Yvonne Heimann understands the importance of freeing up time and energy so that business owners can focus more attention on their passion. By automating or outsourcing the mundane tasks, you can focus on what you’re good at and what you love. But don’t be overwhelmed, implementation may take a little time and effort, but the payoff is worth it.
Rich: My guest today is the CEO and founder of askyvi.com, and the leading Clickup evangelist, as well as a passionate business efficiency and scalability consultant, mindset coach, NLP master practitioner, and a speaker. Using her knowledge of over 15 years running multiple businesses, she helps her clients organize, strengthen, and streamline their businesses into profitability and success.
She is a force to be reckoned with. When her husband died, she was determined to not only resume her passion for building bulletproof businesses, but also to make sure that those who go through something similar can find the same solace and excitement in entrepreneurship that she did. She wants everyone who goes through a life changing challenge to know that they can come out on top too, even if it takes time.
Her work is driven by a vision of a world where digital entrepreneurs not only make a living doing what they are passionate about but thrive and wear their passions as badges of honor. A world where no one is ever faced with the decision of having to put business and making money over family and loved ones, that is her mission.
Today we’ll be looking at how you can get more mileage out of your content with Yvonne Heimann. Yvi, welcome to the show.
Yvonne: Thanks so much for having me, Rich. I am excited to be here. As you can tell, I’m a passionate person and getting the most out of everything you do, now that’s my jam.
Rich: Excellent. All right, well, this is going to be fun. So, I spent some time looking at your website, askevie.com, and your headline on the homepage is about helping digital entrepreneurs how to increase their profits through proven processes, systems, and automation. Now many digital entrepreneurs, perhaps like myself, pride themselves on their creativity. So aren’t processes, systems, and automation the opposite of creativity?
Yvonne: I love that you pulled that one up. We are actually working on making that a little bit less nerdy and a little bit more creative. So, no. Actually the interesting thing is, I never considered myself creative, funnily. But bringing in systems and processes actually frees your brain to be more creative.
So what do I mean by that? Have you ever woken up in the morning, especially Monday mornings, and oh my God, I need to do this, and I need to do that and this and here, and did I check in with my VA, and is that YouTube video done? Is that marketing? All the things we are supposed to be doing as an entrepreneur.
Now imagine a Monday morning where you can wake up, go out – maybe in San Diego – have your coffee on a patio and just know that things are going to happen. That’s what systems does for you. It frees up your brain to be creative, to if you are an introvert, just take the day off and recharge in a nice hot bathtub with bubbles. Or if you’re an extrovert, to go to the conference you always wanted to go to but never had time to. And get those external input, whatever you need to do for you to really step into your creative. Systems and processes, open up your brain and your calendar to be able to do that.
Rich: Okay. All right. You’ve sold me. You’ve sold me. Now, how do we know if we need these process and systems in automation? What are the pain points or problems we may be experiencing?
Yvonne: Yeah, the first one is this. You feel like you’re losing your creativity the brain dead, the stress, waking up in the morning. Maybe that whole three o’clock wake up of, oh my God. I don’t know what’s happening. When this big high stress comes up or the writer’s block type for creative, something is not working right.
The other indicator that happens often for my clients is this. They are ready to grow their business, to scale their business, but they’re afraid to get more clients because they don’t know how they’re going to be handled. It’s this chicken and egg thing of I want more clients, but I can’t handle more clients. Once they’re running in that circle, you are seriously in need of systems and processes. And I would say even just somebody starting out, it comes back down to this freeing your brain. You went into entrepreneurship, you are running a business because you have a passion about something, you want to accomplish something. Being able to free up your brain from the everyday nitty gritty admin stuff and those questions of did I do that, didn’t I do that, will now give you the piece to actually build that business that you always wanted to have.
Rich: All right. So once we recognize these pain points, these symptoms in ourselves, what are the first steps to addressing the problem?
Yvonne: What I tell my clients is, first of all, don’t tell me you don’t have systems. That seems to be a common denominator especially in that area of creative entrepreneurs where they’re like I don’t have systems, I don’t have processes. So you are telling me you don’t have a certain way how you drink your coffee. You don’t have a certain way how you start your day. Systems are nothing else then the habit of how you are doing things. So the first step would be realizing you do have systems. You might not have written them down. You might have not digitized them, but you have systems. It’s your habit of how you do things.
After that, stop overthinking. We really need to start getting those systems. You now realized you have systems. So now we need to start getting those systems out of your head. They don’t help you. They don’t help your team. They need to get out of your head and really just don’t overthink it. If you like pen and paper, go grab a notebook and a pen. If you like your iPad and good notes, if you like typing it out, I don’t care. Whatever floats your boat. Start writing them down. And please do not think about in which order, just write down what you do when you do a task. The cleanup is going to come later. The first step is really just getting it out of your mind and down onto paper, so we can look at it, so we can build up on that, digitize it and do all the magic that comes after that.
