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October 24, 2023 43 mins

Ep. 137 I've listened to the comments from entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who've asked for advice on tech, apps, and systems to grow their businesses. Here's the best advice I can give you: to grow a business, you need to become the type of person who can! If you're looking for ways to become the kind of person who can start and grow an enterprise, this episode was made with you in mind.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Will Lucas here, Black Tech, Green Money here for another week.
I'm super excited to get a chance to talk to
you guys. It's one of my favorite things to do,
is this podcast, and so thank you for being a
part of this community. Next week we go up in Austin.
I am afro Tech is my favorite conference obviously period.

(00:21):
But it's just a time where I get to see
people who look like me in the tech universe, all
in one place, all talking about the same things, trying
to do this thing together, trying to change the world
for the better together. And it's empowering sessions, it's fireside chats,

(00:41):
musical experiences. It's the place for if you are a
ticket holder, then you're gonna gain knowledge from industry experts.
You're gonna maximize opportunities that can propel your career. You're
gonna find your squad. That's why we go to afro
Tech because we can find the people who we can
go along this journey with lifelong thought partners. Friends. You're

(01:04):
gonna find them at afro Tech. Now. Last year, I
l afro Tech became not just a tech conference but
also a music conference, and we're gonna build on that
this year, we've already announced artists. Rick Ross is gonna
be there, hustler music. I already told y'all last week
it's my favorite type of hip hop, hustler music. And
Rick Ross is at the Pinnacle, Jadakiss will be there

(01:27):
and others. And then we just announced a couple of
days ago that Sweetie is gonna be there. So that's
gonna be big. The last day of afro Tech one
like the penultimate day to cap your entire week. It's
gonna be an incredible experience. And so one of my
favorite things I mentioned this before about afro Tech last

(01:50):
year was at the wild At show is you're sitting
there in this conference, you know, I sitting Nigga standing
there at this that's this concert. But the whole entire
audience of the concert is black people number one, but
accomplished black people. I mean, there are physicians in this audience,

(02:11):
There are engineers in this audience, There are startup founders
in this audience. There are people trying to figure it
out in the audience. They are you know, just you know,
maybe they work in HR at some tech company or
some you know, startup or whatever, but it's it's a
seed full of us, you know, listening to this music,
having this you know, united experience, but all of us

(02:35):
in the entire audience are doing something special and we're
trying to just you know, be a part of this
broader community. So it's it's unlike any other concert you
can go to. So head to afro Tech Conference Experience
dot afrotech dot com. Register for an all access ticket
for the entire experience, which includes the afro Tech Music stage.

(02:55):
You can also register for a different tier like General Admission, Corporate,
or Executive, And if you've already done that, you can
add the Afrotech Music later. So if you get to
afro Tech next week and you're like, you know what,
I should have added afrotech music, you can just go
ahead and do it next week. So no shame, nobody's
gonna look at you strange. You would just you know,

(03:16):
you relate adopter. It's okay. What else is up afrotech news.
I'd like to bring you a couple of the biggest
stories that are on afrotech dot com right now. First
up is Tyler Perry feels the bidding process for b
ET was disrespectful. We heard stories earlier this year about
the efforts to find an a choir for Beet, and
a few successful black notables had thrown their hat in

(03:38):
you know and the dollars for the bid, and among
them were Diddy. Diddy tried to get his hands on it,
Byron Allen, who's building you know, a significantly large media empire,
and Tyler Perry, who recently called the process disrespectful. My Paramount,
which owns the brand, was reportedly in discussions to sell

(03:59):
their majority while preserving a minority share in the business,
and according to reports, despite offers they were getting ranging
from about two billion dollars to three billion dollars, Paramount
decided to pull their interest in selling the majority. Steak
INBT Media Group, which consists of the BET channel, BT plus,

(04:20):
VH one and BT Studios. Now this is old joke.
Maybe it's not a joke. It could also be some
truth to it that the reason Bill Cosby was found
himself in so much trouble was that he was about
to buy NBC. I don't know if you heard. This
is like an old urban legend. I don't know if
there was any true to it at all. But the
reason I bring this up is because you know, it

