403: Habits for Creators: Building the Habit of Who

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A blue birds-eye view image of two people having coffee with the title of Bjork Ostrom's episode of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast, 'Building the Habit of Who.'

This episode is sponsored by Clariti.

Welcome to episode 403 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, we have the third episode in our series on habits for creators, all about the habit of who.

Last week on the podcast, Bjork chatted about the habit of continual learning. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

Building the Habit of Who

Do you ever feel like you need to be an expert in everything you do, both in your personal and professional life? If so, you’re not alone, and today’s episode is for YOU.

In the third episode of Bjork’s mini-series on habits, he is chatting all about the importance of surrounding yourself with trusted experts who can help you with specific aspects of your life and business.

You’ll learn more about creating a personal board of directors, determining who your experts are, and why you need to be asking “who can help with this?”

A photograph of three people sitting at a table in a coffee shop with a quote from Bjork Ostrom's episode of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast that reads "Building the habit of who is thinking about who you go to any time you come up against a challenging problem or a sticky situation, and knowing that there are experts who can help out with that problem."

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why you should ask yourself the question “who can help me with this?”
  • How to introduce the filtering mechanism of “who” into your business.
  • Why you should consider building out a personal board of directors.
  • The kinds of experts to surround yourself with in the food blogging space.
  • How to find a mix of advisors from the digital, personal, and paid consultant realms.
  • How the ‘habit of who’ can help boost productivity.
  • Why you should take time to reflect on the gains you’ve made in your business.


About This Week’s Sponsor

We’re excited to announce that this week’s episode is sponsored by our sister site, Clariti!

With Clariti, you can easily organize your blog content for maximum growth. Create campaigns to add alt text to your posts, fix broken images, remove any broken links, and more, all within the Clariti app.

Sign up for Clariti today to receive:

  • Access to their limited-time $45 Forever pricing
  • 50% off your first month
  • Optimization ideas for your site content
  • An invitation to join their exclusive Slack community
  • And more!

You can learn more and sign up here.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].

The Food Blogger Pro logo with the text "Join the Community!" on a blue background.

Transcript (click to expand):

Alexa Peduzzi: This episode is sponsored by Clariti. That’s C-L-A-R-I-T-I .com. Do you have any plans to optimize your content this year? Maybe you’re asking yourself the same questions that tons of other creators, bloggers, and website owners ask themselves to. How do I know what to change and optimize on my site? How do I know that what I’m actually doing is moving the needle? Well with Clariti, those questions are easy to answer. Clariti is the content organization system for content creators. It automatically syncs with your WordPress content and Google data so that you can make quick decisions and track the impact of your optimizations. For each post you’ll be able to see and track data like page views, ranking, keywords, click through rate, and impressions. And then you can create customized projects for your optimization efforts to help you stay organized and make progress each and every day. Listeners to Food Blogger Pro Podcast get 50% off their first month of Clariti by signing up to the wait list. To sign up, simply go to Clariti, that’s C-L-A-R-I-T-I, .com/food. Thanks again to Clariti for sponsoring this episode.

Bjork Ostrom: So we’ve been talking about habits. We’re doing a short solo series all about habits, and the habits that you can think about and implement within your business or within your life really that will have an impact over a long period of time. We talk a lot about this idea of tiny bit, which is getting a tiny bit better every day, forever incremental improvements. And so much of that comes back to these small habits that we introduce into our life, that over a long period of time, have a really big impact.

So today we’re going to be talking about the habit of who. And it might not seem like a habit, but let me explain here. Let me explain the context around it. So the habit of who is getting into the habit of asking yourself the question who do I go for to help me with this? And a great book to check out if you’re interested in learning more about this, or exploring this idea is a book by Dan Sullivan called Who Not How. And there’s a little quote card, if you go to Amazon and scroll down, this is the little quote card that it says, and this basically sums up this podcast episode. So if you feel like you get it after this, you can just stop listening. But we’re going to talk more specifics, and I’m going to give some examples of what this looks like for myself.

