Today I’m talking with Ashley Gartland, a business coach, and mentor who helps people do less work.

Ashley helps people with time freedom – so in this episode, we’ll learn about how she helps her clients alleviate extra work in the future by leaning on templates and automation now.

You’ll learn how she helps her clients to create that high-touch feeling with their customers, without needing to create content from scratch every single time.

Ashley also talks about how she used to utilize a bunch of different platforms for her business – like Facebook groups, Instagram, her podcast, Facebook ads, email opt-ins, etc. – but pulled back from these when she realized they weren’t doing much for her business. Now she spends less time on social media, and more time doing things she loves – like reading and being outdoors.

This episode is for you if you’re also struggling with responding immediately, any time you get an Instagram or email notification. We’ll talk about how we can work on our reactionary responses to create less stress and less work for ourselves.

Read the full transcript

Meg Casebolt 0:01
You’re listening to social slowdown a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro-businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. Social media is a double-edged sword. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected. But it also can feel like an addictive obligation. And it’s even more complex for businesses, your audience might be right there, but you’ve got to fight with algorithms to maybe be seen by them. So whether you want to abandon social media altogether, or you just want to take a month off, it’s possible to have a thriving business without being dependent on social media. This podcast is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lip-sync, send cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7. Let’s get started.

Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to this episode of the social slowdown podcast, I am thrilled to share this conversation with you that I am having with Ashley Gartland. Ashley is a business coach and mentor who helps people with time freedom. So she wants them to be able to make their own decisions about how and when they work, and be able to take a subtractive approach to what it is that they’re doing. So trying to simplify things down so that we’re not spending so much time spinning our wheels. And we’re spending more time doing what we love, whether that’s working with our clients or working outside of our business and just having more free time making sure that our businesses are running really efficiently. And that we are able to spend all of our time in a way that feels good, whether that means changing our habits or adjusting the hours that we work or building new things into our calendar. Ashley is also a master connector. So we talk a bit in this interview about how Ashley connects to her clients and uses referral channels and is able to connect other people in a very generous and wholehearted way without necessarily always thinking about how it is going to turn directly into clients, but really thinking more about the relationships that she wants to help other people build. So I am so thrilled to have this conversation with Ashley to share with you. And without further ado, here we go. Hello, Ashley, thank you so much for being a guest on this social slowdown podcast. I am so excited to have this conversation with you.

Ashley Gartland 2:21
I am too it’s really top of mind for me right now. So I’m excited to dive in. Okay, before we

Meg Casebolt 2:25
get started, if you just want to share with our audience, how are you working with your clients? Right now? I like to just drop right into the present moment. How are people working with you right now? And what are you working on with them?

Ashley Gartland 2:36
Yeah, so I’m a business coach and mentor. And I’m a little bit different in that I don’t work with clients a lot on growth and scale. And you know, getting their business to the next level. I work focus on time freedom, and helping them figure out how to maintain their success in business while working substantially less. So the way that I do this is through a program called the time freedom program where clients come to me at the beginning, they set a time freedom goal, it can look, it should be personal, it looks really different. For every client, I have some who are trying to take a six week sabbatical in the summer and other clients who are just trying to get to the 20 Hour Workweek, because they want to spend more time with their very little toddler. You know, it’s very different for everybody, they set that goal. And then through the course of the year, we work together through four deep dive intensives, where we look at the areas in their business where they have the most opportunity to create time freedom for themself and do less. And we give them a plan. And then they spend a few months making changes, and they come back for the next intensive. So generally we’re looking at their team, we’re looking at their systems, we’re looking at their services, we’re looking at how they manage their time and their schedule. And then we’re also looking at their personal habits throughout all of it. And then finally, in between those quarterly intensives. I have office hours, I really wanted to have clients have the opportunity to have touch points with me if they had questions or got stuck. But I didn’t want to do with a classic coaching structure where they had to show up when they had nothing to talk about.

Meg Casebolt 3:53
Yeah, that’s always so awkward when you have to create something to discuss on a call because it’s like, oh, but it’s on the calendar and I paid for the call and you know, feeling like you have to create a promo almost to have your coach help you through it is not the best use of our time.

Ashley Gartland 4:07
Yeah, or create something to do, right. Like if there’s nothing to talk about, really, which there usually is something to talk about, right. But if there’s you know, sometimes it’s you’re moving on to the next project or goal or thing to do before you really have time to do it. And so what I was finding with my clients, when I was doing the classic coaching structure, with you know, two calls on six month program, that kind of thing was that their to do lists were getting really long, you know, and so they weren’t getting through, so I wanted to give him some more spaciousness and time. Freedom is my thing. And so we stretched out the engagement to a year and did it in these deep dive intensives instead, and it’s been really fun.

Meg Casebolt 4:38
And so when you were doing the more traditional coaching model, you said people were expanding their to do lists, they always had more and more and more things to do. How do you help them to change that behavior of just adding more and more to the task list and instead, putting less on it in order to meet these goals? How does that process work? cuz I could use that,

Ashley Gartland 5:02
I think like, we’re still gonna have to do is right or cutting timeframe, let’s say we’re working and working with someone on simplifying their services, for example, and we’re gonna figure out what other services, they want to subtract, which is going to require them to probably change their website and maybe update their PDFs, and maybe change the little bits of your marketing, look at their pricing, like, they’re just gonna be different stuff that they have to do still as a result of that. But it’s all in service of getting them to do less and goals. So the things that we’re putting on their to do list are intentional, and they’re never about creating more work. They’re about alleviating work in the future.

