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ROCK PAPER COIN BUSINESS UNVEILED

Inbox Strategies for Creative Professionals

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Inbox Strategies for Creative Professionals

Have you heard of a thing I like to call “email jail”? Emails are an essential part of a communication process but there are ways to minimize the amount of time you spend on emails, so you can spend more time doing what you enjoy!

MAIN TOPICS
  • Why email management is so important and why many of us struggle with it
  • How often you should really be checking emails and how to save time
  • When and how to use a canned response to inquiries while maintaining your brand’s authenticity
KEY TAKEAWAYS

Best practices for email folders, reminders and project management 

Reasons why it’s important to embrace technology to streamline your workflow

Simplify your inbox, and simplify your life

MORE ABOUT THIS GUEST

We’re event industry folks that got frustrated with the outdated grind of contracts, invoices, and payments. We tried for years to find a product that could help us streamline our workflows and weren’t satisfied with anything out there. So in a mission to spend more time on what’s important…

meeting and dreaming with clients ~ collaborating with vendors ~ spending time with our families

We threw our hearts into this project in the hopes it would add some time back in our days. We are so proud of what evolved and hope it’s a game changer for you and your business as well. Please visit our Price Tag page for plan details.

LINKS MENTIONED
  • Try Rock Paper Coin today with Code: APROFFITT
EPISODE TRANSCRIBED

Hi y'all, it's Angela, and I'm back for another episode of Business Unveiled. We're in for a special treat today, we get to talk to two amazing ladies that founded a really neat company. It's called Rock Paper Coin, not rock paper scissors. But it's like, when I was reading about them like, Rock Paper Coin, I'm like, that sounds so fun and so cool, and it's about making money, which is even cooler. For those of you who are on here listening and you're entrepreneurs, and we love what we do, but we have to make money, we have to make profit to live and thrive and support a lifestyle. Continue Reading


Angela Proffitt:
So what's really fun is Nora and Elizabeth, they have the same last name, but not because they're related. Their last name is Sheils, but they are married to brothers, so they get to share a little bit of behind the scenes about how that journey came about until they got into entrepreneurship. So Nora and Elizabeth, welcome. Thank you for being here.

Nora Sheils:
Thanks so much for having me us.

Elizabeth Sheils:
Thank you.

Nora Sheils:
We're really excited to be here.

Angela Proffitt:
Yay. So before we jump in, I really want to know, how did you all… First off, did you all meet because of your husbands? Talk us through that journey, because the launch of this company in the wedding space, I don't know if it came from that or, were you sitting on each other's porches, when one night you were like, “Hey, let's do this strategy business thing.” So how did it all happen?

Speaker 4:
Welcome to Business Unveiled, the podcast designed to help you thrive in the creative community. Here's your host, events and productivity consultant, Angela Proffitt.

Angela Proffitt:
What's up, GSD leaders. Thank you so much for tuning in to another episode of Business Unveiled, where we share expert tips and secrets from top creative industry professionals. You know we're going to take you behind the scenes of our experiences, share with you what we've learned from them and how it's made us stronger. Because no one said, “It's easy owning a business.” But, it's a lot more fun when you've got a strong support team around you, and that's exactly what we do at GSD Creative. We're right there by your side. I'm so excited that you've chosen this podcast to take the first step in growing a productive, profitable, and successful, wildly successful business within the hospitality and creative industry.

Angela Proffitt:
Today's podcast is being brought to you by one of my favorite platforms, Kajabi. So stop trading your time for money. Kajabi provides digital entrepreneurs and all-in-one platform, which enables you to create a life of freedom on your terms, whatever that may be. Everything is housed under one platform, so there's really no need for multiple services. Kajabi really has all of the tools that you need in one place if you're looking for a home to share your knowledge and build online courses. You have a community of like-minded people with proven success in selling knowledge online, and the support with Kajabi is amazing. Give it a try today, bit.ly/APKajabi.

Nora Sheils:
You actually got it pretty close. This is Nora.

Angela Proffitt:
Really?

Nora Sheils:
Yeah. So-

Elizabeth Sheils:
That's great.

Nora Sheils:
… Elizabeth and I actually knew each other before Elizabeth met her husband. My-

Angela Proffitt:
Okay.

Nora Sheils:
I started a wedding planning firm several years ago called Bridal Bliss in the Pacific Northwest, and Elizabeth and I worked together at Bridal Bliss. So that's how we originally met. It had been awhile since we had seen each other, and we just got together for cocktails, and I found out she was newly single and she loved dating and she's the only person I've ever met that actually enjoyed dating.

Elizabeth Sheils:
Aw. [inaudible 00:04:36].

