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Undock: The Artificial Intelligence You Need In Your Calendar With Nash Ahmed

TBT 140 | Undock


Are you an absentee founder or working for one? Does it feel like there’s a barrier between founder and employee in your company? Is it difficult to have that line of communication? If you are well familiar with these issues, then this episode is perfect for you. Penny Zenker sits down with Nash Ahmed, the founder and CEO of Undock—an artificial intelligence that enables a meeting platform built for the future of work. Here, Nash shares how not to waste your time, whether as founder or employee, by solving availability problems through calendars. He also talks about the systems he put in place to make sure he is keeping people happy while getting work done and more. Join in on this conversation as Nash shows you a tool that can help you take back your time.

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Undock: The Artificial Intelligence You Need In Your Calendar With Nash Ahmed

I’m always looking for people to give us new perspectives, new tools and new ways to approach how we show up for our time because at the end of the day, it’s not just what we do. We need good tips and strategies on making sure we’re doing the right things, but it’s also how we show up for our time. I’m excited to have Nash Ahmed with us. He’s the Founder and CEO of Undock. He’s a serial Telecom Executive. Undock is an artificial intelligence, enabling a meeting platform built for the future of work. We’re going to see how that fits in and how that differentiates. I’m excited because I’m a techie kind of person in the way that I love innovation, new technology, and seeing where we should be one step ahead. That’s what you’re bringing us, Nash.

Thank you for having me, Penny.

Nash, tell us your story. Why are you passionate about the future of booking meetings? It doesn’t sound telecom to me if you come from telecoms.

We got into meetings accidentally. I started Undock a couple of years back and I was trying to solve my issue with availability in a general sense. Mainly, I was running a few companies at the same time and they were all small businesses. I was the bottleneck for everything. Everyone demanded my time, then multiply by three. There was a 5-person company, 18-person company, and another company that started that went quickly from 3 to 21 as well. My employees and associates getting time with me were difficult. That was a complaint they always had. I labeled it earlier in 2020. The term I label it for is called the absentee founder. You’re there and you’re always working, but nobody feels like they can talk to you.

I was in the thick of that and it reached a peak. Earlier in that year, I was running a project and I was getting upwards of 150 phone calls inbound per day. That’s when I started thinking about, “There’s got to be a better way for these 150 calls to happen where I’m not getting seventeen of them at once, and then 30 minutes with no phone calls. Later in 2020, I’m sitting in my office, I’m on a call and I have another call holding, which is a typical situation and then there was a line of employees outside of my door. When you start to see that, you’ve got a process problem and efficiency problem. I’m wasting their time. Everyone and various key users are waiting to talk to me. I need to figure that out. I need to fix that real-time situation.

Also, real fast because that’s a lot of money being thrown out the window.

I started to build a product that was supposed to be a physical product within my office. I called it the presence pod and it was going to show my employees when is a good time to come by my office instead of waiting by the door.

It pops up and says, “Here’s my next availability,” kind of thing?

It’s the same as an on-air light, but a little more tightly integrated with the phone system, the calendar, project management. It’s a big “do not disturb or please disturb me” indication system. I started to do that and I said, “It would be pretty cool if I did this online because then they can do it even if they’re not in the office. It’d be even cooler if I could do it for everyone.” Why doesn’t this system exist for the entire world? It doesn’t mean everybody has access to what you’re doing or where are you going? If I’m about to call you, I should know if you’re busy. I won’t waste my time and I won’t waste your time. We started working on that product and that’s when we landed in the wonderful world of meetings because I see solving your real-time availability is the last mile problem of availability, and then solving your availability in the future, which is calendaring is a slightly easier problem.

I said, “How can I take some of these principles of this product that I’m building for real-time availability and move it into the calendaring space?” Once I did that, light bulbs went off, but lightning sparks everywhere, “This is it. This is the product that people needed.” We’re still going to build the whole stack of availability, but we’re starting in calendaring. What do we do? We show people instantly when you’re free and when the other person is free based off on your preferences, availability, and scheduling behavior. We don’t do calendar sharing and we do have booking pages, but you don’t even need the booking page. It works directly inline in your email like auto-complete. You’re typing and you say, “Penny, let’s meet,” and you’ll see some suggestions that work for both of us. That is Undock in its first instance there.

You’re the bottleneck. Let’s back up and talk about the entrepreneur’s challenges, some of your challenges, what it solves and what it doesn’t solve. Sometimes people think, “There’s a tool and it’s going to solve all my problems. I make my breakfast.” The truth is it’s going to solve a piece of that. What problem is it not solving that you had? If you had people out the line, you had telephone calls coming in, what problem was it not yet solving that you still needed to solve?

It’s not removing me from being the bottleneck. I’m still the bottleneck. It’s taking that 15, 20, 30 minutes to an hour per day of this ambiguity about when they’re going to have a chance to meet with me and removing it from everyone’s mind. We call it the logistical nightmare is gone.

Artificial intelligence in the calendar to help you better schedule meetings based on priority. Genius! Click To Tweet

It saves people time, they’re not waiting in line for you. They’re not waiting on hold for you.

They are not sending emails back and forth, or pinging me on various Slack channels saying, “When can you?” That whole “when are you free?” deliberation is minimized severely with Undock, especially when you’re talking about something that’s later today, tomorrow or a week into the future.

Let’s think about into that. I need to make a meeting with you. I say, “When is a good time?” The system goes away and it doesn’t contact you. It coordinates with your calendar, comes back and says, “Unfortunately, Nash isn’t available for the next week.” If you’re that busy, do you have to allocate some specific times and say, “These are my open-door hours, fill in time according to this block?”

You are a little bit psychic because that is the next portion of our product that’s launching in January 2021. It’s an office hours portion of scheduling. The idea is you have a schedule and you’re either going to keep it, which most people in positions like mine have to do, or you’re going to bust it in one way. If there are slots that work for whoever is trying to meet with me, they can take them. We prioritize these slots based off of my preferences and schedule. I’ll say, “I’m willing to take meetings from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM.” That’s real. I prefer to have my meetings between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM or 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM is what I put on there because I like the focus in the morning. I’m not very good conversationally later on in the day. I start to lose my wits.

What the algorithm will do is it’ll find the best suggestion based off of both of your availabilities. Now, if you’re both not available at any time overlapping in the week, what we can do with the magic of Undock is I can go in and say, “Nash has a meeting with David who’s also in the company today at 2:00 PM, but Penny is also free today at 2:00 PM. Let me move that internal meeting to another slot because I know it’s a low priority meeting and then let Penny have her meeting at this time.” This is the key about our product. It’s not a replacement calendaring tools like, “Here’s a booking page. You go do that,” or there’s a bot that’s like, “Go talk to my bot and go figure that out.”

That’s not what this is. This is giving you as much information as possible to reduce that back-and-forth time that you were going or about to partake in with the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 people that you’re trying to meet with. You’re always in control of this tool, and it’s surfacing as much powerful data to tell you, “Your likely best bet for this meeting time is tomorrow 2:00 PM. If that doesn’t work, there’s Thursday at 10:00 AM. If that doesn’t work, there’s Friday at 11:00.”

I like the fact that you’re telling me that there’s a priority system built-in. I can go in and I can say, “This is a low priority. This is a high priority.” If it’s the client, it’s nonmovable. That’s cool.

We can do that algorithmically before you even make this hard code suggestions yourself. It’s powerful what it can do.

I like that because that’s where the challenge comes in. What I’m understanding is that the calendar tools that you go on and you say, “I’m going to book a call with Penny and she has times available at 10:00 or 11:00.” They might say if it’s a match or not, but it doesn’t take some action to prioritize and move things around so that meetings can take place. That’s a huge advantage to you because otherwise, you wouldn’t be available.

Even with that, the existing pages aren’t dynamic. If I have a busy day tomorrow and on Wednesday, and I have next to nothing on Thursday, when you land on our booking page, just for you guys to have a fifteen-minute slot tomorrow, which is my only slot. It doesn’t mean I want to take that meeting. It takes those things into account, and it’s constantly doing it. These are the things that you are already doing, or particularly this is not a replacement for an assistant. It’s all the things that your assistant is factoring in as well, but they have to keep it all in their mind or in spreadsheets, or they start putting holds and rules directly on the calendar. It’s hard to manage it that way. That’s why we implement a smart AI in our scheduling.

I’m not 100% sure that I understand it. I love that this is the AI that’s integrating. You’re saying it doesn’t replace the admin assistant or the calendar pages. Are you saying it fits in with them? Do you still use them?

TBT 140 | Undock

Undock: With Undock, AI is not there to be that nuance and understand everything to be able to remove a human from the loop.


You can use them if you’d like, but you don’t need to. An administrative assistant, if they’re spending ten hours per week for scheduling his or her boss’ calendar, they’ll probably do it in an hour with that.

They can be freed up to do other more important things as well.

That’s where a lot of other applications fell down to promising that. AI is not there to be that nuance and understand everything to be able to remove a human from the loop. We’re not trying to do that. This is a tool that you can use all the time, and it’s a tool that your assistant can use all the time in all scenarios.

Managing several companies at once is one of those things if you ever want to get something done, you give it to somebody who’s busy. You’ve got to be good at managing your time and whatever, and you spoke about fifteen minutes slots. I’m picking your brain a little bit. This is called Take Back Time. We want to hear about your tool, but we also want to hear about some of your time management practices. I know Elon Musk and a lot of people talk about looking at their day in minutes versus in hours. Is that how you approach your day?

It used to be. Even dating back to college, which I don’t know why I thought I needed to make a spreadsheet. Calendar wasn’t powerful enough, so I made a spreadsheet for my day. I would break it down into blocks. I want to know how much time of my day I was devoting to a certain category of activity and spreadsheets were good for that. My calendar was completely a messages in terms of the quantity of meetings, not in how long it took me to schedule. I haven’t thought about scheduling meetings in a year and a half. No matter which way they’re coming from, if somebody is asking me or if I’m presenting to someone, somebody sends me but it doesn’t matter. I have Undock for that. Now I’m in the mode.

I had a coach told me that, “Whatever it is you’re trying to do for the quarter, make sure your calendar reflects that and do calendar audits.” This quarter I am heads down in product. I’m trying to have fewer better meetings. As soon as I finished fundraising, I went into Undock, turned my dials all the way down. While I was fundraising, I had meetings from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. I had Saturday slots and Sunday slots. If an investor wants to meet, I am free. I’m past that phase now. Now I turned the dial down and I kept some of the same windows, but then I blocked out some spaces like Monday morning is game room time. No meetings Monday morning. Friday afternoon is recap time. I have no meetings Friday after 2:00 PM. I took out a little block of Wednesday towards the end of the day.

I set my max meetings to four hours per day. I don’t have to think about this at all, either when I’m using the tool or when somebody else is using the tool to meet with me. All I know is that it will never suggest a meeting if I already have four hours of meetings on that day. Even if I have 3.5 hours it’ll say, “You have 3.5 hours.” It’s not going to tell me this. It’s going to show me a suggestion for the next day. I can schedule meetings with as many people as I want, which I’m trying to keep down, and they’ll still keep it under the four hours. For me, it’s more about the total volume of time taken away from deep work, than it is about whether there are 15 or 30 or 60-minute increments. However, my preference is shorter meetings. Most of my meetings, I’m like, “After fifteen minutes, we don’t need to be here anymore.”

It’s the Parkinson’s Law. You’ll use whatever time is allotted. If you have 15 minutes for a 30-minute meeting, you’ll accomplish what you need to with a lot less chitchat.

There’s a lot more in the platform that helps you with that. There’s meeting agenda, discussion topics, and all those things so you can power through your meetings. If you’re done just move on. I do prefer shorter meetings but in general, I’m on the fewer better meetings kick. There’s not a day on my calendar with more than four hours of meetings.

That’s an important thing for the readers. It’s about the tool, but it’s about the principles that you set. That’s why I asked you about minutes. It’s shorter and fewer meetings so that you can stay focused on what’s most important. I suggest that people go into a meeting audit and see we have far too many meetings that don’t accomplish anything, or we could accomplish the same thing with a status email to everybody, or a quick video to give everyone an update.

That is something that we need to take a look at. I love the fact that you can say, “This is how many meetings and how many hours I’m willing to take away from the other focus work that I need to do.” It takes it out of your head. You don’t need to think about it anymore. You’ve set a rule. I have this thing called gatekeepers and one of the gatekeepers of the rules that we set. That’s a rule that you set and then you don’t have to come back to it. You can let it do its thing. You can do and focus your time and attention everywhere else. I like that.

The beauty of it is I end up with less than four hours of meetings. If I propose a meeting to someone and we ended up taking on another day, so if I propose meetings across three days, it’s not going to tell me to propose that same time again. That meeting slot was reserved for someone else. They chose another day. That’s fine. I’m having less than four hours every single day without thinking about it. I know a CEOs job. They take meetings. It’s also forced me functionally running the business to choose and decide. I’ve taken no meetings from an outside party, even from investors. Few and far between, I step out of my zone to have a meeting even with an investor, because it’s not my focus for this quarter. It’s been helpful to have that. I don’t even think about it. I just know that on the first week of September 2020, fundraising done, turned the dial down, and since then I look at my calendar. I’m like, “This is light. I love it.” I wake up every morning like, “I’ve got six meetings today. It’s cool. Let’s go.”

Undock solves the last mile issue of scheduling and availability. Get Undock for free https://bit.ly/pzundock Click To Tweet

How do you deal with the people who can’t get on your calendar?

That’s tough.

These could be your employees that are like, “You’re never available. I can’t get on your calendar.”

Most of my meetings are now internal. They can all get on there. Occasionally, they’ll say, “I couldn’t get in for now. I’m not sure if you’re free or not.” For the most part, I’m like, “The calendar is the Bible here. Book it tomorrow. Is it urgent?” No? Book it tomorrow.”

What if they can’t move forward? It sounds like you were saying you were the bottleneck. The reason I’m asking you this is because this happens for a lot of entrepreneurs. Their team feels like they can’t continue working until they get that answer. They’re there. They were standing outside your door. Now, they’re sitting at their desk and they’re twiddling their thumbs. They’re like, “I can’t meet with him tomorrow. I’ll play some more whatever we can play today.”

It’s Minecraft or something. That’s not the game they’re playing. They’re playing Among Us.

Whatever the game is. I’m not a gamer. That could happen. How do you deal with that outside of the tool? The tool has protected your time. The question is, how do you deal and what do you put in place to make sure that you’re still keeping people happy and getting work done?

It’s important you say that because a lot of things happen. Number one, they become accustomed to not being able to get time, which is a bad thing. They’re like, “I’m back.” At this company, we do not have that problem. I can pull my employees and I’m available enough for them, but they can get used to that.

It happened at one point and it happens to other people.

For me, the hardest part of that was I know that it’s not inefficiency for the time like the business is going to struggle. If everybody is waiting for me to do something or answer something, then there’s so much momentum that’s being lost in that time that it’s not happening.

