The Designer Within

The Power of The Process

June 29, 2023 John McClain Season 1 Episode 2
The Designer Within
The Power of The Process
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Processes are Powerful! Before your eyes glaze over, hear me out! Detailed systems and processes literally saved my business (and my sanity) from extinction. In this VERY detailed episode, I discuss why I implemented processes into my company, how YOU can do it in 3 easy steps, and the huge benefits for your professional and personal life. Grab a pen, grab a coffee, and let's get the PROCESS started!

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You are listening to the designer within podcast episode number two. Hi, everybody. Welcome to the designer where then podcasts. So happy to have you here. If you joined me last week. Welcome back. If it's your first time here. Welcome. I do invite you to listen to episode one, if you haven't had a chance to do so yet. Thank you everybody for the great feedback on episode one, I know that was a real nail biter, and I know that was a bit of a trying situation to hear all of that information in 1 45 minute or so episode, but it was really important for me to share that with all of you, because that really was. The basis for the foundation of my entire company. And I just wanted to be able to explain. To everybody listening, why I am so systematic with my processes and why I have such a strict agreement and why I like to run everything like a well-oiled machine within my business, because I don't. Want that to ever. And again, and I, I don't want that situation to ever. Come back to bite me again. And you know, it's one of those things. If you don't prevent it, it. It definitely will. Happen again. And from that episode, we're going to build upon that and I'm going to show you all of the ways that I have implemented philosophies and implemented systems and implemented. Rules and implemented procedures and set guidelines and all of the steps in my project journeys that I have for clients. It's so many things that I've. Put into my company over the past years and it's really made us successful and it's really made us again, run like a well-oiled machine. So I'm really proud of it. And again, if you haven't listened to that nail biter, Go back and listen to it. Uh, poor glass of wine cocktail. You might need it. Because it definitely was a doozy. And I have to warn you guys today. I did drink a red bull, so I'm a little hyped up and I might talk faster than I normally do, which is pretty fast anyway, but I will try to slow down, I'm so happy you're here. And as you know, the format of the show is to help interior designers and other creatives to start your business, grow your business, scale your business, and basically face all of the issues and growth. Problem is that could happen within a company. I've pretty much faced all of them from growing my company to hiring new people, to expanding to different areas. I've definitely faced a lot of that. But I'm also an interior designer and I just cannot not talk about design. So that being said on the first Friday of every month, I will be bringing you a bonus episode called the designer within home edition the designer within home edition is episodes focused on design dilemma, solutions, advice, and pro tips for me and my design cohorts. And I'm going to be interviewing it's going to be so much fun. This isn't just for the design enthusiasts, by the way, my goal is to bring both value information to the consumer and the homeowner. Owner and also to designers, alight. I mean, there's things that I learn every single day from my design friends or by looking through magazines or by seeing things on Instagram. there's always lessons to be learned, but the goal of that bonus episode once a month is to just share a lot of that design advice and really give back to everyone who lives in a home. You don't have to own the home. You could be a home owner, you could be renter. You could be a weekend warrior. I don't care. If you live in a dwelling of any kind, you will enjoy this particular episode once a month on the first Friday of every month. So stay tuned for that. The designer within home edition is going to be coming out next week. And I cannot wait to share that episode with you. We're going to be talking about paint, choosing the right paint colors for your home. It's going to be really, really good. And as a reminder of their regular episodes of the designer within the one you're listening to now are released each Thursday on all podcast platforms. So be sure to search for the designer within on your favorite podcast platform. And please subscribe to make sure that you get those updates every single week, we come out every Thursday, as I said, and if you do subscribe, you will get a notification and that download will automatically pop into your. The podcast list on your phone or whatever device you're listening to. So, as I said, the last episode was a doozy. It basically led you guys on this horrific adventure. I went through and I use adventure a very, very, roughly. But it was this situation that I went through with a client that did cause me to. Decide. I was at a fork in the road. I had to decide. Whether to continue on as a business owner, whether to continue with design at all. whether to completely overhaul the way that I run my company and at the time was barely operational. So. of course I decided to overhaul the way that I run my company and integrate all of these rules and procedures and processes. And I really felt an important. Today to sort of take you into some of those systems and processes and let you know what I did bring into my company and how they're working within my company. And basically just to talk about systems and processes and, and if you don't have them. You definitely need to get them. And I'm going to give you an introduction to that today. And without beating you over the head with it, I want you to understand the value of it. And why this very systematic approach just saves you so much headache at the end of the day. So, first of all, without systems and processes, You and your team and your vendors, and really anybody else that's in with your company, anybody that you deal with every day, even down to, the FedEx and the ups delivery, everybody's just bumping into each other. Kinda like bumper cars. Person's asking your question and this person has this and this person's going to run out and grab this sample. And this person has to go in and do this. And this person wants you on the job site, but there's no rhyme or reason to it. There's no structure. There's no organization. That is very stressful. Trust me. I did that for a while and that is nothing that has longevity to it. You will be worn out. burnout. You