InnovaBuzz Episode #38 – Kronda Adair: Karvel Digital

Kronda Adair, Karvel Digital

Kronda Adair: Karvel Digital on online workshops, audience building and funding products

In episode number 38  of the InnovaBuzz podcast,  Kronda Adair of Karvel Digital tells us about some of the really neat and innovative things she is doing with online workshops and building an audience and funding the products. Kronda’s philosophy is that a website is a business tool and should be working to grow your business, and she’s also a strong advocate of regularly publishing content. Let’s hear more from Kronda.

Listen to the Podcast

I appreciate good design, but I think good design is about facilitating the transaction, and not just like making it look pretty. A website is a business tool, not an art project.

Kronda Adair

Show Highlights

Some of the highlights of this episode include:

  • Figure out what the market wants before you spend a lot of time and energy building something; find out if people really want what you’re selling before you invest hugely in it.
  • You need to establish yourself as the go to X for Y. And blogging is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to do that.  Kronda sent a clear message to all our audience – Become an authority in your field by blogging!
  • Every minute that you spend on documentation or establishing process is hours and hours that you’ll save later.
  • It’s important to set aside time, ideally full days, to work on your business and keep free of client work.
  • In addition to publishing blogs and other writing online, speaking and presentations at relevant forums (for Kronda, WordCamps and tech meetings) is a great way to establish your authority.

Every minute that you spend on documentation or establishing process is hours and hours that you’ll save later. Future you will thank you so much!

Kronda Adair

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Kronda’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Watch the interview to get the full scoop.

  • #1 thing to be more innovative – Listen more to your customers or your audience.
  • Best thing for new ideas – Take the consistent pain point for your customers, and fix it.
  • Favourite tool for innovation – TeamWork (project management), Text Expander and 1Password.
  • Keep project / client on track – Standing weekly meetings.
  • Differentiate – Just be Yourself.

To Be a Leader

Publish valuable content, regularly to establish yourself as an authority.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Kronda at Karvel Digital’s Website, Facebook Page, or on Twitter (@KarvelDigital), or at one of Kronda’s personal sites – Twitter @kronda and Kronda.com

Suggested Guest

Kronda suggested I interview Tamala Huntley,  who has a WordPress-based business in Florida and has been in digital marketing for 20 years. Tamala – look out for our invitation!

Links

Full Transcript

Click to Read…

Intro:
Hi, I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz. Welcome to Episode No 38 of the InnovaBuzz Podcast – designed to help smart businesses with an interest in innovation become even more innovative.

In this episode, my guest is Kronda Adair, from Karvel Digital in Portland, Oregon, USA. I met Kronda through two online courses we are both participating in and have been following her work with great interest for quite a while. I’m a firm believer in her philosophies, that a website is a business tool and should be working to grow your business, as well as the idea of establishing your authority by publishing useful information. We talk about all those things on the interview, briefly touch on cats and dogs, camping, bike riding and photography (topics that will have to wait for another time though). This is another fabulous interview with plenty of great advice for any innovative entrepreneurs.

Let’s get into the Innovation Hive and get the Buzz from Kronda Adair.

Interview
Hi, I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz, and I’m really excited to have here with me today on this episode of the Innovabuzz Podcast, all the way from Portland, Oregon, in the USA, Kronda Adair of Karvel Digital. Welcome, Kronda. It’s a privilege to have you on the podcast.

Kronda:
Thank you. And excellent job with my name pronunciation.

Jürgen:
Well, I’ve been listening to some of your other podcasts where I think you educate people on how to do it.

Kronda:
It paid off!

Jürgen:
So, in addition to being the owner of Karvel Digital, Kronda is doing some really neat and innovative things with online workshops and building an audience and funding the products, so I’m really pleased to see that, because it’s an interesting model, and I’d like to explore that a little bit more. Now I’ve been stalking you for awhile; we’ve had a bit of a joke around that. But I first heard you on a podcast with Troy Dean, and then I looked up some of the links that were posted there, and I really like your philosophy around websites. And there’s one thing you said, it could’ve been in that podcast or somewhere else – that I use a lot in presentations, and that is a website is a business tool, not an art project.

Kronda:
Yes!

Jürgen:
And so, we’ll get back to that, but then I learned you are also a keen cyclist, a keen photographer, and you love cats, so I thought, Wow! We’ve got four things in common. So anyway, we can talk some more about that. And you’re also a regular speaker at tech forums, at WordPress Wordcamps, and other WordPress meetups, and also you’re an advocate for, what’s the right term, quality, diversity I think is the right term.

Kronda:
Oh, Absolutely. Diversity and inclusion.

Jürgen:
That’s right. Well, it’s great to have you here.

Kronda:
Thanks for having me.

Jürgen:
Now, before we start talking about websites and digital marketing and crowdfunding and all that sort of geeky stuff, let’s find out a little bit more about you. So, we know about the photography and cycling and cats, but when you were a child, did you have ambitions to get into the computer, internet world?

Kronda:
I did not. I wasn’t particularly into computers. I was exposed to them at a fairly young age. I was in middle school and I remember doing some DOS programming in one of my middle school classes. And then in high school I was part of a program where I got a Macintosh computer to use and keep for all four years that I was in high school. So, I mean I definitely had computers, but I wasn’t, I was using them to write papers, and not necessarily to program on my own time or have that as a goal. I really am a writer at heart. I didn’t want to pursue that as a career.

