AMY PORTERFIELD: “A while back, I found that my students kept asking me the same thing. They would say, ‘Amy, I'm a one–man or a one–woman show, and I've got to build this business, but I don't want a bunch of tools. I can't afford a bunch of tools. And I don't have an I.T. team. I don't have someone to do the technology. Is there an all–in–one solution?’ And for a long time, there really wasn't one that I would recommend. When you invest in online tools and you commit to using them in your business, whether it be Help Scout or Slack or Asana or Kajabi or whatever it might be, when you invest in these tools, the only way these tools are going to work for you is if you are clear about what work you're going to get done, when you're going to get it done, and why you want to get it done.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small–but–mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step–by–step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
Last week’s episode was part one of this two–part series, all about your guide to tools for every area of your business. So this episode is part two. But last week, in part one, I shared some of my favorite foundational tools, especially if you're just getting started with your online business. So we talked about email marketing and list–building tools, one of my most–favorite social–media tools, and also a project–management tool that I wish I had used from the get–go. So it was a great episode because I talked about the tools that I used in the beginning, just starting my business, or I wish I had but they weren't around at the time, eleven years ago, the tools I wish I had that I highly recommend you use right away if you're just starting out. That was episode 306, which is part one of this two-part series.
So now today we're going to chat about some of the best tools, at least that I have found, for communication and customer service. Plus, I'm going to share what I consider the mack daddy of all tools. No matter where you are in your business, this might pique your interest instantly, and you'll want to check it out. So we're going to talk about communication, customer service, the mack daddy of all tools that I use today, and also, I'm going to throw in a tool that is fairly new on the scene but is kicking butt right from the get–go. So this is a brand new tool I'm using. If you are creating digital courses or if you already have a digital course, you're going to want to hear about that tool. And then, of course, I cannot do an episode about tools without actually talking about the Full Focus Planner, which is my physical planner that I use that helps me dial in everything I do in my business, no matter what online tools I'm using. So I've got a lot to cover. Are you ready to get into all of this? I promise you, this episode is going to save you time and money and will give you clarity around what's working right now in order to be more productive and efficient. Let's get to it.
First, I want to talk about communication, specifically communication inside of your team. So whether you have contractors or part–time employees or full–time employees, Slack is a great tool to keep the communication in real time as you're working virtually. So no matter where your team is, you all can communicate in one place.
So at first glance, Slack looks like an instant messenger kind of tool. You jump in, you have quick conversations, you jump out; and that truly is how you can use it. However, we have put some organizational rules—imagine that—around Slack on Team Porterfield because if you don't put some rules around this instant messenger kind of tool, then everything is going to get lost in the mix. And that's what we've experienced on our team, and so we said, “Okay, we got to do the smack down here. We've got to put some rules around how we use Slack.”
So here's the thing. Inside of Slack, you can create specific channels. So we have channels for the content team, the podcast team, the marketing team, social media, community. And then we also have some fun channels, like the wins, where we share our students’ wins in one channel; announcements for the whole team. We even have a channel called Fun Stuff. That's where you're going to find all the giffies and all the fun banter back and forth.
But we keep things in channels, and then only specific people are invited to those channels so that you are not inundated with way too much conversation that you might not even need to be a part of. So we are very mindful of the channels that we've created. If you don't need a channel anymore, we archive that channel. We keep them clean. We make sure that the proper people are invited to channels. You can invite your full–time employees, your contractors, whoever you want. You can invite them into Slack. And so, first of all, we're really serious about the channels.
The second thing is you cannot put any action items inside of Slack. Absolutely zero action items, because if you do, there is a really good chance that it will get overlooked or forgotten because conversations move really quickly in Slack, especially if you have multiple people chatting. And so if you want to assign an action item to somebody or if you have a new project that you're working on with multiple action items, all of that goes into Asana, which I talked about in episode 306. So all action items go into Asana, but quick conversations, those are going to be handled inside of Slack.
So let me give you an example. We are currently planning the Entrepreneur Experience 2020 live event, and so the entire project plan, with every single action item that needs to get done for the live event, will live in Asana. And as we talk to each other about the specific action items, we will have those conversations inside of Asana as well, wherever the action item lives. So the conversation will be attached to the action item.
However, let's say that I wanted to triple check that a meeting for the live event was on the calendar, or maybe I needed to move the time by thirty minutes. I could jump into the live–event channel and ask Jess, on my team, if the meeting has indeed been scheduled or if we can move it by thirty minutes. Those kind of quick conversations can be done in Slack, but the action items in the project, that lives in Asana. So that's an example of how we would use the two different tools appropriately so that things do not get lost in the mix.
