Jen describes how solopreneurs, small business owners, startups, CEOs can adjust their tech mindset, resulting in cost savings, increased revenues, and increased tech ownership. You’ll also learn how your tech mindset is like buying a burrito at 7-11.
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Hello and welcome back to the Third Paddle podcast. My name is Jen Mcfarland. I am here with Twila Kaye and today we’re going to talk about tech mindset. In the last episode we talked a lot about business paralysis and how that plays out with the color code, but today we’re going to talk a little bit about the tech side of the house and how that paralysis can really be, you know, kind of interfering with all the tech stuff that you have going on to power your business. And as an added bonus in case you’re thinking, oh, snore, a whole episode about tech, we’re also going to talk about how getting a Burrito at 7-11 is actually related to your tech mindset. So for all that and more keep listening.
You’re listening to the Third Paddle podcast recorded at the Vandal lounge in the beautiful south-east Portland, Oregon. Why the Third Paddle? Because even the most bad-ass entrepreneurs get stuck in business shit creek. Tech Strategist, Jen McFarland, and business strategist Twila Kaye are your Third Paddle, helping you get unstuck.
This is such an exciting episode. Like I can’t wait to get to the Burrito story. I know everybody loves the Burritos Story. No, it’s awesome. So we’ve got a lot in store for you. Jen, let’s start really talking about that tech mindset and how that can actually hold you back in moving forward. Let’s say in your business as a solopreneur or an entrepreneur, small business owner, if you own a small business where you’ve got maybe five to 10 employees or five to 20 employees, how does that really hold you back?
Yeah. So when you think about why you started your business in the first place, right? A lot of times it’s not everybody’s like me, they’re not all like, oh tech all the time, all the gadgets, all of, all of that, you know, people aren’t thinking about that. They’re thinking about the one thing that they’re good at, right?
You know, we’re all technicians were all something there. Something that drove us to start a business. Right?
And so oftentimes what I find when I help small businesses are solopreneurs is, yeah, they’re really focused on the technical bits of what they want to do. The service delivery, helping their clients, building the business, all the fun stuff, right? The stuff that they’re good at. Correct, but what we find is that no business can run without technology, especially today, especially today, so the overwhelmed for many of the people I work with is just, wait, I have to do something online.No business can run without technology. Especially today. So the overwhelm for many of the people is Oh crap, I have to do something online. #technology #mindset #podcast Click To Tweet
Right. Period. It starts there and then it just carries forward and so that can be the people who are completely afraid of technology who don’t want to touch it. It can be people who stay up all night looking at YouTube videos, trying to figure out how to make click funnels work and then working on it for days on end and it still looks like a kindergartner made it right, or it can be the people who just power through and just start doing it regardless of what happens. Yeah. Does that make sense?
It totally makes sense because of applies to what we were talking about even in the last episode. It comes down to your innate nature, your innate personality and your habits and behaviors and how you think about things. Right?
Exactly. So when somebody brings me in, it’s kind of a hodgepodge, I can guarantee you I’ve written a few blog posts about this that for a solopreneur or a small business, again, these were people who were making less than a million dollars a year, uh, that they’re also reluctant to even plan it out in the planning.
Wait, you have to plan?
It’s always a good idea to write down what you’re using and then what goals you have in mind.
Well, that alone would help, there’s a shift.
There’s a shift there. This shift. Your mindset shouldn’t be the technology runs my business. It should be how do I use technology as a tool to help run my business.
To better run my business, better run my business.
So you think of it as like an entrepreneur. You’re always wearing several hats always. And so one of the hats is this toolkit for how technology helps you show up online, but it’s also how it helps you do your bookkeeping. It’s also how it helps you do invoicing or social media or even connecting with your clients on a regular basis. And say like a CRM.You're always wearing several hats. And so one of the hats is a toolkit for how technology helps you show up online ... and how it helps you do things like bookkeeping. #technology #mindset #podcast Click To Tweet
Wow, you right now you were blowing my mind a little bit because I myself have never even looked at how technology can be or is utilized in every single one of those areas.