Jürgen:
Well, that makes sense because I look at some of your blog posts and other things you’ve written, and I think, Wow, I wish I could write that well.

Kronda:
Yes, I enjoy it a lot. And I’m trying to figure out how I could spend more time doing that. I know a lot of people, Troy included, are like, Oh, I wish I could pass this off, and they figure out ways to have other people do the writing for them. But it’s actually the part that I really like.

Jürgen:
So, did you work as a writer then?

Kronda:
Not really. I mean, I wrote for school and college, and I wrote for myself. And I started before there were blogs and before there was MailChimp, I just started an email list where it was me telling a bunch of people about what I was up to, and I called it Chick Beat, and I would just do that every so often when the mood hit me. And then I ended up on Live Journal, when that was a thing, and then moved to Blogger, and then eventually WordPress. So, I’ve just always been expressing myself and just the medium changes.

Jürgen:
So, what inspired you then to start up a digital marketing agency? Was that your first own business?

Kronda:
Yes, that is my first time starting a business. And, yes, I wasn’t raised in an entrepreneurial family really, and so I had a lot of different jobs. So what inspired me to go into tech in particular was I was project managing and I had a meeting with our developer, who was a freelance developer. So he waltzed in, and we had our meeting, it was about half an hour and he left. And I was like, he gets to leave this office and go wherever he wants and he doesn’t have to sit, you know, a door down from my boss, who I didn’t really like, and I just had this light bulb and decided I’m going to become a developer because I can do that. It just seemed like a much more independent career, potentially. And so I ended up going to school and getting a scholarship and graduating with an official degree in web design and interactive marketing, or web design and interactive media from the Art Institute of Portland. And then I went to work for an agency for a couple of years and then I got fired for “culture fit”. There’s air quotes around that. So, at that point I thought, well, I’ve been kind of had my eye on going out on my own, so that seemed like a fine time to do it. And so that was three and a half years ago, and I’ve been, I hung out my shingle, and here I’ve been ever since.

Jürgen:
Okay. So, tell us a little bit about Karvel Digital.

Kronda:
Well, Karvel is my middle name, because I’m terrible at naming things, so that’s where that comes from. Not as many people ask me as I would think, because it’s a weird word.

Jürgen:
I wondered about that. I was thinking how does that come out of
Kronda, so that makes sense now.

Kronda:
Well, it’s one of those things, you know, in my culture, you need a name that flows together. The first and the middle names when your parents are mad at you, they can say it altogether. “
Kronda Karvel, get your butt back in here!” So, yes, so I started that up and then I got clients in the beginning by just going to WordPress meetups, in the user center, WordPress meetups, kind of hanging out and trying to be helpful. And sure enough, I found one woman who kind of latched onto me. She was like, “Oh, I need lots of stuff done,” and she was like, “I can give you 40 hours a week of work,” and I’m like, “Well, that sounds like a job,” which is not what I signed up for. But I was new, so of course I said yes, and worked for her for about nine months until I could afford to move on to better clients.

Jürgen:
And over the last year you’ve kind of pivoted the business a little bit, haven’t you?

Kronda:
I have. So, you know, through following Troy and Brent Weaver from uGurus and a lot of other smart people, I really have started to focus more on recurring revenue because I think you eventually learn to figure out recurring revenue in your business, or you end up just looking for a job because the whole feast or famine thing is just too stressful. So, I started last year doing website care plans, and so for so much a month, we will take care of your website, we’ll do support. For a little bit more a month, we’ll do marketing and strategy and things like that. So, I started doing that a year ago, but it’s really been more of a slow buildup. But I eventually got to the point earlier this year where I was like I’m not going to work with anybody unless they’re on a care plan. So, unless they’re committed enough to their website to put their credit card in and say “Yeah, let’s do this,” I need that level of commitment if I’m going to work with somebody. And that’s just been so much nicer to be able to have an ongoing relationship with clients, to be able to tell them every month here’s what I think you should be focused on, and make gradual progress and actually see how far we’ve come has been really great.

Jürgen:
Yes, that’s, it is an amazing transformation. I mean, I’ve essentially gone down that track as well, and I guess the big thing for me is it’s actually win-win-win all around because the clients know that you’re there for them in whatever they happen to need, and they know that they can call on you. And I’ve found that it tends to bring in better clients, so not the ones that are micromanaging and looking over your shoulder and saying can you move this three pixels to the left or ….

Kronda:
Exactly. Well, and I had someone ….

Jürgen:
They’re basically, hey, we need more leads or we need this, and can you take care of that?

Kronda:
Exactly. And I had someone who came on recently who, you know, they kept asking, “Well, do you have anything where it’s not every month, like can we just call you in emergencies?” And I’m like, “Well, no because if you’re having an emergency, that means your site wasn’t well managed, and why would you operate that way?”

Jürgen:
Yes, exactly. And if it’s an emergency, it is quite likely a lot more work to fix that up rather than having maintained it all along.

Kronda:
Exactly.

Jürgen:
Tell us a little bit about the training program that you’ve put together and how you’ve gone about marketing that.

