Ep 129 | Avoiding Burnout with Katie Matusky

Fundraising is, its kind of like sales. You know what I mean? It really is the same thing. It's just that instead of selling a product or service, you're just raising funds to be able to offer it. But I think that you need a good process for qualifying quote, unquote, leads for who you're trying to get funding from. So, like, you have to come up with some way to determine this is our typical conversion rate for each level of fundraising that you're trying to do. Right? Big fish versus little fish. And then you also need to have some way to qualify whether someone's actually a prospect worth pursuing. Like, what is the competition look like? What's the likelihood that I'm going to be able to close a deal with this company or this individual versus a different one? We use ClickUp to track our sales leads. And so in there, we'll actually put in the deal size that we think we would get for that project, and then the likelihood that we're going to close them. We use those two metrics as, like the gauge for who to spend the most time pursuing. – Katie Matusky

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Katie Matusky helps digital entrepreneurs build systems and teams that can run without them. As a former fortune 1 PM, Katie blends the structuring systems of business apps with the freedom and flexibility of online entrepreneurship so you can translate your expertise into a simple profitable business. For over a decade now, she has been guiding business owners to streamline their operations, position then offer and build highly efficient teams. 

In this episode, Katie shares great tips for ways you can ask for help, get support, and create solutions to enable you to keep doing things that you do best.

What you'll learn:

→ Importance of preventing burnout
→ Developing a good communication style with the team
Communication ideas to promote collaboration
→ Tips for planning for the following year
→ Tips for people who are about to give up

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[06:33] Why there’s so much burnout. The burnout is coming from the massive amounts of work behind raising funds yet there’s no guarantee of getting the funds.
13:30] Developing communication style with a team. Use CRM tools such as Clickup to keep the team super diligent on processes to help everybody work more efficiently.
[22:14] Communication ideas to promote collaboration. Work with the data. Interpret what it’s telling you and then make a decision on what you’re going to do based on the data.
[28:34] Tips for planning for the following year. Use the Aerial View tool. You can put in anything in your life; personal or professional that’s going to impact your productivity.
[37:49] Tips for those who are about to give up. Pause for a while and get everything in order. Update processes and strategies that no longer work. Figure out better strategies that will help you move forward. It doesn’t feel good when you’re closing for a week. But it will feel amazing when you reopen.

Katie Matusky

Katie Matusky

Founder, Entropy Organized

Katie Matusky helps digital entrepreneurs build systems + teams that can run without them.

As a former Fortune 1 PM, Katie blends the structure + systems of business ops with the freedom + flexibility of online entrepreneurship so you can translate your expertise into a simple, profitable business.

For over a decade, Katie has been guiding business owners to streamline their operations, position their offers, and build highly efficient teams.

Based in Chicago, IL, Katie is married to a dashing engineer and dog mom to two adorable dachshunds. She enjoys hosting dinner parties, collecting wine, and traveling the world with her husband. Learn more at https://www.entropyorganized.com 

We love creating the podcast. If you like what you learned here please give us a tip and help us offset our production costs.

When you leave a review it helps this podcast get in front of other nonprofits that could use the support. If you liked what you heard here, please leave us a review.

Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey there, welcome to another episode of the digital marketing therapy podcast. Sami here, your host, and today we're talking burnout is as this podcast is going live Giving Tuesday, and I'm sure that you have had a crazy few days leading up to this, I'm sure that you're feeling crazy today, you're probably not even listening to this on Giving Tuesday. And that's totally fine. I forgive you. But it's just seemed like a great time and opportunity to talk about burnout and systems in our business, and how can we be successful, feel supported, and really make sure that we are doing our best work and getting the best results for our organization. So today I'm joined by Katie Mutusky to talk about just that. Katie helps digital entrepreneurs build systems and teams that can run without them as a fortune. Excuse me as a former fortune 1 PM. 

Katie blends the structure and systems of business ops with the freedom and flexibility of online entrepreneurship so you can translate your expertise into a simple, profitable business. For over a decade, Katie has been guiding business owners to streamline their operations position their offers and build highly efficient teams. Based in Chicago, Illinois, Katie is married to a dashing engineer and dog mom to two adorable dioxins. She enjoys hosting dinner parties, collecting wine and traveling the world with her husband. She gives some great tips for ways that you can ask for help get support, create solutions, so that you can continue to do the things that you do best. So I hope that you enjoy this episode. And make sure you share with us on Facebook or Instagram @thefirstclickmarketing. 

