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April 3, 2022

Learn How to Streamline Business Processes with Dr. Barbra Portzline

Learn How to Streamline Business Processes with Dr. Barbra Portzline

Learn How to Streamline Business Processes with Dr. Barbra Portzline

Our guest today is Barbra Portzline. She's an organizational intuitive, and she's always there for me whenever I'm going through some change in my life and offering me good advice. I'm excited to have her here today to share her wonderful advice with our audience.

We're going to get started with your stories. So just tell us about yourself and your business and why you chose that kind of business for yourself.

Barbra: I grew up on the east coast. I have worked in a gazillion different places and for a gazillion different bosses and I was always miserable. That is why I started my company. 

My company is called Organizational Rebel and it is about doing things differently, doing things outside of the box, not doing things because they've always been done that way.

I had really bad experiences with super crazy bosses when I was working years and years ago. I would say does it have to be this way? I’d take these jobs thinking I was going to learn something. I was going to work with an amazing person. Then what would happen is I'd wind up having to take care of them and be “beaten up” at work if I didn't answer calls after hours.

A lot of dysfunctional stuff. If any of you have ever worked for anybody in your entire life, you probably can relate to the idea of a workplace being like a dysfunctional family. That's what it felt like. 

I wanted to do things differently, so I started my company.

Shelley: You work hard to be a functional family in your business?

Barbra: I don't even know what a functional family is. Toby, have you ever seen a functional family before?

Toby: No. Mine have always been functional in the sense that they were dysfunctional.

Barbra: That's what I'm thinking. We work hard and it took a long time. When I started my company, I started it by trial and error. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't know how to price things. I didn't know how to not be the lowest-paid person in my company. I didn't know how to manage people. So it was pretty dysfunctional for a while. 

Over the years I finally realized, I can't figure it all out on my own. I need help with some things. I now have an amazing team that does good work and cares.

So I think we're as functional as we've ever been. 

Toby: We as world members of humanity have spent the last two years dealing with a lot of different things. As a result, it's changed our perspective on a lot of different things from personal to business to family life.

What have you learned about digital marketing in the past two years?

Barbra: What I have learned is that people are craving connection. I don't know if it's just through the pandemic. Everything has shifted so much. But right now people are craving connection and they are ignoring the noise.

When you talk about digital marketing, I think a lot of times in the past, people have just been putting their stuff out there, Buy my crap! 

All of us are now saying I don't want to hear about you and your crap anymore! 

People want connection. They want value. They want someone that cares. They don't need someone perfect with that severe haircut and nice suit who looks great on social media but has no substance.

People are poking now to find out Are you the real deal or just a shell?

Toby: When people are considering one of their values is the ability for connection, they're not looking for a connection with McDonald's.

They're looking for a connection with another individual who can provide them value. That's a great opportunity for solopreneurs to start evolving from “I worked for a corporation” to “I have my own business.” I think that's a very positive effect of what we've been dealing with in the past few years.

How will digital marketing for entrepreneurs and small business owners change in the next 12 months?

Barbra: I'm super psychic. I know I am. Over the next 12 months, I am feeling like we're going to go back to some old-school methods.

There's been such a push on social media, doing TikTok challenges and showing all your beautiful pictures on Instagram. I don't think video is ever going to die. I do think video is important, but also things like radio, and TV.

I think we're going to go back to sending mail like they used to do and stopping by. I don't know if you call that digital, but I see a shift. I think that people are looking for a heart-to-heart connection with real humans, not movie stars.

Toby: There are apps and services in place now for us that we didn't have before that enable that process of sending someone a plant or sending snail mail that makes it all easier.

So you can leverage digital advancements in marketing to use them for more personal communications. 

What's the most prevalent obstacle that entrepreneurs are going to face in the next 12 months when it comes to digital marketing?

Barbra: When it comes to digital marketing, it's a mindset and a belief obstacle.

There's a belief that you have to spend a lot of money on digital marketing to get out there and build your following, audience, or clients. Folks give up too soon. They're not consistent with marketing. They feel that if they don't have enough money invested, it's going to be a failure so they don't try. 

So I would say it's about mindset and internal belief. You'll see all these people that are saying, you have to spend $50,000 on Facebook ads to get anyone to see you now because there's so much out there. Or you have to do TV.

That gives us that analysis paralysis where we just don't do anything and it's because of our own beliefs. I think if you're consistent, and look at what value can you provide to one person at a time, it will help grow your business.

