Episode 48 – How to Build Your Business While Maintaining The Business You Already Have

Listen Now:

What We Talk About

When you’re scaling your current business or adding something new like a program, course, or list build… it can be tough to keep your CURRENT business flowing. And yes, we’re talking about the money. 

Splitting your focus is hard – especially when you’re excited about the new thing you’re doing and want to go all-in, feet first. But having a plan to do it withOUT burning yourself out or going totally broke is essential when you want to make a shift like this.

In this episode, we’ll talk about how to create that plan and stick with it. Trust us, we speak from experience.

Resources

Episode 44 – The Pivot Myth Episode

Coming Soon: Financial Planning with Sylvia Inks (subscribe to the podcast to get it when it drops!)

Loom – to record your SOPs (it's free)

Ready to grow but you're not sure how to get started? Click Work With Us above or the big blue button below to schedule your THRIVE Call and see how we can help.

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Want help creating a plan for your next holiday campaign? Click the button above to discover how we can help you figure it out!

Our transcript hasn't been proofed, so there will probably be some errors. Sorry about that!

Alyson Lex
Wanting to grow or build your existing business into something bigger or different, or more scalable, more manageable for you is natural and totally normal and awesome. But sometimes it can happen at the price of the business that you already have. Because when you focus on building something new, you tend to lose focus on what you're already doing. And that can be a tough road to navigate. So on today's episode, we're going to show you how to stay on track for that growth, and trying some new things without taking your foot off the gas in your current business. Because there are only so many hours in the day, we want what we want, and we want it now. I know I feel that way, right. And you might not have the experience or the people to do this or help you through this if you've never done it before. So we really need a solution a system. We love that word to make it happen.

Jennie Wright
I love systems systems make me happy, they put me in my happy plays. They do they make me happy. But it wasn't always like that. No. When you're trying to scale, one of the biggest things is the shift in the mindset. It's the I now have to do this secondary thing. And we're not talking about starting a brand new business, we're talking about adding something we're talking about, if you've started off as a VA, and now you want to become a coach, and you're going to do a large list, build and then sell a group coaching program. Or we're talking about being a service provider. And now deciding to go for the you know, instead of being a service provider to being something where it's one to many, and creating an online course, or a product. And all of these things create those shifts in mindset. Because if you don't if you're still thinking that your VA or if you still thinking that you're just the service provider, then you're never going to excel beyond and you'll always fall back into being in the weeds. And we're going to talk about a system today that's going to keep you moving forward without falling back into the weeds, which is exactly what's happened to me. It's exactly what's happened to Allison, these things. Yeah, every time we've tried to build our business without having a system in place, we've experienced some sort of a, oh, crap, this is too heavy, too hard, too much. And we fallen back to what we know will make us money. So this could be when you're trying to shift. This could be when you're trying to expand. And this could also be if you're trying to make a slight pivot. And now we've talked about the pivot myth. In one of our recent episodes, go check it out. It's Episode 44, where we talk about whether or not you need to pivot in your business or not pivot in your business. So take a listen to that one. In case that's something that's on your, you know, on your mind at the moment.

Alyson Lex
Okay, so a system really starts with understanding what it is that you're doing every single day, every single moment. In order to really make a change. And to figure out where your energy is best spent, you need to figure out where your energy and your time is currently spent. And this is where I like to do what's called a time study. Okay, so a time study is to write down each task that you do in a day, and how long it took you. That's it doesn't have to be super complicated. I just use a legal pad and I jot down, you know, 10 minutes on this 15 minutes on that. Some people will take it a little further and actually document and account for every minute of their working day. This is helpful if you want to see where you're wasting or losing time. Because if you notice, oh, hey, I went to Facebook to go post in these five groups. And then I spent 25 minutes on my newsfeed, there's an additional 25 minutes that you're not being productive in your day, you can decide if that's important to you. What I want you to do is see what you're doing. You may find that 85% of your tasks are not moving your business forward. Because once you're done the time study, I want you to go back and I'm highlighters if you don't have them by him, if you don't know where to buy him, talk to me, I love office supplies. I want you to color code. Okay, I want you to highlight in one color, something that you shouldn't be doing because someone else should. That's the first thing. What are you doing that is necessary for your business that someone else should be doing? In my business, it's creating graphics, building funnels, doing all of those things that I know how to do, and I like to do them. I'm not the best. And it's not the best use of my time. Okay, so that's the first thing. The second thing. The second color is, what are you doing that you shouldn't be doing? Because it's not beneficial for your business. I love going to networking events, networking, zooms, networking events, all of that stuff, because I like to go out and meet people. There is an in person networking event that I used to go to, in the before times, and even before the before times was a thing. And I went, they happen every six months. And I think I went to like seven of them. Okay, so I did this for a number of years. And I would always get dressed, I would go, I would drive, I would meet people, I would spend a couple hours there. And when I actually looked back at them, and calculated the amount of business that I got from this one event, I'm not ashamed to tell you that that number was round and singular. It was zero. It was not beneficial for my business. So why am I doing it? Okay, so that's one example. But this could be anything that you're doing, that's not actually moving the needle for your business. Just stop doing it. Right. So the first thing is, what are you doing that someone else should be? The second thing is, what are you doing that nobody should be? And the third thing is, what are you doing? That you Only you can do? That is the stuff that stays on your plate. Okay, so for color number one, you're going to create an SLP, we're going to talk about that in a minute. For color number two, you're going to stop doing it. And for color number three, you're going to keep doing it. That's a time study. And that's how it can help you really start to reduce your own workload in preparation for doing something new. Does that make sense?

