The thing I hear most often from people who are running their own business or blog?
It takes so loooooooong.
And I don’t disagree. It’s incredible how much work goes into something as “simple” as a blog post and how complex something like an e-course launch can really be. Not to mention, the daily tasks you have to do to keep everything afloat? It can get overwhelming.
Luckily, if you’re saying, “I don’t have enough time for this!” Then there’s probably a simple solution: implement systems.
That sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Like something a CEO would talk about in a corporate boardroom (in a British accent). “Constituents, we need to systemize our systems to save time so we can create more systems, systematically.” Everyone would nod in serious approval while secretly eyeing the last mini sandwich.
Or something like that.
But systems aren’t just for corporate boardrooms and overpaid CEOs. They’re for you, too, my friend, especially if you’re an online entrepreneur, small business owner, or blogger. Systems often help you do one or more of the following things:
- Save time and scale.
I mean, that sounds pretty sweet, no? In this blog post, I’m going to tell you about the systems you should use to save time, make more money, and get more done. I’ll also share a simple, step-by-step framework to help you find and implement potential systems in your own biz. Ready to have more freedom AND scale your business? Let’s do this.
Before we begin, I recommend downloading my Simple Systems workbook. It’s three pages of strategic questions that will help you identify and implement some time-saving systems in your business. Plus, it’s free.
Now, let’s cover the basics of systems that I touched on earlier. Systems should help you do one or more of the following:
I am almost certain that there are things you’re doing manually within your business that you could totally be automating. If you are, then I invite you to join me in the 21st century. 😉
Heh, but really there are TONS of things that can be automated to help you both save time and improve your business. For example, you used to have to pin all of your Pinterest pins in real time, which meant you’d need to spend hours per week pinning in order to really gain traction. Now, you can use something like BoardBooster and spend only minutes. BOOM! Automated growth.
For almost every task you do, there’s probably a way to automate it. And if there isn’t? Then you could always do the following…
Outsourcing is when you hire someone to do a task for you. I recently took a productivity course called The 90 Day Year and one lesson from the course that hit me hard was this: how many $10 tasks are you doing in your business? What about $100 tasks? $1,000 tasks? Because if you focus all of your energy on the inexpensive things that could easily be outsourced to someone else, then you’re stunting the growth of your business.
Now, if you’re just starting out, you may be saying, “but I don’t have money to hire someone.” I’d argue that you probably do, you just don’t want to spend it on something that doesn’t have a guaranteed payout. But consider that if you spend all your time on tasks you could outsource (like responding to 47 emails per day), then it could take you a lot longer to implement the tasks that could bring you the biggest payoff. Ya feel me?
So, if you have the money to invest in outsourcing some of your tasks, it could bring huge rewards for the growth of your biz (and your own personal sanity). 😉
3. Save Time + Scale
At the end of the day, creating systems is just a fancy way of saying “save time and scale your business.” Because if your business can run without YOU having to run everything yourself, then that’s where big gains in growth occur. Na mean?
One big thing you can systemize, that doesn’t include automation or outsourcing, is “batching.” Batching essentially means that you do similar tasks at the same time, and often at the same times each week. For example, on Mondays you write all of your blog posts. On Tuesdays you prepare and schedule all of your social media promotions. On Wednesdays you write all of your email newsletters. You get the idea. Research actually shows that the more you switch between different activities, the less you actually get done.
How do you spend most of your time? Is it 30 minutes on a blog post, followed by 20 minutes writing emails, then 60 more minutes back to your blog post, then 10 minutes scrolling Facebook, and so on? If so, then you could be losing a ton of time in your schedule. Try batching your like-tasks together into a systemized monthly schedule and watch as you get more done in less time.
So what are some systems you can start implementing?
I’m going to give you a few specific examples. Not all of them will apply to you, but even if they’re not directly applicable to your business, I do think they’ll spark a new way of thinking and give you some ideas that, with simple tweaks, could be very valuable for your business. Here are a few things you could be systemizing:
1. Client Communication
My business has been growing quickly lately, which means I’ve been reaching out to countless freelancers to help me with different tasks. The thing that has blown my mind? Only ONE (out of like 15 people) had an automated way to follow up with me if I didn’t respond or schedule an initial meeting. So, if I took a week to respond to someone’s first email or never followed through in scheduling a discovery call, then the relationship would have just ended there.
If you’re running a service-based business, then the pressure should never be on your potential client to keep the conversation going. If you do, you’re losing out on a LOT of business because your potential clients are likely emailing a lot of people to learn about their process and rates. It’s easy that some of those people will slip through the cracks, especially if they don’t follow up.
The one person who did have an automated follow-up sequence? Totally different. After 48 hours of me not scheduling a discovery call (because I was out of town and not checking email), I received an automated (though warm and personal) message from her reminding me to schedule my call and briefly letting me know why her services could be such a huge help to me. Without that email, it could have taken me another week to respond, or I could have forgotten altogether. This type of process is something you can eeeeasily set up with your email service provider.
