Episode 023 – Laura Briggs
Welcome to another episode of The HERO Show. I am your host Richard Matthews, (@AKATheAlchemist) and you are listening to episode #023 with Laura Briggs – From Middle School Teacher to Breaking the Six-Figure Mark.
Laura helps her clients with content and project management by leveraging time management and digital teams. She empowers the freelance generation. She’s the founder of BetterBizAcademy.com where she teaches others how to build fulfilling lifestyle businesses from home as a coach.
Laura is also the author of “Launch Your Own Freelance Writing Business” and published by Entrepreneur Press.
Here’s just a taste of what we talked about today:
- Building strategies based on which direction the business is headed.
- Being purposefully small is the next big thing in business.
- On making a living as a writer.
- School teachers and professors who inspire and encourage their students to develop their innate skills.
- Working with digital freelancers is different from working with a regular employee.
- Autoresponders help you become focused on the project at hand.
- Experimenting with new processes with your team.
- Knowing what works for you as a business owner.
- Reserve regular playtime or creative time on your calendar.
- Delegating and outsourcing.
- Helping other freelancers become better at delivering good results. The rising tide lifts all ships.
The HERO Challenge
Today on the show Laura challenged Gina Horkey to be a guest on The HERO Show. Laura thinks that Gina would be a fantastic interview. Gina runs the Horkey Handbook and she trains people how to be virtual assistants and help people to hire their first virtual assistant. Gina has a free service where she’ll allow you to put what you’re looking for in a VA, and then she distributes it to all of the VAs she’s trained.
It’s like a perfect, seamless thing. And then you get amazing, thoughtful coaches. And she’s had a really cool journey for how she got to where she is. Gina used to be Laura’s business coach.
How To Stay Connected With Laura Briggs
Want to stay connected with Laura? Please check out their social profiles below.
Call To Adventure
Don’t forget you can stay connected to me and the show by subscribing now. Just text ALCHEMY to 444999. Or you put your email address in the box at the bottom of this page. You’ll get all sorts of cool gifts, be updated about our contests and polls, and get notified when we publish new episodes. With that… let’s get to listening to the episode…
The Webinar Alchemy Workshop: https://richardmatthews.me/fs/waw-slf/
Hello, and welcome back to The HERO Show.
My name is Richard Matthews. I am on the line with Laura Briggs.
Laura, are you there?
Yes, I am.
Awesome. And actually I think your maiden name actually still shows up on it.
So Laura Pennington as well for people who know you as Laura Pennington.
So people aren’t too confused on who you are.
So let me introduce you really quick.
You are-or were-a middle school teacher back in the day
and you stopped doing that. And she got into freelance writing
and broke the six figure mark with your own business in 18 months, which is crazy.
Cool. And now what you do is you help people like myself
and other freelancers to build a lifestyle business. Is that about right?
Yeah, that accurately describes the brief synopsis of my journey. Yes.
Awesome. So why don’t you take a couple of minutes, Laura,
and tell us what you’re known for now.
So what is it that people come to Laura for help?
Why do they seek you out?
A lot of the people that I help right now have very similar situations,
and that they’ve been freelancing for a while.
They’re stuck on how to scale and grow without approaching burnout.
So a lot of them have built their business to the point where it’s financially successful,
but with the wrong clients, and they don’t know how to do things
like negotiate contracts and force boundaries with clients that might be sort of
encroaching over the edge, and to really communicate effectively about
what it is that they do, to kind of make their marketing as simple as possible.
And then live the business that they want to live,
I have some people who want to work 40 hours a week,
and some who can only work 10. So we really design strategies
based on where it is they want to take their business.
That’s awesome. Yeah, you’ll probably enjoy this that
I’m actually, I travel full time in an RV with my family.
We’ve been traveling for two years.
The number of hours that I put into my business is really up to me,
but you know, it’s all those things that you were just talking about
figuring out how to manage my time and how to hire people,
and how to put the contracts in place
and how to actually have the business that I want,
and not the business that, you know, I accidentally built.
I’m so jealous, too, because I’ve wanted to do something like the RV thing for a while.
For the last 14 years. My husband’s been in the military.
So where we lived was never up to us. But we definitely have a goal someday doing that.
So I always love meeting people who do it because it’s like… it’s possible.
You want me to break the illusion for you real quick? Yes, is actually my RV, right?
Like there’s the closet and the washer and dryer over there.
And you know, the air conditioner hanging? Right. So there we go.
But no one would ever know. So no one would ever know.
Except I you know, I show people.
I went in, there we go. Now we’re, we’re straight up and down
and get on the camera. But yeah, so what you’re talking about is
such a needed thing, right. And I’ve talked to a number of people
over the course of my career, something that I’ve mentioned
a number of times on the show, too, is like,
you have to be careful of the monster you’re building. Right?
And because you’ll end up building a business you don’t want.
And what’s interesting is, it’s not necessarily that
it’s not the type of business that someone else might want. Right?
There’s a lot of people like I’ve been told in my life that, you know,
you have a lifestyle business, not a real business,
a real business is like Apple, they have retail stores, and you know,
thousands of employees. And I’m like,
No, that’s just not the type of business I want. Right.
And I think a lot of people, like myself, we get stuck into learning from
people and whatever business model they’re teaching,
and whatever the lifestyle requirements are of running that business,
we just sort of default into whatever we learned,
instead of actually crafting a business that fits exactly the lifestyle that we want,
which I think is really fascinating.
Yeah, and I think a big part of the reason that a lot of us are in business
is to get away from all of those things that were associated with traditional jobs.
So you don’t want to recreate a job where you’re your own worst boss.
And I think you’re completely right, because it looks different for everyone,
you know, and so sometimes it’s about making a conscious decision,
I was just reading a really good book called company of one.
And it’s about this idea that by being purposefully small is actually
the next big thing in business. Because sometimes,
you scale your business to a point, you’re like,
Oh, I don’t like the way that it’s operating at this model.
I don’t like how many expenses This requires, or it’s that all hustle mentality of
I have to work 80 hours to keep it sustained at this level.
And that isn’t really what you really wanted.
So I think it’s about being mindful.
Why did you start this and what do you want from it?
Yeah, and I like I actually I realized that it might be business too,
I thought I had an income goal that I wanted.
And on the way to that income goal,
I realized that I had more than I needed.
Yes, yes, I’ve had that happen.
Yes. So like, I didn’t even hit that income goal.
And I was like, I don’t know why I’m striving for that.
That’s not actually what I want. So, you know, it changes as you go.
Yeah, it’s totally weird, because I think for a long time,
when you get started in business, you do focus on the financial goals.
And that’s good, because it keeps you motivated.
And there’s a clear number to work towards.
But I’ve done the exact same thing where I’m like,
Oh, it’s totally possible for me to like, bring in a certain amount this year.
And so I start doing that. And I’m like, I’m tired. I’m burned out.
I don’t love the work that I’m doing. And it’s like,
why did I just say that? I wanted that?
Because like, I kind of don’t want that.
So it’s always okay to scale it back too.
Yeah. Yeah. And what I actually end up finding was,
when I changed the focus from the income goal to the clients
that I was serving, actually surpassed that income goal.
Yeah. Right. So I was striving for it… realized I didn’t need it… changed my focus,
and then hit it. You know, that’s where that goes. Yeah.
So I want to talk a little bit about your origin story, right?
So every hero has one. And this is where you started to realize
that you were different; that maybe you had superpowers;
that maybe you could use them to help other people.
Where you started to develop and discover the value you can bring to this world.
How did that story sort of play out for you?
I have always been an avid reader and a lover of words.
So even when I was in school, as a child, I knew that I was always different.
All I wanted to do is get through my assignment
so I could read my books, or go write my own story.
