Episode #30 – Camille Holden and Taylor Croonquist of Nuts and Bolts Speed Training for Powerpoint
In this episode number 30 of the InnovaBuzz podcast, Camille Holden and Taylor Croonquist of Nuts and Bolts Speed Training for Powerpoint, talk to me about their business, Powerpoint (of course), living in China, working from anywhere in the world as long as it is tropical and scuba diving! Listen to the podcast episode to find out the details.
Today’s competition prize has been generously donated by Camille and Taylor and it is a full training package on Powerpoint from Nuts and Bolts Spped Training, so stick around for details on how you can enter the draw to win that competition prize later on in the interview.
Listen to the Podcast
If people come to your site but have no way to opt in to your email list to get exclusive content or to get exclusive deals, or even learn about you, you have a web address that’s not really doing much for you.
Some of the highlights of this episode include:
- The key to Nuts and Bolts Speed Training’s success is quality content published on a regular and ongoing basis.
- Lead with education – teach your audience something valuable. You must EARN the right to sell.
- It’s important to get your audience to take action on the content.
- In crafting a presentation – the key is to remember the context: what sort of room are you in? Who is the audience? What is the message you wish to convey?
- To get an audience for their content, Camille and Taylor began with a website, wrote lengthy blog posts, created video tutorial and a You Tube channel, added the videos to their blog posts, then created step by step guides with pictures. They then posted these to LinkedIn Groups and reached out to related websites. Over time, that built a substantial audience. As well, they offered people something of value to opt-in to their email list.
There’s a saying that it’s hard to move a stationary object. As long as you have something that’s at least moving even if it’s very slow or if it’s wobbly or whatever, it’s a lot easier to push something that’s already moving. Just get something going and then you can always steer it however you like. If it’s just sitting there it’s hard to move it around.
The Buzz – Our Innovation Round
Here are Camille and Taylor’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Watch the interview to get the full scoop.
- #1 thing to be more innovative – Try different things. What’s the smallest piece you could do next week, do it and get feedback.
- Best thing for new ideas – Always learning and a lot of reading. Model people who have been successful online. Get people on webinars and ask them what they are struggling with.
- Favourite tool for innovation – Not really a tool – a MINDSET: focus (“The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan)
- Keep project / client on track – Schedule live demos with clients – deadlines!
- Differentiate – Be friendlier than the people around you, more entertaining and more helpful.
To Be More Innovative and Productive
Get started and get moving!
You can reach out and thank Camille and Taylor via the Nuts and Bolts Speed Training for Powerpoint website or via their emails: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Camille and Taylor suggested I interview Pat Flynn, Online Entrepreneur, Author, Podcaster and Blogger, on a future podcast. So, Pat, keep an eye on your Inbox for an invitation from me, for the Innovabuzz Podcast, courtesy of Camille Holden and Taylor Croonquist!
Click to Read…
Hi, I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz. Welcome to Episode No 30 of the InnovaBuzz Podcast – designed to help smart businesses with an interest in innovation and the Internet of Things become even more innovative.
Today’s guests are Camille Holden and Taylor Croonquist of Nuts and Bolts Speed Training for Powerpoint. Camille and Taylor deliver actionable Powerpoint training and speed strategies helping presentation professionals cut their build time down to a third or even less, once they implement all they’ve learnt. On the interview today we discuss their business, Powerpoint (of course), living in China, working from anywhere in the world as long as it is tropical and scuba diving! This is a fabulous interview with a lot of great advice, so stay tuned.
For today’s prize, Camille and Taylor have donated a full training package from Nuts and Bolts Speed Training on Powerpoint, which is an awesome prize! So stay tuned later in the interview, how you can enter the draw to win that prize.
This podcast is sponsored by Innovabiz, where we partner with innovative business owners to transform your online presence into a business generation platform that delivers exceptional results. If you want to learn more, then go to innovabiz.com.au or contact me directly through the contact information there.
Now, let’s get into the Innovation Hive and get the Buzz from Camille Holden and Taylor Croonquist.
Jürgen: Hi, I’m Jurgen Strauss from Innovabiz and I’m really excited to have here with me … We’re having another go here because we’ve had some internet problems but I’m really excited to get this underway. Today’s episode of the Innovabiz podcast – all the way from California in the USA I have Camille Holden and Taylor Croonquist of Nuts and Bolts Speed Training for Powerpoint. Welcome guys.
Taylor: Hello, thanks for having us on the show.
Jürgen: Yeah, it’s a pleasure. Nuts and Bolts Speed Training for Powerpoint is a company delivering actionable Powerpoint training and speed strategies helping presentation professionals cut their build time down to a third and perhaps even more, but I believe that a third is something you find easier to sell right?
Taylor: It’s more believable, if you go anything past a third people are like, “What? Cut my time in a fifth?” We stick with a third and easily can deliver on that.
Jürgen: Look forward to learning more about that during the interview. Big shout out to Lea Pica from the Present Beyond Measure podcast who recommended that we interview you and here we are.
Taylor: Awesome, thanks for introducing us Lea.