Nora Sheils:
I had three great single guys I knew at the time, and looking back, it would be ridiculous if she had been with either of those other two people. But I set her up on a date with Tim, and the rest is history.

Angela Proffitt:
So was that your husband's brother?

Nora Sheils:
Yeah.

Angela Proffitt:
So Elizabeth, did you feel pressure like, “Oh, I need to like him”? Like, how did that go?

Elizabeth Sheils:
No, it was almost the opposite. As Nora mentioned, I just love dating. That chapter in my life, I just… I love meeting people, I'm a total extrovert, and so I was like, “This is so great. I just get to hang out with this guy, and we both know Nora.” The Sheils are just super fun, love a good time, love to host parties, so it was just really fun and very casual. Like three or four months into it, I was kind of like, “Oh my gosh, I actually think I like you.” It was almost like a surprise, like, Oh, this is going so well and easy. So it just took me by surprise, and we dated for five years-

Angela Proffitt:
Oh, wow.

Elizabeth Sheils:
I know. And then yes, it took a little bit to get the proposal, I'm not going to lie.

Angela Proffitt:
Okay.

Nora Sheils:
I heard about that a lot.

Angela Proffitt:
Like, is he ever going to ask me?

Elizabeth Sheils:
No. He proposed, and we just got married three years ago. So it's been fun.

Angela Proffitt:
So, did you do wedding planning as well before together, at all, before the whole Rock Paper Coin company-

Elizabeth Sheils:
Yeah.

Angela Proffitt:
… happened?

Elizabeth Sheils:
Exactly. So Nora started Bridal Bliss, and when I graduated from college, I got my first real job and I was sitting at a desk, and I was like, “Oh, no, what did I get myself into? This is not what I should be doing. I just have to have human interaction.” So I emailed Nora, and I was like, “Hey, I found your company. Do you need help?” And she was like, “Yeah, sure.” So I interned with her for a summer, and I was like, “Okay, done. This is what I need to be doing with my life.” Nora is this amazing leader that I just wanted to like hook my wagon to and follow in her footsteps of planning weddings, and it was awesome. So I think we really probably worked together two or three years before you introduced me to Tim?

Nora Sheils:
Yeah, I think you're right.

Angela Proffitt:
Wow. Okay.

Elizabeth Sheils:
Yes. And then we were just working and diving into weddings and planning weddings. From that, it very naturally progressed into Rock Paper Coin, because Nora and I… One day we were out to cocktails again-

Nora Sheils:
We like cocktails.

Elizabeth Sheils:
This happens a lot in our lives. And we were like, “Okay, we're doing the same thing with every client, and it's just so much followup.” Really, repeating the same emails, and it just felt like a lot of the creativity of what we loved about wedding planning was getting stripped away, because weddings were becoming so much more detailed and such larger events that we were spending more time on the admin things. So we just started looking around and brainstorming ideas of what we wanted in a program and… Trust us when we say, we had no intention of starting a technology company. It was like, we wanted to find a solution, and when it came to us, it was like, there's nothing out on the market, and there's nothing built for the wedding industry. There's other maybe solutions that are being marketed to the industry, but they don't really truly understand how complex the wedding industry is.

Angela Proffitt:
No one does.

Elizabeth Sheils:
So [inaudible 00:08:24] we just very slowly dove into Rock Paper Coin, and we honestly brainstormed for like an entire year and did a bunch of market research before we even really started into any development, at all.

Angela Proffitt:
That's the hard part. For those of you who have not checked out Rock Paper Coin, what they do is… Really, it's all about simplicity, but it's about the non-fun stuff that needs to happen, no matter what the contracts, the invoices, processing the payments on time. That is the part where the creative industry, I don't know what it is, but they don't understand that… I was one of those girls, so I can talk about us like that. And I'm like, “What? We're going to have a contract? What? Why do we have to send invoices? What do I have to track everything. Can't I just shop and have fun and spend money?”

Elizabeth Sheils:
Clearly.

Angela Proffitt:
I'm the dumb blonde from like Legally Blonde with Reese Witherspoon. And then I didn't know what I was doing when it came to running a business. For years, it was just like, “Okay, I'm having fun and I love it and I have a real job, but like…” This is my sad thing, and then I'm making people happy, but I didn't understand until I was drugged to court, not because of me, but I was subpoenaed to court because a client filed bankruptcy. And then things-

Nora Sheils:
Oh no.

Angela Proffitt:
… just got very non-fun, and I'm like, “Well, shit. Now I've got to hire an attorney.” And then it's more money, more people, more problems, more-

Nora Sheils:
A lot of money.

