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Our Favorite Tools For Building A 6 Figure Business In 2022

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Implementing helpful tools into your business is one of the best, most cost-effective ways to increase your income or decrease your time spent doing tedious, frustrating tasks. 

Every single tool we discuss on this week's podcast is created to either straight up make you more money, or save you time, money, and frustration.

One quick word of warning…while tools are amazing when fully implemented, a half-implemented tool is a total waste of money. 

Make sure you're 100% ready to take on the (sometimes boring) implementation phase before using any of the tools we discuss in this episode. 

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • Having too many unconnected systems can be worse than no systems
  • Why Brian is going to fight Chris in a parking lot
  • Avoiding the Apple Mail app
  • The power of Keyboard Maestro
  • Eliminating pain points so you can maintain flow state
  • Why giving away free merch is worth it
  • The system behind a successful follow-up
  • What Chris Graham wants in his inbox (hint: it’s feet)
  • Is it worth it? Camera and lighting equipment for video

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“As soon as nerd mode comes out for me, I can no longer make content.” – Chris Graham


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Brian: [00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of the six figure creative podcast. I am your host Brian Hood.

I'm here with my big bald. Beautiful co-host Christopher, Jay Graham. Chris, how you doing today? My.

Chris: I'm good. I, it just occurred to me that I probably should make it clear to everyone that every time you do the intro, I do a little dance over here, but it's totally silent. Nobody can see it.

Brian: it's just happy dance. He just does it. That's what the it's, it's a little, a little bonus for the YouTube subscribers who watches this podcast on YouTube, which is like probably less than 10% of our listeners, but that's fine. Chris happy new year. My dude.

Chris: Hey, thank you. We're prerecording this content too. So I'm pretending that

yay. It's 2022. COVID I can't believe COVID, it's totally gone. It just disappeared. And on new year's


Brian: When you hit the stream button on whatever podcast app you use is when Chris and I go live for you personally, the one listening you Jonathan, that's the, that's the name? I ran away. Picked so many Jonathans out there. Get a little

Chris: Jonathan's mom is right about everything. She said about him. Last Christmas. He does need to work harder. He does need to invest in his [00:01:00] business and schedule time to work on it instead of just for it.

Brian: Good segue Chris, because in today's episode, we're actually going to talk about some tools that you can use in your business to make 20, 22, the best year of your life.

this is going to be like a listicle episode. We have like, I think we have six right now, but I just know that Chris and I it's going to be end up being way more than that by the end of this, because we're actually talking about six categories of tools, some on the sales and marketing side, some on the systems and efficiency side, because that's kind of my bread and butter and Chris's bread and butter.

We have these two separate areas that we kind of specialize in.

Chris: And also because we're thinking about systems. I get to say some brand


Brian: Oh my God. So this is the, this is the, this is the battle. Like we're not, we're like we're no longer just specializing in the audio world, completely like we're branching out a six-figure creative instead of the six figure home studio. And that means that Chris doesn't really talk about audio gear that much anymore until we get to these sorts of episodes.

We're talking about tools like tools that actually have value in your business. We're going to talk about these six categories here, but Chris now has he literally looking at my outline right now? Chris has specific brands outlined in here. And if you, if you've been on the podcast long time, you know how I [00:02:00] feel about brands?

I hate them. I don't give a damn about the brand. I care about results. I care about not procrastination by gear, but let's, this is

Chris: but Brian, a brand delivers results. That is in fact, the brand promise of every company

since the Dawn of time.

Brian: Every single brand. I see that you'll sit here. There's a cheaper, better alternative in my mind that will get the job done. And we'll argue about it later on. Let's just save it for the comfort. We'll save the conversation for later. All right. So first one I want to talk about today on our list today is it's actually kind of a tie between the two.

It's actually not a marketing or sales, even though it's in my column here, it's a collaboration platform. And we're going to talk about project management systems, right? This is this is not, it's not fun. It's not sexy, but this is one that I'm actually excited about because I leave for my, like my retreat that I'm doing, like next week, my own like getaway retreat.

So it's planning for the next year.

Chris: I'm so confused about our timelines right now, because I don't know if it's, is it 20, 22 or you haven't been on their tree get, or what's happened?

Brian: that's right. I've already been, I just got back from my retreat. That's what I'm going to say. And I got to plan all this stuff out. Okay. Here's the deal. Let [00:03:00] me, let me bring us back back home here. My my system, my, my, my collaboration with my team, with my clients and all the things I have going on are spread over a bunch of different places.

Just to give you a full rundown of what I'm doing. And this piggybacks off of last week's episode, by the way of the overwhelm. I have things in Trello. I have things in teamwork. I have things in notion. I have things in an app called to do list.

Chris: wait, you're using all those apps to manage everything

Brian: I am using all those apps in much different ways. Oh. And Evernote, all these apps are doing different things completely. And the reason is that they specialize they're really good at one thing. And I use that app for that one thing. So what I'm doing in 2022 is I'm doing one app to rule them all to take away.

I believe this is actually click ups

Chris: Yes. Okay. Thank God. I, I, I was thinking of how am I going to talk him into doing all of these things in, just

click up.

Brian: that's, the tool. That's the first tool we're on our list today. And we're going to talk about this because this is what I'm excited about

Chris: I get the affiliate link though, right? Cause I told you about, about click [00:04:00] up,

Brian: I might use our affiliate link. I don't know. I, you did not tell me about it. I've known about this for like four years. They

just have

finally, they finally got to a place where I feel like they're worth reassessing. Cause they just took like 600 million in funding or 400 million in funding. Anyways, let me get, let me get to the basis of this and why this is relevant for our audience As business owners, we have to spend a lot of plates or juggle balls. If you listen to last week's episode and we have so many things going on and the more place those plates live, the more places those plates live, the more you're going to drop those plates and break them and shatter them on the ground.

