How to Balance Creative/Manager/Entrepreneur
How do I either get excited about things I don't wanna get excited about. How do I become stronger. Now, you know that things need to change. You're just not exactly sure how or where that's gonna happen. So let's talk about things that we can do about weaknesses in a managerial role. So if you need to strengthen your managerial role, this is probably a person who loves creating, loves doing a lot of stuff, and it takes you, like, three or four days to respond to email. This is the person who's blogging by week. This is the person who gets a phone call and then doesn't respond within 24 hours to clients. This is the person who knows that the website needs to be changed because that's your online storefront and spends months before something's actually done about it. So I strongly and firmly believe of setting designated work hours for specific tasks each day. The only way to get, to become a better manager is to understand the roles and things that need to get done and assign them to g...
et them done in a specific way. As an example, I spent 60 minutes on emails every day. It has not changed for the past 10 years. I answer all of my emails every single day and there are very few people who are not getting a response within 24 hours. Obviously I'm here at CreativeLive and they will not be getting a response in 24 hours, but I have an auto-responder. My clients, my emails are responded to within 24 hours. And I get a lot of emails, but because I siphon out my time in 60 minutes, I power through, I get it done. I know it needs to get done and then you just get it done. What happens is that we try to say, oh, I'll do my email, and oh, let me just go make some coffee, let me get the kids off to school, I'll come back to email, and then email comes, and you get another email that's more important, and you didn't get back to the one that you initially got, and all of the sudden you find yourself in email eight to 10 times a day, or it becomes so overwhelming that you let it pile up to 800 emails, half of which are spam and then half of which require a response, and you're like, I hate my job right now. But instead, (laughs) instead of we were just to say I do what I need to do every single day and then it's done. I do not tap into email the rest of the day. I might look at it, and if something is pertinent, like the producers were emailing for CreativeLive. They had to be responded to that day, fine. But even if I was creating content with our guest speaker Promise Tangeman, she knew she was not gonna get an email response till the next day. Like, that's just a pattern that you create with people, and you set the expectations that you want your clients to have. Now, I would also set limited time of work per day. How much time I'm spending cataloging things for tax purposes. I designate one day a week, I go through all my receipts, I itemize my files, I do all of those things at one specific time so it's not looming over my head. I'm in that zone and then I move on. If you have... Oh, this is a good one. Social activity. Part of why we are terrible managers is because social activity, right? We start email and then we see a notification from Instagram, or we start actually writing and then all of a sudden somebody posted in a group that you really wanna be active in. And so what happens is that social activity ruins you as an entrepreneur. It truly does. So the thing that I have to do is I use social media as an emaciated carrot in front of me. I do not get on social media until I got to my designated time of day. If I overwent my time of day, I do not get on social media. And I don't get on social media until I complete tasks. So two qualifiers for me to get on social media, I must complete the task in the time I designated to myself. Do I sound psycho? Yes. (laughter) But let me tell you, I have run a highly successful and profitable business for over a decade, myself and my husband, that is it. It wasn't until about nine months ago that we actually brought on a team member. So in order to do as much as you want to do, it is possible if you set up a ton of managerial parameters. Yes.
But what if social media is part of your tasks or is your task?
