Episode #126: Reducing Calls in Our Businesses (Without Reducing Support) With Meg Harrop

Is it really possible to reduce the number of calls we do in our business without reducing the level of support we offer? Yes, and we’ll talk about how to actually do that in today’s episode of the Quietly Ambitious podcast.

Listen to the Episode:

Ruth Poundwhite  0:00  
Is it really possible to reduce the number of calls that we do in our business without reducing the level of support that we offer? Yes, it is. And we’re going to talk about how to actually do that. In today’s episode of The quietly ambitious podcast. You’re listening to quietly ambitious with conversations about how it really feels to build a business that honours your whole self unapologetically. And that includes who you are, how you feel, what you really desire, the impact that you want to create, and importantly, the money you want to make. I’m your host, Ruth Poundwhite. And my superpower is supporting sensitive and ambitious humans to make more money by fully expressing and owning all of who they are. Let’s dive in. Today, I’m chatting with Meg, Harrop, a designer and illustrator who works with artists, artists and makers and service providers to channel their creative chaos into layered and meaningful brand identities. And we are talking about a topic that comes up all the time in my communities and with my clients. That is reducing the number of calls we do in business without reducing the support that we offer. Meg is a champion of leaning into our own unique strengths and personalities, both in running our businesses and branding them. She believes in weaving fun and playfulness into business and finding ways to work that give us ultimate flexibility, which we’re going to talk a lot about in this episode. Meg is mum to a two year old, and together with her family is in the middle of moving across Wales to begin a new phase in their life. In this episode, we talk about the magic of asynchronous communication, for example, Voxer coaching, and what that even means, and how we can put our needs first and create freedom with the way that we support clients with lots of examples of how Meg has created offers that provide support in flexible and creative ways, massively reducing the number of calls she takes. I’m sure a lot of us are very curious about this one. So enjoy. I just want to start by asking you why you decided to experiment with asynchronous communication in your business? And also can you just explain a bit about what that means for people who aren’t potentially aren’t fully familiar with it?
Meg Harrop  2:16  
Yeah, sure. So I looked up the like dictionary definition of it. And it said, communication that happens out of sync, or not in real time, but I was like, I hate that definition. Because for me, like it’s made me feel more in sync with my clients. Definitely not out of sync. So I kind of hate that definition. But anyway, it’s, it’s where one person sends a message, and then the other person will read it and reply when they’re ready. So it can be things like, you know, text, email, and then more recently, people do voice notes and video notes. So yeah, that’s what the kind of asynchronous communication is. It’s just one person. Send the message and the other person replies later. So it’s, it’s like a more laid back form of communication, I guess. And it gives the each person time to, like, really do their best response and like, really think in between. So that’s why I really love it.
Ruth Poundwhite  3:22  
Yeah. And in contrast, I guess to calls live calls. Yeah, but whether video or phone calls? Yeah,
Meg Harrop  3:28  
exactly. So I started experimenting with it. I’ll kind of like set the scene a little bit. It was like 2020. There’s a pandemic happening. I’m pregnant. And I have my baby like in June 2020. And a couple of days before, I think it was a couple of days before I gave birth, like my husband got made redundant, like he was furloughed. redundant, and like, it felt like the floor like fell out from underneath us. So it was it felt like really bad timing. But he got like a little bit of a payout. So we were going to be okay for a little while. And I had obviously planned to have a bit of a maternity leave. So we kind of spent the first couple of months with our baby. It was actually the end ended up being really lovely. Because I know like a lot of dads don’t really get to have that time with their kids in the beginning, so it felt wonderful to have him at home. And then it got to a point where he’d been looking for work. He’d been looking for another job, but the work that he’d been doing manufacturing engineering, like that’s why he got murdered, and it wasn’t happening as much like they weren’t manufacturing, the stuff that he was working on, which was like he worked at JCB, so like diggers and tractors and stuff. So they weren’t making as much of that stuff. So he wasn’t able to find something that fitted with what he’s been doing before. he’d done a bit of like, there was a lot of driving work available. He’d done some like truck driving and stuff. But it just got to the point where like, I was still getting inquiries through my website, because a lot of people were at home, they weren’t deciding they might want to start online businesses. And obviously, people need branding when they start businesses. So I was still getting all those inquiries. And we, we sort of sat down together and thought, just started like questioning, like why we had to do it, the way that we thought we had to do it, you know, the way that a lot of people do it. So we kind of thought, Maybe we should try me, you know, picking up my work again, and my husband, like staying at home with us, and being there for the baby. So that’s kind of where it started. I started picking up the work again, and it got to the point where I think I was a bit naive in a way because I didn’t realise how different my work would feel once I’d had a baby. Because even though, like my husband was at home with us, like when you got a newborn, they still need them a lot. And I was breastfeeding. And it doesn’t have that I was like working. And I had Logan like in a baby wrap on my phone. And I like dude was doing my work at the same time while he was napping. And it was just like, it was hard to get back into that same like frame was mine I had been in before. And I couldn’t do work for