Kronda:
So, last year, or probably longer ago than last year, I started following Nathan Barry, and he wrote the book Authority, and it’s basically about how to write a book and become an expert in your niche. And I thought, Oh, I’m going to write an ebook because I meet so many clients, so many people who just have no clue whatsoever about the web, how it works, how to effectively have your business online. And I was running into these same problems. People wouldn’t even own their domain name, which is kind of like, it’s kind of like going through all of the process to buy a house with a real estate agent and then letting them sign the papers. And so many people do that. And they don’t realize that developer owns your online business, they could walk away with it at any time. And so this started out as just an idea to write an ebook. And then I realized with all of the work involved in trying to DIY these things when you’re not, don’t have a technical background. And I’m like okay, nobody’s going to get any value out of an ebook. They’re going to read it and go “that’s nice,” and they’re not going to do anything. So, then I’m like, okay, I need to make a course. And this was right around the time that everybody was kind of talking about making courses, and I’ve joined way too many courses in the last two years, but gotten a lot of value out of them. And so last Fall I did a beta of, it’s called “Websites That Work,” and it’s basically to teach people … either people who, maybe they don’t have the budget to spend $5,000 or $10,000 on a website, but they want to get online and they want to do it in a way that’s going to scale. So, that’s one audience. And then the other potential audience is people who, maybe they do have the money to hire someone, but they have no experience in running a web project. And I’ve seen projects die because of bad clients. And when I say “bad,” I mean they just don’t understand the process and how they need to be involved in it. So, they’re really focused on the wrong things. So, I mean, I have a project hanging out there that is over a year old that should have been done in four months, but we spent two months dinking about the logo, then they disappear and like all this stuff, and it’s like if we had just buckled down and got this thing done, even if it wasn’t perfect, it would be up and it would be helping your business and then you can improve on it. But having nothing for over a year, that’s a huge opportunity cost of the business, it’s expensive on both sides. So, having the right client and having the client understand the process and what’s important in terms of your website is there to bring leads to your business. It’s not an art project; it’s not about whether you like it. I mean, yes, you should like it to a point, you shouldn’t hate it, but really it’s about is it giving your potential customers the information that they need to make a decision to buy from you. And so I wanted to help people understand that.

Jürgen:
Yes, I mean there’s so much there that I really like, just the whole philosophy, and that a lot of people forget, isn’t it, it’s not about …. Like my website is not about me.

Kronda:
And you have to make decisions that are business decisions, you know, that are not based on like, “Well, I really like yellow.” You know, if there’s no reason for that …. You know, I have one client who, their website is really pretty, but there’s so much text inside of images, which is horrible for SEO. Like there’s …. You know, it’s horrible for SEO, it’s horrible for accessibility. If you are on there and you want to look up something that they’re talking about and you want to try to cut and paste that into a Google search, you couldn’t do it. You know, things like that that people just don’t understand. And I have a post on my blog about some of my philosophy of design because I love design, I appreciate good design, but I think good design is about facilitating the transaction, and not just like making it look pretty. So, it’s really hard to find web designers who understand that.

Jürgen:
Alright. So, talk us a little bit through how you are marketing that training program because I particularly like the innovative approach you took to start that up. I was involved in that beta program, so I actually saw it evolve, but would like to hear your take on it. I like the way you got support for it before you put a lot of resource into building it.

Kronda:
So I did a fundraiser back in April on Indiegogo and that’s good for marketing because it gets the word out, but it’s also good for fundraising. And that was fairly successful. It’s really nice to do, like it’s hard to put yourself out there like that, but also it’s really good to see, like, Oh these people support me enough and they’re actually willing to put dollars behind that because they believe in this. So, that’s really great to have that actual support. So, that went pretty well and then I think there was one podcast I was on, and they said “Well, how do you balance building your product with client work?” and I said “Badly,” which is still true, so you know, I actually got a new client and we’re doing a project to build out a learning management system that is the same as what I use for my course, because they already have a couple of online courses and they’re doing another one, and they really need a better platform. And I said, “Well, I have this over here,” and they were like, “Ooh, that looks good, we want that.” So, I’ve been spending a lot of time and energy building that, and then also trying to make progress with the product and getting content. And one of the hardest things is just figuring out what do people want because that’s how you have to market to them is based on their pain points, and then what do they need, like what are they really struggling with. And so this weekend I’m headed down to WordCamp Orange County, California, and I submitted a talk basically to help non-technical business owners get online. And they came back with, We love this idea, we want to make it a discussion, and so they made it a longer session and they want me to lead the discussion of what are the challenges that you’re having, which is basically user research for me, so that’s awesome. And I’m looking forward to that this weekend. So, yes, my next step is really to just try to get out and connect with more people who are my target audience and try to figure out how it is I can help them.

Jürgen:
That’s great! So, you’re one-on-one clients, they would be a different target audience than your workshop clients or your training program clients?

