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7 Productivity Tools We Use to Run Build a Business That Save Us Time and Money

7 Productivity Tools We Use to Run Build a Business That Save Us Time and Money | Ep. 35 Business Podcast

7 Productivity Tools We Use to Run Build a Business That Save Us Time and Money | Ep. 35 Business Podcast

7 Productivity Tools We Use to Run Build a Business That Save Us Time and Money
7 Productivity Tools We Use to Run Build a Business That Save Us Time and Money

Summary

How to save time and money… my EA extraordinaire, Gia, joins us to lay out 7 Productivity Tools we use to run Build a Business.

We’ve made tons of mistakes using the wrong tools to run different parts of our business. Get the down and dirty on the best tools we found and what we use them for at Build a Business. 

If you enjoy this episode you’ll also love our print newsletter…
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Hello, 

Brandon: 

friends. Welcome to another episode of Build a Business success Secrets. I am your host, Brandon. See, White. And today is part one of our local to me Half Moon Bay, Siri’s and I’m taking my own advice. 

Brandon: 

One of the things that I always teach to my students in the building business program is to start local. Everybody wants to take over the world when they launch a business or launched their product. But staying local really gives you something that you can get your hands around and you can market to because your local market is gonna know you mawr and you are going to have more things in common with the people there. And we are over 40 episodes on Build a business, and I haven’t done anything local. So I said to myself, I’m gonna take my own advice. We’re gonna do a local Siris of businesses in Half Moon Bay, California, where I live. And I bet that as I go through and have conversations with fellow entrepreneurs that we will cover all sorts of different businesses from product businesses to service businesses to just about everything. 

Brandon: 

And you know what? 

Brandon: 

That’s true and not only that, as I’ve gone through these interviews, I’ve learned so much about Half Moon Bay, Calif. 

Brandon: 

That I didn’t know after living here for eight years, and it’s been really cool. 

Brandon: 

In today’s episode, I have a great entrepreneur, Helen Stewart of Coastal Would Designs, and she has a really amazing story that’s inspirational that you’re gonna love. 

Brandon: 

Because entrepreneurship sort of found her. 

Brandon: 

She embraced it, and she’s turned a Realtor talent into a business. 

Brandon: 

And it’s super cool. 

Brandon: 

You’re gonna love this episode. 

Brandon: 

Let’s not waste another second. 

Brandon: 

Let’s get to it with Helen from Coastal would designs in Half Moon Bay, Calif. 

Brandon: 

Hey, everyone, welcome to the business success secrets. 

Brandon: 

We’ve got Helen here. 

Brandon: 

Helen, thank you so much for joining us today. You’re actually, like three blocks away. I think Thanks for having me. 

Brandon: 

I appreciate it now. 

Helen: 

I really found your business on Instagram We were talking about before we get on because you originally sold T shirts and for anybody. 

Brandon: 

All the listeners know that I I followed people on instagram and and check their businesses out. 

Brandon: 

And I’m always interested in new things that people are doing. But I’ve actually been super impressed with all of our entrepreneurs from Half Moon Bay here, California Because, yeah, I’ve seen people selling stuff on here that even the big brands aren’t doing that I think work. So thanks again for coming. I’d like to start. 

Brandon: 

Really, Helen. And how you even started your business? 

Brandon: 

Uh, yeah. So that’s a little bit of a funny story. I think a lot of entrepreneurs can relate to this. It kind of happened by accident. So in 2017, it was my senior year of high school, and I have been messing around with calligraphy, and I’ve been kind of okay with it, and I liked it, and I I love giving gifts and I had ah, bunch of friends and I love giving them gifts, but I couldn’t afford it. 

Helen: 

So I was having a problem with that. And I knew that I could do hand lettering when I was actually scrolling on Facebook one day and I saw someone doing wood burning art and I watched the video and I was like, Hey, I could do that. 

Helen: 

So I went on Amazon. I bought a $25 wood burning pence and I started on some scrap wood in my dad’s backyard making presents for my friends. And they were all like, Hey, you, you’re pretty good at this. You should definitely consider maybe making a business out of this. I think people would actually purchase your work. 

Helen: 

So from there I came up with a business name and it kind of took off from there after I uploaded a bunch of pictures of my work on Instagram. 

Helen: 

Now it’s kind of by accident. 

Brandon: 

Now, were you in high school at the time, or were you had you just graduated just to the listeners? 

Helen: 

Because, Helen, a lot of people out there say, Well, I’m either too young, too old or in between they have 50 excuses. Why they can’t build a business, right? But you I think you did this right out of high school, sort of, right? 

Brandon: 

Yes, I’ve believe it was during graduation or the week after. It was very close. 

Helen: 

It’s not the end of the school year or right after I graduated and you watched a video and did you did you goto Did you keep watching YouTube videos or because I read in your bio? 

Helen: 

I read I read this story. You are self taught. I think you actually put it on the top of your website, right? 

Brandon: 

Yes, yes. Self taught pira graphic. So I didn’t continue to keep watching videos. I just I saw one and mess around with it. 

Helen: 

My beginning work compared to what I do now is well, it was beginner, but it was It just came with time and effort and a lot of work and a lot of practice. 

Helen: 

But I only watched one YouTube video in Canada. Did my own thing from there. 

Helen: 

That’s awesome. Now, did you take any art classes and obviously in high school, But, like, did you did you really focus on that? 

Brandon: 

No, I I took my general, you know, art classes in high school. 

Brandon: 

But that was about it. 

Helen: 

I I never took any calligraphy classes or watched a wood burning class or it just kind of fell into place. 

Helen: 

Really? Well, that’s awesome. Now, you do this because you’re don’t have enough money for lack of a better way to put it to buy gifts and you come up with the idea and you start making them. Now do you post them to your personal instagram page Or did you come up with Coastal Would designs name and then and launch That way, I came up with the name and launched it that way. 