(04:41):
is not to defend Bill Cosby in any manner. I
just missed the Black TV dad that that Black TV
persona he portrayed, and I only call his name in
the respect of it is clear that they do not
want us to own major media platforms. So Tyler Perry said,
you know the way it happened, and this is a quote.
Tyler Perry says the quote the way it happened was

(05:04):
disrespectful in a lot of ways. Don't try to get
me to pay for something that's not worth anywhere near
its value. Unquote, that's Tyler Perry talking about the process
of Eet's purchase was disrespectful. And so next up, there's
a story up on afrotech afrotech dot com now detailing
Dion Sanders' net worth. Now I'm interested in this not

(05:28):
to count another man's pockets, but I do want to
use this platform to defend Dion in a way. As
of this recording, my man has had some challenges on
the football field in recent games, but I want to
remind people of what he said in his viral YouTube
videos before the season began. He's a winner. I expect

(05:52):
to win. His current network sits reportedly around forty five
million dollars, and much of that can be attributed to
his you know, multi millionion dollar contracts he has signed
over the years while playing, but also his appearances as
a sports analyst for outlets like he's been on ESPN, CBS,
NFL Network, and sources do know that the NFL Network alone,

(06:13):
he drew an annual salary of a million dollars as
an analyst. Now, meanwhile, he coached at Jackson State University,
he did a four year, one point two million dollar contract.
When he pivoted to the University of Colorado Boulder, he
aint a five year deal that was worth nearly thirty
million dollars, making him the highest paid coach in Colorado history.

(06:34):
But even on the sideline of the football field, Dion
is a winner and people have short memories here. Now.
Colorado just last year won one game and they lost
eleven games. They were ranked one hundred and twenty eighth
out of one hundred and thirty one. Right now, year
one of Dion, they're at the time of this recording

(06:57):
four and three. Now they've already won just miss way
through this season, four times as many games as they
want all last year. So let's put this in some perspective. People.
I get it with the way they won the first
two games, absolute stunners. We want them to go undefeated.
But in the words of Dion, and an effort to
not turn this into a football podcast or sports show,
I'll leave you with Dion's quote, this is the worst

(07:19):
we're gonna be. You gotta get me right now. If
you are doing your to do this on Monday morning.
I did mine on Sunday night, and I woke up
ready to rock. If you woke up trying to get ready,
I'm gonna I'm gonna blow pass you. So I highly
recommend every Sunday night you get ready for Monday morning.
I'm Will Lucas and this is black Tech, Green Money.

(07:42):
I'm gonna introduce you to the biggest names, the brightest minds,
and brilliant ideas. If you're black in building or simple
using text to secure your bag, this podcast is for you.
I'm onna solo episode, and I gotta think people who
have slid in my dms, who have commented, who have

(08:04):
shared on last week's episode where I did a solo episode.
In what I've been gathering is you guys do enjoy
these so if you do enjoy these, you know, make
sure you're giving me that response because that lets me
know that these are valuable and that they are worth
continuing to do. So shout out to Boogie Marsh for
this particular episode because you're commented, and I'm paraphrasing, I

(08:27):
need a format where they talk to entrepreneurs about the
tools they are using, where you just talk about the
tools that can be used to automate those your business
for solopreneurs. And so today's episode is inspired by that
comment because I was thinking about your comment in reference
to the businesses that I've built myself, and I'm gonna

(08:48):
specifically talk about Creatio again. I do have a couple
of companies, but regards to what you asked for, Creatio
is it makes the most tense to talk about that
particular business. So Creatio is a full service marketing technology
production agency. We do everything again from video production, website development, communication,

(09:09):
strategy designed. I've been running this business. I started it
and been running it since two thousand and seven, so
it's got his first gray hair potentially. So some of
the things that I've done speak to this one thing.
It wasn't until about like five or six years ago,

(09:29):
where it wasn't just me anymore running the business. Up
until about five or six years ago, I was doing everything.
And that's not a great place to be, even if
you are a solo preneur right now. In my mind,
business is supposed to grow. And so if you're in
business and you want to be a solo preneur forever,

(09:51):
I mean, I consider that like a you know, freelancer,
I mean, but that's not like a business in my mind,
you know, And so you can have your own opinions
on this. To me, a business should have systems, it
should have operations, it should grow, and it should ultimately
provide opportunities for other people. And so that's what this

