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A podcast where you join me (Colie) as I chat about what it takes to grow a sustainable + profitable business.
CRM Guru, Family Filmmaker, and Host of the Business-First Creatives podcast. I help creative service providers grow and streamline their businesses using Dubsado.
Have you tried setting up a system that worked seamlessly within your team? Finding the right tools can be hard when there are multiple hands involved. In today’s episode, I’ve brought on Liz Strong, an OBM and systems strategist to discuss what to consider when building systems within a team. Listen in as she shares how you can begin prepping your systems even if you don’t have a team yet, how to build SOPs, and the best tips for communicating both internally and externally in your business.
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Liz from Lux & Vita is a website designer turned OBM (aka Online Business Manager). Where she manages the people, processes, and projects for your business. There’s nothing she loves more than helping creative entrepreneurs build a business that works for them, not the other way around. She creates simple, sustainable systems that give you the freedom to grow your business while bringing consistency, organization, and fun to the things that weigh you down. Even if you’re not a “systems person.”
Today’s episode is brought to you by my Love Your Leads private audio training! Are you providing an experience for your leads that sets an expectation on when they’ll hear from you, provides them with tools that will help them easily say yes and book you, while also making them feel seen and heard? In my private audio training, you’ll learn how to love your leads and get more booked clients through an automated booking process.
Here are the highlights…
[1:56] Meet Liz
[2:37] Using Third Party Logins
[7:17] Preparing for Future Hiring
[11:03] Automating Steps of Your SOP
[16:59] CRMs and Tools for Teams
[26:31] Communicating with Teams
[30:31] Managing Inboxes with Aliases
Mentioned in this Episode
Connect with Liz
Review the Transcript:
Colie: Hello, hello, and welcome back to the Business First Creatives podcast.
Today I am chatting with a fellow systems strategist. Liz, welcome to my podcast. How are you this
Liz: I’m doing fantastic and love chatting with you, so I’m so excited.
Colie: I know, I think you’re my first system strategist that I’ve had on the podcast. I mean, I feel like this is like my sacred space, like why would I bring on other system strategists? But guys, Liz is gonna blow our minds with some of the things that I try to tell you guys, like Liz, in my setups I deal with a lot of solopreneurs and so many of my clients do not have teams.
But I have lots of people who come to me with teams, and then I have to ask them, you know, all the questions so that I can figure out what tech stack is best for them. So guys, I guess I just spoiled it. Today we are gonna be talking about how to scale your business and hire a team and prepare your business for it.
So, Liz is not a hiring expert, but she is an expert on helping you figure out how to run your business with teams and guys that starts now. Even if you don’t think you’re gonna expand your business for another year or two, there are things that you should do today to make it easier to scale later. So, Liz, beyond that, tell my listening audience who you are and what you do.
Liz: Yeah, so I’m Liz. I’m a former brand and web designer turned O B M, which crazy acronym aside. It basically means I’m a business manager. I manage the people, processes, and projects that you have in your business. I love it. It’s my favorite thing. I’m a huge systems nerd, and so basically getting to.
Strategize and put all these into place is literally my happy place. I could talk, I mean, Colie knows I could talk forever on all things systems and tools, like it just gets me going.
Colie: So I wanna start by like, because let’s talk about this. Liz mentioned right before we hit record, that Dubsado now has the option to have a single sign in log login. I, you know, I, I’m saying that improperly, but basically you can now use your Google email and password to go through Google in order to sign into Dubsado.
And I know that that sounds great, but Liz, tell me why that’s complete shit.
Liz: Oh my gosh. It’s the worst thing ever. Okay. One, when you’re using a third party, there’s a chance that that third party is going to get hacked. And especially if you’re using like Google, if Google gets like hacked for something, which we know it’s happened, then whoever has hacked that is going to have access to anything you have ever logged into.
With Google. So if you’re logging into Facebook, Instagram, you’ve got maybe Dubsado, you’ve got like 101 things where you’re like, oh, it’s so much easier just to like connect it and I don’t actually have to like, Set up a custom username and password and remember it and track it. No, it’s so much worse if it gets hacked like that, I feel like is like on a low keynote.
