All Systems Go! Podcast – Episode 156

Run a Highly Effective Group Coaching Program Using Airtable feat. Ashley Pendergraft

All Systems Go! Marketing Automation and Systems Building with Chris L. Davis
Run a Highly Effective Group Coaching Program Using Airtable feat. Ashley Pendergraft
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Episode Description

Ep. 156 – Join Chris on this episode of the All Systems Go! podcast as he interviews Ashley Pendergraft, founder of Do The Damn Thing and an Airtable and Zapier consultant, who helps feminist and neurodivergent online business owners. Ashley explains how she shifted everything to Airtable, the perfect software for online group programs, membership, and mastermind management that delivers a low lift high-touch customer experience. Discover the power of Airtable through their conversation about centralized data, automated tasks, and versatile views. Plus, learn how it can help you make informed business decisions!

  • 4:18 – Chris and Ashley explore the benefits of Airtable
  • 8:12 – The difference between using Airtable vs Spreadsheets for data analysis
  • 12:07 – Ashley shares on centralizing data for optimization
  • 19:16 – How to optimize group programs with Airtable
  • 23:14 – How to make the most of Airtable’s visualization power
  • 26:49 – Ashley shares Airtable automation and organization tips and use cases
  • 37:44 – How to Use Airtable to make data-driven business decisions
  • 41:18 – Maximizing your efficiency with Airtable

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 sale 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 to another episode of The all systems go podcast. I’m your host, Chris L. Davis. And today, I have Ashley Pendergraph with me. And she is a founder and air table and Zapier consultant that primarily works with feminists and neurodivergent online business owners and help them use guess what everyone? Yes, you guessed it airtable airtable to manage group programs, membership, masterminds really any group, and she does it so that they can deliver a low lift, high touch, customer experience. Alright, if she does that, do her signature program called systems overstress. Ashley? I believe them hold on, let me think let me think I should. Okay, no, no, this is real. You’re the first, you are the first airtable, evangelist and expert that I’ve had on the podcast. And I am really excited with talking about how to how to centralize your back end with airtable. So welcome to the welcome to the podcast. Ashley, give us a little insight of your background, how you got started and your humble beginnings.

Ashley Pendergraft 1:59
Sure. So thank you. I’m so excited to be here. Yeah, my humble beginnings. I’ve always been a systems and operations minded person. I used to be an event producer, and we would rent a lot of stuff out of Google Sheets. I’m sure we all know how tough it is to be in Google Sheets. And you know, doing random shows in one tab and making like forcing the calendar like in another one. And they would always be like out of sync. So we were talking kind of in the greenroom greenroom that we always made things work for us, but we were never like fully satisfied. And so I’m really proud of my you know, I was a tour manager for a rock band, like I’ve been in OPS in like very high like intense situations. And it was always, it was always in spreadsheets. And so I got into the online education world, I was working as an ops manager for an an online education expert as her ops person and was using a lot of spreadsheets. And this was in like 2015 2016. And air table was kind of first like popping off a little bit. And then when we found out I was like, What is this, this is what I’ve been looking for. I moved like everything into it. And just I was my favorite software to play with. And when I went off on my own, actually in February of 2020, I quit that role to run in person events. That was meant to be my thing, running across the country doing these in person groups. And of course, the pandemic hit in. Now, two weeks later, so that wasn’t the best timing for me. But I had this ops experience. I knew the online marketing world online education world. So my first little humble course launched in April 2020 called beer on clo. And I taught airtable in it. And so had a little bit of airtable stuff. But there was like sandbox management. You know, when we first start, we don’t know exactly what we want to teach and all of those things. So it was pretty scrappy. And then kind of towards the end of that year I just was nerding out more and more with airtable and everyone was like nobody cares about the software Don’t be the air table girl. They just care about this the solution. And I was like maybe but I’m going to try to do an air table one on one workshop because I love this thing so much there didn’t sponsor me. I was like, let’s just try it and it was like my highest attended webinar. And from then onward like, I have been the air table girl like anyone who has an air table question they slide into my DMs and it’s just been such a blast. I think air table can organize and centralize you know every piece of your life and business in it, but I found the most the most helpful thing it does is organize and automate and centralize data for group programs, masterminds and memberships. So that’s where that’s where I focus now.

Chris Davis 4:54
I love it. I love it and I can’t say I share the same Google Sheets experience as a marketer, there’s no way that you can use Google Sheets. I just didn’t use them as thoroughly, right. And when when I found airtable, it was hard for me to wrap my head around what it does, right? Like I was so used to, if I were, first off, I wasn’t used to database software, the only database software I’ve ever used prior to air table was Microsoft Access. Okay, and I didn’t set that up, it was like a very static UI that I would type into. And it would spit out CD covers, that was the extent of any database. So when I got airtable, I was likening it to Google Sheets. And I was like, oh, it’s like a colorful, wrapping up myself down. Like it was like a colorful Google Sheets. This is this is cool. Maybe it has some, some some some promise. And I just can’t remember how I found out about it. I think I was in like a, like a Facebook group. And someone was like, what are the tools that you can’t live without? And like four or five people were like, airtable errands, I was like, What is this? So I of course, started to use it probably in all the wrong ways. And I did, I did stumble upon this amazing use case for my program. And it has just been so instrumental on the back end to managing all of the moving parts, and storing all of the data to make me be prepared helped me show up, you know, and be ready for all of my group members. So with that being said, we share that same experience in terms of its use for group programs. However, I am an air table, enthusiast, evangelist, all of that stuff, right? But I can’t tell you how many people ask me, what is air table? They hear the podcast, they want to get started with it. And they’re kind of struggling with like, what’s the first thing that I do? What is this? How does it differ from smart sheets and smartsuite and other sheets and Google Sheets and bed sheets? Whatever sheet you have. And it’s it’s for me, what I found is someone like you could explain it much better than me. I can use it better than I can explain it. Right? So. So this is where I kind of want to start our conversation is, in your own words for the person that is intrigued by this software? Because, by the way, listeners, yes, we are going to get into some of the back end group management and some keys to how you centralize it. But let’s start at the top. Ashley, how would you define what airtable? is, in your words, in layman’s terms to someone who just found out about it and is intrigued with its potential?

Speaker 3 8:07
Yes, it’s still hard for me. So I will also I will try. But I think so many people ask like, is it like spreadsheets? Or is it like Google Sheets, because Google Sheets like we’ve been forcing it to be a database for years. And it’s the closest thing we’ve got an air table really is a database system at its core. So it’s kind of figuring out how to explain what a database is. And the best way I describe it is having air table helps you have one central source of truth for your data, we use your group program, for example, so many of us use Google Forms, those forms have your onboarding and maybe your monthly check ins, but all those pieces about your student and our progress, live in silos deep in your Google Drive, that you’ll never know, you’ll never be able to connect, you’ll never be able to see patterns. With the database, you pull that all together in one central location. So you can see one place where Ashley’s email is, and one place where her onboarding form is. And when she filled it out, and how many q&a calls she submitted. When you pull all that together, you’re able to you know, do things with that data, a lot of us understand, understand data, or maybe excited, maybe intimidated by it. But they you can’t look at it, you can’t analyze it if it’s just in these silos, which is what happens in Google Sheets. So that’s why air table helps with bringing those things together in a centralized location. So you can look at that data, automate things based out of it, make reports make beautiful interfaces, all of that. So that’s my, you know, that’s my simplest way I can describe it.

Ashley Pendergraft 9:49
Yeah, yeah. So I’m gonna add into some of this. Okay. What I found is that the airtable is great for assessing the data and Google Sheets is more for like analytics and all that in the beginning for the beginner, because as you know, Ashley, there are some ways that you can kind of create like, I don’t know if you call them joint tables, but tables that link to a lot of records that then allow you to do some roll up calculations. See, I got I’ve got technical already sorry, everyone. I’m trying to ease my way into the difficulty. But I’m just saying the things that I thought that only Google Sheets could do in terms of analytics, and charts. airtable really has grown with interfaces, and all of that, that allows to do that, too. But what I how I viewed it is, spreadsheets. Were First off, they’re not databases. And I recorded a podcast about project management software. And we were I was just talking about how project management software is not a database software. CRM is our database software. airtable is database software. This is a new age where database software has become tangible to the small business owner. So everybody’s new to this, actually, everybody’s like, what’s the difference? Why this and why that. But one of the things that I found is, it’s easy to store data into, it’s easy to look at that data in a variety of ways, to see trends to identify perhaps some patterns that you can, you can then take action on. And it’s meant for data to get in data to be easily looked at while the data is in there. And air table makes it easy for data to get out. So for me, it

Chris Davis 11:42
actually, I believe, I’m ready to make this statement, I believe I use air table daily more than any other tool. Any other tool

Speaker 3 11:54
that makes me happy. I will also say I have not used a single spreadsheet in my business for the last year and a half. I spreadsheets in my world is like a dirty, dirty word. Because the analyzer and you know, if you want to keep your spreadsheets, that’s totally fine. But I have found a lot of the spreadsheets that my clients use, I look at them, I’m like this could be better in a database, especially with especially with the ways the air table has improved with their interfaces and the ways you can analyze my my kind of framework of looking at these air table bases is you have to centralize before you can optimize and then you analyze so centralize optimize, analyze. So many people want to know how many people are, you know, going through my program? Like what’s the progress and you can’t analyze that data if it’s not centralized in what in one place. And so you have to pull all that data in. So that’s the first step is getting all of those disparate spreadsheets pulled into one central place. So then you can play with optimization of give, you know, automations, and some fun things like that, and the analyzing that you can do as well.

Speaker 2 13:06
All right, great. Segue. Let’s talk about centralizing. Okay, because for me, I so airtable is so instrumental in my business that if a tool doesn’t easily integrate with them, that could that can be a consideration of me not using the tool. Right. And

Chris Davis 13:24
yeah, it’s dead in the water. We don’t know. No, you don’t you don’t do it. Right. I’m sorry, compatible, or airtable. We’re gone. Yeah,

Speaker 2 13:33
we asked, What do you want me to say you’re making things too difficult. So one of the form software that I that I use frequently his job form, and I think they were one of the first companies that had a true airtable integration that was super easy. And the first step for me in terms of centralizing was just hooking up every form and draft form to air table. So when it comes to centralize in your in your framework, how how would you recommend someone get started in centralizing their their data in air table?

Speaker 3 14:07
It’s a great question. So I like for people one if you have a group program, there’s a you want to at least onboard like your your students when they join centralizing when they join getting them on boarded. And then any piece of the puzzle about their experience because there’s so many moving parts to a group program, but so many other aspects of our business. You have your circle community and the post over there you have the q&a call their lesson completion and so there’s so much rich data. When you pull it use Zapier, use some of those automation tools to centralize it. That’s really I like to look at it we have a big rule in my program systems over stress. You work on one workflow at a time to eliminate we systems that are stressed for a reason. Like we want to focus on one thing at a time. So what is that thing that you’re working on in your business? Are you trying to start a podcast Awesome work? To create a central podcast hosting base that has, you know, the episodes, your guests form all of those things. So it depends on what your biggest definitely don’t try to get everything and airtable Tomorrow. That’s like a recipe for overwhelm. But what’s that next project? What anytime I always tell my clients, if you’re about to open a spreadsheet, like a new spreadsheet, stop what you’re doing and make it an air table instead. So I like to really focus on just what’s your what’s your next priority, and start to think about how it can be done in air table instead.

Speaker 2 15:35
Yeah, now, I want to highlight something because I was gonna say this when you were mentioning spreadsheets, when you look at a spreadsheet, and you’re like, This could be so much better with with air table. There are times where, so I work with a lot of tech startups. And all of them are using Google Sheets and notion, guaranteed, guaranteed.

Speaker 3 15:58
We’ve got some words. This I was I was a hard no on notion because they didn’t have API integration for a long time. So it was like, it wasn’t, it was non negotiable. But now they do have it. And I’m like, but I don’t even I’m not gonna look at it. I’m like, there are people that love notion. I’ll wait until they’re ready to come to me. For me. It’s kind of my,

Speaker 2 16:23
their API is it’s it’s workable, it’s nowhere near you know where it needs to be. But they’re often in notion and Google Sheets. And there’s always a sheet that I get, that’s either like a content calendar, a CRM, like everything that literally screams, US Air table. And one of the telltale signs I want to help you all is some of you are using filters, and Google Sheets, and pivot tables. This is like done so much easier in air table with grouping fields. And you can the speed in which you can access and visualize your data differently in air table versus a spreadsheet. I just had to mention that. Because it’s one of the telltale signs I see is if you’ve got this big spreadsheet, and you’ve got dropdowns and all these filters, I’m like, You know what, there’s a much better way. Much when

Speaker 3 17:21
my clients are proud of their color coded strategies. I’m like, it’s pretty. Okay. But like, it’s an, the thing I want to stress is that you can have a successful program run out of Google Spreadsheets, but like, why would you want to do that I was listening to before I hopped on a podcast where you were saying, Yeah, you could store your contacts and your notes app. But like, there’s so why wouldn’t you just use your contacts out? Yeah, I was just a very prolific, amazing course creator just made an Instagram post, she and I got it. You know, you know, you’re like a thought leader when people are sending other other people’s content. And they’re like, this is embarrassing, but she, she’s like, we’re so proud with we’ve we’ve made our clients $43 million. In the course of our program. Every month, my my team tracks our clients progress in an Excel spreadsheet, and we update that and I was like, Oh, my God, like, yes, you have incredible client results. But that’s so much harder on your team than it needs to be. You can’t make cool, you can’t play with interfaces, you can’t break that down. It’s like I am I’m so I’m dying to see the back end of that spreadsheet, because it’s possible. But I just there’s, there’s another way there’s an easier way. And that’s one of the biggest troubles I have is is people who are like my program is thriving. It’s a million dollar program. And there’s just too much data to bring over or this is working for us now. And that’s that’s my like, that’s a fun, like sticky spot for me to try to like, push people along and help people see the light of having things in our table.

Chris Davis 18:58
Yeah. So I want to I want to expound on the use case we’re talking about and the potential tech stack. It sounds like a lot of your program students and a lot of your teaching revolves around a group program. So you have some level of teaching that encompasses maybe weekly, monthly bi weekly calls, right, some components, some live component. There’s some curriculum, and then there’s some community. Right? So you have things taking place in the curriculum progress there. You have calls, so there’s people showing up, you know, asking questions, however, your calls are structured, and then you have community for it in between time just collaborating, engaging, sharing, and there’s information taking place in all three areas. Now you you talked about how you need to centralize it and I’m thinking that you know, Oh, you’re looking at your community software, and making sure that there’s actions that can be sent over to airtable. In that software, then your curriculum is sending actions over into airtable. And then potentially your your call environment is sending data into airtable. So I have all of this data in airtable. Ashley, but it one came from over here, my circle community, the other came from the curriculum, how do I create a cohesive experience? I did what you said, I got it all in airtable. But now, if I have tabs, and maybe I have multiple air tables, what does that person do to make their lives easier and start to see start to connect all of this data to, you know, one, one member or whatnot.

Speaker 3 20:52
So this is the biggest rookie mistake that I see with the new air table users as they’re like, I did it, I have all my data inside of air table. And I look at it and they’re missing one key table, which is the primary client record table. So what that is, is imagine you have a wheel and you have all of these like spokes, but you don’t have like the central hub, that middle part that connects it all together. And so that’s the part that you absolutely need. And that makes that like makes it all fall into place. So it’s literally just a table, your primary student record table, it has like their name, like the stuff that that is going to be the same no matter what. So first name, last name, email, maybe start date and date. Then in air table, one of the biggest reasons databases are better than spreadsheets is this linked record capability. So you can link the q&a call to that primary student record, you can link the the circle circle comments that they’ve done to the primary student record. That’s the piece that so many people are missing. And when they start to unlock that, they’re like, oh, because something that I love to see is when people start to start to see the potential. They’re like, my student hasn’t filled out their onboarding form in seven days, can I send them an automated email checking in on them? I’m like, yes, because you’d see that they’re, they joined seven days ago. And their onboarding form is not linked, yet. It’s empty. So like, you can automate that. So you can start to play with possibility, based on a lot of these different data points. Let’s say someone hasn’t engaged in circle hasn’t submitted an onboarding form and hasn’t opened the program. Like they’ve ghosted on all three accounts, you wouldn’t know that if just the data was in in silos, so you can create tailored emails, you know, for for those type of circumstances.

