How to reclaim your time and sanity with an Operations Manual

Blogging Tips, Real Talk

For those who’ve never heard of an Operations Manual before, in a nutshell, it’s a detailed workflow of your processes that are written so simply even your husband could complete a task!

All jokes aside, an Operations Manual can literally shave hours off your work week and that’s huge if you’re a Solopreneur!

Missing critical steps in a process is a waste of your time. And when it's happening on the daily, you'll soon find yourself strung out and looking for the exit button. That's why creating an Operations Manual should be a no-brainer for any business owner. For those who’ve never heard of an Operations Manual before, in a nutshell, it’s a detailed workflow of your processes that are written so simply even your husband could complete a task! All jokes aside, an Operations Manual can literally shave hours off your work week and that' huge if you're a Solopreneur! Imagine this... You've just finished polishing this week's blog post. You're super proud and know your readers will get a lot out of it. Busting at the seams, you go ahead and hit "Publish" sending it out into the ether's with a hint of satisfaction. Oh! It’s a fine piece of work! But wait… There's no featured image and oh heck! You forgot the call to action! So you spend a bit longer, editing + re-editing work you thought was complete! These types of errors can see you wasting time you don't have or even worse, what if you didn't double check your work? You wouldn't even know you weren’t maximizing your epic-ally written content! These oversights happen on the daily + not just with blog posts. It can happen with any repetitive business task. That's why an Operations Manual is a powerful tool in business.

 

Download the Workflow Planner here.

Imagine this…

You’ve just finished polishing this week’s blog post. You’re super proud and know your readers will get a lot out of it.

Busting at the seams, you go ahead and hit “Publish” sending it out into the ether’s with a hint of satisfaction.

Oh! It’s a fine piece of work!

But wait…

There’s no featured image and oh heck! You forgot the call to action!

So you spend a bit longer, editing + re-editing work you thought was complete!

These types of errors can see you wasting time you don’t have or even worse, what if you didn’t double check your work? You wouldn’t even know you weren’t maximizing your epic-ally written content!

These oversights happen all the time + not just with blog posts. It happens with any repetitive business tasks including:

  • Simple Administrative tasks
  • Onboarding clients
  • Social media scheduling
  • Blog post workflow
  • Sales funnels
  • Project workflow
  • Systems Maintenance

Missing critical steps in a process is a waste of your time. And when it’s happening on the daily, you’ll soon find yourself strung out and looking for the exit button.

That’s why creating an Operations Manual should be a no-brainer for any business owner.

Why your One-Woman-Business needs an Operations Manual

Not only is having an Operations Manual important for you, it’s especially important when you’re ready to outsource some of those monotonous tasks to reclaim your time. And if you’re prepared to put in the extra work upfront, you’ll be able to outsource with little to no training on your part.

“Using people to leverage a refined process multiplies production; but a poor process multiplies problems.” – Tim Ferriss

  • Processes make you more efficient. Remembering every detail, especially the technical ones can take up too much head space. But when you follow your Operations Manual, (which is key!) you’ll be able to focus on tasks that drive your business rather than squandering time trying to remember where your “Click to Tweet” should go!
  • Document all your procedures so you can delegate when you’re ready.
  • Feel confident knowing your business is still running smoothly even when you’re not around.
  • Maintain a consistent level of quality no matter who’s completing the tasks.

What information should be included in your Operations Manual?

Just as each business is different, the same is true with processes however, the information is generally the same:

  • List of steps documented to complete the task.
  • Any tools, resources, checklists, templates, videos you use to complete the task. For example, Step 4: Headline should have a score of 72 or more using the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer: https://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer/

Tools for creating your Operations Manual

It really comes down to personal preference. There’s lots of tools out there that work well including Trello, Asana, Evernote even Dropbox or Google Docs would work great. I initially created mine in Trello but I’m currently in the process of moving it to my own domain for more control.

