Systems and Automations for Busy Entrepreneurs with Krystal Clark

Welcome to another episode of Launched & Legal with Dayna Thomas, Esq., entrepreneurship attorney and law firm coach. Launched & Legal is an Atlanta Small Business Network original series dedicated to bringing entrepreneurs and business owners the best practices and tips for strategizing, legalizing, and monetizing their ventures. Today, Dayna is joined by Krystal Clark, a workflow strategist who helps professionals organize their businesses and streamline operations.

If you have questions or comments about today’s show, send Dayna a message or comment on Instagram @daynathomaslaw.

Transcription: 

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Hi everyone. I’m Dayna Thomas, Esq., and welcome to Launched & Legal, where it’s my mission to help you strategize, legalize and monetize your business. I’m so excited that you’re watching because today and in every show, I’ll be sharing the best practices and tips to take your business and brand to the next level. My guest today was extremely instrumental in taking my law firm to the next level. And I’m sharing her with you today. Krystal Clark is a workflow strategist who helps service professionals streamline their business. Her goal is to help clients create organized systems and automations so they can stress less and work with more ease. Through her done-for-use systems and membership community, Krystal provides systems consulting and setup support to help entrepreneurs get organized. Her company is dedicated to transforming the way you work so you can enjoy the freedom that entrepreneurship has to offer. I love that, Krystal, because I am all about the freedom. So thank you so much for being here. It really is amazing because I have worked with you very closely for what we’re going to talk about. So I appreciate you being here today.

Krystal Clark:
I’m so happy to be here. Let me tell you, I am so, so excited about just talking about systems in general, because I’ve seen… You’ve seen firsthand what setting all that up can do that. It could be a little bit intense, but once it’s all done, you never have to work that hard again.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
It’s true. It’s a lot, but I always say nothing worth it comes easy. And getting my systems and the automation stuff. You helped me to make it easy, but overall, just kind of thinking through it wasn’t an easy process, but I will tell you it was absolutely worth it. So before we jump into that, tell us a little bit about your background and how you even got into systems and automation set up.

Krystal Clark:
It’s really bizarre and really cool all at the same time, but I’m kind of like, first of all, I went to college as a bright eyed youngin, straight out of high school. And I was like, oh, I’m going to major in psychology. And funny story is I went to orientation, changed my major to business and then went back right when the semester started and went back to psychology. So I think my kind of love for systems kind of started with a root in psychology because literally if you think about how our brains work, how our minds work, how our mindset work and how our energy works, it really just affects our overall wellbeing mentally in general. And so that started psychology got me super duper interested in client experience. And all of the client experience approaches, you’re always like, how can I psychologically help my entrepreneurs to perform? And how can I psychologically take care of my client? So they feel heard, cared for and supported? And so, as I did that, I worked in all these different sectors from the wedding industry to selling wedding dresses.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Wow.

Krystal Clark:
For several years, I worked as a client experience director for Lincoln Motor Company at several other dealerships. And then I started my own business from even supporting franchise brokers in a franchise brokerage firms to help them elevate their systems and client experience. And before I know it, I was doing it on my own and helping all these other business owners do it and went into virtual assisting and slowly leveled up to really becoming a strategist and specialist in the systems area.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s a… So you started off in other areas and you say, Hey, I’m kind of good at this. People are asking me to do this more and more. So maybe I should turn this into something bigger.

Krystal Clark:
Yeah. Because if you think about it, every factor or facet of everything that you’ve ever learned or experience in your professional career contributes to where you are now. It’s important to never forget that. I changed my major twice in college or a couple times in college, but that all contributed to what I’m doing now, each and everything that I learned contributed to where I am.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Absolutely. So define systems and automations for us and tell us why it’s important for businesses to have.

