When you walk into our bathroom, we have a motion sensor at the top because the light switches behind the door and he can't get it. Our light just comes on. And when you walk out, it will go off is like those sorts of things are the things that you don't think about. But if you're sitting really still on the toilet for a long time, it will go on and off. Yeah, you'd have to wave your hands around.

Val Geisler 57:01
Got to be quick in that bathroom. Yeah, you know, dilly dallying

Kathleen Shannon 57:06
might bring to light then is if you're on the bath. If you're on the toilet for a long time, we got fresh air and you've got some other issues you need to address. Right? Well

Emily Thompson 57:15
it also keeps Cory and Chris under and David. They can't go hide in the bathroom because the light rail All right, that's inconvenient.

Kathleen Shannon 57:26
Okay, so Val, how can people find more about systemising and automating, and just getting all of these tools in place from you?

Val Geisler 57:39
Totally. Um, I have a shiny new website at Val Geisler calm. And so I actually have a little gift for all the bosses listening. So Emily talked earlier about and how overwhelm is, it's huge. And it's just, it's like a part of our life right now. And especially with social media and everything going on. And as an entrepreneur, overwhelm is very common. So I have a little gift that will help banish overwhelm. And you can find it at Val geyser, comm backslash boss,

Kathleen Shannon 58:15
thank you. And we'll include that in our show notes as well. And you're really super active in the Facebook group. So if you guys have not joined our Facebook group yet, we will include a link to that in our show notes. And that's a really great place to probably connect with you as well there too. Yeah,

Val Geisler 58:31
you can tag me up in the Facebook group. I do also have a little Facebook group called simplified systems. So if you want like more more and more with this system stuff, if you're totally geeking out right now. And you can come to what is it facebook.com forward slash groups forward slash simplified systems, that's the little URL there. Or you can just search simplified systems in Facebook and find us and it's a great group because, you know, it's, it's kind of like the being boss group where everyone just really supports each other. And so you find people who know a lot more about systems in different capacities, because that's what they specialize in. So if you want to nerd out, and then simplified systems is a great place to hang.

Emily Thompson 59:17
Are you an aspiring creative who's having trouble gaining traction and building a life you truly love? Forget invoicing and blogging platforms, your problems lie in building a morning routine, figuring out when you're most productive and trying to define your ideal day? Well, I promise you something always not last. Kathleen and I have created a four week 22 email bundle of our DIY coaching for creatives, and get your shit together email subscriptions for our being boss listeners who need to start getting their feet wet, or for seasoned bosses who need to get back to the roots of their creative life. Get your act together and begin building a boss life of your own. Find out more at love being boss comm

Unknown Speaker 1:00:02
slash bundle.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:05
Hey guys,

Kathleen Shannon 1:00:06
I wanted to tell you about some new fun that we're doing coming up this fall, Emily and I decided that we wanted to go on vacation to New Orleans, one of our favorite cities in the world. And we thought wouldn't it be fun if we invited you to come along? Go to being boss calm slash Nola, and learn more about taking a vacation with us. We hope to see you there.

Emily Thompson 1:00:30
Thank you for listening to being both from Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. Find Show Notes for this episode at love being boss calm. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to new episodes on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher. If you like our podcast show us some love by reviewing being boss on iTunes and sharing it with a friend. Do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.

Kathleen Shannon 1:00:58
By the wave since we're not we're not moving anymore.

Emily Thompson 1:01:06
You can still wave if you won't guys lane.