BLG 220 | Simpletivity

Are you productive or simply just busy? Sometimes, many people interchange being productive with business when, in fact, there is a huge difference between the two. Joining Paul Higgins in this episode is the “busyness killer,” Scott Friesen, the founder of Simpletivity training and consulting, to share with us how he keeps himself productive but not too busy. He takes us throughout his personal journey of transforming the busy corporate life and finding the time to start his own YouTube channel. Scott also shares the essential tech needed to kill busyness, the value of automation combined with a virtual assistant, and the tips and tricks to find out whether you need a VA. Tag along in this great discussion that sheds a different light on being productive minus the stress of our day to day working lives.

Listen to the podcast here:

Simpletivity: Killing Busyness, Becoming More Productive With Scott Friesen

Build Live Give. Mentoring With Paul Higgins.

Our guest is someone who was a preschool teacher, who changed to corporate to have enough energy left at the end of the day for their three children. He started tinkering with YouTube on the side of their corporate role and was thrust into it full-time due to an unexpected layoff. They were consistent for eighteen months with creating content on giving more time and less stress. It is hugely paid off as they now have 140,000 subscribers and 254 videos on their YouTube channel. The most important action is to start your own YouTube channel. There’s gold there. The essential tech needed to kill busyness. The third thing is the value of automation combined with a virtual assistant. We have a good discussion on whether you need a Virtual Assistant, a VA or not. They have given a free guide mentioned in the interview. Now over to Scott Friesen from Simpletivity.com.