That is like the big thing is it could get hacked and then everything you own gets hacked. But on the other side, if you’re trying to grow a team, think of this. Do you want your team member to have access to anything you have for Google? Like any email, any, so like if you are doing a single sign on with Facebook, Instagram, do you want them to be able to get in there?
I kind of highly really doubt it, so keeping them separate as easy as it makes it seem is going to be better. If you just like go ahead and create a super simple, like separate login, use LastPass like, It’ll be so much easier in the long run if you can just easily share those. I never actually have to remember the login.
It’s just create it once. But it’s the worry of like, oh shoot, now they’re gonna be able to have access to, and then you list off like 17 different accounts and you’re like, I don’t actually want them to have that. And on top of all that, a lot of these platforms, once you log in or create an account using like Google or the whatever the single sign on is, you decide to do.
It is in, I would say, nine outta 10 times impossible for you to undo it. Meaning you have to create a brand new account, brand new account, and start from scratch and move it all over. I don’t think any of us ever wants to do that.
Colie: So the thing is, guys, Liz and I were having an amazing coffee chat and I was like, I want you to come on the podcast, but I don’t know what the hell I would ask you about. And when we started talking about scaling for teams, I was like, you know, in August of 2022, I’ve had editors, but like now I have a podcast manager, I have a virtual assistant, and those are people that I actually had to share passwords with.
And so it wasn’t until like that very moment, well first of all, I’m on show it for my website. And so I thought I was going to be able to make everyone logins, and that’s when I realized that on the middle tier, you only get one user. And I was like, oh, so I really have to give them my password. And at that point, it wasn’t that bad.
I mean, I, I don’t use Google to log into my website, but then when I started thinking about my YouTube channel, My podcast host, like I never realized how many different places I was using Google. And the thing is, I’ve only started using Google recently. Before that it was Facebook, and then I was like, oh my God.
Like I’ve just been, I mean, I’m, I’m unknowingly connecting everything to the point to where then if I can’t give new team members their own account and I have to share mine, I mean, like you said, Now if they wanted to use my Google to get into anything that I’ve ever connected Google with, they could. I mean, now they’d have to know which email it was, which in some cases, but anyways, it’s just, it is a web of crap that I was like, if I could have been told three years ago before I started hiring anyone, I.
Colie do not ever use a single sign-in login. I would like buy that person a trip to Hawaii. And so guys, if you’re interested, you know, Liz and I,
we would love a
Liz: I will, I, I will go on that vacation very happily.
Colie: Okay. But so I mean, I just feel like that’s one of the tips that you can give someone like really effective today that will serve you if and when you ever scale. So Liz, let’s get into some other things, like what are other things that solopreneurs can do today to prepare themselves to hire and expand in the future?
Liz: So it, it feels like it’s an intimidating thing when people talk about it, but it really, it’s. It doesn’t honestly have to be, and it’s creating SOPs, which. Is standard operating procedure. Basically it’s how do you get from step A to B to C. So when someone fills out your contact form, what happens next When you send ’em a proposal?
What happens next when you, Start to onboard them, what happens next? And basically just going through that process, writing it out. Because if you’re going to be hiring people, you’re going to wanna hand off some part of that to someone else. And so starting now as you’re just going through a project and you’re like, oh, I’m working on this right now.
Well, how do I do this? What are the settings? What are, how do I export this file? How do I typically deliver it? Do I have an email for that? Okay. I probably should write a template. Highlight some things where I wanna like swap out like the super personal things. That way it doesn’t feel all like canned and robotic and just like, I just did this.
Yay. You have fun. Thanks for working with me. Goodbye. Like, no one wants that, like, to feel like it’s templated. Like there’s ways you can like customize it and stuff while also just not having to write it from scratch every time. Um, so that’s always my biggest thing is I’m like, okay, just at least like figure out what do you wanna, how do you want your process to go?
For any service you’re doing or any part of what you do for your business, even marketing, write it out. Figure that out. Because then when you actually have a team member come in, you can be like, oh yeah, I want you to go and like onboard this person. And they will have a whole process written out of what does that actually mean in nice little detail.
And then you’re like, cool, I don’t have to do that anymore and you can go do something else.
