Amy Riordan Podcast

#8 Simplifying Business with Erin Flynn

November 14, 2019 Amy Riordan / Erin Flynn Season 1 Episode 8
Amy Riordan Podcast
#8 Simplifying Business with Erin Flynn
Show Notes Transcript

Amy Riordan:   0:00
"Time is nonrefundable. Use it with intention." - Unknown.

Amy Riordan:   0:09
Welcome to the Amy Riordan Podcast. They say owning a business is a journey in self development, so I decided to explore just that. Whether you're an entrepreneur or looking for fulfillment in your day to day life, get inspired here through interviews, life stories and proven self help techniques. What you do with the information received in this podcast is completely up to you, but if you act, you will alter the course of your life in ways you never could have possibly imagined. I'm Amy Riordan. Let's do this.  

Amy Riordan:   0:42
Erin Flynn, creator of the Successfully Simple Podcast, is with us today. She's gonna tell us all about how her podcast and her business ways will make it easy for you to navigate your business in just 15 minutes max per week. So these podcast episodes are incredibly informative, they're packed full of all sorts of information. And like I said, you're gonna be able to listen to them when you're on your way to the grocery store, on your way to pick up your kids. They're super short and super informative, so when you get the chance, check it out. And here is my interview with Erin.  

Amy Riordan:   1:15
Hi, Erin. Thank you so much for joining us. We're really excited to have you! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.  

Erin Flynn:   1:21
Thanks so much for having me, Amy. I'm really excited to be here! So I am a web designer, or I've been known as a web designer for the past several years, but I'm also a teacher, and I have recently expanded beyond teaching web designers into teaching all types of freelancers and entrepreneurs how to run a more simple and yet successful business. So I'm really enjoying this shift in getting to reach new audience.  

Amy Riordan:   1:45
And I am loving Successfully Simple. So tell us about your podcast and your new business venture.  

Erin Flynn:   1:53
My podcast is basically for anybody who is feeling overwhelmed, but we mostly talk about freely and topics. Although I've had a few people who, you know, have a normal day job who really enjoy my podcast too. But it's mainly around simplifying what you do in your day to day. To create more success in your life. And so, all of the episodes are really short. I aim for them all to be actionable so that you can leave knowing something that you can put into action right away to start making a change.  

Amy Riordan:   2:25
So I've listened to the first couple episodes, and I've really, really loved them. I'm curious, where did you come up with this idea of making it just short and sweet and straightforward for all these people that have, like crazy lives?  

Erin Flynn:   2:37
Well, most of my audience tends to be a woman around my own age, and most of them have children, so they don't have a lot of free time. So either they are, you know, juggling a day job and their kids or they're juggling a a small business and their kids. And they don't have time to sit down and listen to, you know, like a two hour long podcast, and those can be great, and really informative. And I'm not saying don't ever listen to them, but, you know, when you have to set aside that much time, it's really difficult when you have somebody, you know, asking you for snacks. You're trying to make dinner or your you know, your commute to drop the kids off at daycare is only 20 minutes. So to really fit my audiences needs, I spoke to them, and the basic idea that we came up with was to keep them 20 minutes or less so that they can listen, you know, on that drive to work or drive to drop the kids off or while they're making dinner and then just have one thing to do and not like too many ideas for them to implement.  

Amy Riordan:   3:37
And I think that's great. It's definitely helped me so far. And I think that a lot of the people listening to this podcast we'll see that they can set business goals that really reflect who they are and not have to focus so much on it that they can focus on their family, I really like the concept of this. So tell me a little bit more about it. Is it going to be interviews, or is it gonna be mostly, you are a combination of both?  

Erin Flynn:   3:59
The first few episodes have been just me, mainly to set the basis and kind of set the tone and kind of see exactly like what my audience wants in terms of episodes. But I have brought in, for this first season, I've brought in three guest experts who I have interviewed. I'm recording the last one of those later this week. And so Season 1's ten episodes. 7 of which are me, and 3 of which will be with guests and then going forward, I think it's gonna be more of a 50/50 split. Because there are so many brilliant entrepreneurs and freelancers out there that I just want them to be able to share with my audience as well.  

Amy Riordan:   4:42
And how often do these come live? Are they weekly?  

Erin Flynn:   4:45
They're currently weekly. I originally actually had planned on doing every other week to not overwhelm my audience. But I got several emails after the first episode was released that said, 'Can you can you put these out a little bit faster?' So I am. That may change in the future, we'll kind of, I'll kind of like touch base with my audience and see if they still like the weekly or, you know, that's too much. And we should, you know, break them up a little bit more. But mainly I'm always, always talking to my audience and trying to see what is the best fit for them and their lives and their businesses. So subject to change.

