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Systems make everything better!

As a solopreneur or entrepreneur with a small team, having systems in your business will help keep everything running smoothly, make your customers and clients happy, and save you tons of time!

Tune in to learn how our experts use systems in their businesses!

This season’s experts:

Megan Minns

Megan is a Life and Business Coach that specializes in helping online course creators, coaches, and service providers build a scalable, sustainable, and enjoyable business… without sacrificing their personal life!
She does this through her coaching program, Empowered CEO™, and her weekly live show, The Productive Life.
Megan has a Master’s Degree in Organizational and Human Resource Development, corporate Human Resources and Recruiting experience, and has been helping online business owners streamline and systemize their businesses since 2015.

Visit Megan: Website | Empowered CEO |Facebook Group


Quinn Tempest

Quinn Tempest is a business strategist and coach who helps females founders create more purpose + profit in their business *without* burning out. She’s the founder of Create Your Purpose®, a community of global entrepreneurs dedicated to building impactful businesses with intention. Her professional expertise is in branding and holistic digital marketing strategy and she is a frequent speaker at events and organizations around the country.

Visit Quinn: Website | Instagram


Alisha Robertson

Alisha Robertson is an author, business coach and the founder of Living Over Existing; a podcast, newsletter and community for women entrepreneurs who want to run a successful business without sacrificing the life she desires.

After experiencing severe burnout, Alisha tore down everything she thought she knew about becoming a successful entrepreneur and decided to build a brand that helped women to focus on building their business and life with intention. Through her work, Alisha strives to not only help women entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale their brands but also help them to prioritize themselves in the process.

Visit Alisha: Website | LOE Collective | LOE Instagram 


Jordan Gil

Jordan Gill, operations consultant and founder of Systems Saved Me, helps overworked one-woman shows become streamlined solopreneurs. Her jam is creating a cohesive operating system for managing your tasks, files and inbox. She’s been on podcasts like What Works and CEO Vibes sharing her love of replacing monthly retainers with one day virtual intensives. She currently lives in Dallas TX with her cavapoo Vivienne and collection of 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles.

Visit Jordan: Website | Instagram | Facebook


Katelyn Hamilton

Katelyn began her career in marketing and public relations in Nashville, Tennessee. After working in the agency world for six years, she decided to pursue the entrepreneurship route to create more freedom and flexibility in her life. Now, Katelyn works as an Online Business Manager where she helps entrepreneurs organize, strategize and prioritize the backend of their business to go from overwhelmed to out-in-front. A Georgia grad, she bleeds red and black and is a diehard Georgia football fan, dog mom and outdoor enthusiast.

Visit Katelyn: Website | Instagram


Erin Flynn

Erin Flynn helps creative entrepreneurs design profitable and sustainable businesses that are simple and streamlined so that they can work less and live more. She’s the founder of Successfully Simple™ and is on a mission to help other creatives slash their work hours, earn more, and enjoy their lives.

Visit Erin: Website | Instagram | Shortcut


Transcript:

Erin Flynn:

Hey there, it’s Erin. And today’s question is one that I am super geeky about. It is how have you used systems in your business and what difference have they made? Let’s find out from our experts.

Megan Minns:

This is Megan from meganminns.com. And I help online business owners learn how to run their online business in a totally different way, so that they can actually enjoy their life on a day-to-day basis. And when it comes to using systems in your business, they are absolute game changers. If you are the type of person who’s currently running your business, with pen and paper, and sticky notes, and paper to do lists only, I understand why you’re starting there, but I really want to encourage you to leverage technology and software, to set your business up for success in the long run. Because the reality is that, if you are growing a successful business, which I know is what you are currently doing, or working towards, you are going to want to hire a team one day. Even if you just start out with a virtual assistant helping you for a couple of hours a week.