So my goal for 2022 is to centralize this all into one app that I can, I can go in and all of my tasks, all my, to do's, all of my documents, all my processes and all my client work all lives in that one place. So I don't have to go to 30 different apps to do this. Now I'm using a teamwork right now for one of these things, and that's a, it's a competitor of KickUp and I'm not convinced that I won't stick with T with teamwork.

I may move. I may stay with teamwork and not use, click up and just integrate everything into teamwork. Even though there's a few things they don't do right. That I want them to do better. But[00:05:00] click up is an incredibly powerful app. Do you want to tell our audience about click up Chris?

Chris: Yes, click up. got a shout out to my, my manager, confidant, my babysitter, Kyle Whitaker.

Brian: He

literally is your babysitter. If for those who don't know Chris has

Chris: Issues baggage

Brian: I'm trying to think about the nicest way to say this. I know I can say this straight up to you, but like,

when I talk to you the way that you and I talked to each other, our audience thinks that I'm the biggest douchebag on


Chris: extreme narcissism.

Brian: Yeah. You have some reliability issues. Sometimes. That's what I was going to say. And and your manager, Kyle helps a lot with that, so yeah, he is your babysitter.

Chris: absolutely. Well, and this is the funny thing that I've learned is that I feel weird, weird sharing this on the podcast, but this is like what's going on in my life right now. So we've talked about the PTSD thing. We're not going to get into them. We're not going to


Brian: get an episode without talking about

that? My

Chris: Yes, I know. But I got a handicap parking tag.

Brian: [00:06:00] So, sorry, that is so dumb. You've got it.

Don't use it, Chris. I feel like that's an ethical thing to not use that.

Chris: Well, here's the

thing like there are,

Brian: just, you know, my dad has one leg. If you took a handicap parking spot away from my dad, because you just had to get one for your, your crap, I would fight you. If I saw you just easily walking from the handicap spot to the

front door, the,

Chris: that's the weird thing is it's a part-time disability. It does not a full-time I don't want to, I don't want to get into this,

Brian: oh my God,

you said you shared it.


asked you, I asked you to share, click up with our audience, and now we're talking about handicap tax.

Chris: Okay. So here's, I have a reason for saying


Brian: God.

Chris: I am finally coming to terms with the fact that I, have a disability. There, there are ways that my stuff affects me in my everyday life. And sometimes that creates a significant inconvenience. What I've learned from that is that I have been coping with my disability with systems since my [00:07:00] business started to grow that the systems were what allowed me to pretend to be a real adult, to keep my word as it were, as far as like, yeah, I'll call you at XYZ time or I'll do this project by this date.

I'll never do any of it on my


Brian: I, know this. I, you dropped the ball significantly a couple of times in our life. and I'd like to hope those are

before click


Chris: have you, Brian, so have you

Brian: Yeah. I have an excuse. I haven't implemented click up in my life

yet, so

Chris: very good. There it is. There it is. so when Kyle and I started working on what are the systems that we're going to build, that we're going to use this going to keep me acting like an adult? We, you know, we started with a sauna we've used monday.com.

Brian: and these are all, these are all project management tools that are direct competitors of click up, which is the one that you use is the one that my, my co-founder for fob has uses in his other businesses. it's the biggest one by far, I believe.

Chris: Yeah. So the big draw of using project management software, like this is that it allows [00:08:00] you to collaborate is that you can have one place where like, Hey, here's all the crap that needs done. And here's when it needs done by and here's who all needs to do it with me to make it done.

so when you use something like click up, not only can you collaborate with people, but you can also set automatic reminders that are like, Hey, once a week, someone needs to clear out our spam inbox or Hey, every day someone needs to go through my whole inbox and draft potential responses on my behalf for me to personally approve before sending them, having those reminders and having an automatic and having it, I think help you stand a low information diet where click up is like, Hey, this stuff isn't due today.

So we're not going to show it to them. We're not going to put it on his homepage. This stuff is important and urgent. So he should work on that first. And it's been a transition for me of learning to trust, click up I'm in learning to trust the collaborative process, but it's awesome. It is so much better than anything else we've ever used before.

And I think where this, this starts to get really interesting is when you start to automate click up [00:09:00] when click up, starts to automatically remind you to do stuff because someone clicked somewhere or you filled out a form or somebody else filled out a form.

Brian: So I don't have any direct experience with click up. I have a little bit experience. I evaluated it a couple of years back and ultimately decided against it and went with teamwork instead. But if it's anything like teamwork, I know that you can set recurring projects, recurring reminding tasks and specific tasks.

And I honestly, I build out my projects when I have templates and stuff. I built it out like a process. So it's literally like explanatory there's videos and stuff. So like if I ever pass it off to some. It's completely like easily understood. And, and here's the, here's the thing before the end of this year.

And hopefully by the, before the end of the month of January, I want to have this set up to where I just have one central place to look every day. Right now. I don't have that. And with how much I have going on, if you go back and listen to episode on the overwhelm episode we had last week, I just have too much going on now.

Like I have, I have multiple businesses and even, even with just the six-figure creative alone, we have this podcast we do every week, we have guest outreach associated with that at different stages. We have different [00:10:00] processes around guests outreach. Now they have to be done and I have actually dropped the ball on, doing part of this process is partly because I just forget about it.

I have processes around doing a weekly YouTube video. I have stuff with my coach, like with coaching, I've just have a ton of stuff and new stuff I'm working on they're all over the place right now. So like, It is comical to think that I wouldn't be overwhelmed by this because I am, I just am running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

So my goal is to have this all centralized. and the thing about this is, is with my, with my, I take a very small amount of coaching students on a, for business coaching, specifically around the marketing side of things. and in that, I actually have them all inside of teamwork, which is what I use for, for my coaching.