But systemized client communication doesn’t end in the beginning stages of acquiring new clients. There are project management programs like Basecamp and Asana that allow you to create an easy-to-follow workflow with your clients so that they are always informed on what’s due, when they’ll receive it, and what you need from them. Project management software is also a killer way to reduce the number of emails you receive from clients, which saves time, too.
2. Blog Post Tasks
In my opinion, writing blog posts is an essential part of any business (and can also be super freakin’ fun). 😀 But if you have a blog of your own, you probably understand that it can take a loooooot of work just to finish one post. In fact, I have a blog post that’s called 17 Things to Do Before and After You Publish a Blog Post, which should give you a good idea of how long it can take just to get out one post. Ouch. But luckily, many blog post tasks can be outsourced. For example:
- Editing the post after you’ve written it to make it easier to read (and to fix any spelling or grammatical errors).
- Creating Pinterest-friendly images for your post.
- Creating content upgrades for your post.
- Sharing the post on social media.
Are you currently doing all of those things for your posts? It probably adds at least a couple extra hours to your plate, no? Imagine if you could either outsource or automate those tasks. Game changer, right?
3. E-Course Creation
I’m not suggesting that you have someone else create your e-courses for you — ha! You’re kind of stuck with that part. 😉 But what I AM suggesting is that there are probably things you’re doing that someone else could do more efficiently. Like…
- Creating the slides. You can create an in-depth outline of what you want included in your Keynote/PowerPoint slides for each video. Then, you could have someone design your slides and then transfer the content from your outline into your ready-to-go slides. So, instead of creating an outline, designing the slides, and then putting the outline content into the presentation, you’re just creating an outline. Easy.
- Editing your videos. Unless you are a beautiful, perfect snowflake, you will probably make some mistakes when recording your e-course videos. You may also say “um” a lot or your dog may go into a barking rage at the sight of the mailman. Instead of spending for-e-ver editing your videos, why not just hire someone to do it for you?
- Exporting and uploading your videos. I’m not sure if you’ve ever created an e-course, but exporting and uploading the videos — though a simple task — is mindbogglingly time-consuming and annoying. So, without outsourcing, the routine would be: record videos, edit videos, export videos, upload videos. What if all you did was record them and then pass them off to your video editor to do the rest? *heart eyes*
- Designing your worksheets. This is a biggie, especially if you’re not a designer. Not only will it save you time, but it will likely up-level the branding of your course.
- Setting up your course. Not a developer? Then you probably shouldn’t be trying to set up a membership website that people will be paying sweet, sweet money to use. You could either hire someone to create your e-course website or you could use something more simple and ready-to-go like Teachable. Even if you use Teachable, you could absolutely hire someone to add all of your modules and set everything up.
- Hiring a copywriter or sales page designer. Again, this won’t just save you time, but will probably result in more sales, too.
I understand that it may not be possible to hire someone to do all of these things, especially if you’re just getting started. I did about five launches before I started hiring people to help me with those tasks. But now it’s a lifesaver! I’m able to focus on the part of an e-course that requires my skill the most: creating the actual content. Everything else can be outsourced so that I can put more energy into creating the BEST content possible. Ya dig?
I also want to mention that if you’re thinking, “I literally DON’T have money to hire all these people…should I quit?” Then the answer is a biiiiig fat NO. I was the same way. Promise. I literally did all of the above and still brought in a lot of revenue for my business. I’m of the mentality that it’s better to just get started with what you have and make it work until you can afford something better. It’s always better to just do something than to wait, even if it’s not “perfect” the first time around.
You got this!
Mapping Out Your Own Systems
Now that you have a better understanding of the various systems that exist, let’s map out your own systems that will help you save time and get more done.
To help, I created a workbook you can print out (or type right into). You can download it via the button below!
Here’s the simple process:
- Make a list of the projects you do on a regular basis.
- Now, make a list of each task that goes into accomplishing that project.
- Can any of these tasks be outsourced? (Don’t focus on whether you can afford to outsource them…just make a list of which tasks CAN be outsourced).
- Can any of these tasks be automated using software?
- Can any of these tasks be batched?
- Which tasks cannot be given to someone else? (i.e. YOU have to do them…such as recording e-course videos).
- Now, create a process for each project. What will you do and what will you be outsourcing or automating? What does your workflow look like and when does each task need to be assigned in order to be finished on time?
Congrats my friend. You are well on your way to creating killer systems. *air five!*
Finally, let’s get into a few programs that I’ve used, which could help you save some sweet time.
Programs that help you create better systems:
Now that I’ve shared a few of the things that systems can help you with, I also want to mention the software and programs that can help you implement your own systems.
Social Media Schedulers:
Email Service Providers:
Project Management Software:
Okay superstar, I hope this post was helpful and, at the very least, thought-provoking. There is a whole LOT you can outsource and automate, which will allow you to scale your business and save time doing it. If you haven’t downloaded the free, Simple Systems workbook, then I recommend clicking the button below to get it. Because simply reading this article won’t save you time or scale your biz. You have to implement these ideas, too. 😉
Download the worksheets here: