There’s a common misconception that you need a team to build business systems. After all, as a solopreneur, you’re so busy getting clients and delivering on promises that there’s no time to document how it’s done.
Besides, you know what needs to be done. And therein lies the problem. You’re shackling yourself to your business. You need to get what’s in your head on paper.
That’s why I’m going to show you how to systemize a business as a solopreneur. It’s not as tricky or time-intensive as you’d think.
You need to start building business systems from day one.
But why, you ask? I like being a micro-entrepreneur. I have no intention of scaling my business and taking on employees.
You still need systems, especially if you don’t want to manually create invoices each month. It’s a time waste.
Most entrepreneurs and business owners put off systemization until they can afford to hire a systems champion to manage the process. But by then, you may have years of processes stored in your brain.
Think about how many hours you’ll spend teaching someone else how to do what comes naturally. And when you do, make sure they document it. Otherwise, you’ll be rehashing the same information month after month.
My suggestion: don’t fall into this trap.
Systematizing your business will free up your time to focus on revenue-generating projects. It ensures you continue serving your clients to the level they expect while also ideating new products and charging forward with marketing your business.
Here’s how easy systemizing your business is (and it doesn’t take much time).
5 steps to systemize your solopreneur business
STEP 1. NOTE YOUR INTERNAL PROCESSES DOWN
Identify and document what systems you need to create. Anything and every task you do regularly in your business, jot it down in an excel spreadsheet or Keynote.
Section it into marketing systems, sales systems, and administrative systems. This makes organizing the process that much easier.
STEP 2. GET YOUR PROCESS ON CAMERA
Every time you work on a new task, record an instructional video walking through each step. You can use Loom or Zoom. Verbalize what you’re doing so there’s no chance of confusion.
This saves you a lot of time when you eventually do hire someone to help grow your company. Whether that’s a VA, marketing coordinator, salesperson, or account manager, all you need to do is give them access to the videos so they can begin documenting the process.
Step 3: Organize it
Remembering what you named your video six months ago isn’t as straightforward as you’d think. Unless, of course, you have an eidetic memory. If not, here’s what I suggest.
In your excel spreadsheet, give the task a name, and in a separate column, add a link to the instructional video. You can take it a step further and create folders in your database where you save these videos.
For example, if I were to build a process that automatically logs when someone from my email list registers for a live training, it might look something like this.
- Step 1: Create a standard SOP folder (here, I’ll house all my standard operating procedures/business processes.
- Step 2: Create a sub-folder titled Marketing SOPs.
- Step 3: Within the Marketing folder, create an Email Marketing SOP folder.
- Step 4: Film the instructional loom video and save it within this folder. Give it a name like How to automate a 1-click Zap. Don’t be clever. You want this to be easily searchable.
- Step 5: Open your SOP Excel spreadsheet and title your columns:
- FOLDER (where you will save it)
- SUBJECT (the task name)
- STATUS (if it’s in progress, under review or approved. Leave it blank if it still needs to be done)
- INSTRUCTIONAL DOC
- HOW-TO VIDEO
- DATE CREATED (you may find better ways of doing things, and this way, you know when a video is outdated and should be updated)
- LAST UPDATED
- NOTES (anything that could be helpful)
- List the name of the video within its applicable column and hyperlink the text.
That way, when you or your new hire need to find anything, it’s all neatly organized and accessible.
Step 4: Hire someone to execute
Now, this doesn’t need to be a full-time employee. You could hire a VA for a couple of hours a month to help set up your business processes and free up your time. Ideally, you want them to review the video and translate it into a step-by-step how-to guide or what I like to call a Standard Operating Procedure.
They need to include visual references and a link to the video. And because your VA is learning as they document, there’s no reason why they can’t eventually take over the task saving you time.
When you are small, it’s a great stepping stone for getting your systems built.
Step 5: Set up an administrative email
Create an email account for your future assistant even if you have no intention of hiring an employee. This could be [email protected] or [email protected].
Get into the habit of using this email for scheduling, responding to general or account inquiries, whatever. By doing this, you won’t have to separate these tasks later when you hire a VA.
Also, customers don’t necessarily expect to hear from the founder or CEO regarding their accounts. Think about when you have a problem or are following up on a matter. Do you email the business owner directly or a support team?
Having that administrative email account ensures you won’t have to worry about giving your new hire access to your personal email. Instead, you just give them the username and password for the support email address, and they can get started.
So that’s how to systemize your business the solopreneur way.
The tools you need
These are the absolute bare minimum tools you need to build business systems. If you run an online business, you’re going to need Google Workspace or something similar.
You want to be able to see all your operations and processes at once glance. So you’ll need access to Word Docs and Excel Spreadsheets.
You’ll need some kind of video recording tool. I use Zoom to record live trainings or webinars and Loom to record in-house instructional videos. You could also use Wistia.
Don't resist business systemization. Get it done.
Remember, systemization is not a scalability blocker. It’s all about capturing what you’re currently doing so you can eventually hand it off to someone else.
As your small business grows, you have to juggle many more balls. What was manageable with two clients can with five clients lead to you working 16-hour days. You don’t want that.
Implementing business systems ensures you can delegate tasks that aren’t a priority. You can create a system for writing a blog, hiring new employees, managing your social media accounts, building processes, and responding to a customer.
Systemize: it’s a game-changer for your business.
For more great tips on business systemization, watch the video.
2 thoughts on “How to systemize your business as a solopreneur”
Helpful article. Makes sense to get started with systematizing early on in your business.
Thaks for putting this out there.
I have met several prospect clients that have said they don’t have the time for marketing and even don’t want more clients because they can’t manage it. It seems here the solution is simple. Systems!