(10:12):
episode is going to be about, the mistakes I made
in the tools that I'm using today to help me
run this business. And I'll start by saying this. It
is so important to first of all, get an idea
of what your business will look like at its best.
And what I mean by that is you should actually
have in my mind, it's a mood board or a

(10:36):
vision board of pictures. And this is the way my
brain works. So I need pictures in front of me
that show me at its best at my gravest, this
is what my life looks like. And for me, this
has worked. There are so many things I put on
my vision board years ago that have come to reality

(10:57):
in my life. And so I admonish you if you
are a running a business today, whether you're starting small
or whether you're growing, you should always have a picture
in front of you of what your life will look
like at its best, and it should always get better,
you know, over time. And so what I advise you
to do, if you are a solopreneur, you're a small
business owner, is to start to collect imagery. If this

(11:20):
is the way your brainworks, start to collect imagery of
your ideal state in business. You can do this for
other parts of your life too, but I'm talking about
business today. So I advise you to go to Canva
and start to compile. You can probably even just search
mood board or vision board on Canva and it probably
already has templates there, which I highly advise you to

(11:44):
use templates in this regard. You shouldn't be spending a
ton of time on this. The goal is to just
get it done and get it out of your head.
And so go to Canva, sign up for an account,
sign up for a free version, and just get start
to collect images, whether you find them on Google Images
or whether you find them in stock images that Canva provides,

(12:04):
start to collect them in one document, one poster of
what your business looks like at its best. I thoroughly
believe if you keep the vision in front of you,
you will find yourself being more attracted to things and
things are attracted to you that provide opportunities to excel

(12:24):
towards that particular state. So I am an evangelist of this.
I believe you should keep that vision in front of
you every day. Is my vision board is analog, so
I print it off my board and it's analog. It
sits on my dresser. So every morning while I'm getting
ready for the day, while I'm putting on my shade butter,

(12:46):
you know, I can see my vision board, and so
it reminds me, and it keeps my brain focused, and
it keeps my spirit focused on the things that I'm
working towards. And so that's where I would start. If
I'm you and I'm a solopreneur, small business owner, at
any stage, you can do this, but I'm particularly talking
to this solopreneurs and small business owners. You got to
get a picture in your mind of what your business

(13:09):
at its greatest looks like. And you're projecting into the future,
and don't limit yourself to what you think might be possible.
That's one of the biggest mistakes we make as entrepreneurs
is we start to pick away at our dream because
we think, well, this is something that's actually accomplishable, Like

(13:30):
why that makes no sense to me? And so I
think you should. It's your dream, and it's a dream
today you're gonna put the work in hope. And so
what you should be doing is think about the things
that you desire and take the limits off of what's
possible in that regard. Just put it down. This particular
practice is for you, and you should not be the

(13:50):
one clipping your own wings. You should not be the
person who's telling you what you can't accomplish. So put
down the greatest version of your business on this vision board.
So start there. Get you a Canva account, a free version.
You don't have to pay for anything yet most of
the things I'm going to give you today have free versions,
so I'm not here to try to cost you any
more money. A lot of the things that I did.

(14:11):
I found hacks you know, that I could use to
build my business that did not cost me a lot
of money upfront. As you start to grow, then things
will start to you know, need to go to premium levels.
But at this stage, you don't need to pay a
lot of money to be able to create some systems
in your life. And so number one, we're going to
get that Canva account and get our vision board mapped

(14:32):
out into a vision board or mood board type of format.
The second thing I would do is get out of
your head, you know, get all these operational things that
you go through day to day. The way you operate
your business should be documented, and so it's so important.
The second piece of software I'm going to give you

(14:53):
today is Google Docs or Microsoft Word. And because so
many business owners, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, especially in the early days,
we build our businesses to survive and we don't build
them to grow because we're just in the grind, We're
in the hustle, we're in the thing. But if I

(15:15):
could go back and do it over again, knowing what
I know now, I would go back and I would
document those steps because what happens is is as if
you're positioning yourself to grow, not necessarily if you're positioning
yourself to sell, because that's a different conversation, but just
positioning yourself to grow the most one of the most
important things to do is to get the systems, get

(15:38):
the operations out of your head. If you keep it
in your head, then you're just grinding and you're just hustling.
But our objective here is to build a business that
we can provide for at least us ourselves, secondarily our families,
and hopefully other people. We can provide opportunities income, you know,