Krystal Clark:
Well, I’m going to say this. You’ll see me now guys, I’m not all buttoned up and super professional with a button down shirt and suit jacket on. I’ve kind of really embraced this whole laid back vibe of not having to work so hard and not having to put on this whole persona in your business to perform. So if you think about systems and automations, you can think of systems and automations being your journey of, I get to wear jeans today. I get to wear leggings today. I don’t have to dress up today because those systems and automations are essentially doing the work for you. So you can look at systems as so software and processes together that you use to basically create these risks and repeat experiences for you, as you execute your work and for your client as they experience how they work with you, as you execute that work.
And automations are these little kind of bots or robots that kind of go behind the seeds and like, Hey, you want me to do this for you? And it does that thing for you. So you can look at automations as, as I, the business owner or my team members take action, these little bots, go do these other things for us that actually can be streamlined and done by a system or a process or tool versus a person have to manually put their hands on that thing. So that’s like the simplified thought process of it.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I love that. And tell me why you think that it’s important for entrepreneurs to utilize systems and automations in their business.

Krystal Clark:
You have to put… What value do you put on your time? Time is a quantity or item that we can’t necessarily do duplicate or re-engineer. We can’t go and create more time. What we can do is be good stewards over the time that we have, and those systems and automations cut down the time that it takes you to complete projects for your clients or internal projects with your team, from your social media, to fulfilling your services and your marketing efforts and doing your bookkeeping. All these little systems and automations shorten the amount of time that it takes you to complete those projects.
So you can either work with more clients and increase your revenue, ding, ding, that’s the benefit, save time in general, or be able to actually close your laptop, close out your email inbox, right at five o’clock when it’s time to go and be able to go experience the actual life that you started your business for. Or actually go out and be able to experience the life and time with your family and self care opportunities that you don’t currently have the time to really execute, because it’s like you’re in this hustle muscle work, work, work all the time.
And that time that you feel like, oh, I created my business so I can be more present of the lives of my kids, or I created my business. So I can have more freedom to travel and do the things that I want to do. And then you quickly find out that there’s a lot of work to executing a business. And you’re like, where did all this vision that I wanted to have go? Where all these goals? And so your systems and automations like decrease the amount of time that it takes you to get all that work done. So you actually can go out and experience those things, or you don’t have to work. The business can run itself and you can be out just experiencing a life in general, on a yacht somewhere. Come on.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Absolutely. Listen, I’m smiling so much because that is my life. Like, and I couldn’t have imagined that when I first started, because I’m thinking, well, I have to do it all. That’s what entrepreneurs tend to think. I have to do it all. I can’t outsource. Technology could never do it as good as me, but you really introduced me to a different way. And honestly, my workflow barely needs me. I think my law firm needs me less than any other thing that I have, I mean, my other ventures. And so pretty much it’s like from the automation, from the proposal to the contract, to the payment, once the payment gets received, you get a welcome email and a welcome guide. Once that is reviewed, then you get another email to book a call and a review call. And then once a review call is done an automatic email that says, thank you so much for your time.
This is what you can expect after that. So it just goes on and on all the way through leaving a five star review. So thank you publicly crystal, because really what you offer is something that I think not a lot of entrepreneurs think is even available to them or is even possible, but it is possible. So, but I also know that there might be a time that entrepreneurs are ready for something like that. Because had I feel like if I started with automations from the beginning, I might not know exactly what I wanted to be automated or what should be automated or what to say in my automations. Right. So when do you think is the right time for a business to start automating things?

Krystal Clark:
Anytime is the right time. I’ll tell you why it doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out fresh and you’re just starting your business. You’re in your first year, or you’ve kind of started your business. Things got kind of out of head and all these notebooks, you’ve been writing things down in and now you’re like, oh crap. I kind of need to get some things together. I think you actually, the only thing that I feel like you have to have, you have to have in place and understand before you can start your systems journey is a clear understanding about what you want to offer. Because every single system, every single automation, every single email that gets sent on your behalf, every single questionnaire or form that can be sent automatically or reminded to clients automatically for you, has to be rooted in the services that you’re offering and the deliverables that are associated with that service.
For example, if I’m a designer and I do graphic design, I’m going to say, I offer this package and it comes with these things. If all of your automations and forms and systems materials, and workflow materials, and client experience materials were all based upon those deliverables and service. So if you could at least outline your service, you can start your systems’ journey.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s amazing. So, and I think that’s true. We can, maybe we upgrade along the way to how much is automated. But you can definitely start with something that makes perfect sense. So do you think that automations or, well, I’m specifically talking about automations. Do you think that automations are better for certain types of businesses or do you think it can fit for any type of business owner?