So that calling of being a writer was something that was always sort of
reaching out to me, I never thought I could make a living at it right though,
like there’s so much of this idea of the starving artists and writers don’t get paid well,
and they say struggle with their art their whole life.
And if they’re lucky, maybe they get recognition at the end or something.
And so I had all those beliefs in my mind. But when I was in college, I had one professor.
I didn’t study English communication, journalism, nothing like that.
But I had an English professor in an extra class, and he really liked my writing.
And he just gave me positive comments about it.
I thought, maybe someday I can be a writer. And so several years later,
when I was burning out, as an inner city, middle school teacher,
I reflected back on every skill I thought I ever might have.
So I could transition into a new career. And I was like, well,
I’ve heard a few times that I’m a decent writer.
So maybe I should try to make a go with that.
And serving my first couple of clients.
And then being happy with the results was really when I started to think that
there was kind of something here that I could work with.
Awesome. So what type of writing were you doing at that point?
Like what type of client writing … like ghostwriting for books,
or were you doing like blog writing, or what was the writing type of copywriting,
Mostly blogs and articles, but when I started, I did a little bit of everything.
I definitely did books, I did write papers, I did things that were more technical.
And I encourage people who are new to it to do that,
because you don’t know what you don’t know.
So until you do it, you might think
oh, like I’m going to love writing books.
And I actually found I didn’t love writing books for other people.
So I changed to focus primarily on blogging.
Awesome. Yeah. So it’s interesting, because we have a similar story, right?
My agency does a lot of writing as well. But we’re on like,
what I ended up in the space I’m in is
I help experts write their course material and their sales material.
And so like a lot of people who are really, really good at a thing
are not necessarily good at teaching that thing.
So I’ll help them take that expertise and translate it into, you know,
written and audio visual material, like course material,
so they can actually be a great teacher and their students can get great results from it.
So like it’s still a type of writing. And we spent a lot of time doing that.
And I had the same thing. When I was in like, the seventh grade, I had my history.
I say, Professor, I guess they were teachers in the seventh grade.
But my history teacher, I don’t remember what we were writing about
I think it was like Indians or something like that, because we were doing California history.
And I, you know, it turned in my first like long form essay,
because we had to write like a 10 page essay or something like that.
And, you know, he, handed everyone else’s back.
And he didn’t have mine back. And he told me to see him after class.
And I had one of those like, hard thinking moments where like,
Oh, God, I must have been, it must have been so bad that he can’t even tell me about it.
And after class, I got up to him after class.
And he’s like, you know, the reason I didn’t give you your paper back,
because I didn’t want you to cry in class. And I was like,
Oh, no, it’s so bad. And he’s like, you don’t write it in seventh grade level.
He’s like, you write at like a 12 or 16.
Basically it’s a seventh grader writing at a college level.
And he’s like, so I graded your paper, as a college student,
and I tore it apart for you. Because basically, I think you could improve a lot.
And so anyways, he, uh, he asked me if I could come and stay after school
for the next six or seven weeks and actually tutor me in writing.
So that was sort of like, how I got my start too is I had a professor
who pushed me and said, Hey, you can actually do something with this.
And, you know, some 20 something years later,
I get paid professionally as a writer.
You know, isn’t that crazy? Like, I recently emailed the professor
who made that comment to me, and I was like,
I don’t even know if you know this, but I mentioned it in my TEDx talk.
So I feel like I got to thank you personally for like that comment.
And he was like, I don’t even remember it.
like, No offense, but, I remember you as a student.
But he’s like, every so often, like, students come along,
and they have good writing. And I always want to encourage students
who have good writing. So to me, it was just like,
it was actually awesome that I was like,
you might have inspired like, multiple people,
and they just haven’t told you that they’re like, in a writing or writing related field.
So it really goes to show the power of one good mentor a person who can inspire you.
Yeah, my 10th grade professor was that way too.
And I actually I went back to his class, maybe five or six years ago,
and just to say hi, and let him know, like, what I was doing.
And he had me speak to his class that day,
his English class and I talked to him for about 10 minutes beforehand.
And I was like, it’s like this guy. Like, everything he taught me in this class.
And I was like, has literally led to six figures year after year after year after year.
And I was like, so you know, pay attention, that kind of thing.
What a great motivator for those students.
Yeah, yeah. So it was it was super fun.
But yeah, that’s sort of it’s interesting.
We have a similar origin story getting into writing.
It started really young. But yeah, I was also…
my obsession wasn’t writing though,
My obsession was trying to figure out how to do business.
Like I started my first business at 13.
And I was selling candy that I bought wholesale, like retail on campus,
like, you know, showing my jacket here my wares,
and got shut down by the powers that be
I had to have a food license to sell on campus, but I made like, 13 hundred bucks first.
So anyways, that was me. I was obsessed with the business stuff from a young age.
And the business that I ended up in, is writing and communicating.
So yeah. So the the next part of this superhero stuff is your superpowers, right?
And it’s what you do, or build or offer this world to help solve problems for people
the thing that you use to like slay the world’s villains, so to speak.
What would you say your superpower is in your current business?
Oh, well, there’s probably two that I have.
I think one is being really good with boundaries.
I think just especially in the professional sense.
Like, I rock it with boundaries, I will show somebody who’s like
a toxic client or edging into like red flag territory down like that.
And I help a lot of the freelancers that I coach with that to like,
here’s exactly what you’re going to say, Here’s why we’re going to get it in writing,
and all those kinds of things. But I think I also have a gift,
I was just talking to someone, I hired another writer to write my about page on my website,
I think my gift is I can talk to a client on the phone or get a sense for their brand.
And I can produce materials and their brand stuff like tone,
style and voice writing for myself. I can’t do that. For whatever reason.
There’s like a mental block there of like, Well, how do I describe myself?
How do I create a bio, but I think being able to adapt into other people’s
conversational style or the way that they want to present themselves online.
And doing that in so many different industries is really a strength of mine.
I have the same problem by the way.
And I know a number of copywriters that do,
like you can write for someone else. But when it comes to writing yourself,
you’re just like, you can’t do it. I was actually just brought on to
one of the top copywriters in the world brought me on to help him write
the copy for his products. He’s like, I can write copy,
he’s produced a billion dollars plus in sales, but this copy
and can’t write the copy for his own products. So you’re not alone.
In that big,
yeah, I think it’s a problem with writers especially Yeah.
Yeah. So I’m curious. Because the boundaries is not something that I have seen
or heard talked about much. And I want to dive into that a little bit.
Why is that a problem for people? And why is it such an effective…
Like, you know, we talked about in the terms of villains,
boundaries are keeping the villains away. Right.
So what, how does that sort of play out for your customers?
And what does it help them do?
Yeah, so it happens a lot to freelancers for a couple of reasons,
like working with digital freelancers, is pretty new.
For a lot of companies, a lot of like, some companies have been doing it for like 10 years.
And they’re like, yeah, we have an established system.
This is how we interact with freelancers. But a lot of companies are just now
realizing the power of outsourcing to someone outside the office on a contract basis.
So sometimes clients will try to treat a freelancer as if they are another employee,
which is illegal in the United States, and also something that all of our freelancers hate,
we don’t like being treated like I’m available 24 seven,
or you can talk to me however you want. And you know,
I should just be so grateful for the opportunity sort of thing.
So I think it comes up a lot because of that.
And also, because freelancers often are freelancing in the process of leaving,
or have already left a day job, so they have an employee mentality,
rather than a co-entrepreneur mentality and the CEO entrepreneur mentality,
think of any business owner, you know, they probably have
reat boundaries in place to protect their time to protect their electoral property,
to protect the way that they interact with their team.
And we often forget that like, even as a freelancer, as a copywriter,
as a graphic designer, whatever you do in the freelance world,
or whatever service you provide, you are a business owner, you are a CEO.