Jürgen: There is a quick competition announcement, there will be an awesome training prize that Taylor has kindly offered and we’ll learn more about that later on the interview, so stay tuned to find out how you can enter the draw to win that prize and to learn the details of the prize. Before we talk about taming Powerpoint and building great presentations, and all kinds of geeky things like that, let’s find out a little bit more about both of your backgrounds. When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
Camille: On my part, I didn’t have any specific dream or passion but I was pretty into music and singing, and at one point I did think it would be pretty awesome to be an opera singer, specifically to sing the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Haven’t made it to the big stage but that was definitely a passion at one point.
Jürgen: That’s very specific. You’ve obviously taken that passion for performing into presentations then? You still there?
Taylor: We’re still here, I can hear you again.
Taylor: On my end, I never had a specific thing I wanted to be like a firefighter or a police officer, I just guess in my mind I always wanted to make it and I’m still trying to figure that all out.
Jürgen: Still waiting to grow up.
Jürgen: Yeah, now I was interested to read that you lived in China for 10 years and worked in various roles there. Tell us a little bit more about that.
Taylor: Yeah, so we lived in China for 10 years, living, working. Camille is in PR and marketing. I was working with a start up when I first moved there and then I was working with an investment bank. We absolutely loved China and honestly probably would have stayed there indefinitely had it not been for the big spike in pollution which is what actually drove us out of China and led us to start an internet business and actually start traveling the world.
Jürgen: Yeah, and we were talking offline earlier, so you’re actually not based anywhere so you travel to different locations, spend time in different areas and basically run your business from wherever you feel like it. Is that right?
Camille: That’s right, we’re nomads. We move around on average about every 3 to 4 months, 2 to 3 months depending on the location. It’s a wild ride.
Jürgen: That’s awesome. I know a lot of people would love to do that so it’d be interesting to learn a little bit more about that as we go along as well. Yeah, I spent a lot of time in my corporate life in China and there’s a lot to love about it but I understand what you’re saying about the pollution.
Taylor: Yeah, yeah I mean it really took friends visiting … You know, it always takes a third person’s perspective to give you perspective on your situation. My friend was staying over he’s like, “Wow, you wear a pollution mask outside? That’s crazy.” I’m like, “Yeah, that IS kind of crazy.”
Jürgen: Yet, on good days you can get absolutely clear and glorious weather in some of the big cities but they’re far and few between.
Taylor: Yeah absolutely. It’s absolutely a phenomenal place, I absolutely loved our years there and we were there for 10 years so we obviously stayed because we liked it.
Camille: It got to a point where it was too much. Most of the time people worry about is it going to be rainy or sunny, hot cold, and we had an extra element which was the pollution and it really limited what you could do. If you wanted to go for a job or something, you had to check if you could that day. That just became tiresome.
Jürgen: How did you end up then doing presentation training? How did you make that transition? Was that a long process?
Taylor: It wasn’t. We decided that we were going to leave China, was the first decision. The question was, where do you want to go? We didn’t really have a specific place in mind so we kind of … I don’t know which one came first, dreamed up 2 things simultaneously. One was that we should rotate countries to find a new place to live and the second part was well what are we going to do for jobs or work? We decided the only way we could rotate countries was to build a website. We basically just looked at our skill sets from the corporate world, what were we known as the go-to or the best in our respective companies and we’re both known for our Powerpoint skills. We were the advanced PowerPointers, the go-to people, the fastest people and just looking at the internet there was nobody targeting medium to advanced Powerpoint use which is basically what we built our entire website around.
Jürgen: Tell us a little bit more about that business then.
Taylor: Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty straightforward and simple. We put up Powerpoint tutorials, people find our stuff online so Google sends us our traffic. People join our mailer, we can interact with people. We do live webinars and then to monetize this site we don’t do any advertising, instead we’ve shot or have what we call a Powerpoint 3X which is just then advanced training course for people to demo the slides, follow along, and just crush it in Powerpoint.
Jürgen: What do you spend most of your time doing on a day to day basis then?
Camille: We spend most of our time creating content, blog posts, YouTube tutorials. We host a lot of webinars where we answer anyone’s question about Powerpoint which keeps it fun and interesting. People like to come in and challenge us and see if we can come up with a solution to some random Powerpoint ill and that’s fun. We also spend a lot of time just crafting marketing funnels, thinking up new ways to partner with people to generate more traffic, just kind of all the stuff that goes into online marketing type of business.
Jürgen: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay, and do you have a favorite tool for doing the marketing automation?
Camille: Right now we’ve switched over pretty recently to Click Funnels which is just an online platform that helps create pages in a sequence so you can march people down a funnel. From check out all the way to the end. Otherwise just email, we use Active Campaign. There’s a lot of email service providers that do a good job. That’d be our tools I would think. Unless Taylor has one.
Taylor: I was going to say no. I always think that people think about a website and they think it’s so easy to put up a website and the real hack, or trick, or tip isn’t even almost in the tool you use it’s just like how do you creatively go out into the world wide web and find people that are actually interested in what you have to say or what you have to talk about. It’s probably the hardest most time consuming we try to figure out.
