How can you do things better in your business? How can you simplify tasks? How can you ease your mind? It starts by streamlining your business. In this training, we share tips on how to stay on track with your daily tasks and action steps you can today to make things easier and more efficient.
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Transcript of Video Training
Paul: Hey everyone.
Paul: It's Paul.
Melissa: It's Melissa, [inaudible 00:00:44]
Paul: Hey, I don't think they heard us well.
Paul: How are you?
Melissa: Sorry, as always just trying to go with the flow here as we're-
Paul: We're trying all this technical stuff behind the scenes. And just as we were about to begin our door just knocked and somebody's actually out there waiting for us this second.
Melissa: Like what's going on, but sorry-
Paul: We cannot do that.
Melissa: -We are live.
Paul: Yes. Hope everybody's doing well.
Melissa: Yes and welcome. We're really excited about today's topic today, which is all about streamlining your business. So we're really excited to bring this topic to you and talk a little bit more.
Paul: Yeah, so just to give you a heads up my name is Paul Pruitt and this is Melissa. And we run Paul Pruitt Photography here locally in Wilmington, Delaware. Also what we do is we have a business and a site that coaches and helps people that are photographer entrepreneurs, but this is universal information. People that can be helped in every business. And that is Profitographers.
Melissa: Yes, it's an awesome group, it's an online community and there's about over 10,000 people in the group now. But it's really all about sharing and growing together as entrepreneurs, photographer entrepreneurs. With growing your business, learning not only about the strategies, business strategies like branding, marketing, sales and whatnot, but also mindset too. Because half the time, the mindset is the battle and getting in the right frame of mind and having the right mindset, having a strategy in your head so you can strategically take yourself through your business and be successful.
Paul: This person's relentless that's at the door.
Melissa: I know right?
Paul: Isn't this funny, this is about lives.
Melissa: Yes, exactly.
Paul: So hang out here so I get them ...
Melissa: All right. Awesome so real life. But again, real life!
Paul and I ... My background is in psychology and with the psychology background, what's been really interesting it's all about communication. And people are people, so at the end of the day it's about having good people skills, learning how to communicate with people through business.
Combined with myself and with Paul we really have a great strategy as far as [inaudible 00:02:48] people mindset, business strategies, all those aspects of business. So we're really excited to do that with Profitographers. And today's topic is gonna be all about streamlining your business. And streamlining your business it's ...
As entrepreneurs I'm sure many of you are out there, whether you're in photography or whatever business you're involved with, you're trying to figure out a way to how to do things better. How to do things more simple. How to have an ease of mind because it's all about ...
Again this person here, they're trying to streamline their business I guess and trying to really get in the door here and talk to us.
So I was talking a little bit about streamlining-
Melissa: Streamlining your business and how important that is about streamlining your business.
Paul: So we were just multitasking there, which you should not do.
Melissa: Exactly, and this is a great topic how in business, things happen. Just like the door knocks.
Paul: And we're not planning for it.
Melissa: And we're not planning for it and Paul's patiently trying to talk to this person to please go so we can finish our broadcast here.
Melissa: Streamlining your business is so important. And as entrepreneurs we're constantly putting out fires.
Melissa: Just like that. Constantly multitasking, it leaves us feeling stressed, overwhelmed. So we really want to talk a little bit more about that. I was just kinda telling everyone a little bit about my background with the psychology background. And again the mindset, how important that is and combining that with business strategies, I think that we make a really good team.
Paul: Yes, which is perfect for today. We had a disruption and one of the interesting things though it's all about, we addressed it, we got back on track.
Melissa: Yep, exactly.
Paul: We're staying focused on the goal. How many of us don't do that though?
Melissa: Oh yeah.
Paul: A distraction happened, we probably timed that, made it happen on purpose.
Melissa: Maybe just right ...
Paul: But I tell you what, it's something we've noticed that majority of people they self-sabotage all the time. That there's things that are crazy that pop up that take them slowly off track. And I tell you what, every single day there's certain habits or certain rituals, or certain things that successful people do that keep them constantly on track. And there's things that people do on a daily basis that are constantly sabotaging their success. Constantly taking them off track. And I tell you no matter what, it all comes back to consistency, which is so vitally important.
If you want to be successful at anything, it's all about consistency, it's about doing the same thing. Or I should say, that the right tasks over and over again in order to get that desired result. Did we want to dive right in?
Paul: Do you want to start talking about the topic-
Melissa: Let's get into it now, because ...
Paul: That's probably the most interesting ... Hopefully this goes viral. Just because that was the craziest way of starting it.
Melissa: That was the craziest way of starting it.
Paul: No joke. It was like the cat tail was happening. Like the door was like aggressively being knocked on. I had to address it because the guy wasn't gonna leave ...