And if you don’t act like one, a lot of times those boundaries can kind of be crushed.
So I think those two things happening at the same time
I mean that there needs to be a lot more education about,
here’s how you effectively interact with a freelancer
because we can do great work and will bring excellent expertise to the table.
But it has to be like a lot of us are freedom based people,
we want to be traveling in the RV,
or we want to be able to pick up and take a three week vacation.
So how do you interact with that person differently than perhaps an employee?
Yeah, I noticed like one of the things that I do to protect my time,
because I’ve noticed that same problem, right?
If you don’t set up the relationship, generally from the beginning with like,
the expectations of how to be communicated with,
then you get communicated in all sorts of weird ways.
And at weird times and stuff like that.
And so like, one of the things that I do is I have a calendar,
like one of those calendaring software is actually…
you probably interacted with it when we set up this interview.
And I have another link that I send for my clients.
And every time they’ll text me or email me, like, Can we hop on the phone?
Do you have 10 minutes now? Or can you like all the things that clients will ask you…
And my answer is always, yes. Here’s my calendar.
And my calendar has like got rules,
and that like someone can’t book an appointment without like,
four hours advance notice kind of thing.
So like, they can’t book on my calendar like now. Right? Yeah.
So I trained them that they like, you know, over the course of time,
every time they asked me to get on the phone, here’s my calendar link.
And there’s never an available time within four hours of when they went to talk to me.
So they have to plan a little bit. It’s like, that’s just one little strategy,
but I do the same kind of thing. It’s like, now I can’t
just pick up the phone anytime you call.
And I even have one client who really loves to call me.
And I generally won’t like… it’s not not because I don’t like him.
I actually love him, we got a great relationship and everything.
But he’ll call me and I’ll hit the little auto reply with my link.
Be like I’m busy. Here’s my link. Even if I could answer the phone. Yeah.
Because, yeah, because I just I can’t have…
I can’t have my my clients assume that I’m not currently doing other things.
So it’s really, it’s an important aspect of running a freelance business
is just realizing how to protect and guard your time.
So you can actually deliver.
Yeah, and I think that’s like, when you can explain it to clients too,
there was a period where I was working on a number of really like projects
that I consider heavy lifting, they required a lot of my brain power and focus.
And I would put an autoresponder on my email that would be turned on
during those specific times. And it would say, I’m working on a client’s project right now,
I’ll be checking my email again, at blah, blah, blah, time or this is just to let you know,
I’ve received your message. And what clients got from that was
not only I’m not responding to your email anytime soon,
but think carefully, if you really needed to send me this email in the first place.
And know that when I’m working on your project,
I am just as focused and don’t allow other people to invade my time as well.
So those kinds of little tricks and things really help because
as a freelancer or someone owning a service based business,
you probably have multiple clients.
And so it can’t be the expectation that 10 or 15 people can all access you
whenever and you’ll drop whatever you’re doing to be able to help them.
Yeah. Yeah. And it’s a difficult thing to learn to manage,
especially as you start growing, right. And like one of the things,
one of the growing pains that I’m currently having is I expanded my client roster.
And I brought on team members, right, and I have,
I have a couple of people on my team now.
And I’ve noticed my bottleneck still is my customer communication.
And I haven’t yet figured out how to make that transition from like,
customer communication always comes directly to me
and how I can like move it through someone else.
So I’m like working through that at this point.
But yeah, so it’s like, you know, you as a freelancer,
you’re still you’re running a business, right.
And now I’ve actually got a couple of you know, I got a couple of VAs on staff.
So like, I have a lot more resources available to me than my own time that I did before.
So just figuring out how to effectively manage those and use those is, you know,
it’s part of what I’m growing and doing right now.
Yeah, and I think if you view it as an experiment,
and kind of ask your team to be on board with that too like,
Hey, we’re going to try this specific thing. We’re not committed to it.
But let me know what you think about it as we do it.
You know, for a while my team had like a Trello board where we
literally would just dump everything.
And then it was like, this is really ineffective, like,
we need to have like only the stuff we’re working on right now
on the Trello board, and then everything else off over to the side.
And so it was like, okay, we’re going to try this,
we’re going to try a weekly sprint, and just test it out
and see what works for you. So not feeling like you’re a failure,
if one thing doesn’t work is is a great way to approach it.
Yeah. Yeah, like experimenting on yourself experimenting…
I tell my clients ahead of time that I’m going to experiment on them.
Yeah. This is like, Hey, you know, with with services, sometimes we’re like,
Hey, this is something new that we want to see for your marketing stuff.
And you can approach the same thing with your businesses.
You know, you can experiment with things here and experiment with things there
and see how they work. And it’s interesting how much progress you can make,
because that is a type of innovation. Right?
That type of innovation is what allows you to make leaps in your business. Yeah.
Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes it’s little things that you don’t realize
could have a big impact. You know, when Boxer came around,
I can type but I type all day for clients.
So anything that relieves me of typing, man,
I put all of my team members like you can only communicate with me through boxer
and leave documents and stuff on Trello.
And that makes it so much faster for me to just hit that button,
record a quick message, give them some feedback and move on.
And it was like, when you test that stuff out,
and you’re not feeling fully committed to the result.
But you see changes, it’s really powerful to be like,
wow, like, I’m glad I tried that, you know,
I never would have known if that would work or not.
Yeah, I tried Boxer and I can’t handle it.
Because I don’t like the…
I don’t like the – for whatever reason,
I’m better at reading the things. So we ended up with Slack.
So they’ll message me on Slack because I can read it faster.
There was like, I feel like I have to like really commit to listening to a voice message.
Well, so anyways, it didn’t work for me.
But like I have one of my clients using Boxer all day long.
And if someone communicates with them without boxer, he’s like, it doesn’t exist.
Exactly, exactly. So see, it’s so different for different people too
and I think it’s important as a business owner to know what works for you.
And when you are bringing people onto your team say,
Hey, this is the most effective way to communicate with me,
does that work with you or not? Because it can make it a lot easier
when you’ve got everyone on the same page.
Yeah, and like one of the things that, uh,
that I’ve done with my team too, is I have one of our Slack Channels,
we have like a daily check in, like,
Hey, you know, just say hi, when you’re in working on something
and say bye when you’re leaving, right, because we’re a digital team
come in and actually, you know, be a part of the water cooler conversation
and just say hi, and bye and that kind of stuff.
And, you know, when I bring people on even for project-based stuff,
where they’re only in for little while I always bring him in
and introduce them to everyone and say hi and whatnot.
And it’s been interesting how, like, that kind of stuff has impacted
just the people that are a part of the company, right?
It’s part of my company, which is small, right?
There’s only you know, myself and a VA and a part-time VA
and, occasionally, a developer; occasionally, a designer.
And you know, starting to become friends, with these people
from all over the world and it’s an interesting, interesting way that
when I was working by myself, I didn’t have any of that.
So, you know, it’s like moving into that CEO role
and realizing that even though you’re running a freelance business,
it doesn’t have to be lonely or by yourself that kind of thing.
Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree.
So the flip side of a hero superpowers is the fatal flaws. Right?
So Superman has his kryptonite.
Batman’s not actually super. Right?
What would you say is one of the fatal flaws that you’ve had to deal with
in your business career? And more importantly,
what have you done or put in place to help solve that
for other people who might who might suffer from something similar?
Well, if left to my own devices, I would be a workaholic.
And that is a habit that I am consistently policing myself over
and trying to get better about recognizing when it has crept back in my life,
because sometimes you don’t realize it, you’re like,
hey, I’ve been doing this for three months now.
And I’m, like, exhausted. So I think that’s a real problem
with us creative entrepreneurs, too,
because your business brain never really shuts off.
So you’re always thinking about it.