Welcome, Scott Friesen from Simpletivity.com to the show. I’ve been very excited to get you on the show, Scott. Thanks for being here.
Thanks for having me, Paul. I’m excited to be here on the show.
I must admit I’ve been a bit of a fan person of your YouTube videos. If I ever want to know a little bit more around a key piece of software or tech, I go to you. We’ll dig into that more in a moment. Why don’t we kick off with something your family or friends would know about you that we might not?
I would have to resort to a previous profession. In my earlier days, I was a preschool teacher. I worked in daycares. I worked with young children. That’s maybe where I got my start with honing in on keeping things simple, keeping my instructions simple, keeping my direction simple, and the activities like all the finger paint and singalongs. People closest to me know that about me, but not a lot of people realize that I spent almost seven years in the world of 3 to 5-year-olds.
Coaching my son’s soccer team or my daughter’s netball team around that age was always very challenging, but it was an hour. It may be an hour a day or two hours a week, but to do it full-time, I take my hat off to you. Why the change? Why did you choose to leave that and go into corporate?
The biggest change for me is that I was about to start my own family. My wife and I, we had our first son. A few months after that, I thought, “This family is only going to grow on my end.” One of the things that worried me is that I was going to get to a point where I was going to come home from work and possibly be too tired for my own kids. I didn’t want to have to look into my own three-year-old’s eyes and say, “I’ve been giving piggyback rides to all these other guys and girls. Give me an hour. Let me recuperate,” or something like that. I loved working among the kids and the other care professionals. Starting my own family is what led me to make a change.
What was that change? What did you go into?
If you truly feel that you're doing the right thing, you will see those results down the line. Click To Tweet
I decided to go back to school, first of all. I went back and got my business degree. That’s where I started focusing on information systems, technology, IT and software development. That led me to a new career working for a global software company, working closely with software engineers and product development. I was able to grasp that passion that I always had with technology and computers but be able to do that on a daily basis.
You did that for almost eight years. What brought about the change to leave a good stable job in an industry that you love to go out on your own?
Before leaving that corporate world and branching out on my own, I made a small change within the organization. The first 4 or 5 years, I was in product development. I recognized that I loved showing off the products and teaching others how to use the various products and the software that we were developing. My last couple of years, I transitioned into our talent development teams and not teaching others necessarily about software. It’s a lot more focused on soft skills, whether that be communication. Things like time management and productivity, which I was already passionate about. That opened up another whole new world to me of training, workshops and delivering webinars. That’s what got me thinking about making that leap on my own, particularly within that realm of personal productivity and time management in which I was so focused on at the time.
The funny story with me is that I felt this itch but I wasn’t sure if the timing was right. I wasn’t sure if I should make a change. Should I be looking for a new job? Should I be trying something on my own? I didn’t know what that next step was going to be. What I decided to do in the meantime before I either made up my mind or something shouted out to me what I should be doing next, I decided to make a couple of YouTube videos. I said, “Maybe I need an outlet here. I need some way of sharing some of the knowledge, some of the things that I’m passionate about with others. Maybe that will rejuvenate me. Maybe that will give me a burst of energy back in my day-to-day, in my existing job.”
As it turned out, a few hours after posting my first YouTube video, I got laid off. It wasn’t related. It wasn’t as if someone within my organization had seen the YouTube video and said, “What’s this guy doing? Is he doing this on business hours?” No, trust me. I had looked at the view counts. No one had seen the video. It was about three hours after uploading my first video to YouTube. I got the call from the VP of HR saying, “Scott, you’ve done some great stuff here but we’re sorry to say that we’re going to have to let you go.” The reason why I share that story with you, and I’ve shared that story with many others, is I do believe that was a sign that maybe I should put a little more focus on what I’m doing here or thinking of doing here with these YouTube videos. That’s the birth of Simpletivity and the start of going out on my own.
I feel for anyone that had that call. It was a little different for me where they said, “We’re not going to give you the job that we’ve offered you. We’re going to take it back but we’re not going to make you redundant.” I ended up leaving, but it was a similar thing. My wife was laid off twice while on maternity leave, which is illegal. I worked for the guy that ran the whole division. It was pretty hard to sue and keep my own job. It was a little messy but I feel for you. Was it easier or harder than you expected to leave teaching from product development in corporate HR, and then all of a sudden, you’re your own boss?
I’d have to say a little bit of both. In that first year, maybe a year and a half, it was a lot harder than I had anticipated. A lot of that was around, what am I going to be offering? What value do I bring? There was a lot of experimentation in that first eighteen months, experimenting with services, different products, different things that I could and would offer to others from a consulting perspective. After figuring things out, finding out what worked and what didn’t work, what people liked about my expertise and my background, and maybe what wasn’t as valued as I thought in the first place, things certainly did get a lot easier. I was surprised maybe 2 or 3 years into the journey, transitioning into more of an almost a type of maintenance mode, keeping things churning, keeping things moving, and making sure that I’m doing the right things on either a daily, a weekly or an annual basis, good results will come about. I’m a firm believer that if you keep up with it, if you’re consistent, you may not see those results immediately but if you truly feel that you’re doing the right thing, you will see those results down the line.
That was my attitude when I launched my first podcast. We’re up to 220 episodes or something. I completely agree, whether it’s LinkedIn. We do a lot of work on LinkedIn. It’s the consistency of that. For me, the podcast definitely pay dividends. I know that your YouTube channel has. On supporters, we’ll talk more about Jenny from a personal perspective, your partner that supported you. From a business perspective, do you have any mentors or any key people that have helped you build this fantastic asset that you have?
Some fellow YouTube creators fall into that mix. It’s similar to you when you first branched out and first started doing podcasting, you relied on others and maybe interviewed some other individuals, what worked for them? What should you stay away from? What should you include in your podcast? That’s something that I did as well. I’m reaching out to some people who were already doing it and I’m grateful for the time that they gave me. There are a number of individuals who provide time management training and productivity workshops, etc.

BLG 220 | Simpletivity

Simpletivity: We’re very blessed to be in a world where there’s so much wonderful free content from experts at our fingertips.