Jürgen: I think something that Camille said earlier in the answer to that question is the secret really it’s creating content that’s useful for your audience, isn’t it?
Taylor: Yeah, I mean some people call it educational based marketing, so if you lead with education, so teaching people something valuable and then end with a sales pitch most people don’t mind. Where on the flip side if you just are marketing or trying to sell something all the time, I think that’s where you burn out your list or burn out your audience.
Jürgen: Yeah, yeah. I find it really hard to understand that people don’t get that message though. If you want to be found by a target audience online then you’ve got to be producing valuable content for that audience. How do you see that challenge?
Taylor: Yeah, I mean, I think one of the challenges is obviously creating great content but in this day and age great content doesn’t get in front of people automatically. It’s really how do you create valuable or useful content, get it in front of people which is hard and then have them actually take action on it because lots of people are subscribed to all these websites and these websites are creating great content and those people eventually unsubscribe because they’re not actually even using the content that these people are spending their time creating. It’s really how do you get them to take action on it?
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s good advice. Is there something that keeps you awake at night that you worry about?
Taylor: I’m trying to think. The things I’m just always wondering or trying to solve, or keeps me up is just how do we reach more people in a systematic way? A lot of people come from Google right now, we’ve been doing partnerships with other websites but it’s just like how do you keep people coming to your content because it’s your content, we found, that really filters out those people that would be interested in our course. A lot of people come to our site at maybe a more beginner level but our course isn’t right for them, which is completely fine. Just really, how do you keep turning on the fuacet to get found?
Camille: I sleep pretty well. No, I’m kidding. There’s a lot of things that are going through our minds. I think anyone who’s working for themselves … We don’t have extensive experience with running an online website this is our first crack at it so everything’s new, everything’s challenging and exciting at the same time. There is a lot that we process almost on a daily basis so it’s … Yeah, there’s quite a bit, but in terms of bigger concerns, we feel pretty happy about what we’re doing and we feel like we’re really helping people and we’re really solving their problems and that’s really exciting. We get great feedback all the time from our subscribers and our students and that just makes us feel really great. I think on that level we’re pretty happy with what we’re doing.
Jürgen: Yeah, I really like the way you’ve set up the business and you’ve focused very clearly on what could be described as quite a small niche but clearly presentations is something almost everybody should be doing in business. The challenge of how to use Powerpoint to its full capacity is something that probably every business has to deal with at some level.
Taylor: Yeah, we definitely are in a very small niche depending on how you want to define it because yeah Powerpoint there’s 500 million users, there’s obviously lots of companies that are creating add-ins and slide bundles and all this great stuff. A number of companies we’ve seen are now coming out with send us your text and we’ll send you your slide type model. We’re really focused on, which is actually fairly small percentage of the users which is the people who say, “I want 100% control over my slide. I don’t want someone to build my slides for me, I just want to know how to do it.” We’re actually a pretty small segment in that scheme of things.
Jürgen: Yeah I like it. What do you do to chill out and keep balanced so that you can sleep well at night?
Taylor: We recently got our scuba diving license so as we rotate around the world … It sounds bad but we only pick tropical locations to cut down our luggage because that’s all we have. We don’t have a house but we have all of our stuff. We picked up scuba diving and I think that’s pretty freaking fun.
Jürgen: Yeah, yeah. I was just …
Camille: Yeah and it’s … Sorry go ahead.
Jürgen: I was just going to say, so that’s the key criteria for choosing where your next period of time is going to be spent?
Camille: Yeah. We like warm weather and it makes … We don’t have to carry all these jumpers and vests, and things like that. It makes luggage a lot easier and it’s also not a bad way to be living. Like Taylor said, there’s a lot of great … I mean, you can scuba in cold weather places for sure and there’s some amazing sights there but it definitely keeps it all within a theme.
Jürgen: Yeah. I did some snorkeling just off the coast of Koh Samui last September and I’m sure that scuba diving will be awesome there. The Great Barrier Reef of course here in Australia is a great place as well. As you can tell the internet here is probably not as good as in other places.
Taylor: That’s okay, it’s still on our list. We haven’t made it to Australia yet but we really want to go.
Jürgen: Yeah. Great. All right, well let’s find out some more about presentations. We’ve all heard about death by Powerpoint and I know that putting together a good presentation is not just whacking a whole lot of slides together in Powerpoint so what’s your view on how you use Powerpoint in an effective way?
Camille: That’s a good question, it’s a tricky question too because we found being in this space specifically for 2 years and being involved in Powerpoint for a lot longer than that, that people use Powerpoint in a whole different range of ways. We have people who come to our site looking for Powerpoint help who are doctors, we have someone who’s training 200 doctors without borders people. The government, we have people in the medical business, we have speakers who are just a 1 woman show who are speaking in front of 200 people and we have people who are just sitting in a board room presenting their quarterly financials to their internal team. Powerpoint is a software in a way the advantage of it is that you can use it for so many different type of presentations.
