Software & Tech

Driving New Business and Managing Operations Using ClickUp with Layla Pomper

You can use no-code tools like ClickUp to streamline and automate your internal processes and enhance your communication with clients. You can also build digital products, help your students learn more effectively, and add to diversity your revenue streams. Layla is ALL IN with ClickUp.

Susan Boles
October 20, 2020
48
 MIN
Podcast

What happens when you FULLY commit to something in your business?

What happens when you are completely, totally, 100% all-in?

This month we’re talking all about no-code tools and today’s guest, Layla Pomper, has taken her commitment to ClickUp—an extremely flexible no-code project management platform—to the next level.

You can use no-code tools like ClickUp to streamline and automate your internal processes and enhance your communication with clients. You can also build digital products, help your students learn more effectively, and add to diversity your revenue streams.

Some of the no-code tools out there are so flexible and so capable that you can actually run your entire business, pretty much end-to-end on them.  

Well, Layla is ALL IN with ClickUp. She uses it to bring in new clients by using it as her opt-in and as the topic of her YouTube channel. She uses it to communicate and manage her one-on-one clients. She uses it to manage her own team and all of ProcessDriven's operations. She even now has a small group learning program all about how to use ClickUp more effectively.

She went all in… and it's paid BIG dividends for her business and her clients.

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How Layla’s using ClickUp EVERYWHERE in her business
  • The impact she's seen by systemizing everything using ClickUp
  • How to use no-code templates and tools as an opt-in and marketing tool
  • How to get the most out of the no-code tools you're using in your business

Links

Episode Transcript

Layla Pomper (00:00):

Every single thing that needs to be done in my business lives in ClickUp. One of the ways I explain what I do is that I help people turn ClickUp into their business instruction manual, and I would say that for myself, that's very much what's happening in ClickUp. It's where we're doing our weekly scrums. It's where we're keeping track of all of our processes, but most importantly, every single task that's in there, whether it's one time or recurring, it has a process attached to it and if it doesn't have a process, it has a task saying create the process for it.

Susan Boles (00:32):

What happens when you fully commit to something in your business? When you are completely, totally 100% all in? I'm Susan Boles, and you're listening to Break the Ceiling. The show where we break down unconventional strategies you can use to save time, boost your profit, and increase your operational capacity. On the last few shows, we've been talking about no-code tools, and the different ways you can use them in your business to streamline and automate internal processes and enhance your communication with your clients.

Susan Boles (01:08):

You can use no-code tools to build digital products, help your students learn more effectively, and to diversify your revenue streams. Some of the no-code tools out there are so flexible and capable that you can actually run your entire business pretty much end to end on them. Today, I'm going to talk to Layla Pomper, the founder of ProcessDriven. You might recognize Layla from the Notion versus ClickUp episode earlier this year. Well, Layla is all in with ClickUp, which is an extremely flexible, no-code project management platform that we both use in our businesses, but Layla has taken her commitment to ClickUp to the next level.

Susan Boles (01:48):

She uses it to bring in new clients by using it as her opt in, and the topic of her YouTube channel. She uses it to communicate and manage her one-on-one clients. She uses it to manage her own team, and all of ProcessDriven's operations. She even now has a small-group learning program all about how to use ClickUp more effectively. She went all in and it's paid big dividends for her business and her clients. Layla and I are going to get into all the details about how she's using ClickUp everywhere in her business, the impact she's seen, and how to get the most out of the no-code tools that you're using in your business. Hey, Layla, thanks for coming back to the show.

Layla Pomper (02:31):

Thanks for having me. I'm excited.

Susan Boles (02:33):

I think this is going to be really fun, and I know both of us really love getting out on ClickUp. So here we go. So you have really gone all in on a single, no-code tool for your business, ClickUp, which is one of our favorite software's and you're using that in a lot of different ways. So give me the high level overview of all of the different places you're using it and then we can talk about the specific details of each area.

Layla Pomper (03:02):

Okay. So I was thinking about this question and you know how the whole phrase like the cobblers kid has no shoes. I'm like the cobbler's kid that has a whole shoe collection.

Susan Boles (03:14):

And I feel every bit of that.

Layla Pomper (03:17):

I use ClickUp for so many things that I wouldn't necessarily recommend using it for just because I want to experiment. So I just want to put that disclaimer out there, but right now I'm using ClickUp for an opt-in. So I have free ClickUp stuff as an opt-in. I use ClickUp as the topic for my YouTube channel. A lot of the videos that come out, I use ClickUp to manage my clients. I use ClickUp as a makeshift CRM, I use ClickUp for my SOPs and processes, I use ClickUp for team management, onboarding and training. I use ClickUp for the actual topic of my online course.

Layla Pomper (03:49):

So I'm teaching people how to use ClickUp. I also use ClickUp as the client portal or service delivery method for my clients who are actually doing ClickUp implementation with me. I probably use it for ... Oh, I also use it for personal life. So we are renovating our house. So ClickUp is managing our home renovation. ClickUp is also managing my household routines. I'm sure I'm missing some, but I'm using a lot of things with ClickUp.

Susan Boles (04:14):

Your life basically exists on ClickUp. If ClickUp doesn't hold it, you're not doing it.

