As some of you may be aware, I’m getting ready for the greatest product launch of my life. A baby. I’m having a baby.
While I’d love nothing more than to take 3months off and not think about work, as a business owner that just ain’t gonna happen. I haven’t spent 3+ years building Copywrite Matters up only to let it languish!
So, being the terribly organised person I am, I’m preparing early. There will be checklists, I can guarantee that. I’m actually using this as a catalyst to systemise my business, cementing my business processes and, in some cases, developing them to begin with.
A business continuity exercise if you will!
Because I’ve got a bit of notice on the launch, I mean birth, I’ve been able to start preparing early.
I started thinking about what I don’t want for the few weeks after the birth. I don’t want to be worried about meeting deadlines. I don’t want to let clients down.
For me, relief from stress comes from preparation. While I’m hoping that I’ll actually have the interest and the brain power to be productive, I don’t want to make that assumption.
So, I’ve been working out how my business processes can mitigate the need for me to be thinking about Copywrite Matters all the time.
Documenting my processes
The first step has been to create a Project Checklist covering every step from a first enquiry to the final invoice and beyond. This has two big benefits:
- No steps are missed. Ever.
- Someone else could, in theory, pick this process up later on.
For now, it means that I can always see what has been done, and what the next step is, without having to really think about it.
Preparing for unexpected schedule changes
When it does all kick off, the last thing I want to being worrying about is my email ‘out of office’. So I’m also going to create a Holy shit, I’m going into Labour Checklist.
I told you there’d be checklists.
I haven’t created it yet but I’m thinking it will be something I can get my awesome VA to action if the party gets started early. It will include things like:
- Set ‘out of office’ on all emails
- Check new enquiry submissions regularly and reply with autoresponder message, including references to other kick-ass copywriters they should contact
- Let anyone affected by my absence know what is happening
- Include dates and when everything will be back to normal
Or something like that anyway. The point is to make sure that people trying to connect with Copywrite Matters understand that I’m unavailable, not that I’m just crap at responding to calls and emails.
Outsourcing, like a mofo
At the moment I do all the client liaison and a lot of the copywriting for Copywrite Matters. I plan on continuing that once I’m back to ‘business as usual’ but that’s not going to be viable if I also want to take some time off.
Since the middle of last year, I’ve been building up a little team of really great copywriters I can outsource work to. Copywriters who share my attention to detail, my passion and ability to inject personality into all copywriting. They also share my belief in the importance of producing quality – every time.
I’ve been road-testing my operational processes from taking the copywriting brief (as I always do that) right through to final revisions and invoicing, working out what I have to do and what others can realistically do. Right now, it’s a pretty well-oiled process that is going to make life easy later on.
So when the littlest copywriter comes along, I won’t have to completely shut down Copywrite Matters or put lots of pressure on myself to unscramble my brain.
Just like the Project Checklist, investing time in systemising and documenting my processes is an investment in my business growth, and that’s gotta be a good thing.
Aside from copywriters, I’ve already developed strong working relationships with my Super VA, my bookkeeper and my awesome web dude. The point being that I know I don’t have to do everything and I don’t try to.
I’m sharing the load and it feels great.
Communicating. No radio silence.
I know there are businesswomen out there who have brought new life into this world and the people in their business network have been none the wiser. That kind of determination, organisation and energy is amazing and I salute it, but I’m not sure that’s what I want to do. I think I might just create a pressure cooker for myself.
If the ball is being dropped, I’d prefer people to know why so they can go AWWWW and smile. And send me cake. Hopefully there will be no ball-dropping, though (See Planning Ahead!)
I’m writing this post so you all know.
I’m going to be contacting my team well in advance to let them know how much time I will actually be taking off (not long) and how I see the process working around that time.
I’m going to contact all current and regular clients for projects happening in the month prior to my due date explaining what might, or might not, affect them. I hear babies can be a little unpredictable when it comes to deciding when they want out, and I want to have all my bases covered.
Even though being responsible for a little person is a mystery to me, I can set realistic expectations for the people connected to Copywrite Matters.
Remember to be kind to myself
The reason I’m doing all the prep work is twofold.
I know that all this prep work will help the next stage of my business growth to be a lot smoother.
It’s also so that, when the time comes, I can rest and enjoy the time knowing that Copywrite Matters is resilient.
I’ve also made a(nother) Sanity Checklist of personal reminders such as:
1. Ignore housework
2. Nap when possible (see point 1)
3. Enjoy the moment (see point 1)
4. Make time for myself, and my partner (see point 1)
5. Breathe and go with the flow; the world won’t end if an email isn’t sent
6. Ask for help
Ask for advice
This is where you come in. Mums and Dads – can you offer any tips on how I can prepare my business? I would love to hear them. Or maybe you can add to my Sanity Checklist?