If you can get solid systems in place in your online business you’ll find you’re able to work less, earn more, outsource and delegate more easily, and be more productive.
If you’re right at the beginning with your online business, now is a great time to systemize. You won’t want to be worrying about getting solid systems in place once you become successful and are super busy. Or as Julia Kent put it:
There are a few things that will help you set up systems for everything in your business. You (and your business) are unique so only you know exactly what will be helpful. (Seriously, focus on that quote above – what’s going to trip you up when you get really busy?) But let me suggest some things you’ll want to consider.
A Vision Statement/Mission Statement
This can be as simple or as complicated as you want, as long as it’s crystal clear, because this is what you’re going to use to guide you as you get those solid systems in place.
For The Savvy Solopreneur, I went with a simple one paragraph statement about what we do and how we do it. Here it is (feel free to adapt it for your blog or business).
The Savvy Solopreneur helps solopreneurs run their businesses in an efficient, authentic, cost-effective way, while also having fun and enjoying as much freedom as possible. We focus on providing affordable (and free) tools, techniques and solutions for busy solopreneurs. We do this via the blog, the newsletter, ebooks, success kits, and curating relevant tips and links on all our social media channels.
I use the term ‘we’ because, although I’m a solopreneur, I love to outsource what I’m not great at. I have a team of trusted freelancers I work with, and I share this statement with team members when relevant.
A Focus List
This a list of what the main focus points in your business are right now and in the immediate future (I have a monthly, quarterly and yearly focus list).
This is important, because although all systems are useful, you need to prioritize, and systemize the core areas of your business first, then move on to less important areas.
If growing your email list is on your monthly focus list, but building your Twitter following is on your yearly focus list, set up systems around your email list before systemizing your Twitter activities. It just makes sense.Systemize all your routine business tasks so you can focus on strategy, clients and creative work. Click To Tweet
A Brilliant Planner (or Planners)
I like The Conquer Kit for general planning and I LOVE the planners produced by CoachGlue for specific areas within your business. They have an affiliate marketing planner, a group coaching program planner, a passive income planner etc. AND you can even use their planners as your own lead magnet, or as part of a package you sell to your own clients. Check the planners out here.
Every multi-step task you do regularly (and/or outsource) should have a checklist so you can ensure that every step happens. You can create them yourself or even buy them it. The brand new Busy Blogger’s Success Kit has checklists that cover things like hiring and working with a guest blogger, and keeping the style and tone of each blog post consistent.
You can create templates for blog posts, emails, images, invoices, and anything else you create regularly. I save my email templates in my Mailchimp account, complete with images, links, and a disclosure notice, so I can just write in the actual email every time I mail my list.
If you use Canva for image creation (you should – it’s free, and very user-friendly) you can save basic templates for all your blog post graphics, and just change the title (and a few other details if you want) each time.
You can also create templates for the different types of blog posts or articles you write online. The Busy Blogger’s Success Kit comes with 8 customizable templates for different types of posts.
An onboarding system
If you’re a freelancer, coach, or anyone who takes on clients, you’ll need a way to get that relationship set up quickly and painlessly. I LOVE this package of 17 forms to help you onboard new clients, from CoachGlue (They’re FREE, and definitely one of the most usefull opt-ins I’ve seen for coaches). Although this package is aimed at coaches, some of the forms can be adapted for use with other types of clients as well, so they’re worth taking a look at.
A Billing System
If you work with clients, you need a way for them to pay you. Get your shopping cart and billing system set up before you get busy, when you still have time to iron out any bugs. Sometimes it’s best to deliver everything through a third party system. I use Amazon for my eBooks, and Gumroad for my Success Kits. A lot of my eCommerce buddies use Etsy shops. Look at what will suit your particular business model.
A Recording System
You’ll want to keep records of income, expenses, growth (of traffic, sales etc) and many other things. Set up your systems early. Consult your tax advisor when setting up systems for recording income and expenses. It will save you headaches later.
An outsourcing system
As mentioned, I love to outsource.
A good outsourcing system includes a way to track who is doing what and when it’s due, as well as templates and checklists to help with consistency, and a brand statement so everyone is on the same page (there’s a sample blog branding statement in, you guessed it, The Busy Blogger’s Success Kit).
You may also need fancy project management tools, but I make most of my team projects work just fine with a shareable Dropbox folder that everyone can access and use to share documents.
For a super affordable introduction to outsourcing, check out The Savvy Solopreneur’s Guide to Outsourcing. Want to run a little business empire that consistently makes money while you drink beer on the beach (or make sandcastles with your toddler)? You might want to consider the Outsource Weekly program.
A sales funnel
One of the best things to systemize is your sales funnel. A good sales funnel brings revenue in while you sleep. There are a ton of courses and masterminds teaching you about sales funnels right now, but again, I know of a super affordable introductory resource: The Ultimate Sales Funnel Guide.
Too much automization is never a good idea. A little is a life saver. With a good autoresponder (I use Mailchimp) you can send out regular messages to your list or run an automated eCourse.
With good social media schedulers ( I use Buffer, Hootsuite and JustReTweet) you can keep your social media active even while you sleep, which is quite important if you have followers across every time zone!
These are the systems I have in place for my business, but keep that quote in mind. What are YOU going to need to be systemized when YOU hit it big? Every business is unique.When you hit it big, what are you going to wish you had in place? - Julia Kent Click To Tweet
I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve mentioned The Busy Blogger’s Success Kit a few times in this post. That’s because it’s my brand new product and I’m super excited about it. For a limited time all new subscribers get a 50% discount on it. Check out the kit, and sign up if that’s something you’re interested in.
Already a subscriber? Check your inbox. I sent your discount out yesterday. And I know you got it because some of you have grabbed your kit already (I hope you’re loving it). Can’t see the email? Let me know, and I’ll resend you the link.
Any questions? Ask in the comments, or shoot me an email. I’m always happy to hear from you. Still wondering whether to sign up for your free goodies and super generous discount? I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s the sign-up form.