Working crazy hours to having freedom… learn from this ex-Disney entrepreneur

Have you ever wondered why no matter how much you work, there is always more to do? In this podcast episode ex-Disney entrepreneur Antrese Wood explains exactly how she went from chaos to control (and a lot more free time with her husband!). You’ll get to hear about the mental shifts she went through and how this changed her business strategy and structure. She is an inspiring example showing that putting simple systems, automations, and boundaries into your business can skyrocket your success and freedom.

 

Podcast Transcript

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    Josh Fonger: [00:00:00] Josh Fonger and welcome to the WTS podcast where we help
    entrepreneurs move from owning a job to owning a business managing their systems so
    they can simplify growth. And today I’ve got a special guest Antrese Wood with savvy
    painter and Antrese was actually one of my clients I think over over a year ago now and
    I want to touch base with her or find out more about what she’s doing and what’s going
    on in her business. So Antrese are you there. I am. Hi Josh. OK. I’m excited to dig into
    your story and find out more about what you’ve done with your business so first once
    you introduced yourself who you are what you do what your business does. So people
    get some context.

    Antrese Wood: [00:00:38] Sure. Well my name is Antrese Wood and I am the founder
    and host of The Savvy painter podcast. And I also have a membership program for
    artists that’s called the Growth studio. I teach artists how to master their painting and
    business skills so that they can enjoy their time in the studio again. So that is my
    business. I got started with the podcast when I moved from Los Angeles to Argentina.
    And when I was in Los Angeles I had this enormous community of artists that I was
    rounded by by from my time that I worked at Disney and from college and from like all
    the workshops and everything that I would take in the L.A. area and then I moved to this
    tiny little town in Argentina. And suddenly I had no artists to talk to you and I really felt it
    was incredible. I was just kind of like well there’s just like this void. And so that was sort
    of that impetus to start the podcast and then the business grew out of it.

    Josh Fonger: [00:01:39] So how did you. I’m just curious now how do you initially
    monetize your podcast. You started from scratch in Argentina out of that. You turned it
    into a business.

    Antrese Wood: [00:01:49] A lot of mistakes a lot of trial and error and the first money to
    monetization came from from getting sponsors for the podcast. And those have turned
    into some really amazing relationships with these different businesses. And I also get a
    lot of donations from the listeners themselves.

    Josh Fonger: [00:02:11] Wow. OK. Listener Supported. So it was like I mentioned
    beginning the podcast entries. You went through one of the coaching programs about a
    year and a half ago and so I’m assuming there was some reason why you decided you
    know you wondered why some systems into your your business and we’ll talk about
    those in a minute. But was there something going on acutely or specifically that you
    thought you know what I need to organize myself.

    Antrese Wood: [00:02:35] Yeah yeah I was I was working like crazy. I was doing
    everything by myself and I would just sort of I was basically just running from fire to fire
    and putting them out and didn’t really have a handle on what was coming next. And I
    could see I knew that there was a better way to do it. I could see that I was missing
    something but I was so busy and so kind of in the weeds that I couldn’t wrap my head
    around how to get out of that. So that’s when I came to you for help.

    Josh Fonger: [00:03:09] Yeah I remember that. I mean a lot of people I work with
    worked really hard but you were one of the people who really worked hard early
    mornings, late nights, weekends. And I was like wow we need to change this model like
    this is not a good model long term. Well you were good a lot of things so I think that’s
    something that entrepreneurs listen listening need to understand that you usually are
    above or way above average and a lot of things. And it is hard to kind of peel off those
    layers and in your case we’ll get to it sometimes you just change the model completely
    the model is just not sustainable. So when you join the program you went through it.
    And so what what did you change about your business.

