There are a lot of articles out there about how to systemize, manage and run an online business. And while having such an extensive range of tools is wonderful, often they are overwhelming and excessive. Since this is a question that I am asked very, very often, I thought I share exactly how I automate and streamline my heartful business using systems and online tools. It’s super simple. It’s easy. If I can do it, so can you. This might just be the most practical post I have ever written.
To be really clear, processes are how I do it, and systems are what tools I use to do it.
— Changing my involvement with consistency, by showing up, every day, even if just for 10 minutes, changed my entire business. I used to think consistency is boring and lacks imagination and spontaneity, but I’ve discovered that it is the container that holds everything together. Having a business is like having a relationship, you have to nurture it, consistently, to earn its trust and devotion. Discipline runs along the same lines. It’s about doing what you say you will do. It’s about sitting down and getting work done even if for a millisecond “I don’t feel like it”. In the end that feeling very quickly goes away.
— Illustrated in the screenshot above of my Google Calendar, I use the energy of the days of the week to block specific tasks. Mondays are for introspection and self-care, I don’t work Mondays. Tuesdays are for strategizing, client calls and writing blog posts. Wednesdays are best for communication so writing important emails, more client calls, and interviews. Thursday are for marketing and managing finances. Fridays are for creative work, i.e. my next project or program. Saturdays are for prepping my next week and organising my life in general (both business and personal) and Sundays are for fun with friends. I rarely work on weekends unless I have a target date coming up.
— I use my Google Calendar (I pay $5 USD per month to use G-Suite as it syncs my calendar, emails and everything and lets me customise it with my logo) as my running go-to ‘to-do’ list so I can what I’ve got coming up simply by checking my phone. On the right-hand side, you can see I’ve also typed my daily, weekly and monthly tasks as a reminder.
— I generally work until my ‘list’ is done, and I’m intentional around keeping my daily lists small (3-4 things) because I suffer from over-optimism on how much I can get done in a day.
— I keep tangible ‘to-do’ lists for specific projects in my planner, (here I show you how) where I break down each objective into tiny steps so I can cross them off as I go. For example, say I wanted to develop a 1-hour workshop, I would write down every single thing I need to do down to the most minute task, like “write welcome email” or “create sales button”. It helps me fell organised, stay focused and trick myself into feeling really accomplished because I get to cross off so many things as I go.
— I am the most productive when I work intensely over short spurts of time. It’s amazing how much I can get done when I know I only have 3 hours in a cafe or a morning, as opposed to a whole day or even a week. Learning to manage my time and efforts in very focused ways while having strict boundaries around self-care have the been the key for me.
— One of my biggest lessons last year was around resting enough and having fun. While these two self-care principles seem very simple it’s fascinating how quickly I can override them in favour of feeling busy (= feeling important and valuable). I used to wake up blurry and anxious and get straight to work. Now, I schedule time away from work on my calendar. The first few hours of my day are filled with self-care: meditate, visualise, affirmations, journaling, exercise dry-brushing, shower, tea/cacao, before I even make it to my desk.
— I work 4-5 hours intensively and then give myself the option to walk away after that unless I feel inspired to continue. I’m more effective this way and notice that I get waaay more done than most people who work 8 hours 5 days a week.
— I use the ‘80/20 Rule‘ to focus my efforts on the things that bring me the most results and very quickly let go of anything that doesn’t work anymore. The deal here is to constantly be willing to adjust, change and learn. What might have worked for a few months will not always work, especially with the rapidly changing face of online business.
— I use Chrome’s ‘newsfeed eradicator for Facebook‘ to limit the chance that I get sucked into the Facebook vortex when I am supposed to be working and haven’t missed seeing my newsfeed at all. As I am learning how our behaviour is being used for better conversions for advertising, I am wanting to be more and more mindful around how I use this tool. I also deleted Facebook from my phone for a while but it didn’t last because answering comments in my Facebook groups through the browser was really tricky.
— I use ‘tomato timer‘ which is essentially the same as the ‘Pomodoro Method’ to put me into deep states of focused flow: 25 minutes of work, followed by 5 minutes of dancing, getting water, tea, etc. And again.
— Being willing to systemize the booking of mentoring clients in my online business was a game-changer that I came on board with, in early 2015. I simply use Acuity Scheduling. Payments are paid through PayPal, I can input specific work hours, include all my contracts, agreements and details so no more emailing back and forth and it only costs $10 a month (though I think they raised the prices slightly since I first signed up).
— When it comes to selling courses, I have a bit of a process. First, it’s about creating something at the intersection of what I am super passionate about and what other’s really need help with. I use surveys that I create through Typeform to find out exactly where those crossroads lie. Instagram and my weekly-ish email are the main places where I interact with and nurture my community, and I am always listening to their feedback and learning about what problems they need help with, the most.
— Once I have a topic in mind I start developing it using this unique process. I generally create the registration and start accepting payments through SendOwl page before I have completed the course/program/product. I teach exactly how I create, develop and sell digital products like classes and courses in my apprenticeship.
— Besides mentoring and courses, my third income stream is sponsored posts, predominantly shared on Instagram, and affiliates like BSchool and Ignite. I share brands and products that I genuinely love and use, and receive a small percentage of each sale.
— Money is my final topic in this list, and in many ways, the most important, because without money, you don’t have a business. I track my money every month in my journal, as I share in this free workshop, and set monthly financial goals where I project how much of what I need to sell to meet them. Then I use Money Manager EX to do my bookkeeping.
— I recently hired a Virtual Assistant intern who is helping me with much of the research, admin and backend processes every month, and work with a film editor to edit my videos.
Additional business resources:
— The 2-day workshop where I co-teach everything I know: The Heartful Biz
— The course that I took that helped me take the leap into creating my own business.
— My 6-month apprenticeship where I teach you how to structure, create and sell your own digital offerings.