will be exhausted. You will question your life choices. You will question your business choices and it is just not something that can be sustained. So what is a system? It's the overall deliverable. It's that final result that delivers all of the processes inside of it. So think about a system. Like this big ball. and inside of that system are all of the smaller balls, which are the processes inside of it. So that system is carrying. All of those processes inside of it to the finish line, to that final result. To that deliverable, whatever that deliverable might be. And by the way, this can be for any business. No matter if you're a photographer, if you are a landscape designer, if you are an architect, I don't care what it is, everything that we do. As a business owner has a deliverable and that deliverable has to find a way to go from point a to point Z and everything in between is what is the process? So the system is a to Z everything as a whole. I wish you guys could see me. I'm like using my hands all over the place today. I'm going to video some of these sometimes, so you can see exactly how animated I am when I record them. the processes are processes ever. How you want to say it are all of the related sequential. That's very, very important to remember. It's the related sequential activities inside the system that work together to make it function. without all of the processes inside of the system, The system's going nowhere. You have this system that is going to deliver this final result. It could be for designers. It's the final installation of the project. But all of the processes inside of it, if they're all wonky and out of place and out of order, and there's no rhyme or reason to it. Nothing's going to be delivered. on time, the thing's going to be delivered the way that it's supposed to be. So your system is going to be broken. If you do not have all of the processes working inside of it. And if you want to think about it like this, it's almost like there's a hamster wheel inside of. System. That's just constantly going and every single day that you come to work and every single day that you have a touch point with that project or whatever you're working on for that particular outcome that is going to keep turning that wheel. And that process inside of that is that wheel turning. And you're going to keep turning, turning, turning that wheel. And every day you move a little bit closer and you can cross something off the list. And that system moves a little bit closer to the finish line. So from the beginning to the end, that system, that ball, the big ball is sort of inching itself closer and closer and closer to the finish line. And that wheel inside of it. All of those other mini or trip balls are rolling around on that hamster wheel. And they are actually propelling that system to move forward to the end. So I hope that sort of gives you a visual of it. A system can be related to anything that you have within your company, and you should have multiple systems, but I want you to do this. I want you to think about. All that you do from the start of a project to the end of a project. It's a lot people. And I'm speaking as an interior designer. because that's what I know, but this again, should relate to anything, any type of business, any type of final outcome, if you sat down and if you really thought about all that you do from the beginning, from the, from the minute, the phone rings from the minute a customer. Reaches out to you. So the very, very, very end until the last vase has put on that shelf. Holy moly. All the things that we do inside of that is insane. And what I did. To start the process of writing all of my systems and processes was really to write all of that down every single day, whatever I did that day, I would write that down. And that was where all of my processes came from and I was blown away. Literally. I was gobsmacked at all. Other things that I did, even when I was a solo preneur, as well, actually, especially when I was a solopreneur, you know, I wore all of the hats. Now that I have a great team, I can delegate those things out, but it doesn't matter. those tasks are still having to get done and there's still people having to do them. So whether you are a solo preneur, or whether you have a team, all of those things are still needing to happen within your company. And, and probably more so, if you are working by yourself, The chance of the dropping net ball or forgetting that process inside of that system is a little more likely because you are wearing a lot of hats. all the more reason for you to have a system in place for various parts of your company. But if you were to think about, again, all that you do as a designer within your company, it's a lot, you have contractor meetings, you're emailing out invoices, creating invoices, you're drawing CAD plans, you're scheduling consultations. You're. Preparing presentations, you're handling presentations. You're requesting revisions. You're calling a client to remind them about the appointment. You're scheduling a trade day. Uh, you're having a warehouse delivery scheduled. You're setting the appointment with the electrician. You're reminding that electrician to, Hey, show up for your appointment. You're shopping for accessories. Preparing all of the design boards. You're returning damaged items, approving custom orders, reminding the woodworker to construct something the way that it was designed, checking up on that design, visiting showrooms, picking up samples, creating agreements, invoicing for retainers. You guys see what I'm saying? This is just the tip of the iceberg. This is just off the top of my head. Things that we do. Imagine if you sat down. And really, really, really made that list. I'm telling you, you're going to have to have multiple pages to really keep up with all the things that we do. But the reason it's important to know what you do is number one, of course, you don't want anything to fall by the wayside, but number two, it adds value to what you do. It gives you. And understanding of all that you provide to your clients and your customers. It gives you a reason to stand behind all of the hard work that you put into a project. I hope too that when the time comes, it allows you to actually verbalize this to a client. There's nothing wrong with letting a client know. Things that we do within our company. I know that sometimes it can be overwhelming, but I do like to drop a little truth bombs here and there and just say, oh my gosh, like, yes, it's been great, but. We received some damage items like recently we received two lamps and one lamp was great. The other lamp looked nothing like the other lamp and they had to be in the same room. So we had of course too, Talk to the warehouse and those back, get those