the best things we did for our biz in 2017
Do you ever get whiplash from watching everything that people are doing for their businesses? Same here, sis. This year, however, we kept our heads to the ground as much as possible and came out with some serious WINS. The best things we did for our business this year were all about fine-tuning and trusting our gut(s).
Here are our faves:
Rather than reinventing the wheel once a week, we dug our boots into the mud and decided to stay put. So instead of jumping (which is impossible with muddy boots anyway), we got good at retooling the processes we were already using.
Certain systems we use, free versus paid versions of the same automation products, scheduling, finances, etc., were all refined this year and it really is a good feeling to improve something seemingly small that packs a big punch.
We ask ourselves a series of questions throughout this process
- Is this a big enough deal to bring to the group or can I handle this on my own?
- Which part of this is the most significantly flawed and can that be fixed without adding headaches?
- What's the best way to get this resolved and MOVE ON?
If we can't move through these questions comfortably, we generally just skip it. Sometimes when you're growing, you have to live with pain points because there are more important things to deal with. It's all about weighing what's worth your time to fix and what you can keep on dealing with for a while.
2. Using Basecamp
YOU GUYS. Basecamp is seriously unreal. It's our project management system and we are honestly obsessed. Like for reals. We do all of our communication, project planning, and even document storage within this one platform.
Our most well-loved features are the to-do lists and coordinating scheduler. We develop lists of our most common practices as well as things that are out of the norm and need to be done. So for example, we have monthly content lists with tasks assigned to specific people that repeat every four weeks. We can assign those tasks to specific people with due dates so no balls get dropped. We can also add random things like "book AirBNB for December" so we can see that progress is being made.
Did we mention you can literally click a box when something is done and see a green check mark? There is no pat on the back like scrolling through all your completed tasks and realizing that you are KILLING IT.
Basecamp helps us to feel on top of everything, store our ideas from small to Oprah-sized, and log everything in one place so we know who's working on what as well as the HEX codes for all our brand colors without needing nine million sticky notes.
3. Developing Workflows
When you're managing a lot of things, it's pretty easy to get swamped.
One thing we did differently this year was to develop workflows for our most frequently completed projects—like creating content. It has saved us a ton of time and unnecessary communication as well.
For example: If something is pertinent, we talk about it on WhatsApp. If it can wait 24 hours or more, we post it on our Basecamp message board. This eliminates us feeling like we constantly have to be on our phones and allows us to put ideas somewhere when we don't want to bug anyone after midnight.
The workflow we're most proud of this year, though, is when it comes to writing. In a given month, we have around 45 pieces of content going out. And that's a lot of writing, editing, making graphics, and sharing. We knew pretty quickly that we needed a system for this so we didn't spend every day crying (or waiting for someone to do their part). Developing a method for this work has saved us countless hours and a whole lot of sanity.
4. Planning with Later
We'd been using a social planner since the early days of Heart in 2015, but it wasn't until this fall that we really got serious about automating and saving ourselves time.
We got rid of our old app (and three separate paper calendars) and invested in Later. And just let us say—that was a good freaking call. We love that we can add media the second we see it. Instead of storing a million screenshots and scrolling through our camera roll to find the right one when it came time to post on Instagram, Later allows us to plop everything in immediately. We can tag other accounts directly from that app, save our captions (with hard returns and line spacing!), and schedule our content by dragging and dropping. We can even wiggle things around if we preview the upcoming grid and don't like how things look aesthetically.
We plan content a month or more in advance so all we have to do is swipe open when the notification pops up, and hit publish. Later is the easiest way we've found to maintain your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest without having to think about them every single day.
This one is gigantic. Until this summer, we were still hanging onto our former iteration, Heart. It began as a women's magazine with the exact same mission—to cure the loneliness and equip women to use their fire. We worked hard to keep reinventing but finally admitted that maybe making a $10,000-a-year book wasn't the best choice anymore. None of us wanted to announce the time of death because it meant so much to us. And thank goodness we didn't because one crazy night, we thought of this instead. WHAT IF instead of mass-producing something for women to read and expecting them to still basically go it alone, we scrapped that part and started getting our hands dirty? WHAT IF we started consulting and being partners with women who were ready to go for it but needed a hand to hold.
We pivoted in the biggest and best way and are moving forward with the utmost confidence that THIS is what we were intended for all along.
Sometimes you have to combine patience with a little chutzpah to end up where you'd like to be.
6. Letting Go
Guys. 2017 is the year of realizing some things are just dumb.
Maybe dumb is harsh, but the point is, you can't have every single thing you do be a huge deal. We decided that for us, for the time-being, content is king. That means we need to write (a lot) and edit (a lot) and find photos (a lot) and make graphics (a lot) and share and schedule (a lot). So with that being the case, we couldn't let a bunch of other things kill us.
We had to decide that Instagram is just Instagram. Sure we're going to post there because that's what we're supposed to do, but otherwise, we're not going to let it eat us alive. Because we don't have time to make it king too.
Perhaps, like us, you're normally very visually obsessed but you don't have the funds for a logo right now. You could go into debt, get awkward in a Facebook group and ask for a trade, or give yourself an ulcer trying to make your own in Illustrator. OR. You could decide that right now, your work is good and speaks for itself. You could let it go. Just for a little while so you can focus on other things. We may have done just that in October and MAN did it feel good.
You can't be good at nine-hundred-and-eleven things at once. So some things need to wait. When we did that this year, we found relief we didn't even know we needed.
This was a year of refining and retooling and we're so excited to see where those improvements lead us in the new year.
And as a sidebar: this is us advocating that you make a list like this of your own. Doesn't have to be business-related if that doesn't apply, but we challenge you to write down five things that went SUPER WELL this year. The opportunity to reflect on things you did right does wonders for that pep in your step. We triple dog dare you to jump over to Fireside and share your list there so we can all celebrate together!