Chris Davis 22:43
Yeah, we’ve got to eliminate the silos. And I love what you’re saying, because here’s the thing. I tell people all the time, the data is there. The question is, can you access it? Can you see it? And can you see it in a way that makes action taking easy? Yes. That’s that’s the power of airtable?

Speaker 3 23:09
Yes, and I’m very proud that you asked me any question about my program, I could pull it up for you. And it’s a couple minutes, if not seconds, you know, like, and that’s so powerful. And so many times a CEO, asked their ops team, hey, like, how many failed payments have we got, you know, and you know, what’s the status of x? And they’re like, Okay, let me go into thrivecart. And let me go check the job. Like, they have to do this digging, and they make this report that is out of date, the moment it’s done. And that’s the part that feels like such a waste of energy, I would much rather be able to, you know, set up these preset views that so any question I have about the program, all that data is in there just ready for me to look at and make decisions accordingly?

Chris Davis 23:53
Yeah, when I want to talk about views, because views are like, they, they’re so powerful, but they were kind of sleeper for me for a long time. So let me say this. I’m a minimalist. In every capacity, I’m always asking, Do I need it? And if so, do I can I use less of it XYZ. So I found myself doing that in the beginning with air table. I’m trying to save my views. Ashley, as if I’m being charged per view. And I can sections

Speaker 3 24:27
now. So you’re a little more organized. You can collapse sections of the new

Chris Davis 24:32
oh my gosh, say, Oh, my God, I get it. So what happened was this. I can’t remember who. But I saw somebody’s airtable database. And they had a scrollable sidebar of views. They had at least 30 views in there. And now it wasn’t slowing down air tape. The app wasn’t slowing down it you know, it was still very functional. And I was like, Oh, I’m tripping over like three or five views. This person has Like 30, and they weren’t just views to have views. But what it did was it gave me permission to do more views. And once I started to realize that a view is, instead of me changing my grouping criteria, or my filter, on one view, just create another view. And then with one click of a button, you can see that same data just display differently. And for as simple as that sounds, actually, that opened up a world of possibilities for me.

Speaker 3 25:34
Well, so many people are used to and anytime I see this, and it’s in an air table, I call it spreadsheet mentality, where they’ll create a different table for January 2023, and February 2023, because that’s what you’re used to, when you really, it’s all the same data. So you want to filter it down. And that’s a really subtle thing that you have to switch from spreadsheet to database. But once you understand that, you’re like, I’m gonna make use for everything. So I see that a lot.

Speaker 2 26:01
That’s a really great call out. And I didn’t realize that’s probably exactly where I got the views from, because if I look back at my old airtable usage, I probably were was creating tables, you know, just like you would a different tab into Google Sheets. But one of the things that I use views for so everybody, if you’re not familiar with air table, a view is just a way to visualize your data differently. same dataset, same data set differently, you can create multiple views in like grid form Kanban, if for all of my Trello enthusiasts out there, calendar views and everything. But one of the things that I learned, Ashley, was that you can well, I guess, airtable added automations. But now what I like to do a lot is when a record enters a view, I can trigger automation, and have other things take place, which again, you go from something simple as Oh, I’m just visualizing my data differently. And then say, okay, if it’s in this view, because it meets this particular criteria, I wanted to do something. Right. And for me, Oh, hold on what you got me going actually. And for me, one of the one of the easiest things to do with subject matter experts who probably would have a group coaching program was they were getting these intake forms, and based on certain criteria, or based on a way that they answered, I had a view that said qualified lead. And it was only if they answered you know, the questions in a in a certain way. And when something entered that view, it just sent off an email or notification to the to the founder, hey, you’ve got a nice qualified lead, make sure you follow up. And they were like, Oh, my gosh, this was amazing. How did you do it? But this it seems so simple. Ashley Right. But this is some of the simple power, you know, to air table.

Speaker 3 28:04
I mean, that’s as systems experts, I’m are I’m always thinking like, what else can it do? What else can it do? I forget that just a, an air table form is going to change them like life. Yeah. And so it’s it’s that balance of like pushing the limits with these automations you’d be like, yeah, you can take a grid view into Kanban view. Pretty cool, huh? And they’re like, Oh, my God, this is everything. And so yeah, it’s balancing those things. But something else that I love with the views is you can do automations, when they enter when it enters a view, something you can also do, let’s say you have applications, instead of creating a custom click up task for every application to review. Sometimes I like my clients to just have like a recurring task that’s like check applications. And it’s just a link to that view that just shows where applications are in, in need of review. And so that way, you don’t have to use you there’s kind of that consistency of being able to check it and if nothing’s in the nothing’s in the view that day, you’re good to go. And you can just mark it complete. So there’s so many interesting ways you can use use views to to stay organized and automate and all those things.

Chris Davis 29:08
Yeah, I love it. So so just to get everybody ready, you’re gonna want to stay to the end. Because Ashley and I are going to play I use air table for and we’re just going to go back and forth and see what comes up. But before we go there, I really want to talk a little bit more about the group program structure. Actually, Ashley I feel like group coaching group cohort based learning, however you want to define it has really taken an uptick lately, right? People are more prone to move in the herd in the crowd. And rightfully so because you can then harness the mastermind the collective mind and solve problems and create a camaraderie and collaboration and all of those things. So, now, we’re talking about using air table to really centralize everything, so that you can optimize and automate and take action. What would you say for somebody who’s like, okay, I get it. I’ve got a group group program. I’m listening to you guys. Okay. I, I can conceptualize it. What would you say are the main benefits for specifically people who run group programs of centralizing that data? You mentioned easy access, right to everything. But what else should they be aware of that they can unlock with doing such a thing?

Speaker 3 30:39
Yes, so I believe any group program who is not utilizing air table is going to fall behind and is their client experience is not going to be able to kept keep up with the people who are using our table. So with that being said, I love to use my client Gina, as an example, she has a great program called Six Figure saver. Her goal is for her clients to save 100k She has an airtable forum where they submit their wins, she uses that that those that data for marketing like crazy, every week, she updates total client wins down to the cent. Like what like what’s happening, she’s able to group that by type of profession, or like, what’s the average amount that people are saving through the program. So she is able to use that not only for client experience, which I’ll get to in a second, but like incredible marketing with like, incredibly accurate results and social proof in a way that you cannot do, if you are trying to generate reports and pull things out of you’re different. You’re different spreadsheets and you’re different. You’re different tech. So that’s a big thing is that if you want to market, like if you we all have to market, we all want to see who’s our who’s our best students, you can see that easily. You can pick them for case studies. So that’s huge. But then there’s just so much once you have that data, once her student hits 100k, automatically, they get an email from airtable saying, hey, you’ve you’re now in our six figure saver club, you did it? Who? How would you know that? How would you know that in a spreadsheet and those little things, really, I’ve gotten people joining my program because they see how dialed in and how high touch these programs are? Because of air table, and they’re like, how is this so good? How am I getting an email saying these are the amount of wins the amount of money I’ve submitted? Like, how are you doing that? And they’re always like, good, Ashley, like, I can’t teach you that. So that’s so that’s huge. So I think it really up leveled your marketing and it enhances your client experience so much that it is going to be the standard it already is the standard. But it’s just it’s it’s really gonna just continue to snowball from here.

Speaker 2 32:53
Yeah, I’ll say this. Um, one of the keys with the with a group coaching program that I found to be very effective as a marketer is that you’re always collecting information. And you’re always asking for information. So in a lot of my programs, once you hit a certain milestone, complete a lesson complete a course, there’s always a form or an opportunity for me to collect information. Right? Now, you don’t get 100% participation, but you stay consistent over time, you’ll check that airtable database, and you’ve got quite the repository of feedback, right? So now, instead of going to the market, saying, hey, fill out the survey, what would you guys like us to do next? Which I’m totally not opposed to, by the way, I love doing that. But some of those questions have already been answered, if you’ve been collecting and centralizing the data. Part two of this is you mentioned, somebody didn’t fill out their intake form they hadn’t engaged in circle the community software, they haven’t attended the call. You can also flip it, what I’ve learned is that I can start once you put enough data in there, once you get enough data in there, you can start to really validate your customer persona. And understand like, oh, wait a minute, this person did this within two days this person did that. This is a keeper. Right? Like you can start to predict whether or not you’re going to lose them before they even show that you lose them and you can start seeing who those people are that are really going to go and stay stay with her stay with your company. So So Ashley i I’m familiar with data I’m not overwhelmed by it. I can go into air table I can build an interface. We won’t get into interfaces here because there’s just too much for one podcast.

