5 lessons I’ve learned as a Notion Consultant

Notion is tool that has taken the tech world by storm and has a growing large cult fanbase. Notion Consultants’ are increasingly becoming the new trendy ‘product as a service’ role. Just search on sites like Fiverr, Twitter or LinkedIn and you’ll immediately get some hits.

What is a ‘Notion Consultant’ and what do they do?

Notion Consultants have mastered Notion and are SMEs teaching other people how to leverage its practically endless possibilities. A few, like myself, also take the step to become Certified Notion Consultants. They span across all types of industries and will typically help people/companies upskill in Notion, going as far to build templates and systems for them.

My name is Frances Odera Matthews and I’m a Certified Notion Consultant/Coach, template builder and official Notion Ambassador based in the UK. I’m the Founder of The Notion Bar, where I help people, influencers and teams level-up with Notion through my services.

I’m a seasoned design-thinker, with experience in event/project management, operations, creative agencies, e-commerce and lifestyle brands. Within a year of launching The Notion Bar, I’ve become a Notion ‘thought leader’ (although, I kind of hate that word) building a large following on Twitter.

I have a unique style, committed to aesthetics, usability and infusion of pop-culture into products/systems you’ll be proud to share with your colleagues, clients and fans.

During this past year, navigating this ‘new’ space has definitely taught me a lot of lessons worth sharing, whether you’re generally interested in Notion or earning money from Notion yourself. Read this article to hear more about my experiences — if you’d like to work with me, you can book a coaching call with me here, or email me hi@thenotionbar.com for general enquiries.

Lesson #1

What can Notion be used for?

There are many use cases for Notion. One of the most common questions I get as a Notion Consultant/Coach is ‘can I use Notion for ____?’. The answer is probably.

The beauty of Notion is it lets you build no-code custom software/templates around your process/information, instead of forcing them into a pre-built software system. Think ‘tech Lego’. I personally create a wide range of aesthetic/functional Notion templates, which have 3.5k + downloads and can be viewed here.

A selection of Notion templates available in my template gallery
  • Notion for Business: Create internal company dashboards, client portals, bespoke project management systems, wikis or even just a cool way to present/share information. Notion is collaborative, a great way to boost transparency and cut down on meeting times.
  • Notion for Personal Use/Fun: *Notion is not just a productivity tool*. Notion is an increasingly popular tool to journal, make grocery shopping easier or even create dream travel bucket lists. Most recently, my favourite use case is creating aesthetic ‘digital merch’, which you can see in the ‘Visual Albums’ I’ve made for Beyonce and Frank Ocean.
  • Notion for Students: Notion has become a hit with students to manage their course loads. If you search the #studytwt and #notiontwt hashtags on Twitter, you’ll see it filled with student dashboards. I have certainly seen my Simple Lectures & Class Notes and Aesthetic Student Planner templates consistently be some of my most popular templates.

Lesson #2

There is room for more diversity

Tech is powerful and I’m incredibly passionate about promoting tools, like Notion, to underserved and non-traditional tech audiences so they don’t get left behind.

I chose to build The Notion Bar as a public platform and not just simmer away on Fiverr, as I noticed a need for voices and faces like mine. When I started my Notion journey, I stumbled across the Notion community and was amazed that there was even a cult-like following around something I had just been using for work.

However, at the same time, I felt out of place, as the faces I was seeing were typical of most tech audiences — white, male, middle-to-upper class or all-of-the-above. You can hear more about my journey below:

Interview with Marie Poulin on Notion’s official YouTube channel

As my platform has grown, the most rewarding thing has been seeing people from non-traditional tech audiences, especially people of colour, DM me about how I’ve inspired them to use Notion more and even start making money from Notion by producing templates and/or consulting.

I wrote an article on how our lived experiences are our superpower, especially in tech where a lack of diversity breeds a vicious cycle of badly thought-out products. So I actively encourage anyone reading this, from a ‘non-traditional’ tech audience, who is interested in becoming a Notion consultant, to take the leap and do it! If you want specific advice on how to get into Notion coaching/consulting, you can book a session with me here.

Lesson #3

Agencies/small teams are basically all the same

I’ve worked in enough creative agency/small team roles to know that everyone has the same fundamental questions to get through the day:

  • What are we working on?
  • Who’s working on it?
  • What’s the information we need to get the job done?
A diagram showing the flow of information in my ‘Notion engine’

As a Notion Consultant, I’ve realised that every business client I’ve worked with needs a way to manage the above, in addition to any other internally specific documentation/processes they have.

I’ve ended up creating a robust ‘Notion businesses engine’ template that I customise for each business I work with, which handles the flow of information for clients > projects > meetings > tasks > resources & any specific needs/extra information they have. Feel free to shoot me an email hi@thenotionbar.com if you’re interested in hearing more!

Honestly, life is too short to be confused — Notion gives you the ability to create dashboards to see all your important information at once. Investing the time to create contextual dashboards/templated workflows in Notion effectively saves you time + stress so you can spend more time doing work and the things you love and less time in admin/meetings.

Lesson #4

Keep it simple

An increasingly popular part of my Notion Consultant work is undoing overengineered workspaces.

I’ve found that people will build or buy over engineered systems filled with things they personally might not have time to track. Templates are great, however, if you do buy a Notion template — a good first step is to go through it and hide things you might not need or create views which are more useful to you.

When building a Notion system, keep these things in mind:

  • Does it need to be a database, or can it just be a list?
  • Try and get to your goal in the least amount of clicks as possible — create navigation links to help with this
  • Always make tables inline, so you can make dashboards from these pages later
  • Hide bulky/intimidating information in toggles
  • Have a ‘dashboard page’, containing all your other pages, it will make things easier to find, especially if you’re working with a team

Lesson #5

It’s so much fun!

Becoming part of the Notion community has become such an unexpectedly wholesome part of my life. Before I became a Certified Notion Consultant, I was a Notion Ambassador , which exposed me to people from all over this floating rock, who I now consider to be great friends.

My Memoji for Twitter — @thenotionbar

Outside of the ambassador community, there are tons of Notion communities , which you can find here, to get involved with. I’m personally a huge fan of getting involved with Twitter conversations, however, it’s up to you to choose find the community and niche you identify with most and run with it.

The only limit to Notion is your imagination. It doesn’t have to be a ‘productivity’ tool. I’ve even built a lifestyle zine, The Notionette, with women from around the world, based on my original Notion-Zine template.

After using Notion for a few years, I’m a year into my official ‘consulting journey’. The list above is just a handful of the things I’ve learned and I’m learning even more each day. What keeps me going is seeing the positive impact I’m creating and my Testimonial wall grow.

If you’re interested in working with me, you can book a coaching call with me here, or email me hi@thenotionbar.com for general enquiries. You can also explore my website and templates, sign up for updates, or follow along on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn & YouTube.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you found this insightful, feel free to Buy Me A Coffee here— see you around The Notion Bar!