Colie: and I mean, you and I are both tech geeks, so we are definitely gonna get to the tech, but I feel like creating SOPs now with the power of Loom or Tango is just like, It’s out of this world. Like you don’t have to think about how to explain an s o P to someone anymore. You could literally make a screen share video and show them.
And if you use something like tango, it will write step by step what you clicked and what happened next so that you’re not even writing the steps like the software is doing it for you, which is super amazing. And I know I have all kinds of entrepreneurs in this audience, but I also have a lot of photographers, and I feel like there’s a disconnect for the photographers in that they have figured out how to tell somebody step-by-step what they do in their editing process, but that has not translated into the other parts of their business.
Like if I ask you how you edit a photo, I mean, you will tell me, oh, I apply my preset and then I adjust the contrast, and then I change the exposure. Like you’ve got these things down. And all you have to do is translate that into other parts of your business. Like someone contacts you, what do you do next?
Do you invite them to have a phone call? Do you automatically send them the offer? Like these are things that of course, system strategists like Liz and I would be happy to help you with. But in general, this is what is a major part of creating SOPs in your business. And if you ever intend. To expand and bring somebody in and allow them to help you, the easier it’s gonna be is dependent on whether or not you already have these things outlined of what happens in your business for every single thing like marketing and booking and all of that good stuff.
Liz: Hmm. Yeah, and I think the other thing too is also, I mean, and we kind of started talking on it, but like there’s other way, I mean, I feel like when you’re starting to get ready for team members, like once you actually have all that written out, then like you’re able to actually like take a look and be like, how much of this actually needs to be done by a person?
Liz: so much that once you actually like have it written out that you’re like, okay, does this actually need to be done by a person? Can this be, and not even like fully automated, like kind of what I was just saying a second ago of like, you can have a workflow in Dubsado, in HoneyBook, whatever platform that’s literally like, here’s the canned email.
It’ll like sit there. If you mark a proof before sending, you can go in there. And it’s like that semi-automated, like custom made, customized, and so like it’s ready, it’s all there in the workflow. You just have to go in there, add in some personal details, add in custom links, whatever you need to, but like the bones of it is there.
So you’re saving, instead of spending an hour writing one dumb email, you’re spending two minutes pulling in the right link, customizing and hitting send and going on your merry way. And then it can like, Do more automations like where it just like auto sends for you. Or you can literally just have it where it’s like all those custom emails with approved before sending, but it’s in order of what you want it to do, where your brain’s not thinking constantly like, okay, what do I need to send next?
Oh, maybe this one. No wait, is it this one? Wait, do I have an email for that? Like it’s already in there. You just need to like wait for it to be like, hello, I’m ready to send this email. Are you, come on in and customize and you’re like, sweet. And yeah, do it.
Colie: you get the notification. I mean, that’s the, I mean, Liz, are you still running into people that don’t know about the approval button? I am all the time. They’re like, oh my gosh, wait, wait, what is that? I’m like, yeah, things do not have to go out automatically. And it’s really funny, I used to have some videos on Instagram where I was telling people, if you really want me to, I will create these workflows for you and add an approval button on every single one.
Nothing has to go out in your business that you don’t approve. I was like, but. Once you do it with like 30 different approval buttons, you’re gonna realize pretty quickly, okay, I really don’t need to look at that email before it goes. I really don’t need to like add this one line in because I. I feel like a lot of the people that I help, they come in with like this, this big idea of how they want to customize every email, and I tell them, okay, we’ll just add an approval button.
And then once they get into it, I swear it’s like clockwork, like two weeks in, people are like, you know what? Like I really don’t feel like I need to add in this one line because if I take that out, it can just go out automatically. Right? I’m like, yes.
Ding, ding, ding.
Liz: Yeah, it can.
Colie: I, yes it can. So I give people like a video that’s like, okay, when you’re prepared, this is how you remove the approval button from the workflow.
And then it will just go like magic. And I will say that like I’ve never had anybody that just kept like all of those approvals that I only put in there as a safety measure. Cuz some people are just so scared of automation that like they want an approval on everything. And I’m like, well, you’re really wasting your time.