But the quote says this, “When we want something done, we’re trained to ask ourselves how can I do this? Expert coach Dan Sullivan knows the question we should ask instead, who can do this for me?” And then the follow up is, “Don’t let the lack of complexity fool you. By mastering this question, you will quickly learn how billionaires,” which that’s a stretch goal for all of us, but we can go there, “you’ll quickly learn how billionaires and successful entrepreneurs like Dan build incredible businesses and personal freedom.”

So the habit of who is really introducing, almost as a filtering mechanism in your life, that question who? So when you come up against a sticky problem, when you come up against something that’s really complex, instead of thinking, how do I figure this out and maybe getting bogged down by that question and getting discouraged by it, instead ask what I believe to be an easier question, who can help me with this?

And the idea is that over time you want to be building out kind of a board of advisors. I’ve talked about this idea before in the podcast on previous episodes, this idea of a personal board of directors. But both within your business and your personal life, you want to be thinking about these advisors or these people who are experts that you can go to with questions and they have an expertise in a certain category. And I’m going to give you some examples both in personal and business and what that looks like.

And I still to this day have to remind myself of this because I get stuck in this idea that I need to figure it out. But the reality is there are people who are so smart and have a deep expertise in certain areas, and we need to find those people and figure out different ways to work with them. And if it’s not actually working with them in an official working relationship, I’m going to be talking about some other kind of steps that you can introduce before hiring somebody if you’re not at that point.

So a couple examples in our personal world. The obvious one really I think for a lot of people is finance. The funny thing about this, even though it’s obvious, a lot of people don’t do this. Finances are super critical. And there are people who have a deep expertise in finance. And as I’ve talked about before, this is an area that I love to nerd out on, listen to podcasts about.

And yet what I’ve realized is there are a lot of blind spots in my life that I don’t see. An example is we have a personal finance person that we work with, Ben, and his partner Cal, and we’ve worked with them for probably seven years. And recently we were reviewing things, and he said, “Oh, I see that you’ve been contributing to a 529 plan for your girls.” So we have two young girls, and we’ve calculated the cost of college, and it’s just ridiculous, if the prices continue to go up and they go to a traditional four year school. So we’re like, oh, we should probably start saving now. We’ve been putting money into a 529.

And he said, “Did you know that in Minnesota you can actually get a tax deduction up to $3,000 for 529 contributions?” I didn’t know that. It was something that our CPA hadn’t brought up. And so I went to our CPA and they said, “Oh, actually, you know what? That’s true. We missed it. We’re going to go back and make sure that we capture that deduction.” So I wouldn’t have ever thought about that. I wouldn’t have known about it. And it was just a great insight that our finance person brought to us.

Another one is this idea of a donor advised fund. Now this is kind of a specific category of donations where you can create a donor advised fund and you can give into that fund, and then from that fund you can make donations. And so for Lindsay and I, we wanted to establish, this is another habit, but we wanted to establish a habit of setting aside money to donate to nonprofit or different organizations that are doing good in the world. But we knew that there might be seasons where we don’t know where we want that money to go, but we do want to develop a habit of setting that aside.

And so we created a donor advised fund where we said, hey, every 10% of what we’re getting in, whether salary or distributions from the businesses, we’re going to just direct that straight into the donor advised fund. We don’t have to think about it from that point on. We just know that that’s money set aside that will be money that we donate. I didn’t know what that was. I didn’t have any concept of what it was. But it was introduced to us through our finance person, Ben, who said, “This might be something that would be worth looking into.” And it’s a great way to establish kind of a routine around donating, even in seasons where you know might not know where those funds are going to be directed, so then you can just have those. And then at a certain period, you can direct those to a nonprofit or an organization that you want to support. So that’s just a finance one.

A recent change that I’ve had around my personal board of directors is bringing somebody in to help me with decisions around health, so diet and exercise. And I realized that I was trying to make a lot of these decisions on my own in my head, and this is kind of the opposite of the finance world for me, where I’m not consuming a ton of content on health and fitness or diet. And I was also trying to do a good job of being healthy. And I realized there was this huge gap between my knowledge and expertise and my ability to keep myself accountable, and what my standard for it was.

