Is It Worth It?: Tools and Services You Do or Don’t Need for Your Brand

Welcome back to Branded: your comprehensive guide to creative branding.

On this episode, we’re answering a single question: is it worth it?

As business owners, we spend a lot of money on tools, subscriptions, and services we think will be a game changer for our businesses, but often they fall flat and we’re stuck with the bill. Now, we’re looking at a few of the things we’ve recently paid for and giving you our honest opinion on whether or not they were worth it.

We’re talking about tech purchases like the Tourbox, iPad, and Kindle Scribe, office buys like business cards, and the always annoying auto-renew subscriptions.

Hopefully this episode is worth the listen and maybe it will save your brand a few bucks.

Key takeaways:

  1. Navigating Subscriptions and Renewals: Larry recounted his surprising experience of being unexpectedly billed for a forgotten Trello subscription, shedding light on the potential financial impact of overlooked renewals. Sara also shared her hacks for managing and canceling subscriptions, emphasizing the importance of staying mindful of these recurring expenses.
  2. The Value of Business Cards: We discuss our distinct approaches to business cards, debating the costs, features, and impact of their designs in networking efforts. From QR codes for easy digital connection to incorporating writable surfaces for better recall, they offered intriguing insights into the functionality and impression of business cards
  3. Weighing the Investment in Technology: Sara shares her initial hesitation about investing in an iPad, highlighting the convenience and functionality it ultimately brought to her work. Larry also touched upon the benefits of the TourBox, a product that significantly improved his editing process, providing a case for the worth of certain technological investments.

Transcript
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What is happening, everybody? I'm Larry Roberts. And I'm Sara

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Lohse, and this is Branded, your comprehensive guide to Creative branding.

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And on this episode of the podcast, I had a question

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for you. What's the question? Is

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it worth it? Is it? I think it's a question that we

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all have to ask from time to time because I know me

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personally, Personally, I'm constantly and a lot

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of it's advertising, honestly, but I'm constantly hearing about all

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of these things that are gonna make me A better business

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owner. It's gonna make my advertising more effective. It's gonna

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make me more efficient in my My workflows, it's gonna

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change the way that I do each and everything that I

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do each and every day. But Is it really

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worth it? Yeah. We're gonna look at some of the things that we have spent

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money on, and we're not really sure whether or not they're worth it.

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So we'll have a few that we think are, a few that we think aren't,

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and a few that we are in disagreement about.

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And this Take it as it's our opinion. Take it

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as you will, but maybe we'll save you a couple bucks on things that we

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definitely don't think were worth it. Well and I think that this was driven home

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so much for me, especially because it's January. Right? Mhmm. January, you

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have those because I'm the kind of guy where you with Whatever it is, whatever

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platform that they're hitting you up for, you can either sign up for typically

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monthly, fees or you can pay for a year at

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a time. And with that year, you typically get a, I don't know, 15%

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discount ish somewhere in that neighborhood. Yeah. But all of that

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comes to roost in January, And you start

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getting ping, ping, ping, ping, ping, ping on

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your debit card so much so that even just last

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night, My bank reached out and said, hey. This company

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tried to charge this amount to your debit card. Did you approve this

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charge? And it didn't look legit until I looked

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at it a little bit closer, but, regrettably, I didn't look closer until after I

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said, no. That's not legit. So I locked up

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my debit card last night. Yeah. Just because of all of these

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different type of software, these different applications, and the different

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organizations that you sign up for that sound like, man,

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they're just the next wheel. Yeah. And I mean and a lot of them, it's

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like your gym membership. You stop using it, but you just don't think about it

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again, and you're paying for it month after month. And then

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suddenly you're like, oh, I've spent $1,000 on the

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software that I haven't used in 8 months. No. No. No. No. No. Thousand

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no. I would I would have been fine with 1,000. I've had Several 1,000

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come out of my account this month, January 2024, and I

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go, oh, oh, oh, Oh. Oh, yeah. Yeah. I did I did

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buy that. Oh, I forgot I was subscribed to oh, I

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don't even use that anymore. We're gonna have a conversation after this.

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Yeah. I've yeah. It

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is so bad. And I'm like, oh my god. I gotta get some

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invoices out to balance this out. But but And with that,

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if you wanna work with us, work with Branded. New

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website is up. Work with Larry specifically

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because You can charge him, and he'll pay you. It's great. Yeah.

