Ep. 67: Clearing Canva Chaos with Canva Verified Expert Brenda Cadman

April 10, 2024
Brenda Cadman smiling at the camera with her head resting on her hand, outdoors.

Meet Brenda:

Brenda Cadman is a Canva Verified Expert from Prince Edward Island, Canada.

After spending more than two decades supporting businesses with their website development needs, she now focuses on teaching entrepreneurs how to use Canva more effectively and efficiently.

Brenda has taught thousands of small business owners through her courses, and in particular, she loves to help business owners tame their hot mess Canva accounts by creating an organizational system that ensures they can spend less time in Canva, and more time doing what they love.

If you love your work and NOT your website and are ready to grow and scale your business go to laurakamark.com to find out how I can help bring your vision to life.
Full Episode Transcript

Laura Kåmark [00:00:01]:
Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Be Bold Make Waves podcast, a show bringing you inspiring stories of women who are growing and scaling their business. I’m your host, Laura Kamark, a website and tech integration specialist who works with online business owners who love their work and not their website. Join me as we have incredible conversations about business, mindset, productivity, and, of course, the website and tech behind the business. Let’s go ahead and dive in to this week’s episode. Hello, and welcome to this week’s show. For those of you who don’t already know me, I’m Laura Kamark, web designer, evergreen system, and funnel integration expert for coaches and consultants who love their work but not their tech. I’m so excited to introduce you to my guest today, Brenda Cadman.

Laura Kåmark [00:00:52]:
Brenda is a Canva verified expert from Prince Edward Island in Canada. After spending more than 2 decades supporting businesses with their website development needs, she now focuses on teaching entrepreneurs how to use Canva more effectively and efficiently. Brenda has taught thousands of small business owners through her courses, and in particular, she loves to help business owners tame their hot mess Canva accounts by creating an organizational system that ensures they can spend less time in Canva and more time doing what they love. Brenda, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Laura Kåmark [00:01:26]:
Can you tell our listeners a little bit about how you got into being this Canva organizational expert?

Brenda Cadman [00:01:33]:
I mean, it’s it it’s been many roads leading to that role, but it it’s one of those things I look back at all of the experiences that I’ve had in business over the past couple of decades, and you realize how all of those were kinda stepping stones to get to where I am now. And I finally it it’s really only been in the last handful of years that I feel like I am, oh, this is what I was meant to do. This is the amalgamation of all the different skill sets and experiences and and passions in one role, and I get I’m actually excited when I get up in the morning to get to work. So in terms of, I mean, how I got here, I did work as a I ran a website development company for 20 years in various forms of part part of a website development agency with a business partner for a while, then went back out on my own. Prior to that, I was a professional organizer. You’re gonna start seeing some of these threads come through. And my specialty was actually helping business owners and professionals conquer their filing cabinets, finally going through them and creating systems and tackling all the piles of paper on their desks. I remember one doctor that I worked with, and she had I think she had about 6 filing cabinets in her office, and they were all stuffed full.

Brenda Cadman [00:02:52]:
She was a researcher as well. And by the time we were done, I think we completely freed up 2 of them, so she could get them out. So, you know, taking those skills, and I love to do that, but it’s always just been a a kind of a skill set in the back the back of, the business that I didn’t really get to share with people. And then when I started looking into building out my courses for you know, they were gonna teach folks some of the ways to improve your website experience.

Laura Kåmark [00:03:23]:

Brenda Cadman [00:03:24]:
I went into a program for developing courses. I’ve been building courses for 5 years already, but they were not selling the way that I wanted them to, and I’m sure many people can relate to that experience. Yeah. But what I found when I started asking questions about what people are interested in, they were less interested in the content I was planning on developing, and they were more interested in asking me questions about how I was creating my lead magnet for that, and how did I, lay that particular thing out in Canva. And all these Canva questions started to come, so I started to answer them. And I started to do little demos and trainings and tutorials. This was not anything I was offering as a business, but I I knew it and I could help them. And then they started asking if that’s what my courses were gonna be about.

Brenda Cadman [00:04:08]:
You know, ding, ding, ding. That’s the moment you realize, oh, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. So that was a real fork in the road moment, and I decided to start pursuing that. Did that alongside the website development business for 3 or 4 years. Very difficult to do both at the same time, and I don’t recommend trying to do to run 2 different businesses simultaneously. And then September 2022, I decided it’s time to just pull the plug on it, retired the website business, and it’s just all campa all the time now.

Laura Kåmark [00:04:43]:
Wow. Oh, I love that story. That is just amazing. I Canva organization is just so overwhelming to me, and I noticed to so many of our listeners as well because it it is. It’s a hot mess in there.

Brenda Cadman [00:04:59]:
Yeah. It is not into as an intuitive as it could be and it should be, and if my list of feature requests that I have submitted on multiple occasions ever gets, fed through and implemented, it will be much better, but, you know, baby steps.