Jennie Wright
Of course, I did a time study back in the days when I was a VA, because I wanted to see where I was squandering a large amount of my time. And I squandered a large amount of my time. Back then it was an app, a very simple app that you could put and you could sort of type things in. It was okay, but it really did show me where I had some opportunities. I, and this teaches you something about yourself that I think is very important. How long can you do it one task before you start to get the distracting stuff, right? So that's very important. So what's your what's your love that? Absolutely, I know that I'm about a 20 to 30 minute, like, I can go full on for 20 or 30 minutes. And then I need to give myself a little bit of a break just my eyes or something, look at something a little bit different. Sometimes I can go for, you know, 45 minutes, but I can't go more than that. It just doesn't work for me. So take a look into your time study for that. Let's talk about what we can outsource. And I love this. In so many ways. Outsourcing is great, but it's also not great. So we don't want to outsource just for the sake of outsourcing. We want to outsource the tasks that should not be on our list that are repetitive or things that somebody else can do for you. That will not, you know break the business if you're not doing them right. So something that somebody else can do. So let's talk about how you do that. And we've talked about this a couple different times and little bits and pieces on different episodes. But we're going to talk about building up an ESOP. an ESOP is standard operating procedure. People use it in corporate all the time, people use it in, you know, manufacturing standard operating procedure. And it is sort of this step by step by step of what it is that you do. Now, if you're like Alison and I, we do not want to get a duck out and do a step by step by step, we actually want to sort of do it in the moment. So you can take a look at using zoom to record you doing a task like a shared like a sharing your screen in zoom in recording it as you're doing the tasks that you will eventually outsource or use loom or any other screen capture software that can capture what you're doing and also can capture your voice at the same time explaining it. Here's how I set up my emails. Here's how I like my blog post setup, here's where the content is, here's how I like it copy and pasted. Here's the formatting that I like to see. And then make sure that you're doing the following tagging etc, etc. Right. So I think that's very helpful.

Alyson Lex
The other thing that this does, and I've discovered this as I've been creating some of these videos, is it actually shows you the the inefficiencies in your own process real time. I have canceled reshot videos because I'm like, wait, I'm explaining something that's way convoluted, and this is stupid. So I'm gonna find an easier better way to do it. I Quick Change my process and then reshoot the video. So that's a fun little thing that just happens. Because you create these SLP videos,

Jennie Wright
we have a whole Bank of SLP videos that we've actually created, and that are in our folders, as well as we've actually created a playlist in YouTube. And we've put that there, so that if at any time we want to do this, which is great. And here's a great thing, I also now share this podcast together, which means we share duties. And as a result, there's some things that Allison does that I don't do. And there's things that I do that Allison doesn't. But in the case of something happening to either one of us to get this podcast out, or to complete a task that we share in the administrative side of doing what we do, there are slps that are created specifically for that, because I have no clue some of the stuff that Allison does, but the ESOP is there. And if I follow it, I know that I'll be able to complete the task. So that's really, really important as well, if you're working alongside a partner, or if you're sharing duties with somebody, etc. So start doing start doing stuff like that. I think it's good if we move on to understanding our current sales needs, right? And talking about what we currently have to do with that. Now, if you're, if you're trying to do the bit like you're trying to take the business from where it is right right now, wherever that is, and accelerate it, or grow it, or build it to a new level, then you need to look at the minimum viable amount of money you need to make to continue to maintain paying the bills, putting food on the table, paying the rent and all those things. What is that minimum number? How do we maintain that. So look at your bare minimum level of sales to meet all of those obligations, and then look at what you need to do to maintain it. Whilst you plan for this future growth.

Alyson Lex
We actually have an episode coming up with someone named Sylvia inks, and she talks about understanding what your your monthly number is, and what the gotchas are those yearly things that you forget about really, getting a clear picture of your operating budget, is going to help you understand what that minimum amount is that you need to make each month. And then you can say, Alright, I need, I'm just gonna pick a round number, I need $5,000 a month. That's what I need to pay my bills, keep the lights on, pay my Evernote, or my zoom or whatever, right? What do I need to do to make that money, I need three clients, I need one client, I need to sell XYZ. What that does is it helps you see the minimum amount of focus that you need to have on your existing business. Okay, because remember, we're not necessarily trying to just totally shift off and no new thing. But we are trying to grow and that is going to require focus. So by understanding where the minimum amount of effort and attention and energy is, then you can say, okay, so if I need one client to pay the bills, to clients is going to be a successful month, and the rest of my time and energy and attention and focus can be spent on my course my list, build my product, my program, my pivot, whatever.

Jennie Wright
There's a lot that I love what you said there, and then the addition made me spark something in my head. So do you remember when you adopted your son?

Unknown Speaker
Yes.

Jennie Wright
And you you I mean, you went from the before times of not having your son to the times of having your son who at the time was pretty much a newborn, and you needed time to get into the flow of being a new mom. Yeah. And unders, you know, getting on schedule and doing all these kinds of things. You had to take time off for that?

Alyson Lex
I did. It sucked.

Jennie Wright
Yes. So what we're talking about today is for growing your business, but with the level of planning that we're talking about. You can also use it for the times when you need to take a step back. I've had to have a couple of things in my life that have taken making me take a step back. My mom passed away Christmas 2018 I had to take a step back. A bigger step than I originally thought. I had surgery in October of 2020 had to take a step back. And with the planning, this helps. So I just wanted to pop that in there. Because I know that what we're doing is planning for growth. But at the same time, we can use this to plan for those unexpected

Unknown Speaker
moments.