Layla Pomper (04:19):

Most likely. If ClickUp doesn't tell me to do it, I'm not going to even remember where it's at.

Susan Boles (04:24):

I have a very similar stress with ClickUp where everything's in there and if it's not in there, it's not going to happen.

Layla Pomper (04:34):

I should be clear, I am managing everything in ClickUp. I still have outside databases that I use, because I just think ClickUp gets a little slow for that. So I might sometimes have a task that says go to X database and work on stuff, but it's all being managed in ClickUp.

Susan Boles (04:47):

Okay. So let's start at the beginning of that customer process. You said you're using ClickUp templates as lead magnets, as opt-ins and also as the main topic for your YouTube channels. So talk to me a little bit about how you're using ClickUp in your marketing.

Layla Pomper (05:06):

Yes. So I think my business is kind of ... It's very much got a process focus. So process lends itself really well to checklists. Even before I started specializing in working with people who are also using ClickUp, I was talking about, here's a process for this, here's a process for that. So when it came to opt-ins, my natural inclination was, oh, a great option would be a checklist for this or a process for that, that kind of thing. When I narrowed it down to working just with ClickUp users, life became a lot easier, because I could just take a template that I had already created either for internal use or to give to clients. Then I just kind of polished it up a little bit, made sure there weren't any typos and I published it to my website as an opt-in.

Layla Pomper (05:46):

When it came to the YouTube videos, very similar story. I was creating ClickUp-based assets for my clients, or for my team where we needed to do something. At a certain point, I was like, oh, well, if I just censor this a little bit, I can just publish it to the whole world and that's pretty much the whole story behind how my youtube channel got started.

Susan Boles (06:08):

I send people to your YouTube channel all the time, because everybody's asking me questions and I'm like, "No, I don't want to answer that. I'm pretty sure Layla already did. Just go watch her YouTube channel."

Layla Pomper (06:19):

That is very much the intent, because you find when you're starting to work with the same tools, the same questions are asked again, and again. So I'm not great with the long emails. So having a short video link, much better.

Susan Boles (06:31):

Yeah, and I ... Personally, I love having it as a resource to point people to because then I don't have to do it.

Layla Pomper (06:38):

I actually just created it for you, Susan.

Susan Boles (06:40):

I know. I really appreciate it. It's really helped me out. So you are also using ClickUp as a value add in your one-on-one services. Talk to me a little bit about how you use ClickUp with your one-on-one clients?

Layla Pomper (06:57):

Oh, my gosh. Everything ... Everything lives in ClickUp for me. I think there's so many different angles I could take on this. At the beginning, when I was still working with a variety of tools, I used ClickUp as kind of our client portal, client communication method. I know some people use Slack or Trello boards or email and email and email. I was using ClickUp very early and that has its own challenges, because ClickUp isn't always the easiest tool for guests. I was using ClickUp to just manage the whole service process. So we'd have dashboards to manage the project, we'd be chatting directly through ClickUp and basically, the boundary that was set pretty early on is that I'm terrible at email, please use ClickUp.

Layla Pomper (07:38):

So I was amazed by when I really clearly articulated that boundary client started using ClickUp and they found that wow, it's so much faster to be able to chat and send video clips back and forth and now that's the main way I manage our projects between meetings and sessions, and also handling support is all through that ClickUp chat.

Susan Boles (07:59):

So talk to me a little bit more about how you got people to buy into that. So you set these really firm boundaries. Did you do training for them as they came on board? What did the process look like to transition folks and their primary discussions from email and meetings into ClickUp because I think this is a piece that a lot of folks don't necessarily think about using their project management tool in that way. And it's one of my very favorite uses of the project management tool, especially if you are working remotely, to be able to have the whole conversation in one place. That makes sense to people with teams, but I think sometimes it does not make sense to people working with clients that way. So can you talk to me a little bit about how you evolved into that?

Layla Pomper (08:52):

It's been an interesting journey. So at first, it was very much just reminding them and reminding them and reminding them, sheer force of will is what got people out of my inbox and out of even phone calls at times, where people just really needed to be trained. How I got them comfortable using ClickUp, I'm fortunate in that ClickUp training is now a big part of what I do. So I was kind of ... I kind of had some skills in this area, but at first, the way I handled it was a video tour, which I'm sure you're familiar with. The idea of a loose talk through of here's where you go for this and here's where you go for that. At first, I was giving people very simplified areas.

Layla Pomper (09:30):

They were guests in my ClickUp account with very simplistic views. They saw one list, one dashboard, and that's it. In that dashboard area, we also had some collective resources that all clients had access to. So it really was this almost course-like, vault of resources and then your own private work area. The way I got people to actually use it was persistence, I think. We would message through the chat in there. I'd even be sending tips on how to use ClickUp throughout our project.

Layla Pomper (09:59):

So naturally after doing that for a while, it made sense to start specializing in the actual setup of ClickUp as the project because we were doing so much ClickUp training anyway. I guess to better answer your actual question about the digital collaboration piece, we're just wrapping up now a larger project with a larger team. The way that project is running is that we have sessions every other week to work on different things that need to be discussed in person, but between the sessions, all of the work all of the iteration, all of the tailoring of pieces of the ClickUp puzzle, because as you know, it's very personal to one person.