Giving advice on how to craft a presentation can be really tricky because you don’t really know how the person’s using it. If you’re going to be speaking in front of 200 people then yeah 48 size fonts for the titles and using 1 picture and 3 bullets makes absolute sense and I wouldn’t say anything other that that. However if you’re sitting in a board room in front of your boss and a few peers 48 size font makes no sense plus you’re not going to have room for all your financials and all the stuff that you need to be talking about. Crafting a presentation, I think, the key to remember just is what’s the context. What context are you in, who are you speaking too and what do you need to convey?
There’s a lot of … You mentioned death by Powerpoint, there’s a lot of stigma, a lot of shaming each other about presentations that people are giving and we don’t ascribe to that, we feel like that’s not necessarily helpful and we think people should just figure out what they want to say and just find the best way to say it and not worry about if you’re following some 3, 2, 1 rule or a 10, 20, 30 rule, or all these things. Getting worried that they’re going to be put up on Slideshare or something and shamed.
Jürgen: Yeah, yeah. I think it was Lea that said something which I thought was really good and that’s that YOU are your presentation and the tool you use, in this case Powerpoint, to help with that should be exactly that. It should support your presentation.
Taylor: Yeah, if you’re giving a live presentation and I often think that some of the best live presentations happen just like this, someone puts up this big slide deck, the projector, looks back oh it doesn’t work. I’m just going to give my presentation anyway and they give this amazing presentation with 0 slides. A great speaker doesn’t even need slides to back them up.
Jürgen: That’s exactly right, yeah.
Taylor: Yeah, at the end of the day if you’re doing a presentation live you shouldn’t even need slides to begin with.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s exactly right. I remember one experience, you’ve prompted that in my mind again. It’s something that happened to me, it was a global conference with about 500 people in the room across this business from all countries in the world. The business was divided into 4 geographical regions so each geographical region had to present an overview of their business for about 45 minutes. The guy who was scheduled to give the presentation for the region I was working in had something come up at the last minute so he didn’t turn up that morning and somebody said to me, “Well you probably know as much about this business as anyone, can you do this presentation?”
I had no slides, I had about 10 minutes warning and I said, “Well can I go last?” Alphabetically I would have been the first cab of the rank so I said, “Can I go last then because there’s 4 presentations?” The other 3 presentations had heaps of slides and all kinds of wiz bang stuff, I had nothing. I got up and basically did it with a page of just scribbled notes that I’d made off the cuff. People came up to me afterwards and said how awesome the presentation was. You’re right, you don’t need the slides really.
Taylor: I was just going to say, on the flip side, that’s giving a live presentation. The flip side is, when I was working we would be raising 15 or 20 million dollars for a company and the investor would send, send me the slide deck. That’s stage, that’s when you’re building what we call content heavy decks. So that’s what’ the company history. Someone’s going to print, maybe you have a webinar on it but if it’s a 100 slide or 200 slide deck depending on the project, the proposal, I mean those are a lot of objects moving around, a lot of people burn just weeks of their life building one. If they just knew some simple strategies and a couple of shortcuts. There’s probably 60 shortcuts that represent 80% of most people’s build time. Even if you only knew half of them, you could literally triple your speed overnight in Powerpoint if you’re in an industry like that which is exactly where we come from.
Jürgen: Yeah, yeah. The key message is that the context of the presentation and who the audience is, know your audience that really determines what kind of tool and how you put together a slide deck for that audience. Then as you say, once you’ve got the task of putting together a presentation in Powerpoint what are some of the things that you then do to accelerate and to get that build time down to a fifth or even less?
Taylor: Some of the things, shortcuts are key. Control C to copy, most people know that and they’re like, “Oh, why would I ever go up into the menu and find the copy command in the tab. I can just hit Control C to copy.” There’s tons of shortcuts like that and then if you take the stack on top of that, like Microsoft since 2007 has been hit the Alt key and let go of it, you get ribbon guides across the entire environment. The entire environment is basically a visual friendly shortcut you can drill into almost anything. The way we like to think about it, there’s about 60 shortcuts and some of them you have set up but there’s probably 60 shortcuts that drive 80% of your build time that are just as fast hitting Control C to copy or Control S to save. Most people are using their mouse and clicking here, and going to these file menus and doing all this stuff. Really you can take 20, 30, 40 minute tasks and knock them out in 2 minutes if you just know what you’re doing.
Camille: Yeah, and then the other half of that is, besides the shortcuts and the actual tools you need to know there’s a whole mindset, a strategy, that we focus on and we’re not there to teach you how to build a beautiful slide, necessarily. Although you’ll probably end up building some better looking slides once you do this, but we focus entirely on speed so we don’t really care what you’re building, we’re going to find the fastest way to get there because the way we see it is the more time you save building the slide, the more time you have to think of your messaging. The more time you have to polish up the slide to find that picture that really looks great, or even just go home early.