There was roughly maybe 4 or 5 in particular who were willing to sit down with me or to spend as little as fifteen minutes on a phone call. They’d tell me a little bit more about their journey and what I could either look forward to or maybe what I should watch out for. At the same time, I would credit a number of my success or the things that I’ve enjoyed during that time to a lot of the great resources out there. Whether those are some of the better books that I was able to read or consume during that time, some of the free resources, free webinars or other YouTube channels that I followed. Maybe I didn’t get an opportunity to speak with the creator themselves, but following their content, taking notes, trying things out. We’re blessed to be in a world where there’s so much wonderful free content from experts at our fingertips. I’m grateful for everyone who contributed as a part of that journey.
Reflecting now, if someone in our audience is going through the journey and they are a few steps behind you and I, what are some of the key things that they need to get right to be successful from your experience?
I touched upon this and you’ll see that this is a regular theme with me, and that is consistency. That is finding out what is either the lifeblood of your business or the core aspects of your business and making sure that those things happen on a regular basis. For myself, YouTube has slowly grown. It wasn’t a key component of my business in the early days, but it has become a much more significant and viable part of it. I often share with people that it took me 60 to almost 70 videos before I got my first 1,000 subscribers. It took me a good 13, 14 months to get that first 1,000 people who were willing to click a button. That’s all they had to do. They didn’t have to put any other effort into it, but it was producing a new video each and every week.
Even if the last week’s video was a bum, even if my view counts were in the dozens at that particular time, just continuing to push through whether it’s a podcast, a blog, a YouTube channel or some other type of content. I’m sure you’ve heard many stories including here on the podcast of people who have got good intentions. They’ve got great big ambitions but 6 or 12 weeks in, things aren’t going as what they expected or what they thought and they give up. With anything worthwhile, you need to go far enough to find out what works and what doesn’t. Often that might take as much as 1 or 2 years to figure that out.
That’s where it’s important to align with how long it will take, especially with your partner and your family around. I say to people that it’s going to take twice as long and you’re going to earn half of what you expect. That’s the advice I always give to people because I got that one wrong. Being successful in corporate, I thought that this is going to be a piece of cake. I realized that it is very different and it does take time. It’s a great learning. We’ll now move on to the Build section. When someone asks you, “Scott, what do you do and how do you add value?” How do you best answer that?
My typical response is that I help people to focus more time on what they want to do or get done and as a result, experience less stress as a part of their workday. I chose the name Simpletivity, which most of you would recognize as a combination of simple and productivity because I truly believe that we are performing at our best when we keep things relatively simple. One of my favorite sayings is that it is easy to make something more difficult or complex than it needs to be. It’s easy to add one more piece of technology to your business or to add one more meeting or one more task. It’s easy to add. We need a little more discipline, not a lot, just a small amount of discipline so that we can focus on those things that are truly most important in our life. Although most of my work is focused on our businesses, our careers and our work life, many of my teachings transcend into our personal lives as well. We want to enjoy the most of our time with our families and our friends on the weekends or the evenings. Whatever other passions that you may have, you want to maximize that time as well. We’re helping people to be as productive as they can but enjoying less stress at the same time.
I’ve gone on a journey of having many apps. I said that I collect technology. I used to have a tech consulting company. We sold that, but it was my living. It’s something that I love to do. I agree that stripping that back at the moment, in these difficult times, it’s a great change to look at. You’re spending more time home with your family. You’re working from home more than you’ve ever had before. It’s about, “What can I strip back?” I’m very much in alignment with what you’ve said. What do you know about trying to find more time to do what you love to do or what you’re good at? What are some things that you know about that others might not?
Something which affects most of us and especially those of us who either run our own business or are entrepreneurs ourselves is that we don’t have a lot of firm boundaries when it comes to our work life. If you’re the one who owns the business or in charge of running the business, you’re often expected to be on call 24/7, to be in the know, and managing that business at all times. Even beyond that, even if you don’t run your own business, many of us have more flexible work hours than ever before. Something like COVID has maybe accelerated how many of us are now working remotely or working from home. I’m a firm believer that you do create some firm boundaries when it comes to your workday, whether that is working from an office, working from home or maybe even just taking a vacation. Doing something as simple as leaving the tablet or your laptop at home.
We are performing at our very best when we keep things relatively simple. Click To Tweet