(15:59):
in lifelihoods for other people. But you got to get
the business out of your head and into a document.
And I'm not just talking about a business plan. I'm
talking about how you actually do what you do. So
if you are, you know, running a business, I'm going
to just talk about a media company because that's what
I run. And so if I'm running a marketing company,

(16:21):
I want to talk about, Okay, what are the steps
in order to sell a potential customer a potential client?
You know, you should be picking up the phone, writing
this many emails. These are specific email templates that we've
found to work. Here are another set of templates that
we found that don't work, and here's what we figured
out and why they don't work. And this should actually

(16:43):
be written down in a document, in a Google doc,
which you can get for free. You can pay for
micro software, but you can get Google Docs for free.
And so you should just start to write out how
you do your business. If when you take a camera
out of your shop, out of your studio and you
take it to a shoot, is there a signing sheet?

(17:04):
Is there a sign out sheet for where the equipment is,
because that's something you're going to need when you start
to hire your first people. I want to know where
all our stuff is. And so if your people are
taking your equipment to if your people will ultimately because
you don't have any people yet, but if your people
will ultimately be taking your equipment out of your studio

(17:24):
and to shoots and doing things with them, you should
know where all your stuff is. So there should be
a process, a procedure for keeping track of your equipment.
This is something that is kind of tedious to do,
and this is why most people don't do it, because
it's actual work in documenting how you run your business.
But it's so important because again the objective is to

(17:47):
get your business to grow, and the only way to
do that is to create a roadmap for other people
to follow. And so if you get your ideas, get
your systems, get your habits, get your operations out of
your head and into a document that other people can follow,
your much better position to be able to bring on
other people. And that's the part b to this thing.

(18:08):
What I found was when I was trying to bring
on people, I in the early days brought on the
wrong people and it costs me money because I didn't
know what I needed. And unless you have what you
need written down, you really don't know what you need
because you can't identify a particular job description or you

(18:32):
know tasks that you need this person to handle, because
you today are just doing everything. And so the only
way to know and how to define what you need
in a particular candidate is to have it written down
til you get the point. Write down your stuff, get
it out of your head, get your business out of
your head and into a document. You cannot run a business,

(18:52):
You cannot operate a business in your head. I say this,
you know to people who come to meet and ask
for mentorship all the time. You can run a business
without operations, but you cannot grow a business without operations.
So your objective today is to build start building a library,
a repository of all the knowledge that it takes to

(19:15):
run and operate this business. The next point I would
love to make here, and it's just something the track
that I've fallen into several times, and so many people
I know have fallen into this. Many still are in this,
particularly the chat. But it's not about which apps you're using,
it's about how you're using your apps. And so I

(19:37):
was the guy you know a few years ago. I
would be on product hunt every day because I wanted
to find what's the coolest new thing out there that
could help me turbocharge my business and it would help
me grow from X to Y. I would always be
looking for cool new apps, cool new software, or just
software that worked. It didn't have to be necessarily cool,

(19:57):
but what was things out there that I could use
to help me grow? And what I learned was it
wasn't necessarily about what I was using, It was about
how I was using it. And here's what I mean
by that. You're only good, you're only as good. Software
is only as good as your commitment and discipline in
using it. You can have the best software in the world,

(20:21):
but if you're not disciplined in using it, what good
would it do you? It won't do you very much good.
And so you could run an entire business just on
the Notes app if you're committed to using the Notes app.
You know, if you're committed to using Google Sheets or
Excel or whatever. If you committed to those systems and

(20:45):
you're disciplined about using those systems, you can run a
thriving business. The difference between using these types of apps
and things that are actually designed like project management software
in et cetera, is those project management softwarees are make
it more efficient, and they build suites necessarily tailored to

(21:05):
small businesses and large businesses also. But the premise here
is to get you to build a discipline. That's what
we typically don't have when we're running a business solo
or when we're running a business that's small, is the
discipline about our operations, because what we'll do is we'll say, well,

(21:26):
you know what, let's just do this this time, or well,
you know, I know we did like that last time,
but this other way may be cool in this time
and some that's okay, you know, but it doesn't lend
itself to growth. If you are going to grow, you've
got to standardize and you've got to find You got
to standardize on the best way to do this. That's

