Category Archives: planner

5-Tips-for-Creating-Systems-that-Work

5 Tips on Creating Systems that Work

When it comes to all things business, my personality is a rare combination. I thrive on both process and structure within creativity. Due to some of the larger projects I have taken on over the past few years, my business has lead to consulting and helping other creative entrepreneurs build their business. Whether it’s conversations about planning, branding, or launching something to the public, many struggle to make and stick to systems. I’ve found that many systems can be quickly adapted and modified to something that works for you, your life, and your business.

Over the past year of listening to entrepreneurs, here are 5 tips on how to create systems that work.

Know thyself.

One of the biggest hangups in business is not knowing the best ways we work, process information, or derive creative energy. Here are a few great questions to ask yourself:

  • What’s the motivation behind my company? What are the core values behind it? How will this motivation propel me on days where I don’t feel like hustling?
  • When do you have the most energy? Schedule your days accordingly. If mornings are your thing, dedicate your creative, heavy thinking, project dreaming, copy writing time to this. If evenings are your jam, leave your mornings for sourcing, errands, and other things that make your business tick.
  • If structure and systems feel overwhelming and daunting, like everything within you wars against it, it’s time for a heart check. Ask yourself why? Have you believed that being creative means an on-the-go, carefree, nomadic life? Does structure feel counter to driving something creatively? Figure out a way to reconcile this tension and find a way to move forward. Without systems, you might feel like you’re drowning. Access the feelings within and make a plan to move past them.

Break things down into manageable parts.

When it comes to major project launches, overhauls, or client projects, break things down into something that is scaleable and manageable. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will any good business. Look at what you need to do. Break out a pen and paper. List it out and break it down. Know what your capacity is and what is manageable for you. For month long projects, I break down pre-production deadlines week by week. This allows for a bit more flexibility throughout my days allowing for things to have breathing room. However, I do know what I need to get accomplished throughout the week and get to it. If you’re offering services and have income goals for your year, look at your pricing structure and how much work you need to do to get there. For example, if you want to increase your sales by $20,000 for the year, divide that amount by 4. This means you need to increase your sales by $5,000 each quarter. This is a manageable $1600 per month, around $400 a week. Base your hourly rate and pricing structure accordingly.

Develop systems for pain points in your business (or life). 

Have an email list to develop that you’ve been putting off? Are you terrible at keeping a house and a healthy lifestyle? Do you have sheer panic when it comes to tax season? Develop systems for the things that slow you down and are pain points. In our house, this is really practical. We love things to be clean, but really hate spending days off doing chores. We take one morning to get everything done. Here’s how it works for us. We start with laundry. While we are doing our first load of wash, we put anything in the dryer that might need dry cleaning. As things are in the wash, we clean out the fridge, make a grocery list, and do a quick clean of the house. We switch laundry, put in our second load, and head to the store to put up anything we might need for the week. In around 3 hours, we complete everything we need to do (including 3 loads of laundry and a load of dry cleaning) for the week and it’s ready to have anyone over. We do the same thing for our bookkeeping. When our credit card bill comes in, we transpose expenses to excel. We try to do it once a month, but if we get a bit behind, we do it once a quarter. Taking things in smaller pieces, relieves pressure, and keeps overwhelm at bay.

Stick to your systems.

There are weeks where we don’t want to stick to our systems. We see friends who work a part-time schedule and it’s easy to be envious, want to bail, hit the lake, and embrace the carefree side of life. Dreams and going after a career are far from easy. It takes crazy amounts of time to get where you want to be, but in the long run we’re thankful and so grateful for what can happen when we choose to follow our systems.

Remember the purpose of systems. They provide freedom to run after greatness. 

As an entrepreneur you got started for a reason. You had an idea, a plan, and something that excited. You probably got into business for yourself for a good reason. You love the idea of working from your yoga pants in bed, the flexibility in hours, or the idea of building your own vision. The purpose of systems is to serve the greater good of your business. It allows for freedom, growth, and abundance to occur. Systems allow you to tweak things, make improvements, and with a bit of discipline provide creative freedom unlike ever before.

How are you doing at developing system? Is this a pain point in your business? What tasks do you need a system and a workflow for?

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.

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make resolutions come true evernote

Make Resolutions Come True by Setting Intentional Goals with Evernote

This blog is written for and is a re-post from Evernote’s blog. You can find the original post here.