Kronda:
Correct, and I’m probably going to end up starting a separate company for the two, or a separate brand just because they are so different. And there’s, you know, it’s a little bit integrated, there’s blog posts and things about websites that work on my current site, but I’m going to split that off pretty soon – because it is very different, you know, for my one-to-one clients, you’re looking at, for sites, kind of a minimum investment around five grand, which is really out of reach for a lot of small businesses and startups. And then for ongoing work, anywhere from $97 a month to $2,500 a month if you want adwords or SEO or things like that. So, yes, it’s a different audience, and I prefer those to be more established businesses who have an audience because then we can really take that and improve on it, whereas when people are starting from nothing, like a lot of people try to build from nothing with very little or no money, and it just, it doesn’t work. So, yes, the course is really for that segment of here’s how you get off the ground in a way that’s not going to give you regrets later.

Jürgen:
I really like that model, and I’ve started doing some in-person workshops, but with group training based on helping them do it themselves but do it right, and it’s very much the same philosophy of what you said at the end there that if people don’t have the budget, they might go and spend $500 or $1,000 to get somebody to do a website and it’s just a waste of money because it might be a nice brochure, but it’s not a business tool.

Kronda:
Exactly. And I actually recently connected with a group in Portland called the Portland Underground Graduate School, PUGS. We love acronyms up here. And so I talked to them, and I’m working with them on possibly doing an in-person class through their existing structure. And it wouldn’t probably be like, okay we’re going to build a whole website because I think it’s four weeks and it’s only two hours a week, but it would be sort of empowering people. Because one of the other problems is that when people have this idea of themselves as “I’m not technical and I can’t do that.” Well, it’s probably not as hard as they think, they just need some guidance and some walkthroughs, and to learn how to figure out the things that they need to do. And I think that’s usually valuable for people. And I’ve seen that happen with people who went through the beta course where they were really like, “Oh, I don’t know about that, I just let my developer do it,” and they have no control, and they don’t own their stuff, to “Okay, I know I need to own these things, it needs to be in my name and I give access to the people who are helping me,” and they’re not afraid to do that, and they understand how to do it. So, I think even that is hugely valuable.

Jürgen:
Oh yes. I think you can’t overestimate that because the, you know, you can end up getting somebody to help with the technical aspects of it if you’ve got an understanding of the fundamentals and you’ve got the foundation right. So it was interesting in the very first in-person workshop I did, one of the participants, at lunchtime, so we’ve done four hours, and he said, “Oh we haven’t got onto the computer yet and we haven’t started doing some geeky stuff on the computer. We haven’t gotten into WordPress or anything yet.” And he said, “This is all fantastic, but I’m a little disappointed we haven’t got on the computer,” and I said, “That’s because you’re not ready.” So, we spent the morning talking about what are your business objectives, what are the outcomes you’re wanting to achieve to finding the target audience and those kind of things. And a lot of people kind of park that or put that aside and later on they wonder why isn’t this working.

Kronda:
Exactly. Or they’re frozen trying to pick a WordPress theme when they haven’t thought about their audience and who they’re trying to reach and yes, that is so typical, and people want to skip that stuff, including us.

Jürgen:
Of course.

Kronda:
And we have the ability to go straight to the geeky stuff, which is even worse. But that’s the work you have to do, and I structured my course so that, you know, we talk about those foundations, domain and hosting and that kind of thing. You know, what’s the difference between wordpress.com and self-hosted, you know, all that stuff, and then we talk about who’s your audience and we talk about how that, how deciding who you’re trying to market to then affects your content. And then not until week four do we start talking about technology and how do you actually … you know, because then you have the background and you’ve done the work to make those decisions. So, okay, what kind of theme do I need, like do I have a photography-heavy thing or do I have a text-heavy site. So, the tech part becomes much easier when you do that background work ahead of time. And the first time I redid my website, I actually went and filled out my own inquiry form, because I was like, “What am I trying to do?” And that was really useful. And I was like, “Oh, there’s a reason I make people do this.”

Jürgen:
It’s funny, isn’t it, because I implemented that, I found that years ago, before I even knew of Troy, but I actually came across the original version, I think it was Andy Clark.

Kronda:
Oh, that sounds right.

Jürgen:
And it was just a Word document, and I thought, “Oh this is neat.” I thought I should get people to, I should work with people and fill this out when building their websites. And then I sort of sat down and did it for myself, and I thought, “this is really hard.”

Kronda:
It’s really hard to do for yourself. It’s real easy to talk other people through it.

Jürgen:
That’s right. Alright, so what is the biggest trap in doing something that’s a little bit out there, a little bit innovative, and how do you sell those ideas as well?

Kronda:
Well, I mean, it’s always riskier being on the front lines, which I’m not sure I am. I think courses are a really big thing right now. And I’m sure there’s other people out there doing, like teachings or DIY web stuff. But I haven’t personally come across a lot of it, maybe because I’m not the target audience. But when I … So, there’s always the risk of people going like, “Oh, that’s dumb” or just not being interested. And I think I’ve learned a lot about how to figure out what the market wants before you spend all that time and energy building something, like go in little steps, you know, see if people really want what you’re selling before you invest hugely in it. And that’s kind of the stage I’m at right now is I’m working on a mini-course. It’s like showing people exactly how to register a domain because that’s the #1 problem I see is people don’t own their domains. And I’m like, Look, here’s how you register it with someone other than GoDaddy because I can’t stand them. And here’s how you actually get a website host, and here are the ones that are good and reputable and will do backups for you. Sort of taking people through that stuff that a lot of people find really intimidating. So, that’s what I’m going to be working on that’s going to be coming out in the next month or so, and just put that out there and see what that does, see if people resonate with that and think it’s useful, and then go from there.