(21:47):
how you get to grow. You standardize on the best
way to handle X and y task. Otherwise you're not
creating things that can be replicated, that can be duplicated
because you're doing it different every single time. So how
can you expect somebody to come on to your team
and be able to find success if they don't know

(22:08):
how to measure success, if they don't are if they're
not ingratiated into a system that is designed to make
sure they are successful. So sometimes we bring people in
and say, you know what, this isn't working out because
we haven't created the system that they can find success in.
And so it's so important to use your systems in

(22:31):
a disciplined way. So once you create that library, that
repository of this is how we do things, it's okay
to update it. It's not I'm not saying it's a
static document and it's never going to change. But use
the apps in a way, use the software in a
way that you get committed to it that this is
an exercise. And a principle that is so important to

(22:52):
say here is slowing down is actually how you speed up.
Because Okay, now I got to if I'm gonna go
do it this way this time, here's why I'm doing
it this way this time, And I need to document
that reasoning and that causes you to have to slow down.
But if you document it why you did it this
way this time, other people are now able to follow

(23:14):
that guideline, that working manual. So you got to be
the coach here. You have to create the playbook for
other people to follow, even if today you're just creating
the playbook for yourself. The playbook you will follow. Another
piece of software that I highly recommend solopreneurs small business

(23:34):
owners use honestly is Google Sheets. And the reason I
bring up Google Sheets is for two because one, so
many of us do not know our numbers. We know
when we get a check in the mail, and we
know when we have a bill to pay, but we
don't know how our business is actually doing. And the

(23:55):
only way to do that until you get to a
place where you want to pay for quick books or etc.
And we'll come back to quick books until you get
to that place. I should be able to track my trends,
you know. So I should have a document in Google
Sheets or Excel, whichever you want to use, that shows
me how did I do this January versus last January?

(24:15):
What were my expenses this February versus my expenses last February,
and what is the reason for the growth or decline
in that number? And so I should be able to
track those trends. There are ways you can do that
with other pieces of software, but we're going to start
with getting the basics here. And these basics are basics
a lot of companies, big companies still use today, even

(24:38):
at scale. A lot of big companies will still use Excel.
I mean, people who in the corpus weite can are
not in their heads right now, a lot of big
companies still use Excel to run their businesses, to track
their trends, to track how their company is doing. You know,
sometimes we try to get too fancy too, and it's

(25:01):
not even about like being fancy. It's not even about
you know, trying to grow a business. It's about becoming
the kind of person who can grow a business. That's
how you grow a business. The kind of person who
can grow a business is a person who is disciplined.
And so if you can get disciplined at Excel or
Google sheets, you can grow a business. The next thing

(25:22):
I would really admonish you to do, especially if you're
a solopreneur, but even at the level of having a
few employees, is create an ORG chart. Even if it's
just you, your ORG chart should be clearly defined and
in the beginning, because it's just you, your name is
going to be owned all the roles. But the important
thing here is to define all the roles required to

(25:45):
running a business. To running your business, what are everything
from the CEO all the way down to the housekeeper.
If you got an office, you're the housekeeper. You know,
you're the person taking out the chash and cleaning the bathroom.
But what you're going to do is you're going to
create an actual ORG chart and you can google. Hey,
what does an ORG chart look like for you know,

(26:06):
a media company, What does an ORG chart look like
for a fashion brand? What does an ORG chart look
like for you know, a grocery store. And you're going
to create that org chart or tech company, even if
you're you know, building some software. What does an ORG
chart look like? And then you're going to just find
one that best suits you, find one that makes the
most sense to you, and duplicate it. You can do

(26:28):
this in Google sheets, also also free. So you're going
to create your role, the CEO role, all the vice presidents,
all the analysts, all the directors, all the support staff,
all of those roles should be spelled out, clearly defined
with job descriptions. And then, like in any ORG chart,

(26:49):
you're going to have the name of the person who's
fulfilling that role today and today you are. So you're
going to put your name. And I don't want you
to just do this in your head. I want you
to actually do this in a document. Again, guys, we're
gonna be documenting, which is something small businesses don't do
enough of. We're gonna be the outliers and actually grow

(27:09):
businesses with policies and organizational operations documented in a reference library.
So I want you to get a Google doc, Google sheet,
and you're gonna create an org charge. You're gonna again
not to repeat myself, but to repeat myself, You're gonna
put your name in each of the roles supported with

