EP: 054 The Most Important Tech Tools for Business Owners with Amy Keys
I've got, a confession to make. I need, to get this off my chest. As, a business owner we all make mistakes. I've. Gotta confess. Hey. Guys it's Charlie here from confessions, of a business owner and today, I am very lucky to be joined by someone I call a friend and also a talented, talented, human, miss Amy Keys hey doing any I'm, doing, great how. Are you doing. Really well I'm thrilled to have you on the show from, all the way across the ocean in the USA, and I have to put this in there because when I asked you to fill out my podcast form, you asked to be introduced, in a very particular way so we're going to roll with it so, this is Amy Keys my, favorite, American friend so, yeah. It's. An absolute pleasure to have you on here today so, for the listeners out there can, you tell them what you do what is your business. What. I do is. Help, people with, their online tech, tools I like to take. All of them and make them all in a great real nicely together it's kind of like a like. A puzzle to me when people are struggling. With making, everything fit just right and seamlessly, kind, of take all those and analyze it all and go you, know this can be made better you, can streamline this here, and everything just runs more. Smoothly. Definitely. Puzzle solving for me it's. A great way to describe in a good analogy I mean you certainly you are my go-to person in tech whenever I'm playing with online tools always, reach out and ask hey. What's the best way to do this once. Well. It's interesting because it's like in, the modern world of, internet. If you pro like everyone's using a ton of online tools I don't think there's any modern, business that wouldn't be using a, variety of tools these days even like trades people like, plumbers like, like. They've even using CRMs, Google. Mail all kinds of things and how, those, tools work together and what, tools you, use makes. A huge difference on productivity. I'm. Sure you see anything. Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. Sorry. Go ahead you. Go from there it's always the start of the episode where we'll talk over each other we'll find out flow eventually, but. It's. Coming on it's coming, yeah. Definitely. How people use tools makes, a big, difference. Not. Just productivity. But just how easy their. Day can be with, the jobs they need to get done with with work how, much time they're able to spend on you, know bigger higher. Level, tasks, instead of just, tinkering. Around as, I say with with tools trying to figure everything out. You. Know it's not, everybody realizes there's people that just really dig doing is like. Spending their time figuring out how to make, all those connections that's what people a lot of people say to me like I'm spending you know all day trying to figure this out and I just want to go, why are you doing that like just just give it to somebody and let them do it you know we could I could spend all day trying to solve, that problem so I'm. Happy to do it and let them carry, on with with, what they're really wanting to spend time doing I, thought. That comment there I find it incredibly, fascinating. So I'll. Put it this way if the, wiring. At my house was, broken right I wouldn't, even attempt, to fix it I'll just call an electrician, you, know but there, might be a few Cowboys out there that would try and fix it themselves but in general like that's the approach when. It comes to the internet people, tend to treat it very very differently I think, people tend to try and like work, this tech stuff out on their own and the amount of hours they waste I can only father I can only fathom.
Tons. Of hours and and I think if people, thought. Of it like there is a little bit of electricity, this, you could get zapped by just like if you went in in your wall, and tried to fix electrical. Issues, you know most people avoid that because I know they're going to get get, pains by that that, current, possibly. That. Can happen with your tech tools in a different way you. If. You don't connect something correctly. It, can it can have a, negative effect in other areas, that if you're not familiar with. Streamlining. And working, all that out you could be causing problems that you're, not even aware of and, then until people kind of see. That it's, sometimes, difficult to explain that so they just kind of get in there and try and figure it out like a kind, of like a you, know DIY, or same, same thing just, with online. Tools same thing. So what tool do you think is the, biggest culprit, in the marketplace, today. It's. Interesting because I was just reading. Zapier. Did their 2018. It's. Like a tool summary, you know an overview of kind of where things are and spreadsheets. Is a big one that not. Necessarily, a lot of new players have come in on there's. Been a few but people, are still using, spreadsheets. For lots and lots of things, and. They are definitely, good for a lot, of the. Reasons, people are using them but, they're not always the best tool I think sometimes, people default, to an easy. Tool or something that is just natural. For them to just kind of default, to and when, you just default, to a tool it's not always the, best use of your time so. I. Think, spreadsheets. Is a big one I find that you know when when people are really struggling with data, I always know. They're probably going to tell me yeah, I've got it in a spreadsheet and that to me spells nightmare, you know they more, than likely have tons. Of files they've, got you know just dad all over the place and none, of its connected, so there because, of that they're having to spend hours, just trying, to take each one and look at it and you, know unless you're a data.