Angela Proffitt:
Yeah. I was just like, “Oh my God.” And then me being a tech geek as well, in working with some other tech startups for the creative event wedding industry, yesterday, I was on an advisory call with five other people, and we were talking about this exact thing that when you go into raise money and you talk to investors, and it's like, you say the word wedding, and their head immediately goes to whatever bad experience-

Nora Sheils:
True.

Angela Proffitt:
… they had as a married or divorced investor. And then it's like, I can't get it back to business. So we were working on like clarifying this pitch that like, no one else is doing what this one girl is doing, and she gets all these pitch competitions and she does a great job, but then people are like, “Oh, you're in the wedding industry. That's cute.” So-

Nora Sheils:
We can relate, for sure.

Angela Proffitt:
That's what I'm telling you, it's like… So I would love to know what your experience has been, and did you pivot to learn, like, don't even freaking say that word, or it's like, we're a technology company that helps creatives. How have you all overcome that? Because I see it still, to this day, even yesterday, happening to people. That the wedding industry is a trillion dollar industry, and the fact that tech investors don't understand this… No matter what is going on in the world; a flood, a global pandemic, you're shut down at your house, guess what? People still virtual-date, they still fall in love. So, to me, weddings and funerals, celebration of lives, is totally recession-proof, because people are always going to fall in love and they're always going to die. Sadly, but that's just how it is. So what has been your experience? I cannot wait to hear this.

Nora Sheils:
When we first started looking for funding, we brainstormed which route we wanted to go, and we obviously had to talk about our goals of the company and what we saw in the future, which was kind of difficult, just starting out, because we were just trying to get this thing to work and get it out the door and get people on the platform. So when it came to the point that we did need funding, we started by talking with people who knew, and it ended up that our investors had used the services of Bridal Bliss before and had a really great experience, so they already knew what it was like to work with us, they knew we were professional, they knew we know what we're talking about.

Nora Sheils:
So that was basically how we got in the door with our investors. The easiest way to describe a wedding planner, at least, is to compare it to the construction industry. We are essentially the general contractors that will work with all of the different vendors, we have our clients. And then when you lay that out, there's more of a visual, and people have a better understanding of what it actually is you do.

Angela Proffitt:
I love that you use the construction industry, because not a lot of people would do that, and that is pretty brilliant. Because every buddy, pretty much, has construction all around them, no matter where they are. So that's really smart. That's even more awesome, that you knew someone that believed in you and had used your services. So how would you say… So are you all still planning? I know that Rock Paper Coin like… Would you say that it is just… it's shaking things up a bit? How has it been shaking things up a bit?

Elizabeth Sheils:
It is shaking things up, because we are the first platform of its kind that is going to integrate all three parties, so the vendors, the wedding planners, and the couples getting married. Right now, out on the market, that doesn't exist. It's all either business to business or business to consumer. So there's other platforms out there to process contracts, but if your client is hiring a photographer and they're on a different platform, that photographer would send the contract to the client. Well, the wedding planner is completely cut out of that equation. They can't view the contract, oftentimes, then the client sending it to their wedding planner for a review, and there's a lot of back and forth and email communication, and frankly, just a lot of wasted time.

Elizabeth Sheils:
So with Rock Paper Coin, we wanted to integrate that third party right out of the gate. If a client has a assigned wedding planner and a vendor sends them a contract or an invoice, that wedding planner is automatically notified and can review, approve. We even have functionality on our application where a client actually assign permissions to their wedding planner to sign on their behalf or pay on their behalf. So now the wedding planner can really take that active role.

Angela Proffitt:
I love that. My next question, which you kind of already really answered it, but I know one of your things with Rock Paper Coin is like the clutter. The clutter, clutter, clutter of email inboxes, and, “Did I send that contract? Did I send that contract. Did I do that?” Do you all have any like case studies, where you… you may have done one yourself, or you tracked it, so you know like how many emails per day were decluttered out of the inboxes just by removing all of this back and [forthness 00:15:39]?

Nora Sheils:
Oh, it's substantial. It's hours of time. I started tracking it, and it was so much that I was overwhelmed by it. So Rock Paper Coin sends reminders, it sends communications directly to the client. So all of that is taken off the hands of the planner or the wedding professional or event professional. So it takes over a lot of those business pieces that most wedding and event pros don't want to handle. They're mostly in the industry to be creative, to hone their craft, and not to send contracts or deal with payments.

Angela Proffitt:
I've also been finding like, unless people have had stuff happen to them, they're just not worried about it. And I'm like, “No, take it from me, make sure that you…” We now have a policy that we cannot and will not raise a finger to start doing anything until the digital contract is signed and the invoice is paid for a retainer, meaning it's nonrefundable. That's the reason we went month-to-month billing. One of the reasons is because people change, and then it's like, they don't like each other anymore. And I'm like, “Well, I'm sorry, that's not my problem. We've still done the work.” You learn all these things the hard way.