Chris Davis 34:45
What are some ways that people can analyze data with air table?

Speaker 3 34:54
Any literally any way you want. Any like honestly any If you want if it’s all centralized, some specific ones we haven’t even got into. So we have a sales hub. So I recommend all of my clients automate all of their sales into an air table base called sales hub, you have the sales in one table, and you have the products and another, you can start to see how much each product has made you. And if you move off of Thrive cart and you move to another platform, you don’t always you lose that really crucial information. One of my favorite things when people set up their sales hub is like, Oh my God, that little thing that I made made, like $20,000 last year, and this thing I put so much time into, has not made anything, and they just don’t know that information until they see the numbers. And so that’s that’s a big one. But it really is like a question you got is is is able to be answered.

Speaker 2 35:51
That is so huge. Ashley, you said that. And I remember this, I’m laughing at myself, because I set up a sales dashboard, probably a mini version of what you do. And I forgot about it. I totally forgot about it. But it was automated synced up and all of that. And then one day I was sitting, I was like, Oh, how am I doing? I just had the question. And I went through my regular path, I go into Thrive kind of going to all these other platforms, and it got overwhelming. And I said, Wait a minute, I think I

Speaker 3 36:20
did this. But that’s mental math to add up all those different?

Chris Davis 36:23
Yeah, oh my gosh, yes. And now I got sticky notes in my using my phone as a calculator like this. This is overwhelming. And I go to my air table database, and I connected it with an interface. And to your point, I could start to see sales per product, per month, per quarter in per year. Actually looking at that I was about to create an entire new product offering just off a gut feeling that, hey, I think something’s broken. I think I need to do something, just a gut feeling. Let airtable made the data so easy to see and access quickly, that I was able to say, wait a minute, I don’t need something new, I need to just keep promoting this thing, I may need a new angle to this existing thing. Because this has been a workhorse for me, you know.

Narrator 37:19
And you didn’t even realize

Speaker 3 37:22
I want to touch on you said I really I still believe in gut feeling. And I also believe in having data. And sometimes they you know, they conflict. In 2021, I had VIP days. And those were like 5k H they run like 75k of revenue that year, which for me was a lot. And at the end of the year, I was like, I don’t really want to do these anymore. And I looked I was like this one is 75% of my revenue. And so I see the data and I’m choosing with my own gut to go all in on systems over stress my group program. And that was a scary decision. I knew the data and I went for it anyways. And last year, I made, I had a feeling I was like, I was like I wonder how I’m doing with with systems overstressed compared to VIP days last year, I like, I wonder and I looked it up and I had made like 95,000 off of off of systems over stress and like, like six off of VIP days. And it was really cool to see that flip. So even the data told me keep going with VIP days keep doing it. I was like I can’t I that’s not what I want my life to look like. And so I think it’s really important to to have both of those, like you need the full context to make these decisions like these really sustainable and like really big decisions about your business.

Chris Davis 38:37
Absolutely. I just it it as the more we talk about it, the more I’m starting to realize just how much I rely, I rely on air table. And you mentioned, you mentioned the fact that if you changed, thrive cart, your payment processor, all of that data is in there. And most people do not do their due diligence to have any redundancy and have any offshoring of what’s taking place in this platform. And I think, actually, if anything, making sure that no one platform is the sole owner of any set of data is the goal, right?

Speaker 3 39:17
Yep. dubsado my nightmare, like you can’t even export stuff out of that thing. Yes, that’s huge. And so like we’re moving off a Thrive cart into Active Campaign because of Kuranda. But we have our email marketing metrics in airtable. So I’m feel totally fine. hopping off that software and knowing that that’s not like it’s not we’re not going to lose all of that. And I think we as much as we’re like yes, this is if I found my finalized tech sack. No, you haven’t like you’re always it’s always going to change. It’s always going to evolve. But for me, what’s probably what’s never going to change is airtable as like and so it’s all can still go into this hub. And if it does change, it’s super easy to exit Are these CSVs other airtable? So like if it goes down, like we’re able to get that data out, and that’s, that’s really important to me in a software too.

Chris Davis 40:08
Yeah, I think that’s a strong, strong point to end on, is that since I’ve been using air table, I have witnessed arrest easiness about me in any software that I’m using any software, actually, because I make sure it’s all stored in an air table. Now, one would say, Well, Chris, what about what air table fail? Well, listen, something’s going to fail. At some point, you can’t, can’t be 100%. But the fact that I have data in one one place and data in another, just in itself protects my business that much more. Actually, before you go, I want to I want to play a couple rounds of I use air table for Okay, so I’ll start I’m gonna say I use air table for and I’ll say something and then you respond with what you use airtable for. And we’ll maybe do two or three rounds, we won’t we won’t go crazy. Unless we truly get carried carried away. Everyone this is straight off the cuff. I did not prep for this. I did not prep Ashley for this, this is the first thing that comes to mind. I’ll get started. I use airtable. For my monthly budget for my household.

Speaker 3 41:18
I use air table to track my monthly recurring revenue and my projected payment plans automatically.

Chris Davis 41:25
Project I haven’t got to that point of projection, I would love to see that

Unknown Speaker 41:30
will change your life.

Chris Davis 41:32
Oh my God, I didn’t even think of I’ve always been thinking about what happened and what’s happening. I didn’t think about what will happen.

Unknown Speaker 41:39
So the group program

Chris Davis 41:42
love it. I use air table for my podcast scheduling pipeline.

Speaker 3 41:50
I use air table for my employee handbook. So company values, all of that stuff is an air table. And then in their interface,

Chris Davis 41:59
beautiful. I use air table as a database to house all of the emails that I’ve built in Active Campaign.

Speaker 3 42:10
I use air table for that. And I use it. When I have a launch I every every sale automatically is attributed to the launch automatically. So I can refresh and see exactly where I’m out with my sales goal for my launch, like whenever I want.

Chris Davis 42:27
Yes, I use air table to store all the data from Active Campaign because it’s much easier to look at and draw correlations in air table.

Speaker 3 42:40
I use air table for my personal mourning reflections. So I journal inside of it. And I put what I’m grateful for lots of personal things like that. Yeah.

Chris Davis 42:53
Okay, so I ended with this one. I use air table. For the wintertime I had to put my oldest son on a performance improvement plan. And I logged in I logged every day. What did or didn’t happen? So at the end of this, this duration, we could sit down and have a substantive conversation about did you hit your metrics? Or not? So we could make the recording actually.

Speaker 3 43:23
Else I gotta say I use air table to plan my entire wedding last year. My three day summer camp wedding was all in air table.

Chris Davis 43:31
Oh my goodness. Wow. All right. Well, in there. I enjoyed that learned a lot. By the way. Ashley, people have been listening to you for the last 3030 35 minutes talk about air table and myself. And they heard you mentioned your program and how you teach people who have group programs how to really centralize and get more out of it. Where can they go to connect with you more or find out more about about your progress?

Speaker 3 44:01
Yeah, so Instagram will be the best because you know, Lincoln bio will take you to all the things and my Instagram handle is at do the damn thing underscore.

Chris Davis 44:12
Alright, so we’ll have that show. We’ll have that link in the show notes. And Ashley, I cannot thank you enough for coming on. And we did nerd out. But I believe we gave value to the audience that if they were curious, confused, conflicted, or whatever, that hopefully this episode got them that much closer to making the decision to adopt you would think airtable sponsoring this, you know, it’s just good software everyone. What What can we say? It’s really good software. Excuse me. I’m glad to be connected with somebody like yourself, Ashley, that helps these entrepreneurs really navigate that terrain of group coaching programs, and things of that nature. So thank you for coming on to the cast.