    Antrese Wood: [00:03:45] Well what I changed about it was it was a complete 180 on
    my mindset. I think we talked a lot about in the program. But having to put fires out and
    how how that is just not sustainable for a business and how to kind of pull back and look
    at what are the things that repeat. What are the things that can be done ahead of time
    like how can you kind of put everything in boxes and batch them together and kind of
    organize your time and your tasks in a way that allows you to get things done faster and
    more efficiently. That was would be the first sort of mindset shift does like OK let me just
    stop running from fire to fire kind of pull back allow things to get messy while I
    reorganize myself and figure out instead of trying to do 20 things and one day why don’t
    I just do all of the writing for example on Mondays and then all of the recordings on
    Tuesdays and things like that I’ve just kind of not doing things whenever it came up but
    actually is saying no I as an example here’s a good example. I use to do podcasts
    interviews whenever anybody wanted to. I would say I would love to have you on my
    podcast. Let me know when is a good time for you and if they said 11 o’clock at night I
    was like sure let’s do this or if it was like 5 o’clock in the morning on a Saturday I’d be
    like yep we’re in let’s go. And now I interviews are Wednesdays and there’s a strict time
    line in between and it’s rare exceptions that I will go outside of that. So just even that
    was a big shift. And then even the entire process like I automated everything from the
    invitation to the podcast goes out.

    Josh Fonger: [00:05:31] Well tell us about some of those automatons because this is
    this is help for me because you’ve done a lot more podcast than I have. So what are
    some automatons that you started with to kind of make yourself more efficient.

    Antrese Wood: [00:05:42] The. Well the obvious ones are they are email right. I think I
    think a lot of entrepreneurs are going to be very familiar with that with email automation
    and doing email funnels and things like that and I kind of took a look at that and said like
    OK how can I amplify that and make it even more helpful. So I had been let’s see I’m
    trying to think how how exactly I got there. Probably not that interesting but I finally
    figured out that programs. There’s these programs like Zapier for example and I
    basically just sat down and thought about all the programs that I currently use and
    removed all the redundancies and settled on the ones that were the easiest and most
    accessible to me and thinking ahead easy and most accessible to anybody. And then I
    took those and I just doubled down and I learned how to use Zapier things like really
    well. And so basically everything from when I change as an example when I put the
    publication date into my spreadsheet Zapier picks that up and then when I when that
    date occurs it will grab that email bring it in to my email service provider which is active
    campaign tagged the host with your interview as live and they get an email that says
    hey guess what your interview out. Here’s where you can find it.

    Josh Fonger: [00:07:18] It’s pretty slick now. I mean that that’s amazing is that as.

    Antrese Wood: [00:07:22] I say it’s a really detailed example but like I just look for
    every place in my business anywhere where I could do that that would save me time
    and save me from hiring somebody.

    Josh Fonger: [00:07:32] Yes well before we scare everyone away I love you design
    them and you have the mind to do that. I have the I think I think about that I like wow
    that’s really cool. You can also go the other way. I think when you get to it is you can
    also find a team people like I’ve got a guy who does programming with Zapier and all of
    our stuff. And so for me it’s more sharing hey this is a good idea let’s build a plan similar
    to you. But then I wouldn’t actually do it myself because that’s not my skill set at all. I got
    into destroying it. So you built that but what about you get this whole systems mindset
    and you start to build a team as well. What do they do for you? Do they build new
    systems?

    Antrese Wood: [00:08:09] Well I can tell I could tell immediately from the first
    conversation that I had with the company that does my podcast editing and and they
    also do my show notes and they I mean just by the questions they asked and they walk
    through that they gave me I could tell it they’re extremely extremely systems oriented.
    And so from that it’s like it’s so easy for me to be able to tell them like hey here’s how I
    work here’s what I need here’s the steps and they follow it to a T and I never have to
    worry about anything with them like it is it runs so smoothly and in comparison before I
    was just like you know almost the day before I’d be like oh my gosh I need a graphic.
    Oh my gosh I need this and now it’s just like there’s a checklist you just go boom boom
    boom. And it all happens and it happens like a week ahead of time and it’s just just like
    heaven compared to how I was before. I mean I was just a stressful policy.

    Josh Fonger: [00:09:12] Well how most people join the programs I mean I think people
    can relate to that. So it’s only a big thing for you. And I’m just trying to unravel the onion
    here is thinking differently getting outside is slightly elevated seeing the separate pieces
    instead of just running running running. I understand there’s just 10 components that
    make up a podcast. How do I build them in advance? How do get strategic about using
    my team? How do I get strategic about automation? Then just filling things in those
    slots. And so the stress kind of goes down. Here. So with your business model was it
    the same it was at the same when you started as when you were going to program or
    did you adjust and simplify some things so that you could really have the automation.

