Today on the podcast I’m sharing with you a conversation I had recently with none other than Amber De La Garza, the productivity specialist. Amber is the host of Productivity Straight Talk and she lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. I love going to Las Vegas! Yet every single time I go to Las Vegas, Amber is busy. So let’s put our good magic together and hope that next time I go to Las Vegas, I will have the opportunity to see Amber in person again. It’s been a year since I last saw her and I cannot wait to catch up.
Before I go off on talking about my friendship with Amber, I want to make sure that you know that we have a full transcript of this episode at techofbusiness.com/095/ so that you don’t have to sit there and take notes.
I was starting to pull out some of the highlights of this episode. And my notes themselves got longer than I wanted. I decided to scrap that and just point you towards the show notes because that’s where you’re going to get all the juicy nuggets and make sure that you don’t miss anything that Amber has to say.
Now let’s get into this episode and you are going to be blown away.
I wanted to bring Amber on to the podcast to share kind of where technology and outsourcing help with productivity. This is something that people come to me all the time with. They’re like, “Okay, so I want to use this new tool.” And my first question is, why? Why do you want to use this tool? And if the answer is, “So that I can be more productive.” I start to look and see if Amber has something in her podcast vault that I can send them to. That’s really the true reason why I wanted to bring Amber on today.
Tech and the relationship of productivity can be kind of a gray area.
Amber was really excited to really define how they meet and how do they actually serve each other. Amber thinks that there are a lot of people just jump to, “If I get the right program or the right app or the right this or this, it makes me productive.” Because of this she was really excited to talk about how it actually does help us be more productive.
I think that even myself, and probably Amber too, we’ve implemented technology, and it’s made us less productive, either short term or long term. There are a lot of different variables. Sometimes it’s even get a piece of tech working and have someone on your team do it or have someone get that piece of tech working and bring it back to you ready to go.
So I realized that we never really said what Amber’s podcast is and what she is actually a genius at.
Amber De La Garza is the productivity specialist. She specializes in productivity for small business owners. And she does that in many different ways. One of them is the podcast she has called “Productivity Straight Talk.” She is also a coach. So she offers group coaching programs, one on one coaching, and she also speaks and trains. So just about any method or modality of sharing the message of why productivity is so important for businesses in our lives, she;s just sharing all the good stuff.
So let’s talk about when someone says that they want to be more productive. Where do you start with them? Do you start with asking what their day looks like? Do you start with what does their tech look like?
Where do you start with that part of the conversation?
Amber shared this great example. Let’s say she has someone on a discovery call, and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t know where to start with you. I’m not quite sure.” She makes sure that they’re on the same page with how they define productivity. Because if they don’t define it the same way, then Amber says that she’s not the right person or coach for them. So the very first place she starts is to define it.
So how does Amber define productivity?
According to Amber…
“Productivity is simply when we are investing our best time into our best activities. And that’s really, really important because you didn’t hear me say an organized desk or color coded calendar or file folders that are completely alphabetical and organized and every paper has a place. I also didn’t mention tech. I didn’t mention programs. I didn’t mention the next project management program. It’s with investing your best time into your best activities.” – Amber De La Garza
Now, when we say things like, “I don’t have enough time, there’s never enough time to do those important activities like sales, marketing and visibility, and getting out there and letting people know what you can do servicing your clients.” Then that’s you need to be focused on figuring out how can you be more effective and efficient by using tech.
How can you be more organized and efficient by being organized, so that you reclaim that time to now focus and show up your best as the business owner?
That means doing the things that actually create revenue for your business. So that’s how it’s all tied in. And yes, we talk about tech and apps and an organization, but those are tools you use to leverage your time so that you show up your best in your business.
I love that because there is never a good tech tool that costs you time, energy, or whatever it might cost you that is going to stay in your business if it’s not giving you that time back.
So when I’m thinking of how to get more time out of the day, that’s really where structuring your day and structuring how you’re using the technology is important. Simple things like what time is my project management tool going to let me know that things are due. Are they due at two o’clock in the morning? Or are they due at seven o’clock in the morning? Are they do at 10 o’clock at night?
Amber can definitely speak to why you may want to use one of those or another based on your most productive time and most productive efforts.
Amber thinks that when technology is leveraged correctly, it’s actually like a silent employee. One that doesn’t talk back and it’s working for you behind the scenes. There is an investment, but the investment means you’re getting a return on that. So if you create or set up a project management program, that when you put in information it now organizes it and spits it back to you, it now becomes kind of like your boss or your executive assistant. And your calendar can the same thing. You can have your calendar do notifications and say, “Hey, it’s time to transition you’re going on a podcast.” Or “Hey, this project is due or this task is due.”