And so I brought in a coach, and his name is Brett, and it’s been incredible to have somebody who is giving me insights and advice. And we go back and forth every day. And an example, a really obvious example is he’s like, “You need to be eating more vegetables.” And it’s like, yes, for sure. And I knew that and I had that in my head, but it wasn’t until somebody said that and they kept me accountable to that, that the change actually happened. So those are just a couple examples.

I also meet with a mentor that I’d consider to be kind of a spiritual mentor. We talked about financial, I think there’s relational coaches or people who can help, whether that be a therapist, or maybe it’s somebody who’s further on. A friend who’s further on in a relationship that can talk through relational considerations. I think mental advisors, coaches, therapists is a really important piece. Physical, which we talked about, that health component. So those are all kind of in the personal world. And again, to recap those, I have the list here, physical, mental, spiritual, financial, relational are the ones that I thought of that could be the who. As you’re building the habit of who to think about who do I go to.

If I’m having relationship issues, who do I go to for that? Who do I help work through problems that I’m having? Financial questions, who do you go to for that? Spiritual questions, mental, physical, health and fitness. Who do you go to for those different considerations? And then on the business side, and this is maybe a little bit easier because the relationship in the business world, those lines are a little bit more obvious.

So a couple examples in our world for taxes, we have CPA. So anything tax related, I go to our CPA. And we have, in our case, there’s enough questions that I have about taxes or finance that I just have a standing monthly meeting. I build up any questions that I have, and then we go through those in that meeting. But another example would be a developer that we work with, Jeremy, who’s the developer that we work with. Anytime we have questions about servers or something code related on one of the sites on Pinch of Yum or Food Blogger Pro, we need maybe a new feature that changes, or a bug that came up. We aren’t trying to figure that out on our own. We go to somebody for that. That’s our who for any of those questions that come up.

Another example is in the world of audio. My friend Matt is a really great audio engineer, and he’s lived in the world of audio for 20 years. And he had a band and they toured for three years. Audio’s important to us, we do a podcast, but I’m not an audio expert. And so it’s great to have Matt as somebody who’s a resource to go for those things.

So in the business world, a few of those that you might think about would be a business coach. If you have questions about business, who do you go to get those questions answered or to talk through those? You don’t have to figure all of that out on your own by doing hardcore research or becoming an expert on business. You can have a coach and you can go to them. Taxes and finance is another important one that we talked about. Technical consideration. So a shout out to NerdPress. Andrew’s been on the podcast often. You maybe see him in the Food Blogger Pro forums. That’s a great example of finding your who for anything related to website maintenance. So plugins and uptime and site speed, and all of those things. NerdPress and Andrew and his team are a great resource for that.

SEO. Do you have somebody that you can go to for SEO questions, social media, email? On our teams, we’ve thought a lot about that. Even though we live in this world, even though we talk about it often, we have Allie, and we go to Allie for any email related questions that we have because she lives in the world of copywriting an email, and she can figure that stuff out a lot quicker than we can.

So that’s the idea of who. And building the habit of who is thinking about who you go to anytime that you come up against a challenging problem or a sticky situation, and knowing that there are experts who can help out with that problem, who will very quickly have an opinion or have advice that they can give you, and you don’t have to go out and research it on your own.

Now, for some of you, I know what you’re thinking. You’re like that costs a lot of money to have a bunch of people who you just have available to help you with that stuff. And as we’ve worked through these, there’s really three considerations or three levels I think that you’d have for any of these seats on your personal or business board of advisors or business board of directors. There’s really three levels. And at any given time, in my world, I have people who are operating at these different levels.

