How to Create Systems as Freelancer to Save Time and Scale Your Business

Stay updated


Hi, I'm Chris and I'm super glad you're here. 7 years ago I taught my self-web design and freelancing. Now, I do my best to teach others what I've learned so they don't have to struggle as much as I did.

Every week, I write an article and release a podcast episode. Sign up if you want to get notified when that happens.

What if you could get hours of your day back?

What would you do?

Spend more time with your family? Start another hobby? Sleep?

As a freelancer, you might think it’s impossible to cut down your work day. After all folks like Gary Vee are literally screaming at you to spend more time growing your businesses and hustling until the wheels fall off.

And, listen, don’t hear me wrong, there’s a place for that. I love me some Gary Vee.

But, it’s 100% possible to be a successful freelancer and still have spare time that gets to be filled with whatever you want.

Systemology from David Jenyns

This week I talk to David Jenyns. David has successfully built multiple businesses and later went on to either sell them OR keep them running while going off and doing something else entirely.

How did he do it? Systems.

In this week’s episode of the Self-Made Web Designer podcast, David talks to us about he implemented very simple systems in his businesses. Systems that allowed him to scale easily AND get time back so he could pursue other passions.

The good news is you can do it too! Check out this episode and see how you can apply systems in your own life and freelance business.

You’ll Learn

  • How to increase creativity by adding systems to your business
  • How to implement systems even if you’re JUST getting started as a freelancer
  • How to scale your business without having to work harder or longer hours
  • How to keep your systems simple so that you’re more likely to follow them


[00:00:00] Chris: What, if you could get hours of your day back, what, what would you do? Would you like spend more time with your family, maybe start another hobby or sleep some more. Right. Well, this week my guest is going to tell you how to get more time back in your week, while still building your freelance web design business.

All at the same time. Are you

ready? Let's go.

What's up self maters. Welcome to another episode of the self-made web designer podcast. It's common thought that in order to build a freelance business, you've got to have a schedule of like non-stop hustle. Right. But. To popular belief. It is still 100% possible to be successful as a freelancer and still have time despair every single day.

And the best news is you get to fill that free time with whatever you want. And this week I talked to David Jenyns and David has successfully built multiple businesses. And then he later went on to either sell those businesses or keep them running while going off and doing something. Entirely. How did he do it?

Well, he built systems and, and this week's episode of the self-made web designer podcast, David talks to us about how he implemented very simple processes, very simple systems in his business systems that allowed him to scale easily. Get time back so he could pursue other passions. The great news is, is that you can do it too.

So check out this episode and see how you can easily apply systems in your own life and freelance business. But before we do that, I want to encourage you to subscribe to the self-made web designer podcast on whatever platform you're listening to, Spotify, YouTube, apple podcast, whatever it is. Right. And go ahead and leave a comment and some ratings.

So other. Can find this podcast so they can go on their own journey to becoming self-made web designers as well. You'll get brand new episodes in your pocket every single week to help you grow and hopefully encourage you and make you laugh just a tiny little bit. So wherever you're listening, subscribe, and you'll get to hang out with me.

Single week. Alright. Are you ready to hear from Dave about how to build systems in your freelance business to get time back in your week and continue to


All right, let's do it. Well, Dave, welcome to the self-made web designer podcast. So good to have.

[00:02:38] Dave: Uh, it's a pleasure to be calling in from the other side of the world to know less.

This is going to be an awesome show. I'm sure.

[00:02:44] Chris: Yeah, absolutely. And I've heard the toilet flushes in the opposite direction from where I'm at or that's the folklore that's being told here in America about the folks who are down under,

[00:02:55] Dave: We also ride Kangaroos to school as well. Yes. Yeah.

[00:03:03] Chris: All those misnomers now growing up in Texas, you know, like I, I feel the pain of probably the questions that you've gotten from a lot of Americans, you know, because people assumed we all wore cowboy hats and rode horses to school and all that kind of stuff. So, um, so you're in good company, but, uh, other than being from Australia, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you

[00:03:23] Dave: do.