Ashley Pendergraft 45:01
Thanks so much for having me. Yes, yes, yes. And

Chris Davis 45:03
I will. We’re connected now, Ashley, I will see you online and ongoing and more with air table and who knows? I mean, they keep adding more and more features. By this time next year, Ashley, we, in fact, okay, I was about to let you go. I’ve got to get a commitment. So all my viewers listen to this. I think I need you back on the podcast. I think I need you back on the podcast at least one more time. And I believe by then airtable would have done something amazing in mind blowing that would have been like, Oh, my God, we thought it was great back here back then. Look at what they’ve done now. So. So Ashley, can I get a commitment to get you back on the podcast? Maybe even later this year? Yeah,

Ashley Pendergraft 45:47
I’ll come whenever we got. We got a lot. We got a lot to talk about. talk for hours. Yeah, we

Chris Davis 45:53
got a lot to talk about. All right. Thank you so much, Ashley for coming on to the podcast. Greatly appreciate it. See you online. Thank you. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The all systems go 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 podcasts, Google podcasts, 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 all systems go podcast.com Thanks again for listening. And until next time, I see you online. Automate responsibly, my friend

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 sale 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 to another episode of The all systems go podcast. I’m your host, Chris L. Davis. And today, I have Ashley Pendergraph with me. And she is a founder and air table and Zapier consultant that primarily works with feminists and neurodivergent online business owners and help them use guess what everyone? Yes, you guessed it airtable airtable to manage group programs, membership, masterminds really any group, and she does it so that they can deliver a low lift, high touch, customer experience. Alright, if she does that, do her signature program called systems overstress. Ashley? I believe them hold on, let me think let me think I should. Okay, no, no, this is real. You’re the first, you are the first airtable, evangelist and expert that I’ve had on the podcast. And I am really excited with talking about how to how to centralize your back end with airtable. So welcome to the welcome to the podcast. Ashley, give us a little insight of your background, how you got started and your humble beginnings.

Ashley Pendergraft 1:59
Sure. So thank you. I’m so excited to be here. Yeah, my humble beginnings. I’ve always been a systems and operations minded person. I used to be an event producer, and we would rent a lot of stuff out of Google Sheets. I’m sure we all know how tough it is to be in Google Sheets. And you know, doing random shows in one tab and making like forcing the calendar like in another one. And they would always be like out of sync. So we were talking kind of in the greenroom greenroom that we always made things work for us, but we were never like fully satisfied. And so I’m really proud of my you know, I was a tour manager for a rock band, like I’ve been in OPS in like very high like intense situations. And it was always, it was always in spreadsheets. And so I got into the online education world, I was working as an ops manager for an an online education expert as her ops person and was using a lot of spreadsheets. And this was in like 2015 2016. And air table was kind of first like popping off a little bit. And then when we found out I was like, What is this, this is what I’ve been looking for. I moved like everything into it. And just I was my favorite software to play with. And when I went off on my own, actually in February of 2020, I quit that role to run in person events. That was meant to be my thing, running across the country doing these in person groups. And of course, the pandemic hit in. Now, two weeks later, so that wasn’t the best timing for me. But I had this ops experience. I knew the online marketing world online education world. So my first little humble course launched in April 2020 called beer on clo. And I taught airtable in it. And so had a little bit of airtable stuff. But there was like sandbox management. You know, when we first start, we don’t know exactly what we want to teach and all of those things. So it was pretty scrappy. And then kind of towards the end of that year I just was nerding out more and more with airtable and everyone was like nobody cares about the software Don’t be the air table girl. They just care about this the solution. And I was like maybe but I’m going to try to do an air table one on one workshop because I love this thing so much there didn’t sponsor me. I was like, let’s just try it and it was like my highest attended webinar. And from then onward like, I have been the air table girl like anyone who has an air table question they slide into my DMs and it’s just been such a blast. I think air table can organize and centralize you know every piece of your life and business in it, but I found the most the most helpful thing it does is organize and automate and centralize data for group programs, masterminds and memberships. So that’s where that’s where I focus now.

Chris Davis 4:54
I love it. I love it and I can’t say I share the same Google Sheets experience as a marketer, there’s no way that you can use Google Sheets. I just didn’t use them as thoroughly, right. And when when I found airtable, it was hard for me to wrap my head around what it does, right? Like I was so used to, if I were, first off, I wasn’t used to database software, the only database software I’ve ever used prior to air table was Microsoft Access. Okay, and I didn’t set that up, it was like a very static UI that I would type into. And it would spit out CD covers, that was the extent of any database. So when I got airtable, I was likening it to Google Sheets. And I was like, oh, it’s like a colorful, wrapping up myself down. Like it was like a colorful Google Sheets. This is this is cool. Maybe it has some, some some some promise. And I just can’t remember how I found out about it. I think I was in like a, like a Facebook group. And someone was like, what are the tools that you can’t live without? And like four or five people were like, airtable errands, I was like, What is this? So I of course, started to use it probably in all the wrong ways. And I did, I did stumble upon this amazing use case for my program. And it has just been so instrumental on the back end to managing all of the moving parts, and storing all of the data to make me be prepared helped me show up, you know, and be ready for all of my group members. So with that being said, we share that same experience in terms of its use for group programs. However, I am an air table, enthusiast, evangelist, all of that stuff, right? But I can’t tell you how many people ask me, what is air table? They hear the podcast, they want to get started with it. And they’re kind of struggling with like, what’s the first thing that I do? What is this? How does it differ from smart sheets and smartsuite and other sheets and Google Sheets and bed sheets? Whatever sheet you have. And it’s it’s for me, what I found is someone like you could explain it much better than me. I can use it better than I can explain it. Right? So. So this is where I kind of want to start our conversation is, in your own words for the person that is intrigued by this software? Because, by the way, listeners, yes, we are going to get into some of the back end group management and some keys to how you centralize it. But let’s start at the top. Ashley, how would you define what airtable? is, in your words, in layman’s terms to someone who just found out about it and is intrigued with its potential?

Speaker 3 8:07
Yes, it’s still hard for me. So I will also I will try. But I think so many people ask like, is it like spreadsheets? Or is it like Google Sheets, because Google Sheets like we’ve been forcing it to be a database for years. And it’s the closest thing we’ve got an air table really is a database system at its core. So it’s kind of figuring out how to explain what a database is. And the best way I describe it is having air table helps you have one central source of truth for your data, we use your group program, for example, so many of us use Google Forms, those forms have your onboarding and maybe your monthly check ins, but all those pieces about your student and our progress, live in silos deep in your Google Drive, that you’ll never know, you’ll never be able to connect, you’ll never be able to see patterns. With the database, you pull that all together in one central location. So you can see one place where Ashley’s email is, and one place where her onboarding form is. And when she filled it out, and how many q&a calls she submitted. When you pull all that together, you’re able to you know, do things with that data, a lot of us understand, understand data, or maybe excited, maybe intimidated by it. But they you can’t look at it, you can’t analyze it if it’s just in these silos, which is what happens in Google Sheets. So that’s why air table helps with bringing those things together in a centralized location. So you can look at that data, automate things based out of it, make reports make beautiful interfaces, all of that. So that’s my, you know, that’s my simplest way I can describe it.

Ashley Pendergraft 9:49
Yeah, yeah. So I’m gonna add into some of this. Okay. What I found is that the airtable is great for assessing the data and Google Sheets is more for like analytics and all that in the beginning for the beginner, because as you know, Ashley, there are some ways that you can kind of create like, I don’t know if you call them joint tables, but tables that link to a lot of records that then allow you to do some roll up calculations. See, I got I’ve got technical already sorry, everyone. I’m trying to ease my way into the difficulty. But I’m just saying the things that I thought that only Google Sheets could do in terms of analytics, and charts. airtable really has grown with interfaces, and all of that, that allows to do that, too. But what I how I viewed it is, spreadsheets. Were First off, they’re not databases. And I recorded a podcast about project management software. And we were I was just talking about how project management software is not a database software. CRM is our database software. airtable is database software. This is a new age where database software has become tangible to the small business owner. So everybody’s new to this, actually, everybody’s like, what’s the difference? Why this and why that. But one of the things that I found is, it’s easy to store data into, it’s easy to look at that data in a variety of ways, to see trends to identify perhaps some patterns that you can, you can then take action on. And it’s meant for data to get in data to be easily looked at while the data is in there. And air table makes it easy for data to get out. So for me, it

Chris Davis 11:42
actually, I believe, I’m ready to make this statement, I believe I use air table daily more than any other tool. Any other tool

Speaker 3 11:54
that makes me happy. I will also say I have not used a single spreadsheet in my business for the last year and a half. I spreadsheets in my world is like a dirty, dirty word. Because the analyzer and you know, if you want to keep your spreadsheets, that’s totally fine. But I have found a lot of the spreadsheets that my clients use, I look at them, I’m like this could be better in a database, especially with especially with the ways the air table has improved with their interfaces and the ways you can analyze my my kind of framework of looking at these air table bases is you have to centralize before you can optimize and then you analyze so centralize optimize, analyze. So many people want to know how many people are, you know, going through my program? Like what’s the progress and you can’t analyze that data if it’s not centralized in what in one place. And so you have to pull all that data in. So that’s the first step is getting all of those disparate spreadsheets pulled into one central place. So then you can play with optimization of give, you know, automations, and some fun things like that, and the analyzing that you can do as well.

