Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change


In which I prove better systems lead to more time on the beach

Why systems?

Because I want a thriving, smooth, full-of-ease business.
And I want a life. A thriving, exciting, space-to-do-my-thing life.

Isle of Palm, SC

Having systems in place, allowed me to take last weekend off and drive 5 hours to the nearest beach (and the adorable Charleston). I didn't have to worry if things were going to ship late or students were going to get their details for the class they bought.  I could go, knowing that the important stuff was done and the immediate (seeming) stuff could wait.

Systems = Containers

Working on my systems  provide me with containers (this is Cairene's word, and I love it). Containers of time, containers of space, containers for doing all the tasks and processes. This (shipping) goes there (Wednesdays). This (spinning) goes there (afternoons).

I like to think of containers as the baskets I keep my yarn in (I probably got this from Cairene too). I can move them around, I can rearrange the contents, but the basket holds what I need it hold until I'm ready to come back from it. And it keeps my studio from becoming a yarn-covered mess.

When something has a container; a start time, an end time or a ritual to usher it in or out; it has a boundary. It isn't a sprawling never-finished mess of muck. It has a space, a time, and a little container to hold it when I'm done.

I need boundaries to start and stop or I would just be an endless loop of doingdoingdoing while nothing feels done. Without boundaries I would answer emails as soon as they come in and never get anything done. Without boundaries around my writing time, I'd let interruptions keep me from finishing a post.

The boundaries, the containers, the systems, they give me confidence.

Confidence that if I move this container over there, it will still get done.
Confidence that if I take this weekend off, everything won't fall apart.
Confidence that emails will get answered, yarn will get made,  posts will get written, orders will ship.

What kind of containers and boundaries do you have in your business?

Tell me in the comments!

Do you need to work on your systems so that you can (one day or NOW) take time off from your biz? Check out my course with Stacey Trock of FreshStitches: Take a Break (without breaking your biz!)

Why systems?

When I first met Cairene, we were in a business-y group together. It seemed at every other turn the other business folks were talking about their systems…and I was thinking What systems?

Cairene is super smart and she knew what I really didn't get was the WHY of systems. Once she explained it, I was sold.
In the intervening years, I've (over and over and over) realized the bliss of systems and I've worked out my own little formula to explain systems.

Systems allow consistency.

Consistency opens flow.

Angel oakAngel Oak, 400 years old.

Well, yeah, that's lovely, but if you have a to-do list the size of a 400 year old oak tree,  why stop to systematize?

Why take the time to build systems when you're overwhelmed responding to the immediate?

Because of that: the immediate.
There will always be new immediate.

At every stage of business you will have a great big list of immediate things that mustbedonerightnow.

Without systems you won't be able to tell the immediate from the important.

And once you get your systems in place, you'll know the important is getting done, no matter what immediate thing pops up.

In other words, systems ensure you get that important stuff done. And that getting-important-stuff-done turns into consistency.

Consistency allows for flow.

Consistency via systems makes things flow because each action (a sale, packaging orders) has a clear path to completion.
You don't have to think “Oh! A sale! Should I email them? What do I say? What happens next?”
or “I need to let people know I carry X? What do I do? A tweet? An email?”

When you're not thinking through every task every time (because you have a system in place for it!), you get flow.
Flow of growth.
Flow of  sales.
Flow of money.
Flow of successes.

Because your business isn't new each day.

It's cumulative. Each new action comes from past growth.
The more people who find you, the more people they'll tell.
Happy customers today lead to future sales.

Systems allow this consistency to build and build until your business is flowing without every action being an emergency. Or a reaction.


Systems in shipping = consistency in providing an awesome customer experience = flow of  repeat sales and building a reputation for good service.

Systems in production (crafting, making) = consistency of new product = flow of sales

Systems in marketing = consistency of reaching new people = flow of new people (or reminding people to come back) = flow of sales.

Need some systems, consistency and flow in your crafty biz?

Make a plan, reassess it monthly and get consistent with Lift Off.


1 2