exchange, get new ones sent over, send all the return items. pickups had to be scheduled. Blah, blah, blah. you know, we do it every day and we make it look easy, but the clients are usually unaware of this. And I know some designers wanted to keep that magic going and not really let clients and on those things. And I get that as well. We do want to make it look like we are the miracle workers, but I feel that a little bit of truth every now and then. lets the clients know that we're human and that things do happen and that the world is not perfect. And it's not an Amazon society where you can click a button. Arrive at your front door. You don't want it. You tied it back to, you know, whole foods or wherever and just returned. It's not that easy. With the products that we work on as a designer. So I do let clients in on certain things, just because I want them to know a bit about what goes on behind our doors, as designers as the project fulfillment team that works on their project. So choose carefully. You don't have to tell them every single thing, but I do think it's important to, allow your clients to understand a bit about what you're doing as a design team and all that you do do for them. Most clients are appreciative of it, and they do understand that there are a lot of gears that are turning behind the scenes. But for clients who have never worked with a designer before, it's a bit of an education. And I think that it's up to us too. educate our client on what they know, because I've always said, clients just, they don't know what they don't know, and that's not their fault. So, think about all the things that you do write those down. And again, don't try to do it in one sitting. It's going to be overwhelming. But keep it a little note, but beside your desk and every single day, If there's something on your list that you don't have written down, that you just performed a task, write that down and add that to your list. And then you're going to start organizing those into different areas. So three areas. I have a creative business that I feel will need systems are the following. You need a system for dealing with trades and vendors. So anything that deals with. Products that you're ordering or people that you're hiring to perform certain tasks, a woodworker electrician, a flooring installation, a tile installer. any furniture that you're ordering lighting, et cetera, that is its own set of systems because that Has it sounds. Problems. And just, as I mentioned with returns and damages and items being received, there are so many things that could go wrong. And frankly, these days with all of the demand on the design industry, those things do go wrong. you should have your own systems in place. And again, under those systems are all the processes for your trades and vendors. Secondly, clients should have their own set of systems as well. So your clients should be dealt with in a way that is totally different from your trades and vendors. of course you want your clients to get the VIP treatment. You want them to have the best experience possible when working with your company and you. I really want them to learn to trust you even more so than they did when they signed up and paid your design fee or creative fee. So you need to have a set of systems in place that can deal with all of the things that the client is going to need to know from onboarding that client, to communicating with that client, to any sort of presentations with that client. How are you doing to work out the entire process from start to finish with that client? I always tell my team this, and I told myself this from the beginning. If a client has to come to me and ask a question. About a project or about where we are on a project or any sort of thing to do with a project. Chances are we have dropped the ball. Now I know sometimes clients forget and they're just busy. Like we are. But if a client comes to us and it is something that is our fault, because we did not tell them, then that is something that we want to never happen again. cause, I don't want a client having to ask a question to us. That was our responsibility to let them know. so think about all the ways that you could better serve your client. by also serving your client, you're better serving yourself and your team by having all of the systems in place that can facilitate the process for your design client or whatever client you're working with. And lastly, the third set of systems that I have are for team. And internal members of your company. So I do have trades and vendors separated from the team and internal systems because my employees are my employees, my trades and vendors are not, they are either a 10 99, or we just purchase things from them, but my team members, our employees. And so I do want to have a set of systems in place for them. And I'm going to touch on what some of those systems would be in just a moment. Backing up a bit. Starting with a trade in vendor. Let's talk about some of the things that you might want to have processes for, for your trades and your vendors. You want to have an agreement for your trade and vendors. If you don't have an agreement for them, I suggest that you do, because there are so many things that could go wrong with working on a project. And if you're taking money from a client and putting that money to pay for something from a vendor that is working on your behalf, and you're working on behalf of a client, that's not your money. That is the client's money, and you have responsibility to protect that client's money. So if you don't have an agreement with your trades person for whatever. Never you're paying them for. I highly suggest that you do get one and have an understanding of deliverables of timeframes, of, possibly what could go wrong. If something does go wrong, or if the project is delayed, is there any sort of penalty for the trade? That sort of thing. I also have an onboarding system for my own trades. I have a process that when I onboard them, here's what we need from you. I need your insurance. I need this agreement signed, et cetera, et cetera. So there is an onboard. Onboarding, not only with your clients, but also with your traits, people, purchasing, how are you purchasing? Do you do a purchase order? Why does the process look like deliveries and storage, client communication. Do you allow your trades and vendors to communicate with your clients? I suggest that you don't, but if you do then what does that look like? team communication, who is responsible on your team for communicating with your trades and your vendors, work quality requirements. This one is really important. Make sure that the quality of the work is. Up to par with what you expected. for yourself and on behalf of the client. On-site procedures. How do they react when