For myself, I try to keep a cap on how many hours I’m working per day. I finish up in plenty of time so I can enjoy my dinner with my wife and our kids together. I can enjoy the rest of the evening. I encourage my clients and my students to do the same thing. Find a routine that works best for them. We need to find some flexibility. We need to find some ways to be robust as a part of that routine. If you can shut things down or make 5:00 PM a goal to finish things up, work towards that and commit to it and say, “No, this is going to be the last email I take a look at. I’ve got other things that I’m going to enjoy or there are maybe other people in my life who need my time.” They’re deserving of that time and make sure that you keep those boundaries in check.
I’ve got a lot of clients in America. I start my mornings early. In the middle of the day, I have a routine that I never miss. I go for a bike ride, have a good lunch, have a nap, have a sleep for a half an hour plus meditation and then have a cold shower. That’s my middle of the day. It resets then for the afternoon. I’ve found that having a positive constraint. For me, it’s golf. I’m obsessive about sports. At the moment, it’s golf. It used to be cycling. I find that if I’ve got to practice for an hour at 5:00, it’s amazing how you get things done quickly. There’s not someone out looking over our shoulders all the time to say, “How are you using time?” That’s the great benefit of being your own business. You’ve got that freedom, but the downside is that it can overrule you. I agree with that. For you, I know your YouTube channel is successful. If someone’s starting out and they want to look at creating their own channel, and I must admit it’s very daunting, what’s some advice you’ve got on how to start on setting up your own channel?
That’s a question I’ve certainly got more frequently over the years. Two of the things that I like to remind people is one, that YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world. The number one search engine continues to be Google. It’s the parent company. It’s also a part of it. We’ve all recognized this, especially in the last few years, even if you don’t start your search in YouTube, maybe you start it within the Google search bar. More and more often, you are being shown YouTube videos. Those YouTube videos are coming up in the second slot or maybe in the first slot of how to do something.
That leads me to my second point. It’s that the most frequently searched for words within the YouTube search engine is how-to, “How to do this, how to do that, how to start doing this, how to stop doing this.” Whatever your business is, whatever it is that you’re providing, whatever services you’re providing, what are some of the most common how-to questions that you receive? When it comes to a potential client, what are some of the how-to questions that they’re either searching for or that they’re asking you directly? Can you answer that in a relatively efficient manager, but can you answer that in a relatively short video? Can you be succinct and tell them what they need to know, which is going to naturally lead them to explore more of your content or perhaps ultimately get them into your website?
In my early days of the Simpletivity YouTube channel, I had the camera on me and I was talking directly to the lens. My videos were quite short. They were in many ways too short for their own good, roughly around two minutes in length. What I discovered is that didn’t appeal to a lot of individuals and to a wider audience. I was giving fairly high-level advice. It wasn’t that tangible. It wasn’t something that was actionable and maybe it wasn’t that very entertaining either. It wasn’t until several months down the road when I decided to produce a couple of videos where I recorded my computer screen. I would show people how to do some things within tools they were already using like Gmail or Trello or some other popular productivity tools.
I realized that people enjoyed those videos so much more. They were getting some tangible goods out of it. They were getting a solution to their problem. They could follow along in a 5 to 7-minute video. They could do that same thing. They could apply that same filter to their email or they could start managing their to-do lists directly from within their calendar. In summary, my advice would be what are some of those most frequently asked questions that you receive within your industry or among your clients? Could you convert those? Could you use that and produce that video to at the very least begin your channel?
Your videos are fantastic and very professional. I hear a lot of my clients and myself thinking, “A podcast is easy to record, etc., but a video takes time.” Do I have to be at the same quality of Scott as an example, versus getting something out that’s got value, but it’s not of high production value?
Coming back to that key word again is consistency. In my opinion, consistency is more important than quality. You can have the most expensive camera available to you. You can have a $1,000 microphone that you’re using. You can have the perfect lighting. You can have everything set up for this ideal video, but if the content isn’t very good, no one’s going to care that you’ve got these pristine lighting and your shirt looks great. You’ve got this fantastic background behind you. If the content isn’t any good, no one’s going to continue to watch that content. From my own experience, I’ve routinely been surprised that some of my videos, which I don’t think we’re overly polished. I even purposely left in a few mistakes, a few ums and ahs or maybe I didn’t click the wrong box if I was showing them a tutorial. Some of those videos turned out to be some of my most popular videos. I wouldn’t have expected that. I wouldn’t have anticipated that. If you’re showing good quality content, I would say focus less on the production value, focus more on what you’re sharing or what you’re giving the viewer.
How important are thumbnails?

