One of the most common questions I receive is, “How do you get everything done?”
Answer number one: I have great help.
Answer number two: I have automated a lot of the things I do.
And frankly, automation is the only way you’ll ever be able to create a business that sustains your lifestyle AND gives you a lifestyle at the same time. If you don’t automate where you can, you’ll wind up working 24/7, very quickly wondering why you are attempting to do what you are doing. (And that’s not a lifestyle anyone wants, right?)
I’m good at creating systems. In fact, the way I operate now, I start putting systems together almost as soon as I start developing a new product or service. I can see the final product or service as a part of my business, the steps to create, process and fulfill already in my mind. I go through a distinct process to make sure I automate as much of the progression as I can. Its helped me create many things over the years, and I know it can add value to your new business, no matter what stage of business you are currently at.
Step 1: Plan it out
What are you currently thinking or planning? Have you looked at it from all angles? I like to start with the end in mind; what does this idea look like months or even years in the future when its all in place? The more you can see it in the beginning, the more you can start implementing the tiny details that will truly make a big difference.
Let me give you an example. Lets use the concept of writing a book. If today is my starting point, I know that in 6 months (or whatever your timeline is) I’ll have a completed manuscript. I know I’ll need editing, design, a website to sell it, a marketing strategy to market it, a printer/publisher for final copies, etc. I can list everything I know I’ll need, which will give me my checklist to work from in the coming months … just to make sure I have all of my pieces thought out and in development long before I need them. This is the start of my system. By listing everything, I can consciously give myself tasks and goals every day, and I can even begin seeing a road to greater efficiency. Keep in mind that you may not know all the details yet; that’s okay. The key is to stretch and think now about what you do know you’ll need, and grow from there. And the good news is, book number two will be that much easier because you’ll already have a well thought out, well used blueprint you created from book one.
Step 2: Build for today
Now that you see the final project in its final stage, its time to pull back and look at it under a different microscope. Where do you stand today? It’s easy to get caught up in what it will look like down the road, especially if you have a mentor doing it and you’ve decided to follow in their footsteps. Yet right now, today, that book that you “see” in your hands doesn’t even have a title or the first written page yet!
The problem lies in your expectations. While you should have a clear vision of what it will look like in the future, never forget your best learning curve is just to jump in and do something today. You will learn, get better, and improve over time. Every project has a starting point. Every project starts with one first task. It might be creating your checklist. It might be coming up with a title. It might be making contact with that very first potential partner. Really, it could be anything. But the important aspect is to put in your mind what it looks like today, and take action appropriately so you’ll never get off track by thinking too big from the beginning.
Also, by breaking things down further, it also allows you to see areas where you can hire others to do a job for you, or begin to find more efficient ways of handling the tasks yourself. The more specific you make a task or goal, the easier it becomes to find a way of accomplishing it.
Step 3: Do it
Sometimes you just gotta do it to find out what its all about. Don’t over-plan without jumping in and getting your feet wet first.
I’ll use my VisionOfSuccess TV as an example. I had a goal of creating videos – a TV channel for years. But I always compared myself to YouTube channels that had thousands of followers and dozens of videos in place. I wanted to emulate them, so I always over-planned, thought about what it would look like some day … and never took action.
What turned it around and made all the difference was action … just doing it. I finally chose a date and started recording, and I’ve never looked back. I made it enough of a priority that it had to be done. I started recording, letting the details fall into place later. I knew I needed a camera, a way to edit, a YouTube channel to place them on. The header/trailer was built later. The website was designed as I started putting more videos into place. And of course my videos become better and better over time as I learn how to speak clearer and more concise to what my audience truly wants. It’s a work in progress!
It’s also allowed me to put a system in place as I go along as well. I now have a form I fill out as I create each new video. It helps me come up with titles, appropriate keywords, bullet points to talk about in the video, a checklist for things to include during the upload process, and even places to promote them. Nothing is left to chance; my system ensures that.
