Finding Your Critical Path to Business Growth
Twila and Jen discuss how business growth comes from a strategy that works for you, so you’re not taking on too much too soon. You’ll also hear how both Jen and Twila’s “down-home” Idaho upbringings influence their business savvy.
- The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber
- Strengthsfinder 2.0
- Color Code
- NXT Industries
- Kronda Adair
This episode inspired my blog post Escape from Business Candyland. I give Twila a hard time about being in Candyland, expecting people to follow all the steps before taking the plunge. In this post, I discuss the dangers of overindulging in every sweet techie treat that comes across your screen. Enjoy!
Jen: [00:00] Hello and welcome to The Third Paddle Podcast. This show is for business owners who are all about getting unstuck. I’m Jen McFarland and I’m joined by my lovely co-host …
Twila: [00:09] Twila Kaye.
Jen: [00:10] And on this episode, you know, have you ever struggled with choosing your own adventure? And what I mean by that is there’s so many paths out there to choose and you don’t know which one, and then you get like all confused and overwhelmed about where to go and what you’re doing. Well, we have. And we know clients who have, and that’s exactly what we’re gonna help you with today on this week’s show, where you learn how to choose the adventure that fits you and your business just right.
Twila: [00:36] That’s right, Jen. And as my Dad used to say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
Jen: [00:42] That’s just Twila’s Idaho showing.
Announcer: [00:45] You’re listening to The Third Paddle Podcast. Recorded at The Vandal Lounge, in the beautiful Southeast 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.
Twila: [01:06] So, hey, Jen, let’s give our listeners kind of a viewpoint of what we mean by there’s more than one way to skin a cat. That there’s so many ways, right? There’s a myriad of ways to grow your business. To manage your technology. To make sure that you’re doing the right things, right? I mean, there’s so many experts out there that are giving advice. There’s so many new tools and applications that are coming about, that it’s really hard to stay on top of all of that, right? And no wonder, we’re all swimming in that bath of overwhelm.
Jen: [01:44] Yeah, and I think it’s important to acknowledge that we all have different paths of overwhelm. Like, I’ll spend hours researching new apps and new tools. And I get really excited by that. I don’t look at that as overwhelm at all. I look at that as, oh cool, I get to try something new. However, I also acknowledge it’s what I like to do. It’s my profession, it’s what I help people with. And so for me, I don’t get overwhelmed by that, I actually enjoy researching that. And that’s not where my overwhelm comes in.
Jen: [02:19] So this is about the things that you see all the different options, and instead of that exciting you and charging you up … Because you can immediately see how it aligns with your business … These are about the times when all of the confusion around what you should choose puts you in a place where you’re like, I don’t know where to go?
Twila: [02:42] Right. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know which thing to spend money on? Which thing not to spend money on, and perhaps you already have spent a lot of money on things, right? And they’re sitting there, and you’re thinking, I’m not using this, I’m not using that, why do I even keep it? You cancel it, and then boom, [crosstalk [00:03:06] you need it.
Twila: [03:06] It’s not around, and then you need it, right? So you’re right, this is about all of those times that that overwhelm hits you. And what do you do? What do you do, Jen?
Jen: [03:22] This is really tough for me. So I’ve alluded to this before, the thing that gets me overwhelmed is dealing with the money side of my business. I’ve probably used three or four different invoicing programs, and two or three different bookkeeping money management programs. And then I always seem to circle back to like some of the same things. But the whole process of that really leaves me overwhelmed. And I talked to people about it, and everybody has a different opinion. And what I tend to do is think about the things I am willing to take on. What tasks am I willing to do over and over again? Because when it comes to things like money and invoicing, these are like repetitive tasks. And then, I also think about what are the different things that I can automate so that I’m not doing as many of those repetitive tasks? Because I don’t like doing them.
Twila: [04:18] Right. Right. And from that example, one of the things that I found for myself is when I first got into this expert/thought leader/coach/consultant kind of space, right? Early on, we’re talking six years ago, I got into Infusionsoft right away. And many people would tell you, don’t ever get Infusionsoft right away, you don’t need it right away, right?
