If we just work harder and faster, we will deliver more impact, right? Well, Mary Baird-Wilcock is here to tell us that it’s a trap! Giving more is not always giving better!
I chat with Mary, a creative entrepreneur and podcaster, who’s single goal in life is to help you simplify yours. Whether you’re not sure how to manage your crazy-busy schedule or just need a little help with the daily grind, Mary created The Simplifiers and the Super Mentor Academy in response to the overwhelming feeling that life is moving at lightning speed.
And it all starts with the question, “what would THIS look like if this was SIMPLE?” Well, you can sign us up!
- Mary’s journey as an events manager to finding her passion in simplifying life!
- We live in a world that’s gone crazy and we proactively participate in it.
- Unpacking the notion that if you work harder and faster, we create more impact.
- More is not always better!
- Question your motivations of what is on your to-do list.
- Not all tasks have the same value – high vs. low yielding tasks.
- Solopreneurs struggle the most with delegation.
- Focus your attention on high yielding tasks that push the needle forward and make your business profitable.
- Key areas include sales, client relations and your secret sauce!
- The BIG 7-minute timer exercise.
- Hell-yeah tasks vs. heck-no tasks.
- Work ON your business and not IN your business.
- The brilliance of virtual assistance and finding your perfect virtual assistant.
- Mary’s top tools for efficiency. You will want to listen to this!
- Simply put, simplicity is a conscious choice!
More about Mary
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Lisa Linfield: Hello everybody and welcome to today’s episode of Working Women’s Wealth. I’m joined by Mary Baird-Wilcock, who is the founder of The Simplifiers and she has a goal with both her company and her podcast, to help people simplify their lives. Not only does she have a business that simplifies lives, but her podcast reaches many, many, many people and I also have been featured on Mary’s podcasts and I loved her mission. And so I asked her to come back and help us understand the opportunities of simplifying our life, both our personal life and our professional life. Welcome, Mary.
Mary Baird-Wilc: Hi, thank you so much for having me.
Lisa Linfield: So, Mary, why did you start The Simplifiers?
Mary Baird-Wilc: Oh gosh, well I started The Simplifiers way, way, way back when on a whole other side of the planet. I live in the UK now, but I was living in Texas at the time, back in 2003. So at the time of this recording, I technically have a 16-year-old business, I have a teenager, and I started it way, way, way back when as an events management company actually. Where we produced non-traditional, large scale events for corporate clients like Google and Facebook and Microsoft and hundreds and hundreds of non-traditional weddings. Back then I thought, “Well gosh, when you’re planning a wedding, when you’re planning a massive event, you’re spending lots of money, wouldn’t it be nice if somebody could come in and simplify that for you?”
And of course that’s where the genesis of the company began. Well, as with any good story, there’s evolution across time and 16 years later, I live in the UK, on the other side of the planet and about four or five years ago, when I moved, I realized that there was time to pivot and change up the business as well. That’s when we moved to more B2B, serving as a business coach, an international public speaker and now, most recently, as a podcaster, helping other small business owners learn how to simplify their work life.
Lisa Linfield: What is it about simplifying that made you come up with an entire business around helping people to simplify their life?
Mary Baird-Wilc: Well I think you know how they say the things you need to learn the most are the things you start to teach others and I think that’s true in every sense of the word. I mean when I day one, started the company and called it The Simplifiers, I mean the beautiful irony of that, is that your life becomes incredibly complex because then you take on all of your clients’ stuff. And you start to weed through it and all that. Well I am a natural born project manager, I am a person that has lists for my lists and I get things done and I like efficiency as well. Also, being a woman and through the evolution of my company, I have kids now, I mean life is nothing near being simple.
So you have to really work towards simplicity and strive towards it because if you don’t, the alternative is swirling thoughts, noise, constant people pulling and pulling and grabbing and tugging at you for wanting things last minute. This immediate gratification society that we live in. And so it never became more true to me over the time and the years of business, like wow, simplicity is really something that’s important and it’s a choice that you make as a business owner.
Lisa Linfield: Why do you think we end up with such stressful, chaotic lives?
Mary Baird-Wilc: Well, I can tell you one criminal in this whole case is certainly the phone that sits in your back pocket right now. That certainly changes everything in my daily life. Think back, I mean, sure you’re the same Lisa… 16 years ago we didn’t have the internet and social media kind of at our fingertips. I don’t even think, I had a cellphone 16 years ago, I think I had a landline still for my business. And so the way people connect with you, both your clients, your prospects, your audience out there, now is in microseconds versus writing a letter back, phoning them up, going and meeting in person. So again, the pace of the world, moving to an immediate gratification kind of space, means that we, as business owners, have to speed up our pace as well.