That's where I have a lot of experience with using that for there. And for them, all they have to do is open up teamwork and look at their next task. And that's all they have to do that. And that's what I want for myself. I don't have that for myself. I haven't every like all over the place, some of it to my brain, some of it's just by habit.

Some of it's in one of these, these platforms I'm using, but I have set something up better for my students than I have for myself. And that's, that's stupid. So my [00:11:00] big initiative for this year is to fix that click up as one. I am planning on assessing am I my end of year retreat, which by the time this episodes come out, I've already done and I will have already chosen, but I will have.

YouTube content around whatever I choose and how I'm using it, my businesses, so that you can actually see, instead of just listening to how this helps businesses. I think seeing this as one of those things that you really need to do is like physically see this. So before we wrap this up, Chris I'm going to look at teamwork.

I'm gonna look at click up. Are there any other tools that I should be looking at and analyzing for project management here or

Chris: Well, there's another tool called missive. That's not project management software, but integrates directly with project management software and it's email inbox management

software. So if you're running a business by yourself and you're using OSX mail stop don't, it's the



Brian: I've literally never, used it So

Chris: You're So lucky.

It's, it's terrible, which breaks my heart because I love I'm an apple

fan. Boy, I love everything apple. But when you've got one email application that you're using and you start to work with other people like an assistant or a partner or [00:12:00] whatever, that gets pretty complicated because you can't see over the other.

Person's Shoulder, you can't keep notes. You can't immediately see customer information. That's related to the email that you're working on. Missive is great because it also integrates with project management software. So when you're going through your inbox, it can immediately link you to where you want to go in, click up or trial or whatever you happen to be using for your project management software.

So we really like miss if we used to be on help scout and help scout was awesome, but just didn't sync email as well and was a lot more expensive and not, we don't think as use it as missive. So Mississippi's definitely worth checking


Brian: yeah,

So I think a missive is good. If you have like an assistant to kind of handle your email, which I know so many people struggle with that. But man, when I got rid of that, You templates, honestly, templates and, and just like general, like ways to approach common problems, like FAQ stuff, those two things we'll get rid of like 80% or inbox.

And so the second you get that off your plate is the second you can start focusing [00:13:00] on bigger and better things in your business. So that's it for collaboration software. I think that's, that's enough to kind of recap that conversation. What's next on our list, Chris?

Chris: Okay. Brian, let's talk about speed tools. I have been all over speed tools over the course of the past couple of weeks

Brian: Is this a drug conversation?

Chris: Yes. You know, it's, if you've seen the movie limitless with Bradley

Cooper, it's sort of like

that. I make my own, I'm launching a brand of home studio. Speed. It's like speed ecstasy and cocaine,

Brian: Great now we're demonetizing YouTube. Not that I am monetize, but whatever talk about, well, okay, so speed tools. So let's talk about the actual, what we're talking about here.

Chris: when there is a thing that you have to do repetitively in your business that requires five clicks, three drags, four keystrokes, and a Partridge in a pear tree. It's better. If you can build a system that's one-click. the new tool that I'm using, and guys, we're not sponsored by them at all.

But I am smitten with this company. It's company called El Gato. They make a device that many of our listeners are to use called the stream deck. And the stream [00:14:00] deck is kind of like a little tiny thing. It's like a little deck of cards, or like almost like a smartphone looking


Brian: No, it's a minute. It's a miniature.

Chris: It's like, it's a ministry keyboard, but this, the keys have images behind them.

And you can change those images in the stream deck app. So, if you're like, Hey, I want to have one button that will open up my Zoomer. Nope, you push it. And it does it automatically. I want to have one button that mutes all the participants in my zoom room. Boop. I want to have one button that goes into the recording session that I'm working on or the photo editing session that I'm working on.

And does this like complicated 10 step thing that's mindless and a pain in the ass stream deck starts to let you do those sort of things.

Brian: All right. So, so just to kind of like sum this up, it's a, it's a tool, it's a small community keyboard where you can set up crazy complex things that are pushed down to one button press and you can, and you can create a lot of profiles on this.

So you can have like, here's my profile for pro tools. So all my, all [00:15:00] my button presses and all the icons are set up for pro tools. So when I'm doing like drum editing, I can hit one button and do like a bunch of cool stuff. If I have one for zoom, when I'm on zoom and I want one button press to do all these different commands in zoom, when I'm on a sales call or whatever, I can do that.

If I need to pause the recording or if I need to mute or unmute them, instead of having to fumble around with my mind with

my mouse, like what other cool stuff can you do with keyboard Maestro?

Chris: Let's talk about the philosophy behind keyboard Maestro. I think when you first get into being a creative freelancer, you learn all these key codes and whatever software you're using. Jute SUSE. If you're a fan of neurotic where you're like using your hands and you're twisting them in weird ways to hit like 17 buttons at once.

So it does a big fancy thing in your


Brian: it's like learning the piano. Like you just learn these crazy methods of like moving your hands around that you don't have to think about. You just

automatically do it.

Chris: Yeah,

that's a great way. Back in 1997, to learn how to run your small business in 2022, you should program each of those hot keys on a stream deck, and then you have one [00:16:00] button and then guess what? It's way faster. You get into flow state way, way more easily, and you can share your workflow with your team. It's awesome. So I've been messing around a lot with this, with the stream deck and with keyboard Maestro, which is like an app that goes with it. It's funny, you know, I spent so much time on my own years ago, learning how to, how to use apple script to automate stuff. You can still use apple script to great effect within keyboard, Maestro, and stream deck.

But if you combine these tools, it's a lot simpler to start to build systems through your business than it. is to learn, to write code from the ground up. And that's, that's a big part of what I've been working on in the background, as far as making content for.

Brian: Well, speaking of content, you're actually trying to get me onto the stream deck train, which is like, where I can just press a button and like all my video stuff, my lights come on, my camera's on. And it's like focused on me. Like everything is just set up and ready to go. So I don't have to touch anything.

