#16: Puno – Finding freelance clients, managing your time, building a business to support your lifestyle, and creating exceptional courses.

July 14, 2020

#16: Puno – Finding freelance clients, managing your time, building a business to support your lifestyle, and creating exceptional courses.
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Puno is a web designer and digital entrepreneur.

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Puno is a web designer and digital entrepreneur. She is the Founder of ilovecreatives, a platform connecting and edu-taining creatives living that slashie life. She also co-created PeopleMap.co, an Instagram marketing tool where you can strategically find, grow, and track your community. You can find her vlogging on YouTube and doing photoshoots with her cat. In this episode we talk about freelancing, time management, building a business to support your lifestyle, and creating exceptional courses.

Transcript and show notes can be found here



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Puno 0:00
I was like, I need to really make this course. Something that I would be like, whoa, like I would do it because I'm very self taught. So if I was going to turn my head then we got to make this crazy, which meant I spent about eight months developing, and it cost me 20 to 30 grand. It was crazy.

Jay Clouse 0:27
Welcome to Creative Elements, a show where we talk to your favorite creators and learn what it takes to make a living from your art and creativity. I'm your host, Jay Clouse. Let's start the show.

Jay Clouse
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of Creative Elements. One of the questions people ask me the most is how I'm able to juggle so many projects at once. And I get it. I'm doing a lot of things between this podcast, Freelancing School, my writing at JayClouse.com, my own freelancing, you get the point. And even though it seems like I'm great at managing my time, there are actually two bigger things at play here. First of all, I'm really curious. And I'm also really confident in my ability to learn just about anything that I want. So if I want something to exist, or I want to create something, I'm going to teach myself how to do it. And then I'm really bad at actually delegating that thing I've learned once I've created my own process around it. And so as a result, I have no choice but to get really good at managing my time, because I've over committed myself, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that my ability to manage lots of projects and lots of deadlines at the same time wasn't a point of pride. Today on the show, I'm talking with a real kindred spirit. And honestly, she's doing more with her time than I am. Her name is Puno. And I think that's it. I tried to find her last name. And I wasn't sure she had one. And actually went our whole interview with this question burning in my mind. Well, I have one last question that I actually meant to start the interview with.

Puno 2:09
Oh shoot. What's your name?

Jay Clouse 2:11
Yes, no seriously, I am so curious. I'm so curious.

Puno 2:17
Puno and legally Puno Puno.

Jay Clouse 2:19
Legally Puno Puno.

Jay Clouse
So for the purposes of this interview, let's just stick with Puno. This was one of the most challenging interviews to prepare for, because there's just so much we could talk about. Puno is a lot of things. She's a slashy. As an designer/ entrepreneur, creator / freelancer. She's a web designer and a digital entrepreneur. She's the founder of ilovecreatives, a platform connecting and edutaining creatives living their slashy life. She co created PeopleMap.co and Instagram marketing tool to strategically find, grow and track your community. She has a couple of YouTube channels and a few online courses through ilovecreatives. Let me just say it again. Puno does a lot. And it all started with freelancing. In this episode, we're talking about finding freelance clients, time management, building a business to support your lifestyle, creating exceptional courses, and learning how to do everything along the way. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this episode. As you listen. You can find me on Twitter or on Instagram @JayClouse, give me a follow ,say hello. But now, let's talk to Puno about why she started freelancing.

Puno 3:38
It was mostly because I ran out of money. So I used to work at Activision as a UX designer for Call of Duty got really burnt out. My husband who's a programmer, and I was an art director, UX, UI designer. We were like, let's make a web business. We didn't make a web business, we made a website didn't have a business plan, because it kind of were like said that startup app timeline. And so then we ran out of money. And I was like, I want to keep working on something. I didn't know what it was. But I was like, I want to build something. And I do want to build a profitable business. And I wasn't interested in taking investment money, because I also didn't want to be burnt out again. And I wanted to live on my own timeline. So if you need that, then you need money. So I was like, Okay, how can I make money and in the beginning, I started doing what I, you know, my previous job was, so I did UX, UI design. And then I realized very, very, very quickly that I didn't actually want to build other people's business ideas like an app because I couldn't turn it off. It was just always like I was always thinking about them.