Culturally, they might feel unimportant. It’s important that we realize as leaders how could that be impacting our culture, and how do you deal with that? How did you deal with it at the time that it was a challenge until you got Undock working?

TBT 140 | Undock

Undock: If everybody’s waiting for you to do or answer something, then there’s so much momentum that’s being lost in that time that it’s not happening.


I did not do it very well. Some employees would come to you and say like, “I feel like I can’t get twenty minutes of your time today.” I was like, “No, I was free from 1:10 to 1:30. How come you didn’t reach out to me?” I never solved it at the company mainly because I didn’t think the velocity of my day was insane. I looked at other software and applications like, “This isn’t going to fix it.” If there was any solution that I could think of either procedurally or through software, then I would have done that. I’ve used every software app before I ever built something like Undock. If there was an extreme case like three different companies, three different conversations, all small companies, no hierarchy, everything is up to you, I don’t know how you do that.

I’m going to throw my coaching hat in the rain here for the readers, and maybe you’ll say, “Yes, that’s what I did.” Sometimes we do things and we don’t know what we did. The first thing you did is you stepped back and you recognized that you had a problem. For the readers, you have to recognize first that you have a problem. You have to understand what are the costs and impact of the problem. It’s not just recognizing it, and then allowing it to continue to happen, but we identify what the cause were. You saw that this was wasting a lot of time and so forth.

One of the things is you looked for a solution. It’s to problem solve what are different areas. You saw, “I was available. Why didn’t you come at that time?” That matching was super important because then you could at least cover that piece of it to get the matching of time. That was one way to solve it. The other thing that a lot of people forget about as leaders and don’t realize how important it is, and you did this, is to have an open discussion with your team. You let your team know altogether that you know this is a problem, even if you don’t have an answer. A lot of people feel like, “I can’t go and talk about it unless I have an answer,” but it’s perfectly okay. You can tell me whether you did this or not. You go to the team and say, “I’m sorry. I see that this is a challenge. I’m working on a solution.”

That lets them know that you recognize it and you’re owning it. You want them to own their stuff. We got to own our stuff. It helps them to also feel like they matter, instead of pushing it under the carpet and being like, “You’ll have to meet me next week or find a time anywhere.” If we can have these open discussions and say, “I know things are insane and I’m trying to work this out, bear with me.” I found that that authenticity and openness goes a long way with people. Did you do that?

I did do that and I took it a step further. I say, “I was trying to have more structured meeting times to answer some questions there. That way you don’t have to individually all chase me.” I took it one step further and I opened the floor. I said, “Can you also tell me what else am I doing wrong? How can I empower you? Where could your skillset be better?” This is a few years back. I can’t remember the exact things that I put to the table for me, but that was the first time I had done that. I don’t know how effective it was the first time, but I’m extremely open to feedback and criticism directly from the team. It’s tough to engender that environment where they feel safe to do that. They’re like, “If I tell you, you suck at this, then you are going to fire me.” I don’t think they ever felt that way. I even pointed out like, “I don’t do that. You know I don’t do that. I know you need to do it.”

That’s how you do it. You didn’t realize it, but that’s how you build that trust. You know, “This isn’t my forte.” They then feel comfortable when you invite them to share some constructive feedback if you’re comfortable to do that.

I still struggled with it throughout until 2019 when I was able to start using Undocks. This is not a product plug, it’s just that I’m not the most efficient manager of people’s time. I’m a great manager of my own time, but other people, I’ve got a lot of work to do.

It’s a challenge to add everyone else’s time on top of your time. It’s hard enough to manage ourselves. I have not yet used the tool, but I’m super excited to get it installed and get it working for me because I think that’s a cool option. With all the entrepreneurs and CEOs that I work with, I’m going to put it to the test.

It even has the thing you were talking about for doing your updates or recording little videos instead of having the meetings. You can do all of that right inside of your calendar.

Is there anything else you wanted to share about any additional things that are up and coming? Something that the AI does that we didn’t talk about or anything else before we sign off?

There’s a lot that we didn’t talk about.

What’s your favorite feature?

With Undock, no one ever has to worry about scheduling ever again. Click To Tweet

The favorite feature is that you can be scheduling it. Working with autocomplete is fantastic. You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to go to another app. You don’t have to go copy and paste anything. You keep typing on Undock and you’ll see your suggestions. You hit the tab like autocomplete. That’s great. My favorite new thing, we built it in April 2020 and then prototyping a stronger and more powerful version. Let’s say somebody were to say, “I’m flexible. You pick a time. Here’s my Undock calendar link or my booking link.” You can hover over that. Without leaving your email, you can click a time that works for both of you.

What if that person doesn’t have Undock and that person has Calendly or x.ai or HubSpot or Outreach, and they’re using all these tools that are tightly built into their workflows or whatever it may be? They’re like, “I’m not going to sit back and forth with you. Here’s a link. You can do the same thing with our tools.” Our AI is able to understand those calendar links, extract that person’s availability, compare it with your availability preferences and schedule behavior, and make a suggestion in one click.

What that does is it’s helping the entire ecosystem. It’s making it so your calendar can talk to my calendar like that. There’s no debate about, “You go do the work. No, I go do the work. It trades times back and forth. No, let’s use a bot.” There’s none of that. It’s like, “Here’s my calendar automation tool. Here are the three times that work for all of you.” We’re excited about that. It blowing some minds and it’s about to get powerful in January 2021 when we launch version two of the product.

Nash, thank you for being here and sharing your tools and some of your challenges. I’m excited for the readers to get that work in and provide some feedback to us.

Go to Undock.com. Sign up, it’s free.

Is the tool planning to stay free or is that going to change?

Everything that I’ve discussed is free. The way the scheduling works is free. We’re trying to get a billion users on the platform. No one ever has to worry about scheduling ever again, but we are releasing a full calendar, which will have some paid features, premium features on that. The scheduling portion of this wildly omnipresent and proliferating scheduling experience will be everywhere and will be free.

What are you doing? You better already be on that site. It’s free. You’ve got no reasons, no excuses why you can’t be using this tool.

There’s so much more coming.

I love how excited you are about it. You’re beaming smile shows that you’re passionate about this and excited to get it out to everybody.

Thank you for the time, Penny.

Thank you all for being here. We’ll see you in the next episode.

Important Links:

About Nash Ahmed

TBT 140 | UndockNash Ahmed, Founder and CEO of Undock Nash Ahmed is a serial telecom executive and the Founder and CEO of Undock, an artificial intelligence-enabled meeting platform built for the future of work. Nash and his team graduated from Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA) in May 2020 and raised a $1.6M seed from Lightship Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Lerer Hippeau, and other notable investors. Prior to Undock, Nash ran a company that started providing telephony solutions to enterprise clients and evolved into a full suite of technology services. That path led to his interest in communication tools and particularly video. Nash’s unique expertise includes product building from a design and engineering perspective. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and business management from Drew University, but the design has always been a personal passion that manifested itself in projects ranging from graphics and photography to interiors and audio production.

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Improve Your Cold Calling Techniques With Wendy Weiss

TBT 137 | Cold Calling


Contrary to what most people believe, cold calling is not just picking up the phone and calling some random person, with you on one end hoping that they would pick up and be interested in your offers. In fact, it takes more planning, strategy, and even style than that. For this episode, Penny Zenker is joined by author and sales coach Wendy Weiss, dubbed as the Queen of Cold Calling, as they discuss how this marketing technique can be refined through a simple ballet-like preparation process. Weiss also explains how having a step-by-step benchmark process and today’s numerous digital innovations can improve cold calling even further.

Listen to the podcast here:

Improve Your Cold Calling Techniques With Wendy Weiss

On this show, I’m looking for people who are going to help you to work smarter. At the end of the day, that’s what time management is about and taking back your time. It’s how can you work smarter so that you don’t have to work harder. Working less and achieving more, so creating more impact. Wendy Weiss is here with me. I’m excited. She is The Queen of Cold Calling. She is an author, speaker, sales trainer and sales coach. She’s recognized as one of the leading authorities on lead generation, cold calling and new business development. That’s why she’s here because you need this. Her clients include Avon, ADP, Sprint and thousands of entrepreneurs throughout the world. She has been featured in the New York Times, BusinessWeek, Entrepreneur Magazine, Selling Power, Inc, Forbes, various other business and sales publications. She’s the Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales and The Sales Winner’s Handbook: Essential Scripts and Strategies to Skyrocket Sales Performance. Wendy, welcome to the show.

Penny, thanks for having me.

It’s a big thing for people to get more leads and close more sales. At the end of the day, if they’re not doing that in their businesses and growing, it’s what?

It’s not a business.

What makes you passionate about sales?

It’s funny because I was never supposed to be the Queen of Cold Calling. I was supposed to be a ballerina. I grew up in Pittsburgh and I moved to New York City where I still live and work. I moved here when I was a teenager to dance. I studied at the Joffrey Ballet School. Like every artist in New York City, I needed a day job. I got tired of waiting on tables. I got a job with a telemarketing agency that did business development. It turned out I was good at it, which was a complete surprise because ballet dancers don’t talk.

People dread cold calling like, “I have to call this list of people that I don’t know and I don’t know what to say or how to say it.” It’s not on the top of most people’s lists to think that would be fun.

Warm up, rehearse, and perform. The problem is most people jump to the performance. They get on the phone and wing it. Click To Tweet

I got into this by accident. You asked me what I’m passionate about. I know that this is hard for a lot of people. It’s something that a lot of people find to be scary. The conversation about this topic is often so stupid. People say such ridiculous things about it like it’s about going through the nose and the hang-ups until somebody says yes to you. Who wants to do that? That’s completely insane.

That’s not very motivating. That makes me think like I know they say it’s a numbers game, but that doesn’t make it any more interesting and exciting to do.

Not at all. They say prospecting sucks so get over it. I’m very much of stance. What if it didn’t suck? What if it was a business process, something that you do to get more business? What if it wasn’t a whole big emotional thing?

How do you make it fun? Tell us a tip or trick on how to shift that mindset away from ‘eh’ to ‘yay.’

I don’t know that they have to be ‘yay.’ The idea is to get to neutral because if you’re neutral, then you can do what you need to do. You were going to take the emotion out of it. I had somebody that went through one of my classes. We do a program called 3X Appointments. We call it 3X because people routinely tripled their numbers. She did the program. She told me after the program ended that it helped her talk to her teenage son because part of the program was we help people take the emotion out of it. You might be sending an email and the person you’re sending it to might delete it, but nobody has a nervous breakdown about that. By the same token, if you know what you are doing, this is a communication skill. When you learn this skill, people open up their calendars and book an appointment.

It’s like any skill. You have to practice, work, and then you get better at it.

I’ll share what I learned in ballet class. Everything I know in life, I learned in ballet class. What I learned in ballet class was warm up, rehearse and perform. The problem is most people jump to the performance. They get on the phone and wing it.

The Sales Winner’s Handbook: Essential Scripts and Strategies to Skyrocket Sales Performance

Why is it that people don’t like to step back, warm-up and practice?

I do not have an answer to that one.

That’s very common. That’s not in just cold calling. It’s across the board. People just dive in. To maximize our results, that little bit of planning and practice upfront makes a huge difference.

There is a myth having to do with sales. There’s the myth of the born salesperson, that somehow there are these people out there that are born knowing what to do and what to say. I was lucky because when I got that day job all these years ago, they have taught me this skill. They coached me. They held my hand and I said, “Don’t do that, do this.” Learning this skill enabled me to build a business. People may be born with a lot of athletic talent, but that doesn’t mean they make it to the Olympics.

Do you want to share with us some of the dos and don’ts of the warmup, practice or the performance side?

If you’re a dancer, the first thing you have to do before class or rehearsal or performances, you have to warm up. You have to get set up so that you can do what you need to do so you do not hurt yourself. The warmup for cold calling so you don’t hurt yourself starts with a micro-targeted profile of an ideal prospect. Who is it you’re looking for? When you know the profile of the type of lead that is a great lead for you in your market with whatever it is you’re doing, it’s easier to find them. It’s easier to create messaging that’s going to resonate. They’re more likely to close because they’re appropriate leads and you don’t waste your time. We always start with what’s the target.

For people who are reading is that across the board with marketing. If you don’t know who you’re targeting, it’s critical for cold calling and anything on the sales side. You can’t get the right messaging if you don’t know who you’re talking to. That is crazy how many people skip that.

Cold calling not a creative process. It's a business process. It's not about expressing yourself. It's about getting appointments. Click To Tweet

It’s crazy because the answer to what’s a great lead for me and in my market is not everybody. It’s specific.

How do you help people with that? Maybe that’s where people fall down. They go, “I’m a coach and therefore, I can coach anybody.” Do you have a process where you help people to get a question that you might ask to help them get clear on who it is that’s best fit for them?

We start with the concrete objective criteria. We’re looking at how large is the company, either revenue or employee count. Does it have to be in a specific geographic location? What’s the title of the person that’s going to hire you? Is it a specific industry? What people like to do is they like these subjective criteria, “I’m looking for people that understand the value that we have to offer. Wouldn’t you like to be the list broker with that list?” We start with very concrete objective parameters. When people are in our 3X Appointments program, I have to reign them in a little bit. They will say they’re looking for companies with 10 to 10,000 employees. We got to narrow that a little bit first. The rule is what you say has to be relevant to the person you plan on saying it to. It starts by choosing. What I love about this and what is powerful is you get to choose. Many businesses are just reactive. Whoever comes in the door, that’s what I’m going to work with.

They’re not getting their ideal customer. One of the things I like to say to people when they’re trying to figure out who that is. If you’ve been in business at least for a year or a couple of years, and you have some clients, pick one client that you love to work with. What are some of the characteristics about why you love to work with them? Is it because of the size of the company? What is their role and so forth? It can help them if they’re not sure, it gives them something to work from. There’s the not list. Sometimes people don’t know what they want, but they know what they don’t want. Sometimes you work with list the things that you don’t want, and that helps you find better what you do want.

Once you know who you’re looking for, then you can start to create that message that’s going to resonate. When you get them on the phone, you need to have something compelling to say. In a voicemail, you have to have something compelling to say so that they will return your phone call because people still do that. If I was going to send them an email, I got to have something compelling to say, so they hit reply.

I would guess that this is as applicable if you were connecting with someone on LinkedIn as well. This is a pet peeve of mine. As you said, have something relevant and make them want to respond back. I see a lot of non-compelling messages where I’m like, “The point of LinkedIn isn’t to be linked to everyone, it’s to be linked to people that make sense.” When they say, “Your profile looks interesting, let’s connect.” Maybe we can pick something like that apart and give people some better strategies because that doesn’t work for me. I’m not going to hit accept for somebody like that.

There’s got to be some engagement, “I noticed you were doing this, that and the other thing, which is interesting to me. That’s why I’d like to connect. We know all these people in common. Because they’re doing this and I’m doing that, this is why.” There’s got to be some reason there.