Krystal Clark:
It can fit every business owner. Right now I’m working with clients who want to automate parts of their construction business, which is like, how can we do that? How can we streamline what our construction and our project managers are doing in the field and what they’re filling out and what happens automatically when we get that for back? So another person inside of our, our team doesn’t have to mainly touch that item. I mean, automation belongs in every business and can be a part of every business. And as a matter of fact, some of the things that I was talking about was like, kind of outlining your services. Even if you want to start your automation a little bit before you got there, there are parts of your calendar that you could automate, there are parts of your email inbox you can automate, there are parts of your folder and filing systems that you could organize and automate even before you create your first service. So automation can be a part of every business model.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I love that. And so what tools would you recommend or what tools do you use, I guess regularly? Because there’s so much, so many out there. So what tools do you like? Tools and software when you’re putting together a system for a client.

Krystal Clark:
Shiny object syndrome is often a part of every entrepreneur’s journey and our distraction.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
What is this tool? What is that tool?

Krystal Clark:
Oh, someone’s using that? Yeah. Yeah. So I would say hands down, the number one system in general that I recommend every entrepreneur should have is Google Workspace. It is the most commonly used systems for your email, your filing system, your inbox, your calendar, and you pay one low price for that. And you get to use all these other tools. Now, in addition to that, I do recommend Airtable as a database place. So if you want to document sales, where leads are coming from, your conversion rates and just be able to overall see your data, maybe plan your social media content, or I even recreated my old CRM inside of Airtable, which is insane. And I also recommend ClickUp for project management. So if you’re delegating tasks and projects to different team members and things like that, or you want to invite your clients into your projects, ClickUp is a great place for that.

And then my favorite tool of all times to glue all those great things together is Zapier. Zapier is to me the number one automation tool in the world as it deserves to be, because it basically says when this happens at Google Drive, go do this at ClickUp. Or when this happens at ClickUp, go do this at Airtable. It kind of glues, it connects all of your different favorite tools together so that everything in your business staff works seamlessly.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So Krystal let’s talk dollars. Right? So automations is, I would say, I don’t know, maybe it’s a luxury because I feel like it has changed my life so much. I think that every entrepreneur, like you said, can implement it in some way, but whatever’s worth it again, it may not be easy. So what can entrepreneur expect to invest in order to get their whole system set up with the tools subscriptions kind of, what do you think a good budget for them to do, this should be?

Krystal Clark:
Honestly, I think there are so many ways that a journey can begin. Many of the tools that I mentioned have free versions of those tools. So even if you started at $0, you could use YouTube University to teach you how to set everything up and you can also pay $0 for the entry-level free versions of all of those tools to start if you absolutely had no budget. If you’re like, all right, I’m ready to start investing. Then I would say level up your software subscriptions to maybe the pro version or the business version to start paying for those tools, so you can be able to experience more of those tools features, and then maybe invest in a course or membership. I do have one that teaches you how to streamline it, automate your business with those different tools. And if you wanted someone to do it all for you, because you’re like, I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to do it. I just want to give you all my preferences and I want you to set it up for me.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I’m in that category.

Krystal Clark:
Then I say, you need to kind of definitely invest. So budget-wise, $0 start with all the freebies. Growth-wise, start investing in the tools. And I would say maybe about $500 range, 700 tops, if you at that mid-range. And you’re like, I’ll just upgrade my software subscriptions. And then maybe I’ll spend two or $300 taking a course or membership to start helping me do DIY this on my own. Or you can hire someone like me. And I think that really ranges depending on how labor intensive or how much you want automated. And that can go anywhere between 3000 and about 10 to 15,000, if you are wanting like full, give me all those and whistles because I want to—

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I don’t want to work anymore.

Krystal Clark:
Work if possible. Yeah. So kind of generally what I do with my clients at that higher end range is we’re automating the marketing and sales part for the management of the manual task you need to do. How can we shorten that timeframe, not actually marketing your business, but how do we go about planning your content or documenting your sales or documenting things so you have a place in a database for all the things. We organize you as a CEO, your inbox, your calendar, your filing system, we streamline your client experience. We create all those internal project hubs for managing your data. And then we kind of like tie it all up and train you on how to use on everything and places to document standard operating procedures.
Because all of that information from how you function as a CEO, how your clients experience your brand, how your team goes about managing all those to dos, it needs to be a more holistic approach. So on the higher end where I’m talking like 10, $15,000, you have someone that’s doing multiple pieces of all that and really tying it together for a really like organized empire, a holistic approach to organizing your entire business.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Absolutely. And it’s worth it because I felt before utilizing systems and automations that I had to be involved in every aspect. But once you try it out and I realize, Hey, this works, clients are just as happy. Then you realize you don’t have to have your hands in everything, even though you are entrepreneur.

