Alright, so there are two types of business owners who are going to be reading this right now. And before we do ANYTHING else (yes, even before I explain why you need to spring clean your business or what that even means) — I want to find out which type you are.
Which Type of Service Provider Are You?
Type #1: You’re Type A and Have Way Too Much Time on Your Hands
If you have sought out my advice on spring cleaning your business because you love organization and you feel like “why not?! Sure, let’s spring clean my biz!” Well — honestly, that’s pretty awesome. I used to be just like you. Obsessed with organization of any type (color-coded binders? Yes, please!) and ready to jump into a new fun project on a whim.
Nowadays, I’m a little bit busier and don’t often have time to take on projects just for the heck of it. But if this is you — that’s AMAZING. Because I’ll be honest, I would so much rather be in your position than in Type #2’s position (I’ll get there in a sec).
The really really good thing about being you right now is that you’re catching this just in time. If you truly feel that you have time to take this on right now, then NOW is the time to do it! Because, soon enough, your business is going to explode and you want to make sure that all of these foundational pieces are in place first before you get to that point.
Once your business starts to get pretty successful and you have a TONNNN of stuff on your plate, you may find yourself in the position of no longer having time to even consider doing something like this (because OMG I CAN’T!).
If that sounds more like you, please keep reading!!! There is hope for you.
Type #2: You’re Overwhelmed and Looking for a Solution (any solution that will work!)
The other type of person that might be reading this right now is someone who has been in business for a bit and is really starting to feel successful. You have a great client load, you either have a team or are considering starting one, but…you are SO FREAKING OVERWHELMED.
Like, how do you even have time to read this post right now, nevermind actually complete all of the tasks on your list? (Not to stress you out — please don’t shut this tab!)
The good news is that I’m SO GLAD you’re reading this post right now. This is going to be time well-spent — I promise you. Today is the day that we finally start to turn things around for you. Don’t worry, I’m here to help.
Because I’ve also been in this position, too… Where your workload is starting to pile so high that you feel like you’re drowning.
Starting your own business was one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.
But if you’re REALLY honest with yourself… you’re starting to resent it just a little bit. 😳
The truth is that if you don’t stop focusing on the symptoms of what’s going on, you’ll never address the root of the problem — which is that your business is kind of a hot mess (sorry, but it’s true!).
You can absolutely fix this! But you need to get suuuuuper honest with yourself.
The way that your business is functioning right now — is that sustainable? Or are you on a path headed towards complete exhaustion and burnout?
The ONLY thing that can truly help you fix the root problems that are causing you stress and overwhelm in your business is by focusing on your foundational systems. If you don’t have a super solid foundation, it makes sense that your business would feel like it’s on shaky ground.
Putting in place (or updating) these basic, foundational types of systems in your business is a GAME-CHANGER.
I know it sounds a little too easy (or maybe it doesn’t sound easy at all — maybe it sounds impossible). But either way, putting these systems in place is still the answer to your problems.
Whenever I go through a “growth spurt” in my business and start to feel this type of pressure, I refocus on these foundational systems and am able to withstand that future growth.
Growth is amazing, but it puts pressure on you and your business. Because what you did back when your business was only generating $1k per month or $5k per month is not built to sustain a business that is now generating $5k, $10k, or $20k per month. It just doesn’t work like that!
Every time you experience a new level of growth, you have to make sure that your foundational systems are updated to reflect where you are NOW.
If you keep going on the way that you are now… You WILL burn out.
It’s hard to convince someone that this is super important, but please trust me. Whether or not you address these things now or later is up to you. But when it’s “later,” you are only going to have even LESS time. So I think it’s important to do it NOW (even if it feels like you absolutely do not have the capacity for it). Because it’s only going to get worse if you don’t.
And don’t worry — I’m going to talk about some ways that you can spring clean your business and set up these foundational systems in an EASY and completely doable way that won’t feel like you’re adding too much extra work to your plate.
And the cool thing is that, the more you work on this, the easier it gets! The first one or two systems might be a little difficult. But the more you implement, the healthier your business will become — and you will start to feel the benefits of that right away! (Less pressure and more time.)
What the Heck Does It Mean to Spring Clean Your Business?
I’m sure that someone else out there has coined this term before. But here’s what it means to me…
When you spring clean your HOME, you’re doing things like:
- Cleaning your baseboards
- Rotating your mattresses
- Reseal your grout
- Changing the batteries in your smoke detectors
- (There’s a whole list here if you’re curious!)
These are things that you don’t think to do on a regular basis (or don’t even need to do that often) — but they are ultimately super necessary and add up to big results.