What your favorite tip was, I'd love to hear it. But before we get into this episode, this is brought to you by our Patreon account. We love helping you take action when it comes to listening to these episodes. So become a patron and we will give you resources workbooks, we do live q&a is all sorts of things to help you continue to take action on these episodes to grow, scale and make the biggest impact that you can with your organization. So head on over to thefirstclick.net/Patreon to learn more. Memberships start as little as $5 a month. I hope to see you there. Let's get into the episode. 

[INTRO] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business. Hey, everybody, join me in welcoming Katie Mutusky to the podcast. I am so excited for the conversation we're going to have Okay, thank you so much for joining me today. 

[Katie Matusky] Thank you for having me, Sami. I'm really looking forward to this.

 [Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, so um, before we get started, I've introduced people to you a little bit, but I just kind of want to hear from you like why do you think and preventing burnout and kind of keeping space for yourself is such an important topic, especially this time of year?

[Katie Matusky] Well, yeah, I think in particular, this time of year is when most people start to think about it, right? Because the holidays are here, we're all trying to scale back a little bit in our businesses and enjoy more face time with our family. Often, if you have children, you're trying to create new traditions. And so I think that this time of year, it really comes up a lot. And I think the reason that the burnout becomes a little scarier for us this time of year is because we have so many extra things on our plate around the holidays that just normally don't exist. 

So often I find that business owners when they're looking at q4, and they're kind of planning what they're going to get done, typically are not taking into account all of the extra stuff we do in November like humans like it happens every year. But because it only happens once a year you've like forgotten about it when you sit down to plan quarter four. And so I think that that's one of the reasons that people start to feel really tapped out is that even if you're trying to scale back from your business, your personal life is kicking into high gear. Like you have so much more going on on your plate in November December, year-end especially if you're like the sort of the matriarch of your household and you're in charge of buying presents and entertaining and cooking.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, the emotions that happen around families and gatherings and you know, like it's the emotional stuff on top of just mean if the workload.

[Katie Matusky] Yeah. And so for us, we really tried to kind of more or less shut down the business the last six weeks of the year, because we know that we're not going to get anything done. Like we're around, we're there for our clients, but we're not starting big projects or doing anything massive the last six weeks of the year. And so I think that you know, with, with entrepreneurs learning to plan for that learning to know, like, you know what, we're just not going to get anything. Imagine how much less stress you would be walking into December, if you had decided two months ago that you weren't going to try to ship anything huge.

 [Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I think I think it's remembering like, let's just do, let's just pay attention to critical mass, like what has to get done. And let's let everything else kind of wait and plan for that. And kind of q1 of next year. Yeah, and

[Katie Matusky] Now in thinking about to like in your business planning, like, I think that often we think of it like when we go on vacation, right? When we go on vacation, we're like, okay, we'll take extra clients before, and then we're going to kind of slow down. But I wish that people would do that four times like this for the holidays, where they're just automatically anticipating, we're not going to get as much done, it's going to be a more distracting time for the whole team. So we might as well just take some time off recharge, and just kind of like roll with it.

 [Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah. No, I love that. So when we're talking about like, our work environment, and like making space, like you said, in your schedule, whether it's year-end, or holidays or vacation, like you just mentioned, but why do you think there's so much burnout in the fundraising space, specifically, because of fundraisers? I mean, like their lifespan at a specific organization? is typically not that long. So why do you think that is?

[Katie Matusky] Sure, I think that, Oh, are you there?

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I'm here. Sorry, if you lost me, it's okay. Yeah.

[Katie Matusky] So, um, I do think that the burnout with fundraising, it kind of reminds me of, it's funny because I think of like fundraising and grant writing kind of similar to the public relations field. And I think that the burnout is, is coming from just the massive amount of work behind raising fonts, right, it's kind of like, you can do a ton of work. In the case of grant writing, you might write a three-page, report about why you need this grant. Or if you're asking people for fun funding for your company, if it's not grant writing, you know, it's a lot of groundwork that you have to do and there's no guarantee of a result, just like PR, you know, you can hire a PR firm to pitch on behalf of your business to get you more visibility, but there's no guarantee they're going to be able to land you immediate placement. And I think that it's that I think it's the constant like the pressure of trying to do right by the company that's hired you or your own business, if you're just fundraising for your own company and having to do all of that work, knowing that at the end of it, you may or may not see the results you're hoping for. I think that's exhausting. And if they haven't, like systematize, their process, if they don't really have like, a smart strategy for fundraising, that is proven to work for them. They're gonna get exhausted throwing spaghetti at the wall.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I mean, I love that as an analogy that said, that's so smart. And that makes so much sense. And I also feel like, if leadership isn't supporting their development team, in allowing them to maybe go after those things, right, like you want a PR firm to go after some of the big fish, knowing that they're probably going to fail at some of that. But if they do land one, like, that's awesome. And I think the same is true with fundraising if your leadership isn't allowing you to kind of have some of that flexibility. You're right, that pressure is really intense.