That's exciting to me because I'll tell anyone here right now, if you plan to do any sort of content marketing in your business in the future, or you plan to do, honestly, [00:17:00] if you're planning to do anything that you don't want to necessarily do that, sometimes I'm going to be honest with you. Like sometimes we don't want to do



honestly, being a business owner, you will always have to do something you don't want to do. That's just the inevitability of it. I still love what I do. It just doesn't mean I don't love what I do all the time. I think everyone can kind of relate to


Chris: or the tediousness of it

Brian: Yes.

Chris: there's 17 million steps to do the thing that you

Brian: that's what I'm getting at is with something like stream deck, and you said keyboard Maestro goes along with it. It's a separate app, by the way, keep mind Maestro as a separate product, separate, pricing. Um, But with that is it removes friction as business owners. Anytime we can remove friction from a process, we win because it takes the excuses away.

It's like if I want to go to the gym every morning, I have to make it as easy as possible for myself because every little amount of friction is just one more thing that holds me back from getting the outcome that I want, which is chiseled six pack. Abs giant biceps. No, I don't want any of those things, but I wouldn't, I wouldn't turn them down.

But the whole point is like, if it's, if you have to, like, if there's just so many things you have to do just to get to the [00:18:00] gym,

you're going to have excuses to let them get in the way.

Chris: when you are doing creative work for living, and that might mean that it's freelance creative work or you're making content for yourself or to advertise your business. When you induce friction into that of like, okay, I need to go get my lights out of the closet. No, Kara, I need to focus my camera on.

Okay. I need to blah, blah, blah, blah, all those little tiny individual things that you do make you not want to do it. And by the time you get to the point where you can do it, flow states 10,000 miles away. When you have a system I'd like to call these one click content systems where you walk in and you push a button on your stream, deck and voila, everything that needed to happen for you to make your podcast just


everything that.

you needed to do to make a video just happened.

And you can just start, you can start being yourself instead of being like, okay, I'm pretty sure I calibrated the microphone inputs for the proper latency. Like as soon as nerd mode comes out for me, I can no longer make content. So I have to make it easy for myself or else I won't.

Brian: Well think about it. Like we're talking about content, [00:19:00] which not everyone's going to understand or, or care about, but like this is, this goes with being creative and being in a good mental head space, always like as creatives, we have to be in good mental head space in order to be the best that we can be and deliver the best art that we can.

So a tool like this does help you stay out of that technician's mindset. If you get it set up correctly, now let me push back and tell Chris what I tell the audience, what I was telling Chris earlier, Chris tends to over-complicate so many things. so like, I just think you do it. Like we've

talked about


Chris: heard of this.

in my

Brian: Oh, shut up. So you're like you do like this over complicated thing to do something that could have been accomplished in two steps versus 30. And so what happens is when that task, when that, when that process or automation inevitably fails, now, you're going into that, that stupid, like left brain Enneagram five, like technician mindset and out of creative mode and, and you're, and you stay there because you're trying to troubleshoot this 30 step process.

So there, there is some poison with this that I think our audience should be aware of. So they don't go in too deep. I'm not saying that it's not worth doing. I just [00:20:00] think it's worth thinking about picking your times to, to work on this.


Chris: Well, and let me be shameless here. That is exactly what I'm working on. As far as my coaching program, behind the scenes of trying to help people figure out what are the shortcuts when it comes to systems so that you don't have to build an insane 30 step process using a bunch of code when you could do something much more simple than that, I've made enough mistakes to know the way through the woods

Brian: One of the most simple way of removing friction from, especially what we're doing now this is completely unrelated to systems completely unrelated to tools. At least there's a reason I wear a damn hat in every YouTube video now. And every podcast is because before I would have to do my hair, when I did, when I did coaching calls, I have to fix my hair.

Like it takes six minutes for me to do my hair the way I do it. I know it because I have the same process. I felt every time, but that's six minutes is an unnecessary amount of


Chris: last

Brian: No,

Chris: eight minutes a year before.

Brian: I speed up a little bit. It's six minutes that I don't want to actually do ever. Like I don't like doing my hair.

And so if [00:21:00] that's something that keeps me from making a piece of content from that day,

it's I wanna eliminate it from my thing. So it's like, you can do what Chris does and just completely just, just ball, just shiny bald head that, or you can just wear a hat

Chris: Yeah. You can literally have a I'm putting on my content creation hat,

Brian: That's what I do, which

it's lever tones right now. Yup. Free plug free plug. Oh my God. I love this. This episode is sponsored by Lamberton tones pickups, the best pickups in the guitar industry. If you have a guitar and you're tired of your tone, go order. Lamor tones, pickups. Lamber tones.com.

Chris: Especially, if you will play in a Christian worship band

Brian: That's true.

Chris: spirit to come

instantaneously, once he hears your fantastic

Brian: he's got a, he's actually got a pickup line called the grinder which is actually the heavier tone. So it's not just for the CCM artists anymore. but there you go, Curtis, a little plug for you. My did. I know he listened to this podcast, so he'll he'll you know what


is what happened. This is why you give out free March.

By the way, I got this out for free. You got that shirt for free and he's getting a free plug

Chris: I got some for free from him. I have yet to put [00:22:00] them in a guitar. I am desperately searching for the appropriate body

Brian: offered me free plugins and I told him they would be a waste because I would never install


Chris: I know I was like, what the crap,

Brian, just given to me,


Brian: For those that don't know, Curtis is just a long time listener friend of ours. So that's why we, that's why we plug his stuff and he's got good, good content.

And he's just a genuinely good dude. Six-figure salute to Curtis Lamberton. All right, let's go onto the next thing. So we talked about speed tools specifically stream deck keyboard, Maestro. We talked about collaboration tools, so centralizing everything. So you, your team, your clients can collaborate in one central place.

