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Kimberly Beer 0:00
Hey there business animals. It’s Kim here. Today’s episode is so cool, we have a lot of fun for you, you’re gonna laugh throughout this episode because we have the wonderful Betsy Bird of Ride the Sky Photography with us today. Now, Betsy is not just another photographer, she is amazing at entrepreneurship. She’s amazing at organizing things and can run a business on very little time, which how many of you would like to have more time to do the things that are important in your business, I know that you would, I know I do. So Betsy has some great ideas for us. And I’m just going to run down the big three from this episode so that you can be listening for them as the episode goes through. So first of all, planning. So if you’re going to reach your goals, you’ve got to make some planning in advance. And Betsy helps us understand how to break our planning down into steps that are easy for us to take. She has some wonderful ideas on some tools that you can use that are really easily assessable, to be able to help you plan out your goals, whether they are for a year, a month or a project. So she’s got a lot of good information about that. The second of the big three that I want you to listen for is when Betsy talks about automation. Now I know you guys hear that from me, particularly a lot. But there’s reasons for it. And hopefully now you’re starting to see that we have a lot of people that have been on the show that talk about automation and how it saves you time and how it frees up the time that you need to be able to do the things that you really need to be able to do in your business. And finally, the third of the Big Three is basically time blocking and then also a concept of Eat That Frog. So I’m going to let you listen to the program. If you don’t know what the statement eat the frog or Eat That Frog means you’ll have some really good education by the end of this episode about what that actually means. It is a metaphor. We’re not literally eating frogs, but it’ll really help you in your business and it’ll help you with your goal setting in your time management as well. So enjoy.
Welcome to The Business Animal podcast. settle up for a gallop to the top of the animal industry, where you’ll learn how to tame your wild business beast with tips, techniques, and tools that will take overwhelmed to obedience school and have you wagging your tail with joy. And now your hosts Kim Beer and Cara Taylor Swift
Kimberly Beer 2:38
Hi there business animals It’s Kim with Be More Business
Cara Taylor Swift 2:42
and Cara Taylor Swift with Fast Horse Photography. We are here today with one of my pals Betsy Bird from Ride the Sky Photography you guys this is one of my favorite people. I can introduce her as a comedian as a travel buddy as a friend that I was friends with before she knew we were friends. What are those kinds of people in my life there’s a lot of great stories there but I’m going to introduce you guys in the way that she would like me to introduce you. So Betsy Bird of Ride the Sky Equine Photography is a Certified Professional Photographer with the organization Professional Photographers of America. That’s kind of a big deal guys. The CPAP designation is held by fewer than 2500 photographers nationwide Ride the Sky specializes in on location photography for equines and the equestrians that love them. Additionally, Ride the Sky works with equine and pet brands and businesses to provide commercial photography for their advertising and marketing needs in both the digital and print spaces. When she’s not busy out in the field doing insane things to make an animal look at her. She’s clearly desperate for attention, y’all. You can catch her on the couch snuggling with Nytro her rescue dog on Betsy’s website, which you guys will have to go see she has a bio. And in that bio, there are some things that are really funny that stories that Betsy has told me in the past that always crack me up. The first one I want to share with you is that when Betsy was in high school, she won an eight year old Appaloosa mare in a statewide contest. This is serious, and she took over six hours to get this horse loaded into the trailer. And I guess she’s got some good stories with that. But I will tell you that the idea that someone can a child can win a horse at a state fair and go to a non horse family or it can just be like, just cracks me up. The other funny story that she talks about that keeps me laughing is that when she was in high school, she won a statewide public speaking contest and competed in a national public speaking competition. Her topic was artificial insemination and horses. Imagine talking about that, as a high schooler, y’all I’m blushing just thinking about it right now. So to prepare for this and to get comfortable with it. She practiced giving this presentation everywhere she spoke to everyone including at the local Rotary Club breakfast meeting. So she likes to say if you can discuss artificial insemination in horses with middle aged men.
While they eat eggs and bacon, that you can basically talk to anyone about God. And that is one of the great things about Betsy. She doesn’t know a stranger. She’s one of the funniest people I know when we get together, it is always a riot. And so y’all welcome Betsy to the show. And we’re really excited to talk with you guys a little bit about reaching your goals with Betsy. But before we get there, Betsy, why don’t we start out first of all, welcome. Why don’t we start out with you sharing a little bit about your business and how you got started?
Betsy Bird 5:30
Well, first of all, I’m just gonna say with that intro, I think we’re done here. So
I mean, I sound really fabulous. So I’m very excited about
Cara Taylor Swift 5:46
You are fabulous. Are you kidding?
Betsy Bird 5:49
Well, okay. Hi, guys. How are you? It’s really nice to chat with everyone today. And of course to see Kim and Cara smiling faces on this video. As far as your question how I got started in business is kind of a very roundabout way. I’ve always been interested in horses and, and grew up on a small horse sporting farm, I did riding, showing, 4-H, I’ve been surrounded by horses my entire life. My father was a wildlife and nature photographer in his retirement and had kind of always done photography throughout his career. And that was kind of how I connected with him over time was, we would sit there and just argue over cameras.