Speaker 2 13:06
All right, great. Segue. Let’s talk about centralizing. Okay, because for me, I so airtable is so instrumental in my business that if a tool doesn’t easily integrate with them, that could that can be a consideration of me not using the tool. Right. And

Chris Davis 13:24
yeah, it’s dead in the water. We don’t know. No, you don’t you don’t do it. Right. I’m sorry, compatible, or airtable. We’re gone. Yeah,

Speaker 2 13:33
we asked, What do you want me to say you’re making things too difficult. So one of the form software that I that I use frequently his job form, and I think they were one of the first companies that had a true airtable integration that was super easy. And the first step for me in terms of centralizing was just hooking up every form and draft form to air table. So when it comes to centralize in your in your framework, how how would you recommend someone get started in centralizing their their data in air table?

Speaker 3 14:07
It’s a great question. So I like for people one if you have a group program, there’s a you want to at least onboard like your your students when they join centralizing when they join getting them on boarded. And then any piece of the puzzle about their experience because there’s so many moving parts to a group program, but so many other aspects of our business. You have your circle community and the post over there you have the q&a call their lesson completion and so there’s so much rich data. When you pull it use Zapier, use some of those automation tools to centralize it. That’s really I like to look at it we have a big rule in my program systems over stress. You work on one workflow at a time to eliminate we systems that are stressed for a reason. Like we want to focus on one thing at a time. So what is that thing that you’re working on in your business? Are you trying to start a podcast Awesome work? To create a central podcast hosting base that has, you know, the episodes, your guests form all of those things. So it depends on what your biggest definitely don’t try to get everything and airtable Tomorrow. That’s like a recipe for overwhelm. But what’s that next project? What anytime I always tell my clients, if you’re about to open a spreadsheet, like a new spreadsheet, stop what you’re doing and make it an air table instead. So I like to really focus on just what’s your what’s your next priority, and start to think about how it can be done in air table instead.

Speaker 2 15:35
Yeah, now, I want to highlight something because I was gonna say this when you were mentioning spreadsheets, when you look at a spreadsheet, and you’re like, This could be so much better with with air table. There are times where, so I work with a lot of tech startups. And all of them are using Google Sheets and notion, guaranteed, guaranteed.

Speaker 3 15:58
We’ve got some words. This I was I was a hard no on notion because they didn’t have API integration for a long time. So it was like, it wasn’t, it was non negotiable. But now they do have it. And I’m like, but I don’t even I’m not gonna look at it. I’m like, there are people that love notion. I’ll wait until they’re ready to come to me. For me. It’s kind of my,

Speaker 2 16:23
their API is it’s it’s workable, it’s nowhere near you know where it needs to be. But they’re often in notion and Google Sheets. And there’s always a sheet that I get, that’s either like a content calendar, a CRM, like everything that literally screams, US Air table. And one of the telltale signs I want to help you all is some of you are using filters, and Google Sheets, and pivot tables. This is like done so much easier in air table with grouping fields. And you can the speed in which you can access and visualize your data differently in air table versus a spreadsheet. I just had to mention that. Because it’s one of the telltale signs I see is if you’ve got this big spreadsheet, and you’ve got dropdowns and all these filters, I’m like, You know what, there’s a much better way. Much when

Speaker 3 17:21
my clients are proud of their color coded strategies. I’m like, it’s pretty. Okay. But like, it’s an, the thing I want to stress is that you can have a successful program run out of Google Spreadsheets, but like, why would you want to do that I was listening to before I hopped on a podcast where you were saying, Yeah, you could store your contacts and your notes app. But like, there’s so why wouldn’t you just use your contacts out? Yeah, I was just a very prolific, amazing course creator just made an Instagram post, she and I got it. You know, you know, you’re like a thought leader when people are sending other other people’s content. And they’re like, this is embarrassing, but she, she’s like, we’re so proud with we’ve we’ve made our clients $43 million. In the course of our program. Every month, my my team tracks our clients progress in an Excel spreadsheet, and we update that and I was like, Oh, my God, like, yes, you have incredible client results. But that’s so much harder on your team than it needs to be. You can’t make cool, you can’t play with interfaces, you can’t break that down. It’s like I am I’m so I’m dying to see the back end of that spreadsheet, because it’s possible. But I just there’s, there’s another way there’s an easier way. And that’s one of the biggest troubles I have is is people who are like my program is thriving. It’s a million dollar program. And there’s just too much data to bring over or this is working for us now. And that’s that’s my like, that’s a fun, like sticky spot for me to try to like, push people along and help people see the light of having things in our table.

Chris Davis 18:58
Yeah. So I want to I want to expound on the use case we’re talking about and the potential tech stack. It sounds like a lot of your program students and a lot of your teaching revolves around a group program. So you have some level of teaching that encompasses maybe weekly, monthly bi weekly calls, right, some components, some live component. There’s some curriculum, and then there’s some community. Right? So you have things taking place in the curriculum progress there. You have calls, so there’s people showing up, you know, asking questions, however, your calls are structured, and then you have community for it in between time just collaborating, engaging, sharing, and there’s information taking place in all three areas. Now you you talked about how you need to centralize it and I’m thinking that you know, Oh, you’re looking at your community software, and making sure that there’s actions that can be sent over to airtable. In that software, then your curriculum is sending actions over into airtable. And then potentially your your call environment is sending data into airtable. So I have all of this data in airtable. Ashley, but it one came from over here, my circle community, the other came from the curriculum, how do I create a cohesive experience? I did what you said, I got it all in airtable. But now, if I have tabs, and maybe I have multiple air tables, what does that person do to make their lives easier and start to see start to connect all of this data to, you know, one, one member or whatnot.

Speaker 3 20:52
So this is the biggest rookie mistake that I see with the new air table users as they’re like, I did it, I have all my data inside of air table. And I look at it and they’re missing one key table, which is the primary client record table. So what that is, is imagine you have a wheel and you have all of these like spokes, but you don’t have like the central hub, that middle part that connects it all together. And so that’s the part that you absolutely need. And that makes that like makes it all fall into place. So it’s literally just a table, your primary student record table, it has like their name, like the stuff that that is going to be the same no matter what. So first name, last name, email, maybe start date and date. Then in air table, one of the biggest reasons databases are better than spreadsheets is this linked record capability. So you can link the q&a call to that primary student record, you can link the the circle circle comments that they’ve done to the primary student record. That’s the piece that so many people are missing. And when they start to unlock that, they’re like, oh, because something that I love to see is when people start to start to see the potential. They’re like, my student hasn’t filled out their onboarding form in seven days, can I send them an automated email checking in on them? I’m like, yes, because you’d see that they’re, they joined seven days ago. And their onboarding form is not linked, yet. It’s empty. So like, you can automate that. So you can start to play with possibility, based on a lot of these different data points. Let’s say someone hasn’t engaged in circle hasn’t submitted an onboarding form and hasn’t opened the program. Like they’ve ghosted on all three accounts, you wouldn’t know that if just the data was in in silos, so you can create tailored emails, you know, for for those type of circumstances.

Chris Davis 22:43
Yeah, we’ve got to eliminate the silos. And I love what you’re saying, because here’s the thing. I tell people all the time, the data is there. The question is, can you access it? Can you see it? And can you see it in a way that makes action taking easy? Yes. That’s that’s the power of airtable?

Speaker 3 23:09
Yes, and I’m very proud that you asked me any question about my program, I could pull it up for you. And it’s a couple minutes, if not seconds, you know, like, and that’s so powerful. And so many times a CEO, asked their ops team, hey, like, how many failed payments have we got, you know, and you know, what’s the status of x? And they’re like, Okay, let me go into thrivecart. And let me go check the job. Like, they have to do this digging, and they make this report that is out of date, the moment it’s done. And that’s the part that feels like such a waste of energy, I would much rather be able to, you know, set up these preset views that so any question I have about the program, all that data is in there just ready for me to look at and make decisions accordingly?