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No. But, I mean, seriously, there's there's so many different things out there that

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either you hear about Or you come across in an IG

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ad or a Facebook ad, you go, oh, man. That looks really cool,

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and you kinda sign up for it. And there's so many different Things that I've

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done over the years that I have signed up for thinking it was

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gonna transform the way that I do my business only to realize that,

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Yeah. I used it a couple of times and then forgot that I even had

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it. Well, let's start with some specifics. And what is the

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What is something that you did spend money on? You splurged a little bit, but

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a 100% was worth it. One of the things that I bought recently, and it

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was really, really cool, and, yes, I did find it in a

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Facebook ad, but

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but it's called a tour box, And they don't sponsor our

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show. We've got no you know, nothing in this here, but it's it's

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a it's almost like a it's an editing type mouse. It's a device

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that plugs into your PC just like a mouse, and it has a variety of

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different buttons and wheels on it. And I'll tell you, man, That thing,

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I think it was about $250, and I bought it. And it's

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it just changed the way that I do all of my

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editing. And not just audio and video editing, but I use it for

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Photoshop. I use it in Wondershare because I'm a big fan of

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Wondershare Sara by Filmora. That's where I do my my video

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editing. I use it in a number of different platforms Branded different

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applications, and I love that thing. It really did

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Saved me money, saved me time, and and streamlined everything, but

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that's one of the few that I have bought over the

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years where I went, oh, This was freaking cool. Like, you were so

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excited when you bought it too, and I was really hoping their vehicle.

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Yeah. So cool. Yeah. I was really hoping it was going to be worth it.

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No. No. Let's be honest. You weren't hoping. You were rolling your eyes. Oh, no.

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I rolled my eyes for sure. God. I have no idea. Another Toy. I

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also thought it was gonna be way more expensive than you said it was. Like,

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I thought you spent, like, $800 or something. But I was like, I really hope

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this is worth it because he's so about it, and he's gonna be so sad

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if he hates it. No. But I freaking love it. It's it's one of the

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best toys, and it is a it's a toy, kind of, but But it's a

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toy that that that really added a lot of value to everything

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that I do from a production standpoint, so that's one of the ones that

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definitely worked out really, really well. Yeah. I recently got a new toy,

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and I am a little late to this party

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because I just, in January of 2024,

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Bought my 1st iPad. Hold on. Hold

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on. Hold on. Thank you.

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Thank you so much. I usually pause for

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applause, not laughter. Well, that was supposed to actually be the applause button.

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No. That's funny. Oh, there we go. There we go.

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You. There we go. I'd like to thank the academy. Yeah. We got there.

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Sorry. I was super

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hesitant about buying an iPad for so long. I don't even know why. I

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think I thought they were more expensive than they are because it's Apple, so it's

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most likely gonna cost the mortgage. But I had

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bought a Kindle scribe, like, a year ago because it's

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like a Kindle that you can write on. I know you got that too. Yeah.

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And I was super excited about it. Yeah. And but I wanted something that I

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could take notes on digitally and not have to waste paper and

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not have to carry around a notebook Lohse because I would bring a notebook for

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notes to every conference or every meeting and never look at it again.

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Yeah. So I was like, how can I do this where I can just, like,

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send it to myself digitally or download it or something? And I

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didn't wanna buy an iPad, so I bought the KindleScribe, And it does that.

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It does the thing I bought it for, but that's kind of all it does.

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It's just that, and then it like, I could read books on it.

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And it was only, like, 100 or $200 less than I spent on the

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iPad. So I was like, this was kinda silly. And so now I

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just invested in an iPad, and it

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can do everything I need to do. And I can work from my

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bed and not have to lug around my giant, old, clunky,

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laptop that I hate having to bring Lohse. And

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Some of the apps that I use for work that don't work great on my

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phone work really well on the iPad.

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So I I'm sorry to the Apple people

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who I'm just like, it's not worth it. Don't get an iPad. Maybe

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get an iPad. Dude, for you especially, definitely get an

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iPad because Yeah. Since you've got that iPad, I I don't know if there's

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been a day, And we will talk about how late in the morning it

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gets, but where I text you, do you go, still in bed, answering

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emails from Okay. I'm still working.

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This I'm like, this is this is the best thing Sara's ever bought.