Analyst, Or want to be you know who wants, to you, know as I say who wants to work on dumb. All day. You. Know it's like you know most. People don't really want to spend time working, on that so. Yeah. There's better ways of doing it for sure what. A good example of that baby bike using a spreadsheet is, like a CRM, whether. It is dumping names and files into it yeah, the biggest, one that comes, up is. Web. Developers. Tracking. When. They're offering maintenance, and care plans to clients, and what. I find people are doing is they're keeping one, spreadsheet. For each client, and taking. Their, hours, spent you. Know providing. Support, or maintenance on each site and they're, manually, entering, that data in every time it happens from, you know they may be using something like harvest, or whatever to track. Time but then they're still manually putting, it in all these spreadsheets and, you. Know imagine 30, 50, 100, 300. Clients. You have a spreadsheet for every one and then, they're having to manually, go and email all these reports, out and it's. Just like just thinking and talking about it makes me you know like oh my god I want to fix that right now for everybody. It's. A time waster so I, think, people just aren't really you. Know they get in the habit of this. Is how I've always done it and it becomes a problem, that gets bigger and bigger and bigger and, then they just are kind of like well it's so big now that I don't even have the time to fix it so they just kind of keep going with it instead, of sometimes you got to just stop. And go okay you know I'm over this let's just draw. The line in the sand and and fix it once and for all and yes in the beginning it's gonna be a little you. Kind of may, be wondering like oh my God why did I like take on this project but it's it's, definitely a. Little. Bit of a delayed you, know reward. But it's worth doing for sure it's worth doing especially as, you always say, if you're gonna scale your business you've got to have some, kind of process, that can work, over. Time and not become more cumbersome, the more clients that you have coming in yeah. Absolutely and, that's the one thing manual. Spreadsheets don't, scale well. No. They don't you know even if you're you know even, if people have set up you, know zaps and they're dumping their data into spreadsheets, yes that's helpful, for not having to manually, type it in but it's still not quite there all the way you know that's not quite then the, end game so. Well. It's it's interesting as well what I think about this is like what. Do we think the cause is here like what's the deeper, question. Of like how many. Many businesses, have ended up in this space and I have a theory or run my theory behind you, early. On in the internet there wasn't anyone to ask for help so the norm became, just, working, things out and trying things from there and I. Don't believe most business owners would even be aware that you can hire people like virtual. CEOs, and companies like yours to, help with that stuff so is it an awareness, problem we're dealing with. I think. Yeah, I would agree that there's definitely, an awareness, problem and I would say over time you know as not. Only the Internet's, grown and how much. We use the Internet in the different ways we use it you know now it's at our fingertips on our phones as that. That's grown so rapidly in. The amount of tools that are now available to use, has, grown so rapidly you know everybody has all these options and they're kind of just digging in they're like ooh you know you know the whole shiny object, syndrome I want to try this and this cuz it is the text cool I mean you want to play with it you can't help it I get it but, yes knowing, just, having, an awareness that now, that there's this, it's not really a problem but just that the whole internet, thing has. Grown so big now. There are people that actually go home you know whoa like, let me help you rein it in a little bit you know it's fine to use all these tools but, let's be smart about it instead of just kind of going crazy with it. Absolutely. I expect, most companies they, could probably get a 20% jump, in productivity, in, the whole output from their company if they had the right tool and process set up is my is my guess if I had to pick it yeah I would, agree with that definitely, because even, even.
