If you’re anything like me, then you love when creators share about what items or tools they’re using in their businesses. So, that’s what I’ll be doing today. Listen in as i share three of my current favorites in my business that I cannot live without.
The Shoot It Straight Podcast is brought to you by Sabrina Gebhardt, photographer and educator. Join us each week as we discuss what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur while balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff too, Shoot It Straight Podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight.
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Review the Show Notes:
Disclaimer for changes in Favorite Things (:23)
1. Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt (1:26)
2. Dubsado (6:57)
3. Flodesk (11:03)
Mentioned in this Episode:
Dubsado (this link saves you 20% off your first month OR year!)
Dubsado For Photographers by Colie James (use code SABRINAGEBHARDT to save $75!)
Review the Transcript:
Welcome back to another episode of the shoot it straight podcast. So personally, I love when people do the kinds of episodes or blog posts that share things they’re loving. So that’s what we’re going to do today, I thought I would share three things that are currently favorites that I absolutely cannot live without. Before I dive into these three things. I will preface this episode with this. My list of three favorite things definitely fluctuates throughout the year. Obviously, your needs change seasonally, and routines and rhythms changed a little bit too. And that’s totally normal. But right now, currently, in the fall, these are three things that I cannot live without in my business. Welcome to the shoot it straight podcast. I’m your host, Sabrina Gebhardt. Here I will share an honest take on what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur. while balancing business motherhood and life. myself along with my guests will get vulnerable through honest conversations and relatable stories because we’re willing to go there. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in yet willing to talk about the hard stuff to the shoot it straight podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight.
The first is my full focus planner by Michael Hyatt. So Michael Hyatt is an author and a productivity strategist. Okay, he consults with big businesses, he’s a pretty big name now that he’s written a bunch of books and the full focus planner was born out of his systems. Okay, so it is a notebook. And I use it for my goals and my daily task management. So backing up a minute, Michael Hyatt has written so many bestsellers in the professional development space, including books like free to focus and your best year ever. Again, this planter, the full focus planner was born from his teachings and techniques. Okay, it is a quarterly planner. So yes, if you’re going to start implementing this product, that means you have to buy for a year, which is kind of annoying.
Okay, I will admit that. But I have been using this for over a year now going on a year and a half. And at first, it was really annoying that you had to constantly buy a new one. But as I’ve gotten farther into it, it’s really nice to have a fresh clean slate, every quarter. So the way the notebook works is the first I don’t know 30 pages or so is all about your goals. So it is breaking them down and kind of refreshing where you’re at with your goals, what your goals are for the quarter, and then you start breaking them down. So that is the first chunk of the book. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t use that part of the book. Okay, I completely skipped that part because I use something else for my goals. But the huge majority of this book of the full focus planner is your weekly and daily task management. And this is what I love it for. Okay, so the way it is laid out is at the beginning of each week, you have a place to write out everything that you have going on for the week. And you can split it up into personal and professional. So if you’ve got kids in school, and you’ve got things that the teachers need you to get and snacks to drop off and appointment phone calls to make and all of these personal things going on, you add that to your weekly personal section. And then in your professional section, you’re going to write down all of your projects and to dues for the entire week.
This is why I love this planner. Because you’re writing down your entire week’s list of things instead of day to day, you are able to then flip into the daily pages of the notebook and split your tasks up evenly throughout the week. Okay, so you write down everything you have for the week on one page, and then it takes you into Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on. And what you’re able to do is on each day’s page, there’s a section for your top three priorities, then you can write some other things you’d like to get done if those three priorities are achieved. And then there’s a section for you to write down your schedule for the day your appointments. Okay, so this is where you can get a really big picture of how your week is going to map out. So I go through and I fill in all of my appointments first, when I’m taking my kids somewhere when I’ve got an appointment to meet with somebody when I have a podcast interview. When I’m teaching in a group all of my time commitments go in first Just and then I take my big weekly to do list. And I compare it to my appointments for the week, and I’m able to slide in tasks and things that need to be done in between appointments.
So instead of rolling into Monday with this huge overwhelming to do list, which is how I used to start every week, because I would go into the week thinking, oh my gosh, here’s all the things that I’m going to need to do this week. And I would hit Monday. And it just felt hard, because I almost never knew where to start, right. Or I would inevitably start on something that couldn’t be finished that day, because I had too many other appointments. This allows me to say, Okay, I have these three tasks could easily be done on Monday morning, before I have an appointment at noon. And this bigger task could be done on Wednesday morning when I don’t have any calls or appointments scheduled. Okay, so what allows me to really look at how am I going to achieve this to do list that has been an absolute game changer for me, because now instead of rolling into my week with this massive to do list and starting off overwhelmed, I spend Sunday afternoon or Sunday evening mapping out my week, and very intentionally taking my big weekly to do list and breaking it into manageable tasks that fit into each day. So the full focus planner has been a total game changer for me, if you are struggling with managing a task list, or taking your list and breaking it into a manageable schedule for your week, so that you’re not as overwhelmed, this could be a really great thing for you. And because it is a quarterly system, you can just buy one, and try it for a quarter and see if it makes your life easier. And if it doesn’t, you never have to use it again. Of course, I will have the link in the show notes.
The second thing that I am loving and could not live without right now in my business is dubs auto. This is what I put all of my photography clients into. The beautiful thing about dubsado is it is a client relationship manager. And it can be used in so many different kinds of small businesses. Whether you are a coach or a photographer, or wedding planner, or a florist or a hairdresser, or anything, anything where you need clients to maybe sign a contract, maybe answer questions in a questionnaire, maybe schedule an appointment with you make payments, all of those things can be done within dubsado. And it is wonderful. So again, I use this almost primarily in my photography business, I use it in a few ways in my coaching business and in the podcast. But really it is for my photography clients, you can build dubsado out as much as you want it to you can use it in a very simple way, collecting payments getting contract sign, if you didn’t use it for anything else, you would still totally get your money’s worth. But the beautiful thing about dubsado is you can build it out and customize it and make it as pretty and fancy as you want. There are workflows, there’s room for canned emails and proposals. You can input video and your branding colors and photos and all these really cool things that can take your client experience and not only make your client experience better for the user, but make you look more professional and get you paid faster. And let’s be honest here, that’s the most important thing, right.
So I have been using dubs auto for several years now. And before I used dubs auto, I was on a good old Excel spreadsheet. And I’m not going to dog that because it was totally fine for a while when my business was new. And just now starting out. That’s really all I needed. I am organized by nature. And that did the job. I was able to keep addresses and phone numbers and dates and payments and all of that organized and it was totally fine until my business grew. And I needed both more organization and more of my time back. So dubsado is able to give me obviously the organization part because all of my client information is housed together, I can pull up any clients name and see all of their project history going back years. invoices paid, what dates, how they were paid, what contracts were signed, I can look through everything in their history, and it’s wonderful, but it gives me time back through automations and canned emails. I am no longer writing the same thing over and over and over and over again. And like I mentioned earlier, I’m also getting paid faster, and that’s fantastic. It’s saving me all the back and forth reminders with the clients.
So my friend Colie James, she is an official dubsado specialist and she has a course that teaches you how To customize the client experience within dubsado, the course is amazing. I will link it in the show notes. If you are a new dubsado user or even if you’ve been using it for years and have not maximized all of the different things that can do, you have to take this course it is fantastic. Learning a new platform can be hard. And this is what Kohli’s course does, it walks you through literally starting a brand new account and setting everything up and maximizing all the things it can do for you. She walks you through step by step by step with video tutorials, which is what I’m a huge fan of because I literally had her videos up on one screen, and then my account in a separate window. And I was like watching and pushing pause and then doing it in my account and then watching and pushing pause again and then doing it in my account. It’s so easy. So again, I’ll link it in the show notes. But if you do not have a CRM, if you do not have a client relationship manager system, you need one. And dubsado is a great choice. So it is definitely one of the things I’m loving right now.