like as long periods of times I didn’t before. So it got to the point where like I was booking work in the same pace that I’d always done before. But it got to the point where it was like stacking up, I wasn’t able to get it finished in time. And like it was just all the projects are stacking up. And it got to the point where I was like, I need to, like find different ways of working either, like smaller, quicker ways of working with people, or I need to really just change the way that I do everything. To the point where it felt quite stressful, and I started looking online for like different ways that people were doing stuff. And I found Elizabeth Goddard, who kind of invented this new way of like doing mentoring calls and coaching with people where she did it rather than having live calls. She did it via voice notes. And like, blew my mind when I asked about that. It’s like, wow, I had not done voice notes. Like a lot of people I think keep in touch with like family and friends via voice notes. But I’d never done that I’ve never really used voice notes. But I thought perhaps that’s a way that I can bring something new into my business. Because I’ve been asked about, like, mentoring calls with other other designers, and people who wanted help with, you know, branding, just like the fundamentals and like wanting to DIY stuff themselves. And I’d always shied away from it, I think because like I’m naturally quite a shy person quite introverted. And I felt like that would take a lot of energy to like, have calls with people, I did it a few times, it just felt really, really, really, really hard. And took a lot of energy. And I just, yeah, when I found that people were doing this with voice notes, I was like, maybe that is something that I can do. So that is the kind of long story to how it started. But yeah, I decided to, like, bring in those voice notes and do like some kind of like mentoring and like, pick your brains type stuff with people, first of all, and just really, really enjoyed that way of working. And it was a new kind of like a quick thing that people could just walk in. And I could like speak to them for a morning or a day or whatever. And it was just like a new thing that I could offer.
Ruth Poundwhite  9:01  
And I feel like so because you mentioned about like your situation with your husband and, and the work and, and then like finding out a way to work for you. I feel like the theme is like, Why do I have to do things the way they’ve always been done? Or that’s like a question that underlies all of this.
Meg Harrop  9:19  
I feel like that is a thread that runs through like everything that we do now once you start, like questioning one thing, like it just leads on and you start questioning, like everything. And I just always ask myself now like, why why do we do things that way? Or like and also what if like, what if there’s another way of doing things? So yeah, definitely that just like runs through everything now.
Ruth Poundwhite  9:44  
Yeah, I love it. So when we ask ourselves those kind of questions, it’s not always easy to like, what comes out right? I’m curious to hear a bit about like, what did you think like, what were your concerns? Maybe about out shaking things up in this way and your business.
Meg Harrop  10:03  
Yeah, it’s, it’s more about like how other people would respond to it because everybody’s used to like doing live calls. And especially in the pandemic, like zoom became a huge thing, didn’t it? And more people were using Zoom. And I was always just like, oh, no, I just feel like as an introvert, and as a shy person, like, every time, I had a call with somebody, it would take like, the whole space around the call, like before and after, it would be like this would be so nervous for like, so long before, then afterwards would just feel really drained. So it was like, Yeah, I just wondered how other people would respond to it. And whether they would find it odd that I didn’t want to do calls. And they didn’t want to do it a different way. So it was definitely about like, how other people would perceive it, I guess.
Ruth Poundwhite  11:00  
Yeah, I think so. I, one of the topics that my clients talk to me about the most in relation to coaching is this, like, literally, how do I do less calls? And I think it’s because, you know, so many people I work with have similar feeling to me, like we have limited reserves of energy. And like you said, if I have a call, at the end of the day, I will spend a lot of energy in the run up to that call, like I try to book calls in the morning for that reason. Meeting. Yeah, yeah. But so it is like, this is such a thing, like with my clients, which is why I really wanted to speak to you about it. And I do think that this question of what will other people think, is such like, whether we’re conscious of it or not, I think that that is such a big part of people’s decision making process.
Meg Harrop  11:51  
And when people and when you feel like that, it makes you kind of like feel less confident about your choices as well, because you’re worrying so much about what other people are gonna think. I think for me, because, like, so much of my brain was taken up with like having a newborn. Although I was thinking about that, I it like, was kind of like sink or swim kind of thing. Like, I have to try this. So I was thinking about that. But also, it’s like, I’m just gonna have to try it because something needs to change. So yeah, it was, I feel like perhaps it was, it’s almost easier if you maybe get to that point where you have to try something new, because you are sort of thinking a bit less about what other people are going to think. And you just kind of ready to try something.
Ruth Poundwhite  12:37  
Yeah, I totally understand that. When you’ve just got you kind of got to do it. Although it would be nice if we could just make these decisions before we vote. But yeah, I think I felt like that a lot like in the pandemic, I don’t know. Like, my capacity was so reduced, like, just I guess, because of this background anxiety and goodness knows what it felt how it felt for you having a baby as well at that time. But yeah, and I think it’s just, it’s important for us to consider, like, how do we make decisions that work for us, first and foremost. And then we get to then communicate that with our clients. And I personally believe that if we prioritise our own needs, and we get to show up more powerfully and do better work,