So I. Small business owners get off the tools. A big part of what we do is a lot of business owners. When they first start a business, they build the business around them. They become the business. And then, because that's usually how a business starts. I have a real trouble transitioning to building team around them, letting go growing and scaling.

So I helped to solve that problem. I've done quite a lot of work. Um, like having started three businesses, built them and then sold them myself. And then basically. Packaged together methodology, which we call systemology, uh, into a seven step process. And then that's now something that I work with business owners around the world to really help them move from, uh, it's it's me and everything relies on me.

And I'm the bottleneck to. Uh, business that can be, um, a bit more keeper or less key person dependent. You've got

[00:04:18] Chris: your book systemology, which I just got through reading and, and am a huge fan of Skype. I've loved hearing, kind of the, the progression of like, you know, you started at a clothing shop and then you started at another business and you started another business.

And, you know, I'm, I'm kind of similar in that. I have a little. Plates spinning. And people often ask me, like, how do you keep it all going for, for me, my answer as well, I just don't sleep, you know? But for you, you figured out a way to have a healthy work life balance and, and keep a lifestyle with a family going and yet be able to create these businesses that are hugely profitable and then go on and, and scale them and create other businesses.

So I feel like that's really inspiring. And a lot of folks listening are probably. Yeah, looking on or listening on and thinking, man, that's, that's the goal for me. That's where I'd like to be five, 10 years from now. Definitely

[00:05:10] Dave: feel like there's, uh, a lot of trial and error and breaking things to get to that point.

The businesses that I start now, um, w I'm able to get that outcome in a much shorter time, but like you mentioned the rock and roll clothing, music store. Um, I did a lot of mail order stuff. I mean, I have a soft spot for digital agencies. I had a digital agency that I had. 13 years. And for that business, it was really strange.

Cause I kind of already figured out the systems and the processes at that point in time. But when I got to the digital agency, I thought, oh, these businesses different, you know, Google's always changing. Things are always updating. You can't create systems and processes. We're such a creative digital agency and I don't want to.

Remove some of that creativity by getting systems and process in place. So I actually got stuck in that business probably for, I would say what feels like maybe seven years too long, like is there's a bit of grind and hustle that has to go up front. Um, but. All business really at the foundations. Um, they all need leads.

You need to sell those leads. You need to be able to deliver a core product or service. You have to get that customer to come back and, you know, there might be some finance and HR mixed in there. But business really, it's very similar when you get down to the building blocks apart from the delivery of the product or service, which might vary significantly depending on the industry, but all the rest of it

[00:06:37] Chris: is actually very similar.

I love the idea of not having to reinvent the wheel every single time you get a new project or every single time you go looking for a new project. Um, you know, cause I think it's especially. Uh, as a creative person, who's probably whatever side of the braid it is. That is more creative than the other. I don't even know which is right or left brain, but I, but I tend to really have a hard time staying within systems and, and keeping things, keeping rhythms to things like I love just being like a leaf and blowing in the wind.

But at the same time, I've seen how that can be one really negative for. My efficiency, my time management, um, it can be really negative for how I'm interfacing with, with projects and clients, because a client isn't going to like to hear well, I'll, I'll kind of let you know when I'm finished with this thing, you know, they want it, they want to know that there's some type of, you know, tiered step process that we're working towards a final outcome.

So, and I know your book talks a ton about, you know, how to do this with a bigger team, but there's a ton of folks who are listing. Who are just getting started, right. So it's either just them or it's them and a spouse or it's them and a buddy, and they're trying to build something. So how does this relate to them?

How can you set up systems from the get go? And it still be something that's advantageous, advantageous to a really small team. One thing, as

[00:08:05] Dave: soon as you said, that kind of popped up into my mind where you were talking about, um, you know, you kind of. Almost like make the process up as, as you go. And it's probably changes in various each time.

I remember when, uh, we used to have a sub company, which was a video production company, sat underneath the digital agency and I don't know how to shoot cameras or do the editing or that that's just not my thing. And it was actually. Really beneficial to see that business grow without being able to hop on the tools.