And we’re usually always within reach of our phone or our computer.
So it’s so easy to be like, Oh, yeah, let me fire off this email really quick.
And oh, yeah, I need to check in with so and so it’s like a
yeah, it’s like it’s really constant.
So I’ve tried a lot of things, one of the most effective for me has been
occasionally getting out of the house, because I just want to get my work done.
So I don’t spend as long doing it. Sometimes I’ll take my laptop without the charging cord.
So it’s like I have until that battery dies to get done. What I need to do,
As older your computer gets, the less that time is.
Oh, yeah! It’s bad now. It’s like an hour and a half now, like, I gotta move.
But I’ve done like, in the summer, I often don’t work Fridays at all,
I tried to not do any client work after about 1pm in the afternoon.
So that kind of keeps me on a clock. Sometimes I don’t even need to go that long.
But it helps me remember, like, have I taken on too many projects from clients,
because if I can’t do it in the time I’ve set aside for my client stuff,
then I can’t take on this particular project.
So that is what I would call an ongoing struggle.
And I know a lot of other freelancers who are like that, too.
They need the potential. Yeah, we see the potential of growing.
Plus, we’re so personally connected to it, like your businesses,
part of your identity and a huge part of your brand.
So you feel like you want to keep nursing it along.
But it can kind of come at the cost of your physical or your mental health.
So it’s important to figure out, I have had to hack my own brain and be like,
Okay, Laura, if you can’t do client work after 1pm, what does that mean?
What client do you need to let go?
Who’s rates needs to be raised?
Like, how am I going to be more organized
and ask my VA to help? Knowing all of that?
Yeah, so a couple of thoughts on that. First one, do you have any children?
I do not.
So one of my…
I am in awe of the people who do. Like, I don’t know how y’all do it.
One of one of my…
I have four of them. One of my brain hacks for the same problem is that
I have I have children that are growing up really quickly.
And if I I allow myself to be a workaholic, I miss things.
And one of the reasons why I have my freelancing company
and why I work from home and while I travel is because I want to do things
and be there with them. So it’s like built-in motivation for me too, you know,
finish my stuff on time and have built-in parts of my schedule that are,
you know, I call it giving yourself permission to play.
Right. And permission to play is, you know, because it’s an important part
of being a successful creative, or a successful Freelancer
or successful CEO is you have to be able to innovate,
you have to be able to create, you have to be able to think
and you have to do those things clearly. And I had a guy on the show recently,
he’s a neuroscientist, and he talks about like, when you’re like,
physically in one space doing something, you’ll actually wear out the nerves
the same way you would like, you know, if you’re doing that plank position
and gymnastics for 20 minutes, and you know, stand up,
you could still walk around, but if you tried to get back in the plank position,
you’ve worn out all those muscles. And if you are, like physically working, right,
like, people ask me, what do you do? And I’m like,
Well, I sit in a chair, and I click buttons, and I move my mouse around,
and I talk on the phone. Right? Like, that’s what I like, physically,
the things that I do are those things. And people laugh.
But that’s, I mean, it’s reality. If you ask my wife what she does,
and she’s like, I wipe things. Right?
I get up in the morning, I start wiping things,
and I wipe things all day until I go to sleep. Right?
You know, that’s what happens for children, right?
And so just having time to your schedule, where you pull away,
and you’re literally doing something different, right,
playing with your kids or going outside, or I don’t know,
whatever it is something that’s not work, makes your work better.
Yeah. Yeah. And I think I’ve started to notice too when I trend to,
when I start to feel aggravated–frustrated,
or when something really small annoys me,
that is my clue to close the laptop lid and leave the house,
even if it is for 10 or 15 minutes, it’s taking the dog on a walk,
I need to physically leave the house to kind of get a break from everything
and decompress rather than like sticking it out
and trying to push through. I also completely agree with you
about the idea of like building in your playtime sometimes
it’s really awesome to have stuff on your calendar that has no requirements.
It’s just like your creative time. It’s your fun time.
You know, it’s your time with your family.
And it’s like, there’s no specific structure to it that you have to do.
But I think that leaves some freedom in there as well.
Yeah. And so the other thing that I’ve noticed for me,
and I’m curious how this has been going for you is like,
as I’ve brought on team members, I realized that
my more valuable work a lot of times is not actually the delivery of services,
it is the building of processes, so other people can do the delivery of services.
Because now I can put in an hour of work or two hours of work
and get 10 or 15 hours of work in return.
Because I’ve got staff, which has been like really,
really fascinating aspect of like, reducing my time load
while still accomplishing the same workload.
Yeah, I am a huge fan of delegating.
I delegate and outsource so many things.
Now I’ve made a decision in my freelance business,
I don’t outsource my writing work to subcontractors.
I’ve done that before multiple times and really did not like it.
So because of that every other aspect of my business
needs to be managed in some way by someone on my team.
And I don’t care if it’s something that would only take me 10 minutes,
just the mental load of me not having to think about it. It’s like,
oh, if I’m making a PowerPoint, I’m not the one creating that
and finding all the images and making the animations work
and doing all those kinds of things behind the scenes.
And it is a huge relief to have people who can support you,
like I’ve worked with, my VA that has been with me the longest
has been with me for five years. So he knows my business like in and out,
I can leave him like a 30-second message.
And he’ll he’ll just take whatever and run with it.
And my graphic designer knows my brand and my colors,
and she knows the way that I speak.
So it’s like very minimal instruction,
and very little management needed on my part for them
to do stuff that really helps me.
I think it’s hard for so many business owners to let go of the control, right?
Because we get so used to doing that ourselves, but it can be really liberating.
Yeah, and what’s interesting is like, I have found that like,
I had the hardest time hiring other people, because I was like,
I do my like, I’m really fast. And I’m really good. And being fast and good.
Is a it’s like, you know, what’s the word I’m looking for…
it’s a double-edged sword.
Right? Where, I was constantly asking myself the question like,
should I hire this out? Or should I do it myself?
And the answer to that question is almost always I should do it myself.
And when I hired someone and actually just committed to bringing them on staff,
the question then changed to like, I have this person, how can I best use their time? Right?
And, you know, it’s a different question, that sort of,
it changed the trajectory of my business, because now I was like,
I had to force myself to start pulling myself out of things.
And then the realization that I had, which is, you know,
it’s humbling is that you bring other people in,
and they do it better than you, or faster than you,
or to a better degree than you do. And you’re like,
Well, there you go. There’s my humble pill for the day.
But it’s a good thing, right? Because now I can deliver higher quality,
faster, better results for my clients, when I bring better people to the table.
Yeah. And I think it’s always that question of,
is this the best use of my time, you know,
would a CEO be doing this particular thing?
Even if it is something that’s entrenched in you like,
well, I could do this really fast, because I’m the same way.
It’s like, I could knock this out so fast, but it’s like,
do I want to expend my mental energy on that,
or should I stay focused on what I do best,
which is writing and talking to clients,
like everything that is not writing and talking to clients
is not the best use of my time.
So let’s figure out how I can bring on somebody to do those other things.
It’s that whole, idea that you should do only what you can do, right?
And so like, same kind of thing, I’m really good at PowerPoint, and Keynote
and those kind of things. And I can, you know, animate the socks off of things.
And just because I’ve learned how to do it,
and I could probably do it in half the time that my VA could do it. Right.
But at the same time, my VA can do it. And there’s things that I can do
that he can’t do right now that nobody else on my team can do.
And those are the things I should be focusing on
because of the things that grow my business. All right.
And that’s like, you know, the client meetings
and the expert brand building stuff that we do
it’s stuff that only I can do. And it’s that transition that you talked about
from being you know, a lot of us came out of the employee world.
And now we’re a freelancer. And you can approach that freelance job,
a freelance, like thing as a business as a job,
or you can approach it as a CEO.