they're onsite? Are they professional? Do they have to wear a t-shirt to represent your company? What does the onsite procedures look like? What timeframes do they arrive, Project revisions. Is there a cost for that? How do those work? When did those get done? project conflict who handles those conflicts? Any sort of billing conflicts? God forbid a client conflict. You do not want a vendor or a trade. Probably dealing directly with a client. If there's a conflict, I always insist that we. Worked directly with our client because we are the ones who brought the trade and the vendor on usually for our project. So I want to be able to speak directly with our client to handle any conflicts on behalf of the trader vendor, because chances are, we can handle it a lot better than the trader vendor could. And, you know, I always say. quality of our project is only dependent upon the trade that is on the job that day. So it doesn't matter what general contractor or what builder or what big company is responsible for working on a project. If Bob or Jim or Sally is at the job site working, then that is the person. Who is installing the tile or the flooring or the light fixture or the plumbing fixture. And that person is ultimately. I direct representation of the general contractor and the builder, which is also a representation of us, if we are the ones who hired them. so be cognizant when you're working with. General contractors who have trades people and the responsibility is rolling back to yourself that you definitely want to make sure that you have some sort of system in place to deal with all of the problems of. The very person who's on the job site, I had a person do tile installations. Once early in my career and they were working for a, a builder that I was working with and, oh my gosh, they arrived to the. Job site. And they were a little tipsy from the night before. So all of the tile was let's we say was not being installed in a straight line. So, um, that was a turning point for me to make sure that I was aware of every single trades person that was working on a job site. If I was indeed responsible for the overall. In result of the job. nowadays we basically separate ourselves from the creative and the, I call it project fulfillment. I don't call it project management because we don't really manage projects. And. I'll talk more about that in upcoming episodes. But way that we work is we focus on the creative aspect of what we do as designers. And then we facilitate the project fulfillment. We make sure that the design plan is fulfilled and then our clients typically signed directly with any GC or builder. And the funds are transferred directly to that person. we're sort of working alongside of them, but we're not ultimately responsible for. The work that they do, but we do have an agreement with the general contractor or the trades person. If we do hire them directly. And lastly, onsite meetings or in office meetings, how do you handle those? Do you have an agenda? Do you have things in place that sort of let people know what's going to happen? Who's in attendance for those meetings? again, you can see with trades and vendors, and this is just a few, by the way, this list could go on and on and on. these are just a few of the processes that you can have with your trades and vendors, but I hope it gets the juices flowing for you to see what you really need to be thinking about for the client. a few. Those are, let's think about onboarding that client. How do you onboard them? Do you have a system in place? how do you send out your agreement? Do you review a video call? Do you send out at PDF? how do they sign it? Is it signed digitally? Is it signed in person? What is the communication with your client? Do you allow them to text you? Do you allow them to call the office? only email. How does that look? We have a document we give out to every single client before we start to work with them. And on that sets the expectations of communication and we're going to do a weekly update and all the things that we're going to set in place for them. Isn't that how we work document. is a way to remind our clients of how we do run our business. Very structured, but also that we're on their side and that this sets the tone for every single thing that's going to happen. after that point. And then we actually store that document in their client portal so that they can access it at any point. Project schedule and timeline. how do you update your clients on the project schedule on timeline? Do you do a weekly update? do you do project management? If you do, what does that look like? How many meetings do you have? How do you do your presentations? Are they done in office? Are they done on a video call? Where do you source products? how does the client approve your products? Do they approve them written? Do they approve them on an email? Do they approve them on some sort of project management software systems, such as HousePro or my DOMA? How does that work? how does the client approve the products that you're specifying for them? then of course, how do they pay for them? Right. How does that look? Do they pay through that system as well? Or do they pay through QuickBooks? product returns. Project conflicts, billing conflicts. Those do happen. Uh, dazzling conflicts, the someone shows up to a client's home and the client forgot about it and they're not able to have them work that day. What happens then? Uh, project revisions, scope, creep, scope increase. If the client adds things to the project, how does that work? What does that price look like? How do you let them know about it? in office meetings, onsite meetings, do you require the client to be there? So, as I said, this could go on and on and on too. And this is just the tip of the iceberg For taking care of the client and for setting those expectations. With the client and for me, the process is, and the systems are really all about that. It's about setting up the expectations. For the way that I run my business. And let the client know that, their project is going to run smoothly as well. I put some of these on my website. Actually, I had let the client know that we do run. Our company in a systematic way we do keep them updated and that we are very transparent and we do have a client portal and they do have ways to access all their information. At any given time. that has actually clinched the deal for us with clients. Sometimes they have really enjoyed the fact that we are organized because we worked with a lot of busy professionals and people who. in their own businesses are very organized and in their own work lives are very organized and have systems in place for that. They appreciate the fact that we have devoted time to the business side of what we do. And that means a lot to me.

