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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.
Everything in your business has a process and system, but are you managing your projects well? The cost of disorganization isn’t pretty. In this episode, Ashley Shuler joins us to share how project management can improve your business and increase your profitability!
The Business-First Creatives Podcast is brought to you by CRM and Dubsado expert Colie James. Join Colie each week as she discuss how to build a business that brings you joy and a paycheck! From business advice with fellow entrepreneurs to sharing automation tips and tricks, Colie and her guests are sharing industry trends and resources, along with a little bit of sarcasm.
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Ashley hasn’t met a project she doesn’t like. In fact, it brings her joy to partner with mission-driven leaders and businesses to create forward-thinking solutions that will help them reach their goals and serve their clients.
At the Principal of Shuler Strategies, we believe that one of the most overlooked processes in the business and entrepreneurship world is project management.
Project Management is the missing key that unlocks:
⭐️ Aligns your business goals and objectives
⭐️ Streamlines communication
⭐️ Empowers your team members to excel in their superpower.
We create a holistic experience by reimagining project management in the digital era by creating streamlined workflows, training leaders to manage work efficiently, and creating services to improve team performance, and ensure quality products and deliverables.
Ashley’s journey with project management, operations, and creating time-saving solutions began in 2012, where she has trained teams and managed projects across government agencies with the Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, the Executive Office of the President, and the U.S. Senate on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
As a digital broadcaster, Ashley hosts Systems Lab LIVE, a weekly livestream dedicated to productivity trends, leading teams, managing projects, and developing processes. Additionally, her seasonal podcast, “Conversations With #AskAsh,” dives into everyday conversations on creating processes for efficiency, developing team culture, project execution, leading in business, and why systems matter in life and business.
Originally from Northern Virginia, Ashley holds a BA in Government from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and obtained her Master’s Degree from George Mason University, School of Public Policy. In her off time, she enjoys playing her with a puppy, hanging out with family and friends, and serving her local community.
Here are the highlights…
[1:02] Get to Know Ashley & Her Role in Project Management
[7:20] Working with Individuals vs. Large Organizations
[8:09] People First Project Management
[9:49] Innovation in Establishing Processes
[11:52] The Cost of Disorganization
[15:01] Ashley’s Process for Project Management
[18:43] Honor the Season
[21:48] Fractional Leadership
[27:28] Mini CEO Time Blocks
[33:52] Utilizing Tools and Recording
[38:02] Content Mining with Zapier
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My Interview on Ashley’s Youtube
Pick Your Path with Ashley Pendergraft
Review the Transcript:
Colie: Good morning. Good morning, and welcome back to the Business First Creatives Podcast. This morning I am chatting with Ashley Shuler, which we’re gonna be chatting about things that I’ve never chatted with her before, so I think it’s gonna be a great conversation. Good morning, Ashley. How are you?
Ashley: Oh, great morning Colie. This is gonna be fantastic. It’s gonna be a good time,
Colie: I will say guys, Ashley doesn’t have a podcast, but she does have a YouTube channel and she had me on as a guest and she got me to cry. So I am going to put that episode in the show notes. Like Ashley just asked me a lot of questions about like, you know, like my journey to being an entrepreneur. And as many of you guys know, that was a little rough.
So, uh, I’m gonna link it in the show notes in case any of you guys wanna hear more of Ashley’s perspective or hear my interview in that conversation. But Ashley, let’s start talking about you. Enough about me. Let’s talk about you . So
Colie: we shall So tell everyone what you do and what you offer as an entrepreneur before we get into the other stuff.
Ashley: Okay. Oh, this is good. So, in the world of, well, I guess in the business world, we would say that this is, I’m a project management consultant, so what I break that down is I do teaching, training, educating. And consulting all on how you go about the planning, the design, the organization, and the execution of the project.
So that is anywhere with a virtual event that could be your N F T. Well, I haven’t done that quite yet, but I, I, I’m, I’m interested. Um,
Colie: list, girl,
Ashley: it’s on the bucket list. That could be, a membership group that could be client. I’m focused mostly a lot. Client delivery and really helping those that are in project related roles, understand.
why they should have a project management process, why it should be customized and to deliver whatever, it’s a logo, a website, um, could be graphic design, could be a service. Why that needs to be customized, why that needs to be specialized, and why you should take pride not only in the great onboarding or the great offboarding, but the everyday.
And so I would say that I tell also people my new coin phrases. I’m an everyday work specialist. No one know necessarily wants to talk about the day-to-day. But yeah, I wanna know how you sent that email or that Slack message. What’s effective, what’s not? So that to me, yeah. Oh, within offerings. Oh yeah, you do asked about what I offer.
So I’m currently offering, consulting sessions via Volley an Async app, doing coaching that way. But also, one-on-one sessions really diving into your process. So, yeah.
Colie: and this is a migration from what you were doing before because before you were doing click up, v i p days
Ashley: I was, yes, I was. And so it lingers in the queue. Cause sometimes I’m just peeking over into the distance. I’m like, you know, are you gonna come back up? You know, but yeah. So, so here’s the thing, folks love me some. Click up. Saw previews of 3.0. that that’ll be coming out soon and really like it.
