2: So, What Is a Workflow & Why Are Systems Important?

You know how much I love systems and workflows, but what are they, and why are they important? In this episode, I’ll be introducing each and highlighting how you can get started in creating them in your business. Listen in as I share five steps to building out a custom workflow and implementing the system into your business!

The Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast is brought to you by Dolly DeLong Education. This is a podcast for creative business owners who want to learn tangible steps to automate their business through workflows, systems, tools, and strategy in order to go from scattered to streamlined with purpose. Because even muggles can become automated wizards.

Click below to listen to Episode 2 of the Systems & Workflow Magic Podcast!


Review the Show Notes:

What’s a Workflow? (1:08)

Exercise: (1:42)

Write out every entry point. 

List your products/services & start with one.

Step 1: Write out the customer journey for one service. (3:11)

Step 2: Transcribe it into a spreadsheet as a source of truth. (6:30)

Step 3: Add your workflow to a project management tool. (7:42)

Step 4: Rinse & Repeat (10:04)

Step 5: Commit (10:30)

Consistent Client Experience (11:18)

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Review the Transcript:

Welcome to the systems and workflow magic podcast where I help entrepreneurs go from scattered to streamlined in their creative businesses. I’m your host, Dolly DeLong, a wife, a mom and a photographer turned systems educator. Join me every week as we have conversations centered around creating tactical workflows, and automations in your business. Now, let’s make some strategic workflow magic.

So here’s the thing with workflows. With so many different options out there, it might feel difficult to know where to start. And for a lot of creative business owners, automation sounds like the exact opposite of how they want to be spending their time. It sounds techy, time consuming, and hard to figure out. But the truth is, you do not need a PhD in automation to get started. That’s why today I’m sharing just one baby step you can take in order to start automating your creative business. So let’s get started. Let’s first define what a workflow is. So I personally define a workflow as a blueprint for your customer’s journey from start to finish in relation to your specific service. So if you are a Baker, who makes custom cakes for couples, then what is your client’s journey from start to finish and working with you? What would their roadmap be with you? Also, side note, I really want a cake.

So going back, so like in episode one, we chatted about different points of entry for your ideal clients, you are going to write out where your customers are finding you. Remember, those are called entry points. So some entry points might be word of mouth, Google ads, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, tik, Tok, etc, that will be the top of the funnel for your clients. And again, the top of their point of entry, I know that there will be several. So going with the baker example, how are your ideal clients finding you so that they can order their own custom cake, and then just insert your specific business. So instead of me going through each step with you, because I know that will put many business owners to sleep? Here’s my challenge to you. pick just one product or service that your business offers, then follow these four simple steps I’m going to outline in today’s episode.

And my hope is, by the end of this episode, you’ll have your very first workflow solidified, or you’ll have a general rough draft of that workflow. And you’ll have an idea of where you can begin in automating certain steps. So let’s dive into step one. So step one, I know I mentioned this earlier, but write out your customer journey. Write out the workflow for the one service which you are thinking of, instead of getting overwhelmed. If you offer 10 different services within your business, I know the feeling of overwhelm and dread can come over you wash over you. So just start out with one destination one service or product that you offer. Write out your step by step workflow for how you work with clients on the product or service you choose. From the second, a client stumbles upon your website, to the moment they’re signing on that dotted line, and the day you deliver the final product.

What does that look like? If there isn’t a system currently, this is your chance to create one. Does the client schedule the call? When do you collect payment? What does communication with the client look like? Think through as many details as you can even the little ones and write it all out with a pen and paper or type it out. Some call this an SOP, which is a standard operating procedure. But don’t overcomplicate this process. Just write it all out so that it can be outside of your head and on paper or on a Google Doc. This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but the more I educate others about workflows and systems, the more creative business owners I meet who have not taken this first step they say it feels overwhelming. I think it feels overwhelming because you have so much information in that amazing and creative brain. And if you just took a moment to brain dump that client workflow for that one service, you will experience a sense of calmness because it’s been extracted from your head to paper. And you don’t have to depend on your memory for that one workflow because it’s been documented. By listening to this podcast, you’re one step closer to creating strategic workflows in your business.

But trust me, I know just how overwhelming creating systems and automations can be, especially if you’re not obsessed with them like me. That’s why I’d love to invite you to join me for a magical one on one funnel strategy day, where we’re going to automate your business together. In the strategy days, I’ll take the stress out of the never ending tasks and work it feels like you have to do and create the workflows, systems and automations to streamline your business and free up your time in one day will take your business from scattered to streamlined with a customized roadmap of every funnel you need, what lead magnets you need to create email sequences you need and sales offers that work together to build complete confidence that you’re bringing in the right people to grow your business. So how does that sound? If you’re ready to put the stress of automating your business behind you, head to the show notes for today’s episode to get more information on a funnel strategy day with me.

