Getting To Know: Indigo Colton of IndigoColton.com
I remember seeing Indigo in a few Facebook groups I was involved with around this time last year. She seemed to be everywhere, and was absolutely killing it. Whenever anyone would ask about hiring a Virtual Assistant or anything related to business systems, Indigo was always there providing invaluable advice. She epitomized to me what I hope my business will one day become: she's known in her industry, she's approachable and knowledgeable, and she has a stellar client roster.
On top of all that, her branding is on point, and her blog is always overflowing with helpful information, making her the ultimate badass.
So when I found out that she lived in Austin, I nervously sent her a fan-girl Instagram DM to see if we could meet up. To my utter embarrassment, I completely botched our first get-together by showing up at the wrong location. 🙈 She was so kind to reschedule, and I am incredibly glad we did. We've been able to get together a few times since then, and I am always so grateful when we do. Indigo is brilliant, encouraging, humble, and unbelievably kind. She is also the systems QUEEN, and she has packed so much good info into this interview. So go grab your notebook/journal, and get ready to take some serious notes!
Tell us more about your overall journey for how IndigoColton.com came to be. I really love your origin story!
Thank you so much, Maggie! My business journey has really been a rollercoaster, but I wouldn’t have it any other way ;)
In the summer of 2014 I was at a local event, and talking with a graphic designer. She mentioned that she needed someone to curate, create and schedule social media content for her business and I said, “I can do that!” A couple weeks later I started working with a local interior designer and uploading her project photos to her website, so she could spend her time designing. It was after that when a lightbulb went off, and I realized that people would actually pay me to do these administrative, tedious tasks for them!
I joined as many business Facebook groups as I could find, and reached out to anyone who needed help with something I knew how to do. I worked with as many clients as possible, in a variety of industries, and in my first year really started to realize what I was good at, and what I loved doing.
Keep in mind, that at this time I was also working part-time at a retail store and going to college full-time! So there was a lot going on in my life. I was eventually able to replace my income from my part-time job from my business, and then made the decision to withdraw from college in December 2015 to pursue my business full-time.
2016 was a crazy, amazing, stressful whirlwind! I grew my virtual assistant business, hired subcontractors so I could continue taking on new clients, and even tried to start scaling into an agency. Everything was going so big, so fast, and I was honestly just trying to keep up with everything!
But it got to a point that I couldn’t manage everything, even with a team supporting me. In November I got extremely burnt out, but couldn’t take the time off I needed to recover because clients needed work done. So until about two months ago, I kept going and pushing and reached a point beyond burn out -- yeah, I was getting work done but it was at the cost of literally everything else in my life.
It was also during this point that I realized that I wasn’t enjoying the day-to-day tasks that virtual assistants do. I get so fired up looking at the big picture, creating strategies, and making action plans for my clients.
As of today, I’ve released about 90% of my clients and subcontractors. I’ve transitioned from doing virtual assistant work to really helping business owners conquer overwhelm, create systems that work, and determine the best platforms and technologies to help them achieve their goals.
What aspect of your work is the most life-giving for you?
When I’m able to solve a problem that my client has been struggling with! I absolutely love those “a-ha!” moments, and being able to give them to my clients. I accidentally started my business, but have always been obsessed with helping my clients to the maximum -- so when I can do that, when I can solve problems that they’re aware of or maybe they don’t even know they have? That’s definitely the most life-giving moment.
Was there ever a time when you happily ignored external validation or outside advice about your business so that you could follow the True North that you created for yourself? If so, how did making that choice to follow Your Why impact not only you, but your business?
Yes! The past few months I’ve really learned to listen to what I want, and make sure that my goals are my goals - not other people’s goals that I’ve adopted as my own. Pursuing my Why like this, and shutting out all the noise, has allowed me to see what I really want out of my life, and my business.
Our mutual friend Devan Danielle has talked for so long about how you want to build your business around your ideal life, not your life around your ideal business. And it didn’t really click for me until this year! I spent so long trying to squeeze my life around my business, that I never stopped to consider if that’s even what I wanted.
But now I’m able to really step back and build a business that feels good, that truly supports the ideal life that I want to live.
Like so many of my biz friendships, we first met online (through The Gram Gang specifically) before I even knew you were in Austin. What are some of your favorite ways to meet like-minded business owners online? Do you have any favorite resources or communities?
I am really loving Instagram lately for connecting with other business owners! Facebook groups are great places as well, but sometimes it can be hard to create a genuine connection through a group.
I don’t necessarily have any resources, but I do have advice, which is to really just be genuine. Even through the internet and text-based communication, people can pick up on your vibe. So don’t comment on someone’s Instagram account just to get them to follow you -- comment to connect, and to really start building a relationship.
You started out as a virtual assistant, but you really are a systems visionary - helping online business owners and creative entrepreneurs declutter their processes and get some time (and sanity!) back into their lives. What is the first step you always take with your clients to help them down that path to organized systems bliss?
I always start with a questionnaire! Before I offer any suggestions or come in with any advice, I want to hear, in my client’s own words, what issues they’re having, how they want their business to run, and their best and worst case scenarios.
This allows me to see how they are feeling about their business, and identify any key areas that may be holding them back from their best case scenario or things that are propelling them towards their worst case scenario.
While the questionnaire I send my clients is extensive, it really allows me to experience their business through their eyes. I get to know the story behind it, see how it’s doing, and see where they want it to go in the future.
If I don’t know all of that, nothing I help my clients build will be effective. Because I can come up with goals and the vision, but if it doesn’t come from their heart the client won’t take action on whatever I propose.
I know that you recently launched your Business Clarity Experience, which gives you the opportunity to work more intimately with a client to help them establish systems surrounding everything from content creation and email marketing to client on-boarding/off-boarding and internal systems. What more can you tell us about this program?