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Seriously. I And I'm I've

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I've always like, my dream for myself has always been to

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be one of those planner girlies. Like, actually

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use those pretty planners and make them all pretty. Use the

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stickers. Y'all ADHD people cannot use planners.

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They are not meant for us. But I've always wanted to I'm gonna jump in

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there right now, and and and Branded, I've never been diagnosed, but

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and there's definitely a generation gap here, But I I don't know that

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I'm an ADHD person. Probably, if

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if I went to Sunblad, they would probably say, yes. I am. But even not

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being an ADHD official

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person, I can't do it

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either, man. I'm trying look. I I have it right here. Look. Look. I

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have a leather bound planner right here. I have a collection

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of them. Oh, I do too. Yeah. I and oh, wow. Look at that. Bound

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one actually got eaten by a puppy. Aw. I have no idea what Why this

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was in there? There was a dollar in your planner. Nope. Actually You were saving

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it for a rainy day. Stop. I'm super rich. I have it's actually 2.

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Oh. I have no idea why there were $2 in there. But, yeah,

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it's the same thing. I I do the same thing. I have Yeah. A planner,

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and I can't Consistently use it. I would buy

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them every single year, and I would go in. I would be product

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like, proactive. I'd, like, go fill in things that I already knew were

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happening. I if, like, if I didn't do the planner, I did the big

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desk blotter calendar. Yeah. Yeah.

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No. Never never use them again. So on my iPad,

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I have an app. I'm about to run up on my 2 free 2 week

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trial. So I'm still I haven't paid for it yet. I'm gonna see if I've

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last 2 weeks using it and then pay for it. Yeah. But it's, like, $45

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for the year, But it's, like, does all of the things

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that integrates with my calendar. I can draw like, I can write on it,

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like, with the Apple Pencil and but Talk about things that Sara are not

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worth it. Don't spend a 100, $200 on an Apple Pencil. They make knockoffs

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for $20 on Amazon. For the love of God, that is so not worth

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it. I've never used one to really know that for sure, but I'm pretty sure

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it's not worth it. But My

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iPad might let me live out my dream of being

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a planner girly. From bed? From

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anywhere. Anywhere. And I'm

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pretty sure I could download the same app on my phone and have the Same

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planner on my phone, and I'm pretty sure I already know I could do it

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as desktop so I can have it on my computer. And it even has,

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like, a little water tracker to make me drink water, which haven't used yet, but,

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you know, maybe something. So iPad, worth it. Apple

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Pencil, not worth it. Planners, we'll see.

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There's water in the water, so I'll say that. But no. That that I mean,

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that's that's hilarious. And, you know, some of the things beyond that, though,

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Software. Software is so easy to get caught up in. You

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know, whether it's planning software because I know I subscribe to

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Trello. Frelo is a very popular software platform.

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I signed up to that, and I used it for a while. I used it

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for a couple of Roberts, actually, and it it worked fairly well.

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But then I stopped using it, and I forgot I even had it until

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January of 2024. And they pinged me for a few $100 and

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said, oh, we just renewed your subscription, so that's cool. So I

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think that's something that we have to be really, really aware of is when we're

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going through these things, we have to make sure that While you're paying for,

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you know and, again, I signed up for a year because I'm dedicated to whatever

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platform it is or whatever device it is or whatever it may

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be, But I forget or I don't take into

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consideration the fact that they're gonna ping me again Yeah. In another

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year or at the start of the year. So that It it it can

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it can bite you in the backside. And if you don't have you don't have

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solid cash flow coming in Your business, it could cripple

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you. Yeah. It could really cripple you because, again and I know,

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Sara, you're gonna be pissed off, but that's fine. Let me hear it. This

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month, literally, I've had 1,000 of dollars worth

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of pings and multiple Words

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where I'm like, oh my gosh. I didn't even remember that I signed up

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for that. And it it it it can be devastating if you're not

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prepared for it. Yeah. So cancel most of those, but keep the peacock

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because I used your account, and I've just started I just started SVU. There's

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20 seasons. I'll be need that for a while. But Something that I

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discovered way too late in the game. So if anyone else is is gonna

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have a I was this today years old when I found this out. Yeah. If

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you go so I try to anything that's, like, a recurring thing, I

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actually try to go through Apple, like, through the

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App Store Get it? Because if you go into your if you go

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into the app store, go into your like, manage your apps and the

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there's a whole page of your subscriptions, and you

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can see what you're subscribed to, so you could just cancel it right there.