Right? And so when you start to reposition technology, not as this like unknowable thing, but as a group of tools that helps you put your business forward, then you’re looking at it not as this unknowable, unseeable thing. You’re looking at it as something that’s essential that you can and in fact do you understand.When you reposition technology, not as this unknowable thing, but as a group of tools that helps you move your business forward, then you're looking at it as something that's essential that you can and in fact do you understand.… Click To Tweet
Or even looking at it as a drudgery like, Oh God, I have to do this really, but yet an excitement like, hey, this is going to be really cool to kind of figure this out and see how this can actually run better in my business because I have this great tool.
Exactly. I think that when you begin to look at it as a way to help your clients or your customers move through that ideal process in a very seamless way that you can repeat over and over again that when you’re looking at the how’s and the why’s of what technology can actually do for you. It stops being a drudgery when you begin to realize it can be that tool that guides your customers through and it actually can make you look like you have a lot of employees when it’s just you are a small team.
And I can see already how quickly it can free up your time. So really it’s not a time suck for you because working in the drudgery part of that mindset of tech and I’ll talk about me and how I do that, right? Because it’s what I know right now and many of us probably as solopreneurs and small business owners that are generating under that million dollars want to get to that million dollar mark. But I’m looking at, you know, my email marketing systems and I’m looking at. In fact, you and I just had the talk. Not too long ago about, hey, will you just kind of look at all these tools that I’ve got all of these apps and you know, Asana and Trello and this and that and do I even need it? Do I even want it? Is it even going to do something with me? And I’m already coming into it with that mindset of drudgery, right? Like, ah, God, all this stuff, but what do I do with it and why do I even need to spend my time doing that when actually what I hear you say is if you just shift your mindset a little bit and quit looking at him as a half to, but how is this going to move my customer? Like that was huge to me. How do I move my customer through that ideal process?
Right? Because nobody knows your business better than you. Right? Right, right. And so when you bring in a tech person, the good ones are going to want to know about your business. So when I say write it down, I don’t mean, oh, become some tech guru and figure out like the technical way of saying it. It’s no, how are you accepting payments? Let’s just look at payments for a minute, you know, dive a merchant account. Are you using Stripe or PayPal or using one of the larger, you know, authorize.net or how does that work, you know? Yeah. When they pay, is that email address and name being saved to your email marketing because it can and then you don’t have to enter it. So, everybody who makes a payment they are clients, they should be automatically saved to your email marketing, Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, whatever that may be.
Right? So then what happens, you know, do you have something set up in MailChimp to send things out to your clients or say, somebody, schedules an appointment with you. How many times are you entering in information so that you can move somebody through that process? You know, when it can automate, it can be automated. And so what the question is, is what are you spending your money on now for technology? And it’s just about making a list, checking it twice because you might be able to save money on it. We’ve talked about episodes and then also looking at your business goals and like where the gaps are.
Whoa, right? That’s a huge needle mover for a small business owner or a solo entrepreneur?
Yeah. So you make a list and then you’re like, OK, well how, how, how am I spending all night working on stuff that I don’t want to do?
How can I make that easier? And that’s when you bring somebody in to look at that strategy for like how you can go as long as possible without hiring a physical army of people to help you. How do you make technology work in a seamless way? And then part of what that also does is it educates. You see, you know when something goes wrong, right? You don’t need to be a tech expert, but you do need to know enough so that you know when something isn’t right, you know when something in the process has broken down. And what I see oftentimes is people just hand things off, they let somebody else take care of it, and then things are going haywire. The business owner doesn’t even know where to begin. And that’s what the smaller projects, the smaller businesses because they don’t have a CTO, you know, chief technology officer at the department don’t have an IT department.
They are there are the IT department
Or they have a contractor that just handles it. But if that person’s on vacation, everything’s messed up, everything can really easily derail you. Right? So what I like to encourage people to do is to put things in the simplest terms that they can and then map it out.
I love that, you know, as you’re talking, what I’m seeing a lot of our listeners also listened to people like that. Brendon Burchard, Tony Robbins, those guys, right? And Ryan Deiss and, and big-time marketers and because they want to know as solo entrepreneurs and small business owners how to do this stuff. And those are the great guys that are out there talking about this in great gals. They’re out there talking about how to do it and you just made me think, uh, I was recently in a conference of Brendon Burchard’s and he was talking about things so simplistically and how you can actually get your content out there and you can produce content and you can do all these things.