Now, I'm learning, as I grow this team, that one of the really great benefits of Slack is to keep a virtual team engaged and connected. So we have a lot of fun in Slack as well. I mentioned that we have that one channel called Fun Stuff. We also do monthly challenges now on the team where, like, the January monthly challenge is everybody has to drink a certain amount of water every single day, and we're doing a fun contest. So we actually have a channel for that. I have a team that is across the entire United States, and I want them all to feel connected, and I want them to feel as though they are part of the team. So we do fun things like this. So we'll jump into that Slack channel and pretty much only communicate by giffies.
I remember when I had Jennifer Allwood on the show, and she said, you know you found your team when you're communicating in giffies and that's all. And that's exactly what happens in some of these fun channels. So we have a really good time. We don't spend hours and hours in Slack, but we definitely jump in there a few times a day, and we have the conversations that need to be had or that we want to have just for fun. So it is a great way to connect a team if you're working virtual, which many of you are.
And also, it's a great way to not blow up somebody's cell phone. We don't even communicate inside of email as a team. We do everything in Slack or Asana, so we do not communicate as a team via email. That’s just one area that we don’t have to worry about in terms of team communication. So that’s when Slack becomes really handy, knowing we’re staying out of each other’s email inboxes. We use email for outside sources that need to communicate to us, but not internally. So that's something kind of unique on the team that kind of has been a game–changer for us.
Okay, so, that is Slack. Moving on to the next tool I want to talk to you about—ooh, this is a good ones—customer service. And you know how important our customers are to us. If you are a student of mine in List Builder Society or Digital Course Academy or Momentum, you know that we love to love up on you and take care of you. And if you've ever had any issues with billing or log ins or questions, you know that we’ll take care of you quickly. And that often is going to happen inside of Help Scout.
So Help Scout literally keeps all of our emails organized in one place so we don't waste time logging in and out of different emails. Plus, it allows us to get the email easily to the right person on the team, and if needed, add any notes to each other so that when the person on the team needs to communicate with that customer, we can leave them private notes so they have all the information.
Now, this is definitely for you if you have a larger customer base and if you get a lot of emails from potential students or customers or students that you already have. So if you're just starting out and you get maybe ten emails a week, probably not ready for Help Scout. But as your team grows, as your business grows, as you start creating more offers like digital courses, definitely check out Help Scout.
I've gone through a lot of customer–support portals, and we've been with Help Scout for over two years now, and I can't even imagine changing out. That's how good they are. And they integrate with a lot of different platforms that we use outside of Help Scout. So I could speak highly of them all day long. They also have a fifteen-day free trial. So if you go to amyporterfield.com/307, I'll hook you up with a link to the free trial and you could just check them out.
But if you're looking for a customer–support portal, if you're looking to get out of Gmail, and if you're like, “Oh, my gosh. I'm getting customer emails with emails from my mom and dad and my cousin. Everything's kind of mixed together,” look into Help Scout. It definitely keeps things organized.
And you can also add in a bunch of what I call guided responses, which are responses that we've written for questions we get asked all the time so that my team can always pull from those and we're not starting from scratch, answering the same question a hundred times over. So that’s something you could kind of grow into as well, start creating those—people call them canned responses. I call them guided responses because I like to kind of personalize every response we send out. But at least you can give your team some guidelines as to how to answer the questions you get asked all the time. Anyway, that's all integrated inside to Help Scout. Highly recommend them for customer support.
Now let's talk about my favorite all–in–one solution and tool for entrepreneurs at any level. I want to introduce you to Kajabi. I call Kajabi the mack daddy of all tools, and I know that's a funny word. So here's how you spell it: K-A-J-A-B-I.
Now, here's the thing. You don't have to be super tech savvy to figure out this all–in–one tool. And the reason for that is they built Kajabi for anyone, and I mean anyone, who wants to build an online presence, without needing a programmer or a coder or really any experience or expertise with setting up the software or the tools for an online business.
A while back, I found that my students kept asking me the same thing. They would say, “Amy, I'm a one–man or a one–woman show, and I've got to build this business, but I don't want a bunch of tools. I can't afford a bunch of tools. And I don't have an I.T. team. I don't have someone to do the technology. Is there an all–in–one solution?” And for a long time, there really wasn't one that I would recommend.
However, a few years back, I started to pay close attention to Kajabi, and then I started to use them. And when I started to use them as a digital–course platform, meaning I created a digital course, I uploaded all the videos, all the PDFs into their platform, and then put it behind a log in so that anybody who bought my course, they would get a log in to get all the information. So now all my digital courses were protected, and the platform that they were on, Kajabi, looked good. I didn't have to get a programmer or a coder, and the whole course really looked professional, and that's when I was sold.