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Now that we talked about some of the ways that you can implement systems and processes or processes within your own company. I want to discuss some of the benefits of being organized and having all of these systems in place for your business. First of all organization, it just saves you time. I mean, think about it. If you're looking for a post-it note or trying to find something on your desk and it's not organized, or you're running out the door and you forget your purse or your wallet, because you put it in the wrong spot the night before, how much time are you wasting? Just being organized and just having a set of rules and a set of procedures in place will save you time. I see it happening every day within my own company. And within students that I teach in my program. Secondly, it increases your productivity your day is just flow better. I promise you, you get more done. You're not running from one unfinished task to another. You're crossing things off the list. You're not like a moth to a flame. You're not running to put this fire out or that fire out. You're finishing one task and you're moving on to another task. I know the feeling of crossing something off of a list. Using a sauna like we do, you'd click that button and that little unicorn flies through the air. And it feels really, really good. To say. That was accomplished. if you are overwhelmed every day, here's a little tip that I use for myself and my team. Write down three things that you want to accomplish each day. No questions asked. So these three things will get done no matter what. And you do not leave until these things are done. write those things down and you put them on your desk somewhere in front of you every day and you leave the office or you leave your home office or your desk or wherever you're working. And you get those three things done. I can tell you, there is a sense of accomplishment because at the very least you have accomplished those three very important things for the day. And it began to do more than three. Great. But I suggest you at least narrow those down to three important things that you have to get done every single day. And I know there are so many more things to do. You're saying. John. There's probably like 20, 25 things I have to do every day. That's fine. But if you at least marked off three of those things that you done that day, rather than 10% of one thing or 5% of this thing, or maybe half of this thing, you're going to feel much better than having partially completed tasks. Another thing is, if you list all of your tasks out for the day, you could also sort them by list of priority a, B, C, or D. That's also a way to instantly prioritize those tasks. And then you can accomplish the most important things that you want to accomplish for that day. And as you accomplished the most important things, you can move on down the list. Start with your, a priorities, move down to your beat, your CS and your DS. And don't keep carrying over your entire list from day to day. You at least are going to cross out some things from your list every single day. And that feeling of accomplishment will propel you to keep doing that every day and to keep crossing those things off every day and prioritizing your list. Next it lessens the chance of burnout and overwhelm when we are organized systematically. And by the way, I say systematically, because you can't just do these things Willy nilly, and I'm flailing my hands in the air, as I say this, but you can't just do these things out of order. They have to follow a systematic order from start to finish from beginning to end, because if you pull something out of order, the processes are all out of whack and nothing is going to get accomplished the way it's supposed to be. By systematically following written processes, you are more likely to not forget something important. It will ease the stress on your brain. So thinking about the times that you went to sleep, wondering if you forgot to do something that day, I hate that feeling. I hate Climbing into this comfortable bed with my nice sheets and my fluffy pillow. And I lay my head down and I hear that rumbling in my dogs start to snore. I know it's time to go to sleep. But my mind starts to wonder, oh, did I send that email? Did I write that client back? Did I schedule that vendor to show up tomorrow? Or did I get that return process or did that invoice get sent out? If you have these written processes down and you're crossing them off, you won't be worried about that anymore because you're going to have to be crossing them off your list. And you're going to have the same processes every single time that you work on the project. And that's the other thing too. It's not like you're having to. Reinvent the wheel every time. These are the same processes for the most part for all of your clients. So if you have these written down and a systematic way, You're doing the same thing over and over and over. And it just takes that one final time to come up with those processes and organize those into systems. Per those different categories that I gave you. And you're going to be able to take those processes and work those into whatever clients come into your galaxy. just by having those in place, it's going to make the entire process of onboarding your client and working with your clients. So. Much easier, but back to the point at hand, it's really going to release the stress on your brain and release the worry and allow you to comfortably end the day, knowing that you dotted every I and that you crossed every T and that you got everything that you needed to get done that day. And thirdly, it allows you to plan your day, your week, your month, your year, to stay on track and to monitor your progress and to achieve your goals. By setting all of these processes in place. You were able to move through the day, accomplish something and move on to the next week. Move on to the next month and move on to the next year. And you're staying on track and imagine this. So a client calls you and it's this wonderfully fabulous project, this 10,000 square foot home. And they want everything top to bottom. They want you to start in two months and oh my gosh, you have no idea. Where you are with your current projects and you have no idea what part of the process you are on with them and how many more steps are left in the process. And what's left to do, how do you even know if you can take