Angela Proffitt:
But it's funny, because the reason I ask about the keeping up with that is I had a business coach that had me track time and track emails, and by sharing simple free tools, like Dropbox and Google Drive, it started to reduce our emails about 300 a day. And then yesterday, we had a case study for this advisory board, and all of our emails are tracked through our CRM, and so I asked one of my team members, I'm like, “Hey, pick a low maintenance person from last year. How many emails did we send?” We planned the wedding for 14 months, it was a large wedding, like, well over 500 people, and it was very… I would say like religious-heavy, in like the Persian, Indian, Venezuelan community.

Nora Sheils:
Wow. [crosstalk 00:18:01].

Angela Proffitt:
I was like, “Hey, write a report.” So she sent me back and she was like, “Okay, with the…” This was just the bride. There was 234 emails for 14 months, which really is low, because she's very low maintenance. But the whole proof in the pudding is to show that with all these tech tools that we have, it eliminates a lot of the back and forth. But here's the bad part, is with the vendors… The back and forth with the vendors was 788-

Nora Sheils:
Oh my gosh.

Angela Proffitt:
So almost triple email for [crosstalk 00:18:38]. That's what I'm saying. So it's like, I love tracking stuff like this because when it, when people are looking at things and they're like, “Oh my God, just planning a wedding, it's so much fun.” I'm like, “No, it's a business, you don't freaking understand.” I geek out on that stuff. But as you guys know, just by fixing the contractual, the invoice, the payment side of things, it can eliminate a lot of things. So-

Nora Sheils:
Right.

Angela Proffitt:
… do you all… It's for everybody in the industry. Not just planners.

Nora Sheils:
Any type of vendor. We actually have some new functionality coming up that our developers are working on to-

Angela Proffitt:
[crosstalk 00:19:22] what is it?

Nora Sheils:
… reduce the amount of email even more. We will basically have like a Dropbox or a Google Drive where you can store files, and they're shareable to your vendors, so the vendors can access, the couple can access. So things like what the bouquet is supposed to look like, the final floor plan, the final menu. So it's accessible throughout planning, but also on the wedding day itself. So that should make things quite a bit easier. Another really great thing that our vendors are excited about is a vendor list for each client. So after the wedding or on the day itself, you would be able to see all of the social media handles. You don't have to check in and be like, “Oh, what's your Instagram again?” Or get anything wrong. So that's something that our vendors are really excited about, as well.

Angela Proffitt:
It's awesome. What feedback have you gotten from people that are in the industry that are using the platform?

Nora Sheils:
It has been so great. We're so excited about it. We've put so much heart and soul and time into this, so to have people legitimately love it and use it has been incredibly rewarding. I think one of our biggest goals in creating Rock Paper Coin is we wanted it to be easy, and that, I think we've achieved. It's really streamlined, you can achieve what you want to do on a variety of screens. So it's really, really easy to do what you want to do. A lot of things other people have said is they appreciate the aesthetic of the platform. Some of the other ones out there, aren't the prettiest to look at, so when you're sending your initial communication with your client, they get a really beautiful email and the branding is nice and the colors look great. So we've gotten a lot of comments about that. But otherwise, our vendors are just really excited to be saving money. Our processing fee is only two and a half percent, so it's a substantially less than anything else out there, and we, just based on what's happening in the world right now, we decided to cut all subscription fees. So it's completely-

Angela Proffitt:
Wow.

Nora Sheils:
… free for our wedding professionals to use.

Angela Proffitt:
So, take me through the user experience in terms of, do you have the vendor sign up for it? So if I'm a planner or a photographer or whatever, if you'll give me some scenarios on how long does it take to get approved, and how long does it take me to get on the platform? Take me through the user experience.

Elizabeth Sheils:
It takes all of like two minutes to get on the platform. So [crosstalk 00:22:06] as a wedding vendor, you can… or an event professional, you can sign up directly, and you just need your name and email address to get started. Once you're on the platform, if you want to play around with sending an invoice or a contract, we do need a little bit more information, but as far as actually getting onto the application, it's very, very minimal. That is the same with wedding planners. The onboarding process is exactly the same.

Elizabeth Sheils:
When you are a vendor or wedding planner, you can then invite your clients to join the platform. If you have a client that say… doesn't need to join the platform, maybe they're just ordering a one off thing for a baby shower or a birthday party, we have the option to send what's called like a guest invoice, where that client doesn't actually have to be on the platform to process their payments through Rock Paper Coin, but it allows the vendor or the wedding planner to still keep everything in one easy place.