Brandon: 

I was sharing to my personal accounts kind of my stories and, hey, check out my new business. 

Helen: 

But I kind of just started focusing in on that business account rather than shoving it into my personal account and people started buying them. 

Helen: 

How did you How did how did you figure out how to collect money? 

Brandon: 

What do you mean, collect money? 

Helen: 

Like if I said, Hey, Helen, I want to buy your would art. And I’ve got my credit card. Did you use PayPal? 

Brandon: 

Stripe or square? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. I used PayPal. Apple pay cash or check whatever was easiest for the customer. 

Helen: 

Well, how did you know how to do that? 

Brandon: 

I don’t know. I I just knew that I I always knew it was the customers. Happiness is the top priority of the business, and you need to adjust with them. 

Helen: 

So I opened up a PayPal account. I set up apple pay. 

Helen: 

I had square for a while, but it didn’t really work out. I prefer PayPal, but I just always knew that the customer’s needs We’re always put first. 

Helen: 

So can you talk about you made a comment there that you didn’t like Square. What Didn’t you like about Square? 

Brandon: 

I don’t know. It just I used it for my first festival, Fish and Fleet Festival in 2017. And it kind of was the reception wasn’t doing too good on paper was always caught on, so I I just stuck with them. 

Helen: 

That’s cool. I was just curious if it was a fees thing or if it was just in ease of use. Sounds like more of an ease of use. And you know anything and just for our listeners. Because again, Helen, you gotta imagine someone who is just starting a business and to them, in many ways it seems monumental. 

Brandon: 

You’re talking about it like, Oh, I just went there and signed up. But you really can now just go there and sign up, right? And connect your bank account. 

Brandon: 

Yes, I recommend having all platforms of payment for all time because people have all types of payments. You know, some people have PayPal. Some people don’t. Some people only have men most. Some people don’t etcetera. So I recommend having all platforms available. 

Helen: 

I think that’s a key lesson that you’ve clearly learned early. Be able to take people’s money, right? 

Brandon: 

If they want to give you money, you got to be able to take the money. So So take us on this journey. You One day you post it into a business account with a name that did you labor over this name, Or did it just come to you and you went with the first thing that came to you? 

Brandon: 

I definitely labored over it. 

Brandon: 

I had a long list. The name, this one. 

Helen: 

Although I did have some second thoughts because it was a little long of a name, it wasn’t, you know, one punch line, you know, one word, but I’ve grown to love it, and I think other people dio But I definitely had a very long list. And it took me probably about a week to decide, going over it with friends and family and myself. And it wasn’t a quick decision at all, do you? 

Helen: 

Did you think about I mean, we live here on the coast and your I’m not even native. Your native to the coast here, right? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. Born and raised here in Half Moon Bay, California. 

Helen: 

I’m a native of the East Coast in the Chesapeake Bay. So different, well, different ocean, yet couldn’t be happier. Best place in the world. Everybody says, What do you want to go on vacation? I was like, What do you talk about? I’m on vacation every single day. 

Brandon: 

Most people who leave always come back. 

Helen: 

It’s the truth, right? You would know that. Why would you ever leave happen in California? 

Brandon: 

But did you think about the word you know, the coming to the local community and and really embrace the coastal part of it? 

Brandon: 

Did you feel like our coast here in California, especially Northern California, has a brand that people would relate? 

Brandon: 

Thio? Definitely. I did want to include the name Coastal, because that is such a special word to a lot of people. And that word itself represents Half Moon Bay. It is a coastal community, so I wanted to fit that in there somewhere. 

Helen: 

So you post, you get the idea. 

Brandon: 

You don’t have enough money to buy these gifts effectively, which makes sense. And then you start you watch a video. You buy the materials on Amazon, you start making them people say, Oh, my God. Helen, this is awesome. I think you should sell it. You come up with a name, you create an instagram account. Now, if I am doing the math in my head so far, this is under $500. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, way under. 

Helen: 

Probably under that $100. 

Brandon: 

My pen was $25 and I practiced on scrap wood. 

Helen: 

So when I first I bought someone from Amazon, maybe $10 worth of it at the time. 

Brandon: 

So $35. 

Helen: 

So you got less than 100 bucks in in coastal would designs, and you’re already so and you’re you. 

Helen: 

And you’ve got a free storefront on Instagram, and you effectively are in business. 

Brandon: 

Mhm. 

Helen: 

So you post the picture, and I know with me if I started to account like you have no followers. 

Brandon: 

So how did you did you leverage your your local or your personal page? And how can you explain a little bit about how you transfer that over? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, so we’ll get into social media, I’m sure. Later. It’s very, especially, pretty complicated, but it’s a very useful tool. I keep my personal account and my business account separate. So the people that I follow on my business account, I don’t follow all my friends and family on there. I strictly follow local businesses on Lee or small businesses around the state or around the country. So I stick to following local businesses and small businesses, and most of them follow me back. Almost all of them do, and I found that there’s a huge community of businesses on Instagram and we all support each other. We all follow each other back, and we all share each other’s post. We like each other’s posts, comment or we purchased each other things. There’s a huge business community on there, and that’s how I kind of got my word out was I followed every single social media account that was linked to a Half Moon Bay businesses and some other small businesses that I found from state. So that’s how I would recommend getting started is just following all the other businesses because they will lift you up. 

Helen: 

Yes, so let’s not wait. Let’s just talk about social media because because why wait and and truthfully, everybody wants to know how, but everybody thinks Helen, that there’s this magic checklist or magic formula that Helen got that the stork delivered somehow out back and you got it and it just worked right. It’s actually hard work. 

Brandon: 

It’s very hard work. 

Helen: 

So social media, A lot of people don’t like it. A lot of people refuse it, but in a business setting, it is my most useful tool. I do not put ads anywhere. I do not knock on businesses stores and asked them to sell my piece. Is this wholesale? I do not send out fliers. I’ve only done two festivals two years and three years. My business. 

Helen: 

I don’t market I anywhere else except for social media. 

Helen: 

Don’t put ads on TV, radio, etcetera. All I do is social media, so I think people really should who want to start a business or in a business, open up on INSTAGRAM account and start there and start following other businesses so they can check you out and share your business, their followers and so on. 

Helen: 

So that’s how I would recommend getting started that it’s a huge, huge tool. 

Helen: 

Actually, I just had a festival this weekend called the Fall Festival. It was a mini outdoor festival with four other artists. It went really well. But one of the artists said to me who didn’t have an INSTAGRAM account? She goes, Helen, where are all these people coming from to see you? But I she was like, blown away by these people that I was meeting who bought my things before. 

Helen: 

But I’ve never met them in person on Guy, and she’s like, Did you send out emails? 

Helen: 

What did you do? I said, All I do is running Instagram, and that’s where I meet all these wonderful people. 

Helen: 

So it’s a It’s a really big tool, and I think businesses should take advantage of it. 

Helen: 

Yeah, that’s where I actually was going. I was writing my I didn’t. I wound up. I think you ended at three o’clock or something. The Fall Festival and I didn’t get on my bike early enough, but I was I was gonna come by, but I will say that and I want to ask you some questions about that, that that’s how I learned that you are going to be at the Fall Festival and I saw I want to talk about that Because one of the things that I find you, and actually some other local businesses here do. 

Brandon: 

I just don’t understand why people don’t do with their business. I don’t know if they’re scared, but I will tell listeners to follow Helen at Coastal would. Yeah, Coastal would design. So they would just I think you just search Coastal would designs and Helen and And you could Google that and it will come up the Helen’s instagram. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, and and a Facebook page two on a Facebook page. 

Brandon: 

Is that you? 

Brandon: 

You know, people will get a product and then they’ll want to get a light box. 

Helen: 

And when I see you, Helen, you’re just taken the sound and showing the stuff. 

Brandon: 

But the reason that I love it so much is because I actually get perspective. 

Brandon: 

I can see how big it is, right? 

Brandon: 

It’s not in a light box, and it doesn’t wind up like a little would design. 

Brandon: 

And it shows up the in my doorstep the size of ah iPod thing e. 

Brandon: 

I have context, and you actually do these things that probably people who do this for a living charge a lot of money for something because they do it on the home shopping network and places like that. But you even turn these things right and you’ll say, Oh, this is lifted. Remember your surf, Your surf design that you have? I think the surf word was was lifted. So yeah, like, did you just make this up, Helen? Or how did it like you just did it? 

Brandon: 

Oh, my Oh, my angles. 

Helen: 

Yeah, like I mean, how do you did? You just come natural. And you’re like, Well, I’m just going to take the phone and I’m gonna do this angle and I’m going to show this. 

Brandon: 

I think part of it did come natural. Another thing. I also my senior year of high school. I worked at a store on Main Street called West Main. It’s now called Hometown Mark. Until it was a great store. Great opportunity. It was a retail interior design store, and I love that job. And part of my job was running their instagram accounts. 

Helen: 

So that’s kind of where I learned the aesthetic of post and how to make them eye popping proportional. 

Helen: 

Good looking. That’s kind of where I learned how to do that was at my job at West made running their social media accounts. So I did kind of learn from there. But another thing is just huddling through other popular accounts And seeing what photos? 

Helen: 

How are they taking their photos? 

Helen: 

What filter are they using? What angle are they using? So where people are liking it, they just like the way it looks. They just wanna like it because it’s a cute photo. They may not purchase it, but it just looks good. And it popped. It catches their eye on their feet. So I was looking at other profiles to the really famous ones, you know, seeing what did they do differently? How are they making their page aesthetic and and I popping. So I kind of went off that I think there’s this other thing called just feedback, right? 

Helen: 

You get a post, you making it. Nobody likes it. Nobody sends you a message or something, and then you’re like, Oh, well, okay, I probably change. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, definitely. I noticed. You know, the post that I have plants in them, You know, when I have succulents in, um, people love succulents. When I have that is the background or the beaches the background. It’s usually more intriguing than when I have my deck is the background, Um, and then I choose background face off of the peace. So if I’m doing kind of a more feminine piece, I’ll choose plants is the background. 

Helen: 

If I’m doing a more masculine piece, I’ll choose would or copper background or some kind of metal. Or if it’s too big, I’ll take a photo of me holding it, because I’ve done some really large pieces that I want people to see. The proportion of so the background has toe reflect the piece I think is well. 

Helen: 

And you do. I’ve seen some. I wanna ask you how you build your quote unquote workshop. I think you have one now because you’ve gotten you got big enough. Do you find that you get good success when you show a piece from start to finish being made? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I’ve actually done a few videos on tick talk, which is funny. I know a lot of people have problems with Tic tac, very addicting, but I have done a few sped up videos or I got a little camera Mount Thio, attach my phone too. And put over my pieces while I’m burning and do a time lapse or, uh, speed it up so people can watch me burn and people say, is one of those very, extremely satisfying videos toe watch me burn in the wood. So, yeah, people, people like watching videos and my stuff, too. 

Helen: 

And yeah, it sounds like there’s a YouTube opportunity there to me. 

Brandon: 

Yes. Yep. I’ve definitely been thinking about that and have a lot of suggestions to do. 

Helen: 

So yeah, my nephew is 13 years old and I sometimes when I’m driving down Route one or driving, peddling down Route one or pedaling in the, you know, on my bike, I’ll take the video. He’s like, You should post your whole ride and I’m thinking to myself, It’s so boring. Like I mean, it’s beautiful, but it you know, do you really wanna watch a guy ride a bike or I think, burning what is really interesting. But you gotta ask yourself, like who’s gonna watch a 45 minute? And my my nephew said, Well, Dad and I run YouTube videos and there’s people out there that watch people just go in the yard and I was a Yeah, well, that’s what I was thinking to like. 

Brandon: 

How many hours can you actually watch me burn wood. 

Brandon: 

So But, I mean for your biking, You could just do really sped up video and add music, you know? So I was thinking if I were to do a youtube channel, I would break it up. I would dio an introduction me telling about what? I’m gonna make film a little bit of it and then another interruption, you know, kind of more like a log type rather than straight wood burning. 

Helen: 

Because again, how many hours can you watch me do this? 

Helen: 

Yeah, I would say, though, that I’m as I’m listening to. 

Brandon: 

You probably could watch you build it a lot because each of your pieces is different. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, each of them. They’re so different. 

Helen: 

So you’re not pumping out the same thing. You’re building a different design or, you know, there’s a nuance. So I think that would be interesting. What is your strategy around? Is it fair to say that instagram right now I know you have a facebook page, but is instagram the main your main outlet? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, yeah, Instagram. I get you know, my top post will get 3, 400 likes on them, and my Facebook will get maybe 2030. So I like to do Facebook because some of the older generation is on Facebook rather than on Instagrams. I like to accommodate for them too. So yeah, Instagram is definitely number one. 

Helen: 

And can we talk about one thing that I always like to cut to the chase on and I don’t want any numbers, but everybody wants the like because they want the dopamine hit. But as it relates to sales, do you is are you get more sales on Instagram Aziz? 

Brandon: 

Well, yes, all of my sales. 

Helen: 

Yeah, Most of myself come through Instagram. I do get some on Facebook, but it’s just how I get my post out there. 

Helen: 

How I get my name out there and it’s not like a direct click the button purchase. 

Helen: 

I want that piece. You know, you message me, you talk to me, I’ll text you or call you. It’ll be something totally separate. 

Helen: 

So it’s not really like I get all my fails from Instagram. It’s more just how many people can I reach to get those sales It’s not like you just purchase my peace through Instagram. 

Helen: 

You have to message me separately. 

Helen: 

Yes, So that’s an interesting thing because I was actually trying to go to like but where is how all of Helen’s prices? But I think you may have done something smart. Is is that you actually have to message you in contact you, which now creates a personal relationship. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, so I haven’t had the time toe have stocks and build up a page where you can purchase my items. I haven’t really had time to create that other platforms, so I My pricing depends on the size of the wood and how much is on it. And I found that I really like toe work within the customers budget. So they will tell me what they want on the wood. They don’t know what they want. I’ll help them with the design. 

Helen: 

From there, they will tell me their budget, and I will choose a would size according to their budget. So I like, I know times are tight, so I really do like to ask them their budget first so I can choose the size of wood for them instead of rather making it and saying, Hey, this is X amount of dollars and they’re like, Whoa, I never agreed to that. So that’s kind of how I like to go about it. 

Helen: 

And are most of your customers Do you really focus on on Half Moon Bay customers or the CO. The Coast Pacifica, Half Moon Bay? Pescadero type? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I mean, that’s that’s where most of my sales come from. 

Brandon: 

I don’t know if I would focus exactly on. I’m not really thinking about a particular person or group of people. I just post up that beautiful and what people like or I’ll post my custom work. And it’s not like I’m like, Okay happened. People would love this space. It’s more what are just general people going toe like in my work. But that’s definitely where most my sales come from. Our Half Moon Bay and Pacifica and Pescadero. I do have some sales throughout the Bay Area as I’ve got my name out there through social media, but most of them do happen within the coast side. 

Helen: 

Now what is your strategy on this? 

Brandon: 

There’s like a lot of debate is you probably know, or I don’t know whether it’s debate or discussion. 

Brandon: 

But on stories versus posts and I always What are your thoughts? I mean, do you have a strategy or or how do you approach it? 

Brandon: 

I do have a strategy. So for stories, I like to have a filter on them. I choose kind of a light, airy filter that brightens up the photo. And stories are kind of what gets people’s attention because it comes at the top of the bar of your instagram page happens at the very top. 

Helen: 

So when you’re posting stories a lot people know you’re active and stories are where I can show you the extreme details of my work, how it’s done, what I’m doing in my day, you know, close up, etcetera. So when people see your stories, they’re like, Oh, their lives. All I want to see what Costa with designs is doing today. I want to do a brand is doing today. Where is he biking, you know, So that kind of gets people knowing that you’re active, you’re there for them. You want to show them what you’re doing. You’re working hard for them and post I usually like to do. Once a day I don’t like to blow up people speed. I do want today once every other day a dramatic big post I like to post in the evening when people are off work or, you know, four o’clock through eight o’clock I found is the best time post And then I usually do hashtag to I used to not do hashtag I found that they really help. That’s how you found me. So I put hashtag in my comment rather than in the caption, because they could get kind of bulky in the caption. So that’s how I go about my post. 

Helen: 

So explain that real quick because I actually had a question. I was gonna ask you before him, but I’ve saved it. And now you’ve teed it up with a very slow pitch, which is I haven’t seen a ton of hashtag in your stories. 

Brandon: 

E yeah. I haven’t done hashtags and stories. I I noticed some people do it. I haven’t done it. I probably should Yeah, I was just curious If there’s a strategy, I use that you could only use 10 for listeners out there in the story. 

Helen: 

You could only use use 10 in the post. You can use 30 so that I thought that was interesting. And then tell us, Tell us again. You make your main post and then you reply to your post with the Hashtags. 

Brandon: 

Yes, I put it in the comments, so yeah, it’s like I would be commenting on someone’s photo. I comment on my own photo. So it’s kind of hidden when someone sees the Post because I don’t want them reading the caption and then getting blown up with hashtags like, Whoa, you know, it takes away from the aesthetic of the post. So you wanna have it? I recommend having it in the comments, and it still applies to your post like your photo will still be tagged to that hashtag even if you put it in the comments and do you find that? 

Helen: 

Or are you worried? Are you counting followers and whatnot or are you more concerned that people really just find you? 

Brandon: 

I mean, if they follow you, of course, that’s a key performance indicator that you would keep track of. But does everyone that find you buys from you follow you, or how do you think about that? 

Brandon: 

Because you’re getting 300 like 300 likes is Ah lot, Yeah, yeah. 

Brandon: 

Recently my life have been going up because I’ve been doing posting more detailed posts and more dramatic pieces I’ve been posting, and I just recently did 1000 followers give away, so that gave me a bunch of new followers. But I do pay attention to followers. Most people who buy from me do follow me. 

Helen: 

Sometimes I’ll get a lot of random likes from the hashtag. When people are following a hashtag, we’ll see it. They like it. They won’t follow me. But I think followers are most important because doctor returning customer is the follower means a returning customer. 

Helen: 

Now here’s a question. 

Helen: 

Do you keep une email list of your customers and email them, or do you rely on Instagram to communicate with him? 

Brandon: 

I do not email them. I rely on Instagram or I provide them my email number, my my email and my phone number if they’d like to contact me that way. But all of my I contact them all through instagram and do you have a strategy to always keep because stories expire after 24 hours to do you have a Do you have a strategy? 

Helen: 

I’ve been actually terrible at it, mainly because it just time and there’s only so much you can focus on. 

Brandon: 

So and I obviously have this podcast, but do you like to keep four stories like you never want your I always see you like when I log in. 

Brandon: 

I I I always I always see that you have something new. So do you time it so that you always have a story up there? At least one segment? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, usually. Usually that’s when I go for it. Least one segment. I don’t try to have a certain amount of stories out of time, but like you said, you always see me. And that’s the instagram algorithm. I think I believe there is one. And to get on that algorithm and on that pattern, you gotta be posting stories because that will pop up. People will see coastal designs live today. 

Helen: 

Boom. Oh, they have a new post. Wow, I like that. I want to buy that, you know? So it brings people to your profile and I always try to have one thing at a time. And if I don’t have time just snap a quick photo of the CO side or my lunch. 

Helen: 

Anything for people to see? 

Helen: 

What is What is close the wood designs doing today? 

Helen: 

Yeah, I would agree. And it is. It is the algorithm. I find it interesting. I think I have at one point I had, like, 12,000 followers on this program. 

Brandon: 

Maybe now I have eat. I don’t know. I’m terrible. You gotta Well, you’ve got to engage, right? It’s a lot of work, but you’re definitely That’s why I was curious. Because you do always pop up now. Now I’m seeing all the Half Moon Bay. Thanks to you, Helen, for everybody posted this local community, I don’t know. Directory. Would you call it, uh, like there was a lot of work, Helen. 

Brandon: 

Well, I got tagged in this which I need to catch up on. I got tagged in this post called October Maker Challenge. And this everyday you gotta post something about your business. And there’s a list of what you need to share. Like favorite book, favorite place, and then one of the days waas local artists, your favorite local artists. And I was like, Jeez, I cannot choose so I’m going toe list. I was like, four stories full of four pages. 

Helen: 

Yeah, because I was like, I love everybody around here. 

Brandon: 

And if I forgot you, I’m sorry, but I try to get everyone that I support on the coast on there. 

Helen: 

Now I think it’s important Thio to realize that you this is Ah, this is a side hustle for you, right? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, big time. So my regular job is I work for Tammy von Allman with Von Almen interiors and I’ve worked there for about two years. It’s been a huge blessing. I loved that job. It’s all about interior design. It’s just me and her, So I’m her assistant. 

Helen: 

So that is my usual job. It varies from part time to full time, and then I’m also go to school this semester. I currently don’t I just finished that College of San Mateo and I’ll be transferring in spring 2021. So this semester I have off. And that’s why you’ve seen me posting Mawr and having more time to focus on my woodwork. Because before I had a full time job, I had my would work and I was going to school part time, Not including, you know, self care and taking care of my family and hanging out with friends and so on. So I’m definitely a busy bee. 

Helen: 

So let’s talk about that. How does that work? Like, do you lock your time? I mean, it’s a side hustle. 

Brandon: 

People want to know, right? I mean, every business Helen that I’ve ever started, including the one that I was able luckily, well, two of them to sell all started this hot side hustles and maybe I’d had some hopes. 

Brandon: 

I always say that they start as a project, which sounds like you, right? They started as a project, and then you sort of have a product. And then you figure if the product has markets, product market fit, and then somebody wants and then start business. 

Brandon: 

So do you block time to build these deuce? 

Brandon: 

You know, when I was really busy, I did it when I felt like doing it, you know, it was kind of like I said, it’s funny that people think of this as a business to me because it still is so fun for me. 

Helen: 

And people always ask, how much time does it take you to do this work? And I’m like, I have no clue because I just zone out and I do my art. It’s so it’s kind of funny. You’re saying, Do you block out time? It’s It’s just whenever I’m not at work or doing school. 

Helen: 

I’m thinking about my business, so it just kind of comes to me whenever there’s time in my head to think about it and focus on it, and I do it when I have any spare time at all, I’ll do it. 

Helen: 

You know what happens like, for instance, the festival that you did this past weekend and you get 30 orders now. 

Helen: 

But so I will think about my work schedule in the future, and then I will kind of give them a lead time. 

Brandon: 

If you do need a product, you know, within two days, I recently I got an order yesterday, and she’s like, Hey, can you get it done by Saturday? 

Brandon: 

It’s like an emergency art project. 

Helen: 

I’ll get it done. 

Helen: 

That’s why you’re coming to me, your shopping small, your shopping, local and you’re shopping handmade. So if you need something ASAP and custom and beautiful, I’ll get it done for you and I’ll push it through. 

Helen: 

If if this is an emergency gift, you know, or an emergency piece, I’ll do that. But if I’m thinking about my schedule in my head, I’ll give you know, leave time is one week, two weeks, three weeks. 

Helen: 

But usually I try to work within the time friend. They need it by, so I’ll ask them. What do you want on your peace? What’s your budget and what is your timeline now? 

Helen: 

Recently I’ve seen you. 

Brandon: 

I want to say taking it to the next level because I see these ocean pieces that you’re very honest and said that you don’t I was actually I don’t know in private, a little shocked. 

Brandon: 

You you got on there and you said, Hey, here’s my new piece. You’ll let you describe it. It’s really beautiful. And But you said I don’t do this yet. I outsource this and then I do this part. So are you. Are you seeing your your products really evolving? It sounds like Yeah. 

Brandon: 

Thank you. Yeah, that is so so. Those were made from epoxy and resin. And I have a friend. Do these wave designs out of the epoxy and resins for me. His name’s Hunter Lemke. He’s a great artist himself. I’m working on getting him an instagram page, but he was born and raised here, too. And I have him do that for me because it’s whole different craft that I’m not prepared for. 

Helen: 

Its really stinky and really messy and really taking. So I don’t have the studio space or the materials for that or the knowledge she already knows how to do it. So I let him take over that part. He passes me the wood and I add on my wood burning and we share the profits. 

Helen: 

So you actually dio you don’t pay him a wholesale price. You actually split. It’s split some percentage. That’s the agreement. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, yeah, we’re friends. So it’s not really it’s more of a friend, you know, setting. It’s not like, Hey, give me my proportion now. 

Helen: 

Once I give you these pieces, it’s when I sell the pieces and they have been going quick, so I will pay him when when the pieces sell. 

Brandon: 

If he wants the payment up front, I’ll give it to him that way, too. But this is just kind of what we’ve agreed on. 

Helen: 

Uh, that’s that’s excellent. 

Brandon: 

Now, I was going to ask you Do you have do you hope that this becomes your full time job? 

Brandon: 

Do you care, like is? 

Brandon: 

I don’t know. I don’t know what you’re studying right now. What are you studying in college? 

Brandon: 

I am studying business administration with the focus in marketing all their Ugo. 

Helen: 

I think I’m doing pretty good job already. The So what are your What do you Do you think about that? Or do you not think about We talked a little bit beforehand, but, you know, I have thought about it right now at the side hustle. 

Brandon: 

I don’t know where I’m gonna be when I finished schooling. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll get a crazy job opportunity. 

Helen: 

I’m kind of going with the flow. And wherever life takes me, I’m up for it. I I don’t know if I would be ready to do It is full time, but right now I’m having really fun doing it and we’ll see where I am in the future. Once I get, you know, a career and as importantly, is it fair to say it’s making you some money. 

Helen: 

Yes, yes. 

Brandon: 

So that that side hustle income is always a really nice chunk of change. 

Helen: 

That to supplement what you have, right? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, it is a chunk of change, and it’s also good for my health. Mental health. I mean, it’s like I said, it’s It’s ah haven for me and that’s part of my outlet where I released some of that stress. But I also make money off of it. That’s why I said, it’s crazy that people think of it as a business sometimes to me, because again, it’s so fun and I really, really enjoy it. 

Helen: 

So let’s just talk about that one point, though. 

Helen: 

For a minute you said it earlier and I skipped over it. But I’m glad you brought it back because isn’t it strange, Helen that people believe? 

Brandon: 

And I’m going to say America right? 

Brandon: 

It could happen in other parts of the world, but let’s just talk about where you and I was so we could be we could be experts. 

Brandon: 

They believe that if you have a business that you love doing that, that’s not possible, right, because that’s what they say. 

Brandon: 

That’s what you’re explaining. 

Brandon: 

You’re saying I can’t believe that that people are saying this because I love doing it. It isn’t it interesting that there’s this perception that business can’t be fun or that you can’t love your business? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. And it’s sad that there is that perception that people are so driven by money. But I think I think when you find something you love to do so much, the money will come with it without you trying. 

Helen: 

Yeah. 

Helen: 

Pushing priority is not money. Priority is making a good product loving what you do, and the money will come with it. 

Helen: 

Yeah, I think you just summed up my I think I spent $110,000 on my MBA from from from a top school. Um, but I think the long short of it this way you just, like, make a product that people want to pay you for and figure out how and then charge them for it and then figure out the business. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. Yeah, And it make sure it’s something that you love and and like you said with your degree, That’s what you found out. 

Helen: 

I have been in a call it I have been in the business learning about. I’ve been in business school for two years now, and I haven’t learned that yet. 

Helen: 

I haven’t learned. Do what you love to dio, and the money will follow work hard. 

Helen: 

I never learned that in school. 

Brandon: 

I’ve learned everything that I’ve run my business off of. 

Helen: 

I run. I’ve learned mainly by myself. I do think schools essential, but I have yet to hear from one of my business professors that find out what you love to dio work hard at it, don’t stop, and the money will come with it. 

Helen: 

Well, maybe one of your professors is listening to this podcast and will will spoil my prediction. But my prediction will be is that that’s not what they teach in in business school. But I will agree with you that for me, business school, not at all school is very useful for the frameworks that right you you absolutely and I’ll write. 

Brandon: 

When I started my first business, I had a psychology degree and was working on my masters in psychology and and you know that’s not a business degree, but but in many ways, actually, it is. 

Brandon: 

That’s another probably podcast talk about, but because businesses about people but the things that you can learn about accounting. 

Brandon: 

And I don’t know how long if you agree with me, but you’ve got to be able to run a You’ve got to be able to run a spreadsheet if you’re going to run a business. 

Brandon: 

Yes. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, You have to understand profit and loss. 

Brandon: 

That is obviously number one. Make sure you’re making it worth your time. You have to have that framework. I definitely I definitely agree. And you know how toe create a business, all the legal aspects of it. That’s very important as well. 

Helen: 

Of course. Now have you incorporated or are you just running as a sole proprietorship or an LLC or how how have you handled that as a side hustle? 

Brandon: 

I just run as a sole proprietorship just by me. 

Helen: 

Yeah, well, cool. 

Brandon: 

What? I guess I want to talk about just real quick. Your do you think that you’ll have a website like Shopify or etc. Have you thought about anything like that? I think I actually found you have an accountant, etc. With three products. May be your earrings. I’m doing this by memory for the older I got to delete that account. 

Brandon: 

That was from when I first started. 

Helen: 

I I gotta revamp that at sea side. 

Brandon: 

A lot of people have asked me about etc. 

Helen: 

And I probably should focus on that. 

Brandon: 

But like I said, I get so much business through instagram and Facebook and promoting through there I haven’t found the need toe build Ah website or a website that has items in stock also haven’t had time to make things to put on there and lift where you can just press a button and click purchase. 

Helen: 

So I definitely have been lacking in that aspect of business. 

Brandon: 

But I am open to having a MAWR official website. 

Helen: 

I currently have a website through Instagram called em Shake Something like that. 

Helen: 

It’s it’s run through Instagram. 

Helen: 

Yeah, e was going through it. I was going through it last night. I was like milkshake. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I was using milkshake. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, it’s a free website run through Instagram. You have to have an INSTAGRAM account and they make it really simple and they have layouts for you and again, the aesthetic is really nice. Easy peasy, different slides that people can click through. But I should I should focus on, you know, a www dot coastal would design dot com, you know, But for now, this Instagram link works great. 

Helen: 

I think that if you’re watching this on YouTube, you should be able to see Helen’s Coastal would designs Instagram page, and you can click on our link, and it says right here. 

Helen: 

This is This isn’t super super super hard. Helen, You’ve got a d m for orders, right? Yeah. And what is this Commission’s open? So you’re open to anything? Is that what that means? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. So I’m taking custom orders. Currently, a lot of artists putting their bio, you know, if they’re too busy with orders. Well, faith custom orders, commissions closed. So I just like to make it obvious to new followers or followers that Hey, I’m ready to take your custom order. 

Helen: 

Yeah. Here’s what I saw right here. This surf. I had my eye on that. Did you sell that yet? 

Brandon: 

I did. I’m sorry, E have Ah, I have a custom order for you that I guess I can say it on here. 

Helen: 

Maybe we’ll have it done. By the time my wife, as we talked about, runs a local business now called Half Moon Bay Dog Sports, which is a dog agility training. Yeah, pretty cool. And I thought that I would have you put her logo on their potentially. It’s her running with the dog and maybe running along the beach. So you and I have talked about afterwards, but let me know. 

Brandon: 

I’ve done a lot of logos for businesses around town, and I showed her I showed her event is my wife’s name the spoons? 

Helen: 

She was like, Oh, my God, Oh, cute. That’s a That’s a new addition to right? 

Brandon: 

I’ve actually done that for a while, but I slowed down for that there. I started doing spoons, probably in 2018, but I haven’t had any orders for them recently, but I kind of dove into that. I got a custom order for it, and then I made some for the Fall Festival this past weekend as well. But I like to have options. You know, all different types of service surfaces toe work on all different, you know, spoons, different size plaques that work on cutting boards. 

Helen: 

I’m actually wearing Woodburn earrings. That I did Yes, I was gonna ask. 

Helen: 

I was looking on here. 

Brandon: 

You I saw somewhere, and I read a story. I think that you talk about why you do earrings, because it’s something about the energy. 

Brandon: 

Can you Do you remember what? 

Brandon: 

I’m what I saw. You wrote something about why you do earrings. 

Brandon: 

That might have been When I did, I started making sea glass hearing. 

Helen: 

Maybe that was it. 

Brandon: 

Instead of the wood burned hearings, I started making sea glass airings to raise funds for family in need that were affected by Cove in 19. 

Helen: 

Oh, here we go. Would earrings lightweight and unique. Would burned earrings are available in various shapes and patterns. And I’ve got to believe that that was you took that with an iPhone, right? 

Brandon: 

Yep. 

Brandon: 

Yep. 

Helen: 

I’m only mentioning. I’m only mentioning that because listeners always want to tell me they don’t have the right equipment and all this crazy stuff, so Oh, yeah. 

Brandon: 

All you need is an iPhone. You’re good. 

Helen: 

I have the iPhone 10. 

Brandon: 

So, for reference. 

Helen: 

Yeah, that’s what I have. And it seems it seems to work good on this milkshake thing that hopefully everybody can see on the screen if you’re watching it on YouTube. If you’re not watching on YouTube, go to coastal. Would designs You could Google that. And then I just added Helen’s name at the end, and it will bring up her instagram page. And probably your facebook page, I think is number two in Google. How long did it take you to do this little milkshake? And did you do it on your phone, or did you do it on your computer? 

Brandon: 

I did it on my phone S o. I downloaded the app I signed up through my instagram account, and gosh, that maybe took me maybe an hour to do all those pages. I have a good amount of slides discussing what I do, a bio discussing what I do, what I work on and some special projects that I’ve done. 

Helen: 

So it took me maybe about an hour and free. 

Helen: 

Are you running this whole thing off of your phone? 

Brandon: 

Essentially. 

Helen: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

There you go. 

Brandon: 

It can be done, people. You you don’t have it. Now I do want to ask one more question. Why? Actually, that’s not true. But I have two questions for you. The first one is you mentioned earlier. I caught that you said I don’t have room in my studio. 

Brandon: 

Now. Can we interpret studio as spare bedroom or garage? Or how? How could we interpret that? 

Brandon: 

You can interpret it as a spare bedroom? 

Brandon: 

I do not have a really pretty studio space that some artists have. 

Helen: 

It is our spare bedroom that we haven’t slept in in a long time. 

Brandon: 

It’s The walls are purple. 

Helen: 

There’s rainbow shelves in there. It’s nothing cute. 

Helen: 

It’s has a bed in there, and it’s messy. I have my would stuff all over the shelves, and it’s unorganized mess, Aiken say. But it’s just to spare bedroom that I work in. I have a skylight in there that I opened up in a big window, and fans going from get enough airflow because the wood is pretty stinky, and it’s not good to breathe in the fumes s Oh, yeah, I just work in a spare bedroom. 

Helen: 

There you go. That’s really cool. You would never guess it like I look at that hearing picture. I was like that. That looks professional. I mean, not not that it is professional, but to think that you can do that on your phone with an iPhone now is pretty incredible. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, Yeah, I iPhones air Great. 

Brandon: 

I love them. The camera is fantastic, and I try to take most of my photos outside. Natural light seems to complement my peace and best rather than having them inside. And I just find really cool background. I am lucky. My dad is kind of an artist himself. My backyard is very eclectic. Should probably do a tour one day. Um, and on my instagram shorts and show you guys if there’s a lot of fun metal work, copper plants, all most my photos air in my backyard. My dad has a lot of fun stuff, a lot of a lot of art going on, a lot of fun background. So I do have to give him some credit for that aesthetic in my photos. 

Helen: 

Oh, that’s cool. Let’s finish up with three h p. 

Brandon: 

T. S high percentage tips that you would give someone from anything sales, marketing getting started, but how to run a side hustle. 

Brandon: 

So I just want to say that it can be done. I am a college student who is living in their parents house on a budget, and I also work full time somewhere else. It can be done at any age. I started this my senior year in high school with no knowledge in business whatsoever Just went with the flow but high percentage. I would say number one would be. Make sure you are doing what you love. Do not do something that you are lukewarm about. I have doubts that it would succeed. You have to be very, very passionate about what you’re doing because with passion comes a good product. Passion comes a good service. 

Helen: 

So those things go hand in hand and also to be passionate about it. This is not gonna be 9 to 5 at all. This is not a 9 to 5 job. You are going to be thinking about this. At least I do like every hour of the day. On the weekend, I’ll be burning at 10 o’clock at night on a Saturday. It’s not 9 to 5. We’re gonna be doing this more hours than you think. You’re gonna be working on this very, very hard. So make sure that you love it because it’s not gonna be clocking out. Okay, I’m done for the day. 

Helen: 

Number two would be customer relationship. 

Helen: 

I think those were really key. You need to hold on to those relationships. I have met so many wonderful people and I don’t just give them the wood and dump him. Here’s your words. Thanks. Bye. I stay in contact with them. I messaged them, see how they’re doing. How do you like your peas? Is the person that you gave it to do? They love it. Do you want something else? Let me know how I could help. So customer relationships are huge. Huge, huge, huge. And you will meet amazing, amazing people. And I’ve actually made a lot of friends through this business. So make sure you hold onto those people because it’s not what you know. It’s who you know, as you all know on then number three would be again. Social media Take advantage of it. I That is my only marketing platform that I do. 

Helen: 

And it has taken off. And I’ve met again So many amazing, amazing people and I want to thank everyone who has supported me. Thank you. Thank you, Thank you. Whether it just be a like on my post or share or actually purchasing something or telling a friend like, Hey, I got this lady who does custom would art that’s all done through social media and I really want toe. 

Helen: 

You know, we talked a lot about that. Emphasize that that’s very important. But just just be kind of people make friends hold onto those relationships because this is a small town, and if you’re treating people badly, they will not support your business. So you have to be kind of people, treat them with respect. And, you know, you’re gonna meet the best part about this about the businesses. I have met so many amazing people and you know, friendships that I will keep with me forever. 

Helen: 

Those were awesome. I think you can teach a business class e Don’t you know it just kind of comes naturally. 

Brandon: 

That too. 

Brandon: 

I mean, again, it comes naturally because I love it so much. I’m not forcing them, you know, this is what I love to dio. I love people and I love art and to be able to share it with them and use it to help my community. Sometimes it’s it’s amazing. It’s amazing. 

Helen: 

Well, I want to thank you so much for coming on and making time. I know we had it planned a week ago, and you were building a whole bunch of inventory, and I was watching it on the stories, and it looks like crazy. It turned out great for you. And and thanks for really opening up and sharing so much about your business. Because what you’ve what you’ve shared today is going to really help a lot of people. And I just wanna thank you for that and congratulate you on your success. Like it? It is. It’s really incredible. I’m excited to see what happens over the next 12 and three years with Coastal would designs. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, it should be good. And like I said, the community has been amazing here, and I just wanna thank all them for it. And thank you for having me. 

Helen: 

Yeah, you’re welcome. Okay, We’ll see you soon. 

Brandon: 

Okay. Take care. 

Helen: 

What a cool story. Right, Helen, Thanks for joining and thank you friends for tuning into the show today. If you enjoyed it, please rate review and hit. Subscribe. So you don’t miss any of the upcoming episodes until the next show. 

Brandon: 

Remember, you are just one business plan away. I’m rooting for your success. We’ll see you soon

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