Jay Clouse 4:58
You didn't want to be like dev shop.

Puno 5:00
No, I was excited about working on our own ideas. And because they were not, we didn't have a plan or anything, then I really had to think a lot of. So I started doing that. And then it was just too emotionally draining. So then I went back to advertising, which is what I did before Activision. And that was just lifestyle wise, wasn't what I wanted anymore in my life. I didn't want to drive over there most agency freelance work is in house, you got to be there for a whole day, right? Even if you're not working or you're haven't received any direction from the creative director, so emotionally, I just didn't want to deal with that anymore. Also, freelancers always brought in at emergency times because they have staff so it was just very high stress and you're just being yelled at a lot. So I'm saying hey, I don't really want to do that anymore. So then I went into graphic design. kind of stuff. That was kind of a little bit of a Shopify situation Squarespace situation and really landed on Squarespace, I realized that I got to control so much more. whereas previously, it was very waterfall, I would be the art director, then you'd hand it off to the developer. And then the project manager, we get involved with this, I was everything I was like super slashy unicorn, who got to control from the bottom up, which also meant that the cost was lower, which also meant that I was able to work with all these cool new small businesses, entrepreneurs, service based freelancers that were popping up around 2013. And I thought that was really fun and exciting. And I was able to empower them to like build out their own websites and manage it themselves without like breaking a leg because in the beginning, you have no money and you need time.

Jay Clouse 6:59
Same problem that you had when you started.

Puno 7:01
Yeah. So I really loved it. And, you know, to be honest, it took three years for me to figure out how to bootstrap. Like I had to build a bootstrapping business that was working with my lifestyle in order to then have the time and resources and money to build the other business that I didn't know what it was. I just knew that that business needed time. So it was a pretty long time. You know, might, most people think, Oh, I can become a freelancer right away. But if your lifestyle and making sure that you're happy is important, and you've been so unhappy for the past X number of years, it's very, it takes time to figure that out. And you know, as a designer, you have to iterate on it. You have to try new things. Some things don't work out, like I said, and eventually it does but it you know, it's not right away all the time.

Jay Clouse 7:59
In hindsight here in retrospect, it sounds like you've had, like some very clear constraints and you're trying to design a solution backwards from those constraints. You're saying, I hated this job. I want to build my own thing. I don't want to take money. I need to make money to exist. What can I do? Yeah. And that sounds like a pointed towards, well, let's sell some of my skills. And then it was like, Which ones? And then you tried some stuff. And you found Squarespace and you said, this is where I'm going to start. In real time as that was happening. Did you know that you were kind of solving this puzzle or? That's really interesting, because that's not that's not the approach that a lot of people who get into freelancing or a lot of creatives, I'm not the process that a lot of them take, they're like, I'm really good at this. People are offering me money to do it. And I'm going to do that.

Puno 8:45
Yeah, I think it's because I started from the I don't want to be burnt out. So I started with a list of deal breakers. And I don't know why but I never really subscribed to the like, what am I passionate about thing. I kind of felt like Just my entire career and journey has just been so loopy and all over the place that that just doesn't really work out for me. So I knew that starting with the nose and the things that I'm very like, I mean, I was physically and emotionally broken down from being burnt out. And I was like, I don't want these things because that led me to whatever that was like enough of a creative brief, if you will, to start defining new solutions and start trying new ways to design my lifestyle, if you will.

Jay Clouse 9:34
Which I love I don't think I don't think enough people will start from the standpoint of what will my actual days look like? Will I enjoy the inputs day to day of what I have to do to get by? And even this this puzzle that we're talking about where you started with? I know what I want my lifestyle to feel like, how do I get there? Once you landed on this Squarespace direction? How quickly did you think that you would have this lifestyle that you dreamed of and everything would be perfect. Do you know it was just gonna happen right away.