We really focus on the strategies behind how do I … Okay, I have this task, I’m going to build a slide. What are the 3 steps I need to do to get the slide done rather than how do I make something amazing? We just focus on, okay, open the slide instead of just clicking around adding things. Okay, what do I want to do? I’m not really sure, just create something and bang it out in 3 steps, easy duplicatable, something you can easily go back and edit later. There’s a lot to it and yet it’s very simple at the same time. We just focus entirely on speed.
Jürgen: Yeah, and what I really like about that is what you said that you can … It frees people up to focus on the message and how they present the message rather than worrying about which menu item was that in. A lot of time, of course, when you’re moving your mouse around is spent actually finding things as well.
Taylor: Yeah, we almost eliminate the mouse completely.
Jürgen: Yeah, yeah, it’s great. I like it. All right, so let’s get back to the business a little bit. What do you consider the biggest challenges in building a business, in building your business and what things have you got in place to deal with those?
Taylor: I think when we first started not knowing anything about a website we kind of fell under the false advice that if you just put up a website people will come. Right? You think, oh I just put up my website and people will find me which isn’t the case. Then you’re like, okay well I make great content, you just publish it to your blog, now people will come, also not really the case. It’s a combination of creating useful relevant content but then the whole question is how do you promote it? How do you reach out to other sites? How do you guest post to get links back to your site? How do you get in front of an audience that actually cares, which in this day and age and we’re all clicking around the internet, we can go anywhere, it’s actually pretty difficult. Even if you have great content and you get in front of the right person that should care, have you presented in a way that they can absorb it and now care?
I mean one of the biggest challenges for us is how do we reach more people and the way we were able to do it was we would write these full length blog posts, we would create a video tutorial for it so we could start to build a YouTube channel. We would embed the videos in the blog posts. We would then create step by step with pictures posts. They became these big long posts and we then we put them in LinkedIn groups and we send them to people and reach out to other websites and that’s what started us from 0 traffic up to what we’re getting today.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s a really good strategy. Making use of a targeted “sort of” social media platform as well as YouTube and LinkedIn, in particular. There’s a good little message in there for everyone. I think the value of video and the value of targeting the right groups in the social media as well.
Taylor: Yeah, absolutely. I would say too for your audience, if you’re making videos, I know some people just put them up on YouTube but yeah, make a video, make a blog post around the video. First off tip for YouTube, if you just put a video on YouTube and you expect to Google to figure out what it’s about they’re not going to do it. You need to write in the description, write a hefty lengthy description about what the video is, if it’s transcripts just paste it in. That’s how Google figures out what your video is about. Then make an actual post about it, put it up on your blog.
Then a pro-tip above and beyond that is give someone the opportunity to sign up for something. I know a lot of people are talking about this on the internet now these lead magnets are giveaways, so if you’re talking about some checklist or something, give people the checklist if they opt in your email list because at the end of the day if you’re running a website it’s the email list you have that drives the vast majority of your business. It’s not just people coming to your site. If people come to your site but have no way to opt in to your email list to get exclusive content or to get exclusive deals, or even learn about you, you have a web address that’s not really doing much for you.
Camille: Particularly with YouTube which doesn’t collect emails for you, I mean you get the data sort of, but it’s very sparse and you can’t really do much with someone subscribing to your YouTube channel.
Taylor: On that line you could have 100,000 subscribers on YouTube and someone else could have a list of just 1,000 people on their email list and the person with a 1,000 people on their email list can have way more affect than 100,000 for a way to actually reach out to the people.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s really great advice. It’s all about getting engagement with the right audience isn’t it? A lot of people forget that again, yeah. They say being number 1 on Google or having lots of followers on Facebook or lots of subscribers on YouTube, or whatever it is, lots of contacts on LinkedIn, but it’s really about the engagement that you can actually have because if you’re engaged with the right audience then that’s where you start to build relationships.
Taylor: Absolutely. That’s huge. You start an email list and people unsubscribe which is fine. Sometimes people do it because they just don’t like the content which means you don’t want them in the first place because they’re not right. Sometimes people do it because they’re subscribed to so many email lists, you just can’t take it personally.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s right. Occasionally I still look at that, oh somebody unsubscribed and I move on. A lot of people still take that very personally.
Jürgen: All right, so what’s the most innovative thing you’ve done in your business or that maybe you’re still doing it?
Taylor: I don’t know if it’s innovative because we are basically just looking at what other people have done with successful sites and trying to figure out how that relates to Powerpoint but I would say the smartest thing that we did was 1, started collecting email addresses. That was not first on our list of things to do. Again, giving away Powerpoint slides and stuff. The thing that we actually started doing smartly with it because a lot of people we even met who own websites, they collect email addresses and they don’t email them. They’re like, “Oh, well I’m going to write a new email.” What we basically did was we created a 10 part auto-responder sequence. Some people have said we should have 30 emails or 45 emails. Some educational based marketing material which is teaching them something and eventually leading it up to a sale, or leading them to our content if they’re interested in that kind of material.