Jürgen:
Sorry, I had to laugh there about GoDaddy because if people search
Kronda and GoDaddy, you’ll find lots of stuff …

Kronda:
I know. You’ll find out what I really think. Poor guy, the GM, the general manager of GoDaddy hosting emailed me, and I’m sorry if you’re listening to this, but you’ll be okay. And I think they’re a little bit better than they used to be, but it’s not, you know, there are so many great hosts out there. It’s like, you know, I don’t need to go back. He offered me a free account or whatever, and I said, No, that’s great that you’re improving, and they have plenty of business. They’re not going to go under. But I just, based on … and even today, I spent, I did a discovery for a client, and we didn’t end up being a good fit to work together, but I did promise her that I would just go in and update all of her plugins and themes and things, and man, I let that sit there for way, way too long because she’s hosted on GoDaddy, and I was thinking I don’t want to go in and do this until I have a backup, but getting a backup was so painful that it just, like, every time I would go to do it I’d be like Oh, I don’t have time for this. So, I finally sat down and did it today, but it was just like this is why, this is why I don’t do this. I’ve talked to people who have problems getting BackupBuddy to work, which is one of the go-to backup solutions. None of my techniques and scripts that I’ve developed for deploying sites, none of those work on GoDaddy, so I’m just like, well, you know, there’s other options.

Jürgen:
That’s right. No need to adapt to something that’s just not … doesn’t meet current standards.

Kronda:
So I went through last year trying a bunch of different hosts and ended up on Flywheel, and I’m really happy with them.

Jürgen:
Yes, they’re definitely really good, and I’m talking to them at the moment, based on your recommendation, actually.

Kronda:
Oh, awesome! I’ll send you my affiliate link.

Jürgen:
Yes, do that. But we have other ones that we use as well and we also have IT companies or hosting companies that we have a similar feeling about as GoDaddy.

Kronda:
I’m sure.

Jürgen:
But there’s one thing you said there, and I think it applies to the GoDaddy discussion as well, that seems to be a theme from all of the people I talk to on this podcast. You know, when we talk about innovation and they say get really close to what your customer wants and understand what that is. And you think that “that’s actually common sense, isn’t it?” but it isn’t.

Kronda:
Common sense isn’t common!

Jürgen:
…but it isn’t because it’s kind of a theme that really comes through strongly, and perhaps that’s where somebody like GoDaddy is a little bit off the mark.

Kronda:
Yes. And I met a woman who, we were talking and she had an idea for a web app that she had been working on and spent somewhere in the area of $12,000 working on this idea without actually having a finished product. And she had an email list of 1,800 people, and I said well why aren’t you asking them “what do you want?” and then giving it to them in little, you know, like you could be funding this as you’re going and refining it based on what they actually say they want, not like I have this grand idea … But it’s so hard to do. Like, you know, as tech people or as entrepreneurs, we get really married to our idea.

Jürgen:
Exactly. Alright. So, you talked earlier about your love of writing and you’re a regular publisher and blogger and do a lot of presentations and so on. Tell us a little bit about blogging and … because I think you do this really well, but tell us a little bit about why that’s important because I have this discussion all the time with people and then how you actually approach it.

Kronda:
So last year I was, you know, I was very sporadic in my blogging and I wasn’t really growing my subscribers, my email subscribers, and I talk a lot about the importance of both of those things. So, I decided, okay, I need to start walking the talk. And so almost a year ago, I said, okay, I’m going to publish every week and I’m going to send out a newsletter basically directing people back to the blog and here’s why you should read it. And so I did that from July through mid-December, this is through client things and projects that were going down the tubes, and the beta that I was running. But every week, every Thursday, sometimes late in the day on Thursday, I would post a blog post and it would be something I felt like would be really useful for people. So things about email automation or growing your list or which web host you should use, you know, things that people ask me all the time. That’s really what I blog about. I try to make it so that if someone asks me a question, my answer is a link back to something I’ve already written. And I’m getting pretty good at that, like I send out a lot of links and not a lot of one-off answers. So, the reason that that’s important, like I feel like it’s directly related to me talking to you on this podcast right now. Like I’ve done at least six podcasts that have come out this year, and that’s in part based on having published regularly and gotten the word out there and becoming established as this person knows about these things. And that’s, as a business owner, what you need to do; you need to establish yourself as the go-to X for Y. And blogging is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to do that. Video is really big now, but if you can’t stand the thought of being on camera, like blogging still works.

Jürgen:
Alright. So, I hope all my clients and my audience heard that; you don’t have to take my word for it now. It’s straight from
Kronda Adair.

Kronda:
I know. Isn’t that half the reason we do these? I’ve done interviews where I’m like, “See, it’s not just me.”

Jürgen:
Exactly.

Kronda:
Other people are saying it, so I’m telling you, all of Jürgen’s clients, you need to blog.

Jürgen:
And the other thing you said there, I thought that’s classic because I tell my clients that as well, if somebody asks you a question, write that down as the heading for your next blog post, and if you’re writing an email to them to answer that question, then save that because you’ve already done the blog post then.

Kronda:
Exactly.