Rich: All right. So what I’m hearing is everybody has systems. The question becomes, did you design these systems, or did they just happen by accident, by happenstance, I did it one way one day and then I just kind of fell into a habit or a rut, depending on how we look at it. And now the job is document with the idea that we’re going to improve these. Is that what we’re talking about here?
Yvonne: I love how you put that nice and easy English.
Rich: Well, I guess that’s my superpower.
Yvonne: I should bring you into my company. And I’m like, yeah, this is perfectly round up. Yes, exactly.
Rich: All right, so great. So I’ve sit there. I spend the morning, or I spend whatever time where I’m most creative, and I just start documenting. Or maybe it’s over the course of a day. I document everything I do. I document how I take notes, how I leave notes, how things get done or get dropped off. And I’ve got this messy piece of paper or this really well-organized Evernote, what happens next?
Yvonne: That’s when you start looking at things. Because you can play around with so many things in your head and they’re going to be moving around and they’re going to change the moment you are thinking about how things work. Now that you have it actually recorded, you can look at it. Chances are you’re already going to recognize, oh, I doubled something up there. Why is that happening, I don’t really need to do that? Because you put yourself into the mindset of yes, there is systems happening. This is how my habit is working out right now. This is my strategy of how I’m doing this. Now you can look at them and move those pieces around. Kind of like a big wall with a whole bunch of post-it notes. You can just stick them in different orders and start organizing that.
Rich: Can you give me an example, like a real-world example where somebody might have some really messy systems and you might help. Whether it’s recorder them or rethink them, something that I can grab onto.
Yvonne: I actually even myself do the exact same system of just write them down with me, just starting my podcast back up. I’m like, oh yeah, I need this. And I need that. And I literally just have a list of all the tasks that go into creating this podcast. Now we take this and sort this out by, we have a pre-podcast so we need the whole prepping of the podcast and all the tasks that are happening for that. Then we have the actual everything is going live. I need to make sure the speaker have the links and all of that stuff. As well as the repurposing after. So I start from the crazy list of all the tasks, and then I build folders around it. Like thought buckets, doing buckets of pre-podcast, what’s happening in the week of the podcast, and then what’s happening after the podcast.
Now working with clients, I might actually go the visual route. For example, you have an idea about a piece of content. Cool. How do we decide if this piece of content is going to make it, or we are just keeping it in our collection of potential future content? What happens and all of the steps in between. How do I decide? How do I not decide? There’s a lot that happens when you build out your systems. So what I do with my clients is that we often build visual flow charts and decision trees around that, where we visually actually can lay out. Especially if you have a team that is involved with this too, where one kind of is swim lane. You know how those pools with all of those different swim lanes? You have the task that starts in that first swim lane with me having to make the decision. What do we want to talk about? Then you have a swim lane underneath for the VA that might be writing the content. And another swim lane for the graphic designer. And you can visually with boxes, just flow chart that content creation and how decisions are made.
So because creatives, I’m like let’s be honest, I’m a complete list person. You just give me a list and it’s fine. That might not trigger a really deep creative person. They want that visual and really see how this is working so that they can build up on it. And when they have an idea, they have this visual of how all of this is working. And they can easily be like, oh right at this spot right there where we need to make that decision, let’s add something to it.
Rich: All right. I’m glad to hear all the things that you said. Because when I started my podcast, I wrote down all the different steps that I did, and then cleaned it up and then ultimately handed it off to another member of my team and said, here’s the ‘how to’, improve on it if you like, but at least now here all the steps so nothing can get dropped. So that’s great. I think that was very helpful.
Yvonne: And you actually brought up an amazing pro tip. Once you have this system, your strategy, your right now strategy down of how you do something, it is a great advancement of bringing somebody else in and just be like what you did, hand it off. Here’s how I do it. They have not run the strategy before, so they already can be like, but why are you doing this? They will easily be able to spot things where maybe there’s information missing to be able for somebody else to run the strategy and get this done. Or as you said, if you have a better idea, if you have advancement, go have fun with it. So getting that outside view of somebody that hasn’t done it yet is a great advancement to your system.
Rich: All right. So let’s shift a little bit, because I feel like these topics are related, to the idea of maximizing our content, getting the most out of it. For a lot of digital entrepreneurs, it is about creating that valuable piece of content and getting it out there into the world. So, what are some of the things that you recommend when it comes to getting the most out of our content or repurposing, recycling what we’re creating for others?