Amy Riordan:   5:20
That's so important. And we're addicted. I mean, honestly, I'm addicted to your podcast. I love, like I said, I love how short and sweet it is. It really makes you think, and especially if someone like, you know, going out on her own, trying to do this podcast, it's given its given me courage along the way, that's for sure.  

Erin Flynn:   5:36
Oh, that's so nice of you to say.

Amy Riordan:   5:37
Thank you. Of course. And so, one thing I wanted to touch base on is like your history with this, like, tell my audience a little bit how this came about and what this knowledge is coming from as far ss with you.  

Erin Flynn:   5:52
So I've been teaching web designers how to run their businesses and, like, systematize everything since around late 2014. I released my first product for them. And, over the years, like there were some common threads that I was seeing between web designers and then other people who followed me, maybe didn't buy my products because they were specifically for web designers. Although some of them did and then still applied them, you know, show different business, like copyrighting. But the common themes were, you know, business is so difficult whether you have kids or not. There's a lot to do when you're running your own business, whether it's your full time gig, a side gig, whatever, there is a lot. And so it can get overwhelming so fast because we see all of these shiny objects around on the internet, you know, going to be on all of these social platforms, you need to post this often, at this time; you need to have this many products and services and things just you know, what you think is a simple business when you start, it grows into a nightmare that is very difficult to manage because you, you know, you think that maybe you're going to start a web design business but then you end up also offering  SEO and website maintenance and branding and all sorts of different things because people ask you, and then trying to keep up again with social media is just A LOT and really business doesn't have to be that complicated. There are so many things that we do that really are not delivering results. They're just taking up our time, and we feel like we're doing a lot because we've got this huge list and we're able to check things off every day. But when we actually stop and we look and see what's impacting our business in the best ways, that list is actually very, very short. So we don't need to be doing everything that we're doing.

Amy Riordan:   7:39
Completely agreed. So, am I right in remembering that one of the podcast talks about the 80/20 rule?  

Erin Flynn:   7:46
Yes, so I will... well, I also talk about it a lot, so I'm pretty sure I mentioned it in one of my podcast episode so far. But if not, it's also probably on my social media and blog somewhere as well, but yes. So the 80/20 rule basically is that 80% of the results come from 20% of your efforts, and it can be so split up in a whole bunch of different ways. Like 20% of your clients are also producing 80% of your headaches, so it also works in reverse. But it's really fascinating, and if anybody hasn't heard of it before, definitely look up the 80/20 rule because it is so applicable to so much. But when you realize how true it actually is, and you can get 80% of your results by doing 20% of the work. Oh, my gosh. Your life just become so much easier.  

Amy Riordan:   8:33
So you and I am at Craft & Commerce this last year, and that's a really cool conference in Boise, for those of you who don't know. Tell me a little bit about how those experiences that you've had are gonna be reflected in this podcast and how it can help those small business owners.  

Erin Flynn:   8:49
Well, first of all, some of those brilliant people that I met at Craft & Commerce will be on my podcast eventually. Craft & Commerce is such a great conference in terms of actionable content that you can take away. And, I wouldn't say that all of my content has always been a similar format, but Craft & Commerce has like, kind of solidified that type of structure. Like, seeing how that works, like at a much bigger scale with, you know, hundreds of attendees has made me realize, like, yes, like, this is the way I want to go. Like the fluff-free, get it done, you know, brilliant ideas, but without - with still being like bite sized chunks has been so great to see that happen, like in real life, and then be like, yes, I'm like, totally on the right track with how I'm, you know, teaching things in my business and structuring my podcast. And I am very excited to have guests from Craft & Commerce come on my show in the near future.

Amy Riordan:   9:46
That will be very exciting because I know there's a lot of really, really creative and intuitive people that go to that conference that really, completely open up your mind to different things you never would have thought about before. So tell me a little bit about how your web design business got started. So how did you, can you tell people that want to get off the ground a little bit about how they could maybe set a goal to start their own business, and maybe how to know when they should quit their jobs? I know that's kind of like broad, but...  