Alyson Lex
I really like that. I think that's a really smart way to look at this I I create what I call and this is probably more, but what I call bus book, okay, and this is everything about my business, everything I mean, what my processes, who to contact, what to do, in case I get hit by a bus, it's what's called the bus book. And yes, seriously, I've created one for every job I've ever had. And now I have it in my business. It's something that goes to my husband, if something happens to me. Part of this bus book, or this planning this contingency is what is the minimum viable to keep this thing going. I really like how you did that. I'm not trying to take a dark turn here, right. But that's life planning that you guys need to do to get your business steady. We're trying to avoid that wake up in 20 days, and realize you've got 10 days left in the month, no clients and rents do or the mortgage or whatever. Because that can happen, whether you're taking a step back because of the new baby, or some life things that happen. Or your focus is shifted to growing your business in a different way. You're making the plan for maintaining and building. Alright, you've got your time study. You know what to do what needs to be outsourced? What needs to be done, but you shouldn't do it. Maybe you've created some systems and processes to help things make things more automated. So one thing we didn't mention is in your time study, you're going to realize, Hey, I'm doing this same thing over and over and over and over again. Is there a way I can automate this? And I'm sure we have other episodes, or we will have other episodes on Audible, I want

Jennie Wright
to do a whole episode on automation. I think that's a great idea.

Alyson Lex
Yeah, we'll put it on the list. Yep. Now you have to plan enough time to make this new thing work.

Jennie Wright
Being unrealistic about how long things take is something that I have worked with a lot of people on, because we get an including Allison, who's raising her hand quite so quickly over there. We always think that it's not going to take us nearly as long as it does to get things done to create new processes to build in things. So if you're currently running a business, and let's just say that you're also like your new thing is wanting to do a summit so that you can launch a course. So you're a service provider, your one to one, you know, hours for dollars. And now you want to go one to many with a group coaching course, and you're doing a summit to build your list so that you can facilitate that new venture, then you have to look at the time that it's going to take, it's not going to take you 90 days to build a summit. If you're still being a service provider to other people's businesses, it takes more time. So look at your days, and be like, Okay, I'm spending six and a half hours or eight hours or whatever you're doing, working in other people's businesses to facilitate their growth. How am I going to do this new thing? Again, go back to your time study, go back to the things that Alex was saying about automations and processes. And then take a look at the time and then add in the whoopsies. I love to add whoopsies whoopsies, these are awesome. Whoops, these are oh crap. A client had an emergency and I need to spend the rest of my afternoon fixing the thing. Or woopsie my kid is sick. Or woopsie. I'm just not feeling it. And I need like a whoopsies also self care at times. Okay, let's just be honest. So look at how you can build that in and build in buffers. When I work with clients in this respect. And I know Allison has something that she wants to say on this. When I work with clients in this respect the other like, Oh, yeah, yeah, I'll get that to you in 24 hours, and I'm like 36 because I know, right? You build it in.

Alyson Lex
It's also important to understand how you operate. I know that I can go, pardon me, Jenny might yell at me and have to edit this out. But I can go balls to the wall for four days. I can do that for four days. day five. I'm out. The problem is that also kind of puts me out for days. 6789 Whereas if I go balls to the three feet from the wall, I can go for five days, take my weekend completely off, and then come back and still be productive. Okay, so understanding your own cycles, and your own personality in the way that you need to go, there are some people that can go, go, go Go 20 473 65, I am not that person. Also understanding your daily cycles, like I'm best in the morning, I need a nap around one, then I can come and hit it again at six. Right as well as your life. That's it's self care, and business care and time management all rolled into one. Because if you try to fight against your own self, your own body, it's going to be uphill the whole way. And that's

Jennie Wright
why the time study is so important. The time study tells you all this stuff, and it helps you build out this plan. The time study tells you when you need to take breaks. And when your body is saying it's time for rest. Use the time study wisely, you'll see the times a day I know, I know Allison's schedule slash rhythms like nothing else. I know when she gets up, I don't even have to check. I know when she naps. I know when she's back at the desk working. I know when she's mom in it. I know all these things. And she knows it pretty much about me, she can take a very educated guess, because we've just worked with each other for this for so long. So let's talk about how to do this without having the holy bleep bleep moments. We want you to start off slow. You probably are so excited about this new thing, whatever it is, and we're excited for you. And you want to jump in first, deep end, murky water, hope for the best. And we're here to tell you that although that sounds awesome, and so much fun. It could potentially not always but potentially cause problems in the future, you may jump in so quickly that you're not able to maintain it. And then you fall out, you may not be able to continue on it because it's to this and that we'll talk about that in a second. And it becomes a thing that you don't even enjoy anymore. So when you're starting out new, something new, start slow. And don't max yourself out. I relate this to joining a yoga studio. So I could do yoga every day as much as I wanted. I bought an unlimited, I got an unlimited pass for Christmas one year. Thank you so much for that pass. I loved it. But I was so gung ho that I was like, I'm doing this, I'm doing this, I'm doing this and I'm burnt myself out on this new thing. Until I was like, I haven't gone in a week. And then a week became two weeks. And then I was then by then I was embarrassed and ashamed about it. And I just was like struggling to get back into it. The same happens when we're trying to do something new. We'll max ourselves out, we'll burn ourselves out. And then we're like, yeah, that wasn't working for me, I guess I'm not going to do it. And I know Allison is going to talk about some really good stuff here. That's going to help you with that mindset shift to make that work for