Merging into step two, hopefully you put it into a spreadsheet, and you’ve put it someplace that lives outside of your brain. Like I said, that way, you will have a document that lives outside of your head and you will have a standard operating procedure that you can tweak later on down the line, but it’s outside of your head. Now that you have the workflow written out, transcribe that workflow into a spreadsheet, use as many lines as you need, but make sure it gets all in one place. This spreadsheet will act as your source of truth for what systems and processes you have decided to commit to. And it will be a great thing to reference along the way when you need reminders. Because we all need reminders. Once you see it all laid out on a spreadsheet, you may see some patterns in your workflow.

For example, you may see that there are different phases of a client’s journey with you depending upon where they are pre booking, booking, or off boarding. So make sure you label these different phases. The next step is to add this process in to a project management tool. And if you don’t have a favorite project management tool, yet, that’s totally fine. I have three different tools that I am going to recommend to you right now. So the first one is Trello. This is a free and easy project management tool at its finest. If you want a clear, simple project management tool, this one is for you. And it’s a great place to start. Oh, and speaking of Trello, I have included a free download to how to plan out 30 days of content in three days using Trello. And this would be another excuse to get your feet wet with how to get started with workflows in Trello. And you can access that freebie in the show notes.

A second project management tool is Asana. So Asana lets you do project management Well, however you want. So can you say customization, I have heard many business owners who love this tool for its versatility. And if you have a team, then you can use it with them too. I personally don’t use Asana myself, because I use Trello. And I don’t want to overwhelm myself with so many different tools. But I’ve heard great things about this tool. And I know if you work with a team, it’s great to use it in a team environment. My third favorite project management tool is dubsado. So this is my CRM or client relationship management tool of choice. And I call it your one stop shop for all things automation. So you can collect payments, set up workflows, and email clients all in one place. One of the features I love about dubsado is their task feature where you can literally set up boards, like kind of think about Trello and organize all of your processes in one place.

But if you just wanted to write out all of your workflows in dubsado, you can literally do that in your workflow section. I will be sharing more episodes in the future about dubsado Because again, this is my favorite automation tool I use daily in my business and I wanted to feature pretty much all of their different aspects of this project management tool in future episodes. So step four may seem a little cheesy, but now that you have written it all out, and you have your ideal clients journey mapped out, remember for that one service for that one product. Now you just have to rinse and repeat. Once you’ve determined your workflow, remember, this is for one product or service. The last step is to commit, do the same process every single time. When you commit to the process, you’ll save yourself lots of headaches, and lots of frustration in the long run, because it’s not living in your head. And you’re not depending on memory to give each client the same client experience.

Because, believe me, if you just depend on your memory to give your clients a consistent client experience, you will eventually forget some critical steps, especially in the thick of your busy season. Plus, a bonus of having a consistent workflow is this, you have a consistent client journey. And your clients start developing trust with you over time, because you’re not so erratic, and there are not any holes in your clients journey. Because of the consistent client experience, your clients will over time sing your praises, because they know what to expect from you. And their raving reviews will help bring more clients your way. And one of these reasons is so simple, because you developed a strategic and steady workflow.

Not to jump too far ahead for future episodes. But I’m actually inviting an industry expert in client reviews, who is going to be sharing more about the systems and strategies she has created to ensure she has braving client reviews. And I just cannot wait for you to listen to that episode. Anyway, going back to all first steps. Now getting a little deeper. Once you have written it all out, you may notice steps that can be automated, aka like canned emails, sending invoices sending forms sending a questionnaire. This is where the power of automation with workflows comes into play. But I’ll talk about that more in depth in other episodes. Plus the bonus of this again, it’s out of your head. And if you ever hire a va, a virtual assistant to help you out with certain tasks of your business, you can easily hand your specific systems and workflows, your standard operating procedures because you’ve written them out, and you know them well enough to train someone.

So that is a huge win win. So in summary, so if you want to start automating your work, the first step is setting up your workflows is writing them out. Now that you’ve done this first one, go back and repeat this process for every product and service you sell. Yes, it is time consuming, but you are taking the time to save time. And these workflows will become the foundation of your automation and will be the saving grace when it comes to your business, especially during busy season and especially as your business picks up. So I would love to know if this episode was helpful for you at all. Please take a screenshot of this episode and tag me on Instagram at dolly DeLong education. I hope you have a wonderful day and I hope you continue to find the magic and workflows in strategic systems in your business. Bye.

Thank you so much for listening to the systems and workflow magic podcast. You can find full show notes from today’s episode at dolly DeLong photography.com forward slash podcast. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be so honored if you’d subscribe and leave a review on your favorite podcast player. Be sure to screenshot this episode, share it to your stories and tag me at dolly DeLong education over on Instagram. Until next time, go make some strategic workflow magic

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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