If you remember to clean out your dryer filter, you avoid a potential house fire. When you remember to rotate your mattress, you have a better night’s sleep.
When you spring clean your business it’s no different! It’s all about doing things that you don’t necessarily remember or need to do every day, but are still important. And they set you up for success!
I also think that, in addition to just “cleaning,” it’s about setting up some foundational systems and processes that will help your business become more sustainable and ready for future growth.
For example, some things you might do when spring cleaning your house are: create a pantry inventory or build a chore chart. These are things that might not be something you ever had before, but once you do it, you think “Wow this is awesome! How did we ever live without this?”
Those are EXACTLY the types of foundational systems that you need to create in your business, too!
- A content spreadsheet
- An auto-purge system for your inactive email subscribers
- Metrics tracking & analysis
- Client onboarding and offboarding workflows
I could go on and on! In fact, I share a checklist of 175 things that you need to consider spring cleaning in your business in my Spring Clean Sprint challenge!
Why You Need to Spring Clean Your Business (Right Now)
I do think that it makes sense to do this in the spring while the air is fresh and we’re all in the mood for some growth. There’s a reason this is why “spring cleaning” even exists in the first place!
But the reality is that you can do this ANY time of year.
If you’re reading this — it doesn’t matter whether it’s March, July, or November — you’re READY to spring clean your business. Right now!
You’re clearly motivated to make a change. So let’s capitalize on that!
This may be a time where you’re hitting a little bit of a wall in your business. If you have big, crazy dreams of growth for your biz, and you’re well on your way to achieving them…this is likely when you’re going to start to notice some sticking points.
If you’re making leaps and bounds in the front of your business, your backend is probably struggling to catch up. It also means that a lot of things could (or soon will be) out of date.
For example, if a recent goal you set for yourself was to score 5 new clients — that’s awesome! But, if you hit that goal, is your business actually set up to serve those new clients?
We tend to focus a lot on what we need to do to make things happen, and not think about the logistics of what happens when…it actually happens.
Every time you bring on a new client, you have to focus a certain amount of effort on serving that client. For example, maybe each new client needs 1 hour of your time per day. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you suddenly onboard 3 new clients…now that’s 3 hours per day of your time that is newly accounted for. There are likely things that you were previously doing with that time that now won’t be able to get done. You need to think about what you can do to automate or delegate those things so that your business can still run while you’re working on increasing your client load!
There are also other things to consider, like — do your current systems support the number of clients you aim to have? Is your onboarding buttoned up? Do you have clear processes for completing that work, so that you’re not reinventing the wheel for each of those new clients?
I’m not trying to stress you out, but this is exactly why it’s important to focus your attention NOW on setting up or updating the foundational systems and processes (i.e. spring cleaning your business) that you need in order to maintain a healthy homeostatic environment that does NOT cause overwhelm and burnout.
What You Need to Do to Spring Clean Your Business
Step #1: Identify the Core Pillars of Your Business
Every business has 3 core pillars: marketing, fulfillment, and operations.
Marketing is what you do to make sales. Fulfillment is what you do after the sale to deliver your offer. And Operations is the backend of your business.
Each pillar is made up of several areas (or departments), such as:
- Marketing: Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Prospective Client Outreach & Nurture, Public Relations
- Fulfillment: Client Onboarding, Service/Offer Delivery, Customer Service
- Operations: Finances, Team Management, Legal
It’s important to map these out in your own business and figure out what YOUR main “departments” are in each of these pillars. It can look a little different for everyone!
I really like using the tool LucidChart for this, as it helps a lot to see this laid out visually.
Here’s an example of what this might look like:
While you’re at it, you may also want to jot down any systems that you currently have in place for these departments. Plus, any systems you’d like to have but aren’t in place yet.
Identifying these pillars and departments will help you visualize the moving parts and pieces of your business in a new way. This will allow you to see what is good to go and what needs work, so that you can know exactly where to start to spring clean your business.
Step #2: Figure Out What Your Bottleneck Is
Once you’ve visualized the 3 core pillars of your business and the departments in each one, you’re now better prepared to identify where the bottlenecks are in your business. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about the idea of getting started with implementing these systems and processes, this will help!
These bottleneck areas are the places that you should address FIRST, because it will make the biggest difference.
And this looks a little different for everyone! For example, not everyone needs to start with a client onboarding system. Sure, that’s a great one! But if you already have one set up or you’re not even currently accepting new clients, that’s not going to be a good place to start.