And when my daughter was born, she was basically born with reins in her hand. And so I just started taking pictures of her when she was into a barn and showing and that sort of stuff sort of branched out into taking pictures of all the different girls, and it just sort of morphed on from there. And it was kind of a passion project sort of a sideline for a long time because I was running a business for entrepreneurs, who needed marketing services, because that’s what my background is in. And it sort of grew on the horse side. At the same time the marketing business was growing, and he had about killed me because I was running, you know, two businesses sort of simultaneously. And I had to make a decision between what I wanted to kind of focus on so I sort of slowed down the marketing side and sped up the photography side. And that’s kind of how I ended up where I am now.
Kimberly Beer 7:26
Nice. Nice, Betsy. So you have a really deep background in helping entrepreneurs navigate their businesses. And I know from knowing you, you have a very interesting entrepreneurial setup your mom, you got, how many kids? I have three teenagers right now. If they all survive to adults, it’ll be questionable.
Betsy Bird 7:52
Might be subject to change.
Cara Taylor Swift 7:55
What an inspiration you are.
Kimberly Beer 7:57
Yes, she is an inspiration. And if you happen to be one of her, the lucky people that is a Facebook friend with Betsy, you occasionally get these Facebook posts that say anyone else like find, I don’t know, strange things in their refrigerator. And no, just me and in the washing machine I some of the things you find in your washing machine.
Betsy Bird 8:20
Well, you know, I have two kids with ADHD. And when they don’t take their meds, they tend to be pretty scattered. So I will find all kinds of fun things in all kinds of weird places. And a lot of the times I posted things on Facebook, mainly because you know, Facebook does memories. So, you know, like six years from now I’ll have one pop up. That is just, I mean, I will sit there and laugh at it for about 20 minutes. And then I’ll I’ll screenshot it and I’ll send it to all my kids. And I’ll be like, guess which one of you this was like I just had one the other day that popped up and it said Did anyone pull into their garage and realize that where their car should be parked was a half eaten chicken sandwich on the ground. Like just sitting there. And I’m like, I’ve only been gone 20 minutes. So you know, no idea who left a chicken sandwich that they have ate. But they did. Or you know, one time I found a plate with a sandwich, like fully made sandwich and chips sitting in my pantry with no one around.
Cara Taylor Swift 9:20
Somebody was hungry.
Betsy Bird 9:22
Why? I guess they were saving it for later. Sounds like you may need one of those people that comes and clears the ghosts out of your house that
Kimberly Beer 9:31
ghost activity to me.
Betsy Bird 9:33
You know, we had a flood in our house not that long ago, a couple years ago and they had to redo the whole downstairs. And when they took off the bottom walls and stuff of our house, the contractor came out and he said I’m not gonna lie. I found Wendy’s drinks in the walls.
And like our house was built in the 1990s. So it’s literally been there since then. But you know, I was like, well, that’s kind of typical for our house. So you
Kimberly Beer 10:00
No, oh my word, you have ghosts, I’m telling you, there’s ghosts in that house, you need to call the Ghost Busters.
Have them come do a clearing or something at all, all laughing and giggling aside, Betsy, to say that your life is just a little bit chaotic at times is probably an understatement. But you’re very successful at running your business. And I know that you have a background in project management. But I also know that you are masterful with being able to reach your goals. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today. We really want to pick your brain about this because we know that there’s a lot of people listening to this that have chaotic lives, and also want to have really successful businesses. And you have some methodologies around really helping people be able to grasp how to reach their goals. And I know that one of those things is planning, which is something I love to do, but don’t like to execute. So can you talk to us a little bit about your system for planning out everything in your life, you’re quite amazing at it.
Cara Taylor Swift 11:07
Betsy, before you launch into that, I just want to say real quick that one of the reasons I really wanted you on the show was because I do think you’re an inspiration to people that maybe have a crazy, hectic lifestyle, like you have children that have been sick on and off, and that you’ve really had to dedicate time to them that you couldn’t dedicate to a full time business gig. And there’s also a lot of people I think, that are listening that are working on their side hustle right now, maybe they’re working a full time job. And they’re trying to, you know, they got this dream and their animal, and they want to start this animal based business, but they don’t really have a lot of time. And I think the things that you’re going to cover today, and one of the things that I’ve always admired about you is how you can use the time, the limited amount of time that you have to not just stay afloat and put out little fires, as we were talking about prior to the show, but you use it to grow and to work on your business. And you’ve continued to scale at a level that has been really impressive. Without the perhaps like the 40 to 60 Hour Workweek that a lot of us are fortunate enough to have that are working full time in the business. So sorry to interrupt you guys there. But I just wanted to throw that out there because I know there are a lot of listeners out there that are working on their side hustle or thinking about starting their business while working full time. So
Betsy Bird 12:18
just to kind of give the listeners a little bit of a background as to what Cara is referring to is that in the last five years, I had a father who was diagnosed with stage four cancer, I had a husband who took a job that required him to travel for months at a time, literally months, we wouldn’t see him for 4, 6, 8 months. In fact, we had one year where we saw him two weeks of the entire year, like and that was spaced out a day here day there. And then during all of that going on, I had a son who came down with kind of a mysterious illness that required a lot of doctor’s appointments and a lot of specialty appointments. And even to this day requires a lot of specialty appointments. To give you a little background on that just in case anyone’s wondering what his mysterious illness is. It’s actually something called visceral hyperalgesia. It’s a GI issue. And the only way it’s diagnosed is by ruling out pretty much everything else that could possibly be a GI issue. And then sending you to see a pediatric neuro gastrointestinalologists, which in case you’re wondering, there aren’t a lot of them in the country. And then it takes some specialty tests to be diagnosed from there. And then once you’re diagnosed, it’s actually not treated by a GI doctor. It’s treated by a psychiatrist, behavioral therapists, and other sorts of things because it requires medications that are similar to anxiety, even though it’s not an anxiety disorder.