Alyson Lex
you. The first thing, and we'll keep on with the physical fitness aspect of it is don't give up when it gets tough. There is a reason that people who tend to go to the gym as a habit or a lifestyle. They hate January. They hate January because all of the New Year's resolutions come in. And they're taken up all the machines or whatever. But they don't hate February, because all of those people gave up when it got tough. It got tough to maintain. If you've created a plan on how to do this, follow your plan. Adjust it as you need. Right. Hey, I don't I can't XYZ so I'm going to push my timeline out. I'm not going to be able to get the summit done in two months, which you're not going to but you know what I mean? Mike, Jennie just shot a look. All right. 120 days, not long enough. I'm gonna make it 160 days. That's okay. Be flexible with yourself. Give yourself a break, but not too much of a hall pass. Don't let up on yourself just because it feels hard. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, get the help to do that if you need it, the mindset help. I'm a big proponent of therapy, whatever you need to be comfortable enough to make yourself uncomfortable. Okay, I do have a little tool for you. I call it the must list. Okay. So I have a legal pad with two columns of stuff to do. That's my to do list and when gets, when I run out of room to write new stuff, that's when I transfer over to a new sheet because I highlight, I cross it off when I'm done. If that was my only to do list, I would be faced with overwhelm every single morning, because where do I even start? So what I also have, and I told you, I love office supplies, I have post it notes, I have more post it notes than I'll probably ever use in the rest of my business. Because I buy them in bulk. I take a post it note, and I pick the three things that I'm going to do for that day. And here's how I split focus. This is what works for me. Number one, one of those things is related to maintaining the business that you already have. In my case, it is serving a client following up via email, delivering copy, creating edits, whatever it is, one of those things is serving a current client. One of those things is hustling for the new client, money making activity, making a post somewhere reaching out to someone scheduling a podcast interview. And then the third thing is something to grow my business. The podcast interview can be there too. Right? Maybe it's I'm going to spend some time today working on my product. Or I'm going to write the copy for my landing page. Or I'm going to seek some summit experts or I'm going to Xyz right, so maybe one. So one of those things is serving the people that you're already that are already paying you. One of those things is finding someone else to pay you. And one of those things is moving the needle forward on the new stuff. That's what works for me. I like that tool.

Jennie Wright
I think it's a great tool. I think people should do that. And I think creating split focus can be really challenging. So you have to find the thing that really works for you that fits you, Alison and I between the two of us have tried many things, Asana. What else have we tried, we've tried Trello I've tried

Alyson Lex
clickup, Basecamp, Monday,

Jennie Wright
Monday, all these different online tools to try and help us organize these things. And guess where we always come back to the handwritten list,

Alyson Lex
legal pad and post it note. Yep, that

Jennie Wright
handwritten list highlighters I use my thing is different colored pens. I like different colored pens. And then I use a yellow highlighter to like, say, some, some some cool words. Some words we won't use on this podcast, because we like to keep our family rating to be like I got that done bleep. Because it feels good to do so. But that's that's where my comfort zone is. I've tried the online things. And it's just easier for me to write it out on paper. To that end, finding something that works for you is going to take a little time, this whole process that we're talking about is going to take a little time, and you're not going to get it right on the first try. So don't worry about it. be okay with it. Keep trying the new thing. And trying to build the new thing. The first time I tried to get out of being a VA. I didn't give myself enough time. And I gave up when it was hard. And I went right back to being a VA because that's how I made my money. And the second time I tried, I did a little bit better. And I was like, it got a little hard. And yeah, I didn't do that one either. And then the third time, I think, at that point between my partner and Alison going, like, can you please do this the right way so that it actually works, please, because neither one of us want to see you being you know where you're at. And I finally listened to them, which is also one of my things. And yeah, I was able to do it. I actually got a group coaching course out, you know, and I started coaching, I flipped over and started doing coaching. Do I still do some of the other stuff? Yeah, absolutely. But I have these other modalities that I'm now comfortable in doing. And they don't feel so tough for me, I

Alyson Lex
think something you mentioned there is really important and it kind of brings us to the crux of what holds a lot of people back and that's the the fear of getting help. The idea that we can do this all on our own, and that we should be able to do this all on our own. And I'm just gonna you know, hashtag transparency. I, I struggle with that. If I if I do something and it's not all on my own, I feel like I haven't actually accomplished anything, but that's so not true. And that's my own head trash that I'm working through. And if you share that head trash with me, like let's stand in solidarity, but recognize it for what it is trash to trash talk. There's no shame in saying this. Not my strength and need to get some help with us. What can I get help with. And of course, Jenny and I are here to help you with that. If you want somebody to come in and help you make a plan, if you have a big dream, and you're not sure how to get started, we can help you with that, go ahead to System to thrive.com, click on work with us. And go ahead and schedule a call. Jenny and I will meet with you. And we'll talk you through it and see how we can make something new fit into your life into your business without stressing you out without getting so hard that you quit. And actually, you know, making you money without losing money.

Jennie Wright
And we've done that for quite a few people. And we've done it very well as well. So I highly recommend that if you feel like you need the help to reach out. This isn't just us getting on our soapbox and talking about the things we are here to be in service. So we obviously would like to do that. So here's three things I want you to take from today's episode. And I want you to implement them into your business as soon as you possibly can. Because it's going to help. I want you to plan right now, for the future that you want to have. Regardless of where you are in your business. If you're just starting out, if you're in it for a couple of years, wherever you're at, I want you to plan ahead, as opposed to waiting until you feel the pressure and then starting to plan. Don't wait until you need to create slps for your tasks and your work. Start them now. So that when you need them, they're there. Second thing is I want you to understand that you're not going to be able to do at all. And practice letting go and delegating, do time study, see where you're actually spending your time. And where you could be doing a better job at getting some help. I want you to see what the minimum amount of money that you need to make in your business is, I really want you to figure that out. And then make sure that that's something that you can start to work towards in terms of automation, in terms of figuring out where you can delegate to make that happen. That is fantastic. And then I have one more bonus thing that I want you to look at doing. I want you to make sure that you're getting the support that you need to grow your business. You're planning for that future, don't forget. So if you create a plan right now, it's going to make getting to that future so much easier. Head on over to System to thrive.com forward slash thrive plan and see if having a conversation with Allison and I wouldn't help and make sense in your business. It probably would. But that's up to you. I'm pretty biased. I think it would, but go and check it out. And if you've enjoyed this episode, I have one last thing to ask you to do. Please do subscribe to this podcast. And let us that sounded very Kirk. That's very interesting. So please do subscribe to the podcast and make sure that you're not missing any of the episodes that Alison and I are putting out. There's three a week you guys, Monday quick tips, Tuesdays with our experts Thursdays, which is Alison and I, which I love. And don't miss a single one. And if you can, we would love to hear from you. Please leave us a review something that is honest and sincere. Let us know how we're doing and how we can support you further. Thanks so much for being here and we'll be back again soon answering another big question.