And so the first one is a digital coach or a digital consultant. And what I mean by this is these are people who you’ve kind of earmarked as your expert. And you go to those people to get an opinion or insights or thoughts or advice. But they’re not actually giving it to you. You’re just using their resources. So maybe it’s parenting. And you’ve realized that you don’t have somebody who’s sitting on your kind of virtual board of directors, personal board of directors for parenting related matters. And so you find somebody online who you align with from a parenting perspective.

And you say, I’m going to think of this person as my go-to anytime that I have a parenting related question or concern or curiosity. And you’re going to that person, but then what you’re doing is you’re doing the research, you’re looking into it on your own. There’s no cost associated with it. Maybe you’re paying for a course that they have, so the cost is maybe minimal, not super expensive. But you’re going to that person. And the way that you are interacting with them in an advisory way is by consuming the content that they have created. And there’s countless examples of that out in the world, and people who do a really good job of creating content. And that would be kind of the digital level.

The next is personal friend level. And I mentioned my friend Matt, who does audio stuff for us. In my world, I’m not an audio expert, and I have never hired an audio expert to advise because it’s infrequent enough, and there’s not a recurring need for me. There’s not an audio thing that I’m trying to figure out every week or every month, or really every year necessarily. But every once in a while, there’s an audio thing that comes up. And so Matt is my business advisor for audio, and I go to him and I’m able to ask him questions, and he’s able to help out. He doesn’t charge for it because we’re friends.

So the great thing about this is you can have one of these friends who is helping you and they’re your advisor or coach or consultant. The downside here is that you want to be respectful of that person’s time and commitments. And maybe as the need increases, so if you realize that you’re needing more and more help, in a normal friend relationship, you probably don’t want to move into this position of asking all the time, or suddenly it becomes out of balance where it’s like, wait a minute, I’m just helping you with this stuff all the time.

The ultimate example being if you’re just asking for friends to help you move every few months, and they’re like, “Wait, am I just like helping you with stuff, or am I actually your friend?” And I think you want to do whatever you can to just maintain friends, but then have some of these back and forth relationships where you’re able to help them, they’re able to help you. So first level is kind of that digital one where you go to somebody, you consume their content, you consume their expertise, but you’re not necessarily directly asking them questions. Second level would be this friend who is an expert that you can occasionally go to, but you want to be respectful to not go to them all the time, and have them essentially be a consultant within your business but not getting paid for it.

And the third level is a true consultant or a coach. And I think, really, this can be split out into two levels, two roles. One would be an actual individual consultant who’s giving you custom advice, is responding to your individual questions. In our world, the example would be a CPA. So we are asking them individual questions to our individual experience, and they’re giving us answers and responses based on that.

The second bucket within this world would be NerdPress. And NerdPress is an example of somebody that you can go to with specific questions in a specific category, but it’s a service based on a need that multiple people have. So NerdPress isn’t going to go in and do super custom updates to your site based on really specific feedback that you have and a design layout that you want to do. That’s not what they do. And their focus is on website maintenance. They do a really great job of it, and they have a service that they offer to creators and publishers.

And so the two buckets here, really your decision around those would really be based on how specific are your needs, and how custom are your needs for whatever category it is. So if you know that you need just kind of general financial advice, then you could maybe sign up to go through a program that’s going to teach you kind of the basics of finances. If you know that it’s starting to get really specific and kind of custom, then you can go to an individual who’s going to be able to help you with that. So those are three levels that you can think about as you’re getting into it. Digital, kind of that personal friend who’s an expert, and then the actual paid consultant or coach or service.

Now, one of the things that is probably going to be true in your business world and also maybe in your personal world, as you’re getting started, most of these are going to be in the digital or friend category. That was true for us. I think it’s true for a lot of people. But as your business grows and as your resources grow, what you’ll be able to do is you’ll be able to expand to that actual coach, actual consultant, people that you are paying to create a custom plan or weigh in on your specific situation, but you don’t need to get there right away. And in terms of prioritizing that, you probably want to look at the thing that you are least interested in doing and the thing that is most helpful within your personal life or your business life, and you’d be able to sort priority those based on how often you’re thinking about it. How often does that thing come up in my head? How truly present is the problem?

