Episode 59

Human First Design in Your Business with Laura Frances

March 30th, 2022

Listen


Today I'm chatting with soulful website and brand designer for conscious businesses and passionate creatives, Laura Frances.

We dive into:

  • Creating soul lead businesses
  • Inclusivity with images, colours and fonts
  • The importance of the 'getting to know you' phase
  • Taking imperfect action

About Laura

Laura is a soulful website and brand designer creating purposeful and strategic brands for conscious businesses and passionate creatives. She focuses on delivering personality-driven websites that are both beautiful and functional, with a particular focus on accessibility and inclusivity. She believes that business can be a force for good and that a successful business doesn't have to be at the expense of people or the environment. Laura is passionate about empowering her community to make slow, intentional choices about their business that drives sustainable growth, while being in alignment with their heart and soul. She believes in taking consistent, imperfect action towards a better world for everyone!
Laura works with soulful small businesses worldwide but currently lives in Meanjin, otherwise known as Brisbane, Australia with her incredibly supportive partner and very needy but loving rescue greyhound.

Connecting With Our Guest

Connect with Laura on Instagram.

Laura's Website.

Check out Figma.

 

Connect with Nicole on Instagram.

Visit Nicole's Website.

Get the Action Takers Guide to ClickUp here.

Join the Take Control with Nicole Facebook group here.

Join the waitlist for The Members Lounge here.

Full Episode Transcript:

Nicole Smith
Welcome to Take Control with Nicole. As business owners we experience firsthand the fine line between our personal and business lives. During our conversations, we will look at simple hints and tips to create time, reduce overwhelm, and help you to navigate through your journey to where you want to be. If you're looking for smarter ways to work, and create space and time freedom in your day, then you're in the right place. All right, let's go.

Nicole Smith
Hello, hello and welcome back to another episode of Take Control with Nicole. Today I'm speaking with a fabulous Laura Frances all about human first design. Laura is a soulful website and brand designer located in Brisbane, who creates purposeful and strategic brands for conscious businesses and passionate creatives. She focuses on delivering personality driven websites that are both beautiful and functional, with a particular focus on accessibility and inclusivity. She believes that visitors can be a force of good and that successful businesses doesn't have to be at the expense of people or environment. Laura is passionate about empowering her global community to make slow, intentional choices about their businesses that drive sustainable growth while being in alignment with their heart and soul. Well, hello, Laura, how are you today? Thanks for joining me.

Laura Frances
I'm a good thank you so much for having me.

Nicole Smith
First of all, I would love you to share a little bit about who you are, what you do. How did you discover soulful website and brand design a bit about your journey.

Laura Frances
Yeah, so you covered off a lot of it there in that intro. But yeah, so I focus on helping conscious creators and like Soul lead, small businesses stand out and lead from the heart. And I do that by focusing on creating functional and accessible and inclusive online spaces. And it's just for businesses who want to do better, and be better while still, you know, growing soulfully and sustainably. And as you said, I believe that business can be a force for good and that leading with your values is always going to be a soulful business move. And the best way to attract your like minded community that will you know, advocate for you in any rooms. So that's a bit about what I do. And I had quite a circuitous journey into design. So I am a career marketer. And for the longest time, I really wanted to be a writer. And while I was trying to make that happen, I started a blog, which meant starting a website. And I don't know if you believe in love at first sight, but I was obsessed. And it just kind of snowballed. And the marketing role that I was in at the time had quite a lot of design tasks attached to it, especially websites. So everything just kept happening. And then I kept being drawn to these more creative website design roles when I started freelancing. And I realised that I just needed to make it my thing. And so it was very soul driven and moving on instinct kind of career move. And now I've worked with dozens of soulful, small businesses making their soul driven career moves, and being able to help them on their journey in the same direction is very, very rewarding. So I love it.

Nicole Smith
It's such a fabulous experience when you discover and it's that real, like, deep down. Ah, this is, feels right, this is what we need to do now. Right? Yeah, very similar to you know, when my decision to move from the role I was in to start my own business and like, I love what I do, it's exciting for me, it's you know, coming in and talking to my clients and pulling out all the information and then like putting it back together in this beautiful way. And like I call it I do design as well because absolutely different outcome. You know, I'm on the operational side but the same for what you're doing for clients. And I love that you're building that with an intention of accessibility for everyone else in the community as well. That's just a really powerful element of any business owner. To go through that journey and discover what it is to have a front of their business like a shop right it's the doors you open up the doors. Yeah. So how do you, how do businesses if they want to decide to go down sort of the more sustainable branding elements and all of that how do you actually support your businesses to firstly commenc that journey and really encourage them to lean into what the you know their soulful feelings of their business that gut feel of this is where I want to go. Can you how do you normally do that with your website design?