If you have systems with through automation and technology that you trust that are set up, then you actually create bandwidth space in your head to really focus on CEO things like a bigger vision. You aren’t necessarily focusing on what’s next on the task list. And so that’s how Amber sees that it can be very beneficial if you’re looking at setting up the tech, you want to make sure that it can actually feed back information to you in a way that you trust.
Oftentimes they’re more organized than you, too.
So say you’re leveraging a project management tool. They’re consistent. You set it up once. And you put in the information correct. They’re consistently showing up for you. And that can almost be better than you can count on employees sometimes. So that’s why Amber sees that tech is a really, really cool thing.
I do love the idea of outsourcing to your technology. I think that’s a really valuable thought process. If you give this tech tool something and it’s outsource properly, it’s going to give you back what you need.
So one of the pillars that Amber teaches is how to leverage through people. Her method “The Stop Method.” And that’s how to leverage yourself, your time, organization, and people. What’s interesting is that if you are not the tech person, if you’re pulling your hair out dreading it, pushing that project off, it’s never getting done, or you simply don’t understand it, then that is not a hat that I believe you should be wearing. Because now you’re stealing that time of when you’re wearing that hat for time from when you could be really doing things that are going to move your business.
So when Amber looks at building a dream team, she thinks it includes not just employees, but also independent contractors and such.
You’re using them for project based things like getting website up. Or maybe you’re not a graphic designer and you need new business cards. You could probably do that, but it’s probably going to take you three times as long.
Another big place that Amber thinks a lot of business owners need help in is setting up systems.
Either their brain doesn’t think that way or they’re just plain not good at tech. That’s totally possible. And then it’s a project. You’re set up and now you get to utilize the benefits of that tech after somebody, like me, is serving it up and figuring it out. Working out the bugs and the kinks.
To me, this made really good sense. So what I heard Amber say, is that just because you may not be, as a business owner, the most technology savvy person, that doesn’t mean you can’t still outsource good things to tech. It just means that the project of bringing that tech on is something that you will probably hire an independent contractor or me or things like that into the business.
Amber shared that even if you are good at tech, you should think about outsourcing it if that’s not the primary way that you make money and serve your business.
For example, Amber loves tech. She’s that person that is watching videos about Ontraport or the next new website thing. That’s what she would actually do in her spare time for fun. But at the end of the day, she brought in an entrepreneur consultant. Because at the end of the day, it takes a lot of time, energy, and focus and it’s not the best use of her time to grow her business.
What she has, because she understands it, is an ability to be really clear about what she wants the program to do. And so she thinks that it’s also beneficial for people that do get it. If you get it, that’s cool. You can probably more clearly state what you want the program app or tech to do. But sometimes, you just have to get out of the way and let someone that that’s their zone of genius to do so that you’re reclaiming time. The time you need to do the things that only you can do. So if you don’t have a sales person in your company, you’re doing sales. That’s not something you can project-based outsource, but you can outsource tech setup.
I say that all the time that tech is outsourceable.
Why not leverage that ability so that you can do something that is in your zone of genius? So that you can spend time on something that only you can do. If you as the business owner, get fired up getting on Facebook Lives, then get on more Facebook Lives. And dedicate the time that you would have had to spend to set up whatever that system is, or whatever that processes are to do what drives your business.
Amber says to look at like real dollars and time.
She shared that if it’s not in her zone of genius it may take her two times as long as I do to set something up. So it’s going to take her 20 hours. And it’s going to take me 10 hours. So her question to herself as the business owner would be, what impact would 20 hours of my time be, in my business elsewhere?
You can literally lay that over a networking event or a conference, whatever your marketing visibility is, or 20 hours of sales conversations. Could you not massively get a return on that investment versus 20 hours of tech set up? So we’re not just looking at a trade of time and money. We’re looking at opportunity costs. That 20 hours that you’re spending, trying to figure out the tech and the frustration, is an opportunity cost of you not being elsewhere in your business that needs you and only you as a small business owner.
We build our businesses to feel good about what we do.
Amber shared that she doesn’t know about you, the listener. But if tech is not your thing, then her guess is you’re showing up and when you’re done, you’re frustrated and your mindset is altered. And while maybe you physically put in 20 hours, did it really take 30? Because you’re just done with the day and so frustrated. What energy was depleted from doing something that was not in your zone of genius, versus showing up doing the things that light you up, which may be serving your clients?
I’d like to lay on top of that as well, the cost of the outsourcing.