Listen Now:

What We Talk About

When you’re scaling your current business or adding something new like a program, course, or list build… it can be tough to keep your CURRENT business flowing. And yes, we’re talking about the money. 

Splitting your focus is hard – especially when you’re excited about the new thing you’re doing and want to go all-in, feet first. But having a plan to do it withOUT burning yourself out or going totally broke is essential when you want to make a shift like this.

In this episode, we’ll talk about how to create that plan and stick with it. Trust us, we speak from experience.

Resources

Episode 44 – The Pivot Myth Episode

Coming Soon: Financial Planning with Sylvia Inks (subscribe to the podcast to get it when it drops!)

Loom – to record your SOPs (it's free)

Ready to grow but you're not sure how to get started? Click Work With Us above or the big blue button below to schedule your THRIVE Call and see how we can help.

book a call button - click here to schedule a call

Want help creating a plan for your next holiday campaign? Click the button above to discover how we can help you figure it out!

Our transcript hasn't been proofed, so there will probably be some errors. Sorry about that!

Alyson Lex
Wanting to grow or build your existing business into something bigger or different, or more scalable, more manageable for you is natural and totally normal and awesome. But sometimes it can happen at the price of the business that you already have. Because when you focus on building something new, you tend to lose focus on what you're already doing. And that can be a tough road to navigate. So on today's episode, we're going to show you how to stay on track for that growth, and trying some new things without taking your foot off the gas in your current business. Because there are only so many hours in the day, we want what we want, and we want it now. I know I feel that way, right. And you might not have the experience or the people to do this or help you through this if you've never done it before. So we really need a solution a system. We love that word to make it happen.

Jennie Wright
I love systems systems make me happy, they put me in my happy plays. They do they make me happy. But it wasn't always like that. No. When you're trying to scale, one of the biggest things is the shift in the mindset. It's the I now have to do this secondary thing. And we're not talking about starting a brand new business, we're talking about adding something we're talking about, if you've started off as a VA, and now you want to become a coach, and you're going to do a large list, build and then sell a group coaching program. Or we're talking about being a service provider. And now deciding to go for the you know, instead of being a service provider to being something where it's one to many, and creating an online course, or a product. And all of these things create those shifts in mindset. Because if you don't if you're still thinking that your VA or if you still thinking that you're just the service provider, then you're never going to excel beyond and you'll always fall back into being in the weeds. And we're going to talk about a system today that's going to keep you moving forward without falling back into the weeds, which is exactly what's happened to me. It's exactly what's happened to Allison, these things. Yeah, every time we've tried to build our business without having a system in place, we've experienced some sort of a, oh, crap, this is too heavy, too hard, too much. And we fallen back to what we know will make us money. So this could be when you're trying to shift. This could be when you're trying to expand. And this could also be if you're trying to make a slight pivot. And now we've talked about the pivot myth. In one of our recent episodes, go check it out. It's Episode 44, where we talk about whether or not you need to pivot in your business or not pivot in your business. So take a listen to that one. In case that's something that's on your, you know, on your mind at the moment.

Alyson Lex
Okay, so a system really starts with understanding what it is that you're doing every single day, every single moment. In order to really make a change. And to figure out where your energy is best spent, you need to figure out where your energy and your time is currently spent. And this is where I like to do what's called a time study. Okay, so a time study is to write down each task that you do in a day, and how long it took you. That's it doesn't have to be super complicated. I just use a legal pad and I jot down, you know, 10 minutes on this 15 minutes on that. Some people will take it a little further and actually document and account for every minute of their working day. This is helpful if you want to see where you're wasting or losing time. Because if you notice, oh, hey, I went to Facebook to go post in these five groups. And then I spent 25 minutes on my newsfeed, there's an additional 25 minutes that you're not being productive in your day, you can decide if that's important to you. What I want you to do is see what you're doing. You may find that 85% of your tasks are not moving your business forward. Because once you're done the time study, I want you to go back and I'm highlighters if you don't have them by him, if you don't know where to buy him, talk to me, I love office supplies. I want you to color code. Okay, I want you to highlight in one color, something that you shouldn't be doing because someone else should. That's the first thing. What are you doing that is necessary for your business that someone else should be doing? In my business, it's creating graphics, building funnels, doing all of those things that I know how to do, and I like to do them. I'm not the best. And it's not the best use of my time. Okay, so that's the first thing. The second thing. The second color is, what are you doing that you shouldn't be doing? Because it's not beneficial for your business. I love going to networking events, networking, zooms, networking events, all of that stuff, because I like to go out and meet people. There is an in person networking event that I used to go to, in the before times, and even before the before times was a thing. And I went, they happen every six months. And I think I went to like seven of them. Okay, so I did this for a number of years. And I would always get dressed, I would go, I would drive, I would meet people, I would spend a couple hours there. And when I actually looked back at them, and calculated the amount of business that I got from this one event, I'm not ashamed to tell you that that number was round and singular. It was zero. It was not beneficial for my business. So why am I doing it? Okay, so that's one example. But this could be anything that you're doing, that's not actually moving the needle for your business. Just stop doing it. Right. So the first thing is, what are you doing that someone else should be? The second thing is, what are you doing that nobody should be? And the third thing is, what are you doing? That you Only you can do? That is the stuff that stays on your plate. Okay, so for color number one, you're going to create an SLP, we're going to talk about that in a minute. For color number two, you're going to stop doing it. And for color number three, you're going to keep doing it. That's a time study. And that's how it can help you really start to reduce your own workload in preparation for doing something new. Does that make sense?