[Katie Matusky] Right? Because, you know, and also making decisions, like I think that's the other hard thing is like, you have to actually decide where you're going to spend your energy trying to get these funds, and you can't put all your eggs in the big fish basket, because, you know, everybody else's Hey, it's um, it's learning to find that right mix, I think is also something that can be difficult.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So do you have any tips for people when they're, you know, trying to maybe manage their workload and figure out where they're going to put their efforts? You mentioned a proven like, what's your proven fundraising strategy and do more of that? But do you kind of have any tips on managing, you know, what percentage Should I spend my time taking risks? And how should I kind of organize things so that I'm still hitting my goals and I know this is kind of very broad, but how might we want to start thinking about how we go into the next year really kind of organizing our, our workload and making sure that we're kind of hitting everything?

[Katie Matusky] Sure. So I think that you know, fundraising is, it's kind of like sales, you know what I mean? Like, it really is the same thing. It's just that instead of selling a product or service, you're just raising funds to be able to offer it. But I think that you need a good process for qualifying, quote-unquote, leads for who you're trying to get funding from. So like, you have to come up with some way to determine this is our typical conversion rate for each level of fundraising that you're trying to do right, big fish versus little fish. And then you also need to have some way to qualify whether someone's actually a prospect worth pursuing, like, what is the competition look like? 

What's the likelihood that I'm going to be able to close a deal with this company, or this individual versus a different one, we use click out to track our sales leads. And so in there, we'll actually put in like the deal size that we think we would get for that project, and then the likelihood that we're going to close them, we use those two metrics as like the, the gauge for who to spend the most time pursuing, because if it's a big-ticket labor-intensive deal, and it's also a high probability that we'll close them, I would rather a sales rep spend more time on that than as like five small-ticket deals that are a 10% chance of close, it just doesn't make sense.

So you have to like, come up with your system for how you're going to rate the leads on the table and who you're going to be pursuing. And then once you're there, you also need the process of what is the most direct path to cash. And so as you know, with grant writing, it can be extremely labor-intensive, you know, is throwing a fundraiser or doing door to door, you know, in the age of technology, maybe sliding in the DMS you know what I mean? Like it? And what are the actual strategies that are your direct paths to cash? Because I think often people overcomplicate it, yeah, you know what I mean? And it's like, we don't need to do that we don't need 500 steps in the sales process like you're really just trying to say, here's what I offer, here's why it's valuable, here's why you should support it. And decision-maker then from there, you know, have either a 10-minute conversation or, you know, a quick coffee with somebody that is a decision-maker that for-profitcan really connect with you and take the next step. That's the only thing or even talking to the right people.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, I think that's something people struggle with when you're speaking my language. Because I often talk with our nonprofit clients about like, if you ran your nonprofit, as if you were a for-profit, like the same sales strategies, apply the same marketing strategies apply. And if you can make it about them, and really figure out if you're talking to the right people, I think that's work that nonprofits don't do and the data that you're talking about as well. Because now it's not just throwing spaghetti at the wall, it's, it's structured, and then you can have a better conversation with your, with your superior. So I love that you use ClickUp, I use ClickUp too. And most nonprofits have a CRM and I think that their data can be tracked much easier, but it's putting that data into the into the system. So once you have that data at your fingertips, and you're and you're operating on that, it just makes the communication so much easier. So you know, what's kind of your communication style, like with your team, or, you know, like, how are you guys working through that on a regular basis. So it's not just like, oh, shoot, we're down. You know, we need to make $5,000 this month in order to be able to continue to provide services to be a little bit more proactive, like how do you guys communicate that as a team?