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But the, like, life hack one is if

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you sign up for one that's, like, the free trial Right.

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You can go in and, like, cancel it immediately

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and still use your free trial so that it doesn't you don't

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forget, like, oh, I have to make sure I cancel this before the free trial,

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and then they bill me. You can do it immediately. So that has saved

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me a whole lot of money because I Yep.

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I'm not a planner girly, so can't put the cancellation date in my planner and

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just know. Right. And I've tried doing that on my calendar, even putting

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cancellation dates on my calendar. And for whatever reason, know, they end up

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getting overlooked or something ridiculous, but what are some of the other

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things that you've you've signed up for that haven't necessarily came

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to fruition? Oh god. I I was

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definitely paying because I also use Wondershare for some things, and I was paying like,

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I paid for the lifetime or something to use

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the software, but then I didn't realize that they were gonna charge me monthly for,

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like, the pro, And and that's to get all of these

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fancy things. I'm like, I don't do fancy editing. I only use this to make

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reels that you've already done the fancy editing for the episode for. So

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I went in and canceled that. And what is I canceled some oh,

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I canceled I was using the captions app for captioning the

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reels, But I discovered CapCut is actually less

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expensive and does a little bit more, so I

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invested in CapCut, did the 1 year

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thing so that it was, like, I saved a little bit of money,

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and then I was able to cancel the $10 a month subscription to the captions

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Options app. Yeah. And I I love Wondershare. I got lucky

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because I I I started using Wondershare way back in the day, and I got

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grandfathered in to all the free upgrades. So I think For a it's like a

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buck and a half. I got a lifetime subscription to everything, so it was really,

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really cool. But that that goes to show you that you can start

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nickel and diming yourself to death Because, you know, I

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started using captions a little bit as well for our Reels

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because they have some really cool looking captions. But then you were talking about

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CapCut. CapCut, I started using that as well, but now CapCut's like,

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hey. If you wrote the really cool captions, You gotta do this. Well, I already

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have a subscription to Wondershare, and I already have a subscription to

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captions. So now what am I gonna do? I'm gonna add a subscription to

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CapCut as well to get the same functionality with

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a little bit of a different twist. Yeah. So The reason I chose

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CapCut over captions was because they have the

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desktop app. So I can they have the phone app and the

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desktop app, but captions, You can use it on

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their website, but the functionality is very limited. I don't

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know if they've changed it since, but it was like, It'll do the captions, but

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you can't edit anything. Do that so funny because is never spelled right,

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so I have to be able to edit the captions. Yeah. Because you don't have

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an h and Lohse c is It's I'd they don't need to try.

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Yeah. Yeah. It's it's it's different. Yeah. But it's so funny to hear

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you say that you love the desktop version Because, you know,

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being in your demographic and me being in my

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demographic, us old folks, we tend to like desktop applications

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More so than we like the the mobile apps, but to hear you

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like captions because they have a desktop app

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App makes me feel so much So cap cut, not captions. Oh, so

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It's the same it's because, like, if like, so I use a

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software to do all my Social media scheduling, another thing that, yes,

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I think is worth it. Right. I use Metricool, and

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it's not expensive. I think I had to upgrade to add more brands because

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I manage client brands too. So I Okay. But let let me let me let

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me jump let me jump in there real quick because you go it's not expensive,

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And that's the mentality that we have so many men.

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It's not that expensive. Let me see. Add up. But that is that is

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one that I am happy that, Like, that one I feel is worth it.

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Not maybe not Metro Cool itself for, like, everybody, but, like, having

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that scheduling tool, personally, I think is worth it. Yeah. But because

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I use that, I schedule all of my posts from my computer, not my

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phone. So being able to just do the captions on my phone and not have

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to, like, Download the reel that I edited on my computer,

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then send it to my phone, do the captions app, send it back. Like, that

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was a pain. And so that's why I prefer having

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that desktop app. And I will say I have not yet tried it on my

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iPad, but I'm I'm thinking it's probably gonna be pretty cool on

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there too. It's it's just great to hear that you're old at heart. I just

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love it. Oh, I'm I'm waiting for AARP to try to sponsor

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me. Like, mentally, I am 90. You

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say that till you get that envelope in the mail. You're like, shit.