Meg Harrop  13:21  
exactly, that’s, like, doing the voice notes with people, I was just able to, like, put my energy into it when I had the energy throughout the day. So if I did, like a sounds a lot, doing a whole day of like back and forth with somebody over boxer, but it’s actually you can dip in and out of it. Like you can send a message and then have a break and go and do something else and then come back to it later. So when I like the energy spread out, rather than being in like, one whole hour or an hour and a half or whatever, because it spread out through the day like you can, like conserve your energy a bit and spread it more evenly, I think.
Ruth Poundwhite  14:03  
Yeah, absolutely. And I think people who haven’t tried it may think it actually sounds very overwhelming. Yeah, yeah. And it can be. And actually, funnily enough, I’m doing Voxer office hours for one of my programmes right now, as we’re recording this. So I’ve been messaging people in Voxer. And then I’ve been coming off to do a call, and then I’ll go back and check my boxer afterwards. And it can be quite intense.
Meg Harrop  14:26  
And if you’ve got other stuff going on at the same time, yeah,
Ruth Poundwhite  14:29  
but I, I haven’t done it so many times. Now. I either deliberately design it in a way where I’ll have one intense day in a week or something like that, and do it deliberately, or I will, you know, I’ll combine it with other things. Like I’ll go out for long walks and stuff like that when I’m doing Voxer I love doing that. And I think that you mentioned that to me and more. It’s like I love that that piece of it is energising to me even though it is taking energy as well.
Meg Harrop  14:59  
Yeah, like we’ve been on campervan trips as a family and like I’ve done like a Voxer day like, while we’ve been away, and I’ve been able to, like, reply to the messages and then go out and go for a walk with my family and then come back and either like, hang back from the walk a bit and reply then or like come back later and reply. So it definitely does allow you to get away from your desk more, which is lovely.
Ruth Poundwhite  15:25  
Yeah, it’s great. And actually, it just popped into my mind, I went on a five week trip to Barbados this year. I did take, like, I did take proper time off where I was not accessible at all. But then in the times where I was accessible to my clients. I just checked in with him on Voxer, even a couple of times a day, and it felt like no work. Like it just felt so easy. It made me realise actually. Yeah, yeah, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts about this. One, when, like, because what I noticed when I was away, and I was checking in a couple of times a day, and how easy it felt was that sometimes it’s my own boundaries, or my own feelings around how quickly I need to get back to people that are the problem, rather than the actual work it takes. So I don’t know if you have any thoughts about like, like, like, when you’re away on your trip, for example? How do you do it in a way that feels good to you rather than like, Oh, this is really like taking my focus away from where I want where I actually am? Yeah, thanks. I need to be really, really available.
Meg Harrop  16:29  
Yeah, I think it’s just about, like you mentioned before, like choosing the days that you are going to be available, and just making people aware that you know, I’m not here, like all week or anything to be contacted, you have like specific days when you do it. And like if you’re away on holiday or whatever. I just make sure that I like the full week or the full two weeks or whatever isn’t me having to be on Voxer every single day. I just have specific days. Like, I still have those Voxer days, too, that people can book on my website, but I only do them on a specific day of the week, no matter if I’m away or if I’m at home. So yeah, I think it’s just about choosing. Yeah, what boundaries work for you. And just sticking to it, I
Ruth Poundwhite  17:15  
think. Yeah, and remember it? Yeah. So like, the whole point of the asynchronous communication is that you don’t need to reply straight away
Meg Harrop  17:22  
every time. Exactly. Yeah.
Ruth Poundwhite  17:25  
Yeah. And can you talk a bit more? So I’m going to ask you a bit about some of the specific ways you use this, because, like, you’ve used this in so many different ways, which I love. And that is the thing, like once you get into it, you just end up finding more ways to use it. Right? Yeah, I just want to ask you before we dive into that, like, how did it feel for you? How did it change things for you when you started working this way? Yeah,
Meg Harrop  17:47  
it was just like a real like the first one I did the first Voxer day I did, I actually did it for free to get a feel for it. Like I offered it, like privately to a few people that had asked me before for calls or whatever. And I just said, I’m thinking of doing this. Do you want to experiment with me and do it with me? And the first one I did, it was just really, it just felt really lovely. Because although I’m shy and introverted, like I do love to connect with people. So it felt lovely to be able to connect and be able to hear people’s voices and be able to talk to people but for it to be such a laid back. And yeah, so laid back and just allowed me to like really think about the answers that I wanted to give rather than like having to give an answer straight away. I think I need that time to sometimes think think through what I want to say in order to give the best advice or the best answer. So yeah, the first one I did I was just blown away by how great it felt and how it didn’t feel so much like work. So yeah, once I did that I booked I think I just I think I did two or three and then I just made it live on my website like chose a price and just like my I’m going to do it I’m gonna offer it like publicly because it just felt like such a great way to work.
Ruth Poundwhite  19:18  
Yeah, I have the exact same experience like I was blown away and I feel like everyone who tried it because I did it free as well. I don’t normally do things for free like I do believe in like getting paid for your work. But yeah, experimenting with a new offer gave me it was it was really I can’t remember. I can’t think of the word but like it gave me more permission to experiment I guess by giving some for free and Exactly. And especially people who weren’t familiar with it like the clients themselves. And I felt like they were just blown away as well. Like it was just Yeah, from all sides like really surprising like I got such