Laura Frances
So I have quite a like lengthened get to know you period with my clients and I always have this survey that I get them to fill out. And it's a lot of silly questions like, do you prefer tea over coffee? Or do you like the beach versus the rainforest and all this stuff. And if your brand was a smell, what would it be? Which is my favourite question to ask people. And I always get these emails or these messages from clients being like, oh, my gosh, I just rambled. I don't know if you're going to be able to make sense of it. But it's always my favourite part of the process, because questions like that, versus you know, what, who is your target audience. Questions like that, really get the creativity out of people. And that's where you see the personality come through. So, you know, I had a client answer that it their business would be like that potion in Harry Potter, where everybody's smells different everybody else depending on what they love. And I thought that was an amazing answer. And so things like that really get people comfortable with expressing their personality and showing that side of themselves that maybe they haven't had permission to show before. Because especially when you've come from a corporate background, like I have myself, it's difficult to let go of those expectations of what a business should look like, and giving yourself permission to do what actually feels good. And, you know, I staying on the corporate marketing ladder, or in the corporate business world, as maybe you can relate to, it's like, that would probably have made me a lot more money a lot faster. And that's not to say, I don't want to make money I absolutely do. But I also want to make a difference. And I want to live my life in a way that feels good. And I know that there are people out there who feel the same way, especially in business. And so I think that good design has the power to make that difference. Because when it's inclusive and strategic, but also heart led, you get all of these amazing businesses rising to the top and showing the big profit first kind of corporations that you can have it both ways you can make money, and you can make a difference. So yeah, I try to bake that into everything that I do, and also show my clients that that is how you can do it. Like you have permission to do it in your way, in the way that feels good for you.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, absolutely. I know, that was the journey that I went on myself. So you know, I look back now at some of just the social posts and the videos and you know, the things that I created when I first started and there was very limited colour. I sit here today in a, you know, a purple dress with pink and yellow and a bright pink headband. And, like, that wasn't, you know, what I was doing two years ago, because I thought that I had to fit into the box into the corporate box of what a business was, was supposed to be. Yeah, and it's, you do naturally do that, because it's what you've known. Yeah.

Laura Frances
And it'swhat you see working in the world. And I because I went through the same thing. Like even as someone who believes in this sort of design and like soulful business, I still had a brand for a long time that didn't feel 100% aligned, because I was just doing what I had been taught to do as a corporate marketer, but it's, I find that you kind of hit a ceiling with that kind of thing. Like there's only so long you can do that, especially as one person. Like, if you're in a team, it may be it's different. But as one person it's very difficult to put on a show like that and like put on a mask and be someone that you're not.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It's almost you kind of just read not read the script, but you just, like I'm from a drama, acting, you know, singing background, so like, it's almost you come on, okay, I'm Nicole business owner today, and this is what I'm doing. And then oh hang on, okay, that's off now and Nicole, mother and wife and friend over there. And they were not that I was a different, like, you met me in person. I was the same person. But it definitely felt like there was a not a, disconnect. Yeah, you know, and the minute I was like, I'm me, and this is my business. And I know that this business will be you know, it's growing and it's going to be business, right? Which it is. Yeah, but I'm still human and I'm the leader of this business. So it needs to be for me to driven you know, driving that forward the way that you know, showing up authentically and connecting with people because you're right, whatever business you're portraying whatever brand you're portraying. They're the people you're going to connect with.

Laura Frances
Exactly. Yeah. Like identifies like, and we are seeing more of a shift to that kind of marketing in the corporate world anyway, like I'm if you're on Tik Tok, if you enter ever into the comments sections is just like businesses commenting on these viral videos and trying to act like they're a normal person, like an everyday person. But you know, you know what they're doing. They're trying to, they're trying to force that more soulful connection, which is the beautiful thing about being a small business and that being the face of your business is that you can do that organically and you don't have to force it or fake it in the way that these big businesses have to.

Nicole Smith
And it's a good, good, I guess, conversation to have as well. There's all these new platforms. tiktoks not really new anymore, I'm still not on it yet. I will be at some point, I do love the fun dancing stuff. I know, it's not just about that but. S`ome of these things don't come naturally. Like when I first started an Instagram, like this story thing, even coming from a performance background, I'm like, Oh, I can't do that, that's too much. And, you know, you just kind of start and you do it, it's not perfect. But it's taking that action forward to doing that step. And, you know, I think that's probably something that you work with your clients on, as well, to encourage them to just take that imperfect action and move that, you know, step forward to the world that they want to create.