that client on. You don't. And I've seen this again and again, with my own students where they've taken on clients, that they really shouldn't have taken on at that point. But they really should have said yes. Okay. We can do that, but it's going to be in three months on this date, that's when our next opening is because we can onboard you properly. And we really want to spend time to bring you into our company in the correct fashion. We do not want to rush our process, which our process is what gives you a wonderful final result. You're really benefiting yourself. You're benefiting your client and you're allowing yourself to have future business just by having a systematic process in place. And the next thing you're going to have is you're ready for this. Free time. What? Yes. You heard me, right? You can have actual free time. If you organize your days and create action items to achieve your daily goals. This also works outside the world of business and into your home life, but by crossing off that to-do list and knowing that you got it done, you gain minutes and hours back into your day. You can come home for dinner, you can have, oh, I don't know, a work-life balance. Isn't that amazing to know that you have free time to have a drink with a friend or two. To not spend 15 hours in the office every day. And I've been guilty of that as well. And I know that there's days when that has to happen when there's a big project or an upcoming presentation. But for the most part, I really try to integrate a work-life balance for myself and for my team members. And it's really, really paid off in spades because every person within my company, thankfully. Now has a good work-life balance. And I try to do that by leading by example. And I do check in with my team right early to make sure that they do, and I can see it on their face when our weekly meeting comes up and they're not spending 12 hours a day in the office and they actually have time to have a personal life and spend it with their family. It makes me very, very happy because, sorry to tell you and sorry to tell every client and every potential client listening to this right now, but there are no design emergencies, sorry. There's just not. If your house is on fire, you should call 9 1 1. You should not be calling your designer. So your design emergency air quotes or whatever is happening was just built up in our heads. And if you have a process in place, you know, that you finished that process for the day and that the client is on track to move into the next phase. We have three phases for instance, in our project journey. And I'm going to talk more about those. And in future episodes about our project journey, but for our project journey, if we have finished the first phase, which is the project commencement phase, we're moving into the design development phase next. And then we move into the project fulfillment phase. If I complete that phase, I know we're done. And I know every single thing was done in that phase. We chose all the appliances we met with all the vendors. We have all the drawings done, et cetera. So nothing is left to chance and everything is crossed off. And by doing that, it just gives you more free time because. You're working in a way that is very efficient. And the other thing I have to say about this is don't allow interruptions to come into your day and pull you away from the task. At hand, if you're working on something, if you're working in your home office or even in a coffee shop, don't let your phone text or raining come through and interrupt because you're in that work zone. And it's going to take you 10 or 15 minutes to get back in the groove of where you were before that. And lots of productivity is lost. I tell my team members, even though we're working in one office, If you're busy or have time blocked off on your calendar, put on your headphones, put your headphones in. And that is this code. That is the signal. So to speak for the rest of the office, that we are working on something intently and that we are not to be interrupted. Think about ways that you can avoid interruption so that you can keep your day moving smoother as well and accomplish those things. It makes you a better leader, a better team member, a better partner. a better mother, a better father, You just have more time for other things. So for your business, you can dream bigger and plan bigger from that 30,000 foot view. As I call it, you're planning and dreaming for a bigger things within your company, how to grow your company. For your marriage, you can make your reservation for date night that you can actually go to. You can be on time for your kid's baseball game. You can cook family dinners. You can treat your team to a day at the spa, whatever it is by knowing that you are following your own processes, your own proven processes, that work, you will be able to be a better person with less stress and more time. More creativity is also another wonderful benefit. And let's be honest people in the creative field, not one of us said, I want to be an interior designer or a landscape architect or a graphic designer or any creative. so I can sit down and push a pencil all day. Nope. I do not remember ever, ever signing up for that ever saying I saw those Excel spreadsheets on HDTV or on PBS. And that really dates me, but you know what I mean? All the home fixer shows. I don't remember watching those episodes thinking like, oh man, I, I can't wait to get into QuickBooks and prepare an invoice. Nope. Never ever, ever did I say that? We want to be creative. our right brains are chomping at the bit to get into the nitty gritty of a project and come up with fun and interesting solutions. But when we are worried about missing deadlines or forgetting to call a vendor to check on an install or returning a damaged piece of furniture, we lose sight of the creativity and the business details tend to take over. So that's why a systematic approach to your projects. Again, no matter what. What project type you're working on, it's critical to the successful outcome. The goal is you're happy. The client is happy. All the vendors involved are happy and you have presented your very, very best work from the most creative part of your brain. Your job as a creative is to come up with creative solutions. Your job is not to mimic something that someone saw in a magazine or to facilitate the design that a client wants you to facilitate, just because they saw something that