Meg Harrop  19:51  
you can get some really yeah I got some really lovely feedback from like those free ones as well because like you said, like people were blown away as well by like, oh, it’s ever thought about doing this. And I didn’t realise how much I needed that flexibility in the day rather than having to be in the same place at the same time and like, block out two hours for a call or whatever. So, yeah, exactly the same people were really blown away by it.
Ruth Poundwhite  20:14  
And I think it’s not like a day long conversation at all. And I think there’s a beauty in being able to get work done or work. Like sometimes I work on really specific things with people and they go away, and they get a bit down, they come back and ask for feedback. And it just works. So well. I will say, by the way, I’m going to put a link to Elizabeth Goddard’s course, yes, definitely do yes. You’re obviously influenced. And same guy did her course. And that’s how I got into it. And then it’s just expanded or other things. So yeah, it sounds like we’ve had a really similar experience with this. And I just want to add, I think, because I’ve seen, like, people making comments about like, oh, you can’t do proper, like coaching on Voxer. And I just like, absolutely beg to differ, like you don’t know what you can do. And Voxer until you experiment with doing it. You do proper coaching on Voxer. Like, yes, there are some things that we could dig into differently on a call, or are there some techniques I might use on a call? I can’t do a Vox but I do coach people on Voxer. And it’s, it’s just magical, like you absolutely can, but you have to try
Meg Harrop  21:17  
it. You have to try it. Yeah, the like the conversations, I feel like, they can be deeper because each person has the space and like you’re not, you’re not face to face. So you I feel like you can sometimes be more vulnerable, I guess, because there’s a little bit of space, although you are connecting really with each other. There’s that little bit of space there to, like, reflect and I don’t know, maybe be more honest. Because you’ve got, you’ve got space to like think about how you want to say something rather than like feeling oh, I don’t need to say it. Because what if I say it wrong? I think you’ve got the space to say it in the way that you want to say it.
Ruth Poundwhite  21:57  
Yeah. So it’s really helpful for me, because I in the past was like, so shy that I would not have done video calls and stuff like that. Yeah. I mean, to be honest, I felt awkward about speaking on voice notes as well. It’s just so you get used to it. Yeah, you do. Yeah, absolutely do. So can you share with us a few you mentioned during like a day of Voxer, which I’ve done as well love it? What are some other ways that you’ve put this to use in your business and that have like really worked for you? And your client?
Meg Harrop  22:25  
Yeah. So once I did that whole box a day, I was like, Alright, I want to really run with this and, and use it in more ways. So like I mentioned before, that my projects were like stacking up, because like my design projects would, would usually be like a four, it would be a four to six week project. And then if one went on longer, it would be like overlapping with the other and it was just like taking too long to complete each one. So I thought about what can I like strip away? And how can I make the process quicker and like deliver perhaps not. Not as much as I used to deliver but still like the real essential things that they might need in a design and in their branding. And do it in a quicker way. And in a I guess a more laid back way. So I was looking at people or designers that were offering design intensives which is usually they will do it like in a day. So they will prepare beforehand. And then they will have a day where they’re actually doing the work and it all gets it’s like it sounds with the word intensive is quite intensive because they’re doing all the work in one day. And I was interested in that because like wow, that’s really quick. Like if I can do the work in a shorter timeframe. That would mean I’d be able to, you know, do more projects, but get them done quicker. And then I was like Well, one day seems like really quick and too much for probably like too intensive for what I wanted my lifestyle to feel like. So then I thought like how can I use Voxer in the design process to make things move along quicker and to be sort of in contact each day? Because I guess if people haven’t used Voxer before they feel like Oh isn’t it going to drag the conversation out longer and make things move along slower? But I actually found the opposite. If you can keep in touch with people like a little bit each day then especially with like my design projects, it kind of like helps things keep moving. So I thought about these people who did the design intensive, who were doing the preparation work beforehand and then having a De where they did did the design, I was like, Well, can I have that the preparation all included in the process? And I just sat there one night, and I was like thinking about like, How can I do this? How is it going to work? Like, how realistically how long can I take to do you know, how short can I make this process. And, you know, my my old design process, we would have a call beforehand, and perhaps a call in the middle, and then like feedback calls and stuff like that. So I thought, well, let’s try doing all that buy Voxer. And like, just see if it works. So I thought about having a two week process, where the first week we keep in touch, like I said on Voxer. And like do all that planning, and like work out what design style they want for their branding, and work out all that preparation stuff. And then the second week would be where I did the design work. And like perhaps we could like feedback via Voxer as well. So I kind of mapped out this process, I don’t even know, I don’t even really remember like, exactly how I how I got to the two weeks and like why I thought two weeks would work. But it was just one evening where I sat down, I was just like, because voxels worked. So Well, I’m just going to try this, I’m just going