Angela Proffitt:
Gotcha. I love that. So for vendors that use QuickBooks, does this integrate, or does this kind of take the place of?

Elizabeth Sheils:
Not yet?

Angela Proffitt:
Okay.

Elizabeth Sheils:
So that is something that we are working on with our development team to integrate into QuickBooks. But what we do have right now is the ability to download all of the information into a CSV, and then that can be uploaded into QuickBooks.

Angela Proffitt:
Okay. So it can still… So have you all entertained doing a zap, with Zapier?

Nora Sheils:
Yes. We are actually looking into that right now. So we're chatting with our developers about it.

Angela Proffitt:
Awesome. Because it seems like Zapier is able to link… Oh my God, we have so many zaps set up for automation, it's kind of stupid, but it saves so much time to where… I will say, it's not perfect. Every once in a while, shit comes unhooked from something because something upgraded, and then there's like a manual, and it's like, Oh, you have to check that button, or you have to hit that update. And it's like, shit, it's never perfect, but it's getting there, and it's really making things much more easy for someone who doesn't have a business brain, in my opinion. With times being a little bit tougher right now, having accountants and business managers and all of that on retainer is like a [inaudible 00:24:36] thing for a lot of these creative companies that just can't make it all right now. It's like, the struggle is real and [crosstalk 00:24:47] I love how you guys took away the subscription. And then how did you even negotiate a 2%? That's incredible.

Elizabeth Sheils:
The idea, also, behind Rock Paper Coin was that we are all small to medium sized businesses in the wedding and event industry. So the idea of your little small wedding planning company going out and negotiating really good rates with a payment processor or a contract provider, it's unheard of, and it's not going to happen. You're going to pay really high prices. So we also initially started with the idea, “Well, why don't we all band together? If we have all of our contracts being run through one processor and all of our payments being run together, as a collective, Rock Paper Coin can then go and negotiate all of these great rates on behalf of the clients, and then we're going to pass them along to the vendors and wedding planners.”

Angela Proffitt:
Which is amazing. It's like this business model is finally making it into our industry. In the healthcare industry, a lot of onesies and twosies, small primary care doctors got together, and it's like 300 doctors is much more powerful than one or two going to an insurance agency to talk about reimbursements, or for electronical medical records, and it's like, “Hey, if we're bringing you 300 people versus two, we're going to have much more negotiating power.” So-

Nora Sheils:
Exactly.

Angela Proffitt:
… I'm so glad because I don't feel like a lot of people bring that over into the creative industry. So that's amazing. Tell us, how do you get the most out of just inboxes and emails and struggles and folders and tasks and reminders? How has this platform helped people with all of those organizational needs that should be happening, but quite frankly, they're not always happening ever, with creative people? [crosstalk 00:26:50].

Elizabeth Sheils:
Oh no, it's so hard. Emails are truly the thing, I think, a lot of us struggle with, because it's not why we got into the industry, but it's what we need to be really good at. So the idea behind kind of an inbox management style is to be as organized and keep your inbox as clutter-free as possible. So your folder system is going to be very important to keeping your inbox clean. So starting with larger folders, chronological is usually a great way to tackle it, and having sub folders under that, I think, works really well for a lot of people.

Elizabeth Sheils:
The folder system is really only going to be as useful as you want it to be, so making sure you call folders by the names of like the clients and how you refer to them by their event date, their last name, their first name, just making sure that your folders are set up in a way that you can remember and file things easily. And then in addition to those chronological client folders, making sure you have some admins for like payroll, taxes, insurance, all of that stuff, as well.

Elizabeth Sheils:
There is a really fun tool that I love sharing to go through a really overwhelmingly full inbox, and it's first in, first out. So the idea is that you head to the bottom of your email, and you first then clear out all of the clutter; your subscriptions, ads. Whatever it is that you've subscribed to, just clear out the clutter, then start with the last email, open it up, and if you can respond within three to five minutes, go ahead and respond immediately and file it away. And you go through your whole inbox doing that.

Elizabeth Sheils:
When you come to emails that are going to take more than that allotted three to five minutes, you leave them in your inbox until you've gone through everything. At this point, you can do one of two things. You can either turn to your calendar and actually block out specific time to respond to each of those emails. In the calendar you could put what it is that you need to get an order to respond to this email and the guesstimate of time it's going to take. I personally work really well in the Gmail task function, which is like a blue little dot on the right hand side.