Jen: [04:46] Right.
Twila: [04:46] You’re overbuying. And even though that is true, I stayed with Infusionsoft for about three, four years. Got rid of it, and, you know, a couple of years later, I find myself in the position of I should have never canceled it. One, because in that timeframe, I really got to know it. I knew it well. And I could work it like the back of my hand when most people needed to be developers to be able to use it. And although I wasn’t using it to its fullest extent, I was using it.
Jen: [05:21] Correct.
Twila: [05:22] Everyday. And since leaving Infusionsoft and trying to go with other things … I went to Ontraport, then I went to ActiveCampaign, then I went to Mailchimp, then I went back to ActiveCampaign. And, you know, now I’m looking again, what would be best for my business? And all that in my head, I’m like, you should have never left Infusionsoft. Because you’ve spent more money bouncing around, and you’re not using anything well like you were Infusionsoft before. So sometimes you get stuck in that, right? Sometimes you find something, it does work for you well, and then you try to fix what isn’t broken.
Jen: [06:03] That’s true. I’ve gotten your email about whether or not you should use Drip?
Twila: [06:08] Right.
Twila: [06:10] Or go back to Ontraport? Or-
Jen: [06:13] And so-
Twila: [06:14] Go to this.
Jen: [06:14] I guess that what I’m hearing you say right now is, I sent you the research about Drip and you still haven’t tested that? Is that what I’m hearing? Is this thing on?
Twila: [06:26] I think you’re hearing crickets.
Jen: [06:29] Oh my God. Okay.
Twila: [06:31] Do I have to admit this? On radio, in public? You’re gonna force me to admit this?
Twila: [06:45] #urwelc.
Jen: [06:46] Good Lord. Okay. So yes, sometimes it’s worth it, although I would argue that perhaps there needs to be a little more analysis around what it’s costing you to not have a service versus the monthly cost of having Infusionsoft versus how much ROI you are seeing out of that product. So-
Twila: [07:11] Right.
Jen: [07:11] I think there’s a lot of ways that you can look at measuring the effectiveness of a program or a product or application that you are using, and letting you know whether or not there’s actually any value in it for your business.
Jen: [07:27] That said, I would like to seriously acknowledge that if you learn a program and it’s deeply embedded, there are absolutely times when what Twila is saying is a hundred percent true. Which is to say once you know it, and you’re using it and it’s working for you, you better have a damn good reason for not using it anymore.
Twila: [07:49] Right. Don’t just try to fix what isn’t broken, right? If it’s … I mean, it’s-
Twila: [07:56] My Idaho’s showing with that, too. My Dad used to always say-
Jen: [07:59] If it ain’t broke-
Twila: [08:00] If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Jen: [08:01] Don’t fix it.
Twila: [08:03] Put some duct tape on it, but …
Jen: [08:06] Holy cow.
Twila: [08:06] Don’t fix it.
Jen: [08:06] So that … Like, sidebar. Jen childhood story, true story. When I … So in Idaho, it’s perfectly acceptable for your Grandpa to put together your swing set and have a box of leftover bolts?
Twila: [08:23] Yes, because he has duct tape and baling wire.
Jen: [08:26] ‘Cause he’s like, it’s fine. I put it together, you know?
Twila: [08:30] It’s standing, isn’t it?
Jen: [08:32] It’s right here. And my Mom still, every once in a while, is like, “I can’t believe I let you play on that swing set with all of those leftover parts.” She’s like, “But it worked.” And I’m like, “Yeah, I didn’t die or nothing. It’s fine.” So-
Twila: [08:44] That’s right.
Jen: [08:45] I mean, yeah.
Twila: [08:47] And your business is like that, too, right? Your business is like that swing set, where there’s a ton of nuts and bolts that are laying around and you’re like, oh God, where do these go? [crosstalk [00:08:59] I still don’t know where to put these.
Jen: [09:01] So if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if it’s breaking the bank, you know, that always has to be a consideration.