they want you to replicate. It is our job to really take that concept and come up with creative solutions and the design mix that we come up with as creative individuals, that's our job. And if that is being pushed aside by dealing with all of the day to day, parts of our business are putting out fires are a worrying. If we forgot something, You're just not going to be creative. And every part of your business is going to suffer because of that lack of creativity. And then of course the potential of future projects are suffering because your current projects aren't looking great, so let's get back to being organized and let's get back to being creative. okay. How to define your processes. I'm not going to talk too much on this, but here are some very simple ways to define your own processes. I want you to evaluate what your processes are. I've already mentioned to you to make a list of all of your business activities that you do every day. Divide those up into their own categories, client trade vendor, and then your own internal slash team members. And then list out all of those freaking steps that I've just talked to you about and every single step behind every activity, then implement them, document all of your processes, write everything down, store them in a central location, put them on a Google drive, whatever sort of documentation you have, but document all of those processes so that you do not forget them, then start using them, making sure that you were actually implementing them into your company so that you're trying them out. And lastly, adjust, evaluate, implement, and adjust. Those are the three steps you want to adjust those processes based. Based on feedback from your clients, from your trades, from your team members, and of course from your own experience and implementing them, Is something working? Is it not working? would it work better if you change this part of it, or do you need to refine the process, but definitely evaluate those and listen, I adjust mine all the time. I'm always going into my processes. And adjusting them. and in my program for my students, I have every single process within my company listed out for SLPs standard operating procedures. And it's everything that I've ever implemented within my company. And it's so many, I even have an SOP on how to create an SOP. it's because I want everything standardized and I want everything to look and to be viewed in the same format. So when you're documenting your processes and I'm going to wrap this up now, I want you to use some sort of way to document those, whatever it is, can use a task management software such as a sauna or a Monday. And I'll put some links to these in the show notes, you can also use a design management software such as my DOMA or house pro. They have a task management system built into their systems as well, or at the very least just use a word doc or a Google doc and create a list. you have to document them. You can not mentally put them on your brain and expect them to stay there. It's not going to work. if you stay to the end of the episode, I'm going to give you a download where you can go and you can actually download my systems and processes overview. And I'm going to give you those. And there is actually an Assana upload where you can upload this template into a sauna and start working on client onboarding for yourself. And by the way, a sauna has a free program that you can start with to work with them. And I believe might have a trial period as well. my Domo and house pro also offers a trial period. So you can try those out to see possibly which one works best for you. But again, at the very least write them down. That's how it started for me. I wrote them all down.

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I would write them down on a piece of paper during the day. And then I would move those over to a Google doc at the end of the day. Or you could just keep a Google doc open on your desktop all day long and just kind of add to it as you, as you wish. That's also of course, an easy way to do it. and as you're doing your processes, you want to think about the type of projects that you're working on. So for me, as an interior designer, we have a process for. Full service design a process for decorating only type projects where there's no construction or, renovation of any kind. We have a process for nutrient structions and a renovation type project, or we have a process for a combination of those. So for those clients who want us to do a new construction project, but also want us to maybe select some furnishings and that sort of thing. every one is a little bit different. They all have some of the basic components in them. but by having these templates stored, again, me, I use a sauna, So by having these stored in a sauna. It allows me to onboard that client as they come on and not have to worry about. if I'm forgetting a step for that particular type of project. And then all that we do is we take that template and adjust it specifically for that client. So if this client is not having kitchens, for instance, as part of their renovation, then we just delete the kitchen section of that template. the rest of the template stays the same for the rest of their project. you can cater them for each client, but make that sort of main template that you use. that encompasses. Because everything, that could occur within that project. Now. If you are the person who does not want to write them down again, you really need to but if you don't or if you want to try another format, you could use a video format for documenting your, processes. we do use these for some things. for instance, a sales tax payment, and we want to document the process for that, and there is a visual component to it, or any sort of process where there is a visual component where we need to share our screen or, show something on the screen, we will do a video version of a process. I will usually insert the video link inside of the actual written. Process for myself. But you don't have to do that, you can actually make the video, the actual process itself. But you would need to store those processes in their own storage area so that they're not lost. So just as you stored the written processes inside of your client processes, and then you store the other ones your team and your internal, and then you stored the rest inside of your trades and your vendors. You're going to want to do the same thing with these video. Versions