I like the tool a lot. But here’s the thing. Here’s the thing. More and more conversations that I have with people all on how do, how do I click up in the click up to side to the click up to click next to the click up to make the thing go and click that way. And so that was a problem of we have to stop clicking and go back a step and talk about the process.
We gotta talk about the fundamentals. I wanna talk about the status and the workflows and, and what happens in between.
Colie: So what I’m hearing you say, Ashley, is that you got tired of talking about the specific tool and you wanted everyone to focus on the strategy before they started figuring out what to click and how to click in, click up, or some other project management
Ashley: That is so true. That is so true.
Colie: And the funny thing is, like I, I started on, I can’t actually remember which one I started on.
Maybe it was Trello, but I think I only had that for like a hot second. And then I started to try to organize my business in Asana. And that just legitimately never made sense to me. Like I tried, I bought a course, I set everything up, and I was not going in there on a daily basis, Ashley, in order to manage my my business.
And then I switched to, . And while I still, I know, let’s not say I still, I, I know I’m still not using it to its potential in my daily business. I will say it has done wonders for my VIP days in terms of managing and making sure that I’m taking care of every single task that I need to take care of. For a v I P day, I did an implementation day yesterday, and if I didn’t have my click up list, like I would have been lost.
My brain was so scattered yesterday, but all I did was go back to my click. And I’m like, okay, co, did you do this? Did you do this?
Ashley: Yeah. Yeah, it’s helpful.
Colie: And the other funny thing is I often think of you, Ashley, as what everybody thinks I am. I get these people in my dms that are like, oh, Colie, you’re so organized. I wanna be you. And I’m like, if y’all just only knew like y’all, just think I’m organized, I do all of the automations so that y’all think that I’m good.
I do all of the automations so that I don’t lose my mind. But in terms of organization, I would never call. An organized person, like that’s just not a word that I would use to describe myself, but it is a word that I would use to describe you. Ashley. So let’s talk about this project management, like how did you get into project management?
Because is it related to your day job?
Ashley: Well, I, I do wanna go back until, until when I was a wee one. I do wanna go back . I do wanna go back when I was organizing birthday parties. And so the, the huge thing is that what most people don’t realize is that even in the, in their respective roles, everyone has done projects.
Everyone has managed them. And so the thing about the definition of a project is that it is literally like, it can be all the things, a birthday party, it can be your actual term papers, you know, it could be a process. Oh, I need to, you know, establish like a better thing to manage my time.
You know, there’s, there’s all these different things, right? And so I found, always the one that leading out things that ended up having a particular service or a result or a particular experience. And that’s the roles that I was, that was, that I was always in. And so, I found myself in that role. I, in my career, I f I’m, I found myself in operations.
So it was always Ashley, take care of X, Y, and z And so that is, that’s essentially a lot of, you know, of how I got into it. Kind of in a nutshell. That was, that was it. I was always in roles that I was arranging people, processes things and making sure that, make sure, making sure things got done.
Colie: and I know that you, you not only help like individual entrepreneurs like myself, but you also help, you know, small organizations and actually some big organizations. So tell me about which one you prefer. Working with, or rather, what the differences are and how your mindset is different when you’re helping like an individual like me organize the projects in my business versus helping, you know, a bigger organization that has, you know, many employees.
Ashley: Yeah. I think you know what’s so interesting is that both of them have their, their perks, right? And I, and I call ’em perks because. , every situation is different. So for like a Chamber of Commerce for instance, you know, they have, you know, their own set of, you know, sort of policies and procedures. And so my role is not to come in and like just, just blow up your system and start over, even though that sounds fun.
Colie: That does sound fun.
Ashley: oh, that’s, but it’s really me coming in. Coming in for a particular program or initiative and saying, we need really good infrastructure on how we can launch this. How does this work? And so it’s being able to deal with the existing processes, but it’s also having the freedom to say, here’s how things should be going moving forward and being able to break some processes down, plugging in the people. So one thing that I, most recently have just really focused in on is really people first project management. Because I, I believe that, I know for myself in my career, I’ve, you know, kind of seen it where it’s been sort of outcome driven.
And while that’s fine and, and or deliverable driven, rather, you know, there’s people that are in the center of it, right. You know, the engineers and you got the coders, and then you got the, you know, the folks that are, you know, signing the checks and all these different things. So there’s so many different, uh, layers to it. Going back to working with small businesses or organizations that have larger teams, it really is about understanding what’s not working, understanding what exactly that they’re looking, to experience and what they wanna see. So I spent a lot of time on that project visioning piece, getting everybody on the same page because. to be quite honest. Like all of a sudden you get into the middle of a project and folks are upset, you know, we getting attitudes, you know, we’re sucking teeth, you know, we’re doing all, we’re doing all, and we’re trying to get an understanding of what’s happening. . And so having the right direction helps with buy-in from everyone.