TBT 137 | Cold Calling

Cold Calling: What you say has to be relevant to the person you plan on saying it to. It starts by choosing.


What about the rehearse? I have to look at it. I know it’s only three things, but the warm-up, the rehearsal, and the performance. Are there any dos and don’ts in that rehearsal piece to hone the skill?

If you’re a ballet dancer and you’ve got a concert coming up, you’ve been rehearsing for months. You’re not just running out there on stage and dancing. If you’re training as a ballet dancer, you take a class every single day. You repeat the same movements over and over again every single day. When you do that, you get muscle memory. It’s automatic. You don’t have to think about, “Do I have to point my feet? How do I do this step or what comes next?” Because you’ve done it many times, you stop thinking. You just are. You’re just being. We want to do the same thing. We need to practice. Once you’ve created the message and I’m going to use the word that everybody hates, you need a script. The script is not, “Hello, sir or madam, may I have a moment of your time.” A script is you’re prepared. You know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to introduce yourself.

I’m going to say something controversial. Everyone uses scripts. Every single sale professional in the entire world uses scripts. You’ve probably got an elevator speech. You’ve probably got questions that you get asked all the time and you have an answer. There are probably objections you hear all the time and you have a response. It may not be written down but if you’re saying the same thing over and over again, that is the script. People get very hung up on this word script. The question is not, “Should I use this script?” The question is, “When I use this script, what happens? Does it work?” I would argue that if people are hanging-up on you, it doesn’t work. You needed a better script.

One of the things that I like in the rehearsal in dancing is you’ve got a mirror there so you can see yourself. You’ve got an instructor who’s giving you feedback. A lot of times people don’t go that extra mile to make sure that they’re getting feedback, that they’re testing it or even record and listen to themselves because those are huge things. When I first listened to myself and I have other people do that sometimes, they’re like, “Is that what I sound like?” It’s shocking but it’s important to hear what other people are hearing.

In our program, we practice with people and sometimes they give us recordings. They’ll record and send it in so we can listen to them, and then we can listen to it together because it’s important. When you practice, you want that automatic muscle memory so that you can say what you have to say. If the prospect has a question, they have an objection, you’re speaking with the gatekeeper or whatever it is, you’re not thinking, “What comes next?” You say what you have to say.

It makes it less stressful. It’s neutral because it takes out the emotion when you already know how you’re going to respond.

You don’t have to think about it and that’s when it works. That’s when you get on the phone. It doesn’t take years. We have 3X Appointments program that is three months. You can learn to do this in three months. It takes ten years to train a ballet dancer. It’s not going to take you ten years but three months.

It all boils down to warm up: knowing the profile of the lead that works for your market. Click To Tweet

Even then, you have to have certain things that work for you to be a ballet dancer.

Even once you’re dancing professionally, you keep taking class every single day. I still take a class and I’m not dancing professionally.

It doesn’t matter where you are in your sales career and your sales experience or anything. We’re constantly looking for that training, new ways to get better, new ways to practice, and things like that. That is important to stay on your game. Are there any other key points that you wanted to share with our audience?

Since the name of this show is Take Back Time, I thought that I would share my number one-time management strategy.

I was also going to ask you, do you have a shortcut or something that you do that shortcuts to your success?

The time management strategy is to follow the money. Everyone’s busy, you’ve got a lot of stuff on your plate if you’re a business owner. When you look at your to-do list, all the things you need to do, you say to yourself, “What is closest to me getting paid?” Do that first. I would argue selling something to somebody is right there up on the top and then prospecting. Putting opportunities into your pipeline would be number two. That’s what we always want to do. We want to follow the money because many business owners or even sales reps get hung up on the day-to-day, “I have to go do this filing or I have to this paperwork.” Leave it to later, go sell something.

I want to highlight for people who are reading that you said prospecting second. I’m a firm believer in that too. That’s something that a lot of people get caught up in. They are over prospecting and not enough selling and converting. They are focusing on the conversion part of the process. They’re focused on the prospecting or having the conversation, but not optimizing that conversation to close it, to create that appointment, or to take it to the next level.

TBT 137 | Cold Calling

Cold Calling: A time management strategy is to follow the money.


I should share my definition of the word prospecting because to me, prospecting is you get an appointment. It’s not all this stuff leading up to it and then you stop. It’s that you get an appointment and the more effective and efficient you are at doing that, that leverages your time.

At the end of the day, that appointment is more likely to turn into a sale than a lead.

A lead is a name with their contact information.

We want more appointments because that’s going to filter through the entire funnel. The more appointments we have by sheer numbers, the more sales we’re going to have. When you focus on that next conversion point, then you’re going to be able to tweak two spots in that sales process.

If you do the prospecting piece right, then it’s more likely that the opportunity is going to close.

What’s your shortcut then?

There are a few things. Lots of times business owners will say either, “I don’t want to. I don’t have the time.” The idea is not necessarily that you as the business owner have to be the one on the phone. The mistake that many business owners make is they say, “I’m going to hire a salesperson.” I say, “What do you have in place for them?” The answer is nothing. If you have a step-by-step benchmark process so that you know what the numbers are, this is what we teach in our program, you could plug somebody else into it because you know what works.

The key is understanding your prospects, and then being able to produce your concrete objective criteria. Click To Tweet

I like that you said a benchmark process. Tell us what you mean by that so people are 100% clear.

One of the myths about cold calling is you’re going to open up the phone book, you’re going to call anybody, and you keep calling them with your fingers crossed. Many years ago, maybe that works, not well, but it doesn’t work now. What we want to do is have a step-by-step process. How many times are you going to reach out to anyone prospect? The research shows that it takes somewhere between 8 to 12 touches to get someone to respond. We usually start with eight. We do four voicemails and four emails, but then we track it. If the response is not high enough, maybe we need more voicemails and emails. We need to add something else like texting, something on social media or we’re going to send them a letter. We know because the research tells us 8 to 12 touches. We know it’s more than one. You put that process in place and that includes scripts. It includes scripts for when you get somebody on the phone, what are you going to say. It includes scripts for voicemails and email templates. That’s the process. You track it and you measure it. If you’re getting the response that is a good response for you, then you can plug somebody else into it. That’s how it works.

You tweak it, refine it and you make it so that you’re converting more and more in each of those processes.

What most people do is they keep changing things. They’re like, “Maybe I’ll try this.” When you do that, you don’t know what works. I come from a creative background. I was a ballet dancer. My first job was I danced in a ballet company. This is not a creative process. It’s a business process. It’s not about expressing yourself. It’s about getting appointments.

It can be about expressing yourself if that helps you to get appointments. It’s testing to see what works.

I’m not saying that it can’t be fun. I think it’s fun, but the rest of you don’t have to think it’s fun. It’s a business process.

When you say fun, it made me think of Chet Holmes. I used to work with Chet Holmes and Tony Robbins. One thing Chet used to do when he was doing the cold calling is he would make up different voices when he would call to make it fun for himself. He’d have fun with it and people like that. They had fun back with him and they were more responsive. Bring your personality to it as well. Is there anything else that you wanted to share with the readers? I know you have a free gift, but before we go to that, is there anything else that you wanted to leave them that we didn’t cover yet?

TBT 137 | Cold Calling

Cold Calling: If you do the prospecting piece right, then it’s more likely that the opportunity is going to close.


We should mention using the right tools because many years ago people were answering their phones, it was easy. You call them and they answer their phones. Now, this is what I hear all the time, “Nobody answers their phones.” That’s not exactly true. Some people answer their phones and we can get some of them to call us back, but it is harder than it was many years ago to get someone on the phone. That said, there are so many tools that we have now that we didn’t have years ago. That includes data and sales intelligence. You need to have sales automation to do this. You cannot do it on an Excel spreadsheet. We use a dialer and it doubles the call volume at a minimum because it allows you to pre-record and drop a voicemail. There are all these tools that are available that weren’t available before, and they make you more efficient. Use them.

That’s what this show is about. Be more efficient. Those tools are the key. Are there some tools that you want to mention that you think are excellent tools?

We use Contact Science. It’s not CRM. It is for telephone prospect and appointment setting. I do recommend Contact Science. If you reached out to Contact Science, tell them the Queen sent you because they give my people a discount. We also use a dialer by Electronic Voice. The same thing if you reach out to them, they take very good care of my people. That’s what we use.

Thank you for being here. Let’s share with everybody the free gifts that you have available for them and where they can go get them.

The first gift for those of you that are prospecting or should be prospecting and would like to start, I have my Cold Calling Survival Guide and the subtitle is Start Setting Appointments in the Next 24 Hours. This guide is going to give you a step-by-step system that you can start to implement to start setting appointments in the next 24 hours. For our readers or people that are tuning in, if you manage salespeople, I have a practical guide to getting sales teams to prospect because one of the things that I hear all the time from managers is, “How do I get them to prospect?” This guide is going to give you a practical and easy to implement steps and things that you can put in place to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your team if you need them to be prospecting. This isn’t a gift, but if you’d like to talk to me, my website is ColdCallingResults.com. I’m a phone person so you could call me (866) 220-4242.

You’ll pick up the phone?

I will either pick up the phone or leave me a message and I’ll call you back.

There are phone people. I’m a phone person too. People call me and I pick up my phone. Thank you, Wendy for sharing these tips. I love the connection with what you learned through ballet and how that crosses over into the business world.

It’s warm up, rehearse and perform. Thank you.

Thank you all for being here and taking away some of these key tips. Remember that this is applicable for cold calling, but this is about communication. It’s not just for cold calling, it can be for any difficult conversation. You probably want to do those three things too, warm up, rehearse and perform. These are valuable tips. I’ll see you in the next episode.

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About Wendy Weiss

TBT 137 | Cold CallingWendy Weiss, who is known as The Queen of Cold Calling™, is an author, speaker, sales trainer, and sales coach. She is recognized as one of the leading authorities on lead generation, cold calling and new business development and she helps clients speed up their sales cycle, reach more prospects directly and generate more sales revenue. Her clients include Avon Products, ADP, Sprint and thousands of entrepreneurs throughout the country. Wendy has been featured in the New York Times, BusinessWeek, Entrepreneur Magazine, Selling Power, Inc, Forbes and various other business and sales publications. She is the author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors & Closing Sales and The Sales Winner’s Handbook: Essential Scripts & Strategies to Skyrocket Sales Performance. She specializes in working with companies that want to increase sales revenue by generating new business and/or companies with under-performing sales teams. She has helped clients double and triple the number of new business appointments they can schedule resulting in a matching increase in sales. Wendy is also a former ballet dancer who believes that everything she knows in life she learned in ballet class.

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In Pursuit Of Work-Life Balance: Rocking The 9-To-5 Side Hustle With Kris McPeak



A number of us work outside of our day jobs—be that to earn some extra or to pursue our calling and passion. Either way, balancing our full-time with our side hustle can be extra challenging. How do you manage? In this episode, Penny Zenker invites educator, author, and podcast host who loves to rock the 9:00 to 5:00 side hustle, Kris McPeak. Kris shares some of her strategies for finding the time to have a side business while still enjoying that downtime doing other things she loves. Speaking to those who are struggling to do the same, she talks about how you can take a step back and decide what brings you joy and what brings value to others. Plus, Kris also shares with us her book, The 9-to-5 Side Hustler: A Guide to Balancing Your Day Job with Your Small Business, and her biggest shortcut to achieving that work-life balance.

Listen to the podcast here:

In Pursuit Of Work-Life Balance: Rocking The 9-To-5 Side Hustle With Kris McPeak

I am excited to have Kris McPeak with me. She’s an educator, author, and podcast host who loves to rock the 9:00 to 5:00 side hustle. We’ll know what that means. By day, Kris works for a community college foundation and in the other eight hours, when she’s not sleeping, she runs a non-for-profit master swim team with her hubby and hosts a podcast called Elevate Your 8. Kris is the author of The 9-to-5 Side Hustler: A Guide to Balancing Your Day Job with Your Small Business and two other books. She enjoys swimming, knitting, binge-watching dark TV shows, and spoiling her eleven-year-old mutt, Duke.

Kris, welcome. Tell me about this side hustle. If you work a day job, why do you need a side hustle?

Some people come to 1 of 2 places. The first place is they feel like they need a little bit more money to do something extra, whether that’s plan early for retirement, buy a new car, create a savings account, or run your expensive hobby, whatever it is. The second thing is sometimes, we have a calling or a passion that’s “outside of what we do for a living.” We want to pursue that along the line of what we do with our day jobs. More so, what I love about the time that we’re living in is that you no longer need permission to follow some of these passions. If you want to write a book, you can write a book.

Amazon will let you self-publish. If you have a message and you want to share something with the world, you can start a podcast or have a YouTube channel. If you want to sell an online course about how to apply for graduate school, you can do that. Nobody needs to say, “Yes, it’s okay. You’re good enough to do this.” We’re living in the era of the entrepreneurship world and particularly with the side hustle because not all side hustles provide you with health benefits and those types of things.

Being able to go to your 9:00 to 5:00 whether you love it, tolerate it or whatever, and then spend some other time during the day or the weekend working on a side hustle or a small business that drives your happiness and joy level to another place. That’s where my calling came from. It’s right on the heels too of my husband and I deciding to start the swim team. That was a group thing that we started together, but then there was part of me that’s like, “I want to do something extra in addition to that.” That’s where I got the idea to write my first book, and then the podcast came after that.

I want to challenge you for a second. People talk all about residual income and finding ways to earn money whether it’s in your business, outside of your business, or do things that you’re passionate about. I don’t like the expression. What’s a side hustle? Does it have to be a hustle?

You are right. I will say that I get a lot of pushback on that. Here’s where I’m coming to connect with the word side hustle or in this case, the book is The 9-to-5 Side Hustler. I took one of Ramit Sethis’ online quizzes. He’s the guy that wrote the book, I Will Teach You to Be Rich. Talk about an online guru, the man knows how to market his courses and people will pay huge dollars to learn from him. I took one of his free quizzes. It was like, “What kind of small business should you start?” I took the quiz and it came back with this idea like, “You are a hustler.” I’ve had the same reaction that you had like, “I don’t like that word.” It sounds like either the Paul Newman movie or Larry Flynt’s magazine.

In the time that we're living, you no longer need permission to follow some of your passions. Click To Tweet

I was like, “I don’t like thinking about myself in that way.” I kept reading through the description. What he was talking about was exactly the type of person that I’d identified with. Somebody that feels active and passionate about something usually has 9 or 10 tabs open on their computer at one time who will go run the thing and work it until it’s done. The more that I read this description, I was like, “I do identify with that.” It was exactly the way I reacted to the concept of being Gen X. I did not want to own that for the longest time. I’m like, “That’s not me. That’s my baby sister who loves grunge music and wears flannel.” As I learned more about that too, I accepted my Gen Xness. Side hustler with me is more like an identifier as opposed to Gary Vee’s hustle where it’s like, “I’m only going to sleep two hours a night because it’s all I need and I’m going to go.” Those people are not honoring their life balance and that’s not what I’m about.