Twila: [09:11] You have to stop that leak right away.
Jen: [09:12] You have to stop that leak. And if it’s breaking the bank, it might be a sign that it’s actually not working for you. It might not be the right thing. And even if you know it, you can put it on the shelf. But I would argue that you don’t put something like that on the shelf that is bringing you, clients, that is a way that you are core communicating with people until you have something else on tap that you’re ready to use. That you’ve tested, that you’ve gotten a demo, that you’ve talked to people. Because when you have that gap, which is what you’re speaking to, Twila, then it is a black hole that’s costing you money. And really stunting your growth.
Twila: [09:54] Right. Exactly. And speaking of growth, you know, that’s what we’re all about here, right? And, you know, there’s more than one way to grow your business. We’ve been talking a lot about applications and tools and technology. But even strategies and tactics to even just build your business, to get a client, to attract clients. To get clients. To close them. To sell to them. To service them. To deliver to them. I mean, you have to think about that entire process that you will take a customer through. From beginning attraction and awareness to actually delivering, to becoming an advocate for you, and a brand ambassador or an affiliate for you. And you have to think about all of those steps.
Twila: [10:50] And, you know, there are a thousand different ways to do each one of those steps in building and growing your business. And what I tell my clients all the times is, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. You need to look at who you are as a person, what your personality and your innate nature are to that thing. And is it going to be something that you do? Or not do? Or is it going to be something that you fight against? And it never works because of that.
Jen: [11:26] Right. Well, I would say that one of the great differentiators between me and other tech strategists or tech consultants is that I want to hear about your customer process from beginning to end. I want to know about that arc. I don’t want to know the technology you’re using, I want to know how people come in. How they go through, and then how you close out with a client or in your business. And that should be a business owner’s number one objective. Figuring all of that out. And then you build the technology around that.
Twila: [12:04] Right.
Jen: [12:05] You know, what is that arc? And I guess that maybe that makes me part business coach, but I really hope you’ve worked all of that out before you get to me. And then we build the technology around it. Part of, you know, there being more than one way to do things, is actually … That one of the ways to do things is not necessarily jumping in on the technology part, it’s about doing what you’re talking about and what I’m hearing, which is you plan out that arc, and then you think about what you’re willing to follow up on, what you’re willing to do and what it’s going to take. So you can’t just say, I’m doing it this way, and then if it involves you doing a bunch of things you hate …
Twila: [12:49] Right.
Jen: [12:49] Are you gonna do it?
Twila: [12:50] And I even venture to kind of argue with you a little bit on that word differentiate from you a little bit on that, in that I think before you even think about that arc of how you bring a customer in and that journey that you take them on, you have to first know who you are, what you’re willing to do, what you’re willing not to do, what you’re good at. What you’re not good at. Where your strengths lie, where your weaknesses like. Where you’re gonna get caught up. Where you’re gonna get challenged. Where you’re going to excel. Because that in itself, that knowledge in itself, will enable you to choose a customer journey that would really work for you. Because if you start with a customer journey first, and you think about all that, now you’ve gotta go back and say, oh, wait.
Twila: [13:51] I’m not really gonna be good at that, so scratch that. Need to find something else. And then you’re gonna be stuck in that analysis paralysis, right? You’re gonna sit there and think about things too much. But if you really get a handle on who you are, what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, what you get challenged by, what you excel at, and start approaching things from that mindset, then you can put together a customer journey, a technology flow, a business strategy growth plan that fits you and what you’re willing to do and what you’re really good at doing.
Jen: [14:30] I mean, I think that’s a … I agree with that. I also think that there’s this reality that a lot of us just jump right in because we’re good at something and we haven’t done all of that. And then we’re in a place where we’re doing things, and then we realize how much we don’t like doing certain things.
Twila: [14:47] Yeah, absolutely.
