If you're feeling the need to get organized and like you have your sh*t together for 2021, this post is for you. While I don't consider myself an overly organized person who always has it together, there are a few things you can do now to help your business (and life) function better down the road later in the year. Everyone will have a different approach to these things, but here are my best tips:
Start the year with a clean slate
This one is simple. Deep clean your workspace, get rid of junk and donate anything not being used. Start the year with with less!
Clean up your money/payment situation
First, make sure you have a business bank account for all the money you accept from clients. This should not go into your personal account. Make sure you’re accepting payments that are professional and easy to track like square, PayPal etc. Venmo is not a way to take money from clients... just saying. Hire a tax person immediately. It is worth the $100 a month to have someone handle your money and then at the end of the year you’ll pay them to file everything the right way.
Check in on your website
First and foremost, make sure your website is functioning. Ask yourself: Is it clear, concise and straight to the point? Does it list all your services and prices? Are there any spelling errors? How do the pictures look? Are they all the same size and look professional? Does everything flow and is it enticing? These things are so important! I'd recommend having someone you trust look over everything and give you honest feedback. You really should have your website perfected before moving on to any part of your business.
I see too many women get caught up in the fluff of owning a business and they haven’t first fine-tuned their website AKA your main landing point for customers. While we’re talking about your online presence - how is your social media? I know you’re probably rolling your eyes right now but to be fair, social media is the way of the world and so you at least have to have some sort of online presence beyond your website to show that you are staying current with the trends.
You have to be intentional when it comes to social media if you want it to make an impact. It doesn't matter if you have 5 or 5k followers but your business should be active on major platforms and be visible and cohesive. It doesn’t need to be perfect but it needs to be done and in a way that is both consistent and visually appealing. Pinterest helps me for social inspo when I'm feeling bored or uninspired, so I highly recommend utilizing it! I've also shared so many free graphics you can use as well!
De-clutter your products and any retail you sell
Are there things you're holding onto that you don’t use or products that just aren’t selling? This is a great time to re-evaluate what your potential customers and your current clients want from you. Having this clarity is priceless because I know I’ve been guilty of wanting to sell something selfishly when it’s not a product my client actually needs so I suggest really getting to know your clients instead of blindly trying to sell them on things. This could mean offering them a survey via social or in person or just straight up asking what they want from you during an appointment.
Get on a schedule
I know most of you reading this take clients but sometimes our schedules can be a little all over the place so it’s important to set specific hours for yourself even when you aren’t taking clients. For example, I go to my office Monday, Tuesday and Thursday - those are my days to really be productive. On Wednesdays I stay home and work on my computer and while my days are always different, I am now in a groove and know exactly what needs to be done and when.
I should probably write a whole blog post about this but what has really helped me is creating a loosely based content calendar. I try to be planned out two weeks to a month in advance and it’s nice to just have things on the calendar that you can see to remind yourself of what needs to happen later on in the month. Most of the time when we aren’t taking clients we are twiddling our thumbs or don’t know what to do with our time. I set business hours that I work during and I check my calendar to make sure sure I’m on schedule.
Honestly, one of the hardest parts about being a solo owner is being organized and knowing what to do in your spare time when there's no one to tell you that you need to be/what to do. It requires self discipline and a game plan and a whole lot of purpose. Dig deep to find what drives you and make a list of what is most important and prioritize it.
Have a place for everything
This has really helped my business develop. I’ll give you an example: All the vendors I work with, all the products I sell, any info regarding anything in my studio is all in my Google drive. Every photo shoot picture is in my Dropbox. All of my products are kept track of in Shopify. Meaning there is a purpose and place for everything so even when I’m feeling all over the place, my business is organized for anyone walking into it. This took me four years to really focus on because truthfully my business got ahead of me before I was prepared.
Keep your personal life organized too
I know I talk a lot about business but I believe you’re home life is just as important so I’ve really worked on focusing on keeping my home organized as well as my business over the last few years. I give myself a day during the week to really clean up shop at home. This allows me the weekends to enjoy my life a little bit more and not feel like I’m just cleaning all the time. I’m constantly picking up after myself but my home never gets too out of control. Two things that have made all the difference for my life at home include having all my bills on on auto pay and any home products I constantly use on repeat are on subscription through Amazon, which means they show up at my door without me even having to think about it. This has really been a lifesaver for my business and my home life.
Focus on one thing at a time
Doing one thing at a time has also been crucial for me personally. It’s really easy as an entrepreneur to want to do all of the things, so what I do is have a running list on my Google tasks or in a notebook of all the things I really want to do and slowly but surely I check one off at a time. More doesn’t equal successful if none of it gets accomplished so try and pick one big goal for the year and a few tiny ones to sprinkle throughout.
For example, this blog was something on my to-do list for forever and I just didn’t have the bandwidth to do it. Now here I am five years later writing a blog, but I had to organize my business before putting on another hat. Sometimes you have to get everything else in order before you can do things like this. Are you wanting to launch a product, get into training or something entirely new and exciting? Get the boring stuff done FIRST, which is everything I’ve listed above.
Quick tip: When you’re switching gears throughout the day, take 5 minutes to stretch, walk around and re-focus for the next project.
BONUS: A few tips from my very minimalistic, super numbers-driven fiancé who is the MOST EFFICIENT man I’ve ever met:
- Write everything down. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I use the notes app and have one list.
- Organize emails and use a file system so when you’re done reading them they don’t just sit in your inbox. This way they have a place to go in case you need to find it later on.
I hope these tips help and motivate you to start 2021 off right!