And my guess is if you step back and kind of look at your past week, look at your past month, you’ll be able to quickly identify some things that are running hot. It’s kind of like when the computer, this doesn’t happen a lot with newer computers, but you maybe remember with an older computer, the fans start to spin, the computer gets really hot. What you’d be able to do is you’d be able to pull up a program called Activity Monitor. And Activity Monitor would show you the application that is taking up the most memory and really causing your computer to run hot. I think that same thing can happen in our brains. What’s the thing that’s causing you to run hot, that’s taking up a lot of memory in your brain. That would probably be a good candidate to prioritize some type of advisor. So you can go to them, and offload some of these considerations and thoughts that you have.

So that’s all about the habit of who, building in that habit. And really the habit comes from introducing the question of who into your daily life. So anytime you come up against something that’s a little bit sticky or a problem that you don’t know how to solve, you can ask that question, who do I go to for this? And as you build that habit, what you’ll realize, like this Dan Sullivan quote that we talked about to begin with, that you’ll really be able to unlock your productivity in your zone of genius, the thing that you really want to be good at and spend most of your time with.

So we have one more of these habit episodes. It’s been a fun series to go through talking about, thinking about the different habits that make a big impact in our lives as people, but also as creators and publishers in the world. And my last encouragement for you today is to keep at it. I think that sometimes we can get bogged down by the daily grind. We can get bogged down by what seems like progress that we haven’t made. But another important, this is me talking about all these great Dan Sullivan concepts, but another great Dan Sullivan book is called The Gap and the Gain. And I would encourage you to reflect on that today.

The idea being that we often focus on the gap. And the gap is where we are compared to where we want to be. But we don’t often focus on the gain. And the gain is how much progress we’ve actually made, how much you’ve learned. If you think back to when you first started this journey, whatever that is for you as an entrepreneur, as a creator, whatever it is that you’re pursuing, my guess is that you’ve made some really incredible gains. And my encouragement to you would be to reflect on that today and to allow yourself to be proud of the progress and the gains that you have made. So that’s it. That’s a wrap for this week. We’ll be back here, same time, same place next week. Thanks everybody.

Alexa Peduzzi: Hey there, Alexa here, and thanks for tuning in to this episode of the Food Blogger Pro podcast. We hope you enjoyed this conversation. And today we are going to wrap up this episode by talking a bit about what’s coming up on Food Blogger Pro. So if you’re unaware of Food Blogger Pro, it’s kind of a couple of things. It’s a podcast, but it’s also a community, a membership. So people can join the membership and get access to courses and different events.

And today I’m going to talk about what’s coming up for all Food Blogger Pro members in April. So on April 6th, we are going to be publishing our coaching call with Kayla from Broken Oven Baking. In this coaching call, they talk about onboarding and communicating when building a team, growing revenue, understanding your audience, and thinking just about the future of your blog and business, and kind of how you do that. It’s a really good conversation, so we’re excited for that one.

Then on April 13th, we have a live Q&A with the one and only Nisha Vora from Rainbow Plant Life. She is one of my favorite just bloggers in general. All of her recipes are so delicious. And she’s going to be talking with us and answering Food Blogger Pro member questions about YouTube. So growing an audience on YouTube, making videos and so much more, it’s going to be a great one.

Last but not least, on April 20th, we will have an update to our Lightroom course. So right now, our Lightroom course just covers Lightroom Classic, and there is a newer version of Lightroom called Lightroom CC. So we’re going to be adding some lessons to this Lightroom course all about Lightroom CC. So the entire Lightroom course will be covered in two parts, one, Lightroom Classic and the other Lightroom CC. So we’re excited for that one as well. If you’re interested in joining Food Blogger Pro to get access to everything I just listed, as well as many courses, all of our past Q&A’s, deals and discounts, and a awesome community forum, we would love to have you. If you just go to foodbloggerpro.com/join, you can learn a little bit more about what’s all included and join right there. But that does it for us this week. We hope you have an awesome week, and we’ll see you next time.

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