to see, I’m going to map it out, like what happens each day and just see if it works. So it was kind of like an evening of like, inspired. Like action, I was just like, I’m just going to try this. So I put up a web page together for it. And I didn’t, I didn’t offer this on for free or anything. I just put a webpage together decide on the price. And then just like started talking about it. And like to think to people like booked in for it straightaway. And when I went through that process with them, I was just amazed at how like, I haven’t changed the process since then. So when I first implemented it, I haven’t even changed the process. And I was just amazed at how well it worked with with Voxer like feeding back my boxer and keeping in touch via boxer. Yeah, I’ve, I’ve kept the process the same since then, like I mapped it out and implemented it. And it’s just stayed the same since then. And it’s been it’s just been great. Like, having a project started and finished within two weeks, just freed up so much other stuff because I would before overlapped as design projects, because when one was getting towards the end, there would be a little bit more space. So I could like start the next one. But this is allowed me to like literally book it in two weeks, and it’s gonna be finished. And then I usually like have a week off and then book the next one. And so yeah, having everything contained in that two weeks has just been wonderful to keep the project moving and to give me headspace and distance between each of the projects. So that is like the biggest, I guess way that I’ve been using it. I also when people first inquire if they send me an inquiry through my website, I’ve been replying with a loom video. So loom is something that you can use to record a video, like a screen recording or your face on the screen or a screen recording and like your face in the corner, it allows you to record a video and then you can like send it you can send people the link, you can put it in an email, whatever. So I’ve been, I started replying to inquiries with like a live video, which makes the reply really nice and personal. But it often like cuts out the need for like jumping on a sales call or wherever. Because, like you in your inquiry form, you can ask for a certain amount of information like you can ask for their website or whatever. So you can get a feel for what in what their business is like and whether they’re going to be a good fit. And then you can I’ve been replying with the video and it’s it’s definitely people are I think I’ve been surprised that they’ve they’ve not seen it done very much before and it’s they feel like it’s a nice, personal. It’s lovely to have like a personal replay for someone when you’re actually talking to them on the screen. So yeah, the like, apart from the Voxer days. Those are the other two ways that I’ve been using asynchronous communication.
Ruth Poundwhite  29:50  
Have you do you still do calls for people if they want them?
Meg Harrop  29:54  
I do rarely so I’m the odd person out I, if I will say, this is the way I like to work. But obviously, there’s a lot of people who on well, they’re not used to it or they feel uncomfortable with it. So I will do a calls every now and then. But it’s very, very rare that I do polls now. And I work with a lot of people in the US. So because there’s a time difference there, a lot of people tend to think that it’s a great idea because, you know, the big time difference, and it’s just, it’s easier for them as well as easier for me. So, yeah, some people are I find a really, really on board with it. And some people are still a little bit sort of, like unsure about it. But yeah, pretty much. Don’t do cause if I can help it now. Yeah, I love Yeah,
Ruth Poundwhite  30:48  
I, I still do sales calls. But a lot of the time, when people sign up to work with me. We do exchange voice messages, or DMS, and I love it. I haven’t thought about doing like a video message, though. And I think that is a good idea. It’s like actually seeing your face.
Meg Harrop  31:02  
Yeah. I can’t remember where I think I’d seen someone mention that. They did it before, but I can’t remember the name. If I can find the person, I will let you know who it is. But yeah, I just saw them mentioned that they had done it. And I had been using loom. I can’t remember if I’ve been using loom before I’d use Voxer. But yeah, I I had a few inquiries, and I just sent a loom video back. And people were, yeah, really pleased with like how personal it felt and how nice it was to, like, hear my voice and see my face that Yes. But you could also do that with Voxer as well. I think you can like record a note to yourself on boxers or something. And then you can like export it or turn it into an mp3 or link or something. And you could like put that in an email as well. So you could send people a voice note as well as the video.
Ruth Poundwhite  32:01  
Yeah, I actually did that once when I was kind of pre selling a group programme that I was launching. And I had some people who I thought might be interested. And I recorded a voice note on Voxer. Yeah. And then I just sent them an email with a link, because you can do like a shareable link. And that’s it. Yeah. And that was like an interesting. I haven’t done that since actually. But it’s just a really interesting way to do things. Yeah. Experimentation. Yeah. And you also mentioned that you do it you use it with in case of a live webinar, so I’m really like, curious to hear a bit more about that.
Meg Harrop  32:32  
Yeah, what it is, is I have recently done like a masterclass type training, a branding training. And I didn’t want to do that live, so I just pre recorded it. And then on the sales page sales page, I added that, you know, because when people on a live webinar, they can ask questions. I just said that I can be available on Voxer, like a week later on this specific day. And if you watch the training that’s pre recorded, and you have any questions, then you can come and find me on Voxer and ask the questions on there. So that was a really nice way to be able to do things in the way that I wanted to do it, like pre recorded rather than do it live, but still have that connection, where people could write down their questions, and then come and ask them later. So that works really well.
Ruth Poundwhite  33:29  