BLG 220 | Simpletivity

Simpletivity: It is easy to make something more difficult or complex than it needs to be.

Thumbnails are very important. I won’t beat around the bush when it comes to thumbnails. I’ve often thought that over the last few years, thumbnails may be more important than even the title itself. A couple of reasons for this. The title you may think is still maybe the most important or at least on par with the thumbnail because it’s text-based data. You want to make sure that you’ve got some keywords in your title. You’ve written the title in such a way that’s intriguing for the viewer. When it comes to a medium like YouTube, it is such a visual medium. It often does come down to the thumbnail. That’s often what we see first even before we see the title.
For many viewers, they don’t even read the title of the video. They’re almost looking exclusively at the thumbnail and the combination of text and images if you do have people or yourself in that thumbnail. I would say that thumbnail design is important. At the same time, I would encourage people to maybe check out many of my own thumbnails, which are relatively simple. They’re fairly straight forward. I often only have a single graphic on the right-hand side of my thumbnail. I have a few key words, maybe as little as 3 or 4 words on the left-hand side. I want to get to the point. I want to show people what that video is about, but I also don’t want to distort things or cloud that image with too much information.
The last part of the Build section, which I’ve been dying to ask you is around your personal tech stack. You serve a lot of solopreneurs and entrepreneurs. What are your go-tos? You said you like to keep things simple and I get that. What are the key things you think an entrepreneur or solopreneur should have as tech enablers in their business?
One of the pieces of technology that I’m most known for at least from a training or a consulting standpoint is Trello. It is key to my business and has continued to grow in popularity among businesses and industries of various sizes. What I love about Trello, at its core, it is a project management system, but it can be used in a variety of different ways. The way that I describe Trello to someone who has never used it before or does not know what it’s all about is that it’s the closest thing in my mind to digitizing the Post-It note experience. Our audience has either done this themselves within their own office or within their own teams, or at the very least, they’ve been part of a training exercise where they put a bunch of Post-It notes on a wall. Each Post-It note maybe represented a task or a problem or a client or something of the like.
You started to group them, started to move them around into functional groups or how you were going to attack this list. Trello allows you to do that in a digital space. You can share it with clients. You can share it with teammates. That’s been a core piece of technology for myself. Another piece of technology, which is much simpler than Trello happens to be an extension to my email client. I use Gmail and I use G Suite for the bulk of my business operations, but there’s an extension which is called Boomerang. It is an extension for both Gmail and for Outlook users. There are a few different things that Boomerang can do for you. My favorite feature of Boomerang is that you can schedule a follow up on an email that you have sent or you are about to send. The scenario that I’ll give you, which we’re all used to or we encounter on a daily basis is that you’re asking someone a question via email.
You need them to get back to you. You want them to get back to you. As soon as you send that email, what do you do? Do you add a label to that email? Do you add a flag? Do you set a reminder for yourself in your calendar? How are you going to manage to remember that you need to check in with that person if they don’t get back to you? If they do get back to you, then what do you do? You have to manually check a flag, select a label, or go back to your calendar and erase that reminder or something along those lines. What Boomerang will allow you to do, you can set the duration. Let’s say I’m asking you, Paul, if we can still meet next week. I’m going to say, “I hope that Paul gets back to me in the next two days.” All I need to do is specify that I want him to get back to me within two days and I send the email.
If you get back to me within that timeframe, that’s great. We’ll continue our conversation or we’ll confirm our meeting, whatever the case may be. However, if two days transpire and I have still not heard from you via email, Boomerang will automatically bring that email back to my inbox, which will let me know, “Paul still hasn’t gotten back to me. Maybe I need to send him another email or maybe I need to pick up the phone.” Boomerang has been a lifesaver in my business. It transformed the way that I follow up with clients and follow up with other individuals when it comes to email.
I’ve used that before. I also use cloudHQ and some of the Gmail extensions that cloudHQ has got. You talk about email Boomerang and I get it. I always ask all my guests whether you have a virtual assistant or not. You answered no, which surprised me a little given it’s one of the best ways to save time and keep things simple for an owner. I’d love to understand a little bit more why you haven’t got a VA at the moment?
You need to be easy on yourself so that you can perform at your very best. Click To Tweet