Then I build it into my timeline and social media is part of my tasks. But it is a variable task. I don't prioritize it over stuff that needs to get done. Like my client work needs to get done before I'm outside talking about CreativeLive. It's very strict. And I run my business on social media. I know it is the biggest arm of marketing that I possibly could have, and it is still never prioritized over the stuff I need to get done for the business itself. Great question. And if I've noticed, if you are shipping products, I've designated one day a week or two days a week to ship those products. Because a lot of times shipping and getting into the process... So I never forgot in college, we studied Scientific Management by Frederick Taylor back in, like, the early start of America, and he noticed that if a person is given a specific task over a prolonged period of time, the rate of completion decreases. So the more you do it, the faster you become, and yet so often we become so distracted that what takes us 15 minutes to complete is actually taking us because we're doing so many things. We think we're being, oh, I'm multitasking, or, oh, let me answer this phone, make some coffee, and do this email at the same time, and you're doing all three things poorly. When you put those blinders, you become a stronger manager. Now, there are some times, some people who I'm talking to who I find their self and their identity in being a manager. My emails are responded to in five minutes. People get responded to immediately. My account has all my receipts at the first of the month all the time. There are people who find their identity in being so organized, but as a result, they're using it as a way not to actually do client work. So they want to do the frontward-facing client work and get excited and they're booking it. Oh, we see, cast a vision. And then they're like, I'm so busy, blah blah blah. And then actually doing the work, they're like, I just don't have time. I'm so tired. I just need a break for me. Right? So if that's where you're at and you understand that you're using your managerial fluff to protect yourself from actually getting the work done, it's time to outsource. I'm a firm believer, just this past year, we spent 10 years, I did all of my customer support personally, and I realized that I got to a point in my business where I couldn't handle it anymore. In order for my customers to have a beautiful complete experience and get a guaranteed response in 24 hours on a business day, I had to bring in somebody for customer support. And I realized that. And I encourage anybody here, if you're using it as a defense mechanism, so here's the, a few things that I now outsource because I realized that I wanted to use being a manager, being busy. Oh, I love being busy, telling people I'm busy, busy, busy. I outsource my accountant. I outsource a bookkeeper. I outsource a housekeeper. I outsource a production assistant. When I became very busy in my business and I took on too many weddings all at once, I had to outsource production for part of that. I hired now a customer support assistant. And at times if I need to on project basis, since I don't have a CEO, I'll hire somebody as a product manager to make sure that I'm staying on track. Now, yeah, I realize that it took my business 11 years to get to this point, but let me tell you, I was outsourcing from the very first year of my business. I was outsourcing from the very first year of my business when I was barely turning a profit, but I understood that I was building a long game strategy. I didn't wanna be a photographer for one year. I wanted to be a photographer for 10 years. And in order to do that, I built a strong foundation. Okay, so real quick, I feel like I'm talking, like, so much, it's like... Is there anything that anybody here is going to immediately change, let go, swap? Because I think people online, we watch this, and we become passive engagers, like, yeah, I will. I will outsource. I've decided. What? What are you gonna do? Because I feel like when you call yourself out and you say the things that need to change, they actually change. It's when we just pass by, like, that's a nice idea. Yeah, I need to do that. Anybody going to change anything when they get home? Yes, doll.
I'm gonna hire someone to help with doing the blog posts and all the social media.
So give them the inspiration, but maybe they flesh it out a little bit and make sure that it's actually scheduled.
Because that's my least interesting part for me.
So I know it won't get done, so, yeah.
So in order for her to do that, right, it's not enough to say I'm going to outsource the writing of my blog posts. What you need to do now is you need to say, I'm gonna set aside 30 minutes every Thursday to talk with the person who's gonna produce two blog posts next week. I'mma talk to him about the thesis, the ideas, the things I find important. Am I gonna create a series? This person's gonna vibe with you, record the session, and from that 30 minutes, you'll be hands off. You say, do you have the photos you need? Can I trust that you do them? Are you sourcing them? Great. Then you, what you just did was outsource as a way to improve your business and spending 30 minutes that will save you ultimately hours in a day. But this person has to catch your vision. You can't just say, can you write a post about nubs? It has to be your voice. You're empowering. You're talking to that person so clearly. They have the vision, they run with it. That's great, great outsource. I applaud that. Okay, let's talk about for you to, if you have the opportunity to strengthen your creative role. So a lot of times what I hear is people start a business because they're good at fitness, they're good at cake making, they're good at photography, and then they get to the point and they say, I'm just so burned out. I got into this thing because I loved it, and I'm on the verge of not liking it anymore. You are not alone. What happened along the line is this was the only hat you wore, and boy oh gee golly was it fun, and then you realized all the other stuff you had to add made it unfun. My suggestion to you is to do something crazy and radical and nonsensical, and that is to take one hour every week and do something for you. You fell in love with photography. Pick up your camera and go shoot train tracks. You fell in love with making jewelry. Go to a flea market. Pick up random things. You fell in love with selling your paintings. Paint with new techniques without getting paid. You got into cinematography. Go spend a day and watch back to back to back indie films. Do whatever you must do to fall back in love with the thing that ultimately you want to sustain over the long run. So often we don't give ourselves the permission to do the thing, to make us, we got in love with what we do by watching indie films, by using our camera, by baking a cake, and yet we won't go back to that because it's like, I'm not getting paid for it. I only now work on parameters. I only will only fill orders that my clients are requesting. When you do something that you love, people are drawn to it. You become a trend setter. (laughter) That's right. That's right. Okay, now let's flip the script. There might be some of you who are just spending too much time creating. Believe me, I'm in my creative zone. What don't you guys understand? It's making art. This jewelry isn't just a bracelet. This jewelry is derivative of people working in India for 10 hours. I need to work. Okay, if that's where you are, then what I need you to do is to give yourself parameters. The same way that we can actually get work done in a task space is the same way that we can actually produce. Steven Pressfield is one of my favorite authors, and he writes one of the best books, please, between The E-Myth, that's, like, a business book, he writes The War of Art. Steven Pressfield. It is, even if you're not a reader, you read, like, a small little page every night before you go to bed. Radically transforms your mind. And all he says, if you wanna create, show up every day. Show up every day. Show up every day. And he would show up every day and work for an hour, because that's all he had. Or he wrote a story or parlayed a story to the person who had a full-time job with a family, and this person decided, and actually, Stephen Hawking, I wrote, I read his biography, and he woke up every day one hour before his kids and family got up, and that one hour ended up being, setting the precedent for his business and his career. When you have parameters to get your work done, guess what? You get it done. So if you're spending too much time creating, you're spending too much time on the minutia that somebody may or may not notice. That's the parameters you'll be setting up. Now, if you're actually completely just outstrung, be like, I've overextended myself. I've bit off more than I can chew. This happened our first year of business. I had never shot a wedding. I'd never run a business. I didn't even know how to use my camera. And we ended up booking 38 weddings our first year. And I booked... This is a true story. I booked three weddings one weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and then next weekend Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This is, that's only a mistake that novice and an idiot would do. And all the sudden I was buried under work, and that's when I said, I need help. And I hired a production assistant. I outsourced that. Now, that's relegated to photography, but this is what I'm saying to people who are bookkeepers, who are cake bakers, who are business professionals. You can take on too much, and hiring a production assistant cuts into your profitability but enhances your sanity and the longevity of your business. So let's talk about strengthening the entrepreneurial role. Now, this is a role that I actually did not flex probably for about the first five, six years of my business. I learned that I had to start growing, because in the first year I was just trying to survive. In second year I was trying to learn. In third year I wanted to fight and scrap for my space in the world and in the industry. And in the fourth year I started getting clients consistently. I was like, oh my God, this is really working. Sort of building a name for myself. In the fifth year, I talked about how I started to think about how can I diversify the business. The minute I decided to diversify my business instead of just being just a wedding photographer shooting just weddings was the minute I started thinking much bigger for my business, and the minute I started thinking bigger for my business, my business got bigger. So often we can't think of the final product out of fear, out of doubt, out of feeling that you're going to be let down. But if you don't get there, if you don't dream of getting there, you'll never get there. So let's talk about this. So if you feel like you have a hard time thinking about the future, I get it. I empathize and I sympathize. So my challenge to you is to find three to four other entrepreneurs. They do not have to be in your own industry. They could just be people that you really like who are all about the hustle who resonate with you. And if they're in their industry, double win, but it's not necessary. These are people you're gonna connect with every three months. Set aside, you're gonna get on Skype or Google Chat and you'll be like, okay guys, this is what, this is where I am. And this is where you open your kimono and you let everything show. (laughter) And I don't even know if that's proper. I don't even know if that's proper. That's a term, though, right? Yes, right? No? Did I make it up?
You guys have never heard that?
We have now.
Oh. Oh, okay, oh God. I feel like I'm feeling like I'm sweating. Okay. So you're gonna, you're just gonna bare it all. You're gonna show everybody where you are, and you're not gonna be afraid to say, listen, I know on the outside I'm making a lot of money, but I don't know what's happening to it. Something's happening to all the money I'm making, right? So you're gonna be very, very, very hell-bent on being communicative with your group, and then they're gonna challenge you, like, this is where you wanna go, how can I help you, what are you gonna be tethered to. They're basically accountability buddies. And you're gonna be cheering each other along the way. And when you miss the mark, they're gonna help you get back to where you want, need to be, and then the following year, they're gonna re-calibrate. So three to four people. We can do that. If you do not have the possibility of doing that, please connect here in this room, on my Facebook page. Simply put, make yourself vulnerable and just say, I'm looking