Meg Casebolt 5:35
And so it really is focused on simplifying down instead of saying, what are new offers I can make? Or how can I create bespoke options for each of my clients? It’s like, no, let’s create a workflow and a system that can be repeated again and again and again, and have the team members come in and help with you. So that way, you have a more simplified process, you’re not needing to create new things for every client, right? Is that part of this? Yes.

Ashley Gartland 6:00
100%. When we’re working on services, you know, we’re working on other areas, when working on Team people might be learning how to delegate and what kind of hire they need, whether it’s the kind of knee jerk reaction to I’m going to hire a VA, or whether they need something very different. We’re going to explore that when we’re looking at systems, we’re asking, What are those things that you’re wasting time on, that could be automated? Or you could use a template for? Are you in a better process for us, you could hand it off, what are the things that you repeat, like, so again, that creates a little bit of work, they’re gonna have to go do some email templates. But once they’re done, that’s what gets them to their time freedom goal, because it’s set in place in their business, and it really is serving them.

Meg Casebolt 6:34
And so what do you think are the things that keep showing up for your clients in terms of the time wasters? Or the the repetitive processes that could be automated in some way?

Ashley Gartland 6:45
Yeah, I mean, there’s so many, I think a lot of it comes around communication, you know, a lot of people are doing their onboarding, very bespoke, right, it’s very much I’m gonna write the same email, but or write an email to each person individually, not necessarily, like we get an onboarding process in place. A lot of people don’t have an onboarding process, a lot of the client communication, like they’ll be doing things where they like, they just don’t need to repeat it client to client, it’s really nice that they want it to be personalized. But what we look at is, where can you lean on a template or automation so that you can be higher touch and more personalized elsewhere? And also free up your time?

Meg Casebolt 7:19
Absolutely. Yeah. And what are some of those ways aside from you know, having that onboarding template and the automations that go to it? What are some of the other ways that you can still feel high touch in your relationships? Without feeling like you need to be creating from scratch every single time you mentioned, like canned email responses? Are there anything else that you any other structure that you help your clients to put into place,

Ashley Gartland 7:41
so that they can still feel so it still feels high touch still feels like they’re,

Meg Casebolt 7:44
they’re really having those personal relationships?

Ashley Gartland 7:48
I want them to do that in their service, right? So we look at their service and we look at okay, how can you be really involved in my most of my clients are, you know, experts, they do really high touch their coaches, consultants, they, they immerse themselves in their work with their clients. And so we looked at making that the focus, and the other stuff, you know, getting people on boarded the systems like that kind of communication, the project management, we look at how we can get that as seamless as possible so that they can focus more on being high touch for the thing that clients actually care about?

Meg Casebolt 8:15
And how do your clients find you?

Ashley Gartland 8:18
Good question, I think we’re gonna dive

Meg Casebolt 8:19
into the more. You know, I’m always there for the discovery part of the conversation. And where is that? Are these through relationships? Are people finding your podcast? Are they landing on your website? Like, what are the different ways that people are discovering you? And then how are you then nurturing them to trust you and want to work with you? Yeah.

Ashley Gartland 8:39
So if you’d asked me this a couple years ago, maybe even a year ago, I would have said, I don’t know. Or I would have said it’s varied, I guess, maybe I know, no, but it’s very, like they come from lots of different places. But what I am finding out more and more is that while it feels very, they kind of come in to me through different kind of buckets or themes, one is through connections, you know, somebody I know knows what I do, they email introduce us, they become a great client. Or maybe we’re part of the same membership community, and we jump on a connection call coffee chat, and the person goes, I think I need you like, so. It can happen that way. It can happen through borrowing audiences, you know, going on and doing guest podcasts. That’s something that’s a strategy that I’ve done for, I don’t know, four or five years now. I love going on and talking with people like we’re doing right now. And just spreading the message and giving people ideas and kind of sparking some insights for them that they can run with. Sometimes people say I want a little bit more, and they’ll reach out sometimes about audiences looks like workshops, you know, going into groups and doing workshops. And then the other one I would say is just really serving my clients. Well, then that’s not necessarily like a discovery channel. But serving my clients well leads to referrals, serving my clients, well leads to repeat clients, and I don’t work with a lot of clients every year. You know, I work with like, 20 clients a year at this point with a new program. So I don’t need a bunch of Discovery Channels. I just need a couple that work really well. Right? You don’t need to have 100,000 people on your email list Do you have do you even have an email illustrate Oh, wait. I do. And I think before I do, there was

Meg Casebolt 10:04
some conversation about it the last time we talked and I couldn’t remember where you landed on it. Yeah. So

Ashley Gartland 10:08
I, you know, in the early days of coaching, this is my second business. And when I first started started coaching, I didn’t really know the online space, I had a very different business before. And so in learning about the online space, what I was hearing from people is you need an email list, you need lots of opt ins, you need lots of funnels, you need a Facebook group, you need to run Facebook ads, you need an Instagram strategy. And I bought it all like was like, Yes, I will do all those things. No, I did all of those things in my very like, minimalist, simplistic way.