And I remember going out on one of the first shoots, I went with the videographer and we spent the entire 45 minute car ride discussing things. It's like, ah, did I bring the second battery? Did we email the client to let them know? They shouldn't wear checkered shirts because that looks really crappy on camera.

Oh, did we get that extra lead? I've got the right lens. And we spent the entire. Ride just discussing all things that should have been just handled with some sort of, you know, packing checklist or something. Um, and it made me realize at the end of that shoot, I said, all right, we're going to develop a packing list.

So before you even go out on to shoot, you're going to go through this checklist to make sure you've got everything. And I remember then about six months later, going out on another shoot with the same videographer. And the discussion we had in the car was worldly, different, like worlds apart, we were discussing things like, um, what were the shops going to look like?

What was the energy that he wanted to get in the film? Um, how was he going to try and get certain lines from the script, um, to, to get the right performance out of the actors? Like it was a completely different discussion and it made me realize that. Video production is like a hugely creative industry.

Um, and there's a lot of creativity there and it's easy to think our systems will remove the creativity, but when you get down to it, there are certain things that just have to happen. When you set up a website to do a website, build with someone, you might need to get them to fill out a questionnaire.

You need to make sure that you've got, um, The St. Panel and you would press install and you might need an email, the client to know timeline and expectations, and there's no magic in any of what I've just said. Then the magic might happen when you get to doing the designs and building an ad, even, maybe not even building it out, like the magic is potentially in the designs, but there's a truckload of stuff that happens outside of that.

Where there isn't anything. And that's once you kind of recognize that, then it just becomes, uh, the, especially when you're small, it's like, how do we capture those ideas? And when I wrote systemology I did, I wrote it for a small team thinking it's the business owner with a handful of people around him.

The more that I've started working with different companies, oftentimes you get a lot of people that are solo and they're like, yeah, but. Have a team and then they just reach this roadblock and then they go, oh, I'm too small to systemize this isn't going to work for me. I'm just going to go back to the way that things were.

Um, I've had quite a lot of, um, like examples of there's. One guy that comes to mind is, uh, um, his name's Dan Lenny. And, uh, he happens to be, um, a video production coach. Uh, and what he started to do was it was just him when he first started going through systemology he just started recording little videos.

Of him doing all of the things that he did in his business. So he set up like a little, um, Google drive folder and started breaking it up into, you know, sales, marketing, HR. Um, there wasn't really much HR, um, but the delivery and then he started to kind of go, oh, okay, well, under market. You know, we're doing some outreach and I'm trying to run this podcast.

And when I do the podcast, uh, there's, you know, a handful of things for finding potential speakers and lining up the calls. And even afterwards, like producing the audio, getting it loaded on to, um, The apple and then sharing it out social media. And he just, he just started recording a truck load of videos.

He did it over about six months, just little videos of when he's doing things. And then once he got to the end of that, He ended up hiring a virtual assistant, uh, based out of the Philippines, said here, read systemology. And I want you to I'll guide you through some of these videos and I want you to create checklists and bullet points off all of the videos that I've created.

And as the virtual assistant started to do that, a handful of them, the virtual assistant would now go, oh, I can do that. Or I know how to do that. It's not too hard. Some things that she couldn't do. Some things that. Who do she just started taking them on her plate. So it was. Six months to do all the recording, you know, a couple of months or a few months at the start, which was a great way for her to learn anyway, because she was just new to the business.

And then she started learning all of these administrative tasks that den was doing and, uh, ended up doing the documentation and took her a handful over. And Dan ended up saying, look, Over the course of 12 months, I ended up increasing my revenue by 80% and then going from five days a week down to three.

And it was that real simple process of what am I doing repeatedly? How do I record it? How can I pass that off to someone? And that's something that could work really well for a solo preneur. And you don't need a. Over-complicate things in the early days, especially when it's just, you, like, there's no point in creating some fancy big document if you're the only person doing it.

And, but some of the other tasks, you know, connecting with someone on LinkedIn, um, you know, maybe a few extra bullet points because that's something that could very easily go to an assistant. So it's kind of like, you know, some of the slight modifications and how I would tweak it based on what the book is.