However, and I like to use this analogy, imagine you are in a golden hamster wheel, as a business owner. And a side note, I am really good at building the biggest, most beautiful golden hamster wheel out there. So your hamster wheel is your business, and sometimes you feel this need, you jump into the wheel and you’re like, “Oh, well if I just run faster. Run, run, run, run, run, faster, faster, faster, I’ll get more done. I’ll produce more whatever out there into the world, more people will know me, more impact, more money, more everything.”
The other side of building a golden, beautiful hamster wheel, is that sometimes you fall into the trap of like, well more, more, more, gosh, there’s only 24 hours in the day. I’m going to need to hire more staff and so when I hire more staff, that’s more payroll, that’s more cashflow issues, that’s more sales I need to bring in. More, more, more, more, run, run, run faster and again, it’s a trap. If your listeners are business owners and some of you guys are not serial entrepreneurs, you’re not building businesses to sell them off to other businesses, you’re building a lifestyle business, that suits the lifestyle you want.
And I think one of the simple tenets that we totally forget, I am so guilty of this as well, is that you jump off the corporate 9:00 to 5:00 because you don’t want to work for the man or whoever. And you go and you start your own business, you realize, “Hey, you’re the one that gets to vision what this business looks like. You’re the one who sets your own hours and sets your own payroll and sets all of your targets as well.” So if you’re listening to this and you’re encouraged and you have a little lifestyle business that you’ve built up, I want you to question this feeling of not enough because more is not always better and bigger is not always what you need.
Lisa Linfield: Absolutely, but I think it’s one of the challenges, is that we think that if we work faster and harder and we get more, then life will be easier.
Mary Baird-Wilc: Yeah, but that’s the hamster mentality. Why does a hamster get in the wheel in the first place? Do they actually think they’re getting somewhere? Again, that’s where you have to constantly question your motivations of the tasks that you put onto your to-do list because again, as a natural born project manager, I love ticking things off lists. I go, “Oh, look at that, I got 20 things done today…” But the reality is and we’ll talk a little bit about this later down the episode I’m sure, is that not all tasks are equal. There are things, what I call higher yielding tasks and lower yielding tasks. And just doing busy work for busy work’s sake does not mean that you’re actually pushing the needle forward in your business. That’s where you need the skill of discernment and that’s where true simplifying happens.
Lisa Linfield: So most of your target audience in your podcasts, the largest segment of listeners are solopreneurs, so people who have a small one-person business or who are maybe working on their business as a side hustle. But people who have their own business and as you said, more than likely a lifestyle business, what do they struggle with when it comes to these challenges of complexity?
Mary Baird-Wilc: I think there’s a couple of things and I can relate to this because I’ve certainly come from this in my own career path. I worked in big corporate before I started my own business. And when you work in big corporate, there’s departments, there’s money, there’s resources, there’s a lot of red tape, I’ll mind you. But there is like people and things and sometimes money that you can allocate towards problems, challenges, new campaigns and all that. I think when people become solopreneurs and it’s me, myself and I, doing all the things, from sales to marketing, to being the janitor, to being the face of the brand.
You start to go, “Well, if I don’t do it, who will? If I don’t make this happen, if I don’t turn that giant crank, will the business completely crumble?” And to a certain extent, maybe at the beginning, yes, that is true. But I think over the evolution of your small business, especially right around year two to four, is when you start to really take off. Things are starting to stick, you’re getting clients that are recurring business and it’s starting to scale bigger than one person.
And I think that growing pain is a big struggle for people because if they are type A, card carrying, control freaks, raise your hand if that’s you. It’s hard to let things go and Gail’s like, “Well I’m the one that turns the crank because that’s how this business has run for the last two years, I don’t have a great big HR department or a huge sales and marketing budget. So this is how business is run.” But that’s the critical point where you have to shift in order to scale your business, is to start to learn how to delegate the lower yielding tasks. And if you like, I can go through what a higher yielding task is and a lower yielding task is-
Lisa Linfield: That would be great.
Mary Baird-Wilc: Okay, so here’s the real deal you guys, grab a pen and paper and write this down because this is really at the ultimately level of simplifying. So I love to use a seven minute timer, I don’t know why seven minutes is the magic number. But if you set a seven minute timer, you pull out your pen and paper, and you close down all the tabs on your computer and all the tabs that are open in your brain right now, and just focus on one thing. You will find that you have massive clarity in most areas of your life. I truly believe that you can begin to solve anything in seven minutes.
So first thing I would suggest doing, is setting that seven minute timer, pulling out your pen and paper, closing down your computer and then actually journaling out every single task that falls on your shoulders in any given work week. Like literally everything, and you just vomit it out onto paper and don’t stop, you just keep writing, “Well, oh yeah, I do this and oh yeah, I still run the payroll and oh yeah, I still post to social media. And oh, I do that and oh, I hate doing that and blah, blah, blah.”