Layla Pomper (10:32):

Each person can see something different and we're doing that entirely through the chat and collaboration features. When we first ... When I announced that at one of the first sessions, I said, "All right, guys, we'll be seeing you in two weeks, but between now and then," the whole spiel. Someone actually ... The tech person spoke up and said, "I don't know if we can do that. I think we might need to schedule a meeting for next week, because I don't know if we can handle just chatting about this." I said, "Oh, just you wait and see." I won him over eventually, but I think that just doing it helps people see oh, wow, sending video clips and sending chat, that does work. That is communication. It's just different than what we might be used to.

Susan Boles (11:12):

I think it is a way of communicating that if you can embrace it, can really be very powerful in a remote environment where you're trying to make things happen asynchronously. Maybe you're in different time zones, stuff is happening, your team is all working at different times. I've just seen it be such a game changer for internal and external communication. So I love that that's just a big part of your one-on-one services.

Layla Pomper (11:40):

I would add to that, sometimes moving to async is really helped by using something like ClickUp because I've had a lot of teams who are meeting crazy and then they go to work remote because of COVID or something else and getting them into like a ClickUp dashboard where people each post their update every week into a chat widget that they all share with a shared template that basically mirrors a scrum template. All of a sudden, we're making this kind of ... We're replacing the need for a 30 minute Scrum by having a chat widget. It's just ... It's really convenient for the teams, like you said that are working in different time zones, or have life going on. We don't want to be on the Zoom calls-

Susan Boles (12:16):

[crosstalk 00:12:16]. I don't know what you're talking about.

Layla Pomper (12:16):

I know, right? You have no idea.

Susan Boles (12:19):

No, I love that. So we've done marketing one on one and now you're creating this whole community group learning experience around helping folks use ClickUp. So how did that evolve, and how are you actually using ClickUp there?

Layla Pomper (12:36):

So I think it's a natural progression of where I went with YouTube. So a year ago, I was exclusively doing one-on-one services. There was no diversification at all at ProcessDriven and I started putting things on YouTube because I was like, well, if I post it on YouTube, I can send the link to future clients and not have to ... I wasn't worried about SEO, any of that. Just I don't want to answer these questions again. After doing that for a while, YouTube's channel started to pick up and I got a lot of emails coming in from people who just wanted almost like a ... Just a roadmap for how to navigate the YouTube videos.

Layla Pomper (13:11):

So I made a playlist but they wanted more than that, because they were like, well, I'm just ... This particular problem is what I'm trying to solve. It's about collaborations, and you hear enough of those things and you see the lines connecting them. Eventually I realized, if I really want to put more energy behind this, I can't exclusively do this in the evenings after my one-on-one client work. So I started thinking about how to make it more of an actual content offer and the community came up because I realized that the best way to learn ClickUp is by using it and asking questions.

Layla Pomper (13:43):

It's, as you've probably experienced, it's a really iterative process. It's really curiosity driven, and that's at least how I implemented even. It's not like we're going to set it up correctly, and you'll never touch it again. It's you learn by seeing other people doing. It's like, oh, that's cool. I'm going to steal that little piece and change a little whatever. So I really wanted to have something where people were interacting, not just with me, but they also had a roadmap or a path that they could follow so they didn't feel like they were just going down the YouTube rabbit holes. So clicking up, it started and the name clicking up is kind of speaking to that whole iteration like ClickUp is a verb. I'm not as good at naming as you are Susan, so I couldn't be that creative.

Susan Boles (14:23):

I'm awful at naming. I hate naming things.

Layla Pomper (14:25):

I totally disagree.

Susan Boles (14:28):

Oh, it's always such a ... Just such a horrible internal process where you're just like, I don't ... I have no idea what to do with this thing. So I think you are perfect at naming things.

Layla Pomper (14:40):

Ing. That was as creative as I could get. So I was like, I'm going to [jar in 00:14:45] this baby and that's what ... I actually just released it. It just went live yesterday, after pre selling and all that. We had a whole waitlist to kind of prove it was a good idea. Pre sell to make sure again, people were interested and then it just went live yesterday. So I'm kind of ... At the time of filming here, I'm just really excited. People are now just getting into it. I'm getting the feedback and it's an exciting ... It's exciting week.

Susan Boles (15:10):

I think it's super cool. So we've done client stuff, marketing, and you're also using ClickUp internally as the main hub of ProcessDriven operations, your operations. So talk to me a little bit about how you use ProcessDriven to manage internal operations, manage your team, manager own stuff.

Layla Pomper (15:33):

So actually, I should back up first to answer ... I realized I never answered your last question. I actually originally was going to launch clicking up using ClickUp as the delivery platform and I just want to clarify the fact that I ended up ... I tried it and it was so crazy collaborative that I was like, this is never going to work. Actually, my one-on-one services for a time actually had a course-like framework as the back end support of the one-on-one service. It was just so crazy. So we ended up moving away from it into MemberVault, just to give you the tech stack on that one.