    Antrese Wood: [00:09:53] I did before I was doing individual courses individual online
    courses and they were that they had a heavy heavy like my involvement was it was
    heavy like it was it was a lot of personal attention and personal time. And on top of that I
    had several different programs. And so anytime I had to lunch it was. Kind of like almost
    reinventing the wheel again. So I took everything that I had and I combined it all into

    one program and made it a membership program so that I had one thing to focus on
    and one thing only and everything was kind of grouped; again grouped together
    according to like okay here’s some instruction on how to paint here’s some instruction
    on how to market yourself and here’s some instructions on how to manage your
    business. So all of that just kind of went into a single program and instead of trying to
    figure out five different launches in a year four or five different programs it became one
    program one kind of continual launch structure and I could plan it out for the entire year
    in advance as opposed to I think what I was doing before which is like you know I need
    to launch again and it would just be like boom go into the launching frenzy and then
    three months later do it again. But for a different program and so like the whole
    marketing narrative everything was done over again by hand and now it all gets. There’s
    a common thread that runs through everything. Everything gets re-used like all the sales
    material gets kind of taken apart. And put back together into an on-boarding email for
    people who’ve just found the podcast so I’m constantly just taking everything going OK
    before I even do this. What’s the plan for how to reuse all of it and how can I get the
    most leverage out of every thing that I create.

    Josh Fonger: [00:11:56] Yeah that’s great. I offer you simplified things and you
    combined. I’m in the process of doing the same thing. I more conversations now years
    ago about how you were doing all these different launches and now it’s just
    consolidation getting the most out of each asset at the most out of each email. Most of
    your time. So if you’re going to invest in building something you can use it again and
    again and again and then it’s really worth it. Let’s go. So with your with your
    membership site now this is going. I’ve got a few clients who have membership sites
    and they have different ways of launching. Are you doing an ongoing launch for all new
    subscribers is that the way you’re building or is it. Once a quarter is event based or
    seasonal. How do you get them all excited about joining?

    Antrese Wood: [00:12:37] I’m starting you know here’s a funny thing too. I’m actually in
    the middle of a launch right now and I’m having an interview with you and I’m totally
    calm and fine if you talk to me two years ago and I was in the middle of a launch I would
    probably still be in my pajamas and my hair would be sticking up everywhere and I
    would probably be 10 minutes late for this interview so that that’s another sign. That’s
    pretty like the launch is happening and I’m totally fine and relaxed about it. So to answer
    your question the the the launch cycle right now is about every eight weeks and what’s
    coming up in the future is just like a continual sort of content change within the podcast
    that leads people into that direction. So everything’s just gonna start funneling into the
    launches themselves in a way that’s super valuable for the people listening. So that’s
    one of my main goals is that when when you’re listening to the podcast or when you’re
    receiving my emails that it’s always something that’s super super helpful to you whether
    or not you buy the program. One thing I’ve noticed I don’t know if this is particular to
    artists I’m probably very keyed into it because I’ve experienced this so much with my
    own art that people have been. Watching me and following me or been on my email list
    for my own painting for my own paintings and they’ve been on there for years and then
    all of a sudden I didn’t even know they were watching me and all of a sudden they’re
    like hey I want to buy this painting. So I kind of know from that that sometimes it takes
    people longer to buy. So you have people that have an immediate need like I need this
    right now and they’re gonna buy within the first month and then there’s other people that
    they just they’re not really aware of how much I want to say how much pain they’re in
    but it’s really awful. But they just have this sort of like underlying stress level and they’re
    kind of used to it so they don’t realize how much it’s affecting their ability to. Make a
    living off of their art until you kind of like show them look here what you’re doing here’s
    how you’re sort of shooting yourself in the foot and it takes them a while to realize like
    oh yeah. And guess what I can change that.

    Josh Fonger: [00:14:54] Yeah. So the very comfortable being the starving artist
    becomes part of their identity.

    Antrese Wood: [00:15:00] It’s a little bit more that they don’t feel like they have the
    ability to change it. They sort of that myth is so prevailing that people think that that’s
    just the way that it is and that there’s nothing I can do about it. And when you show
    them that oh yeah you can do something about it you don’t have to be miserable you
    don’t have to. You don’t have to choose between making great art and and making a
    living and having a comfortable home and having like and feeling like you contribute to
    your family.

    Josh Fonger: [00:15:31] Mm hmm. Wow. I love the message and I think that that is so
    true and with your audience and my audience as well with entrepreneurs that they get
    stuck into a pattern and they think that’s just the way life is as being an entrepreneur is
    is suffering and life doesn’t happen and business doesn’t have to be so hard as long as
    you get the right system structure design bill exactly built in. That’s very cool.

    Antrese Wood: [00:15:55] Yeah and it’s like it’s you know it’s that that mind shift that
    same mindset that I had that I was just that’s a really great point because my. What I
    was thinking was just like oh my god running up being an entrepreneur is so hard this is
    so hard look at all this work that I have to do. And then it’s like wait do I do I need to do
    all this. Do I need to stuff like this? And so you guys kind of showed me that, no you can
    actually like here’s a different way of looking at it. So if you’ve been looking at it from
    this direction it’s. Kind of like you just said hey can you walk over to the side and look
    and then you see like oh well OK I see kind of behind the scenes and how much extra
    effort is being wasted. Let’s fix all those things. And it took me a long time. You know it’s
    the work that you do upfront to systematized things to make things scalable to make
    things to make it so that you’re not reinventing the wheel every single time you launch or
    you run a new marketing program or whatever it is that you do then. It’s just like it
    becomes easier and easier. Like all the work that you do up front pays off like 10 times
    or 20 times or 100 times because you invest that one day to pull it all apart. Look at it.
    Put it back together in a more efficient way and you get to use that for the next year or
    two years 10 years whatever it is until you realize like OK and I can add this or this is a
    new way to make this this thing even more efficient. And once you get that wheel rolling
    then you can go away and go do something that really requires your brain that really
    requires your creativity and really requires you to be there.

    Josh Fonger: [00:17:39] I think that’s great. And I think most people again get stuck in
    the pattern and then they get a built in I think well now what I do in my time and it’s like
    when you can plan ahead you can build ahead. You can build things for the future and
    and do the creative work that you’re meant to do. That’s cool I’m good at. I got some
    questions about your your your team so I have people in your family so your family or
    your team if they notice any differences in you and the way you work now that you kind
    of have this new mindset? Is it easier to work with with them?

    Antrese Wood: [00:18:08] I think had definitely way more relaxed. It’s like four for me in
    particular like I would say that I would I would always be very very anxious anytime I
    had a lunch and about everything and I would be very anxious like throughout the
    month kind of going like OK when’s money coming in. Is it going to come in in time on
    time or where. You know like I wasn’t really sure where anything less and now like even
    including my finances everything there is automated. So when I get paid like there’s this
    much money goes out for taxes this much money goes out to to. Well that was a private
    first with my. That was fantastic. So all of that is just automated. So in terms of what
    people are noticing it’s just like I’m not freaking out every day all the time I’m just kind of
    like more chill about things and relaxed. And as another example where I was telling
    you before we kick this off that we’re moving to get back to Argentina. It’s like a Where’s
    Waldo trying to keep track of where my husband and I are. So I started this
    conversation talking about how I moved from Los Angeles to Argentina and we were
    there six years came back and now we’re again going to Argentina. And so all of these
    systems that I have in place allow me to make that move again without freaking out like
    the podcast are done. They’re ready to go. I don’t have to worry about that. My classes
    are those are all set and I know these are the times that I have to be there in person
    and that these are the times that I need to be in the community answering questions. So
    instead of feeling like I have to be there 24/7 I know like Thursday is the day that I call it
    sort of my gratitude day that’s the day that I am it’s like my customer appreciation day.
    So Thursday is I am just I’m doing the live classes I’m in the community I’m talking to
    them I’m answering questions. They get a ton of attention and I give them things to do
    and that basically keeps them completely focused on their objectives. And then we talk
    again the next week and there it’s so much more focused calm and I think helpful for
    them. Mm hmm.