Jen: [14:48] And so-
Jen: [14:50] And so I guess for me, I’m like, yeah. I mean, when I visit Candy Land, I think about all of the things that I want to do. And I think about how wonderful it is, and I like go down the chocolate slides and I do all of the fun stuff. But like, the reality is, I like, you know, one day said, “I’m gonna do this thing, ’cause I’m really good at it.”
Twila: [15:08] Could it be, I’m gonna quit my job and be an entrepreneur?
Jen: [15:11] I’m gonna quit my job and be an entrepreneur. And I think that that’s why books like “The E Myth” are so powerful for me, because it takes you through that thing of this woman who was so stuck, because she’s the great technician. She’s really good at doing her thing, and then things are not working for her.
Twila: [15:26] Right.
Jen: [15:27] And that’s when she has to take a step back and go through all the things that you’re talking about. Really, truly.
Twila: [15:32] And I think that happens to the majority of us, right? I know it’s happened-
Jen: [15:36] Right.
Twila: [15:36] To me. And it still on occasion happens to me. I mean, it’s all easy for me to sit here on a podcast and preach. It’s another thing for me to go out there and actually do it, right? As a person [crosstalk [00:15:47]-
Jen: [15:47] Girl, I talked to you-
Twila: [15:47] Girl-
Jen: [15:48] A lot on the podcast, and I know for a fact that your life is not in Candy Land.
Twila: [15:52] That’s right. It is not a Candy Land.
Jen: [15:55] There is a reason why we talk about helping businesses get unstuck. And it’s because we know what it means to be stuck sometimes, and what it means-
Twila: [15:55] Absolutely.
Jen: [16:01] To make mistakes and we’ve both, we’ve both-
Twila: [16:01] Yeah.
Jen: [16:01] With knowledge.
Twila: [16:05] Been where you are. Sometimes we still get where you are-
Jen: [16:09] Right.
Twila: [16:10] We’re just trying to … By helping you, we’re helping us as well.
Jen: [16:14] Exactly. Exactly. So, I’m not busting your chops about Candy Land and stuff. I’m saying that like, in an ideal place … And I think we’re trying to help people get to that ideal place … These are the things that you consider before you even talked to somebody like me. You know, you’re talking to … I mean, I always want people to go to their business coach and get a lot of solid ground.
Twila: [16:35] Right.
Jen: [16:36] You know, and ideally you haven’t already bought Infusionsoft and a Wix website and-
Twila: [16:42] Right.
Twila: [16:44] All of those things.
Jen: [16:46] All of those things. That you’re going to the business coach and you’re gonna do an actual plan and really think about the things that you want to do.
Twila: [16:51] Right.
Jen: [16:52] Because I a hundred percent agree with you that those are key.
Twila: [16:55] Yeah.
Twila: [16:56] Why I start with all of my clients, even on the business coaching … We start with that, right? Like, we start with that personality science and that behavioral science and the psychology of who you are and what’s best for you. What your limitations are and you know, sometimes I get pushback on that from even clients, of why are we focusing on my limitations? You know, we should be focusing on my strengths. No, we need to focus on your limitations because you need to know where you’re going to get stuck. So that when you get there, you go, oh, this is what we were talking about. I have the strategies to get over this hump.
Twila: [17:37] And so we want to make sure that we know all of this from the get-go, so any strategy or tactic we put into place in mapping out your vision, mapping out your profit plan, mapping out your income streams, your products, your packages, your pricing. All of that that I do with clients to help them build and growth their thriving business. You know, you gotta know all that kind of stuff upfront. And I do that simply because I, too, was in a situation where I just jumped in, started doing that and went, oh crap, why is nothing working?
Jen: [18:19] Exactly. And I think that becoming aware of some of these things is really helpful. I still remember taking the strengths finder test and being like, oh, these are my strengths. I always thought these were weaknesses. And then you realize that the things that, sometimes anyways, the things that you think are your strengths, you’re actually just celebrating overcoming some big obstacle. And it wasn’t a strength at all, it’s that you figured something out that was really hard for you.
Twila: [18:47] Right.
Jen: [18:47] And you look at that as a strength, but what you’re actually looking at is this heroic journey. You’re not looking at all of the actual strength that it took to overcome this thing that you’re actually not good at.