The third thing that I am loving right now that just I literally cannot live without in my business is flow desk. So this is the email platform that I use for my photography client email list and newsletter flow desk is crazy easy, like crazy easy. It’s also so pretty. Okay, they have so many templates. And it’s just, it is so straightforward. So I’m going to tell you a true story here. Years and years ago, back in the first two or three years of my business, I had an email list through MailChimp, because that was basically your option back then, there were larger email service providers, but they were for like big corporations with huge 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of email subscribers on their list, right, I didn’t need that I just needed a few 100 and MailChimp was basically the only option out there. MailChimp at the time was super duper clunky. And honestly, I don’t know if it’s gotten any better. I haven’t logged in, because ever since I moved to flow desk, I don’t need to look at anything else.
But here’s my story. I was with MailChimp. And it was super clunky. And technically I was sending out, you know, maybe three times a year a newsletter to clients, but it was really just all about getting mini sessions booked or availability updates. And it wasn’t anything more than that. Because I did not feel like I had control of my email platform, I would log in and it was so hard to design something and write something and set it up and add new people in. And it was just again, it was really, really clunky. And because I did not have the confidence in using the platform. I didn’t use it very often. So I heard about flow desk. And I was like this seems like too good to be true. How can there be this much of a difference between email providers, right? Like, how can one system MailChimp that everybody at the time used? How could that be so hard, but then this one over here is so easy, like it doesn’t seem right. But I checked it out. And sure enough, it seemed crazy, easy.
And so literally, in one afternoon, I moved over my entire email list from MailChimp to flow desk, okay, I walked through their system, they have tutorials to do that, and I export it and import it and move the whole list over. Not only did I do that, I also designed and wrote a newsletter and sent it out in two hours, moved over an email list, learned the system designed and sent and wrote an email all within two hours. Let me tell you how happy I was. I mean, I felt like I had figured out this amazing, incredible secret. Ever since then, my email game has been much stronger. And I’m sure that you have probably heard something along the lines of emails are where sales are made. And that’s true. It’s really important to have an email list that you are constantly nurturing but more than the fact that emails are where you’re making your sales emails or where you are building relationships, okay?
And if you’re not sending them on a regular basis, at least once a month, you are not building relationships, okay? If you are only sending out emails to your client list when you have something to sell or pitch, that’s not relationship building that is selling, okay? But if you want to really develop loyalty and a relationship with your customers and your potential clients, that is where you have to be willing to send emails on the regular that are not always about selling right relationship building emails, stories and recommendations and all of these kinds The things that people want to read and people want to relate to one another, that happens so well in an email inbox.
But if you’re not sending a regular email, you are missing out on that opportunity. So if you have an email list in a provider that you don’t know how to use, you struggle with it, it’s hard and therefore you never send one. Or maybe you don’t have an email list at all. I highly recommend Flo desk. It is a game changer. It is so easy. There are video tutorials to get you started right away. There are templates that are already created that you can just customize with your own fonts and colors and logo, it is so so easy, and it will change the game for you. Sending regular emails to your clients will change the game for your business. So you need to be doing that. So just to recap, the three things that I’m loving in my business right now the full focus planner by Michael Hyatt dubsado, my CRM and flow desk. Of course, I’m going to share the links to everything I mentioned today in the show notes. And I’m also going to share a link to other resources of things that I’m loving as well. So if you are into seeing additional things that support both my business coaching and photography, you can check out those links as well. Thank you so much for being here, my friend. I cannot wait to see you next week.
Bye. Thanks so much for listening to the shoot it straight podcast. You can find all the full show notes and details from today’s episode at www.sabrinagebhardt.com/podcast. Come find me and connect over on the gram at Sabrina Gebhardt photography. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be honored if you hit that subscribe button and leave me a review. Until next time, my friends shoot it straight.
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