But you know what? That means that the workflows are still keeping you consistent and organized even if they’re not automating it. I’m, I’m here for
Liz: Oh yeah. And I mean, I feel like the other part that I’ve always, I’ve, I’ve run into with previous clients is like, they feel like that candy emails are so robotic, and I’m like, then word them so that they’re not. Design them so that it’s not big buttons if you don’t want big buttons. That makes it feel like it’s more of like a system and less of like a normal email, like you’d send like in Gmail.
Then take out the button and just use a link, like make it look like a regular email if you want, like add in. Hey, hope all is well. Hope you’re doing great. It’s been super great working with you. Like you can add your flavor and your like voice to it and still have it be templated. And as long as like you’re reading it, you’re like, you know what, this doesn’t actually sound templated.
Awesome. That it just like, that’s like the big like mental block I’ve seen people try and get through is like, this feels like it’s template. Well then word it so it’s not, and then you’re gonna be less concerned about having to check it every single time.
Colie: My favorite is when people reply to my automated emails because they think I sent it to them personally. I’ll get an email and when I’m reading it, like I know that they think that I wrote that email for them, and I’m like, I don’t wanna burst their bubble. I don’t wanna tell them. No. I mean, I know it sounds like I’m talking just to you, but this is what I tell everybody.
I don’t wanna ruin like the magic, but. I think it’s a really good place where you have people that respond to the emails when they think that you wrote them from scratch, from them, but, okay, so Liz, we’ve already started touching on these tools, like this is what we’re gonna get into next. Everyone. This is like the nitty gritty, When someone comes to me, and I know I mostly work in Dubsado, I also do HoneyBook, but I know that you work in like a much wider array of tools.
Okay. And I know that one of the things that I struggle with is when someone comes to me, And like I said, most of the people are solopreneurs, but if you’re not a solopreneur and you maybe have a virtual assistant that handles some of your onboarding or you have marketing people, social media manager, like the bigger your team.
I feel like the harder it is to find a tech stack that will work for you. And so this is what we’re gonna spend the rest of this podcast chatting about, guys, because I feel like Liz is the person that if I ever wanted someone to figure out my systems with like a bigger team, Liz is who I would come to.
you And I are both like obsessed with tech and so I think this is where we’re gonna lead everyone for the second half of this podcast because as you expand your team, finding a tech stack that works for you can be super difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. So first of all, let’s start with the two that we’ve already mentioned.
We talked about HoneyBook, we talked about Dodo. Why don’t those work great for businesses that have larger teams?
Liz: It, it’s their team feature. Like, it’s like not great. So when you’re trying to like bring in team members, whether it’s a va, it’s an o bm, a pm, a different like type of person on your team, no matter, like depending on what you do, they have the option for you to be able to have a team member join or like whatnot.
But it’s not actually like built for teams. It really is built for solopreneur to bring in like random like people and like it’s not, it’s really isn’t just straight up, it’s just not designed for teams. They say it is, but it really is not, and like every feature possible screams, this is not actually for teams.
We’re just like using the facade of it’s great for teams. Even though when you get into it, you’re like, how? How is this great for teams? It really isn’t. It’s just like depending on the different like platform. Cause I use, like for my clients, I use Dubsado and HoneyBook and so I’ve seen when we’ve tried to use teams for it, how does that actually work?
It doesn’t, so we literally don’t actually use the, like any features that would like quote unquote be four teams with either of ’em, we have to go to a third party.
Colie: So when it comes to going to a third party, so I don’t, like I said, I don’t work with people who have very large teams very often, and guys, when I’m saying very large, I just mean more than one. Like I’m not saying that you have to have a team of like 30, I guess I should clarify, but like the first thing that I do when someone tells me that they have team members is I ask, okay, what tasks does that person need to accomplish inside of your CRM?
Is it important that you have like the different levels of what they have access to? Because personally that’s what I see as one of the biggest downsides in any of these CRMs that solopreneurs tend to use is even though it seems like you can like make a custom, feature to where they only have access to certain parts of your business, most of the ones with.
