Why I almost closed the doors
Life happens, Never forget. Change always happen.
2018 was the year where I almost gave up and closed the doors. Not because business wasn’t going well it was one of the best years financially but I didn’t adapt as I was growing.
Having a business as a solopreneur, scheduling and foundational pieces are so critical to your business health. Not having core pieces in place such as your contracts, sub agreements and terms + conditions will cripple your business.
Because of new partnerships, my business was at an all-time high. New leads, new clients, social media on point, and blog is at triple the views that it has ever did. (not even ashamed) Things were finally coming together but then Everything went wrong.
Even with life happening, my business took a hit and I couldn’t figure out why, until I took a step back and go to the actual root of my issues. There were two things I found: 1) my systems were horrible and non-existent and 2) no value.
Because I was running business like I had 3 clients, because I never planned to have 20 clients, I didn’t have the proper system in place to seamlessly handle those 20 clients. Things fell through the crack, I lost a lot of time and money.
The only thing more valuable than money is time. And after I started to track my time for each project and I noticed I shorted myself a lot.
So now I find I am spending well over the “estimated” time and not charging the overage.
I am spending 3-4 hours with clients that are only paying for 1 hour, and they don’t mind soaking up the additional time at no cost.
I also didn't value myself so my clients didn’t value me. I almost completely closed up shop and walked away, how could I ever come back to a “good” place in business?
Well I have to do things differently; Everything that was not working had to be re-built with a new foundation.
There were 2 major problem areas of my business I identified needed to change asap:
I had no through systems for clients or myself
No sense of urgency for clients
“I had no through systems for Clients or myself”
Trying to run a business with a team and nobody knows what to do or how to do because it's not documented. Just because “I” know what to do for every client and service type doesn’t mean my team knew what and how to do it.
This hindered me greatly because my business couldn’t thrive by itself, I had to be present everyday with every step with every client.
It also caused things to fall through and get missed
So I went through each of my services, wrote down each intake step needed, every document or client related item needed, every step to actually complete each service and entered it into my CRM Dubsado.
It allowed me to add every contract, add lead forms, questionnaires and proposal needed to run my business as smoothly as possible. Add workflows and package information so that everything for intake and client communications are in one place. Having everything in one place took a load off, having new client intake completely automated made me excited.
It helped free up time for the other tasks I needed to accomplish on a regular basis.
Nothing was missed in onboarding, everything needed to complete a project was already waiting for me in my inbox, kick-off meetings scheduled, stress gone.
No sense of urgency for clients
With my systems in place and automatically onboarding clients, I knew the next area I needed to focus on was creating a sense of urgency for my clients. Having clients that would drag their projects out for a year or two, couldn’t happen anymore. I had to put restrictions on projects, outline them clearly on all communications and hold my clients and myself to them.
Adding restrictions for client projects was beneficial to my entire business, it helped it flow better. I wasn’t looking at the same project three months later, all projects started to end on time which meant the next month I was ready to start new projects. If something overlapped, it was in the final steps and wouldn’t interfere with my new projects.
Once you start to change the way you work your business, you will see a new grade of clients come in. Never feel discouraged to level up your business, those clients that you have will adapt to the new procedures especially if it benefits them. Yes, you may lose some but you will gain so much more.
Running your business in the first two years is completely different from running your business in year five. If you have done it correctly, you would have planned for the growth and had the proper systems in place from the beginning. Even though nothing goes as plan, you would have something to build upon. Always plan for the future of your business it helps you stay on track and keep your eye on where you want to be.
I hope with sharing a part of my story I help another solopreneur skip over the lessons I had to learn and soar to the next step.
Until Next time,