In this episode I’m sharing about how it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to have every single possible process created, and every system all dialed in, before you start your online business. What you might not know is that sometimes this over-preparedness can be a way to cope with the fear of actually starting your business. The truth is: productivity strategies should aid your progress overall, not hinder it.
How much time do you invest in setting up new organizational tools and intricate processes? Does it sometimes feel like you’re not actually productive in your business because of how long it takes to set these systems and processes up? I have a big secret to share with you: the simpler the processes you use, the better— especially when you’re first starting your business.
Get on the waitlist for the VA Business Builder Program to get a VIP rate when it launches.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to have every single possible process created, and every system all dialed in, before you start digging into your work. You might even have a hard time imagining how you’ll get your business started without having the most robust library of productivity tools ever. What you might not know is that sometimes this over-preparedness can be a way to cope with the fear of actually starting your business. The truth is: productivity strategies should aid your progress overall, not hinder it.
Here’s how to avoid this pitfall: determine what is absolutely essential to your business and ditch the rest. It’s possible that instead of a lot of complex processes, you might just need a digital calendar and a Trello board. It really can be that simple. You don’t want to invest too much time or money in getting these systems set up before your business is bringing in revenue. Let your systems grow with you. When you need an upgrade, you’ll know!
Want to learn more about starting your VA Business? Grab my Quickstart Guide to Build Your VA Business now!
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed about where to start, think simple. Keep your systems manageable and practical in order to spend your time on your business. Don’t let productivity overload hold you back!
My favorite Software/Tools:
Some of the links below may be affiliate links.
Online Bank: Novo
Payment Processor: Stripe
Project Management: Trello
Have you ever fallen into the productivity trap? Share your experiences with me in the comments!
[00:00:00] Melyssa: Hey there. Hello, welcome to another episode of the mama’s making more podcast .Before we start I want to take just a quick second to thank every single one of you who’s been listening and sharing and also for rating and reviewing the podcast. It really means the world me. And the more that you do share those podcasts, the more moms I’m able to reach and help educate about this option to even have their own online business. So truly, truly, thank you so much.
[00:00:27] Melyssa: Today’s episode is about productivity, but maybe not in the way that you’re used to hearing about it. I talk a lot about productivity and time management, because I am all about keeping it simple, baby. But, and this is like a really big a really big but, there is such a thing as falling into a productivity trap or an over productivity trap.
[00:00:49] Melyssa: Especially when it comes to organizational tools and software. It’s sometimes called the shiny object syndrome. Sometimes people call it FOMO. Fear of missing out. [00:01:00] The reason that I’m sharing this with you today is that I am totally guilty ya’ll of falling into this trap. And I want to help you avoid it from the start.
[00:01:09] Melyssa: So initially setting up your organizational tools, a software, that processes makes a lot of sense, but it can also be like overwhelming. Especially as an entrepreneur, it’s natural to want to be like super prepared, as prepared as possible before you actually get your business off the ground. It is easy to get caught up in the idea though, that you have to have every single thing in place before you actually start your business.
[00:01:36] Melyssa: You may feel like you need to have every single process, every system ready to go buttoned up super shiny before you even start working with clients. The problem is this can lead to procrastination, just an overall delay in starting, launching and spending a lot of time and money on setting up tools and processes that frankly you may [00:02:00] never even need, or they might not be effective in your specific business. Now when I was starting my VA business, I obsessed over things like my logo, business cards and my brand colors. I even set up a website that took entirely too much of my time. And I will tell you that not one single thing of those was even necessary to have in place before I launched. I could have, I should have launched before having any of those things done. Had I not stressed out about those things. I could have been signing clients a lot sooner than I actually did.
[00:02:36] Melyssa: Now, one of the main reasons people tend to over-prepare is due to this fear of the unknown. This was a hundred percent absolutely me. Starting a business. It’s a big step and it’s completely normal to feel like apprehensive, scared. You might have some imposter syndrome going on, some overwhelm, any of those things, all of those things.