Melissa: So today's topic again is how to streamline your business for success. And we're gonna leave you with some good nuggets to think about and also some takeaways too so you can take this and start taking action. Because again, you can have all the knowledge, which is great. We're all about the knowledge, having that power, but taking action on it is even more powerful.
Paul: Yeah. And while we go through these if you guys want to say, "Hi" just let us know you are here on the chat. Just go ahead and type in and we'll try to acknowledge. And if you have a specific questions or anything along the way-
Paul: -We'll address that as well.
Melissa: Absolutely, and before we get started as well. Just a huge thank you to 17hats for sponsoring this webinar. We're so excited that they're a part of just supporting with us, and love 17hats, so thank you to 17hats again. Rocking my 17hats shirt today.
Paul: You know we've been a customer of theirs for over two years now and just love ... It's essential on my end because you guys know the back story that I was dropping the ball all the time before Melissa came in. She dove in and you know I invested in a product and she dove in and learned it and it's definitely, hugely impacted our customer service and our follow up and everything.
Paul: So thank you.
Melissa: Thank you, yes they're awesome.
All right, so let's get into this.
Paul: Yes, number one.
Melissa: Number one, the first thing we want to talk about is how to save hours of repetitive work from week to week. So how many of you find yourself in that situation where you are doing a lot of the same stuff over and over again, but you're not properly preparing yourself. And so this is where we really want to talk about the concept of basically kinda pre-framing and setting yourself up for success.
Because if you are doing a lot of the same tasks over and over and over again why are you kinda sitting back? And a lot of times we're all guilty of it. Like oh my gosh, I didn't realize that was going on. Well, you should know because if this is something you do on a regular basis rather than being reactive, being actually proactive with it.
Paul: Right. And I tell you, being proactive is so important because I'm telling you, just like what happened earlier. It's representative of everything in life.
Paul: You wake up, you have a certain task that you want to get involved. And you're distracted whether it's social media, whether it's anything else and boom, we're right off track, right? So we need to pull ourselves and refocus because if you're reactive to everything you're not going towards anything, you're constantly moving away from the struggle and the problems and the challenges of each day.
And when we come back and you were just talking about repetitive tasks itself, that it's something that, I think you're gonna jump into this.
Paul: 'Cause I know that she has it. Here's the thing, I'm a free flowing person and she the structured one. So some of you might have this balance in your life as well where I see her list and I know have to keep it in you know. And she the one that does ...
Melissa: I'm the task master here.
Paul: Where I'm the idea person, right? I'm sure, do any of you struggle with that internally?
Melissa: Absolutely. I'm sure there's a lot of people that have both sides of that personality to it too. Even within yourself, absolutely.
Paul: So with repetitive tasks can you give me some examples?
Melissa: Absolutely, so for example when you have a repetitive task that you do everyday, such as answering email. And you know that you're gonna have ... In our business we have people that inquire about photography services, and we know we're gonna get these types of emails ever single day. So if you know that you have a certain type of email coming in every single day, rather than sit there and try to reinvent the wheel over and over and over again, why aren't you setting yourself up for success to ...
Basically create some sort of template duplicate so that you can actually address that person in a professional manner? Again, it saves you time.
This also comes to the fact as far as a daily routine. Do you have a daily routine? Or do you wake up every morning and every morning you just kinda you wake up and you're off and running. Sometimes unfortunately, I mean it happens to the best of us, we have the best intentions and we set the alarm and we wake up and we already feel like we're running late.
But if you have some sort of daily routine set in place dealing with some of these repetitive tasks and things that you deal with on a daily basis, again you're being proactive with it. You're not just reacting because when you're reacting it's that kinda that shock factor. And you have that anxiety beating your heart. You're like "Oh my gosh I got so much to do." And you're feeling overwhelmed.
But being proactive it gives you a plan of action. A plan of action for the day so that you can stay laser focused and on track.
Paul: Yeah, so coming back to that. Anything that you do more than once, you need to create a system for it. If it's a repetitive task, why do you have to keep reinventing it over and over again?
So I had like layer one when Melissa and I came together and she came in part of our business. That she saw that I was really, really busy and some of you know this that I told her. There's as many people even if not more business that's basically in the garbage can in a way because I'm so overwhelmed and I'm not sure if any of you feel the same way that when you do get traction with your promotions, advertising, marketing, you get things out there. People start attracting to you, that what happens is that you're so busy doing the work itself, that it becomes overwhelming that when you're done doing work ... So I was out there doing head shots, engagement sessions, all these other things, right?