Let's talk about sales tools because this is one that we have talked about many times in this podcast. We have an entire episode dedicated to this, but there is a reason we bring this up again and again and again, and I will say this forever it's because we need to be reminded more than we need to be taught.

So I'm reminding our listeners right now, this specific. Is necessary for every business owner at any level

above five to $10,000 a year, if you're at that level, you should be implementing this into your business. And is it a [00:23:00] CRM, a customer relationship management system or tool.

Now there's two that we recommend two that we've used two that we switched back and forth on, which we'll talk about. Uh, And we're gonna talk about both of these really quick, and we're probably not gonna go to depth in depth of this. Cause we talked about it so far let's just talk about before we can talk about the specific tool, Chris, let's talk about why a CRM is so important.

Chris: it's

because we're not real grownups

Brian: Yeah, we're not rolling grownups. You will not remember to follow up with that lead that reached out to you for pricing six months ago and seeing where they're at now, you will not remember to follow up with that person 12 times.

I want you to follow up 12 times, at least with anyone who's expressed interest in working with you. You can't do that manually through, you can maybe do it through a spreadsheet. You're going to forget. And if you get more than 10 leads in your pipeline, you're going to forget and you're, you're not going to



Chris: Perfect example. And since we're already talking about brand names, I'm recording this podcast, using an, an OSI white Altima Mike stand, which is the most fantastic mic stand money can buy. It's what Joe Rogan uses. And it's only because I followed up with that company 12 times

Brian: is it really 12?

Chris: I reached out [00:24:00] again and again and again, because I've got a section for brand sponsorships in my CRM and just like every once in a while I'm like, Hey, I'm just going to send a followup email to remind so that I'm consistent.

And eventually it paid off.

Brian: let's, talk about this for a second. So our audience 12 times is the magic number. I think it's a good number to, to strive for when you're doing. And you can follow up in different ways. You don't just have to say like, Hey, I'm following up. Like, you can have genuine like value add stuff that you're doing along in that fall suits.

So I still going to have a follow process and you're not just winging. It is great to have templates and the templates don't have to be word for word use. They can just be like guides on things to say,

Chris: You'd be like a picture of your feet. Like the fourth email that you send to,

a brand that you want to work with

Brian: Hey, I heard you had a foot fetish check these babies out. I got real weird grits. I'm going to, I want to push against you real quick, real quick, Chris. How many you fought at 12 times for that stupid microphone stand. That was how much, how much of those? Like

130 bucks. A

Okay. That's not bad.

How many do you get? Okay, you got two. So again, 800 bucks worth of gear on 12 followups,

in your own business, Chris, if you have a lead come in the door, who's interested in working with you in some way, shape or form.

How many [00:25:00] times do you follow up with those leads before you, you stopped.

Chris: You know, that's tricky when it comes to do, trying to do a brand endorsement deal. Like I'll keep following up again and again and again, because it's literally just like checking back in when it's like business coaching or building systems for people or mastering or whatever happens to be I tend to not be as, as aggressive with the follow-up I still follow up, but it's more difficult to not come off as like I'm trying to use them or

something like that.

Brian: Oh, I love this conversation so much because you are our audience right now. You are literally our audience and here's the, here's the point I'm getting at is Chris loves gear so much that he'll follow up 12 times for the stupid $400. Like worth of stuff, he'll have thousands of dollars of leads in his pipeline that he won't follow up because he doesn't want to bother them.

And this is like the biggest mindset issue as creatives that we have. We feel like bothering people. But dude, just build out a process where you have

a, really, a really good system for following up where you're not being pushy. You don't have to be pushy every time you follow up. Like at the end of the day, I've never had an anger replied to [00:26:00] a follow-up to a, to a potential client. I have many times been thanked for following up, because I've talked about this in the past before. I'll talk about it again. We have no idea what our clients are going through or digital cleanse are going through. There's so many distractions in life.

There's so many things pulling at their attention. And the reason they contacted us in the first place is because they have an end goal in mind. But the reason we follow up as freelancers as creatives is because we want our client to reach that end goal us showing up in their inbox time and time again, over 60, 80, 90, a hundred days for 12 plus followup emails is simply us trying to help them get to their end goal.

And that's why I've only been thanked for following up that many times. I've never been abused. I've never had like an, an F-you email from anybody for that. So think about that, Chris. I see you're pondering face


right now.

Chris: So one of the things that I've been learning and I, this is silly. Like I shouldn't be processing this real time on a podcast because this is like brand stuff for me, but what I've been learning as I've been helping people build systems for their businesses. Is it, the [00:27:00] systems really aren't the thing.

Overwhelm is the thing. They get overwhelmed in their business and they want automation and systems to help them not have that happen. So often, like we talked about last week. So I think in regards to me being more comfortable with more follow-up with being more consistent with being more aggressive, that's a lot easier if I'm thinking about the outcome that I'm trying to help deliver people, which is that you're not overwhelmed sometimes.

Brian: Yeah, but it's not just you with like the systems building stuff. This is like anyone listening right now Our potential clients came to us for a specific outcome in mind, whether that is a new album production, whether that is a, a new music video, whether that


Chris: pictures of their feet.

Brian: pictures of their feet.

as if you're a foot photographer.

If that's your niece, I'm not going to judge you, but there's an outcome in mind that they had, they wanted it. They wanted black and white photos of their feet to share to their, to their circle of friends who love feet. This is really a weird

thing. They

Chris: I feel like you're being judgemental. I don't think you should be judgmental for someone who's photography, niches feet until you've walked a mile in their shoes.[00:28:00]

Brian: zing. where was I going with this?

Chris: What was the last thing you told me

Brian: ah, Ooh, God, we're never getting out of this. This is going to be the worst episode of all time.