Meg Casebolt 10:35
Of course, you’re still actually at the core of you, you still want it to be a simple process system. But I still get all of them.

Ashley Gartland 10:40
And as you heard me rattling them off, there’s quite a few. So I think the point where you and I were chatting about opt ins as I started questioning, like, do I really need these five opt ins? Do these really serve my business? Are people really benefiting from them? Is this where I’m really getting my clients and is promoting them? Continually serving them and serving my business? The answer was no. So dropped down to one opt in. So I still have one to get people on the email list. But you know, that’s sometimes people get on the email list, sometimes they get in on it through different channels. So I do still have one, I’m a writer at heart, that was my first business was writing. So I will probably always have an email list or some form of writing because it helps me develop my ideas and thought leadership. So whether it serves a marketing purpose or not, it serves a purpose in my business. And so I do have that. And that’s what I see as the nurturing piece is that sometimes people do get on through the opt in and they get a couple of emails, and they’re like, Wow, what you’re really saying resonates. They go find a couple podcasts I’ve been on or listen to my podcast, and, you know, that nurtures them. Sometimes they’re on the email list for quite a while, you know, I had a client was on for like, two years. And finally she was like, Okay, now I feel ready. So it does serve a point of purpose in my business, but I don’t, I’m not really heavy handed with it.

Meg Casebolt 11:45
Yeah. And so you said that for a while you were like, I need to have all the opt ins and the funnels and the Facebook group and the Instagram strategy. How did you? How did you figure out that that was not necessarily the

Ashley Gartland 11:55
way that you wanted to market? Yeah, I think it was a slow and steady kind of pull back from those things. You know. So when I first started the coaching practice, I was getting that message from the coaching certification that I went to, and the business coach that I was working with in the mastermind community that I was part of everyone was like, you know, you need a Facebook group. That’s it was very hot at the time. So I did that this is probably

Meg Casebolt 12:14
what like, 2014 2015. Yeah, I think so. Yeah, this is like the era of the Facebook group. And I

Ashley Gartland 12:20
was probably also on the maybe even 2016, like I was kind of on the downward trend of it. So but still, people are like, you need to do that you need to run Facebook ads, you got to be on Instagram. And what’s funny, in my first business, I didn’t do any of that stuff. You know, part of it didn’t exist, like, Instagram wasn’t really a thing then. But I had like a very static website, and I relied on connections, relationships, doing good work, and building my business that way. And it worked. So so well. And I kind of forgot that, as I started to hear people say you need to do all these strategies. And I saw these bright, shiny objects. And I saw people having success with those. And so I thought, you know, try these, and again, did it in my own way. I had my Facebook group, I don’t know how many years and ran Facebook ads here and there, did Instagram. And what was interesting was to watch my own behavior as an observer and notice that I would do them. But I would kind of just dip my toe and I’m like, I will do this. But my team will post for me and I will do this, but I will only do one video a week or I will run Facebook ads, but only a little bit like I didn’t really ever fully implement on those strategies. So that way they didn’t work because I wasn’t really fully bought in. But I also started to notice metric wise, like I wasn’t getting clients from my Facebook group, my Facebook group wasn’t really growing or engaged. I wasn’t getting any traction from Facebook ads. So like I just like I could have kept tinkering, but I wasn’t getting the results. And it didn’t feel value aligned. For me. I’m not someone who loves the business of Facebook and their values and what they do in the world and Instagram. And so I just started a slow and steady kind of pull back, which looked like, you know, pulling back on how much I was using those first. And then starting to close some things down. I think the first thing I said was I’m not going to run ads anymore. Like I don’t want to give Facebook my money. And it’s not working. And so that one went first. And then the next one to go was the Facebook group and closing that didn’t see a change my business at all from either of those things. And then Instagram is the most recent one. Oh, I guess the email opt ins were the next one kind of look at how do we refine this and instead of having this crazy funnel, just have three emails, like literally just stating what it is. And that’s it, and see how that goes. And then Instagram is the last one. This is what I’m implementing right now. I have pulled back a lot of I’m just gonna do a couple posts a week and it’s gonna be very light and it’s just gonna be for these purposes. And somewhere between the end of last year and the beginning of this year, I decided I just want to use Instagram as a real static thing. So so all my to do list this week actually is to transfer some graphics there that my team has made for me there to make it more of a static saying like here’s a couple bits of information. That’s all you need to know if you want more you can find out about me and connect with me in these other places. And then I will probably still use Instagram to connect with people in terms of you know, sending DMS sending voice notes to people that I’m already in connection with But other than that, it’s not going to be at all part of

Meg Casebolt 15:02
my strategy. It’s much more about deepening existing relationships then about you know, being found and being building the nurturing in that platform. You’d rather have people come listen to your own podcast, hear your voice in their ears, there’s something really intimate about, you know, having somebody with you on a run or while you’re doing the dishes, it feels so much. Yeah, it’s just like, you feel like you know, that person so much better than just scrolling past. They are professionally, you know, taken headshots.