Jennie Wright
Of course, I did a time study back in the days when I was a VA, because I wanted to see where I was squandering a large amount of my time. And I squandered a large amount of my time. Back then it was an app, a very simple app that you could put and you could sort of type things in. It was okay, but it really did show me where I had some opportunities. I, and this teaches you something about yourself that I think is very important. How long can you do it one task before you start to get the distracting stuff, right? So that's very important. So what's your what's your love that? Absolutely, I know that I'm about a 20 to 30 minute, like, I can go full on for 20 or 30 minutes. And then I need to give myself a little bit of a break just my eyes or something, look at something a little bit different. Sometimes I can go for, you know, 45 minutes, but I can't go more than that. It just doesn't work for me. So take a look into your time study for that. Let's talk about what we can outsource. And I love this. In so many ways. Outsourcing is great, but it's also not great. So we don't want to outsource just for the sake of outsourcing. We want to outsource the tasks that should not be on our list that are repetitive or things that somebody else can do for you. That will not, you know break the business if you're not doing them right. So something that somebody else can do. So let's talk about how you do that. And we've talked about this a couple different times and little bits and pieces on different episodes. But we're going to talk about building up an ESOP. an ESOP is standard operating procedure. People use it in corporate all the time, people use it in, you know, manufacturing standard operating procedure. And it is sort of this step by step by step of what it is that you do. Now, if you're like Alison and I, we do not want to get a duck out and do a step by step by step, we actually want to sort of do it in the moment. So you can take a look at using zoom to record you doing a task like a shared like a sharing your screen in zoom in recording it as you're doing the tasks that you will eventually outsource or use loom or any other screen capture software that can capture what you're doing and also can capture your voice at the same time explaining it. Here's how I set up my emails. Here's how I like my blog post setup, here's where the content is, here's how I like it copy and pasted. Here's the formatting that I like to see. And then make sure that you're doing the following tagging etc, etc. Right. So I think that's very helpful.

Alyson Lex
The other thing that this does, and I've discovered this as I've been creating some of these videos, is it actually shows you the the inefficiencies in your own process real time. I have canceled reshot videos because I'm like, wait, I'm explaining something that's way convoluted, and this is stupid. So I'm gonna find an easier better way to do it. I Quick Change my process and then reshoot the video. So that's a fun little thing that just happens. Because you create these SLP videos,

Jennie Wright
we have a whole Bank of SLP videos that we've actually created, and that are in our folders, as well as we've actually created a playlist in YouTube. And we've put that there, so that if at any time we want to do this, which is great. And here's a great thing, I also now share this podcast together, which means we share duties. And as a result, there's some things that Allison does that I don't do. And there's things that I do that Allison doesn't. But in the case of something happening to either one of us to get this podcast out, or to complete a task that we share in the administrative side of doing what we do, there are slps that are created specifically for that, because I have no clue some of the stuff that Allison does, but the ESOP is there. And if I follow it, I know that I'll be able to complete the task. So that's really, really important as well, if you're working alongside a partner, or if you're sharing duties with somebody, etc. So start doing start doing stuff like that. I think it's good if we move on to understanding our current sales needs, right? And talking about what we currently have to do with that. Now, if you're, if you're trying to do the bit like you're trying to take the business from where it is right right now, wherever that is, and accelerate it, or grow it, or build it to a new level, then you need to look at the minimum viable amount of money you need to make to continue to maintain paying the bills, putting food on the table, paying the rent and all those things. What is that minimum number? How do we maintain that. So look at your bare minimum level of sales to meet all of those obligations, and then look at what you need to do to maintain it. Whilst you plan for this future growth.

Alyson Lex
We actually have an episode coming up with someone named Sylvia inks, and she talks about understanding what your your monthly number is, and what the gotchas are those yearly things that you forget about really, getting a clear picture of your operating budget, is going to help you understand what that minimum amount is that you need to make each month. And then you can say, Alright, I need, I'm just gonna pick a round number, I need $5,000 a month. That's what I need to pay my bills, keep the lights on, pay my Evernote, or my zoom or whatever, right? What do I need to do to make that money, I need three clients, I need one client, I need to sell XYZ. What that does is it helps you see the minimum amount of focus that you need to have on your existing business. Okay, because remember, we're not necessarily trying to just totally shift off and no new thing. But we are trying to grow and that is going to require focus. So by understanding where the minimum amount of effort and attention and energy is, then you can say, okay, so if I need one client to pay the bills, to clients is going to be a successful month, and the rest of my time and energy and attention and focus can be spent on my course my list, build my product, my program, my pivot, whatever.

Jennie Wright
There's a lot that I love what you said there, and then the addition made me spark something in my head. So do you remember when you adopted your son?

Unknown Speaker
Yes.

Jennie Wright
And you you I mean, you went from the before times of not having your son to the times of having your son who at the time was pretty much a newborn, and you needed time to get into the flow of being a new mom. Yeah. And unders, you know, getting on schedule and doing all these kinds of things. You had to take time off for that?

Alyson Lex
I did. It sucked.

Jennie Wright
Yes. So what we're talking about today is for growing your business, but with the level of planning that we're talking about. You can also use it for the times when you need to take a step back. I've had to have a couple of things in my life that have taken making me take a step back. My mom passed away Christmas 2018 I had to take a step back. A bigger step than I originally thought. I had surgery in October of 2020 had to take a step back. And with the planning, this helps. So I just wanted to pop that in there. Because I know that what we're doing is planning for growth. But at the same time, we can use this to plan for those unexpected

Unknown Speaker
moments.

Alyson Lex
I really like that. I think that's a really smart way to look at this I I create what I call and this is probably more, but what I call bus book, okay, and this is everything about my business, everything I mean, what my processes, who to contact, what to do, in case I get hit by a bus, it's what's called the bus book. And yes, seriously, I've created one for every job I've ever had. And now I have it in my business. It's something that goes to my husband, if something happens to me. Part of this bus book, or this planning this contingency is what is the minimum viable to keep this thing going. I really like how you did that. I'm not trying to take a dark turn here, right. But that's life planning that you guys need to do to get your business steady. We're trying to avoid that wake up in 20 days, and realize you've got 10 days left in the month, no clients and rents do or the mortgage or whatever. Because that can happen, whether you're taking a step back because of the new baby, or some life things that happen. Or your focus is shifted to growing your business in a different way. You're making the plan for maintaining and building. Alright, you've got your time study. You know what to do what needs to be outsourced? What needs to be done, but you shouldn't do it. Maybe you've created some systems and processes to help things make things more automated. So one thing we didn't mention is in your time study, you're going to realize, Hey, I'm doing this same thing over and over and over and over again. Is there a way I can automate this? And I'm sure we have other episodes, or we will have other episodes on Audible, I want

Jennie Wright
to do a whole episode on automation. I think that's a great idea.

