Episode 98: Freedom Through Structure

Freedom Through Structure: For the Visionary Entrepreneur

Doing whatever you feel like, whenever you feel like it, isn’t freedom in your business. 

I know you want to do things your way. I know you don’t want to be crammed into a cookie-cutter strategy. 

And you don’t have to be. 

But you do need some structure so that your business isn’t fully reliant on you and to support the creative aspects of your business. 

When you establish that structure, that’s when you:

  • De-clutter your mind to let your creative juices do their best work
  • Save time (for you and your team members) so you can focus on the visionary, money-making aspects
  • Open up your business to even MORE freedom than you ever thought possible

 

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • How to categorize and organize the aspects of your business’ growth so you know what needs your attention now, soon, and in the future. 
  • How to build a system that takes your team’s responsibilities out of your hands and into their task lists – freeing that extra space up for creativity.
  • How to choose and set goals so they actually get done…and then build off of each other. 
  • How to spend way less time managing your team (but still get great results)

And other must-have systems (I recommend these to all my visionary entrepreneur clients) so you can build your strategic base – freeing you up for creativity, envisioning, dreaming…

…And watching those goals materialize.  

Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. It's so great to have you here. I work with so many visionary entrepreneurs. And if that's you, if you're someone who has all the ideas all the time, you don't like to be put in a box, you like to have time to feel creative, the space to feel creative, you like to be free from any limits, this episode is for you. And that's because I know that you want more freedom, but sometimes freedom comes through structure. And so rather than resisting or pushing away against structure, I want you to imagine how a little structure can actually give you even more freedom. I want you to imagine how a little structure can free up mental space, it can free up your time, and it can lead to a lot more of what you actually want.

I remember working with 1 specific client who was like this, she didn't wanna be put in any boxes, she didn't like limits, she wanted just wide open space to be able to think and create. And for that reason, at first, she really resisted the idea of any and all structure, it didn't come naturally for her. And at the same time, she knew that it was needed, so she was onboard. And at first thought that it would just be something that would help her team and then once we had implemented structure in multiple ways that I'll talk about today in the episode, we'd implement a structure really across the board for her company. She loved it. Like, loved it. She said she couldn't imagine not having things organized and streamlined, knowing exactly what the team needed from her, if and then as soon as that was done, she had that free space. She liked having everything systemized and documented because then she didn't have keep it all in mind and the business was more scalable, it was actually something that could be handed off to someone else to manage because it was all written down.

And at the end of the day, she isn't interested in selling her business, but she saw the path to how easily that could happen. Before it was all in her head, and then we turn the business into a company that could run itself, that gave her the freedom she was actually looking for. So today, let's dive into the different ways that I help visionary entrepreneurs put structure in place in their business so that they can actually create the freedom that they want, not just for themselves, but for their teams too. Okay. So first is looking at your organizational structure and you want to organize everything by a consistent structure, all of your people, all of your files, all of your projects, all of your systems, even reports and data, everything that we do in the business can be organized in a similar way. And when everything has a place that it belongs with a very simple organizational structure, it takes less time to find what you need and for others to find what they need so they're not asking you, it's intuitive for your team to follow that structure. And that means they're coming to you with fewer questions, they don't need to bother you to figure out where things are or where they go. And it gives your brain distinct categories to think about when you're focused on improving your business, I like to organize the business by growth, operations, and client success.

And everything fits nice and neat, everyone knows where things belong, and that just makes everything run so much more smoothly. The second thing that I like to implement to create more structure and, ultimately, freedom in a business is a project management system, we get everything that you and your team needs to do out of your heads, out of your email inboxes, off of post it notes, and we pull it all into 1 central HUB, one central place. When you try to remember what needs to be done, that is not all downloaded somewhere out of your brain or all of the places, then your brain is going to continue to loop. It's gonna continue to run trying to keep you from forgetting. Right? It's gonna try to keep that top of mind. And so it's like that automatic loop just running in the background, taking up space in your brain, preventing you from really focusing because it's gonna keep reminding you and keep interrupting whatever you're doing, and every time it interrupts you to remind you, hey, you've still got this thing to do, you have to decide in that moment and over and over and over again whether to take action now or whether to keep storing that information for later, it is just a lot, right? It's a lot to keep in your head. Instead, I recommend getting it all out of your head and enter a reliable tool where you can schedule due dates, allow your brain to then rest and not think about it because you trust, you will be reminded when it needs to happen. Your brain knows that it's taken care of, and it can calm down it really give you more space to think and focus on what needs to be done right now.