Write it all down, seven minute timer’s up and if for whatever reason, you run out of things to write down in seven minutes, you can also put out all the personal tasks you do. Like are you responsible for laundry at home? Do you do the morning school run for the kids? Do you do this? Do you do that? Just jot it all down on a piece of paper. And then the next step is to categorize. This is what I call my hell yeah or heck no exercise and it’s very, very simple.
The tasks that are on your piece of paper that you’ve identified that you handle in any given week, the things that you would consider a hell yeah, meaning that they energize you, they excite you, you love to do that kind of work, it lights you up on the inside, I want you to put a big old star next to that. And then all the tasks that drain you, that are your heck nos, that are your like, “Oh, if I could delegate this tomorrow, I totally would.” You put a big fat X next to those.
This is just simply an exercise for you to take an audit of all the things that have fallen on your shoulders now, that you feel are important and/or urgent tasks to complete. When you start to look at this hell yeah versus heck no, you have a quick idea of what tasks really light you up and you’re really, really good at. Now here is the true secret to this, in my opinion, higher yielding tasks are tasks that push the needle forward in your business and also generate revenue.
Now, you might be scoffing at this, you may think, “Well, I’m not non-profit, I’m a charity.” That’s not really our focus, I’ll say it to you now, you need money in order to run a charity or a non-profit as well. So higher yielding tasks are in my opinion, three things. They are sales, they are client relations and they are what I call your secret sauce stuff. So if you’re a designer, then it’s the work that you cannot delegate to somebody else. That you do so incredibly well and you are known for in your industry.
So sales, client relations and your secret sauce work, that’s your high yielding tasks. That’s the stuff that’s going to yield the most out of your limited effort there. Everything else is lower yielding tasks. Like bookkeeping, like social media, like I don’t know, filing your paperwork, doing just the admin stuff, the machine work, the stuff that keeps the hamster wheel churning, doesn’t necessarily need to be done by you.
Lisa Linfield: Once you have an idea of all the things that you should be focusing on, for many people say, work on your business, not necessarily in your business, what do you then do with all these lower hanging fruit?
Mary Baird-Wilc: Oh, totally, you delegate them. And this is where I would say you have to have in your mind, that scene from Frozen, the movie and you have to sing it out loud, and I’m not going to sing it. But you have to let it go, and it’s so hard, it’s so hard for small business owners to let go of the little stuff. They go, “Oh, by the time I have to train them on it, I could have done it myself.” But the truth is, by the time you hire and find say, a skilled virtual assistant or somebody that can take these little things off your plate, and you train them up, then it’s training once, course correcting here and there, but then you’re not doing it over and over and over and over again.
Now here’s the trap though, Lisa and raise your hand if you’re listening to this and this is totally you. There are some tasks that you think, “Oh well, only I can do this. Only I am really good at whatever, social media, making graphics, or my Facebook page, whatever.” And you may even justify in your brain, like, “Oh, I’m so good at it and I really, really love doing this work.” But let’s say you are, I don’t know, an accountant, but you, for whatever reason like to make graphics for your website or for your Facebook page. That’s all well and good, but I just want you to take a moment and question why are you holding onto that?
Is that some secret little area of procrastination that instead of picking up the phone and calling that lead prospect and asking for the sale because that’s big and scary or doing some email marketing because you know that when you email your most favorite clients and prospects, you always get a return back on that investment. Just question some of those lower yielding tasks that might be in your hell yeah section and actually ask yourself, “Is this pushing the needle forward as much as these other tasks, if I had actually time to do sales, client relations or secret sauce work?”
Lisa Linfield: Absolutely and I also think that one of the things that we all need to be aware of is, we have to focus on the revenue generating business because that is what is going to pay the bills and move us forward from a financial perspective. But I think many people really do hate the sales side. But you can also find people to do the sales side for you, to set up the calls that you need to make the appointments that you need, to do things like that. So it is absolutely the thing that all of us as solopreneurs have to focus on. But even if you really get to the stage where you can’t and your business is suffering for it, there are people who will make the calls, who will set up the appointments, who will do all the yucky things that you can just get to a stage of focusing on being face-to-face with that new client. And you don’t have to go through all the nos of your business development.
Mary Baird-Wilc: Yes, two things that you said there that I think are really, really important to put a pin in the map on. One: you mentioned like setting up the calls or scheduling the meetings and all the things, that again, are lower yielding admin tasks, that you should be delegating off to a trusted virtual assistant or contractor. So that you can come in and do the pitch that you can present the proposal, that you can do those things that you are fundamentally known for. Even if you think you’re not really good at it, bottom line, the only way you learn how to ride a bicycle is repetition. Doing it over and over and over again, stumbling, stumbling and learning somewhere along the fifth, tenth, twentieth time that you’ve done it, that’s bottom line for anything.
