Masters Series Transcripts: Soumya Rao Indurti (Founder at Connect Labs) – Time Management and Productivity Tips

Camille Monce —  June 23, 2018 — Leave a comment

Software as a Service or SaaS tools can improve your time management and productivity. More importantly, they can be low cost or free and scaled to support your business as it grows.

Former Google employee Soumya Rao Indurti founded Connect Labs to improve lives by empowering people to use the right technology better. Soumya says there’s no point using a SaaS tool if it doesn’t give you more time to focus on real relationships with people.

Over the last 3 years, Soumya’s worked with almost all of the productivity SaaS tools on the market and in this episode, she reveals which ones will fast track your happiness!

Disclaimer: Transcripts may contain a few typos. Similar sounding words can lead to them being deciphered wrongly and hence transcribed likewise.

Interviewing Public: I work in a basketball organization and we manage 250 people using sightly as a CRM management program that we use across, not so much for customer use, but more so for a management tool.

Interviewing Public: I think we’ve moved over to Office 365 and the integration of the different platforms has been quite useful for us.

Serpil Senelmis: And I reckon there’s something to be said for old school pen and paper, right?

Interviewing Public: Yes, definitely.

Serpil Senelmis: For WeTeachMe this is the Masters Series where industry professionals share their secrets to business success. I’m Serpil Senelmis from Written and Recorded. And in the final Masters Series for this season, we’re putting on the SAS or maybe that’s pronounced SaaS Software as a Service is a business model way computer applications available to you online for low monthly subscription, for free. Best of all, you can save time and increase your productivity.

Soumya Rao Indurti: I’ll actually be my happiest self when everything is just smooth like technology does what it’s supposed to do, my calendars all sync up the emails, go into the white folders, and like life seems great again. But if that doesn’t happen, these small stupid things, these little moments that we have every day, just like changes how your day is gonna go, how the day for the people around you is gonna go and generally, generically, everything is gonna go.

Serpil Senelmis: Soumya Indurti works with Connect labs who specialize in putting SaaS in place for businesses. Soumya is passionate about people and believes technology is only as good as the positive impact it can have on people, their work, career and lives. When it comes to spending time and increasing productivity. Soumya says work shouldn’t be A battle, the right SaaS tools can make us happier at work.

Soumya Rao Indurti: So I think I started like my early career at Google, we sort of like we’re all into like paid search advertising and ads and stuff like that. And then I decided to sort of work at a startup after that, so I could start my own eventually. So while I was at the startup, we used a lot of sales, marketing, automation, lots of productivity tools to sort of do things better, sometimes cheaper, you know, why not? And basically try to get ahead with whatever we could and I think it was such a change from like a place like Google that had everything like if you sneeze and you say, Oh my god, I’m really cold. People would come with like a thermometer to check like the temperature around you and stuff. So I think it goes from like being really appealing to like finding resources that you need not want I think. So it completely changed my journey, gave me a lot of like legs to start my own. And now I think we’re proudly three years old, one of hub spots, platinum partners in Australia, which is amazing because we were the APAC partner day last week in Sydney. And there were like 30 partners once upon a time and like now there’s 247 in Australia alone. And I was like what? So it’s quite a journey and I think there’s a lot of learning that I’ve had because of all the stuff I put myself through voluntarily. So it’s kind of like a crazy story. If you start at Google and choose to pick the hard yards like it’s mad, like everyone thought I was crazy. My mom was like, why? But anyway, I think like, it’s great that I did. And now I’m like, super happy. Like, it’s the hardest life has ever been in the last three years, but it’s been the best time that I’ve ever had. So generally, I think there’s something really amazing about creating connections. So I think we sort of went after that and created this brand around like how we can connect people better how we can make people happier at work and what we can do to support that so it’s not just about telling you that some sort of software is really great or use this. So use that. But it’s more about figuring out people and how we can sort of really, really support the happiness quotient in everyone’s lives. Okay, so there’s a few things that I’m going to go through today. And I hope that it will sort of put some sort of insight into all the little bits and bobs that I’ve sort of picked up along the way. How many of you have ever had these moments like at work? Oh, no, I forgot damn this laptop. How do I do that? Not sure what I gonna do. I just can’t seem to make this work. Or can I find this damn thing? Like, there’s always been somebody saying something somewhere that has really annoyed them that has made them less efficient or happy at work, basically. So everything’s fallen apart and nothing makes sense. And, you know, they take that stuff with them home, right? Like I’ve done it so many times. I’ll actually be my happiest self when everything is just smooth like technology does what it’s supposed to do. My calendars all sync up the emails go into the right folders, and like life seems great again. But if that doesn’t happen, these small stupid things, these little moments that we have every day, just like changes how your day is gonna go, how the day for the people around you is gonna go and generally generically everything is gonna go. So I think what we kind of very recently because we’re such a big work in progress is sort of figured out that our vision is to make like millions of people work happy and have these work happy moments. Because it’s not like the big stuff. It’s not how do you get like more leads? How do you get like more website visitors? Or how do you get like, how do you basically be successful every day because you just had a smile on your face instead of you know, hating the next person, your laptop, whatever? Quite frankly, life is hard. So there will be moments that you hate things around you but if we could create those little moments, we’re not trying to change things radically. We’re not trying to like, I think override things. But if we were to sort of look at things differently, because we change something we used all day, every day, I think the time and productivity and the effectiveness factor are just like flows into your lives. And so Oh, no, I forgot can then change to something like, Oh my god, I love this task list. Things you couldn’t find before you can now because it’s in that sneaky folder that you actually, you know, have created because you are better organized at work.