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Curses 28 year old me.

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Now there's one thing end up sponsoring this episode, but go ahead.

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Know. There's one thing that we have a

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very different take on. Oh. And that is business

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cards. Oh. So I think what I spend on

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500 business cards is what you spend on, like,

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20. It's probably not that severe, but it's close. Yeah. It's

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close. It's close. Yeah. And, so

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why how much do you spend? Why? And

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is it actually worth it? So for 1, business cards today and

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and and here's a fine example. I got this card yesterday, and I'm

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actually speaking at this conference in a couple of weeks on the 6th February. Wow?

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Wow. Yeah. It's a Wow conference here in Dallas, Texas. Their card, it's

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it's it's not terrible. It's not bad, but it's very

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average. Mhmm. Very average thickness, very

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average, as far as flexibility goes, it's got a nice

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shiny finish on it. It's glossy. There's

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some, I don't know. Couple of QR codes on the back that I can't really

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make out. I don't even know if you could scan those because they seem so

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faint. But, anyways, This is what I try to avoid my myself,

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and I probably shouldn't say that since I'm speaking at their conference. But We love

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you, just not your business cards. Just not your business cards. But what

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I I like to go for because especially today, you know, there's a

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debate out there going, do we even use business cards today?

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Because if you look at my phone also, on my phone, there's a QR

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code. And a lot of times, I don't even have a business card on

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me. I just go scan my QR code, Connect with me on LinkedIn, and,

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we'll go from there. So in this

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environment that we're in, I think we're very much in the state where we have

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to make an impression, and my business cards

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are super, super thick. They're 3 layers thick,

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And if you've turned them on their side and you look at the layers, there's

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a white layer and then there's a dark colored layer which just matches the color

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of the card. There's another white layer, and you can actually see the

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variation of the thickness on the cards. And when you take my

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card, you can feel The it it almost feels like a little plank of

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wood. It's so rigid and so, I

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don't wanna say aggressive, but you know you're holding

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Something of value in your hand, and people take

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note. And I hear that every time when someone takes my card, you go, oh,

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they go, oh my gosh. This is, this is a card right here. This is

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this is impressive. So I'm looking to make an

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impression, and my cards do that. And they do it

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because I spend just a little bit more money to,

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make sure that I have cards that leave that impression. I just bought new

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business cards. Okay. So how much do you actually spend on

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yours? My cards are about a dollar a piece.

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Yeah. They're about a dollar a piece. That's insane. Yeah.

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But that yeah. They're they're close to a dollar a piece. And I literally

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have and for those of you I don't know if we talked about this on

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a previous episode, but I I just got larryroberts.com.

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So I just got my own personal domain. Right?

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But at the same time, I just got a brand new box of business

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cards, And they have my old URL. Now granted that URL

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redirects to larryroberts.com, but they still have the old

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URL on them. And I'm sitting here going, man, Now I've

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got this new domain, but I got a brand new box of

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business cards. For the record, I won't allow him to buy new

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cards. I I put my foot down and said no. That's that's the only reason

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I don't have them is Yep. Because that's just

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ridiculous. But I so when I first

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did my business cards, I first of all, I

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love my old old cards. I The same as you. Like, I got complimented on

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my cards every time I gave them to people. Did not spend nearly as much

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as you. Yeah. But what I did was I paid

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extra for the soft touch paper, so it has

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this coating. And that is what made my Cards stand out, and, like, I loved

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it. It was super feminine, super, like so I loved my

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old cards, and the paying extra for the Soft touch,

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I thought, was worth it because of how much it stood out and how people

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complimented it. But on the flip side,

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Every time I would meet somebody, I'd give them my card. They would try

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to jot down a note on the card as, like, a way to

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remember me and remember why they wanted to reach back out to me. And

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the soft touch, you couldn't write on it. You needed, like, a marker and but

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a regular pens, pen wouldn't work. Wow.