And so that’s why everyone has to come to the table. What do you wanna see? You know, understanding who’s the decision makers, that’s a key thing as well. So then when I switch over and I’m talking with, individual entrepreneurs or those that maybe have one or two, folks that they’ve hired, it is really, Focusing them on understanding the process at hand, like what you know, and really understanding what, in terms of the outcomes that you are actually looking to produce.
So, you know, that’s kind of like, so, so I’m digging in a little bit deeper cuz sometimes in that aspect there’s really nothing that’s been established so therefore that we can create, so we can innovate. and many people don’t think that in the project management space there’s room for innovation, but there’s lots of room for innovation and that’s the fun part.
Colie: I mean, I would think there’s lots of room for innovation cuz I wanna go back and like highlight a few words that you said. You said visioning and although you didn’t say the word scope, I wanna throw the word scope in there. So,
Ashley: do it
Colie: I mean, we gotta do it. So what I am hearing is that when you have larger teams, you spend a significant chunk of time figuring out their vision and getting everyone to buy in to the same vision.
But when it comes to individual entrepreneurs like myself, like do people come to you? with a vision, do they come to you with a result that they need done? Or is it, you know, Ashley, like, I just feel like I spend a lot of time in my business doing things that are not pushing my business forward or not being very productive.
How can you help me? Like, I’m wondering if that’s the difference or if you have a different view of being the person that performs the service. When people come to you, like, what is it that they say that they need from you, even if that’s not what they actually.
Ashley: Yeah, the, a few top questions are I need to get organized, can you help me? It is also, I’m looking at a couple different project management tools. It’s not, it’s not working. Can you help me figure out which one? So when we’re talking about getting organized, I like to break it down. What sort of areas are you looking at?
Are we looking at, you know, you may need someone that’s in systems and automation, right? You might be looking at a Dubsado. Is it, are we looking at client onboarding, right? Are we looking at client off onboarding? Are we looking at, you know, services? You know, what exactly are you feeling? Like, what’s the tension that you’re feeling in terms of that you feel like you’re not in control?
Right. And I often talk about the cost of disorganization. Right. And there’s just
Colie: that’s gonna be the name of this episode. Thank you, Ashley.
Ashley: And there’s just like a huge cost of it because, we have to sit with that. We have to sit with the fact that sometimes people feel shame and guilt, and people feel out of control and people feel, nervous and people feel. Stressed out. Right. And we have to really pick apart what, what, and, and, and not everything can be organized at once.
And I just want, I want the people to understand that what is the thing that is, that people have commented about? What’s the thing that has gotten on your nerves? That you know, that you need to put into place. I know that I’m at the point where I’m I, and I know I need another Dubsado overhaul, so I know I need another one.
So now it’s like, okay, let me go ahead and let’s, let’s, let’s look to outsource that, right? And let’s go in and let’s look at that. So, those are the top questions really is how to really get, how to stay organized. Other PMs, we really kind of dive into some of the more, how do I communicate with my team better?
How do I, how, how can I lead better? So that’s another, that’s a, another aspect, that I’m really focusing this year’s leadership strategy and execution and really bringing in those three elements. Mm.
Colie: Because y’all, again, you guys think I’m organized, but everything that Ashley just said, I need, I mean, as you guys know, I expanded my team this year. I, I am communicating with more people and I’m probably not doing it as efficiently as I want to. While I feel like my client onboarding and my client offboarding for Dubsado clients is like top-notch.
There’s always still room for improvement, but that has nothing to do with the actual running of my business every day. Like, I feel, I really hear what you’re saying, Ashley. It’s like, you know, the, what I do when I’m in between client projects, what I do when I’m not doing the client facing work, like what does that look like?
And of course, in my life it looks very chaotic because I’m trying to balance that with homeschooling a kid, . Like there’s a lot of things that are going on in this
Ashley: Oh yeah.
Colie: so. I feel like not only would I come to you to like help me get, you know, less disorganized from that perspective, I feel like you could also help me like create that balance between what I’m doing for non-client facing work and then what I’m doing like just in my household.
Cuz as y’all know, I outsource as much as possible, but unfortunately I’m not currently outsourcing that schoolwork for Chloe. So I gotta find the time to do it, y’all. I gotta find the time to do it. but the cost of disorganization, Ashley, I mean that is, that is just key. So break it down like when you come to an individual entrepreneur like myself and they say, well Ashley, I’m just really disorganized.
Like how can you help me? Like what’s the first step? Like is it something that you give them for pre-work? or is it that you take a deep dive into their business to give them suggestions before you start? Like, cuz I know what people are thinking is, oh, well I’m disorganized, but I’m so disorganized, I don’t even know where to start.
Well, the starting places that you recognize that you’re disorganized and you look for someone like Ashley, but then what happens?
Ashley: Well, then what happens is that we sit down and I am very big on being visual, so I. Pull out a mural board in a minute, and I will just literally sit with that individual and I will ask a series of questions and we will map out specifically what is it. So let’s just start, and we just start with, you know, we start with the different areas, um, of your business, right?