But then two: I think what you also said there that I think is really, really important, regardless of if you are an introvert or an extrovert, you’ve been in business one year or 15 years. I think it’s important for you to really reframe in your mind, what sales is. Sales gets a bad rep, so when you think of the word sales, you probably think about the sleazy used car salesman guy, with an ill fitting suit, trying to sell you on a car that you don’t want, that’s way out of your budget.
And sales is not that, in my mind at all. I’ve come to terms with the idea of sales as being more… sales is problem solving and marketing is relationship building. That’s it, when you start to look at sales as this place where you are helping people solve problems in their work or in their life, and if what you offer doesn’t solve a problem, they’re not your customer, they’re not your client. You’re not trying to like wring them in and bamboozle them with false advertising. They’re just not your person and so you move on.
And when you look at sales and marketing in that mindset, everything changes in your brain. It becomes less scary and it becomes like, “Oh, I’m just helping another person. And here is what we offer and here is the results other people have gotten from it and this is what it costs and do you have any questions?” That’s really what sales is.
Lisa Linfield: Absolutely, so you’ve mentioned a few times, this whole thing of a virtual assistant or a VA, what is it?
Mary Baird-Wilc: Oh my gosh, it’s like the best thing ever, truly. If virtual assistants actually existed 16 years ago, when I first started my company, it would be night and day different because I come from the old school realm, where okay, here’s how you hire. You find a really, bright, green, trainable college student, who’s looking for an internship that you can groom from the ground up and teach them everything from A to Z of how you run your business. Then that intern becomes a paid, part-time, hourly employee and then eventually graduates up to becoming a full-time employee. I mean that’s how I built my business, a multiple, six figure business back in The States was in using that business model.
But do you know what? About four years ago or so, technology started to catch up with what we were doing as small business owners and making it so much easier now to work with people all over the world. I mean literally, my entire team at The Simplifiers no longer offices in my UK office with me. We have teams in the US, the UK, as well as Canada. And here’s the thing, a virtual assistant, a VA is somebody who works maybe five hours a month, maybe five hours a week for you, in a very spec, hyper niche, task list. So they’re not a magic unicorn person, like a personal assistant, who does all the things.
You might hire a VA who’s simply your virtual web master and another person who is simply handling your Facebook ad campaign. You might hire another person who does, I don’t know, database management and scheduling of appointments and things. So virtual assistants, I’m telling you, this is a game changer for most small business owners and certainly for solopreneurs. Once you’ve done this process of identifying your hell yeahs and your heck nos and what you want to delegate off your plate, then you can start to build what I call a VA creative brief. And say, “Okay, I want to delegate this task, what are the parameters around it?” And then start to search for that person that can do it.
Lisa Linfield: What kind of tasks do VAs do mostly?
Mary Baird-Wilc: Gosh, I mean there is a wide spectrum and I would say that if you are looking to hire a virtual assistant if you’ve never hired one before, I would encourage to look for people who are very specialized in a few areas. If you go to hire a virtual assistant say directly, you found somebody from a referral from someone else and have a discovery call with them and you say, “Okay, what do you really specialize in? Or what kind of work really, really, really lights you up?” And if they say, “Oh, I do it all, I do everything.” That’s a red flag in my opinion because that’s not always the truth. They’ve done their own hell yeah, heck no kind of exercise, I’m sure at some point in their career.
And there are certainly things they’re like, “ugh, bookkeeping or ugh, spreadsheets,” that they don’t want to do. So what I would recommend is that you look for specific, specialized VAs out there. So I mean I’ve seen VAs that do blogging, that can do virtual web master work, that can set up your systems and processes, help you write your training manual. Really help with schedule management, social media management, you name it. Think about any of those admin tasks that you’ve been holding onto, more than likely, there’s a VA out there that can help you.
Lisa Linfield: And how do you find them?
Mary Baird-Wilc: Yes, okay, so I love this question. There are quite a few places that I would recommend and side note, just as a freebie for your audience, I’d love to offer you guys a VA creative brief form. It leads you through a series of questions to help you start to identify okay, what tasks do I want to delegate? And really start to put it down into one form. So you have it and you can send if off to future VAs that you’re wanting to interview. Side note on that, that link is thesimplifiers.com/hireava. Okay, so where to find reliable, super smart virtual assistants. There are four places in my opinion.