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So I paid extra to have this soft touch, but

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I potentially lost revenue for people who couldn't remember

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why they wanted to reach out to me and, like, they could have been potential

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clients. Yeah. So when I redid my website a couple

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weeks ago, I redid my business cards, and

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I took the same, like, visuals of my website, so it's very

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cohesive for my brand. When I first did them, I also did not put a

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QR code. I completely forgot. So they had they they couldn't

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even just, like, save it on their phone or something, instead of

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being able to write a note. So now I do have a QR code,

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and I did not do the soft touch. But what I did was

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leave half of the back blank and even put

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a little note on it. Like, it Sara,

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notes to remember me by. So there's this

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place on my business card for you to write down why you are

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taking my business card. Right. Right. I'm not gonna lie. I'm a

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genius for that. Nice. That is, like, my most proud decision.

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Like, I I don't I I should patent

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that. It it's definitely a good one for real, and and I think that's one

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of the things too is, you know, even on the back of my business cards,

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my QR code is there, And the QR code goes to my calendar. So

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they can always just scan it with their car with their with their phone and,

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and schedule a a meeting for us. So Yeah. Mine goes to, like, a

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Linktree type thing so you can choose what you want, which I don't love

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because it's too many options, but at the same time,

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I want them like, I'll probably tell them,

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like, oh, scan it and then choose this or something. I feel like I'm I

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feel like it's gonna be useful. Oh, it's probably very useful. Yeah.

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Yeah. So I like having it, but I also part of me is like, I

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should just have it go to the calendar. I don't know. But I did

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I did cancel the outside service I

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was using for that. That was Linktree. And instead, it's built

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into Metricool, which I'm already paying for, so saved on

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that subscription. There you go. And that that's what's so important.

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And, I mean, honestly, that that's the message of this this episode of the podcast

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is just kinda be aware of what you're Tried to it it

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can be very, very easy to get caught up in multiple

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subscriptions and oftentimes for the exact same functionality,

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just with a different brand on it. So Yeah. Be aware that, you know, these

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tools, they're very valuable. Business cards, I still think they're

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valuable. Agree. I think they still work very, very

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well. I I find sometimes that I feel like I'm coming up a little short

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just by having the QR code on my phone and not having a card to

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go with it. So, I will start carrying my cards again once I get

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new ones, once Sara forgets that I changed my URL and I can order For

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the record, for 500 of mine, I spent $40,

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so I was not far off. Mine was mine It was

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$40 for 40 of your Cards. For 500, it would come

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to, like, 4.88 or something like that, I think, is what the total was. It

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was insane. So I was like, well, We we gotta figure out

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something to do with these other ones. Dollars. 500. Well, you

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know, I like people to go, oh, wow. That's, that's wow. Oh, that's a

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cool card. For mine, they're gonna go, oh, wow. There's a note section.

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Yeah. Are they? We'll see. We Everyone

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listening to this, that will that is at Podfest. Please please make Comments about

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my card. Anytime you see me, make comments. Everybody make comments on Sara's

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cards. In the meantime, leave comments for us. Leave comments. Tell us if you

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found some value in this episode. And you did, do us a huge favor. Go

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ahead and smash that subscribe button on your favorite podcast platform, whether that's YouTube,

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Spotify, Apple Podcasts. We don't care. We just love the fact that you're

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here, and we Appreciate every time that you listen to the Branded

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Podcast. And with that, I am Larry Roberts. Did did

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you really miss You're you're you're so good at the segues. You didn't say, like

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but we know this episode was worth it. Like I thought I did

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pretty good. I guess I just dropped the ball. I was

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just really expect I I you did fantastic, but I was just really

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expecting you to say, like, and if this episode was worth it

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Alright. But it's fine. I'm sad. We don't know. No. No. No.

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No. No. We can't live a we get into the there. That's we can't

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do that. So if you did find some value on this episode, and hopefully,

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we saved you a few dollars here and there. So I think there's some tremendous

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value For you and everyone listening in this episode, and with that,

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hi. I'm Larry Roberts. And I'm Sara Lohse, and we'll talk to you

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next week. You didn't say it the 2nd time either. What am I

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supposed to say, dude? I don't even know what the you're looking for.

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The whole show was like, is it worth it? And, like, you didn't tie I

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thought, like, if this was Oh, no. Okay. Here we go.

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Alright.

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So, hopefully, throughout this conversation, you have asked yourself, is it worth

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it? And our goal for this episode was to make sure that you know that

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it is worth it to listen to Branded each and every time. And with

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that, I Larry Roberts. And I'm Sara, Lohse.

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I will talk to you next week.