But Kajabi does so much more than just your digital–course platform behind a log in, and so I wanted to share with you why I recommend them to my students. So if you are a Digital Course Academy student, you know that I recommend Kajabi. In fact, all my how-to videos are based on the Kajabi platform. So if you are a Kajabi member, you already know how easy it is to use and how much they do. But for those of you who do not know Kajabi at all, again, you could use them for your digital courses as a place to house all the assets that you create, but in addition to that, you can use them as an opt–in page. You can use them as a sales page. You can use them for a webinar–replay page. I mean, there are tons and tons of options.
But taking a closer look, for those of you who are just starting out, did you know that you can use Kajabi, as a website template as well? So here's the thing. In Kajabi, you can literally build your entire website—from your About page to your blog page to your sales pages. All of that. And it easily integrates with a shopping cart that you can also get, like, an order–form page that you can also get inside of Kajabi. So a lot of the times, if you use too many tools, it's really hard to integrate all the tools with each other. That's why Kajabi is your one–stop shop from your website to sales pages to your email–service provider to your opt–in pages. They do it all, and they allow you to customize fonts and colors and images and all of that good stuff.
And getting back to the website, they even have website analytics. So right there, you could check out all the important details you need about your website. Now, if you're just starting out, I don't want to inundate you with that or overwhelm you with website analytics and all of that. Just know that, again, this is a tool that you can grow into. And as you want to dive into the analytics more and the details more, they will be readily available for you as well.
So I am a huge fan of Kajabi. I can't speak more highly of them, and again, I use them.
But I wanted to say something before I move on, and that is you might be saying, “Okay, but wait a second. In episode 306, Amy, you recommended Leadpages,” and you are right. Leadpages is a tool I recommended in part one for those of you who are just starting out that need a simple opt–in page and you want to start growing your email list from scratch. Leadpages is great if you’re just starting out. But if you've been at this for a while or you need more, such as if you need a website, if you want a tool that does everything and you can just grow into it, if you don't want to have to piece together a few different tools and you just want an all–in–one solution, then Kajabi is something that you should look into.
So what I would do if I were you, if you've listened to both episodes, I'd look into Kajabi; I would look into ConvertKit, which is the email–service provider I also recommended in part one; and then I would look into Kajabi, and ask yourself, do you want Leadpages and ConvertKit, and that's all you want to start out with, or are there different features in Kajabi that are features that you want to use sooner than later, and they look really appealing to where you're going in your business? Then maybe you don’t do Leadpages and you don’t do ConvertKit, but you just jump into Kajabi.
These are decisions I want you to make, and I want to give you the tools that I love and that I use. And you can do some research and think, “Okay, what is going to be best for me right now?” Remember, at amyporterfield.com/307 I'm going to link to all the tools I talk about in this episode, and of course, you can get all the tools I talk about in part one as well, linked up in the show notes. And so you can get all the details you need. But I just wanted to introduce you to Kajabi if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution.
And one other perk with Kajabi. They recently started to offer a concierge service for getting started. So if you do decide to go with Kajabi, make sure to check out their concierge service. It's actually free, and it allows you to get started with some extra help. And I always love a tool that is mindful of those people that are just starting out, not sure which way to turn. They've spent the money on the tool, now they need a little extra handholding. And Kajabi does that with their concierge service for new customers. So something to ask about if you do decide to dive in and become a Kajabi member, like we are here at Team Porterfield.
Okay, so we are moving on. And I'm going to talk about a tool that I've maybe mentioned on the podcast, but I definitely haven't gotten into all the details. And this tool is from my good friend Stu McLaren, and it is called Searchie.
So Searchie—yeah, that’s a funny name, too, right? S-E-A-R-C-H-I-E. Searchie is definitely one of the most advanced tools that we use within my business, and here’s what it does. It allows you to search for content inside of videos. So if you create any videos, you know that sometimes you get a question from, let's say, a customer or potential customer, and you're like, “Ugh, I mentioned that in a video last week. It was, like, somewhere in the middle. I wish I could just go right to that point in the video and tell my student that's where to look.” Well, now you can. So that's what Searchie is all about.
This tool allows you to type in exactly what you're looking for—so you type in keywords—and Searchie will take you to the exact spot in that video where you actually mentioned those keywords. How cool is that? It actually works with video and audio, but we use it mostly for video.
So let me tell you exactly how we use it. Inside of my private Facebook groups for my students, I do a lot of video. In fact, for Digital Course Academy®️, I did video Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday—Facebook Lives, to be exact. I did those four days a week inside of a private Facebook group for twelve weeks. So that's a lot of video. And what I did in those videos is I answered question after question after question around how to create a digital course and how to launch it. And so now those students who are part of that private Facebook group, they can go into Searchie, type in any keywords, and they could find the places in all of those videos where I answered specific questions for them related to the keywords that they typed in. How incredibly valuable is that?
It's really funny because in order to teach my students how to use Searchie, I would make a Facebook Live video, and I'd say, “Okay, I'm saying pickle right now. So what I want you to do later on is go into Searchie, type in the word pickle; it's going to take you right here to this video. So that was my way of showing them, here's how you use it; here's how good it is.
It's a tool that is fantastic. My podcast and my content team is all over this tool because, like I said, it works for audios—if you're a podcaster, this could be really cool—and then, of course, it works for video. So we've integrated Searchie into my courses inside of Kajabi. So Searchie and Kajabi actually integrate with each other, and let me tell you, the reviews we've gotten from my students have been amazing.
Now, is this more of an advanced tool, meaning if you don't have a digital course, if you don't do a lot of video yet, probably not something that I want you to jump into. Some of the other tools to set your foundation in your online business would be best to use first or to implement first. But I like to let all of you know what to aspire to, what to look forward to. And Searchie is one tool that I want you to keep your eye on because it's only getting better and better. It just came out, and they're already making updates to it that are kind of blowing my mind. So I highly recommend you check out Searchie when you're ready.
Now, I'm going to give you one more tool that I absolutely love. But before I get there, I want to tell you something really cool. We've actually created a PDF for part one and part two, all about the tools I'm recommending. So there's one place that you could go to download the PDF and save this, so when you're ready to check out some new tools, you can check out my description of each tool, why I love it, and the links to each of these tools. And if I have a special deal or offer with that link, we'll take you right there. So if you go to amyporterfield.com/307, you can check out the PDF with all of the tools I mentioned in part one and part two. So that's amyporterfield.com/307.
Okay, the last tool that I want to talk to you about is a tool that is not an online tool. It's an offline tool. In fact, it's a physical planner, something that I use every single day in my business and my team also uses a physical planner every single day as well. This planner is called the Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt and Co. And I’ve talked about it on the show many times, so it’s not going to be the first time I’m mentioning it, but let me tell you why I'm mentioning it now.
When you invest in online tools and you commit to using them in your business, whether it be Help Scout or Slack or Asana or Kajabi or whatever it might be, when you invest in these tools, the only way these tools are going to work for you is if you are clear about what work you're going to get done, when you're going to get it done, and why you want to get it done. And that's where the physical planner, the Full Focus Planner, comes into play.
Here's how I use it. Every single week, I do a Weekly Preview, and this is part of the Full Focus Planner, where you look at the week you just ended. You look at what worked, what didn't work, what was hard, what was easy, you look at your wins, and you document it. It just takes you a few minutes. And then from there, you commit to the Weekly Big Three, three things you're going to get done, come rain or shine, in the following week. And the Weekly Big Three, those three things are often tied to your quarterly goals. So you'll look at your quarterly goals and think, okay, what are three big things I can get done this week that will move me closer to my quarterly goals? And then every single day, you're going to set Daily Big Threes, so the three things you're going to get done every single day.
What I like to do is the night before, like when I'm ending the work day, I prepare for the next day. So at the end of the Monday work day, before I shut things down, I will write my Daily Big Three for Tuesday, and then I'll also write any other action items that I want to get done. I typically am going to get done more than three things. But those three things, I'm committed to no matter what. And those three daily tasks that I want to get done, they're all tied to moving me toward my quarterly goals. And so with a physical planner, I just am more clear about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it and when I'm getting it done. And what I do is I put out my physical planner, and I look into Asana, my project–management tool, and I look at all the things that are assigned to me the next day. And I ask myself, do I have time to get these done? Are these still important? Are these the right tasks that I'm working on? And I might massage them a little bit, change some things around inside of Asana. Once I've got it all dialed in, I then move it into my paper planner, my Full Focus Planner.
And there's something magical—and I'm not joking about this—there's something magical about actually physically writing it down. Marie Forleo talks about this a lot as well, that when you get out a pen and paper and you write it down, you kind of get it into your body more so than if it's just sitting there on your computer in a digital format. And that's really been true to me and my team as well.