There are agencies, meaning that you talk to an agency and then they listen to what kind of tasks that you’re looking to delegate and then they assign you to a specific VA on their team. Which side note, that’s a part of what The Simplifiers does, we opened our hire a simplifier division a year and a half ago and it’s just gone gangbusters. Another place you can go is Fiverr, that’s F-I-V-E-R-R, two Rs at the end .com and that’s more of a task by task kind of project thing. So if you need to get a logo designed or if you need to create some graphics or just some small bite sized project. You can find people there from all over the world.
Then the third place is referrals, ask your other business owners that you know in your city or industry who they hire as their VAs and there’s nothing better than a referral because again, think about it this way, if you’re working with a VA for say five hours a month or five hours a week, the person that is working with this amazing VA, wants to make sure that, that person’s got lots on their books, so that they are a thriving company that’s paying the bills and doing all the things. So they’re going to happily refer you over to somebody who they love to work with.
And then fourth is, if you’re part of any sort of private Facebook groups, then ask in there. More than likely, you will get referrals from other people, but then you’ll also find that there are VAs lurking in those groups already, that you just didn’t even know were there. And same, same, you’ll want to ask them specifically what are your niche tasks that you love, love, love to do and are so good at.
Lisa Linfield: Absolutely, and I always think that the way I frame this question, is almost like a seesaw and it’s a seesaw between time and money. So for example, if we’re full-time employed and we’re trying to work on a side hustle, we might have money, but not much time. And if you’re first starting out, you might have the time, but not much money. But in all of those, there comes the opportunity to create the balance between time and money. That there are the things your higher yielding tasks as you call them, that we should be focusing on ourselves and need to just find the time to do them.
The other part of the low yielding tasks is to really kind of deconstruct your time, that it is valuable, and that there are these people who can easily do it and do things well because this is what they focus on all day long because as you said, that’s the thing that lights them up. And for me, there’s a lot of the stuff that I do in my day job that doesn’t light me up and that isn’t my greatest talent and so it is this trade. Especially as you say, between year two to four, in the beginning I did everything myself, and now I have VAs around the world that help with different, specific tasks.
I always joke that my little baby twins think that I spend my life speaking to a computer because I speak to people who are working on projects in my business everywhere, and I don’t have to hire them, and I don’t have to fire them, and I don’t have to promise them work forever. I have a specific chunk of work that I need them to do, and they do it. So I value my time to generate more revenue than it will cost me to do the things that they do. Also, sometimes they just do it a lot better than I do.
Mary Baird-Wilc: Yeah, and this is secret you guys, is that the people that are the very best virtual assistants out there, are not people that have just come out of college. They have five, 10, maybe even 15 years of experience under their belt. A lot of times I find some of the best virtual assistants out there are actually stay at home moms, who jumped off the corporate 9:00 to 5:00, had their kids and are like, “You know what? I want to dabble my feet back into work, but I certainly don’t want to work 40 hours a week.” But they come to the table with so many great skills. Finance skills, marketing skills, all of that.
So they’re just looking for a hand full of clients that they can do at odd hours, throughout the day and sometimes even the night. And it works and here is also the other fundamental difference between working with a virtual assistant versus working with a employee. Is a lot of times people say, “Well how do I interview a VA?” And that’s actually the wrong question. The better question is, “Are they a good fit for what the company needs right now?” Because here’s the thing, a virtual assistant is in essence a business owner, just like yourself. They’ve got a handful of clients, they’ve got to stay on target, they have to keep laser focused on the tasks at hand.
Whereas, you hire an employee or somebody straight out of college, they’re like, “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.” There’s very little commitment, they’re completely green, you’re having to hold their hand and train them through everything. Whereas this VA is coming to the table to say, “Well hey, I’ve handled this challenge with another client and this is how we overcame it, using this tool or using this or doing that.” So it’s a complete game changer in there, they do not see you as their boss, they see you as their client. And that fundamentally changes everything, so they are a partner for you that helps you execute what you need to get done. They are not your employee or your staffer, does that make sense?
Lisa Linfield: Absolutely and I think one of the great things that I did to reduce time, was I used a piece of video recording software. I just a PC, so it’s Camtasia, but if you have a Mac, it would be iMovies or any of that. I recorded how I choose to do certain tasks or certain things, and put it on a link and then they knew exactly. So if I do get different people to do different tasks, I don’t have to reteach them again. I’ve done it once, I’ve taught once and however many people I have in my life can reuse that many times over.
Mary Baird-Wilc: Yes, that’s brilliant, yeah, so if a Mac user, you can use QuickTime and do a screen recording. That has your audio and they can see your mouse kind of trickling over different spots and this is how we write a blog post or this is how we do that. And you just dump it into… we put these all into a Google Drive folder and we consider our training manual to be a living and breathing document. So it grows and changes over time and you add these videos and all that. So very, very smart.
Lisa Linfield: Absolutely, so you’ve been doing this for a number of years. What are your top tools that have changed your daily life, personally and professionally?