The CRMs that I work in, it’s not a good fit. Like it’s either like an all or nothing. Like there’s no way in dodo to give someone access to like this without also letting them see your financials. And some people are really particular about that. So if you have someone who comes to you, And they’ve been using Dodo or HoneyBook as their C R M.
What third parties do you consider to bring in and then what kind of tasks do you think that they do? Because I don’t work a lot in project management, but I know that you do. And so like how is it that you decide what project management or task tool to bring in to kind of help bridge the gap between what the C R M is doing and what you need all of the people on your team to help and complete inside of your business.
Liz: Yeah, so the two that I. Go with. So personally I use Asana and then a lot of people use click up. So those are the two that honestly, I say those are it. I know that there’s a lot of other ones. I don’t like them. I’m just gonna say that I just don’t like them. I really don’t. There’s like 10,000 reasons why, and I could go on my own little rant on that, but I won’t cuz that would take forever.
But Asana and click up honestly are the. Ones that one, connect the best to other platforms and play well with others, essentially. And just based on how I’ve seen different types of teams, different types of businesses, like those are the two biggest and best ones that I’ve seen to be used and like.
Overall in like seven years.
Liz: so like, I would say the biggest, so personally, I try and keep any task whatsoever that would normally go into a workflow in Asana or not in Asana, in Dubsado or HoneyBook. Literally, we don’t even put ’em in there. We have a, we use Zapier to connect, so when certain things happen in Dubsado or HoneyBook, it sends a zap.
And connects it to Asana or click up because then, but also it connects to Slack. Like there’s, I’ve got like a little like daisy chain essentially, because there are certain things that certain team members are like, I. When a, , new lead reaches out, typically I’m the one who like kind of gate keeps and is like, Ooh, you look like a good fit.
You don’t look like a good fit if you’re a good fit. I get notified in Slack and it’s like, Hey, there’s new lead. I check it out. I go send them an email or not. Then I go into Asana and I’ve got a whole workflow in here because I’m not actually the one who’s gonna be doing the follow up. I’ve got a different team member who actually is like the project manager who will actually do all the follow-ups and send out those emails because a lot of times, and Dubsado and HoneyBook do let you do some stuff that’s based on if someone schedules or, but they don’t do stuff if
Liz: That is the bane of my existence
Colie: I mean, let’s.
Liz: the logic I need better conditional, like if this, then that. Just give me that and my brain will make things won’t be so complicated.
Colie: Yes. I mean, I almost feel like we should take a pause. Because the other thing that hangs me up when I’m trying to determine whether or not you need external tools is if you have a team. Are you using schedulers?
Because I know everyone got so excited. When Dubsado and HoneyBook and 17 hats, when all of the CRMs got schedulers, everybody was like, hooray.
And I was like, but wait, hold on. But hold on. I mean, I can personally use the scheduler in Dubsado for no problem because again, I’m mostly a solopreneur and the team members that I have have nothing to do with scheduling. But if you are scheduling things for different team members and you need to look at different calendars and you need to schedule recurring events, like all of these kind of higher level things that you would wanna use a scheduler for, I.
All of the schedulers and all of the CRMs are complete trash, like 100%
Liz: They’re not built for
Colie: They’re not built for teams and they’re also not built for like more than scheduling just that one meeting. And so like a one-off thing for photographers out there like scheduling your mini sessions, it works fine for scheduling a consultation call.
It works fine, but anything at a higher level team or not, those schedulers are not built for that. And while you can try to make it work, I am now just suggesting to most people, no, let’s look at acuity. Let’s look at, let’s look at Calendly. Let’s see if we can integrate this with Zapier. Because the amount of effort that we spend on making that scheduler inside of the C R M do all the functions that it was never designed to do is just time wasted that we could be spending on something else.
So I’m sorry for that aside, but I feel like you teed that up perfectly, Liz, because that is one of the things that I have been telling people over and over again. Like, just because your c R M has a scheduler doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for you. It’s good for like 60 to 70% of the people that I work with, but those other 30 to 40, yeah, we gotta find you something else because this is not it.
Liz: Yeah. Oh yeah. One of my clients, we use Dubsado, but they have a couple team members who every once in a while those two need to schedule an appointment with a client that does not include like my main client. And so. We’ve just ended up using Google Calendar invite.