Krystal Clark:
Well, here’s the fun part. Here’s a fun analogy that everyone, once I said, everyone was like, I never thought about it that way. And it is we as entrepreneurs get in and over our heads and they were like, oh, I need to hire someone. I need to hire someone. And then before you know it, you start getting these quotes and this person’s like $500 here and a thousand dollars a month there $2,000 a month here. When really, if you invested that $10,000 for a whole done for you holistic approach to getting your systems organized, set up and automated and even creating those internal templates for your team to be able to rinse and repeat its use ,that investment saves you more money in the long run. So instead of hiring a person or two or three to be with staff that you now have to cover salary and benefits for and taxes for, you can pay one time to have systems do that every single day, month, week, bid it hour of the day for you and not have to hire an entire person for that.
So use this analogy when you’re thinking about investing in your systems, it’s like, oh, well I don’t want to upgrade my software to that pricey monthly subscription it’s like, okay, well, do you want to hire a person for a thousand dollars a month to do that? Or do you want to pay zapier $60 a month for more automation capabilities? Which one?

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That makes perfect sense. And with zapier is the same quality every time. Which is good. So just before we go, I want to hear, use yourself as a case study. What automations or systems do you have in your own business? What can you share with us?

Krystal Clark:
Ooh, this is fun. Okay. So I have some really cool automations. So if we talk about like marketing and sales stuff, I have automations that when clients purchase my services, there’s an automation that goes to my Airtable that documents their name, email address, how much they spent and what the method of… What’s a service they selected and what method of payment was used. So I literally just log into that document and at a glance, I don’t have to pull a report or anything. I can see how much money I made for the month, year, and quarter by service type and be that way like, okay, this service is selling more. This service is not doing so well. So I need to pick up my marketing efforts. I have automations for content creation. So when I choose the different types of content that I’m going to publish for the month, it kind of pre-writes some of the captions and hashtags for me.
So that all I have to do is plug in what’s different. All of like the placeholders or like caption of inspiration is already there and pre-written for me. So I don’t have to work so hard. I just fill the gaps. I have automations for sending proposals after calls now with acuity and different tools. Acuity is another cool tool for appointment scheduling that when my call is over, it will automatically send my client access to my booking page, where they can review a proposal, click a button, sign, pay, and then everything is automated after that and they can get onboarded. And I also have one of my favorite automations is when my clients fill out my testimonial form, a gift card is automatically sent to them through my gifting system that allows them to choose what type of company they want their gift card with. And I give them inspiration for where to spend it so they can actually benefit from that.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That is so inspiring. And I’m like, that means that I have to contact you after again for round two of our systems and automation. So thank you so much, Krystal. I think that welcome. It was very inspiring for the entrepreneurs that are watching, especially the ones that may feel overworked and that they have to do everything themselves. And they have difficulty outsourcing, definitely reach out to Krystal and let us know how they can reach out to you. What’s the best way to learn from you and connect with you?

Krystal Clark:
Yeah. The best way to reach out to me is through KrystalClarkCreative.com, or you can head to organizeyourempire.com, where you can learn more about my membership and my services. And I’m excited to support any of you who are ready to start your journey. I think of systems as serving stress, those divorce papers, because it is time to get rid of it. It is time to be less overwhelmed so we can actually enjoy your life. There’s enough going on in the world already. And stressed out about our businesses and our daily tasks should not be one of those stressors.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Right? That is not the point of entrepreneurship. We want to live better lives and happier lives and systems and automations can help us do that. Well, I hope today’s show help to educate and inspire you as you pursue your business goals. Be sure to share today’s show with someone who can benefit and visit MyASBN.com and subscribe. If you have any questions or comments about today’s show, I would love to hear from you, send me a message or comment on Instagram at @daynathomaslaw. Remember to tune in next week and every week to make sure your business is launched and legal.


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