Mary Baird-Wilc: Totally, so again, I’m always striving for efficiency in my workday. So if there’s something that I’m doing painstakingly manual, surely there is a tool out there that can help. One of those tools that I like to use is a scheduler link. So if somebody contacts you and says, “Hey, I’d love to set up a discovery call, or I’d love to chat more about your services, or I’d love to pick your brain.” You love that, right? Then what you simply do is use a tool like ScheduleOnce, there are other ones out there, like Calendly or Acuity as well. Some of them have free options, and some have paid features to it. But ScheduleOnce is part of the OnceHub group. Basically what it does, is it gives a link for people to book a time onto your calendar.
So no more is there this like back and forth, “Well can you do Tuesday at 10:00?” “Oh no, I’m busy at 10:00, how about this?” And you’ve got like five or six emails back and forth and you’re just trying to do one simple task. This allows them access to my calendar, they don’t see what’s on my calendar, they just simply see the times that I’m available and book in a couple of options. It kicks it back to me, I choose the one that works best, it kicks it back to them and it’s automated from there. Sends them schedule reminders, “Hey, your call’s coming up in 30 minutes or whatever, two people.”
And that I tell you, saves so much time. And I know with ScheduleOnce you can also embed widget straight into your website. So you want to stick that onto your contact us page. So imagine you’re a wedding planner and most times brides and grooms are doing their surfing on the internet for wedding vendors late at night, after work, say 9:00, 10:00 at night. Let’s imagine they jump onto your website and they’re like, “Oh, this looks kind of cool, I’d love to talk to this wedding planner.” And they go to the contact us page and it says, “Book a time right now.”
And so she goes and she’s like, “Brilliant, I can talk to Mary at 10:00 AM tomorrow morning,” click, click, click, ding, it’s done. Think about that user and customer experience. Like wow, that was so simple, all I had to do was click a couple of buttons. I’ve got a call scheduled with her at 10:00 AM tomorrow. Whereas all the other people, I’ve sent a email through their contact us form, into the vortex, I haven’t heard back from them because it’s after hours, right.
And I don’t know when I’m going to hear back from them and here’s the secret you guys, especially, I know this because I used to be a wedding planner, especially for wedding planners. The first person that gets the phone call with a bride, nine times out of 10, books the bride. Do you want to know why? Because it’s an emotional purchase. She’s excited to talk to the first person that she gets to tell her dream and vision to and they connect on a deeper level. She doesn’t want to repeat the story and do all the things with second, third or fourth candidate. So little secrets like that make the process simple for people to work with you. It’s a total game changer.
Lisa Linfield: Absolutely and I mean just for those of you listening, I asked Mary who she used and how she did this and I went on, got the tools, set it up and schedule all of my stuff now on it. And it has cut the amount of emails, it’s cut the back and forth and it automatically links with my video conferencing software, Zoom. So we both can just click on the link and there we go, so it was a suggestion that Mary gave me, that I took to heart. It has released a huge amount of stress and you build in the logic that says this is a short call or this is a long call. I need travel time or prep time. You build in all the logic, so that it just automatically finds that place in your diary and off you go.
Mary Baird-Wilc: Yeah, and you want to know the level up on this, that I think is so brilliant? So let’s say you get a lot of people that ping you and say, “Can I pick your brain? Can I get some free advice, Lisa?” Right?
Lisa Linfield: Yeah.
Mary Baird-Wilc: You can actually set up a widget inside your ScheduleOnce, where yeah, absolutely, you can pick my brain, here’s our 60 minute consult time, it costs this. And just simply put your credit card details and you can process the payment as well as scheduling the thing. Yeah, I don’t know, I just think it’s so great. There are things out there that make your life easier, you just simply need to learn a couple of tools. Can I tell you two more tools that I absolutely love as well?
Lisa Linfield: Absolutely.
Mary Baird-Wilc: Okay, so we talked about scheduler links, those are game changers. Another thing that I like to do is, and it’s a ritual for me. Every Monday morning, the very first task and appointment, I block it out on my calendar, when I get into the office, is planning my week ahead. And I specifically use Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map Planner, and it seems a little old school to go to pen and paper for a planner, especially since I use Google Calendar as my main schedule and calendar. But the reason I love Danielle’s Desire Map Planner so much, is that she has these sets of questions that are prompts every single week, that help you really discern, well how did last week go? And really tap into what you’re feeling as a business owner. Where you have gratitude and there’s even a section, and it’s like, stop doing what is just driving you crazy.