And what happens was, I would come home and I would just start typing in and replying to everybody. And it was like oh my goodness, I just lost several hours of just trying to communicate. And they were just inching slowly because I was all over the place. And really what happened is, these being repetitive tasks, what I found was I was recreating the same email over and over again. I was saying the same ... Maybe like one to two lines was different, but I was taking the time and writing out all these things and sending it over and replying to people. And it's like wow.
The first step was, we start cutting and pasting. So that saved so much time, 'cause like wow, I'm saying all the same thing over and over again. So it's a repetitive task so instead of reinventing it constantly, somebody inquires about a head shot. They're normally looking about pricing or what type of sessions we have?
Paul: So why not purposely type out exactly the perfect thing that you would want to say to everybody that covers all the basis for you. That way you don't have to reinvent it over and over again. So look at those tasks that you're repeating on an ongoing basis and you definitely as Melissa said, you need to create a system for that.
Melissa: Absolutely, absolutely. And even if you want to take this to another level too. Not just with emails, with work tasks. But think about things that are just happening on a regular basis. So you know, I always joke with Paul that he rocks the black shirt. He rocks the black shirt all the time.
Paul: You're converting, look at you.
Melissa: I am wearing ... But he knows that that's one less decision he has to make in the morning.
Melissa: That he just puts on the black shirt and he's ready to go. So are there things in your life, are there routines? Are there things that you can set in place, that repetitive tasks? If you know you work from home or even if you're out and about and you make your lunch ... Having your lunch a certain time of the day, as far as with packing lunch ahead of time. Things that are repetitive.
So again, it's all about being prepared, it's all about being proactive, not reactive. Because that reactive state gets you in that state of panic. So we want to make sure that you feel like you're proactive and you have a little bit more of control of the time of your day.
Paul: Sure. So let's move on-
Paul: -To another idea. She has this awesome list here.
Melissa: I have an awesome list here, so yes.
So with streamlining your business, one of the things we want to talk about is how to leverage and find a sustainable way to scale your business. This again goes into with being proactive. Because as entrepreneurs and when you first joined this call you kinda saw ... Sometimes put out some fires.
Melissa: Sometimes the unexpected happens and that's great and you deal with the situation, you get back to it. But to do that all the time on an ongoing basis where you're constantly putting out fires, running around, it's not sustainable.
So again, how can you figure out a way to leverage and create sustainability in your business so that you have that sense of calmness and you have that sense of you know exactly how A, B, C, how things are gonna go.
Paul: Yeah, and I think it really comes back to systems. I can remember back prior to Melissa coming in and kinda helping create this structure. That again, as entrepreneurs, as creatives, as people that are out there in the world. Like we typically want to create and we're not, even though I have extreme business background, I used to always delegate out these ongoing tasks.
The one thing that I found though, is that without actually having systems that I had in place, that in my head and in my mind I was always in the sense of overwhelm because I really didn't know where anybody was at. Either it was a prospect or a client, I didn't know at any point in time where they were in the process because I didn't have anything that was keeping the needle constantly moving with each person.
So if they're a prospect like taking them step by step through an entire process so they were a client, whether it was a head shot or corporate or even our [inaudible 00:14:20] experience. Like did that person pay yet? Did they make a deposit? Did I schedule? Did I confirm with them for their appointment tomorrow or not?
So there's all these different things all over the place and I was constantly overwhelmed because I really didn't have the systems in place. So from a sustainability standpoint, I think that you're blown away that we were ... Like she came into a very, very busy business. But I was like overwhelmed. Like I was just out there and I was just trying to do this and that and everything else. And there was no way I could've ever scaled it up even more because I would've like buried myself.
Melissa: Right, right.
Paul: And it would've been crazy.
Melissa: Absolutely. And then that leads with sustainability, one of the things that we really wanted to stress with everyone here today is the concept of entrepreneurs working on your business versus working in your business. Because there's a big difference about that. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
Paul: Yeah, I tell you what. It's so easy no matter what you do for a living right? From a photography standpoint for us, for other ... Whatever you sell or offer service, you get so focused on the actual technician side of it. Where you're physically in the grind, you're boots on the ground, you're doing whatever it is.
So if like somebody has a restaurant, they're the one that's cooking, they're the one that's opening the door, they're the one that's sweeping ... Like everything, right? But the idea though is, that if you're spending so much time in the actual technical aspects of the day to day of the business itself, who is actually behind you on the top level? Who is working on the business as far as is it efficient? Is it effective? Are you doing things that you shouldn't be doing, that's wasting time, energy, effort? Are you sabotaging yourself? Who's focused on like future casting? Like where do you want to be next year? Hey, how are you now compared to last year?
Like there's all these other aspects. But if you're constantly only focused on the day to day tasks as far as doing the business at hand. So if you're a hair stylist, if you're just there and you're just cutting hair all day long but you're not doing anything to purposely work on the business. And I'll give you another workflow thing.