I did know that this question was going to be coming. First off, at this point in time, I’m on the verge and have already started to do some exploration about bringing in a VA within my operation. That’s where I sit at the moment. Let me share with you a bit of backstory around that. In the first part of my journey, I wanted to make sure that the business was in a solid place or had a firm foundation before bringing on other individuals. Even if it was someone who was going to be spending several hours, maybe not daily, but several hours a week involved with the business itself. There’s perhaps another component as to why I’ve delayed that step or delayed bringing a VA into my operation.
Part of that is because so much of my focus when it comes to technology is helping people with automation and to simplify their technology, simplify their software. There’s a part of me who’s looked at this as a bit of a challenge. How long can I go? How far can I take this as a one-man show or without a VA involved? That’s not going to last forever. That is the truth. That has been part of my challenge as well. I recognize that many of my clients are not yet at that stage of hiring a VA. The solutions that I’m bringing to the table is allowing them to push forward and to reach their business goals without breaking their budget or bringing in additional costs. In summary, I’m still there on the verge. Who knows by the next time that we speak, perhaps there will be a VA within the Simpletivity family.
I’ve got some options for you to consider. A Virtual Assistant or VA is also critical with setting up some of that automation and the technology. I work with a lot of coaches and consultants that say, “I want the outcome, but I don’t want to set it up.” I completely agree. That’s where a VA can be excellent in doing that. Go out and watch Scott’s YouTube video on these particular topics. Go and implement it in my business and then teach me. That’s where a virtual assistant can be powerful. You can find out more about Scott at Simpletivity.com.
Before we go into the Live section, I’d like to show you how to get 3 to 5 new clients a month on LinkedIn by spending 30 minutes a day even if you don’t know where to start and have limited marketing funds. Go to BLGClick.com and watch a prerecorded free masterclass. You’ll learn three key things. The secret formula to ten times your views and being an authority on LinkedIn, the seven killer elements to get 50 likes and 20 comments on every post, and the scripts to get 80% response rates to your LinkedIn messages. For me and a lot of people, there’s nothing worse when you know you can help someone but you hear crickets back from them. On the topic of virtual assistants, there are many things that a virtual assistant can do for you around LinkedIn. If you don’t have one and you want to learn more, go to BuildLiveGive.com/va. Scott, the next section is the Live section. We’ve talked about consistency. We’ve talked about lots of things including piggybacking your children around when you’ve got time at home. What are some of the habits that make you successful?
For me, one of my best habits, something that I’ve adhered to for many years now is starting my day relatively early. In many ways, I have to credit my children for making that change in my life. Many years ago, I was living in a part of Vancouver, which had a very high concentration of crows. I’m certainly not an expert when it comes to animals or biology, but for some reason, this neighborhood had an extremely high concentration of crows. At the same time, my sons were quite young, roughly 1 and 3 were their age. What I found is that I set my alarm for a typical time or what I thought was typical, maybe 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning.
I found time and time again 1 of 2 things were waking me up. It was either the crows calling outside my window, waking me up from my slumber before my alarm, or it was one of my young sons poking into my back or my elbow. They were sweet voices, but still when it happens before your alarm goes off, you feel a little agitated in the morning. What I decided at that point in time is that I can’t do anything about the animal world. I can’t do anything about the crows. The crows are going to get up and they’re going to caw and crow when the sun comes up. As any parent knows, I can’t do anything about my own kids. Just because you maybe put them to bed a little later, that has often no effect on when they wake up the following morning.
After this occurred for several weeks, I decided to go to my search engine and find out, when was the earliest that the sun rises in Vancouver? What I discovered is that the earliest in the middle of summer, the sun rises approximately 5:03 AM. Right then and there, I said, “Starting tomorrow, I’m getting up at 5:00 AM. I’m going to beat the crows. I’m going to beat my boys to the punch. No one else is going to get me up except for me and the alarm that I set.” It was one of the biggest differences in my life. It wasn’t easy at the beginning to make that change, but I have continued to get up, maybe not always 5:00 AM, but it’s between 5:00 and 6:00 is when I start my day.
There are fewer distractions. I receive almost no emails at that time. I can guarantee that I’m not going to receive any text messages or phone calls at that time. I can plan out my day. I can focus on what I want to get done. I can also fill in things as you mentioned as a part of your routine, some exercise. I can do some good reading. I can do some meditation as a part of that. Early mornings are a key habit as a part of my day.
We spoke about Jenny before, your partner with your three amazing children. What would you like to say to Jenny about the support she’s given you through this journey?