Laura Kåmark [00:05:17]:
Baby steps. When someone is in their Canva account and they’re like, this is a just total mess, what tips do you have for, like, here’s some of the things, like, some simple first baby steps you could do to really start organizing your Canva account to get a little bit of a handle on it?

Brenda Cadman [00:05:34]:
Yeah. And the the first one, it it feels it can feel daunting, but it actually doesn’t require a lot of decision. Not a no. It requires some decision making, but it’s probably gonna be easier in terms of the decisions you have to make, and that is you just have to go through and do a a purge. You gotta go the same way those that filing cabinet that we took from 6 cabinets down to to 4. There was a lot of, do you actually need to keep this? Well, that was from, you know, 22 years ago, and I I haven’t done anything with it in 10 and whatever. These are the things we didn’t the shredding, Laura, that I did, boxes and boxes of shredding because she was a a physician and researcher, so it was sensitive information. So I had to, you know, hide in their in their little shredding with the big major shredder tossing piles of this stuff in.

Brenda Cadman [00:06:25]:
But you gotta do the same thing to your Canva account because you don’t wanna be there’s no point spending time trying to create a filing system, a folder system to organize content that you don’t need to keep. If you try to do that, you’re gonna spend a lot of time trying to figure out, well, what category would this go in and, you know, you don’t it’s not a decision you even have to make. If you don’t need to keep it and you’re certain of that, then delete it. If you don’t think you need to keep it, but you’re not entirely sure, create a custom folder called archive. I was speaking with somebody recently who said that they they call that folder the attic, and they just you know, that’s where you put all the things that you think you might need to refer to later, but you’re not entirely sure. And, again, you don’t need to do a lot of organization on that. It’s there kind of if you need it. And if you don’t need it within the next year or 2, you’re probably gonna feel a lot more confident going through and actually, you know, deleting that and purging that at a later date.

Brenda Cadman [00:07:19]:
But you wanna get down to this just the stuff. You just wanna organize the stuff that actually needs to be found again at some point so that you can work with it. So that delete and archive is gonna be your step number 1.

Laura Kåmark [00:07:31]:
I love that. I know that I have because I do websites. I have tons of client Canva Yep. Files in there. And there are some times where I go back and need to reference some of that stuff later. Would you recommend doing, like, one master client folder for something like that or having separate clients have their own folder, so it’s easier, again, to find?

Brenda Cadman [00:07:55]:
I mean, everybody’s gonna have their own way of doing it that feels intuitive to them, and there is no one size all answer. I get asked about best practices, but what works for me in terms of how I’m gonna go searching for information and retrieving information is not how everybody’s brain works, And I’m never going to force what works for me onto somebody else and say, this is the system you have to adhere to because that is an absolute recipe for 0 maintenance on that organization going forward, and then you’re gonna be right back to that, you know, the same place you were in when you started. So I do think, though, if you’re looking for some best practices, things that work for a lot of people, I do think having a master primary clients folder is good, but then have subfolders because you can nest folders 10 levels deep. So have subfolders for your clients. And then what’s gonna happen is if you have a client’s folder in your archive folder, an archive clients folder, then you can just move those subfolders, those individual client folders into the, the archive folder when you don’t need them anymore. So if you are looking for a client that you’re working with currently, you’re gonna go to your primary client folder, and then there’s all your clients. And then within those folders, it’s probably gonna be broken down into brand assets or social media or whatever the folders are that you need to, organize the content that you’re creating for those clients. But when you’re done with the folder, you know, over to archive, clients folder under archive, and then you just move them over there.

Brenda Cadman [00:09:17]:
So they’re still accessible. They’re just not going to be cluttering up your current client’s folder, make it more difficult for you to find the stuff you actually need to work on in the moment.

Laura Kåmark [00:09:26]:
I love that. I don’t know that I realized I could do subfolders in case.

Brenda Cadman [00:09:32]:
That’s You absolutely need to use subfolders. I don’t want to see folks with more than 12 to 13 top level folders because what tends to happen is if you just start creating more and more and more folders, then you’re still making it more work for yourself, because you’re still having to scroll through all of them and find what you’re looking for. You’re make you’re giving yourself more decisions. Look think about it in terms of creating the navigation on a website. What happens if you give them too many options to start with?

Laura Kåmark [00:09:59]:
Overwhelming. It’s

Brenda Cadman [00:10:00]:
overwhelming. Whereas if you have, you know, a maximum number of kind of top level general categories and then you start filtering it down, you’re you’re spoon feeding the information to them step by step and leading them to what they’re looking for. You just need to make sure that you name things with some thought and some, forethought in terms of the kinds of content that might need to go under it. So they have to be specific enough that specific enough that they make sense, but general enough that they’re expandable going forward. Same sort of principle between website navigation and your folder structure in Canva.

Laura Kåmark [00:10:34]:
When you put a file into a folder, does it remove it from that, like, main home section of Canva?