And the reality is that you can’t run an online remote business through pen and paper. It’s just not scalable. It’s not sustainable and it’s not realistic. By building all of these habits right now that you have by not leveraging systems, you’re really putting yourself at a disadvantage for the future. I’d love to see you start using software and systems to help you be organized, keep track of what you’re working on, so that you can eventually delegate much easier, work remotely with others, and have a lot more flexibility. Because the reality is that, you may need to work out of the house sometime, or away from where you currently do. And if everything is in paper format, that’s a lot more difficult to travel with. That is difficult to access, you might leave it somewhere. So having everything online, digitally and electronically, is a game changer. And it will help you be a better business owner in the long run.

Some of the systems I recommend, I will name names shortly. But in general, every business should, at the very least have a project management system, they should have a place to store their files electronically, and they should have a way to communicate with team members, at some point. Now, even if you’re currently a solopreneur, the first two are still critical. You should still have a project management system, and you should still have a place to put your files. You could potentially wait to do something like Slack, or any type of online chat system, until later if you wanted to. And that would be totally fine to wait to do, but you should still have a project management system, and a place to put your files.

Now, there are tons of options out there. Even within files, some popular ones are Google Drive and Dropbox. My favorite is Google Drive, but you can absolutely make this work with whatever systems you want. And then, when it comes to your project management system, you will find everyone has such strong opinions on this. There’s Trello, there’s Asana, there’s ClickUp, there’s Notion, they are all incredible tools that are becoming more and more like each other over time. I don’t want you to even worry about having the right tool or not, any tool is a better place than no tool. My personal favorite is ClickUp. Especially as your business grows, I think ClickUp is so flexible and versatile, so I would definitely recommend that. Or Asana, they’re my two favorite, but you get to choose. Either way, what I want you to do is commit to using these systems.

Whether you’re using Asana, Trello, ClickUp, whatever, I want you to go ahead and sign up for that free account, create it, and start building out your tasks and your projects there, so that you can start getting organized, planning out your day, planning your week, knowing exactly what you’re going to work on. And when you sit down at your desk, and start organizing your files, digitally, and keeping them in a place that you will actually be able to save them, and reference them later. I would love for you to start with those two things so that you can feel calm, organized, confident, and have peace of mind as a business owner. I would love it to connect with you over on Instagram. And my handle is @megan_minns. And if you need any help with getting your business systemized or organized, just send us a DM, and we would love to help you.

Quinn Tempest:

Hey everybody, it is Quinn Tempest. Color lover, purpose creator, magic maker, that is me. And the question today is, how have I used systems in my business? And what difference have they made? Oh my gosh, they’ve made all the difference. Are you kidding me? I wish I had systems sooner in my business, and honestly, even in my life. I was first introduced to systems, we actually called it processes, and I was working with a client, they brought in this outside consultant. And what they made us do was write out every single step of every process. I was director of marketing, so I was in charge of that department. And so we wrote out every single step, and then we had to create assets, we had to talk with other departments to see how our systems overlapped with theirs, and it was so eye-opening, it was also so daunting by the way, to see all of this on big pieces of poster paper, all along a hallway. But it was so eye-opening to see just how many things we were doing, and just how inefficient we were, in a sense.

And so it was eye-opening because we could then look at everything objectively, once we got it out of our heads, got it out of our computers, and say, “How can we streamline things?” And so a few years ago, as I went back into business for myself full time, I applied the same process of creating processes to my web design business, at the time. I documented every single step, I created stages from discovery, to branding, to content, and on and on. And then I created asset. Anything that would compliment like a welcome packet, or even I created scripts, because I found that I was saying the same thing over and over to my clients. And I was like, “Why don’t I just write this once, copy and paste it, and personalize it from there?” And what ended up happening was, all my clients or the happiest they’ve ever been.