Susan Boles (16:04):

So interesting, because I also thought about running my group program inside ClickUp. I was just like, I can't [crosstalk 00:16:14]. I needed a structure from the curriculum and that it needed to be a little ... I don't even like saying less collaborative, but it needed to be a little bit less collaborative, a little bit more structured-

Layla Pomper (16:28):

I love junky sites but that was too junky.

Susan Boles (16:32):

Exactly. You also I think may have won me over on MemberVault. I've been going back and forth on course platforms and I think-

Layla Pomper (16:42):

I love them [crosstalk 00:16:44]. MemberVault has impressed me so much in the actual team and the community. Their Facebook group is ... It is powered on. It is absolutely ... The platform itself, not the most beautiful, but I really liked it because it had a one-click login link that you could create. So people didn't need to remember a password and email and that link could then be embedded into ClickUp. So bringing it all back?

Susan Boles (17:09):

Interesting. I think I've been going back and forth and I just like the functionality and the flexibility of how you can interact with the people in your courses and I think that is really unusual. Most of the course platforms are like, you can load this resource, and then they have to move through the course, this way. I like that MemberVault is really flexible in how you can interact with the people going through your courses to make it more interactive.

Layla Pomper (17:41):

It's really nice and I'm sorry. I completely derailed from your actual question.

Susan Boles (17:45):

We're talking about no-code. This is ... It's a no-code platform that we're using that actually I think very few people are talking about, because it's kind of new.

Layla Pomper (17:56):

It is.

Susan Boles (17:56):

And it's a little bit of a dark horse in the course platform community.

Layla Pomper (18:02):

It doesn't seem to have a lot of funding behind it. So there just seemed to be quieter, but once you're plugged in, it's like, oh, wow. How did I Not know? It feels like a mom and pop course platform. I don't even know if that ... I didn't know that that was a possible thing, but it's a thing.

Susan Boles (18:15):

It's a thing.

Layla Pomper (18:18):

So your actual question was what?

Susan Boles (18:20):

Was talking about how you're using ClickUp internally, as your main hub of internal operations.

Layla Pomper (18:28):

So every single thing that needs to be done in my business lives in ClickUp. ClickUp, I know we've talked about before, I think back in the last episode, where I was on with Marie is like, ClickUp is the place where process can live it. One of the catchphrases or ways I explain what I do is that I help people turn ClickUp into their business instruction manual. I would say that for myself, that's very much what's happening in ClickUp. It's where we're doing our weekly scrums, or our meetings. It's where we're keeping track of all of our processes, but most importantly, every single task that's in there, whether it's one time or recurring, it has a process attached to it and if it doesn't have a process, it has a task saying create the process for it.

Layla Pomper (19:09):

That is my ... I know no one likes documentation, but it's one of my absolute favorite things to do. So I know it sounds weird, but this morning, I was just working on documenting the process for these email reminders that we have going out for office hours that happened in clicking up and I was like, documenting the process of doing it. I was just like, this is so great and I just attached that SOP onto the task, make it recur, and then I can delegate it. That's really ... That's what ClickUp is to me and I think that's the best use case for ClickUp.

Susan Boles (19:37):

I love that. Is it worth it? Every small-business owner wants to know that the money they spend on their businesses is worth it, that their investments produce results and help them grow. But if you don't know your business finances in an app, it's hard to know whether those expenses and investments are really worth it. Plenty of business owners, even the successful ones, feel like they're shooting in the dark when it comes to how they spend, save, and invest their money. Like you, they wonder if the ads they're buying, the software they're investing in, or the people they're paying are really paying off, and that's stressful.

Susan Boles (20:21):

Feeling unsure about how you're spending or investing your money might be common, but it sure isn't fun. I want something different for you. I want you to feel confident that every decision you make is guided by your financial intel. I want you to be able to decide what actions to take to grow your business, from a place of confidence and purpose, not panic so that you can feel masterful at managing your money instead of inept or just plain scared. I want you to know exactly what's working. So you can go all in and make your money make more money.

Susan Boles (20:56):

This is what I do for business owners when I step in as their chief financial officer on demand. I help them parse the numbers, look for opportunities and invest where it counts. We get clear on where they're getting in their own way, and where the math just doesn't add up. And now I want to teach you to do the same for your own business because trust me, you can. Join me for Think Like a CFO. It's a four-month accelerator, online workshop and small-group coaching program, where I'll work alongside you so you can start thinking like a CFO, and know that every penny you spend on your business is worth it.

Susan Boles (21:33):

You'll dig into your relationship to money, put your financial data at your fingertips, and build systems of cash flow, taxes and budgeting. I'll help you integrate your financial knowledge into your operational systems and technology so that your whole business works better and by the end, you'll feel wildly capable with your money. Think Like a CFO is starting soon. So go to scalespark.co/CFO to get all the information and sign up. I can't wait to work with you.

Susan Boles (22:06):

So talk to me a little bit about the impact that going all in on this one no-code tool has had on your business. You're using it in so many different ways, but you really committed to say this is a tool. It's very flexible. I can use it in a lot of different ways. How many different ways can I figure out how to use this and how can I go all in? So talk to me a little bit about the impact that's had on your business.