Erin Flynn:   10:17
Well, I was say I'm probably not the best model in terms of when you should quit your job and start your own business, because I did not have a plan. I did not have clients. I did not have a business when I quit my job. My job was horrendous. It was like the type of job that I would go home and cry pretty much every day. I drank a ton of really cheap wine. It was not good and like I'm talking about not get to the point where I actually probably should have sued that company for how bad it was. Except, at the time that it waas, there were not a lot of jobs available. It was... when did I quit? I quit in 2011 and so there weren't like a ton of jobs for people with a communication degree like me, there weren't a whole lot of options. Fortunately though, somebody that I met at that job, ended up working for somebody else and their client ended up needing a website and so that ended up being a perfect fit because she remembered that I was able to negotiate $3000 more per year because I could manage the company's website. And so she contacted me; I made a website for that client and they launched my business. They're actually still a client today. I work on retainer with them; they're fantastic. But they really helped me get started because that showed me 'Oh, my gosh, like I can make this a business.' I've been making websites like for really a long time, since 1999, just as, mostly for fun is a hobby, you know, as a kid. But to make it a business was not something that I really thought that I would do in terms of it being my full time job. And I just kind of like they had to. There was nothing else out there, so it was, you know, how to start your own business or, you know, work at Starbucks and no shame in working at Starbucks. But I hard to live off of that income.  

Amy Riordan:   12:08
I can imagine. So what goals do you currently have for your business? What do you want to see for Successfully Simple in the near future?  

Erin Flynn:   12:17
What I - I have several courses planned for release next year, which I'm really excited about. So there will be one, without letting too much out. There will be one on systematize ing your freelance business so that you can, you know, get all of the things organized? There will be another one on creating and launching a signature service so that you can markets less and attract really great clients who want to hire you specifically because you're solving their problem. And then I have a couple others that I'm still kind of surveying my audience about and trying to nail down the details on what they'll look like. But I'm really, really looking forward to these new programs and being able to impact other freelancers like in this way and really help them basically make more money without trying to sell, you know, 50 different things, you know, offer everything under the sun and then figure out all of the mess that then comes with, you know, having 20 different services because you can't systematize that easily as a freelancer. But if you have one really great one with, well, there's a stack. We'll get into that in the program. There's a stack of services that you have, but you have one that you market and through that you are able to systematize all of your processes and just really make everything run smoothly so that you don't have timelines dragging out or anything like that. So is gonna be really fun.  

Amy Riordan:   13:45
It's gonna be great. It's so easy to get carried away

Erin Flynn:   13:48
It is.

Amy Riordan:   13:48
Especially when you leave one thing behind, you're like, OK, I'm done doing that, and then someone comes up to you and they're like, 'Oh, I really want a website,' but you're like, I don't do that anymore, but how much are you gonna pay me? OK, I'll do it. I mean, it's so easy to just, yeah. I've definitely gotten dragged around a little bit with that. So, let's talk a little bit about the systematizing. I know that's basically just like organizing your brain for how you want your company to be, but maybe touch a little more based on that.

Erin Flynn:   14:20
Yeah, so when I teach systems, primarily what we look at is what the process should be like when you're working with a client. So it's definitely based on how much money you need to make, how long you need to spend on the services, and all of that good stuff, but it's also around creating an excellent experience for your clients, where they feel taken care of, because that's where freelancers tend to get a really bad reputation is because we know what's going on in the back ends, but we've failed to communicate a lot of that to our clients. They start to feel like we have disappeared with their money, even if we're working on the project the whole entire time. And so basically, when you create systems for your projects, everything run smoothly, your clients - they get the communication they need, they're able to touch base with them easily a different point in the process. And they feel taken care of the whole entire time, which turns them into basically referral machines for you because they're like working with Amy was so great. I have to tell everybody about what it's like to work with her.  

Amy Riordan:   15:26
Alright, so you're launching these courses, and I know a lot of people want to launch courses. I think that that's a really, really cool concept, especially online, because you can access everyone worldwide. Why don't you tell us a little bit about what you do on the marketing side?  

Erin Flynn:   15:43
Oh, my gosh. So for those of you listening, who sell a service and you're like, you know what, it sounds like a great idea to, like, make a course or an e book or something, and just have that passive income coming in while you sleep. That does not work that way. Marketing a product is actually extremely difficult. If I had had any idea of how much more marketing a product requires versus a service, I probably would have never started making products. I do love them now, but it is a totally different ball game. So when I sell a service, I can go somewhere like Craft & Commerce and find people who need a website and I can talk to them directly. And I can probably book a couple websites and that's it. I don't even have to have my own website to sell a service. Um, when you sell a product, typically, yes, you could go to somewhere like Craft & Commerce and maybe get a couple students for your course. That can happen, but it doesn't happen in quite the same way. It doesn't happen where people go, 'Oh my gosh, that sounds like the best course ever', right? They're normally like, when someone hires you like in person, it's because they're hiring you, not because they want to buy from you. So instead, you do all of the social media stuff, and then you have to have all of these touch points, and it's really kind of crazy. So when it comes to marketing, I actually try and keep it as simple as possible. Well, which is what I do with most of everything in my business. But I tried everything I tried, like absolutely everything under the sun to sell courses. And what I discovered works best for me is making connections on instagram and getting traffic from Pinterest that then I can get onto my newsletter that then I can sell them. So it's like two platforms tend to be the very best for me. I do have a Facebook or group right now, where I'm mostly trying to have discussions with my audience as opposed to sell to them. But it's - my philosophy with marketing is choose what you can show up on regularly, and if it feels like a horrific chore to you, it's not ever gonna be a good marketing avenue, even if everybody's saying, you know this is the thing you gotta do; like this is the new hot thing because you're not gonna show up, you're not going to be consistent. And even when you do show up, you're gonna have all of this like 'Ugh, I don't want to be here' energy, which is gonna turn people off. So in terms of marketing just find, you know, one or two places that you really enjoy doing if you're selling products and just focus on those And if you're selling services, I would say in person connections, you know, you can reach out to family and friends, and that is your best bet for, you know, at least getting started with your business because those in person referrals are so good.  