So if it’s something that I’m estimating is going to cost you $1,000 to do. So that’s $1,000 out of your pocket. If it was going to take you 20 hours to accomplish it. You have to then look and say “Okay, Is 20 hours worth more? Or is $1,000 worth more?” But then, adding back in what Amber said, it’s not necessarily just 20 hours. It’s the energy! It’s the 30 hours that she’s talking about here. So all of a sudden, this $1000 outflow looks on the balance scales against all these other things that you could be doing in your business that are both positive and negative. And most of the time, the outsourcing opportunity far outweighs trying to do it yourself.
Amber thinks that’s the conversation about should we outsource? Should we not outsource? But she thinks more of that conversation is, should I even incorporate tech automation?
That’s where she would say, “Do we incorporate automation and what’s the return on investment?” How much time is it going to save you or your team? For example, let’s just say you had a CRM system set up, and now it’s telling you when to follow up with people. Whereas by yourself, you were inconsistent at best.
But now that you have a system telling you when to consistently follow up, how many more deals could you close because of the tech? That’s the value of using these apps, programs, automation, and tech. How does it let you show up your best, consistently in the business? Which again, full circle is being your most productive self.
I just loved the way that we brought this back to why you want to look at how you spend your time in your business!
How are you spending things like your energy in your business?
One of the things that I know is that oftentimes the learning side of a new process, a new system, a new tool, we will let that scope creep. We will let that time creep instead of stopping work at two o’clock, so I can go pick up the kids. Because of course, driving takes 25 minutes. But that’s another story altogether.
I’m going to say, “Okay, I have to stop now. But oh, I’ll watch that YouTube video later.” And suddenly you dig into your family time and you dig into other times, because you’re trying to learn something that is not beneficial to getting that next client. You’re working on something that’s not within your zone of genius! And you’re not spending the best time on the best work.
When Amber defines productivity, the investing your best time into your best activities, those activities for her and how she defines them for her clients is in four buckets.
It doesn’t matter your industry. Where you’re at, as a small business owner and small businesses under 50 employees, and your most productive activities are either supervising or being in these four buckets. Bucket number one is marketing and visibility. And bucket number two is sales. Bucket number three is servicing your clients. And bucket number four is leadership.
So as you’re building your business, you’re going to be spending more time leadership because you can eventually outsource servicing your clients, sales, and marketing. But the core of having your business profitable, will fall under one of those four buckets.
Now, where does tech fall into?
Tech can help us be better in one of those four buckets. But when we’re learning the tech and in the videos, and we’re actively trying to put this tech together, that falls under the other bucket. It is a way of actively procrastinating, but calling ourselves busy. We’re thinking that we’re being productive as a business owner if this is not our zone of genius.
Amber shared for me this is not true. This would literally land under servicing my clients. So an investment in learning something is like sharpening my saw so that I can serve my clients. But for coaches, financial advisors, marketers, or whatever type of the business, that’s not their zone of genius. So we can solve this like hamsters like, “Oh, but we’re busy. But I’m moving the ball forward.” Yes, but it’s not what your business needs from you the most to make the biggest impact.
I really like that. What does your business need the most from you to make the biggest impact? That is beautiful.
That is most likely a quote that someone has just read somewhere on social media because it was good! That other bucket is a dangerous, dangerous place. But it is so, so necessary. It’s also very for us to not always be on. And if we can be in that other bucket sometimes I think that makes good sense.
The other bucket is absolutely relevant.
Like you need to pay your bills. And you need your balance sheet. If you don’t have a bookkeeper, you’re balancing your checkbook. There’s really real things!. Honestly, my strategies are for people running real businesses. The truth is that when you put on your tech hat, you’re probably your janitor too. And you’re the CEO, the marketer, and the salesperson.
That’s when smoothness feels super, super overwhelming. So in the context of this episode, we’re talking where would that tech fall under and it’s the other bucket. Now, you certainly can learn it sometimes. Amber said that she didn’t want to make any false statements here. She still does tech in her business. But big projects, she outsources. So the other bucket is a necessity. It can’t be at the expense of showing up in your first four buckets. And that’s the thing is like it.
Amber shared with her model, the fifth bucket, the other bucket, is important.
We need a time and place for that. But we’re approaching our businesses as we’re showing up in that other bucket instead of the first four buckets. That’s when businesses are not profitable. You’re picking a paycheck. That’s when immense frustration comes in. And so that’s why I like separating the two.
What I was thinking about just there is that things that you are doing in the other bucket, especially in the tech when you’re doing that, is going to bleed into your being a better leader.
It’s going to bleed into doing better in your visibility and marketing. And it is going to help you service your customers better. It’s going to help you close more sales. So there is definitely value. This is just one of the reasons why I really wanted to bring Amber on to the podcast. To help people get the perspective of how can we use our time to the best benefit of our business. I feel like we’re really kind of covering that.