Laura Frances
Exactly. And it's about. Yeah, imperfect action over perfect action, because nobody is ever going to take perfect action, the, you know, everybody makes mistakes. And when I think there's something people find, maybe especially women, a bit self indulgent about putting a camera in front of your face, or making a website that's just about yourself or whatever. But giving yourself permission a) to do that and b) if it doesn't work, or you miss step, or you do something slightly wrong, giving yourself permission to accept that and learn and move on from that. And so when, when I do talk about things like inclusivity, and stuff, I'm not expecting everybody to get it right straightaway, because I still, I still get things wrong. But it's about just think having that thought process baked into your business. So it's always something that you're considering and learning from.

Nicole Smith
And where would we start like, so if we've got our websites sort of happening at the moment, and we want to take that step to make it more inclusive. And, you know, where's the sort of simple things that we can implement, or change in the way that we do things?

Laura Frances
Yeah, so it's, it can be just as simple as making sure that like your stock imagery is more representative of society, and not just people who look like you, I think we do naturally gravitate to imagery, images and stuff that we see in ourselves. And that's great. And we should absolutely be representing ourselves, as I've been saying, but things like that, you can choose to make it more representative of the people in your wider community as well. And so that's not everybody uses stock imagery, but even choosing fonts that are readable, so and then considering what a 20 year old thinks is readable is very different to what a 40 year old thinks is readable. And then how that translates to people who maybe don't speak English as a first language. So especially, I find with script fonts, they can be very difficult to read, even for someone who does have 2020 vision and is a native English speaker and they're beautiful and I love script funds, and they have their place. But if you want your message to get out there more, and you want your business to be a beacon for your community, then limiting your use of those script fonts and things like that. And then another one is colour contrast. So I think it's a really big thing, especially online, especially on social media. And on your website, it's really important to inclusivity to have that high level of contrast between the background colour and the foreground colour. And that's actually one of the biggest mistakes I see small businesses making because it is trendy to have the light, you know, maybe it's like a light pink with like a light grey font kind of thing. It's like a trend at the moment. But not everyone can read that.

Nicole Smith
Well, I find that quite difficult to like, look, I do wear glasses for away, whichever one is but even, like sometimes I look at and I'm like, oh, just, it's not quite like it's not easy to read. And so you're just easily for me, if it's not super easy, and I'm not engaged, it will just swipe on to the next. Because that's what the world is right? We're so quick, quick. Next, let's make it easy. Let's make it enjoyable. And I loved what you just said and the beacon, you know, a being a beacon for your message. And, you know, we all we don't just start businesses just have a bit of fun, you know, we all have a purpose and a mission of what we're looking to achieve. It's personal, also, you know, out for your clients and community as well. But if we're not supporting ourselves to have all of those things out there and visible, you know, those small little tweaks can have such quite a big impact, I would imagine.

Laura Frances
Yeah. And you're only making yourself more marketable by doing these things. So if you want to be more cynical about it and not just be that you want to include people the more people you do include in your business and in your design, the more people you have to sell to. So being soulful and inclusive and accessible, is it's just good business. At the end of the day.

Nicole Smith
It's just good humaning really, isn't it? Like, yeah, you wouldn't. I know, I wouldn't go out somewhere and just be like, turn back and talk over here as I talk, like the microphone. So you know, like, you know, it's, it's including, like, hey, come over nice to meet you like, tell me a bit about yourself? What you know,

Laura Frances
It's like the digital equivalent of like, making eye contact with people. And, you know, when you're in a group, and you say something, and there's always one person that turns to you, and it's like, sorry, what did you say? But, you know, it's that feeling of being I'm included in this conversation, even if maybe I was missed in the beginning, if you know what I mean. And that's what you want your audience to feel like. You want them to come to your website, and to your social media and to all of your marketing collateral and be like, this person knows me and knows what I want. And like I said earlier, like, recognises like, so when you are leading with your values and your personality and your soul, you're going to attract those same self, same people.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I know, when I, I'm lucky enough that my brother is a branding strategist, and graphic designer and website extraordinaire. So when I started my business, I went up to his office in St. Kilda, and we sat down and we had a meeting about my brand. And it's funny, we're talking about colours, and all of those sorts of things. And, you know, what I do, you know, it can be boring, right? Like, systems and

Laura Frances
Well people think web design is boring, so I hear you.

