Do you ever feel like you’re stuck doing menial tasks that take up most of the day? Or maybe you let them build up and procrastinate on them. I feel your pain!
Unfortunately, all business owners have them.
You feel like your time is being consumed with small tasks that take up all your energy when you’d rather be focusing on growing your client base. So, how do you climb out of the crazy trap of losing your valuable time? Or, how do you avoid this roadblock entirely?
This is where workflows and systems come into place.
I get a lot of questions on why this is necessary if you’re in a place to hire out. The thing is, outsourcing only works if you have everything in order first.
What happens if you get an assistant before doing these things? You’ll end up in disappointment, missed marks, or micromanaging. You’ll wonder why you even hired someone in the first place because certain goals aren’t being met.
I’m here to tell you, a lot of those problems can be easily solved with a little bit of “business housekeeping”.
Where are you spending your time, and how are you spending your time each day?
One of the best exercises you can do for your business is to be intentional with investing your time. Do you find yourself endlessly surfing or online shopping when you’re trying to do research on an upcoming blog post?
Some of the best ways to stay focused on your tasks, especially when you’re online, is to avoid distractions.
I’m loving that software developers are also understanding this problem. On your iPhone, you can see how much time you’re spending each day and the category of the apps. On Instagram, they have notifications that will let you set up an amount of time before it pops up (I set mine at one hour).
There are some amazing free and paid programs that will keep track of how you spend your time online, block certain social media sites, and provide an analysis report on your time habits so you can see firsthand where your time is being spent. Keep researching, because they come out with new ones all the time.
Some programs to check out, include:
Next, have you set your office hours?
If not, you need to do this! And I don’t mean you necessarily have to follow it for yourself (but it would be great if you did). This is to set expectations for your clients and customers. You can remind them of your hours in your contracts, welcome packets, email signatures, and autoresponders.
If you’re working in the evening and catching up on emails, you can use the feature on Gmail or Boomerang to schedule your emails. That way your customers won’t think or get used to you working strange hours. I’ve definitely had some 2am catch-ups before and I’m so thankful for this!
Asana is honestly my lifesaving tool*. Here’s what I use it for:
I’ve used Trello in the past but I prefer the interface and features of Asana.
You can actually automate quite a lot with Dubsado, however, I don’t do it as much. The reason? The higher-end my clients got, the more customizations I had. And it’s so worth it to do that in order to give them quality service. I was able to increase prices because I realized my strategy was so in-depth, no type of automation would be worth it for that.
But here’s what I do use it for:
The emails are synced to your business email, and everything you can possibly send including the invoices are branded (my dream come true)! They pay right on the program which connects to Stripe and Paypal. You can even automate the reminders so you’re not stressing over payments. This is hands down one of the best investments I’ve made.
It’s the best I’ve found and they have a 3-client trial instead of a timed trial which is really nice!
One of the best investments you can make in your business is to hire a virtual assistant or outsource a project.
You can hire a VA to:
Make a list of tasks you don’t like to do but are essential to your business. This will help you narrow down what to hire out for.
If you’re nervous about hiring a VA, ask other biz friends who they recommend. Then, once you find someone you feel would be a good fit, do a trial period to make sure you’re good match for each other.
If someone were to come into your business, would they know how to take over a certain job? Could they easily manage your social media accounts or create amazing quality content for your regular customers as a “thank you.”
When you take the time to set up specific systems for your business, you’re allowing others to be trained for certain areas in your company.
The more you educate your hires, the more they’ll be able to step up and take on the responsibility you shouldn’t have to worry about in the moment. You can easily set up these systems by creating a training manual for each position in your company.
Ah, the dreaded social media. One of the most difficult things to nail down and be consistent with. Well, here’s my secret (though I don’t always do it perfectly.)
There are certain social media tools that will help you automate your business depending on what social media platform you want to grow. This is what I currently use because I’m only focused on Instagram and Pinterest:
You want to engage and keep your readers happy. One of the ways to do this is by growing and automating your email list.
The first thing you want to do is decide on an email service provider such as Flodesk or Mailerlite. I use both for two of my businesses. Flodesk is gorgeous and simple to use. Mailerlite is comparable to Convertkit, if you need more settings for segmentation and advanced campaigns.
I highly recommend you start your list ASAP if you’re looking to scale your business.
If you’re looking to boost productivity and remove distractions, then it’s not always the best idea to play your vacation playlist on repeat. Music that tugs at the heartstrings and causes a flood of emotions is great–but not for work. Lofi music has been known to help you when you want to get into a deep concentration mode.
Two places I go for lofi music: Spotify playlists (search for focus, concentration and lofi music) or if you want a dedicated one, try Brain.fm.
Phew! And that’s what I have for setting up systems for your business. It will take some time to set up, but it will be so worth it in the end! Let me know if I missed anything.
* I have affiliate links in this post. It won’t cost you extra!
Do you have your website on Showit? Get this free template to add a beautiful lead magnet page on your site and start growing your email list today.
What's your ideal work method as a creative entrepreneur?