If you were a little bit. Yeah. I mean, I, I

[00:13:59] Chris: just love the idea of the freedom that it, it creates to be able to do the things in your business that you really love, you know, and I think he kind of mentioned this in the book, but the Pareto principle of like, you know, the 80 20 rule. Right. So it, and I find this in myself, you know, 20% of the work that I do.

I love. And then 80% of the business or the work that I do in my business is just mundane tasks that I just, I hate. And really there's no like specific requirement to, to have the knowledge to do that skill. So what you're doing or what you're encouraging people to do is for symbologies is to take that 80% systematize them and then, and then hand them off.

So you can focus on. The 20% and then add other things that you would love to be doing right now. You know, like I'm sure there's folks out there right now who are thinking, man, if I had the time, I would add a, B, C, D to the things that I'm doing in my life with my family and my business with learning, you know, all that stuff, but I'm just so consumed with that 80%.

So it, rather than it stifling that creativity, it really kind of gives you a wide open playing to be able to explore it even more. If I'm hearing what you're saying,

[00:15:12] Dave: And a lot of people, um, they might have misconceptions in their head around what they think a system is and they might overcook it. So like, The one, all of the outcome and the benefit that, that you're talking about right now, and then they'll go, ah, yeah, but I tried that and it didn't work or my business's different.

I can't systemize this I'm too small. Like there's any infinite number of reasons why someone can go to this. Going to work for me, especially for a lot of founders, they are usually big picture, very creative people. So their, their brain doesn't really connect with systems. So we, part of what the work that we do also is trying to rewire the business owner's brain to go a system might be more basic than you're thinking it today.

And applying again, the parade principle, the idea that 20% of the systems, they're probably going to deliver 80% of the results. So really honing down into. What are the key drivers and just because you don't systemize something doesn't mean it's going to magically stop happening in your business. Your businesses already kind of working or were looking at doing is chiseling off parts of the business, getting a way of doing things and then kind of setting it up to be able to pass on.

And that could be as simple as. A loom or a zoom. It could be as rough as you recording yourself when you're doing it, ums and ours and making mistakes. And the first version that you do is the worst version that you do. So just getting something down, everybody thinks of, you know, if you think of what's a systemized business, people often think of McDonald's and.

Google and Amazon and, you know, franchise related businesses. And a lot of these businesses have been doing this for so long now. And you're looking at the completed product and you're saying, that's what a systemized business looks like, but you have to kind of go back and think how and where did they get started?

And they got started with very rough and ready systems. It's about building a, a systems culture, and it's actually easier when you're. It gets exponentially more difficult. The more team members that get around and join your team, because then it's like, oh, why do I have to change the way that I've done things?

I've always done it this way. And it's worked. Whereas when it's just you, it's just solo and you think about just systems and process and getting team members on board. And that's one of their first. Indoctrinations or, or things that they do when working for your company, you kind of start to build that foundation from the get-go.

[00:17:47] Chris: I think something that I have struggled with, um, is very similar to what you're talking about is that when I sit down to write documentation or to think about the systems in my own business, and, um, I've had a. More time than, than, than some other folks who are just getting started. Um, but I tend to go into a really complicated direction, you know, where I start thinking, okay, cool.

We've got this system now let's automate it. Now let's automate the automation. Now let's, whenever we set up a to-do list, it's automates that to-do list. And so. I ended up stalling right in the middle of it, because I've made it so complicated for myself that not only do I have to like think through this systems that I'm creating, but I also have to learn all of this software.

Um, whether it's a sauna or double Sato or there's, there's HoneyBook, there's all these other options where it's like, man, I've got a. All this stuff where some of these things even have their own systems kind of embed into the software, right. Where it's like you do a sauna and they kind of say, well, here's a template to use.

And so then you're kind of learning, is this the right way? Or should I do it this way? And so it becomes analysis paralysis where you're just like, you know what, forget it. I'm just going to ad hoc it from here on out. So how do you keep from doing that? Or how do you encourage folks to just keep it simple at the very beginning?