(27:31):
an actual job description, what is that role responsible for?
Because what you're gonna find is as you bring people on,
you're gonna know what you actually need them to be doing.
That's what's important here because again, like I said this earlier,
like sometimes we start the hiring people and we actually
don't even know what we want them to do because

(27:51):
we've been doing everything, so we think we can hire
somebody who can do everything too, And people will let
you down if that's the expectation you have. But if
I can swap your name out new hire for my
name in a row, that is helpful because I'm no
longer having to do that job, and you're not confused
about how I'm going to be judging your output. The
next one up, I would just say, you know, there's

(28:13):
a couple of pieces of project management software that I
highly recommend. I definitely recommend project management software if you
have any employees, but also you should have project management
software how you organize the things that you're working on
in particular projects, even if you're solo. So if you
are working on if I say you've got a fashion

(28:35):
line and you've got a new line coming out. You
should have a project management board that displays all the
things you need to do in order to get that
release out and release out. Well, if you are running
a media company like I AM, or you know a
private club like Also, you should like Also i AM,
you should have a project management toolkit that displays things

(28:58):
that are going on and what it takes to get
them to completion. Two of those I recommend, and they
both have free tiers so you can get started. Is
a SIGNA At Creatio we use a sign At toll House,
we also use the sign and I'm a big proponent
of a SIGNA. We've graduated out of a couple other
pieces of project software. It used to use base Camp,

(29:21):
and what we found was as we were using it
and as we grew, there were tools that we needed
that base Camp no longer supported supported us to be
able to use, and so we grew out of it,
and so I highly recommend you finding a piece of
software that works for you. Trello is another one. I
love Trello. We also outgrew Trello. We could have not

(29:42):
outgrown it, but then you just have to start paying
for a bunch of features and a bunch of add
ons that a signa just came with out of the box,
and so Trello t R E L l O looked
that up and it is a really good thing to
be using if you get started and running your business,
just to be able to try, hey, this needs to
be done. This is what's in progress, this is what

(30:03):
is done, here's who's responsible for X, Y or z
et cetera. And it can also send you alerts. And
so it's important that you get some piece of project
software management software that helps you manage your day to
day tasks, and then every Sunday night I highly suggest
doing this Sunday night versus Monday morning. Is you just
want to take a look at the entire project management

(30:26):
software and just make sure that you're keeping up with
your to do list. If you are doing your to
do list on Monday morning, I did mine on Sunday night,
and I woke up ready to rock. You woke up
trying to get ready, I'm gonna blow past you. So
I highly recommend every Sunday night you get ready for
Monday morning. Upwork is another piece of software I use

(30:47):
because I recognize some time ago that I didn't have
to bring necessarily people on full time or even part time.
Some people, I need you for this and you can
keep it moving, and so contract out things that you
should not be spending time on. There's some things people
can do that is worth more to them to do

(31:09):
in a shorter amount of time because they're better at it.
They actually might be better than you at it, and
they can do it in a shorter amount of time,
and that time is cheaper to spend on them than
it is for you to do yourself. That ex. Pick
a dollar amount. I would much rather pay you one
hundred bucks to do this than me spend four hours

(31:30):
doing it. In that hundred bucks, I could have made
that hundred bucks somewhere else. And so to do that,
you got to know what your time is worth. If
it costs more to hire somebody else to do something
than it does in value to you, you should do it.
If it's cheaper to hire somebody else to do something,
then the value it means to you, you should contract

(31:52):
it out. I use upwork to find high quality people
because I can see their portfolio and it's just one
that I use. There's others like fiver and etc. But
I prefer Upwork. You can see their work. You can
see the ratings and reviews from other people who have
used them before, and so I use upwork to contract
work out. Automation is another one. I still get emails

(32:18):
with attached invoices from people that I work with because
I love to work with small black owned businesses as
much as I can, and every once in a while,
I still get emails from these businesses with a PDF
invoice attached, and I'm like, guys, we gotta get it together.
I should not be receiving invoices via PDF in an email.