Like I literally will look at the calendar because I can see everyone’s schedule and I’m like, okay, just gimme dates. They’ll gimme like three, like we have to go old school on some of it. And it’s, it’s, I mean, in that case, like it’s super micro and like, because they’ve a lot of times already talk with a client.
They’re like, Hey, here’s this date. Are you available? Yep. Then they’re just like, fine tuning the like specific timing of it, and so then I’m just like com, like confirming and then like sending in like a calendar invite in Google. It feels so over like so dumb. But because Dubsdao doesn’t really allow for like, okay, can you look at this person’s calendar and this person’s calendar, but not this person’s calendar?
And then see based on those two ca out of the three calendars, is there actually a time available? Like they don’t have, it just drives me bananas. So then we have to go manual and old school. But for any like recurring stuff, I still have a client who uses acuity.
Liz: But she also has her Dubsado scheduler.
So we’re literally using two schedulers and occasionally we pop in the Google calendar. So then you’ve got three, because one of them, the main one that we need, and that would be really great to keep it as the quote unquote, all-in-one platform that you need for your business. It doesn’t like actually function for teams.
Colie: Liz, I hope everybody’s hearing us. Let’s come on to communication, cuz the one other drawback that I see inside of the CRMs is that even if you can add team members, everything goes from the same email. So when you’re looking at dealing, I know, I, I wish you guys in the listening audience could see her face.
So when you, when it comes to communication, Are you funneling all of the communication through the crm or are you doing it in a different way and then like using Zapier to connect everything? I mean, I don’t need you to tell me how you do it for every single one of your clients, but I just want the listening audience to kind of get a sense of, these are the things that even though your CRM offers it, You’re probably going to have to use a third party tool in order to send additional communications if you can’t send all of them from like one company email.
Liz: Yeah, so the bulk of my clients when I came on, because they already have, typically our teams are like three to six people. So we’re not talking anything crazy. It’s a smaller, we, we call ’em small but mighty teams. And basically I, when I come on, I’m like, oh, you have everything under your own personal, so it’s like their firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’m like, eh, that’s not really gonna work anymore.
Especially because they’re trying to step out of a lot of like the, like client facing stuff and they’re trying to actually get a little bit more strategic and allow me to step into more of the client facing side. And so I’m like, cool. So we need to change all of your stuff over to a like hello at a team, at support, at studio, at a more like generic.
Kind of one. And so like we then move dodo and HoneyBook over to like studio at, and so that way everything is coming from studio at, you can still have all the different signatures or have different team members sign off based on like what part it is. But it then it actually keeps everything in one place and the client is only getting emails from.
One email address rather than like seven different ones. And then no one’s getting CC’d outside of it and then forgetting to cc this person. Like it’s literally just one thing. And then, I mean, I typically am just like the one only person in there, me and like a project manager. And so we don’t have too many like hands in there, which is what causes the chaos.
If you have too many people in there. And so that’s where you kinda just keep the one point person and you just have everyone tell you. Okay. And then you can funnel it to the client rather than like seven people being like, oh, I wanted to go email this client. You’re like, oh my gosh, that’s seven emails.
Do not do that. I’m going to make one email with all the different things, and then I will then disseminate like that information over to you once we hear back from the client. So like we’ve really just like honed in on like one email address and then if needed, like that’s like our big thing is if we’re emailing with clients, then we just do it from the one email.
And then like internally, our team is all chatting in Slack, cuz then we can all just be throwing stuff at the walls all day long with each other. And then the one person is like, hello, okay, let’s go talk to the client in one unified voice rather than like seven people talking at them.
Colie: Liz, that’s amazing advice, and so I think this is a good. Point for me to like, recap what our tips have been for those solopreneurs that are not ready to scale, but wanna scale in the future. So number one, do not use single sign-in logins for anything related to your business. That’s number one. Number two.
Is that you should start writing SOPs the moment that you can in order to get not only yourself organized, but it makes it easier to hand it off to a second person, a third person down the line. And then I think this third one is like so important and it’s so easy for everyone to do right now. Like if you are sending your emails, I don’t even have email@example.com, like by the time I got colie james.com, I had learned my lesson.