Incredibly common

[00:19:04] Dave: problem. And one of the reasons why I typically like, at least in the book, I talk about trying to get the business owner out of the equation when it comes to documentation, because the business owner. Tends to imagine the way they want things to be, not the way that they think things are.

So when you're first getting started, the best thing that you can actually do is just systemize what you're currently doing. If you are sending out a Google form that goes to a client before they start, and they need to answer some questions. Then you make the system about that as opposed to, oh, I would love to set it up in, um, you know, some sort of go high level form that automatically feeds into my CRM and then pushes into my, um, project management software.

Like you, the business owner will imagine what they would like it to be. So that's kind of the first rule of this is capture what you're currently doing, not what you would like to be doing. The other thing that I talk about is. This idea of the most probable, so you don't want to catch it every variation for a system and a process you capture what is the most vanilla and most likely journey or scenario for that system.

And just capture that because really what you're creating with a system is a starting point for a new team member. Something falls outside of that system. And it's an exception. They will elevate it to the supervisor or to you or whatever it might be. So you, you say to a virtual assistant, great. This is how we respond to someone in LinkedIn.

If they've asked this question, if they don't ask this question, then leave that for me. And then I'll have a little bit of a look at it later, or. You, you just want to kind of go, you know, someone requests, a website build, and you might come up with this idea of great. I have a vanilla website build, it's a WordPress install.

It's 15 pages. We do some design. We do it over this period of time. Um, and this is what it looks like. That's our vanilla version. You'll systemize that vanilla version. Then anytime there's an exception outside of that. The assistant or whoever's following that system can go, oh, this isn't fitting in here.

This is slightly custom. And then that would pass it back to you. And then you can make a determination. Normally that's a trigger when you should then start charging premium pricing, you have your central core product. That's kind of follows a system and a process and you can get it quite a few. Things that fall outside of that.

Then now we're kind of like talking a bit more custom work and you'll charge a premium price to justify the fact that you're using a, um, you know, a more senior team member to, to complete that task. But I mean, those two rules are. Uh, pretty great ways to get you to simplify. Um, definitely I, even the 80, 20 only focus on the handful of systems only capture what you're currently doing and, um, go for the most probable and keep it simple.

And the business owner typically is the worst person to be doing the documentation. So. Even just recording. It is sufficient for you and recording you as you're doing it, then getting someone else to watch it, a virtual assistant and pull out the key bullet points is infinitely better. And it'll stop that analysis paralysis because you try, you try and even just, yeah, capturing it as you're doing.

And that's a skill in itself. Like you need a. Practice recording things. Some people still get a little bit of stage fright when they're doing a loom or a zoom, or they write a truckload of notes for themselves and they over-engineer, it sometimes it's just, I'm issuing out an invoice via NYOB to this client.

I'm going to record myself doing that task. Um, and you just talk through it, doing it and you try and not overcook it that's, that's probably the biggest thing everybody's trying to make it just perfect. When really systems. Anything to reduce the friction and get version one down is a significantly better win than not starting at all.

[00:23:12] Chris: It's super encourages me to hear like a simple something is better than a perfect nothing, right? Like you've got something that is simple, but it's applicable and can be iterated on over time and perfected rather than saying let's create this. You know, perfect system that is going to reduce our time down by like, you know, 80%, 90% or whatever, and then it just never gets done.

Right? Like, I can't tell you how many times I've started on systems. And that was what happened, you know? Like I'm like, oh, we could make it so much more efficient if I did this or out of this, or we change this. I had this, you know, Zapier that came in an automatic automatically send an email out to the lead.

Whenever it came in on the, on the website or whatever versus going now, like just what is it and how can we get it out the door?

[00:23:59] Dave: And we always talk about this idea of human automation first. So a human needs to be able to do it before you jump into Zapier and automated triggers and all those sorts of things you want to.

I run a system and have it going with a human, doing it before you get to hog-wild with Zapier, because I've seen it plenty of times before. If someone jumps in for that, they don't necessarily understand one, one is this the right flow that we should be trying to automate. To if there's not enough thought going down, it's really easy for Zapier's and zaps to break, and then no one notices it for two months.