In our ... We started eliminating, we used to ask a lot of questions of clients, right? And it was just really ... I don't know why, but we asked all these extra questions that had no relevance to anything. It just made things more complicated.
Melissa: Right, right.
Paul: This is dumb that we're asking people ... Like this information's not going anywhere. Like we're asking, we're making our forms more complicated, we're making things more complicated. We're collecting data that we don't need because it's not going anywhere, right?
So it didn't make sense. Like sometimes you're so into the day to day, there's certain things that you might be making your process more complicated and making things more overwhelming and making the customer experience a little bit worse. Where really if you took a step back and work on the business, you'd say, "Hmm, you know what? We aren't doing anything with this information so why are we collecting it?"
Melissa: Why do we need it?
Paul: Why are we getting them to fill out the form and then we got to transpose it on another form and then we're gonna follow up there? Like it doesn't make sense.
Melissa: Yeah, it's all about simplifying. And as an entrepreneur, you are gonna find yourselves in situations, especially if you are a solopreneur, where you do have to work in the business. Where you're hustling and you're grinding, you're there opening the door, you're there sweeping the floor, you're there making the phone calls, you're there on the computer, you're doing it all. And we get that, we get that. Because you have to start from somewhere.
And sometimes you're the janitor and you're the marketing expert and you're doing everything. But at the same time you really have to make an effort to build that business building time into your schedule. Even if it's an hour a day. Because there's a big difference between working in your business and on your business.
And when you're working on your business those are the steps that are gonna help it grow. Those are the steps that are gonna help it create more sustainability so that you can do more things with it. So that you can impact more people and touch more people's lives. But if you're constantly in the grind and always working in the business, that needle's not gonna move.
Paul: Right, that's true. And I tell you it's so easy to self-sabotage yourself. And we do recommend the book The E Myth.
Melissa: Oh yeah, that's a great book.
Paul: And that will help you and guide you as far as understanding working in the business as far as being the technician on the daily grind. But also those other characteristics in order to be successful. Just as a side note, that is a book that we highly, highly recommend.
Paul: Now let's go to the next step.
Melissa: Yes, and this next one is really great because this is all about how to create and embrace automation and eliminate time-sucking processes. So let's just get this on the table because the biggest myth I think people have, and the challenge with automation, is a lot of people think that automation isn't personal.
They feel kinda like it's a form letter or it's like a form note or email whatever, it's not personal. But let's just go ahead and squash that myth right now. Because automation can be really personal. It's how you take the systems and create it in ... That's gonna work for you that you're actually gonna be able to impact your customers even better, give them an even better customer experience and also give them consistency. I think that's the biggest thing.
Again what Paul was talking about at the very beginning when I came in on the business. He was doing a lot of things great but it wasn't ... There was a lot of inconsistencies and there was a lot of talking to people here but then ... Things weren't as consistent as they could be. And automation can really help you with that.
Paul: Right. 'Cause I tell you what, if you leave it all up here, we all have the best intentions.
Paul: Non of us, we don't wake up everyday saying, "Hey we want to give all of our clients a really bad experience. Like we don't want to follow up with them, we don't want to do this or that." Right? So it really comes back to systems. And back in the day before all the automation per se, as far as all the ... On the computer end. We would have checklists. Like we would in order to do things properly, all of us way back in the day before all this technology, we had forms that we used. We had things to make sure that we followed A, B, C. It's a system, it's a process, right?
So right now though as we come into the digital age, and I think maybe we just had some bad experience with automation, where there are still things that can be automated, that can be automatic, that can take stress off of you. And earlier on, it was mentioned by Jonathan that he posts on Instagram daily and YouTube but doesn't do email marketing, but I'll give you an example.
So even with that, you could automate your postings. So some of you are in social media overload.
Melissa: Oh my gosh.
Paul: Where there's so many channels, there's so many different directions, it's so overwhelming, right? And that there's a lot of people that you follow right now that you just love, and you know what, they didn't actually post that in that moment. They either, outsource it and they have somebody else that's posting for them, or they're using a piece of software that kinda helps them to control their content and also their lives.
As an example, like Melissa has a daily intentions 365.
Melissa: I do with my motivational inspiration and people love it and it's an automated system. And I have it set that way because if I ... Left up to me I would forget, I would forget, life would happened and then if wouldn't be able to give that piece of information out to people every day.
Paul: So think about that. If she didn't automate it, the people that were expecting it every day would then feel like "Wow, why didn't she post today? Oh, why has a couple days ... ?" 'Cause life happens. You have some highs and lows and in-betweens. And things are gonna come up, and challenges and sometimes things don't work out as perfectly as you intended. And to have something that's automated like that.
