For Step 8 we’re going to dive deep into the systems in your business that will hopefully help you to streamline, stay organised, and ultimately preserve your sanity along the way.
The systems you already have
Let’s first explore the systems you already have. Ask yourself:
- What are the systems I’ve put in place in my business?
- Are they working? Could they be improved?
- Are any common issues coming up with them that I can troubleshoot?
A great thing to do here is just to audit your current systems - getting a clear picture of what’s going on behind the scenes can help you to see what’s working, what’s not, and what needs a quick tweak so it can start working again soon.
The systems you don’t know you need yet
Now to explore the systems you don’t know you need yet. Maybe it’s a better email system, or updating your client on-boarding, or where you host your digital products, or maybe a new client management tool or project management system. First step is to outline:
- The areas in your business that are causing you frustration right now
- The systems you’ve been curious about implementing but haven’t had the time to do quite yet
- The areas in your business that are taking up your time and need taking care of but are not aligned with your core goals and intentions for this season of your creative life
What you’ll hopefully be able to discover here is a clear picture of what systems you’d like to explore and implement soon so you can then get back to doing the work you’re aching to do.
Research, research, research
Next step is to build a plan of action for how you’re going to put these systems in place. You may want to:
- Research different tools, systems, and processes others in your industry are using
- Invest in a VA or business systems strategist
- Carve our time in your schedule so you can actually have time to implement everything
- Have a list in order of priorities for the systems you want to focus on implementing first - honouring your time and resources may mean you can’t do everything at once
Once you’ve hopefully started to outline how you’re going to put these systems in place, what tools you’re going to use or what support you’re going to invest in, you can then have a clear timeline and plan of action for how you’re going to implement it along the way.
Setting clear boundaries in your business
The one system we all need but can struggle to put in place is clear boundaries as a business owner. We’ve touched on this a little already earlier in the course, but for this step ask yourself:
- What boundaries keep being pushed in your business that are causing you to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and frustrated throughout your workweek?
- Do you need to re-educate people on your boundaries and policies, or do you need to have clear boundaries and policies in place in the first place?
If you need to start from scratch and implement some clear boundaries and policies as a business owner, start to explore:
- What client and customer policies, boundaries, and “house rules” would you like to put in place? Think about emails, cancellations and late arrival to meetings, late invoices, refunds, contracts, etc.
- How can you put this in place in a way that is professional, respectful, and clear?
So much of the time, we can be afraid to put boundaries in place in fear of our clients, customers, or collaborators being offended but in reality, if we communicate our boundaries in a clear and respectful way, they will then be able to feel comfortable with them too.
Lessons I’ve learned along the way so far
Before we wrap up Part 8 I just want to quickly share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way so far when it comes to putting systems in place in my business.
Keep it simple
You don’t want to overwhelm yourself, your clients, customers, or team members with your systems. I always ask myself - if there was an emergency and someone had to take over my business and communicate with my clients what was going on and what the process would be, would it be easy enough for me to explain it to them?
Keeping things as simple and streamlined as possible is how we don’t let our systems - which are here to help save our sanity - become a stressor all on their own.
Honour your core values in your systems
There is so much advice out there when it comes to putting systems in place as a business owner. My biggest advice is to build systems that are rooted in your core values. For example, there may be a system you could put in place to manage your client and customer communications, but it may not reflect your core values when it comes to the ways you want to show up for your clients and customers along the way.
If we build our systems from a place of alignment with our business vision and values, they will truly be able to enable us to develop a joyful, productive, and impactful daily grind in our business.
Not everything needs a system
Another way we can overwhelm ourselves when it comes to systems is thinking that every single area in our business needs a system. The truth is, we can have as many or as little systems as we’d like. My encouragement to you would be to only put in place systems that will truly enable you to work intuitively along the way - don’t worry about the systems you’re told you need if they don’t actually serve your workflow or business.
It’s okay for your systems to be a work in progress
Everything we do as business owners is always a work in progress, and our systems are no different. It’s okay if it takes time to put them in place, to find out the one’s that work best for you, and to find your feet with a new tool or program along the way. It’s also okay if things change over the years, or you experiment with something and it doesn’t work out. As long as everything you do is rooted in your core goals, vision, and intentions for your creative work and life, you can’t really go too far wrong.
Next up we’re going to explore the things that can get in the way when we’re cultivating an impactful, productive, and joyful daily grind...