Brenda Cadman [00:10:42]:
So the home screen is not something that you can organize. Probably one of the most popular questions the typical Canva user has because it is overwhelming. It’s trying to give you every possible avenue that you might want to follow. Wanna create something? Here’s 5 ways you can do it. You want to, search for a temple? Here’s 3 ways you can do it. It’s many roads to the same destination. But you can’t do any sort of organization there. It really is just all those designs are just going to be a feed from, you know, most recently edited to the the the furthest.

Brenda Cadman [00:11:14]:
So get into a habit of just going to the projects area immediately. It’s linked on your left hand side of the navigation of that main dashboard, and get into a habit of doing that. If it may if it’s easier for you to just bookmark that project’s page rather than going to the home page, do that. For me, I find I’m so used to going in there. I’m sure many people are in Canva, not just daily, but multiple times a day. You kind of develop the muscle memory to sign in to canva.com and then, boom, straight over to projects. I don’t even have a second thought about it anymore. But don’t work from that home screen because unless you’re just going there to quickly create something or to go to your brand kit or go to templates, If you are looking for a particular design, I mean, it can be handy if it’s the last thing you were working on, but if you’re gonna have to search for anything, go into projects.

Brenda Cadman [00:12:01]:
It’s going to be your your best your best place to go. Now that said, if you go to projects, when you move things into folder into a folder, it does move off of that projects page. So what you will ultimately see if you get everything organized on that projects page, you should just see those folders and nothing else. Because once you move the designs out, once you move images into folders, all of them are gonna clear off of that page.

Laura Kåmark [00:12:26]:
So, initially, everything if so if I had a just brand new Canva account okay. Let me back up. Not brand new. A Canva account that has never been organized with anything. So there’s lots of things going on, and there are lots of created documents, images, all the things. Yep. And And so if I just go into projects, it’s just all gonna be in there. It would look very similar to the home screen.

Brenda Cadman [00:12:47]:

Laura Kåmark [00:12:48]:
And then once you start organizing, you can actually organize that piece of it. Oh, see. And I didn’t know that. I just go from the home screen, and I’m, like, searching, and then I use the search function a lot. And I try to remember to move things. I do my, custom proposals for custom web design in Canvas, and I try to remember to always move them to proposal. And I know yesterday I was in there looking for something. Actually, that was a presentation I was looking for for a summit, and I was trying to find the most recent one, and it wasn’t in my presentation folder.

Laura Kåmark [00:13:16]:
I was like, no. I forgot to I would think of it as as tagging because it puts the little name down below, but I forgot to move it into the folder, so it was not in there.

Brenda Cadman [00:13:26]:
Yeah. And I it can feel very daunting at the beginning to start getting some structure to it. The easiest way to start tackling a big big mess like that is look for the big category chunks. So, for example, if we were if I was moving stuff into a client’s folder, I’m not gonna be searching for all of the things for client a and moving them all into that client a folder. And now let’s look for all of the client b and move into client b. I’m gonna look through. I’m gonna select everything that has to do with a client and move all of them into clients, and then I’m gonna start chunking it in terms of the category in terms of the categories. My first goal is get that that top level cleared out, and then we’re gonna tackle it one folder at a time to make it feel more manageable.

Brenda Cadman [00:14:09]:
Because if you try to start getting really granular with your organizing when you have thousands of files there, you’re going to want to tear your hair out. It is I love organizing, but that would drive me insane. So you really need to do it in in batches, and that’s just gonna make it a lot easier to to power through and get it done.

Laura Kåmark [00:14:31]:
So I find something that I do, and I don’t feel like it is going to be a best practice. But I’ll know that I have, like, a mock up that I use personally for something of one of my files, and I need something similar for a client I’m working on doing, like, a VIP day, and I need a mock up of her course. And I know I already have the image, like, the right size and everything, and I just need to go plop it in. So a lot of times, I just copy the page, not the file, and add it in there. And so sometimes when I go back and I’m looking for that, it’s within my mock up. I can’t find it. Do you have any tips for that? Like, should I be making a copy of the file so I have 2 and then giving it a good name so that it’s for I know it’s specifically just for that client.

Brenda Cadman [00:15:14]:
There’s a couple of ways that you could go about this. I definitely wouldn’t be just copying it and having it hide in there because you will never find it again. But you could duplicate it, and then instantly, as soon as you duplicate it, folks have to get into a habit of renaming the file immediately. Don’t come back to do it later because you will not remember to do it, and then you have to reopen it and redetermine what was this for, and and it’s just taking additional time and additional bandwidth that you don’t need to be spending. So if you are duplicating a file to use it, just rename it right away, and then go into the grid view mode and delete all the pages that you don’t need. So all that’s in there is the the the specific pages that you actually need. Another option to do, that would be let’s say you were you talked about creating a, proposal. So if you were doing proposals regularly, I would have a base master proposal layout that has all the page variations that I would possibly need, and then I would save that as a brand template within my account.