Yvonne: First thing that I like to tell my clients always, you might not feel comfortable on camera, but I usually recommend start with video. People are people person, even introverts have a certain level of where they want to connect with people. Especially for somebody like me, who English is my second language. There is less of a barrier when people can see you, which is one of the reasons why I started out on video, to get past the accent. It also means you have more resources created to pull from. Meaning we have a nice live show or maybe a produced YouTube video, where now we visually can pull from little snippets and little cutouts and aha moments from what you talked about and create more video content.
We all know TikTok is big up on the rise. Instagram tries to copy it. Everybody is about video now. And trying to recreate video based on audio you recorded, it’s not going to connect as well as video does. So starting out with a nice piece of video that you then can pull little snippets and shorts from easily, reframe them to be in an Instagram story format or in a TikTok format. You always can on a video, pull out the audio itself if you want to turn it into a podcast. Pretty much the approach that I’m going to be taking with my own podcast. Doing the YouTube video, turning it into a podcast, turning it into video posts, turning it into audio graphs, turning it into social media posts, turning it into a blog post. And now you see where I’m going with this.
You started with one single video, and now suddenly you have a blog post out of it. That blog post easily can turn – it matters how long the video was – into five, up to 20 different posts, turning it into shorts. And theoretically, you literally just need one big piece of video content that’s maybe 10 – 15 minutes, and you have your months’ worth of content.
Rich: And I think if somebody’s listening right now and they’ve never done any of this, it sounds very overwhelming. But I think what people need to recognize is yeah, it’s a lot more work to try and create 30 days of content each day, coming up with a new topic and doing all that. So yes, you kind of have to work through this and think through this and do some planning, but you also can walk before you run. Maybe you start with the video and also do the audio transcript. You don’t have to do all the things you just listed, especially if you don’t have a team, right off the bat.
Yvonne: So what I recommend, because again, yes, I completely threw everything at your audience this moment. Now let’s take a breath. You don’t have to implement it all at once. Start with one piece. The easiest is again, get comfortable on camera, just do the video. The video will be there. If you decide to not turn it right away into a podcast, it’s going to be there. You’re going to be able to pull down the audio at any given time and then release three podcasts. And then schedule them out for once each week to go out because you’ve created all of those video content.
And as you said, it comes back to using your brain efficiently. It is easier to pull from this one video and focus your resources on creating one good piece of video and pulling from that, rather than oh my God, I need to talk something on Monday and Tuesday. And what am I going to talk on Thursday about? And using a tool like Descript, for example, you don’t have to know how to edit video, not really. A tool like Descript allows you to import your video, it will automatically transcribe the whole video. You clean up that transcript and then you start creating, simply in the transcript, marking and exporting into a new project, those little knowledge bites that happened in your video. Now suddenly, you already have those micro pieces of video content, but you also have those snippets of that transcript that you can turn into your social media post.
So yes, when you look at the big picture, it can feel overwhelming really, really fast. The implementation with the right tools is really not that bad once you get used to the workflow.
Rich: Right. And I think that’s the whole thing. So maybe if you are thinking about doing this month one, you add one thing. Month two, you add another thing. And like everything else in life, the more you do it, the more second nature it becomes. And all of a sudden, you’re getting a lot more done in a lot less time.
As you’re thinking about, you mentioned Descript, which is a tool that we use here. I love it. It’s a fascinating tool for both video and audio editing, plus the transcription tools that are built into it. What are some of the other tools that you like to use that help with some of this content repurposing?
Yvonne: So let’s start in the beginning. As I said on the repurposing, we start with video. So for my video recording, what I use is either Ecamm or StreamYard. It matters, how fancy you want to get. StreamYard is nice and easy. Just push the button and go live.
If you want to step up your game just a little bit, Ecamm is great for that. We then take that video that we created there, that live stream, into Descript. That’s where we create those little video shorts, where we do the audio graphs, where we get our transcript from. Then we might pull in Jasper.ai, which is an AI that helps me write content. I can talk all day long, but for me, writing content is a nightmare. So being able to have an AI that can help me with just one, two sentences that I give it to them and then just let it run with it. Is a godsend for me.
We then move into Agorapulse for scheduling. My scheduler of choice simply because I can do my native scheduling, I can do my queue scheduling, I have my tracking in there just so I can make sure to later on also know what worked well and what didn’t work well, so that specific tracking of UTM codes and a couple of other fanciness that’s happening over there.
Then task management. All of these tasks, especially when you are getting ready to outsource these, you want to have a digital online task management system. My favorite is Clickup. One of the reasons why I love Clickup so much is first of all, we can start automating things, so you don’t have to think about all the steps. We build a template around it and automate the whole thing. But also as I mentioned, my brain works in lists. Give me a list and I’ll check it off. Creatives, they don’t necessarily like a list. It’s like, I want visuals, I want some graphics. So we easily can make Clickup look like whatever your team needs are. So that variability of really changing it around the team’s needs is a huge bonus point for me.