Cara Taylor Swift 13:45
and so managing your household and all of the things wrapped up in that is a full time gig.
Betsy Bird 13:53
That could be a full time. Absolutely. And, you know, while all those three things were going on, I also had my daughter diagnosed with, they couldn’t figure out what was going on with her. But they kept telling us she had three years of some kidney issues. They sent her to some specialists which require, you know, two to three hour trips to get to the specialists. And it turned out in her case, she just has a rare condition that requires a supplement that has nothing to do with her kidneys. So once we figured that out, that was an easy fix. But it was rare and it’s unusual. And you know, it’s one of those things that it just required a lot of research, which Kim knows I’m kind of famous for my research stuff.
So that’s kind of the background of all that. So because of the chaos within my family and home life, I could not dedicate full-time hours to a business. It just it it’s not possible. So you know, my thought process is is how do I grow a business and work it around doctor’s appointments. How do I
work it around, you know, having to go home and see my dad and help out with his care or how do I, you know, do it around my husband being home only these days, or whatever the case may be. So as Kim said, I do have kind of a little bit of a background with Project Management and Marketing and that sort of stuff. So I am really, really big on planning out and then executing, which I know Kim says she has a hard time with execution, or doesn’t like to do the execution part. But I have to make sure that everything I do is designed to move my business in some way. And that’s not necessarily to say that everything I do has to make money for my business, it may be something that expands on branding, it may be something that expands on something that I’m working towards for next year or something, but there’s always everything I do is very strategic and trying to move businesses forward. When I do this.
I tend to do it and I think about it as a project. I mean, my business is a project so I break down everything. I am usually slower in business in January and July due to weather where I’m located January’s basically mud and rain. And July is basically hot and sweaty. Nobody wants to have their pictures taken when their makeups running off their face and their horses sweaty in five minutes. And it’s you know, like walking through soup outside.
Cara Taylor Swift 16:22
I love how your July is basically eight months in Florida.
Cara Taylor Swift 16:31
It’s too hot and too sweaty to work in July, and I’m over here that’s like eight months of my life.
Betsy Bird 16:35
Well, it’s August here and I don’t tend to shoot much in August either because it’s just miserable. And I don’t know, honestly Cara. I don’t know how you do it that much. I mean, I know you do it, because you have to do it. But I’m like, I’m so miserable. I mean, just the other day we were talking on on Facebook, I was like, Okay, I want to know how to stay cool when it’s humid. Like I’ve tried, you know, cooling rags and bottles of water. And I always have, you know, frozen water and, you know, headbands that have ice packs and all this stuff. And I’m like none of this works. So it got to be quite a fun discussion on Facebook about the various things people try, like do you know there’s like a, a cooler that’s filled with ice and has like a blower that can you know, cool you off. Now that they make that you stick it in your car, you need one of those.
So right there, I know we could do a whole episode on that sort of stuff. But anyway, so I tend to be a lot slower in January and July for and I do it on purpose. And I usually pick a day or two in those months. And I plan out my next six months, like what I’m gonna do, what goals I want to meet, and that sort of stuff. And then what I do is within those goals, I break down the exact steps I have to have in order to get where I want to be six months from now, before we started recording this, I did a little demo for Kim and Cara on how I do this and kind of blew their minds, I think so we talked about me maybe recording a little tutorial to show you guys how I do that. I’m a visual learner, I’m very much a visual person, I have to see it. So I use Word of all programs. And I use smart art within Word to build out a chart that tells me every single step I need to do in order to get where I want to go for whatever that goal is. And then I break it down. So I break it down by this quarter, I need to accomplish this major goal. So each month I need to do this, whatever the sub goal is. And then each week I need to do these 12345 things to get my goals met, it’s much much easier to look at a small goal than it is to look at a big goal and say I’m going to do that and not know how to get there.
Kimberly Beer 18:48
That’s awesome. Betsy and I will tell I full confession. Both Cara I when you said smart art in vision two those that Word Art thing where you just type in a bunch of words. And then it like comes back with the with all of the words in the cloud or the shape that you tell it to. So for those of you who are going, how in the heck does she do this? I thought Cara had an outstanding organizational idea that you put all the words into the Word Art, and then whatever the biggest word is, that’s the project you start on. So I was like all down for that. I’m like, okay, I can do this. But then Betsy shared her screen and she showed us what she meant. And it’s not what you’re thinking
Cara Taylor Swift 19:33
it was totally different guys.
