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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!
If you’re anything like most of us, the start of a new year means taking stock of our past successes and chances to improve for the future. You may have signed up for various courses and programs in the past with every intention to complete them, but some other commitment or distraction has kept you from actually finishing them.
In this episode, I am sharing my very own framework and step-by-step process of making sure every course I invest in, gets completed and brings value to my business! If you are ready to dust off those digital shelves and complete the courses that once seemed impossible to pass up, this episode is for you!
Are you ready to automate the backend of your lead magnets? I have compiled the comprehensive checklist to ensure that all your puzzle pieces are in place for your next opt-in, your next offer, or even your next bundle! Stop letting tech fears hold you back from automating and streamlining the backend of your amazing offers and opt-ins!
(Need more than a checklist? Sign up for the mini-course!)
An action plan of how to actually consume and finish all of the courses you have purchased
My own playbook to dive into each course or learning material I invest in
Using a project management tool to create an implementation plan
Celebrating your progress and growth with the courses you invest in
Tips to get motivated to dust off your digital shelves of courses you have purchased and start organizing and implementing them
Kat’s Trello Templates: https://katschmoyer.com/
How to automate your opt-ins: https://dollydelongphotography.com/how-to-automate-your-opt-ins
Hey, and welcome back to the Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast. I am your host, Dolly DeLong. And if you’re here for the very first time, I want to say thank you so much for tuning in, and if you are a veteran listener, you all know, I appreciate you coming every single week. Thank you so much, my friend. So this episode is going to be very short and sweet, because I want you to take immediate action after listening to this week’s episode, or at least that’s my hope for you. So as you may or may not know, I just wrapped up my second annual systems and workflow magic bundle, the 2.0 funnel bundle edition to be exact. And I cannot wait to do a full recap episode with you in a couple of weeks because a lot happened and I want to share the systems and workflows I put into place to make it happen, and I want to share the highs and lows with you as well just to share what went into planning out this bundle, deal? Today’s topic is an idea that actually came to me as I was mapping out ideas for this podcast and this topic is a topic that not a lot of creatives want to admit, but I know we are all guilty of this. This is what we’re guilty of, or at least, I’m assuming most of us will admit we’re guilty of. We buy courses, mini-courses, master classes, etc. and we never finish them. Alright, raise your hand or you don’t have to raise your hand if you’re driving or if you’re alone, it’s okay to raise your hand if you have purchased a course in excitement or masterclass in excitement, and then you completely forgot about it, or you got bored or something happened. But since it’s 2023, it’s a fresh start and a lot of listeners want to put a system into place for themselves with new courses, then I thought I would share how I organize all of my courses in purchases for my own business. And what I do to actually consume them, what steps what workflows I have put into place for myself to take action, okay? So as mentioned last week was the Systems and Workflow Magic Bundle and there were 1000s of dollars of courses and master courses and classes in that bundle and for the students who purchased the bundle, first of all, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my systems loving heart. Thank you so much. So now I want to give you an action plan of how to actually consume and finish all of these courses you may have purchased. And if you didn’t purchase the bundle, that’s fine. You most likely have purchased some sort of mini course or masterclass in the past year, and you want to apply it to your business. So here are some action steps. Before I go into the action steps, I do want to say I’m not trying to shame anyone or make anyone feel guilty. If you have ever purchased a course and you’ve forgotten to consume it or life happened and it had to be put on the back burner. Like, I don’t want you to hear me saying, “Oh, you’re not proactive enough” or “you’re not doing enough to consume it.” I’m simply trying to give you my own action book of what I do with each of my own purchased courses. And this system has helped me consume the majority of the courses I have invested in. And so again, I want you to listen to this as a strategy for my own playbook and I hope it encourages you. All right. So step one, once you purchase a course, a master class, mini-course, or whatever you want to call it once you purchase make an investment for your own creative business. I want you to actually invisibly mark on your planner, either digital or paper planner when you’re going to set aside time to consume this new education. Because believe me, if you only think about it and don’t write it down, it won’t happen. It will not happen, believe me, it will not happen. So even if we have the best intentions, sometimes if we just let it be a thought, nothing comes of that. So what I recommend is carving out one to two hours a week, because that is more realistic than me saying, “Oh, you can carve out one to two hours per day.” Because I know many of us have very busy lives, with our families, with spouses, with work with clients, whatever life is busy. So I want