Obviously, a project management system also will help by letting your team know what they need to do. Without them having to come and ask you, they can post updates, they can mark a task complete, you don't have to go in and ask for the status a 1000000 times on something. You can go look at the project management system and see it and vice versa, they don't they can just look at the project management system without asking you. You can look without asking them. It really streamlines communication gives everybody a little bit more autonomy. The 3rd type of structure that I like to work with visionary entrepreneurs to implement is systems, documented processes in your business that you and your team can follow so that you don't have to remember all of the steps to do something, so that you don't have to figure it out all over again when there are infrequent tasks. Because if you don't use it often, right, you will lose it. Have you ever heard that? If you don't use it, you lose it.

When tasks are infrequent for you or a team member, it's easy to forget the steps. And we don't want them coming back to you to ask you how to do something that you've shown them how to do before, we wanna document it. And we don't want you to have to try to figure it out again because that takes up so much time and energy. Your team can follow these documented processes without you. And then if a team member is out sick or they're off boarded, you also can get someone else up to speed really, really quickly when you have systems documented, it doesn't require nearly as much 1 on 1 time with you to get them up to speed. The 4th way that I like to introduce structure is with a simple strategic plan. This is going through the process of making decisions ahead of time and then committing to those decisions and really using constraint to limit the number of goals or projects that you have so you can stay focused and make more progress in a short amount of time. The 5th way that I like to introduce structure it is with team expectations, a guiding set of principles, values, and parameters that you manage your team by, you give the overarching expectations for your team, you're clear on the parameters, then you give them freedom within that.

So you don't have to create hundreds of rules. There's no micromanaging involved or required, and it helps your team self manage and make decisions that are in alignment with your overall values or parameters. A great example of this is a budget for a client success manager. If a client is having difficulty with something and they're upset and the client success manager has the autonomy to make a decision about how to support them, how to help them, then it's possible you could say anything less than $100 that would be a solution that you could implement, that would just handle it for them, just do it. You don't have to ask permission. If it's gonna cost us $100 or less or $500 or less. Right? You get to decide the budget. Anything below that, go for it.

Anything above that, come to me for approval. And that starts to reduce the the amount of times that they have to come to you and ask questions and get permission and ask you to make a decision, and again, through that structure, you have more freedom. The final way that I help introduce more structure to provide freedom for my clients is boundaries. And a boundary is when you give yourself a parameter that you commit to, you decide to ahead of time, and then you commit to operate within that boundary and follow through on that no matter what. Now this could be related to how you spend your time. It could be your work schedule. It could be how clients can reach out to you, how team members can communicate with you, it could be all kinds of things. But the boundary is actually for you.

The boundary is how you're going to respond. It's not lots of rules for what other people have to do, whether you communicate a boundary or not is up to you. The boundary is for how you're going to respond when certain situations arise. So, again, you decide ahead of time how you're going to handle specific scenarios so that you don't have to think through and make that same decision over and over again, which helps you limit decision fatigue, you can create routines or make certain aspects of your day automatic or certain responses automatic so that you can use your mental energy on solving big problems or reaching your goals. So this might look like a boundary for clients where you agree that you will respond to all of their messages within 24 hours during office hours and you're providing that overall boundary, then for yourself, you give yourself an hour to check twice a day and you limit yourself to only listening to your client messages and responding to those messages during that hour, twice a day, each day during business hours, the boundary is for you to follow through on your clients, can contact you anytime, the boundary is for you, and that structure actually frees you up. Instead of checking and responding to messages all day, you have a focused time to do that. So just to recap, creating freedom often comes through structure. I know that may sound counterintuitive.

I know that imposing more structure may feel like you're moving in the wrong direction, the more structure you have, the more freedom is actually available to you. If you want more freedom than the things that I talked about today, an organizational structure, project management system, creating documented systems, a simple strategic plan, clear team expectations and boundaries for yourself, those are all examples of things that you could put into place that would provide you with more flexibility, more space to think and be creative and come up with new ideas and think about the future.

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