Camille: I think another thing that we’ve done and it’s, again, I don’t know if it’s innovative but is we’ve looked at other websites, other books, other industries, other companies that are very likely completely unrelated to what we’re doing and we’ve tried to study what they’re doing, what’s working for them and try to apply it to what we’re doing or apply it to our space. Looking at one company and saying, “Okay, they’re going with the subscription model where they do XYZ a week and they host a podcast and they call you personally.” Okay is that something that we can do? We’ve tried to look at different models and see even though people in our space aren’t doing that doesn’t mean that it’s not viable and couldn’t actually be a great idea and revolutionary for this space. I don’t know if we’ve found this gold nugget yet but I think it’s been helpful to look at other businesses and just expand our scope a little bit and learn best practices from different areas and keep an open mind that way.
Jürgen: Yeah, yeah. I love that because I think a lot of people are so inwardly focused and they say yes we model off somebody else but it’s in their industry and it’s somebody that’s doing the same kind of thing as they’re doing. You can expand your horizons so much more by, as you say, going outside to somebody doing something totally different and looking at the process and the systems that they have in place, and seeing what you can learn and what you can apply to your own business.
Taylor: Absolutely. Yeah, just ask yourself, does this make sense for what I’m doing and if it doesn’t we move onto something else.
Jürgen: That’s right, yeah. If you could wave a magic wand and fix one thing in your business what would that be?
Camille: I think the one thing, I mean because we’re still a 2 person show and we have a billion things on our list to do and we have lots of ideas as always. I think the toughest thing for us, if we could just wave a magic wand and increase our turn around speed for creating content and new marketing funnels, and I’m sure that’s what a lot of people would say. We’re at a point where we like to test a lot of things and just churn out through things more quickly. If we could wave a magic wand and just have a new funnel in a week, that would just be amazing.
Jürgen: Yeah. Yeah, I guess that’s a lot of that comes back to what you spend your time on, right?
Camille: Yeah, if we were as good at traffic as we are at Powerpoint we’d be well on our way.
Jürgen: Yeah, find the 60 shortcuts. All right then, I think it’s time to move on to the Buzz which is our innovation round that’s designed to help our audience, who are primarily innovators and leaders in their fields, with some tips from your experience. I’m going to ask a series of 5 questions and hopefully you’ll give us some real insightful answers that will inspire everyone and help them do something awesome.
Taylor: Great, I hope so.
Jürgen: What’s the number one thing you think anyone needs to do to be more innovative in their business?
Taylor: I imagine you need to try different things. I think when we started we had, like Camille said, a billion ideas and you could sit all day at a white board, maybe this would work, maybe that would work, maybe this combination would work. At the end of the day until you tried something you just don’t know. One of the things is and I give this advice to people as I meet now who want to start this stuff, I always ask them oh I want to do this and they describe this huge, maybe it’s an online product or maybe it’s a service or whatever. I always ask them, “What’s the smallest piece that you could do by next week?”
Taylor: Is it holding an online webinar and having it just teaching someone whatever it is even if it’s just 2, 3 people and see what they say. What’s the smallest possible step you could take on that to get it started and get feedback. Without feedback you’ve got nada. You’ve just got a bunch of ideas on a white board.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s excellent advice. That alone was worth the price of admission which for a free webinar is pretty good. Basically what you’re talking about is kind of a lean startup model. Get something in place, get some feedback, test the viability with minimum effort?
Taylor: Yeah, and I’ve told that to people and they say, “Oh, I want to get my emails set up first. Oh, I want to get my website all set up first. Oh I need this first.” You don’t need any of that, I mean, if your product or service, or you’re helping someone especially if it’s info business, your whole business is you portraying information to another person, so even if you have to go offline and just find 3 people and teach it to them, I mean that’s the feedback you need to start getting. Until you have that you’ve got nothing.
Jürgen: Yeah. Yeah.
Camille: Yeah, and I think if you really think about it you can probably apply it to a lot more than just a startup or a lean startup or an info product. I think it probably fits more easily with that but I think there are ways to apply that to even more traditional businesses it’s just a matter of figuring it out because even in those businesses … Internet moves fast but nowadays all businesses move fast so if you’re going to sit around and just have ideas you’re not going to get anywhere from them.
Jürgen: That’s right, yeah. Exactly. All right, so what’s the best thing you’ve done to develop new ideas and new products?
Camille: We’ve read a lot of material, a lot of books. A lot of books that have helped us learn more about people who’ve been successful online which goes back to what I was saying earlier about finding models to emulate and that’s one thing we’ve done.
Taylor: I’d say that’s helped on the how you build a website, what we should be doing. Another thing is just getting people on webinars and asking them questions about what they’re struggling with. It sounds so simple but I think knowledge experts …
Jürgen: We’ve lost you.
Taylor: … we first found out people were still having trouble adding slide numbers to their presentations and that’s still a huge issue for a lot of people. Just asking people what they’re actually struggling with is a huge one too.
Jürgen: That’s great advice now we did lose the audio for a moment there but I think the message there is, after Camille spoke, the message from Taylor was getting on webinars and asking questions what people are having problems with and getting their feedback.
Taylor: Yeah. That’s it.
Jürgen: All right. What’s your … I think we’ve covered this a little bit, you’re favorite tool or system for improving your own productivity and allowing you to be more innovative?