That’s a good idea. Yeah, really good idea. So I hope that this is giving people listening, some inspiration for experimenting with doing things differently. And there’s literally so many ways that you can do it. And I think a lot of it is just having the guts to try it really?
Meg Harrop  33:46  
Yeah, definitely. I think like the way I do the design project that’s in the two weeks, I feel like that could work for other people, perhaps I don’t know, you could do like websites maybe or do like copywriting or like other types of design work or whatever. I feel like that could work with a lot of other industries where you spend, like the first week talking through, like, what their needs are and like what the specifics of the project is going to be. And then the second and you’ve sort of planned for the second week what the deliverables are going to be. And then the second week is all about, like actually diving in and creating whatever work is needed to create. Yeah, I feel like that could work for lots of different industries.
Ruth Poundwhite  34:36  
Yeah, and I like the example you’ve given. Yeah, having like actual specific deliverable deliverables and stuff. And I would just say from my perspective, as well, like using it as a coach, sometimes you can do a bit of a hybrid. So for example, something I did with one of my clients lately, because I have I’ve started offering longer term packages one to one with just Voxer now, yeah, it was a bit of an experiment. question for me because I’ve always done calls with Voxer support in between and I thought, You know what, it would be great to have clients who were just on Voxer then how do I deliver some of the stuff to them that I would normally do in a call, like, say a visualisation? We’ve got like specific visualisations that we go through to like, get, like, get in touch with different parts of you and figure stuff out. And I pre recorded it and sent it to them. And then we talked about it afterwards on Voxer. So yes, it’s not the same as doing it live. But actually, as long as they’re prioritising the space to actually do it. And then we talk it all through, it’s really quite, like It surprised me how well it works to like, combine, like, yeah, like pre recorded real time conversation or asynchronous conversation, I just say, yeah, it’s, it’s, there’s so many things you can do with it. If you allow yourself to experiment with it.
Meg Harrop  35:53  
Yeah. And it’s, it’s that thing about like, people having the space in between, I feel like that’s the magic part of it, like they can listen to whatever you’ve sent them. And then it’s just having the space to reflect on it. And be able to, like, formulate your thoughts on it, and then reply in the best way that you want to reply.
Ruth Poundwhite  36:16  
Yeah, and actually, just one last thing I feel like I want to add is that sometimes having that over, over stretched out period of time, so whether that’s an hour a day, or you know, you’ve got two weeks, whatever, allows you to process things differently, I think, definitely, you can come to like deeper realisations. And really build on something was in the space of a call, sometimes you can get like a really great breakthrough of one specific thing. over the space of like a full day or weeks or whatever, you can really build on something in a deeper way. I feel like I’m not explaining it, but I know that for sure. It’s
Meg Harrop  36:57  
yeah, with with design work, that works really well as well. Because in the like the two week process, they helped deliver, like the first draft of design work. And then they’ll have usually like, try and deliver it by lunchtime, and then they’ll have the afternoon and the evening to really like reflect on it. And sometimes you know, they can, sometimes if you sleep on something, if you have like overnight to process it as well. Sometimes that helps you when you come back in the morning, and you can see it in a different light. And that has really helped people, because they sort of have a timeframe where they need to feed back. Like they can’t take a whole week to feed back. They’ve they’ve got some time to reflect on it, but not too much time that you kind of like procrastinate over it and overthink it. I think it’s that having that like sweet spot between having spaced think about it, but still needing to reply in a like a shorter timeframe. That’s been a really great thing for me in the design process.
Ruth Poundwhite  37:55  
Yeah, definitely. Okay, so is there anything else that you want to add about this like, that you would want people to know, like going into this?
Meg Harrop  38:05  
I don’t know. Yeah, I think it’s just like we’ve said before, there are going to be people who aren’t sure about it. But if you if this feels like it’s really what you want to do, and you want to reduce the amount of calls or not do calls anymore, than just like, really get behind yourself and, and kind of like, you know, really be confident in that and just state the boundaries like this is, you know, to the client or whatever, like, this is the way that I work in this season of my business or my life or whatever. And just kind of like be firm about it. And when when clients try it often they do find that, actually, it’s a really great way of working.
Ruth Poundwhite  38:50  
Yeah, absolutely. I love that. And it’s also worth remembering that sometimes, you know, if people really want to work with us, they will work according to how we set out and tell them that we work. Yes. And if not, maybe they’re not our right people, and that’s okay, as well. Yeah, totally. Okay, so, I mean, like I said, like, the whole theme of this is really to ask yourself, is the way things have always been done the way that I need to carry on doing them. And I know that one area that you brought up and like in the when we’re discussing what’s talked about today is like how you’re showing up on Instagram as well. And I guess I just felt like bringing this up before we finish because I know that this is the same way that sales calls and being available for calls is on people’s minds. Is this like, yeah, how much do people want to be available on social media? And I know that you’re, I guess in a phase of it where you don’t know exactly what you’re going to do. Yeah,
Meg Harrop  39:50  