Soumya Rao Indurti: So I have this theory about work and life. Everyone talks about work-life balance, and I actually quite frankly, don’t think it’s a balance at all. And I think life just is he’s got a lot of elements in it. And work just happens to be for some people, all of it. Some people are part of it. And some people Maybe you’ll make different kinds of choices with their lives. Take for example, Joe. Joe works 40 hours a week from the age of 20 to 65 and gets two weeks of vacation every year. In that time, he will have worked like something around 90,000 hours in his lifetime, right? So the concept of work where you work from has like, you know, it’s changed over time. We’ve had like, okay, we work from the office, you can work from home now you can work from anywhere. I have this like thought that if we change the tools we use every day, that we’d be happier at work and there’s something to do with like, knowing that things are just going to work. It’s like I don’t know how many girls in the room have to like use a straight now to get their hair looking straight. Like there’s so many things you have to go get a blow-dry then you have to like go get it straight and it’s like quite a lot of work involved to do it. You just want to wake up one day and feel like oh, you know, you just want straight hair and vice versa for people who want curly hair, nothing against that, but we use a lot of tools at work, mostly SaaS tools. But like lots of these tools at work, there’s a whole bunch of great tools out there. And the thing that actually I think pulls me towards a lot of these brands is because they’re great founders behind them are their great teams working there are these people who are actually providing value or doing things that you know, really align with yours. So I think what I’m gonna do, you know, tell you a little bit about how we sort of run our customer success teams, how we run our own lives to be happier. And I think when I look at the whole picture, there’s like literally few things that I think we can go back and like, change or think about. So the first thing to do is to color-code your calendars. It’s amazing, like life-changing. I was on this call with like somebody who started a business and it’s kind of become really big in Sydney and stuff like that. And he was like “Soumya, the first thing you need to kind of think about is how you’re going to change how your life is structured”. And I was like, how am I gonna do that? That sounds so complicated. I was like, I don’t even know where to start, like, and this was like, Yes, I worked at a startup. Yes, I worked at Google. But I was still learning about like tax and a whole lot of other stuff. I was really busy doing other things. So it was like, I don’t even know what to do, man. And then he said, it’s quite simple really, why don’t you look at your calendar every day? And I was like, what does that mean? I don’t even want to look at it. Like it’s packed. Like it’s crazy. It’s miserable. It makes me like cry. And then he was like, you know, just like figure out what part of it is like social stuff, what part of it are meetings, what part of it are workshops? What part of it are you like, actually creating time for yourself? And quite frankly, when I started my business, I thought, you know, headspace and all these apps, like really silly. I was like Who’s gonna listen to all that stuff like as if I have time? I thought meditations like really lame as well. And I was like who’s gonna tell you like which person tell you stop thinking like my heads full of like stuff all the time. So I was like this is really bizarre that they’re going down that path so I think though when you start a business like you just figure out okay, this is it. Life is you know better when you think about your health and well being so you start to go back and figure out all the little bits that you can add in that calendar in a certain color. I chose green because I think the well-being part is like super vital so I actually have like quiet moments. Like I live across the Albert Park Lake so I’m like, Okay, I’ll go there and and like pretend that’s my green moments or like color code that into my calendar and leave it there for every Friday night. Yes, I don’t do much on Friday nights, it’s very fun. I sit in front of the lake and like I have a quiet moment. So color coding, it’s actually bizarrely like life changing. If you have have like this beautiful vision of like how you can use each color on your calendar to change you know how you look at your life so you go back and look at the month or the week if you have a lot of reds and red some meetings just pulling out the I don’t know sucking the life out of you because you go in there you talk about a bunch of things and nothing ever happens. I quite frankly think a little conversation over the desk or like over a coffee just to like actually say what you mean without being distracted with things on a slide or a sheet in front of you, whatever says a lot and you can go do something with the information that’s being shared. So we will create a giant that’s the beauty of I think being, you know, startup to scale up kind of, I think because you don’t really have a lot of time to go and chill somewhere. When we do we really chill but it’s very rare. But when we do that, like we’re actually completely there because we’re present, we put like, okay, I did get an Apple Watch. So I like ignore this stuff that I don’t have to see. But nobody knows that I would like quickly glance at things and like make sure that I, you know, I don’t have any files to put off and stuff like that. But there are things about like having a color-coded calendar to sort out your life.