Tech is going to definitely help. It doesn’t matter what tool it is if it’s the right tool for your business, right now.
Amber shared that It’s not the shiny object that you thought was going to fix a problem. She wants to get really, really clear about that. It has got to be like let’s do some work. You need to research about this. It needs to be the right program for your need, not what your business bestie said they’re using. You just want to jump and now you’re jumping ship and adding another tech to your to your business.
We don’t add tech because it’s a nice garnish because it’s going to give us fuel.
I feel like we’ve just really covered the advantages of using tech and outsourcing and making it so that your business just does more. Amber shared that her business is a small business. And they use quite a bit of tech. There’s a lot behind the scenes that they use and they have some favorites.
Every once in a while, something new will come on the market. Amber share that she is not a first adopter. She lets it get tried. She shared that she really has to have a pain point to do a switch in mher business because she does see the opportunity of cost, of switching. And so she just wants to be always cognizant of not switch, switch, switch every time something new hits the market.
I firmly believe that is absolutely the fastest way to have tech make you go out of business is by doing that constant switching.
Another other thing that Amber wanted to share is sometimes there’s too much tech. And what that means is you have gone on a tech buying binge. You’re just buying it all because you like this feature or this feature. And you didn’t take the time to audit which you already had. Most likely, some of the tech you have already has the features because maybe they got upgraded or they didn’t have that feature when you first bought that.
Then what happens is it becomes really heavy. It becomes really, really complicated. You’re paying more in subscriptions than you need to be paying. So Amber thinks that is a huge benefit in either having someone on your team or someone you’re outsourcing to that, just letting you know, like, “Hey, did you know this could do this? Or did you know that I’m looking at the whole ecosystem of your tech and making sure it’s as effective and efficient as possible.” is really beneficial.
Then it’s important to take the time to actually read those emails that come in that says there is a new feature on a program you already use.
Because that’s often a goal. That means you don’t need to do the search of what’s this new program out on the market. You may already have it at your fingertips. But you just didn’t read that email or see that announcement.
Similar to that is, if you get that announcement and you read it and you say, “Hey, this means I can throw out this other system because I don’t need this other system anymore.” That’s a really good time to say, “Okay, we’re going to implement this new system, this new tool within the system we’re already using and be able to get rid of another tool.” That’s a huge piece of all of this.
Nobody needs to have a virtual store room full of software tools and monthly subscriptions.
Yes, our businesses don’t need it. Even tech lovers like me, who can make it all work together and make it so that it doesn’t feel so heavy and so big and so bloated. It still could be so heavy, so big and so bloated. So don’t go there. And if you are trying to figure out how to streamline that, figure out where your pain point is. Are you not productive enough because you haven’t used this tool efficiently? Then maybe Ambers got some resources for you.
If you just need a tech audit, come to me! Ask me to help you out with it. This is why we are in business. It’s why we have podcasts. This is why we are visible in this medium because we want to help you.
Amber says it can be a total rabbit hole to go down and figure out what this feature is and is it compatible with other tools.
Amber calls a tech audit Frankensteining your text together. You add this one. Then a little while later, you add another one, and then you add another one and, and then you’re frustrated with it because something’s not talking to something or it doesn’t work.
And really, you haven’t stopped to take an audit of it. And when you do that, there’s so many benefits. You get your time back, things work better. And it’s more efficient. You’re probably paying less in subscriptions or however you’re paying for your tech. So Amber can see a tech audit to be very, very beneficial.
This was such a fun conversation with Amber.
As I said at the beginning, there are so many nuggets in this episode. We talked about outsourcing your tech. And we talked about figuring out how to be productive by using your best time for the best activities. We talked about what tools you can use to make this flow so much easier. Such amazing insight from a true professional. Be sure to head over to her website, the link is below so that you can grab her freebie to make sure that you are being as productive as possible.
Now my one action step for you.
If you have been looking at using tech more effectively in your business, let’s set up a tech audit. Let’s look at the tech that you’re using and how it is helping you be more productive. Just go to techofbusiness.com/audit, and you’ll be able to book your audit right there.
I will be back next week with another solo episode. I cannot wait to share this one with you. Thanks for listening to the Tech of Business podcast. If you enjoyed the show, please subscribe, share, rate, and review on Apple podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Overcast, or wherever you download your favorite shows. You can also check out the show notes and learn more about me at techofbusiness.com. I’ll see you next week.
Connect with Jaime:
- Instagram: @techofbusiness
- Twitter: @techofbusiness
- Facebook: @yourbiztech
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaimeslutzky/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Connect with Amber:
- Website: https://www.theproductivityspecialist.com
- Instagram: @Amber_de la Garza.
- Freebie: https://www.theproductivityspecialist.com/techofbusiness