And like learning how to approach it as a CEO
is like the skill that we all need to learn.
Yeah, and I think even if you could do the task or group of tasks
in the same amount of time or less time, or you have more proficiency
or the same level of proficiency, it helps you’ve accomplished so much more,
I often have people ask me, because I am a solopreneur.
And I have a very bootstrapped team behind me.
But people are like, how do you do all of that?
How are you keeping track of those five major things that are kind of like
different businesses interacting together?
And it’s like, well, one of those businesses is completely run by my VA, right.
And like, so much of it is, it makes it seem like I’m everywhere.
I’m not really everywhere. I’m just one person, but my VA who’s pretty much a superhero.
Like, we’re on YouTube, and we’re on podcasts, and I’m doing speaking engagements
and coaching people. So it seems like I am that superhero.
And it’s like, No, I’m very much human and my flaws, too.
But my team is making my brand that much bigger,
and in that many more places.
Because I’ve said, you do this, that’s your zone of genius.
I’m going to stay in my lane and do my thing.
Yeah, that’s interesting on the like, This podcast is fairly new, right?
I think this might be right around Episode 20, or something like that.
And we publish it to Facebook and YouTube and, like 15 different podcasts,
networks, and we transcribe it and give them our blog,
and we create derivative content that gets promoted all the micro social networks
and all over the place. And it’s like, a ginormous amount of content gets created.
Which, like, makes me feel like it makes me look like I’m everywhere.
Like, I’m 20 episodes in. And I’ve got so many people booked
on my podcast that I’m booked out through December.
I didn’t do it. I didn’t do any of it. My VA did it all.
I just do the interview. So like, it makes you makes you seem
and feel bigger than you are. Right.
And that’s the whole idea of being a CEO, right?
You’re building something that’s bigger than yourself.
So that’s really cool. So on a move for little bit, your common enemy, right?
So a common enemy is… superheroes have something they’re fighting against, right?
So think about it like this, if you could, when you bring on a new client
go into their life or their brain or their situation
and remove something that would immediately move,
you know, give them like leaps and bounds,
move them forward. What would that thing be?
Probably this idea that it’s going to be much harder than it is
a lot of the reasons why clients get hesitant about hiring freelancers is because
they think it’s going to be difficult, or that they’re going to get burned.
And sometimes they have been burned in the past.
So that’s a common objection that I have to overcome in phone calls is
Oh, I hired somebody else and they never delivered the work or they delivered it
and it was really poor quality.
And those nerves can keep people from moving forward with a project
that they really want to have completed. So if I could kind of eliminate that,
because I have that conversation over and over and over again.
And of course, I’ve developed my business processes to showcase why I’m different.
But it would be great if more people felt comfortable about the prospect of hiring freelancers.
So there’s actually like two sides to that, right.
So there’s the side that you want to actually remove that because
that’s a conversation you have to have regularly,
but then part of your business is you help freelancers, right?
So if you start… depending on how big your impact gets
with, as freelancers directly become a better part of our economy and our culture,
you’ll have more and more of the positive past results with freelancers
instead of negative past results with freelancers because
they’re starting to approach their businesses, like CEOs
and actually delivering good product.
So yeah, like self fulfilling your own wish.
And some people are like,
Well, why are you helping people who could essentially be your competition?
And it’s like, well, I don’t see them as my competition,
because we all have different, like styles
and ways that we approach things with clients.
But the more that I can help someone be an effective freelancer,
just like you said, the more people think that freelancers
are a great investment in their business. So it’s the rising tide lifts all ships,
if that word gets out there, like I had a good experience
I had a good experience, then it’s like,
I will also have a good experience from that,
because clients are now more open to working with freelancers,
and are approaching it from a positive perspective.
Yeah, and it’s so true, too, because, one of the conversations I have frequently is,
basically it’s like this, that person’s not your customer, right.
So I talked to people, clients are like, well
everyone’s worried about competition.
And you know, I help people build their expert brand, right?
And I’ve got like five or six people in the real estate space
that teach real estate coaching.
Two or three of them that teach specifically commercial real estate investing.
And they’re always talking about they’re like,
they’re always worried about what about the competition?
What about the saturation in the marketplace?
What about Grant Cardone, he teaches commercial real estate.
I was like, the reality is, people are going to connect with you as an individual. Right?
You know, I, for instance, love Grant Cardone for his teaching, and what he does,
and what he’s helped people with, and his big brand and all that stuff.
But like, personally, his teaching style, and his talking style is grating to me,
like, I don’t connect with them. And I couldn’t sit down and learn from him,
because I would, you know, I’d like, you know, want to claw my eyeballs out
like he gives you, I don’t know where it is,
it’s just his energy doesn’t jive with me.
But another client of mine, the way that he teaches
the way that he talks and stuff like that,
it does work for me, even though they’re talking about the same type of things.
And the reality is, it’s like that in every business
you’re going to have the person, the freelancer that you connect with.
o honestly, they’re not my competition,
they’re going to have their customers, I’m going to have mine.
And know that none of us can serve everyone
I know, and you don’t want to anyways.
Like I really believe that.
Not everyone is my ideal.
And I like to get on the phone with people who
I’ve even had people that have like their credit cards out,
they’re ready to buy a course of mine, or they’re ready to invest in coaching.
And it’s like, No, no, you have to do the free 30 minute call first.
Like, I have to make sure we’re going to work
and trust that I’m going to tell you if this is not a good fit.
Or if I don’t think this is the right investment in your business at this point in time.
I’ll tell you and a lot of people are caught off guard by that.
But it’s like having been there and invested in a lot of stuff myself,
I always want to find the person who’s right for me at that particular point.
And if a prospective coaching client or student is asking me
and I and I really feel that it’s a no, I’m happy to recommend them to someone else
and say, you know, so and so style is probably a little bit more your jam.
You know, if you think I talked too fast already, like we’re going to struggle the whole time.
So I want you to hear what I sound like the way that I talk
the way that I approach your business, so that we both can feel comfortable about it.
Because it’s true. It’s not your competition, everyone has a different style.
Yeah, and you know, I tell my clients ahead of time that, you know,
I talk fast, I move fast, I communicate well,
and I tell jokes and that kind of stuff.
And if that’s not down, like if we’re not on the same page,
then we’re going to have a hard time working together.
So I’ll point them other direction.
Like I just had a client the other day asked me they’re like,
can you do all this stuff on YouTube?
And I was like I could but honestly, like, that’s a place that I’m experimenting with.
It’s not a place that like if you want someone
who’s going to blow you up, that’s not me. Right?
So here’s, you know, here’s my recommendations on that
you have to just know where I’ve seen freelancers say that,
no, I have to take that business, because it’s going to go to a competition.
And from my perspective, it’s like,
hey, if I can take this client and bring that client to someone else,
I’ve had multiple benefits to multiple people, right?
I benefit the other Freelancer helping them get new clients,
I’ve benefited my client by creating a great relationship.
And that just comes back in later on.
Right? And sometimes people, you’ll tell somebody,
no, because they’re not a fit for you.
But in their future, they will find someone who is a fit for you and say,
Hey, I remember I talked to Laura, like three years ago,
you might want to reach out and see if she’s still doing freelance writing or coaching.
But I think your style and her style might really work.
So I have actually gotten referrals from people that either turned me down,
or I turned them down. And I’m like, Who is this person?
And I go back and search the my email and I’m like,
Oh, yeah, we had a conversation and it didn’t go anywhere from there.
So you never know. I think you also build your own authenticity
from being upfront and honest, and not just saying,
Oh, I can help everyone with everything.
And I’m great at every single thing.
ou know, it’s much better to be like, let me make a recommendation for you.
And that helps build that loyalty with whoever you were just talking to.
Because you’re being very genuine.