Jürgen:
Alright now. You’re also very strong on process and documentation, and I think it was a blog post or a podcast that I was listening to where you spoke about that a little bit. So, how does that impact on your business and particularly what you’re doing now with the courses?

Kronda:
It’s so huge. I mean, every minute that you spend on documentation or establishing process is hours and hours that you’ll save later. Like future you will thank you so much. And so yes, I do have a blog post about documentation and the importance of it. So, on that note I’ll share I have a client who is, we tried to plan, but it was very much lots of fires to put out, the first probably year, year and a half that we worked together. And so we would try to make a plan of “Oh, we’re going to do this,” and then it would be like “Oh, we need this right now, we need this right now.” And that went on for awhile, and I would talk to her about we really need to document these things and, you know, we need to know how these campaigns work that we’re putting together, and how the website works with all of the integrations and all this stuff. And then she lost two of her key employees within a couple of months of each other. So, she hired somebody new and then just kind of that person took the brunt of trying to take on kind of both of those roles. And nobody knew what this one person did because it wasn’t documented, and then she was unavailable, largely unavailable. So, at that point she started to understand, “Oh, now I’m really, like, I’m really stuck because I don’t understand the processes and the things that people are doing in my business.” And so when you take the time to create that and then pass it off to somebody and then have them improve it, you’re just saving yourself so many hours and so much money because even if you lose that person, you still have the process and you can more easily train somebody else to take that over. And even things that I do. You know, I made a process for posting my blog post to make sure I don’t miss anything, because between making sure you do your SEO and making sure you have a click to tweet, and making sure you set up your social media posts, and you know, there’s all this stuff; there’s 25 steps in this process. So just having it even if I’m doing it over and over again means I can just follow the steps and I don’t have to waste that brain power going, “Okay, did I remember everything? Does it have a category?” I can just follow those steps. So, yes, I’m still deep in the mode of just documenting everything I do in my business. And I found a cool tool that’s been really helpful called Iorad.

Jürgen:
That’s fabulous, isn’t it?

Kronda:
Yes, it lets you make screen captures of what you’re doing as you’re doing it. And so it just cuts the time by 90% because you just, it just captures what you’re doing and then you just go back and edit it. And then you have this nice little tutorial with screenshots. Which is great for people who don’t like video; some people hate video, and they’re like “Just tell me what to do.” So, that’s a nice text plus image-based way to create tutorials.

Jürgen:
That’s right. And you can even set it up so that it says, okay Step 1 do this, and then it waits for you to confirm that you’ve done it, and then you go Click yes, done, and then it says, okay now Step 2 you do this bit.

Kronda:
Yep. Yes, so that’s been really great.

Jürgen:
So, we’ll have a link to Iorad in the show notes because I think it’s well worth looking at. And there is a free version of that which the only restriction, if I remember correctly on the free version, is that your processes are public. So, at least you can play around and see whether it’s something that you want to invest in for your business.

Kronda:
Exactly.

Jürgen:
Alright. Thanks for that. So, what are the biggest challenges that you have right now,
Kronda?

Kronda:
Um, my biggest challenge remains the same, and it’s time. That’s why I’m so stuck on processes and, you know, I have a virtual assistant that I’m striving to use more effectively, and that’s part of the reason why I want to document all of these things. But just trying to manage my time between keeping projects going, making sure I’m taking care of clients and getting them what they need, and then also keeping the product moving. And one thing that I’ve done to help with that, which is an idea I also stole from Troy, is I don’t do meetings on Mondays or Fridays anymore. So all of my client things and meetings are all sandwiched in the middle of the week, and I know that I have those bookends to really focus without distraction. Cats not included! But so that’s always my biggest challenge, and it’s getting there, I’ve gotten a little better. And I actually noted early today, like “Oh, I’m just kind of like humming along, getting stuff done, and I need more days like this.” So, but then it’s conference season, so Friday I fly to Orange County, and next month I have another conference, and then we’re going camping, so there’s always something, and I think just learning how to focus better with the time you have is the main thing; I’m working on it.

Jürgen:
Well, that’s the key, isn’t it, because I think we all, as small business owners and entrepreneurs, time is a challenge for all of us, where it’s learning how, what actually is most important and trying to focus on that. So, I’ve started doing this 1-3-5 thing everyday – so every morning I spend 10 minutes going through my huge, long list of to-dos and I put together a 1-3-5 list, so the 1 is the thing that I absolutely must get done today, and then 3, I should do those today; and then there’s 5 other things, if I get time, I’ll do those as well.

Kronda:
Yes.

Jürgen:
… and put everything in that, and then at the end of the day, I might only get the one thing done, but at least if I’ve defined that’s the most important thing today, then at least I feel good because, okay, I haven’t got all my list done, but I’ve done the most important one, which is the one that’s going to have the biggest impact. So, I’ve found that quite helpful. And then the other thing, of course, you mentioned is around balance. I mean it is important to get out there and do the speaking, and you’re obviously having a lot of success with that, and also the balance, so if you want to go camping or if you want to go bike riding or photography, which we’ll have to talk about offline I think, then you need to do that as well because you’ve got to balance life and work, right.

Kronda:
Yes, absolutely. And last year was the year I kind of was like, “Okay, this is the year of my business,” and I was kind of a workaholic all year, and then that didn’t really work out. So, I’m still moving forward, but also in the middle of a huge yard renovation and pondering what kind of dog we might get next year, and just all kinds of things.