Elizabeth Sheils:
I open that up, and with all of my emails in the inbox, I'll go ahead and make a note, a task for each email, what I'm going to need to complete it, and the estimated time for how long it's going to take. I will total that all up, and then build that onto my calendar, so that I have these projects that I can tackle, and I can then respond to those clients saying, “Thanks so much, I'll be back in touch with you by X date.” So this really helps to set expectations with your clients, it helps to keep your inbox like more of a virtual to-do list instead of like a triaged mess, and it will also serve as like reminders, having it not only in your inbox, but also on the task list or in your calendar.

Angela Proffitt:
I love that. So how often should people really be even checking their email? What's your opinion?

Elizabeth Sheils:
It's so hard. I'm guilty. My email is up all the time. But actively checking it versus just having it up, I think, are two separate things. So I love to do some inbox management in the morning. I'll set aside a couple hours, again at lunchtime, and I do it once before the end of the day, just clearing it out, getting ready for the next day. So whatever it is that works well for you, I think it's important to just be consistent. Because your clients, if they know when you're on email and can expect communication, they're going to feel better knowing that you're working. Setting those expectations, becoming more predictable is really the place that we want to get everybody in.

Angela Proffitt:
Amen to that. I will say that when I was doing this by myself for about seven years and had a full-time job and still taught a part time gymnastics job-

Elizabeth Sheils:
Oh my gosh.

Angela Proffitt:
… the only time that I had was literally 9:00 PM to like three or 4:00 AM, and then I would get up and go teach a 5:30 AM kickboxing class, and I was way more in shape than I ever will be in, because I'll never effing do that again. No, thank you. It was so unhealthy, because I didn't sleep that much, but I was incredibly productive. But that got me… It still, to this day. Then I hired an assistant just to help me manage my inbox and… She was actually an intern for months, and then I was like, “Hey, do you want to stay on?” Because she really knew how to use Mac mail, and I, at the time, was not an Apple girl yet, I was still on PC. So finally, she was like, “Maybe you should get Travis… Let's get an iPad first.” [inaudible 00:31:53] backwards. I did the iPad, then the phone, and then the freaking computer, which… My computer got a virus, and that's another reason I was like, “Okay, I'll” It was like hard road, but it's the best thing I ever did. Right? So-

Elizabeth Sheils:
Right.

Angela Proffitt:
… I just… I felt like I was always in email jail. And then my clients… What you just said is so important, is like, if they expected me to… Vendors would say all the time, they were like, “Oh, well we'll just get emails from Angela at three and four in the morning.” And it's like, that's not a good business practice. So I had to really back peddle out of that. We've come a long way since then, but also, I have someone full-time that that is her job, is to manage email, manage communication, anything that goes on the calendar. It took me a little while to get there and to be able to afford it, and so now, having all types of tools… So we use Unroll me to get all the subscription stuff out, we use SaneBox, so we can deal with things later.

Angela Proffitt:
Now it's like, I'm fortunate to where we do one email. I read about one email a day, where it's like the daily bullet, but it may be like pages and pages and pages long of things that happened that day. So it's almost like a to-do list of like, hey, this is what happened, and then, hey, this is the questions that I need you to answer, so I can get back to the client. That was another thing that I learned the hard way. When I went on, it would answer everything. That was not helping or building up someone that I was trying to train to take the information over, and it didn't create trust between that person and the client. So the more I removed myself, the better we got at it. Email cannot consume your productivity, because you're not productive doing it all day, throughout the day. So-

Elizabeth Sheils:
That's so true.

Angela Proffitt:
Do you all use any… Are there any apps or tools that you would recommend that could help with email Joe?

Elizabeth Sheils:
Oh my gosh. Yes. I feel like there's so many out there right now, and it's just so great to tap into a few of them to help ease it up. Some of the ones that we really love are the meeting scheduler. There's a couple different companies out there, but we use Meeting Scheduler by cloudHQ, and it just saves all of the emails of like trying to schedule a meeting with a client or a vendor. It will just insert that link into your email, and then the recipient can sign up for a meeting that is cross-referenced to your calendar availability. So that can definitely save a lot of time. I think another one that is super useful is called Screencastify, and this is-

Angela Proffitt:
Okay.

Elizabeth Sheils:
… a recording application, so it's completely free, you can download it. It will allow you to record yourself or your screen, and it's not directly tied to your inbox. But if you're working on an email that is becoming super lengthy or you know it's going to take you 30 minutes to build, switch over and record it. Send a personalized message, relay that message with visual communication, as well as audio, and it's going to also have a personalized touch when you're sending it to your client. I think it's a great tool to show people how to access something on a website, where to find something in a folder system, or just your pretty face. Like, why not send that? So that can be a great tool for helping to spend less time on those really lengthy emails. And then-

Nora Sheils:
Sorry, can I jump in?

Elizabeth Sheils:
Yeah.

