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Work less, live more. Here's how to start doing that.
Here's one step that you can take today to start productizing your studio's offering and start enjoying your personal time again.
I hope all is well with you, as of late I’ve been planning a lot of new things for the agency which is growing into more than an agency, but a multifaceted brand and I’m pretty excited about it. Today, I’ll break down how I’m working less and enjoying time more so that you can do the same.
I’m excited about the growth of the business recently. We've reached our best revenue generating month, smoothest delivery, and happiest clients -- yet I'm working way less than I ever have in my life and some of the team is as well. Everything is making more and more sense, even to myself. I think that’s an intangible realization that hits you when you get more and more experience doing the same thing over and over again.
So to the ones just starting out, great things take time I promise just stick with it.
At this stage of business and life, I just want to enjoy everything I've built (so far). I think that's how business should be, you should be able to pick and choose when you want to grow and when you want to relax. When you're working so much that you can't relax and you're not charging enough to pay for your situation you end up in an endless cycle of working way more than you're making or just breaking even all the time.
So, how do you break this cycle in service based businesses like ours, a creative studio? By productizing the way you deliver services, slowly removing unnecessary labor, and turning it into a system that's predictable. I know some designers and developers love to do everything bespoke every time and everyone gets something different but trust me, this mindset and process shift is going to be a lot smoother on your personal life lmao. You may not be able to work with EVERYONE, but that’s okay! That’s actually a good thing if you don’t fit with what they need.
Here’s what you do, create a repeatable process. Here’s why:
More time freedom
Less team management
When we don’t have these things, we can’t get outside of the business to reflect, plan, and enjoy what we’re doing.
Even as a freelancer, this can work and help you even take on more work if you'd like. But in this case, we're talking about slow growth.
So how do we get there? Well, it starts by noting every single step of how you create. Everything from the strategy, the actual designing process, the rounds of meetings and presentations, the revisions, everything.
From here, take the parts that do over and over the same way and throw it into an SOP (even if you're a freelancer) mentally, this creates an order of procedure and allows you to look at your business from a birds eye view. I like Scribe to document things these days.
Figure out how you can either delegate these things or remove some extra labor (at this point, you may discover you're leaving money on the table) that's not a bad thing if that was your intention though! I don't mind leaving money on the table, but it's a conscious decision.
Package your process into an offer, you can even have 1-2 offers from one process (for example, you can break up SEO only & design) and now you have a documented way of doing it to put a team around you and assign pieces of it that you need help with.
A bonus to all of this, is that you now have a sophisticated way of explaining what you do and how you do it. Decision makers at big companies and startups alike love when creatives have a sophisticated way of detailing how you execute. It shows high level understanding and experience. Sales convos for me often start with "how's your process like?" When I can sit and explain how everything is going to go down, potential clients love to hear that.
Another thing to note, if potential clients don't fit one offer they may fit a smaller version of your process to get similar success but with less "bells and whistles". Then, you have a dope product suite.
At Crafted, what I always wanted was to never do everything custom, except design. This means that there’s no starting from scratch every time we sign a new client, we do what we did the last 10x just change the designs. We found a formula for client success, no need to change that unless it breaks or the landscape changes. Something is in the works right now that makes things even more streamlined for small businesses, but you'll see that soon.
I'll be honest, the reason why I wanted to work less this year is because last year was hard on my body. This year, I caught COVID (I wasn't overworking this year though at all) but that was another reason to take a step back and figure out how I can let go and pace myself in a logical way that won't slow down the business. I've been enjoying life way more, buying things that create a new experience, and seeing friends and fam more. Why do all of this shit if you can’t enjoy it?
Shoutout to the team of course, for helping us get to this point!
Hopefully, you've gained some value from this today - let me know and leave a comment or a like if you need help getting some time back into your life and away from your studio or freelance business. Even though we love it, we must live life and enjoy the time that we have. Everyone's formula for success and time freedom will look different, and this isn't everything i've done to achieve that - only part of it. Next newsletter, I'll dive into more like creating avenues for different streams of income!