Layla Pomper (22:34):

I think the reason I went all in, and I was resistant to it for years. I was using ClickUp internally, but I didn't want to be like the ClickUp person. The reason I went all in was more so, not even from an operations perspective, but just as an efficiency thing. I was keeping up on so many tools and as you probably know, those rabbit holes are deep and wide and-

Susan Boles (22:57):

And time consuming.

Layla Pomper (22:59):

Oh my gosh, so time consuming. I just found that if I could just dig into one, my ... I'm trying to remember the phrase. There's a TED talk, okay, sidetrack. There is a TED talk that I heard on the radio at some point and it was talking about this woman who invents useless things. Maybe you've seen her YouTube channel. I wish I knew her name. Oh, it's so fun. Another YouTube rabbit hole to go down, but she opens up her talk by saying something along the lines of the best way to become the master in your field is to pick a very, very small field.

Layla Pomper (23:33):

So I took that approach to when it came to process consulting. I figured if I could really narrow in on a certain type of vehicle, it would be a lot easier to master it, which is kind of just common sense and surely enough, it has been. I would say that the narrowing really helped the most from a marketing and positioning perspective. Because before that, I felt very general, but when you think about ClickUp in process or ClickUp in business instruction manual, we've narrowed it down so far that usually the people who come to me have a very clear idea of what I do, which was the biggest challenge for the first three ish years.

Susan Boles (24:07):

Yeah, we've talked a little bit behind the scenes about how difficult it is for folks who do systems to translate that to something that not system people understand who's the right choice at a specific point. So all of us internally who do very similar things that are actually not at all the same thing, seem very similar to people who are not in our brains.

Layla Pomper (24:35):

Oh, my gosh, and it's so hard because, I bet a lot of systems people could do ClickUp stuff. I'm sure I could set up MemberVault, who knows? But it's just trying to ... That position question. It's separating capabilities from competencies and trying to really just own your area.

Susan Boles (24:53):

Yeah, and with a platform like ClickUp, where they're iterating so quickly, and there's so many new features coming out every week and trying to stay up to date just on that one platform is a lot, much less trying to figure out all the different ways you could harness what they've just released. Because every time they come out with something, I'm like, ah, I can think of 10 different ways I could use this. How am I going to practice all of those things and figure out if that might work there or over here? I can see where being really specific about the software that you are implementing and using and the ways that you're executing can be efficient internally, and also a really solid marketing position. Because you're now the ClickUp person. I'm like, hey, I need to learn ClickUp, you need to go talk to Layla, because she's your person.

Layla Pomper (25:42):

Well, I'm so happy to hear that. It was like one of those weird things, because I was very lucky in that my timing lined up with ClickUp getting a round of investing, which you probably ... Or investment, as you probably saw, and just things are moving in my favor. I was like, oh, my gosh, I went from kind of no name systems person to small-name systems person in very short order, thanks to just the way that the [crosstalk 00:26:08]. Yeah, exactly.

Susan Boles (26:09):

Well, and their ability to share templates was a very ... That was really a game changer, I think. Because if you can't ... One of the things that was always frustrating for me, as I do ClickUp implementations is, how do I take all of the stuff that I've built, and not have to then go rebuild it other places, and being able to share that with people that when they ask a question, and they're like, oh, how do you do this? You could just be like, oh, well, here, you can just have my ... Just have my template.

Layla Pomper (26:38):

So true.

Susan Boles (26:39):

It's easier than me explaining it to you. Just, here you go. I think until they got to that point, I think that was really a challenge.

Layla Pomper (26:49):

I think what's sometimes hard about that, though, which is like the flip side of public templates is people overemphasize the importance of the templates or the structure in general. We were talking about right before this, how your structure is really sophisticated, and all this stuff and trying to explain it took a while to talk through and give the tour of the logic behind it. I think one of the big things I've been emphasizing in clicking up, which I didn't realize was such a central belief for me, but when you start making a course, you become very self aware of your own approach. You know all too well what I mean.

Layla Pomper (27:22):

Well, I was really realizing that one of my cornerstones is the fact that people freak out about the importance of structure, when really, it's the strategy, which we've talked about before. Your process and your strategy, which is way outside of the technology that actually matters. It does not matter that much. What your list is, and what your folder is, and what your status is. We get so hung up on these things, but it's really ... It adds like 20% of the value and the other 80% is just knowing what the heck you're doing to begin with.

Susan Boles (27:49):

I always liked as templates as a place to start or a place to see how somebody else's brain works. Before we got on this call, we were talking about me trying to explain my ClickUp to a new team member and the fact that I don't actually have anybody inside my ClickUp really other than my podcast producer up to this point. So it really is an extension of how my brain works and that changes. Because there's nobody else in my ClickUp, I don't have any constraints on changing how my brain works. If they release a new feature, I can completely change how everything's organized in there, so that it matches how my brain thinks about things and how I want to plan out my strategy or my tasks, because it doesn't impact anything.

Susan Boles (28:33):

I think that's a really different way of using it than I would have to if I had regular team members that needed a more consistent structure. I think there's a lot of interplay between the strategy that goes into a consensus model where everybody has to agree to how it's structured versus, in my brain when I'm like, I want to plan out something new, or I've got a new project, and I'm going to just reorder how everything happens. Or a couple of weeks ago, I went in and added emojis to everything so that the visual representation showed up differently. Trying explain that to someone is really ... I sent her a 17-minute Loom video and I was like, "I'm sorry, this is so long."