Brenda Cadman [00:16:16]:
Brand templates are only gonna be available if you’re on Canva Pro, because it’s part of the brand kit, and that is only available on Pro or Teams plans. But when you save it as a brand template, when you go to use it in the future, it’s gonna automatically prompt you to make a copy of it, and it’s never gonna overwrite that original one. So you’ll always have that as your base template so that it’s easier to make those copies, and ensure that when you make the copy, you’re not gonna be having to, oh, I’m missing a page here, and go track that down. Everything that you need is there, and you just delete the bits that you don’t need. I do the same thing for, like, a a presentation. I’ll have all the variations. If I know that there’s one version of this presentation that I do for, for students versus one that I do for small business owners versus one that I do for creative professionals. There might be slightly different versions of slides or the kinds of content that I I focus on in sections.

Brenda Cadman [00:17:09]:
So if I have all of those in this master template for a presentation, I just, you know, prompt it prompts me make a copy. I rename it. I hop in there, delete the ones that I don’t need, and then I’ve got everything I need moving forward for that presentation. And it makes a lot faster, especially if you’re reusing it regularly.

Laura Kåmark [00:17:27]:
I love that tip. That was some exactly what I was thinking about when you were saying using brand. I don’t think I have anything set up in brand templates. I don’t know that I’ve dove into the some of those features that I mean, I know it’s been there for a while.

Brenda Cadman [00:17:40]:
But Yeah. But, I mean, I think, you know, teams in particular will tend to use them because they wanna make sure that their teams are using specific layouts that have been designed for these different things. But it it’s important, I think, as well for your own workflow, for streamlining your workflow. Even if you’re just an individual business owner, what are the things that I’m recreating and duplicating over and over that I could streamline by having just a standard version of it? So when I did run still run the website development agency, I we did these WordPress health inspections, going and assessing websites, and it was the same I I’d have to customize the results in it because every website would perform a little differently, but the sections were always the same. So that was a template. It was a matter of clicking on the template, making the copy, put the client’s name on it, you know, go tweak all the spots to add their their name in, and then I could put in the specific details and we’re good to go. I didn’t have to make a copy and then worry about did I delete did I delete or replace all of the previous client’s name. We’ve all made that mistake where you’re duplicating something from a past client, and all of a sudden you miss one of the names, and then the new client says, why does this say so and so on it? It just ensures that the whole process is gonna be a lot smoother.

Laura Kåmark [00:19:01]:
Oh, I love that. What are some of your other favorite Canva tips, hacks, those sort of things? I’m sure you have tons of them, but

Brenda Cadman [00:19:09]:
I mean, I do love the the organization piece. I think it gets a a you know? It’s not the sexy side of Canva, and I think it is just the poor it’s the underdog. But, I mean, the brand kit is the other piece that I think is incredibly important that a lot of business owners don’t set up until much later. I think if you’re on a pro plan, set up that brand kit because you’re gonna save yourself a ton of time. And it is really going to ensure as well that everything you’re putting out as a business owner is really brand consistent. I tend to I know that a lot of folks, they love the video side and they love the AI features, and these are all really fun. But I really do tend to focus on the the really kind of core foundational bits of how do we make sure you can find things easily? How do we make sure that everything looks consistently as part of your brand? How do we make sure that, you know, you can easily find the templates that you need and you’re not spending a ton of time going down the Canva rabbit hole because you will if you are not careful, but you have too many other things that you should be doing. So I like to focus on the basics of what do you need to create to support your business.

Brenda Cadman [00:20:19]:
Let’s focus on those things and doing those the best way that we can, and worry about the bells and whistles later, because you will never know everything that Canva has to offer you. And if you try, that’s when you start feeling really overwhelmed. And I don’t want folks to feel overwhelmed. I know there’s a learning curve, and it’s easy to forget the learning curve when you’re sitting where I am, but I know that it’s a lot to just get comfortable with navigating the platform and creating the basic pieces. So let’s just start there, and we can start adding in the fun bits later on.

Laura Kåmark [00:20:50]:
Oh, I love that. How long do would you say someone needs to, like, set aside time to go just get started? Like, is it just take an hour and carve out a little bit of time so that it’s, again, not this overwhelming daunting project that because, obviously, it would depend on how much they have going on in there. But, I mean, what’s like a good just to get started?

Brenda Cadman [00:21:14]:
It’s hard to say. I wish there was a a a quick answer that I could give to that, but I think it also depends on are you comfortable with tech? I mean, the amount of time that it would take you, Laura, to go through it because you’re already comfortable with tech stacks and navigating platforms, and I think you just have kinda probably have an intuitive sense of, okay. Well, this is probably located here and where to go versus some folks I’ve worked with where they are starting a business for the first time. They have absolutely they don’t know what a domain is, never mind what sort of software they’re going to need, and they’re you’re coming at it from very different, starting points. So those folks are gonna need a lot more time and a lot more probably, hand holding, and, they’re gonna need to give themselves a lot more grace, so little patience. So it’s something, though, that I don’t think it I don’t want it to be a task. Take it in bite sized chunks, learn a little bit here and there, and start by just finding a couple of templates that can work for your brand, and don’t worry. I think also a lot of folks wanna have these great big complete marketing suites ready for them, unless you’re prepared to hire somebody to create it for you.

