I’ve been in small business for about 15 years. Initially in my career, I was in the wedding industry. I managed a wedding bridal store. I went on to coordinate design weddings and I loved it; it was so fun. But there came a time when I was going to move, so I had to say, “What do I want to do? Do I want to keep doing this?” I came to realize that what I was gifted at was doing systems, productivity, and helping small businesses make things more efficient and helping them to change the world in a bigger way.
And I was like, “Okay. I’m going to do that instead.” I didn’t even know if there was an industry for it. I just knew that all the companies I had worked for I had done that for, so I decided it was time to go out and do my own thing and start my business and help people.
What Were Your First Steps?
I started networking a lot and connecting with people, figuring out what they needed. Meeting other entrepreneurs and just stewing in their brilliance and connecting. From there, I just set out to learn as much as I could.
I studied from a ton of online marketers and from highly successful people and just modeled what they were doing and learned their best practices in addition to my own and just grew it from there.
I packaged it. I made it so that it was concise. I made it so that it was attached to the results the people needed and were looking for. I made it so that it was foolproof so that people could follow through on it.
So through having connections of everyone in my network, I was able to grow. People could see that I lived what I did. They could see that the way my life and the way I ran my business was different from the way that they were existing and struggling and running their businesses. I think the proof spoke for itself in how I was and how I was being, and then from there, it was easy because I had programs that people could work within.
I got a lot of referrals from other people in my industry who did different things, like home organizing and things like that, and they would refer businesspeople to me. And then through my network, it just grew from there. Also, I mean, doing marketing: I do a lot of social media and I do a lot of videos and I do a lot of blogging and I do a lot of giving away information and blessing people with that.
How Do You Differentiate?
As an entrepreneur, you need to feel confident in what you’re doing. What also set me apart was that I created my own processes. I designed two different customized processes that take people through what my steps are. And that’s something that nobody else has; nobody else has my process. It’s definitely something that differentiates me and it’s something that I recommend anybody starting out to do: Figure out what is unique about you and what your process is. Because anybody who is an expert has their process.
Was it Difficult To Start Fresh?
I got into it when I was at a point where I was at a crossroads and had a decision to keep staying in the wedding industry I was in for a decade or shift over to making a bigger impact in the world. I chose that it was time for me to help other people change lives. That’s what I see as the real purpose and mission of being an entrepreneur: Do the thing in the world that can make a difference. I feel like as entrepreneurs, we have the power to make huge change in the world.
I worked with all sorts of businesses—brick-and-mortars and people who had certain crafts—but I found over the years that my sweet spot is that I’m an expert working with coaches and consultants, especially those who either manage their team online or have a virtual team. That is where I shine and where I have rock star results.
As I had more and more people coming to me with virtual teams, I saw the great results I was getting for them. I also see that there are a lot more barriers to people with a virtual team. Yes, you have all the typical dynamics you would have in a brick-and-mortar environment, but when you add in the distance and communicating typically in a way that is not talking or not face-to-face, I just found that I had all the special skills that helped address these issue that people weren’t expecting to come up.
Why is Productivity Important?
Productivity is important because we all have a mission in the world, or we all have money that we need. It’s all about money and mission. I view it as a combination of both. If you aren’t using your time and your energy to the best of your abilities, those are two resources we can’t get back.
Productivity is important because when you’re using those effectively, you’re able to leverage your time to create the impact and the mission that you want in the world and also to bring in the money you need to fund that mission or the life you want to lead—the freedom, the adventure, all of that.
I see productivity—and systems in particular—as rather than being something rigid and controlling, as actually being something that gives structure and it’s nurturing. It actually flips the system on its head. If you have things in place that are systematic and organized and things are faster and easier, then you have more time for freedom and adventure and all the things that you want to have. It’s just vitally important.
Where are you wasting time? It doesn’t have to be the exact activities, though that is helpful. But how much time are you wasting? If entrepreneurs add up how much time they really are wasting, they might get frustrated.
Maybe they spend three minutes on Facebook a day and 10 minutes a day searching for a digital file they can’t find, or having to micromanage their team and wasting 30 minutes explaining something they’ve already explained, or searching for something in their inbox and spending 30 minutes filing something in their emails… All of these things, it’s easy to add up to one hour a day, to hours a day, three hours a day. What could you do with that time? Either in business or in your personal life, what could you do with that time if you aren’t wasting it there?
What is The Cost of Being Unproductive?
I find that the emotional costs can be higher sometimes even than the financial costs of lack of productivity. The frustration, the constant angst over not getting things done, feeling like you’re on a hamster wheel, and the feeling that inbox is forever growing and you’re constantly racing to catch up all the time, constantly feeling like you’re behind the eight ball… I find that, over time, those things ebb away at people’s confidence. As an entrepreneur, your confidence is everything. You have to protect that. It’s like your knight. You’ve got to be really serious about protecting that. As an entrepreneur, you are you are your product—or you are the spokesperson for your product if you have no product.