Chris Davis 23:53
Yeah, when I want to talk about views, because views are like, they, they’re so powerful, but they were kind of sleeper for me for a long time. So let me say this. I’m a minimalist. In every capacity, I’m always asking, Do I need it? And if so, do I can I use less of it XYZ. So I found myself doing that in the beginning with air table. I’m trying to save my views. Ashley, as if I’m being charged per view. And I can sections

Speaker 3 24:27
now. So you’re a little more organized. You can collapse sections of the new

Chris Davis 24:32
oh my gosh, say, Oh, my God, I get it. So what happened was this. I can’t remember who. But I saw somebody’s airtable database. And they had a scrollable sidebar of views. They had at least 30 views in there. And now it wasn’t slowing down air tape. The app wasn’t slowing down it you know, it was still very functional. And I was like, Oh, I’m tripping over like three or five views. This person has Like 30, and they weren’t just views to have views. But what it did was it gave me permission to do more views. And once I started to realize that a view is, instead of me changing my grouping criteria, or my filter, on one view, just create another view. And then with one click of a button, you can see that same data just display differently. And for as simple as that sounds, actually, that opened up a world of possibilities for me.

Speaker 3 25:34
Well, so many people are used to and anytime I see this, and it’s in an air table, I call it spreadsheet mentality, where they’ll create a different table for January 2023, and February 2023, because that’s what you’re used to, when you really, it’s all the same data. So you want to filter it down. And that’s a really subtle thing that you have to switch from spreadsheet to database. But once you understand that, you’re like, I’m gonna make use for everything. So I see that a lot.

Speaker 2 26:01
That’s a really great call out. And I didn’t realize that’s probably exactly where I got the views from, because if I look back at my old airtable usage, I probably were was creating tables, you know, just like you would a different tab into Google Sheets. But one of the things that I use views for so everybody, if you’re not familiar with air table, a view is just a way to visualize your data differently. same dataset, same data set differently, you can create multiple views in like grid form Kanban, if for all of my Trello enthusiasts out there, calendar views and everything. But one of the things that I learned, Ashley, was that you can well, I guess, airtable added automations. But now what I like to do a lot is when a record enters a view, I can trigger automation, and have other things take place, which again, you go from something simple as Oh, I’m just visualizing my data differently. And then say, okay, if it’s in this view, because it meets this particular criteria, I wanted to do something. Right. And for me, Oh, hold on what you got me going actually. And for me, one of the one of the easiest things to do with subject matter experts who probably would have a group coaching program was they were getting these intake forms, and based on certain criteria, or based on a way that they answered, I had a view that said qualified lead. And it was only if they answered you know, the questions in a in a certain way. And when something entered that view, it just sent off an email or notification to the to the founder, hey, you’ve got a nice qualified lead, make sure you follow up. And they were like, Oh, my gosh, this was amazing. How did you do it? But this it seems so simple. Ashley Right. But this is some of the simple power, you know, to air table.

Speaker 3 28:04
I mean, that’s as systems experts, I’m are I’m always thinking like, what else can it do? What else can it do? I forget that just a, an air table form is going to change them like life. Yeah. And so it’s it’s that balance of like pushing the limits with these automations you’d be like, yeah, you can take a grid view into Kanban view. Pretty cool, huh? And they’re like, Oh, my God, this is everything. And so yeah, it’s balancing those things. But something else that I love with the views is you can do automations, when they enter when it enters a view, something you can also do, let’s say you have applications, instead of creating a custom click up task for every application to review. Sometimes I like my clients to just have like a recurring task that’s like check applications. And it’s just a link to that view that just shows where applications are in, in need of review. And so that way, you don’t have to use you there’s kind of that consistency of being able to check it and if nothing’s in the nothing’s in the view that day, you’re good to go. And you can just mark it complete. So there’s so many interesting ways you can use use views to to stay organized and automate and all those things.

Chris Davis 29:08
Yeah, I love it. So so just to get everybody ready, you’re gonna want to stay to the end. Because Ashley and I are going to play I use air table for and we’re just going to go back and forth and see what comes up. But before we go there, I really want to talk a little bit more about the group program structure. Actually, Ashley I feel like group coaching group cohort based learning, however you want to define it has really taken an uptick lately, right? People are more prone to move in the herd in the crowd. And rightfully so because you can then harness the mastermind the collective mind and solve problems and create a camaraderie and collaboration and all of those things. So, now, we’re talking about using air table to really centralize everything, so that you can optimize and automate and take action. What would you say for somebody who’s like, okay, I get it. I’ve got a group group program. I’m listening to you guys. Okay. I, I can conceptualize it. What would you say are the main benefits for specifically people who run group programs of centralizing that data? You mentioned easy access, right to everything. But what else should they be aware of that they can unlock with doing such a thing?

Speaker 3 30:39
Yes, so I believe any group program who is not utilizing air table is going to fall behind and is their client experience is not going to be able to kept keep up with the people who are using our table. So with that being said, I love to use my client Gina, as an example, she has a great program called Six Figure saver. Her goal is for her clients to save 100k She has an airtable forum where they submit their wins, she uses that that those that data for marketing like crazy, every week, she updates total client wins down to the cent. Like what like what’s happening, she’s able to group that by type of profession, or like, what’s the average amount that people are saving through the program. So she is able to use that not only for client experience, which I’ll get to in a second, but like incredible marketing with like, incredibly accurate results and social proof in a way that you cannot do, if you are trying to generate reports and pull things out of you’re different. You’re different spreadsheets and you’re different. You’re different tech. So that’s a big thing is that if you want to market, like if you we all have to market, we all want to see who’s our who’s our best students, you can see that easily. You can pick them for case studies. So that’s huge. But then there’s just so much once you have that data, once her student hits 100k, automatically, they get an email from airtable saying, hey, you’ve you’re now in our six figure saver club, you did it? Who? How would you know that? How would you know that in a spreadsheet and those little things, really, I’ve gotten people joining my program because they see how dialed in and how high touch these programs are? Because of air table, and they’re like, how is this so good? How am I getting an email saying these are the amount of wins the amount of money I’ve submitted? Like, how are you doing that? And they’re always like, good, Ashley, like, I can’t teach you that. So that’s so that’s huge. So I think it really up leveled your marketing and it enhances your client experience so much that it is going to be the standard it already is the standard. But it’s just it’s it’s really gonna just continue to snowball from here.

Speaker 2 32:53
Yeah, I’ll say this. Um, one of the keys with the with a group coaching program that I found to be very effective as a marketer is that you’re always collecting information. And you’re always asking for information. So in a lot of my programs, once you hit a certain milestone, complete a lesson complete a course, there’s always a form or an opportunity for me to collect information. Right? Now, you don’t get 100% participation, but you stay consistent over time, you’ll check that airtable database, and you’ve got quite the repository of feedback, right? So now, instead of going to the market, saying, hey, fill out the survey, what would you guys like us to do next? Which I’m totally not opposed to, by the way, I love doing that. But some of those questions have already been answered, if you’ve been collecting and centralizing the data. Part two of this is you mentioned, somebody didn’t fill out their intake form they hadn’t engaged in circle the community software, they haven’t attended the call. You can also flip it, what I’ve learned is that I can start once you put enough data in there, once you get enough data in there, you can start to really validate your customer persona. And understand like, oh, wait a minute, this person did this within two days this person did that. This is a keeper. Right? Like you can start to predict whether or not you’re going to lose them before they even show that you lose them and you can start seeing who those people are that are really going to go and stay stay with her stay with your company. So So Ashley i I’m familiar with data I’m not overwhelmed by it. I can go into air table I can build an interface. We won’t get into interfaces here because there’s just too much for one podcast.

Chris Davis 34:45
What are some ways that people can analyze data with air table?

Speaker 3 34:54
Any literally any way you want. Any like honestly any If you want if it’s all centralized, some specific ones we haven’t even got into. So we have a sales hub. So I recommend all of my clients automate all of their sales into an air table base called sales hub, you have the sales in one table, and you have the products and another, you can start to see how much each product has made you. And if you move off of Thrive cart and you move to another platform, you don’t always you lose that really crucial information. One of my favorite things when people set up their sales hub is like, Oh my God, that little thing that I made made, like $20,000 last year, and this thing I put so much time into, has not made anything, and they just don’t know that information until they see the numbers. And so that’s that’s a big one. But it really is like a question you got is is is able to be answered.