So I look into Asana. I look into Slack. I make sure that I'm checking all the channels. I'm getting clear about what I'm going to do the next day. I write it into my Full Focus Planner, takes maybe ten, fifteen minutes max. I close it up. And when I wake up the next morning, I hit the ground running. I am very clear on what I'm doing and why I'm doing it and how it's moving me toward my goals. So with a mix of digital planning and physical–planner planning, that to me is like the perfect mix of getting clear and intentional about what I'm working on and when I'm going to get it done.
And so I've asked everybody on my team to adopt the habit of using the Full Focus Planner, and they have all jumped at the opportunity. And at one point I said, “Hey, guys, if you don't want to use it, let's talk about it. Let me know why you might not want to use it, and we could kind of figure out what would be good for each of you individually.” And not one person on my team did not want to use it. They all have embraced it because it makes that much of a difference.
And if you feel scattered, if you have a lot of Post-it Notes everywhere, if you've got tons of notebooks and you can't find what you're working on and your desk looks like a mess, check out the Full Focus Planner. It genuinely changes things overnight.
So I'm going to link to the Full Focus Planner. We are huge, huge supporters of this really important tool. So I like a mix of online and offline tools, so I had to share the Full Focus Planner and my absolute obsession with it.
So there you have it. We went through a lot. Let’s wrap it up.
Here's the deal. I know that we just covered a lot, especially if you first listened to part one, where I gave you my favorite foundational tools if you're just starting out, and now part two, I got a little bit fancier. I gave you my all–in–one solution for my favorite too, and I covered a lot of tools that could be considered a little bit more advanced as well. So just know this. I don't expect you to implement all the tools that I went over in part one and part two. Ease into this, grasshopper. Just do one at a time.
So you've got to grab the PDF where I put all the tools that I mentioned in part one and part two into one cheat sheet, so that whenever you want to go back to it, you can go and check out the tools. And when you're ready to add a tool to the mix, it will be waiting for you in the PDF. So grab it now. Save it to your desktop so you have it. Amyporterfield.com/307. That's where you go to grab the PDF with all the tools that I mentioned, all the links to go access the tools, and if I have a special discount—because I'm a partner for a lot of these tools, not all of them, but for a lot of them—if I have a special discount code or a free trial or anything like that, I'll be sure to add it to the PDF where I‘m linking to each of the tools.
So before I let you go, let's do a quick recap of the tools I mentioned in part one and part two. So in part one, for my beginners, when we're looking at email marketing and list building, I suggest you start out with Leadpages and ConvertKit. So those are two of the tools that I highly recommend to my beginners. And quite honestly, with ConvertKit, you could grow into that. You could have hundreds of thousands of people on your email list and still be using ConvertKit. So those are two tools that I absolutely love. When it comes to social media, if you're stuck and you don't know what to say on social media or what images to use, Social Curator, all the way. And if you become a Social Curator member, you're going to fall in love with the community that you get to be a part of as well. It is incredible. For project management, Asana. I absolutely love Asana, hands down. For internal team communication, Slack. For customer service, Help Scout. And the mack daddy, all–in–one tool that I use every single day in multiple ways, Kajabi. And for advanced searching within your videos and audio, Searchie. And for that one offline tool that will help you do everything you do better online, the Full Focus Planner.
Oh boy. We definitely covered a lot. So, again, amyporterfield.com/307 to grab the PDF that lists all the tools, a quick description of every tool. I will give you the discount code or the free trial if I have one, so go check out that PDF. Amyporterfield.com/307.
And because I just did a two–parter and because I want to know what you think about these tools, have you used them, are you thinking about using them, go on Facebook. Get into our free Facebook group, Online Marketing Made Easy, and let me know which tool you're most interested in or already using or make some recommendations of your own as well. The Online Marketing Made Easy free Facebook group, it's a really engaged group of people that are building businesses and sharing ideas and recommendations. So I want to know what tools you're using or if you're thinking about checking out any of the tools I mentioned here. Jump over to the free Facebook group. I'll see you there.
All right. Next week, my guest has quite the story. She went from bankruptcy to being featured in Real Simple magazine, the Today show, InStyle, and Elle magazine. Talk about a turnaround. Her name is Tracy Matthews, and she's not only a student of mine, she's also the creative visionary for her business and an inspiring force in the entrepreneurial space. We're going to talk about owning your role as a creative in your business and really stepping into that creative role, so every single thing that you do, every single thing that you touch in your business, you are tapping into that creative energy. And it's really easy to lose it, so we're going to talk about how to protect your creative energy as well. It's going to be a great episode. We’re going to jump into all of that next week, same time, same place. Make sure you hit Subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss a thing.
All right, guys, thanks so much for tuning in to this two-parter series. It was a lot of fun. I’ll see you here next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.