3 reasons why successful solopreneurs avoid creating business systems

22 July 2022

Since I started my business 4 years ago, I’ve hired a few people to help me with various areas of my business (coaches, lawyers, web designers…).

All of them were booked out months in advance, which would seem to indicate they know how to run a business.

And yet, all said the same thing: working with me (as their client) made them think about their own systems, often with shame.

Whenever we had a call, they all felt very self-conscious about their systems, how well their Dubsado was set up, or how Asana wasn’t helping them do their work. They’d laugh uncomfortably and say: “I should hire you!”. I always answered, “Yes, I’d love to help you. Please book a curiosity call, and we can discuss what you need.”

It’s not that I didn’t want to help them right then (I did), BUT it wasn’t the purpose of the call (remember, I was the client). I wanted to ensure we were both prepared to chat about their systems.

To this day, only one of these people has taken that first step of booking a curiosity call to find out what really needed to happen to simplify their business. It could be that my offerings aren’t what the others were looking for (and that’s fine!). But based on what the one person who took action and all my other clients have shared with me, I know the issue is something else.

Here are the 3 reasons these booked-out business owners didn’t book a call and why you may be avoiding creating systems in your business too.

Reason #1 – There’s no sense of urgency in fixing systems that are sorta working

These successful solopreneurs may feel uncomfortable with the state of their business backend, but it’s temporary and dissipates when our working relationship ends. 

In their view, nothing is broken – it just doesn’t work very well – so it’s not worth fixing. Isn’t that a saying after all: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?

Well, allow me to disagree here.

What these thriving solopreneurs are forgetting at that moment are the daily micro-annoyances they experience every time they need to send an invoice or onboard a new client. They accept it as something one has to deal with when they run a business and aren’t tech savvy.

As a result, they overlook the fact that these daily frustrations add up… until they burn out and break down, sometimes to the point of resenting their business and even giving up and closing it down.

Truth bomb: it doesn’t have to be that way – running your business should be fun, enjoyable and free of frustration and resentment.

Reason #2 – You think you need to have systems BEFORE hiring me 

Spoiler alert: you don’t

It’s like when you hire house cleaners, and you tidy up and clean before they come because you’re embarrassed by the state of your house. You don’t want them to think your home is dirty, messy, or worse, that you are.

The whole point of hiring cleaners is to free you to do what you enjoy, and yet you do the job anyway because you’re afraid of what they might think. You may not even realise that’s what you do until your partner tells you: “Why are you doing this? Isn’t that why you hired a cleaner?”

It’s the exact same thing when it comes to your business backend. You might be afraid of what a systems expert will think of your business (and, by extension, you) when they see the chaos behind the scenes.

And so you spend time trying to figure it all out on your own, even though it’s not your zone of genius, and you really don’t have time for this right now. Naturally, after a short while, you give up. Not only do you give up doing it yourself, but you also push aside the idea of hiring someone to help you because you’re even more mortified by the state of your business now that you’ve had a good look. 

There’s no need to be so self-conscious, though. You have your own strengths and talents – you’re a successful solopreneur, after all. Your match-made-in-heaven systems strategist will acknowledge this rather than judge you and your business. They’ll be like a good friend who actively listens to you and gently points out what can be done differently without thinking less of you as a business owner (or person).

Reason #3 – You don’t understand what type of business support you need 

One of my bugbears is the advice I hear in courses, programmes, Facebook groups or on social media when a solopreneur feels overwhelmed by their workload and asks for ideas.

The recommendation is always the same: hire a virtual assistant (VA). Hiring a VA seems to be the solution to everything. Even better, it’s cheaper than investing in a business coach, systems strategist or the appropriate type of help.

This logic fails to acknowledge the real problem. Why is the person who’s asking for advice feeling overwhelmed? Why do they have too much on? It could be that:

  1. their business is growing, and they do indeed need more hands doing the work.
  2. they don’t have suitable systems in place, and they reinvent the wheel every time.
  3. they don’t know how to plan and organise their work in a way that works for them.

All three are valid reasons to be overwhelmed but not to hire a VA (unless you’re in situation #1, maybe).

It’s not a VA’s (or an OBM’s or even a tech VA’s) role to audit your systems and processes and advise you on how to simplify your business. A VA executes what’s already in place. A VA needs guidance. 

Without the proper systems and organisation, a VA will only add to your overwhelm. It’ll eventually cost you more than if you’d first invested in a Systems Strategist to help you implement the systems and processes your business needs.

Creating systems may feel like something nice to have, but you don’t have the time or headspace for right now. Your business works OK, so it’s not critical… yet. How long before you burn yourself out because you don’t have suitable systems?

The little voice inside your head might be telling you to clean up your business mess before you hire an expert. Gently remind her that the only time you need to have it all figured out is when you hire a VA. 

And right now, you don’t need a VA. You need a Systems expert to pinpoint what systems are missing or need to be tweaked so you can run your business with ease and take it to the next level.

In Systemised, we start with an extensive systems audit, so we know exactly where you stand. We then spend 90 minutes together to co-create a bespoke roadmap of the systems, tools and processes you need to run your business with ease and fun. This way, you know exactly how to simplify your business and the type of support you need (if any).

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Are you a successful solopreneur but your business systems are the last thing you want to think about? You know that they could be better but something keeps holding you back from truly getting your business systems & processes organised. As a systems strategist, I see this a lot so I'm sharing the top 3 reasons why successful entrepreneurs avoid creating business systems. Click through to see what's holding you back from setting up the best business systems & processes for your online business.
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Systems Strategist, Intentional Productive Coach & ClickUp Alchemist supporting changemakers and rulebreakers to run their business with ease, fun and focus so they’re free to change the world.

Hi, I’m Emilie!

I’m a Business Systems Strategist, Intuitive Problem Solver & ClickUp Alchemist. I work with changemakers and rulebreakers who want to run their business with ease, fun and focus so they’re free to change the world.

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Do you live by the quote "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" when managing your business systems? As a systems strategist, I see so many solopreneurs putting up with bad business systems. But there are huge risks if you’re doing this - burnout, lack of efficiency & effectiveness - you might even be stopping your business from growing & flourishing. So, why do entrepreneurs avoid setting up better systems & processes in their business? Click through to find out the top 3 reasons why…
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