[00:02:58] Melyssa: It is a really [00:03:00] big step. And I definitely want to validate that fear. Like it is okay to feel that way. But if you’re spending too much time and money preparing and over-preparing, you’re really hindering yourself from progress. And as I keep saying, you’re delaying yourself from starting in the first place.
[00:03:16] Melyssa: Okay. So how do you avoid this pitfall and avoid the over productivity trap. What I now know to be true is that simpler processes are usually the more effective processes, especially when you’re first starting out.
[00:03:31] Melyssa: Now by identifying what you absolutely need to get started and focusing on those things first, it’s going to help you avoid this. To avoid falling into that trap of over-preparing and getting like bogged down in the unnecessary details.
[00:03:46] Melyssa: When you are starting your VA business, when you are starting your online business, it’s really important to focus just on those essentials. And that can mean identifying the key things that you need to get started and not just identifying them, but [00:04:00] also prioritizing those tasks. So you’d prioritize those tasks, obviously from most important to least important, so you have a direction and a guide for what you need to be implementing.
[00:04:10] Melyssa: By doing this, you can avoid wasting time and resources on things that really might not be essential or important to your success.
[00:04:17] Melyssa: Now you may be wondering how in the world do I identify what’s essential? Really what you can do is start by making a list of the basic tools. I’m going to give you some in just a minute here. The basic tools and the resources that you need to start your business.
[00:04:33] Melyssa: For example, a digital calendar and a Trello board. They might be the only things that you need to stay organized and productive.
[00:04:40] Melyssa: I am a huge fan of Google calendars. I have used Google calendar forever. And I actually now have mine integrated with my apple calendar. I really like that I can share my calendar with other people. It works really well with other programs that integrates with other software that I use. And I like that I can have it [00:05:00] on my mobile phone and my desktop so I can find it whenever I need to.
[00:05:04] Melyssa: I actually also do use a paper planner. I discovered, I went for one year without a paper planner, and I realized that it’s not the best idea for me to go with that. There’s something about physically writing down my schedule that activates something in my brain that makes it a lot more likely that I’m going to stick with that schedule.
[00:05:22] Melyssa: That may be something that you have to play around with maybe just the digital works for you, which is great. But I think that having at least the digital and then possibly having the paper to compliment it is a great idea.
[00:05:33] Melyssa: I also use Trello a whole heck of a lot in my business. And I’ve used this from the very beginning. I use it as a repository for a lot of my business information and I use it to manage a lot of different parts of my business and projects. Trello is a completely free program. They do have a paid option, but I’ve been fine with the free version forever. And I’m going to do an upcoming episode to go into more detail about, what it is and how to use it in your business, how I [00:06:00] use it in my business.
[00:06:01] Melyssa: Alrighty. So what other things should you have in place to help you be more productive from the start? I would say having a separate bank account set up solely for your business is super important to have from the very beginning. This can be just a personal account that you use only for business. And eventually you should probably merge that into a actual business account. I’m a fan of the online bank Novo for my business account. There are a ton of banks out there. So that’s really personal preference out there. You do also need a way to collect money from clients in the beginning, because what we really want is to start this business so that we have the income coming in. So some common ways, some popular ways are to use Stripe, Square, PayPal. Those are kind of the major, top three.
[00:06:48] Melyssa: Now, depending on the nature of your work, you might also want a scheduler, some type of scheduling software where clients can book a call directly with you, whether that’s for discovery calls, projects, set up, done for you [00:07:00] days, whatever it is that is important for your particular offerings in your business. Some common options here are TidyCal, Calendly and Acuity. I have used Calendly. That’s what I started out with. I have since moved over to TidyCal. And so those are all very easy to use. And again, they integrate with my Google calendar, they integrate with other online calendars as well. So, that is important to know whether you have that integration.
[00:07:26] Melyssa: It’s also likely that from the beginning, you’re going to want the ability to create graphics. And for this, I really do recommend the free version of Canva. I recommend you start a free Canva account. There are other graphics programs out there. One that I know about that I did try was called Stencil. That one was not, um, personally for me the best, but, I really enjoy using Canva. There is a learning curve. I will tell you, well, for me, there was a learning curve, but it didn’t take very long because there’s so many templates in there and it does become, pretty intuitive once you start working with it.