[Katie Matusky] Um, a couple things. So the first thing is, what you're talking about is like critical success factors. So when we're looking at data in businesses, whether it's profit or nonprofit, you've got cause and effect, right? And so most people can track a fact they track KPIs revenue, it's all the stuff that has already happened. Yeah, but what you're looking for are those guideposts those, you know, blinking red lights that say yes, you are on the right track to meeting the business's objectives. And so it's important to identify what those are. One way to identify that is your conversion rate at the different levels, right. So knowing that is going to help you make decisions about how many like leads, quote, unquote, you need to have in your pipeline at a time to meet your objective, but there's other ones you can look forward to like, you may find that if you are, you know, speaking at an event or having some large fundraising event once a month, that your conversion rate goes up 30%. If that's the case, I would say making sure having one of those events on the calendar and having it well run is a critical success factor for your business. And so they can look different for different types of businesses. 

But it's important to identify what those are. And then as far as communication, in my business, I meet with my integrator, once a week, we sit down, we look at pretty much everything that is happening in the business that week. So everything from content marketing, to what projects do we have open, we will look at the sales pipeline and talk about leads and how we want to follow up with them. But also, you know, who do we need to follow up with? Who are we pitching? What's our game plan for the week, and then when we're actually in our quote-unquote, CRM that I've built inside, click up, which will get more functional, because ClickUp is really moving towards enterprise. 

So we're going to get more functionality that makes it a full-blown CRM, but right now, it's kind of like a makeshift one. So when I'm in there, whenever we make any Outreach at all, we're using comments to track it. And you can actually go in my sales pipeline and see, for each individual lead, not only the deal amount and the probability that we're going to close them, but you can see the last comment, you can see all the comments like in each row so that I can add a glance, see, when was the last time we touch this lead was the last thing we said to them? They'll make comments like yes, but they need to wait a month, or no, this isn't a good time, but maybe next year. And so we're kind of managing everything within that task. And so we just make comments for each other, we'll assign each other comments I really tried to keep work out of the inbox, I'm a little bit psycho about it. Click up allows you to send emails now from click up. So and it'll tell us if they've been seen. If someone replies to the email, then it'll show back up and click up as a comment. So I really try to keep it all within the task for that lead, so that whoever is touching, it gets the whole picture in one place.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, I think this is really important in whether you're using click up or whatever tool, any CRM tool you're using is going to allow this, but that, you know, like, let's say, you get sick one day, and you can't come into the office, like it just allows your team to seamlessly continue on, and that your business doesn't suffer for that. So I think, um, I think that's key. And then the other piece that I love that you touched on was, you know, your, your data is only as good as what you put in it.

[Katie Matusky] So I think keeping your team super diligent on those processes, and systems, like you, help talked about helps just everybody work more efficiently, which is going to help with the burnout factor, right? Because everybody is working on the same page and knows where to find the information. Absolutely. And, and honestly, your processes are everything, like I know that I sound biased as someone who's an operations person, but like, if you have business objectives, and you don't actually know how the processes in your business, support those objectives or get you to where you're trying to go, you have some work to do. Yeah, you know, and I think that what, you know, I taking the time to identify what is our process? How often are we maintaining these contacts at our CRM? How often are we reaching out? What is our protocol for, you know, the 10 different scenarios, we typically come across, having that stuff sort of pre-mapped out and having you know, your CRM set up in a way that it can kind of automate a lot of it for you so that you're not counting on humans to remember all the right things? Right? You know, that you're taking the human error out of it, and just allowing the business to keep running no matter who has to pick up the football that day?

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah. And I also love that you mentioned kind of the proactiveness guys’ like you meet with your integrator once a week and you go through what's coming up. I mean, how critical is that? Do you think in your guys’ ability to continue to move the business in the direction that you got the goals that you've set, but then also when things aren't quite going the way that maybe you want them to be? So let's say maybe you lose a big gun or you don't get that grant? how critical is that than to allow you to pivot and adjust to kind of the current setting that your business is in in a positive way where the team is still all moving forward together?

[Katie Matusky] Yeah, it's definitely five critical of that meeting. I think that you know, the strategy piece does get lost a lot, especially further down the chain, right? So if you're not the owner or the CEO, you may not be in all the meetings, you may not be abreast of everything that everyone's talking about. And so I think that having that meeting and kind of having that article Report available to everyone so they can see what's going on in the business that week is huge. And as far as the ability to pivot, I mean, we will still, you know, touch base here or there and contact, if it's something urgent or timely, we won't wait until the next week to do it. But I think that you know, if you've lost a big sale, and you really were, we probably wouldn't put all our eggs in one basket. But if we did, and we had to pivot those, those weekly meetings would be, you know, where we sit down, and we say, Okay, well, what is the next plan? Or what is the next thing that we can do? Who else can we reach out to? Do we have anybody lukewarm, you know, to try to stop the bleeding at that point? Because it's just, um, it's not a good place to be? 