Why do we make resolutions we have no intention of keeping? Why do we join gyms in January but abandon them by the middle of February? Why do we abandon our resolutions so quickly? Does it stem from a lack of willpower? Do we have terrible habits?  Probably not. The most likely reason is we have no idea how to go about turning resolutions into goals. It’s not possible to change a behavior or a habit without constant awareness or a system to help you through it.There is a difference between having great intentions for your resolutions and taking intentional steps to make them happen. Here are five tips for setting intentional goals for 2017.

Make sure to head over to the full post here!

This post was sponsored by Evernote. Thank you for continuing to support brands that support Glisten and Grace. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

word of 2017 focus

2017 A Year of Focus

Confession: This is my favorite week of the year. The world is articulating hope, dreams, and moving forward. This magical and feels different. The visual noise and clutter from the holiday season have died down and a season of new beginnings has come forth. Last year, my word for the year was risk. Indeed, it was full of risk, stepping out into the unknown, and embracing the wild adventure that came with it. (You can read last year’s post here.)This year’s word is focus.

Over the past year, my attention has been pulled in too many directions. At times it brought me to the point of physical exhaustion and a breaking point. While attempting to navigate the proverbial work-life balance, I multi-tasked with the best. It has yielded less than stunning results. There are items I have worked tirelessly to build toward a goal and vision, only to wake up one morning and realize that I never wanted the achieved goal in 5 years. I’ve learned that progress over perfection is invaluable as a creative. But more than anything, knowing what truly deserves my time, attention, and focus, will allow me to bring forth my best self.

As a creative leading a small team, I set the course for our creative direction and focus. What happens when I lack focus? Others tend to follow suit. In a world where there is constant content available, with our phones clamoring for our every spare moment, my focus was constantly torn away from what mattered. The importance of being present was invaluable. I’ve found silencing my phone and spending days off are necessary to meeting the needs of my creative heart. Here I find clarity, new inspiration, and the adventure my soul craves. As an entrepreneur, you learn over time that it is necessary to work toward time off. In the next year, I’m hoping to take regular days off, no longer needing to capture life for my job or additional content, but to experience it. (Over the past three years, time off was used to visit family. I’m ready for a change to this pattern.) 

With focus and margin, I’ll be able to bring my best to the table. No longer treading water or feeling at a constant breaking point, I’m embracing the beauty that 2017 has already begun to offer. Full of passion, wholeheartedness, and living open. With the ability to focus, I know that production in this space will continue, but will remain inspired, not manufactured. It is easy in the world of blogging, like any other field, to produce quickly rather than with brilliance. I am the only person who will set the standard for my creative best. What does this look like specifically? I’m finding that routines are beautiful to help me move forward. I miss the quality time in my sketchbook, playing with hand lettering, and the tangibility of design I always love. I miss the days spent in my sun-soaked apartment kitchen, recipe testing, and inviting friends to be my taste testers. I miss the printed moodboards on taped to my window, filled with beautiful packaging, printing methods, and magazine layout inspiration. With 2017, I’m hoping to bring back more of the analog elements of the design and content process that I love.

With the start of 2017 brings other goals as well. Fitting in meal prep and workouts, finally purchasing a new-to-me car, and finding an adventure a month are ways I’m choosing to focus on self care.

What about you? Do you have a word for the year? What are you working on as you move into a new year?

 

money groupon

Saving Money with Groupon Coupons

Last month, I spent a week living off of nothing. While that was an interesting challenge in and of itself, I’ve found that there’s nothing quite like the feeling of saving money. Whether it’s a reward card for coffee or using a coupon to save on items for the home from a big box store, removing excess and simplifying life. Regardless of the means, I love saving money. There’s something about finding a great deal or find on a sale rack that still gets me excited. Last year when building out my kitchen, I saved $100 at a single store using coupons. This year you will finding me doing the same. Around our house I’m known to be the coupon queen. I’m definitely not someone worthy of a feature on that ever popular cable TV show or having a stockpile. I recently discovered that Groupon now features some great coupons.

Here are 4 tips for saving even more money with coupons.

Rather than buying into hype, I keep my spending slim by only using coupons where I’m already spending money.

I love purchasing clothing from J. Crew and makeup from Sephora. Makeup and classic pieces are necessities to maintaining the creative professional look I love to rock throughout the week. Whether it’s a favorite eatery, coffee shop, or home decor store, I make sure to only purchase items where I truly have a need. If not, I’m not actually saving money.

Clip only what you know you will use.

I’m all about keeping life simple, so that means less of a paper trail. (I absolutely hate clutter.) I only clip paper coupons for places I know I will use before the expiration date. These stay in a small simple file in my bag. This way I never have to plan ahead when going shopping, making a list, and grabbing coupons. They’re always on hand.