Serpil Senelmis: So the takeaway so far from Soumya, color-code your calendar, red for meeting, green for time by the lake just to chill. In just a moment, Soumya will reveal how a CRM that’s a customer relationship management tool can change your life.

Soumya Rao Indurti: Over the next few weeks, the Masters Series team will be finalizing preparations for the next season of inspiring business champions. Meanwhile, the classes at WeTeachMe continue to grow and expand mines all over Australia. WeTeachMe connects you with the classes that you want in your neighborhood. Learn what makes your heartbeat at The Masters Series podcast is produced by Written and Recorded. With a journalistic approach to sound and words written and recorded can help you tell your story effectively. To find out more about sound as a service, head to And now, back to the podcast.

Serpil Senelmis: Thanks, Ed Guy, why don’t you just take a break for the next few weeks. Soumya Indurti is the founder and CEO of Connect Labs where they help businesses create, connect, and convert for marketing and sales success. And she’s about to share her favorite software as a service to help you save time and increase productivity.

Soumya Rao Indurti: The other thing is to create lists and I had a lovely picture of the list that I created. It’s literally called like have to have to do and I divide these list in before I used to think nothing of them because I still have like five lists that I haven’t gone through like which weren’t like tomorrow or the next week or whatever. So I think the shorter the term, like the quicker it is for you to action it so don’t put stuff for like 20 days away like nobody cares, you’ll forget it. You know, we are aging every day like every second actually. So there’s no point leaving, you know, list in list to follow up just put like tangible things for tomorrow, or this week, but nothing more because the weekly stuff your calendar will deal for you. But the lists for everyday stuff to like check off is great. And this is going back to the life and work thing as well. It’s a mix of everything. You can create lists for work, you can create lists for your life. The other thing that I really find amazing about these tools that you can sort of change you know, every day is to have a lovely way to like communicate like we have some bots as well that just add a little bit of happiness every day. Do they make you bit more productive? It’s bizarre but like, I think communicating you know, even with inanimate objects when you’re really bogged with the day is hilarious. Like I asked growth bot HubSpot has this slack one for free if anyone want to get it, we have this growth bot, for example. I said, tell me a joke just for the purpose of this presentation, by the way. So growth bot was like, really lame. And give me that duplicate content. Why does search engineers not like twins? Because it’s duplicate content. It’s, it’s, you know, it’s what growth what can throw at you I suppose I didn’t know what’s gonna come of it. But you know, why not? Right, like, I think so. We’ve got clients that are really big, and we’ve got clients that are really small. But when we get really large projects, like everyone just gets down to like, getting stuff done, and I swear some of them don’t blink when I’m watching them and it’s scary. Me, so I like to look at them and I’m like, dude, I’m gonna like really die if you don’t blink right now or get up and walk. So some of them hate me for getting them to move. So, you know, there’s small things like this, it can just stare. No, it’s dumb, but it puts a smile on your face, you’ve had a bit of a break, they go back. And when they whatever tasks that tackling, which could be quite mundane at work, it’s sort of like just breaks it up, you can, you know, yell at a bot without like, taking out your angst about a project on a person next to you that potentially most likely doesn’t deserve it. But well, you know, we use a lot of Trello. Trello for life, Trello for work, Trello for a lot of things. We have inspiration boards on it, it’s only because it’s very visually like, appealing to a lot of us, but I think the other reason we’ve used it is we found different ways to make it scale as we’ve grown. We do our social media scheduling and stuff from HubSpot, but we do all the planning on Trello. So it’s like a really cool place to see everything visually and like. So we use it like large scale and we’re a massively growing agency. Lots of people tell us it’s a shit idea. But we kind of are doing really well with it. I feel like the more agial you are and the quicker you can get things done, it’s actually good for you, I think there will come a time when all this profitability stuff to the tee is going to matter. But I think systems and you know, tools and whatever you get only give you what you put in. So, you know, if you excuse my, you know, great use of language, it’s always shit in, shit out like. So, if you kind of think about what you put into systems or things every day, you’re only gonna get back what you put into it. It’s not magic, it’s not going to do everything for you. You’ve got to do a lot of hard work just like color-coding your calendar, but once you’ve done it, life squared. So we find that a CRM can like really organize everything for your revenue, tasks, your everyday life, like all the little pain points, you know. And I think you can get a free CRM. I highly recommend checking out the HubSpot one. Obviously, disclaimer, again, we are partners. But there is a lot to do with that phrase here. I mean, imagine not paying for it too, that’s really good to use and like organizing pipelines revenue, seeing the structure of like your business in and out. There’s a lot of value in it. But more than anything, I think the ability like we put stuff into a Slack channel that comes straight into our HubSpot CRM, like it’s like a native integration, right. So I think when you put all the tools in one place, it just makes sense. And you can map like every small piece of like your life like quicker and easier, and hate systems tools and smash your keyboard lesser.