BLG 220 | Simpletivity

Simpletivity: Don’t get caught up in the fear of missing out. Focus on what’s most important to you or to your organization. You’re not only going to see those benefits; you’re going to feel better as well.

I have to thank her for her patience. When she reads this, she’s going to laugh. She’s often the first one to say that I am the much more patient person when it comes to our family and when it comes to our relationship. The reason why I would highlight or recognize her patience is that in those first few years, when things weren’t looking terribly fruitful, when I still wasn’t sure what this business was going to look like and how I was going to generate income, she still had the faith in me to continue on, to keep persevering, to keep making YouTube videos, and to keep marketing myself and delivering work maybe at less than I thought I was worth, but it was going to bring me to something else. She had a great deal of patience and was a great strength to me during that time and continues to be to this day. Although the business has flourished in years, she is still that rock and that supporter of what I do day in and day out.
The next section is the Give section. What’s a charity or community that you’re passionate about and why?
Something that I’ve been involved with for several years now is a major food drive that occurs here in my province of British Columbia. Several years ago, there was an initiative called the BC Thanksgiving Food Drive that started out. I was fortunate enough to start out right near the beginning when it was first introduced. What I love about this effort, it’s an annual event where we encourage citizens and people from all over the province to leave nonperishable food items on their doorstep. We have volunteers across more than 50 communities across the province who come and collect those donations directly from their doorstep. This goes directly to the local food banks. The reason why it’s called the Thanksgiving Food Drive, it occurs in the month of September, the third Saturday in the month of September, which is a few weeks prior to a Canadian Thanksgiving here, which happens in October.
We often hear about food drives when it comes to Christmas time and when it comes to winter, which is great. We need to be able to help our fellow citizens and those who may have come upon hard times. Sometimes other parts of the year go neglected. The weather is still nice in most of VC. That’s where the effort is here. The other thing that I love about this program and this effort is how easy it is for people to get involved. They don’t have to travel to a particular destination. They don’t have to make an extra trip to their grocery store to buy these food items. They can find what they already have on hand, leave it in a bag, which is provided to them in advance and leave it on their doorstep on a specific Saturday morning. I love the simplicity of the process. We’ve been able to raise more than 500,000 pounds of donated food on a regular basis. That’s something that I’m passionate about.
Do you ever have a bear problem?
For most of the communities who are involved, they are in more rural areas. I haven’t heard. I imagine perhaps in areas such as Whistler and maybe northern parts of the province, maybe that could be an issue. We’ve been fairly safe so far.
I have a charity that I support. All my book proceeds go to it and a portion of my revenue. It’s called the Purple House. You can go to PurpleHouse.org.au to find out more. The last section is the Action section, and I’ll ask you some questions and get some rapid-fire responses. The first one is what are your top three personal effectiveness tips?
