Student. Intern. Lifestyle blogger. Graphic Designer. Educator. Branding Expert.
Everyday I wake up and have multiple hats to wear. Systems, they’re something that are vital to a thriving business. If you don’t have systems, you’re probably operating in the land of dysfunction. With a few simple tweaks and a bit of discipline, your life can be freed from the hours behind your screen, the headaches that can come with walking aimlessly throughout your business. While systems aren’t sexy, if your systems suck, you’ll know and will be feeling the pain for years. Hey there fellow entrepreneur, what do you think about getting on top of the pain points in your business and developing systems that work? Today we’re making things super practical, as we pull back the curtain and let you in on our systems. Grab a cup of coffee, you have 10 minute read ahead, it’s one of our favorite posts to date.
Glisten & Grace: Our Systems
1. We swear by The Chalkboard method.
We came across this method a few years ago and as a visual person, it keeps our long term goals in mind. (You can listen to the full concept on Being Boss podcast here.) While we don’t have a full wall to dedicate to a chalkboard, we’ve opted to place ours on a smaller bulletin board with pieces of cardstock instead. We have a long-term goals listed, as well as short term goals, and weekly to-do lists. This keeps our quarter’s goals in front of us. Our categories include 10 Collaborations or Sponsored Posts, 10 Affiliates to add, 10 Clients, and quarter sales increase to date. By having blanks in front of our workspace, it keeps us looking forward to grow as a company.
2. When the credit card bill comes in, we fill in our spreadsheets.
For most entrepreneurs, there’s a massive groan when it comes to all things finances and taxes. It’s easy in the midst of the daily grind to ignore items and have a massive headache when tax season comes around. When your credit card bill arrives in the mail, take an hour and make sure to transpose expenses on an Excel sheet. (We always prefer something on our hard drive for our business finances.)
3. We dedicate 1 Hour a Week to Writing for Instagram.
Instagram is our favorite platform and over the summer, we’ve been tweaking our methods. With a few launches coming up this quarter, we can’t wait to see how this platform continues to grow. Honest engagement and great content are our jam. For most folks, Instagram can feel like a chore. With a content-focus to our Instagram, we spend an hour to write for Instagram a week. This allows us to space to develop our content a week ahead, revise the copy, and shoot accordingly. We do the same for our social media clients, seeking their approval for copy, prior to posts going live. This gives your social media a strong presence and strategy as content rolls out.
4. Have an automated system for onboarding clients.
When we receive an email, we have four e-mails drafted that typically meet the needs of any client. If a client requests a meeting we send a form via Google Forms, to have a better idea of what they’re looking for if the meeting is a cold call. Any client meeting is restricted to one hour before shifting to a consultant meeting. Our contracts are fill in the blank proposals. They take less than 30 minutes to modify for each client. Within each proposal is a hyperlink to sign the Contract via SignNow and another link to Pay a deposit via Paypal. It’s simple, fast, and keeps back and forth communication to a minimum. Once clients sign contracts, they receive moodboard instructions, a branding questionnaire, and pre production deadlines for their project via Google Calendar (particularly for dates that require their approval).
5. Personal life hack: Do 2 loads of laundry and dry cleaning, while cleaning the house.
In two hours we are able to get all of our chores done for the week. We begin by starting with dry cleaning in the dryer, then place whites in the washer. We then follow with darks, the load that has the most hanging items to dry. We combine our whites and darks in the dryer, while most of our denim we line dry. (Usually it gets dry within a day due to the Redding heat.) This reduces our energy bills by only using the dryer for dry cleaning and one load of laundry a week.
6. Spend Sunday evening prepping for the week.
Whether it’s meals or scheduling, if we wait until Mondays to write out to do lists, schedules, or be prepared for meetings, we’re already behind. Instead of investing this energy on Monday mornings, do this on Sunday evening to be prepared and hit the ground running Monday morning.
7. Have an admin day once a quarter.
We firmly believe that if it doesn’t exist in Google Calendar it doesn’t happen. Here’s how we keep our calendars organized. For work, here are our calendars: blog posting content, photoshoots, work deadlines, and meetings. For the rest of our life: we have home, birthdays, bills due, and This keeps everything on appropriate calendars and makes our color coding hearts delighted.
8. Develop templates in Evernote.
Ever feel like your notes from client meetings get lost in your stack of Moleskines? We’ve been there. Rather than trying to keep everything on paper, we’ve gone digital. We developed a few templates that we swear by. We have one for Client Intake meetings, one for a Project Brief, and one for a Creative Business Plan. How do we use them? In your Evernote dashboard, duplicate the template and retitle the note for the specific client or project, modifying the content below each prompt.
9. Track increased income/sales and to invoice in the same Excel sheet.
Every quarter this year, we’ve exceeded our sales goals, which is a big, big deal for our company. We track every invoice and payment received in excel. Once a client receives an invoice, their payment is marked in yellow. Once payment is received and cleared in our account the line goes back to no fill. We have a separate tab titled, “To Invoice” for clients on retainer where we’re working on multiple projects at a time, this allows us a simple time tracking system. We’re fully aware that this can be done through Bonsai or Honeybook, but have opted to keep our expenses streamlined, investing in less subscription services and digital products, keeping our overhead low. At some point we may switch over to an online platform, but for now our clients on retainer are familiar with our systems and it works.
10. Automation is your friend.
There are seasons where we’ve subcontracted, had personal assistants, and hired other creatives we respect in our field. There are other times where flying solo has been the name of the game. Sometimes you need to delegate to an accountant or a web developer (we do both of these) and other times it’s as simple as stopping by Trader’s to pick up a favorite salad and apple on the go. Coming in under $5, it remains less expensive than eating out and is far, far better for you. Other times you just need to hire someone to clean your house, do sourcing for shoots, or handle laundry. There are loads of tools out there that can help you automate your business. ( One of our most popular posts about that right here.)
What are some of your best systems in your business? What are the rhythms and season of your year? How does the seasonal calendar guide your systems?
We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.