Nora Sheils:
That app is also really great. Say you've done a consult call with a couple, you haven't actually met them in person, it just adds that personal touch, where they see your face and you're talking to them, and they feel like they can get to know you a little better. But it's also great to use that with other pros, event pros. So for example, I was talking with a website designer and I was trying to describe what I wanted her to change, and I was like, “Why am I trying to type this out?” So I just recorded my screen, put my cursor over what I was trying to explain, and it was like, boom, she understood it, it got taken care of. Had I emailed it, it probably would have taken four more back and forths before we figured it out. So it's a really great and easy feature to use with clients and wedding pros.

Angela Proffitt:
Things are so emotional with weddings, especially right now, and so we… Do y'all use Marco Polo.

Nora Sheils:
No. I've been looking into it, but a lot of people really love that.

Angela Proffitt:
It's free. It is just like video texting back and forth. But like, oh my gosh, what you just said is like, it would have taken four more back and forths and-

Nora Sheils:
Totally.

Angela Proffitt:
… sometimes when I put things in email or text, I'm like, “That's not what I said,” if I'm voice dictating-it, and I'm like, “I definitely didn't say that.” Or they take it the wrong way, or they're really not in a stable mood to maybe take some news that isn't going to resonate with them really well. Then it causes like crying and family arguing, and I'm just like, “Oh my God. Email.” So-

Elizabeth Sheils:
It's true.

Angela Proffitt:
… I'm just like, how can we be more personal? I know automation is great and I love automation for the contracts and invoices and the not fun part, but that frees our time up, so we can be more dedicated to exactly what you just said, is focusing on what you love doing, and let's spend your time there.

Elizabeth Sheils:
That's true.

Angela Proffitt:
What are y'all's thoughts on just email responses, but still maintaining and being authentic to responses? How do you guys handle that?

Nora Sheils:
So I think responding quickly is one of the most important things you can do as an event professional. That's, honestly, one of the biggest disconnects we hear from new clients and people that are on Rock Paper Coin, is it takes their vendors so long to get back in touch with them. Obviously, florists, bakers, all those different event professionals are working on their craft, so they're not in front of their computer all the time. But being able to respond quickly is really important and an easy way to do that is to have a canned response or a template ready to go that you can use to fill in when you get an inquiry.

Nora Sheils:
So couples today, and just people in general, are expecting canned responses. It's not unexpected to get something like that, but I do still think it's really important to personalize them. So include their name, include something they mentioned in their inquiry form. But if you are finding yourself typing the same mail more than twice, you should really have a canned response ready to go that you can respond with. So things for like inquiries, followups, reviews, after the event, those are all really helpful, and there are different apps you can use to do that. Gmail makes it really easy to set up a template, so you can just pull up that email, respond really quickly. Keep it branded, so it matches your company's branding, it's in your… just kind of your brand's peak, essentially, it definitely fits what your company is all about and your voice, as well.

Angela Proffitt:
I'm all about some copy and paste.

Elizabeth Sheils:
Definitely.

Angela Proffitt:
Copy paste, copy paste. And I'm all about some automation, but I will say that we've had a few times where someone fills out a form, and if they don't pick the appropriate drop-downs or hit the appropriate radio buttons, they're going to get a response that we try [inaudible 00:40:11], but they hit the wrong thing, and they're like, “I'm not having a [inaudible 00:40:16].”

Elizabeth Sheils:
Oh my God.

Angela Proffitt:
Oh, I inquired about a freaking wedding, and it's like, well, you hit the wrong things. Then there's those times. And then at one point, we tried to automate a bunch of email reminders, and we built something in Infusionsoft, where we could put the date of the wedding or the event, and then it would populate all these reminders. We were like, “Oh, this is going to be great.” Well, it created much more of a pain in the ass than it did anything, because people were like… Even though I said to them, probably 50 times, “Hey, we're trying out this new automated system for reminders. If you've already done that, or we've recently discussed it, just simply ignore it.” Well, that aggravated people, and it aggravates me too.

Angela Proffitt:
As a consumer, I'm in this business group, and it's like, if you register for an event, then you should not send me any more emails asking me to register for the event. It's on my [crosstalk 00:41:14] effing calendar, I will be there. You might want to send me a reminder, but again, it's on my calendar, and I used your email tool to put it on my calendar-

Elizabeth Sheils:
Oh my gosh.

Angela Proffitt:
… and you should be able to see that automation. So don't send any more emails. So it's just like, there are so many tools out there that like, they did the front end of it, but then… I'm not complaining, I'm just trying to make the experience better for all 240 members who also are aggravated with these emails. And then the response is, “Well, our automation tool doesn't do that. It just [crosstalk 00:41:51] sends out…” So it's like they front-load the step, but then they forget, what if someone does this? What if someone does that? So do you have to think through all those things, and then create the automation. So it just cracks me up, how some people like halfway do it, and then I'm like, “Really guys? Come on.”