to make this super realistic. For me, this educational time is normally my Friday afternoons while my son is in his room for quiet time, and my other son is napping. So there is a guaranteed window of either an hour and a half or two hours of education time for my business. So I would encourage you, you know your schedule the best, you know what’s realistic for you. So mark that day in your planner and make the commitment to stick with the schedule. Another part of this step is to have reminders on your phone to remind you what you are planning on doing. So again, make this a priority for yourself to further your education for your creative business. Because, again, if you want to feel this further, even if you write it down, or mark it in your digital planner, like your phone or an app, if you don’t set any reminders for yourself, you may forget about it. So make sure that you have those reminders, those weekly reminders until that course is consumed. Now, if you can do more than one to two hours per week, that’s amazing. But I wanted to give you a realistic view of what this looks like for me. And also, I wanted to share a very realistic carving out learning time for you the listener because life is busy and jam-packed. And there are so many different layers that we need to consider. So that’s why I say start off with one to two hours per week on the same day, the same timeframe. So step two, now that you have mapped out your learning and consuming plan, I want you to organize it in your project management tool of choice. So for me, this is Trello. I have a Master Trello board labeled weekly to dues and I got this template from the incredible Kat Schmoyer, who has been on the podcast two times. Actually, I’m gonna link it in the show notes so that you can also have access, you guys, it’s free. It is a free resource. So if you are new to project management tools, and you want to get your feet wet with Trello, check it out. So if you’re familiar with Trello, it is a board in one of the lists on this individual board is dedicated to all of the courses I have purchased and I know I want to consume in my free time for continued education. So within this list, I have cards that are dedicated to each course I’ve purchased. In each card, I put an image of the course because visually, it shows up on the list of the Trello board. So when I open up the board, let’s say on Friday, I can just scroll over to where the list is, and then where the card is. And I see visually oh, I have purchased this Copywriting for Creatives. I have had it, and I love learning from Ashlyn Wright. So, there you go, she did not pay me to say that, that is a course that I’m currently consuming on a weekly basis. Okay, so I put an image of the course so that you can just click on it and you recognize it visually. I usually put my username and password for easy access. I put the URL of the course, I put the name of the course, put the name of the educator and I attach any notes I am taking alongside each lesson and each module in the attachment area of the card, so I can easily open it up and take notes with each lesson every single week. Sometimes I also attach any corresponding materials which come with the course too. That way it’s not getting lost in the course and it’s not lost in my email. And depending upon what lesson I’m consuming that week, I can just go into that Trello card and click on the extra resources and learn alongside. Or at least, that’s my preferred way of learning. Sometimes, some courses I’ve purchased in the past, have links to a private audio training and so I will put the link to the audio training in that card as well. So I realized I just shared a mouthful of information. And the card again, I’m putting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 different pieces of information that have to do with accessing the course consuming the course actually doing the homework of the course, and putting it in one centralized location. Why do I organize it this way? Well, for one thing, I use Trello as my project management tool of choice every single day in my business, so it’s my go-to resource for everything, so if you use Asana, ClickUp, or another project management tool, then apply this to your preferred project management tool of choice. Either way, I want you to set up a system for yourself to organize your newly purchased programs so that you won’t forget what you’ve purchased, your investment doesn’t go to waste for your business, and you’re taking action steps. And if you want to take it a step further, do this for each of the courses you may have purchased through, let’s say a bundle. Now this will take some time. But once it’s all organized, it’s under one digital roof. For me, again, that’s Trello. So it’s under one digital list on one board. And that way I could just click over to I know it’s on my weekly to-do board, and I can go to that board, then I can scroll over to that list and I can scroll through all the courses I have in mind that I want to consume for the next two or three quarters. And I can click on a specific card. If you have a project management tool that also has an app version for your phone, then download that because I use Trello and Trello has an app for my smartphone. So even if I’m not next to my desktop, and I can’t learn like at my desk, I can open up my phone and learn on the go and have actually done this. Like if I am laying in bed and I want to learn something, then I will open up Trello and have all the username and password information, either through LastPass or on the Trello board card, and I will just open it up from there. That way I’m not going back and forth to my Gmail and looking up password recovery and all that stuff. So I’m not going back and forth between tabs, it’s all under one tab.
