*This post contains affiliate links. If you should follow the links and purchase a product or service based on my referal, I will receive compensation. With that being said, I would still recommend everything in this post, even if I didn’t have affiliate relationships with these companies. The products truly help me to thrive in my business so I can serve my clients, and my family, well.
When Mason was around four months old, Matt had returned to work and I was in the middle of the busiest fall wedding season my business had ever seen. I remember laying my sweet infant on a play mat in my office, and being able to have several bursts of productivity during the day between his feedings and during his nap.
“This will be a piece of cake!” I recall thinking to myself.
Then…about four months later, my early crawler became mobile, and I learned just how very wrong I could be.
(Image by Natalie Jayne)
The first year of running my business while balancing motherhood was false advertising. It wasn’t until I was thrown into the gauntlet of wedding season with an active toddler last year that I realized several truths that I would carry with me forever…truths that have become necessary for my survival. I don’t say that to be dramatic. I say it with the utmost sincerity. Last year was a tough wakeup call, and overcommitting in various aspects of my life caused undue stress (read: anxiety and depression). I knew, once I saw the light at the end of the tunnel of busy season, that I had to do what I could preventatively ahead of the coming year. I needed to create systems to prevent overwhelm and help my business to thrive, so I could focus the necessary energy on being the best version of myself for my family.
So here are some of the problem areas in my business, and the solutions I found to help solve them.
Problem Number One: It turns out I’m a terrible accountant.
Small business owners wear many different hats. My favorite ones are the trendy ones, the ones that look good on my head and make me feel like a million bucks in a room full of my peers. Submitting weddings to be featured. Networking with my industry buddies. Creating social media content. There were a few hats I threw into my closet and piled laundry on top of to forget about. Namely, monthly categorizing of my business expenses. I had a system for saving and storing all of my receipts, but I would wait until December to categorize them all (doesn’t sound like “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” to me). It was painfullllll.
Okay, I’m not the most tech-savvy person, so I was nervous this app would be too complex at first. YOU GUYS. I should have started using this program years ago. Not only does it connect straight to my bank account, but it syncs automatically, helps me categorize, AND tracks my mileage. At the end of the year, it exports a beautiful report for my tax guy, and I can now spend the month of December decking the halls rather than sorting receipts.
Problem Number Two: I needed to refine my system for contracts and invoicing.
I used to use two separate platforms for contracts and invoicing. I researched a few CRM programs, but most of them seemed complicated (and I am a firm believer that, especially in this season of life, simple is necessary).
When I started using Honeybook, I immediately felt like I had taken my business to the next level. Not only did it help build trust between me and my clients by allowing me to present myself as a professional through official contracts, convenient invoicing systems, and completely branded communication. It allowed me to organize all of my client communication, from emails to contracts, payment plans to questionnaires all in one interface.
Problem Number Three: I realized I couldn’t do it all alone.
Time is our most precious resource, and when we become mothers, our purpose with our children often shifts our focus. I realized there were aspects of my business that were good and necessary, but were also time consuming. These were tasks that needed to be completed, but didn’t necessarily need to be completed by me.
If it weren’t for Kara and Christian, I probably would have had to close the doors to NSP by now. These women are the reason I’m able to spend so much time with my son, while also running a thriving business. Kara is my right hand on wedding days, keeping my laughing (and hydrated), while helping me to serve my clients. She also handles client gifts, vendor communication, and culls my weddings (chooses the images that go into the final collections).
Christian is becoming my social media guru. We worked together to create a strategy for Pinterest this summer (after taking this course from Jenna Kutcher) and YOU GUYS. To watch it work over the course of three or four weeks was AMAZING. Pinterest had become a pain point for me, simply because I knew I was lacking strategy but didn’t have time to manage one. Outsourcing Pinterest became a top priority for me because I knew brides were using it like Google, and I was missing out on an opportunity to reach potential clients on this platform. Basically, Christian re-curated my boards so that only relevant and on-brand content were visible (goodbye, personal boards!). Pinterest’s algorithm works differently than Instagram currently in that it rewards you just for showing up. So, that’s what she does! She pins a minimum of 10 relevant pins (not just of my work, but of valuable content) every. single. day. It’s the consistency that has been the most beneficial, and I wouldn’t have had time to do that alone! Outsourcing has been the BEST investment I’ve made in my business, and in turn, in my family.
Whatever that pain-point is for you in your business, whether it’s editing or shipping, consider hiring an assistant who can help give you some of your time back. If you need help trying to brainstorm where outsourcing might best fit into your life, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
(If you’re seeing this post from my most recent newsletter, it was created with a new platform called Flodesk. I’m obsessed! Check out this breezy design platform for creative newsletters! )