Ashley Gartland 15:31
Yeah. And I will also be fully transparent here that I’m putting my podcast on pause, too. This sounds like a lot of attracting, right. A lot of rethinking. And this is something I do with my clients too, is, sometimes it’s very obvious what needs to go like it was very obvious for me, no more Facebook, no Facebook ads, no group, no, like, I don’t need to do Instagram, or I’m just gonna use it this way. And it was less obvious with the podcast, because I love I podcast, I’m a trained journalist, like I love the conversations. But I had some transitions with my team that were going to make the podcast difficult. I have, I’m going to be living remotely for the summer and fall, because we’re doing a house remodel, like there were just some personal and professional things that told me this is a good time for you to pause on it. And make sure that it’s something you want to keep doing, you know, I’m 80 episodes in or so. So I’ve got some good, I’ve got enough for people if they need to go find out about me, they’ve got 80 episodes to listen to. And I’m going to pause for a little bit and see what it looks like moving forward.

Meg Casebolt 16:27
Yeah. And how do you make a decision about what, what you want to continue doing? What’s having the most impact versus that feeling of obligation or the feeling of but everybody’s doing, like the FOMO of it all? Versus the here’s what is getting results? And here’s what feels good? Like, how do you balance those two pieces? or multiple variables? You know? Yeah,

Ashley Gartland 16:52
I think you know, for me and for my clients is generally like a gut check thing and a numbers metrics thing, you know, I know where every single one of my clients has come from. So I know that every single one of my clients found me through a podcast in some in some way, right? Like, they are a referral or connection, like it was either a borrowed audience, or it was a connection. So to me, if I can look at my list of clients in the past couple of years and say, this is trend 100, it’s 100% of trend, because it’s everyone found me in those ways. Those are the things that I need to be leaning into my email list my podcasts, like those nurtured people, and they definitely served a purpose. But it gives me a little bit of freedom to rethink those things, too. If it’s not like the main way that people are finding me. So for me, I can look and see like, and my gut too, right? Like, my gut is saying, pause on the podcast, a little bit of my gut is saying close the Facebook group. And then I go and look at the numbers. And the kind of client stats and I see that it says the same thing, then for me, it’s really easy to either shut it down completely, or do an experiment, which I call just, you know, pausing because I think that’s a little bit easier than it feels less permanent. And maybe it’s just semantics, but it’s like it feels less permanent. Say I’m gonna experiment with pausing on this thing for a little bit and doing it differently, or not doing it at all, and see how that goes. But I can always pick it back up.

Meg Casebolt 18:11
Yeah, I think that’s the great thing about podcasts as a marketing tool, too, is like, you can just have it say this is my season, season is over, I will be back when I’m ready for the next season. It doesn’t always need to be in production mode for it to continue to be valuable for your business. And I think that’s true for any kind of content marketing to which is like if somebody can find it and binge it later, you’re not relying on an algorithm to show it to them, you know, for the discovery, maybe if people are like, I want a podcast about you know, simplifying my business, yeah, hopefully they can find you and you’d be more likely to show up if you do have recent content. But if people are being referred to you, if they’re hearing you on a podcast and going to listen to your podcast, like those introductory strategies can continue to happen even when you’re not in that consistent production mode. And people can get to hear about your approach, and hear your story and get to trust you without you needing to be in those conversations, having that leveraged ability to reach people sounds like it’s been really beneficial for you. Yeah,

Ashley Gartland 19:11
and I completely agree. You know, I was talking with a friend who’s also a business coach a while back and he had taken a pause on his podcast for some personal stuff for I want to say like two years before I picked it back up. And he’s like, I still get clients through my podcast like even though I’m not doing it marketing it. Like it’s just their existing what he’s like, I still get clients to your point like it can still serve you in different ways in your business. And you can take a pause and rethink, you know, he’s gone back to podcasting, it looks a little different. And I may do the same thing. I may go back and say I’m going to do it exactly the way I did it before. Or I may go back and say I’m going to do it in seasons. Or I may say I still love podcasting, but I’d rather focus on guest podcasting than my own show. Like, I don’t know yet how it’s going to look with that one. But I know that I’m not sabotaging my business by pausing it because I know that the things that really work are still things that I’m focusing on.

Meg Casebolt 19:58
And how are you helping your clients to figure out what those high impact pieces are. Is that that same kind of combination of gut check versus metrics? Or how are you helping them to dig through? What is spinning wheels versus what is really making a difference?