Brenda Cadman [00:22:33]:
And if you are, great. Go do that. Just understand that it’s going to take time, and you will suddenly be looking back and realize that there are things that feel like felt like a real struggle in the beginning that just become part of your day to day. They just become part of your vocabulary, and you didn’t even realize it until you’re looking back at it. So it’s again, I can’t give a firm answer, but it it’ll take a little bit of time. Just don’t expect to open it up one day and be a master of it by the end of that day.

Laura Kåmark [00:23:04]:
It’s a process for sure. How do you typically work with clients? I know I’ve seen you around in Sarah Massey’s VIP program for her VIP days. Is that the container in which you are working with clients typically, or tell us a little bit about that?

Brenda Cadman [00:23:22]:
I would say the the majority of my business is kind of courses and things that are available on demand. They’re not so much 1 on 1 kinds of offers. Mhmm. But of the services that I have, the only service I have currently is that VIP day. It is an organization VIP day, which tends to break down into over a couple of days.

Laura Kåmark [00:23:44]:

Brenda Cadman [00:23:44]:
That said, I am working on desperately trying to finally get a a service out that I’ve been working on for many, many, many, many months for no other reason than I just never prioritize my own stuff. But it that is gonna be kind of a hybrid of I won’t do it for you, but you give me the information, and I’ll tell you what I think you should do in terms of organizing. I’m gonna give you an action plan and a video and all that, and then go forth and organize, when it works for you. So that one’s not like a VIP day. It’s just kind of a a smaller asynchronous kind of offer. I’m getting far more protective, I find, as I get older in terms of the the time that I make available for 1 on 1 simply because I don’t have the energy that I used to. And I’m a mom as well, And I feel like I just need to be able to create things and do things when I am feeling at my very best. And there are days that I just am in no position to tell people how to organize their Kamark accounts.

Brenda Cadman [00:24:52]:
So it’s going to be set up going forward for the most part to be able to just do those on the days that I’m feeling my abs you know, 100%. But beyond those two offers, I don’t do a lot of services. I just really prefer to I like to wake up and know that my day is mine to to tackle projects as I kind of feel able and willing.

Laura Kåmark [00:25:12]:
I love that. And so with your courses, is it mostly specific, like, bite sized courses? Do you have a signature course? Tell our audience a little bit about your courses.

Brenda Cadman [00:25:21]:
They’re all really they’re small bites, kind of bite sized, very they’re I would call them micro courses. I don’t have I used to have kind of a signature bigger one that had live components and all this. And, again, it’s that energy thing. I also feel like with Canva, when you’re running into when you’re wanting to learn the platform or you’re running into challenges, you kinda wanna solve the problem now. And I like the fact I like Evergreen. I like having something that if they’re ready to do it, it’s right there for them. But they’re very much they’re small courses. They’re all under a $100.

Brenda Cadman [00:25:53]:
There’s no live support on them, but, you know, there’s complimentary bonus, customer and student Facebook group where folks can post some questions if they have them. But I do find that most folks don’t really need that. They just need something that’s gonna guide them through. How do I do these specific things? And be able to go back and refer to them when things change because that’s part of it is I try to update it. It’s difficult with Canva because they do love to shake things up on the regular, which is exciting. It’s exciting to see new features and new ways of doing things, and but my excitement is usually quickly followed by, oh, crap. I have to rerecord half of those lessons.

Laura Kåmark [00:26:34]:
That was literally gonna be my next question because as someone who also does a lot of, like, tech trainings and Yeah. Stuff around that, I’m always like, that’s my biggest block is I’m like, oh, I’m gonna have to update as soon as you publish something and put it out in the world. They’re gonna do an update to the that you are creating videos on. That’s just how it goes.

Brenda Cadman [00:26:52]:
I’m working on my perfectionist tendencies. I will never have it a 100% reflect exactly what’s there because it literally as soon as I do it, they’ll change tweak the name on something slightly. I figure if things are generally in the same location, even if they look slightly different or are named slightly different, folks are not stupid. They can figure it out. But if they add new features, they change functionality up dramatically, It does need to be redone. So I tend to plan on overhauling stuff at least once a year, occasionally, twice a year. Usually around the time that Canva create happens, that’s usually when there’s a a whole host of new things, new fun things that comes out and usually warrants a bit of an update.

Laura Kåmark [00:27:35]:
Every time.

Brenda Cadman [00:27:37]:
Yes. Every time.

Laura Kåmark [00:27:39]:
I would love to talk a little bit about some of the mindset stuff that’s come up as you’ve gone through and kinda done this a pivot in your business, in the last few years, it sounds like. What would you say was one of the biggest, like, fears and doubts you had, and how did you overcome them when you decided to, like, stop the web design part of your business and go full full steam ahead into the Canva organizational piece?