Missing critical steps in a process is a waste of your time. And when it's happening on the daily, you'll soon find yourself strung out and looking for the exit button. That's why creating an Operations Manual should be a no-brainer for any business owner. For those who’ve never heard of an Operations Manual before, in a nutshell, it’s a detailed workflow of your processes that are written so simply even your husband could complete a task! All jokes aside, an Operations Manual can literally shave hours off your work week and that' huge if you're a Solopreneur! Imagine this... You've just finished polishing this week's blog post. You're super proud and know your readers will get a lot out of it. Busting at the seams, you go ahead and hit "Publish" sending it out into the ether's with a hint of satisfaction. Oh! It’s a fine piece of work! But wait… There's no featured image and oh heck! You forgot the call to action! So you spend a bit longer, editing + re-editing work you thought was complete! These types of errors can see you wasting time you don't have or even worse, what if you didn't double check your work? You wouldn't even know you weren’t maximizing your epic-ally written content! These oversights happen on the daily + not just with blog posts. It can happen with any repetitive business task. That's why an Operations Manual is a powerful tool in business.

So far I’ve got my business down to 4 main categories:

  • Business Growth
  • Content Marketing
  • Business Health Check
  • Clients

I color code (use Trello Labels) each card based on frequency of a task:

  • Green = Friday
  • Red = Weekly
  • Orange = Bi-weekly
  • Blue = Monthly
  • Purple = Quarterly
  • Yellow = Annually

Missing critical steps in a process is a waste of your time. And when it's happening on the daily, you'll soon find yourself strung out and looking for the exit button. That's why creating an Operations Manual should be a no-brainer for any business owner. For those who’ve never heard of an Operations Manual before, in a nutshell, it’s a detailed workflow of your processes that are written so simply even your husband could complete a task! All jokes aside, an Operations Manual can literally shave hours off your work week and that' huge if you're a Solopreneur! Imagine this... You've just finished polishing this week's blog post. You're super proud and know your readers will get a lot out of it. Busting at the seams, you go ahead and hit "Publish" sending it out into the ether's with a hint of satisfaction. Oh! It’s a fine piece of work! But wait… There's no featured image and oh heck! You forgot the call to action! So you spend a bit longer, editing + re-editing work you thought was complete! These types of errors can see you wasting time you don't have or even worse, what if you didn't double check your work? You wouldn't even know you weren’t maximizing your epic-ally written content! These oversights happen on the daily + not just with blog posts. It can happen with any repetitive business task. That's why an Operations Manual is a powerful tool in business.

Inside each card I attach any resources + further categorize my process with Checklists based on different stages of completing a task. For example:

  • Research
  • Outline
  • Resources
  • Create Images

How to get started creating your own Operations Manual.

No matter where you’re at in your business you can and should start building out your own Operations Manual. In fact, I highly recommend you get started right now by documenting the workflow you use for your blog posts.

 

Download the Blog Post Workflow Planner here.

 

It will be helpful if you’re actually in the throes of getting a blog post ready for publish, that way each task will be documented accurately.

JUST START WHERE YOU ARE.

If you’ve already drafted your post + are now formatting it, begin there. You can simply pick up at the beginning the next time you draft a post.

  • Decide where you’re going to set up your Operations Manual
  • Download the Blog Post Workflow Planner here.
  • List each step as you work through it in as much detail as you can. Most of all, try to keep it simple so it’s easy for anyone to understand + follow.
  • Don’t forget to include any links, resources or tools that’ll be needed for the task to be completed.
  • Note how often this process will be used: Daily, Weekly, Bi-Weekly, Monthly, Bi-Monthly, Quarterly, Annually
  • Finally, combine related tasks into broader topics so you can find them easily. This is especially useful when a process has many stages or you have different people working on different stages of a process.
    DRAFT FORMATTING PRE-PUBLISH
    Research Headline SEO
    Outline Intro Add to Social
    Media queue
    Resources Sub Headings Add Featured
    Image
    Create images Pinterest Image
    Conclusion
    Call to Action
    3X Click to
    Tweet
PRO TIP: In addition to documenting tasks why not video the process too! That way, new members to your team will almost be able to train themselves!

 

Download the Workflow Planner here.

 

One final note

Creating an Operations Manual for the sake of creating one is not going to save you time. To make the most out of it, you actually have to use it.
The Website Planning Checklist

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I invite you to go ahead and do that now. Anyone with a little know how can build a website but few people are aware of the planning and strategy involved in building a website that actually works to meet your goals.

 

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