Kimberly Beer 19:35
So if you’re one of those people out there going, how though holy heck do I organize my business with Word Art? It’s totally not what you’re thinking, which is why I asked Betsy to make a tutorial for everyone because it’s something that’s very needed. Trust me, it’s it’s nice. It’s square. It’s easy to look at. And you look at it and you go, Oh, it’s colorful. It’s all perfect. It does organize it
and break them down. And it’s much more interesting than the way that I’ve always done this. And I will fully confess, I do this for my clients quite frequently, and then I leave it for them to do because I don’t like the actual steps in the whole thing. I like to look at it and go, Oh, this would be good, this would be good, this would be good. But the execution piece of it is usually where I fall flat a bit. That’s just me, I’m a strategy, 30,000 foot view, kind of girl. But if you’re running a business, it is a necessity to break those goals down in small steps. And this is a really nice way to do it. I’ll be it not as entertaining as creating those word clouds. And then taking the largest word is your first project. I really liked that idea, Cara? I honestly I’m gonna try that with some stuff down the road.
Cara Taylor Swift 20:44
Yeah, just see what happens. You know, you never know you. Can you walk us through an example of what that looks like for you. So if you’ve got a big goal, like a great example you had mentioned is you’re hoping to and I hope it’s okay to mention this year, you’re hoping to host an event with another animal based business, right? And so that is a big goal. And I could see that being something that someone thinks about it. And they say, Oh, God, that sounds amazing. But it sounds overwhelming. Can you tell somebody in terms of that planning part of that, and breaking those goals down what that looks like for you. So this was actually the example that I used in what I showed Cara and Kim on my screen earlier. And this is probably what I’ll use as a little tutorial so you guys can see it. So as we talk through it, kind of keep that in mind that you can visually see it as well, if you look at that tutorial, but basically all it is, is I took a quarter goal. So I have three months to plan an event. And I want to co host that event with another business who has similar clientele, to me. So for example, let’s say a, I don’t know, a boarding barn or you know, a dog groomer, or whatever, something that you share, right, so that you’re borrowing their audience, they’re borrowing your audience. So if you’re going to do this, within three months, then you’re going to break down that overall goal, which is to co host a pet event with another business into three monthly goals. So my first month is going to be research. That’s my goal, my second month is going to be promotion. And my third is going to be the hosting. So within that first month, I have four weeks of which to do things. So when I just say research that seems very vague and big, and you know, like, so much to do, except for me, because I love research. So.
Betsy Bird 22:29
But anyway, so I break it down into four weekly goals. So you have your sub goals of that. So what are your research sub goals, they might be something like research local businesses via a call or an online researching their websites, or maybe you go and visit them, because you need to find who you want to co host this with, right. So maybe you need to go and visit three businesses that you think might be a good fit for you. And you know, look at their clientele and kind of see if the same type of people go there that you want to communicate with and you want to talk to. So after you kind of do your your general, you know, observing of the businesses and learning about the businesses, you’re going to pick your top company, that’s your weekly week two goal, you pick your top company, you send them some initial emails, you know, hey, I’m interested in doing this, would you be interested in doing this with me, this is kind of my goal for this event, and so on, so forth. You know, if your first choice doesn’t come back, maybe you go to your second choice. So then week three, you meet with the owner, you set a date for the event. And then week four, you plan out your event, who’s going to do what, who’s responsible for what, how are you going to share each other’s audiences, that sort of stuff. And that’s, that’s your whole month right there. And when you’re done with that month, you’re now done with all of your research. So you move into the promotion phase, which is month two, how do you tell Do you guys want me to go on this, I can keep going.
Cara Taylor Swift 23:52
I think that’s really good because I can see how you’re taking something that’s could be really overwhelming. You know, like kind of like an in the sky idea. And showing people that’s what I want you to do is to show people like you can put these into bite size, doable activities, that you’re not knocking it out in one day, but you’re moving, you’re always moving forward, you’re always taking steps towards that with an end goal in mind.
Kimberly Beer 24:19
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Betsy Bird 24:52
You know, everybody always has this big goal like you know, I want to have a bigger business. I want to you know, have more clients. I want
To have more this or that, but in a lot of this comes to what Kim talks about with smart goals, it’s kind of the same thing, these goals need to be attainable, they need to be reachable, they need to be trackable, you need to understand what you’re doing. And the same thing falls into planning. When you break it down, these need to be goals that you know what you’re doing, you’re accomplishing your little baby step, and it’s getting you closer to your bigger overall goal.
Kimberly Beer 25:24
And there are steps to take all along the way. And you’ve thought about those so that you can plan them out accordingly. So you’re not trying to bite the entire thing off at one time, like I often do, I am really I love to make these plans, and then I love to execute them in a week instead of three months. So and that doesn’t work well.
Betsy Bird 25:49
But you know, you can set things like that too. I mean, nothing says that your goal, whatever it may be, has to be a quarterly goal or a yearly goal. It could be a weekly goal, you could be like, on Monday, by Friday, I want to have this accomplished, whatever it is, and then you break down whatever that is. So you do a little bit each day to get to where you need to be on Friday, it does not have to be some long term thing. It’s just that when I look at my business, I tend to look at it in quarters and year. And that’s just me personally. But that’s not to say that everything has to be done that way.