that you're working on. And you can just show your little picture in their corner of the app. You don't have to actually be on camera. I recorded these at light, you know, long days when I've worked and like 10 30 at night. The last thing I wanted to be was be on camera. But I use audio and I was able to, walk someone through the process of doing something or, you know, sometimes I'll even do reviews of projects. If I'm looking over a presentation that one of my team members is doing for a client, I will do a verbal review of that presentation. And then I will record it. after hours, when my team in Florida is already done home and I'm on the west coast and I'm able to do that after they've already left for work for the day. And I'll just send them the link to the recording so that they can actually hear what I had to say about it without having to type it all out. So there's. Lots of ways that videos can help you out. And some of the software that you can use for that is, loom L O M zoom is another one. Of course he didn't video with zoom and record. We use whereby there is one called train you all, which will actually sort of write your manuals for you and help you document things. Scribe is another one. We also use Vimeo. That's a great one. And then, I don't know if you are aware, but Canva also has a recording feature and it works pretty well. So you can record things inside of Canva and then save that and then send that link to someone without having to actually send them the actual file of the recording. just share that link within Canva and then Canva will store that for you. Try these out but you still have to be organized with them. You can't just record them. and forget where you recorded the video. You definitely have to keep track of that. There is a book that I read that actually recommended recording all of your processes on a video software system. Didn't work for me. I have to have them written out, but, if that works for you, great. it's just all in what works for you. It's just like the, one of the gym, if you're going to the gym and it's a workout that you hate or it's equipment that you hate, or it's doing certain things that you hate, you're not going to go back. So, if you're working on your own business and you're doing things within your own business, and you have certain things in certain ways and certain apps that you like to use, then that is going to make your day much easier, and you're going to actually enjoy doing that. So find out what works for you in the future. By the way, I love tact and I'm going to be doing an entire episode just on the tech that we use within our company. And it's a lot. I love it. And I've embraced it and it has saved us so much time. It's almost like having another employee on board sometimes to do the things that we do. but try some things out for the video recording. I see how it works. And yet those systems and processes. And order, and that brings us to the end of another episode of the designer within, I hope you feel more organized already. Listen. Give yourself time. This is not an overnight process. It took me years to just get it going and write everything down. And then I spent probably two years really, really getting into the nitty gritty and then writing steps and documenting everything. So this is not going to be happen quickly, but give yourself time, be patient with it. You can of course, purchase processes already. But, you need to really find the ones that work for you. And once you find them, you need to refine those processes and make sure that they are working for you. And every project is different. every project changes and you're going to keep improving them as you go along, because you're going to find a better way to do something. And that's wonderful. you're going to go back and revisit these all the time. And I'm constantly asking my team members what suggestions they have, and you can do the same thing, but very soon you will be organized and you can take on any project with less stress. And you're going to know that the entire time you're working on that project, that everything that needs to be done will be done. And you will save so much time and you'd want to have time at the end of the day. And oh my goodness. You're going to have life outside of work. Do you believe in life outside of work share should write a song about that? Um, Seriously, it's going to give you so much time. You're going to get your life back just by being organized. And it's going to take some time to do it. It's going to be work that at the end of the day, you just have to trust the process. I have a little sticker on my desktop that I've had with me. For probably about 20 years. That says, trust the process. And if you just trust the process, it will work for you. But first. You have to make the process right. Okay. So come back and join me next week for another episode of the designer within, in the meantime, head on over to John McLean. Dot co I know I don't Somebody owns that and they will not sell it to me. I've tried for years. So head over to John McClain, J O H N M C C L a I N. Dot C And you can get everything you need to see about the show. You can find out more information about all of my courses that I offer, and I'm going to be offering courses very soon for anybody who wants to work on the design aspect of their home. Those are launching very soon. And then in the meantime, I still have my courses, of course, for the design community and for the creative industries to help you guys get on track with your businesses, and I have a download for you as well. You can download the things that I touched on today as well as an Asana download, you can download this a sauna. file. And then you can upload that into your own Assana and it will give you a client onboarding process for you to use for your own selves you can take that and then revise it based upon your own needs. But it is a great starting point for you to try out a task management system and see how that works for you. Come back and join me next week for another episode of the designer within, and in the meantime, my friends keep learning and growing and keep designing. I'll see you soon.

Why I Love Systems/Processes & Why You Need Them
What is a System and Process?
How to Determine Your Systems
3 Systems You Need In Your Business
How Do Systems Help You & Your Business?
3 Steps To Create Your Systems & Processes
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