Ashley Gartland 20:13
Yeah, it depends on the client. I was in one type of client comes to me, and they’re like, I want to quit X. I wanted to do it. I never liked it. I’m done. And that’s a conversation of, okay, is that the right move to make? is quitting the right thing or pausing on this? Is that the right thing to do? Or is there a way to do it simpler or more effectively, or a way that feels good to you, so we’re gonna have that conversation to make that decision. Other clients might come to me thinking that they need to do all the things, right, they’ve kind of like I was at the very beginning and more established business owners that I work with, this doesn’t tend to happen as much. But sometimes they’re like, I heard about all these new strategies, I think I need to be doing six different things to market my business. And so then we’re gonna ask the question, like, how much volume do you need? How many clients? Do you serve? How your clients finding you? And looking at those things? And asking, Okay, do you really need sex? Or do you maybe need two or three? And how do you do those simply, and why don’t you just let the other things go. So I had a client recently, in the last year, who was kind of in that boat where she doesn’t really, she’s a doer, like she likes to connect with people, she likes to market, she’s a content marketer, like, that’s her business. So like, she doesn’t in her own business, too. And she was like, I’ve got to do Instagram, I’m gonna do all these things on Instagram, I’ve got to do all these things with my email list. And she did. And she spent a lot of time on it, she spent team resources on it. At the end of last year, she’s like, I’m not doing any of it anymore. Like she, you know, ran it as a experiment was like, it doesn’t make sense. And kind of throughout the year, I’ve like, I’ve been saying, you can do all those things. It’s taking you time and resources, if you feel like it’s an important experiment to run, great. But I want to point out that the way that you get clients is by going to different events, and more so pre pandemic, but going to conferences, talking with people, like 90% of your clients come from that or from going on podcast, or from presenting in like a mastermind group. So I’m like, if those are the ways that you get clients, and those are super high touch, and also a real light lift for her to do than just focus on those don’t worry about showing up on Instagram, real stories, posts, like you need to do all that stuff. So I’m super excited for her because she’s found much more high impact ways of doing it that free up a lot of time for her.

Meg Casebolt 22:11
Yeah. And I loved your approach to for your business of, I’m not going to like get rid of the things entirely, I’m going to figure out how to simplify them down. So tell me a little bit about like, when you decided to pause the Instagram, but not get rid of it entirely? How did you decide what those kind of core posts would be? So that people still know that you’re a human being with a life and you’re an expert in the field? What are those core positions that you wanted to hit for people? Or maybe maybe the question is a little bit broader, too, which is like, in your emails? How do you decide what the minimum number of onboarding emails is? To introduce yourself to people without feeling like you need to be creating everything all the time? Yeah. And leading

Ashley Gartland 22:53
them? I’ll tackle the email question first. But I think the Instagram was really good, too. The the email question for me was, like, I looked at the funnel, and I said, this doesn’t even sound like me, like this isn’t even. Well, like there had been so much input from outside influences that are like this. This is ballooned. It was a bloated email sequence. I’m like, this is I’m direct. I’m, I prefer simplicity, I don’t want to take people’s time unnecessarily. So I looked at that. And I thought, what do we really want to communicate here, and I wanted to give them the option that I have now as a training to help them with simplifying their schedule, like I want to give them the training, I want to tell them a little bit about me. And I want to let them know what they can do next, if they want to explore other options with me, like, that’s it that doesn’t need 10 emails at all. So you know, I went bad, you

Meg Casebolt 23:35
might not even have time in your calendar. And if they do want to work with you, because you only work with 20 clients a year. So this isn’t something where you need to like get people onto a waitlist and then bring them into a program and evergreen, blah, blah, blah, you know, it’s like, even if people want to work with you, you might not have capacity to work with them. And that’s okay. Also, really, on the client service

Ashley Gartland 23:54
side. But that is something on a tangent, like that I talk with my clients about all the time is like, you don’t have to work more if you’re going above capacity, it’s okay to say no, or put them on a waitlist, like you can free up your time. So that’s definitely a service related thing. And so that was the email list circling back to the Instagram strategy. I was really fortunate and that around the time that I was thinking about how could I do this differently. A couple of different people popped up who were quitting social media for the year, you know, as thinking about it as people were setting New Year’s goals. And so I had the privilege of just hearing about those things and watching what they did. And seeing a couple of different options. One option was just to leave everything up, like and then put a little thing in my signature or my bio there that says, I’m off Instagram, like find me here. Like that would have been one option because people could still go back through all of the content. But to me that still felt like a lot of like, they’re going to be scrolling through years and years and years of stuff and I just if they want to. That doesn’t feel right to me. So at the same time I saw a couple of people who were using almost like micro websites on Instagram and kind of creating a little grid with like six graphics or nine graphics just communicated the most important things, you know, how do you work with me? What are my philosophies, what things are important for you? What are my values, and I started to see that. And I really liked that. So that’s where I had my designer, come up with a few graphics, probably by the time this goes live, it’ll be up so people can go see it. It’s just a few graphics, like it’s a few graphics, a couple of pictures, a couple of quotes that really pinpoint what I believe in, what my values are, what the work I do is about, and then you know, my bio will tell them a little bit more, and then that’ll be it. And it’ll just be there for them to reference and learn more. And of course, there’ll be a link to show them like, if you want to connect more, I’m not on here that much. So please find me these other places. Yeah,

Meg Casebolt 25:43
and having that right there in there. The last one is, I’m so glad you’re here. I’m not.

Ashley Gartland 25:49
Yeah, and here’s where you can, here’s where I’d love to connect with you. And again, like, I’m still gonna go in, at least at this point, the plan for me is still to go in and check DMS and stuff, but I’m not on there scrolling anymore. And it’s been about a month, probably a month, six weeks or something like that. My life is so much better. I like to just not have that. Because if I had used Instagram as a great tool, my business if it had been a key part of my strategy, I wouldn’t be saying that. But it was just a distraction from all the things that are important in my life. Like I’m finding myself reading a ton more, I’m spending more time outside like, and I did those things already. But now I’m able to maximize that because I don’t have this distraction in terms of marketing.