And I sat there for so long thinking there’s still so much to do it, but what I just heard from you, which really flipped a light switch is it totally is just understanding what you have, what you’re using and why you’re using it and how you’re using it. And I think what he’s mastered is that technical ability because for the longest time, I mean he was making multimillion dollars without an assistant at all. It’s just been the last two to three years that he’s had a team of people. And before that, he had five brands that were making over a million dollars each.
Right. And I think that what people forget, and we’ll we’re going to get to the Burrito story here in a second. Saving that we’re saying we saved the best for last. Last would be kind of in the middle here, right? So when you think about why technology is working for you, most of the time what people are thinking about is why it’s not working.
So you go in and one of the ways to really flip your lid around technology, right? Flip the script, turn it, turn that frown upside down, love that, laugh that, that down, pulling out the old camp counseling times, you know, shout out to skyrocket your Idaho, Idaho shown. So what I want to say is you need to start thinking about all the ways that it’s going right? And that’s what I see in the solopreneurs is they’re so focused on all the things that aren’t working in their business, everything in their business, they’re not thinking about the well, it’s really easy. You know, we all have goals, big goals, and if you’re not saying, wow, I sent out a bunch of emails today that technology really worked for me, you know, or I walked into the room and turned on the light and the light turned on that’s technology, we take those things for granted.
We take it for granted from minute to minute basis and so the more you cannot take those things for granted and the more you, you educate yourself to the degree that you need to, it will help you kind of open up and demystify technology because what I really want people to understand is technology isn’t magic. It’s actually very logical. So if you know the logical steps for what your customers should be going through and experiencing, you can replicate that using tools to make your life a hell of a lot easier.
That’s huge. That’s a huge game changer for small business owners and solopreneurs. Right? So let’s talk about. You’re not a solopreneur. You’re not a small business owner, your company leader, you’re a CEO, you’re CTO, I, you’re an IT manager in a larger corporation that is making over, that is generating over a million dollars that’s employing more than 20 people and you’ve got these teams of people in these departments within the organization. How does all of this apply there, where do they get stuck? Where do they need the help in the technology realm and the mindset of technology?
Well, first of all, I love that you talk about all these different departments and I would say that the biggest thing that happens is this siloed mentality, right? Um, and, and it’s so funny to me that the people who usually get left out of the conversation or it they’re the ones who need to be in the conversation the most THE NERDS. And so what you find in these larger corporations is a lot of side systems of people saying, well we need this and they just build something on the side. Like maybe a marketing department is building some sort of side system to make sure that they’re tracking something and then you go over and the sales team has something else.
And they’re expecting the IT guys just to work it all out and make it all work together.
Or, or what often happens is these things go on for years. The IT department doesn’t even know that it’s happening. Right? And then somebody says, can we, can’t you just make this work? And the IT staff is like, why do you even have that? When we have this giant enterprise system that can handle all of that, and then everybody’s like, what do you mean? Nobody told us that, and then the nerds are like, well we did, and everybody’s like, well, I didn’t get that. I didn’t get that memo. I didn’t get that memo or I didn’t understand it when you told it to me, which happens a lot, but more often than not, they’re just these knowledge gaps because there’s just not effective listening. You know, and we’ve talked about this before, how more than anything people want to be heard and understood what happens in these large corporations particularly around technology is you know, people at the top that the executives that are like, I just want this and I want this now, and if everybody isn’t in the room that people are like, yes, and then they go and they do it, but if you don’t let the other people in, they can’t give you the knowledge about some of the best tactics for doing that or the tools that already exist. And oftentimes it’s the tech people that get left out. Now as the representative of the tech people who gets left out. Um, I would say that we don’t always do a good job of explaining what something can do.
Right? And that’s on, that’s on the technology, what I call Geek squeak.
Yeah. I mean, one of the best things that I have to offer to somebody is that I’m a tech translator.
Right. I love that you put it in layman terms in terms that I can understand.