Kimberly Beer 26:24
So in January, you sit down and you take a look or probably you’re nice and organized probably December or even November, you take a look at the next year and figure out what you want to accomplish. And then it’s kind of like a Russian nesting dolls of goal setting. You have like your whole year and then you break those down into time slots, and then you break them down into in specific projects. Is that true?
Betsy Bird 26:50
Pretty much although you were wrong on the November December, it’s actually more like September.
Kimberly Beer 27:00
I love it. What can I say I’m a little tight.
I love it. Well, I love the organization peace and and as a person who’s not incredibly organized one, I’ve spent a lot of time doing a lot of work like emotional work around accepting the fact that I’m never gonna fit into that mold. I always have been envious of people who have that type of organizational skill, who can really stick to it after after they set their goals like I can think of I know what I want to be doing for the next five years. That’s not a problem. But breaking it down into step by step and then actually executing those steps. I admire you for that. And I you inspire me endlessly. And that notion of being able to do that. And I love it. September, I was giving you props. I was going okay, it has to be like December or November.
Betsy Bird 27:50
But you know why? It’s September. I mean, there’s actually a very logical reason why it’s September is because October and November are some of the busiest shooting months. And then you go into December, which is holiday stuff. So I mean, it’s it’s not that I’m like super ridiculously type A and just really like to do it that early. It’s just that I know I have the time then.
Kimberly Beer 28:10
Yeah, you know, and that’s, that’s another important piece that I think our listeners, if you didn’t perk up and get that here’s a person who has to think ahead like that, because you have a lot of distractions going on in your world, above and beyond your business. And you have to know when your busy times are. And that means knowing your customers and knowing your life. It’s knowing all of those things, and then taking it into account. So kudos to you, Betsy. And another thing for our listeners is you guys don’t have to institute this, like all of it. If what she’s saying you can take little parts and pieces too. That’s what I do. I have to become organized in steps, baby steps, baby steps, baby steps, baby steps, maybe your goal should be organization and then you do all your little baby steps.
So as it typically unorganized person, I find organization incredibly fun. And I’m very attracted to it. It’s just actually following through with it, where it’s sort of I leave it behind. And as Cara just mentioned the other day when we were getting there, I chase the next butterfly, which is great. I’m always visioning things and pushing the envelope, which is the place where I really shine. But this is great.
Betsy Bird 29:28
But you know, like I look at that and I think I’m very envious about you being able to do that. Because there are times that I think it would be so fun to just like throw my plan away and rush off and do you know, I don’t know, go on a trip and photograph something that you know, I just think is really cool. But you know, I can’t it has to be scheduled. You know, it has to be okay. I’m going to be gone these two weeks. This is what’s happening. This is who’s taking care of children. This is you know, no doctor’s appointments are scheduled, you know, I mean, it has to be much more planned. So I’m very envious.
People who can just toss it and go, just be off doing something fun at the drop of a hat.
Kimberly Beer 30:06
And and if I had children that had medical needs, I probably would not be dropping things and running off the way that I do. However, I am blessed with a healthy family and very much opportunity for me to do that. So, and someday, Betsy, you will probably find yourself in that position as well and wanting to escape and have some procrastinating fun. And when you do, and you need some education and how to become a better procrastinator, I can definitely coach you on that.
Betsy Bird 30:38
Well, I’ll tell you, this pandemic was ridiculously hard on me because you know, I used to travel for like a weekend here or there. And that was kind of my break from all the craziness, you know, so I’d go off and with Cara, we’d go off somewhere and shoot something fun and have a great time, you know, and that was really my break. But when the pandemic happened, you know, all the travel really stopped. And so it literally just made it. I’m here all the time.
I’m going crazy, I can’t wait to be back on the road.
Kimberly Beer 31:09
Awesome. And we can’t wait to see you back on the road again as well.
Cara Taylor Swift 31:15
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Kimberly Beer 32:01
Now the next step in all of this for you that when we talked about the prep on this episode is something near and dear to my heart, because it helps me who I get distracted easily. And I’m off to chase the next butterfly. And I need automation to support me and I know in your world automation is is a big deal. Talk to us a little bit about what that means to you, and why it’s so important in being able to reach your goals.