Chris: I know.

Brian: when we have our, our client's best interest in mind at the end of the. Does it mean we can't also make money off of that.

Like as a, as a service provider, we're providing a service or an outcome to somebody, we will make money off of that. If we can help them out with that outcome. But also if we help our clients get out of their own damn way, because they let life get in the way of that outcome. if we help get out of the way by following up by being there by being consistently, following up with them and helping them to reach their goals, then we win even more at the end of the day because we make more because we've helped client, we felt more clients.

That's basically it. That's what I'm getting, trying to say is if we have more clients, we make more money and this is just one of the ways we can help our clients out more


basically it. Yeah.

Chris: And I think what I'm trying to say here is in my own business, it's very difficult to follow up. if you're thinking about what you actually do for the customer, if you're like, Hey, would you like some help building [00:29:00] systems? that's more intimidating than thinking about the actual outcome.

The life-changing result of, Hey, are you overwhelmed? Let me automate some stuff with you so that you won't be that's. It's so much easier to get that impetus to follow.

Brian: But that's, this is use cases. This is for you specifically to Chris, I'm talking about our audience. I'm



what they have to think.

Chris: I'm trying to get to the point where, where the content point is. So what is the actual life-changing outcome that you have for your clients that you are following up with them about the mission that they are on. they want to have beautiful feet

Brian: Oh my God.

Chris: up with them and asking, you know, man, how's that Bunyan

Brian: Oh my

Chris: along.

Brian: right, let me, let me, let me rein you in with your stupid foot fetish. Chris, Chris has just come out on the podcast as being the biggest foot


man. So

Chris: I'm not a foot fetish. No, completely the opposite.

Brian: my call to action for our listeners. Send feat photos

to his Instagram inbox.

Chris: you, Brian. No way.


Brian: Everyone on Instagram right now. Send foot photos to Chris Graham.

Chris: [00:30:00] only if you are

Brian: Nope. We're done. Nope. Sockless only, I only want nude feet. All right. So we're never going to salvage this episode. I don't know where we go from here. Let's talk about tools related to CRM because we actually haven't talked about the tools. There's two that we recommend. One is pipe drive. One is close. I have used both.

Chris, have you used both?

Chris: I have. And the funny thing about this situation is that you are in the process of switching and

Brian: I've already moved. I've already switched to close.

Chris: okay. I'm pretty seriously considering going five.

Brian: And th this, all we say all this to say one thing really quick, both are great. Both serve their purposes. Both have different serve, slightly different needs, but at the end of the day, anyone listening to this podcast can make either one of those CRMs work. So just study them, figure out which one you think is worthwhile and then join through one of our affiliate links.

I will give you my affiliate link for pipe drive, which is the one I just moved away from. Chris will give you his affiliate link first close, which is the one he just moved away from, but just know that we are both fans of both of [00:31:00] these. just a really quick talking about I switched to close because they have something called smart views.


go look up what that feature does. If you

are considering that one. And Chris, why are you moving to pipe drive? So I can, you can tell them what to look for in that one.

Chris: well, what I am learning and it's a little bit the opposite of what you're going through right now is that I am running like five businesses out of one CRM. And as I am trying to focus more on coaching and activism I, I just need to start from scratch. need a clean break from the like 45,000 leads that we've


Brian: You've, you've got a lot of legacy issues. So that's,

Chris: Yes.

Brian: the negatives of when you start yeah, sometimes it's just easier to start fresh from scratch than it is to try to salvage an old system.

Chris: Also a lot of it too, is as I'm working with people on their businesses and this conversation about close versus pipe drive, it makes sense for me to spend some time with, with pipe drive as well.

So that's been a lot of the impetus as well.

Brian: my affiliate link is if you join this, you get an extra, like you get double the trial length. So there's a benefit for [00:32:00] you. We get a small commission for that, which just helps support the podcast if you join, but it doesn't cost you anything extra it's pipe drive.studio. That's the CA the affiliate link for me for pipe drive, Chris, what's your affiliate link.

Chris: It is Chris Graham, coaching.com/close.

Brian: Well way, mine is way better and easier to find. So you should just



Chris: But if you sign up using my affiliate link, you've got a picture of Brian's feet.

Brian: yeah. All right, Chris, let's talk


one more. This episode is gone long as

hell. So

we're going to, we're going to, cut a couple of things


Chris: Okay. But we're definitely doing I'm good. I'm doing good video next, bro.

Brian: Okay. So this is, this is Chris's. We'll give him this one. So we're talking about tools to help your business in 2022. Chris wants so bad to talk about tools for good video. And before you turn this episode off or whatever, there's actually a really good angle to this. And I'm going to fight Chris on a lot of these things.

So just prepared for a fun episode of me, just, just pooping on Chris, but There are some validation that I'm going to also toss this way. Chris, Give us a reason why investing in good tools for video is

important. And then we'll actually get into the specifics [00:33:00] of the tools, suggestions that we


Chris: absolutely. In 1985, the most important thing you could own for your business was a suit. It was like good shoes, a suit briefcase. You needed to look sharp because it was the first impression that you made in 20, 22. The first impression that. Is probably your zoom video call your zoom video. Quality is an enormous indicator about who you are and what you're all about.

If you've got a dark room and your webcam is on your laptop and it's going up your nose, that's not a good look guys,

Brian: I have a freelancer that I work with. And our video calls are exactly that. Fortunately, he's really good at

what he does, so I don't necessarily care, but it does not help

that his laptops on the, on the desk staring up his nostrils with like a bad granny lighting scenario. So let's talk about, cause so I understand this, like in 2020, everything was done through zoom we're over it, but that doesn't mean it's really changing much in the future because I think so many things are just moving online.

But [00:34:00] one of the big things that I've been pushing for people to do is do discovery calls on the phone or on zoom. Zoom is even better. And if you're doing, if you're doing client calls, you know, before they'd ever hired you, or even as they're working with you, you want to appear as professional as collected as,

as high value as possible. And to do that on a low resolution grainy laptop camera with a terrible microphone and bad lighting, you can't have that. And then go to try to charge somebody five grand for a



to me, it just, it goes hand in hand with high value.

Chris: perfect example of that is last year, my family went to an Italian restaurant here in town called Buca di Beppo. It used to be an amazing

restaurant, but when we went to Boca, Tibet, There's like dirt all over the paint. And like we're P people had repeatedly touched the same part of the wall.

There's like a big dirt stain. I mean, we're talking chunked on stuff. When you walk into a restaurant and you see that lack of care, it makes you wonder, or it should make you wonder what the care is like in the kitchen. Is it like, oh, the, the, [00:35:00] dining room is filthy and the kitchen is, is spic and span.

I doubt

it. So when you are in business, when you have a brand, you're trying to present a con I'm consistently. Excellent. That's what you're trying to


Brian: So there's a quote that I love about that. It says how you do one thing is how you do everything Pairing it up with just like how you brush your teeth is how you run your business. People who like zoom through it really quickly to get it over with, or the same people that cut corners on their business.

It's like people who actually take time and brush their teeth the correct way. And they do quadrant in their mouth. They're very like systemized approach to brushing teeth, which I do. there, they run their business the same way. That's not a universal truth, but there is some truth to that statement of the way you do.

One thing is the way you do everything. And I just love thinking through like, even when someone's not looking at what I'm doing, be excellent at it because that, that carries over into just what is our own view on how we do things as a person in anything.

Chris: Gotcha. Yeah. I totally agree. And a video call where you are trying to create a human relationship over the [00:36:00] internet using video, and you're using the crappy Mac book pro stock seven 20 P piece of


Brian: The old MacBook pro the new ones are awesome. By the way, I have a new Mac book, the microphone and the camera are both incredibly good for what they are.

Just stack that stack that puppy up. So it's eye level.

Chris: Well, let's talk about some tools that can help you put your best foot forward when you're doing video calls, whether that's for sales or for collaboration or where it happens to be the first thing that I would recommend. And this is a company that I've worked with.


given me some free stuff in the past,

Brian: Full disclosure


Chris: but I bought this and it is the Amerind 100 X.

And it's just a really, really cheap, but fantastic video light. And on top of that, I have a soft box. It's the softbox se and it's just, it's huge. And when you see this online, you're not gonna want to buy it, but if you put it in your studio and you turn the light on, or you look at the video that you can see right now, [00:37:00] I look pretty ish prettier

than it typically would because this light makes every camera a thousand times.

Brian: I have different lights, the new mindset wasn't cheap, but it's also three lights set. That's got like colored LEDs and all this other crap going on. Cause I just wanted a little more vibe-y look to my space, but it looks a lot different than yours. Partner's the camera, but whatever. But at the end of the day, here's the thing like the lighting is in most cases, more important than

the camera is assuming the resolution is there at least like you're not going to do a whole lot with the

seven 20 camera, but with 10

ADP and good lighting, you can make just about anything work.

But. You know, don't go overboard here. Like

there's plenty of cheaper options. How much did you spend on your light?

Chris: bucks.

Brian: Oh, that's more than I'd say for most, for like zoom

calls and stuff Honestly, if you're in front of a good, well, lit window, it's good enough. But I also

think there's something that goes along with this that we didn't talk about. And that is actually putting time, effort, energy into what's behind you too, because that's like 90% of

the screen is not actually you it's, what's behind you. So like, if you're against a blank wall,

you're going to come across [00:38:00] as boring. If you're going to hot mess behind you, you're going

to come

across as unorganized.

Chris: Yikes dude. So let's talk about that. So figuring out the background, I think is an incredibly important thing, and there's a, I don't even know what the brand name is on this, but I recently bought a self leveling laser level on Amazon. You put this thing on like a tripod and it projects a perfectly level X on your wall. So when you're hanging stuff, it took me like 10 minutes to do a really, really complicated install of this crazy bookshelf.

Brian: Which is behind you. If you're watching on YouTube, you can see the shelf behind him. It's it looks perfectly level

from here.

Chris: Yeah. So one of those works really well. But back on this conversation of the actual video gear that we've got here, you definitely want to have good lighting. You definitely want to have a good background. And if you want to go crazy, if you want to go big, There are many good cameras that you could get.

There's Sony then the ACE 60, 6500 6600. Those are great. The Sony ZB one. Those are great. Personally. I have a [00:39:00] Sigma FP.

Brian: Boom.

Chris: with it They sent it to


Brian: How much are those, Chris?

Chris: they're like 1800


Brian: Okay, let me talk to our

audience real talk here.

Before anyone goes out and buys. It was an $1,800 camera Chris, before they buy an 1800 on

camera. I have to do a little

pushback here because anyone that goes out and buys an $1,800 camera, there's only two reasons for that.

One is you're a photographer videographer, and you already have it. Or you just want another one for this or two, you bust, you better be closing some really high dollar clients because there's not a real, there's not a really good ROI on $1,800 camera for zoom meetings. In my opinion, when, when you're talking about the 80 20 principle, this to me, it's like, it's like 96, 4 to me, it's like 96% of the results from 4% of the cost.

What is 4% of 1800? And just see how close I am. It is $72, which is actually about the price of one of the decent 10 ADP Logitech cameras. I have one, the only requirement I have is it has some sort of manual setting controls. The legit techs do most don't and you can actually, there's actually another app called Cammo [00:40:00] if for iPhone where you can actually just set up your iPhone as a, as a webcam.

And there's a pretty good job. There's some drawbacks to that. But I talked about friction earlier, where you have to set up your phone every time you get on a call, not ideal, if you do a lot of calls, but at the end of the day, like for under a hundred bucks, you can get 95% of the way there. I mean, not 95%, maybe 85% of the way there.

It's better than most. Like when we talk about that really low grainy quality, where the camera's like faced up your nose for under a hundred bucks, you can get a camera that is positioned right at eye level, or just above that is picking up the light, right. With a good lighting that you purchased and you can get a really good result just off of that.

And I just want to say, like, I've done hundreds of zoom calls. I've done a lot in sales. I have done videos and courses with that stupid little Logitech camera. I have a nicer one now, but that was the, that's all I had up until like this year. So

it's not that important.

Chris: I think that. the, most important part when you're picking out geared to present yourself better in 2022, is that you pick out geared that makes your job easier. If it makes You look better, if it makes [00:41:00] the work higher quality. Yes, of course, absolutely. That that's appealing. But if it's something that you have to fiddle with endlessly, it's not worth it because it sucks up a bunch of times.


Brian: You mean, like every time we get on a call and have to remind you to turn your auto focus off. So you're not out of focus.

Chris: to shape, I guess what I'm trying to say is I come from a photography background. I love photography, and it's been a big part of my life on And off for a long time. And when I'm sitting down to figure out a zoom call or to figure out making content for the business, the color is always, I'm always messing with lighting and color.

And what I have found with this. Is, I'm not saying it's the best or it's the only option or everything else stinks. That's not what I'm saying at all. But with the amaranth a hundred X with the soft box a se I never have to worry about lighting with the Sigma FP so long as I'm in manual focus mode, which, which I should be.

I often forget about it. Manual focus, I think makes the most sense because it's not as distracting as auto-focus

just set


to work.

Brian: anyone who [00:42:00] saw one of our past episodes where Chris was like, before you got the lighting, before you turn off auto focus, it was just like low light, hot, massive, just out of

focus. If you follow us on Tik TOK, which you should there's, there's some clips of that on there where you're really out of


Chris: If you'd like to see lower quality video of me, please go to tick Chuck right now.

Brian: Yes. It's a good pitch.

Chris: anyways. Yeah, so I love the Sigma FP. It's got detachable lenses and it is the world's fanciest webcam because you don't need any drivers. You just plug it into your computer and it turns on as a webcam.

Also, they gave it to

me for free. I'm

obligated to say


Brian: If everyone in our audience got a free 1800 art camera,



say yes, plug it in and use it as a webcam. That's fine. But for everyone else out there, Just get what works and move on. Like, I have done hundreds and hundreds of hundreds of thousands of dollars with a webcam of lower quality. So I'm just going to say, like, you can get a lot done with a little is all I'm trying to say here, Chris always errs on the side of extremes when it comes to gear.

And I always, actually you're on the extreme pro gear side. I'm actually on the extreme [00:43:00] anti gear side. And honestly the, the compromise is somewhere, probably in the middle. there, I should probably care a little bit more about gear. Like I do have a YouTube channel and I could probably up their production value and it would probably get me a few more subscribers


people take me more seriously.

Chris: Well, and I have been trying to talk in to these lights. Like I really think for 300 bucks to just look freaking amazing

Brian: But my thing is I set a goal for myself. I have a certain amount of things that I'm going to do with what I have before I allow myself to get too swept up into the gear. And I think that's a good, healthy approach to it, which is like, do what you have with what you do, what you can with what you have.

And then when you feel like you are truly limited by the gear that you have, then it's time to upgrade, which is honestly, it's another episode and conversation in and of itself. And it's one of those things that we need to be reminded of constantly, because it's easy to get swept into the gear and tool conversation, but hopefully this episode gave you some good takeaways on things that you can implement into your business in 2022 and beyond.

And anything else to, to wrap this episode up.

Chris: Yeah. You know, I think just to, as a whole, when you look at 2020, And you think about what tools that you want to start using in [00:44:00] 2022, it is really easy to get caught up. And I want the tools that can do the most, rather than I want the tools that will make my job easier so that I will be smarter so that an more creative, I think, that that is the way that you should approach new tools and this constant drive to, I want to get another new tool so I can do more because maybe that will push me over the edge and I'll suddenly be a real, a real man, whatever I think thinking about, well, what can I buy that will make my job easy so that I can repeat that quality again.

And again, I think that's where we really need to think about it. So whether that's CRM tools or meeting tools or collaboration tools, or video tools or automation tools, just get stuff that makes your life easy. That's the point? Not that gives you like ridiculous superpower. But it can also explode your entire business, but figuring out a way to do more with less.

And sometimes you need to invest in that lights are one of these things that, yeah, you [00:45:00] should definitely get lights. Yeah, you should get, and I've got a stream deck. Chris Graham, a hundred percent recommends that you should go out and buy and I've got a stream deck and learn how to start programming one button to do multiple things in your business.

Brian: the theme that all these tools have is that they all require some sort of upfront investment. And my advice to you is don't get any of these to just dabble research ahead of time, decide that this is something, this is one of the tools that you are going to go all in on, and then give yourself the actual time that you need to set it up the right way so that you get value from it for the rest of the year.

And you don't have to really think about the setup because nothing is worse than getting a tool like the stream deck or setting up a tool, like click up and halfway doing it, and then just falling off and never using it after you've paid for it, that doesn't help anybody. So make sure you have the time to invest on the front end so that you can get those long-term backend results on any of these things that we talked about today.

Chris: You know, hilariously by the time this episode rolls out, I'll have this link live and, and the, and the show notes below.[00:46:00] But if you guys want to see how our new podcast system works with the streaming. Picking the link below. And then that way you can see my video quality, the lights and how we're using stream deck.

So that when I show up to podcasts at Brian, I hit one button and everything automatically gets set up the way that we want it to. So we can focus on making you guys good, podcast episodes and not on stuff,

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