Puno 10:04
No, but I knew incrementally I was always gonna be happier because every day I think the big difference between me today and me before when I was burnt out was they didn't check in enough with myself. I relied on my boss I relied on other people external things to define like how my happiness was, but when you're a freelancer, when you're on your own, you got to do it yourself. You have to be your best boss. So every morning literally every morning, not I haven't done it recently. I think it's subconscious now but I would ask myself, are you happy? Cool, but and then what's frustrating you then what can we do about it today? And if I'm allowing myself to check in that frequently daily, then it's just a more self aware Have the things that aren't working and I can fix it quickly. Whereas if you like, let it bubble up, one, you're just gonna forget a lot of the things that really pissed you off. And you can't solve that many problems at all at once, like you have to be able to iterate on it frequently, especially if you have no idea what you're doing.

Jay Clouse 11:22
It seems like to me, a lot of the folks that I know that freelance and even when I was heavier into freelancing myself, it's really easy to burn yourself out doing that, too.

Puno 11:31
Oh, yeah.

Jay Clouse 11:32
How did you you know, you talked about checking in with yourself. But in the beginning, there's this very existential risk of do I have enough money to even pay rent and you're, you're living in LA, so that's not cheap. How did you keep yourself from burning yourself out as your own boss freelancing and doing what it took to make, you know, make enough money to get by.

Puno 11:52
I made a spreadsheet. I didn't really ever use spreadsheets until I became a freelancer. And my, it's like I was talking to an accountant the other day, and we were talking about cash flow. And I was like, dude, I have time flow, you know, like, there's only so much amount of time that you have in a day. And if I'm trying to bootstrap, build my own business, get abs, and also not be stressed out and hang out with my husband, then I only have so much time. So I, I was very obsessed with tracking my time in the beginning, because I felt so clueless about it. I didn't know where my time was going. So I was like, Okay, I'm on where's my time going? So then I would just like, track it.

Jay Clouse 12:39
Meaning like, you'd be at the end of the day or the end of the week, and you'd be like, what happened this week? Where did where did that go? Did I get anything done that type of like questioning?

Puno 12:47
Yeah. Or I would say like, Oh my god, I feel you know have time for this I don't have enough time and I was like, I'm so like, I get very bored of myself saying things like that over and over again. I'm just like, okay, girl. Let's let's deal with this. Like, can we give you some more insight into your time? So then I yeah, I would tie myself, especially for freelance projects. And it just gave me a lot more clarity about like, where I was spending it. From that I like made a basic spreadsheet. It was, it was a, how many hours do you sleep? How many hours do you shower, and it was like, oh, shoot, I only have like, two hours to work on this business, or four hours. And then I only have like, I also at that time, really wanted to play and try new things. So I wanted to spend time doing that and then working and like making money. So I use that spreadsheet and then I created another spreadsheet once I got very lucky and had a lot more clients. Because that's where the burnout, I think really happens is saying yes, when you don't really know. Do you have time for it? Basically the spreadsheet it's called do the math. But it has a way for you to add the amount of money you want to make any year. So one of them was I wanted to make $100,000 a year. So my hourly rate is 150 an hour. So how many hours do I have to work in a year? Right? And then what I did was I would add the amount of invoice and it would push out a date that I need to like work again. So I would use that work again, date to tell clients like, Hey, I'm booked up until this date. I also had like another one for estimated projects. So like anytime projects would start rolling in. I could, you know, sell myself when I needed to work again. Because there were some times and if the timelines flexible, where you just don't have to work, but you're like you feel guilty for not working. So that gave me a lot of relief. On Oh, you can take a day off.

Jay Clouse 14:58
It's really powerful when you build The system's to like, let yourself off the hook that guilt hook. Because you never know like what is good enough? Because there's no one to tell you like, you're good. You did everything you need to do you need to create your own way of telling yourself like, you're good. You did what you needed to do.