Betsy Bird 32:27
Okay, so about I think it was about three or four years ago, I realized that I was kind of balancing so much stuff, and I was never sleeping. And I you know, I was working at like three or four in the morning, because I had so much to do. And it occurred to me at the time, I was like, I’ve been thinking about automating some stuff just to kind of make it easier on me. But I just kept pushing it off, because I was like it’s gonna take so long to do and you know, so I basically made it one of my goals, it was a month long goal, I literally took the whole month of July. And 90% of what I worked on was automation. And that has to do, why it took so long was because I have so many workflows and so much different stuff, a typical person who’s early in business is not going to have nearly the automation that I have set up. But what I wanted my automation to do, was I wanted it to limit the amount of time that I wasted talking to people who were not my clients, who shouldn’t be my client that, you know, they’re not a good fit for me and that sort of stuff. Because I’ve had a lot of people who would contact me and you know, they would want to know, you know, very first thing, what are your prices, that’s usually a really good sign that they’re probably not my client, I’m not the cheapest photographer by far, and my clients aren’t looking at price, they’re looking for experience. So it’s a little bit different, how we look at it. So what I did was I wanted to make sure that I limited that type of contact, because you know, so many times you’re just sending the exact same email over and over and you never hear from them again. So you’re having to type that email and waste that time sending it but it’s not who you should be talking to. And then I wanted to educate my clients and walk them through the processes without me having to necessarily do it. So there are certain things that I do you know, in person, there’s certain things that are automated emails, because everyone needs to know that everybody needs to know maybe how to dress for a session. Everybody needs to know you know how to prepare your horse for a photoshoot, you know, there’s just certain things that everyone kind of needs to know that emails are very similar and that sort of stuff. So I sat down and basically wrote out workflows for every type of client I have, which was basically just like a flowchart. Like you know, I drew a bunch of boxes on a page like a bunch of squares, and I started filling them in from
This his first contact with that person, what do they do to get all the way, you know, until we’re done interacting? So you know, it might be Cara’s over there smiling?
Cara Taylor Swift 35:11
No, I was just in my brain is like choose your own adventure. Thought popped up and I was like picturing people like going through the project.
Betsy Bird 35:19
And that really kind of is what it is. Because every client you have does it differently like, like, what their needs from you are is different. Like, for example, a commercial client is going to be different from a personal client, right? a pet client might be different from a horse client, you know, with someone who’s wanting a senior session, like a senior photography session is probably different from someone who or is definitely different from someone who has a horse that’s older in life and may have to be put down soon. So I basically went through and I wrote out every type of client I might have. And then I wrote from initial contact with that person to where they leave, you know, and we’re done, our business is concluded, and all the steps involved. And then I looked at, okay of these people, what can I automate, what can I take off my plate, while still getting them what they need,
Kimberly Beer 36:11
it makes perfect sense. And we just recorded an episode on how to choose what to automate in your business and what to delegate in your business. And it’s a really important piece of this puzzle. It’s the growing pain of being an entrepreneur is figuring out that automation and delegation, the first piece of it is you’ve got to figure out what it is that you’re doing, you have to figure out your system to begin with. But then once you get your system figured out, and you’re able to write it down, there’s so much of that, that you can automate or delegate and get off your plate so that you can do the more important things like chase the butterflies. So to me, that’s my motivation for it right? If automation can free up my time, so that I can go do something totally creative and chase a butterfly, you bet. I’m all down for the automation, I’ll go through the pain to get to the piece of that. And, and yes, even for me, automation is a little painful. I know cure is like, I don’t like any of the automation stuff. You’re in the middle of writing your emails right now, aren’t you?
Cara Taylor Swift 37:16
Yeah, I’m working on it.
Betsy Bird 37:18
But you know, what you see, too, with automation is is that a particularly someone who’s been in business for a few years, when you write down, you know how from the initial contact until that client is done with your services, when you write that down, and you look at it, you tend to see where your hangups are, and what your problems are, like, and you’ll see the things that you don’t like to do, like, Oh, this person sat in waiting for me to give them a call about such and such, because I don’t like talking to people on the phone, for example. So when you start seeing where the hangups and the problems are, that’s where you look at, can I automate it? Or can I outsource it to you know, maybe a secretary who makes that phone call instead of you. That’s what helps is because when you’re visualizing it, and you’re looking at it, you can tell what, constantly you’re having problems with, you know, every time my client waits for me to make this phone call to him, because I really just don’t like talking on the phone, or, which is not true. In my case, I like to talk on the phone.
But you know, so when you start looking at that, and you really start breaking systems, overall systems down, you’ll start seeing where your business is not flowing as smoothly as it should. And that will allow you to figure out what you need to automate or what you need to outsource.
Kimberly Beer 38:38
Exactly, exactly. That’s awesome. Automation is a recurring theme on this podcast. And there’s a reason for that. It’s that important and it’s that critical to your business and helping you get your time back. So the third piece of the puzzle that’s he that you talk about is the eat the frog, which is comes from a book by Brian Tracy. But this has to do with time management, time blocking, and then talk to us a little bit about eating frogs. And not the cool frog legs that Cara likes and that I like but that big slimy frog.
Betsy Bird 39:16
That big slimy frog.
Kimberly Beer 39:18
Oh my god, Kim did it again.
It’s back to dog door, doilies all over again.
Betsy Bird 39:28
You know that big slimy frog is just that big, stinking project that you don’t want to do. Either because it’s taxing on your brain. It requires too much effort. It’s not something you enjoy doing. You aren’t good at whatever it is. Or you just have a mental block about doing it because it may move your business forward and you really secretly don’t want to do that yet or whatever the case may be. So when it comes to eating the frog
I’m huge on this, I have a to do list that is a running to do list. And it literally is just I write down everything on it all day long. And I categorize it by a B’s and C’s. So A’s are sort of like super important things that need to be done. Yeah, these are like, these need to be done. But they’re not as urgent as an A, and then C’s are like, and if I get that done, that’d be great. But I’m not going to kill myself trying to do it. So what I tend to do is, I think of eating the frog as doing the most important thing of your day, when your brain power is the best. So like, in my case, I’m a morning person years of having early bird children have done that to me.