That’s why I was challenging you because there are people who don’t have a side thing. You don’t make it sound attractive, “Have I got to hustle?” As you said, like Gary Vee’s sleeps two a night type-of-thing. It’s like, “No, thank you.” I get it. I just wanted to make sure that you made it clear for other people that it’s more about a side driver.

It’s about a small business as opposed to anything else. There’s something about saying side hustler that feels active and exciting. Your point is well taken and it’s something to think about because I haven’t rebranded yet.

It’s something to think about in terms of making it feel and sound more attractive for those who aren’t already doing it. You said you’re all about work-life balance. How does one have a work-life balance when you’ve got two jobs, a family, a not-for-profit, and a sports team.

It’s all about prioritizing what you’re going to get done in those other eight hours that you’re not sleeping or working your day job. What I’ve come to be aligned with is understanding, knowing, and being able to count on exactly how long it takes me to do certain things, and not being one of those people that says, “It takes me two hours in the morning to get ready for work.” Are you getting ready for work or are you scrolling through your phone for 45 minutes before you get your ass out of bed? Are you eating breakfast or are you eating breakfast while you watch a 30-minute news show? What we do in the world of multitasking, which as we know, there is no such thing as multitasking. We switched tasks.

All of those extra things that we lump in and we don’t even think about is where we’re wasting a lot of time. I don’t like to do that. I like to be able to say, “I can get my shower done in seven minutes. I can be dressed and have a little bit of makeup on in another five, and be out the locker room.” I know what my commute is like. Even in LA, which is hard to count on traffic, I’m very confident in being able to say I can get to and from work in 20 to 30 minutes. I’m making use of that time being able to go on doing my commuting, and also engaging in my professional development and my learning. I love to listen to podcasts and audiobooks.

I’m doing the best that I can, and I try to empower other people to not waste time, not fall down the black holes, not get sucked into the 45-minute Instagram scroll or the Facebook stuff, those types of things. If you say during this time of the day, from 6:00 to 7:00 on Mondays and Wednesdays is when I’m going to sit down with my hubby and we’re going to work on things for the swim team. From 7:00 to 8:00 on these nights of the week, I’m going to do my social media planning, work on my email list, or build a new course, something like that. I have these slots on different days of the week where I do certain parts of my businesses, either myself or with my hubby.

The other time is when I work into engaging in the things I like to do like binge-watching the dark shows. What I’ve come to realize too way back in the day when I had one job, I was this crazy movie buff and I was a serial theater jumper. I would see 2 and 3 movies in a weekend. I did that every week for 10 or 12 years. That was my weekend. That was my entire hobby downtime. It was seeing movies. I started running in my early 40s, competing in marathons and half marathons. Now I see fewer movies because I’m training.

TBT 141 | Side Hustle

The 9-to-5 Side Hustler: A Guide to Balancing Your Day Job with Your Small Business

I broke my foot right around the time that we got big into the swim team. I obviously wasn’t running. Now I’m spending more of that time working on these small businesses. I find as I’m proceeding through the years, the things that are important to me are changing. I wasn’t in a mature mental state during all those years I was seeing those movies that small business was attractive to me, but now I’m in a space where it is. It’s as much fun for me, if not more fun. I can’t see movies in a movie theater as it is, but I don’t want to. It’s more fun to create a course, make a freebie, or email the swim team.

You’re creating your own experiences.

I love the way that you described that. I’m creating my own experiences and sharing with whoever is willing to listen and who wants to listen to what I’m learning from it.

To back up a little bit is you still have time to do those other things that are downtime. You still binge-watch your dark shows, and you still get all this other stuff done. It’s not like, “I won’t have any free time.” It sounds like you have more purpose. You’re getting involved in those things that give you more overall purpose and you’re connected to that. Therefore, that makes you want to do things more effectively and efficiently. You have time for that purpose and you also have time for the downtime.

I could not have said that better myself. Penny, you nailed it. That’s absolutely it.

That’s what people were thinking. How do you have any downtime if you have a side business? I’ve talked to some people and they have a side business. They can’t seem to get past the plateau that they’re stuck in their side business because there’s not enough time from what they say to give it the attention that it needs. It flounders or doesn’t go where they want it to go. What could you advise somebody who’s in that position?

A lot of times when you’re starting something from scratch and that word flounder is mentally sticking with me. We live in a society where there’s instant gratification everywhere. If you’re going to go into a small business, anything like that, that’s going to change the way that you spend your time. Even as a hobby that requires a lot of learning like riding horseback, playing guitar, learning the sitar, whatever it is.

That all requires time. Why do we blame time? We always blame time, “I don’t have enough time.” It’s always the topics that we had.

We live in a society where there's instant gratification everywhere. Click To Tweet

I hate that because I read everything that Laura Vanderkam has ever written. I have the same 168 hours as you do. It goes a long way with me. If I tell that to anybody else, I want them to call me on it because I don’t believe I don’t have enough time to not do something. I’m having to prioritize what I do and be much more intentional about that. The concept of starting something from scratch and learning something new, you have to be prepared to know that you’re not going to go from picking up a guitar to being Eddie Van Halen in a week’s time.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. We’ve heard that expression a dozen times. I’m not making enough money on either side to leave my day job. At the same token, I don’t want to leave my day job. I’m happy with what I do from 8:00 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon. I have this passion for this other thing that I can work on now. I’m not in a hurry. I’m happy doing what I’m doing. You are right to challenge me on the word hustle because it’s not the mentality that I have.

You’re not hustling. You’ve got drive.

I have drive and purpose. I liked the way that you said that.

What struck me as you were talking about it and what I see a lot of people have a challenge with, especially with this “I don’t have enough time,” this whole prioritization, and how important it is, why do they have a difficulty prioritizing? I have my own theory on this but I want to know what yours is.

We sometimes don’t know what’s important to us. We’re so oblivious to the time suckers that we don’t realize that those things have taken over in a sense. If you miss your kid’s soccer game because you had to answer ten more emails before you left the office, what was the more important thing for you to do? Was it to finish up and get to your kid’s soccer game or to get to those ten emails? I have a supervisor who will say like, “Nothing that we do or don’t do is going to hurt anybody or let anybody die.”

You’re not brain surgeons. That’s what I’m telling my clients. Get over yourself, you’re not that important.

We don’t give ourselves credit for being smart enough to do the things that we want to do. We feel an immense amount of pressure to be things that we’re not and/or keeping up with the John Doe’s. It’s like that whole comparison thing. I fall victim to this myself and I have to remind myself that that person’s path is not my path. I have my own path and I need to be happy with that. As soon as I turn that switch on, I feel so much better. We get stuck in that rut of wanting to do more than what makes sense to do and/or prioritizing the things that are important to us. Is that 45-minute Instagram important in your life as opposed to ten other things that you could be doing with that 45 minutes like walking around the block, doing weights, doing those dishes so that they don’t sit there all day and smell when you get home?

TBT 141 | Side Hustle

Side Hustle: Productivity is making the very best use of your time within the framework of finding joy, stabilizing joy, and doing the things you know you were put on this planet to do.


As you said, it’s the comparisons. Should I be doing this? Tony Robbins talks about shoulding on ourselves? We’ve got all these shoulds that get in the way. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. We are people-pleasers too. We want to please others. We want to be responsive but we don’t want to be known as that person who’s not responsive. Letting go is the hardest thing that we have. It’s the, “I can’t do that.” What does that mean? Will I disappoint somebody? Either way, you’re going to disappoint someone. If you don’t get to that soccer game, you’re going to disappoint the most important people in your lives. For some reason, we prioritize others over those that are important to us, “They’ll understand.” We need a mindset shift in that.

I saw someone once with these t-shirts that say, “You’re not that important.” You don’t think that everybody is hanging on our every word, us getting back to them, and that client is going to go away if they have to wait an hour or don’t get an email until the morning. Some of them will but at the end of the day, you’re not driving yourself crazy. You’ll know that the people that you have are the people that you’re meant to have. It’s finding a way to let go of what we can’t do.

It’s not feeling like we have to do everything by ourselves especially at the day job, “It’s not going to get done if I don’t do it.” It’s not going to get done right and trusting that you have the capability to help someone else on your team, assist you with a project, teach a skill to somebody else so that they can participate with you. There are many things that we can do in the workplace to get things off of our plate that aren’t hurting ourselves, and not putting a lot of work on somebody else. Maybe because you’ve taught your administrative assistant to do this one task to help you out, now they’ve got a skill that they didn’t have before. You’ve helped them in their professional development.

When I get to do that, I get so excited because that’s something I thrive on. It’s knowing that if I’m responsible for someone’s professional development, I want to be all-in on that. It’s not just telling them, “You’re great because you came to work on time every day this week,” and crap like that. I want to be able to say like, “I was impressed that you took the time to help me with that project by learning this database and stuff like that.” We don’t do enough of that in the workplace, especially as managers.

We don’t give people the recognition that they need, we don’t invest in their self-development, and we don’t delegate well enough. That’s the problem. It’s we either dump it and say it’s out of our hands, let them figure it out, or we’re a micromanager. We need some guidance on the delegation. I do have to tell you that it’s my favorite thing to do. I try to do it first thing in the morning is to delegate something. At the end of the day, when I got done not only what I had to do but what someone else does for me to advance whatever it is I’m working on.

In your morning routine, you plan in your head that you’re going to delegate something to somebody on your team or in your life.

I’m not as consistent. I’m working on making that an everyday thing because it takes preparation to delegate. You have to be ready and know who you’re going to delegate it to, what exactly you’re going to delegate, and not dump it. I need to also be clear as to what my objective is.

My hubby will say, “Don’t fast do this, Kris. If you’re going to do it, do it right. If you can’t do it right, you can give it to somebody else who will or tell me so that I don’t put that expectation on you.” I know when something is important to him with the swim team, he’ll say to me, “Please, don’t fast do this.” I’m like, “I got it.”

We don't give ourselves credit for being smart enough to do the things that we want to do. Click To Tweet

I ask every guest this and I’d like to hear what your definition of productivity is and why.

Productivity is making the very best use of your time within the framework of finding joy, stabilizing, joy, and doing the things that you know that you were put on this planet to do. I’m productive when I’m helping a student at my day job. I’m productive when I’m supporting my husband when we’re working with his coaches. I’m productive when I’m focused on an activity that I’m good at and that makes me happy. That’s probably a very good definition.

What I’m hearing is you say you’re productive when you’re doing something of a higher purpose.

This is why you’re so good at this show. That’s the perfect way to describe it.

You gave me three examples so that’s what I heard. That goes in line with what you were talking about. You don’t waste time doing things because you have that purpose and drive. That makes a lot of sense. I want for the audience to think about, have you lost some of your purpose and motivation? How do you get reconnected? How do you take a step back and decide to evaluate what brings you joy? What brings value to others and how does that serve you in that context? People are disconnected and it’s time to get reconnected to each other, to what matters to us and our community.

That’s the reason why people should pursue jobs that they don’t hate. It’s okay to change your vocation if it’s not bringing you joy or you’re not using your talents. I’ve always tried to tell students like, “Don’t be a pre-med student because your parents want you to. If you hate chemistry, you are not going to make it to medical school. You need to figure that shit out for yourself.” I spent 25 years in higher education and it has taught me one thing. I’m not a parent so I’m giving away advice that I don’t have myself, but it’s because I’ve worked with students for so long.

Parents can’t dictate to their kids, students, or children who and what they need to be with their life. If you’re not pursuing something that brings you joy or you’re good at that lets you serve your higher purpose, you’ll never be successful. You’ll resent it for the rest of your life. I see folks come to campus every year and they’re like, “I’m in pre-med.” “That’s exciting. Why do you want to do that?” “My parents are doctors.” “That’s great but is that what you want to do?”

Without the why’s that you want to bring it back then we’re disconnected. Going back to your point about why people stay in jobs they hate. It’s because they’re disconnected. It’s a transaction. It’s like, “If I do this, I get some money for it.”

TBT 141 | Side Hustle

Side Hustle: Nobody should be complaining about not having any time to do anything. The reason you don’t is that you’re wasting your time, and you’re not prioritizing it.


It’s chasing the money. I heard Michael Neeley say that on a show.

We chased something, the less we have of it. Think about that.

That’s why I love the Gallup Organization and the StrengthsFinder. That is my favorite personality assessment in the history of the world because it’s based on positive psychology and all about finding engagement. Every single book that Tom Rath has written because he speaks the truth in a way that’s obvious but you don’t think about it. I’m a big fan of Tom Rath books and a big fan of the StrengthsFinder stuff.

Your show is about working smarter. You’re talking about some work-life balance and your approach to it. What’s your shortcut? It could be a tool or a way of thinking. What do you consider your biggest shortcut?

The notion that every new day is a reset. If there was something that was high up on my must-do list or even my want-to-do list that I didn’t complete, I’m not going to beat myself up over it because tomorrow is another day and I can do it then. Warren Beatty said in the movie Bugsy, he’s like, “Everybody deserves a second chance.” Being able to still close your eyes at the end of the night and say, “I got stuff done and I’m okay with that. The dry clean, I can get tomorrow or I’ll make a quick phone call and make sure I can still submit that report.” The things that we positively know we have to get done, we’re going to get that done. Whether it is that we do the Parkinson’s Law thing where it’s like, “I’m going to cut this out for the month that it takes until it’s due or I’m going to finish it in the hour before it’s done. Okay, it’s done.” You can check that off and lay your head on the pillow at night, knowing that I got done what I needed to get done.

One of the shortcuts that I use to help me with being present with what I did get done, as you said, there are always going to be things on that to-do list that you didn’t do. It is longer than the daily hours or minutes. I started to write down daily wins in addition to what I’ve planned so that I get reconnected to the things that I did do and how that’s driving me forward. That made a huge difference in how I end my day. I’m not like, “I didn’t get this done,” and focused on what I didn’t do. It’s always another way to end the day in a positive note. Kris, is there anything else before we end our show that you wanted to share around work-life balance?

What I would love to share is the philosophy behind my show. I explained this to people like, “What is Elevate Your 8? What does that mean?” I’m like, “Let me outline this for you.” I came up with this after I wrote my first book. I was in conversation with a colleague. We were talking about time management. I was like, “I realized that if I’m only working eight hours a day and I’m getting eight hours of sleep every night to take care of myself, then the only thing I have to worry about is those other eight hours.” She’s like, “Kris, that’s brilliant. I never thought of it that way but it’s true.” The whole notion of we have to be a workaholic to be successful is a load of BS.

If you're not pursuing something that brings you joy or lets you serve your higher purpose, you'll never be successful. Click To Tweet

I have strongly resented supervisors that have made me feel like I can’t get my job done unless I’m there until 7:00 and coming in on every Sunday to answer email. In fact, that’s why I switched from working in college housing to working in development because I’d had enough of getting the life sucked out of me. I was not following my purpose anymore. If we’re thinking about how we spend the other eight hours of our day, what are the things that are important to us?