And that’s not always the case. You know, there’s not always somebody there who can communicate to the nerds and to the nontechnical people, I know that’s a skill that I have. I don’t know where it came from, a gift. It’s a gift. I’ve always had it. Um, and so the work that needs to happen on the IT side is to keep it interesting to speak in terms that people understand and um, to make sure that leadership knows how important it is for them to be in the room.
Right. The last large organization that I worked with, um, I always wished I could have worked directly in the IT department. I was doing it in another department so that I could go in and be like, Y’all need some good PR, you know, because in a large corporation the IT department is like, they keep the lights on, right. You know, and it’s one of those things where like every day you’re sending email, the computers work, like 99 percent of the functions are working because honestly the people who are not technical, all that they want to do is go in, turn on their computer and everything works like magic.
And when it doesn’t work. I’ve worked in corporations before and are poor IT guy. He was really, we were very, very good friends. Barry, if you’re listening, this is you dude. But we were very good friends and those were his most frustrating times that he’d come in the door and people are just berating him already. Why doesn’t my computer work? Why doesn’t this work? Why doesn’t that work? And he’s like, Whoa, I haven’t even had my coffee.
Well, you know, I mean it’s, you know, technology is up there with death and taxes, you know, people just have expectations. Why doesn’t it work? And so now we’re going to get to the Burrito story.
This is awesome.
You’re overplaying this hand, right? But you know, I’m thinking about this. This shout out goes out to all, all you people who sat at your computer and pounded your hands down and almost thrown out the window or that time that you like getting your car and you turn the car on and you drive to the 7-11 and you get out of the car, you get your burrito and you walk back out. You’ve maybe eating it, you’re on your lunch break. You’re sitting there, it’s terrible. It’s been sitting on the little round a rotating thing for like days probably. And you’re still eating the damn burrito in your car and then you’re like, oh crap, I got to go back to work. And you turn the key and the damn car doesn’t turn on.
Who hasn’t? Well, I don’t eat the Burritos at 7-Eleven, but aside from that, we’ve all been there, right? Like we all just expect a car to run. Everybody’s been there and then there’s that minute that the Dang thing doesn’t turn over and you’re like, or you blow a tire and you’re like, what? It was all working five minutes ago, and that’s the problem with technology. You don’t realize it’s there and when it’s working, you realize this there when it’s not working, you know?
When the light doesn’t come on and you think, Oh shit, did I pay the bill? That’s usually the first thing that comes to my mind.
So when you’re bringing a technology person in, one of the ways to really shift your mindset is to make sure that you’ve deescalated yourself before you bring that person in. Whether you’re a CEO or a solopreneur or the person who’s workstation isn’t working, the worst possible thing you can do for that person is to blast them, right? Because you’re not going to get the best from that person.
That’s right. That’s right. And the IT guy is, and I saw this happen with Barry, you know, he’d get berated, right? Like just people are all over, the computers are down in the printer, doesn’t work, this doesn’t work. What’s going on? What, what are you guys doing in there?
It’s not personal.
And that’s why it gets people so bent out of shape is it’s not personal and you’re spending your energy expanding all of your energy blaming that tech person on that when they’ve been making it work for a long time, but it’s like that tire that blew it just gets worn out and sometimes you need to make a change and so when things aren’t working or when you’re going to plan something new, that’s why it’s vital to approach the people who can help you with the tech support. And I would argue that even when you’re planning something out that is tech support, it’s not the textbook definition of what tech support is.
Tech support isn’t when it doesn’t work. Call someone and get their help tech support is to actually plan it out so you don’t have to worry about that, to begin with. Right.
That’s when you want to use technology to support your business. Helpdesk is when shit goes bad and you need somebody right there like you know, and I know that when we think about we’re just calling support, you know what I’m saying is if you’re a forward-thinking leader, CEO, you always have that tech person in the room. Marketing person starts telling you about how like some big sales deal [AKA sales app] is going to make them money. You say I’m going to stop you right there. Have you talked to the CTO? Yeah. And if they haven’t then you make sure you bring them together. Being brought in, those conversations are happening. Uh, because the worst thing that you can do is build an entire side system within your organization or have people feel empowered to go do that. And then that system crashes. And guess what? Sometimes in the worst case scenarios in a big corporation, you built a side system, IT doesn’t know about it, it’s not getting backed up, it crashes and you’ve lost all of that data. So even something that was working is no longer working and not backed up and you’ve lost an arm of your functionality because it was all on the side.