Go past the traditional methods of clipping coupons.

When using big box stores that feature digital coupons or apps, I step to the side and look through apps for any additional savings I can find before heading to the checkout aisle. Groupon coupons can be stored on your phone and easily accessed for any in-store purchases. There are also retailers that include text offers throughout the store, peppering additional savings throughout. Make sure to check these offers as they provide savings that can be stacked with digital and paper coupons, providing huge savings.

Check before you book.

Who doesn’t love to save money when it comes to traveling? I love balancing saving and splurging when traveling. I’m always out to find great deals when booking accommodations, flights, and rental cars. (These seem to be both the greatest expense with traveling and the place where you can save the most.) Once I have my feet on the ground, I splurge on things like shopping, food, drink, and coffee to understand the local flavors and vibe of the city. When you travel, think about the additional expenses you may have past flights. Using coupons is a great way to save. From hotels to rental cars, make sure to check before booking deals online.

With a few mindful steps, you can save loads. What are some of the ways you save?

This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you for supporting the brands that continue to support Glisten and Grace.

 

 

 

automate your life

How to Automate Your Business (and Get Your Life Back)

When you hear “automation” and “systems,” what are the first things that come to mind? Like most creatives, I used to groan when I heard about systems. It sounds boring and dull. However, after three months, can we tell you something? Systems have absolutely given my life back. It has been worth it. Every step of the way.

On any given day, I handle most of the administrative tasks of WORK, while balancing and maintaining my other jobs and streams of income. The past three months have been a marathon and it doesn’t look like it is slowing down anytime soon. Here are some of my favorite tools for getting things done and automating portions to get my life back. (For when you can’t do everything and can’t afford to hire an assistant.)

Evernote: 
Evernote is by far my favorite app for getting ideas down on paper. Whether it’s writing the communication plan for a brand or jotting down rough drafts to blog posts, it has been a lifesaver for idea development. This is where I start my blog brainstorming every month, draft out video concepts for WORK’s Youtube channel, and write out recipes I’m testing for the blog. If I’m looking to make sure I get all the shots I need at a photoshoot, I make sure to include a list and/or photos for inspiration in a shot sheet. Developed on my desktop, I can access these shot sheets on my phone when on location.

Todoist.com:
I just downloaded this app and can I tell you something? It’s a game changer. Before this app, my business partner and I would spend hours communicating about tasks, scheduling, and reminders. It was an inefficient use of time and something we both dreaded. I used to be a pencil and paper kind of person. However, I would find that I would constantly write out lists over and over again with those pesky tasks that didn’t get completed the day before. This is a free app and allows you to designate tasks to individuals. There’s a project feature and a timeline feature. It means I can delegate tasks to my business partner and schedule them. I also have a projects list in the sidebar that includes tasks for the blog, design clients, and daily errands. The recurring task feature and ability to assign to individuals is brilliant. How to move past the pen and paper problem? I use my iPad as an additional screen keeping the website visible throughout the day. With two tabs open in Safari, one todoist.com and one being Google Calendar everything remains right in front of me. Problem solved.

Google Calendar/Drive:
Google Calendar and Drive is another lifeline for team projects. Everything that is important, stored, and needs mutual access between my business partner and I can be found here. Whether it’s keeping the books, vision for events, or copy for Instagram writing, it can be found here. I use Google Calendar to schedule anything and everything. With the ability to invite and share with others, my business and I update our personal calendars, the calendar for the space, and I have a blog posting content calendar. There’s a separate calendar for shoots and school too! (Yes I may have used almost calendar color with Google. It’s alright. I’m completely okay with it.)

Planoly:
Spending 2 hours scheduling Instagram, it is completed for the month. (For WORK we’re scheduled until the beginning of the month!) I spend an hour writing our captions in Google Drive. Below each post, I add hashtags for later reference and if any link in the profile needs to be temporarily changed. My business partner then spends an hour capturing, curating, and scheduling images in the feed.

Filters:
Using the same filters through editing apps on our phones, allows our WORK and our individual businesses to have a cohesive look throughout social media. That and a few perfected presets in Lightroom, it gives the vibe I love for each and every image. I use the VSCO and A Color Story apps for editing on our phones.

Automate your bills:
Wherever I can, either personal or business expenses, I have scheduled automatic bill pay. This way I’m never past due on our bills. It keeps our finances tight.

Automate your life, find systems that work for you and we promise you that you’ll get some of the fun and play in your life right back!