Puno 15:14
Yeah, and you know, it's kind of like, I have this same conversation different scenario about shopping. Like, you know, I'm not my day, obviously. So sometimes I'll be like, Oh my gosh, I you know, there's a point where I stopped buying fast fashion. And if you start buying from indie designers, the price going up, rightfully so but you know, so I, every time I go shopping, I'd be like, Oh my gosh, I feel so guilty for spending this amount of money. And I wanted to stop having that conversation and just have some kind of system like you're saying, in order for me to just get over it. So I just opened up another checking card and, and it has the budget on it that just gets filled up. medically and that's it. And so now I don't ever have to feel guilty, which I think that's the whole idea about building systems is to, like you said is to battle. All of that emotional debate that you just keep doing regularly that ends up exhausting you to and you don't even realize it. Just like if you're more aware like oh my god, I keep asking this question then how can we figure out how to mitigate that? So you don't have to feel bad.

Jay Clouse 16:31
When you were doing this spreadsheet time tracking activity. Were there any buckets of time that you noticed your spending that were just absolutely surprising to you where you're just losing time that you had no idea you were losing that much time?

Puno 16:46
I thought it was eating, like wow, I really spent a lot of time eating. So like for lunch, my husband and I, we usually will pre corona we would go out to eat and that would actually take about two hours like we were pretty leisurely about it. And that was one of the things I didn't want to sacrifice. So yeah, I was really surprised about how long I took to eat.

Jay Clouse 17:12
When we come back, Puno and I dive deeper into how she became a master of managing her time, even while protecting lunch. Welcome back to Creative Elements. Puno was just sharing with us how and why she started freelancing. And as you'll find out through this interview, Puno is truly an autodidact. Someone who is self taught. Learning how to solve her own problems is a huge part of Puno's story. She countered her problem of time management by learning a way to track her time. She taught herself Squarespace and she also taught herself how to sell freelance work.

Puno 17:47
Well, I always had like a social hourly in there. And it wasn't like I wasn't so strict to it where it was every day I would you know, Oh, you didn't meet your social our whatever it was. It's just more of like a general week kind of thing. But I tend to go to a lot of social events in LA, there's a ton. I even moved to downtown LA because I kept meeting so many new people and going out for coffees, but I'd probably spend about an hour to two hours a day. Just socializing, whether it's in person in a coffee meeting, call an event or just commenting on Instagram, like, all of those things helped and contributed. A lot of those things ended up being sometimes I would just be helpful like I wouldn't like I would spend time meeting someone and they had a problem. And I it's not a web design problem, but I would go and spend the time to find other people and talk to other people to help solve their problem. I think that's like a big thing that a lot of freelancers don't do to make the most use of that time because if you meet someone, and you have coffee with them cool How can you grow that relationship, especially with a stranger that you just had a coffee with? And I found that like, just asking them, what do you need help with is always the easiest thing. And if you're willing to like, help figure it out with them, you're gonna learn a lot. And you're also gonna, like, you know, become friends.

Jay Clouse 19:21
Totally. I love that approach. I like the way that you said, build the relationship. A lot of people, they might put that social time in their day or their week, but they get this block of, well, how do I start this relationship? How do I get someone to even agree to take the call or go and get a coffee with me? What did you learn about that first step of actually getting time directly with somebody?

Puno 19:45
Oh my gosh, that was like a big thing that I realized when I was getting new clients, I would go to these small business events, and I would get invited to them because I was the founder of whatever website we were building at the time made with that right? People have whatever, it doesn't even matter. And I would just introduce myself as Hi, I'm a Squarespace designer, I could care less about the founder thing, because it just wasn't maybe, I don't know, a lot of the situations didn't make sense for me to talk about it there. And that would just come up eventually, you know, like, whatever, but the thing I needed was work. So I would always start with that even today, if my dentist was like, so what do you do? I would just be like, Oh, I'm a web designer, they, oh, I need web design, help and whatever. Even if I'm not really taking clients, that is easier for me to like, help them than me saying, Oh, I'm the founder of ilovecreatives then. I know they were like, okay, whatever.

