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I’m always fascinated to hear why small business owners (including established businesses) don’t have systems. They’ll usually start with “I know I need systems, but…” and then list many reasons why it’s not a priority for them.
What’s more surprising is that they do know the benefits of having systems. And yet, they’re not taking action. Their beliefs about what systems are and what they may mean for their business get in the way. More often than not, these beliefs are actually myths and stem from fear.
In this article, I’m busting the 9 most common systems myths I hear all the time, and I share how systems can be a source of ease, creativity, and profitability for your unique business.
Myth #1: Creating systems is boring, non-creative work.
Many of my clients see building systems as tedious, non-creative work. And there’s a good reason for it. It’s not because it’s not a creative activity – I’ll show you how it can be; it’s that they express their creativity differently, often through art, craft or writing.
But creativity means:
“the use of imagination or original ideas to create something.”Oxford Languages
And systems can be that something.
The trick is to avoid getting bogged down in all the details and tech (more on that later). Instead, focus on the possibilities that systemising your business can create. Keeping your vision in mind will help you stay excited about systems and keep the creative juices going.
Myth #2: It’ll take forever to systemise your entire business.
Granted, creating systems for your whole business will likely not happen in an afternoon. But has anything in your business ever taken so little time? If you think about it, developing your offers and writing your sales pages or social media content took time, too.
It’s something you built over months (if not years), and as you did so, you got better and better at it – maybe even slaying a few mindset blocks as you went.
And systems are no different.
But don’t be discouraged! Approach this as a journey, not a destination. Start small by dedicating just a few minutes a day to systemising one aspect of your business, such as organising files or documenting your processes.
Over time, these incremental efforts will lead to an easeful and sustainable business, so the earlier you start, the better.
Myth #3: Your business is unique, and systems won’t work for you.
Of course, your business is unique, and so are you!
The idea that you can simply replicate anyone’s system is ludicrous. And yet, so many celebrity entrepreneurs make a fortune selling you the idea that you can simply copy what they do and get the same results.
Maybe you bought into this and got burnt many times. And so, when the results didn’t manifest, you started to think that your business was too different for systems to work.
The truth is these systems didn’t work because you weren’t taught how to adapt them to suit you and your business. This is an essential part of building systems, yet it’s often overlooked. That’s why understanding how you operate is the first step in my Soulful Systems™ Framework.
Myth #4: Systems require gazillion-page manuals and overly detailed procedures that nobody ever reads.
One of my clients once shared how they used to handle process documentation in their corporate job. And yet, they couldn’t bring themselves to do that in their business. They thought “having a manual about manual” (that’s how they described standard operating procedures (SOPs) was superfluous.
And I agree! Who wants a manual about a manual?!
But she wasn’t my only client with this experience. Many of my clients are corporate runaways and have deep-seated wounds as a result. These wounds often manifest in their business in one form or another – most commonly, they prevent them from creating the structure and support they need.
I share more about the concept of the corporate wound and how it may be holding you back in your business in Soulful Systems™ School.
Soulful Systems™ School
Are you a highly sensitive solopreneur who wants to lead an impactful, easeful and profitable business?
Join us in Soulful Systems™ School to learn how to build a simple, yet potent, systems suite that work for you and your unique brain so that you can finally run your business with ease, fun and flow.
But for now, here’s what you can do if manuals and documentation scare you: forget what you learned in the corporate world! All you need is this: a reference document with simple instructions you can easily follow so you don’t spend more time than you need on a task and you complete it without missing anything. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that. Actually, anything more complex will be a hindrance.
Myth #5: Systems make your business less personable and too robotic.
Many business owners I’ve worked with have reported resisting implementing systems, especially templates, for fear that it’d make their business appear robotic and less personable.
However, systemising your business isn’t about replacing you with a robot or complex automations. It’s about freeing up your time to do more of what you love.
Using templates so you don’t have to overthink what to write or don’t procrastinate about it will definitely save you time and brain space.