Why do you keep on doing these things? Because I have a belief that I certainly have the brain sometimes of a goldfish. And so I repeat mistakes over and over and over again because I simply forget, I forget, “Oh yeah, that’s not what we do any more.” So it’s just this ritual and process of going through six or seven questions on a Monday morning and planning out my week ahead, after I do that journaling. And there’s also a section where it’s called declarations or what do I need ask for? And you write out, like okay, I need ask this person to do this because of this. I need to ask this person for this, or I need help from Lisa, to help me with this.
Again, it just helps your brain laser focus in, instead of falling into the hamster wheel trap of checking your email, putting out other people’s fires because that’s all email is, is when people send emails to you, they’re diffusing their fire and putting it over in your court to solve. So instead of falling into that trap, you start to really focus in your compass of where you want to head, plan your week out ahead and use those as prompts. That’s tool number two. Now tool number three is a newer one that I’ve started to use, and it’s called Loom, L-O-O-M.
Loom is this great little tool that allows you to record very short personalized videos that you can send very, very simply via email to prospects, to clients, to whoever you wish. So these day and age, when somebody signs up for an email list or a freebie or whatever, they sort of just go into a black hole, and it’s very clinical and there’s not very much high touch to that. Well, if somebody signs up to an email list of ours, then there’s a potential I could send them an individual email that has a little video in it, that says, “Hey, Lisa, I saw you just signed up, I’m so glad that you’re here. Hey, you might want to listen to this episode on our podcast first, especially if you’re looking for advice on this topic. Reach out to me if you have any questions at all, we’re so glad you’re here, blah, blah, blah.”
Again, it’s individual little videos, it’s simplifying the process to do this. Now if you get four or five hundred signing up to your email list, you’ve got a different set of problems. But if you’re a smaller business, and you’re just wanting to build that relationship one person at a time, who are interested in more information from you, this is a great little tool to do it. And it doesn’t require that much tech or that much money to set up either.
Lisa Linfield: That’s fantastic and any other things that help out?
Mary Baird-Wilc: Yeah, simple is always better in my opinion. So just the same as I’ve told you about three new tools and two of those are subscriptions, meaning that they are monthly, little drips that come out of your company everything month to sign up for. I always recommend, every quarter that you step off the hamster wheel and you have a strategic retreat, either with yourself, as in literally by yourself, eight hours and have a whole agenda and go through things or with your team. Whether that’s through a video conference or actually getting together at the table.
When you do this quarterly thing, I also encourage you to take an audit of any subscriptions you are signed up for, that you’ve bought into, that you just aren’t using. Again, simplify down, so I used to have a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, which had all the Adobe software, I think it was £50 a month and I just stopped using it over time and I use Canva instead. So if you take that time to just do an audit of the stuff that you buy, that trickles out of your business bank account and you don’t even realize and say, “Hey, is this still worth the money that we’d spent on it. Is there another tool that we’ve replaced or is there a freer option and let go of the things that are no longer serving you.
Lisa Linfield: Absolutely and I think we can so often look back and go, “My goodness, that subscription’s been coming off for a year, and I haven’t used this stuff.” And I think it’s a fantastic discipline to do it at least quarterly to make sure that you are using the money that you are spending.
Mary Baird-Wilc: Yeah and even quarterly as well, I would hope that you’re doing your bookkeeping weekly and certainly monthly looking at things. But let’s say you aren’t, and there’s no shame in this. We’ve all been there, and you have this giant shoebox full of receipts that you shoved under the bed, and you just don’t want to look at them. At least taking that one simple step towards a quarterly audit of your stuff, getting your books up to speed every quarter helps you start to have much more clear picture of your financial situation. Look I don’t need to tell you, Lisa.
You know this stuff, but that’s the truth, and I think sometimes as small business owners, we are so caught up in shame of like, “Oh my God, I’m so far behind. If anybody actually knew my books are nine months behind,” or whatever. You’re never going to do this audit, but if you can give yourself a little bit of grace, and a little bit of permission as well, to say, “Hey, every quarter, I’m just going to get caught up.” Then you’ll be so much more confident about your financial situation, so much more confident as a business owner on where to head next.
Lisa Linfield: One of my daughters holidays tasks to earn more pocket money, is that she photographs all my receipts and then emails them and then saves them by month and in my mind, it’s all in the name of creating an entrepreneurship environment in our house. Otherwise, known as saving mom’s butt.
Mary Baird-Wilc: Well yeah, and that’s it, and all it takes is education. That’s what I appreciate and respect in the work that you’re doing. Is that in order to teach a million women about financial freedom, I mean it just requires the ability to see that it isn’t as scary as we think it is in our brains and repetition equals mastery.