Yeah. And then like when you make those kind of recommendations to people
you’re making recommendations to…
a lot of times they end up being reciprocal.
And they send business back in your direction when they find good fits for you.
So anyways, I love that type of thing.
And it’s absolutely right.
So if we can make all of the freelance experiences that businesses have better,
it’s going to make all of our lives, you know, as freelancers better.
So anyways, I love what you’re doing.
So, other side of the common enemy is your driving force, your mission, right?
So just like Spider Man fights to save New York
or Batman fights to save Gotham or Google fights to categorize
all the world’s information? What is your mission, I want to know what it is.
Oh, I am just driven to help people find freedom and flexibility.
There’s a lot in traditional employment that like
this whole idea of nine to five is a holdover from the Industrial Revolution.
And there’s no real strong proof that we need to work exactly
40 hours a week between the hours of nine to five to be effective and productive.
So I think more people than ever are looking for that
freedom-based lifestyle with flexibility, because they have families
because they have other things that they want to pursue.
And so I know that’s my personal driving force,
and nine times out of ten, with someone I’m coaching,
that’s their goal as well, they want a lifestyle where they decide what it looks like,
and how often they’re in or out of the office.
Yeah. You and I are cut from the same cloth,
my business name behind the scenes is Five Freedoms.
And I talked about, I talked about the the five main freedoms
that are required to have a free lifestyle, right,
we have… our basics are covered by living in the United States, right?
We have political freedom, which is basically the ability to do
what you want to do without fear of jail time, right, and spiritual freedom,
which is, you know, the freedom that comes from, you know,
your being in touch with your Creator, kind of so those are like foundational freedoms,
and then you have financial freedom, time, freedom and location, freedom.
And most people focus on financial freedom
and think that once they hit a certain, like we talked about earlier, income goal
that they’ll have reached freedom.
And without realizing that if you’re not careful at what you build,
you’ll sacrifice your time freedom and your location freedom
in order to get that financial freedom.
And so I think more people should start focusing on like,
how do I build a business that you’re talking about
a lifestyle business that gives me my time and gives me my location freedom,
and still allows me to hit the income goals that I want to hit? Right?
Because I personally… it’s like when you realize that your ability to choose
what you want to do at any given time is really the freedom. Right?
That’s the freedom aspect, right?
And you’re not restricted by the amount of money in your bank account,
or the you know, how far you can get from a location you’re tied to,
or how much time you have to spend at your job. Right?
When you have the freedom of choice and all those areas,
you end up with a very free lifestyle.
Yeah. And it’s also about like, what new are you adding into your world
that you really want to go after? Because you have that time,
location and financial freedom. Like for me, I was like,
I don’t need to have the million-dollar freelance business.
Because as long as I’m making enough to support my other goals,
like last year, I wanted to get a literary agent, and I wanted to do a TEDx talk.
And I was like, so how can I rearrange my business to allow for the extra time
that I’m going to put towards these two efforts.
And to me, that was freedom, because I was like, wow, this is really cool.
Like, no one’s telling me I can’t do this.
I don’t have to like cram it into nights and weekends,
like it kind of fluidly became a part of my business and life.
And I just really love that.
Yeah, and you have that freedom to choose the things
that are important to you at any given time.
And what’s cool about that, when you have those freedoms to choose,
you realize that your destination like the thing,
you’re moving towards changes.
It doesn’t stay the same all the time, right.
And you might have like a bigger overarching goal.
But like, the path that you’ve taken is constantly moving and changing.
And you know, maybe this year TEDx isn’t on the list of things you want to do
maybe something else, right? But you have the freedom to do that.
Like one of the things I’ve been playing around with is
just in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been learning to draw.
So I’ve been taking a couple hours at night and just teaching myself how to draw
going through courses like that. But I have I have the freedom to do that. Right?
I have a couple of hours a night I can put towards
that I don’t have to worry about you know,
my business or my job or other things because I’ve got,
I’ve got the time freedom. So you have to put into in this case,
the only reason I’m learning to do it is because I’m flexing
the learning-something-new muscle, right?
Yeah. Yeah, I love that. Right.
Yeah. So you have you have the freedom to do those kind of things.
So the next thing up on the on the on the whole discussion of being a hero
is the heroes tool belt, right? So you know,
maybe you have a big magical hammer like Thor
or a bulletproof vest, like your neighbourhood police officer,
or maybe you just really love how Evernote helps you organize
your thoughts or how you can build slides in Keynote, right?
What are some of the tools that you
and your team use to accomplish the work that you do?
One of my absolute favorites is also so cheap,
I feel like it’s either $5 or $10 a month,
but it’s called Boomerang for Gmail, literal lifesaver.
You can schedule emails to go out later,
you can schedule them to come back in your inbox,
whether or not the person has responded.
So when you’re keeping track of things like follow ups,
or if a team member sends me something, and I’m like,
this isn’t a priority, send it back to me in two days,
it will redeliver it to my inbox as if it’s a new email.
And that also works really well if you’re working weird hours,
and you don’t want people to know it.
I often work very early in the morning, because that’s when I’m First Alert.
But I don’t want my clients to get emails at four or five o’clock
and think that that’s like a normal thing.
They can expect me to be ready or feel like that’s an interruption into their morning.
So I’ll write the emails then.
But I’ll schedule it to go out when business kind of starts in the East Coast and everything.
So I love that boomerang. It’s really helped my email inbox stay organized
for a long time my inbox was just like, the bane of my existence.
I dreaded opening it, am I here we go and probably have 130 messages.
And I don’t have time to answer all of these.
And it was a real stressful point.
But being able to just say this is an important that can be done in two days.
This gets forwarded to a team member like it was
it’s really become kind of a powerful tool to use.
Awesome and Boomerang, I actually I had never thought of using it that way
I have boomerang. But I’ve only ever used it for like
the automatically reminding me if someone hasn’t followed up yet.
So it’s interesting to hear like the other ways that you’re using Boomerang
like improve what you’re doing with clients and stuff.
Yeah, I think that it’s really like I love sending out like if I’m going to try it.
If I’m marketing my business, let’s say I need to bring on a new client,
and I’m pitching over email, I’m going to send all those pitches at once.
And then I’m also going to try back them. If you use HubSpot,
they will tell you when your emails have been open.
So you can also see who’s interested in working with you,
if they open something 17 times they might be interested.
o that can also give you a clue with follow up.
So between those two tools, that way, if I send a bunch of messages at 9am,
I can expect that maybe in the afternoon,
I need to come back and respond to all of them.
So when I batch them together like that, it makes it much easier for me
to be able to read my email, respond, only ask my brain to do one thing,
and then I’ll do like, I’ll put all my team members’ emails into one folder.
So when it’s time for me to go answer all of those, it’s all in one place.
And I’m only thinking about those kinds of projects.
So curious question. How important has batching been to growing your business?
Instrumental like, like game changer, I mean, there’s like only like a handful of things.
And one of them was like hiring a VA.
But batching as a writer, I wasted so many years trying to say,
Okay, here’s client A’s project, let me sit down, do all the research,
pick the title, find the resources and the links,
create the focus key words, write it, edit it, send it, you know, NO.
Now I do everything in three stages.
It’s all research, all writing, all editing.
So it’s actually multiple clients, different projects.
But I’m doing the same task.
Because switching lanes in my brain from writing, to editing, to researching
those are three very different processes.
So it’s much easier for me to sit down and say on a Friday,
Okay, I have to come up with seven blog titles for clients.
Next week, I’m going to do all seven of them together,
recorded in a spreadsheet, pass it to my VA to find the resource links
and keywords and images that go with it.
And then I’ll come back and do like,
separate batches of writing together and then editing.
And it makes me feel so much less exhausted at the end of the day.