So all of my emails related to this are, hello, support products, templates, like nothing with my name, so that if my virtual assistant needs to send something, it doesn’t say Colie or whatever, but so everyone should go. Create that generic email box now, even if you’re the only person who’s using it, so that the emails are coming from your business and not from you.
And then I would even throw in one of my own, Liz, which maybe you would mention, but I’m gonna throw it in there anyways. If you’re creating this like generic business email, like at hello at for like hello at coliejamescom. If you use a Google Drive, that is where you should be sending all of your documents, all of your stuff.
Don’t do it in your own, because have you guys ever tried to share shit from one Google Drive to another? It is literally the
Liz: the worst.
Colie: I mean, so I mean, Liz, you have anything to add to that?
Liz: Oh my gosh, yes. Two things. And if you saw my face, I was like, Ooh. Cuz my brain was like, there’s another thing if you’re like, oh my gosh, I now have to create like seven email accounts. No you don’t. But yes, one, if you’re like, basically your whole business should be created out of that, like generic hello at studio, at team, at whatever thing, because then that’s what people can access rather than having it be your name.
So I am a hundred percent on board with what you said for that. That is like, I’m like, mm-hmm. Yep. That for Dropbox, for anything you’re creating, it should be that one main account. Like your name. Honestly, I. Take it out, take it out,
Liz: back it out. Well, and I mean on, I mean, they care about you, but they don’t care about you.
Especially if you’re like trying to get a team or like you’re like looking to the future of like, do I actually wanna have my hand in everything? Okay, then I probably wanna take my name out of everything. Or at least out of some of the big things. Like that’s as like some of my clients have seen.
They’re like, well, they actually didn’t really care that it was me anymore. They wanted the company because they knew the company produced that kind of work. They weren’t necessarily now looking at me to be the one to do it. Now that they saw, I have a team, they understand that the team and the company itself has this specific standard and it doesn’t mean that I have to have my hand in it.
And I was like, yep. And they’re like, ah. So we took their name out of more and more and more and they’re like, I won. I personally now get less emails. I’m like, good. No client should actually have your own personal email. Like I. They should have just this one because then also like when I’m handling it, I’m like, I don’t have access to my client’s email address, so I can’t go in and like field it back over to me.
Like she has to field it back to me. And so it’s, yeah, definitely creating that like one main one. And if, I mean, if you haven’t, or if you did like start off with like your name and you’re like sitting here going, oh no, I now have to go and buy like another, Account you don’t aliases.
Liz: Gmail aliases are a girl’s best friend.
Just gonna say it. I have, I have, I mean, my main account is like, I have a generic one like this tea or like the studio. Hello at one. But I have an alias for my own name. I have one for newsletters, I have one for team, I have one for support. Like I literally, I have two accounts. One is from my team member, so she just has her own Gmail account that I pay for, and then I have mine, but I have like six different Gmail aliases inside that one, and it’s only paid for as one
It’s like my favorite little like, ha ha, ha ha. I mean, I keep creating ’em all the time and I’m like, Ooh, I could use this for this and this and this and this. Like I just create them all the time.
Colie: I have so much fun cuz I do things like purchases at newsletters at, and every once in a while I’ll like buy off of a bundle and someone will look at my email and they’ll reply and they’ll be like, oh my God, Colie. That is genius. I did not ever think to like make one just for the things from bundles.
I’m like, yeah, and newsletters. I was like, cuz don’t get me wrong, I mean, I don’t sign up for a lot of newsletters thinking to myself, oh, I’m never gonna read these. I just wanna sign up. But I want them all. To be out of my main inbox inside a folder, and it specifically says, read later so that you know when I’m sitting in a carpool lane or I’m, you know, playing around playing, then I can go and like read a few newsletters and do that.
But those things do not clutter the main inbox, which the whole point of that is like client support and so, As Liz said, guys, you don’t pay for every single one of these aliases. You have your main one, which for me would be hello at, and then you can create as many alias as you want. I know a lot of people still don’t know this.
