You started your creative business because you wanted to do creative work. You wanted to make things, design things, code things and get PAID for it. When your first started your business, the prospect of getting paid to do what you love was suuuper exciting, right?
What's not so exciting is realizing that your usual business day will be about 30% creative work, 70% business tasks.
For weirdos like me who geek out over systems and tools, the techy-admin side of business is actually really fun. (I know- I'm crazy!)
But for the majority of creatives and designers out there, doing all the business-y stuff like replying to emails, writing blog posts, scheduling social media and organizing the client process is hard work.
You find yourself thinking- is this stuff really that important?
Yes, it really is.
I'm going to focus on freelancers & creative entrepreneurs over the next 6 weeks and I'll be talking a LOT about streamlining and organizing your business.
But before I dive into that, you need to own up to whichever excuse you've been using to NOT get organized.
Own up to it, confess to yourself that it's a load of poop, and set aside some time each week to go through these emails and get your business organized.
Designers-- I'm especially talking to you in this email.
As a designer myself, I know how difficult it can be to even want to get organized. All you want to do is design awesome stuff, right?
You can design without any systems in place.
But with systems in place, you can do it faster and create an even better standard of work. (Check out my course, Organize & Automate, to learn the systems you need to put in place!)
Ready for this?
Here are the 7 most common productivity excuses I hear around the webosphere. Which one are you going to own up to? ;)
Myth 1: "I don't have time to create systems."
This is the myth (okay- excuse) I used four years ago when I was in my first year of business and stressing like crazy over every new client. I thought that if I spent time creating systems and getting my business organized, I'd never get anything important done (like client work).
That thinking is completely flawed.
Yes, it does take time to create systems and get organized. But by the time you start using your systems, the time it took you to create them is MORE than made up for by the time you save not having to think about things anymore- or stress about the things you forgot.
Myth 2: "Systems are inflexible. Being organized is just... boring."
Being organized is necessary, my friend.
I haven't always been an organized business owner. In my first two years of freelancing, I didn't have any systems in place. I didn't even have a business plan! I just wasn't organized at all.
My lack of organization is what I blame for how stressed I got in my first two years of business.
After I implemented systems and got organized, my income tripled (yes- TRIPLED!) and I stopped stressing so much because I knew my business was always under control.
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You may not like the idea of systems. You may think that getting organized is boring and tedious. But for less stress and more income, it's worth it.
As my friends at Lifehacker say, 'Adopting a system means spending some time figuring out what's important to you, what isn't important and how to get rid of the less important stuff so you can make start making ground on the important stuff.'
Myth 3: "No matter what I do, I'll never be able to stick to the systems I put in place."
The reason I think so many people fail to stick to the systems they put in place is because their system either wasn't automated enough, or it was too complicated.
The purpose of creating systems and getting your business organized is to make things easier for you.
Don't overcomplicate your systems. The simpler the system, the easier it is to stick to!
Myth 4: "I work best when I'm under pressure."
Most people actually don't. They just use this as an excuse to not put in the time and effort they know it takes to get their business organized.
Constantly working under pressure means you'll eventually burn out, you'll resent your work, you'll forget things and you won't provide your clients with the quality of work they deserve.
Myth 5: "The work I create for my clients is more important than the process."
Yes, the work you create for your clients is really important.
But the process is just as important, because an organized client process = a happier client experience.
(Want to learn exactly how to organize your design process and create a better client experience? Head this way!)
Most freelancers think their clients are only concerned about the work they're getting, but they're wrong. Clients appreciate organization. They want the creative process you take them through to be fun, simple and effective- not chaotic and unprofessional.
Don't believe me? Here's what one of my own clients said about my process:
"Nesha has made the design process really easy and she’s been a pleasure to work with. I’ve worked with a lot of web designers and its always been a stressful experience, but working with Nesha has been fantastic." - Michelle Mae
Beautiful work isn't as meaningful to your clients if they didn't enjoy the process.
Myth 6: "Busy is the same as productive."
Creatives don't literally go around saying this one. It's a myth that a lot of business owners believe without realizing it.
Let me give you an example.
If you spend all day scheduling social media content for the next two months, and then you have to do it all over again two months later, is that productive? It sounds productive, but it's not. It's just a task that keeps you busy.
A productive business owner will find a tool that recycles all her social media posts and spend one day loading it with content so she doesn't have to keep it doing it every couple of months. She can then focus on more important things!
(Don't worry- I'm going to talk you through a few tools soon that will automate your social media marketing completely. You're going to LOVE these tools, my friend!)
Myth 7: "Systems don't allow space for my creativity"
It's actually the opposite- systems allow more time for creativity.
Without systems, you're wasting a lot of time doing the same tasks over and over again.
With systems in place, you get things done quicker so you have MORE time to be creative.
If you resonated with any of those myths and you are freaking out about your lack of organization, have no fear. Organize & Automate will show you the exact systems you need to put in place to organize your design business.
If you want some free help, sign up for my FREE 7-day course 'The Designers Guide To Project Management', and learn how to use Asana to manage your client projects!