And you know what? So was I. I was less stressed, I delivered much more effective and beautiful projects, and I ended up creating relationships that lasted for a long time, with these clients because they trusted me, and I trusted in my process. I was able to make more money, I was able to save more time. And with those two things, I was able to start pivoting and shifting my business towards a model that was more centered around speaking, and teaching, and creating a membership community, instead of just being 100% service-based. If you’re sitting here saying, “Oh my gosh, this sounds like so much work,” let me tell you it is. It’s a lot of work to create processes and systems, but the upfront work is worth it. Because once you actually start approaching your business, and honestly your entire life, because it will stem out through everything that you do, which my husband’s been very happy about because our place is much cleaner because I have a system for tidying, but I digress.

But if you put that up front work in, you will see the benefits really quickly. You just have to sit down, force yourself to get all of your steps of anything that you do, which honestly, everyone has a process that they followed, they’ve just never written it down. So think about something you do all the time, and think about how you can document the steps so that you don’t have to waste so much mental energy the next time you approach a project, the next time you approach cleaning your house. Anything can have a process and a system. And what systems do is it frees your time, your energy up, so that you can be creative. So many people think it’s giving you a box, that you have to stick yourself into a little box, but I found there’s freedom within constraints.

There’s freedom within a box. That’s where you get creative, that’s where you have time to breathe, that’s where you have time to think outside the box almost, but you got to be in a box, first and foremost. Don’t waste your time. Sit down, document your systems, your processes, wherever they are in your business and your life, and try it out. And start small. Don’t do a big, big, big process. Do a small one, build your confidence, build that strength inside yourself to follow steps, and to free up your creativity. Systems has changed my business and my entire life, and I know it will for you too. If you’re interested in exploring any more resources about systems, or processes, I definitely have blogs about that, specifically how to do it, step by step. Feel free to come over Quinqtempest.com. Go to the blog and you’ll find it there. Also send me a message too. I’d love to hear how this landed with you, and if it was helpful.

Alisha Robertson:

It’s Alisha Robertson, founder of livingoverexisting.com. The systems that I have implemented into my business over the past few years have literally been life-changing. I was someone, when I first started out coaching, that was really scrappy, meaning I was really cheap, and really did not want to invest anything, any money, into my business, until I absolutely felt like it was necessary. And because of that, I noticed that I was doing everything manually. Whenever a client wanted to book a call with me, I was manually setting up that call, or whenever I needed to email them a reminder of that call, I was doing that manually. I was doing my contracts manually, I was sending out invoices manually. And it just became so incredibly time consuming that I started to almost resent the work that I was doing, because it took so much time.

I knew that if I wanted to keep coaching, and I wanted to keep doing this thing that I love doing, that at some point, I needed some help. And at the time I did kind of consider getting a VA, but I also wanted to see how I could, of course, get these systems set up in my business first. So that when it was time for me to hire someone, I could easily have a process and have the systems set in place, so that I could easily just hand that over to someone else. One of the things that ended up doing was started using Acuity Scheduling, and I was able to send all of my invoices automatically, any call reminders, clients were able to schedule their calls on their own. And it really left me so much more free time, that I then was able to use to rest, when I needed to. It definitely shortened my to-do list by a ton.

And I was able to have more energy, and just more excitement for the client work that I was doing. So I was able to pour into my clients a lot more than what I was able to do before, because I was just so fried trying to do everything on my own. My biggest takeaway for you is to think about all the things that you are currently doing manually in your business, whether it be sending out invoices, sending out reminder emails, scheduling social media. Write a list of all those things that you may be doing, in your business, that is just taking up way too much time. And then I want you to do some researching and think about the different systems that you can implement into your business to free up some time. If you are struggling with always manually putting out social media posts, think about investing in a tool like Buffer.

Or if you are working with client work, and all of the extras of managing one client, if it’s taking you forever, think about investing in something like Acuity Scheduling, or Dubsado, a tool that will help you to put these systems in place to where things are automated. And you’re not spending so much time in your inbox, you’re not spending so much time on the backend, sending out invoices or doing check-ins, and things like that. Find those different systems that are there, that can help you to make your life and your business, run so much smoother. I promise it will be worth it. Even if it does cost you a little bit, the big quote says, “It costs money to make money.” And if it’s going to help you to free up more time to make more money, than it is absolutely worth it to have those systems in place in your business. All right, you guys, if you would like to connect with me again, I’m Alisha Robertson. You can find me over at @thealishanicole on Instagram and at livingoverexisting.com.