Jay Clouse 20:46
Totally. There's, there's not there's no next step with that. Except for Yeah, tell me more about that, I guess. But if you're one of our biggest needs is making sure that you're covering your own needs, then

Puno 20:58

Jay Clouse 20:58
Lead with that. Make sense.

Puno 21:00
I have this bio document, it's um, it has like my bio and photos whenever I do like an interview or something like that. And one person made a comment that they thought it was really funny that I had multiple bios. So it was like if your community is this, then use this bio, and it doesn't say anything about how I'm a founder, it only talks about how I teach, or whatever. And they're like, That's so crazy, like, I'm been stressing out about like having this one defined title. And yours is so situational. And I'm like, Yeah, I don't want to tell you something that we can bounce off of and works, you know, and figure something out. I'm just also making guests. So I'll start with the most general I'm a web designer we can, we can continue the conversation there.

Jay Clouse 21:52
By the way, I've seen Puno's bio document. It's nine pages. It has specific bios for ilovecreatives. People Map, speaking gigs, education topics and Squarespace instruction. It's incredible and I'm totally going to make one for myself too. As Puno started to see more success with freelance work, she also began to learn more about the business she wanted to build. That business was ilovecreatives. A place where Puno sells courses allows creatives to create a profile and allows employers to post ads for things like jobs. But courses weren't initially what Puno expected to create.

Puno 22:29
ilovecreatives started just as a newsletter. It was where I was just meeting a ton of people that were doing cool things needed help with so they would post jobs on there for super low price that was running for maybe like a year or two and then I put an ad out for myself because I was doing Squarespace designing and I got to the point where I wanted to hire someone One to help me get a lot of this, the websites up. And when I put the ad on my own website, I had over 100 applicants. It was like a Squarespace design assistant $20 to $40 an hour, depending on experience, got over 100 applicants and I was like, whoa, first of all, I had never really seen the back end of like, how many applicants people usually get because we just didn't, you know, that was kind of their information. So that was a that was really interesting that that many people wanted to do this. And then I looked through their portfolios, and wasn't too stoked. I was like, I can't hire any of them. I only was able to hire maybe five out of the hundred. And then I was like, wait a minute, where are they going to like learn this information in the first place is Squarespace everybody is fed this, the marketing that it's it's already beautifully designed you You can do it yourself, which is totally true. But designers or clients, people have a vision in their head and translating that to pixels isn't super easy, or it might take so much time that you would be willing to pay someone to get there faster. So I was like, well, maybe I can turn this into an online course to help students, like, figure this out because I think it's an amazing freelance gig. Out of all the ones that I tried, you know, this was the one that was like, that suited my lifestyle. And I don't think a lot of people know about it, because it's Squarespace. So so yeah, so that's when we started doing courses like legitly on I love creatives. Previously, I had taught Instagram marketing, I've taught some digital marketing stuff at like General Assembly and just various other workshop places but I never Did something like this. And I feel like also at that time, I wasn't liking the online course world. Like there's some icky stuff that's out there. And maybe because I was just inundating myself with it, I was like, feeling really weird about it. So I was like, I need to really make this course. Something that I would be like, Whoa, I would do it because I'm very self taught. So if I was going to turn my head, then we got to make this crazy, which meant I spent about eight months developing, and it cost me 20 to 30 grand. It was crazy.

Jay Clouse 25:44
What are the biggest drivers of the cost of making a course like that?

Puno 25:48
Well, I wanted to make it a game. So I hired a 3d artist and game developer to make this world that had portals and gamification and leveling. That was expensive.

Jay Clouse 26:04
That's awesome though.

Puno 26:06
I was like, Yo, dude, the price went up.

