I'm Dolly — a Nashville based family & branding photographer AND a systems + workflow educator (and Podcast Host) for creatives who want to be more streamlined and organized with Systems, Workflows & SOPS to better impact the backend of their businesses. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about workflows!
When you’re a solopreneur, every single thing you can do to save time matters. You only have so many hours in a day to work on your business, and learning how to automate things early will save you hundreds of hours and improve your client experience.
Here’s the thing: Setting up systems, specifically with a project management tool, isn’t as hard as it seems. Today I’m showing you how I implement my T.A.S.K. framework to break automation down into bite-size, manageable pieces. You’re gonna love it!
T.A.S.K. is my signature framework for running a streamlined, successful business. It breaks down like this:
A: Actions of automation
S: Systems & Social Media
We start with the “Think” step because this is where most small business owners get in over their heads. Instead of looking at your Project Management Tool (I use Trello) and feeling like you’ll never put all the pieces together, I want you to think through your processes. When I say processes I am talking about your client’s journey with you from start to finish. Like, where is their entry point in inquiring to work with you…all the way to what would be the very last point of contact with you when you deliver their final project (and all the steps in-between) Yup…this part may take the longest only because you need to put pen to paper and write down ALL the steps! (Or if you are a Trello or Asana user, you can simply type it all out in list format!)
Choose one system to automate – maybe it’s sending invoices or project proposals – and focus on one piece of the puzzle at a time. (Don’t overcomplicate this part. If you are overwhelmed with just thinking about writing out your workflows, start with ONE process). Heck, it may even be thinking about your content creation system and how you present your information on social media (yup, that in itself is an entire workflow and process)!
Once you’ve thought through the process and chosen a specific place to start, then you’re ready to start working on the actions of automation. This is where I keep things super simple and small!
You are going to look at the workflow and determine which parts of the process (the workflow) can be automated and which parts of the workflow will need to be handled personally (manually) by you! I always like to write the letter “A” (for automate) beside all of the actions which can be automated within whatever tool I am trying to apply a specific workflow to when I am first writing out my workflow (because I am a crazy woman) and also because I want to see how many steps can be automated!
Taking ACTION of writing out your workflows and then mapping out which ones will be automated and which parts have to be manually applied…this is the hard part for LOTS of business owners. Not because they are lazy, but because they are overwhelmed and that is why I am encouraging you to start with just ONE process. Write out ONE workflow that you know you do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis for your small business.
Another reason why this step may take the longest is that once you know the parts of your workflow which can be automated, you will actually need to take the time to “automate” those pieces. For example, if you know that there is an email you send out ALL the time for this one specific part of your workflow then an easy way to automate this process is by writing out that email and putting it in your “canned emails” of your CRM software.
Another example is, if you are constantly sending out a specific invoice, then create a template for that specific invoice and put it in the workflow and you can personalize it for each and every client you work with by adding “smart fields” to the invoice (smart fields will populate the client’s information when they become a project in Dubsado for example).
After automation actions are in place, you’ll move on to integrating your systems (aka the workflows you put in place) into social media. So an example of this would be = if there a place on social media where you can easily embed a link to your contact form (from Dubsado for example) where if a client fills it out they will be entered into an automated workflow? Like, you know your clients will most likely “enter” to meet you on Instagram, so can you put that link in a Linktree link in your IG bio? Or, if you know your clients are always on Pinterest and they are engaging with your Pins, can you put your link in the destination link of the fresh pin you created so that workflow automates immediately? (Again, you know your audience best so think about ALL of the entry points on social media they can start working with you, and see how you can attach your systems/workflows to these starting points)!
Finally, what Knowledge are you giving to your clients through this entire process? What VALUE are you giving them? Yes, they may only have a 7-8 second initial impression of your business online, but they need to immediately see the value that you offer and how they can work with you! Knowledge is power!
As I worked through this framework, I realized I could apply it to helping teach other entrepreneurs how to streamline their business (by showing them how to save TIME)! And then – BOOM! – The “Batching Your Content Strategically” Trello Template + Masterclass was born!
I want to invite you to join the Masterclass if you’re ready to learn how to use my T.A.S.K. framework to actually automate, streamline, and set up systems of success for your small business (specifically when it comes to batching out content and ultimately saving TIME every month in your business)
There is a free download I have created that gives you access to a Trello template + checklist I use every month for my own business, and it helps you dip your toes into the world of automating and setting up systems for your own small business by the power of BATCHING out your content strategically and purposefully. I have also included a special link for a Masterclass that pairs perfectly with the download! Either way, the freebie is here and I would love for you to jump into the fun waters of automation & systems!
Automation and Workflows and Systems do NOT have to be overwhelming or complicated. Let me help you get started, and you’ll see what a game-changer automation really is! And seriously, it will surprise you that it all starts foundationally (as you plan out CONTENT for your small business)
(Workflows, you will discover, are very multifaceted and fun)!
Dolly DeLong is a Nashville-based family & branding photographer and a creative business owner who educates on all things Pinterest, Dubsado, Lead Magnets & Email Marketing (aka pretty much all the fun automation stuff centered around those business systems)! Dolly loves serving families, and business owners with her timeless, radiant photography. She loves capturing the joy and emotion in both digital and film photos.
She also has a heart for serving the larger business community. Dolly shares her knowledge of tools like Pinterest, Dubsado, email marketing, and business systems with new creative business owners in an encouraging and supportive way because she believes that even muggles can become automating wizards!
Dolly’s faith and love for her family motivate her to help other business owners find the joy and freedom she’s found in running a successful small business.
Whenever she has a spare moment, she enjoys watching TV (i.e. Survivor), loves eating way too many sweets, and listens to podcasts while running or walking. To work with Dolly DeLong Photography, fill out her contact form here.
Interested in learning how to best automate your small business but have NO clue where to start? Click here (or on the image below) to get started with learning the foundations of automating your business with Dolly DeLong Education!
Or maybe you're not really sure how you'd use your new collection of branded images? Download my free planning guide to learn how to plan an elevated brand photography session to impact your business!