Toby: Over the years, I've paid attention to what the Sandler Sales Institute says about marketing and sales. One thing that they still say is that 80% of the business is going to come from the 20% of your customers that feel like they have a connection with you.

It doesn't take a lot of effort to reach out to that 20% of your customers that feel like they have some kind of connection with you.

Shelley: That's like 100 true fans or 1000 true fans, depending on the size of your business.

Barbra: Some people get caught up in the big names, severe haircuts, nice suits, and the marketing. But sometimes you need someone that's gonna sit with you across the table and open up a laptop and work with you instead of selling you all of these prepackaged, automated classes and all this fancy stuff.

Authentic people who make mistakes, do interviews like this, and say stupid things in the middle are human. That's what people are looking for.

They're not looking for the pre-packaged, pre-programmed four-step process that doesn't work unless you have a million dollars and a huge team.

Toby: That's the advice we took. It is more important for us to get the content and our books out there for people to take advantage of than to spend time making sure it is perfect and reviewed by 10 editors before we get it out. 

Shelley: Let's talk about the foundations of a business for those entrepreneurs and business owners who are just starting. 

What are the things that entrepreneurs need to get into place first before they can move on?

Barbra: Have clarity on who your ideal client is and the one result you help them with. There are so many different options. A lot of times we want to be a jack-of-all-trades and that's not the way to go. It's figuring out who lights your soul on fire. Who are those people that you see on your calendar and you're like, oh my God, I can't wait to meet with Shelley today! She's amazing. She's my favorite. She brightens up my day.

That's figuring out who those people are, their demographics, their psychographics, the hot buttons, the things that keep them up at night. 

Then what is the one result that you can help them with, that they will pay for? Have a lot of clarity around that. 

A lot of us say I transform people's lives. That's great. What does that mean? People wake up in the middle of the night, “I need my life transformed!” No, they wake up in the middle of the night saying, ”I need help.” Figure out what is that one thing that's going to help, then start your marketing campaign. Because if you don't know that you're just throwing spaghetti against the wall hoping that something will stick and you're using that spray and pray method and it doesn't work.

Tell us a story about something that you've learned from working with a recent client.

Barbra: I think the biggest piece that I've learned from all of my clients is that when their mindset isn't in it nothing works. You can have the best plan in the world. You can have the best coach, mentor, or strategist in the world helping you. But if doubt sets in, and it doesn't matter if you have everything together, nothing is going to happen. A big part of it is your mindset. 

I'm a business strategist and an organizational intuitive. My gift is that I can see some of that stuff that prevents people from moving forward.

I always say people don't pay me to be their friend. They pay me to help grow their business. So I call people out on that. I don't want to work with somebody that isn't able to move forward because their mindset isn't aligned. That's what I have seen a lot over the pandemic because people have been hit over the head.

This isn't working anymore so they sit there and feel like giving up. But this is the time when you have to figure out a different way and move forward. You have to be in alignment to do that. 

Toby: Barbara can talk to you for 10 minutes and give you a sense of what you're dealing with in terms of mindset. Entrepreneurs need to be able to recognize the value in what a coach, mentor, or colleague is suggesting and take action upon it. Your first reaction might be, that's not what's happening to me. If someone else sees it and dares to tell you about it, you should take that advice and act upon it. 

Barbra: I do it too. I've been doing all this work in Hawaii and I've been getting all these different messages and things have been coming to me. I get caught between my human ego and what the messages are and what my intuition says.

Sometimes I need to call someone and say, I need you to look at this from a different perspective because I'm not moving forward. I'm stuck and there's a disconnect. Sometimes just having anyone that's an outsider can help. You just have to be open to hearing it. I think that's the big thing.

We don't have it all figured out. So it's really important to get input and have someone around you that can just tell you the real deal, and help you get clarity.

How does a website affect your marketing?

Barbra: You can have the prettiest website in the world. Same thing as the suit and the severe haircut. You can have it looking beautiful with the little graphics going down the side and the big flowers. But if you don't have anything to back it up, you're still not going to be successful in business.

I think what happens is folks say I'm going to start my own business. I'm going to get a logo. I'm going to get business cards. I'm going to get this beautiful website. But dude, you have no clients. You've just spent, $5,000-$10,000 on all this stuff and you have no clients. It's not sustainable. 

However, if you choose to have a website, I think it's really important that the website is about your ideal client, not about you. I learned how important this is from one of my coaches and mentors. 

Most of us have This is Barbra's website. Here's Barbra swimming. Here's Barbra working with people. Here's Barbra happy. 