Taylor: Our favorite tool, that’s a difficult one. I mean, my favorite tool is being more productive and innovative.
Camille: It’s not been so much tools it’s more mindset I think. I think we’re already overwhelmed with so many things to do that learning another tool feels like a hindrance even though it helps. One thing, you read a book called The One Thing which I found really helpful to just start thinking a bit differently about the task that you have for any day. The book basically talks about you should focus on if there’s one thing you could get for the business positively that makes everything else irrelevant for that day. Just do that one thing first thing in the morning. It sounds simple and difficult at the same time and it is. We found that book pretty helpful to just help us mentally prioritize and say okay there really is only one thing I really need to get done today because in the billion things that you need to do, it can be hard sometimes to prioritize. Looking at it through that lens, I think was helpful for us. That’s a book I would recommend.
Jürgen: That’s great. We’ll have a link to that underneath the show notes so it’ll be a really good one to follow up on. Okay, what’s the best way to keep a project on track?
Taylor: For this one, this is going to sound weird but I like to schedule a live demonstration. For example, this is relevant to us, if we’re coming out with new course materials or whatever, you can sit there and procrastinate for months coming up with new examples where as if you get on a podcast or if you get on someone else’s webinar or you hold your own webinar, you say the date is November 16th, by November 15th you’re going to have your whole presentation ready to go and be practicing it. Scheduling a live demonstration seems to put the fire to really get moving on the project you’re not moving forward on.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s good advice and it comes back to what you said about the number 1 thing. Announcing a product and getting it out there as in the public domain, that will also get you fired up to do the work.
Taylor: It’s a huge push.
Taylor: The embarrassment of not delivering on it is the push that gets you over the hurdle.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s great. Yeah. Finally, what’s the number one thing anyone can do to differentiate themselves?
Taylor: What’s the number one thing people can do what?
Jürgen: To differentiate themselves?
Taylor: Hmm. I mean, in our case, so this might not be applicable to everyone but if you think the word Powerpoint most people don’t think entertaining, engaging, fun, friendly people and most people think oh my god I have to sit through a Powerpoint presentation. Oh my god. For us it was just how do we be more friendly, how do we be entertaining? I’ve got a ton of bad jokes that I can make about Powerpoint. I nicely edit out most of them. In this day and age and everyone’s trying to be fast or whatever, people want to be entertained. People want to be helped. A way to differentiate yourself, be friendlier than the people around you or be more helpful.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s great advice. Have a personality.
Taylor: Personality absolutely it doesn’t have to be like everybody else’s website.
Jürgen: That’s right, yeah. Okay, that’s great. Thanks for getting us through the Buzz. we are having a few audio problems but we’ll persevere and hopefully this, in the recording it will be all good and we’ll have more detail in the transcription. What’s the future then for you and for the Nuts and Bolts Speed Training business?
Taylor: I think we just lost you. You coming back?
Taylor: There we go, you’re back.
Jürgen: Okay, yeah. We are having a few problems but I think we’ll just persevere and try and complete the podcast. What’s the future for you and for the Nuts and Bolts Speed Training business?
Taylor: What’s easier for us is really just getting out in front of more medium to advanced Powerpoint users who want to crush it. Ideally we want to meet people on Google when they’re typing in questions, having them come to us, loving our material, sign up for our newsletter, and eventually buying our course which we think that’s the best most valuable way we can help people, is in what we’ve pulled together. The future for us is just getting the word out that there is a website towards medium to advanced users.
Jürgen: Yeah, all right. Hopefully we can get the word out to a bigger audience through the podcast as well so we’ll see how we go.
Taylor: That’s great.
Jürgen: Yeah. Let’s get back to the competition. Taylor you mentioned earlier you were happy to offer one of the courses so can you outline that for us?
Taylor: Yeah. We’ll give away a full package of Powerpoint 3X which includes 7 hours of training material, we have new units coming out that includes the student webinar, a whole bunch of bonuses, all that jazz. I guess the question that we would have for people that you can put in the show notes or the comment section that I guess we would be judging this on is what’s the number … What’s the most frustrating thing in Powerpoint you have to deal with that you wish could be solved? – Is I guess, the question.
Camille: It could be anything really simple to really complex, just something that really just drives you nuts, something that drives you crazy about Powerpoint, we’d love to hear what it is.
Taylor: If you put your comments in we will respond to as many of them that we know the answers too anyways. Those will still be graded for the competition to win the package but we will also choose the best.
Jürgen: Okay, so there you go. That’s an awesome prize so basically a full training package from Nuts and Bolts Speed Training on Powerpoint and just tell us what the most frustrating thing is that you face with Powerpoint and the thing that if you had solved would change the way you use Powerpoint forever. Even if you just have some questions, sounds like Taylor and Camille will answer all the questions you have, everything you ever wanted to know about Powerpoint but were afraid to ask.
Taylor: And more.
Jürgen: And more. There we go. Great. Finally then, what’s the number one piece of advice you’d give to any business owner who wants to be a leader in their field?