Right. And you know what you’re bringing into the light too. This happened when I was working in large companies, and this also happens now as an entrepreneur, small business owner all the time. We go to these different conferences or were online looking at something or we hear somebody talk about something we think who. That’d be great for us to use and like you’re saying, you know, marketing departments and sales departments, getting these ideas and getting introduced to all these different programs and software and tools and all that kind of stuff and thinking it’ll be great and they go buy it and bring it in your cost and your company so much money. By doing that, instead of going to your it guys and saying, OK CTO, this is what I want to have happen. Do we have anything like that? How will it work for the system? But what I’m also hearing is then it’s then the responsibility of the CTO and the IT guys to be open to those ideas and be creative, and innovative as you naturally probably are, to be able to make that work for them instead of just saying, no, that can’t be done.
You know, and the thing that, what I was doing my work, the thing that would infuriate people the most sometimes was when I would work with somebody on the tech side and they would say, I’m sorry, we can’t do that. And then the next question out of my mouth was, why? Because if you don’t tell somebody why you just answered no, then that’s even more infuriating. You’ve just put them on the defense and they’ll go buy it.
You’re asking for an argument.
They’ll go buy that software because they’re like, well, I’ll show you.
You’re asking for the silo.
You’re asking for the silos and to break it all down. Um, I think that what is most important, again, and this goes this, this speaks to companies of all sizes, is training and documentation. So you map it all out. And what am I using, how am I using it in a way that people understand so that if something goes wrong, you can go back to it and refer to it. People are trained, they understand, and then if something goes wrong, you’re able to manage it and that’s something that anybody can do at any size you know, and then make sure that it’s communicated out right, so that you’re protecting it. I mean the data that we create within our business, not just content but customer relations, all of our accounts, all of that information that is all vital assets, all of that, and it needs to be backed up. There needs to be security and you need to know enough to know when things aren’t working right when the technology isn’t working, you know just in the same way that you would if you didn’t scribble everything down on a piece of paper and you didn’t have adequate meeting notes.
It’s more important today because everything is done through technology today. It can be the well the fact that we connect with one another is typically done through technology. You couldn’t go have coffee with someone face to face without the car and cars have computers in them now, which is technology, so you couldn’t get there without the technology. Even before computers, cars were technology. You can’t, if you’re having a Zoom call or a Go To Meeting call or any type of video, Skype, any of that. That’s technology. We don’t tend to stop and look at it in that way.
No, and nor do people tend to like take it back to a more non-technical level, which is that technology is really just a map. It’s not magic … there’s no voodoo going on. It’s really. If you take the technology out of it and you’d go really simple technology, like a pen and paper. It’s really just drawing boxes and making connections between things. I’m a systems thinker. I look at, because I look at an entire landscape for how things can be connected, you know, and if you have all these boxes, all of these things that you pay for, the best thing that you can do is understand all of these things that you’re paying for within your business as it relates to technology and figure out how to draw lines between all of those things to make your life easier, to make sure they integrate, to make sure that they integrate together.
And if you’re in a large corporation, it’s the same thing. You know, make sure that you have all of that documentation, makes sure that all of the pieces are talking to each other because the worst thing you can do is have siloed data, siloed systems. You need to have the systems talk to each other because guess what, we started talking about things like predictive analytics and like how you can predict customer behavior, which is fascinating stuff. It’s like a whole separate topic, big data stuff. To me, more bass or data that you have, the more connections you can make with all of that, the more you can do so if you’re in a huge corporation with millions of dollars, make sure all that data are talking to each other.
And you know, I have a really good friend, Tamara McCleary out there. Tamara, I know you’re going to be listening. She does Ted Talks on this and speaks all over the world about artificial intelligence. Now, this technology stuff is not going away. People, in fact, it’s only going to get bigger and bigger and bigger. So if we don’t wrap our minds around it now, as solo entrepreneurs, small business owners, and even company leaders, uh, we’re going to be in the dark because the way that this artificial intelligence is even coming online, that data that we’re collecting is going to be so, so important.