Elizabeth Sheils:
That's true.

Angela Proffitt:
What are some other… Are there any other things that… If somebody is just so overwhelmed with email, do you have any experience shares on like outsourcing it at all to a virtual assistant? Or do you have any guidelines for anything like that?

Elizabeth Sheils:
I think there's pros and cons to the virtual assistants, and I really think it depends on your company. If your company has more than like one to two employees and a lot of your emails, you're finding, are more internal emails, I think that is a sign that you probably need to move to like a messaging platform, such as Slack. Slack is a like online message platform that can host organized conversations, you can share documents, links. I think something like that would really help to clear up the inbox and keep it very clutter-free and more for your clients and projects.

Elizabeth Sheils:
So I think for those companies, a virtual assistant might not be the best way, it might just be recognizing where all of the emails are coming in from, and then creating a plan for how to reduce those. The other thing too, with a little bit of companies that have a handful of employees, there's a website called 1Password, and it's an amazing website that allows you to host all of your company's passwords in like a protected vault, so that all of your employees can access certain passwords that you give them permission to, so they have a quicker access into the documents that they might need in order to answer some emails.

Angela Proffitt:
We use 1Password, so-

Elizabeth Sheils:
You do. [crosstalk 00:43:53]. Amazing.

Angela Proffitt:
Let me tell you, that the reason I started using it wasn't even because of that, it's because my identity was stolen and I needed everything to be encrypted. And then the other benefits, exactly what you just said. It minimized how many times someone needs to get something from you.

Elizabeth Sheils:
Yes.

Angela Proffitt:
That is a safe way to do it, so that is-

Elizabeth Sheils:
It is.

Angela Proffitt:
It hosts notes, it doesn't have to just be passwords. So it really can be a great tool to give your employees access to a lot more information that's normally just in your brain or on your computer.

Elizabeth Sheils:
Yeah, absolutely.

Angela Proffitt:
I'm so excited for people to know about your company, and I want people to know, like, yeah, it's a little bit of a disruptor, but it's like a positive disruptor in the industry. So people can go and sign up to use the platform. They can save money, they can save time. So how can they go and sign up for the platform?

Elizabeth Sheils:
They can visit our website, it's rockpapercoin.com, and if they want to enter, Wed20, so that's W-E-D20. They can try out the site completely free and receive notifications for new features that we're going to be updating, and as we unveil additional technology to the platform.

Angela Proffitt:
I love it. This is so awesome. Guys, we'll put that all in the show notes. So, if you want to try it out. And then also, go follow the girls on Facebook and Instagram, and you have a YouTube channel and LinkedIn, and you're all under Rock Paper Coin, right?

Elizabeth Sheils:
Yes we are. The YouTube actually hosts a bunch of videos, giving insight into the platform. So if you want to check it out before signing up, that's totally great. We're also happy to chat with anyone, so they can reach out through our website, and we'll connect with them personally.

Angela Proffitt:
Awesome. We'll never have to worry about customer service, because we know that you guys know how important it is-

Elizabeth Sheils:
It is.

Angela Proffitt:
… to get back to somebody in a timely manner.

Nora Sheils:
Absolutely.

Angela Proffitt:
I love it. Well, thanks ladies so much for chatting with us today.

Elizabeth Sheils:
Thank you.

Nora Sheils:
Thank you so much for having us on. It was fun to chat.

Angela Proffitt:
You're so welcome. Everyone who's listening, be sure to go check out rockpapercoin.com, sign up for the platform, try it out, and be sure to tune in next week for another episode of Business Unveiled. Have a great day. Bye. Now that you have all the tools you need to conquer the world in GSD, just share this with your friends and your fellow GSD leaders, and be sure you're a subscriber, so you never miss the juicy details of Business Unveiled. You can ask Siri to listen to the latest episode, but you got to be a subscriber.

Angela Proffitt:
Before I go, I have a huge favor to ask, and it would mean the world to me. While you're listening, snap a quick screenshot, post it to your Instagram story, tag me, at GSDLeader_ and share with me your top takeaway from this episode and how it relates to you. Until next time, remember, stay productive and profitable.

Speaker 4:
You've been listening to Business Unveiled, with Angela Proffitt. Join us next time as we share our experiences to help you be more productive and profitable in your creative business. For more great resources, visit AngelaProffitt.com.

THIS EPISODE BROUGHT TO YOU BY

This episode is brought to you by  Kajabi, (the most amazing time saving all-in-one platform) check it out at: angelaproffitt.com/kajabi

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