And then you're like, oh wow, this zap broke here. And then they have trouble sort of debugging it. So you're, you're much better off. And it's the same way that Google does things. What Google will do is, you know, that's the most automated company in the world and they write algorithms to process truckloads of search results.

And what do they do? They start off with an, a hypothesis and they say, right, we want to make this change to the search algorithm and to, you know, we're hoping, and we hop hypothesized. This is going to improve our search result because we're going to start to consider this and this factor. Great. Now we've done the hippo hypothesis.

Now we go to, um, manual review. And then they'll give, they'll put this forward in a paper and then they'll have manual reviewers go through the process and then they'll determine, did this improve the search results? Yes, it did. Great. Now let's actually turn it into a piece of code and then embed that into the algorithm itself.

So even the company, that's the most automated, you know, scripting machine known to man. They go through the process of human automation first as a way. To test and prove before you look to then write out the code. So yeah, I always say that stuff comes a little later. Like generally speaking, automation's great down the track.

Just capture the simplest thing first, because if you can't do the simple, you'll never do the complex and. Emailing a client or the client emails you, and then that is your trigger to then go. Great. They've had a request here. I need to ask a task to get done that needs to get transferred into my project management platform like that.

Just doing that automatically or not automatically doing that with an assistant. As opposed to trying to think, oh, can we set up some sort of email forwarding thing when the client makes the request to pipe it into their project inside a summer? That, that can come a

[00:26:39] Chris: little bit lighter. All of this is amazing, right?

Like certainly I'm sold. I'm sure a lot of people listening are like, y'all this, this sounds great. But I think maybe one of the questions that people who are just getting started are asking is. What is my system. Like they, they have, they've done this maybe one or two times, and it's all been from maybe a tutorial online.

Maybe they took the, you know, free web designer, starter kit course from self-made web Just a little plug there for that. Uh, but you know, there's not a clearly defined path. So I think maybe if you could just spend some time saying when, when you're brand new, you're starting from scratch.

How do you create a system from, from nothing when there's just not a lot of context for you to know what step one, step two, step three is.

[00:27:29] Dave: Just at that level. The first thing that you want to probably do is any time either feels overwhelming or you're not too sure where to start. The best thing that you can always do is chunk up.

So rather than going down into the detail, you want to go up a level and that always helps to simplify. So for example, one of the things that we talk about in systemology, and it's the first activity we talk about this idea of. Capturing the critical client flow. And, um, that is think of a primary product or service, or we actually start off thinking of your pro your dream client, whom would you like to sell your services to?

Who would that be? What would be the primary product or service? What is the first thing that you might sell to them? Um, and then you go down and you've just map the linear journey. You ask yourself the question, how would I grab their attention? If they were interested, how would they raise their hand and say, I've got an inquiry about your services then?

Um, what does your sales process look like? Do you hop on zoom and you issue out a proposal or do they buy straight from the website or what does that sales mechanism look like then? How do we onboard the client when they're ready to go? Like, do we take 50% upfront and 50% on completion? Um, do we take all the money up front?

Do we leave all the money til the end? Like what, what, what do you do with the money and then how do we onboard that client? What, what info do you need? Do you need to get them to fill out a questionnaire? Do you need to get them into your project management platform? What does the setup look like? Then?

There's the doing of the work now? The doing of the work again, you might keep quite high level. Um, you might just go, well, what are the milestones? Well, I know. Um, I need to send them designs or we start off with a discovery call. Then we send them first draft of design, then we, and just keep really high level.

And then finally, what does the handover look like? If you mapped that linear journey, you kept it really high level. You did it on one, a four bit of paper. That can be a great place to start because it starts to get your brain thinking. What is the logical flow here that someone might go through? And.

That will get your brain and then what'll end up happening is they'll, they'll go. Oh, you know, after they've mapped that out, they'll go. Oh yeah, I've done. Chris's course. I remember Chris talked about, you know, um, some stages around design. Yeah. I can just jump into the course and I'll pull that little piece of the course and that will help me to kind of fill out some of that gap that I, I know I've got here, but if you have a high level map of what it takes to, to sell.

Um, or to market to sell and to deliver a core product or service that can be a great place to sell. I

[00:30:19] Chris: know for myself, anytime I have a question of like, it's uncharted territory, like my first reaction is just like, well, let's Google it, you know, but that's almost a, it does you a little bit of a disservice, right.

Rather than just sitting down, like you're talking about and just thinking, okay, what's step one. Like, let me. I think through a process, you know, or what I would like it to be. And then from there, you can, you can test out, like you said, that hypothesis and then, and then tweak along the way and iterate over time until you have a really fine tuned system that works for you that works for your clients and just makes project soar.

And half the time that it normally would. Um, from when you first got started or for just Googling every other time, like, how do I do this? Or what should the next stage be in the middle of these projects that I've gotten on her?

[00:31:10] Dave: And if you figure out that core product or service and you get really good at that one, I know sometimes when people start out as a freelancer, you want to do a little bit of everything where you kind of like, oh, I can do hosting.

I can do design, oh, you need your WordPress maintained and updated. I can do plugins. I can do this. I can do that. Oh, look, I can do your SEO, your title, tags, and descriptions. And before you know, it, you kind of doing little bit of. You know, everything, uh, and that, that also makes it more challenging to be able to kind of then find someone potentially who will be able to replicate you or take, um, a chunk of the business off your plate.

Because you're looking for a unicorn there. You're looking for someone who can do title tags, descriptions, design building, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So I look back now and I think for the video production business, it was actually. Uh, blessing to not be able to hop on the tools. So if you can think of a part of your business where, um, you, you can deliver that, you can imagine in your head delivering that thing without you like that.

That's also part of this process, like try and go. Hey, I could imagine doing these vanilla. WordPress custom website that's or not custom website, this vanilla templated website. That's great for plumbers in my particular area. And I've kind of, you know, tailored a solution just for them, because the goal is to be able to get to a point where.

You can deliver a product or service without any key person dependency. And I remember working with a digital, another digital agency. I attracted quite a lot into my world just because that's where I used to be. Um, and I had this guy who sat down and did some work with him and in his almost like values.

Was he, he was involved in every project, any kind of he'd come to the conclusion that, that that's part of my magic is that a little bit of my heart and soul goes into each website project and I sign off on the designs and I do this and I do that. And then I said to him, If you building that in from the bedrock, the foundation, you are building a business that it can't work without you because you're building it.

Right. And that was part of his pitch to clients like, Hey, you're going to get me and you're going to get this and I'm going to, you know, make sure and like, It just put everything on his shoulders. And I think you can still do that. Like, you might take some pride in the work that you do, and there might be some clients, but for those clients, you want to charge a premium, come up with the vanilla version, the cheap version that could be delivered by someone else.

Um, if it follows certain template that can work without you and build it as almost like a mini business inside your. And anytime that it falls outside of that, yes. It can come to you. You can charge your premium prices, but also makes it much easier for that discussion with the client, because you can go, oh yeah, we've got this package and it includes this, this and this.

Oh, you want the variation? Okay. Well, we can do that of course, but there's going to be a variation in price. Um, and then sometimes that'll get people back on track and say, oh no, no, no, no, look, I want to stick to what you've got here. Cause I don't want to have the budget, you know, scope creep, which is another huge biggie for especially solo people.

When they're getting started, they want to. That pleases, you want to over-deliver for the client. Um, and oftentimes new people don't know how to say no. And, uh, they may end up doing these projects that never end and the scope blows out. And then, you know, you just don't make any money on the project. So a big part of systemization is getting clear.

So you can communicate that with the client and say, this is what you're getting. This is what the timeline looks like. We're all agreeing to this upfront. If you want variations on that, then obviously there's going to be variations on price, Dave.

[00:35:21] Chris: I've so appreciated you taking time and just kind of laying all this out.

It's certainly given me a ton to think about. And I think a lot of people are just going to benefit from, from the ground up, you know? Cause a lot of people they're just like, like I said, just getting started. And so rather than build. You know, a system that is going to depend on them five years from now, they can build something where five years from now, they don't have to be in the middle of it, you know, and they can, they can start to either reiterate or sell the business or, or whatever, just gives you so many options other than well, let's just raise my prices and track.

Quicker about what I'm doing in my own web design business kind of thing.


[00:36:00] Dave: there's a lot of options. Like for me, when I think about business, systemization, that's really what it's about. It's about options. Systems give you options, whether you want to sell, whether you want to scale when it, whether you want to work part time, whether you want to work full time.

You know, sometimes the businesses I work with, you know, it's not the dream of sipping a pina colada. Uh, pool doing nothing, making money for some of them. They just want to make sure that if I systemized it, I can start working on higher quality problems and only parts of the business only I can solve.

So they, they end up being more efficient. But the challenge I see with a lot of business owners is they just don't have the choice. So many business owners are chained to their business. And even if they wanted to step away, they couldn't because everything's dependent on them and everything grinds to a halt.

So systems is a big part about giving you options and freedom. So that's yeah. A big part of the systemology story. Highly

[00:36:57] Chris: wind. I encourage everybody check out. Systemology the book by Dave Jenine's and Dave, if, if people were wanting to connect with you online, where would they go?

[00:37:06] Dave: Just head over the system.

Dot com there's links to social. If you've got Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, you can connect with us there. And obviously, probably the books, the best place to start. So head over to Amazon. If you're an audio person, obviously if you're listening to this, you probably like your audio. There is the audible version as well.

So that could be a good place to start.

[00:37:24] Chris: Let me just be a hundred percent honest with you. Okay. This, this, this is like real talk. This is an intervention. If you will, a podcast intervention systems, don't come now. To me, I have to work incredibly hard on them. And sometimes I'm, I'm like, I'm decent at them, but most of the time I'm not doing well with them, but because I've seen a difference in the way they help me to scale my business and the way they helped me to get.

Time back in my day. So I can spend time with, with friends and family, but because of that, I'm committed to them and I stick with them and listen, they're, they're messy, right? My systems are all over the place sometimes, but there's something. And as time goes on, I refine systems. I kick some out, I start over with some and they become easier.

And, and the reason why I'm telling you. Is that I want you to know you don't have to be a professional system builder to have some kind of process or system for your freelance business. Right? Like if you're getting started, if, if it's, if it's brand new to you, right. You're still learning how to do the web design, let alone have a system for, to put in place for.

Clients through a PR uh, project process. Right. That's okay. Just write down something, right? Like, like have step one, you know, talk to the client, step two, make the client something, step three, give the client what I made them. Right. You have permission to be messy as you figure it out. So start simple and grow from there.

Don't be intimidated by all of these amazing. Huge systems that you hear other people talk about wherever you're at is perfect. If you're going to get better, you're going to grow, but you got to start somewhere. Well, Hey, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the self-made web designer podcast. Be sure to subscribe on whatever platform you're listening in on.

And Hey, we've got another episode coming out next week and it happens every. Seven days or so, so make sure you don't miss out on next week's episode until then keep working hard and don't forget if you don't quit, you win.

Post it notes on a wall to symbolize creating systems in a freelance business


Hi, I'm Chris and I'm super glad you're here. 7 years ago I taught my self-web design and freelancing. Now, I do my best to teach others what I've learned so they don't have to struggle as much as I did.

Every week, I write an article and release a podcast episode. Sign up if you want to get notified when that happens.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join 1,000s of other web designers, web developers, UX designers, product designers and freelancers and get a weekly email that will help you grow.

Invest 5 minutes a week & Improve your freelancer/web designer skills

Come learn the same steps I use to land projects for $6k+ on Upwork. You'll walk away knowing:

• How to stand out from other freelancers
• A cover letter template that wins
• Profile MUST HAVES that most freelancers miss

3 Simple Steps to Land High Paying Projects on Upwork

This free, 4 video course will give you all the tools you need to start freelancing as a web designer and earning extra money.

• How to get started from scratch
• How to find your first clients
• How to charge higher rates

Become a web designer and land high-paying clients