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How I became consistent by creating systems for my one-person business

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It was the morning of May 1st 2016 and I was busying myself with vacuuming the floors, scrubbing my countertops, and furiously organizing papers in my apartment. My habitual need to clean is generally a sure sign that I’m trying to avoid something else. Oh, yeah…that proposal I needed to draft for a potential client.

Many of you may raise your eyebrows when I say that. Shouldn’t I be elated someone wanted a proposal from me? Shouldn’t the backlog of proposals I was needing to create that week be an indication that my business is booming as prospects pour in asking for them?

Of course, I was excited to have these opportunities and couldn’t wait to start working with these new clients. So why was I avoiding the one thing that would kick off the relationship?

Well, for starters, every time I sat down to create a proposal at that time, I was reinventing the wheel. On average, they were taking me about an hour to draft up. That’s all well and good, but when you have 5 people interested in working with you, and you’re the only person in your business, that’s nearly an entire day spent on proposal creation and not billable hours.

“There must be a better way,” I thought. I decided it was intolerable to continue spending that type of time on proposals only to end up with products that were generally looking the same.

Deena Englander, CEO of Workstream Business Systems encouraged me to build a system for crafting proposals, so everything from the time I am putting into proposals to the output and deliverables are consistent. On average, this system cut my proposal writing time in half.

This exercise sparked a new obsession with system implementation for my one-person consultancy, and I started to build and implement as many as I could. Whether it was how to respond to prospects or how to schedule meetings, I started making myself playbooks with replicable steps to follow.

That way, when something came up, I wasn’t crippled by the anxiety of remembering every single thing I had to do. I simply opened the folder for that system in my Google Drive, and followed the steps. I even had a copy and paste template for things like follow-up emails, discovery call emails, and client follow up.

The stress relief was remarkable, and best of all, using duplicable systems was ensuring a consistency in my communication and performance.

When I decided to bring on a personal assistant late last year, I didn’t lose hours of time training her. I simply handed over the playbooks for social media posting, client onboarding, etc. It was great, because there wasn’t a gap in the way she communicated with my clients and the way I communicated with clients.

 If you’re a one-person business, the time to implement systems is NOW.

From a time-saving aspect, it’s one of the most effective things you can do. Sure, there are apps and programs that help you cut your working time down, but they generally aren’t effective if you haven’t developed a system to input. You’ll just find yourself trying to think of the same 5 activities time and time again to plug into the latest project management tool.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Deena a few weeks ago to talk about system creation and implementation for solopreneurs.

Watch the video here:

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In it, we review how to expertly craft systems so you can

  • Price properly
  • Ensure consistent brand performance
  • Outsource/hire without worry
  • Increase your personal productivity

Deena was also kind enough to share 3 worksheets for how to start building systems for your small business.

Download them here:

I’ve had many of my audience members write in and share how effective these worksheets have been in helping them install internal systems that ensure external brand favorability.

As a solopreneur or consultant, have you embraced systems for your business? Comment below. I’d love to see what you all are up to.

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