So we’ll look at all of those different elements, right? And um, and sometimes in some, Some of these questions may in the dms, right? We may just get, if we’re, if we’re voice memo friendly like that, then we will, we’ll talk a little bit in the dms, but then we’ll quickly, transfer over if this is the right fit.
And I feel I can really kind of help is that we’ll go into what are the, the specifics right? And what I, why I like the, on the whiteboarding aspect of it is because in real time you are seeing what I’m writing as I’m, as I’m mapping out what the, what the particular issues are. And again, this could be a range of things that I’ve done it for sort of many different instances.
We have people who are, who are looking to say, you know, oh man, you know, this aspect of of this workflow is not organized. So we go and we actually go through literally step by step. So I ask, okay, what happens? , you know, I mean, and we are thinking we’re getting like super, super technical. We can go there and get there, but I ask, I literally go through what are the first steps.
All right, so how do, how does someone get on a call with you? All right, all right, what happens? You know, what happens next? So we’re going through each of each step and we’re, we’re literally having even, it’s a little bit vulnerable, right? Because you’re actually just opening up the. Lit of the car and actually going inside and looking to see what’s sort of dirty.
And, you know, , you know, yeah, you may need that oil change, you know what I’m saying? And those different things. And so it’s literally asking those what, so a lot of times what happens is that as it’s actually visually being, worked out and the boxes are there and all these different things, then it’s like, oh, no, no, that’s not it.
Okay. Tell. Yeah. Yeah. Like, you know, tell me, tell me what that is and then I’ll ask questions too. Okay. So if this is happening here, who, where, where do, where do the different people fit in? Where do you plug in? Are you doing all of these things? Is somebody else coming in? So we really go really deep into this aspect of like, what’s inside the workflow.
Cause every, listen I. , I was doing a time management session with someone and we were really kind of going into not just color coding your calendar if you, if you like to do that, which is great. I’m, I’m for it. But like if you, I’m looking at really, you know, what, what’s your fixed schedule, right? You know, what, what are your non-negotiables in your day-to-day?
Do you have them? And if you don’t, let’s write those down. You know, what’s flexible and really thinking through. , what are you doing each day? I remember asking a question, to a client and they said, you know, I am, I said, okay, what’s happening on this date and or this time slot? She was like, I’m thinking.
I said, well, what you thinking about? I said, you know, and I think, but that person had an aha moment. I, you know, these are the things I’m thinking about. I’m thinking about how I’m gonna go about, you know, my day, what I’m gonna do in the next few hours. I always talk about my own particular system of sitting down either on a Saturday or a Sunday where maybe you don’t have a lot of noise or emails or pickups and drop-offs or, or appointments and really looking at everything and saying, well, what is it do I want to accomplish for this week?
You know, what do I wanna accomplish for these next three days? Like what and where? Where does it fit? because oftentimes, and I know for myself, we have to be very honest about the season that we’re in. We have to honor it. Many people don’t, you know, people are like, what do you mean
Colie: Oh, I do.
Ashley: man? What do you mean Ashley?
Honor the season? Because what worked previously
Colie: Might not work now.
Ashley: may, may not work right now. So as we hold up the, uh, Miro board or the whimsical board, the white boarding tool to really map everything out, I, there’s a visual representation. of either what’s presently happening or where you would like to see the next workflow go, right?
You know, the the next stage. And so what that does, it opens up a world of possibility.
Colie: So I wanna say, because I think I, I’m beginning to hear a recurring theme in everyone that I’m speaking with, and in particular, you’ve said a couple of keywords. I think what we should all make sure that we understand is that there are seasons of life, there are seasons of business, and you have to make sure that those match.
Like right now, I don’t have all day, every day during the week to work and focus on my business because my kid is. She is going back to school next year, which means next year will look very different for me than it does this year. But also I wanna get away from the like one and done because you said that you know, it’s time for you to get a Do Soto overhaul and while I preach until the sun comes up, that everyone should be looking at their systems at least annually, but more than likely every six months.
And hey, if you can do it every quarter, I’m all about that. But I feel like too many of us. That when we do something major in our business or if we outsource it to an expert, that we think that we’re done with that process and it’s like, oh, they set this up for me and now it’s gonna work forever and I don’t ever have to make any changes and I don’t have to revisit these processes.
And so, Making sure that people are actually taking the time to examine where they are in their business every quarter, and whether or not the systems that were working for you last quarter are continuing to work for you this quarter. Like, guys, let’s just move away from the one and done. Everything in our business is a continual.
Process. Like I tell when I coach photographers and you know, they’re like telling me that this worked or that, you know, they marketed in this way or they were charging everybody these prices. And I’m like, yeah, but you’re not gonna be doing the same thing 10 years from now. You shouldn’t be doing the same thing one year from now.
Like things change. , you evolve. Your business evolves you get better, which means you should be charging more. Let’s not get into a pricing talk, Ashley, cuz you know what I’m all about. Everybody needs to raise their prices. All problems in your business can be solved by raising your prices. Ashley knows this.