Layla Pomper (29:21):

That's so ... I think that's just what a great way of putting it because I never realized that until you said this, but when we're building a ClickUp for a team, that's the hardest thing, is because oftentimes the business owner is championing it or maybe it's the IT director but most often it's the business owner with my size client. There's such a force of will that that person brings in because they're used to designing the entire business. That ... Until you said that, I don't know if I would have been able to articulate it this way, but we almost need to shake up the power structure and make it a consensus build out and oftentimes-

Susan Boles (29:54):

It does.

Layla Pomper (29:56):

That's just interesting. It's one of those things that which is what makes project management tools, I would argue the hardest type of tool to set up.

Susan Boles (30:03):

Absolutely. 100%. It is the hardest type of tool, especially on something flexible, like ClickUp or Notion where there's not necessarily a real ... Yes, there's a structure, but the way the structure is set up, you can use it in a million different ways. I think trying to figure out the best strategy to even start can sometimes really be the hurdle that keeps people from getting it set up. I think that that's the cool part about no-code tools, but also kind of the intimidating factor is because so much of it is in the strategy.

Susan Boles (30:40):

I always think it's interesting that when people are like, "Oh, you use ClickUp, can I see your ClickUp?" I'm like, "Yeah, but also, it's not at all the way that I would think that you should set your..." like, yes, I'll show you but it is in no way, the way that you should be using ClickUp or setting this up, if you have ... You business owner with team of five, you might get some stuff out of how I'm using it and cool things that I've decided to implement, but that's going to be really different than how I implement ClickUp for clients or how Joe Schmoe down the street should implement ClickUp for his business.

Layla Pomper (31:19):

Absolutely. It's funny, even if you're working with the same type of client, I know, there's a lot of ClickUp specialists that are specializing in an industry right now, and they have a way that they set it up. Like more or less a space template, this is how your client should be organized. I find that so challenging, because even in the same industry, a similar-sized business, depending on your strategy, and how ... What you're trying to manage within ClickUp or maybe collecting ... It's like the difference between automating actions and automating instructions, but depending on what you're putting in ClickUp, it's going to look entirely different. I think I've built-

Susan Boles (31:53):

Yeah, like your values and how your team thinks and how you work with your team, even if you're in this ... I worked with agencies. That's a pretty specific niche and also, every single one is very different.

Layla Pomper (32:07):

Absolutely. It sounds like we're over complicating it, like how the person who makes bread is like, there's so much to the science of it and the rest of us are like, I just like bread. I'm sure there's people listening who are like, yeah, yeah, yeah, it's just a test tool but it really ... I mean, you'll notice it as you start using it. If you peek inside someone else in your industry or a peer, that's what's so fun about the community is you can-

Susan Boles (32:26):

You get to literally ... You pick at people's brains. That's ... You are seeing how people's brains work [crosstalk 00:32:33]. You see exactly how my brain is thinking and what I care about right now and what projects are overlapping and how my brain works. Like, I like having emojis that mean things, and colors that mean things.

Layla Pomper (32:48):

Yeah, just the difference between a list and a task. How spread out do you like to think about things? That says a lot about the person, which I know, clients hate when I say that, but I'm like, "There's two ways to do it," and they're like, "Just tell me which one?" So eventually, I will-

Susan Boles (33:01):

"Tell me what the best practice is?" That is maybe my least favorite question, but also, the most common question is, just tell me what the best practice is and we'll just do that? My answer is always like, "Well, there isn't." That's the point is that there isn't a best practice and that it can be really flexible, and really customized you how you get it. I've also been ... For me, I've been customizing ClickUp for two years. It didn't start out that way. It started out as a list of things that I had to do.

Layla Pomper (33:37):

Which is where I think everyone just needs to start. Just use it as a nice to-do list and then everything kind of ... I know it's a very woo-woo way of going but just it organically follows from there. You go-

Susan Boles (33:46):

It does. It evolves.

Layla Pomper (33:48):

I had a few ... I received consults that come in and whenever people say, I want to set it up right the first time, I understand why they say that, but it's such a red flag for me. I'm an iteration shop here. That's how you're going to end up liking what you get. It's so hard to see people who-

Susan Boles (34:05):

I'm the same where I'm like, yes. So now I come from a background of data. So I come at it from a different perspective, where I'm like, the data behind the scenes needs to be organized the, "right way" to be able to answer the questions that you want to answer. So when I'm doing financial data stuff, I come to people's finances from a very different place than most accountants, because I'm saying, cool, how can we organize this to answer the questions we need it to answer.

Susan Boles (34:36):

In that sense, yeah, you totally need to be thinking about that when you are setting up your data structure so that you can report on it in a way that makes sense. That part of the setup, I'm like yeah, you totally need to set it up the right way. Because if you don't collect data, or you don't think about the data, and think about how you want to use the data on the ... Six months from now, when you want to answer the question about, did this thing work, or where are my clients coming from, you have to have set up the data structure to be able to answer those questions.