Jay Clouse 26:11

Puno 26:09
And then video editing. So that was when I hired my first video editor. Previously, I was doing it all myself. And I really wanted to make it funny. And I really wanted it to be engaging. So I hired a video editor and it's really funny. And then of course, we've got ads. So bring it all together. It's it's fancy, but I think what's cool about it is because that was my bar. You know, we've added so many things to it. Like we have TAs for each level. We have pep talks, we have, oh, this is something most people don't realize which we should be better about. But we do individual design critique with two designers. One is an assistant that I work with Gabriel and then myself and we don't a lot of people are worried, oh, they're just gonna make me design a website that looks like them. We ask all these questions up front about what your design style is and what you want to be. And we go out of our way to figure out what fonts they are, what layouts, it should be, like, What's you know, just everything and then we, we show you a video of how we think through designing like how you want to design so that you cannot just, you know, see or hear feedback, but like really see another designer work through that problem. It's a lot.

Jay Clouse 27:37
Okay, I couldn't help but explore this a little bit more, because this course sounds bonkers. I haven't taken Puno Squarespace design course. So I called a friend of mine named Clayton, who I knew has taken the course to hear what he thought of it.

Clayton 27:50
Oh it's amazing. I wish I could send you some of the stuff. One of the things that really stands out is she just used like water breaks in the middle of her videos and it's literally a GIF of her with all this like streaming like water, kind of graphics, and she's just dancing and she literally downs like an entire Nalgene of water over the course of like 45 seconds and that's your water break. It's just like every little detail is was so well considered. I think it's a it's a peek into the future of education. I think she's really onto something. It's seriously it's the best course I've ever been a part of.

Jay Clouse 28:22
That's pretty high praise for the Squarespace design course. And when we come back, we'll talk about how Puno thinks about learning right after this. Welcome back to Creative Elements and my conversation with Puno. We had just talked about Puno Squarespace design course, which she put months and 10s of thousands of dollars into developing. We've already talked about how tight Puno's time was. So I wanted to hear how Puno found time to support this course and her students on top of client work and her other projects.

Puno 28:54
Well, I think at this point, I had a certain amount of hours that I knew I was capable of working. So it was about a four hour kind of thing.

Jay Clouse 29:07
Per day or per week.

Puno 29:08
Per day. That doesn't include like, I think I'm way more social now than I was before. But yeah, so now I definitely have like this four hour window of I got to do work. Unfortunately, my time is not really the same as web designing. Now it's just a blanketed tasks of like what I need to do for I'll have creatives to continue to function. And then I've also got my bootstrapping hours. There was a time when I stopped doing freelance work because we were lucky enough that we were profitable and but there's a part of me that like, I don't want to be the teacher that just doesn't have any real world experience. And I wanted to be able to give one work to students. So like everybody who finishes the course, and then applies to be we call it the finest. I try to get them work so that they pay off the course. So in order to do all of that, like I still have to do freelance and I put an amount of hours just for that too. But now that I'm making more money, and I have more resources, I think majority of my time now is either socializing or doing marketing, creating content or managing there's there's very rare amounts of like designing anymore that I've done.

Jay Clouse 30:36
In all the stuff you've mentioned, is self taught, which is really remarkable because even teaching yourself something takes a lot of time. Were there periods when you were saying, I'm dedicating time to learning or did you say I'm going to make this thing and in the process of making that I'm going to be forced to learn this.

Puno 30:53
I'm very project based. I'm a project based learner so everything is easier with context. But that doesn't mean that I didn't take courses like I take courses all the time. And I just use it the way that I need to use it to get, you know what I want done. So I think it just depends. There's been a few courses, just the way that they work that they've motivated me to go through the whole thing. But there's some that I just like pick apart. And, you know, it's, it's like with any type of education, you really just figure it out on your own. Still, even though you're taking a curriculum, you're still kind of self teaching.

Jay Clouse 31:30
You've mentioned workflows at one point, and I want to hear what workflows are to you how you think about them, how you use them.