for people. I do this. Connect, connect, connect. I can't tell you how many times this has happened as a byproduct of what we do when we community build and has radical changes. Okay, so next, and this is something that I didn't do up until two years ago, is I create a strategic plan for 12-month growth. And I realize that I can say this is what I wanna do in a year, but it wasn't until I broke it down into smaller segments. We're gonna talk about what this exercise looks like for me. So I, every year, will have a 12-month growth plan, and at the top, I will list my yearly revenue goal. What do I wanna make in this year? And then, now, for me as I'm building this out, as a wedding photographer, at least in Southern California, there's a distinct seasons, right? So brides love to get married between certain seasons in California. So I can say quarter one and quarter four are gonna be the lowest performing quarters for me because brides are not getting married. So I'm getting hired primarily in Q2 and Q3. This'll be the largest percentage. So for math's sake, let's just say I wanna make $100,000. It wouldn't make sense for me to do 250... Wait. Thank you. I was homeschooled. You guys, I'm telling you, the struggle is real. (laughter) 25-25-25. It wouldn't make sense there. So I have to understand. Now, not only am I attributing what I think I can do in these quarters, I'm going back... Now, I don't need one to two projects each month. This is just a sample. Some months might have four. Some might not have any. Some months might be zero projects. In the month of December, I had zero projects going, but my projects were actually gonna be for a January opportunity with CreativeLive. So I planned for this. I know where I'm going. I know the derivative of my effort. Now, I can't guarantee success, but the minute I say I did everything I can, this is what I thin I'm reasonably going to make, and JD and I firmly subscribe to the ideology of good, better, best. That way you're just feeling like, hey, we hit our good, but we missed our best. But having that, like, spread makes you feel like, okay, this is where I can estimate where my funds are gonna go from. And once you know how much you wanna make in each quarter, because oftentimes I talk to people, like, how much do you wanna make? I wanna make a million dollars next year. Great. Awesome. So let's break this down. And we know them running at 100% doing everything they possibly could, the maximum they could bring in is 500. So instead of feeling like you let yourself down, we're just looking at the reasonable realm of what is possible, and if you somehow in the next 12 months find a new project to generate $250,000, awesome, but why not us figure out what we're doing now, set those goals, and then amend as you progress throughout the year? My mom always said if you don't know where you're going, you'll never know when you arrive. How awesome for you to set a $100,000 goal and you end up hitting 125. And here's the thing, if you never set that goal, you can get at 125 and be like, ugh, I wish we did 150. Really, boo? Because last year you didn't think this was possible. (laughter) So taking the time to do this will radically change your approach. So if you want to have your business survive, the thing you need to focus on is creating balance in your business roles. If that's outsourcing, if it's setting up parameters, if it's working through the... I'm gonna be very honest with you. I'm not a public speaker. I'm not. What people see today is three solid weeks of working and giving the same dang presentation to my husband as he's on his iPhone and the dog is like yes, yes. (laughter) This is hard work, but I know that by me putting in the hard work, something good will come out of it. It's doing the work when I didn't want to do the work. It was saying I'm not gonna get on Facebook even though I want to get on Facebook, and instead I'm just gonna work on this content. That's running a business. It isn't fun. It isn't glamorous. But when you hit your goals and when you're unfolding that table from target, when you're dining with your friends, and when you're vacationing with your husband, and when you get to go see Hamilton in New York City as a lifelong dream, and you get to do it as your birthday, you say I'm living the dang life. All the hard work made sense. All the hard work was good. So what we're gonna do is, before we get into Q&A. We're gonna get into Q&A, because this, like I told you, that was the meaty section, but we got through it. We hit the ground running and we covered a lot of material in just, like, the few couple hours of this. So we know who we want to work with. We know how we want to attract that person by creating value-based content. And now what we did, that's the outward-facing, but we just focused on the inward-facing. All the work that you can do to attract the right client and know who you're talking to, it's gonna fall flat if the inside of your business is hollow, if it's broken. So this assessment is coming out better on the outside. This is gonna be great because this is hard work and I absolutely applaud you. Thank you guys so, so, so much. Now, for the next 30 days, our goal is to shape your perspective. The next 30 days is to say, I don't have an excuse for this not to work. And I'm gonna say something that's gonna ruffle a lot of feathers. If you cannot possibly commit 20 to 30 minutes to your business in the next 30 business days, I ask you whether or not you want the business. Do you want the lure of the business? Do you want the idea of the business? And let me tell you, it is okay if you want the idea of a business. I encourage you, step into that. Your family will be safe. Your sanity will be safe. You are going to make another entrepreneur so happy to have you on their team. My husband proudly said that he does not want his name on our business because he knows his role. His role is to be a strategizer, a creative, but he's a supporter. My God, what I wouldn't, what any entrepreneur wouldn't give to have a supporter by their side. Not everybody must build the biggest building on the block. If you can help me build the biggest building, I'm gonna put you in the penthouse with me. Can we get an amen. (laughter) So that's where you need to be, and this is where we just, and this assessment. This is 30 days. Commit to the 30 days.