It's created by you, so even though it's automated per se, it's really just being streamlined. It's saying, "Hey let me be smarter about my time, let me take some of my time back, but still serve that people that I want." And when you do this, because it is a system because you did personally create it, you're looking at it saying, "How can I give either my prospect or my client the best experience that they could ever have."
And if it is all about social media and everything. So some of you might blog, right? If you blog, you got to be consistent. If you're using Snapchat or Instagram or Facebook, whatever it is, it's all about consistency, right? So if you are posting and releasing something, let's say a blog post every Tuesday, right? People are gonna know you for that.
So the moment that you waiver from that, you're gonna start losing your followers. So what happens though is a lot of people like stress ... They're like running around Monday night saying, "Oh my goodness I got post something, I didn't do anything this weekend. I didn't know what to do."
Melissa: I've been guilty of that. I've been guilty of that.
Paul: And you stress out. But you have the ability in WordPress, you could do ... We talked about this at the last session. You could do ... A concept called Deep Work. Where you could go and batch maybe like a month's worth of ... Let's say if you're doing it every Tuesday. So that would be like, let's say four Tuesdays a month.
Melissa: Four Tuesdays.
Paul: That you could batch that out ... You could focus on that for a couple or few hours, one particular day and batch the entire process. It's personal you're putting in what you wanted to say and with the vibe and everything. And there are software pieces out there that you can use where when that blog post is automatically released on Tuesday at like three o'clock in the morning, you could already also have the automated software post to your social media channels, telling people about the new blog posts.
So you didn't physically have to be there at seven o'clock in the morning to tell everybody about the thing that you released at three o'clock in the morning. But a lot of us, we're in constant reactive state. Oh my goodness I got to check my emails 24/7. I gotta post 24/7. You can take your life and your time back and be more effect and more efficient. And give everybody else a better experience 'cause you're able to deliver consistency and more well thought out content as well.
Melissa: Yeah, it gives you the opportunity, the time part. That's one of the resources that you ... Your most valuable resource is your time. And we all have the same amount of time in a day. So it's how do we use that time the most effectively?
And like Paul was saying, if you're able to really sit down and focus in, focus on like whether it's a blog post or whether it's social media post, whether it's an email series, you can deliver such a great customer experience., a very consistent customer experience and your clients are going to feel very well attended to. They're not gonna feel like a number, they're gonna feel like you have a consistent follow up system with them.
So let's squash that myth that automation is not personal because it can be very personal. It's just how you take it, how you use it. There's so many different systems out there for social media as far as with automation. We're great fans of, as far as emails systems, we use 17hats for all of our automation system where we have our email sequences and our workflows all planned out.
And it's one of those things that you sit down and it's clockwork. You have that daily schedule, it's proactive it's not reactive. Again, it's all about taking back some of that control of your day, of your time. What you can control. 'Cause things are gonna happen that are out of your control like people knocking on your door.
Paul: Right when you go live.
Paul : And if you missed that, watch the replay, 'cause it's pretty interesting.
Melissa: So you can't control that, but what you can take control of what you can take control and actually work more efficiently, more effectively and just give an awesome, awesome customer experience.
Paul: And I tell you, your clients are gonna appreciate it you're less stressed.
Melissa: Oh yeah.
Paul: If you are more balanced. If you're like always run thin because you're reacting and all over the place, you're gonna give shorter answers to people, you're gonna be stressed out. It's gonna impact the family and the household and that is not worth it, right?
So don't look at automation, don't look at processes, don't look at these things as a negative. It's something that once you accept that hey it's okay to be able to streamline things to give people better experiences. And in return, ironically, by doing that, it takes a lot of load off of you on a daily basis. So let's move on to the next ...
Melissa: Yes, so we want to leave you ... We want to now start to really talk about action. 'Cause we've been talking a lot about concepts about streamlining and the automation process and being proactive. But how can we actually do this? Because the knowledge is great but if we don't put it into action then we're just gonna sit here with all this awesome knowledge and not do anything about it.
Melissa: So let's do something about it.
Paul: Knowledge without action is not power. So power only comes from when you take action.
Melissa: So we wanted to leave you with an exercise so that you can really take this and start to do it in your own business.
The first thing and this is one of the exercises that I do with my coaching clients when working on streamlining their businesses, streamlining their life, just looking at streamlining in general, is to figure out where you are. Because if you don't know where you are first before figure out where you want to go then it's kinda like going on a trip without an app. You're just kinda standing there blindly like okay I think I want to go to California but I have no idea where I am. I don't know if I should go West or East or South or North or what I need to do?
So we got figure out where you are first. So the first exercise and it's always fun when people go through and do this is to actually take a week and journal every single activity you do that week. So it's gonna sound a little bit tedious at first. But you're gonna sit there and write down every single activity from when you wake up to go to bed.