Step three, after you’ve made a plan of when you are going to consume it, and you’ve organized it in a way that will help you streamline your learning, my next recommendation is to do the homework from each module or lesson. So basically do the work. Listen, my saying in my head has always been slow and steady wins the race. I feel like I can seem like I take action super fast. But I have always loved the tale of the tortoise and the hare. And this is why I loved how the tortoise beat that like a very conceited rabbit, it gave me set satisfaction. I’m just laughing, thinking about this, that it did give me so much satisfaction as an eight-year-old in elementary school. I remember in second-grade learning that story and I remember thinking, wow, that is amazing and obviously had an impact on young Dolly’s mind. So to this day, I like to take things for my business slow and steady. And I try to work on every facet of each lesson in the module of the course I just invested in to soak things up along the way because I know it will impact me in the long run in more positive ways. So in relation to your newly purchased course, I actually really encourage you to do the action steps for each lesson of the module and to track your progress, apply it to your business as you learn, and again, actually do the work. So this is why I like to attach my notes to my Trello board so I can open up each week during my designated learning periods. And I don’t have to open up a fresh Google Doc and my notes are scattered everywhere. Or I don’t have random pieces of paper from different notebooks depending upon what notebook was on my desk that week. So bonus tip, if you tag the course instructor and let him or her know of your progress that you are actually consuming week in and week out. That goes a long way in their educator’s hearts and maybe I’m selfishly speaking from experience from being a Systems and Workflow Educator myself, but whenever my own students post about their work in progress, I get so pumped for them and I want to cheer them on. So as you are consuming your course let the instructors know what you’re doing and what you’re up to because it really means a lot to us. Okay, step four is a little silly, but celebrate. So I know you are going to get to this step with this thought-out system with this workflow. And here are some things that you can do once you finish up whatever course you’ve invested in. Number one, write a review for the course instructor and let them know how this has helped impact your business. Number two, you can even use the mark it as complete button on your project management tool to make your mind feel complete that you finished up this course. Number three, celebrate yourself and this milestone in a way that is realistic for you and your business. For me, sometimes that means treating myself to a crumble cookie, or taking my son to Panera because, one, it’s his favorite place in the world. Literally, I don’t know why, but it makes me laugh so hard. And so that way he gets a treat. I love celebrating with my little ones so, while he is celebrating with Cookie, I am celebrating and I am breathing a sigh of relief that I accomplished something educational for my business. There you have it. These are my four steps, my four recommendations, or if you want to look at it as a four-part workflow for you to consider after you have purchased a course or courses to further your own business. Now, I hope that this episode was encouraging to you. And it empowers you to take stock of the resources in courses you have already purchased and they’re at your disposal, and he may have forgotten about them. So make sure you dust off those digital shells of those teaching platforms you have purchased from and start organizing them and use this four-part framework that I just shared with you to actually get through each course. So again, go and take some action steps and let me know what course you are consuming. So head on over to Instagram find me @DollyDeLongEducation and just let me know what course you’re consuming, and just if this episode was helpful for you at all, and sharing your own system for how you set yourself up for success in actually consuming and finishing up courses you invested in. As always, I hope you all have a magical and streamlined week, and I will talk to you all next week. Bye.
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