Step 4: Calendar
One of the biggest problems with change is new tasks and ideas are easy to forget – out of sight, out of mind. Sure, you’re excited in the beginning, but things change. There are new ideas to follow, better things to try, new mentors with even better ideas to latch on to. And very quickly your past idea is forgotten, nowhere to be found. (And nowhere to help you leverage your business either!)
If something is truly important and you want it to be a part of your business, implement the change by calendaring it. When I first started working on my videos, I had an entry every Monday afternoon to shoot my video. We did it for weeks until it became a habit. Now my shooting days sometimes change and I don’t have to calendar the process anymore, but I always have things in queue and accomplished well in advance of when it will be released. It’s a part of my business, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Step 5: Test and learn
Some things will work better than others as you try and implement things. You’ll find shortcuts, ways of doing things better, even things that simply don’t work at all. You’ll discover you need different equipment, or help in ways you never could have imagined before. This is your learning phase. If you ever find yourself saying, “If only I could have…” or “This would be easier if…”, that’s your queue to find something else. A quick Google search should share a variety of ways to implement change.
And when it comes to learning, you’ll always find a better way to do things. These are your system enhancements. These are the features that will allow you to do more things in far less time. I love in today’s world, there’s an app for just about everything. But when you’re first starting out, you don’t know how to do something, never mind how to do it faster and more efficiently. That’s what comes in the testing phase. That’s what comes when you increase your efficiency and learn about the things you do again and again.
Step 6: Step one, step two, step three
Once I have a system fairly well regulated and in place, I put my process to the test to see how I can make it even more efficient.
Once you’ve taken action for a while, spend a few moments thinking about how you would describe the process to someone else. This is where you find your true value. This is also where you can start designing your processes. Organize your files, both physical and digitized, in a way that you can start putting ideas together for you to copy/paste/share in a variety of ways. “Develop once, use many” should become your new philosophy. If you use things more than once, there is a way to speed it up and make it more efficient.
Lets go back to the book development process. As you create your first book, you’ll come up with a checklist of items you use to finalize the project, publish it, and get it out to the world. Think about how you would describe this process to a newbie. You may even choose to approach it like you’ll be teaching a class on the subject, providing detail where appropriate and blending in your helpful tips that only you know through trial and error. When you can get it in “step one step two” format, you’ll find the quickest way to do things, and the valuable tips that will help speed things up along the way.
This is what helps you automate yourself down the road.
I also create lists of ways to handle certain situations in my business, as I regularly rely on virtual assistants to help me out. If you were to hand off a portion of what you do each day to someone else, how would you train them? What are the important aspects of what you do? By thinking about each step, you can add in your own branding and personality, and really make you business stand out above the rest.
Step 7: Get busier
Honestly, one of the ways I get so much done is to put more into my life than I can handle in a day. This isn’t a bad thing; let me tell you why.
The most important things rise to the top, the less important fall away. If I truly need to accomplish something, it will get done, and I’ll find a way to do it in the shortest way possible. If its not important, eventually I’ll pull it altogether out of my life and not worry about it anymore.
There’s a saying about giving a new project to a busy person because it will guarantee it gets done, and I think there’s a lot of truth to it. The more tasks you have, the more you’ll accomplish. The key is making sure the right tasks move forward and enhance your lifestyle, not becoming busy for busy’s sake.
Planning for what you truly want is your first step in achieving what you’ve set out to do. A plan can help guide you towards what’s most important, and what will set you on the right course from the beginning.
Right now I’m holding my Visioneering You class at the end of September, and I would love to have you join me and start developing your own plan for success. Once you see it, you start planning for it, and you start putting the system into play, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your business starts generating customers, profit and the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed about.
I truly believe that we’re all meant to dream and have those dreams help us create a business opportunity and a lifestyle we love to live. Let this be your opportunity, your introduction into what’s possible for you. I look forward to helping you soon.