Puno 31:39
I am, I think, I think it's because my husband called me efficiently lazy. So I'm always trying to figure out how to systemize things. For example, my entire team, we have about five employees and gosh, dozens of contractors that we work at with all times. And so in order to work with the remote team, global team, that's, you know, everywhere. We have to create a lot of systems, and I'm just I love it because it's just gives you so much insight into inefficiencies. You know, for example, a lot of times we start off with doing things manually, because to me, I've found that tech is not always the best solution at first, being able to manually do it define what that system is, is the first step. And then making that as efficient as possible. One helps us scale. So if we need help, we can really communicate what that process is quickly. But also, it doesn't burn out my own employees, because they might be doing something that's like a tour and like mentally draining so how can we make that easier then? If you have that and you are tracking the time we track our time like crazy for projects, then we can see how much it actually costs to run it manually and then compare that to building it out with tech. majority of the time it just doesn't work out. And I would rather be paying if we can ramp people up and scale with humans then I'd rather do that. It's more fun

Jay Clouse 33:25
When you guys track your time are you doing that manually in like a spreadsheet? Or have you found a really good way of tracking your time that's pretty automated.

Puno 33:33
Yeah, I love Harvest.

Jay Clouse 33:34

Puno 33:35
You ever use Harvest?

Jay Clouse 33:36
My sister works at harvest.

Puno 33:37
No way.

Jay Clouse 33:39

Puno 33:39
Can you tell her that

Jay Clouse 33:40
And she's in LA.

Puno 33:43
What? Is Harvest remote or is it?

Jay Clouse 33:45

Puno 33:46
Ah, um, what does she do there? Okay, we should stop.

Jay Clouse 33:50
She's customer support. She's a remote customer support role Harvest and loves it.

Puno 33:54
Oh my god. I am such a fan. I really like Harvest alive. Yeah, so we use Harvest, I think it'll be really funny if she sees how I use it.

Jay Clouse 34:06
Say more about that.

Puno 34:08
Because you know, trying to be efficient. So we use harvest and put contractors as tasks, because otherwise it'll just the user base subscription is just ridiculous for somebody who works with all sorts of contractors. So, yeah, we do task based budgeting, and everybody has to add their hours, and then I do wish Harvest had this, then they get paid through Gusto unless they're International, and I reconcile that in QuickBooks. So that allows me to see if our Squarespace design course for example, is profitable per month. Because even though people are like, oh, wow, like the courses is so expensive. I'm like, Yeah, but I pay for TAs I don't pay them cheap, like, you know, I pay them, like, I pay them.

Jay Clouse 35:04

Puno 35:05
And it all adds up. And so sometimes I just gotta watch that and being able to track it on Harvest is great.

Jay Clouse 35:13
Something we haven't even talked about. Not only do you have the Squarespace design course, but now you have a video editing course you had an Instagram marketing course you have a whole portfolio of courses. And you also have a software platform that you've been building. And we haven't talked about at all.

Puno 35:29
Well, that's probably because my husband is really the one who's kind of dealing with that one. I just, I just every now and then we'll go on podcast and like talk about it, but I'm more so marketing, ilovecreatives. And that has to do with the type of business it is. Basically what happened was, we had built People Map, which is the Instagram marketing tool off of the Instagram API. And all sorts of changes happened. And that really makes it hard to maintain a business because literally when that Cambridge analytic a thing happened, Instagram gave no notice and deleted access to ate that API, which killed our business in one day. And I was like, holy cow, I was emailing every single I didn't even know them. I go on LinkedIn and be like, are you Facebook engineer, like, please help me like you just destroyed our business, and other people's businesses that are running on our business. And then fortunately, we had Facebook graph access already. But all that to say that business is very unstable. So Daniel, and I really made a really intense decision that Puno was going to go and build ilovecreatives, like a penguin just go out there and then Daniel. Yeah, I think I think the like one of them goes out to get food but it's really far. And then the dad has to stay with the baby. I think it switches roles or something. But yeah, so then Daniel had to stay home with our baby business. And then yeah, and that was kind of so the goal was that since we were making money from people map, I didn't have to freelance so I could spend my all of my time building out. ilovecreatives. ilovecreatives, because it's more human resources intensive, or people intensive, that it would take longer to be profitable. Whereas a subscription business, a SaaS business is like, it's just us. So yeah, I needed that time to just like build out that business. But yeah, so to answer your question, people that exist.