Twila: [18:58] Right. Exactly. And you know, in my work, we go by the color code, right?
Jen: [18:58] Right.
Twila: [19:02] And we talk about those red personalities and blue personalities, and white and yellow personalities. And you know, each one of them is based on that human core motive, that driving motive that drives all of your needs, your wants, your behaviors, your values. Your thought patterns. Your habits. Your behaviors, all of those. It comes before any of that, you know? Where most personality assessments are focused on who are you right now? Which is who you’ve learned to become.
Jen: [19:41] Right.
Twila: [19:41] Not necessarily who you innately are. So, you know, we start with that innate self. And for me, you know, I’m that yellow personality. And so shiny new bobble syndrome, what that looks like on the outside is shiny new bobble syndrome, is really in some ways … It can be a strength for me. But in many ways, it’s my biggest challenge, right?
Jen: [20:08] Right.
Twila: [20:08] Because just like I was saying at the beginning of the show today, when I’m in Infusionsoft, I’d learn it, I get it. I’m there. And then I’m thinking, okay, 10 people have said I don’t need Infusionsoft yet. So guess what? I probably don’t need Infusionsoft yet. So what do I need? And then five people say, Ontraport’s really good. And I go to a conference and Ontraport’s there and it’s really great. And boom, let me go with Ontraport, because it does something else that Infusionsoft doesn’t do yet. And so I jumped ship and go, right? And then I’m working with a client a year later, and that client needs a simple solution. And we go to ActiveCampaign, and then I’m in ActiveCampaign going, “Oh my gosh, this is so much easier. I could so do ActiveCampaign and I won’t have to do all of these things in Ontraport.” And I go with ActiveCampaign.
Twila: [21:08] Now on the outside, that looks like just that shiny new bobble. But really what it is, is it’s a search, right? And my personality just goes to that, because I take in what other people say. And I value what other people say. And if more than one person tells me that, then, hey, I need to pay attention to that. And so what we’re saying through this whole episode … I hope that you catch the theme of this … Is that there are a thousand different ways. There are a thousand different applications. There are so many people that will tell you you need to do this versus this. And it’s not an either/or game.
Jen: [21:52] No.
Twila: [21:52] You need to look at every option and what’s going to be best for you. And then stick with it. The consistency and the commitment is what’s gonna get you through.
Jen: [22:04] And I agree with that. I think that one of the people that I work with at NXT … That’s my co-working space that I go to … Her name is Kronda Adair. And she does WordPress development. And she talked to me through her method of making decisions, especially around software. Because both of us, you know, we love software. And we’re always willing to try the new thing.
Twila: [22:04] Right.
Jen: [22:32] And the way that she slows herself down so that she doesn’t get in the hole on those purchases … And I think she’s written a blog post about it … Is to say, what will my future self thank me for? And it slows herself down.
Twila: [22:48] Oh, that is so good.
Jen: [22:49] Isn’t that good?
Twila: [22:50] Oh my gosh! That is so good! Oh!
Jen: [22:54] And if you get nothing out of this episode, get that.
Twila: [23:20] I know. What would my future self thank me for?
Jen: [23:20] Thank me for?
Twila: [23:20] Wow.
Twila: [23:41] Future self would thank you for?
Jen: [23:41] And that’s what I mean. Like, if you … Let me finish.
Jen: [23:41] I know.
Twila: [23:41] Yeah.
Jen: [23:41] But if you like focus in on your vision and your goals and ground yourself in that for yourself and your business. And then when something new comes along, and you say, what would my future self thank me for? I think it really does help to slow you down a little bit, and consider what’s working, what’s not working. And it’s more easy for you to move on.
Twila: [23:41] Yes.
Jen: [23:52] And when she told me that a few months ago when I was going through my own … And it’s so funny that we’re talking about ActiveCampaign and Ontraport and Infusionsoft … I think it’s just one of those things that is marketed to us so much on social media, that-
Twila: [23:52] Right.