Susan Boles (35:11):

But like you I'm very iterative. So like, we'll come up with that, and start the structure the right way but also, when I give you data, and you start having reports, all that does is prompt more questions that we then go add more data collection to answer more, but like it is an evolution. It always ends up being like ... I've been doing business intelligence stuff for almost 20 years now. It always works that way. I give you a little bit of data, and it prompts questions about, now what about this? So it's just ... It's always evolving and I feel you. Sorry, I went on a data rant.

Layla Pomper (35:51):

Oh, no, it's so true, though. Because I think that's been my big ... Again, I think you said it so much better than I could, but just the idea of going into the expectation that the first draft is not going to be perfect. I think there's a false assumption that ClickUp is like web design, where it's like, I just want it to be beautiful and I can just hand it to somebody, and it will come back beautiful and I'll get more clients because of it, but that's not how it works. Because-

Susan Boles (36:13):

I mean, that's not how web design works, either.

Layla Pomper (36:15):

That's true. I guess there's iteration to that as well, but I like to think that web design, you could outsource it, and it doesn't really involve as much of your brain as theirs ... Maybe I'm oversimplifying web design, but you know what I'm saying where ClickUp is like getting your brain out of your brain for maybe the first time versus web design is like more outside of yourself.

Susan Boles (36:34):

There is an emotional side for business owners that are doing it this first time, where it's the first time they've really had to. When you are implementing a project management tool, which is why I think it's probably one of the hardest ones to set up is that this is the first time where you have had to try and explain to somebody how your brain works and that is a really difficult process. Like to get outside of your brain to observe what your decision making process is, and then be able to not just observe it, but explain that to somebody in a way that they understand it, and that other people can then use your decisions, use your brain, man, that ... There's a lot of emotion is tied to that for business owners.

Layla Pomper (37:24):

Oh my gosh. I feel like two tools that have helped, just in case anyone's listening is also in the same industry, as doing this kind of work. Two things that have helped me on that front, is one process mapping as an art not a science. I know ... I think you also do a little bit of this, like just kind of building out the structure of things visually. Oh, my gosh, I could not,

Susan Boles (37:42):

I can't. It has to be a mind-mappy kind of thing. I can't do system design where people are like, "Oh, just list this thing and list this thing." I'm like, "No, I have to see. I have to see the connections."

Layla Pomper (37:56):

Absolutely. That is ... I use that for business workflows, but also just the things that they're keeping track of. Like each process before it goes into ClickUp, it is a map because otherwise ... It's funny. I have them create the map as prep work a lot of the time and we'll come together to talk through it and each time I have questions like, you just jump from this step to this step and they're like, "Oh, yeah, I forgot. We do these 15 things in between them."

Susan Boles (38:17):

Because you get so used to following the same path. Because even if you don't have a process, you do. No matter what, there's something in your brain that says, here's the next thing that I do, but trying to observe that is such a challenge and it does take somebody else going, "Well, that doesn't make any sense, "for you to be like, "Oh, you're right. Yeah, it doesn't. There's other stuff happening there."

Layla Pomper (38:45):

Yeah, absolutely. I think that's one of the biggest reasons I've moved away from doing quick implementations of things because it takes that time and repetition. I was actually going to say that that's the really ... The second thing that's helped cement this kind of iterative approach is in my project plans even, which we usually use ClickUp, go figure, to manage the project steps, I list out that this is when we're going to do the first draft. I treat it more like a creative asset where we have got draft one, revision one, draft two, that kind of thing.

Susan Boles (39:16):

I love that approach.

Layla Pomper (39:17):

I think that helps ... Yeah, it changes the mindset from thinking that this is like a custom development that's going to be right the first time to, oh, this is a process. Go figure.

Susan Boles (39:28):

Yeah, I love that approach. Because to me, and I think we approach this very similarly. There is an art to this. This is the way we are creative is with systems and system design and process design. A lot of people don't think about it that way, but it's an art. So I love the idea of really leaning into that and just saying that this is a draft. This is art that we are creating together through this process.

Layla Pomper (39:59):

It sounds so hippy-dippy, but I watch a lot of-

Susan Boles (40:01):

It's not wrong.

Layla Pomper (40:03):

It's so collaborative and I think that ties into the human element, which is probably the hardest part of all this and why project management's so hard is that external brain, but you've got all of these humans who you have to keep on the same page, you have to help them feel like their voice is being heard in the Leviathan that you're building, and I think framing it as a creative, collaborative, artistic thing, that's just ... That's the part that I love, but also the part that I think a lot of folks when they're looking from the outside of the work that you and I do, like systems folks seem dry and tactical and yes, no binaries, when really, it's this creative endeavor.

Susan Boles (40:39):

Yes, absolutely. So is there anything you think we should talk about that we haven't touched on yet? We could talk about ClickUp for weeks at a time.

Layla Pomper (40:50):

Days. Weeks. I'm trying to think. I guess some ... I guess the biggest things that I've been pondering for myself lately is thinking about the imperfections of no-code. I think we glorify no-code as like, wow, it's so much easier. It's so much more accessible, but with it, we are so limited, in some ways, by the choices of developers that we can't really have access to. I think that's been something that I've been running into, especially with larger teams who are going through implementations. They're like, "Why doesn't this work?" I'm like, "Well, it's just not an option that's available in the drop down." That kind of stuff.