Jay Clouse 37:49
Well, all this to say, you know, you have this wild portfolio of projects that you're spending time on that or personal projects, along with the client work that you do when you need to You know, you started this, we started this conversation talking about this puzzle that you were basically trying to solve of, I want to be my own boss, I want to build my own projects. I don't want to be burned out, I want my days to look like this. Several years down the path of that, how does that feel? Have you gotten to the place you wanted? And what does the future look like?

Puno 38:18
You know, I think I didn't realize how much I would be fulfilled by teaching. I was I wasn't looking at it that way. It was more of like, oh, there's the demand. And I have that skill to provide for that. And it wasn't until later that I was like, oh, wow, I really like helping people be more confident and in just like a little part of their life, and I think that has been something that one I did not, I didn't foresee at all, but is like, so incredibly fulfilling. And I'm really fulfilled that I stuck to my guns and did it The way that I, you know, I didn't do any sacrifices, I like pushed it to a level that I would be satisfied by, which took a lot more time took a lot more money risk, but I didn't like I get to be me on the internet. So I'm like, really excited about that. And I think that that's what I want in the future is, I still think I have some things that I'm working through on how to be myself more, and I just need to continue to work on that, like just projects. How does that even look like? What is that? What is it because I don't even know like, is it? What is it like how do I be myself more. And I'm like, just very interested in solving that problem. Because I think it's really great to be able to be yourself and then other people see that and then they're more comfortable being themselves and you're like woohoo, we all win.

Jay Clouse 39:54
It's also really great this approach that you very obviously take of I'm interested in doing this thing. I'm just gonna go do it. I'm gonna learn how to do it. I'm gonna try to do it. And maybe I'll shut it down if it isn't working. But it seems like you don't get in your own head too much of thinking about how should I do this? When should I do this? And you just kind of dive in and start.

Puno 40:12
Yeah, I was talking to this chica named Alexis Rockley. And we talked about optimism. And she was telling me that optimism is basically learned confidence. So she gave this example when you're a little kid, and you only have tuna and a can of beans or something in the pantry, but you're hungry and you figure something out, and they you taste it. And you're like, that's not bad. I mean, it's not great, but it's not bad. That's just a little XP of confidence. You know, you get you get that and then that all of those little things turn into your optimism and I think that I've just been put in situations and as an only child with you know, busy parents, like I feel like I just had a lot of learned confidence opportunities. And I keep putting myself in those situations because I have this optimism that it'll be fine and that you don't have to have most things figured out. But I also think that I have experience experience of building systems that I instinctively now have a lot more questions that I can prioritize as important. And I only know that because I've just put myself in so many different situations to practice that skill.

Jay Clouse 41:39
Well, hopefully this conversation with Puno fires you up to learn a new skill yourself and to stretch the limits of what you thought possible with your own time. I love how much fun Puno injects into everything that she creates and puts out into the world. She's really a great example of what it looks like to not compromise quality, even though you're a small team putting out a ton of content. If you want to learn more about Puno you can find her on Instagram @punodostres. You can also follow @Ilovecreatives on Instagram or visit ilovecreatives.com thanks to Puno for being on the show. Thank you to Emily Clouse for making the artwork for this episode. Thanks to Brian Skeel for mixing the show and also creating our music. If you'd like this episode, you can find me on Twitter or Instagram @JayClouse. Go ahead, let me know if you really want to say thank you. A review on Apple podcasts goes a long way. I will keep saying. Thanks for listening and I'll talk to you next week.