But I did, I did just wanna like take a moment to like really talk about the fact that like, ha, let’s talk about your lifetime client value. Do you have clients that come back to you after you’ve done like this one major service for them and they’re like, oh, Ashley, you know, that’s still working, but now I think I need this.
Like, do you have clients like that?
Ashley: You know, I don’t have a lot of clients like that. So I’ve had, different engagements where I will do something where maybe I’ll do something long term, you know? And I, I like to think of myself in this new season as being a, a fractional leader in an organization where I come in, I’m working with a particular PM or an integrator, and really, Getting an understanding of what their role is and really being able to walk alongside them on uncovering what are the gaps in their process.
But I think, you know what’s, what’s so interesting, again, when you think fully about the client experience and fully about those types of things, I believe that’s, you know, probably where I’ve probably fallen short. Just thinking about getting into your own self in terms of offers and things like that.
You think about that aspect of what’s that lifetime value like you just talked about. So there’s different things where I’m like, oh man, you know, that’s probably something that I should look at. So this one client that I do have that I’m ending the engagement. One of the things we talked about was a quarterly VIP day.
That’s gonna go, that, that’s, that, that we’re gonna be doing. That’s really gonna focus in on with the team, but also with the PM and really going deep, doing a deep dive into things. Scope, scope creep. We’re talking about risk management. We’re gonna talk about all the, all these different types of things and really begins dive into some of these niche.
PM topics that maybe not is, is always talked about, especially in the online business world. Nobody’s walking around like they’re in their coffee. Like, hello, risk. Well, you know, it’s like, , I gotta go. run and call Colie today and talk about this— you know, nobody, you know, nobody’s talking about it like that.
So that’s, those are the types of things where, I’m excited to engage. , just more in.
Colie: So for myself, I think 2023 is my year of like increasing my lifetime client value for the DDO side of my business. Cuz one thing that I realized, cuz I started doing ’em in 2021, and so now I’ve got like a bunch of people that I set up two years ago. a year ago, six months ago. And what I’m finding is that now they are reevaluating their systems.
They’re figuring out that things need to change. And so they’re coming back to me and they’re like, well, Colie, you know, how do I make these changes? And I mean, you know, once you’ve done a v i P experience with me, unless you completely change your business, and I mean like your ideal client, what you’re offering, like it’s completely different.
You don’t need to do a whole nother v i p experience with me. , as Ashley said, like I sit down, we talk about everything in your business before I get in there. But guys, it is something that you do have to mark on your calendar, even if you’re not coming back to me. Like even if you’re doing these things internally or you’re working with someone like Ashley and you’re, you know, figuring out.
The processes in your business, like everyone should have at least one day on their calendar a year where you are dedicating yourself to figuring out if things are still working and what changes you need to make, and then you make the decision. Are you capable of making those changes? If you are, great, maybe you have some tools from the person that you hired last time.
Maybe they gave you some SOPs for how to change things and if they. Maybe you need to go back to them, or maybe you need to go with a different kind of specialist. But you know, in our business, we make these major investments to get us going and I think sometimes we’re a little blind to the fact that that’s not, that’s not something that we can stop.
Like you have to continue to invest in the systems in your business so that you can make sure that you are optimizing your time inside your business so that you can reclaim as much as possible to spend on the things outside your.
Ashley: Oh, yes. Oh yes. That’s, I, that’s, that’s really true. And I like that you have said that you have to go with, you know, your idea of like quarterly six months. Right. And I’m a big believer in that too. Every quarter. Uh, looking at the, looking at the process, I’m a big, big believer too, in lessons learned and sitting down and, and getting an understanding of what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, and where, where are the tweaks that you can make?
Do you necessarily make everything right then and there, but, but documenting what should move forward.
Colie: Documenting. You said that word y’all.
Ashley: I did, I did, I did. Documenting what should move forward and then how you should go about it. Especially those that are, have services or, or, or, yeah, or products or something where, where you are constantly iterating those, especially that are doing events. That you are doing them on a yearly or quarterly basis, however, many, that there is a, there, you, you were leaving room for that type of evaluation.
Uh, those, if you’re the coaching business, it’s the same thing.
Colie: That kind of evaluation is really important. Cuz actually I didn’t really consider, cuz like you said, you help people who do events, right? Like, you don’t do those events close enough together to really, you know, remember the lessons that you learned to then just do it again. Like for myself. , if I found something lacking this week in my v i P experience, I mean, I’ve got one again next week,
So I mean, you know, I could like implement changes really fast, but if we’re talking about people who are doing like events like quarterly, every six months, annually, it’s really important that you document those processes and you actually take the time to do that debrief because by the time you begin the planning process to do it, You don’t remember what you did a year ago.
You don’t remember what went well or what went bad. I mean, yeah. So let’s get back. You mentioned that you take one day a week and you sit in the silence without the drop-offs, without all the noise. And I mean, would you call that a c E O day? I’m curious.
Ashley: It’s probably like, listen, it’s not like, our girl, uh, Ashley, uh,
Colie: I mean, I’m at link her episode in the show notes.