Everyone needs to start somewhere different. So identifying YOUR bottleneck will tell you exactly where you need to start.
I go over exactly how to figure out what this is in my Spring Clean Sprint challenge.
But one of my best tips would be to think about which pillar you’re currently struggling with the most. Is it marketing, fulfillment, or operations? Then, focus on cleaning up the departments in THAT pillar.
Once you make a few key changes in those departments, you’ll start to see the power of implementing these systems AND you’ll have gotten a huge chunk of time back. Then you can use that extra time to make additional progress in other not-quite-as-time-sensitive areas. (Or, like, to go take a bubble bath — because you probably deserve one!)
Step #3: Make Time in Your Busy Schedule
So, at this point, you’re probably like “Yeah, sure — this all sounds great. But how am I possibly supposed to make the time to actually do this?!”
I think this is a huge problem and probably the thing that is causing the most issues.
If you’re at the point where you recognize that you need to get more systemized, and you know which systems you need to focus on… The only thing stopping you from breaking through that wall to the other side where you will FINALLY experience relief is: time.
As busy service providers, time is our most valuable asset.
I get that this is the hardest part. You don’t have a lot of time, and you’re already drowning in overwhelm with the time that you DO have.
Again, this is something that I talk about way more in-depth in the Spring Clean Sprint, including how to set up a doable weekly schedule for yourself that doesn’t overwhelm you.
But here are some of my best tips on how to make some time to actually get this done.
How to Make Time & Get It Done:
- Get really specific about the systems that you want to work on and exactly what changes need to be made. That way, when you do have time to get to work, you can be in and out as quickly as possible. You won’t just be sitting there thinking “how do I start?” or “what do I do next?”
- Make a specific to-do list of all the things that you want to work on. Make a list of everything that needs to get done. Then, when you have a spare moment, tackle something (or even just a small piece of something) from that list. The more you can break down your list into tiny, quick, actionable tasks — the better. Try to keep each task at around 5-10 minutes max. This will make it so that you don’t psych yourself out when you look at your list.
- Schedule it in. It’s up to you to actually make time to do this crucial work, and when it’s on your calendar you are much more likely to actually do it. Put it in your schedule and treat it like a non-negotiable. There may be other things on your plate that seem more urgently important. But, in reality, focusing on your backend systems is so much more important in the long run. So do yourself a favor and just get it done.
Step #4: Complete Your Spring Clean Sprint
Now, you’re fully prepared to get started spring cleaning your business!
If you’re still feeling like you’re not quite sure exactly what tasks you need to work on to set yourself up for success, you may want to consider joining the Spring Clean Sprint challenge that I’ve put together!
In the challenge, I walk you through 30 different departments that you can organize, spruce, and update in your business! 🤓
The challenge includes:
- 30 video lessons (1 for each department)
- A guide on how to get started, with my expert tips on identifying your bottleneck and making time in your busy schedule to get all of this done
- Plus, you get access to a private Facebook group community where I share bonus live trainings
- AND there’s tonssssss of resources to go along with it, including spreadsheet templates, a checklist for each department, an Asana workflow and SO much more! 😍
What are you waiting for? Check it out now!!
Step #5: Create Recurring Tasks for Ongoing Completion
One of my best BONUS tips as you are planning and completing your own Spring Clean Sprint (regardless of whether you’re taking part in my official challenge) is to create recurring tasks in your project manager.
Many of the tasks that you will be working on are things that you should remember to do on a semi-frequent basis (but probably aren’t). 😬
For example, do you have recurring tasks to do things like…?
- Generate & analyze reports for your key metrics
- Updating your contracts and client welcome kit
- Cleaning up your desktop files and/or downloads folder (eek!)
I could go on… in fact, I do! There’s a list of 175 recommended tasks like this in the Spring Clean Sprint!
Make sure that you’re not just staying on top of this stuff ONCE. Tasks related to spring cleaning your business are things that you need to do yearly (or possibly even more frequently). So make sure that you never forget again by putting them right into your project manager now!
Getting them out of your head and onto “paper” will (a) reduce some of your own mental clutter, and (b) make them more likely to actually get done! 🙌
I hope that, after reading this post, you get how important it is to spring clean your business.
Getting these foundational systems in place (or updated) will allow your business to flourish and grow to new heights! Without doing this…you will likely continue to struggle, feeling overwhelmed and on the road to burnout.
Follow me on Instagram @mirandanahmias for more systems tips + inspiration! Check out my IG Stories to see behind-the-scenes of how I apply systems every day in my own service-based business (and a LOT of posts about my cat, Sam 😻 ).