Meg Casebolt 26:25
And like obligation. Yeah, distraction. And like, Oh, I feel like I should be getting back to people faster. I’m finding that a lot with myself, as I step away is like, No, I don’t feel like I need to check in at nine o’clock every morning and five o’clock every night. It’s like, no, the people will wait. And if they want to get in touch with me, I’ll check in every couple of days and say, Hey, here’s my email address, right? Like, here’s a contact form, here’s the ways that I want to interact with you, versus, you know, receiving a voice memo and feeling like I need to respond to that within an hour or I’m a bad person. Really, I mean, immediacy of it is exhausting.

Ashley Gartland 27:01
It is. And that is honestly, you know, I mentioned that one of the areas I work with my clients on as their personal habits and the reactionary stuff is something that we work a lot on this need to be on all the time available. 24/7 respond to people as soon as they get the message. You know, part of that is trying to be a good service provider and be really available in high touch and of service. But the other piece of that, like they’re trying to, like, prevent things from piling up, and they’re trying to get ahead and everything. And we really explore whether that’s necessary and how much work extra work and stress that’s creating for them. I’ve had clients who you get those nice messages up that say, I check emails twice a week, I check Instagram once a week, and you’ll hear from me in that timeframe. It gives him breathing room, and it just changes their experience with whatever tool they’re using.

Meg Casebolt 27:48
Yeah, and I love there, there’s something that you say in your marketing, which isn’t just like get back your time, but it’s about getting back your brain space.

Ashley Gartland 27:56
And that’s where, you know, marketing, if you’re doing all the marketing things, you’re and I found this to be true for me too. Like, I’m an idea person, like I was constantly coming up with more things to do. But the question I wasn’t asking was like, Is this really useful and beneficial for me and my business. And so I was taking a lot of brain space. And now I free up my brain space for the deep stuff for the really great writing for the conversations that I can have with people. I like the depth and the work that I do involves depth, so it matches. So it makes sense to do that, instead of trying to come up with all these busy, all this busy work. That’s just, you know, surface level stuff.

Meg Casebolt 28:27
Right. And if if depth is something that you want, if you want to be able to have conversations that have some substance to them, it’s really hard to do that in 140 characters, it’s really hard to distill. And there is a benefit to having a distillation of the work that you do. And brevity and being concise is important. But also, like, sometimes it feels shallow, if you have to be that distilled.

Ashley Gartland 28:53
Yeah. And if you got to match it to your work, right? Like my work is deep with people, like we’re talking about changing their personal habits and how they operate in their business. And we’re talking about rethinking and redesigning elements of their business. That does not happen in 140 characters, right? Like, it doesn’t happen. It you know, my program is a year like it is It’s spacious and it takes time. And so my content, my marketing has to match that

Meg Casebolt 29:16
you have to be able to create space in the way that you interact with people who may want to work with you. And I always say that, like to an extent the way that we market is a preview of what it’s like to work with us. And so if you’re coming from a place of like, you need to join now, and here’s everything you need to know and let’s just put everything into bullet points and you know, buy, buy, buy, buy, and then you have a program that’s spacious and expansive and takes a year to get to these outcomes. There’s some sort of cognitive dissonance there. Yeah, there’s

Ashley Gartland 29:48
a weird pacing that’s involved in that and you’re you’re totally right. I my number one thing that I want people to feel work with me, maybe I’ll say two, I want them to feel relief, and I want them to feel calm, and that is something that you will tell me a lot is that when they all get on a call with me like there’s, I can see it, their shoulders come down, like, and they start to feel like there’s more spaciousness for them and more choice and agency. And so I want that. And I want that in my marketing to your right, like, so that was kind of the impetus between pulling back and like if I want people to experience time freedom, why would I be putting up three Instagram posts a day telling them to consume, consume, consume, I don’t want them doing that. I want them playing with their kids, I want them going to yoga class, I want them taking the time to do therapy, like whatever it is, that’s really good for them, whatever matters, most of them, go do that don’t consume all this content. So there has to be alignment there. And then they can it’s part of it’s walking my talk to so then they can see it modeled and then they can go do it in their own businesses.

Meg Casebolt 30:40
Absolutely. I think that’s so huge that you’re able to even go into this and say, like I’m about to take you said four months off, right, because we’re going to go remodel the house. And so I’m going to scale back on my out, maybe not the outreach activities, but the inbound activities, the the social media, the podcasts, the things that people can find on their own, and instead focus on the high impact marketing activities that can lead to clients in a more, you know, personal relationship based way. So you may not be producing the podcast, but you might still be having those kinds of coffee chats and introductory emails. And I should mention for the record actually did something really amazing. When I launched the podcast, she just sent me an email and said, Congratulations, if you need any introductions, let me know. It wasn’t a pitch. It wasn’t a, you know, how do I how do I get myself on there? Or it was very generous in the approach that you took. And I appreciated that so much that, you know, I didn’t even think I said, Okay, here’s what I’m looking for. And you gave me a list of names and websites and people that I might want to know. And then I was like, Okay, now we need to talk about that. Now I need to have you on because when you lead from a place of generosity, of connection of relationship building of how can I be of service to you, it does end up coming back. But it’s not always that like something that is easily trackable in your metrics. So tell me a little bit about the ways that you take your time to connect people that may or may not result in, you know, instant sales.