Brenda Cadman [00:28:05]:
It was a process. I would say I started think I started downsizing the services with the intent of not at that point of of closing the business, but just really narrowing the focus, in summer 2020. I start I think I just started realizing this is not bringing me joy, and I I want I don’t know what I wanna be doing instead, and I didn’t feel the confidence to to just pull the plug on it and make that jump. I don’t think I had the foundation yet on the Canva business to to make that leap. Or maybe I did and I just, you know, was talking myself out of it, but I wasn’t ready to do it until suddenly I just was. I had down I had first downsized a lot of clients to, no longer doing new, you know, no longer doing new projects, but just kind of specializing in these WordPress checkups and doing these, kind of these page speed optimization projects and security things and of that nature. So I really got very narrow on the focus of those. That got rid of a whole lot of clients.

Brenda Cadman [00:29:13]:
And then it just it it dwindled down eventually where I stopped taking on projects, and I had one client left. And I loved working with her, And she had this big beautiful brand that has become incredibly successful, and I just had to be ready to let her go. What made it a lot easier for me is that the my lead developer that I had worked with since, oh, 2017 no. 2,007. Pardon me. 2,007. 2,007? Yeah. Around that.

Brenda Cadman [00:29:47]:
I knew that she was building her agency, and I was able to, with good conscience, just let the all of the clients go at that point, and the ones who were coming back to me saying, can you take something on? Because I knew they would be in tremendously good hands with her. I didn’t want to leave anybody hanging, and because she had come to know these clients really well, it was a matter the hand the hand off was unbelievably easy. I I consider myself very, very fortunate because I know a lot of people wouldn’t have been in that position to have somebody to just hand off to that they really totally trusted. But to have somebody that I had built that kind of loyal relationship with, that I had not not a microsecond of doubt that they would be really well taken care of. It made the departure so much easier. And I still to this day, like, I still refer people to her constantly if somebody’s looking for specifically WordPress. It once I I think once I figured that out, honestly, the decision was easy, And I’m just so grateful that I’m, you know, looking back on it more than a year since then that I’m not looking back thinking, what did I do? Because there is always that little doubt in the in the back of your head, like, are you gonna regret this? You can’t undo this. You hand all these clients over.

Brenda Cadman [00:31:08]:
You you are an like, there’s no getting them back, and I did not wanna start over. But I think once I freed myself of that and I was able to just a 100% focus on my own projects as opposed to focusing on all my client projects, suddenly, I was able to do all the things that I had never been able to do before. And had I started on those sooner, I probably wouldn’t would have been able to move forward faster in this business. But trying to juggle both is just it it’s impossible. I I know some folks can do it, and more power to them. I don’t know how they do it.

Laura Kåmark [00:31:41]:
Yeah. I mean, I know I find, like, the stuff that I wanna create for my business, it always gets put on the back burner. Yep. So it makes it hard to create those things. Yeah. Absolutely. How did you find so once you so then you started creating the Canva courses because you had courses before you said that weren’t really the thing that people were wanting. They were wanting to know how you created the things for the course.

Laura Kåmark [00:32:03]:
So once you started creating those courses, how’d you get traction on that? So when I so I I started that

Brenda Cadman [00:32:13]:
part of the courses. The first Canva course was launched in 2019. And, honestly, it I am very grateful just to the community that I was in because they they were my first beta testers for this course. And, you know, considering I continued to give them access to all future iterations of those programs, they got in at a good time. But they became they just became my first people on that list. I wasn’t even selling any courses initially, so it was a matter of creating a Facebook. I started a Facebook group specifically about called How to Use Canva. And people started naturally finding it, and people would recommend it, and I think just organically, it grew.

Brenda Cadman [00:32:58]:
So when I started when I got to the point that I was wanting to switch over entirely to a a purely Canva education based business. I already had a really strong list. I had I I’ve closed the group, some time ago just because I I didn’t feel like maintaining that anymore, But it wasn’t quick, but I think it’s just naturally a subject that people are very interested in. If you’re a small business owner, this is a program you are going to use. I don’t know any small business owners who don’t use it or at least who aren’t aware of it. So that does make it easier to sell in a sense because, you know, folks like you are excited to talk about Canva and the things it can do for their business and the new features that are coming out. So it really does make my job easier that people wanna talk about what I teach. Fewer people wanted to talk about how to prevent a website nightmare from happening, you know, and they nobody wanted to talk about their website being hacked and the things they should be doing to prevent it, although that’s really important.

Laura Kåmark [00:34:00]:
It is. I talk about that all the time.

