TT#031 - This is the most important system for growth in your business…Oct 04, 2022
If you've read much of anything I write, you know I'm a systems junkie. I spend more time than is normal thinking about how to systematize:
- Decision making
As an entrepreneur, the most important system you'll ever build is your personal operating system.
Solopreneurs and small business owners notoriously sacrifice their well-being for their business. Sometimes they think that's what they're supposed to do. Other times they think they have no other option.
But, the formula doesn't work. Because the systems in your business won't work very well, or for very long, without you.
You are the most important asset in your business. And you need to protect it.
That's why a system designed to help you create deliberate, daily habits is so important.
That's what I call your Solopreneur Operating System.
Solopreneur Operating Systems are as unique as fingerprints. But the underlying areas they track aren't. Any sustainable, high performance Solopreneur Operating System tracks 4 areas:
- Physical health
- Mental health
→ Below I share why each of these are essential.
→ Then I share the system I use to help me perform at optimal levels, as often as possible.
1: Physical Health
You can't build a business if your heart ain't beating. Sadly, entrepreneurs sacrifice physical health all the time.
If you want to perform at peak levels, regular exercise and a healthy diet are a good place to start.. Taking care of yourself improves your energy levels, mental stamina, and decision making skills.
But that's just part of it.
When you keep commitments you make to yourself, like cutting carbs or training for a 10k, you like yourself more. And as woo-woo as this sounds, that has a big impact on your business.
You're projecting how you feel about yourself in almost everything you do as an entrepreneur, from how you set prices to who you select as clients. A system that helps you manage your physical health improves what you're doing and how you're doing it.
2: Mental Health
I'm not a professional therapist, but I know how it feels to be overwhelmed, confused, and anxious. It's the kind of stress that avalanches into more stress. Then it spills into personal relationships, sleep, and physical health (see above).
I haven't found any system that guarantees a permanent positive state of mind. But you can get ahead of these feelings with a process that clarifies your goals and the plans to achieve them.
That clarity creates confidence. And you can maintain that confidence with a system that reinforces those goals and plans.
The most important job of a CEO is keeping money in the bank. Fail there, and no amount of vision, strategy, or team building can make up for it.
As a solopreneur or small business owner, you are a CEO. But there's a lot of misunderstandings about money among CEOs of micro-businesses.
Sometimes the misunderstanding stems from thinking only about sales and ignoring profitability. Other times it stems from thinking finances are the accountant's job and ignoring cash.
Unlike a F500 CEO, though, the cash you're working with is all yours. That makes uncertainty about how much there is and where it's going more stressful. A finely tuned personal operating system helps ensure you know how much money you have and where it's going.
I saved the best for last.
Your time isn't just your most valuable asset. It's the highest source of leverage in your business, for better or worse. And it influences every other area we've already covered.
Everyone has the same amount of time in a day. You, me, Elon Musk. It's how we invest that resource that determines how successful we are - or aren't.
I've worked with some insanely high performers. That's included well-known F500 CEOs, top 10 influencers in DC, and industry leading business coaches. One thing they all have in common? They're all intentional with how they invest their time.
Any system designed to help you perform at optimal levels has to address how you spend your time.
My Solopreneur Operating System
To help me improve the four areas above, I use a simple spreadsheet that I update daily and revise monthly.
As simple as it is, it helps me identify the daily habits that'll help me optimize my performance. And it makes it easy to see if I'm on track or not.
Here's how it works.
Each month I block time to define goals in 2 areas:
- 9 daily behaviors I want to adopt as habits that will help me hit my goals.
This list has included exercise, diet, water consumption, meditation, business priorities, and more.
- 5 main areas, or themes, I want to focus on to be the best version of myself.
This list has included learning, professional development, family time, morning routines, and more. Hell, this month I added Having Fun. No, the irony isn't lost on me.
I plug these into a spreadsheet as my focus for the month.
Every morning I block 90 minutes for exercise and headspace. During that time I spend about 10 minutes reviewing the day prior and scoring myself.
On the first set of goals, it's a simple "1" if I did it, "0" if I didn't.
On the second set, I rate myself "0 - 5" based on the prior day.
I have two other placeholders:
- Mental Wins
This is a simple 1 point system to give myself credit for mental toughness. You know, saying no to that piece of cake or running that extra mile. It appeals to the instant gratification part of my personality.
- Overall Day
It's a simple 0-5 point system to get a sense for how the day went. It's been a good macro score I can use to see trends. And when things aren't trending the way they should, I can usually see why elsewhere.
I track it each day and make modifications each month. Here's the current setup:
Some people think I'm crazy. Perhaps. But this is the system I've used to stay in half marathon shape, maintain mental health, and start driving $70k+/mo. in sales in my one-person business from Baja.
It works for me.
Yours will undoubtedly be different, but I'm hoping you can use this as a framework to build on - and improve.
I’m on a mission to help 10,000 Solopreneurs & Executive Freelancers discover and enjoy a new lifestyle by creating income they deserve from wherever they choose doing work they love.
For a limited time, I'm offering a free audit of your client acquisition system and will personally help you clarify what’s working, what isn’t, and what to focus on right now to start winning your best clients - on demand.