Nicole Smith
Well that's right yeah, the whole process, it's a process. Yeah. So I sat there, and I was like, talking to him. And it's like, okay, well, this is dah dah dah dah. So we went with, like, the blues and the rose gold sort of colours, and we've evolved those as well. And that's something I was gonna sort of talk to you about, like, when we first started, I knew that this was going to be the basis of my my branding colours or the brand feel and experience. But as you go through, I have like, oh, actually, I want to, I wear maroon all the time, like this, oh I've probably got similar, like these tones all the time. Yeah, oh, I'm going to use that one here. And I want to, let's add mustard. I love mustard. And all of a sudden, there's new elements poking through. And it's quite evident, like even on the social media side of things, when you go back right back to the start, and you scroll through, you can really see this evolution. And I'm sure lots of businesses have that as well of through the journey of discovering what the brand is, as you're evolving that. So yeah,

Laura Frances
Yeah. And it is an evolution and all businesses are going to evolve like, oh, I mean, even Chanel has changed their logo a couple times, you know, but that is the privilege of being a small business or being like a solopreneur, or whatever, is that you do get to evolve your brand as you evolve as a person. And so when I started freelancing, when I started my business, I was a marketing consultant. That was my job title. But I've let myself evolve. And my business has evolved along with it. And so my brand has evolved along with that. So it's all like a process, it's a work in progress. Like, you know, just because you chose the colours that you chose four years ago, when when you started your business, you're not the same person that you were four years ago, and your business is not the same business it was four years ago. So while there is longevity, you do want longevity in your brand. I think people sometimes get too stuck on that, that they can't change anything. You know what I mean? So,

Nicole Smith
Like people won't recognise me if I don't do this and that and the other. And it's all about communication. Right?

Laura Frances
Exactly.

Nicole Smith
I'm a person on the other side of the screen, is a person. We're humans. So hey, this is what we're doing super excited. Our brands having a refresh this is what we're, you know, we're doing or with me I just started inserting little colours in. The primary stuff is the same, the messaging was the same. Well,

Laura Frances
Exactly and you're still the same, like you're still physically the same person. Like even though you have evolved as a person, that evolution didn't happen overnight. You know, you were progressively becoming the person that you are today.

Nicole Smith
That's right.

Laura Frances
And I, when you are feeling disconnected from your brand, when you're looking at it and being like, oh, I don't really like that blue anymore. You don't feel as confident when you're showing up. And a lot of my clients just sort of stopped sending people to their website and stuff like that. They're just like, I just don't promote my website at all. I only talk to people in the DMS because they don't feel excited and proud of their website and that is surefire sign like that's a sign that you need a new brand or a new website if you're not excited about it, and you don't want people to see it. Yeah, it's time to evolve.

Nicole Smith
That's a really good, really good point, isn't it? Because you don't share things your not proud of.

Laura Frances
No, exactly.

Nicole Smith
You know, like, I know, with my website, it's always going to be evolving, it's always going to be changing. We've got plans to, you know, bring all the design fully in alignment and all of that sort of stuff. However, as it is today, I love it. Yeah, I love I love my logo. It's just my, we don't have any fancy image like images as such, it's the words, the business name, but I love it, the font that Dean helped me choose. And all of that is just like the, from the minute I saw it on the, you know, the I got a proper proposal and everything from him it was good. I'm like, you know, and it's, I guess it's easier when it's your brother, and he's known you your whole life

Laura Frances
Yeah, he knows you.

Nicole Smith
Starts like smack bang, done. But yeah, from working with someone like you. And I loved your questionnaire process, as well like understanding if you'tr a coffee or a tea drinker, or cocktail or wine or whatever it might be. All of that is coming down to the personality of the person who owns the business and transforming that into the business experience. But as a client working with you, that's such a fabulous thing that you've already collated all that information. So when you go to, you know, do those initial designs, or look at those fonts, and think about the colouring and all of that, you've got all this, you know, that evidence already stacked up.

Laura Frances
Yeah. And sometimes with design, it is a process, like it takes time finding the fonts and the colours and things like that, but it is very much when you see it, you know it like what you just said, right? You saw the fonts and you're like, yes, that's my font, that's my colour. And that process is much faster if you do have that, getting to know you, period, you know, that basis to leap off from and make those decisions from and everything. You know, as silly, it might seem silly, wanting to know whether you're a coffee or a tea person, but you know, people who love coffee, or a certain type person and people who love tea, or a certain type of person, you know?

Nicole Smith
Yeah, I'm a coffee drinker, although I've got an English background, so I should probably be drinking tea. Mum and Dad drink tea all the time. But I'm like, we got our new coffee machine during COVID. Best thing in the world. And I live in Melbourne, so

Laura Frances
Yeah, coffee capital.

Nicole Smith
Absolutely. Oh awesome now, obviously, as small businesses there, we have that real flexibility on moving through and focusing on our brands and how we can make a difference in the world. And when we start a business look, it is about starting a business, right? We're not just doing it for fun. And for high fives and you know, as much as we love to celebrate, is there like a real difference that you've experienced around someone that is purely focused on the money versus purely focused on the value and the experience that you know, like you and me sort of seem to be building our businesses based on?