    Josh Fonger: [00:20:23] Well I think and also since you weren’t going so many different
    directions now you’ve business is just a consistent direction. One product one client
    teletype and you can serve them in a mature way better and better and better each time
    because you really focus in on it. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs get the shiny object
    syndrome we’re always on to the next thing the next thing and I think I think of some
    easy way to getting rich when you’ve really just found that you’re sticking to your core
    and refining and refining refine it and building more and more systems more more
    freedom which is which is awesome to see that actually happen make up a year from
    now. I mean you might who knows you’ll be maybe not in Argentina anymore but.

    Antrese Wood: [00:21:03] Who knows even better. I could be anywhere.

    Josh Fonger: [00:21:05] Yeah. Well this has been great. I want to give you a chance
    to kind of share what you device you to give to entrepreneurs listening to this because
    as you know you fit into the shoes of most people who listens all business owner all
    entrepreneurs have a couple employees. What would you tell them if they’re saying
    gosh I wonder if I should either one of the coaching programs or just you know just put
    this into place in general what what would be your advice to them?

    Antrese Wood: [00:21:28] My my advice would be to to trust that you you can do this
    and to trust that no matter what your business is. I mean stereotypically I deal with
    artists. We’ve got to be. We are stereotypically we are the most unorganized people on
    the planet I think. And. And if so I would say that if anyone can if I can do it then anyone
    can do it. But more importantly than that I think is I think probably if people are listening
    to this are watching this it’s because they already kind of know that they need to get
    organized and get more productive and just you know make their lives better by not
    working 24/7 or you know like. Like you said when. We. First met I was like 20 hours a
    day practically. And. When. I think for me the pain was so great of not dealing with it
    that I wanted everything to happen right away of super impatient like I wanted to make
    the systems and I want them to just go immediately. And so. What I would. Think the
    advice that I would give is that you know any even if you’ve just got like 15 minutes to
    just tweak that one little system like. You. You gave us sort of this chart of like OK
    here’s how you you start to document the systems that you know we’re coming up and I
    think some of the best advice that you gave was. You don’t need to do this all at once
    just do a couple of just do one hour every week and just do a little bit at a time and all of
    that every hour turns into you like 10 hours later. So every 15 minutes that you spend is
    going to like amplify itself. So like a couple weeks later all the sudden you’re going to
    have an extra three hours. And if you invest that again it just pretty soon you have like
    three or four days during the week. That used to be total chaos that now you can be like
    you know what I’m going to take the morning off and go for a walk with my husband and
    I’m fine. I’m not walking with him thinking like oh my God I should be working Oh my
    God. OK. But I know I need to do that. You know?

    Josh Fonger: [00:23:31] That that’s awesome. Yeah I think that’s great advice. It really
    is. You’re not going to build the record building the machine the machine in a day build a
    piece of it today. And if it’s a piece it’s going to endure for a while. That was a good
    investment of time and you’re a perfect example of that. That’s awesome. So where can
    folks find out more about savvy painter?

    Antrese Wood: [00:23:50] You can find out more about savvy painter savvy painter dot
    com. And I’m on Instagram a savvy painter podcast dot com that’s that’s where urban
    sorry at savvy painter podcast that’s probably where I’m the most active in terms of
    social media. That’s the two places where be the fastest.

    Josh Fonger: [00:24:08] Ok well great Antrese. Thanks for taking the time for the
    interview sharing your wisdom. I learned a lot of help make so obviously I do a podcast
    as well. So learning from you has been good because you’re a pro and thanks
    everybody for joining us on that on this podcast. Tune in next week where I’m gonna be
    sharing another example from one of my previous clients like Antrese or a business
    expert and they’ll be sharing one of their tools techniques or resources so that you can
    make more and work less. Thanks everybody.

    Antrese Wood: [00:24:36] Thanks Josh.

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