Yeah, I mean, the advances in artificial intelligence in 2018 are phenomenal and they’re saying that within 10 years it will be a huge part of our lives is huge. So, um, I’ll just leave us with this because, you know, when we talk about kind of the pitfalls, right, and when you’re saying that you need to catch up, I think that there are a couple of different ways that you can look at this and realize what it’s costing you if you don’t pay attention to technology and how it changes things in an instant.
Bring it on, baby.
The two industries that I can point to just off the top of my head that didn’t pay attention to technology that thought it was a fad that thought it didn’t affect their business. Are The music industry and the newspaper industry. Yes. And those two industries have been affected. I mean, still you look at music and you’re like, what are you talking about? You know, I’m 20, I don’t get it, you know. Well, before Spotify, before all of that, there was Napster and the music industry didn’t understand that the idea of file sharing, of sharing music. It was right around the time the iPod came out. Like the very first one that was like a black and white screen with a big dial on it. They didn’t understand that this was a shift. This was a cultural shift that technology was bringing to their industry and they didn’t adapt.
The same thing happened with newspapers. They thought the Internet was a fad and that people wouldn’t get their news online. This was before cell phones had screens on it, folks. I mean, this was like back in the late nineties when the Internet was first catching fire was when I worked for a newspaper, actually, mid to late 90s, uh, the newspaper industry said people aren’t going to get their news from the Internet. And if you look at where we are today, those two industries are suffering and still trying to catch up.
They are record companies went out of business, record labels, went out of business, newspapers, media sources. They all have gone out of business, right?
And, and time will tell where both of those industries will be in the future. But the bottom line is you can be like, well, I’m not the music industry.
Twila: [30:27] Don’t, don’t you think that we, that we recognize the shift, even like in our Grammy awards as simple is that when they are awarding the artists who have the most downloads, they’re starting to shift to now there’s a difference in the, in the industries.
The old record deals and all of that, that whole mindset, you know, the whole idea that somebody was going to walk to their local newsstand and buy a newspaper. They were standing by those methodologies for how business got done well after that was actually how business was getting done. And so what I, my point in bringing those two industries up aren’t the, you know, people are gonna say, well, I’m not in this huge, multimillion-dollar industry. Um, the point is that technology is changing quickly and you’re already using it for your business anyway. So the best way to wrap your mind around it is to embrace it and then realize how you can leverage it as a tool to move your business forward.
To support your business.
How does it bring Your Business, how does it support it, how does it move the needle for you and how can it make it easier for you.
And not just you, but your customers and your clients
Customers are number one, you know, and and that should never be lost on companies of all sizes is that the number one person is the customer. That’s the gold standard, so you set up what that process is in person and then that same process should be available online that should be available on social media that should be available no matter how they come in the door and every platform, every platform, and that’s how technology like holistically can really help you is if you adapt to it to the point that no matter how somebody comes to you, you are able to interact with them in the same way so that they know what to expect when they come across your brand.
I could sit here all day long and talk to you about this stuff and I’m sure that our listeners because this has been fascinating. This has been fun. This has been teachable. This is tech un-boring. This is exciting tech.
But guess what, Twila? I really want to go get a burrito.
Ooh, let’s go get a burrito. It’s taco time!!
So seeing as we are in the vandal lounge in beautiful Portland, Oregon, we have a lot of great choices for where to go get tacos. So I think that we’ve like. We’re done, right?
All right, we’re done. So we’re gonna. Go get some tacos and thank you for listening to the Third Paddle podcast.
Have fun with your tech.
Thank you for listening to the third paddle podcast. If you like our show and want to learn more, check out our website at www.thirdpaddle.com or leave us a review on iTunes some questions or topic ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to tune in each week to get even more technology and business tips to help you navigate business Shit Creek. The Third Paddle podcast is sponsored by Foster Growth online at https://fostergrowth.tech and Twila Kaye International online at http://twilakaye.com.
Jen McFarland is a business owner, business advisor, podcaster, blogger, and project turnaround artist. She’s helped hundreds of businesses and thousands of podcast listeners make better business decisions. Jen’s passion is helping women business owners overcome leadership and technology struggles.
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