Some Simple changes you. Know some people are like oh you, know I don't want to change my whole process, and turn everything upside, down I think there's a little bit of a fear factor to that. Somebody's gonna come in you know when they think process, they think you. Know wow, we've spent a lot of time to play, with all these tools and we feel like we've got something good, bringing. In somebody you, know when they think of bringing somebody like my myself, and my company they there, who, you know I don't want it to be turned upside down but, what. We try to do is look. At the big picture what what everybody has working right now and actually. You. Know I asked for videos of their, staff using, the process so I can see. Where, are they going to do something manual all the little steps that they're doing and then I can go hey you. Don't really have to change your process but here, here and here you don't need to be doing that manually you know we can put some things in to make a lot, of the steps that, are done manually, go way down which, still means a Productivity jump you don't have to be changing. You hope the whole process just to get get a boost from it so, that's part of it too I think is fear. Awareness, and fear. Yeah. I would agree so, I'm curious I've got kind of I've got two questions I've been dying ass but I'm gonna ask them one at a time. What. Are your three, favorite online. Tools. The. Ones that I use the most that, I've really found. To. Get a lot done. Right. Zapier. Is is. You, know awesome for for automating, stuff but, on top of that that's kind of like a gimme. You know that's cheating. I'll, give you what, that's, why I say because. If I said one you were just gonna say sepia so yeah of course so yeah shoutouts up here send. Me a cookie. Err. Table, definitely. And. Gravity. Forms I've had a gravity forms developer. Level license for years, and years now and. It's. Kind of a you, know not, kind of it is it's an amazing tool and, there's other forms. Companies. That are similar to gravity, forms as far as the feature so that it provides but I've had it so long and the, fact that I haven't felt. The need to change is, a. Pretty. Big testimonial. You know to. Not find something that I have issue with it is, good, and I use it I think. The name kind of messes, them up sometimes people hear gravity forms but you. Could do anything from a general, form to you know we've set up very, complex. Registration. Forms for people and then, we zap all that data, right. Into air table which is a, huge, one that I'm a fan of and air. Table is I. Hate. To call it it's really not a spreadsheet, on steroids, because it's a relational, database relationships. With. That you know I used to build access, databases, and it was such a pain to put it, together and, when. I found air table it's like oh my god somebody's, you know finally, come along and and had the smarts to actually put this online.
Make It really easy for people so. When. I found air table, I was just like, wow so. Now, the. Air table is good because most. People are working with a lot of data and instead, of dumping that into a typical, spreadsheet like, Excel or Google sheets, I dumped that data into air table instead and when. I'm in there I can actually relate, the, data because, it's a relational, database and you, could sort and group and do, all kinds of crazy things and, see things in the data that you can't see in a spreadsheet as obviously, so I find it really powerful, I like things that actually. Give you insights, that that, are simple, without doing you know crazy things I like to keep it simple but get a lot out of it not not try to make everything too complex, because. There's people that are gonna be using it you know I don't want to give people something that they're. Gonna be like oh my god this is too, techie or it's too hard and needs to be user. Friendly and. When. They can see the insights they can get out of it that that. Brings the, excitement. To, them to use it you know they want to use it more because they're like oh my god I can, see so many things that, I couldn't see before so that's that's kind of like the, sweet spot for me I get really excited when people are like whoa this, is cool, well. It's really interesting you, upgraded me from Google, shapes to a table, and I got to a kind of experience, this power and, I'll put it out there for anyone that is Google. Sheets or spreadsheet fans you, can certainly get a lot more out, of their table I think it's a good bang, for buck swap, if you will like, as you said a lot of insights and data you can get so, thank you Amy it was an easy one so now the next question. What. Are the three tools you, think most business owners should, be using oh. Boy. Three. Tools they should be using. Yeah. That's a tough one, because. Businesses. Are so so different, I think. Probably. The biggest one really is, something. I'm really delving into you. Know recently, in the last few months is definitely. The online, businesses, that have recurring. Subscriptions. That is a huge one and. Making sure that when you get to a certain level with recurring, subscriptions. Most people feel like they kind of have, it all figured out when they've they've got their stripe payment. Processing, setup they've got maybe. It's clickfunnels so they've got thrived cart with WordPress, you know they kind of feel like that's all going and. Then, they've got things integrated. With Xero but, it's not really there's some there's some things, that we're discovering with. Subscription. Businesses, where the. Information, that happened, or it's. Not information it's kind of like what happens when the person goes to make. A sale you know you get a sale and the money comes in the stripe and everybody's happy they see you know money's coming in but. Actually tracking it to get some financial insights. Is, kind of. It's. Pretty important, so, working. On that connecting. Really talking to somebody he knows how to connect, that data and make sure that. The accounting, or financial person, has what they need to. To, give them insights, is, is, a big thing the, specific, tool for that it kind of depends, but that's.