And it's gonna be interesting to see where you spend your time. And the biggest thing with this too, is I really want everyone here to be honest with themselves. So if you spend an hour surfing on Facebook, write that down. You not gonna ... No one's gonna look at this except for you. So it's okay if you have one of those days where you're zoning out. And also one of things that Paul and I talk about is that you do need that time to zone out. You do need that time to have that purposeful distraction. So if you do have an hour or two where you're on Facebook surfing it an hour a day, that's okay too.
But write it all down because you're gonna get a better sense of the activities that you do each and every day. And if those activities are moving you closer to your goals or further away from your goals.
Paul: I'm gonna tell you what. In any other profession where you need to have consulting and adjustment in your life, they're gonna take you through this exercise. So if you had really bad eating habits and you need to shift and you went to a nutritionist, one of the first things that they're gonna do is they're gonna jolt you and while you think that they're just gonna immediately, you know from day one, when you sit down with them, like here's all the new things you should eat.
No, what they're gonna do is have you journal for the next week to two weeks to know exactly what your intake is right now. I'm telling you what, when you just do this it's a huge self-realization, that right off the gate, you're just like ooh, I didn't realize I'm spending this much time wasting doing this or that.
'Cause a lot of you are probably gonna find out that through social media and these other things, that there's a lot of distractions. That once you start making notes and you start writing it down. And think about it, if you wanted to go buy a house or you wanted to get into a special program or something, anything to do with finances, they're gonna sit down and do the same thing as well. They're going to say let's journal your spending.
So over the next two weeks anytime that you swipe or credit card or PayPal anything, you need to write it down on this piece of paper or this app and we want to see this at the end of the week or two weeks.
So this is nothing different. So you really need to take this very, very seriously.
Paul: If want to figure out where you can get time back, because I'm telling you and Melissa said it earlier on, we have the exact same number of hours a day. Why are there people around you right now in your business or other businesses that are just running circles around you but they don't seemed stressed?
Paul: Here they are-
Melissa: Don't you hate those people?
Paul: -They're getting things done. They're effective, they're efficient, they're boom, they're blasting through everywhere you turn, they're getting business and it's frustrating. And they have the same number of hours a day that you do, they're just way more efficient and way more effective with what they're doing with their time. That their billable hour, the time that they see ... When there one, it's so much important the activities that they're spending. So do exactly what Melissa did: you need to know where you are right now.
Before you go on any journey in the world, no matter where you go, you need to know where you're at before can say "Okay, here's my destination and this is how I'm gonna get there." So you need to know where are you right this second. So definitely take a pen or notes or whatever you do. You need to start dialoguing over the next week, where are you right this second.
Melissa: You'll be really amazed what you find when you do that for the week.
So after you've done that for a week and been really honest with yourself, then what we want you to do is actually look at that list and determine what activities on that list are ... Where we talked about working in your business versus working on your business. To kinda to look at that. Are there activities on there that are actually business building activities to help the needle move. To help you grow the business, to help you transition to the next level.
Or are you finding yourself that you're doing all these activities that are in your business. And as solopreneurs, you might be doing both and that's okay. But we have to figure out some ways that we can have both of those types of activities. Because if you don't have both, you're not setting yourself up for sustainable business. You're not setting yourself up to grow and to move the needle in that direction.
Paul: Yeah, 'cause I tell you what. You start journaling this down. You could be telling your spouse, your significant other or somebody else. You're like, "Oh yeah, I do this full-time Monday through Friday, nine to five." Right? Then you start jotting it down and it's like okay, well here's productive hours, "Oh, I actually had two productive hours today." 'Cause now you're gonna have an honest assessment.
Like yeah, you took those two hours of tasks and you spread it out very slowly and you made it into an eight hour day by having a lot of non productive activity inside that.
And then when you start realizing this you're gonna go "Wow I'm self-sabotaging myself." Again, you don't have to show this to anybody else, this is just something for you but you need to know exactly where you are at right now. So definitely journal it down because you're gonna have that self-realization, these are my billable hours. These are the true tasks that it's gonna help me move the needle.
Now, we're all about you need some balance, you need somebody to have some mental clarity and balance out to the end of the day. But I'm telling you, there's so many things in our lives these days that are made to distract us, to pull our attention, but the moment that we think that we are bored-
Melissa: This is one of them!
Paul: That we're out of touch, that's it. And everything's instant right now. So while we're on this, that our phones have been bleep and blop, and all over the place. So it's so easy to get distracted and go onto something else.
Thankfully for us, we got a camera on us so we have to be focused so we're right here. So outside of reading your guys notes that you're writing in, that we'll do a catch up in a second.