Nicole Smith
Hey, they're just interrupting this episode to share with you a guide that you are going to want to explore. Are you a clickup user at the moment? Or have you been sitting on the fence and hearing me talk about it each and every week? And just wondering, what is the next step to take? Well, I've created a guide that's going to support you on your journey to really design your clickup spaces, be able to create those and then connect them into the way that your business operates each and every day. My community have told me that this guide has been a game changer in the way that they really look at that clickup workspaces, and operate each and every day. And you can access it as well. So pop on over to my website, theartisans.com.au\freebies and access the Action Takers Guide to clickup. How fabulous that you know, you're ready to evolve your clickup journey. You're ready to move from where you are right now to where you have always known you want to be. Reach out let me know I love to hear all about your journey in clickup so I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Laura Frances
Yeah, I mean, we all want to make money and I don't like I'm never gonna apologise for that. Especially as women we have a right to want to make lots of money. But I also went into business because I wanted freedom from the corporate world and like hustle culture. So my parents worked really hard their whole working life and I never really knew them to take a day off just even just you know, like a mental health day or even just for holidays, let alone when they were actually sick. And that's a little bit of a generational thing since they are boomers, but they're retired now and I feel like they're sort of getting to relax and do the fun things now. I'm not saying that they had, you know, a miserable life or anything like that. But that it's just that work unless you're on your deathbed mindset that both of them had, and it really rubbed off on my brother and sister a lot. So I don't know them to take days off unless it's really needed. But I realised partway through my career in the corporate marketing world, that that just isn't what I wanted for my life. And that's not to say I don't work hard, or that I'm not a good employee. It just meant that I wasn't going to let myself be defined by someone else's definition of productivity or of what a hard worker is. And I don't know anyone in business for themselves, who isn't a hard worker, like you can't just show up as a business owner and be like

Nicole Smith
Oh I'm not going to business today. I'm not gonna do that thing. I'm not going to turn off a client meeting to do the work that I've promised, but just not it's more that way. It's not nine to five, that was a concept. I love that my parents, my dad in particular was the same the, you know, committed to the job, you know, work ethic, and I just remember this, you know, when I was younger, and working as a checkout chick at Coles near my home there, may have been out and had a little bit too much fun,let's say, the night before. And I'd be like oh, I can't possibly go into work. Yeah, and Dad was like, you're a Gordon Gordon's work.

Laura Frances
Yep, same thing. Yeah.

Nicole Smith
But you know, I'm similar journey to you. I've done now, you know, work hard, you know, say, I was always a yes person saying yes to all the things because I wanted other people to be happy and do that, you know, hit that moment of I can't do it anymore, not getting supported, because I'm finally standing up for myself and the managers and the people just want me to keep saying yes. So, you know, moving from that role and across others. I came to a point where I'm like, no, no, that's not what I want anymore. Got two young kids. I've got a family. You know, I want it, well actually this was before. Yeah I did have two kids when I started my business. That's right. Timing. Like, who am, where am I. But knowing that there is another way, yeah. And the value exchange when you're working, you know, on and with clients, that are your people, you know, you can charge what you're worth, and more. So the value because it's not actually a financial transaction when you're working with the right people, because they know the value that you're giving in your, you know, that transaction or arrangement. Yeah.

Laura Frances
And I feel like it's an energy fusion as well. So when you are, again, this is my experience, but my experience in the corporate world is that you're exhausted by the end of it, right? You, they're just taking from you, and you're not really getting anything back. But even just conversations like this, but conversations I have with clients and things like that are energy boosting so I'll often, you know, I'll walk out of a meeting in the corporate world and need a nap. But I'll come off a meeting with a client and be like ready to go and so excited because there's just that energy that people in the business world like entrepreneurs and soulful businesses, they get, they're so excited by what they do. And they are so excited to get their message out there that it's energising so I don't find my work exhausting anymore. I like, wake up every day and I'm like, yes, this is what I want to do. But that also is gives you the flexibility to make those choices of taking days off and saying you know my kids sick today. I need to take the day kind of thing. Yeah. And there's that, there's a different I feel like the entrepreneurial world splits a little bit into that hustle culture and into the non hustle culture. So there's those we call them celebrity entrepreneurs who tell people to wake up at 5am and you know, run across hot coals because how badly do you want this business? And I think it's completely unrealistic for the average person and for the average small business owner. And you know, there's not just that one way of doing it you can build a profitable business that is your version of your business that's not somebody else's version kind of thing.

Nicole Smith
That's right. I talked about building big whatever big means to you.

Laura Frances
Yes, exactly.