Lisa Linfield: Absolutely, and small little habits change the whole trajectory of your life. So I love the small habits that you’ve been giving us because each one of them can save us so much time. But also stop all those to-do leaks that happen in our brain and if we have either a VA doing it, a scheduler helping us schedule them, collecting the money if you’re a person who sells time, schedule a link to a payment provider, is fantastic because not only does the person pay, they can schedule at the same time. And you get to see the person without thinking, “Are you ever going to pay me for this session.” So you’ve given us some fantastic ideas and really inspiring, and I truly believe that if we all focus on simplifying our lives, we will seriously reduce the stress. But more importantly, increase our productivity.
Mary Baird-Wilc: It is true and one other teeny tiny tip that I do with that scheduler link, is that every Friday, you know how I have the ritual for every Monday morning to do the journaling. But Friday afternoon, just before I leave the office, I go into my scheduler link, and I shut down any appointments available for the week ahead. So no one can get onto my calendar just willy-nilly for the week ahead. So there’s no surprises or what have you and I found that, that has been so great because again, it’s just a little data point to your brain that reminds you, “Hey, you’re in charge of your schedule, you’re in charge of this business as well.”
If somebody comes up, let’s say it’s a high end client, and they really want to get on your schedule next Tuesday and all the things, they’re going to touch base with you and then you can go back to them and say, “Hey, I’ve wiggled some things around, so we can talk on Tuesday.” But again, just shut down your rest of your schedule for the week ahead, so that no one can sneak up and then all of a sudden an eight hour workday has turned into a 12 hour workday.
Lisa Linfield: Absolutely, I mean what amazes me about urgent is how unurgent most things are.
Mary Baird-Wilc: Oh, totally.
Lisa Linfield: Yeah, it really is, it’s an amazing thing. So, Mary, how would everyone listening here learn more from you or get hold of you to get a VA? Because The Simplifiers does definitely provide great virtual assistant services to people. How do people get hold of you?
Mary Baird-Wilc: Oh, there’s a couple of ways. One, you can search for The Simplifiers in your favorite podcast player. So basically wherever you listen to this podcast, you’ll find us as well and subscribe there. We interview super smart people all over the world, who can take one topic, either in business or in life and simplify it. So everything from cashflow to panic attacks, to getting better sleep, you’ll find that on the podcast. If you’re interested in more information about our VA program, like I said earlier, you can create your first VA, create a brief for absolutely free at thesimplifiers.com/hireava and then last but not least, we are all over social media, if you just simply search for The Simplifiers.
However, a side note on that, depending on when this episode release, I actually am taking my annual social media sabbatical through the entire month of July. Which means that I will delete all the apps off my phone and step away from social media for a whole month. So that I can kind of refocus my brain and laser focus in other areas of my business. So if it’s July and you’re listening to this, then you won’t get a hold of me there. But reach out to me in the other two ways, that’d be great.
Lisa Linfield: I think that’s fantastic that you are taking a social media sabbatical, I think we all should simplify our lives and do that for month a year, definitely. So all those links will be in our show notes and thank you, Mary, so much for coming on and sharing your wisdom and your experience in simplifying our lives.
Mary Baird-Wilc: It is my absolute pleasure and you guys, remember, give yourself a little bit of grace and don’t forget to keep things simple.
Lisa Linfield: Isn’t Mary great? I just loved my chat with her and I also loved being interviewed by her. So go to episode 67 on her podcast, The Simplifiers and you’ll be able to listen to my take on simplifying finances. But I want to really pick up on a few things that she said and that was that for many people, they start a business because it creates the lifestyle that they want to live and choose to live. And for others they start a side hustle, so that they can earn a longterm stream of additional income, that might soon replace the income that they get from their work. But for many, they have so many misconceptions and think that this is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. Now I’m not saying that starting a business is easy, it does take work and it does take focus.
But if you have a strong vision, there are so many different ways that you can simplify the task of both setting up and building a business because the tools that are available now in the form of amazing human beings that can do specific tasks or alternatively, technology that can help streamline and make things easier, means that you don’t need to be an expert in everything. That you really can access the help that you need.
So in two weeks’ time, on Wednesday, the 7th of August, I will be hosting a live teaching series, a masterclass that will tackle the four common beliefs that people have, that are so wrong with respect to why they can’t start a business because as you know, I’m passionate that everyone needs to have enough money to live their best life now and in the future. For most of us, we cannot increase our income because we’re employed and so we get a set salary. And yes, we can ask for a raise and there are many podcast episodes on that, but the only other way is that we start generating income from a business that we create.
So I’m going to take you through some of the amazing tools available out there to help you get over the objections you have in your brain that might be outdated because the world has moved on so quickly. Because there are so many different ways that you can start earning extra income. You just got to want it and look out for those opportunities that match who you are and there are simple ways to land all of it. So go and sign up on workingwomen’swealth.com/webinar and you’ll be able to sign up for that first masterclass on Wednesday, the 7th. Take care and have a great week.