But it is something that you need to look at and say "Okay, when I dial it, when I write everything out and journal it, can I put these into different buckets? Can I out these in different categories? Because you do need some breather time. But you need to now, maybe almost do the Ben Franklin method but this is a little different.
Take a sheet of paper, divide it in half. This is as a starting point. On one put productive activities, these are the activities that honestly you're assessing that will move the needle in your business. If you're a photographer, like you're actually on a photo shoot, you're really communicating with the client, you're really doing this ... Whatever it is. 'Cause I'll give you an example.
I have a business attorney. Don. I'm always surprised because if I get on a phone call with him and it's five minutes and hang up, I get billed for five minutes. Just five minutes. I didn't get billed for an hour, he didn't like go "Oh, they screw around the rest of the hour and now I'm gonna bill Paul for an hour." No, it was five minutes. Like it was legit, boom.
So it's something that you need to look at that and say, okay, could I really take my time and look at all these tasks and say okay, I did do this photo shoot, but really was like a headshot and it was like 15 minutes. So really wasn't an hour, it was 15 minutes. Can you put ow much time it really took for that task right next to it? And go through that list.
Then have an honest assessment, come over here and you were liking and commenting and scrolling through social media channels and you were just zoned out. How much of that time did you do? Seriously. How much time did you waste over here that did not really, honestly have an impact on our business itself? Because there is work hours and there's personal time and you need to divide the two. Because you need to come back and say, at the end of the year, if I want to make X amount of dollars, and here's how many hours I'm working, I have billable hours. This is how much I am worth per hour.
Any activity that you're doing, needs to be at that level. And if it isn't, you need to streamline those things like we were talking about earlier on, through either automation, outsourcing, or delegating. Some people have assistants, some people have virtual assistants, some people have services that do things for them. No matter what, if you can streamline your tasks, you're gonna take that time back, which is really important.
Melissa: Absolutely. Then this actually leads to the next step with this exercise too. So as you're doing this list as well, that's also where you could see those tasks that are repetitive that you do all the time. And look for those opportunities. Think of it as an opportunity where you can streamline it even more.
Maybe you can create a template series. Maybe you can create some sort of schedule, that you have certain tasks that you do certain times of the day so you're not bouncing around, you're not being reactive. Even though you know it's coming, but then be "Oh, what was me. I have all this stuff done."
No, you know it's coming, so if you know it's coming prepare for it. If the storm is coming, then buy the supplies. Don't wait for it to start raining and be like "I have nothing to eat in the house."
Paul: I remember, in the real estate business, I remember we used to jokingly call Mondays because everything came off the weekend, and we get tons and tons of client calls, everybody would be like "How were the showings in my house, why haven't? Why isn't my house selling?" It was like the conversations over the weekend. So we always called them manic Mondays.
Melissa: Manic Mondays.
Paul: So that was really dedicated. On the staffing end, it would be we knew that it was client follow-up day. No matter what, we are doing a touch point with every client, whether anything's happening or not. Do you have that type of system as an example? So that if you're always waiting for people to contact you, then you're always in that reactive state.
Could you purposely schedule it out where it becomes less stressful because now you're in control of the contact on a Monday or Tuesday, whatever it is. You do this soft touches all the way across the board. Again, it's a system now so it's not something that you just happen to think or hoping for.
Hope marketing doesn't really work that well.
Melissa: The last thing that you're looking my note.
Paul: I'm not gonna read her diary.
Melissa: So the last thing is that this is a process. After you write that list, you figure out those tasks, you figure out what you can replicate over and over again. It's time for you to start tweaking it out a little bit and streamlining it.
Once you have some of these systems in place, do that list again and see what's changed. Not only with your productivity but just how you feel in general. You may just feel less stressed and a little bit more focused and on task.
What's interesting too is you may find that you're more productive during certain times of the day, like in the morning or the evening hours. You might find that there's certain days of the week that you're more productive. And you also may find that you tend to shift activities that you don't want to do towards the end of the week. So maybe those are activities that you should do at the beginning of the week.
This is a process so it's all about figuring out where you are, making adjustments and then streamlining it along the way, making little tweaks along the way so that you can be productive, you can be efficient, that you can provide excellent customer experience.
And again, every day is not going to be perfect. You're going to be putting out fires along the way 'cause we all do. But what's great about this is when you have these systems set in place and they become ingrained in you, it's just something that you start to do. You don't even have to think about it. It becomes a part of who you are and as you grow as an entrepreneur, that's really the biggest thing. Entrepreneurs are constantly growing and learning about ourselves, it's really a whole personal development piece because you're learning how to be a better person, how to be a better communicator and how to impact other's lives.
Paul: Right. I tell you what. It's those uncomfortable tasks, that's where it's gonna change your life. All success typically is about one inch out of your comfort zone.