I’m unsure I I haven’t posted much on that in the last few weeks. I’ve been up and down with it. Like if, a few weeks ago I was like I’m really going to get into it again, I’m just going to post whatever I want and like not use has hashtags, and just try and be really fluid with it. And that worked for a couple of weeks. And then I just got to the point where I’m like, I don’t know, again, and it feels hard. And like, I just don’t want to be there. I feel like with the scrolling on there as well, and the people that I follow, maybe I need to like curate who I’m following a bit more maybe. I feel like it just takes up a lot of there’s a lot of noise. And then it takes up a lot of headspace. I feel like when I’ve not been on there at all, I’ve had more space for other things. So yeah, I’m still not sure what I’m gonna do. But I think I’m just going to try and, and use it differently. I’m going to try and do. Like Pinterest has historically been quite good for my business. So I’m going to try and build that up again, where it’s, it’s like people still see it as a social media platform. But it’s kind of not because you’re not really commenting and things like that on there. So I’m going to try and push that a bit more and do more blog posts for SEO and that kind of thing. So that I’m still like having that outreach and still getting people, people’s eyes on the business, but maybe not having to be on social media all the time. But I don’t think I leave Instagram completely. Yeah, I’ll just kind of be Yeah, be on it less, I think.
Ruth Poundwhite  41:27  
I feel like this is so relevant to everything that we’ve been talking about. Because it’s basically like, what’s draining me? Where is my energy getting sapped. So like, for example, the calls, it’s like, not just the calls, but it’s like, all those hours before the calls and after the calls. Exactly with Instagram. Like, I could just go on and post my thing and then leave. But actually, I mean,
Meg Harrop  41:45  
yeah, that never happens. Yeah, yeah. And then you sort of like you’re sort of waiting for people to come in and be there to reply and things like that. So yeah, it’s all there. It’s not just doing the thing. It’s all the space around it. Like you said that, that takes up time and takes up the headspace. So yeah, I’m just really trying to think about what is the best use of my energy and time? And like, What, sir? Not how can I spend, like, less time as such? Because I don’t really work full time at the moment. I’m kind of happy with the amount of time that I spend on the business. But yeah, how can I prioritise what is going to be really useful for my business? And what is kind of feel less noisy and less busy? Less like busy work, I guess?
Ruth Poundwhite  42:39  
Yeah, yeah. And I think any change that we make in our business has to start with these questions. And like, you’ve given us such great examples of how you figured it out with the calls thing. But you’re still in like, the messy figuring out stage of the Yeah, exactly. And this is the process like it is a bit messy. And you got to try a few different things and find a way that works for you. By now, so many of us are in this place with social media and stuff at the moment. So just keep asking those questions. And asking yourself, how, like, how do you want to be spending your time as well, like how you want to be spending your time is so important.
Meg Harrop  43:18  
Is that thing again about like? That’s like everyone does social media. So when you’re not doing it, it’s a bit like scary because we all spend or have spent lots of time on there. And it’s like, Am I doing the right thing? Am I limiting my reach? But yeah, like you said, it’s just about continuing to ask those questions and work out what’s best for us?
Ruth Poundwhite  43:42  
Yeah, I personally pulled back a lot from social media. And I mean, I was able to do that, because I’ve always prioritised building my email list. And I’m so glad grateful for myself for doing that. But now, I don’t know what has shifted. Oh, actually, one concrete thing that I could mention is I muted almost everyone, even people that I like to see, I just did it as an experiment. I muted and it took me a long time, obviously to manually mute everyone following but I think that changed things a lot for me. And now I just feel I don’t feel tied to show up in any specific way and do show up. But I just don’t have any, like emotional, like attachments in a bad way to it. Yeah. So it’s been really helpful, but it took it’s taken me a while to get to this place. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So I’m just going to wrap things up by asking you the random question from my deck of cards, which is a big one deep one speaks to my an INFJ. Fix my INFJ personality. When you die, what do you want to be remembered for?
Meg Harrop  44:54  
Oh, it’s a that’s a really big one. I think I think just being a kind person, I guess. And like, I guess going back to that thing of, like always questioning things, I feel like that’s a good thing to be, like, remembered for, like trying different things and questioning, like the status quo and just trying to live in the way that you want to live. Because the more people that do that, the more and the more people that see other people that are doing that, the more they have, like permission to kind of think differently themselves. So I feel like it’s an important thing.
Ruth Poundwhite  45:42  
Oh, I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for sharing that. And thank you, I’m sure that like this is gonna lead to some like really good ideas and helpful ways of working for people.
Meg Harrop  45:53  
So yeah, hopefully, yeah.
Ruth Poundwhite  45:54  
Thanks so much. And if you want to find out more about meg you can visit her website at lemon and birch.com or follow her on Instagram at lemon and birch. I’ve also included links in the show notes to make offers that illustrate the types of offers that we have been talking about in this episode. Thank you so much for listening to another episode of quietly ambitious, if you have a moment to rate and review know that it really does make a difference. And if you’d like to carry on the conversation, then you can connect with me on Instagram at Ruth Poundwhite Join me in the Facebook group or my personal favourite. Sign up to my newsletter letters to quietly ambitious humans. Just go to Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash newsletter to subscribe and keep doing what you’re doing because your work really does matter.