I’d have to boil that down to number one, cutting yourself some slack. Don’t be too hard on yourself. In my experience, no one is harder on me than me. I need to be easy on myself so I can perform at my very best. Number two, and this was a reiteration of something that we’ve talked about throughout this show is that consistency is key and that consistency is more important than quality. Those who shipped the product, those who are producing content or producing value are going to find success often, not only sooner, but are going to find success overall than someone who dwells on the quality or getting it just right. The third one I would share is having to do with taking breaks throughout your day. I credit a lot of my own personal efficiency and my own personal productivity to taking breaks throughout the day. I will sit at my desk for more than an hour at a time. I want to take a number of micro breaks and other larger breaks throughout the day so that I can perform at my best.
I’m the same. I work in 30-minute blocks. I want to ask you about a tech that’s essentially running your business because we’ve covered that. What is one of the best sources of new ideas for you?
Consistency is key, and that consistency is more important than quality. Click To Tweet
It’s maybe a combination of reading. I try to read a fair number of books throughout the course of the year. I’m almost exclusively a nonfiction reader. I credit a lot of ideas to the business books and other self-help and productivity books that I come across over an annual basis. It should come without surprise that YouTube is also a source of inspiration for me. Whether that’s finding out other tech ideas or new software releases or new ways of managing my own channel. It’s two key sources for myself.
The last question is the big question, that’s why I always leave it to the end. What impact do you want to leave on the world?
I hope when I am dead and gone that maybe not everyone, but some people will look back and say, “Scott taught us that there was more to life and more to work than just being busy.” It’s something that I don’t think I’ve shared yet is that my official title within Simpletivity is busyness killer. There’s a pandemic in our world especially the work world of being busy. It’s easy to be busy. You don’t need any education. You don’t need any experience to be a busy individual. Don’t get caught up in the fear of missing out. Focus on what’s most important to you or what’s most important to your organization. You’re going to not only see those benefits. You’re going to feel better as well. I hope even if it’s a small imprint on this world that I can teach people to enjoy their lives and perhaps more importantly enjoy their businesses in a similar fashion.
It’s been wonderful having you on the show, Scott. I’m definitely a fan of your YouTube channel. You put out a lot of value. I highly recommend people go and look at Simpletivity on the YouTube side, but you can also go to Simpletivity.com. Scott’s given us a free guide as well for our audience. You can go to Simpletivity.com/free. Scott, it’s brilliant to have you on and thanks for sharing your wisdom.
You are most welcome, Paul. Thank you for having me on this show.

I like Scott’s YouTube channel. He is the go-to consultant for Trello. If you want to know something about Trello, go to Scott. I’d love to know, what is your biggest takeaway from Scott? Please share on our socials, mentioning Scott and Simpletivity. If you believe someone you know would benefit from the show, please share. You can learn the three steps to find and convert your ideal clients on LinkedIn in a free pre-recorded masterclass at BLGClick.com. Please take action to build your business and lifestyle and stay well.

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About Scott Friesen

BLG 220 | SimpletivityScott Friesen is not too busy. He’s productive. There’s a difference. He is also the founder of Simpletivity training and consulting.
As a “busyness killer”, Scott helps people to improve their productivity and reduce distractions.
His time management techniques have benefited thousands of individuals and organizations alike. Managing email overload, never-ending to-do lists, and technology distractions are among Scott’s specialties.

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