It’s important that I have some fitness and that I get to knit a little bit every day. It’s important that I pour some good time into my businesses, my time with my hubby, and making sure that Duke gets a walk a couple of times a day. If I’m honoring those two things, my alignment with my work, life and wellness, then everything else is simple. I’m very pleased with the way that I’ve chosen to outline that because it’s working well for me and hopefully, it will work well for some of the readers.

Many times when people have day jobs, they have a system that they work with. They may have time blocks, meetings, or they plan their work. Sometimes, strategies are cross contextual but for whatever reason, we don’t plan what’s important to us in our private life. Having eight hours a day, if you look at it, that’s a lot of time.

If you do the math then you work through the week. If you do it as a 168 hours a week thing, by the time you’ve added it all up, after you’re done with your 40-hours a week of work, you have three full days’ worth of time to do other stuff. If you put it in those contexts, nobody should be complaining about not having any time to do anything. The reason you don’t is that you’re wasting your time and you’re not prioritizing it because you’re stuck in those other time sucker things. I use the Instagram scroll as an example a lot. People would be appalled if they could track how much time they’re spending with their face on their phone.

We should cut off everybody’s finger. It’s a new discovery for me. If we cut off the scroll finger, what do we do then?

You have to talk to somebody, God forbid. That would ruin everything.

Kris, thank you so much for being here and sharing your tips and your wisdom. Where can people find out more about you and your podcast?

They can go to ElevateYour8.com and they can also find me at KrisMcPeak.com. Everything about the show is there. Take a listen. I would love for them to hop on and tell me what they think.

Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you for having me, Penny. This has been a load of fun. I appreciate it.

Thank you all for being here because you guys are the crux of the show. The last point about the eight hours of work, eight hours of sleep, and then what we do in between. That is the perfect recipe for balance if you think about it. Take that and do with it what you will. Give yourself a call-to-action as to how you’re going to better plan your eight hours in between, and what you’re going to do to be more purposeful so you can eliminate the waste that’s sucking away that time. We’ll see you next time.

Important Links:

About Kris McPeak

TBT 141 | Side HustleKris McPeak is an educator, author, and podcast host who loves to rock the 9-to-5 Side Hustle. By day, Kris works for a community college foundation; and in the other 8 hours when she’s not sleeping, she runs a non-profit masters swim team with her hubby and hosts the Elevate Your 8 Podcast. Kris is the author of “The 9-to-5 Side Hustler: How to Balance Your Day Job with Your Small Business,” and two other books. She enjoys swimming, knitting, binge-watching dark TV shows, and spoiling her 11 year old mutt, Duke.



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Boosting Productivity With Paper Planners Part I With Julie Bestry

TBT 139 | Paper Planners

Many people may be enamored with digital planners and calendars, but a lot still go old school with paper ones. Ultimately, it is a matter of personal choice, but paper planners do offer their own set of advantages aside from their obvious charm. There are many ways that you can actually boost your productivity with paper planners even more than with digital ones – and all that without the digital fatigue! Professional organizer, Julie Bestry makes the case for it on the show with Penny Zenker. Julie owns her own professional organizing company called Best Results Organizing in Chattanooga, which has been going strong for 20 years.

Listen to the podcast here:

Boosting Productivity With Paper Planners Part I With Julie Bestry

On this show, I’m searching high and low for some of the best people who are going to help you to work smarter because, at the end of the day, you don’t want to work harder. You don’t want to do more. We want to achieve more in less time. I’m looking for those people who are going to help you do that. I have a special guest, Julie Bestry. She’s a Certified Professional Organizer. Watch out, she’s going to get us organized here. I have to say that even though I talk a lot about time management and it tends to be a lot about the organization, I can get distracted easily. I can be clutter filled. We need to get some tips from Julie. I know that I put structures in place because it’s a necessity. That means for you guys too, for various different reasons. She’s in her twentieth year in business and her company is called Best Results Organizing in Chattanooga. She’ll tell us more about her as we go along. Julie, welcome to our show. 

I’m glad to be here. Thank you, Penny.

Tell us up front why you’re an organization freak?

I used to work in the television industry. It’s fast-paced and kooky. If you don’t have your resources to get on everything on the air at the right time, you’ve got dead air, you’ve got a black screen, and people at home don’t know whether their TV blew up or somebody goofed up at the station. It’s important to be organized. As a program director at a TV station, I found myself helping other departments streamline and organize their resources, traffic department, and sales, so everybody could talk to one another. I eventually found that was the more interesting part of what I was doing. As much as I love television, I found that working for myself and not having angry phone messages on Monday morning because somebody didn’t like which football game we were playing on Sunday, I could let that part of it go.

What we are most meant to do finds us. You’re doing that and then you ended up coordinating across multiple groups, and what we do naturally, then naturally attracts. 

Right around 9/11 is when I left the television industry. My syndicators, people we work with who were up in the air that day was stressful. A lot of people, right after that, left the industry. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do next. Within the course of about a week, I found out about professional organizing as an industry. This was unrelated, but my best friend from college bought me a present. She brought me a label maker and I thought, “That’s a sign that I’m headed in the right direction.”

We cede our control because we’re focused on what we are going to be perceived to have done. Click To Tweet

I think the sign was that you were excited about the label maker. It’s good that your friends know you so well. We’re here to talk about planners and organizers because people don’t spend enough time planning. What’s this statistic that for every hour you spend planning, it saves you ten hours in the backend. Is that what the stats is, do you know? 

That’s one of the stats I’ve heard. I’m one of those people who believe that the metric doesn’t necessarily matter if the feeling works because if you save any amount of time, a stitch in time saves nine. Any effort that you put forth that brings you a return on that investment is going to be worth it.

What I’m trying to prove to people who are reading because we’re so busy that we don’t take the time to plan. I want to stop people, make them step back, and realize that there’s some proof out there. I hear what you’re saying that at the end it’s proven, but to get them to take the motivation, maybe they have to understand that there is a return on investment there. 

One way to authentically and organically prove it is to think about how much you accomplish in, let’s say, the 2 or 3 days back when we had vacations and could go places. People who aren’t innately planners sit down in the week prior to leaving on a vacation. Sit down with lists like your guest, Paula Rizzo, talk about it. They look at what needs to be accomplished and they start planning. They might have a wall full of Post-it notes, they have scribbles all over the desk, or maybe they have something online. People who aren’t even planners use paper planners, use digital, and do something to plan their focus because they want to accomplish something and they’re like, “They get on that plane and they feel that sense of accomplishment.”

You’re planning so that you can feel that sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, the end of a week, or you’re planning so that you feel like you’re keeping your head and shoulders above the tide. Planning is essential if you’re going to try and get where you want to go. Imagine going on a trip and saying, “I’m in Washington, DC. I’m going to San Francisco. I’m going to drive and not having a map and a GPS, and I’m going to follow the sun.” It’s only going to work so far and then you’re going to end up having cows blocking your path.

It’s so important that we need to make that time. I love the vacation analogy because it’s true that we get organized before the vacation because there’s that much more motivation. That’s an interesting thing. We’re going to talk about organizers a little bit and there are different types of organizers and reasons why we use organizers. Let’s go into the types and the reason. 

TBT 139 | Paper Planners

Paper Planners: With paper planners, there is no learning curve, and best of all, no digital fatigue.


In the professional organizing field, we’re often talking about them as planners because that’s what you’re doing with them, whether it’s a basic calendar or something more complex. We’re going into all of these weighings, “Are we going to go digital, we’re going to have apps on our phones, or we’re going to go with paper?” I’m a paper person, that doesn’t mean my clients use paper, but it means that if somebody is more inclined to use paper, I’m going to let them know. I’m off and letting them know, “It’s okay in the 21st century to be using a paper planner,” because people feel a little guilty about that. There are all of these apparent advantages and disadvantages and I go, “Not so fast.”

I set them up as dichotomies. There’s heart versus head. A lot of paper planners are designed to appeal to aesthetic print preferences. It’s like, “I like pretty office supplies,” or they’re aspirational features where you’re going to put your goals versus your tasks and appointments. Digital things appeal to purely functional, practical people, or so they say, but there are a lot of practical planners out there. That’s heart versus head. Ease versus learning curve. Unless you pick what I think is a super complex DIY planner like bullet journaling and I know people love bullet journaling.

You’ve got to be creative and want to do that.

With most paper planners, there’s no learning curve and with a lot of techs, there is a learning curve. The interesting thing is there’s digital fatigue out there. People said, “Nobody’s ever going to read books again. It’s all going to be eBooks,” but the sales studies show that Millennials are buying more and more print books than eBooks. Google and various other companies are banning electronics for when they’re doing five-day workplace sprints because they know it helps increase focus and clarity. Going digital with all of the beeps and boops and notifications across your screen means that the learning curve is sometimes a little too steep and the frustration of the technology. Cost versus free.

Sometimes because of that learning curve with the digital side, we throw the baby out with the bathwater. The minute we get to know something a little bit, we use it for a little bit and then we fall back into old ways or we didn’t know how to use it effectively. We blame the tool. It’s the tool’s fault and then we move on to the next tool. We’re constantly on this learning curve with these digital products.

Especially because the products keep changing. Evernote is a perfect example. When people start with Evernote, they tend to use it almost like a file box. It’s like they can cook something from the web and it’s there. If they get some training, they see how powerful it can be. The company that makes it comes out with all of these changes and then there’s that learning curve there. You and I were talking about Trello. You can use a little bit of Trello or you can be a power user but it’s daunting when we already have incredibly busy lives. This is a reason I like a paper planner because there’s nobody over the age of about eight who can’t figure out how to put what they need to in a paper planner. There are more efficient ways versus less efficient ways to use a paper planner but you’re not going to, all of a sudden, pick up your planner pad or your Franklin Planner one day and find that the pages look completely different from how they did yesterday.

It’s important to identify for yourself what works for you and what doesn’t because everybody has different ways of working and that’s fine. Part of the process is to see what works best for you so that your planning is most efficient and effective. That you check in on it and see, “Is this working for me? What do I need to do to make this work?”

All these things that I’m going through these dichotomies will come down to one thing, it’s commitment. Any system you have, whether it’s paper, digital, or hybrid, and whether it’s for planning, filing, retrieving or creating anything, only works if you commit to that system. It’s a relationship like any other. If you’re speed dating, if you’re trying three days of doing this system and two weeks at this planner and bouncing back and forth, you’re never going to commit to that relationship. It’s never going to be as rich or as robust as that 40-year marriage.

You may not be able to control time, but you can have mastery over your schedule. Click To Tweet

It’s cost versus free. In other dichotomy, people think, “All our digital stuff,” or maybe an app is a few dollars. There are a couple of pricier ones, but for the most part, keeping track of your appointments and your planning things, it’s all whatever’s already in your phone or your computer. You have to buy a planner. Sometimes your investment increases your commitment. You and I couldn’t have planned this better, this back and forth. I see this all the time with people with clutter in their homes, you go to a conference and get all of the swag and the swag bag, people bring back all the free stuff, including the hotel shampoos. It sits there and piles up until the professional organizer comes and says, “We can find a nonprofit that can use this stuff better. What is this thing even anyway?”

If there is a small cost to something, that cost is probably being offset by somewhere in the back of your brain making more of a commitment because you don’t want to have wasted that money. There’s private versus searchable. Anytime you’re dealing with something where you’re putting all of your information, either somewhere in the cloud or even on your computer, there’s always that little tingle in your head that’s like, “Who can get at this?” Not that you’re going to be putting a lot of deeply personal stuff. Unless you’re involved in corporate espionage, there are not a lot of secrets in your planner, but your planner is yours personally.

Think about when you’re eleven years old, you’re doodling your first name and that cute person’s last name in your notebook. I hope you’re not doing that in the note section of your planner because if you’re in your 30s or older, that’s weird, but if you are, nobody sees your planner but you. Another big thing is the dichotomy between control and convenience. If you go to schedule something, let’s say, when you sent me the email to create this appointment, all I had to do was click on a little button that said, “Accept.” I had to make the choice. Do I want to accept with comments or without comments or I could have rejected it? I’d never reject you. Whereas, when you have to stop and have some depth of thought regarding your time and how much effort you can put into not just being somewhere, but preparing to be somewhere, and you’re using a paper planner, you’re going to look at everything in context.

Control versus convenience, I’m always going to lean more toward control except when it comes to food because I don’t cook, I want convenience, and they can put whatever they want in my food. When we’re brainstorming, scheduling, and breaking our projects down into discrete tasks, we’re thinking about context. When you see a whole month of appointments and you’ve got a paper planner, you instinctively go, “That’s a heavy week.” I’m going to ask this person, “Can we go a week later?” Whereas if all you’re seeing is a little accept or reject icon, it’s going over on your calendar and you’re not spending a lot of depth of time and effort in your digital calendar, which is the case I find for most people. You’re going to find yourself constantly responding to other people’s needs instead of focusing on your own.

You’ll be quickly overbooked. That point of control is important. It’s something that’s coming up over and over these days, not around our planners. We’re in a time where there’s a lot that’s out of our control. There are a lot of things going on with politics, weather, COVID, and health-wise, there’s a lot of stuff that we can’t control and there are things that we can influence. Those are the circles of influence. I find that there’s an interesting relationship that we have because we’re all control freaks in some shape or form. We try to control the things that we naturally can’t control and that creates stress. 

There’s this weird thing that I’ve recognized, this is where distractions and planning come in. It’s where we do have 100% control, we don’t take it. I’m trying to wrap my head around this because there’s a story or something more that I want to bring out about this. What’s your thought on that? We’re digressing a little bit, but it’s back to the same thing and it’s coming from a different perspective from your side with the planners. What’s going on there? Why don’t we take control where we can? 

We think we are controlling things or we don’t believe we can. In the year 2020, it’s easy to have 2020 hindsight, but when you’re in the hole, it’s hard to dig yourself out. A lot of times we need something outside ourselves. One of the reasons why accountability buddies work so well is because we can have everything written down in our planner. We can have our list of what our tasks are. We’re good at fulfilling obligations to other people. We cede control because we feel if we are going to get where we need to go, we’re going to fulfill our obligations to others.

You and I had a plan to do this show. Whatever else was going on in my day, I knew for a fact, I was going to be sitting here with you. Without not only a good plan for my day, but also without that willpower and stick-to-it-iveness, everything that was about meeting my own goals could have gotten lost in the rabbit hole of going through social media or reading the news. I don’t think it’s intentional on anyone’s part. We end up ceding control because we’re focused on what we are going to be perceived to have done, what other people are going to know we did, and we’re so exhausted by that. When we have an opportunity to let our guard down, we get grabbed and sink further into the morass of all of those interruptions.

It brought me an interesting point of view. We cede our control because of our need and our desire to please others. We don’t take it back because we were exhausted. That’s a new insight for me. I have to move that around and think about it. Let’s bring that back around to how planners can help us take back that control and please ourselves first. 