Soumya Rao Indurti: So use a free CRM, or you can pay for all its features. We’ve tried everything in my little short span of, you know, three years in like this space. We’ve thought about how we can do stuff quickly every day, how we can annoy each other and our clients a lot lesser every day. And also, I think, like, how can we just put a little bit of happiness back in our life every day. So one of the big things that I really want to share is that the tools you use every day can like, keep you happy, or like really destroy it. So I think don’t settle for less. And don’t settle for something that does not work for you. Because it’s most likely something that just doesn’t simply work. Because none of us you know, want to make things work and fix things that keep breaking all the time. And that’s where, like, you can make small adjustments and change things like so many people who work with us, they’re like, Oh, my God, like it’s not about the tool, is it? I was like, no, it’s actually about what makes you successful at work and how can we sort of use tools to help you get there and it becomes easier because the person sees value in it and we emphasize the fact that we just want you to work happy, really. So how can we sort of help in that space and the tools once you get rid of like the pain that the tools are causing you, you can actually spend more time actually connecting with other people around you. Because I think nobody really loves the iPad generation and the mobile generation and, you know, lack of connection. Like I think every time I go to a restaurant, it’s so funny, everyone’s taking pictures of their food for Instagram, and I’m like, I really, it’s so weird that I’m in the digital space. And I still like, want to eat my food and not take a picture of it. But sometimes it’s like, pretty beautiful. And I think now, you kind of like just think about the person making this food and stuff and that little blip like when I put stuff up and I actually take a picture of a lovely granola bowl like my friends will be like, Oh my god, where do you have it and a little bit of, you know, happiness is sent to the person who actually made it somewhere behind and like a really hot environment. And I don’t know it’s kind of like lovely that we share but everything in moderation and everything only to bring someone joy, I think. But we do need to like spend more time connecting with people. And that’s why what we do we really love because we focus a lot on the people, whether it’s in businesses around us, whether we connect with, you know, random on a website, anything is about the person. And we do like this person-centric or human-centric like view of sales, marketing and customer relationship management. So it’s like something for you to just take away that, you know, tools can increase productivity, but it’s increasing productivity so you can spend time with others around you. Thank you.

Serpil Senelmis: So going from the opulence of Google to the frugality of a startup. Soumya has learned that it’s a small things that will change the way that your day goes. So utilize the tools people, and that will make your workday happy. Thanks, Soumya. Next time on Masters Series, we’ll have a bright shiny new season for you. Will kick-off at the end of July with how to leave the nine to five and start your own business. We’ll have some inspiring speakers, and plenty of great tips to help you and your startup no matter where you are in your journey. Until then, I’m Serpil Senelmis from Written and Recorded. And for WeTeachMe, this is the Masters Series.

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