Nicole Smith
Right. So some people big might mean the you know 5, 6, 7 whatever figure business. Some people might be that you know, you work two days a week you have X amount of clients and your systems are like humming away and you've got other income coming from other places like, you know, whatever it is. And we have you know, I think it's Denise Duffield Thomas he talks about the seasons of life was that Tina Tao is one of them, talks about the seasons of life, right? And we find ourselves in those moments. And like I've, as I said, I've got two young kids. And, you know, that's going to be for a certain amount of amount of time, I've got them. The kids aren't going anywhere, obviously. But that age only for a set time. I don't miss that. Yeah. So I can go to my son's cross country and watch him, like, run and do little thumbs up as he walks past. You know, that's fabulous. And I don't have to feel, I don't have to ask anyone? No, it's like, that's, as soon as that comes in the in the newsletter, it's blocked out in the diary. And that's what's happening on that day. You know, and that feeling of being able to build and design my business, which is one of the core reasons I did it, that flexibility and choice is just so powerful to be able to do that. And know that I had plans to grow the business. And that's going to happen on my timeframes at the pace and the experience that I want to drive it. I could really push and go hard, hard, hard, but I'm not at that moment right now. I'm doing it gradually and sustainably, so that I can enjoy my life, I can be here and get my new puppy in a couple of weeks.

Laura Frances
Yeah, and it's I think, we're always in a rush to be somewhere else like, well, especially in society at the moment, we're always in a rush to be at that 100,000k whatever it is business, but nobody got there overnight. Nobody got there by waking up at 5am every day for six months straight and then bam $100,000 business, it's a process, and it should be a slow and intentional process, every decision that you make, should be soul driven for starters, otherwise, you're not going to want to do it. And it should also be leading you towards the life that you actually want for yourself. Because if that, you know that high, high flying like high class, high profile business isn't what you want for your life, then there's no point in taking that advice.

Nicole Smith
Absolutely, that's so true. You know, there are we can design and create all different business types. And, but if we're not looking, I just did an episode recently about human design, and did my chart and found all the things I'm still absorbing information. But it was a really fabulous awareness that the way that I thought I had been operating is actually the exact way that the human design charts suggest that I should. So my, my decisions have always come from, you know, right here, deep down. It's a real felt like that all about that on Yep, let's do it. Let's do it. Let's do it. And so that was a great, you know, awareness that I'm doing that and being able to come up to those questions and know your decision making styles. And if it's a quick or if it's an elongated timeframe, will really help you to build your business in a human centred way.

Laura Frances
Yeah, yeah, I agree. It's, it is all about it's a learning process as well, like nobody necessarily knows exactly how they like to work straightaway. So yeah, you can try that waking up early, or whatever it is. So I just start like waking up early. That's why I keep using that example

Nicole Smith
I'm the same, I'm not a morning person.

Laura Frances
But you can try that a lot. And if it works for you, brilliant, keep doing that super excited for you. But I'm gonna stay in bed. And it's just yeah figuring out what works best for you and giving yourself the grace to make those mistakes and choose a different style of working or a different business strategy or, you know, a different way of marketing yourself and being fluid and all that stuff.

Nicole Smith
The imperfect action and coming back to that testing it out trying it if you want to try and wake up early, go and give it a go. Or you never know it might be the thing that's been missing from your world is waking it up at five o'clock. Not really my thing, but for you might be perfect. Yep. So yeah, I love that imperfect action coming back to that with all of the things that you're doing in your business, looking at your branding, your messaging as wel. I know I've been working recently on my business voice with Kathy Rast going through that whole process and even that has been such an awareness driving exercise of never quite been able to fully articulate what I do. Because you know, you say systems and process designer. What does that actually mean? And then, you know, I talk about clickup all the time. So people just think that I just do clickup. And so it's about, you know, being able to articulate those messages, then translate them into a way across your marketing in your websites. Yeah, is that what you support your businesses to help with as well, like transition messages into a, an easily digestible way on the digital space.

Laura Frances
Yeah. And I think that's a good part of the background that I have been in marketing, because even with that survey that we talked about, that I get my clients to fill out, I'll always pull out the bits, like the paragraphs that they've written about what their business smells like, and put it into a document for them and be like, and say, come back to this when you're working on your content, like next time, and like just take this sentence and put that in a caption on Instagram, because it's goals, like it's giving your audience a full view of who you are, and allowing you to focus your messaging in a way that, you know, working with a brand voice person like you are or with a copywriter and things like that. It's not necessarily something that people can afford really early on. So having someone who can listen to what you're saying, or look at what you're saying. And say, just say that again, like just say that again, that is what your message is, just say that. And then putting that into a digital presence for you.