Alyson Lex
Yeah, we'll put it on the list. Yep. Now you have to plan enough time to make this new thing work.

Jennie Wright
Being unrealistic about how long things take is something that I have worked with a lot of people on, because we get an including Allison, who's raising her hand quite so quickly over there. We always think that it's not going to take us nearly as long as it does to get things done to create new processes to build in things. So if you're currently running a business, and let's just say that you're also like your new thing is wanting to do a summit so that you can launch a course. So you're a service provider, your one to one, you know, hours for dollars. And now you want to go one to many with a group coaching course, and you're doing a summit to build your list so that you can facilitate that new venture, then you have to look at the time that it's going to take, it's not going to take you 90 days to build a summit. If you're still being a service provider to other people's businesses, it takes more time. So look at your days, and be like, Okay, I'm spending six and a half hours or eight hours or whatever you're doing, working in other people's businesses to facilitate their growth. How am I going to do this new thing? Again, go back to your time study, go back to the things that Alex was saying about automations and processes. And then take a look at the time and then add in the whoopsies. I love to add whoopsies whoopsies, these are awesome. Whoops, these are oh crap. A client had an emergency and I need to spend the rest of my afternoon fixing the thing. Or woopsie my kid is sick. Or woopsie. I'm just not feeling it. And I need like a whoopsies also self care at times. Okay, let's just be honest. So look at how you can build that in and build in buffers. When I work with clients in this respect. And I know Allison has something that she wants to say on this. When I work with clients in this respect the other like, Oh, yeah, yeah, I'll get that to you in 24 hours, and I'm like 36 because I know, right? You build it in.

Alyson Lex
It's also important to understand how you operate. I know that I can go, pardon me, Jenny might yell at me and have to edit this out. But I can go balls to the wall for four days. I can do that for four days. day five. I'm out. The problem is that also kind of puts me out for days. 6789 Whereas if I go balls to the three feet from the wall, I can go for five days, take my weekend completely off, and then come back and still be productive. Okay, so understanding your own cycles, and your own personality in the way that you need to go, there are some people that can go, go, go Go 20 473 65, I am not that person. Also understanding your daily cycles, like I'm best in the morning, I need a nap around one, then I can come and hit it again at six. Right as well as your life. That's it's self care, and business care and time management all rolled into one. Because if you try to fight against your own self, your own body, it's going to be uphill the whole way. And that's

Jennie Wright
why the time study is so important. The time study tells you all this stuff, and it helps you build out this plan. The time study tells you when you need to take breaks. And when your body is saying it's time for rest. Use the time study wisely, you'll see the times a day I know, I know Allison's schedule slash rhythms like nothing else. I know when she gets up, I don't even have to check. I know when she naps. I know when she's back at the desk working. I know when she's mom in it. I know all these things. And she knows it pretty much about me, she can take a very educated guess, because we've just worked with each other for this for so long. So let's talk about how to do this without having the holy bleep bleep moments. We want you to start off slow. You probably are so excited about this new thing, whatever it is, and we're excited for you. And you want to jump in first, deep end, murky water, hope for the best. And we're here to tell you that although that sounds awesome, and so much fun. It could potentially not always but potentially cause problems in the future, you may jump in so quickly that you're not able to maintain it. And then you fall out, you may not be able to continue on it because it's to this and that we'll talk about that in a second. And it becomes a thing that you don't even enjoy anymore. So when you're starting out new, something new, start slow. And don't max yourself out. I relate this to joining a yoga studio. So I could do yoga every day as much as I wanted. I bought an unlimited, I got an unlimited pass for Christmas one year. Thank you so much for that pass. I loved it. But I was so gung ho that I was like, I'm doing this, I'm doing this, I'm doing this and I'm burnt myself out on this new thing. Until I was like, I haven't gone in a week. And then a week became two weeks. And then I was then by then I was embarrassed and ashamed about it. And I just was like struggling to get back into it. The same happens when we're trying to do something new. We'll max ourselves out, we'll burn ourselves out. And then we're like, yeah, that wasn't working for me, I guess I'm not going to do it. And I know Allison is going to talk about some really good stuff here. That's going to help you with that mindset shift to make that work for

