051: Using Systems to Reduce Business-Related Anxiety with Wendy Breakstone

The underlying theme of today’s episode is that tech doesn’t need to evoke negative emotions. Ideally, we want tech and systems to help us run our businesses better (rather than run the other way!)

Wendy’s passion and mission is to help people create simple systems and strategies for online success. She came to entrepreneurship as a way out of and through an anxiety ridden period in her life. This is why she works predominantly with those of us who deal with business-related anxiety, stress and overwhelm.

Systems help to reduce anxiety. Systems allow for flow and ease and grace.

Wendy defines a system as:
“A lot of little pieces sewn together in a particular order that can be done on a recurring basis.”

And systems, aren’t just tech systems – we each have a system for how we brush our teeth in the morning!

“You can start small and scale as needed. It’s not an all or nothing game when you’re dealing with tech systems.” – Wendy Breakstone Click To Tweet

I steered the conversation towards the online entrepreneur, since that is who Wendy and I both tend to work with. And especially someone who has already put a lot of pieces in place but doesn’t necessarily have a succinct order to the steps and still feels anxiety about the system.

The first step is to take a step back and assess the situation. Most of the time we’ve over-complicated things and in this stage, we want to remove a step or two which results in a simplification and more confidence.

Do you fear that you’re not tech savvy? Perhaps you’ve put a system in place that is too complicated for your needs. It’s possible that you followed a guru or guide that suggested a set of tools that don’t exactly match your needs. Wendy believes that its important to use the best tools for the best outcome.

As you tackle breaking down the tech in your business and building systems – it should feel like a major accomplishment every time a new system is developed.

Removing the business-related anxiety and turning that into confidence will extend the confidence you have in your work with clients.

Resetting systems isn’t always a matter of elimination, there are times where enhancements are used to complete the system and for confidence to set in.

One of Wendy’s favorite things to experience when she’s working with a client over zoom is the look in their eyes when they go “Oh, I didn’t realize it was that easy!”

I say it’s because we come in with an outside perspective!

If you struggle with anxiety, you may create a big goal but then your brain gets in its own way trying to figure out how to get from where you are to that big goal.

The plan for success system: creating building block objectives that link together to reach your bigger objectives. What you’ve done is break it down and set strategies around the objectives and then the actions around the strategies.

Whoa, time to get out of the theoretical and into the tangible

Let’s talk about Sara. She’s building a health coaching business. At present, she has no systems in place. Wendy realizes the fastest way to get to Sara’s first goal (which is getting clients) is to setup her online scheduling. There are several decisions that need ot be made:

  1. Determine the types of meetings or appointments you’re going to have with clients
  2. Determine how to manage client information (Wendy recommends Asana, you could use Trello, a Google Sheet, a Word Document or any other tool at your disposal)

And then, once Sara has a new client sign up for a meeting, she knows exactly what steps to take:

Scheduler à Onboarding Form à Follow up/intro communication à get client management tool ready

Now, let’s talk about Jill… she is a fitness instructor. She has a super clear idea what she wants to create but has absolutely no idea how to get beyond the idea.

The vehicle selected to house the program is MemberVault. Jill sets up her 8-week program inside MemberVault. The beautiful thing about using MemberVault for Jill is that she’s able to launch the program again and again. The effort required to “hit reset” is minimal.

The program consists of the course in MemberVault, email automation and new cohort Facebook groups for each time she runs an 8-week cycle.

The key is to create systems that you feel good working in and that are repeatable.

It doesn’t do anyone any good to create the most elaborate system that is not repeatable!

“If you simplify, success follows!” – Wendy Breakstone

It doesn’t matter whether you have several tools in your tech stack that work seamlessly together as a system or if your system is far more manual, such as writing a daily to-do list… that’s the system you follow for your best results.

Creating systems doesn’t mean everything needs to be automated.

For tools to work together, it doesn’t mean that they need to be automated and sync up at every end point.

When it comes to automation, look at where a system needs to start (or the trigger action) and see if that starting point can be automated as far as setting up other entities in your system

Both Wendy and I use scheduling software that triggers activity in ActiveCampaign and in our project management tools.

“You have to commit your time to still manage the system” – Wendy Breakstone Click To Tweet

Systems are a commitment. The reason people fall off is because people stop using the system. Now, if the system doesn’t work, then it needs to be changed but in general system still require effort and work. But they are simple and will absolutely help release your anxiety.

Systems are just structures into which your business functions reside.

Think about one system that is giving you a little bit of stress or anxiety. Take a step back, look at what you’re trying to accomplish, and smooth out a few of the wrinkles.

Take back your power!

Wendy recommends to actually write (yes pen and paper!) exactly what you’re doing in that system. You may realize where the complications lie or that it’s not as complicated as your mind was making it.

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