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I definitely don't recommend it. But yeah, I think to your point, having those systems in the data and really understanding where your income is coming from, where your donations are coming from, and which, which avenues are the most profitable, I think, helps support that. And I mean, I'm, I'm with you, I'm a firm believer in, let's have as many streams of income as we can coming into our business that makes sense. So that we don't have those, those situations, right.

[Katie Matusky] I mean, if you're a company that has like three big fundraising donors, you're probably in trouble. Because if you drop one, that's a huge chunk of money like you, if I would run it the way that I tell my, the entrepreneurs that I coach to run it, which is that no client or this case, no fundraising source, should take up more than 15% of the income that you have coming in. Because that you could probably, you know, you can deal with losing 15%. But if it's more than that, it's going to be a pretty hefty hit.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, your operation 100%. So I feel like a lot of burnout in the workplace is also with not feeling supported, you know, by your superiors, or just not feeling like you have that space to kind of, you know, like we talked about earlier, have that creativity to maybe try new things, or when things don't work out, you feel like you're going to get hammered. And there's nothing worse than getting that phone call from your boss saying, Hey, you know, I need to see you tomorrow. Yeah, and that's it. So what kind of maybe communication ideas do you have for both like the you’re superior, and maybe like, for the fundraiser, you know, to enter into those conversations in a more what's gonna say, cohesive, but the collaborative way so that it's more about problem-solving, and knowing that we're all here to help the organization thrive, and kind of remind ourselves to pull the emotions out of it?

[Katie Matusky] Yeah, I mean, I think that you know, first of all, that we there, it's can be difficult if you're working for somebody that makes decisions based on what they want, instead of the bit what the business actually needs. Yeah. So that’s a difficult thing. But I think that it actually comes back to the data. So when you're sitting down with that business owner, you should be able to whip out your CRM and say, here's the leads that we're working with here are the projects that we're pursuing here is why right? So going back to, what's the likelihood that we're going to get it? How much is it going to bring us, you know, you, I would start talking to the data when you're sitting down with them. And if they have questions, or they want to change the direction, that's up to them, but for you, you want to place yourself in a position where it's like, what I'm doing is based on the data, so I'm not just guessing I'm not throwing spaghetti at the wall, here's what the data is telling us. And here's what we're gonna do because of the data and what it's telling us.

And I think that if you start to shift that conversation to data, it's gonna be really, really hard for them to stamp their feet and say, but we're not getting results and yada yada like it's again, like PR, you know, they could pitch you to 15 TV outlets. But if nobody picks you up that month, that's not necessarily the publicists’ fault. It's just what timing, you know. So I think if you can speak to the data and make data, a regular part of your conversations with the people that you were working with, I think that would solve a lot of those problems because it's really hard for them to hop in pause if you've got the data right in front of their face.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] And that's a great way to pull the emotion out of it as well because it's just like you said, it's just right there. So if people don't have a CRM, or maybe they do have a CRM and they have, it's just getting the team you know, we're the same as you we like to pull everything into our into ClickUp. Because I don't want anything in the inbox that just gets lost. I like being able to see everything nice and tidy in the tasks that we have at hand. But if you know maybe you have one and people aren't really using it or they're not on board, do you have any tools or tips to get buy-in from the organization as a whole to help kind of move people into that because that also I think helps with everybody understood What everybody has on their plate, what they're working on, and kind of removes some of that. Maybe in an unintentional animosity that people aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing, it allows for more transparency, I think.