And then last but not least, when you get really nerdy – and this is really nicely played in – and you have won that process and that strategy a couple of times Make.com – it used to be Integromat before – where we connect tools and we take away a lot of the data management. So one of my favorite automations with Make is when I check off a specific task in Clickup and I say, Hey, ready to record this YouTube video. I have an automation that automatically creates a folder in Google Drive, names it accordingly based on that piece of content, puts the sub folders in there that need to be in there, and I don’t have to touch it.
Rich: So how did this automation start? What tool is it exactly that created that automation for you?
Yvonne: So we use Make.com.
Rich: Okay. And so that’s a service, is it a paid service?
Yvonne: So it’s like Zapier on steroids. They do have a free plan where I think three automations, they call it scenarios, three scenarios are free. And after that, you need to start paying based on use.
I went into the issue of, I want to pay attention to SEO. So that’s literally how this automation in my head started. I want to pay attention to SEO. We have the YouTube video done. I did the research on SEO, how to title it, all the things. Now having a graphic designer that takes care of it, they don’t know how to name it. How do I make sure that piece of content gets named right, that image, so that when I turn it into a blog post I’m getting the SEO advantage of the image being named? Right? And I don’t want to be sitting there constantly just checking and doing and did you name this right? So I made it really simple of having an online form. He just submits those images, and an automation runs through, names those, and sets them up in that Google Drive folder that also got automated before.
So that’s the one we talked before about where I’m like, I don’t want to spend all of my time with the admin work and having to go into Google Drive, have the right folder structure. So I actually find it later on again, and then have the right naming and all the admin stuff that goes into managing content. We build an automation around it, that again, based on the task name – which is what our video is called – those folders get named the sub folders that I need to sort. Everything is named and literally within a click of a button, everything is created that I need for my data management.
Rich: It sounds awesome. All of this automation, all of these systems, obviously there’s a little bit of a learning curve. How much time do you think we should be investing on a weekly basis to our systems to free us up so that we can have our creative time and our creative thoughts?
Yvonne: So I personally like to actually do a ‘CEO day’ that doesn’t just include your automations and your system. That means you taking care of your business. Because let’s be honest, we are passionate about what we do. Our clients usually take the front seat, that’s where we spend our time. That’s where we do. And we easily can forget to really work on our business too, not just in our business. But starting out a full on CEO day sounds, oh my God, I’m never going to be able to just take a day to just work on my business. Start wherever you can.
Think back when we talked about you have systems, you have habits, make it a habit. Take, I don’t know, the last two hours on a Friday or the first three hours on a Monday. Commit to whatever you can commit to right now on a regular basis to get into that habit. You will move forward no matter. So starting out with an hour or two and work your way up into a habit of being able to take a whole day for your CEO day. Because when you start paying attention and working on your business, you will generate this time to be able to take a day and work on your business.
Rich: And I’ll just say, as somebody who sometimes needs a little more or a little less structure, depending on where I am in my head, that I have blocked off every Friday as a ‘big picture day’ sounds very similar to your CEO day. One of the things that I started to recognize is even though this is a brilliant idea, I block out the day. Nobody can have any meetings with me. I tend to work from home, so I’m not distracted by office conversations and things like that. I started being really productive. And then all of a sudden, I found my productivity went down. There was too much space for me. So now I tend to chunk up the day for different tasks and I find I tend to get a lot more done.
So I think everybody needs to play LeBron a little bit. But all this advice is great. I think everybody needs to start with some of these things. Yvi, if they want to learn more, if they maybe want to engage with you and find out some more of your methods, where can people find you?
Yvonne: The easiest is askyvi.com. That’s A S K Y V I.com. All of my socials are linked on there. I do create a lot of YouTube content, so there’s a lot of ‘how to’ as well as how these systems work and the thinking behind it.
If you want to get a little idea behind the scenes of what this crazy German is up to when she’s not building systems, that’s Instagram stories for you. But I’m pretty much anywhere and monitor everything. I’m kind of attached to my phone.
Rich: All right. Sounds great. Yvi, thank you so much for coming on the show today. Really appreciate your time and expertise.
Yvonne: Thanks so much for having me, Rich.
Yvonne Heimann understands the value of time and wants to help you get some of that back. Follow her advice and tips on YouTube and Instagram, and check out her website to see how she’s helping business owners take control of the chaos by putting smart systems in place.
Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine, and founder of the Agents of Change. He’s passionate about helping small businesses grow online and has put his 20+ years of experience into the book, The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing.