Episode Description

Ep. 124 – Chris invites on a very special guest, Talona Davis, to talk about the path to starting a business profitably. Talona is the owner of To The T Decor & Design, an interior decorating studio, which she started about a year ago. They detail a lot of what every new entrepreneur goes through, including nerves and confusion, as well as the journey throughout reaching profitability.

Check Out Our Show Notes

Narrator 0:00
You’re listening to the off systems go podcast, the show that teaches you everything you need to know to put your business on autopilot. Learn how to deploy automated marketing and sales systems in your business the right way with your host, the professor of automation himself and founder of automation bridge, Chris Davis.

Chris Davis 0:32
Welcome everybody to another episode of The all systems go podcast, where we invite startup founders and digital marketers to discuss strategies and software used to build automated marketing and sales systems that scale. I’m your host, Chris L. Davis, the founder of Automation Bridge, and today I have none other than Talona Davis. I’m smiling while I say her name and you all will will know in a minute those that don’t know me will know why I’m smiling. But Talona is the owner of to the tee, the core and design and interior decorating studio. She believes that interior design is not only about decorating spaces, but creating comfy and relaxing atmospheres that impact your emotional well being or the emotional well being of others. Her company’s motto is decor and design with you in mind. And it was birthed out of focusing on unique desires and needs for every client, you you know how it is supplying an excellent service, all of that. But here’s the most important part we will say. In addition to being an entrepreneur, she enjoys fitness, travel, and focusing on advocating for mental health and wellness. Watch this everybody. She’s the happiest with her husband, Chris is with their husband Chris, raising her two sons, Xavier and Elias and her daughter, Jaden Talana, the wife of my life, how are you doing? Welcome to the podcast,

Talona Davis 2:09
I am doing great. I feel wonderful. And I am so happy to finally be on this podcast.

Chris Davis 2:19
You know, this is historic everybody. You all have heard me excited for technology. This is a different type of excitement you’re hearing out of my voice right now. And some interesting facts about this is we’re in the same house. House right now recording. And this is the first time that my wife has been featured on in my business. Not actually, if you are no if you did not know this is her voice on the intro that you just listened to. So this is making it full circle. If you’re viewing this on YouTube, you’re getting the full experience this is every day, her and I enough about us. I’m going to try not to pepper this podcast with sweet nothings. Because we have an important topic to talk about today. And we’re talking about how to get started profitably. And you started your business about a year ago. And there was a lot of nervousness, there was a lot of confusion. There was just a lot of what every entrepreneur goes through. And I want to detail that in this podcast. But before we get started before you are this budding entrepreneur and master studio designer, the most sought after in the area of Chicago and the Chicago land. before all that, what were some of the steps that you would say led up to you deciding to take this journey on?

Talona Davis 3:50
Well, some of the steps, I would say,

Chris Davis 3:53
steps events in life. What, what got you here?

Talona Davis 3:56
Well, I’ve always had this eye for decor. The first thing I do when I walk into space is I start seeing all the imperfections, right? So like the the pictures are hung too low or too high, or the curtains are hung a little crooked, or you know, and I’ve always wondered like, why am I so judgmental when it comes to walking me these spaces. And at first I used to feel bad about it. But after a while I started to realize well I have this attention to detail with their core because it’s something that I love that I absolutely love to do. Also, growing up, watch my mother, she always decorated her spaces so nicely, and that always appealed to me. Holidays decorating for holidays and things of that nature. It’s just something that brought me joy and happiness and so I would say it just naturally came to me. And also like in college I remember that Maybe MySpace isn’t my friends coming to me like, can you decorate my room? Can you decorate my apartment and things of that nature. So I really didn’t take it seriously back, then I’ll just, you know, we’ll do this and do that, you know. But after a while, I started to realize like, this is a thing like this is really something that I could turn into something great.

Chris Davis 5:21
In the unique part about this, that I want my listeners to, to hear is the we’re going to detail not just the start, but the journey throughout reaching profitability. And I have to, I have to say this. When I was in college, everyone, when I graduated, I had an apartment. And my wife fiancee, then at the time came to my apartment, and I felt like I did a great job decorating by the way, it had a little bit of a single bachelor ish feel to it. But I had this exquisite Chinese cloth hanging on my wall that I was really proud of my uncle got it for me. And I felt like it really spruced up the space. And let history show that was the first piece that she took down when we got married. And so

Talona Davis 6:17
only because it did not go with the rest of that space.

Chris Davis 6:22
Oh, don’t worry, I still got it. Still got it, it’ll make its debut. So So listen, you’ve got this history. And what we what what I’ve experienced, interviewing all of these founders is there’s always something in their past, or there’s always an itch that they scratched of themselves. So being married to you, of course, I’ve seen you go through many phases of all of the places that we’ve lived, really making that effort to establish that comfy home feeling and not make it feel like a house. So you’ve done an amazing job everywhere we lived, you’ve never been satisfied with it. But I have. And I attribute my peace of mind at night in our children’s well being all to that. So you have this skill set that predates your awareness of entrepreneurship business, you come to the point where you say, hey, look, I want to build a business doing this. The first thing that you asked me was, babe, do I need a website? Do you remember what I told you?

Talona Davis 7:27
Um, when I asked if I needed a website,

Chris Davis 7:31
you need a website about page contact?

Talona Davis 7:34
Oh, yeah. All you needed was a landing page. All you

Chris Davis 7:37
needed was a landing page to capture

Talona Davis 7:41
your information from your clients.

Chris Davis 7:44
How did you feel going from thinking you needed all of this? To this one little bitty page? Talk about that internal struggle of believing that things needed to be a different way?

Talona Davis 8:00
Right. So at first what there was two different emotions, right one was disappointment, because I had already made up in my mind, this big lofty vision, right? And so whenever your vision is chopped up, it hurts. So that was the first emotion. But after that, the second emotion was, oh, that’s less work I have to put into it. Well, yeah, well, less work, you have to really put into it. I don’t have to create all these pages and all this content for these pages. And you mean to tell me I can create one page, and they could do the same thing that a full website would have done for me. So after I started to understand that, and you started to break it down to me explain it to me, you know, I’m always kind of like, Ah, you’re like, hold on, let’s walk through this. Okay. Once I got that understanding, then I was able to say, Okay, well, if it if it serves the same purpose, and it’s going to do the job, then let’s move forward with it.

Chris Davis 9:10
Yeah, and this is important, because you went through a process that I see pretty much every client go through, especially when it’s technology, my digital marketing listeners, get your amen’s ready, because how often do you come to the client and they’ve already prescribed what they need? They are, they’ve already got to figure it out. They’ve talked to people, they’ve gone to websites, they’ve seen other websites, they know exactly what it is just do this. This is what’s gonna make me successful. And you go through this process of disappointment and disbelief to all of us setting trust, just in the process, and go from that, that disappointment and disbelief to trust. It’s all about understanding and what Did even though you were my wife, you are my wife. I still went through the same process as I do with everyone else identified. Okay, what is the key objective? What is it that you need to do? And we’re going to build for that objective, we’re going to hit that objective so well, that you’ll then see that everything else is a distraction. Now, one of the important things is I didn’t eliminate everything I just said Not right now. Started to do things in order started to minimize the scope because I knew the journey ahead. So you you buy in to 1 page, a one page website, a landing page, and we get it up fairly, fairly quickly. Now, let me say this, who I took care of the tech everyone, I took care of the tech for my nerds listening, we went WordPress Elementor. Alright. But you did the design, you actually built the website. Tell us about that first time we’re building experience.

Talona Davis 11:05
So one of the frustrations with being married to a techie. Is that for me, I’m not as techie as some of my counterparts. Okay. However, because I am married to a techie, there’s like this expectation that they that he would do everything for me. As far as the technical side goes, right. But not Mr. Davis. So Mr. Davis is like well, just in case I’m not around, you need to know all of these things. So here’s a tutorial. Have at it. Right. So that was frustrating. Again, but I buckled down. And I went through the tutorials and really found out that it wasn’t as difficult as I was creating it in my mind to be. And so I went through it I learned about you could buy templates, you could do all these things, found me a nice template, and threw it not threw it all together, but designed it and put it together. And it has served this purpose. Doing well.

Chris Davis 12:17
Yeah, you had a safety net, and I’ll be honest with you all, I watched her struggle. I did not come in for the rescue. It took some months. It took a you know, for me, I’m just like, I could have done it yesterday, but I would have robbed her of the experience and weeks. it well. Yeah. Yes. Okay. So the important piece, though, was I knew that at some point, she would be managing or offloading or sending having someone else take care of that. And I don’t have the intention on her ever building another website. But she’s done it once. She knows enough now to be knowledgeable if she has to manage or tell somebody how to do it, or hand that off. It’s not a company. So that was my logic behind it. We have the website up. And the next thing was we had to remember everybody, I’m taking care of all the technology, we had to map out what other technology she would need. So in regular fashion, we come to my office in front of the whiteboard. And I actually no, no, I’m remembering I had you submit a business plan as you submit a business plan. So let me go ahead. Oh, wait a minute. It went it went mute. Elana, I can’t hear you. I think you hit something.

Talona Davis 13:55
Okay, you go you’re back. So I had done a simple plan, but not on the level that you your plan required. So it required me to go a lot deeper in my thought process. And just dig deeper, which I appreciate because, you know, I learned a lot about myself and about my expectations and my desires in my business. So yeah, the business plan was another frustration

Chris Davis 14:32
and I’ll say this everybody in I’m documenting this because I felt like my wife was such a good case study. For what a lot of you first time entrepreneurs are those of you that want to transition off your job. Um, there’s some key steps that you can easily jump over advanced experienced digital marketers, sometimes you guys go in full force trying to do all of these things, and you overlook the basics. So the purpose Have the business plan was for her to really define what her service and her Avatar was, so that we could start to understand how to talk to them. I also made an agreement that I would fund i, we I had her tell me how much startup capital she needed. And based on our business plan, I would fund and we had a scale, we had a schedule of more like a graduated scale of funding, based on the amount of clients she closed. Alright, so there’s some incentivization in there for you to go get some more business more business means more money unlocked and made. And like regular marketers love to do i gamified it a bit, right.

Talona Davis 15:40
Like that was so nervous about

Chris Davis 15:44
Yes, extremely nervous. So how did you get your first customer.

Talona Davis 15:50
So my first customer came from a friend of mine, actually, who also my neighbor, neighbor, and she wanted a, she had turned a bedroom into a dressing room. And she wanted me to come in and fully design it. And so given that opportunity, I did my work, and from there, other people would see it, and then, you know, more clientele starts to come. And so word of mouth has been my biggest pool for business thus far. And so I’m interested to see if that’s going to continue to be or if it will, you know, kind of switch over. But word of mouth has been very good to me. You know, being that I have more of a visual business where you see, you know, you see what you’re getting? I think that helps a lot as well.

Chris Davis 16:56
Yes, so um, for just so you all know, first client or two, maybe the first three, all filled out the form on our website at the time again, I’m keeping the footprint super low Elementor built in form, it just sends her an email. So she gets an email, oh, somebody fill out my form on my website, right? You get all that excitement and everything. And it wasn’t before long till we started to realize that wait a minute, we need a better way. We need a better back end system to manage. Yes, these contacts these clients, because they’re coming in you were you were you did one, you did one and one and told one, then you had two then two told one. So you had four. And it was just that that organic, that organic spread. So now we’ve got some inflow, and it’s time to look at a CRM, my good friend, I’m trying to get her on the podcast. Hopefully I can get her on shortly. But she knew about honeybook. And there was another one of my students, Latoya, we all went to college together. Matter of fact, she used dubsado. And listen, everybody, I’ll just tell you my consideration between the two was simply one friend, I just reached out to one friend before the other. That’s literally all it was. I can’t tell you dubsado was better than HoneyBook. HoneyBook is better than dubsado. But what I did is I made a choice on a CRM, and we never looked back. So talk about HoneyBook and how it helped you to really take the business in terms of managing your clients to the next level. Sure.

Talona Davis 18:40
So honey book is I probably don’t use it to its capacity, right? I use minimal amount of tools, I’m sure overall, with what they offer. But I use it mostly for my client management when they come into the system. I’m able to create their pipelines and keep track of where we are in the project. Automation, email automation, I’m able to create this pipeline where they receive certain emails at certain times. During the duration of the project, I’m able to send invoices proposals receive payment, and things of that nature. So that alone was a game changer for me and my business because those were the things that I was manually trying to handle myself. And so that freed up a lot of time for me to focus more on my clients and the actual design and installation of the decor.

Chris Davis 19:41
And you all just know I was fighting. In the very beginning. The first thing I had in mind I was like okay, how would I set her up on on Active Campaign in how would I train her how, okay, can I set up a Thrive cart? I’m thinking through all of the tech I’m trying to create a system That works. And for those of you that listen to the podcast frequently, you know that part of the consideration for technology is the person and or their team that will be leveraging it. You cannot just prescribe technology because you like it, you like to use it. And it’s worked in the past, so I had to bend a little bit and having never used HoneyBook. I went to my trusty skill set that has never failed me. Everybody never failed me. We went back to the whiteboard, we went back to the whiteboard. And we mapped out her stages, we mapped out the entire process. This was not It’s not this wasn’t a one hour thing, either. I remember we had like an hour plan. Before you know it, everyone. Kids are knocking on the door on my Hey, leave us alone. We’re in the middle of something. You know, we started when it was like it’s dark. We’re both starting to get fatigued, but on the whiteboard was the key to how we would use honey book. Yes. Tell me seeing that mapped out. How was that I speak a lot on the podcast about mapping before you. You build how was it seeing it mapped out? Did it give you confidence? Did it make things clear? What, what was that

Talona Davis 21:14
impasse, it definitely gives you confidence, it allows you to take everything from up here that stays there, and actually just dump it out. And so you’re not carrying that weight anymore. For me, it just gave clarity, just clarity, which was very important, actually seeing all the steps and stages out on the board the tasks broken down and things of that nature. I mean, that’s everything for my business, because my business depends on time management, task management, project management, things of that nature. So to have it written out. And then I just pretty much transfer what we have there into honey book. Amazing.

Chris Davis 21:56
Like every all of my technical folks, did you hear how my wife just described the impact of mapping something out? I want you to rewind that those are the words that she used. Now, on my side, I’m looking at logical holes and functional breakdowns. Yeah, it’s it I it two totally different experiences. And the reason why I bring this up is because you can’t communicate the logical holes and functional breakdowns to your client and expect them to see the value. The value came from her. Oh, wow, here’s where the tests go, oh, this is clear, okay? They want the confidence. The mapping is not something to be marveled at, like, Oh, look how beautiful it is, is to communicate clearly what’s already going on in their mind. So we do that we get HoneyBook.

Talona Davis 22:51
And there’s been there’s been many times where you’ve tried to explain something to me. And it’s frustrating to me, because I don’t get it. And you map it out. And I’m like, oh, okay, I get it now. So yeah, very important, very important.

Chris Davis 23:04
And by mapping out, she means I will do it anywhere using anything. I’ve mapped stuff out at dinner at a restaurant on a napkin. Okay, whatever, tool whatever time it is to communicate. Now, my wife does have an unfair advantage, everyone, there are times where we could just be driving. And I’ll be curious about a certain process in her business. And I’ll ask her about it. And that could lead any conversation can lead to anything. So she’s learned to keep her phone notepad ready. Because email copy could spit out of me a new idea where Hey, we should survey the clients right at this point, XYZ. But in all of that, I want to make sure that I’m highlighting your speed of implementation. You learn something, you do it, you learn something else you do. It speaks to how you got over, sitting down before things were perfect. Before you took one step to do anything, just waiting. So it’s not right yet. Oh, I’ll send the email right after I need to proofread it 10 times How did you get past that perfectionism? And get to a point where you could listen and do without even necessarily fully understanding?

Talona Davis 24:21
Yes, I was a professional perfectionist, right? is like, for me, I used to get stuck there like oh, I can’t release it unless it looks like this or all the text is not perfect. So we have to change it before we can release it and things like that. What I learned from just taping, taking the leap is that we pretty much done our growth by going down that process so I’ve learned more taking leaps than I did with making sure everything was perfect. And then it’s like what is perfect, right? What is perfect. This perfect this perfect idea that You develop in your brain that no one else knows anything about. Right. And so, for me, leaping, and and, and being imperfect, really is attractive. That’s why so many people are successful on social media. They show their real lives, they show things that are so perfect, and they show their mistakes and things of that nature. And so you learn as you grow. That’s my, that’s my model to myself, learn as I grow. And as I go. And once you get out here, you meet other business owners, you’re a lot, you’re learned that you’re not the only one. Like maybe people are stumbling as they go, but it’s making them better business owners.

Chris Davis 25:52
Yes, so we’re gonna do a yin yang thing. So she’s the yin to my Yang, she on her side, it was learn as you grow. On my side, it was grow into necessity. So I’m not trying to do too much too soon. I have to tell you all the most challenging thing in all of this is pacing myself. I really do. There were times where I was ready to hit the accelerator. And I was like, oh, yeah, just go at her pace, because I didn’t want to overwhelm you. And I didn’t want to steal from your momentum, because I saw it building up. Now, as we go to almost a year in you’ve, you’ve got your own LLC, you started out as a DBA. We were just kind of testing some things out. Now you’ve officially formed your own business, you have your own bank account, accounting, logo, redesign everything. Tell tell the listeners, what a standard. What’s your standard flow through your pipeline looks like as is today as a profitable business owner? Just walk us through the step from contact all the way through.

Talona Davis 27:03
Oh, wow. Okay. So my would be first the contact form, right? But the contact form is where they either sign on through my website, or they come to me personally, they say, Hey, I want you to design a space, either I’ll send in the link right then and there and have them fill out the form. Or I can manually go in and do it for them. Right? I don’t often do that. I like for my client to do it so they can get the full experience and be able to tell like from their standpoint, give the information from their standpoint, not just because I’m sitting there, like Hurry up and give me some information, right. And then from there, we that we have a 15 minute discovery call. So that call is

Chris Davis 27:53
quick. Wait, wait, wait, pause. First off, the form is no longer element or form everyone. It’s a HoneyBook form? Yes. And from that form, she gets a notification. And when you reach out to them, how do they schedule the call,

Talona Davis 28:09
they get a calendar invite, where they could choose the time and date that were available that works best for them. And then from then from the moment they schedule, I get a deemed on my end, hey, such as such as scheduled this appointment. And I make note of it, okay, I’ll be meeting such as such on this day, this time. And then we have our discovery call discovery call is created just to gain information from your client to understand what it is that they need the needs of the client and move from there. I tell them a little bit about my business. I tell them about the services that we offer. And I tell them based off the information they they give me what services will work best for them. And then we move forward from there. So from there, we just we determine if they want to move forward with a consultation, which is a paid consultation. And then I haven’t had a no yet. So.

Chris Davis 29:12
So your discovery call is what I want to identify as Where do you qualify? I’m speaking as if I don’t know of course, but where share with the listeners where you qualify at what point do you say okay, this isn’t a good fit.

Talona Davis 29:28
So, when they do the questions when they do the contact form. So the contact form has specific questions. So like, what is your budget range, you know, things of that nature? What type of services do you need, based off of the information that they give during that 15 minute discovery call? We can talk about it and I will let them know if I don’t think it’s a good fit. Or if this is something that my business or my company can offer. And then from there, we move forward.

Chris Davis 30:06
I wanted to highlight that because in my program I teach, really, in any program, if I’ve taught you anything online, I’m always telling marketers to qualify leads. Every form has a qualifier. And you and I sat for a while and said, Okay, are we qualifying off? Budget? Are there other things? And as your business grows, those qualifiers change. So I wanted to highlight that everybody, those of you who are in in my teachings, or have been following me, you’ll see how I’m implementing everything that I’m telling you all that I’ve been doing over the years. This is my wife, why would I chance something new unproven on someone who I cared the most about? So definitely, I’m going to use everything that I know, to be true and to work. And this is, again, what I teach all of my students who go through my curriculum. So now, they’ve signed up for discovery call, you vetted them, and you say, Alright, time for a, what do you call them, the in house consultation, and this is paid or free. This is paid. This is paid everybody, so and she was charging out the gate for these consultations right now.

Talona Davis 31:20
We made when I started to realize that there’s a lot of work that goes into even the consultations, right. So showing them your offering and showing them your processes, getting information from them walking their house and seeing like, the different what type of styles they currently have, versus what type of ideas you might have for their space, I like to make best use of my time. So if I can walk around during the consultation and gain as much information as I can, to better serve them later than that’s what you know, that’s what I do. Yes, but paid consultation is still your time, you are still and I offer certain things during my consultation. So I’ll offer maybe suggestions on certain things as I’m walking through their space, maybe it’s a space, maybe they only hire me to do a few rooms. And I can offer them a little bit of advice on the other rooms. So things like that. So I do offer my clients information and some of my expertise in the design space. So yes, it is a paid consultation.

Chris Davis 32:25
And during that consultation, you do a presentation before we talk about the presentation, and we’ll actually we don’t need to get into the details of the presentation. What I want to know is what software are you using to prepare your presentation now this is in person you print them off? What software do you use to create that design that you print off into and put on display?

Talona Davis 32:47
Okay, so my software has shifted. Okay, so you’ll start using one software realize, I like the software a little better. So currently, I use Canva to create a lot of my presentations to create a lot of my I call them look books, and things of that nature. It’s just easy. It’s an easy tool to learn is fun is so many options that they give you. That makes your presentation exciting for your clients. Um, what other software you were

Chris Davis 33:24
using, but prior to that, though, what were you using?

Talona Davis 33:30
Remember, look, I’m trying to remember my

Chris Davis 33:33
was using Keynote everyone. Yeah, yeah, I have to tell you all. I cringed every single

Talona Davis 33:42
time they came out looking quite well.

Chris Davis 33:45
No, no, no, the output was great. But process I’m just thinking in my head like it’s on your computer is gonna be practically impossible to collaborate to share. Those of you who have tried there’s iCloud but iCloud just isn’t the same as like

Talona Davis 34:02
and it takes up so much memory on your computer as well. So might your computer start running slow depending on how much information you have?

Chris Davis 34:11
Yeah, yes. So in this all by the way, was a computer upgrade. process, you know, but the good thing about it is by the time you bought a computer and by the way, everybody here computers newer than mine, I feel a certain way about that. I’m trying not to be petty. And you know, I’m just trying to stick with old trusty over here, but it anyways, so the good thing about your computer upgrade is you were able to take the profits from the business and upgrade the operations of the business.

Talona Davis 34:47
Yes, I’ve never had to step outside of business funds to fund business. And so that’s one thing I will say. Using all these tools has allowed me to keep a low operating cost, the tools that I use are not extremely expensive. I think they’re very affordable. And so I’m able to keep a lot of the funding in my business to be able to operate more efficiently. So yeah,

Chris Davis 35:17
which is key. When you’re getting started out, you need those profit margins to be as big as possible, the operational cost to be as low as possible. And the technological footprint. If you’re not tech savvy, even if you are tech savvy, I would caution you to err on the side of less tech early. And you have the presentation, which by the way, if if any of you need interior design, my wife does it throughout the country, maybe even international one day, but you do not need to be in Illinois. You can see all of our presentations are so clean. I’ve seen her more recent one in cam and I was like, wow, you know, like she’s taking it to the next level. But let’s talk about the next steps for your business. You. You do the the pay consultation from there. That’s when you send out the proposal, right?

Talona Davis 36:13
Pay consultation, yes. And then I send out a proposal based off of what we went through in our consultation and their desires, and hopes for their space. And then yes, from that I build a proposal based off the information they give me. And I send that out to them.

Chris Davis 36:31
And your proposals in honey book. It’s funny story, everyone. So my wife is a first time Pipeliner right. So she’s going through the process. And then they get to the stage where they send a proposal. And she runs to me and she’s like, Hey, look, look. They opened it. And I can tell when they opened it. Everything. This was a moment. I could have easily been like, oh, yeah, I’ll technology does that. But I said, Wait a minute. This is her first time seeing the customer journey. Yeah, he was excited. So I couldn’t I couldn’t Robert of that moment. So just the innocent joy in it all like, Oh, let me see. And now you rely on it. You’re like, wait a minute, she has the I sent this three days ago. She hasn’t even opened it or wait a minute. She’s opened it three days ago? I haven’t heard and that changes how you communicate with them? Right? Yes,

Talona Davis 37:26
for sure. For sure. And so throughout my pipeline, I have different avenues set up for different circumstances and outcomes. And so you know, if they don’t respond, and I do a little nudge and check in, hey, how you doing? What are you thinking over there? You know? And then if they what was the other option? They don’t respond? You said something else?

Chris Davis 37:48
Well, no, sometimes they don’t even open it, though. They

Talona Davis 37:51
don’t open it. Right. So again, I will send maybe a quick text message, or a quick phone call, you know, just checking in and things of that nature.

Chris Davis 38:00
I mean, everybody pause, did you hear that ninja move? Did this? Listen, this is my wife’s first time with a pipeline. And she’s using multiple channels for messaging. This was not something I had to tell her either. She’s like, Look, if they’re not responding on this channel. Let me try another. And again, it’s these fundamentals that I think advanced marketers, just keep overlooking, alright, they’re not responding on email, don’t send them another email, because they’re not reading your emails, use a different channel, use a different means to reach a customer. So that works, you can get them to respond to a text sometimes faster than an email, yes, whatever the channel you’re using to engage with them in the event that they that you don’t decide to move forward, either by their doing or your own decision making. What are you doing? Do you keep them in like a quarterly update nurture sequence? Or how do you keep in keep in contact with

Talona Davis 38:59
them? Well, I try to make sure they understand that we’re still here for them as they need us. So I usually send out a quick message. This time I send them both email and text and let them know, you know, hey, you know, haven’t heard from you. And, you know, my assumption is that you’ve moved on. We hate to, you know, well, that’s those aren’t the words, but pretty much explained to them that we hate to see them go. And that if they needed services then to reach out, but we’re going to move forward, right? And usually, that’ll get their attention, like wait a minute, you know, cuz sometimes people are just busy and just haven’t had time to really get back to you, right? And so I’m moving forward. If they decide not to move on with our services, then I put them in an archive, archive. And if honey books allows you to archive and if they were to come back, we don’t have to start from scratch. I just pretty much reactivate the system and we move forward.

Chris Davis 39:54
Yeah, it’s one of the reasons everybody that I strongly go against deleting contacts, most CRMs only charge you for active contacts, I see this conversation come up a lot online. Can I delete contacts if they’re not opening emails? Or if they’re not doing this? And I’m like, why would you want to delete the contact, just make them inactive, you’re not paying for them. And you maintain all of the information so that at whatever point they they resurrect, or they’re resuscitated in their back in your business, you can pick up right where you left off. A lot of advanced people are making that mistake. So I’m glad to hear you’re doing that. Now. For the ones who decide to go forward, this is the end everybody have the pre customer journey. I said the pre customer journey, a lot of you mix the customer journey. And and Or I should say you don’t properly have a understanding that the customer journey does not stop when they become a customer. Half of it is complete, the other half starts. So you’re done with your pre customer journey, your marketing and sales. Now your post customer journey starts, where you’re fulfilling now this, your service based business could take time. It could take months, it all depends on the schedule, there’s a lot of moving parts, a whole lot of moving parts. So we won’t belabor that one. But let our listeners know the tool that has been instrumental in helping in the client fulfillment side of the business.

Talona Davis 41:32
Air table.

Chris Davis 41:36
Good would you guys have guessed any other platform.

Talona Davis 41:40
I was so stuck on all these other tools, spreadsheets, spreadsheets and things of that nature air table has made my life easier. It is is is it allows you to communicate with the customer. It allows you to make changes and updates in real time. Like it’s just it’s the greatest tool ever, when it comes to keep your clients up to date with where you are in the process.

Chris Davis 42:12
Yes, and and I will say she’s got an unfair advantage. If I understand some people, somebody listening probably already knows this. So yes, I do have formulas set up to do auto calculations. I did the crash course here’s what a view is, here’s how to create multiple tables within a database, and essentially how to use it. But once you got it, you’re off to the races and how you’re using it. I’ll jump in every now and then say okay, how’s it working? Okay, we’ll try this do this. But just the right tool really makes a difference in a business when when we look at what you were doing in a spreadsheet, no knock against spreadsheets, they have their place. And what you’re doing an air table now it’s night and day. Yes. Alright, so in closing, I’m trying to close, he look good on camera, just saying I’m, I’m, I’m enjoying looking at your face here. Back to business, back to business. Listen, everybody trying to focus what I was gonna say, what I was gonna say is the next frontier. And this is something I want to highlight for everybody in a service based business, really any business, I see it in SAS, SAS companies, too, it just looks differently. Once you have the customer, you go into customer fulfillment, you need different technology, we found that HoneyBook was was not providing the functionality, the full functionality that you needed in the fulfillment side. Because other people, you have partners that you work with, to actually do the work. So we realized we needed a full project management software. And I’m mentioning this because a lot of you are trying to get too much out of your CRM or you’re trying to get too much out of your pre customer toolset. Your post customer toolset may differ and that’s okay. So tell me about some of the things that lead you to explore project management platform beyond HoneyBook. Because HoneyBook had done the client management like it was supposed to, but then in the fulfillment HoneyBook can do tasks and everything but it was so limited. What was some of that functionality that you needed beyond HoneyBook?

Talona Davis 44:30
So I needed a place where I can create product lists. I could create budget, budgeting forms, things of that nature. Keep the client updated on shipping times the status of the project has it been ordered? Has it been shipped? Has it been delivered? Is it delayed? Things of that nature air table allows me to do that. It allows me to update in real time so that if an item comes in shipped, I put that it’s been shipped, and then the client can go into that same form and look and see that update in real time. So those type of things HoneyBook just didn’t offer HoneyBook does a great job at what it does. But the air table is what really took it to, to the maximum height and allow me to really, really use my time wisely and more effectively.

Chris Davis 45:25
And we’re not stopping there everyone. There’s a collaboration part that was or I should say, some collaboration needs, that we found that honey book just couldn’t allow us to do. This is not a shot at honey. But listen, we have try to use, and we do we use it in the way that it needs to be used. But when we when you start to collaborate outside of your business, and you need to, you know, assign tasks to other people. That introduces another tool. So we’re currently looking at clickup, everyone so that she could have management from her side or partner side, see tasks and just make sure the fulfillment process goes smoothly. Because that’s where the true money is, you make the money in the marketing and sales and you keep it in fulfillment. So filming isn’t right, you’re gonna lose all that money that you spent your hard earned efforts and time on to it. So that’s it everyone that is the, the process. And again, this is within one year, I don’t I probably didn’t do a good enough job saying this in the beginning of the podcast, because I was so excited and distracted, by the way. But this is one year of profitability. These are the keys. I believe this approach translates because I’ve used it before, but this approach translates to any business in the industry, if you will, if you have the discipline to execute it, as outlined. So for you to Lana, your business is going you’ve got some big clients. What’s what’s next. But what do you see for your business now that within the first year, you’ve been able to be profitable? Is it just more profitability? Is it more partners? Is it mentorship? What is it that you’re working on your next is that

Talona Davis 47:19
all three of those I have started partnering with other designers and we come together to collaborate on some projects. So that’s one I’ve learned so much from I’m collabing with others as well. And I am in search for a mentor. I have a couple of people in mind that I would love to mentor me. But it’s just a matter of if they if they respond to you and things of that nature. But so I am I’m currently searching for groups, mastermind groups or anything like that, that I think would be interesting. And that would advance me along my journey. But yeah, growth, I would say partnering, mentorship, I would love to be able to hire an assistant, and things like that moving forward. So I’m thinking just growing, giving some employees possibly my own studio, outside of my home. And so I’m looking for this to grow beyond where I am today, not just in profitability, but in location and, and things of that nature and really expanding that my areas that I’m currently doing business in so yeah.

Chris Davis 48:47
All right, great. Let it all be true for you. If anybody listening to this podcast, wants to find out more wants to see this website and go through this process and get their home designed and decked out with the core. What websites should they go to,

Talona Davis 49:04
you can go to www dot TTT decor.com

Chris Davis 49:11
TTT decor.com Everyone, the link will be in the show notes, too. Lana, thank you so much for joining the podcast. It was great to have you as a guest and just stare at your face for that time that I have in a professional capacity. I appreciate it listeners. I hope you’ve enjoyed this. Got some some good gems because there’s a lot in here. And remember the fundamentals don’t forsake the fundamentals everyone. What those things are those fundamentals, they’ll make you a fortune.

Talona Davis 49:46
They really start with what you have to start with where you are start with what you what you have and continue to grow. Moving forward.

Chris Davis 49:57
The Queen has spoken no stagnation

Chris Davis 50:00
All right. That’s everything everyone. Thank you for listening to the podcast. Elana. Thank you for coming on love you. I mean, wait a minute, I don’t tell my guests I love you online. Okay. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The all systems co podcast. If you enjoyed it, make sure that you’re subscribed at the time of recording the all systems go podcast is free to subscribe to, and it can be found in Apple podcast, Google podcast, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts new episodes are released every Thursday, so make sure you’re subscribed so that you don’t miss out and while you’re at it, please leave us a five star rating and review to show some love but also to help future listeners more easily find the podcast so they can experience the value of goodness as well. We’ve compiled all resources mentioned on the podcast, as well as other resources that are extremely valuable and effective at helping you grow your marketing automation skills quickly and you can access them all at allsystemsgopodcast.com. Thanks again for listening and until next time, I see you online. Automate responsibly my friends

You'll Learn

  • [3:41] The steps that lead Talona to begin her entrepreneurial journey
  • [7:06] Why Talona decided to go with a simple landing page instead of a full website
  • [10:21] Talona describes the experience of building and designing a web page for the first time
  • [13:11] The process Chris and Talona used to map out what technology her new business would need
  • [15:44] How Talona got her first customer
  • [16:55] What CRM they collectively decided on and how
  • [19:41] “You cannot just prescribe technology because you like it.”
  • [23:43] How Talona was able to overcome perfectionism in her business
  • [26:52] What the standard flow through Talona’s pipeline looks like as a profitable business
  • [32:25] The software she uses to prepare for her in person consultations
  • [37:26] The importance of using multiple communication channels
  • [41:23] Which tool has been instrumental in helping in the client fulfillment side of her business

Today's Guest

Talona Davis is the owner of To The T Decor & Design, an interior decorating studio. She believes interior design is not only about decorating spaces but creating comfy and relaxing atmospheres that impact the emotional well-being of others. Her companies motto, “Decor and Design with You in Mind”, was birth out of focusing on the unique desires and needs of each and every client. In addition to being an entrepreneur, she enjoys fitness, traveling, and focusing on advocating for mental health and wellness. She is happiest with her husband Chris raising their two sons Xavier and Elias, and daughter Jaiden.

Want to Be a Guest On the Podcast?

We're currently accepting guests for the podcast that are SaaS owners, marketing automation consultants, and digital professionals that have produced high results with automation.
If that's you, or you'd like to recommend someone, click here to apply to be a guest.

About the Show

On the show, Chris reveals all of his automated marketing strategies he has learned from working in fast growing marketing technology startups so you can put your business on autopilot quickly and without error.

Discover how to deploy automated marketing, sales, and delivery systems to scale your business without working long hours to do so.

Chris L. Davis - Chief Automation Officer

Chris L. Davis

Chris is an Electrical Engineer turned entrepreneur who is the Founder of Automation Bridge, an international speaker and facilitator, and startup consultant