But I’m a morning person. And now at this point the kids sleep in if they’re not in school, or they’re in school, either way, I don’t have kids underfoot in the morning, which is great. I’ve got a rested brain and paying attention, Cara, she drinks her spark in the morning, and she’s super ready to go. And, you know, so first thing in the morning is not the time that you need to check your email, it’s not the time that you need to write your daily social media post, it’s not the time that you should be doing all that it’s the time that you should take that big project and spend two hours solid and get it done. And I say this, you know, as myself, I’m a morning person. And I do change it a little bit with the eating the frog theory, which is always do it in the morning. But there are some people who evening time is their prime time like they are in my daughter’s and one of them. I mean, she is worthless in the morning. But boy, you hit her at about 8pm She is ready to go and can accomplish anything she sets her mind to you. But it’s like until two in the morning, you know, so for her, that’s when she should be doing that stuff is because that’s when her brain is most engaged. That’s when she’s you know, most paying attention. And you know, that’s when she can accomplish that sort of stuff. And the exact opposite. So
Cara Taylor Swift 42:01
I really like that way of thinking because I think one of the things that I’ve struggled with sometimes is I’ll come in in the morning, and I’ll sit down at my desk and I’ll say, Okay, here’s my to do list, let me just knock out these five things that I know are quick and easy and kind of like brainless. Like they don’t take a lot of brain power, because then I’ll feel like once they’re off my plate that I can really sit down and focus on some of these bigger things. And what you’re saying makes complete sense to me, because what happens is I get, it’s like, there’s always one more little thing, you know, there’s always one more little fire that’s got to be put out and I’m just kind of treading water. And then I get to the end of my day, and I’m like, okay, I did all of this stuff. But none of this, all of this just kept me treading water, it didn’t move me forward. So I really appreciate that.
Betsy Bird 42:46
Let’s talk about that for a minute. Because, you know, if we were in person, I would be smacking your hand and telling you No, Cara No.
So, okay, this is something you and I have talked about a lot is because I’m a firm, firm believer in time blocking. And the reason is, is because when your brain is engaged in a task, your brain takes a little bit of time to switch gears. And as much as you think, Oh, well, I just did social media. Now I’m going to pay my bills. Now I’m going to do that and you’re instantly changing. The fact is, is your brain is a little bit slower than that it takes about 20 minutes to kind of switch gears and get into something new and really delve into it. So when you are thinking, Okay, I’m just going to write a social media post each morning, and I’m going to, you know, maybe crack out this or that and just get it done. The fact is, is if you time blocked it, your brain is actually more engaged in it. And it makes it easier to do. So what I do, like, as an example was social media posts, I actually do those a month at a time. So I just pick a day, and I have about two hours. And I’ll sit down and I will get the pictures, get my captions, get, you know, all my hashtags, and load them into I use Planly. And I load them into there and everything. So all I have to do literally every day when I want to post it. Sometimes I do I miss, you know, auto posting, and it just does it for me. And sometimes I post them myself. But that’s pretty much all that I’m involved in. I don’t have to sit there and come up with it every day. And it’s much much easier. And I’m going to tell you a little trick that I
so for social media in particular, I sit down, kind of during my planning days, I usually pick like a half a morning every six months. And I will take like I’ll look at blog posts, for example. And for all my blog posts and stuff, I will literally write down as many captions as I can from one blog post. Okay,
Cara Taylor Swift 44:49
you’re repurposing content that makes a lot of Right.
Betsy Bird 44:51
Yeah. And I do it into Trello like so I put them into Trello. I have a Trello board that literally is for social media posts and I
We’ll just, you know, write down all of these every blog post, you know, here’s 10, different social media captions for that blog post, I do that for, you know, anytime I see something that I’m like, Oh, you know, that’s a meme. And it’s funny, and I can use it and mix it up and change it and make it into a caption, I just throw them into that social media post Trello board. And then when I sit down, you know, once a month, and I do my things, I’ll sit there, and I’ll go, Well, I need to have something about education, and then I need to have something that’s funny. And then I need to have something that’s, you know, engaging, or whatever. And all I do is go to that Trello board, and I go, here’s one that’s about education, and I pull it out, you know, here’s one, that’s about something funny, and then I’ll put the images in there to match them. And that’s literally all I do. So it’s planning ahead of time to save me having to do it each day.
Cara Taylor Swift 45:49
Yeah, and it’s smart in terms of like planning your message, you know, like you want your message to flow, and to work together and be cohesive and just stay on target. So when you can sit down, you’re not doing it every single day, but when you can sit down and actually plan it, you can craft and cultivate those messages. So that makes a lot of sense.