[00:07:59] Melyssa: And the reason [00:08:00] why you might want a Canva account is for that promotion, that visibility, and for getting yourself on those social accounts. So another thing that you may want are business accounts on those various social media channels.
[00:08:12] Melyssa: I’m going to put the links to my favorite providers of the various softwares that I just talked about on the podcast page, which is mamasmakingmore.com and then you just click on episode seven.
[00:08:24] Melyssa: One of the productivity traps I fell into really early in my business was thinking that I needed a CRM and that stands for customer relation management. I kept hearing all sorts of people online on socials, talking about CRMs And I just came down with a case of shiny object syndrome and I decided I just had to, had to have Dubsado. So, this is a true story of what happened. I signed up, I paid for the software. And I decided I was going to try and watch tutorials and get it set up for myself. Next, I was like, oh, dang, this is complicated and time consuming. And then I [00:09:00] said, it makes a ton of sense to hire another VA who is an expert to set up my Dubsado account.
[00:09:06] Melyssa: So she did exactly what I wanted her to do. She even recorded tutorials on my account. It was great. But do you want to know what happens? It was too robust for me. It was way more than I needed. It was actually slowing me down and causing me more time trying to use it when I really didn’t need a program like that. So it was just a prime example of getting bogged down in the intricate process that really was not necessary for me. I’m not saying that it’s not a great program and then it doesn’t work great for other people, but really it’s all of these things just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean you need it or that it will work for you.
[00:09:41] Melyssa: It’s important to remember that your system should grow with you. Focus first on those essentials. As your business expands and you need change, you can always upgrade and add more of the tools and processes. But it’s not necessary to have all of these things in place from the beginning. I talked about this in episode [00:10:00] four, about starting first and then improving later.
[00:10:03] Melyssa: Your productivity strategies, these should really be aiding your progress, helping you progress overall, not be like a hindrance to your progress. If you are spending way too much time setting up the tools and processes, you might find that you’re actually not making that progress towards launching and growing your business. And that’s why we’re here. That’s what we’re trying to do.
[00:10:24] Melyssa: The idea behind this is that simplicity is often really underrated in business. A lot of times people assume that the more complicated a process or a system is the more effective it will be. We’re like, oh, that’s it does all of these things, it can do XYZ. And it can like, you know, make life so much easier. But this really isn’t always the case.
[00:10:46] Melyssa: Simplicity. This can be a key factor in achieving your success, especially when you’re just starting out. When you simplify your processes, you’re eliminating unnecessary steps and reducing that risk of having [00:11:00] errors and inefficiencies. And really this can also help you stay focused on what’s truly important in your business. By identifying those core elements, the most important elements that are essential to your success and streamlining look, you guys, let’s streamline your progress. So before you get bogged down in these crazy processes, take a step back and consider the benefits of just simplifying.
[00:11:24] Melyssa: I want to know. Did any of this resonate with you today? Were you making things more complicated in your head? I know it’s, I seriously validate this because it is exactly how I was feeling when I started out and I want to prevent you from going down that road. If this episode is making you realize that you could actually start your VA business, let me know in the Instagram DMs I’m @melyssamunday or @mamasmakingmore so I can cheer you on answer any questions that you have. And if this lit a fire for you, and you’re ready to learn more about building your own VA business, I have an [00:12:00] amazing opportunity for you.
[00:12:01] Melyssa: I have opened up a wait list for the VA business builder group program and course the link is melyssamunday.com/join-vabb. That is a lot to remember, so I’m going to have a link to that in the show notes below.
[00:12:21] Melyssa: But it is the perfect program that goes over everything you need to start and launch your business and get that income flowing in. By getting on the wait list. You get first dibs to know when it launches and you’re going to get a VIP rate.
[00:12:34] Melyssa: So that’s all that I have for today. Thank you so, so much for listening.