So batching is key, I do it with a lot of things, I put all my communication
and administrative stuff together.
That has been really, really important for making me not feel so tired,
because I think we live in this multitasking society.
But the truth is that that just wears you out,
you feel like you’re spread all over the place and frazzled.
And so it’s much easier to say like,
I am working on answering client emails right now.
And I’m going to set a timer for 30 minutes.
And when I’m done, I’m not answering client emails
until another window later today.
But I’m going to move into a different project after that.
Yeah, so the reason I brought that up is because you mentioned,
you’re using Boomerang to accomplish batching with your email.
And I was curious if that flowed into some of the other areas.
I know, it’s something that I discovered as well.
So it sounds sounds like batching is a big tool you use in your business,
And like one of the things that I help my clients do,
because we build the whole expert brand stuff.
We’ll help them build the podcast show, right, like a weekly show like this one.
And they’re like, well, I don’t know how I’m gonna have time,
like, I don’t have time to do a show every week.
And I was like, you don’t have to do a show every week,
just pick one one day, early in a month, and record four or five episodes,
if there’s four or five weeks in the month.
And spend a couple of hours, record them all.
And then like you hand them off to my team,
and we’ll do everything else, right?
So you can create a weekly show for our clients.
And we have them batch it. And then you know, my team all batches,
all their stuff anyways. But you know, because we built it,
but we can take for them and create a weekly show out of
something that they can batch in a couple of hours, right.
And then they end up having the whole …
they’re everywhere and they love it.
So anyways, batching and it’s just something that I don’t think
a lot of people realize, like, they think in terms of like,
I have to do the thing when the thing is needed to be done.
Like, if that makes sense. And so of thinking in terms of batching and scheduling.
Yeah, and you have to get a little bit ahead.
So it’s a little bit of a challenge. But I first realized how powerful that could be
when I would go on vacation. And I had no choice but to batch
because I needed to get two or three weeks ahead on client work.
And when you kind of think, Okay, every month, I’m going to need
this certain many things that need to be created.
I even batch like when I create my content for my coaching business,
we just keep a shared Google Doc. And I’ll go in there and be like,
these are the four YouTube videos, these are the four podcast titles,
these are the four things that are going to go out to market my freelance writing business.
And that instantly tells my team go start creating the social graphics with that on there.
And then I will sit down and record it all.
If I do YouTube, I just changed my shirt in between the recording
so it looks like I’m recording at different times.
But it’s like, why would I record one five minute video every week,
I can just sit here for half an hour and like do all of them and upload them all
and then have the team take care of it.
So hopefully this inspires some people who are listening
to think about the various ways that they can batch.
So one of the things that I actually I told one of my clients who does YouTube videos,
he did like 5 or 10 videos. And I was like, –because I had him batch them all.
was like, what you should do for me, just have four or five different shirts,
change your shirt,
change your shirt when you batch them, and they look like there…
And he was like, he’s like, Oh, that’s genius.
And he does that he gets like four or five shirts and batches videos and changes shirts.
So it’s funny that, uh, that you do the same thing.
But yeah, the when you when you batch them, you get them all done at one time
and then have stuff get created for you.
I think it changes the game a little bit on, on getting stuff done,
because you don’t have to constantly think about, like,
especially if you’re doing like the content creation, right?
I should come up with something new every other day or something like that.
Or you can put it all together, like I have a list,
I keep a little list in my notes on like video topics.
And I’ll just sit down and record four or five videos on those.
And then I send them out, right?
And if you’re as geeky as I am, I actually have the you know,
when you hit the stop button, and it uploads
I have, like Zapier triggers.
That notify my team members that a new video has been put in there
and like it kicks off a whole series of processes,
it’s like “new videos” and you know, make sure you transcribe the video,
move it into such and such a folder
and it’s got like the whole checklist on there when that checklist is done.
And like here’s the next checklist, add this checklist to the process
and move through those things. But you know,
that’s a level of geeky that not many people get to.
I love that I’m gonna have to start implementing that
because my system is not that streamlined yet,
but I’m already thinking about like how helpful that could be
and save me another round of emails. Yeah.
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So if you want the quick and dirty of the process …
Google Drive is capable of being a trigger in Zapier. Right.
So you can trigger things to happen when a new file is added to a new folder in Google Drive.
So I’ll use Zapier to watch a folder, right, so I’ll have a folder for my videos.
And so like I use a Screen Flow, I think for recording videos,
and I can upload straight to Google Drive and I drop them into the you know,
new video folder for whatever I have – my shows –
I have a different folder for different shows,
I’ll just click the button, and they upload in the background when I’m done.
And so Zapier will trigger depending on which folder I dropped it into,
it’ll create a card, put it on the right Trello board.
And it’ll have the first checklist in there for all the things that need to happen with it.
It’ll assign it to the appropriate VA, drop a due date on it with some math
based on the thing that’s going on, and the last part of the checklist is always,
you know, once you’re finished with this checklist, move it to the next stage
and add the next checklist. Right for the thing.
So it goes through the process.
And so I think through all of my processes that way is
how can I have the least amount of interaction from me possible
because I just I tell people, I’m aggressively lazy, like aggressively lazy.
I’ll spend, you know, five hours to build a robot.
So I never have to do a thing again.
Because I just know, if I have to upload the video
and then, you know, get the links for the video
and then put it all together and an email or a Trello card or something like that.
That is just never going to happen. Right?
Because I’m too lazy for it.
So I was like I need to build a robot that does all the hard stuff for me.
That’s amazing. I’m gonna have to steal that.
Yeah, so it pays to be aggressively lazy.
OK, so the next almost last question here is your own personal heroes, right?
So Frodo had Gandalf Luke had Obi Wan, Robert Kiyosaki his rich dad,
who were some of your heroes? Were they real life mentors?
Were they speakers or authors? Were they peers?
Were just a few years ahead of you.
And how important were they to
what you’ve accomplished so far in your freelance business?
Yeah, so one of my most important mentors is the professor
who was the advisor on my master’s thesis.
And he passed away several years ago,
and was just such an amazing like friend and supporter of my research,
my work in the academic world has been very controversial,
I guess, in the traditional academic department sense.
And he was always a champion of me. And the first time that we ever met,
I was in my teaching assistant office at 7am.
And he walked by, and he was the only other person in the building.
And he’s like, this is how I get my articles done.
This is how I get my books done.
He goes, when you work when no one else is working,
and you can’t be disrupted, you know.
And it was just one of those lessons that I’ve carried forward with me a lot.
So he was definitely a huge mentor to me.
And the first person that I ever met in the freelance world is
someone who I now am a business partner with
we sell our courses about freelance writing
and landing freelance gigs together,
She is Yolanda black, and I bought everything she published
back when I got started in 2012, she was the go to authority for me,
had 15 years of freelance experience and always spoke in a very real relatable way.
And it made me feel like it was possible.
And she spent half a year in Atlanta
half the year in Jamaica. And I was like,
Wow, that’s amazing. I like to have a business that just kind of follows you everywhere.
So we’ve remained connected and colleagues all these years,
I wrote a chapter in her book. And it’s just really cool
the way that sort of relationship has evolved.
But those are probably the two people who have influenced me the most in business.
So if you don’t mind my asking, what was your research paper about?
Your thesis that was controversial?
Yeah. So, my master’s thesis was all about mail-order brides.
We actually had to restrict it from being downloaded after it was published,
because a number of men who use the services,
were downloading it and trying to track me down
and show up at events where I was giving speeches about the talk.
And was it was completely crazy when it happened.
I was like, 24, so I wasn’t really expecting that.
So we actually had the Dean of the Graduate School of Virginia Tech
block access to my thesis for three years just for my own privacy.
And then it kind of came up for renewal.
And I said, you know, let’s just let it out.