Betsy Bird 46:07
And the other plus to to doing it on a like a Trello board, like I do, is the fact that you know, I don’t delete them once I use them. And you know, because social media posts are not seen, your entire audience doesn’t see you every single social media post, so you can repeat them, and you different people will see them every time. So you know, you have a good caption that you liked, that talks about something, save it, you know, use it again, in three months, you know, people aren’t necessarily going to see them repeatedly. So that’s what I kind of tried to do is to keep…. my dogs are barking.
Dogs are having a battle in the other room.
Sorry, if you hear puppies
So you know, I tend to do that. And what that has helped me do is over the last like three years, I have a huge, huge library of social media posts. I mean, huge, like I could probably repeat them every single day for probably three years and have a different post every day. So I can pick and choose and it takes me no time at all. So now they brought the paddle in here, Hey, get out of here. So that’s one of those things that by doing that sort of thing, you saving time in the long run, which is just so much better.
Unknown Speaker 47:25
I also filter people through, you know how like, people can email you or send you a message on like Instagram, or they can send you a message on Facebook, it’s too many different places, you know, like try as a business owner trying to keep up with Facebook messages and Instagram messages and, you know, messages through your website and text messages and not missing things in emails. And it’s it’s so hard to keep track of that. And it’s very, very distracting. So what I did is I set up auto messages to go for Facebook, if somebody Facebook messages my page, they get an automatic response that says Facebook messaging has been turned off for this page, I’d love to talk to you about this. Here’s where you go. And here’s a link, you know, and it sends them to a link on my website, and it sends them there, they can click that fill out the information and everything and it sends them automatically into my CRM system, which has automatic responses for things. So it’s filtering out a lot of people who are just asking what are your prices, because they’re not going to make that effort to go to the next step. It saves me time in the long run doing that. So by the time I ever actually talk to someone, they’re interested, they’re probably my client. And once I talked to him on the phone, I almost always booked them, my booking rates have gone and they’ve definitely been to some extent, qualified, you know, very much so. And it’s so it’s saving me time, but it’s also increased my booking rate by a lot. You know, because I’m not wasting time on things that don’t move my business forward.
Cara Taylor Swift 48:54
Amazing. That’s a you have given people so much to think about and so many like, just in the big three things that you’ve mentioned, there are so many things. I mean, we could do a probably an episode on each one of those pieces. For sure. Right, Kim, I think the big thing, though, is that you’ve got hopefully, we’ve got people thinking about ways that they can streamline their business, especially those people out there that are feeling a little overwhelmed. Or maybe they’re working on their side hustle and dreaming about how to move forward when they’re super busy. So I really, really appreciate that I would love to hear from you. If you were sitting down with someone that was in the really early stages of starting their business, and maybe they’re not ready for that big time automation yet. Do you have any advice that you would give to that person to something to kind of move them forward today?
Betsy Bird 49:38
Absolutely. So if you’re early in a business, one of the first things that I would suggest you do is make sure that you make a to do list and you do not have to do it in any fancy way. It can literally be on a legal pad. You know, I mean, I literally keep a legal pad right next to me that I scribble stuff on as I think of it, you know, and do that. Make a list.
And then categorize that list. Because what I think you’ll find is you’ll find that there are certain things that are really important, there are certain things that are good to do. And there are certain things that you have on that list just to keep you busy, to be busy. And when you start looking at that, start taking some of that stuff off. If it’s if it’s something that’s just keeping you busy to say, you’re busy, you don’t need to do it, that would be my first thing. My second thing would be to eat the frog, do the important things that are on that list at your most productive period of time, whatever it is. So if you’re, you know, the most important thing that you do is to build your website and to make sure your website is ready to go, then you need to schedule that to be done at the times that you are the most productive of your day. And then the other thing I would suggest for a novice is is keep track of what emails you send a lot. You don’t have to automate them right now. But even something as simple as taking an email and saving it in like a Word document. And just saving that and titling it, you know, initial inquiry, you know, or something like that, where you can just cut and paste it rather than having to re type a response every single time, it’s going to save you time in the long run. And what you’re doing is you’re building up the emails that you’re going to need for future automation. So those would be my three big things for them.
Cara Taylor Swift 51:25
Thank you so much for that, Betsy. I don’t know every time we have an episode, Kim I say this, but I always feel like I’m motivated. And I have new things that I can kind of add to my you know, like the things I want to use to move my business forward. So I really appreciate that. I know folks are gonna want to find you online. Betsy, they’re gonna want to know how to connect with you. Can you please tell people where they can find you online and how they can connect with you.
Betsy Bird 51:46
You can find me online at my website, which is skytheskyequine.com and you can always send me a message through there, there’s a let’s talk button up in the corner. So feel free to shoot me a message and say hi, you can find me on Facebook at ridetheskyequine and Instagram at ridetheskyequine as well.
Kimberly Beer 52:05
Well, Betsy, thank you so much. And I really encourage people to look at Betsy’s photography, she has some beautiful images on her site. And thank you again for providing this wonderful comic relief and letting us into the chaos and also extreme organization of your life. Two very, very different aspects of running a business and I know that people out there will appreciate how you put your business together and are able to do so much within such a small amount of time that you have to devote to it. So I wish you great success and we look forward to having you on the show again, everybody go out there and get organized and use your smart art in Word. We’ll see y’all in the next episode.
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