Jordan Gill:

Hi, this is Jordan from Systems Saved Me. And let me tell you, as somebody whose business name is Systems Saved Me, clearly, we use systems in our business. And I’m going to try to keep this within the timeframe because it could get real lengthy. For me, the biggest systems that we have in our business have to do with client management, for our group coaching program, and then our content systems as well. We have a podcast that comes out twice a week, and then we have a weekly video that comes out on Instagram TV. And so that’s a lot of content. That’s three pieces of content, new content, that we’re creating every single week. And for our content systems, we focus on batching. Every quarter, I have three days that I’ve recorded all of the podcast recordings. And then for the videos, I do one full day of video recording that lasts us six months.

And so literally, I have basically what is that? Six days, every six months. 12 days a year plus two more days for videos. And so that’s 14 days a year that I even produce videos and podcasts episodes, which makes it a lot easier for me to concentrate and focus during those times, instead of having to feel like I’m playing catch up all the time. And it’s really made a huge, huge difference in how I show up in my content. And then the second one is, client management processes, which are probably my favorite because we’re able to create a lot of automations with Zapier and Dubsado. And we use Circle for our membership, for our course, or a program.

And so from there, we really are able to create an experience that’s the same for every single person that joins our program, which is great. Again, those are the two big systems and the difference is immense, because then myself and my team get to do the things that we really enjoy versus all of those little admin tasks that just drive us all crazy. If you totally want to go down the systems rabbit hole, you can go to systemssavedme.com, or find me on Instagram @systemssavedme.

Katelyn Hamilton:

Hey there, this is Katelyn Hamilton here. And I’m an online business manager, where I help you get organized and create efficiencies in your business. Truly, I cannot say enough about the power of systems. I always say, systems are what scale your business. Being an online business manager, systems are really at the core, functionally, of what I recommend and stress to my clients, in terms of getting them set up. Really anything that you do repeatedly, you should have a process outlined for. Anything that your business does consistently, which again, you should really kind of have a way to make that repeatable, so that you can potentially outsource that to other people as well. That’s a huge thing. When I think of systems, I think of not just a process or a way to do something, but it also think about the tools that can help you and support you in automating some of those things for you.

For example, we can talk about maybe an onboarding process. An onboarding process may include everything, or at least I consider it to include everything from the initial call, discovery call that you have with the client, or the lead form that you have on your website, all the way through to them onboarding with you, as a client. So what does that look like? How does that function? Is there a lot of back and forth that you can eliminate through creating or using an online platform to do so? For example, you could create a calendar link to have on your website. I highly recommend Acuity, that’s one of my favorites. And then somebody can fill out that form. You can set up a form to pre-qualify people by asking whatever questions you want, before you get on the phone with them. They can fill that out and schedule a call directly on your calendar.

And then from there, you can do the call, and say they want to work with you on a one-on-one basis, or project basis, or whatever, then I highly recommend moving them to Dubsado. Dubsado is really a great CRM tool. And I input that new client in there as a project, and you can have set workflows for your different service offerings. That can send them a contract, that can then trigger, say, once the contract is signed, to send them an invoice. Once the invoice is paid, you can send them an email with a link to book, say, a strategy call, or whatever it is that you offer. You can send them forms through there. It’s just a great platform to be able to communicate with your clients, and set up those automations, so that you don’t have to go back and forth with them to find something that’s going to work for them.