Jürgen:
Right. Well, the one thing about dogs, I grew up with a dog, but I haven’t had one in my adult life, but the one thing I know about dogs is they certainly make sure you go for a walk everyday and so there’s that level of balance, right.

Kronda:
Exactly. I’m like, okay, well I have a year, maybe a little less, maybe eight or nine months, to get my business to the point where it’s like … and we want a puppy, which we’re going to regret instantly, but, you know, I’ll get maybe one- or two-hour chunks to work until the puppy’s older. And to make it worse, our friends just brought home a French bulldog yesterday, so we went over and saw that.

Jürgen:
Alright. Well, I say, we’ll probably have to talk about photography and bikes and camping and cats and things outside the webinar because it is getting on a little bit. So, let’s move on to the Buzz, which is our innovation round, and it’s designed to help our audience who are primarily innovators and leaders in their field, with some tips from your experience. So, I’m going to ask you a series of five questions and hopefully you’ll give us some really insightful answers, which you have already, so this will just be a bonus. So, what do you think is the #1 thing anyone needs to do to be more innovative?

Kronda:
I would say listen more to your customers or your audience.

Jürgen:
Yes, that’s great. And as I said, that comes up quite a lot in these discussions. What’s the best thing you’ve done to develop new ideas or products?

Kronda:
Just taking the consistent pain point that I see, which in my case was education or client lack of education, and trying to figure out how to fix it.

Jürgen:
Yes, that’s great. So, it comes back to customer needs again, doesn’t it? And what’s your favorite tool or system for allowing you to be more productive and innovative?

Kronda:
Wow, that’s getting onto a tool question, so that’s tough to narrow down. I probably couldn’t live without TeamWork, which is my project management tool, and Text Expander which allows me to type lots of things in shortcuts, you know, I’ll type a couple of letters and it will expand to different words. And I’ll add one more, 1Password, I definitely couldn’t live without 1Password, that keeps all of my secure information safe and sound and allows me to share it securely with people.

Jürgen:
Yes, and that’s, I’ve seen that you do some training on that specifically, which is inspiring me to do something as well. I happen to use LastPass, but …

Kronda:
Yes, same concept.

Jürgen:
It’s the same concept, so you’ve got, particularly in our line of business, we’ve got thousands of passwords, and security is really a big thing, so it’s not good enough to have pass123 for everything.

Kronda:
Yes, I just took mine down from about 1,500 to about 950, like I did a big cleanout like years old stuff.

Jürgen:
Yes, we’re doing … sorting ours into client folders and shared folders at the moment …

Kronda:
Oh yes, I did that …

Jürgen:
… makes it a little easier to manage as well.

Kronda:
Absolutely.

Jürgen:
Okay, and we’ll have links to those in the show notes as well. So, what’s the best way to keep a project or a client on track?

Kronda:
Standing weekly meeting. You know, that’s something that’s preached basically by most of the business people that I’ve followed in the past two years. It’s like, you start out on the same page, and then things diverge, and if you can just do that touch point every week or even every few days, depending on the project, it really helps usually. And I haven’t been doing a lot of projects; I’m actually doing the first project of this year, and it’s just been so helpful to have that.

Jürgen:
Yes, it is good, isn’t it? I’ve had three or four client meetings this week where we’ve done either content workshops or one was a discovery meeting, and it just clarifies that how if you have those discussions and then follow up on them regularly, it just makes it so much easier.

Kronda:
Yes.

Jürgen:
Alright. And the fifth one. What’s the #1 thing anyone can do to differentiate themselves?

Kronda:
I’m going to say just be yourself out loud. You know, I get asked often if I have trouble getting clients because of my Twitter account or because of my personal blog, and it’s really the opposite. I’ve had people contact me because of those things, and I’m not shy about spouting off about whatever is going on or whatever’s affecting me. But, you know, when you do that, you attract the people who have similar values, and you repel the people who you wouldn’t really want to deal with. So, I think, “Oh, I started a business, so I can’t say this or I can’t say that.” I’m like, ‘cuz it’s your business, so you can do whatever you want.

Jürgen:
And maybe that’s why you get in the situation you described earlier in the corporate world where you were told you’re not a cultural fit, because you’re kind of in that inner conflict there. Can you be yourself and how much do you have to kind of knuckle down and try to fit in or try to behave in a way that people expect you to behave …

Kronda:
Exactly. I’m terrible at that.

Jürgen:
… or people decide is a normal whatever. So, a lot of people, lot of entrepreneurs actually give that advice – be yourself. And I think it’s great advice, and it’s a good point you make; if somebody doesn’t like what you’re saying or how you are, then they won’t work with you and you probably don’t want to work with that person.

Kronda:
Exactly.

Jürgen:
Alright. So, what’s the future for Karvel Digital and particularly for these workshops. I mean, I’ll be following that with great interest.