Naturally what we do though, those of us that don't want to create systems and structures, we might even create a list. Here's the ten things that I need to get done today. So I'm going to list all this ten items that I'm gonna do today. And then what you're gonna do, is you're purposely going to put the things that you don't really want to do, you're gonna out them naturally at the bottom of the list. Like you said, that's the stuff that gets pushed to the back of the week or I didn't have time with things going on, I'm not able to do this.
So what you want to do though, this is something I learned from Earl Nightingale, I think the book Lead the Field, many, many years ago. Is write out your tasks, here's all the things you need to get done. Here's all the important things you need to get done today or this week. And now what you need to do, is you need to go back and you need to number them from one all the way down from the most important item. 'Cause the most important item might actually be at the bottom of your list. So what you want to do is you want to list them. And you want to go step by step by step and go through the entire process because ...
What you need to do, go to number because that the most important one and you don't go to number two until number one is complete. 'Cause if it is the most important thing for you and your business, you shouldn't be worrying about anything else. 'Cause it's nearly impossible to actually multi-task, which we talked about on whole other call.
Melissa: Oh yeah. Multi-tasking is such a myth. This is such more focused and it's making you do the things that are uncomfortable but those are the things that will make you grow.
Paul: Again, make the list of the things that you need to get done. And then go back and order them, one through, what's most important to least important. And then at that point start at number one and don't go to number two until number one is complete.
There's an old story about it. I don't know all the details 'cause there were 20 years ago that I learned this technique. But I know back in the 1970s or '80s, a really large company hired a gentleman, a consultant and he came up with that idea and they gave him $50,000 a year later based on how that changed that company's business.
If you think about it, that's like hundreds if thousands of dollars in our economy today.
Melissa: Excellent. So we hope that these tips, that you take this, you take the knowledge and you apply it. You have to take that knowledge, you have to make the action step.
Think about those things. That myth that automation is not personal because it can be very personal. It can be one of those things that is going to create a better client experience, you're going to have more efficient communication. You're gonna feel less stressed, you're gonna feel more balanced and more connected. And having those tasks that are taken care, that you don't have to think about, that's going to leave more time for you to be creative and to really do the things that you love.
Also, we talked a lot about the concept of working on your business versus working in your business and making sure that even if you are a solopreneur that you have those times, those blocks of time in your day that you're building your business. Even if it's an hour a day that can be huge as far as setting that time aside so that you can build the business so that you have more time to really service your customers and do it in a way that's effective and efficient.
We hope that these tips have been really helpful.
Paul: Yeah, hopefully.
And again we want to come back 'cause a lot of this in our lives, on a daily basis, that we streamline our processes and systems, our sponsor. And they know that we love them so much that they came on and wanted to make sure that we get this knowledge out to everybody. But we do wanna thank 17hats again because it is totally integrated into our daily lives.
I think there's a link above or below that you can write it. If it doesn't show depending on what social media channel or page that you're watching this from.
Melissa: They're a wonderful group of people and if you really are feeling a little bit lost, it's definitely something worth checking out.
Melissa: Also, for everyone here that is a photographer, and want to check us out on Profitographers, it's an awesome online community for photographer entrepreneurs. We're in there and we talk a lot about business and branding and marketing strategies and mind set and photography and all kinds of fun stuff. It's a great group.
We have a lot of fun in there. So it's a Facebook community group, you can check it out and join us in there too.
Paul: Excellent. I think that's all we have for today. Is there anything else that you want to talk about?
Melissa: I think that's it. The biggest thing ...
You're checking in to see if anyone had anything on.
But thanks again for tuning in today. If you didn't see the beginning of the video, where we're talking about putting out fires, you can see this is real life. Paul and I are real people and have real challenges too.
But thanks for being patient as we kind of started off the webinar. This is going to be a monthly series that we do. Each month we would talk a little bit about business strategies and things like that. But if anyone here is interested in seeing different topics, feel free to reach out to us to at VIP@PaulPruitt.com. And you can tell us what you want to hear about. We're happy to talk about it on another episode.
Paul: Excellent. I think we're good for today.
Melissa: I think we're good. So thank you so much-
Paul: [crosstalk 00:44:11] all the door knocking.
Melissa: I know, we did all the door knocking.
Paul: I'm sorry but opportunity keeps knocking.
Melissa: It does keep knocking.
Paul: Stay focused.
Melissa: Maybe there'll be some money behind that door.
Paul: There is. There's comfort behind it.
Paul: But thank you again for everybody that came out, watched and we'll keep this on replay, indefinitely. But definitely participate in the chat. We'll pop over there and answer some questions that you guys have over the next few hours as well.
But until we talk again, everyone-
Melissa: Stay profitable.