It’s partly figuring out the power that a planner can have. I have this theory and nobody’s proven it yet, but associated fields have proven it. There’s something called the encoding hypothesis. It goes into the studying of note-taking. There are two different kinds of generative note-taking. That’s when you’re in eleventh-grade math class, a history course, or you’re in a meeting, even a Zoom meeting and you’re taking notes. You’re not transcribing it. You’re summarizing, paraphrasing, and trying to get at that concept mapping. There’s nongenerative note-taking, it’s when your spouse says to you, “We need this from the grocery store,” and you write down exactly what they say. You’re taking a turn by turn directions. You’re writing that list and writing a transcript.

There was this study published in Psychological Science. Professor Pam Mueller at Princeton and Daniel Oppenheimer at UCLA looked at how note-taking by hand affected learning versus note-taking by computer. There had been other research into this that said, “You learn more from taking notes by hand.” The theory was like, that’s because there’s multitasking, there is a distraction, all those beeps and boops, and all the different things you can see on the screen. Mueller and Oppenheimer looked deeper and they found that when you’re trying to learn concepts, transcribing gives you a shallower intellectual processing field. That’s what they called it. They did three interrelated studies. They saw that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on these conceptual questions than students who took longhand. No word on whether they were printing or writing in cursive, but the laptop note-takers were transcribing.

They were trying to write down what they were hearing verbatim. Their brain wasn’t processing the information and reframing it in their own words. It was copying it. That’s probably because you can’t handwrite as fast as someone else can talk. You tend to pick out the key thoughts and you translate it when you’re not transcribing. I have this theory that when you’re using a paper planner, it works the same way. When you schedule an appointment digitally, you’re jumping in and typing things. When you are planning your tasks for the day, it’s copying over things, looking at your email, and typing things down. When you’ve got a paper planner or a notebook, when you’re bullet journaling or anything like this, you’re looking at the context. You’re thinking about what information is going to be essential.

TBT 139 | Paper Planners

Paper Planners: You can’t handwrite as fast as someone else can talk. You tend to pick out the key thoughts. The same thing might be happening when you’re using paper planners.


The difference between saying, “I should give a speech about this thing on Thursday,” versus, “If I’ve got to give a speech about this on Thursday, I’ve got to get the speech at least outlined and written by Tuesday so I better do my research on Monday.” You think with a greater depth of context when you have to write something down versus when you type it. A lot of times people will say, “Did I send you an email about that or did I think about that?” People remember if they wrote an actual handwritten letter, sent a birthday card, or left a Post-it note on somebody’s windshield because there is the intellectual, cognitive, and physical all being bound together.

Studies have also shown people who journal. The studies have also shown that through journaling, you go deeper into your processing. This is all linked in terms of that writing is creating that deeper thought and a deeper connection to it.

It explains why in twelve-step programs in mindfulness courses and a variety of disciplines, they’re recommending journaling. I’m terrible at journaling but yay for anybody who is good at journaling.

There are different ways to journal too. There are different ways to plan. Some of them can be filled in this sentence. Some of them can be blank paper. It depends on what type of person you are, as to which one of those is going to be the most effective. Do we have anything more that you wanted to share about types and specifics around planners? 

About the mindset for going in, we’re good for that. We got deep because if you know why all of these decisions are important and you know why paper planning might be a good option for you, you’re much more likely to feel a little less guilty about not using the fanciest app. The more you think about why you do anything as Simon Sinek called Why, if you know you’re why, you’re going to be much more empowered to make all of your other decisions.

The why before the how. The how will figure itself out if you’re connected to your why. I know that they like these 30-minute shows or whatnot. We’ll have to plan a second one, but what do you feel is the next one before we close out the show?

Thinking about what person you are. Do you want simplicity and flexibility? Do you want something that’s going to let you get into the nitty-gritty of writing down every little detail of your life? In terms of what content is going to go in into your planner, do you want one that has a place to put appointments and tasks? Do you want one with motivational quotes and cartoons? Do you want habit tracking, budgets, a place to plan your meals and write down your gratitude bullet points, and do your goal setting? Do you need creative fields for brainstorming for taking notes? Do you have good handwriting? If you have nice, precise, architect student handwriting, you can have small boxes. I have big loopy, crunchy, wrinkly handwriting. The more you type, the less precise your handwriting is. I need adequate space to show my appointments. You have to know do you want a great big binder that feels gravitas about that weight in handling it? Do you want something that will lay flat on your desk and have an executive feel to it that you’re not going to be carrying around with you to appointments? Do you want aesthetic concerns to be considered whether you want big rings or coils?

There’s a lot that goes into choosing a planner. 

Some people want a fancy zippered leather binder and other people can get at a glance, schedule that looks like how they used to write down appointments at the dentist’s office. The key is you have to know yourself. If you know your style, you can move forward to finding something that’s going to work for you. At our next opportunity, we can talk about not necessarily what brand recommendations, but what types are good for what an individual is hoping to do with their planner.

We’ll talk about what types in another call, a little bit more detailed about time-blocking. I’m sure you’ve got some more specific tips and tricks up your sleeve around that too when we get into specific planning your week. That’ll get all of you excited about part two and we’ll probably go even deeper. Where can people find out more information about you, what you do, and all that you do? I know that you can help people virtually since we’re not meeting in person. Where would they go to contact you? 

You go to JulieBestry.com and you can find my blog, which is mostly about paper, but all sorts of organizing. There are articles about organizing the other areas of your life and information about my services. 2020 is the year of doing things virtually. All of those discussions too.

Is there anything else that you wanted to share during this interview before we sign off? 

If they don’t think of it as control, they can have mastery over their schedules. For people who have had difficulty mastering their time, there are solutions for you.

It all starts with getting in that right mindset and knowing what works for you and what doesn’t. Thank you, Julie. I’m looking forward to having you back and doing a second interview because I know we’ll get into some more details as well. 

Thank you. This was great.

Thank you all for being here. You’ve got part one and you know that there’s more. I want you to keep scrolling or whatever you do and get subscribed so that when new episodes come out, you’re going to be notified and be able to catch it right away. I’ll see you in the next episode.

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About Julie Bestry

TBT 139 | Paper PlannersJulie Bestry is a Certified Professional Organizer, starting her 20th year in business as president of Best Results Organizing in Chattanooga, TN. In her previous career in the fast-paced, detail-oriented, and wacky world of television broadcasting, Julie developed a passion for inspiring good organizing skills and systems with patience and humor. Julie particularly loves eliminating paper chaos and motivates her overwhelmed residential, home office, and small business clients with the motto, “Don’t apologize. Organize!”

In addition to helping her clients save time and money, reduce stress, and increase productivity in a guilt-free environment, Julie has been interviewed by local and national media, including Real Simple, Kiplinger’s, and Redbook. She presents teleclasses and workshops, both virtually and (when we aren’t in a global pandemic) in person. Julie is the author of the book 57 Secrets for Organizing Your Small Business (currently out of distribution, but a second edition is in the works), blogs as Paper Doll, and writes various organizing themed articles and ebooks, including “Do I Have to Keep This Piece of Paper?” and the popular “Tickle Yourself Organized.”

A 19-year veteran member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, Julie has achieved Golden Circle veteran status and has served on the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers. Locally, she sits on the board of directors of Chattanooga’s Partners and Peers for Diabetes Care. Julie is a native of Buffalo, New York, and holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and a Master of Arts from Syracuse University.

Julie loves organizing paper and setting up filing systems, hates paper clips, and does not answer the telephone during prime-time TV. She believes in controlling her schedule instead of letting it control her and is decidedly NOT a morning person. She wants you to know that you can replace the chaos in your life or business with serenity.

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Digital Marketing Through Online Ads With David Rothwell

TBT 138 | Online Ads


It’s not okay to just put your online ads out there and get nothing but likes, shares and follows. Whether you’re doing it on Google Ads or any other platform, there is a sure-fire way to really put money in the bank. Veteran digital marketer, David Rothwell talks about this in his newest book, Ask the PPC Manager. Known as the Google Ads Money Expert, David has more than 15 years of digital marketing experience to his name. For all those years, he has taken note of and studied the most common mistakes that people do when it comes to online ads. Listen in as he explains how to make the most out of them in this conversation with Penny Zenker.

Listen to the podcast here:

Digital Marketing Through Online Ads With David Rothwell

In this episode, we want to focus on how you can work smarter. We’re in the midst of the pandemic, who knows when the pandemic is going to be “over?” We need to think about the digital strategies that we are employing so that we’re not reliant on being in front of people. That’s why I brought David Rothwell, as an expert in this space. He’s a digital marketing and online advertising expert with remote and homeworking experience with Google Ads, Google Merchant Center and Google Shopping. He’s written a book around this whole topic. We’re going to pick his brain so that we can get a better understanding of what we can do in this even more important time for digitalization. David, welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me, Penny.

It’s my pleasure. You said this is old news to you to be working from home and doing this digital thing.

I call it abnormally normal because things are seriously abnormal but my work, what I do, how I do it, and who I do it for has not changed for the last years that I’ve been doing this. I’ve been working from home, working remotely for online businesses, service providers, physical and digital product businesses with Google Ads, specifically. I was in the early days of getting involved with that. 2005 was when I went professional. It happened by accident because I was an IT manager for a long time, twenty years career in IT. I got laid off in the dot-com crash in 2001. Soon after that was 9/11, and I couldn’t get back into full-time work in my corporate career any longer. I was forced online. I wanted to get out there with my IT, telecoms and network consulting. I needed a website and to get found in Google. I got into the whole website, SEO, Google AdWords thing as it was called back then. I’ve been here ever since. I published a couple of books along the way on Amazon, and this is still what I’m doing after all those years.

Do you think digital marketing is any more important now than it was in the past because of the situation?

Yes. With the pandemic situation, there is a digital land grab going on because many businesses and business owners can’t do physically what they’ve been doing for however many years they’ve been doing it for like events, in-person, physical type things. Everybody has been forced to go online with it. I was accidentally there in the early stages of it. I’ve carried on with it over this amount of time. Think about food, restaurants, home deliveries, click and collect, and stuff like that. You can’t go any time. You can’t go to events. There are tons of things you can’t go to physically any longer. Digitally, you’ve got to do the equivalent of that. That is not new. That’s been around for twenty years. People are now left with no choice but to do that instead of what they were doing before.

Do you think that those people who are investing in Google Ads are going to be better off than those who are not investing in Google Ads?

Since 2005, when I first got professional in this, there are a lot more ways to reach people online. There are all the social channels, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and others. They are all important. They all have their audiences and their way of working. The thing that makes Google Ads different and unique from everything else is that it’s search-based where people go and look. They type stuff into Google search. They say what they are interested to know more about. They tell you what they’re looking for. I call it digital telepathy. It’s like mind reading because they’re telling you what they want. I also call it the ultimate in permission-based advertising. People are giving you that permission to show your stuff. They expect to find you when they look for things.

TBT 138 | Online Ads

Online Ads: What makes Google Ads different from everything else is that it is search-based.


You’re more likely to take action than you slipping an ad in front of somebody’s face who wasn’t interested. If I’m on Facebook, those ads would come annoying to me. Sometimes if I keep seeing the same people because Facebook thinks you’re going to like this, and I’m like, “No, I’m not going to like this.” I get more annoyed every time that I see that person’s ad.

It’s digital stalking going on here. They are following you around and clever technology underlies it. That suffers from the same fundamental problem that many advertisers run into who are doing Google Ads, which is all about targeting, which is to reach the right people at the right time, in the right circumstances, and pitch your offer. As far as Google search is concerned, if you go to Google.com, Google.co.uk, Google.ca, you go and search. That is completely different to all those other things, which are interruption-based like TV ads, commercials, radio ads, Facebook ads. They are all interruptions, so they are different. That’s not to say they don’t work. They can work like gangbusters. They can work well, but it’s all down to this targeting thing, which is reaching the right audience. This is where many advertisers who were using both those platforms under this common stack because they don’t know how that targeting works. You only get to figure that out by spending a lot of time working with it.

I like the idea of Google Ads for that reason. People are searching so they want something now. You’re likely to be able to convert them into whatever you’re converting them into, whether it’s a free thing, an informational thing or whether it’s already making a meeting with you. You and I worked together, and it’s been helpful for me to get set up. I did that at the beginning of 2020, just before the pandemic. That was good for me because it takes some time too for things to work. Everyone who’s coming to my website is having an event. If I’m looking for my keynotes, they’re searching for a motivational speaker and they’re having an event.

I know that those people who are hitting my site are ready to buy something. It’s rarely that somebody is on the look. They usually have a project and they’re doing that. I’ve seen that to be hugely valuable because a number of other platforms that I was using to generate those types of leads are not working anymore. Since the pandemic, the traffic has gone away, and that traffic has increased. I’m a big fan of looking for these digital ways to find people who are having the problem that you’re solving, and targeting them incorrectly, and then being able to convert them. What are the common mistakes that people make that you can advise people on? Maybe they’re shying away because, “I tried that and it doesn’t work.” What are you seeing on that side?

This is a good lead into my book. I published a couple since 2014 and contributed to a couple of others. If people want to find those, look on Amazon for my name, David Rothwell, and you’ll find all my materials there. My book, Ask The PPC Manager, is all about how you can make this stock work properly, correctly, and avoid all the mistakes that I’ve seen people do for the past years. It’s based on a real case study, a ten-year relationship I had with a client who is a professional service provider as opposed to a physical product provider. Physical and digital products are quite different. Physical things go into a box and get shipped. Digital things are delivered online. There are subscriptions, memberships, download, Software as a Service, tickets to virtual events, the remote ones, not the physical ones.

I worked with this client for ten years and he’d gotten started in 2006 with a new business. He didn’t know what to do. He did not know how to reach people, what people are looking for. We got him aligned with this I’m sharing. He was successful with this and he grew his business every year. It’s highly seasonal because he was an airport transfer guy. Winter ski transfers in Switzerland is his game. The objective to what we were doing was to get butts on the seats. People sitting in these buses, transferring from Geneva Airport to the Swiss ski resorts. He was successful with this and he grew his business every year for ten years running. He was so successful, he bought out two competitors and sold this business to an international travel company.

I wrote up his case study in fine detail. I was curious to know how come this incredibly successful guy, when it was straightforward from Google Ads Campaign Management side of things, and a lot more to this whole thing. It’s not just the campaigns. It’s the website, the offer, the price, the sales process, the average order value, customer lifetime value. It’s all the numbers in here that are underneath it all. I wrote the case study off and I decided to tell the story of this case study but in a slightly different way than describing it. Back in 2013, I read a good book called Built to Sell by John Warrillow. He’s written a couple of other great books as well, but he was telling his business story.