Kronda:
As always! So, for the course, like I said, I’m working on the mini-course and just trying to get out and listen to more people and figure out where they get stuck and what can I do to help them. And, you know, being someone who’s technical, I’m pretty good at breaking things down in non-tech speak, or so I’ve been told, but it’s still something I watch out for. Like the little assumptions that you make about what people know that you don’t really know you’re making. So, definitely getting closer to my potential customers is in the near future. And then for the business, for Karvel Digital, I’m working on this learning management site for one of my new clients, and I’m really liking what Troy Dean is doing with RockStar Empires. And he was the inspiration for the platform that I built for my course. And he really has kind of dialed this thing of how to have an engaging online course experience. And so I’m trying to dial in that process, and I’m hoping to build some more of those in the future for people who want to get their knowledge out of their head, and teach it once, and sell it lots of time, so that’s something I’m going to be focusing on probably in the next year or so.

Jürgen:
Yes, that’s great. And I’m in that program as well, and we’ll have a link to that there because we both highly recommend people check that out.

Kronda:
Well, let me tell you what a Troy fan I am. Last week, a week ago today, I flew from Portland to L.A. for the day just to meet him because he’s in the States right now going to a bunch of WordCamps, so that’s how awesome Troy Dean is.

Jürgen:
Yes, I saw the photo of you two hugging on Facebook. That’s so great. A big shout out to Troy. So, finally, what’s the #1 piece of advice you’d give to any business owner who wants to be a leader in their field?

Kronda:
To establish yourself as an authority by publishing. That’s probably the thing that’s helped me the most in terms of starting to get better clients. You know, like people, like bad clients don’t just cost in terms of profitability, they cost in terms of your time, your energy, you’re doing all of this work, you’re not getting paid enough for it, you’re resentful about it; they’re not getting the value out of it because you’re probably not giving them everything that they really need because they’re trying to penny pinch …. Like, you can just avoid all of that by just establishing yourself as the expert so that you can then do what Brent always says, high-value work for high-value pay.

Jürgen:
And the other thing about those low-value sort of clients is they take you away from actually helping the people you can help. That’s great advice. And there you go, people, again, publishing, establishing yourself as an authority, blogging, speaking. So, great. So, thanks,
Kronda. I’ve really appreciated your taking the time to spend with me today. Where can people reach out and say thank you?

Kronda:
You can find me at karveldigital.com or on Twitter or Facebook at Karvel Digital, and if you’re into cats, you can follow my Instagram which is basically just foods and cats.

Jürgen:
I saw some of those.

Kronda:
And I have a personal Twitter @
Kronda and my personal website,
Kronda.com.

Jürgen:
Okay. Well, we’ll have links to all of those under the, in the show notes, underneath the… oh, I was going to say video, but we’re not doing video anymore. Underneath the blog post. And finally,
Kronda, who would like to see me interview on a future podcast and why?

Kronda:
Oh, so, I’m going to send you to Tamala Huntley, and she is another black woman who has a WordPress-based business. She lives in Florida, so the other side of the country for me, and she’s kind of like who I want to be when I grow up in terms of …. You know, I actually interviewed her for my … Actually, if you go in … because you have access to my beta course, so there’s a bonus in there, an interview with her, and she’s been at this digital marketing thing for 20 years. So, she really has her game together and she’s really, and she’s someone who’s moved from a lot of client-focused work to having different courses and doing educational things. So, I love what she’s doing and I digitally stalk her and yes, she’s awesome.

Jürgen:
Okay, well, Tamala, if you’re listening to this, look out for an invite from me for the Innovabuzz Podcast, courtesy of
Kronda Adair. So, thanks very much,
Kronda, for your time and your insights with us today on the Innovabuzz Podcast. I’ve really enjoyed this. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve written down lots of notes of things that I want to try out as well, and I will continue to stalk you.

Kronda:
Alright. I look forward it.

Jürgen:
Just letting you know.

Kronda:
Alright, thanks for having me.

Jürgen:
I definitely wish you all the best, but we’ll be in touch on the various Facebook groups we’re both involved in and I’m in your beta course as well. Alright. Thanks,
Kronda.

Kronda:
Thank you.

 

Wrap Up:
Well I hope you enjoyed meeting Kronda as much as I enjoyed interviewing her. She generously shared a lot of great advice and lessons from her own experience.
All the show notes for this episode will be at innovabiz.com.au/krondaadair, that is K-R-O-N-D-A-A-D-A-I-R, all lowercase, all one word, innovabiz.com.au/krondaadair, for all of the links and everything we spoke about in this episode .

Kronda suggested I interview Tamala Huntley who runs the Ditch Your Desk movement, on a future InnovaBuzz podcast. Tamala, keep an eye on your Inbox for an invitation from me, for the Innovabuzz Podcast, courtesy of Kronda Adair!

Thank you to our listeners for being here. We’d love you to review this podcast, because reviews help us get found and your feedback helps us improve. You can do that on iTunes or Stitcher and while you’re there, please subscribe so you’ll never miss a future episode. And as of yesterday, you can also subscribe and listen to the InnovaBuzz podcast on Pocket Casts (thanks to James Rousseaux for that tip!)

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!

Listen to the Podcast

Jürgen

Jürgen is the chief innovator and founder of Innovabiz who partner with innovative, exceptional business coaches to enable you to acquire more leads and more business by reaching your ideal target prospects with your message, so that you will achieve growth and be able to make a difference to more ideal clients. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, as well as on Innovabiz' Twitter, Facebook and Google+ Pages.

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