A That's a big one because if you don't know, what. That financial. Data is you really don't know how, you can grow and, get any bigger with your business that makes. Sense, cube. And a sense to me I think. About this a lot because honestly. Every business, whether we realize it or not is using subscription, tools or, payment, gateways so. This is a huge problem area, in my mind and, it's like we had a conversation earlier in the week where it's like even getting the right click funnels data into. A spreadsheet can be hard work I really really can, yes. Yes. So. This whole area or, I think of getting things to connect to give business, owners the insights. And information and, dashboards, they need is, only great bro yeah. Yeah, definitely pulling. The data and, being. Able to display. It I think, businesses, are definitely, moving more and more towards, wanting to have that visual, dashboard, type. Of look you know even you, know anywhere from people, with Facebook, add data to. KPI. Data what you name, it people are starting. To really ask for, I need, my all my data kind of funnel in this nice clear picture where I can or I can just see what's happening, at a glance and really be clear on the. Information, so. Dashboards. Definitely. Would be would. Be a good choice for any business. Into. My next question is this, is gonna be these will hopefully be easier for you number, one what. Is your favorite project management, tool oh. Well. Should. I be controversial. It's. Interesting because there's. A huge, huge huge, fan. Base for, asana. Now. Myself. Personally I, think. Asana. Is a good tool but for me I don't. Care for it and I'll, tell you why. I think, it's really important when people are picking a project management tool to really, think about how, they like information, displayed. And manage, not so much does it do all, of the things I need it to do, so. For, example I had a client come to me and you, know they were looking at asana but they kind of like we're, afraid to admit there they were similar to me they don't really care for it and the, reason is there's a lot going on in the sauna there's there is a ton of features and, when you open it you know you have all this this, information.
Going On you could track and do this and that but I like. A cleaner look, I just kind of want an overview, something, really simple so, for, me how. I like the data to, show asana, isn't, it I, find, it cluttered. I. Like. Things like. Well. I've used, your. Table use, their tables project management. Meister. Tasks though i've, been liking it has the Trello, board kind. Of Kanban board effect it's, simple, and clean you can you can kind of organize it however you, want I think the best tool is. Whatever. Works. Best for your style, I try to tell people don't get caught up necessarily. And what everybody's, using yes that's a good starting. Point but if, it's just not your style don't, be afraid to say hey I just don't care for that I'd rather, just you know go simple, and use. Something like a Trello board instead, of getting into real fancy. Project. Management stuff like you know podio and I know you've used podium and podium. Definitely. You. Could do you could do a ton of stuff with podía but some, people might get intimidated, by it because, it's so customizable. You. Know you could really go down the rabbit hole if you don't have a kind, of clear idea, of what you're wanting to do with your project management soul so it's. Not a straight answer can't, commit to one or one, or the other one just to like you, know what, works best for you that's, that's the best tool that's. It well, it's some interesting points you brought up so I'm obviously a huge produce, and like I'm um I think it's a phenomenal project, very, good, if. It was my choice alone I would, just use polio I really, really would but. What. Kills, me and my company is team my team hate, polio, so. Yeah Russ, we're on asana because they like asana. And it's easy and compared, with pro tears that's how its end up the winner of my company, yeah. That's, the thing I mean you have you, know you have a team, to consider, so if if they're. The ones kind of carrying out the. Plan and they they hate the tool that you've implemented, you're. Done you, know you you have to have buy-in from your team or forget it so absolutely. Good call there buddy. You'll. Be