July 1, 2019

I take an existentialist approach to setting up systems and optimizing ops :: get a workflow! Step away from the computer and literally map out WTF you’re trying to accomplish. Otherwise, you’re mostly pushing buttons with your fingers crossed that nothing breaks. (But you totally will break things because you didn’t come in with a plan. This will worsen your emotions about the entire situation.)

To keep with the uplifting tone of this post, allow me to quote Fight Club (!) and state that “you are not a unique snowflake.” The chaos you are experiencing in your day-to-day ops is in no way unique to you. I’d bet you “one (1) Tyler Durden housecoat” that someone else has already found and implemented a solution to your very struggle. They have an entire system set-up – and what they have is likely better than anything you’d come up with. It’s like high school all over again where you make tweaks to someone else’s homework to skip the hassle and still get the grade.Fortunately for you, I’m the kid whose homework you copied and I still have the answers. This post is coming at you with tips, tricks and done-for-you resources to get your smooth-sailing systems in place.


Seriously, step away from the tech and the software and the platforms. You can’t afford to give any brain space to figuring out a fancy new tool when you’re trying to gain clarity on what actually has to happen. It’s actually more effective for you to map out your process on the back of a cocktail napkin than it is to sign up for that 14-day trial.

For instance, let’s say you need a more streamlined way of onboarding clients. Cool beans! As great as Dubsado or Honeybook or Streak or 17hats or any other CRM may be… 


As the boss, it’s your job to call the shots about how things happen. The tools exist to bring your vision to life, not to tell you how to create it.But that doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. Templates are your friend. If we stick with the client onboarding example, you’re likely just moving the order of actions around. As an example, you may see the below sign-up sequence and decide that you’d rather send a questionnaire before sending the contract.

However, just because the workflow isn’t ordered the way you would have it doesn’t mean you have to create some brand new, re-invented design. It’s just a matter of ordering the steps in a way that meets your requirements or preferences.



Once you have a workflow and you’ve figured out the WHAT, you have 3 choices as to how you’ll approach the HOW ::

  • Log back into that free 14-day trial and keep pushing button til you either figure it out or break it;
  • Hire a pro to set it up for you; or
  • Buy a super-niche course designed for your specific needs.

Personally? I’m a big fan of Option 3 for a number of reasons ::


While most platforms have tutorials and videos to get you started, their approach is usually generic.  If you have the choice between a one-size-fits-all training versus one that is industry-specific? Not only are you skipping the learning curve of figuring it out yourself, but you’ll be taught by someone who can give you some foresight about issues or advantages available to your particular niche.


Unless you have a team managing all of your systems for you, it is important for you to have some understanding of how or why things work a certain way. When you have someone niche-specific to walk you through the set-up, you’re better able to maintain it than if you hired the set up out to someone else.


If you’re just going to click around until you figure things out, you’ll eventually have to undo all the mistakes you implemented. Frankly, it’s simpler to build something fresh than it is to renovate or fix anything. The same goes for your systems because you’ll likely forget about that one email you set up and is now being sent to everyone on your list because you forgot to delete it.


Process in place? Check! Streamlined system to see it through? Check!

Once everything is firing off and the kinks have been worked out, it’s time to document how your system works. These are called your Standard Operating Procedures(or what the cool kids call SOPs) and you can document these in so many ways.

Option 1 :: a document like a Google Sheet

I don’t recommend this mainly because nobody looks at those and nobody updates them. They’re too… uninteresting to engage with so in my experience, people don’t!

Option 2 :: your project management system

This makes sense for most and I have an entire video and done-for-you base in {AIRTABLE LIKE A BOSS} dedicated to doing this. However, if you’re more of an Asana or Trello type, you could certainly create a project or board dedicated to your SOPs.

Option 3 :: WORKFLOWY

Scout’s honor that I have no affiliation to this product but boss, I effing LOVE Workflowy. I’d be hard-pressed to come up with a simpler, more efficient platform than this to document any processes. The main reason I love it is how it is set up like a Table of Contents. This means you can expand on any specific area you want to be guided through. It is truly one of the most beautiful solutions I’ve seen to document any step-by-step processes.

The key here is not to let the problem overwhelm your ability to see your solution. 

Especially since you are not alone in this! Whatever is causing your woes, there is a solution in the form of a workflow someone else has done or an expert who gets exactly what your industry struggles are. This boss thing isn’t a bubble and you don’t have to build everything up from nothing – we’ve got you, boss boo!