Speaker 2 35:51
That is so huge. Ashley, you said that. And I remember this, I’m laughing at myself, because I set up a sales dashboard, probably a mini version of what you do. And I forgot about it. I totally forgot about it. But it was automated synced up and all of that. And then one day I was sitting, I was like, Oh, how am I doing? I just had the question. And I went through my regular path, I go into Thrive kind of going to all these other platforms, and it got overwhelming. And I said, Wait a minute, I think I

Speaker 3 36:20
did this. But that’s mental math to add up all those different?

Chris Davis 36:23
Yeah, oh my gosh, yes. And now I got sticky notes in my using my phone as a calculator like this. This is overwhelming. And I go to my air table database, and I connected it with an interface. And to your point, I could start to see sales per product, per month, per quarter in per year. Actually looking at that I was about to create an entire new product offering just off a gut feeling that, hey, I think something’s broken. I think I need to do something, just a gut feeling. Let airtable made the data so easy to see and access quickly, that I was able to say, wait a minute, I don’t need something new, I need to just keep promoting this thing, I may need a new angle to this existing thing. Because this has been a workhorse for me, you know.

Narrator 37:19
And you didn’t even realize

Speaker 3 37:22
I want to touch on you said I really I still believe in gut feeling. And I also believe in having data. And sometimes they you know, they conflict. In 2021, I had VIP days. And those were like 5k H they run like 75k of revenue that year, which for me was a lot. And at the end of the year, I was like, I don’t really want to do these anymore. And I looked I was like this one is 75% of my revenue. And so I see the data and I’m choosing with my own gut to go all in on systems over stress my group program. And that was a scary decision. I knew the data and I went for it anyways. And last year, I made, I had a feeling I was like, I was like I wonder how I’m doing with with systems overstressed compared to VIP days last year, I like, I wonder and I looked it up and I had made like 95,000 off of off of systems over stress and like, like six off of VIP days. And it was really cool to see that flip. So even the data told me keep going with VIP days keep doing it. I was like I can’t I that’s not what I want my life to look like. And so I think it’s really important to to have both of those, like you need the full context to make these decisions like these really sustainable and like really big decisions about your business.

Chris Davis 38:37
Absolutely. I just it it as the more we talk about it, the more I’m starting to realize just how much I rely, I rely on air table. And you mentioned, you mentioned the fact that if you changed, thrive cart, your payment processor, all of that data is in there. And most people do not do their due diligence to have any redundancy and have any offshoring of what’s taking place in this platform. And I think, actually, if anything, making sure that no one platform is the sole owner of any set of data is the goal, right?

Speaker 3 39:17
Yep. dubsado my nightmare, like you can’t even export stuff out of that thing. Yes, that’s huge. And so like we’re moving off a Thrive cart into Active Campaign because of Kuranda. But we have our email marketing metrics in airtable. So I’m feel totally fine. hopping off that software and knowing that that’s not like it’s not we’re not going to lose all of that. And I think we as much as we’re like yes, this is if I found my finalized tech sack. No, you haven’t like you’re always it’s always going to change. It’s always going to evolve. But for me, what’s probably what’s never going to change is airtable as like and so it’s all can still go into this hub. And if it does change, it’s super easy to exit Are these CSVs other airtable? So like if it goes down, like we’re able to get that data out, and that’s, that’s really important to me in a software too.

Chris Davis 40:08
Yeah, I think that’s a strong, strong point to end on, is that since I’ve been using air table, I have witnessed arrest easiness about me in any software that I’m using any software, actually, because I make sure it’s all stored in an air table. Now, one would say, Well, Chris, what about what air table fail? Well, listen, something’s going to fail. At some point, you can’t, can’t be 100%. But the fact that I have data in one one place and data in another, just in itself protects my business that much more. Actually, before you go, I want to I want to play a couple rounds of I use air table for Okay, so I’ll start I’m gonna say I use air table for and I’ll say something and then you respond with what you use airtable for. And we’ll maybe do two or three rounds, we won’t we won’t go crazy. Unless we truly get carried carried away. Everyone this is straight off the cuff. I did not prep for this. I did not prep Ashley for this, this is the first thing that comes to mind. I’ll get started. I use airtable. For my monthly budget for my household.

Speaker 3 41:18
I use air table to track my monthly recurring revenue and my projected payment plans automatically.

Chris Davis 41:25
Project I haven’t got to that point of projection, I would love to see that

Unknown Speaker 41:30
will change your life.

Chris Davis 41:32
Oh my God, I didn’t even think of I’ve always been thinking about what happened and what’s happening. I didn’t think about what will happen.

Unknown Speaker 41:39
So the group program

Chris Davis 41:42
love it. I use air table for my podcast scheduling pipeline.

Speaker 3 41:50
I use air table for my employee handbook. So company values, all of that stuff is an air table. And then in their interface,

Chris Davis 41:59
beautiful. I use air table as a database to house all of the emails that I’ve built in Active Campaign.

Speaker 3 42:10
I use air table for that. And I use it. When I have a launch I every every sale automatically is attributed to the launch automatically. So I can refresh and see exactly where I’m out with my sales goal for my launch, like whenever I want.

Chris Davis 42:27
Yes, I use air table to store all the data from Active Campaign because it’s much easier to look at and draw correlations in air table.

Speaker 3 42:40
I use air table for my personal mourning reflections. So I journal inside of it. And I put what I’m grateful for lots of personal things like that. Yeah.

Chris Davis 42:53
Okay, so I ended with this one. I use air table. For the wintertime I had to put my oldest son on a performance improvement plan. And I logged in I logged every day. What did or didn’t happen? So at the end of this, this duration, we could sit down and have a substantive conversation about did you hit your metrics? Or not? So we could make the recording actually.

Speaker 3 43:23
Else I gotta say I use air table to plan my entire wedding last year. My three day summer camp wedding was all in air table.

Chris Davis 43:31
Oh my goodness. Wow. All right. Well, in there. I enjoyed that learned a lot. By the way. Ashley, people have been listening to you for the last 3030 35 minutes talk about air table and myself. And they heard you mentioned your program and how you teach people who have group programs how to really centralize and get more out of it. Where can they go to connect with you more or find out more about about your progress?

Speaker 3 44:01
Yeah, so Instagram will be the best because you know, Lincoln bio will take you to all the things and my Instagram handle is at do the damn thing underscore.

Chris Davis 44:12
Alright, so we’ll have that show. We’ll have that link in the show notes. And Ashley, I cannot thank you enough for coming on. And we did nerd out. But I believe we gave value to the audience that if they were curious, confused, conflicted, or whatever, that hopefully this episode got them that much closer to making the decision to adopt you would think airtable sponsoring this, you know, it’s just good software everyone. What What can we say? It’s really good software. Excuse me. I’m glad to be connected with somebody like yourself, Ashley, that helps these entrepreneurs really navigate that terrain of group coaching programs, and things of that nature. So thank you for coming on to the cast.

Ashley Pendergraft 45:01
Thanks so much for having me. Yes, yes, yes. And

Chris Davis 45:03
I will. We’re connected now, Ashley, I will see you online and ongoing and more with air table and who knows? I mean, they keep adding more and more features. By this time next year, Ashley, we, in fact, okay, I was about to let you go. I’ve got to get a commitment. So all my viewers listen to this. I think I need you back on the podcast. I think I need you back on the podcast at least one more time. And I believe by then airtable would have done something amazing in mind blowing that would have been like, Oh, my God, we thought it was great back here back then. Look at what they’ve done now. So. So Ashley, can I get a commitment to get you back on the podcast? Maybe even later this year? Yeah,

Ashley Pendergraft 45:47
I’ll come whenever we got. We got a lot. We got a lot to talk about. talk for hours. Yeah, we

Chris Davis 45:53
got a lot to talk about. All right. Thank you so much, Ashley for coming on to the podcast. Greatly appreciate it. See you online. Thank you. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The all systems go 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 podcasts, Google podcasts, 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 all systems go podcast.com Thanks again for listening. And until next time, I see you online. Automate responsibly, my friend

Today’s Guest

Ashley is the founder of Do The Damn Thing and an Airtable & Zapier consultant. She primarily works with feminist and neurodivergent online business owners to help them use Airtable to manage their group programs, memberships, masterminds (any group offer, really!) so they can deliver a low-lift, high-touch (and automated) experience, through her signature program Systems Over Stress.

Resources Mentioned

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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

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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