He builds and sells businesses, and he tells the story of that in a fictional way. In 2013, when I read it, I thought that was such an interesting approach to telling the real thing. I thought I’d like to have a go at that. I registered the domain name. Years and years went by before I got random. It’s COVID that made that happen for me writing that story. I started writing my next book as I thought. I’m supposed to be in Asia for four months on a remote working program. I was three weeks in Hanoi, Vietnam, which was fabulous, then the whole world went crazy. I’m trying to get back home and when I got back, I started to think, “What am I going to do now when all the circumstances are different?”

Google Ads is the ultimate permission-based digital advertising platform. Click To Tweet

I decided to write that story, which is what the book is. It tells people in a simple way, “Here’s what we did. We started with nothing, and we did this and this.” It’s a sequence of events to make all this stuff work correctly, mathematically, numbers-based, math-driven, and how it worked for him, and how it can work for other people and other businesses because the principles are the same. What we’re trying to achieve with any of this stuff, call it Facebook, Google Ads, whatever you want. We take a dollar and we put that dollar in, and we get more than that dollar back. Every time we put a dollar in, we get more than a dollar back. That’s what we’re trying to do. There are many business owners who don’t grasp that fundamental concept. They think it’s fine to put dollars into Google Ads, Facebook Ads, this, that and the other, and still not see any money coming back. They might see likes, shares and follows but they don’t see money in the bank. That’s the thing that drives me nuts, which is why I wrote my book about this case study, “Here’s how you do this. Follow this journey and you can do the same thing.”

The number one mistake is that they’re throwing money at it without seeing it to the end as to where the return on investment is.

Many people are going about it backwards as I write about in the book. In this situation with COVID, people are going to think, “I’ve got to get online. I need a website or a web presence. I’ve done that. I’ve built a website. I’ve used a platform to do it for me like Book Like A Boss or whatever.” You think, “Now I need people. How do I get them? I’ll go to Facebook or Google and I’ll buy them, and get the clicks.” They haven’t figured out their average order value, their customer lifetime value, their sales process, their conversion rate. They don’t even know their cost per click to start with until they’re doing this. These are the numbers that you have to have to calculate whether the thing is making money for you or not. Unless you do that work, to begin with, you just go to the end of the thing. You start with campaigns, starting with your business, then your numbers, then the money, and finally the people, which is the target in the campaigns. That one is the last. Lots of people are going about it completely in reverse order.

It’s because people are so tactical. Somebody says, “You need to be in this,” without understanding what it is that makes them successful to be in it. They’re like, “I’ll get in it.” I’ve seen that many times as well. People don’t understand strategically the process in which order they need to do it. If you do it backwards, you’re throwing your money away.

Many businesses do that, and they’ve been doing it for years. I still see it now. Speaking to clients or prospective clients who are doing this stuff, and they still don’t know that they’re going about it the wrong way. What happens is they try it and it’s too complicated, and they lose some money. They give it to an agency and the agency says, “This is going to take weeks or months to figure out. Come back to us and we’ll tell you what’s going on.” Time goes by and you say, “What’s happening?” They’re like, “We’re still experimenting.” This stuff can work quickly. It can work in 60 minutes or a few hours or a few days. It’s coming at it from the tactical point of view, rather than the strategic. What are all the things got to be joined up in place to make this thing work? People say, “It doesn’t work. Google Ads doesn’t work. It’s too expensive.” It does work. It’s not about what it costs. It’s about the money that you make that’s the point. You can say it’s too expensive and then go to Facebook for cheaper clicks, but you still got the same underlying fundamental problem of you having not figured out your business, your numbers, and the money before you go off and buy clicks, and where you buying from.

Why does it take time to figure out and get the machine working? We tend to be more impatient about things. It is with all the digital age, with text messages that get responded within less than three minutes. We’re impatient. We expect results quickly. What can we do to set our expectations correctly and why does it take some time?

You are not any more impatient than I am. I am a very impatient person. I’ve had the pleasure of working for and with American companies since 1985 when I was hired by a California-based company. I’ve worked for another big American company, KLA-Tencor Corporation in the ‘90s. I’m familiar with American businesses and American people and I thoroughly enjoy it, but I am that impatient person. The thing that I liked much about search is it’s very fast. You can position an ad and have it showing within minutes of turning it on. This was the thing that made me pay attention to it back in 2003 was when I first tried these kinds of ads because I got a website, and I was trying to figure out this SEO stuff. I have an early background in that whole thing. It was taking weeks to get any results. This is back then when it was hugely simpler, more straightforward and faster to do. It’s way more difficult and challenging these days.

My natural impatience was, “Where the hell is my thing? Why isn’t my stuff showing up?” I discovered these little itty-bitty ads and started running a few. My ad was showing up in minutes. I’m like, “This is incredible.” That feeling has never left me even now. I’ll turn on an ad for a client and it shows all the things that I’ve designed into it. There it is. It’s fantastic. The other thing about the impatience thing and why sometimes it can take time, and in a situation like yours, it will take time because there’s a buy-in cycle. There are things that take time to evaluate, figure out, make a decision on, and something not trivial like, who’s going to be my keynote speaker? How do I select them? What’s their background experience and pedigree? That isn’t a real quick decision. That takes time to evaluate.

TBT 138 | Online Ads

Ask The PPC Manager — Self-Managing Google Ads That Make Money Without Agency Fees

Believe it or not, it’s a relatively quick decision. They have quick turnarounds and I find that they do make decisions quickly.

What I found accidentally a bit was that from well-targeted, incredibly targeted campaigns, people will visit your site, buy and give you money or book you in 60 minutes or less, 30% to 70% of the time from their very first ad click. This is all about reaching the right people at the right time, in the right way, with the right offer, for the right price, in the right place, all those targeting things. That works one way for Google. It works a different way for Facebook. It works a different way for all the other things. If you get it right, you’ll reach the right people when they’re ready. They will be interested and willing to sign up with you.

Getting it right, and this is the point that I was meaning, is there some testing? Anybody who does marketing understands that you’ve got to throw some different messaging out there. You did a lot of analysis on keywords, but then you have to put it out there, and you have to put different variations of it out there so that you can see which ones are pulling better. That’s marketing 101 as well with A/B testing. It does take time. That’s where people don’t appreciate. It’s that testing takes time and that you need to tweak, variant, and see whether it’s in the ad itself or it’s on the page that they’re going to. There are little tweaks that need to happen all along the way. They have to be measured and monitored in order to see that.

The thing that’s great about Google Ads is it is a testing lab. It’s great for this. You could try out all kinds of stuff. I have movie quotes after movie quotes that I trot out as I talk to people about this stuff.

Let’s hear one.

“It’s a test designed to evoke an emotional response,” Blade Runner. “You once told me not to get emotional about stock, Gordon, don’t,” Wall Street. These things are true because it is about figuring out what people are interested in and looking for. If you’ve never run any of this advertising before, you’ll have some ideas about what you do, who you do it for, how you do it, and how you want to reach people, but you have no data at that point. You have to run a test. I call it a PPC Discovery Campaign. I’ve run these for clients for 30 days. We carefully targeted, discussed, and agreed upon things to try and reach the right people.

For instance, you’re a keynote speaker, but you’re also a lady keynote speaker. That is a completely different thing to a male, man or whatever keynote speaker. Some people looking for a keynote speaker will be agnostic. They don’t mind either way, but other people will specifically look for a woman keynote speaker. They might look for a particular topic for that person or time management keynote speaker. We’re tapping into the mindset of who are typing those keywords into Google and telling you what they’re looking for. We want to start with that narrow focus because that nails your thing. If people are looking for a female time management keynote, that’s 100% you.

If they land on my webpage because they saw my ad and they see what they want to see, then they’re going to book an appointment with me.

Eliminate, automate, delegate. Click To Tweet

They’re going to take it further unless you’ve done the next most important thing, which is to disqualify the wrong people. What we’re doing both with ads and with your landing page, your website, your whole content thing is you are trying to disqualify the people who are not a good fit for you. Even if they’re looking for a woman time management keynote, then you might be too pricey or too cheap. Who knows? You can’t make that decision. Only they know what their budget is and their timescale. You may not be available when they want you. You’ve got to disqualify the wrong people as much as you can straight away, as well as pre-qualifying the right ones. We can do this with Google Ads in a couple of ways.

One is the keywords, which is how you trigger the ads and what that ad says. The ad says whatever your landing page says about you. The two of them are inextricably linked. The ad is a mini shop window setting up the click expectation for people who see the ad. They’ll likely click on it and come through to the page. Here is what we thought we were going to get. Here’s this person. Here’s more about them, and then your sales process takes over from there.

I want to ask you a couple of questions that I ask all my guests, and I want to encourage everyone who’s reading, go out and check out David’s books. Listen to that case study, see what it is, and how you could benefit from doing more with this type of digital marketing. David, a couple of productivity types of questions. You said you fell in love with the fact that it was speed. You could put it out there and it was immediately online. How do you define productivity and why?

You can be busy and spend an awful lot of your time messing about, fiddling, experimenting, trying stuff out with Google Ads Campaigns, but when you’ve hit something that works, you can heavily automate big pieces of it. I discovered this by accident back in 2010. I was invited to speak about it at one of Perry Marshall’s first conferences in Maui. People still don’t understand this, but there’s an awful lot of automation inside Google Ads Campaigns. As impatient as I am, I’m also lazy about things. I don’t believe in doing things over and over again when I don’t need to.

I love systems, processes, procedures and automation. There’s an awful lot of automation inside of Google Ads Campaigns that you should use under the right circumstances. It doesn’t apply to everybody, but for the right nature of campaigns, they can be very heavily automated. Agencies will tell you, “You can’t do that. You can’t figure this stuff out. You can’t use automation. You can’t trust Google. They’re going to rip you off.” I’ll say, “That’s all wrong with all due respect.” This isn’t opinion, this is years of experience of doing this stuff. I know automation in the right situation with Google Ads Campaigns can work brilliantly. I don’t want to do it any other way. I don’t believe in making myself a lot of work that I don’t like doing so let the systems do it.

It’s been a theme lately, I had a whole discussion on a panel that I was on about someone saying the same thing that you said. I say that too that sometimes I’m lazy. I look for the best way to do it so that I can do other stuff. We mean lazy in the sense of wanting to do it in the most intelligent way.

One of my main mottos is “eliminate, automate, delegate,” which is get rid of stuff you don’t want to do or the wrong stuff. Automate systems, processes, procedures, delegate, and give this stuff towards the people who can do it for you.

What do you consider to be your shortcut? Everybody’s got their go-to shortcut and it sounds like those are your three go-tos.

TBT 138 | Online Ads

Online Ads: Targeting works differently for different platforms, but if you get it right, you’ll reach the right people when they’re ready.


Systems, automation, elimination, only do stuff that you need to do. Do it one time and build a system or a process that can do it for you. Don’t keep doing stuff over and over again. There are people who work like that and that’s fine for them. It isn’t fine for me. I don’t like doing that.

If you’re reading and you have any ambition to take your business to the next level to do something more impactful in the world or whatever it is that’s important to you, maybe it’s having more time to spend with your family. It means that you want to be as efficient as possible in doing the things that you’re doing, and creating the impact that you want to create. How can you do that? At the same time, do it efficiently and effectively. David, thank you for being here. Do you have a website that people could visit you on or anywhere that you want to send them, or anything else you want to share with us before we end the show?

Look for my name on Amazon, David Rothwell, you’ll then find all my books, including Ask The PPC Manager. The website for that is AskThePPCManager.com. You can go there. You can read the full book there because it’s all online. If you want the copy, digital or physical, you can go to Amazon to buy it. I love to have people read it and leave reviews. Tell me what they got out of it, if it helped them or if they’ve got questions.

Thank you, David.

It’s my pleasure. Thank you, Penny.

I hope that you were able to get some insight as to how digital marketing is more important now than ever. It’s all part of that strategy of eliminate, delegate and automate. In that process is looking for the best ways to do that. If you were selling something, it’s not just focusing on the marketing aspect, but also the conversion. You want to understand where your website is then converting and getting that whole process in place. It’s seeing how in this digital age, Google Ads and being on Google is as effective or more effective because of what David said in terms of permission-based marketing. I like that. I think that’s more strategic and smarter than the other type of marketing, which is a little bit more of that digital stalking. Either one, they might both work for you. That’s why I wanted to have David on the show. Thank you all.

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About David Rothwell

TBT 138 | Online AdsDavid Rothwell is the Google Ads Money Expert and author of ‘The AdWords Bible for eCommerce’ and co-author of the Amazon #1 best-seller ‘Sales Genius#1’. He has 13 years digital sales experience with Google Ads, Google Merchant Center and Google Shopping.

David helps sell more products and services and make more money for selected professional services, digital sales companies and ecommerce merchants. His world-wide clients make money on a commission-only “share of the profits created” basis, not the typical agency model of a percentage of ad spend.

This game-changing profit-center strategy means everyone makes more money, from customers, suppliers, payment processors to shipping companies.

David’s system is completely different to other agencies. He counts transactions and money instead of simply counting clicks or leads. His unique engineering approach stems from over twenty years in the IT industry including Olivetti and Hewlett-Packard, and managing European IT, telecoms and support for KLA-Tencor Corporation.

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The Ultimate Shareability And Trackability App With Robert Evans

TBT 101 | Shareability And Trackability App


Shareable and trackable books are tools of the future. Allowing one idea to be passed on to another and products and programs shared easily can lead to marketing magic. Today, Penny Zenker interviews Robert Evans, the CEO and creator of Tracka’Book, about how this unique app moves and brings people together. Robert explains how Tracka’Book helps you save time and money on your marketing efforts and achieve faster results. Get to know this unique app as Robert takes us through its major features.

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The Ultimate Shareability And Trackability App With Robert Evans

I’m super excited because you know that our focus is to help you save time, money, energy and effort as it relates to your business, as it relates to every area of your life, particularly for entrepreneurs. I have Robert Evans with me. Robert is a marketing guru. He’s been in the marketing space for personal development for many years. He’s got this cool new thing that he’s doing for entrepreneurs. What he has is a publishing company that publishes apps and connects those apps to these trackable and shareable books. It’s a unique marketing opportunity in giving entrepreneurs access to having your own app and your own shareable content, where everybody is now, which is on the app for a fraction of the cost of developing your own app. It is super exciting because it puts it in people’s hands that didn’t normally have access to it. Robert, welcome to the show.

Thank you, Penny. I appreciate you inviting me to be here.

What inspired you to come up with this unique opportunity that connects this shareable, trackable book together with an app?

I fell into the business through my own research of wanting to reach more people and have a higher engagement to make more money with my own business. I fell into the mobile app development world accidentally by discovering that mobile apps are by far the most effective platform that a business could leverage and use nowadays as far as reaching more people and having a greater impact in generating and monetizing our messages more effectively and quickly. I got into the business because I realized how expensive it was to have an app built. I designed an app that I wanted to do all these different things and sending it out to get it price quotes and I got five price quotes back. Three of them were over $100,000 for the app and the lowest price was $74,000. I said, “No wonder our industry as authors, speakers, coaches, experts and entrepreneurs are not in the app space. Unless you load it and have a ton of money, it’s impossible to develop an app that I wanted.”