(32:40):
I want to cook a button, pay for it. Get
quick Books bro Like, this is not hard stuff to do,
and so if you are using Apple Pages to create invoices,
you gotta stop, get a quick Books online account and
start to track and send out invoices via email at

(33:03):
the push of a button. What's gonna happen is I'm
going to get that invoice via email. I can if
you set it up this way, I can pay it
online right now. And you definitely want to allow your
customers to have more than one way to pay. If
you restrict me to one way to pay, you're very
much less likely to get my business and so give
me multiple ways to pay. I want to pay either online,

(33:25):
I want to send a check, I want to zell,
I want to you know, cash up or whatever. But
allow me multiple ways to pay. And if you use
something like quick books online, you get that opportunity to
do that. You should not be manually creating invoices in
a document and emailing them off to clients Google Docs.
I also highly recommend you send links to documents versus

(33:45):
attaching documents to your email. Here's why. So I create
a document in Microsoft Word, I send it out to
a client or a partner or whoever. Now they've got
that document on their computer. But let's say i'll make
it changed to the document. Now there's a version issue.
You've got a version of the document. I've got a

(34:07):
version of the document, and now we have to reconcile
which is the most up to date. But if I
send you a link to a document that's on Google
Sheets or Google Docs or Google slides, you know, I
can't tell you how many times I've sent proposals presentations
to a client and then I recognized, oh shoot, there's
a typo, or oh man, I need to change the

(34:29):
price down or change the price up because X, Y
or Z, and now they have this version on their computer.
When I could just send a link to my presentation,
my Google slides or my Google doc and if I
recognized I made a mistake, I can just make the
update and they'll never know. They don't see that there's
now a version issue because they get the most up

(34:51):
to date document because I may eat I changed the
X to a Y, and they don't have an issue
because they're going to see the most up to date
verse of the document at all times. But if you're
sending that out and you sent them a document, or
you send them a PowerPoint presentation and it is not
in the cloud, now you have risk of version control

(35:13):
issue and you don't want to confuse your customer. Another
piece of automation software I would highly recommend is we
use Zapier at toll House. So toll House is a
private social club that we've built and it's for the
city dwelling, creative and entrepreneurial class. So toll House we
have five bars, five lounges, a coffee house, a jazz

(35:35):
club is inside toll House. There's a cigar lounge inside
toll House, a coworking space, and all of these things
are inside this social club that I own and our
application process. People fill out a form and instead of
me having to go distill all that or particular pieces
of that information out into our different systems, we use Zapier,

(35:57):
which allows applicants to their information to be sent to
a couple of different places. For instance, you know that
all the applicants, you know, before they're approved, they get
put into a big database, a spreadsheet, you know, for
lack of a better way to say it. So Zapier
does that automatically for me. So I create a formula
or a recipe in Zapier that says, hey, when this

(36:20):
form when they click submit on this form, I need
these pieces of information to go into this particular sheet
or spreadsheet on my Google drive, and it happens automatically,
so I don't have to go and then find that
particular piece of information in a different place. All of it,
and all every applicant who's ever applied the toll houses
in one spreadsheet. And that allows me to be able to,

(36:43):
you know, use that information to create maybe charts or
demographical insights, and so I can use that and it
happens automatically because all the customer, the potential applicant or
I say, the potential member for toll House membership, all
they did was fill out the form and the information

(37:04):
got sent to where it needed to be sent in
order for me to use it. The other place where
we send information after they complete that's very same form,
is into our constant Contact. So not only are they
being submitted to our database of applicants, they're also being
included on the general list for our newsletter. And so

(37:26):
they're not a member yet, so I haven't switched which
you know list they're on, but they get put into
a pool of every person who's ever shown any interest
into toe house on our constant Contact. That happens automatically.
I don't have to touch it, so I don't have
to go and you know, add people to my constant
contact newsletter list. They submitted the form, they showed that

(37:46):
they were interested in toll House membership, they got added
to a list. That's it chat GPT. Obviously we're talking
a ton about AI in our in our social discourse
chat GPT. I use a couple of different ways. You
can use it many different ways. Here's how I use it,
and so before I even talk about how I use it.
There's a lot of fear when we bring up AI.