Like, let’s let it be there. I feel good enough now.
And I’m actually glad that happened,
because a professor at the University of California emailed me
and asked for permission to use it as a teaching tool in his classroom.
And I was like, there’s the kind of purposes that I was hoping
are going to come from my master’s thesis. Know, people so.
So if you want a interesting connection there, my aunt,
who’s been my aunt for 30 plus years now is a mail-order bride from the Philippines.
And my uncle and her have been married for longer than I’ve been alive.
And they’ve got four kids who are a couple years younger than myself.
And she still has all of her family and friends in the Philippines
and goes back and visits every once in a while.
But yeah, my aunt for my whole life is from the Philippines.
See, you never know.
And it’s like for some people that really works.
And it’s completely safe and great relationships come from it.
And sometimes it doesn’t work. And it’s just an interesting phenomenon.
To me, that doesn’t get a lot of like coverage and national…
I mean, since Of course, I published that,
you have shows like 90 day fiance that are kind of
putting their reality TV spin on that whole thing.
But that’s definitely very interesting. It’s a small world.
Yeah. Yeah, it is a small world. And I didn’t realize it was like
I didn’t realize it was a thing.
And I didn’t understand it as a child until I grew up.
I was like, oh, like, Who knew? Right?
But you know, life is what it is, I guess. Yeah.
Okay, so last question on the show is your guiding principles, right?
So I say let’s bring it home for our listeners,
what are the top one or two principled actions that you use regularly today
that contributed to the success and influence you enjoy,
and maybe something that you wish you had known when you got started?
So I think one of the most important principles for me is
to always be willing to dream a little bit bigger,
and to kind of desensitize myself to rejection a little bit.
When I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone to try new
and different things. It’s always terrifying.
So I think that’s something that I wish I could go back and tell myself
if I was starting all over again, like, you’re never going to feel like
this is comfortable to launch a business to speak on the TEDx stage
to get a book agent and have that book being pitched to publishers
and have some people interested in some people flat out say no,
but it’s almost always worth it. Because if I hadn’t been willing to step out
and be rejected, I wouldn’t have had to TEDx talks.
And I wouldn’t have a book that’s coming out in five weeks with my name on the cover.
So it’s like, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there
like the worst that someone will say is no.
And if you really want it, you’ll find a way to get there
or get us to a similar goal if your path changes.
Yeah, that’s awesome. So random other connection.
A couple of years ago, that was 2012. I helped Temecula, California,
which is where my hometown, or Mexican hometown anyways,
build their first TEDx, right? So we built the website and built all the thing.
So I actually got to put together like on the,
I don’t know what you call it, the team that puts the TEDx together,
we actually got to do that. So I got to put together a whole TEDx thing.
I still do it today. Right? So the some of the stuff that we we put together
that first time around, but yeah, it’s you know,
getting out there and realizing that you’re gonna get rejected a lot.
And that’s part of the process. And one of my things now, I actually,
I strive for rejection, which is an interesting thing to think about.
But I want to get to know as quick as possible. Yeah.
Right. So yeah, I said, I set my marketing and my things up everything
to drive towards getting rejected quick, right?
Because if I get rejected fast, and you can move forward, right,
and go through other things, and you realize that rejection is just part of the process.
So if you build it into your stuff and understand how important it is,
I mean, that’s how you get your YES.
And you also realize how subjective so many things are,
you can literally pitch the same idea to 50 different people
and have equal parts say it’s awful and terrible,
and have other people be like, this is amazing.
You absolutely need to be a part of my world for doing this.
So it’s about numbers, too, right?
Like, you can’t just like do something once and be like,
oh, someone said, no, that didn’t work out. I guess it’s not meant to be.
Like, think about the bigger picture.
You know, I actually got rejected from over 90 TEDx events
before I received invitations to speak five.
So it took us at number 91, the guy who was helping me apply for these
I was like, all right, I was like, This is enough.
Like I’ve had enough rejection. He’s like, No, no, it’s just around the corner.
He’s like, I feel it. It’s coming. And sure enough, it was coming.
But like the same thing. Let’s get to know as quick as possible.
So I can move on mentally, and kind of close this loop.
I think the worst thing is ambiguity. When you’re like, wondering,
is this going to work or not? Did I do something wrong?
It’s much easier to just get a flat NO, and keep going.
Yeah, I’ll push people for that, too.
I will like I was like that, honestly.
No, is not a bad thing. You don’t have to be about
feel bad about telling me no.
And I’ll like when I get on client calls.
That’s one of the first things I’ll tell people.
As I’d be like, Look, the goal of this call is to get you to tell me No. Right?
And if we get to the end of the call, and you still want to say yes,
then we’re meant to work together. Right?
Yeah. So, you know, because I don’t want you to feel like
you’re going to hurt my feelings. We say now,
like I expect this call to not go to a yes. And, anyways, because you know,
there’s, at least at this point in my business,
I have to really want to work with you to say yes,
So anyways, it’s a cool place to be at.
So anyways, that pretty much finishes up the interview.
I do one last thing that I do with everyone.
It’s called The HERO Challenge.
Heroes Challenge is really simple. And it’s basically this…
do you have someone in your network who you think
has a really cool story for the entrepreneurial
entrepreneurial journey that you think should come on the show?
Who are they? And why do you think they should come on the show?
Yes, I’m trying to think of like, Who is the most like relevant person here,
but I am thinking specifically, of a freelancing colleague of mine named Gina Horkey.
She runs the Horkey Handbook. And she trains people how to be virtual assistants
and help people to hire their first virtual assistant
and she has a free service that she’ll basically allow you to
put what you’re looking for in a VA,
and then she distributes it to all of the VAs she’s trained.
It’s like a perfect, seamless thing. And then you get amazing,
thoughtful coaches. And she’s had a really cool journey
for how she got to where she is, she used to be my business coach,
and she’s just super inspirational.
So let me know if you want those details, because I can connect you.
Yeah, absolutely. We’ll reach out afterwards and get those connected.
So thank you so much for coming on the show. And being a part of this, Laura.
It has been an absolute pleasure talking to you.
Before we go, what I want to do is find out where can people find you?
If they’re looking to either hire you for anything
or look for any of your courses, stuff like that.
And then the second part of that is
who are the type of people who should reach out?
Absolutely. Great question. So my website is
We publish lots of great free content there,
including my newly rebooted Advanced Freelancing podcast,
which is coming back very shortly. I hang out the most on LinkedIn.
So you can search for me under Laura Pennington or Laura Briggs.
And the type of people that I help most often are
people who are struggling with some aspect of their service-based business.
Maybe they’re fully booked, but they’re feeling exhausted.
They’re not fully booked, and they don’t know how to get there.
And I really work with those kinds of freelancers one on one
to develop strategies to grow their business in the right way
that works for them, whatever that looks like.
Awesome, that sounds wonderful.
So sounds like the best place to reach out to you would be on LinkedIn,
Laura Pennington and Laura Briggs
or you can also check out betterbizacademy.com.
Yeah. So anyways, if you are listening to this and you feel like
you want help to get your service-based business pass some sort of mental
or physical block that you have going on.
Definitely take the time to reach out to Laura,
obviously, if you’ve been listening this long,
you can tell she knows what she’s doing.
Take the time to reach out to her. And Laura,
thank you for coming on.
I really enjoyed having you on the show.
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How To Build Incredibly Persuasive Webinars To Sell Your Online Courses or Coaching
Pick your copy of my new masterclass today and learn the EXACT strategies that I personally use to build sales webinars that have sold more than $786,976 worth of online courses and coaching just in the last year.
What Is The Hero Show?
A peak behind the masks of modern day super heroes. What makes them tick? What are their super powers? Their worst enemies? What's their kryptonite? And who are their personal heroes? Find out by listening now