Did you feel incompetent?

It does things that are not a waste of money. It’s not a template. It’s a quality, high-end app. I started a company to solve this problem for the industry. What we did is we invested over 1.5 years of our time and a significant amount of money to build a platform, that same platform that I got $100,000 quotes on. We make it possible for small businesses and entrepreneurs to have their own mobile app on iPhone and Android app stores at a fraction of the cost. There’s a good reason for businesses to move into the app space nowadays.

That being said, to leverage off of that, I think that people may not realize how much value it is to be able to be in the app space and be available on the phone as opposed to let’s say doing email marketing and sending their videos or their content strictly over email. What’s the benefit of that? Why should people be doing the app as well? I’m not saying to replace one, but to be that accessible. Why the app space?

That’s probably the thing that convinced me the most because I have been effective in email marketing for years. I built two email lists for over 100,000 each in two different businesses and made millions of dollars through email marketing over the years. I got disenchanted with that way of marketing because the numbers are low as far as engagement is concerned. That’s the thing I was comparing.

What are the types of numbers that you get when doing email?

TBT 101 | Shareability And Trackability App

Shareability And Trackability App: You become a smarter marketer by learning how to get people to engage in your content.


Receiving a book and passing it along brings an impact that people love to experience.

This is where it gets exciting. The equivalent of sending out an email in the app space is sending out a push notification. Let’s look at those two worlds, sending it out of push, sending out an email. You’ve got to think about opt-in. First, you’ve got to get people onto your list. The industry average in email marketing is 2%. In the app world, to get your person on your push list, it’s averaging 70% to 80%. 2% out of 100% over here or 70% to 80% out of 100% over here. I wonder which one?

That’s also because I’m sure everybody is like me, I have a separate email so that I can register for things and it goes to that.

You can’t do that on the push notification when you download an app and you say yes to receiving notifications. You’re not saying yes to long drawn out emails which people are annoyed by. You’re sending yes to a quick call to action. You become a smarter marketer by learning how to get people to engage in your content. The second part is now that I have this email list or this push notification list, the key is when I send out an email or a push, how do I get them to click and engage in my content? That’s ultimately what it’s all about is you send out something and then they click. In the email marketing world, they have to open the email first. That open rate is about 15% on average and then the click is ridiculously low.

Out of 15%, the numbers are more like 1% to 3% will click. One to three out of 100 people will click, go over the push side of things. When you send out a push notification, you get a 90% open rate, which means they see the notification and then the average, and we’ve seen this consistently throughout our business, is 40 to 60% will click. That’s ultimately what you want them to do, click to see what you have to say, what you have to offer. If I can get 40 people out of 100 as opposed to 3, the world of marketing changes dramatically for businesses at that point.

That’s why I’m working with you and we’re doing one of these apps together, but we’re doing it together with one of these shareable, trackable books. Let’s talk about how that works in combination. Tell us about the Tracka’Book and how that works with the app.

In our case, we help businesses to publish these small little books like Drew Berman. He wrote The Law of Collaboration. That’s his book. That’s one way of doing it, a book that’s written by an author. Physical books are still incredibly powerful and people still love them. Then we have these directories. Here’s a physical Tracka’Book directory. What we’re doing with you, Penny, is the Take Back Time Directory. This is based on the business that I started many years ago and built my first 100,000-person email list is that we figured out a way to connect books to a mobile app and to inspire people to get these books, not to keep them but to pass them along.

In the process of passing them along, they can through the app track where that book goes from one person to the next and see what people think of that book. What impact does this book has on people’s lives? It’s all done through the book. When we say it’s trackable, which is they download the app, they input an actual tracking number that is specific to that copy of that book. They did have the app so that they could track it. It is shareable so that they share it and everybody gets to experience the ripple impact or the mini movements that are created from each copy of these books going for one person going to the next.

The prediction that physical books would go away and eBooks would take over is not happening because people still want to hold books. Click To Tweet

When you first told me about this, the first thing that came to my mind was Flat Stanley. This is a thing that kids do in kindergarten where they get this little character who’s paper and laminated and you send it to somebody like a cousin. They take Flat Stanley all over the place on vacation and they take pictures of Flat Stanley. That’s what struck me is that people are interested in the travels of where this goes. It started with me, but the seven degrees of separation, where does it end up as it gets shared around the world? We talked about this and maybe a new term that’s coming up is this crowd sharing. The crowd sharing concept where you give this small, powerful book and there’s a place inside the book for people to share their experiences and pass it on. It’s not just the book that they’re reading that they’re sharing, it’s also them sharing their experience. For instance, in the Take Back Time Best Practices, we said that we were going to have people be able to share what best practices and things are working best for them so that they can share and pass that along. Every person who touches it gets to share a piece of what works for them and pass it on.

That’s beautiful and unique. This is the first time that we’re doing it to this level. This is an idea that Penny came up with. We’ve got the book that has experts in it. They’re sharing their ideas and tips on productivity. They’re offering a promotional code that you input into the app in order to get special offers, but we want the readers of the books to contribute their own ideas to the book and to the community that they build bypassing the book along. There are going to be blank pages in the book in which each individual reader can write down their own productivity idea. When they share it, the next person writes down their own productivity idea.

Not only is it being captured in the book, but it’s being captured in the app so that everybody through the flow of the book, gets these fresh ideas from everyday people that are getting these books. That’s the crowd sharing part of it. It’s not the shareable aspect of it, but it’s also everybody going, “I’ve got an idea, this is what I do.” They write that idea down and then it builds. What we will do from your app is we will gather those best ideas and we’ll be able to share them in future books and inside the app and that sort of thing.

It goes down to being able to allow people to rate them so that we get the crowd sharing capabilities of people as they’re putting things into practice and being able to put down what’s working for them and rate them as well. There are a whole plethora of these experts that are able to share in the app. They’re able to share other resources. Tell us more about what else is available in the app after somebody tracks their book and gets access to the app.

If you’re a productivity expert, this is where it becomes incredibly awesome for you from a marketing promotional standpoint. If you’re one of the limited numbers of experts that are in the book saying, “This is who I am. This is what I do. Here’s my idea or my tip or my productivity message. Here’s my special offer,” that special offer is a dynamic offer. It can change whenever that expert wants to change it. In addition to being in the physical directory with the two-page profile, you would also be inside of the Take Back Time app in the digital directory. The digital directory is a way for the readers of the book who love what the experts are sharing to watch videos, read more articles, learn about these experts in other ways through the Take Back Time app.

Not only is there a possibility of reaching tens of thousands of people because of the number of books that will be put into circulation and each time they’re passed along. It’s not one person reading one book. It’s 5 or 10 people reading one book. It’s an exponential exposure to each of the experts that are in there, but they also get exposure inside of the app to the tens of thousands, if not ultimately hundreds of thousands of people that will download the app as a resource for being more productive in their life.

TBT 101 | Shareability And Trackability App

Shareability And Trackability App: Receiving a book and passing it along brings an impact that people love to experience.


What if they don’t get it? This is an opportunity for them as a resource and a tool, whether it’s a productivity expert or an expert in any other one of these books. Maybe let’s say, “I have an eBook.” What’s the difference? Why should I be part of this when I can distribute my eBook? What would you say?

The directories also become eBooks. The physical books are the things that people like to pass along. The reality is that we still live in, “I want to be touched,” world. They predicted that physical books would go away and eBooks will take over. The truth is that’s not happening. It’s going in the opposite direction. There was a dip and we’re going back to people still wanting to hold books. There is a different experience from a person reading and getting an email to reading an eBook than someone’s handing them a small little book that they can read in twenty minutes and then pass along and have that experience. One of the quotes that I saw that is relevant here is that, “We’re heading into what they call the experiential decade.” It means that people are looking more for experiences than they are looking for products or quick access. They want to experience things. Experiencing, receiving a book, pass it along, and then watching where that book goes on, how is it that you’re a part of that ripple in the impact of that book and the messages in that book is an experience that people love.

People want to see where their footprint is going and that they can’t help it. Why are people looking into their whole history to find out where their family came from and all of that? There’s a fascination about our footprint and where it’s going and where it’s been. Tell me who’s distributing these books. You say hundreds of thousands of people are going to access it.

We got the app that is his own little world, but that’s your app, the Take Back Time app. That will be on the iPhone and Android app stores. Hundreds of millions of people are downloading apps every year. The book becomes a conduit for people to download the app.

For people who are reading, we’ve got all the people who are searching for productivity. For instance, for my book or whatever other books you know there is, but for the best practices of Take Back Time, they’re going to search productivity. They’re going to see our app and they’re going to come to the app. The experts are going to have this app that they can show that they have. They can send people there, but they’re also going to get people searching from the app store itself. As you said, there’s the book aspect.

There’s a book that connects to the app. The books will be distributed and we will give it out for free in different capacities. They’ll be sold on Amazon. They’ll be sold in bookstores through regular book distribution channels. They’ll be sold through gift shops because these are wonderful, like a little gift type of item, all over the place. Our minimum goal with the Take Back Time Directory is to publish and distribute 5,000 copies of the books all over the place. We know that the 5,000 books are not just 5,000 people that are accessing that information or downloading the app. That’s more like 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 or 50,000 people because of the trackable, shareable nature of the book. That kind of exposure is valuable to an expert for people that are definitely interested in productivity.

All the events that I do throughout the year, this is a great little giveaway, the thing to leave behind. I’m not just promoting me at this event, I’m promoting all 30 of those people who are in this book because every attendee is going to get one of these. That’s where you talked about the free handouts or maybe they’d be old in the back. I would give them for free because I want to give people access to these productivity tips. That’s just me. If all 30 people are distributing them, then you see 5,000 is a small number considering the number of people that I see at events per year is significant and adds that then multiply by 30. You’re going to fire effect from that.

If you look at it from an ROI perspective for an expert, if you’re 1 of 30 experts in this book, the truth is that if you have a great message in the book and someone is reading that and they go, “I like what Penny said here. Her idea or her approach to this way of productivity is inspiring for me.” What makes us unique is we give people a way to connect with Penny to go deeper. That’s what that code is and that’s what that listing in the app is. Not only can they download the app and watch videos of Penny, assuming Penny you are the expert in that app. Let’s say I’m one of the experts and they went and they want to watch my videos, but if they track my special offer code, which they will do because they like what I had to say, I can literally get my money back from one client that I am offering them an opportunity.

My offer would be something simple like a video that invites them into or to learn more about X, Y, Z program that I have, then there’s an invite for them to get on a consultation call with me. If I get 1 or 5 people over a period of time on a call with me, that I’ll be able to convert them into one of the programs that will generate multi-thousand of dollars of income for me. One client for me would be worth the small investment to be an expert in this book. Imagine that and multiply that times tenfold.

Having your own app is a phenomenal approach. It gives you a lot more power to connect and engage with more people. Click To Tweet

It’s a no-brainer because of the access that you’re going to get through something like this. Think about it, if you have to invest in Facebook ads or other types of marketing, you could be investing thousands upon thousands of dollars and getting the same reach for what you could be spending a couple of times.

Those are short-term hits that a Facebook ad goes for this and then it dissipates and then it disappears. A physical book is out there reaching people. One book could go from one person six months later to the next person. That next person could connect with one of the experts in there. They’re not an end date to the possibilities here. Once you’re in the book, you’re in the book. When you’re in the app, you connect them to the app.

You’re in the app and you are in the book and people are going to find you. They’re going to resonate with you. There are events that if they can be given out. What are some of the other types of ways to be able to send people to the app or to give them the book? It is a leading question. I’m thinking, I could use this. I’m on a ton of different podcasts, so this is a great giveaway of what I could do on a podcast to say, “Check out the Take Back Time Best Practices and download the app and get that special message from me.”

My thought is this, the reality is if you can have your own app, like what Penny is doing to Take Back Time, that’s a phenomenal approach. As we were talking about, having your own app gives you a lot more power to connect and engage with more people. If you can’t do your own app, then the next best thing is to be a part of an app like this directory. The Take Back Time app is all about providing not just the information that Penny has, which is brilliant information on being more productive in the new decade, but it’s also here are some other great teachers, resources and experts sharing their ideas for the app too.

You become this aggregate of awesome productivity experts and ideas and content for everybody to see. If I was an expert and I wasn’t going to invest into my own app, I would absolutely invest in being a part of the Take Back Time app because there’s going to be a lot of traffic going to that app through the book, the efforts and the marketing that Penny is doing. I get to benefit from that. This is a collaboration that makes sense and works. To not be in an app is the only not smart way to go. Whether it’s your own or to be a part of a smart app like this one is something to think about.

I love the idea. It’s unique. It’s up and coming. I like the whole crowd sharing aspect of it because I do believe that collaborating together as experts, and people collaborating together and sharing their expertise in the value that they got for something is where everything is headed. Is there anything else you wanted to share with the audience?

My biggest thing is there are two opportunities here that Penny is bringing into this space of experts in this field. Absolutely look at being a part of the Take Back Time Directory, not only being published in the physical book with the pages in there and the link to the app but to also be a part of the Take Back Time digital directory inside the app and get benefits there. The other is to connect with Penny and she’ll introduce you to me about the possibility of having your own app. We have provided this high-end, effective, multifaceted app technology. We’ve made it affordable for every single business out there. Every business can leverage this in a way that Penny is and other experts are. Take action and be a part of this. Reach out to us. At least have a conversation with us because I think you’ll find a way to leverage this platform in a big way in this New Year and a new decade.

Thank you so much, Robert, for being here.

It is my pleasure. Thank you, Penny. I appreciate it.

For all of you who are reading, that’s what we’re talking about is taking back time. If you can take back time in your marketing efforts and save yourself some money and get your result faster, that’s what we’re all about. That’s why I brought Robert here. Whether you’re an expert in productivity, contact me. I’d love to have you in the directory. If you’re an expert in anything, you need to be in the app space. Get yourself to Take Back Time and work smarter in getting your contacts, in engaging the leads, and being able to push the new content as it comes out and know that they’re getting it, receiving it, being able to interact with it. Be able to give them special offers that are relevant to them. That’s where this is going and I know it’s going to be a huge benefit to you. If you’re building up your expertise or you’re already an expert, definitely think that you should hook up and connect with Robert. Connect with me and I’ll put you guys in touch. It’s a reasonable way to get to your marketplace. That’s it for this show. We’ll see you in the next episode.

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About Robert Evans

TBT 101 | Shareability And Trackability AppRobert Evans has been an active marketing expert in the thought leader space for the past 18 years building various training companies for transformational leaders and massive audiences in the traditional marketing space.

He was the founder of the Messenger Network, a training company with over 100k people in the network, and one that helped people get their message into the world.

He has traveled the world with thought leaders taking them on powerful trips and now is teaching leaders how to use apps in their business and start getting better results from their marketing.

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