Ashley Gartland 32:12
Yeah. And I love that you brought that up, because I hadn’t listened to your podcast, I’ve seen the name of the podcast, and I was like, Oh, my gosh, we haven’t talked for a while and you launched a podcast in the midst of that. So I’m

Meg Casebolt 32:21
not there, Hillary, right? You weren’t on my list. You know, Hillary’s? Listen, you’re like, oh, I should talk to Matt, like those little touch points that we have with each other. Yeah.

Ashley Gartland 32:28
So one of my clients had been on your podcast, and, and yes, I’d seen that. And I was like, oh, like, great. Like, it just popped up. And I’m like, I’m gonna take the time to say congratulations. And I think I know a couple of people who would be a good fit. No, or in my mind was I like, I think I would be a good fit for you. Like, I was like, maybe that’s an oversight. So when you respond with like, when you should come on to is like, oh, that sounds fun. But I’m not really big connector. And so for me, it doesn’t even feel like a strategy to connect people. And I, I’m trying to think what strengths I might be the strengths finder or something. And I remember someone that was one of my top strengths was like connector, and I was like, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Like, I don’t do that. I’m not like a you must meet so and so. I’m more of a normally a resource connector. Like, here’s the tool that you need. And here’s you should listen to this podcast episode, it would really help you, you should read this book, it’d be really great. But the more I lean into connection and business, the more I’m doing the introductions with people too. And I like it. It’s generous. It’s fun. I think people good people should meet each other. I love seeing what comes out of collaborations when I introduce to people. So you’re right. It’s not necessarily something trackable, but it pays it forward in big ways that my business that it just makes sense to keep doing.

Meg Casebolt 33:39
Yeah. And it’s not not something where you’re going to make the direct correlations of I talked to this person, and therefore I got a client. But building these invisible connections between people will absolutely bring you to top of mind later on down the road, and being able to just reach out and say, Hey, congratulations, you did a cool thing. Yeah, it doesn’t have to be a long email. It can just be Hey, haven’t talked to you in a while. What’s up?

Ashley Gartland 34:03
Or hey, thank you, the podcast episode that you just aired, like really blew my mind or Thank you. That email you sent out this week, like really made me think I shared it with a bunch of people like think user, great. Michelle Warner, someone who talks a lot about, you know, networking intentionally. That’s one of her strategy. So I will say there’s a there’s a little intentionality around it for me. And that when I am connecting with people myself, that I know what my ask is. So if somebody if I’m doing a casual coffee chat with somebody, and they say, I say how can I support you? And they let me know and then they ask, How can I support you? I’m going to say, like, I serve these types of people. I have this workshop. I love talking on these topics. Do you know any podcast hosts membership communities like that you could connect me with So there, there is a little intentionality in that form. But in terms of the introductions that I’m making, not not as much, that’s just something I do for fun.

Meg Casebolt 34:49
Yeah, sometimes you just have good people and it’s nice to say, I know good people, they should know each other. There’s I think there’s like a TED last quote, that was like you just met a cool person, right? doesn’t always have to be self serving, it can just be in service to that relationship. And the the work that can come out of it that can make the world better not to sound too kind of optimistic about the whole thing. But it really does make a difference when you have those relationships to be able to connect people

Ashley Gartland 35:15
it does in this type of marketing, the thing that I’m finding more and more is that in order to do it, you kind of have to remain open to possibility. It’s not where you can kind of like track it and say, like, Okay, step one, step two, step three, it’s like, no, I’m going to connect with this person. This is an interesting conversation, we had an interesting conversation. And then from there, they introduce you to a couple of people that you didn’t expect to be introduced to, and that might lead to some good things for your business. It’s like, you don’t totally know you can kind of have an idea of where it might go. But it’s a little less maybe controllable than what other marketing things are perceived.

Meg Casebolt 35:46
And, you know, we’re just saying how untrackable this is, but then I think about the fact that I do have an air table, where at one point, I traced it back, okay, who introduced me to who introduced me to who introduced me to who, and it all started from my friend Susie introduced me to Megan and then Megan introduced me to Lacey and then Lacey. And, you know, and, and the, the number of introductions just expands the network, and then I try to do the same thing and push it back to them. And it, there are those super connectors in your life. And if you can become that super connector, if that is part of what you do well, then don’t, don’t minimize that in terms of the ways that you think about your marketing, being a connector is marketing. And so I just wanted to call that out is something that you do incredibly well, I’ve seen you do it in not just in, you know, our one to one relationship, but also in the networks that we’re in together, where you’re tagging people in and saying I know so and so has talked about this before. And just kind of keeping other people top of mind to tagging them into things and making other people feel seen is something that you do so incredibly well.