Taylor: I guess it goes back to one of the others, just get started. We started out with no experience in web, no experience in Powerpoint and it … No experience in Powerpoint, no experience in web development or self online courses. It really just took us getting started and I think the scariest part about getting started is you’re afraid you’re going to make a bunch of mistakes you will make a bunch of mistakes, that’s just part of the process.
Camille: You are right.
Taylor: Yes, you are correct. You might as well start making them sooner than later.
Jürgen: That’s right because the sooner you make the mistakes the sooner you get the feedback, right?
Taylor: Absolutely. It sucks when you make a mistake and you might even piss someone off but you’ve got to put it as bridge under the water and hopefully do it with a few people before you’re in front of a huge audience.
Camille: I think there’s the saying that it’s hard to move a stationary object. As long as you have something that’s sort of moving even if it’s very slow or if it’s wobbly or whatever, it’s just a lot easier to push something that’s already moving. I think the lesson behind that is just get something going and then you can always steer it however you like. If it’s just sitting there it’s hard to move it around.
Taylor: Nobody can give you advice on what to do if you’re not active.
Jürgen: Yeah, I love that analogy. Yeah. Get moving and then once you’re rolling it’s easier to keep moving or even accelerate the pace.
Taylor: Yeah, absolutely.
Jürgen: All right, well this has been really great despite all the technical issues we’re having. Thank you for all that you’ve shared with us and for that awesome prize as well. Where can people reach out and say thank you?
Taylor: They can come visit us on our website which is just nutsandboltsspeedtraining.com all spelled out, nutsandboltsspeedtraining.com or just shoot me an email myself or Camille it’s just firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Jürgen: Great and we’ll put the links to those underneath show notes as well. Finally, who would you like me to interview on a future podcast and why?
Camille: One of the people that we follow who’s helped us get through the hurdles in the beginning of starting up our business is Pat Flynn, he runs a website called Smart Passive Income and he’s built a great brand, a great business, and he’s got a lot of great tips. He’s met a lot of interesting people and we really like his content and think he’d be helpful to a lot of people who might not have heard him yet.
Taylor: We just really like his style, I mean there’s a lot of internet marketers you can follow, everybody has their own style and we really enjoy Pat Flynn’s style above and beyond all the accomplishments he’s had online.
Jürgen: Yeah, well of course Pat Flynn is huge in podcasts and I’ve followed all his information on podcasting and learned a lot from that as well. Pat, keep an eye on your inbox we’ll be coming to get you for interview on the InnovaBuzz podcast courtesy of Camille and Taylor at Nuts and Bolts Speed Training.
Taylor: Just don’t mention the San Diego Chargers, they’re not doing well this season.
Jürgen: All right, okay. All right, well I might talk to him about other things then. All right, well Camille and Taylor this has been really great. Thank you so much for sharing your time with us today and your insights on the Innovabiz podcast. Thank you for bearing with the technical difficulties we’ve had. I’ve really enjoyed this immensely, I’ve learned a lot and I look forward to keeping in touch and seeing how things develop for your business and learning a lot more. I need to get on and find out about some of those shortcuts. I know Control C and Control P but a lot of the other ones, I think I need to start doing in my workflow.
Camille: Thanks for having us, it’s been a pleasure.
Taylor: We enjoyed it. Thank you.
Jürgen: Yeah, thank you. I wish you all the best for the future and we’ll certainly keep in touch.
Camille: Sounds good.
Taylor: Awesome. Thanks Jurgen.
Jürgen: Yeah, bye for now.
Well I hope you enjoyed meeting both Camille and Taylor as much as I enjoyed interviewing them. Theirs is a fascinating story and journey and the value they provide to professionals who need to present (and don’t we all!) is immense. I encourage you to check out their website.
All the show notes for this episode will be at innovabiz.com.au/nutsandbolts, that is N-U-T-S-A-N-D-B-O-L-T-S, all lowercase, all one word, innovabiz.com.au/nutsandbolts, for all of the links and everything we spoke about in this episode.
Don’t forget, to win a full training package from Nuts and Bolts Speed Training on Powerpoint, tell us in the comments, what the most frustrating thing is that you face with Powerpoint and the thing that, if you had solved, would change the way you use Powerpoint forever. Even if you just have some questions, Taylor and Camille will answer all the questions, everything you ever wanted to know about Powerpoint but were afraid to ask!
Camille and Taylor suggested I interview Pat Flynn, Online Entrepreneur, Author, Podcaster and Blogger, on a future podcast. Of course, Pat would be well known to many of our audience as the voice of The Smart Passive Income Blog! So, Pat, keep an eye on your Inbox for an invitation from me, for the Innovabuzz Podcast, courtesy of Camille Holden and Taylor Croonquist!
Thank you for listening to the InnovaBuzz podcast. We’d love you to review this podcast, because reviews help us get found and your feedback helps us improve. You can review us at iTunes or Stitcher and while you’re there, please subscribe so you’ll never miss a future episode.
Until next time, I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz.
Remember, if you don’t innovate, you stagnate, so think big, be adventurous and keep innovating!