Ashley: gotta do it, we gotta do it. But it would, it would probably be a mini CEO time block. That’s what it would be. And it really looks at everything from meetings. It looks at my calendar, my click up, and I really look at, all right, what is, what are the priorities?
And I actually do a. Something, different that I started implementing last year, which are just personal roadmaps. So it’s a little bit different than, the goal setting piece, which kind of can be a little bit, you can get yourself wrapped up into the, like, I get the goal, you know, and then you just, like
Ashley: you know, you’re all up in the mix.
And so I like the roadmaps because I just believe really with goals, how you meet them is really with your projects. And I just feel like that’s just how you, that’s how you’re going to meet them. So, , I look at what are the particular, what’s in my roadmap and what are the types of things that I need to be working on?
And, you know, and I, and I’m flexible, so it’s not like eight things are in the roadmap. There might be two or three. There’s some, you know, there’s things that I have carried over from Q4 to q1, of this year. But I go and I sit down, I look at what’s going on for the week. And I also look at my superpower time.
So I look at if I have calls, because I am highly extroverted. I used to be in a, I guess a, I would say like a rat race, I would say, where I would just book calls all the time, whether it was networking, business, professional, whatever it was. And then I would be like, all right, super power time.
And then I’d be like, I just barely could get. I don’t know what browser I’m trying to open. . I just like, I don’t know, you know? And then I just start tinkering. I was like, oh, this is just one thing I could do in Zapier. But then it’s like, not what you should be doing. You know what I mean? Then you start like going all over the place, and so I realized, Yeah, you get right.
Then I started thinking to myself self, you know that if you are having, um, calls and whatnot, number one, you need to limit that to particular days. Number two, you know, you can’t do no superpower work. If you are, um, all the way up here and you have to do a switch, you know that, you know, that’s not.
Working for you. So I look at the calendar and then I look at what is gonna be a heavy week of superpower work, and I schedule that accordingly. And then I also go into the preparation, what is going to be required. So if I’m going to be. Preparing a transition document you want, I’m, I’m gonna say, all right, let me make sure I put the link in my, like little click up task or I’m not, so I’m cutting down time, right.
Of, you know, I’m cutting down time and things like that. So that’s my mini c e o time. It’s really looking at what’s happening. And so if I know that, There. If I’m gonna be going somewhere, then I’m gonna really be blocking out travel time, you know, and all that kind of stuff. And really just not, you know, just not, not even allow myself to try to double up on things that aren’t necessary.
Colie: You’re making sure that you’re not flying by the seat of your pants. Ashley, that’s what I hear you saying
Ashley: Uh, that’s really it.
Colie: yeah, I mean, and I’m with you and I’m also with you on the extroverted part. What I have found, cuz like I recently taught at a photography call. Conference called Photo Native.
And one of the things that I did for everyone who attended my talk was I gave them a scheduler and I said, this is a free 30 minute chat with me. I was like, guys, this is not a sales chat. Like this is a, I just taught you 15 automations. If you don’t know where to start and you don’t know how to do these automations, book this free 30 minute call and I could probably knock out half of them for you cuz I’m real efficient guys.
But I have also. That by having these conversations with people like this, people who may not have Dosa, may not have hired me in the past, that it really helps me think about the other ways that I can help people and the other things that people are struggling with. So I find these chats to be immensely helpful.
but I’m like you, I can’t have one of these chats and then automatically have to go back to client work cuz that doesn’t work. I’m still thinking about what Ashley’s problem was and other ways that I could help her solve
Ashley: That’s right.
Colie: of getting back into the, you know, the work for the people who paid me.
So I will say I don’t do that , like I have days that I will take those calls and I will not take those calls on, you know, anything related to like a v I P week. So I’m with you on all that. Ashley, let’s get back to document. , do you document things on your mini c e o time? Because I’m imagining that you’ve got some pretty rad forms in click up where you are documenting your roadmaps and all of this.
Is this true or is this a really bad assumption? On my part?
Ashley: It’s not necessarily a bad assumption. There’s just really particular things that I use click up for. And so, it’s so funny that you said about the forms, and I don’t use them a lot. I actually really don’t use, probably I’ve used them once. And so I, I always tell people that when they come, and especially when they’re trying to figure out, click up and they wanna do like all the things inside of it, I said, now I’m gonna preface this by saying I am a traditional.
In the click of world, I wanna know what projects you are managing when it comes to all the other things. There are great use cases. You wanna CRM it up. I said you could if you were in that mode of building. But there are other platforms that I always feel it’s more powerful to to do that. So when people are saying, well, can it replace Thedo?
I say, time out on the field. flag on the play . And I say, you know, alright. Alright. Technical, you know, I’m just like, and I say, no, you do need, I said, well, you wanna talk about ddo? I say, you need proposals, managing money and all the things and tracking, and then click up is your project. So you and any type of project client work definitely over there.
So what I primarily, when we’re talking about the documentation piece, for me it is Google Doc.
Ashley: It is Google Docs. And what I love doing is I do love attending workshops with other operations and professionals because what happens is, is that yes, I might have my own way of doing things, but then it’s like, well, what have the others learned?
And so I have a great relationship with this, agency, that is in California, the Digital Jane. And so they put on these, workshops and I went to an S L P workshop. I said, this is great because I’m going to be, I’m on the journey of outsourcing different aspects of the business, so let me go
ahead and just
Colie: to that
Ashley: put a pin, right?
So I said, let me just go back and do that. And so I’ve also been introduced and Obn told me, Ashley, you definitely have to go and do scribe, and go and start record. The things that you’re doing. So I have, so, so those are the ways that I am utilizing. Now one thing I have new shout out to, we’re just doing like little done in a day, shoutouts, uh, Ashley, Ashley Pendergraft.
So shout out to her, because she does the Zapier, Like her zap flows that are in, I call ’em zap flows in whimsical. Yes. And so I finished like an overhaul of that.
And so yeah, so that’s that. Those are the, and, and those of you’re listening and watching, you’re probably like, oh wow, she’s named 80 tools.
This is the way it kind of works a little bit until we sort of get into which ones are what works for, what works for you. But there are different ways that things sort of work for me and. I believe writing is great in typing. I also believe in educating others that are gonna come in, in, um, in other ways.
So visual ways work. Um, doing the screen recording also works as well. And I believe in leaving room and not thinking of just you and how you learn, but there’s gonna be others. So I always think about the others. Yeah.
Colie: Yeah, I’m a big, let me make a screen recording as my va, Sarah will know. I mean, when I was onboarding her and I was telling her the things, I was like, oh, no, wait. Just let me make you a quick loom . That’s better than me trying to explain it to you
Ashley: that’s right.
Colie: click. Someone also recently introduced me to Tango, which will record you.
Oh my gosh,
Colie: mean, Guys, for both of you that are not familiar, tango is a program that will basically record all of the clicks and all of the things that you do, and it will actually give you the workflow steps typed out based on what you did while it was recording you.
Ashley: That’s right.
Colie: but. I mean, I didn’t even think about that now.
I’ve had the three Ashley’s on my podcast. Ashley Pendergraft, Ashley Kane, Ashley Schuler, all from the done of the Day program. All right. Ashley, we are getting ready to wrap this up, but I wanna ask you, since you mentioned it and you knew that I was gonna ask you anyways, what are you currently outsourcing in your business?
Or what do you see yourself outsourcing in like, let’s say the next six months?
Ashley: Oh yeah. I love this question. A few things. So, first is, my podcast, so I do have, my podcast. So, so here’s the thing,
Colie: I didn’t know that.
Ashley: so, right, so it, it comes in seasons and waves. So we’re, you know, and so I’m taking my, yeah. So right now we’re in the communication season and, and so what I’ve done is I outsourced my audio and.
Outsource my show notes, which has been great.
which has been great because, that’s, you know, this aspect of doing it all yourself, you don’t have to. So there are, you know, many great, like you said, podcast companies and different things. And so I’m in the, the process of aligning a lot of my content and my messaging and so, I, take my time.
So there’ll be some other types of changes. I start building this whole thing along. But, yeah, the show notes, that has been a great thing. I just reached out, to someone to really help with, what I love to call my content knowledge repository. So one of the things I’m . Huge, as PMs or even just really as business owners, I’m really big on how people are stacking and categorizing their know.
Huge on that. Like it’s a thing. I wanna know if you Yeah, Colie. I mean, I can just see now, now I, I feel like I know like where you should be, like categorizing all your things,
Colie: I mean, and when I stop hitting record, we can totally talk about this girl. Cause like you got my a.
Ashley: and so for me, so this was back in maybe, 2019, I had this, like, I started really trying to think Instagram seriously, and posting and, and all this. And I was like, you know what, what happens if someone like took my account and like, and then my content’s all gone and I have to start over. Right. And this was like semi before, like this was like legit
Colie: this is a real thing now. So I mean, so guys, please don’t think that Ashley is playing. I mean, I know many people who have just had their Instagram accounts hacked, and so it is a real thing. And so yes, Ashley, I have been trying to do a better job of starting with the creation of the materials inside something like air tables so that it’s organized and I can find it, and I can search it and all that good.
Ashley: And so that is, that’s exactly, what I did. I said, well, let me just figure out from Zapier what I can do. And so I have a app that takes the, the media and the, caption and the, and the link and puts it in Airtable. So I’ve been doing that
Colie: wait, wait, wait. know we’re on the podcast listeners. I apologize. I’m gonna leave this in too. Wait, Ashley, wait. , wait. It’s zapping it into Airtable from where?
Ashley: So Z. So basically every, anytime I post
Colie: Post on Instagram.
Ashley: yeah, Zapier will,
Ashley: Zapierzavier will take my media. and will send it to Airtable along with the caption and the URL . And so I’ve been doing that for the past couple years. And so, that’s been, that’s been saying. So, I mean, and there’s prob there’s probably other, like, like you said, we gotta ask the at experts.
Cause there’s some, there’s some things where I would love to automate it. Just a couple more things. But yeah, that’s what it takes there. I also have some things in my Dropbox where it’s by month and week, I’m saving things in there as well. And so that’s a huge part. So my, so the, and so for my YouTube thing too, one of my biggest things, of course it’s YouTube and my podcasting, and really just a way where I can always analyze topics I’ve talked about.
What I’ve done, all these different things. So I have a whole thing where I’m just like, okay, I’m gonna, I wanna outsource that. I’m gonna create a loom, I’m gonna send it over, and I’m gonna say, I really need someone to take the, you know, the body, the title, the link, I need it all there, all the things. And so it, it’s all categorized.
Ashley: do something similar to, with Twitter as well, because I need a way to, if I wanna create or someone else creates quick carousels or quotes or things. So it’s the same thing with Twitter. . I go in and it takes the tweet and it puts it there, puts it by date. I put it by, what is it, month in category.
Colie: Uh huh.
Ashley: all the thing. Yeah.
Colie: All the views.
All the views. Guys,
Ashley: all the views. The other thing, I mean, LinkedIn just, I mean, LinkedIn just has to open up your little API to, uh, help a sister out, but. I just, I’m just very intentional about making sure that whatever sort of copy and things that are in at to manage that, that, it’s in LinkedIn as well, so I can easily find these.
So I like to be able to, if I need to go find content, like you said, go in there.
Colie: starts to top it. Mm-hmm.
Ashley: search, search the topic and whatnot. So I would say I’m like 80% pleased with it. Right. But you know, that’s, that’s what it’s at. And so I would like to have someone to come in and to actually be able to build out, especially the, the YouTube, element and also the, the Getting a podcast.
So I want it all there so I can see topics and things and I can be able to, yeah. So it’s really cool. Yeah.
Colie: Sarah, if you’re listening, Ashley just gave you a lot more work. I’ll say, so my virtual assistant, Sarah, she just did this for my course.
Colie: did I never think about doing this for like, all of my content? Girl? I, I was pleased with what I was doing, but you just gave me a whole list of things to do. because Sarah recently went into my course and filled out like my course hub inside
Ashley: Oh, oh,
Colie: now I have every lesson, every video that’s linked to that
Ashley: Oh yeah. That’s so good. Ooh,
Colie: So that if I wanted to switch course platforms, I have it there. Or if I’m trying to search for something I don’t.
because y’all, if anybody who has a course, you know that if you can’t figure out where something is, you go inside the course and you’re clicking on every single lesson trying to figure out, and I have 52 lessons in my course. I don’t have time for that. So now that it’s all an air table, I can just search for a word and figure out which lesson it’s in and it’s great.
But yeah. Ashley, I’m gonna do all this for my content. Mm-hmm.
Ashley: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And so, I mean, and I guess really the biggest takeaway that people can take from this piece of it, because again, this might be, this might feel like, wow, this is like next level. But it’s really about thinking, uh, thinking, uh, through your knowledge, right? And thinking through what have you created, what’s inside of you.
I don’t care if it’s published or not, but it’s, it is. What have you created and where is it being stored? So things like, things like frameworks, put it inside notion or you put it inside, you know, Google Doc, whatever your, your note taking preference is and begin to just build out and begin to just go and, and to document along the way.
And, and go through that. Yeah.
Colie: Hi guys. I’m just gonna tie this to one other thing, just because you guys know, I like to tie it to other like content episodes that we’ve had, like what Ashley has just given you guys. If you guys just write down also the statistics for how it did on Instagram, and then you’re trying to find something on this particular topic.
Y’all know people don’t pay attention to everything that you put on Instagram or your emails or whatever it is that you’re sending out the content for. So if something performed really. , you should have it somewhere to where you will be able to re-share it either on the exact same platform or slightly tweak it for a different platform.
So if it really worked on Instagram, doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to just copy and paste it into LinkedIn and get the same return. But if you slightly tweak it, then you can put it on in on LinkedIn, like for that different audience, and then you can get a lot of value out of the exact same piece of content.
Oh my gosh, Ashley, so you totally blew our minds. If people are like, who is this girl? And I need more of her superpower. Tell people where they can find you
Ashley: Oh man. You can find me on Instagram, at Ashley Schuler in underscore on Instagram. And then also, I’m LinkedIn on LinkedIn as well. Name Ashley Schuler. So you’ll be able to see me where it says, project management consultant there. And yeah, you can say you all the things. Colie will have all the things, there
Colie: notes. I sure will.
Ashley: the, in the show notes, but, Engage with me, voice memos to me and video message, what have you.
Um, always happy to talk and ask questions and you know, then most people are like, oh, no, not really, but no, really, if you have a question of some sort, please do I have a whole little ecosystem that you can, definitely dive into just to learn more about how to do the everyday work, how to excel and, and, and manage your projects, um, to excellence.
Colie: thank you so much for coming on the podcast, Ashley, it’s always a pleasure to chat with you, whether it’s at seven 30 in the morning for me, or if it’s one of our late night chats on your YouTube. It’s always awesome. All right, guys. That’s it for this episode. See you next time.