But the prospective client is saying I'm in crisis. I am losing my house, losing my business. I don't know if I'm going to do this anymore. I don't want to see a beautiful Barbra with all this stuff. I want the first thing on the website to speak to me as the ideal client. 

I want it to say, are you ready to finally live the life that you want? 

Yes, I am. 

Are you ready to finally have a sustainable business? 

Yes. That's what I want to see. 

Not beautiful Barbra and flowers. 

Toby: We have learned over the past 10 years, the value of social media.

Then we had the experience that has led to uncertainty about whether it's valuable or not. We have the issue associated with advertising vs. organic reach on social media. 

What role does social media play in digital marketing or marketing for any individual business?

Barbra: I spent a lot of time getting clients from social media a few years ago and it was from me just telling my story, sharing my authentic self. I would just say, this is my life. This is what happened to me. This is what's going on for me. Then people would message me and say, are you talking to me? This post spoke to me. 

I still work with individual business owners, but I’m also working more with corporations, nonprofits, and education, larger businesses. I realized that my clients are not scrolling social media all day. They're running companies. 

For my company right now, our social media presence is about having a presence, like a website. If someone wants to find us, they know how to find us on social media, we have a presence. I have an amazing social media marketing manager who's helping me now and she's helping keep up that presence. However, my clients aren't scrolling all day. They're running their businesses. So it's not as effective for marketing for me.

Toby: When people see their social media platforms, whatever they choose, whether it's Facebook or Instagram, it generates some sort of stimulus. People react to it in a way that says I saw your posts. I'm not spending any time on your Facebook page, but I saw a post that showed up here and this is important to me. That begins the process of engagement. I think that's a key with social media.

People that are spending hours every day working on their social media pages could use that time in a more effective way that would be more valuable.

Shelley: We use email marketing by sending out a newsletter every week.

What do you feel is the best way to use email marketing effectively?

Barbra: Segmenting our list and selectively emailing folks based on their interest and the things that they've opened and doing some analytics on our email have been the most effective for us.

Nurturing campaigns, where we provide value have been effective. I have people on my email list that have never purchased anything and have never responded to anything. We'll do some email marketing and then all of a sudden they'll sign up for something or they'll respond.

I don't know if you're familiar with the nine-word email, you can Google it. It's my favorite email in the entire world. It's nine words. It's Barbra, are you still interested in getting more clients? That's it for the email.

So you're asking a question of your ideal client and the one result they want because my clients need more clients. Those are the kinds of emails that I get the most response from. If you're a weight loss coach say, Barbra, are you still looking to lose that 50 pounds? or whatever, and people answer those and then you start the conversation.

That's been successful for us, so every six months I send out one of those.

Shelley: That's almost like a social media post, but you're emailing it. Good idea.

Toby: We're big fans of content creation and distribution, and we use it in a lot of different ways from doing this show and distributing it to different platforms to producing our books.

What role does content creation and distribution play in digital marketing?

Barbra: If you actually pull the trigger and get it out there, it can be a big success. If you spend years creating content and never sharing it because you're waiting for that book to be perfect, you might as well close up your doors now because people are not going to wait for you.

If you are an implementer, a trigger puller, or a person who will get it out, it can be huge. 

Toby: We enjoy it and we enjoy seeing the results of our effort. A classic example is the Women in Podcasting book that we published as a result of going to a conference and interviewing people. Then turning it into podcast episodes and a book. 

From our experience, the content doesn't necessarily have to be book-sized. In our weekly email shared with our email subscribers, we offered a guide on content distribution and marketing. People can download them and put them to immediate use. It's 11 pages worth of solid, actionable information.

Shelley: If you have not yet joined our email list to get these freebies, what are you doing? You can sign up at and get started.

We use social media to inform our content. What we've done is Toby has a show that he started for teaching photography and he did it because he was inspired by a Facebook group that he belongs to. There are a lot of people in that group who are at a place in their lives where they have a great cell phone that they take photos with. But they're thinking I might want to get a camera, but then what do I need? I need the camera. I need lights. I need all this stuff. I don't have the knowledge to do that. 

He decided let's bring people over that bridge. Let's provide that bridge for those people who are graduating from a cell phone to a camera and answer those questions that we're seeing in the Facebook group.

He takes the questions that people are asking on social media, in their Facebook group, and we answer that in our content. 

That's a great way to use social media to provide that content piece for your marketing.

Toby: I'm not a marketing genius. What Shelley just said was all her ideas. I was just playing around with photography. She came back with you need to identify your audience. Who's your audience? 