Nicole Smith
It's funny, it all comes down to consistency as well, once we become aware of those things. You know, you do talk to people, and naturally we do say things, but in a fleeting conversation, we've moved on to the next thing. So we don't always necessarily remember that nugget of gold we said in that conversation two weeks ago. But that could have been the exact thing. Yeah. Explains what you do in your business. So yeah, that's fabulous.

Laura Frances
Yeah, I actually find because I do have a writing background. So I do like to write things down. But when I'm moving through like a brainstorming period, about something I want to do actually record myself talking, because I find that when you just start talking, you end up on these tangents and that and then you listen to it back and you're like, oh, that was actually exactly what I wanted to say. And maybe you find that with your podcast as well. Like, maybe you listen back to what you've said, and be like, oh, that was really smart. I'm gonna say that again.

Nicole Smith
Oh, I didn't know what I'm talking about. I have actually said that a few times. Like, I know that I know what I know. Right? That sounds funny. But, you know, when you're in the moment, sometimes you're like, why would people want to work with me again? Yeah. And then you go back, and you do listen to, you know, the profound words of wisdom that comes out of your voice that particular moment, and you're right, if you capture those things, you can go back and be like, hey, that's awesome. And let's repurpose that for some content. Because that's the message, that's what we want to do that consistent, same message across that people are going to gravitate to when it's their right time, that you're attracting them into your orbit. And you into theirs, so.

Laura Frances
And that's the beauty of collaborative work, like, you know, it can, when you're working for yourself, it can be very much like I have to do everything myself, and you get your blind design and all your blinkers on and you just go, but having the opportunity to stop and talk to someone else outside of your business, even if you haven't hired them, even if it is just, you know, like a community based thing like you find your friends, like your community on Instagram or whatever. Like we're both members of the founders team. Yeah. So having something like that. So that there are people out there being like, this isn't what you need to focus on, or this is what you what you just said was amazing, or whatever it is, getting yourself out of your head. And I find in those initial meetings that I have with clients, and those getting to know meetings and the the strategy calls and things like that, and those surveys, people have a lot more to say, than they think they do. And a lot of people often downplay how much knowledge they have. But as soon as you start talking to someone who's not necessarily in the same industry as you, you're just like, oh, I have so much to offer. You know, and I think it's difficult when you're sitting down to write content. You're like, I have nothing to say. But if you have a conversation with someone, yeah, you do. You do have heaps to say you just got to figure out what those things are.

Nicole Smith
And I think it also comes, you know, I come from oh I don't, you know, don't pump yourself up or like, you know, I know I've got a vast array of experience from all the jobs and life experiences that I've had. But when I first started it was like, talking about this little moment in time. And as I've you know, expanded in my business and grown more confidence in talking and you know, all of those sorts of things. have these conversations now? I'm like, yeah, yeah. Well, you know, I was that person in between the business and the tech developers and working with custom solutions and lalalalalala. And they're like, Ah, so you're more than click up, and I'm like yeah. Yeah. Clickup's a tool.

Laura Frances
And click up is such, like a involved tool. Like, there's so many things that can do you have to have

Nicole Smith
A lot of clicking!

Laura Frances
You have to have a certain level of like, of other knowledge, like you can't just know about clickup to be able to assign that to people's business. So yes.

Nicole Smith
That's so true. Thank you. That is so true

Laura Frances
Well, I'm currently trying to set up my own clique up. So

Nicole Smith
There we go. Yes. Well ask away any questions we can stay on the line after but yeah, it's, you're absolutely right. And I think that working with someone like you to have those conversations, and just like almost like, pull that knowledge out and give your clients permission to go, hey, you're awesome. You need to be talking about this more so that people actually understand who you are. And not just a, you know, words on a page or a person doing a video on Insta Live, whatever it might be.

Laura Frances
Yeah, yeah. I, yeah, sorry. I've said this before that. But I'll say it again, this, like your website, people tend to see it as just a business card. But it's so much more than that. It's so much. It's like the opportunity to show people who you actually are. And I think that's just a good thing to keep in mind. For anyone who's creating a website, and even just their social media. It's more than just a business card. It's who you are.

Nicole Smith
That's perfect. Amazing. Thank you so much.

Laura Frances
Thank you

Nicole Smith
I've loved our onversation, is there anything else you want to share before we jump into our three questions?

Laura Frances
No, I think let's go. Let's do it.

Nicole Smith
Cool. Okay. All right. Let's go. So what is your go-to app that creates ease in your day?

Laura Frances
Oh, well, as I just said, I'm trying to get into clickup. So hopefully, it'll be that. I use the Adobe Suite a lot, obviously. But I recently started using Figma. And Figma is a design tool. But I think a lot of small businesses can really find a lot of value in something like Figma, because it's a free, it's free. And it doesn't necessarily have all of the templates that Canva has. But you can create all of your documents, all of your, you know, proposals and your social media, and have all of that branding in one place. And it just makes it so much easier to create everything. So I love figma.