It’s so much fun!! This is a half-day intensive session, and we dig into everything. (EVERYTHING). This is where we go through the big picture (like the elements I listed above) and then get really granular and map out what it will actually take to get you there.
This is where big dreams and baby action steps meet. This is where the magic happens.
Because sometimes all you need is someone with fresh eyes and a different perspective to see what you’re struggling with and offer you a way out that you couldn’t see. And that’s what I do in the Business Clarity Experience.
I listen and learn about your business, get to the root of the things causing you overwhelm and stress and then help you map out specific action steps to get past them. To resolve them.
As someone who is still fairly new in my business, and I’m still managing everything on my own, what is your biggest piece of advice of what I should be doing now that will make it seamless for me if (and hopefully when!) my business starts to grow?
Start building your procedures manual! Essentially, just write down everything you do and how you do it. So if you blog regularly, write down your process from coming up with a topic to pushing “Publish.”
This will make it sooooooooo easy when you have a team, because you’ll be able to just point them towards the procedure document you’ve created and they will be able to replicate your process step for step. There’s not as much back-and-forth, and you’re cutting their learning curve in half by giving them that resource.
I love using Google Docs for this, but you could easily write it all by hand, build templates in your project management software -- whatever works best for you!
Let’s get practical for a second, what are some of your favorite business tools/resources and why?
There are so many! I’ll try to keep this list short ;)
17Hats - This is hands-down my favorite client management software! It allows me to create quotes, questionnaires, send contracts, invoices, and so much more from one place! I also love that I can create multiple projects for a single client, so I can keep different services or offerings they may have booked separate.
Acuity - I loooove Acuity for scheduling meetings! You can have as many different types of appointments and availabilities as you want, it automatically syncs with your Google Calendar (so there isn’t any double-booking!), and it looks so professional. This may be the best $10 I spend per month for my business!
Asana - Honestly, my entire life runs from Asana. This is my favorite project management software, because it works the same way my brain does! It’s so easy to run multiple businesses and my personal life from Asana, while keeping everything separated out.
ConvertKit - This was the biggest game-changer in my business. ConvertKit runs all of my email marketing, and it lets me market to specific segments of my audience so easily. I can also have complex email funnels set up that run automatically, so I never have to worry about doing anything manually after the initial set-up!
ClickFunnels - So this is a beast of a software, but it is SO AMAZING. ClickFunnels lets you (you guessed it!) build funnels, but it’s so much more than that. You build all your pages together in the same funnel, you can run A/B tests on everything, and set up anything you can imagine -- digital product launches, webinars, lead magnets, physical products, and more.
I’d say these are my top five things, but I have a more complete list here, if you’re curious!
I also know that you are an essential oils fan. Which ones do you have in heavy rotation right now?
Yes! Essential oils have been a game-changer for me. I use Young Living essential oils, because they are therapeutic grade -- this means that other than smelling good, they also have amazing benefits for the body, emotions, and more! I also know that there aren’t any fillers (things that dilute the concentration of the oil just to fill a bottle) and can say exactly where each type of oil was distilled because of Young Living’s standards and practices.
Right now I’m loving everything in the Premium Starter Kit (a collection of 11 oils, which includes lavender, peppermint, copaiba, and more!). I also wear Stress Away as a perfume, because it really does just make your stress disappear.
For productivity, I love using Stress Away, Peppermint and a blend called Oola Grow together in my diffuser. The peppermint energizes and invigorates, Stress Away decreases the amount of stress I feel, and Oola Grow helps me focus on my to-do list and take forward action.
If you’re curious about how to use essential oils as an entrepreneur, my friend Brittany and I just did a live workshop on it! You can sign up to get the replay here.
One of the things that I feel like we always talk about when we get together is how to take better care of ourselves when we’re both driven women who want to do #allthethings. What have you been incorporating into your self-care routine lately that has been really powerful to boost your mind, body & spirit?
Definitely essential oils! They have helped me enormously with emotional support (I mean, Stress Away alone has been a game-changer for me!) as well as helping my body operate closer to 100%. I feel like they help me care for myself in a holistic, whole-body way, and the amazing smells don’t hurt!
I’ve also started exercising again, and being mindful of what I eat and drink. Getting even a 10-minute walk in during the day helps me clear my head and solve problems.
I have been (on again and off again, if we’re being honest!) cutting out gluten, sugar, and dairy from my diet. I also stopped drinking coffee or alcohol. This can be super challenging, but when I stick strictly to these guidelines I have more energy, I think more clearly, and I feel so much better.
All of that together allows me to nourish myself, so I can show up as my best self for my life and for my business!
BONUS: Please feel free to share anything else that is coming to the surface or that you’d like to share. It can be something fun, silly, informative. If the rest of these questions got the juices flowing, but you feel like you have something else to say - here’s the space to do it. :)
I really just want to urge you to follow your own journey! There isn’t one magical answer for everyone, no matter what we’ve been told growing up. As you’ve read, my journey has shifted radically over the past three years.
But at the end of the day, it matters if YOU’RE happy. If YOU’RE fulfilled and feel like you’ve attained success -- whatever it looks like for you!
If you follow your Why, and you don’t let yourself get sidetracked by the shoulds or the expectations of others, that’s where you’re going to find your best, most fulfilling and magical life.
Want to know more? Eager to connect with Indigo? Here's how:
Work with Indigo:
If you’re interested in the Business Clarity Experience, just fill out the application on this page!
I also offer ConvertKit migration services, which you can read about here.
Fun little extra:
If you are a part of Maggie’s tribe and you sign up for a Business Clarity Experience, I’ll give you an extra hour (to be used the month after our intensive session) coaching session on the house! This can be a great way to check in and see how your action plan is going :)