[Katie Matusky] Yeah, so application adoption is a whole job. That is not a part-time job. We actually have a dashboard inside click up that allows us to see things like how many unread notifications, does each neighbor have how many past due to the tasks? I think that each CRM is going to have its own reporting or its own functionality. But at the end, you do need to kind of set metrics for what are the yellow lights, what are the signs that somebody might be having an off week, or maybe isn't using the software, and then you're going to have to start intervening from there. But I think that you know, when you're first introducing this, CRM would be the best time because you've got about six weeks, when you introduce a program to get your team to adopt it, before, it really becomes an uphill battle. After that, if they if you introduced it, they didn't adopt it, and now it's past that initial six weeks, it's gonna be like, exponentially harder for you to try to enforce it and get them to adopt it at that point. But you, it's really hard to do if you can't tell how they're using it. So you have to figure out what you can track in the CRM that will indicate to you that they're using it correctly or incorrectly, and then intervene as necessary. And as often as necessary.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, and one of the things that I've done at previous jobs is, like, if somebody sends me an email with the task, my response back is, please put this in our CRM, and I will address it at that time. Yeah, it seems a little bit like, you know, whatever. But I think if you are, if you're responsible for making sure that that CRM is being used, and you're responsible for needing that data, in order to run your job, you have to also just be diligent about always requesting people to just put it in that system. And eventually, hopefully, hopefully, they come around and just get used to it. Yeah.

[Katie Matusky] It is hard. And I feel too, like organizations, when they bring in new software, often, it's like, here's the new software. And then they give you this like very strange, like general training on it, where they're trying to tell you about, like everything the software can do. And really the smartest thing to do is to sit down with each type of team member or each department and say, Okay, here is how you will use this. And all of the examples, right? That's this, walk them through what they need to know for their job. They don't need to know how to ClickUp works altogether. But if they can, if they know what their role is, and how the workflows are set up, it's a lot easier to get them to adopt, because then they'll see the benefits. 

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] No, that's a great point. So you know, we're at the end of the year today is technically Giving Tuesday as not when we're recording, obviously, but as this is going live. So you might be feeling like holy cow, I just got through Thanksgiving, we just got this whole campaign running. I'm not doing this again. Next year, as far as you know, like, plant let's plan for the holiday next year. Let's get it done. So when it comes to we're in this place, now we're motivated, we've got we're like, Okay, I'm not going to do this next year, I want to make sure that next year is more organized better. Do you have any tips for kind of planning for the following year, and like how you place things and like set up your schedule so that you can feel more supported and have kind of the work the workload that is manageable? 

 [Katie Matusky] Yeah, I think that we have this tool that we use what's called the aerial view, and it's just a spreadsheet that shows every single week in the year and the initiatives that we want to hit. And the most important thing about that tool is we have to put into it, anything that is happening in our lives personal professional, that's going to impact our productivity, okay. And it could be anything from a vacation or birthday. Usually, people underestimate how this stuff impacts them. So if you're taking a trip, that trip does not just impact your ability to get things done on the dates of your trip the week before probably two weeks before you're going to be running around doing extra errands and things to get ready. The week you come back, you're you might be jet-lagged, you're gonna be you know, so like one trip, it's not going to just impact a week it's going to impact a whole month, right? And so you have to think about that when you're starting to plan out your fundraising and when you're sitting down with your clients, you know, you need to be sitting there and saying, okay, you know, we know that as the year goes on our staff get heavier.

So we don't want to be in a position where we're pitching late, or we're we're trying to fundraise. And it's like last minute, everybody's exhausted. So we need to start this project in September, or we need to start this, you know, and I hate to say it, but like, in my business, we do everything a month ahead. Yep. Like there is no, like, if you're operating, where you're trying to complete the things that need to be done this week, you're in trouble. Because if you run into, you know, productivity, monsters, whatever that looks like for you, and your business or your life, and you're not going to get things done, then you're going to get behind, then you're going to be stressed, then you're not delivering, most of us get paid based on what we deliver. So I would say that learning how to better understand how the things in your life are impacting your ability to get things done, and learning to anticipate it.

So everything that happened in December, you need to be writing down somewhere so that when you're planning December next year, you can say all I remember this, we had eight people go out of the office for Christmas vacation, and they had you know what I mean? Like, you won't remember a year later you need to like documented I mean, I do it, when we take our tree down, I'm like, okay, we need to order more ornament hooks, because I never gonna remember when we go to with that thing that goes in November next year. So I would say it's that it's learning to document what's going on and actually understand your true capacity as a business as a professional, you just have to get better about it. And if you can do that, and start factoring that stuff into the way that you plan, you're no longer going to feel behind. And that may mean that you have to reduce your expectation of what you can get done until you can get better systems in place to

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, I do the same thing. I when I plan out my year, especially like the big events I put out, like everything that I've got going on, and when you know, when I'm going to take vacation, and all that good stuff, because it has dictated a change in schedule at times. Because you know, just like you said, I didn't put everything together. In my head, I was like, oh, I'm taking a vacation in June. But if I have an event July 1, like that's tight, right. I think it's really smart to see it visually. And I think especially if you're part of a team to see it visually, I think is critical so that you guys can adapt and say, you know, oh, we've got too many people that are planning on vacation at this time. And if you can get ahead of it, then everybody's on the same page and everybody can make adjustments and you can work on it collaboratively.