Amy Riordan:   18:38
I think that a lot of people forget how their passion comes through, not just when they're talking about something that they love but also, yeah, when they're doing something that they clearly enjoy. So if you enjoy Instagram, focus on it and, like, build it up and then maybe, like, learn Facebook and maybe you can get more interested in Facebook, I totally get where you're coming from, cause people they don't I don't think they register that that's... I mean, like you talking about this and Successfully Simple and everything behind it, you're clearly passionate about it, and that definitely comes through on social media, regardless of whether it's a photo and text or a video. I wanted it to space on your, one of your most recent conversations about, if I can do it, you can do it, too. I want you to touch base on that, cause I really, really loved that.  

Erin Flynn:   19:25
So I think that's something that - in the podcast where I talk about it, I use webinars as a specific example, because that tends to be like right at the pitch. 'Oh, if I can, you know, start a seven figure dog walking business of course you can do it, like I didn't go to school for dog walking', right? And and the thing is like, that's not a lie, as probably that person is not lying at all, and they probably really do feel that that's something that most people can achieve. But what isn't not normally said in these conversations is that you have to keep going. You can't just buy a program and even, you know, follow it and then just be like, 'Why didn't it work?' There's so much commitment that goes into running a business, where you know, if it's starting that dog walking business, then you have to still go out and look for clients. You can't, you know, post on Facebook once and wonder why you didn't get clients. You have to be committed even when you're like, 'Why does nobody want me to walk their dog? What's what's wrong with me? I love dogs', right? You still have to go out there and keep going and keep trying. And business is really, really hard. And the reason most people can't do it, too, is because they find it difficult and they give up. They don't push through in those times where it is difficult. They're not committed enough to making their dream happen, even when it's tough. And I think that's in part because either they don't want it bad enough. Sometimes things just sound like a great idea. Seven figure dog walking business - sign me up, right? Fantastic. Sounds great in theory, but if it's not what they truly truly want, then they're not gonna push for it when those times are hard. But also there's this kind of like I don't want to say lie, but misconception where business is always easy. We see these people who seem to have overnight launched six and seven figure businesses and we go, 'All she did was put up a couple of blog posts and then sell a course, and that's it.' And that's not what happened. There was so much that went on that you had no idea about, and probably multiple years of struggling, multiple years of doing OK, but not, you know, six or seven figures. And so that commitment, that pushing through is what is so important. And not everybody can do that. Not everybody will keep pushing even when it's tough. And so if you really want it, I do believe you can do it. But if you don't want it, then you're not going to. You're not gonna take a course and magically have a seven figure business. It just does not work that way.  

Amy Riordan:   22:13
That really resonated with me because - well and in part, it reminded me a little bit of a Mel Robbins interview I watched, where she was talking about how it's not about, you know you not learning enough, it's just about you being lazy. So, like, a lot of people will go and they'll buy a fitness book. And they'll read this fitness book and be like 'I'm gonna be fit!' And then, you know, before you know what, they're going to buy another fitness book, and that's obviously not changing anything. And she said that, you know, 'We could google, like, 99% of the things that we want to do and then learn about them and go do them. We have, like, the most insane resource is on the planet, now. It's all about laziness', and I feel like those to kind of go together. I mean, in a sense that yeah, you have to want it bad enough to actually get it done. So that, I think that was really... that one stuck out the most in my head from your podcasts. Although. I really like to the trailer as well.  Thank you, Erin. So much for being here.  

Erin Flynn:   23:10
Thanks so much for having me Amy and anybody listening. Who wants to join the Facebook group, I would actually love to have you in there. I would love to hear about what you're struggling with in your business and how I could help. So, I will give a me that links that she could include it, and I can connect with you on Facebook.  

Amy Riordan:   23:26
Alright. Thanks, Erin!  

Erin Flynn:   23:27
Thank you.

Erin Flynn:   23:29
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