Ashley Gartland 36:49
Oh, thank you. And something that’s interesting. You know, my first was, as I mentioned, I was a writer, I was a freelance food writer. And I remember coming back from maternity leave and meeting with someone and she goes, I’ve been someone new to me, and she goes, I’ve been waiting to meet with you. Because like 10, people have told me you need to talk to Ashley. So like it just like it. I remember that moment and be like, the connections that I’ve made with chefs and, you know, artisans, and winery owners and editors in town like, and PR publicists like that is paid off because people are keeping me top of mind now because I’ve made those connections and nurtured them over time. And they wish it hadn’t taken me seven years or so to figure that out that I should have just carried that strategy forward in this business. But I think the reason was, is that it didn’t feel like a strategy. It was just me. And so I’m glad that like through all these experiments of other things and going no, not for me, I’m kind of coming back home to what does work for me. And I think that’s what people really need to take away is that this connection strategy, this borrowing audience, like using my writing to nurture relationships, like, that’s not going to work for everybody, right? It works for me, but it’s unique to me. And I have so many other clients who are doing different types of marketing, like that client I mentioned to who goes to conferences and just works the room and suddenly comes home with 10 clients, I could never do that. Like, that’s just not me. But for her, she does that three or four times a year, and her client roster is full. So like, everybody’s got to find their strength and lean into it. And to do that you really have to slow down and figure out okay, what do I want to let go of what do I want to subtract? What don’t I need to be doing in the marketing arena, because I have something really good that works. And I don’t need to do all the things,

Meg Casebolt 38:29
right. And I think one of the things you said earlier on, it’s like once I switched from being a freelance writer in this particular niche to going into kind of online business coaching, there felt like there was this obligation to do things the online way of like build the funnel and the emails and the cold traffic into warm traffic into the lead gen into the all the things and have this automated system. And you forgot that, like the in person business stuff still works for online businesses. You know, I, I was pre COVID part of like a BNI, like a business networking group here in my town. And there was a certain amount of like, well, I need to educate people on online marketing in order to, you know, I can’t just go to a dentist’s office and be like, here’s what you need, right, there was a certain amount of education that needed to take place, but it was certainly less than trying to find someone cold traffic from scratch that I have to then educate through all of these different things and then turn them into a client you know, so taking some of those offline strategies the the networking, the events, the relationship building, doesn’t mean that it’s worse or less valuable just because it’s not of the Internet to begin with. Yeah,

Ashley Gartland 39:47
it’s it’s just different right? And you don’t have to know your style. Like I’m not someone who as much as I you know, I do run my business virtually and online. I don’t love being at the computer all day and online and doing all those things. I like connecting with people Well, I’m having interesting conversations. So if that’s my strategy, like, great.

Meg Casebolt 40:04
And the thing is the internet marketers want you to do internet marketing, because they’re teaching Internet marketing. Yeah. And you’re not, you’re not doing internet marketing to tell people not to do in here on my marketing, because they wouldn’t you would make money from that, right? Like, there is a vested interest in the ways that the these systems are built up. So I just like to explain the systems of patriarchy that we’re living in and, and the ways that people can be kind of self promotional in this space that don’t necessarily need to be the obligatory steps that you take in your marketing.

Ashley Gartland 40:33
Yeah, you have agency and choice, right. And so I think, you know, when I’m helping someone with simplifying their marketing, it’s looking at, like, let’s just throw everything on the table that you’re currently doing. And let’s start auditing. Let’s start asking, does that serve you? Do you enjoy it? Is it training? Is it taking up too much brain space, and then there’s kind of those different paths you can take, if I’m not going to do that at all anymore, I’m completely subtracting it. Or I’m going to subtract some elements of it to make it more useful. Or I’m going to continue doing it because it is actually the thing. And it’s really,

Meg Casebolt 41:00
even if I hate tick tock, if you’re getting a ton of clients from tick tock, you should keep going on tick tock. But if you’re looking at the numbers and going, I hate this, and it’s not working, stop doing it. It’s okay.

Ashley Gartland 41:09
If you hate it, and it’s working. Ask yourself like maybe what’s working about it? And is there a different strategy where I can do this, that would feel fun for me, like, if you hate tech top, and it’s working? Like, you’re right, maybe you need maybe you do keep doing that because it’s serving you. But maybe you ask what’s working about this? And could I do it in a different way? That would actually feel really good to me?

Meg Casebolt 41:27
Yeah, maybe have someone else script out what’s in there? Or have them take over the comments or finding ways that you don’t necessarily need to be the point of contact? And then it comes back to our systems and our teams and our simplification of how are we having these conversations on? How do we want to show up? Yeah. Alright, so actually, I was about to send people to your podcast, people that go still listen to the back episodes,

Ashley Gartland 41:48
podcast, there’s great conversation. And one of the things that and this is why it’s a hard decision. Like there’s, there’s so many things that I love about it right? And why I’m just choosing to pause and rethink versus let it go completely. The conversations that I have with people are really about exploring possibilities about how to do business differently, and how to free up your time. And so there’s lots of different conversations with people on different topics on team and systems and services and, you know, business in general. And how do we do less better. And so each conversation is meant to spark some ideas for you and get you thinking about what you might want to apply to your business. I don’t want you applying everything, of course that you hear on the podcast, but you know, the little bits and pieces, so definitely check that out. If that’s of interest to you, there’s plenty of episodes to listen. And then if you want to reach out to me, like, you know, go to my website, use the contact form, email me personally, I’d love to hear more about what you’re thinking of what time freedom.

Meg Casebolt 42:38
Thank you so, so much for being with us here today. Ashley, I really appreciate it.

Ashley Gartland 42:41
Yeah, thanks for the great conversation.

Meg Casebolt 42:45
Thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social and sign up for our email list so you never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to social slowdown comm slash review or grab that link in our show notes for easy access. We’ll be back soon with more tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media Talk to you then

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a subtractive approach to marketing with ashley gartland