[Katie Matusky] Exactly, yeah, it just, it's all about thinking ahead and then the other half of that is not allowing yourself to push things off so people usually like think that they can get 30% more done in a day than they actually can so like when you're making your to-do list you're supposed to cut it down by 30% like that's the other thing is if you're looking at that aerial view or whatever tool you're using because you know you said you do this too it's no longer an option to push it because you know you've got stuff coming up in three weeks and you really will not be able to catch up

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, and I think you know the last thing that you kind of said was you know allows you to kind of figure out what systems you need to put in place and I think that's so true too because when you you know have this Let this be the challenge you know for next year. I know that I have my gala at this time every year we're always behind to get it done but now we as a team have taken a look at the aerial view so let's backdate our tasks and goals and things and kind of create those templates for planning that then we can just repurpose year over year.

[Katie Matusky] Yeah I mean the hardest part about that like with a gala is just getting people to get you their stuff on a test like you can get all your stuff done and still be in a place where you're waiting for people so like you'd have to it's a you also have to put in some sort of boundary for people like there will be a consequence if you do not get this to me by next day right like it's unfortunate but we work with other humans we don't have control over the entire project and so we have to also set parameters that you know will actually get their attention and make them follow the deadline

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Then I'm curious about your thoughts on this because I agree with you and I have been in that place several times and I think in the nonprofit space there's kind of that emotion around like we don't want to be too pushy because what if they decide they don't want to participate in this than the other but at the same token, we also teach people how to treat us. Um, yeah, and so I mean, I guess Do you have any opinion or thoughts on like, how, how much is too much to kind of push and also understanding that you have a job to get done. And, you know, hopefully, that these people care enough about your organization. You know, sometimes we internalize that negative reaction that actually isn't there, and they want that push in order to hit, you know, help you out. 

[Katie Matusky] Right? I think that. So the first thing is everyone has to be on board. So like, this isn't something that you could just do without the business owners, okay. But I would explain it to them, I would say, look, every year we plan this gala, we're not getting the information we need. And it becomes this like race where for the last two weeks, everyone's working overtime and things get missed, mistakes are made, and things get missed, because everything's coming in last minute. And so we would like to say that, you know, this is the end date to get your stuff in, if you don't get it in by this date, this will happen. And you know, and then you need to make sure the owner is on board with whatever that consequences whether it's that they're no longer going to be featured in the book or there you know what I mean? Like, or maybe you're going to make it five times harder for them to submit it. 

So like, kind of like when I'm thinking about this, because my bank was recently acquired, and they were doing this thing where they were like, Oh, well, you have until November 4 to activate your new cards. And you know, I'm putting that off like the plague because I know it's gonna take me all day to update everything I have on auto-pay with the new card, so I'm just avoiding it. And just recently, I tried to use one of my old ones, and they declined it. And then when I activated the new one, it went right through and I was like, Ah, so like, they're starting to set boundaries like, well, if you don't do it, now, when you go to do it, it's going to be harder.

So that's another way you can do it. But it just depends on it depends on like, all those factors, like who is the client, what is you know, the level of people that come into this Gala. A lot of times, unfortunately, they might be outsourcing it to like a different team member who just puts it off, right? Like that. The other problem is you may not be getting the actual person that's going to do it on the phone, correct? Yeah, yeah, it might be their assistant, or it might be somebody on a different department in their company that needs to follow through.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I mean, it could be a whole host of things. So it's a great point.

[Katie Matusky] Yeah. So it's, it's knowing your people, right? So like, if you know that Jane has an assistant named Julie and Julie never get to anything on time, I'd be calling Jane, like two weeks before it's due, like, hey, just, you know, we haven't heard from Julie like, do you know where she's at with this?

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Right?

[Katie Matusky] Curious, just be very curious how things are going, and then she'll get on Julie? So yeah, it's, you know, it's kind of learning to manage your humans. 

