The desire for freedom is something that every entrepreneur grapples with at some point or another. Often, freedom is the main reason we get into this lifestyle in the first place. We want flexible hours, autonomy, and we dream of making a real difference in the lives of others.
Usually, when entrepreneurs talk about freedom, what they’re really talking about is time. Having control over how they spend their time, having more time to dedicate to family, getting more done in less time - it all comes back to this.
Because time is our most precious resource, we want to maximize it. But despite all of the “quick tips” and “hacks” out there for us to try, entrepreneurs still feel like they’re coming up short. There’s always more work to do or a new deadline looming. And, if entrepreneurs ever want the dream of freedom to become their reality, they need something greater than productivity tips.
Enter the magic of systems.
Productivity experts know that getting things done is as much about managing your work as it is about being mindful of your time. This is where systems come into play. The more you can use systems to organize and guide your work, the more you can leverage productivity to free up your time. And the more time you can free up, the more freedom you have to invest that time in other things.
It’s that simple. But, where do you start?
The quickest way to start implementing systems is to start making standard operating procedures (S.O.P.’s). For anything you do more than once in your business, you should have an S.O.P. These could be:
a simple checklist of steps to take to complete a specific task
a series of checklists for everything you need to complete an individual type of project
canned emails for commonly sent responses
workflows pre-loaded in your CRM for onboarding clients
putting together a welcome guide to layout communication guidelines and program info for new clients
The opportunities to create S.O.P.s for your business (and life) are endless. Implementing these systems into your workflow will allow you to execute your tasks more quickly and consistently perform for your clients in a way that’s congruent with your company values.
Automation makes this even easier. Thanks to modern technology, many of your systems can run entirely by themselves. Ways to automate systems in your business include:
Having a welcome guide + gift automatically mailed to your client as soon as they sign your contract.
Sending pre-meeting reminder emails with a list of action steps 48 hours before your appointment so new clients come to your next session prepared.
Creating a welcome email sequence to warm up new leads.
And it gets better!
When your business is systematized correctly, you should only be performing the tasks that you want to do. You can literally free yourself from the action items you struggle most to complete! Whether you choose to leverage technology or outsource your least exciting tasks, you need systems to achieve this.
Does the idea of hiring help or relying on technology scare you? Maybe you think they’ll never perform the task as well as you do or you’re not clear on when you’re ready to take this step. But it’s easier to identify than you might think. When your S.O.P. is so dialed-in that all your helper has to do is follow your system to be successful, you’re ready to offload that task.
And this brings us to the real dream. The ideal scenario that you’re aiming for in creating systems is to eventually have a turnkey business. This is when a business is so organized and systematized that if you sold the business tomorrow and handed the keys over, the new owner could run it just as successfully as you did.
Even if you think you will never sell your business, achieving turnkey status is the ultimate freedom. It prepares you for those inevitable worst-case scenarios that pop up, so your business doesn't tank if you need to step away for a few weeks. And turnkey status means that you can go on vacation or take the week off for your daughter’s wedding, knowing your company will still make money and your clients won’t notice your absence.
The bottom line is: systems make freedom possible.
So don’t wait for “someday when you have more time” to get organized. What is one system you can create for your business today, that will give you more freedom tomorrow?