Plus, nobody ever said that you couldn’t adapt your templates to their recipients by adding a personal touch (like their name and something they share during a call, for example). Templates are often a starting point, not the actual finished product.
Myth #6: You need to be tech-savvy to build systems.
A common misconception is that systems are solely about IT platforms and tools. And therefore, building them requires significant tech savviness. The truth is systems encompass much more than technology, as I share in this post.
Understanding how you operate so that you can create systems that work for you is the first step towards systemising your business. Then, you can translate that into a series of steps (i.e. your business processes). And guess what? You don’t need to be a tech expert for any of that.
While you may need help setting up tools, the core of systemisation happens before you even need to decide what platforms to use (and how to set it up).
Myth #7: Implementing systems is expensive.
The idea that systems are expensive is linked to the notion that systems equal technology.
And as explained above in Myth #6, there’s more to systems than just technology.
Granted, at some stage, you’ll need to look into getting some platforms to support your processes, and some tools can be expensive. Add to that the fact that not all platforms talk nicely to each other (i.e. they don’t offer any in-built integration), and you may need something like Zapier in the middle. These costs add up.
(Pro tip: ditch Zapier and use Make instead. It’s much more potent for a fraction of the price.)
But the underlying issue here is that online business owners don’t know how to pick the right tool for them. Instead of looking at the platforms they already have and can use (often at no additional cost), they assume they need a new tool – often the latest trendy app. That’s how they end up with a plethora of apps they barely use, and that cost them a hefty amount each month.
Wanna avoid this costly mistake? Check out my 3-part guide on choosing the right tool for your business.
Myth #8: You only need systems when you scale.
Let me be blunt: building systems just before you start scaling – or as you scale – is a recipe for disaster and will hinder your scaling efforts.
Let’s get back to the definition of scaling your business.
“Scaling is when revenue increases without a substantial increase in resources”Spendesk
This shows that you need to invest in your systems before scaling. During the growth phase, you need to consciously build your systems to make your business scalable.
Does it mean you need systems from the get-go? Yes! But that doesn’t mean that everything needs to be automated or that you can’t change your systems later.
Systems will evolve with your business and will have many iterations. And that’s perfectly natural.
As for automation, this is the last step in the Soulful Systems™ Framework and should only ever be undertaken once your processes have been thoroughly tested and kept unchanged for a few iterations. Automate too early, and you’ll waste time updating your workflows all the time.
Myth #9: Systems stifle creativity.
At the beginning of this article, we discussed how systems can be a creative endeavour in itself. However, some business owners believe that having systems is the antithesis of being creative. Not only do they believe that building systems isn’t a creative exercise in itself, but they also believe that having systems will put them in a box and prevent them from being in the flow.
But systems do the exact opposite!
Systems provide the structure and boundaries your creative self needs to express itself safely. It’s the Divine Masculine to your Divine Feminine. If the Divine Energies aren’t your thing, think about it this way: your creativity is a river, and systems are the riverbed, providing the necessary boundaries for the river to exist. And yet, it’s not fixed and rigid. It’s constantly being shaped by the river itself.
Systems are a game-changer.
They allow highly sensitive female business owners like you to create easeful, impactful and profitable businesses.
Unfortunately, widespread beliefs – such as systems stifling creativity and requiring tech savviness – are still quite prevalent in the online world and prevent many solopreneurs from systemising their businesses from the get-go. But as you’ve discovered in this article, most of these beliefs are just myths.
This article only scratched the surface when it comes to your belief system. You may have more unresourceful beliefs about systems preventing you from systemising your business. It’s crucial that you identify them and turn them into supportive beliefs. You can do that on your own through daily journaling or with the help of a systems coach like me. That’s what we do in my private coaching program, Chaos to Calm.
Chaos to Calm – Private Coaching
Let’s collaborate to build your Soulful Systems™ – systems that work for you – so that you can streamline your business and create the easeful, impactful and profitable business you’ve envisioned.