Brenda Cadman [00:34:03]:
And it’s it’s harder because it’s something painful to think about as opposed to Canvas something fun to think about. So that in itself is not something that can be easily replicated across industries. It just made my job a lot easier. And then I’ve always I’m not I’ve never would describe myself as a networker, but I’m somebody who really loves relationship building. So a lot of it has just been building online relationships, looking for questions, answering questions without any sort of ulterior motive, and building visibility and awareness and trust and relationships. That way over, you know, a 5 year period has just naturally gotten to the point now that I don’t have to try as hard, although I do still love to hop out into groups and find new people because you never know where you’re gonna find your next client. So

Laura Kåmark [00:34:54]:
I love that. I think it’s such an important point that you just brought up about the importance of building relationships and especially in the online space. But, I mean, in any business. You know? My my husband has a brick and mortar, business that he runs, and he’s constantly building relationships with people. And that’s, I mean, that’s the backbone of all this that we’re doing. So, I mean, that’s the reason I created the podcast is it was a platform that now I can go reach out and meet new people and then connect them with my audience. And it’s been so fun for me because then it’s new relationships that I get to build. So I love that.

Brenda Cadman [00:35:29]:

Laura Kåmark [00:35:30]:
I would love to

Brenda Cadman [00:35:32]:
talk a

Laura Kåmark [00:35:33]:
little bit about some of your wins. I’m a huge fan of celebrating wins. I usually do it with a cheese plate. Everyone who follows me on Instagram, they know I have my, like, $9 cheese scores, and I love celebrating all my wins with cheese plates. What is something that we could celebrate you and your accomplishments? So what’s something you’re really proud of that you’ve accomplished when you’re looking back on your

Brenda Cadman [00:35:56]:
business? Oh my gosh. That I’m still here. The moments of crushing doubt that I’m I’m happy to say I have not really felt in the past 5 years, but, I mean, I’ve been a business owner for 24 years, and there have been a lot of moments in that time that I just thought, is this ever going to work? Am I just barking up the wrong tree? What should I go find should I go work for somebody else and just toss this? And first, there’s no shame in that either. I wanna be really clear. I I think sometimes people hold up just the idea of of closing a business and finding a position with another organization or company as being some sort of failure, and it’s not. It comes down to what do you want? What is gonna support you and the life that you want and the family that you have? What feels right to you? And there’s it there’s no shame attached to it. I am happy to cheer on those who feel like, no. I’m done.

Brenda Cadman [00:37:00]:
I wanna I want, you know, I say security in quotes, of working for another business. Do what’s right for you. For me, there were a lot of moments that I thought I was done, and there was just always this kind of nagging feeling in me of, no. You can do this. And this I don’t think even in those lowest moments, I don’t think I ever stopped trusting myself, and I think that’s the thing that I am most proud of. I knew myself and what I was capable of, and I knew it was not gonna be easy, and it was not gonna come quick. I am deeply grateful for my husband’s endless patience because I’m sure there were moments he wanted me to just throw in the towel as well. And he’s awfully glad now

Laura Kåmark [00:37:47]:
that I

Brenda Cadman [00:37:47]:
didn’t. But I do think that that of anything, it’s not about clients that I landed or projects that I did. It’s that I didn’t give up. I trust I followed my instincts, and I trusted myself, and I know I couldn’t I now know that I can trust myself with any decision that needs to be made, That makes sense.

Laura Kåmark [00:38:10]:
It does. And I think that’s an incredible thing to celebrate. Because it is. It’s hard. Like Yeah. Running a business, it’s not easy. You know, I was one of those people that I had that super secure quotes job. And then when I was pregnant with my first child, I got a call at 8 AM, and they said, your position’s been eliminated.

Laura Kåmark [00:38:31]:
You have until noon. I said, you know I’m pregnant. Yeah. And it was you know, I was far enough along. I’m like, no one’s gonna hire me, and I’m not gonna find I was working remote back before it was, like, a thing. Yeah. And I said I’m not gonna be able to find another remote job. I’m not gonna be able to find a job, but the position I worked in corporate didn’t really translate into other fields.

Laura Kåmark [00:38:53]:
It was very specific to that industry. And I’m like, what am I gonna do with this baby? Have a baby and then go back to work and, like, start a new job, then leave for 3 months and have a baby, and then what are we gonna do with the 3 month old? So that was when I started my business, which was really starting, you know, being an at home mom, which was not the plan, and then trying to figure out motherhood and creating a business and, like so it was a very interesting flow that I went through as I talked to a lot of people who you know, they had, like, the corporate job and the side hustle, and then they took the side hustle the whole time. I’ve talked to people who had been just doing their own thing for so long. And it’s it’s no matter how you do it, it’s never easy.

Brenda Cadman [00:39:37]:
No. No. And the we all try to make it look like we’re having a a a lovely sunny time with our business at all times on social media. And, you know, I’ll I’ll talk to friends who are saying, so and so just always they just have it all together, and they just their we’re not, you know, we’re not gonna put that out there. That’s we’re putting the glossy pictures. We’re putting the vacation photos. We’re putting on the happy smiley people pictures out there, and that’s just not the reality of it a lot of the time. Everybody has a different path to, you know, what entrepreneurship looks like for them, but every I don’t think there’s anybody who’s had an easy time of it.