Alyson Lex
you. The first thing, and we'll keep on with the physical fitness aspect of it is don't give up when it gets tough. There is a reason that people who tend to go to the gym as a habit or a lifestyle. They hate January. They hate January because all of the New Year's resolutions come in. And they're taken up all the machines or whatever. But they don't hate February, because all of those people gave up when it got tough. It got tough to maintain. If you've created a plan on how to do this, follow your plan. Adjust it as you need. Right. Hey, I don't I can't XYZ so I'm going to push my timeline out. I'm not going to be able to get the summit done in two months, which you're not going to but you know what I mean? Mike, Jennie just shot a look. All right. 120 days, not long enough. I'm gonna make it 160 days. That's okay. Be flexible with yourself. Give yourself a break, but not too much of a hall pass. Don't let up on yourself just because it feels hard. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, get the help to do that if you need it, the mindset help. I'm a big proponent of therapy, whatever you need to be comfortable enough to make yourself uncomfortable. Okay, I do have a little tool for you. I call it the must list. Okay. So I have a legal pad with two columns of stuff to do. That's my to do list and when gets, when I run out of room to write new stuff, that's when I transfer over to a new sheet because I highlight, I cross it off when I'm done. If that was my only to do list, I would be faced with overwhelm every single morning, because where do I even start? So what I also have, and I told you, I love office supplies, I have post it notes, I have more post it notes than I'll probably ever use in the rest of my business. Because I buy them in bulk. I take a post it note, and I pick the three things that I'm going to do for that day. And here's how I split focus. This is what works for me. Number one, one of those things is related to maintaining the business that you already have. In my case, it is serving a client following up via email, delivering copy, creating edits, whatever it is, one of those things is serving a current client. One of those things is hustling for the new client, money making activity, making a post somewhere reaching out to someone scheduling a podcast interview. And then the third thing is something to grow my business. The podcast interview can be there too. Right? Maybe it's I'm going to spend some time today working on my product. Or I'm going to write the copy for my landing page. Or I'm going to seek some summit experts or I'm going to Xyz right, so maybe one. So one of those things is serving the people that you're already that are already paying you. One of those things is finding someone else to pay you. And one of those things is moving the needle forward on the new stuff. That's what works for me. I like that tool.

Jennie Wright
I think it's a great tool. I think people should do that. And I think creating split focus can be really challenging. So you have to find the thing that really works for you that fits you, Alison and I between the two of us have tried many things, Asana. What else have we tried, we've tried Trello I've tried

Alyson Lex
clickup, Basecamp, Monday,

Jennie Wright
Monday, all these different online tools to try and help us organize these things. And guess where we always come back to the handwritten list,

Alyson Lex
legal pad and post it note. Yep, that

Jennie Wright
handwritten list highlighters I use my thing is different colored pens. I like different colored pens. And then I use a yellow highlighter to like, say, some, some some cool words. Some words we won't use on this podcast, because we like to keep our family rating to be like I got that done bleep. Because it feels good to do so. But that's that's where my comfort zone is. I've tried the online things. And it's just easier for me to write it out on paper. To that end, finding something that works for you is going to take a little time, this whole process that we're talking about is going to take a little time, and you're not going to get it right on the first try. So don't worry about it. be okay with it. Keep trying the new thing. And trying to build the new thing. The first time I tried to get out of being a VA. I didn't give myself enough time. And I gave up when it was hard. And I went right back to being a VA because that's how I made my money. And the second time I tried, I did a little bit better. And I was like, it got a little hard. And yeah, I didn't do that one either. And then the third time, I think, at that point between my partner and Alison going, like, can you please do this the right way so that it actually works, please, because neither one of us want to see you being you know where you're at. And I finally listened to them, which is also one of my things. And yeah, I was able to do it. I actually got a group coaching course out, you know, and I started coaching, I flipped over and started doing coaching. Do I still do some of the other stuff? Yeah, absolutely. But I have these other modalities that I'm now comfortable in doing. And they don't feel so tough for me, I

Alyson Lex
think something you mentioned there is really important and it kind of brings us to the crux of what holds a lot of people back and that's the the fear of getting help. The idea that we can do this all on our own, and that we should be able to do this all on our own. And I'm just gonna you know, hashtag transparency. I, I struggle with that. If I if I do something and it's not all on my own, I feel like I haven't actually accomplished anything, but that's so not true. And that's my own head trash that I'm working through. And if you share that head trash with me, like let's stand in solidarity, but recognize it for what it is trash to trash talk. There's no shame in saying this. Not my strength and need to get some help with us. What can I get help with. And of course, Jenny and I are here to help you with that. If you want somebody to come in and help you make a plan, if you have a big dream, and you're not sure how to get started, we can help you with that, go ahead to System to thrive.com, click on work with us. And go ahead and schedule a call. Jenny and I will meet with you. And we'll talk you through it and see how we can make something new fit into your life into your business without stressing you out without getting so hard that you quit. And actually, you know, making you money without losing money.

Jennie Wright
And we've done that for quite a few people. And we've done it very well as well. So I highly recommend that if you feel like you need the help to reach out. This isn't just us getting on our soapbox and talking about the things we are here to be in service. So we obviously would like to do that. So here's three things I want you to take from today's episode. And I want you to implement them into your business as soon as you possibly can. Because it's going to help. I want you to plan right now, for the future that you want to have. Regardless of where you are in your business. If you're just starting out, if you're in it for a couple of years, wherever you're at, I want you to plan ahead, as opposed to waiting until you feel the pressure and then starting to plan. Don't wait until you need to create slps for your tasks and your work. Start them now. So that when you need them, they're there. Second thing is I want you to understand that you're not going to be able to do at all. And practice letting go and delegating, do time study, see where you're actually spending your time. And where you could be doing a better job at getting some help. I want you to see what the minimum amount of money that you need to make in your business is, I really want you to figure that out. And then make sure that that's something that you can start to work towards in terms of automation, in terms of figuring out where you can delegate to make that happen. That is fantastic. And then I have one more bonus thing that I want you to look at doing. I want you to make sure that you're getting the support that you need to grow your business. You're planning for that future, don't forget. So if you create a plan right now, it's going to make getting to that future so much easier. Head on over to System to thrive.com forward slash thrive plan and see if having a conversation with Allison and I wouldn't help and make sense in your business. It probably would. But that's up to you. I'm pretty biased. I think it would, but go and check it out. And if you've enjoyed this episode, I have one last thing to ask you to do. Please do subscribe to this podcast. And let us that sounded very Kirk. That's very interesting. So please do subscribe to the podcast and make sure that you're not missing any of the episodes that Alison and I are putting out. There's three a week you guys, Monday quick tips, Tuesdays with our experts Thursdays, which is Alison and I, which I love. And don't miss a single one. And if you can, we would love to hear from you. Please leave us a review something that is honest and sincere. Let us know how we're doing and how we can support you further. Thanks so much for being here and we'll be back again soon answering another big question.


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