May 7th, 2019
According to my friends, this is my ‘second smile’ face. A second smile is the kind of smile you smile when you are fully at ease – there is no performance to it. While I am usually deeply happy when running my business, it’s often a ‘first smile’ happiness. The realities of bringing my business to life as one person, without a map: smile-sigh. Lessons I might be right in the middle of: smile-wince.
Built within the fabric of the Nurture sails, however, is to take these uncharted spaces and creatively bring attention, intention and devotion to what’s stormy.
Over the next few days I’ll be sharing a shortlist of three things that “Nurture Nurture”, if you will, through those storms. The things that make me ‘second smile.’ I want to introduce you to a person, a product, and a system in my business toolkit that are the equivalent of having the kind of crew and ballast to weather anything.
3. Asana & my ‘patented’ Corkboard MethodTM
#1 – HONEYBOOK
YOU MIGHT BE FAMILIAR WITH THIS ANCHOR:
An anchor to my soul and my computer: the email chain.
Emails for days with no sight of shore.
Fishing for information from collaborators or attendees with individual correspondence that in reply perhaps catches the answers to questions number 2 and 4, but lets answers 1, 3 and 5 slip back into the sea of DEAR LORD IS NO ONE ELSE A VIRGO RISING.
It’s 2017, B.H. (Before HoneyBook). Before I have my own business email. I’m asking for (sometimes late) payment from a personal Gmail address in my own self-conscious words. I’m soaked in a gale of impostor syndrome, for something I’ve created and really really hope people will maybe actually (please?) buy. Contracts, invoices and intake forms are drafted, but require 3 different online apps that I can only afford the ‘free’ version of in order to be able to send and sign them electronically. Their branding aesthetic is to Nurture like a corporate meeting room with overhead lighting is to a candlelit harvest table dinner at golden hour. Did I mention I am also working a full time job alongside? Aye, Captain.
HOW I FEEL:
The administrative tasks alone flood both my inbox and my chest with anxiety. I think sometimes people forget that life dreams come with monsters that lurk in the corners of learning curves. Being at the mercy of others’ whims and schedules doesn’t help when I need certain information upfront, or, ideally, yesterday. I hate the feeling that some people, however unconsciously, aren’t taking me or my business seriously when I have so much on the line. My bank balance, yes. And, at times, sigh; my identity.
AVAILABLE OPTIONS TO ME CIRCA 2017, B.H.:
Send yet another email asking the same thing trying not to sound needy or bitchy, but, because I’m human and smack in the eye of the lesson, let’s say I get ample practice being both.
It’s delightfully on-brand of me to choose a CRM with food in the title, but HoneyBook delights me for so many tangible, practical reasons.
Working with HoneyBook: the online CRM feels like working with HoneyBook: the actual San Fransisco-based sun-kissed team of fellow creatives that run it. It might be a virtual product, but the people behind it are as real as you and me and – sound the trumpets – accessible! I feel like the captain of a ship that actually has a crew!
When I reach out for help with the smallest of things, I find real, engaging people on the end of the line or chat box where, by the end of the conversation, the likelihood of us having an inside joke is strong. Or, a mutual feeling that going for a coffee might be fun if we didn’t live a few time zones apart!
I now have an online system that seamlessly on-boards those I collaborate with and sends professional, branded brochures, quotes and invoices to those that hire me. If I’m honest, signing up for it simultaneously both inspires and acts as the antidote to my impostor syndrome. Companies message me: “Dear Nurture Team” and I sit at my computer and giggle/cry at the thought that it’s simply me and a lot of hats.
When running a small business where you are your own CEO and HR/Marketing/Finance departments combined, implementing an online CRM like HoneyBook can do some of that heavy lifting so that you have more space and energy to do what made you want to start your business in the first place! I also find it to be a tangible, accessible way of setting expectations and implementing necessary boundaries – with myself and with my clients – around money. The power of a third party to send payment reminders, or nudge clients when they haven’t opened a contract document (especially as a solopreneur) is not to be underestimated. Needy Money Collector with Codependency Issues is no longer a hat I need to wear!
The system is easy to use, intuitive to brand, and incredibly effective both tangibly and intangibly: it’s an invitation to mindfully consider the flow of my customer or collaborator experience, all of which are now automated. You’d think that automation would eliminate that compelling human element, but instead I’ve found it’s made more room for it through the peace of mind it inspires in me. The moment I started using HoneyBook, it was as though I was prompted to take myself and my business more seriously, and, as a result, my clients and collaborators did too.
HOW HONEYBOOK HAS CHANGED THE GAME:
It’s increased productivity, profit and promoted an area I wasn’t expecting: my personal self esteem.
HOW TO WORK WITH HONEYBOOK:
Check them out via www.honeybook.com; pick up the phone or chat online with someone from their team to see if it’s a fit for you and your business. A variety of effective choices exist for online CRMs and finding the right one for you is a journey worth taking.
I believe that, like a company name, the spirit of an online offering carries the spirit of those who work on it behind the scenes: at HoneyBook you can feel the people who work there care about you and enjoy their jobs!
I’m not in the habit of being a part of affiliate programs, but HoneyBook is an exception I make with no hesitation. I’ll be fully transparent about the fact that in the case of HoneyBook, I am thrilled and honoured to be an ambassador. If you feel moved to try it for yourself, you can press the button below to receive 50% off your first year.
Cover photo capturing my second smile by the incredible: Katie Benfey