Can I be really honest with you for a moment?
2016 was a year of amazing growth for JuJu Creative Hub, but it was also a really hard year personally. You see, I deal with daily physical pain. It manifests in different ways, often a headache, sometimes a migraine and almost constant neck, leg, rib or back pain. Sounds like a bundle of fun, right?
I'm not sharing this with you so that we can start a pity party (although if there's popcorn and chocolate then maybe we should!), but rather to share with you one of my biggest learnings throughout this period. In order for my business to sustain me financially, I need to have systems in place that support me.
This period was also quite emotionally painful, I had difficult client relationships, I let people down on timelines and I fell so completely out of love with what I was doing I was very ready to give up on everything. All the while I kept kicking myself further for not being able to do the work, not being able to just put up and shut up - oh and the guilt of letting others down? Well that was a whole other kettle of fish!
Whilst the pain isn't as debilitating these days, it is still a daily occurrence that I need to be aware of and have contingency plans in place. This time taught me to identify the ways in which I love to work, develop my processes so that I can have members of my team take over if need be and build abundant systems that support me to do a heap of the heavy-lifting, leaving me to focus on doing the work I was meaning to do (and not getting lost in 1000 emails each morning!).
Implementing systems in your business is crucial if you want to ensure that your business will not only survive, but also thrive through that holiday or having a baby or an influx of dream clients knocking on your door.
Why 'abundant' systems
Well if you haven't guessed it already, building your systems can free up your time, allowing you to spend more time either working on your business, or doing things outside of the business that you love to do.
Creating systems and utilising technology can take care of literally 1000's of minor tasks that would likely take you anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple of hours to complete.
When you're in business for yourself, one of the biggest lessons you'll need to learn is that time is money. Every moment that you're wasting re-writing that email to a client enquiry (you know the one you've written 100 times individually for each client enquiry), or creating a new social media template is money that you're literally throwing away.
There's a management principle (which has been extended to a many number of other industries now) that you might be familiar with. It's called the '80/20 principle'. In case you're not familiar with it yet, it goes a little something like this:
80% of your results are a direct results of only 20% of your effort.
Which in a nutshell means that we're wasting approximately 80% of our time completing tasks that don't result in any change in our bank account. They don't get us any closer to achieving our goals and they barely make an impact.
The problem arises though, when we believe that many of these things need to be done. Here's where systems can help. Developing systems that you follow each time you do a certain task in your business take the guess work out of it, allowing you to complete the job faster (and dare I say better!). Developing systems allow you to share and delegate tasks to other team members, or outsource to a VA, sparing up your time to focus on the things that only you can do in your business. Developing systems allows you to assess what technology requirements you need to be able to automate the process, saving you $$$ on hiring an extra set of hands.
Suddenly, with the help of a few systems, your efforts are maximised and you'll begin to see amazing changes in your business. You'll have more time on your hands to dispose of with however you wish (I'm not gonna judge your netflix watching habits, I promise!) and more money because you'll be creating systems that allow you to work in a more efficient capacity. See, I told you, systems = abundance.
Types of systems you need
So, if you're a total newbie to creating systems within your business where do you begin?
Before you touch a single piece of technology, it's important that you're mapping out the way that you currently do things. This doesn't have to be overly complex, with spreadsheets and evernote files (just yet). Instead, simply have a notebook next to you when you next sit down at your desk and write a dot point for each thing you do. Writing a blog post? Great - what steps do you take to go from idea to promoting it on social media. Answering a client enquiry? Great, start writing a list of FAQ's so that you can either add this to your on-boarding series or get a VA to handle them in future.
Then, once you've outlined the steps you're taking, look at your list and see if it's possible to streamline any current workflows. Are all the steps really necessary? How can you make things easier for you and your clients?
Here are some systems you might want to start with looking at
- publishing blog posts
- sending out newsletters
- planning your social media
- client enquiries
- guest post pitches
- booking clients in discovery calls
- getting new clients setup
- invoicing and payments
Technology, Tools & Tips
Now that you've got 'all-the-things' mapped out, it's time to get systemising. Before you jump over to your favourite Facebook group and start advertising for a VA, it's important that you've streamlined as much as possible through the use of technology available to you.
It can seem like a bit of an investment paying $10 or $20 for some technology every month, but the reality is that this small investment is only a fraction of what it would cost you to add in a team member to your business
We've outlined some of the common technology requirements that we and our clients have been using to help streamline our business and build abundant systems below:
*programs we currently use for either our projects or with clients
Tip #1: Don't get overwhelmed in the technology
It's easy to believe that you have to figure it all out on your own, and I understand that it's often a case of thinking that there's not enough money to hire someone to do it for you. However, if you're feeling overwhelmed by all the moving parts that it will take to get your new system up and running, then your time is probably better spent elsewhere. Get a quote from a systems specialist or someone who specialises in setting up the particular system you're looking at implementing. A specialist is more likely to have it up and running faster - freeing up your time and energy to do the more important work.
Tip #2: Take it bit by bit
I know I got a bit overwhelmed when I first started mapping out my systems. OCD is actually probably a better description. As I started mapping things out I could see how little bits of the process could be improved upon. This often only hindered me from ever completing the setup of the system, because I'd get lost in making 'improvements' and never be able to launch the new system.
Take it little by little, start with where you're at now and as you're going through right yourself a wishlist of improvements you'd like to make. Maybe you can come back to this in some down-time of the business or hire someone to help you implement it at a later stage.
Please note: this page contains some affiliate links. We never suggest a product that we have not tried and loved. By introducing this to you, we may receive a small gift from the technology provider in return.