Shelley: I don't like to waste time, so let's have some answers and clarity. That's my goal.

Toby: We'll be doing a show, me talking at the camera and she's over there making notes. Then at the end of the show, she slides them over the desk to me. You need to be doing this and this. 

I can't understand your writing, but I'll be happy to.

Shelley: We've learned a lot from our digital marketing friends. 

We're going to talk about networking and live events. They are starting to come back, but a lot of people are still afraid to take the chance of scheduling travel and then having it get canceled again.

What are some alternatives that we can follow through on? I know you've done a lot of networking online and you do a lot of work online. 

What are some things we can do to bring people together that are a good substitute for face-to-face networking?

Barbra: There's a thing called the telephone that folks don't use anymore. We text people to find out if we can call them. We need to get back to genuine conversations with real humans and add value. One thing I did during the pandemic was every day I woke up and said, who's the first person that pops in my head and what value can I give to that person today?

It didn't matter if it was a Facebook friend that I'd never met in person. The first person that popped in my head, I would reach out to them whichever way I could. 

Some people push buttons on the phone and call them. Other folks leave a message on Facebook messenger. That has been huge. The other thing that I love is the app, Marco Polo. There's a free version of it. It's a video app. There are many different kinds. There's WhatsApp, which I can never figure out. Voxer, which didn't work for me. But I liked Marco Polo.

I make videos for people and say, Hey, I'm thinking about you. Then they can watch it and you can go back and forth. I also use Dub, and there's Loom and some other video programs.

You can record a video message for folks and just send that in an email or on Facebook or in a text, and let people know you're thinking about them. That has been successful for me. I see someone on Facebook that I'm Facebook friends with and have never met and I send them a message. Like, I feel like I can help you on this and I don't want anything. I'm not looking for money. I'm not looking for any more friends. I’ve got a lot going on in my world. But I feel called to reach out to somebody. I say if you feel called to reach out to somebody do it.

Toby: I've learned from my adult children, that if I call them, it is a 90% probability they're not going to answer the phone. Not because it's me, but because they don't answer the phone. They'll wait for the text to come in. What I very found very useful is at a minimum, if you call, leave a voicemail, and don't make it a guilt trippy voicemail. You can do that with clients as well.

Barbra: One more tip if you're an introvert and you don't want anyone to answer the phone, you can also get a program called Sly Dial, where you can leave a voicemail on someone's cell phone without it ringing. Perhaps you want to check in with somebody and you're like, I don't want to call them. There's so much anxiety with picking up an actual phone and what if they answer and what am I going to say? You can record a message. You can record it 18 times if you want to, and then just shoot it over. I think it's like $10 for a hundred voicemails or something. So that's another option.

Toby: Throughout the decades that I've been in digital marketing clients will ask, how do I get publicity? How do I get podcasts and blogs and online magazines to notice me?

The only thing that's changed is that we went from analog media and paper to digital marketing. 

What do you recommend to people who ask you How can I get some publicity?

Barbra: I always say the best thing to do is get in front of other people's audiences. I had my team do a search of all women entrepreneur podcasts and how to apply to them and put it in a spreadsheet.

It's not that hard to find people that want guests as long as you’re somewhat interesting and you have a following. There are Facebook groups where you can get on people's podcasts. There is a great Facebook group, women helping women entrepreneurs, something like that. There are a gazillion people in there always looking for podcast guests. 

But the idea is not just going on everything. I think that's the problem. Someone says I want to get out there. I want publicity. I'm going to go on everything. 

You want to get in front of other people's audiences that speak to your ideal client.

Otherwise, it's a waste of your time. You can still show links and show you've been on things. However, if you're looking for leads for your business, you want to get in front of people that have a similar target audience as you. Those are just some things I would do.

Toby: The product that we use for our live streaming is called Streamyard. They have a Facebook page and I spend a lot of time there looking for questions to answer that I can do so credibly so I can start a conversation with someone else using Streamyard. I hope they'll recognize there's some value in my contribution and everybody is always looking for guests. If you just answer questions politely people will recognize that you bring value to what they're doing and invite you to be on their show. 

We have accounts in both PodBooker and Podmatch. If you register in there as an expert, other people are doing the same thing. You may be able to find guests for your show or be asked to be a guest.

Shelley: I also found out, because Jen uses Captivate for hosting her podcast, that they are offering a way to meet other podcasters. The Captivate podcast hosting platform is providing that opportunity because it keeps people on their platform and builds a consistent podcasting community.

Toby: One of the big conversations in the podcasting community is the acquisition of guests. How do I get guests and how do I become a guest on someone else's program?