Liz, I don’t know if you do this, but you can also do like your main plus something and it’ll come into your main email box, but. I have personally found that that is how I can figure out who is like selling my email to somebody else, or it got, you know, hacked or whatever it is. Because for the longest I had this one for my photography business where I was using this one alias for like all of my vendors.
Then I started getting spam like every day, and back then I was like, oh, well, if I’d had the foresight to give them like vendors plus Millers for
like the specific photo lab that I was using, if that’s the one that got hacked, I would be, or got shared or traded or whatever the correct phrase is. I would know who was guilty, I would know who shared my shit, and then, you know,
Liz: and then you can go to them and be like, um, don’t do that.
Colie: Don’t do that again. Yeah. So Liz, I feel like this conversation has been amazing. Are there any more tips that you wrote down in your little notes that you would like to share now?
Liz: I mean, I think one of the easiest ones is. Just start using Zapier, like even the free plan. Honestly, I used the free plan for so long and it was just super simple things of, even when it was just me, I create up a little Slack channel or a little Slack account, and then I have like wins. I have sales. So anytime someone, Actually books with me and like pays.
I have a little slack message that says Soandso like booked. And I’m like, yay. Me. Like it’s just a nice little like ding and like, because then that also, like I include some steps in there of like, okay, so here’s the next step. Because that’s where like, it was like, okay, now go to Asana and do X, Y, Z, and then I would go do X, Y, Z.
And it’s just like little things here and there, but also like. I like to save all of like screenshots and like happy things from clients in Slack, and they’re like a little wins channel. And now that I’ve got a team member, like I tell her, I’m like, Hey, if you ever have any like wins from a client, like screenshot ’em and put ’em in this channel because then it’s like a little dose of like happiness.
Just like, oh, I love it. And then it’s just like a fun little like morale boosting little channel.
Colie: And I feel like Slack is like really specific to US business members. So hey photographers, but the equivalent of this is save them inside of a Google folder.
Like if you don’t have
Liz: it too.
Colie: many people don’t have Slack. But Liz, you were talking and I thought of one more tip for the audience and that is if you are not currently using a free Zapier account in order to zap your client leads.
Your client, like the people who pay you into a separate database or a spreadsheet. I want all of you to do that today. And the reason that I want you to do that, thinking about our specific topic today of preparing yourself to scale. There is a good possibility that when you go from being a solopreneur and you move into the space of having a team, you may want to switch some of your tech stack.
The CRM that you were using before may not be good enough going for, but if you have all of your client data, Outside of your crm, it’s gonna be a lot easier for you to move to a new tool because none of the CRMs give you your data easily. Yes, they’ll give you the client’s name and their email address and their address, but like beyond that, like really simple.
Data, like you can’t get lifetime client value out of most of the CRMs, but if you’re continuously zapping your client data into Airtable or into a Google spreadsheet, at least you have all of that data for every time that they’ve inquired, every time that they’ve paid you. And so if you ever want to look at something like Lifetime client, Value or the last time that they hired you.
Those are things that you can’t easily find inside of A C R M, like Dodo or HoneyBook, but that you could easily get out of a database or a spreadsheet.
Liz: Oh yeah, I second that. And it helps you look at like, I mean that dives into analytics and tracking and all that, but like my brain’s like, yes, cuz then you can even just, there’s so many things you can even do with that data, even just as like, Baseline. It’s a backup like we all need. You need just a backup.
You mean you back up your photos. So you need to back up your other data. Especially like whether or not you plan on moving. If something happens to that company, you’re outta luck. You just lost all the data from however long you’ve been using it. So even just using it as a backup, like just, just go store it.
You never have to touch it if you don’t want to,
Colie: at least you have it.
Liz: You have it.
Colie: Liz, this was an amazing conversation. Tell the listening audience where they can find you on the internet.
Liz: Yeah, so I am over on Instagram at luxem vita Dsn from my design days, and also over on my website at luxem vita.com/everything
Colie: Oh, you have an everything,
Paige. I don’t think I knew that. I’m
gonna go luck.
Liz: I do.
Colie: All right everyone. I hope that today’s episode gave you some very actionable takeaways for now, if you’re a solopreneur or the future when you decide to scale. That’s it for this episode. See you next time.