freelancers grow scale Feb 01, 2024

In the first few years of your business, you did it all: took all the jobs, did all the things, wore all the hats. You made it work, and now your side hustle is more than a hobby. It’s your career. 

But what if you want to take a vacation? Work fewer hours? Grow your business? 

We know what you’re thinking… “Um, how?”

This is when the idea of “scaling” comes into play. We can help take you out of the middle of your business, from “Chief Everything Officer” to smooth operator and owner.

Time to Audit Your Business

When making the transition from the early stage of your business to the next one, it’s good to take a moment and do an audit. Here are some questions you should consider:

  • What stage am I in with my business currently? (just starting, wanting to grow, looking to scale up?)
  • What is working and what is not? (projects, clients, payment policy)?
  • What tasks do I want to keep doing and what would I like to delegate?
  • Where do I see repeatable processes?
  • What am I doing in my business that feels like a time suck?
  • Am I feeling burned out or feeling like I could work more?

Getting a good handle on some of these high level questions will help you start to reduce headaches and complexity, and, mostly, get out of your own way.

These next three steps are crucial to you moving towards your ideal business.

1 – Uncover your inefficiencies and automate tasks

2 – Create an SOP and document your process

3 – Replace yourself and delegate

Step 1: Time Audit

I know you probably don’t have a TON of extra time to do things that don’t
A. Make you money or B. Move your business forward. 

We have to be efficient and effective, but just like anything, the longer you run a business, the more likely the bloat of the inefficiencies will sneak in. Just like you should audit your subscriptions (Why are we still paying for Paramount? And when was the last time I got on that Peloton?!!), you should audit your business for things that are time wasters and eliminate or automate them.

Take this time audit worksheet and start to take notes of where you are spending a lot of your time. Then, categorize them into the matrix included in the worksheet or mentally take note of how you are allocating your tasks. A time audit can be hard to do for a week but trust us if you work through it the results can really be eye opening. 

Now that you’ve audited your time, you can start to recognize the processes you can cut or ones that you are repeating again and again….and again. From this list, start to build out your automations, your workflow, your templates. It may seem like you can’t stop long enough to do this, but you must- to gain traction in building a streamlined business. 

Here is a link to some basic automations you can start with. Make a mental note every time you do a task several times and start to think, “How can I automate this?” Trust us, it will benefit you in the long run.

Step 2: SOPs

SOPs! We love acronyms in business. But IMO and FWIW, you need to know this one, like ASAP. 

An SOP, or Standard Operating Procedure, is a document you should start writing once you begin to recognize the processes you are building in your business. 

  • How you address a new client lead. 
  • How you create an SOW and kick-off a project. 
  • How you close out a job and follow-up with previous clients. 

When you write it down, all of these smaller workflows become the roadmap to your future hire or contractor in your business.

*Insider note – When I started to record our Uncompany SOPs, it really uncovered some inefficiencies and some variability in our business. It caused me to say, “Hey there’s not a straight line here, so how can I make this work the same way every time?” When your business processes are different for every client, then you will never scale, never be able to hire subs, and never maintain growth. Take the variability and find the average process. Then record and start marching to that record.

Here is a template for an SOP, but there are a lot out online, so feel free to search the ole Interweb. The SOP is yours. Think about it as your playbook: if you aren’t there (maybe you are in Bali at this point), then your team can open it up and run the show. Ahhhh, how great does that sound?!!

Step 3: Hire Out

Replace yourself! I know this sounds crazy, but to really grow your business, delegation is a huge part of it. 

You can delegate to automation. You can delegate to subcontractors. You can delegate to other tech. No matter what, if you want to step away and be able to focus on what you want to do, you’ll need to tackle this idea.(And don’t worry, we’ll be digging into delegation and working with subs in future content.)

The jump to delegating should come after you’ve done the first two steps. You need to audit and understand where you want to delegate (what you want to keep doing that really adds value vs. time suck tasks). Then write out all your processes and divide them up into “like” buckets to help you start to build out a job description and find the right person. 

Example: “A lot of my tasks are SOW processing, following up with clients to make sure they’ve signed documents, getting the documents into the client folder, setting up meetings, and invoicing and tracking down payment.” This sounds like a great list of tasks for a marketing admin. 

Play around with this – take a task you are ready to delegate, write out the SOP, and read it to someone who has no context or knowledge of your particular business. Ask them: Is this clear? Do you think you could do this if you had the relative skills? The measure is that if you can train someone to do a task at 70% of your capacity to do it, that is the first indication it should be delegated.

Scaling to Success

Your Secret Weapons for Scaling Your Business

When we first start out in our business, we are still in our “proof of concept” mode, where we take all the work and do all the things. Once you are past that and your business is established, take a minute to congratulate yourself that you are a PROVEN success! 

But now it’s time to LEVEL UP from the business doer to the business owner and operator. That means starting to document and audit your processes, find ways to replace yourself, and build the most efficient and effective engine you can build.

We’ve put together a whole workbook for you that will take you from AUDIT to OPTIMIZE to DELEGATION. You can access this by clicking the image below.

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