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yes, managing is very difficult. Um, kind of the last thing that I wanted to ask you is if you know what kind of thoughts or tips you have for people or action that they could take, if they're getting to that point where they're like, Okay, I'm about done here, like, I can't handle this anymore. You know, I'm frustrated. And there are cases where like, it just is what it is, and you need to step away and move on. But if you are somewhere where you really want to keep going, do you have any thoughts on ways to kind of have those conversations or action you can take yourself to kind of make adjustments?

[Katie Matusky] Yeah, I mean, I would say that if you are in that place, you probably have not figured out the process to either qualify leads or qualify, making that sale or getting the funding, you know, however you want to phrase it, you probably haven't nailed it yet, you probably haven't figured it out. Because if you had, you wouldn't be so frustrated. And I think that, um, sadly, sometimes if it gets that bad, you have to stop and regroup. And I know that is the last thing that anybody wants to hear. But we recently had to do this with our business because we hired a bunch of team members. And we started to see the indicators that our systems were no longer functioning in certain areas of the business. And so we identified this, and we decided to do a week in service where we close the business for a week, and we're just getting everything in order. we're updating the processes that are no longer working, we're fixing everything that isn't working the way we need it to be. And you would need to do the same thing you would need to literally just stop the day-to-day for like a week and figure out what is the game plan to move forward. If we're going to move forward? How are we going to do it? What is a better strategy? What are the processes that aren't working when we're trying to get these funds like it really it doesn't feel good to close for a week, but it will feel amazing when you reopen and you've really like got a better roadmap?

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, I think what you're saying too, is you're making a choice and you're making coming up with solutions. You're not just saying well this isn't working, throwing your hands up in the air and be like I'm just frustrated somebody To fix this for me, you're taking a proactive role in aking in making a change and coming up with solutions, right?

[Katie Matusky] We have to walk before we can run. Yeah. So if we're running, and suddenly everybody's tripping all over each other, we got to stop for a minute, right? Like, think about it that way. It's like a relay, like, especially if you have a team there. There are so many humans involved. And if all of a sudden half the team is suffering, or they're not getting the work done to the standard you need or whatever, I mean, you have to take a step back to fix it. Otherwise, you're just going to be building a house of cards, it's like, if you just keep pushing harder and faster, it's just gonna get worse than worse.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah. So Well, I think we've given you guys a lot of things to think about, I loved a lot of the tips and the analogies that you've come up with and shared because I feel like it really helps but a visual to sometimes something that feels hyper-emotional, that feels hard to step out of and become practical. And so is there anything else you'd like to mention when it comes to just kind of creating systems and setting boundaries and growing within your team?

[Katie Matusky] Um, I would say, the most important thing that people need to know is you're never done. fixing your systems, maintaining your systems, improving your systems, I think a lot of people see it as like a one and done thing. And it's really not you someone needs to be making sure that things are working and be looking for those guideposts that give you that first sign that we might be off track, right. And I think that if you can identify one person in each organization that you work with, or maybe it's yourself, and you just sit down every Friday, Friday is a great planning day because people are usually tired. Yeah. And you know, you're not going to be pitching anybody on a Friday. So sit down, and actually, you know, go through everything and identify all those like holes that you've found throughout the week, and how are you going to fix them? Because if you're letting things go, like every time the business grows, every time you gain a big contract, you're you're basically stress testing your systems. And so you have to be able to identify as quickly as possible when you're, you're hitting that Max, and you need to fix something. And so I would say that I have any advice at all, assess your systems often.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Agree, that doesn't mean changing your systems all the time, it just means making sure that things are first on the tracks.

[Katie Matusky] Exactly, exactly. And honestly, like, I would rather stop now for a week or a day, then collapse two months from now like.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, I agree. Yeah. Well, Katie, this has been amazing. If people want to learn more about you and your company, how do they do that?

[Katie Matusky] Sure, you can just visit us on Instagram. Katie Mudusky is my handles my name. And we're super friendly, you can hang out with us in the DMS and check out all our free resources. Awesome. Yeah. And we'll make sure to link that up in the show notes as well.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you. I mean, how incredible was that? Thank you again to Katie for joining me, I hope that you got some great tools. Really, you know, it's about building your systems and your processes. And I know that's something we talk about a lot, and it's not as sexy and fun. But I think that she gives some great insight and tools and ways to really think about it in a different way. And remember, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Take a look at the existing systems you have and figure out what you can utilize what Aren't you utilizing fully when it comes to those tools that you already have access to? For now, I want to say Happy Giving Tuesday, I think I hope I think I know it will be but I hope it's super successful for you and your organization. And I can't wait to see you in the next one

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