This saves you so much time. It also saves you the possibility of losing a lead, since it’s so easy to just convert them. And the system is doing a ton of work for you. That’s one I always recommend people start on if they haven’t been able to automate that. But for me, I’m really looking at those systems in your business, that you can automate, that are consistent, or you can outsource. Really oftentimes, that comes down to doing an audit. I highly recommend you do an audit of some of those things in your business, and write down the steps that it takes you to do those things. And then look and see if there’s a tool that will support that. Or if you could outsource that, to say a virtual assistant, or an online business manager, or somebody else that can take that off your plate, because you want to be focused on doing the things that only you can do.

And there’s so many great tools, people, resources, out there, that can kind of take that burden off of you to give you more time back in your business. This will tenfold increase your revenue and the time that you have in your business. I highly suggest you do that audit first, and then you can kind of go from there, and next steps. I talk about this a lot on my Instagram account, in my content, on my stories. You can find me on Instagram @katelynehamilton. Or my website, if you want to learn more, at www.katelynehamilton.com.

Erin Flynn:

Hey there, it’s Erin, I’m back. And as a systems geek, someone who is naturally organized, I love organizing projects and my business, so that everything runs smoothly. Back when I only did web design, I invented something called an intro packet, which now you may have seen other places. As far as I know, I’m the first person to ever make one. And that was to systematize the introduction to my clients. That was kind of my first step in coming up with systems. I was getting inquiries from potential clients, and I was tired of saying the same thing over, and over, and over, and explaining things. Or failing to explain things, and my clients would then have so many questions that would come up during the project, that I just figured if I made a document, and I sent it to anybody who was interested, it would save me a lot of time. And it would weed out people who were going to be a bad fit for me to work with.

I created an intro packet, I think, way back in 2013-ish. And that helped streamline my business a ton. And so from there, I started making other things like welcome packets and goodbye packets, and systematizing the way that I provided my web design services. Since then, I have tried to basically, systematize every single thing that I can in my business, because I learned pretty early on, that systems could save a lot, a lot, of time. And cut down on back and forth communication, and confusion with my clients. From there, I also created a couple other things, like Say What, which are email templates. So that I could have canned email responses for when clients would ask questions, frequently asked questions, or when I would send an invoice, or things like that. And so now, today in my business, although I still do web design, I don’t do it as much as I used to.

I now systematize my more product-based business, Successfully Simple, where I have courses and things like that. And so all of those things have also been systematized, and I have canned emails for responding to frequently asked questions. And all of that cuts my work hours drastically, when everything is compiled in a neat way so that I can tell potential clients, or students, what to expect and when to expect it. It cuts down on a lot of questions. Everybody knows what’s going to happen, and when it’s going to happen. And I don’t spend nearly as much time in my inbox. In fact, I spend very little time answering questions now because I’ve done the legwork to systematize everything, and have it all laid out in advance. And so also with systems, everything runs really smoothly. Everything has kind of a template.

Every project that I do, every course that I create, all follows a map so that I make sure that everything is done in the right order, at the right time, and nothing gets lost. Again, this saves me a ton of time. It took time initially to set it up, but now I’m able to create content really quickly, I’m able to create courses really quickly. I’m able to knock out projects much faster than I would be able to if I didn’t have systems. And you can apply systems to anything in your business, whether it’s answering your emails, creating courses, doing one-on-one projects. All you have to do is sit down, take the time, and map out all of the steps for your offering. And include what you need to be doing as well as what your client, or student, or customer, needs to be doing at each step, and then create as many templates as you can for that process, so that you’re not inventing emails every single time, so that you’re not coming up with a new content, on the fly.

And you can use this for things like writing blog posts, scheduling your social media, basically, anything in your business. Just take the time to sit down and map out all of those steps. And if you would like help with your systems for a service-based business, I have help for you, or I will have help for you, very, very soon. Head to successfullysimple.com/systems, to join the wait list for my new program, that will help you get all of your systems in place for delivering your services.

About Erin Flynn

Erin Flynn is the founder of Successfully Simple™, a hub for creative entrepreneurs who want to work less and live more. Erin’s mission is to help female creative entrepreneurs ditch the busywork and redesign their businesses around what success means to them. Find her on Instagram @SuccessfullySimple