wrapped all, right on to the next one as far as autoresponders. Which. Is we're referencing things, like Infusionsoft. Or active, campaign or drip or any of one in that realm which, is your favorite, and why. I'm. An active campaign, fan for. Sure I am. Again. I'm I'm pretty visual based, in the way that active campaign, handles. Automations. And setting up things just just. Works for me if, something's, a little more text-based. Or. Just. Kind of unclear, on the instructions, or things that I feel like should be there and aren't you know kind of make me crazy and, just. An active campaign for me has. It's, a tool that can get a lot done for, the money so I like tools like that where you know you don't feel like well, I'm missing this so I got to go over here if it. Can do a lot for your money that's, that's where I'm at and, I'm sure there's other ones but activecampaign. I'm I'm, going for for sure, all. Right next one is Google, Drive or Dropbox or. You can put forward another if you've got a drive, yeah. I'm a drive fan as well I think that's a really Drive. Too. Much integration, with all the other Google, tools I mean you, know Dropbox. Is Dropbox. I mean. It's it, does what it's, intended to do but again I like things where I'm getting a little more out of it than maybe the original. Intention. So yeah Drive I'm Drive all the way I had a Dropbox in a drive account ended up just, shutting down the Dropbox account because it's like why do I have both of these I have a, you. Know business level gmail, account and I can have like gigs bigger. Than all ever use why. Not just use it I mean you know it's crazy, we're. An unlimited like it's. Your. Area I. Know. Last and not least this is what I've been looking at for note-taking. So. When it comes to no taking, those personal, management tools if you will what's. Your favorite one in this area, well. If you go on my phone right now what, I use for taking notes is Google keep. It's. It's, simple. You. Know I could do checklists on there whenever I got a pack for a trip I.
Don't Travel all that much so I'll tend to forget something if you have to pack on a trip and I'm my packing list in there I pull it up and just check it off as I pack I can take regular notes, like it's snap pictures and, it you, know it does what it needs to do for me I've. Had, Evernote before I probably still have two. Different Evernote, accounts with a bunch of stuff in there but um yeah. Just just one simple Google keep I use all of the Google tools so why, not just use. Keep all I'm at it I, like. It a little color a little sticky notes and stuff visually. Pleasing, visually. Pleasing. It's. Interesting because even, in all of these like convenience. In the Google suite, if you will easy. So. It's like you align. Everything to Google we certainly, do make your life easier in business and they make awesome tools. Yeah. I. Mean they have. Me they have my whole life I'm sure. Somewhere. It's, all there it's all there you know between the personal and the business account I mean it's you. Just can't you. Just can't beat it you know I used my count google calendar I have. It shared with my husband, he, can you know I have his calendar I mean yeah it doesn't get any better, than that we could see what's going on it's, awesome collaborations. Good stuff yeah. It's an awesome way to go about it now, Amy we have crossed into, the end of this episode from here and, I think there's so many things that we could talk about and share from that but wake and the listeners come to find more about you and learn more about what you do in the tech space. Just. My website it's, my digital, capital, dot-com, and from. There you'll find I've got a YouTube channel that, I'm slowly, slowly growing working, hard at it and actually. Also, have an air table for web professionals, group on Facebook that you can find that's that's, got over 400 members now in. A year so yeah, my website my digital capital com, Oh fantastic. And we'll make sure we include links, to those in the show notes it's been my absolute pleasure to have you on the show today and ask the tech questions which I feel are important, for people to be getting around so thank you for being here you. Are very welcome anytime. That's. It for this episode guys thank you so much for tuning in another. Episode will be coming very soon. You.