We rely on personal contact and referrals as well. We have a business-based personal relationship with Barbra and she'll come on our show. We would go on her show too because we're friends.

What can we automate in our business?

Barbra: My favorite thing to automate is email and developing an email marketing campaign that's nurturing, gives value, and shares things. 

You can spend one weekend, write 12 emails, and then put them into a program and have them just go for you. I think that's important. Then I would throw in some questions and engagement, so you can get responses right away from folks.

Toby: The question that we get asked most often by our clients is what can I do to generate more leads? You have to have something in place, ideally automated, that helps you do that. 

What do you recommend to your clients as the best way to generate more leads?

Barbra: I agree about having something of value, so have some kind of freebie. It could be a guide. It could be a webinar. It could be a tool or a template. Or do something for folks that is low cost, low effort on your end that's going to give them a lot of value. 

There's so much noise out there. There are so many things that people can get for free. So figure out how you can be different. Can you create a logo for people for free? Can you edit a document for people for free? Is there something that you can give that people are going to respond I want that! I want to work with these folks because look at all this great stuff they're doing for me. What if I paid them? They're giving me all of this value now, but I can't even imagine what they would do if I paid them. 

Think outside the box and it may take a little effort. I know automating is the way to go on a lot of it, but right now, we can get almost everything for free. I can look online and find the top 10 tips for podcasts. I could do that. What can you do to be a little bit different, a little bit more special?

What happens is folks say, I'll meet with somebody for free, but that's scary. A lot of people don't want to get on a call with you for a free consultation because they think it's going to be a sales pitch. A lot of times it is.

Think about something that's no risk for them that gives them a ton of value. That's what we do with our clients because it is challenging to find qualified leads.

Toby: The approach we take is rather than being the Smartypants in the room, doing a lot of listening and coming up with a solution that even if they're not paying for it in our 60-minute consultation, we make sure they leave with a solution and not just a sales pitch.

That's more important in the long run than pitching what you think they need. Remember that the best kind of selling is to share your expertise with the individual that needs it when they need it.

Now that you have a lead, what's the best way to convert a lead into a client?

Barbra: The biggest piece is listening. Find out what is it that they want and if you can help them. Then ask, If I had a program that would give you this result, would you like to hear about it?

If they say no, then you say, okay, no problem. I hope you stay connected, et cetera. If they say yes, then you tell them and focus on the results of what you're going to give them, not the activities. I think we spend a lot of time “throwing up” on people is what I like to say. What do you do? Oh, I'm a business strategist and I can help you grow your business and I can help you do this and that. Oh my God, my head hurts just listening to you. 

Instead, ask them what is going on for them. Is this something you can help them with? Ask them do they want to hear about it? Then focus on the bottom line and the results that you'll give them. 

Toby: If you hear “you've given me a lot to think about,” if that's the response at the end of your conversation, you've talked too much, right?

Shelley: We are going to ask you to encapsulate all your years of knowledge into one, bite. 

What is your most important takeaway tactic or advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs?

Barbra: Make sure you're aligned to the work you're doing and then be unapologetically you, full force.

Toby: Yes, if you just be you and move forward, you have a good chance of being successful. Do something that is about who you are and you can make a business out of it. 

Let's talk about your website, where can people find you?

Barbra: or on Instagram, organizational rebel or Facebook, organizational rebel. Any of those places. We are helping people with people, processes, practices, promotions, productivity, and profit. It is quite a mouthful, but if someone has a vision for their business and they're not quite there, whether it's a small business owner or a larger business, we have a whole team of people that can help close that gap. We assess where someone is, and where they want to be. Then we develop interventions that are based on them and their organization. 

I like to say that our organization is a group of disruptors. We are not people that are going to just sit back and use the four-step model that you learned in 1980 in school.

We're going to listen and we're going to figure out what is the best thing for you based on your vision and where you are. That's what we do.

Toby: The things that you learned in school have all been flipped on their heads. Not that education isn't important, but you have to look at the world through this new set of bifocals here or in my case trifocals.

Shelley: Thank you, Barbra, for being here with us today, for all your wisdom, and for sharing that with our audience. I do hope that there's some benefit for not just the audience, but you as well. Because you took time out of your life to be here to help other people. I think that's always something that should be reciprocated if not by me then by the universe.

Barbra: It always has my back. I do this because this is fun and because I love chatting with y'all and if one person can think about one thing differently as a result, then something worked and that's all I ever want.

So thank you both so much for letting me be here today.