Note: at this time transcripts are automated and unedited, which means errors may occur. But we hope you find them helpful!

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“Once you start questioning one thing, you start questioning everything. I always ask myself now: ‘why do we do things that way?’, and ‘what if there’s another way of doing things?’” 
Meg Harrop

Show Notes

Is it really possible to reduce the number of calls we do in our business without reducing the level of support we offer? Yes, and we’ll talk about how to actually do that in today’s episode of the Quietly Ambitious podcast.

Today, I’m chatting with Meg Harrop, a designer and illustrator who works with artists and makers and service providers to channel their creative chaos into layered and meaningful brand identities. We are talking about a topic that comes up all the time in my communities and with my clients – that is reducing the number of calls we do in business without reducing the support that we offer.

Meg is a champion of leaning into our own unique strengths and personalities, both in running our businesses and branding them. She believes in weaving fun and playfulness into business and finding ways to work that give us ultimate flexibility, which we talk a lot about in this episode. Meg is mum to a two year old, and together with her family is in the middle of moving across Wales to begin a new phase in their life.

In this episode, we talk about the magic of asynchronous communication, e.g. Voxer coaching, and what that even means, and how we can put our needs first and create freedom with the way that we support clients with lots of examples of how Meg has created offers that provide support in flexible and creative ways, massively reducing the number of calls she takes. I’m sure a lot of us are very curious about this one.

Some of the things we talked about:

  • The magic of asynchronous communication e.g. Voxer coaching (& what it even means!)
  • How we can put our needs first and create freedom with the way we support clients
  • Examples of how Meg has created offers that offer support in flexible and creative ways, massively reducing the number of calls she takes

Links from the episode:

Other episodes you might like:

“What is the best use of my energy and time? How can I prioritise what is going to be really useful for my business?”
Meg Harrop

Quietly Ambitious

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Thanks so much for listening!

When you subscribe to updates you get access to 3 bonus episodes of the podcast – exclusively for email subscribers – that dive behind the scenes of my business (I talk about failures, money, community & more!)