Brenda Cadman [00:40:30]:
Just doesn’t exist.

Laura Kåmark [00:40:32]:
Nope. It’s not smooth sailing, but it is rewarding. I will, like

Brenda Cadman [00:40:36]:
So many ways. So many ways. Like, I would be really hard pressed to work for somebody else at this point just because I am a woman who loves my own schedule. Because if we had a rough night, if those cats decided that 4:15 was an appropriate time to get up and play on me, I want the opportunity to, you know, ignore them and sleep in a little bit to catch up on the rest and just stay in my sweatpants until noon, and I love the flexibility more than yes. You can have financial success with a a business, but the flexibility for me has just been the most important thing that when I wake up and suddenly my kid was, you know, oh, great. They’ve got the latest gastro bug that’s going around. There was no need to call in and ask for time off. It’s just a matter of, okay, I’m gonna push that meeting.

Brenda Cadman [00:41:33]:
The rest of the day looks good, and I’ll go be a mom. And I didn’t need to accommodate for anybody else. I could just have the flexibility to be there for my family. That, for me, has been the number one reward.

Laura Kåmark [00:41:47]:
Yep. Same here. We, at the time of this recording, yesterday was actually the 2nd grade field trip for my my oldest daughter. And so my husband and I, because we’re both entrepreneurs and take can do whatever we want with our schedule, we opt in the car in the morning after we put the kids on the bus, and we shot up to Santa Barbara and met up with the field trip and got to spend the day hanging with the 2nd graders at the sea museum, and it was great. And I’m like, how lucky are we? Like, this is this is why we

Brenda Cadman [00:42:15]:
do it. Yeah. Or yesterday, I spent far too much time desperately trying to find a pair of shoes at the mall. And did I find the shoes that I wanted? Absolutely not. But am I glad I had the flexibility to go try on 3,000,000 pairs? Yes. I am. And then to go for a quick lunch with my husband, you know, in the middle of the day without that flexibility is has been absolutely priceless for me.

Laura Kåmark [00:42:41]:
I love that. I could talk to you all day. This has been so much fun. I just looked at the time and was like, wow. Who could I just go? I have one question that I ask everyone who comes on the podcast, and that is what is one piece of advice you would give to someone when they are growing and scaling their business that would help them be bolder, be louder, and make waves?

Brenda Cadman [00:43:07]:
I think don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, to send the email, to reach out to the person, to ask the question. If there’s a podcast you wanna be on, pitch them. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Is there a chance they’ll say no? Absolutely. But if you don’t ask, you don’t get. But there’s a caveat to this. Before you ask for help, do some work and actually see if you can find the information out yourself.

Brenda Cadman [00:43:39]:
Because the number of people who I see asking for help when a quick Google would have got them what they needed, it it’s it’s Kamark, actually, how many people when that much information’s available at your fingertips. So make an effort. Show people before you reach out for help, show people that you’ve made an effort. I think, you know, I will reward somebody who takes initiative and actually says, I looked for that. I’ve tried this. It’s not working, and then reach out for help. You will you’d be surprised how many people are willing to and will say yes. But I think there are a lot of opportunities that I talked myself out of because I felt I wasn’t good enough at something, you know, that good old imposter syndrome gets in the way, or I felt like I didn’t have enough experience or somebody else maybe would be better at it.

Brenda Cadman [00:44:31]:
And I think there are opportunities, like, podcasts I could have been on, trainings I could have given, you know, positions I could have secure secured if I had just been brave enough to actually ask and put myself out there and to be visible.

Laura Kåmark [00:44:44]:
So I think that is fantastic advice. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. Can you tell our listeners where they can find you, come hang out with you online, find out more about your courses, all the things?

Brenda Cadman [00:44:57]:
Everything is at brendacadmon. Dotcom. You’ll find free resources there. You’ll find, you know, micro courses there. You’ll find some a couple of services there. But I do really focus a lot on free content because I do want folks to you know, if you’re beginning using Canva in your in the early stages of it, I wanna make sure that you have some of the resources available to you to actually build those foundations. And then, you know, when you’re ready to maybe dive a little bit deeper, there’s some courses available there on demand for you.

Laura Kåmark [00:45:27]:
Wonderful. I will link all that up in the show notes. Thanks so much for coming on today.

Brenda Cadman [00:45:32]:
My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Laura Kåmark [00:45:35]:
Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode. Be sure to check out the show notes at laurakamark.com/podcast. And if you’re ready to turn your website into a marketing machine, get more sales, save time, and simplify the back end of your business, grab my free resource, Power Integrations for your website. Head on over to laurakamark.com/power. If you enjoyed today’s episode, make sure to subscribe. And also, I’ll just love you forever if you leave me a review. It helps get this podcast in front of other people that can help inspire. Thanks so much for listening.

Laura Kåmark [00:46:13]:
I’ll see you next week. Bye now.

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