(38:10):
It's particularly particularly generative AI, and we got to stop
because we're probably already using AI and we just don't
realize it. If you've ever taken advantage of autocomplete in
the Google search bar, you are using artificial intelligence. It's
trying to guess what you want to type. So if
you've clicked that full word after you typed the first

(38:32):
couple letters of the word, you're using AI. And so
I use chat GPT to help us write social content.
If i'm you know, I have an image that you
know for our coffee house, which is inside to a house.
If I have an image that shows, you know, maybe
a woman working on the laptop and she is doing work.

(38:52):
It looks like she looks like she's in work mode
and she's sitting in the coffee house. And Earth, what
we boast there is Earth is home to one hundred
and sixty plus plants. Earth is our coffee house, by
the way to Earth has more than one hundred and
sixty plants inside the coffee house. And so I've got
those characteristics. In this one photo, there's a woman, she's
in work mode, working on a laptop in Earth and

(39:15):
it's all these images, all these plant life around her.
And I'll just put that in chat GPT and say, hey,
I want to write an Instagram post and this is
what the photo looks like. It's give me ten different
versions of some corresponding text copy I can use with this,
and it'll spit out ten different things related to the

(39:37):
characteristics that I gave it. I have to do anything else.
I just picked the one that works best for me
out of the ten I told it to create for me.
I may want to make a couple of adjustments here
and there, but I can even give it the tone
I want the post to be written in. I can say,
write a funny caption for an image that has these descriptors,
or write a serious one, or write a formal one

(39:58):
or white one that somebody who's you know, from Scotland
would write, and it will follow those rules. I also
use chat GPT to write newsletter content. We send out
a weekly newsletter just to let people know what's going
on in the house, and so I have chat GPT
assist me in writing that. If we talked about before
writing your procedures developing procedures. Let's say you don't know

(40:21):
how to write procedures for your company. You know this
is what we do to do our business. Use chat GPT.
You can say, hey, chat GPT when I need to
place in order for more inventory, here's what I do.
Write this in a format that somebody who's not familiar
with our business can understand, and it'll spit out paragraphs

(40:42):
or however long you tell it to write. If you
say write this in a million words, it'll spit out
your processes in a million words. If you say write
it and distill it in a way a three year
old can understand, it will spit that out, and so
it all. I think the skill for the future that
most people are going to need is how to write
prompts for artificial intelligence. I think that is probably the

(41:05):
most underrated skill as we talk about AI, that people
should be focused on. If you're not going to be
building AI, which many people won't be, you should be
and you can still do this even if you're going
to build it. But I think it's so important for
us to be very proficient in how to write prompts.
We talked about this last one before, and it's Canva

(41:26):
I already talked about it at the top of this episode.
I want to talk about it one more time because
so many people believe that if they haven't created the
content like one hundred percent all the way through, then
I'm not going to post anything. And you may not
even think that cognitively. What happens is you just don't
post anything because you don't have that one dope piece
of content to go in the news feed. And you

(41:48):
got to stop. You just don't let perfection be the
enemy of done. Because while you're stumbling over and stuttering
on your posts and not posting because you don't have
it all to gain it, they're over there posting and
they post it twenty times while you're over here thinking,
and guess who's going to get the customer, the person
who's in their face. And so use Canva, use the

(42:11):
templates that they've already created. They got beautiful templates on Canva,
and change what you want to change, switch out the images,
switch out the copy even but you don't have to
start from zero, so you can start using Canva for free.
It's free tiers to Canva. But the most important thing
I'm trying to get you to recognize out of this
is done is better than perfect when you're trying to

(42:32):
build a business and spend the time in the places
that actually matters. So it actually matters to build a
quality product, It actually matters to build a quality service.
The proof is always going to shine through. And so
if you're not the best, the absolute best at creating
graphics to correspond with telling people that you have quality products,

(42:54):
use the designs of people who are good at creating
those assets. That's my story for today. I hope you
guys got something out of this. If you want more
of this, just tell me, you know, hit me in
my DMS. I'm going to post about this episode on
my Instagram at will Lucas. If you go to go
to my Instagram and follow, and if once I post,

(43:16):
if you got something mod this episode, let me know
you did. Some of you guys a little bit more private.
You want to hit me in the DM, You're welcome
to do that. Also, I'm not the biggest DM guy
on Instagram because I get a lot of dms and
everybody wants to sell me four x for some reason.
And so if you got something out this episode, find
your way to let me know, because I you know
if you want more of this, I'll keep giving you

(43:38):
more
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