Over time it ebbs away at your making money, or you miss opportunities, or if you’re not able to keep up with your inbox, you’re literally missing financial opportunities to work with the people who want to work with you or want you to speak or all of these different things. Over time, it can eventually just kind of lead to catastrophic failure.
You don’t have all those micro defeats in your day. You don’t have, every 10 minutes, something that feels self-defeating, like searching for a file, or the realizing the fact you forgot to get back to that lead three weeks ago, or all of these things over and over again. Because as your confidence erodes from those little things, you also are less likely to put yourself out there for big things. You believe, if you can’t handle these little things, somewhere subconsciously, you’re not going to go for that big thing. You feel like, “I can’t handle that; I can’t even handle these simple, basic things.”
How do Systems Help?
Entrepreneurship can feel like a full-contact sport, right? You’re doing your thing and it sometimes feels like it’s you against the world. But when you have a way of doing things and you have strategies that are your foundation and you know what you do, when you’re going to do it, and how you’re going to do it (for you and for your team if you have a team), things are just easier. You see where there’s space to go after that big thing. You see that you don’t have to constantly have all these worries living in the back your mind that you see as fires you have to put out, smelling smoke all the time with all your smoldering fires. Instead it’s just a path of ease moving forward.
Two Advantages to Systems
Here are a couple of really important advantages about having systems in place that a lot of entrepreneurs overlook.
- Instead of keeping everything in a word document or a Google doc, a lot of entrepreneurs keep everything in their head. It’s a struggle trying to keep track of everything. Imagine your brain was a glass bowl and everything you had to remember was a marble rolling around in the glass. I like to ask entrepreneurs “what would your glass look like? As entrepreneurs we’re always generating ideas. So all day long, it’s all these marbles appearing left and right with all these ideas we’re trying to remember. The beautiful thing about having a system is that as soon as you write something down, that’s one less marble in your brain.
- Another advantage of having a system is thinking about how productive you can be with a half-empty brain. If your overflowing brain is keeping you from reaching your full potential, think what you can do with a half-empty brain. Don’t just think about money and time, think about what that means for your emotional resources too.
Why Do Entrepreneurs Resist Systems?
I often meet entrepreneurs who find systems restricting and take away their freedom. I always challenge that because it’s actually the other way around. When you’re saving time with that half-empty brain you’re loving, you have even more freedom. If you have a team, for example, it can take a lot of stress off you to know that things are being accomplished in the background without you knowing.
The systems are also something you created and decided on; nobody prescribed it to you or forced you to do it their way. It gives you an outlet to be as creative and free as you want to be.
What is Your Process?
There are six steps in the process to help people get on the path of creating the system that works for them.
- Eliminate chaos in your life and business because the two are so inter-connected.
- Setting yourself free
- TNT, or blowing up your business in a good way. Some examples of this would be managing your inbox or managing your digital files.
- Documenting systems-you want to make sure you document the things you do regularly in your business and you decide to delegate. It’s about making sure that you know you’re going to get your return investment and how to build your team.
- Choose to commit to the process. Everything is about baby steps in business.
- Adapt for success-If you go to the gym and work out every day until you get a six-pack and then stop going once you get that six-pack, it’s going to go away. Similarly, you need to put the same amount of effort into your business because it’s a living and breathing thing. You grow to what you structure yourself for.
If you’re at full capacity right now, you’re just going to stay in the same place. The growth is only going to happen if you plan for it and give yourself the space you need to move forward because no matter where you are or who you are, you’re always going to know that you’re not ready for that growth and you’re always going to hold yourself back subconsciously on some level.
I truly believe that every entrepreneur has what it takes to succeed, so just go for it!
About Katie Mazzocco
Katie Mazzocco is The Small Business Systems Expert and Founder of Full Spectrum Productivity (www.FullSpectrumProductivity.com). Katie is the author of Revolutionary Productivity: How to Maximize Your Time, Impact and Income in Your Small Business. Katie’s mission in the world is to equip small business owners, who are passionate about changing the world, to save 2 hours a day or more in their business through systems and productivity.
Capitalizing on her 15 years of small business experience Katie created the Revolutionary Productivity Process™, the proven step-by-step process that shows entrepreneurs exactly how to save 2 hours a day or more in their business, so they can stop being overwhelmed and out of control.
Katie believes that entrepreneurs have the power to change the world and loves working with growth-minded women that are hungry for change and passionate about making the world a better place.
Through her Revolutionary Productivity Academy™, group programs, live events, speaking engagements and transformational coaching, Katie helps world-changing entrepreneurs save 2 hours or more a day in their business and start enjoying their life again.
To request Katie’s free checklist, “33 Systems Every Small Business Must Have to be Successful” and receive her video success strategies on how to save 2 hours a day in your business, visit www.FullSpectrumProductivity.com.
You can also find her on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/FSProductivity), Twitter (www.Twitter.com/FSProductivity), and Instagram ((www.Instagram.com/FSProductivity).