Susan Boles (41:30):

Yes, I have ... I love that perspective. Right before we were talking about how I really want to use the integrations to be able to customize custom fields in ClickUp to be able to enter data in there and it's just ... It's not an option that exists in Zapier yet. A lot of these things, if you're patient enough, maybe it'll come, but there is that inherent limitation of the choices that people are making that aren't using the software the same way you are, or aren't trying to use the software the same way you are. I think we talked about this in the last episode about how ClickUp is great and also, it's not designed for service businesses, necessarily, because the people that are developing it are developing it and thinking like a software company.

Susan Boles (42:20):

So they think in sprints. So the sprint feature was one that they were really excited about and one getting the ... What is it? The GitHub integration to make their work easier and they are going to prioritize design and development choices that make their work easier, not necessarily thinking about how you as an individual want to use the software, and it'll probably come eventually, but it's not a priority for them.

Layla Pomper (42:51):

So true, and that's what's hard about no-code that is general and not niched down by industry is because we have that. If there's no nation by industry, I think across the board, you pretty much see everything specializing to serve the company that's creating it. So whatever that story is, whether it's, they're a web designer who started this web design SaaS tool, well, everything is tailored with that bias.

Layla Pomper (43:13):

If you look at like ClickUp's team, I do a lot of stalking of ClickUp just to keep up on what's happening. The team that they have, the team members even that are coming into the product team, they've got ... They've been working at SaaS companies their entire careers. So what is that going to ... What perspective is that going to bring to waiting which issues get chosen? That's going to play an important role. I think we can be loud and outspoken and ClickUp particularly does a nice job with their canny board to allow you to vote on features. I think that loss of control can be really hard adjustments, kind of like the Android versus iPhone thing, not being able to change the SD card or whatever it might be.

Layla Pomper (43:53):

ClickUp and no-code tools in general, you're kind of ... It's a closed box in some ways that give you limited functionality in the certain use cases that we can build and expand on by being creative, but it's a different kind of creativity than creating something from scratch. I think that's something hard for people to adjust to, especially if they're used to having things custom developed for them in a coded environment.

Susan Boles (44:17):

Absolutely. There's a real trade-off there. You're paying a lot less to access really functional software. You don't have to pay to do the custom development, but you are limited by choices that people who are not you are making about what you can do. It is so interesting to watch the biases, and it's one of the reasons that when I talk about how I evaluate software, I evaluate whether or not a software tool has a public roadmap, or do they allow their users to vote on features and talk about how they're using it and are they responsive to that and is their customer service responsive? Because a lot of that has to ... It has a big impact on how you can interact with that tool and how much you like the tool, how much your users like the tool. I think a lot of that has to do with those constraints and being able to operate within them or be patient enough for them to develop whatever it is that you need.

Layla Pomper (45:16):

Yeah, especially if you're among the minority in terms of who ... If you're the only roofer using ClickUp, you're probably going to be screaming or working at an uphill battle to try to get the mobile app improved. It's just hoping there's a big enough demographic that's pushing for the change that you're looking for to make the folks in the development wing able to hear you, which probably ties in a lot to some of the broader conversations we're having about big tech right now.

Susan Boles (45:43):

For sure.

Layla Pomper (45:45):

Just that little nugget there.

Susan Boles (45:48):

I think that's a perfect place to wrap up. So where can our listeners find you if they want to connect or learn more about what you do or about ClickUp?

Layla Pomper (45:56):

Or about ClickUp. The best place to find me is probably on YouTube. So you can look up my name, Layla Pomper on YouTube, and you will see a ton of YouTube tutorials. I also have a Facebook group if you're more of a Facebooker, and my website is processdriven.co. So you can find all that stuff probably on that website, and it'll take you to the right spot.

Susan Boles (46:15):

Awesome. Thanks so much for being here, Layla. I always love it when we get to just geek out especially about something that we both love so much.

Layla Pomper (46:24):

Likewise, Susan. Thanks so much for having me.

Susan Boles (46:27):

Over the course of this series on no-code software tools, we've covered a lot of different ways you could conceivably use these tools to make your business better. You can use them to streamline your workflow, enhance your client communication and build that relationship. You can use them to help your students learn more effectively. Building no-code products or resources can diversify your income. You can even use them as marketing tools, as operations manuals and as the foundation of your business operations. No-code software tools make it easier and cheaper than it's ever been to run a really effective, lean, profitable business.

Susan Boles (47:05):

It's the way Layla and I both run pretty big businesses, with pretty small teams and at a low cost. If there was one thing I had to point to in companies that routinely punch above their weight when it comes to revenue versus expenses, it's that they're really effectively using their resources and most often that comes from understanding and harnessing technology like no-code tools effectively.

Susan Boles (47:29):

Next week, we're kicking off a theme talking all about managing change, personally and professionally and with your team. So hit subscribe in your favorite podcast player so you don't miss it. Break the Ceiling is produced by Yellow House Media. Our executive producer is Sean McMillan, production coordinator is Lou Blaser. This episode is edited by Marty Seefeldt, with production assistance by Kristen Runvik.


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