Jen: [24:09] It’s always like front of us as business owners. And I was going through the same thing. And Kronda just looked at me and said, “What would your future self thank you for?” And I was like … I just went, “What?” And she goes, “Talk to you later, Jen.” And she like leaves, and I’m like [crosstalk [00:24:26]-
Twila: [24:26] She leaves you with that. You’re just sitting there, like, oh crap. Nothing that I’m doing right now actually-
Jen: [24:34] I know, right? It was kind of her like, bye Felicia. And she’s like out, and I’m like, “Okay.”
Twila: [24:40] Yeah.
Jen: [24:44] I think it’s just a very wise thing to consider when you’re building out-
Twila: [24:48] Very wise.
Jen: [24:49] Those foundations of your business. And then when you’re on that, if you’re in year five, year six, year 10, you know, the more you can think about, okay, this is where I’m at today. What will I be thanking myself for in three to five years? I mean, I think that’s a really solid footing to go on.
Twila: [25:06] Right.
Jen: [25:07] Regardless of your charge ahead, shiny bobble analysis paralysis, inner peace … I mean, I think that anybody can really appreciate that at a certain level.
Twila: [25:20] Absolutely. Absolutely. It doesn’t matter what personality type you are, you can appreciate the fact of just stopping and looking at what is best for me? What is my future self gonna thank me for?
Jen: [25:32] Yeah.
Twila: [25:32] What am I gonna be happy that I did?
Jen: [25:35] Exactly. But to your point, I would say that you are more successful with that the more you know about yourself.
Twila: [25:41] Oh, huge.
Jen: [25:43] You know, the more-
Twila: [25:44] Huge.
Jen: [25:44] Emotional intelligence that you have … And I would say the best thing about the color code for me, it helped me close the loop on all these other tests that I’ve taken. And then look at myself more fully and then also understand who I can work with in way that like none of those other tests did for me. So that I can even meet people and say, “Oh, I can refer you to this person. Or this person. Because we’re not gonna work.”
Twila: [25:44] Right.
Jen: [26:09] And so I think that the more you know … And that was just such a deep knowledge for me. The more you can learn about yourself, the better positioned you are in service to others, and the better positioned you are to really choose your own adventure and find that right way to get things done. Because at the end of the day, we get so wrapped up in all these different things-
Twila: [26:30] Right.
Jen: [26:31] When really, we’re just trying to find that way to get things done.
Twila: [26:34] Exactly. Exactly.
Jen: [26:36] And so it is about being strategic. Grounding yourself in your vision. Knowing yourself. And then moving forward.
Twila: [26:44] And then moving forward. And making those decisions based on all of that with the thought in mind, love it. What is my future self going to thank me for?
Jen: [26:56] What are you gonna thank me for? And then you-
Twila: [26:56] Yeah.
Jen: [26:56] Base your strategy and your tech decisions on that.
Twila: [27:02] Yes.
Jen: [27:02] And then you move things forward on that.
Twila: [27:04] And then just always know, there’s always more than one way to skin a cat. Not literally-
Jen: [27:09] Not literally.
Twila: [27:11] Figuratively. Oh my God.
Jen: [27:17] So thank you for listening to The Third Paddle Podcast. This is podcast has been brought to you by Foster Growth and Twila Kaye International. Check us out next week, because, you know, we’ve been talking a lot about growth, and next week we’re gonna talk about what the hell is growth hacking? And why should you care?
Twila: [27:36] And who is a growth hacker? I mean-
Jen: [27:38] Who is a growth hacker?
Twila: [27:38] We’re gonna be talking about growth for the whole, whole few more episodes to come.
Jen: [27:44] Exactly. So check us out on iTunes. Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play. We’re also available on SoundCloud and Stitcher. So please subscribe so that you can catch our next episode. So thanks again, and talk to you soon.
Announcer: [28:01] 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. Send questions or topic ideas to email@example.com. 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 www.fostergrowth.tech. And Twila Kaye International Online at www.twilakaye.com.