Nicole Smith
I don't think I've played with figma yet.

Laura Frances
No, well, because it is a design tool and like it is like the industry standard for designers to use now, but along with Adobe, obviously. But I just think that it has so many more applications for the small business owner as well. So

Nicole Smith
Oh, wonderful. We might put the link in the show notes for that as well for people to go and have a look and explore. Yeah, it's great when you discover new thing as well like, because obviously we use Canva on the daily we use Canva but I did discover something I read somewhere recently might have been someone from Founders Team actually shared it on one of their posts that if you design your logo in Canva, it's not actually yours.

Laura Frances
No, yeah, they own it.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, it's really one. Obviously, I haven't mice, my brother. Yeah, but that was something that a lot of small businesses probably wouldn't realise. And when you're building a brand, and a logo is, you know, quite an important piece of that puzzle. So yeah, that's a good, good thing to be aware of. Yeah. Okay. might know the answer to this or transitioning online, paper, hybrid to-do list lover? Where do you sit in the world,

Laura Frances
I'm actually quite a bit of a hybrid, I still love to put things down in front of me. But as a small business owner, as I'm sure you know, there's too many things in your head to have it written down in front of you. So having that digital place for all of the things and then having the daily things in front of you on a piece of paper. I think it's the way to go.

Nicole Smith
Love that. Yeah, simple. Gotta make it as simple as you can for however you like to operate, right?

Laura Frances
Yeah, exactly. And I've tried to just have the paper and I've tried to just have the digital but I found that hybrid works best way.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, yeah, totally. You're in the masses of most of my guests, like the hybrid on the hybrid stuff. I've got pieces of paper, especially when I'm designing workflows and things the initial, is my coloured pens, big A3 piece of paper and I just like scribble and then I transition it into, you know, depends on where I'm working, but yeah, into a digital format as well to share with my clients but yeah, definitely hybrid.

Laura Frances
Yeah, I've got the big whiteboard on the wall. That's where everything starts and then it goes into the digital into into figma or whatever it is.

Nicole Smith
Yeah, perfect. Final question. What would you do if you created more space in your world?

Laura Frances
Ah, that's a good question. So I, one of the primary reasons that I wanted to work for myself is because I love to travel, and I wanted to be able to have that freedom to travel more. And obviously the world as it is, is made that a little bit more difficult over the last couple years. But yeah, having that freedom to do what I want, you know, go where I want and take my laptop with me and still be online and still have that connection and that money rolling in, making money. But it not be a big deal of not only having my four weeks of the year that I can do that. And that one of those weeks is taken by Christmas anyway. And then you know what I mean? So, yeah, yeah, I would definitely, if I had more space, I would just put everything in my car and just drive, drive away.

Nicole Smith
Amazing. And that's so good. Yeah, I think that, you know, that's again, that's one of the reasons why I made, created my business is that choice and freedom. Yeah, obviously, my husband has an employed job. So and kids are at school now and all that. Yeah. Yeah. But I still have that flexibility in ways you know, that we, I can go and work from a cafe or, you know, take Sebastian up to the Gold Coast at some point for a week or whatever, and work from there. And yeah, that flexibility is, is a really powerful one. When you start your own business. So

Laura Frances
Yep definitely.

Nicole Smith
Well, thank you so much.

Laura Frances
Thank you.

Nicole Smith
Great conversations. So important branding and understanding what your messaging is, and all of those things. And that connection point that, you know, as, as humans as business owners that we're authentic, and it kind of flows across all of the platforms, talking platforms, where can we find you? How can we connect with you?

Laura Frances
Well, I'm most active on Instagram, apart from my website. So that's just @laurafcreates and laurafcreates.com is my website go check it out. And that's pretty much where I am.

Nicole Smith
Fabulous. We're gonna put all those details in the show notes. And that's it. Thank you so much.

Laura Frances
Thank you so much for having me.

Nicole Smith
My pleasure. Go over and connect with Laura say hello. Think about how you can really create a human designed business and design for you and your world. Wonderful. Well, thank you, everyone, for joining in today. Have a wonderful rest of your day and enjoy creating space and time freedom by now.

Nicole Smith
Well, there we go. Thank you so much for joining me today. It's been such a pleasure having you on board. Have we connected on social yet? If not, please come on over say hi, I'm on all the platforms @theartisanssolutions. So I'd really look forward to seeing you over there. And if you enjoyed today's episode, don't forget to tag me and I'd love it if you could leave a review. And of course share this with others so others can come and join us next time. Alright, then everyone have a fabulous rest of the week. And until next time, see you then.


Partners

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.