Get a system to improve communication, reduce project management needs, and boost profitability without stress, overwhelm, or uncertainty.
When I first started freelancing and then founded my company Bourn Creative, I was overworked and overwhelmed. I ventured out on my own because I am great at what I do, I love helping others, and I saw an opportunity to create a better life for my growing family. I had an almost two-year-old, I had recently bought a big new home, and just had found out I was pregnant with my second child and I didn’t want to commute every day to a full-time cubicle job anymore and miss the firsts and milestones for the new baby. I wanted the freedom to spend more time with my family, play with my kids, travel, and pursue the hobbies I enjoyed but had no time for.
But the first few years weren’t at all what I thought.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t struggle to find clients or make money.
I struggled with the exact opposite problem. I was working then much cheaper than I do now and I had tons of work and never turned anything down because I had a mortgage to pay and when you’re self-employed, if you’re not working, you’re not getting paid. I was flying by the seat of my pants and working my butt off, pulling 16-18 hour days, seven days a week. I didn’t have time for my family. I didn’t have time to play with my kids. I never took a day off so we didn’t travel. And, I basically quit all my hobbies.
Doing the work wasn’t hard but managing the work and running my business was hard. My to-do list had me feeling like I was drowning in quicksand and the more I tried to fight my way out of it, I kept getting pulled in deeper. Honestly, I felt like I could never quite get ahead of things.
Luckily today, things look much different.
I took action and made some big changes that completely transformed my business and my life, and I went from:
- Working working a roughly 120 hour workweek to a roughly 30 hour workweek
- Taking almost no vacation to taking more than 8 weeks vacation each year
- Watching my kids play while I work to actively playing with them and being fully present during that time
- Dropping my hobbies to starting new hobbies
- Spending little to no quality 1:1 time with my husband, to dates nights every week (and sometimes twice a week)
In fact, we recently took a three-week road trip across seven states to see six Dead & Company concerts, hike Castle Crags, visit Dinosaur National Monument, explore Rocky Mountain National Park, wander through Garden of the Gods, and more. For all those years of almost no sleep and immense stress, I was living to work, but today I am now working to live.
Making A Big Change
When I hit my breaking point and was on the brink of a total and complete meltdown, I realized that I needed help. Everyone was telling me to delegate tasks, hire a team, or get a virtual assistant.
- How was I supposed to afford an administrative person?!
- Where was I going to find the extra funds to hire people (and did I even want to do that)?
- What would I even have them do? I wasn’t even sure.
- Where on earth was I going to find the time to not only do the work I was hired for but to train and watch over someone else?! I didn’t have time for that!
All of my struggles came from having no documented processes and systems because you can’t delegate work if you have no process to delegate, and you can’t automate tasks to free up your time if you have no systems to automate.
I knew I needed systems to better run my business and manage my client work so I could be in a position to hire help, but I didn’t quite know where to start or what to include or how to really do it. Then, at just the right time, I saw an ad for some new software with the headline, “Replace an employee.” That single headline changed the entire trajectory of my business. It inspired me to skip hiring someone and instead figure out how to leverage software to automate tasks and manage client communication for me.
Documenting my processes, creating my systems, and automating as much of it as possible, and testing it with focus groups and beta clients took an entire year. Then as I implemented and used the client management system I created, I continued to tweak it and adjust it based on real-world client feedback and questions, and every year after that I revisited the system to update it as needed to reflect changes in technology and my own approach to working with clients.
Implementing this system in my business reduced administrative time on client projects by 50%! It was incredible! The client management system I created transformed my business and allowed me to finally live the life I dreamed of when I first started my business.
Sharing The System
Eventually, I began attending business conferences and WordCamps and every time I mentioned the client management system I created and how I managed client projects, people were intrigued and asked tons of questions. I even was invited to speak about it several times, and each time, I was bombarded with questions and people would ask, “Is this system for sale? Can I buy it?”
Event after event, year after year, I said no.
No, I wasn’t going to just give you my secret sauce! No, I wasn’t going to simply hand over everything I worked my butt for more than a year to create! And I held fast to that stance for years. But over time, Bourn Creative grew, the client based shifted upmarket, and the brand became widely recognized for high-quality work and great service, and I grew and evolved as well. And, I think as you get older, you begin to think about your legacy and the kind of impact you want to make. Eventually, things stop being all about you and shift to being all about how you can share what you know and have to help others, which is exactly where I find myself today.
Bourn Creative is doing fantastic and we’re on track to have one of our best years ever and I have systems in place to manage client communication, reduce project management time, create better margins, and boost profitability — all without stress, overwhelm, and uncertainty, which gives me time to finally share those systems with others.
That’s right. When evaluating how to best help others and make a positive impact, the answer was totally obvious and staring me right in the face.
I needed to package my entire client management system, document the why behind every part of it, and teach it to other agencies and freelance designers and developers in Profitable Project Plan, an online course that includes every email (50+), client educational guide (11 ebooks), and behind-the-scenes secrets of the system — no holds barred.
Delivering this course has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things I have ever done. Really, it’s a blast, which is why I am so excited to announce that Profitable Project Plan is open for enrollment!
Bottom line: If you’re interested in transforming your business with a client management system that will help you make more money without working more hours, you don’t want to start from scratch and spend a year creating your own, and you’re willing to do the work it takes to implement it, then I look forward to sharing my secret sauce and all of the materials I have already created with you in Profitable Project Plan.
Go check it out!