Growing Your Business with Marketing, Week 28: Observing and refining systems

Live in Chicago? Looking for help making the jump to freelance? Check out this July 17th workshop with Pam Slim on everything
you need to know to flee your hateful day job
. Chock-full of good stuff, including a bit by yours truly on how to brand yourself on a budget!

This is Week 28 of a 52-week project/experiment in DIY marketing. Armed with nothing but a copy of the 2009 Grow Your Business Marketing Plan + Calendar
and my bare wits, I'm applying the skills you need to grow a business
in real time, day by day, and reporting on them week by week. See my
companion blog, A Virgo's Guide to Marketing, for some more in-depth posts, additional links and other marketing-related goodness.

Call me a pattern-seeking monkey, but all of a sudden there are signs everywhere pointing to the Put Systems in Place Method of Work-Life Enhancement.

Yes, there have likely been signs all along, like seeing how my friends and colleagues who worked methodically at something generally were wildly successful, whereas those of us who danced merrily from shiny object to fuzzy bunny did not; I even pitched in on a presentation with Ilise at last year's Creative Freelancer Conference about getting your marketing machine in place. You'd think I'd get it on a fundamental level.

Alas, the objects, they are shiny (and the bunnies are soooo fuzzy!). Maybe my old, creakity-ness had to set in to slow me down enough to appreciate the giant truth therein. Fortunately, my weekly accountability group is working wonders at helping me build good habit muscles (and to get things done without Getting Things Done), as has this weekly, public, blogging-out-loud of my shame.

Even taking on too much has been helpful, as it's pointed to the absolute finite quality of time where it intersects with energy. I totally just made that up, but the underlying truth is that days are only made up of so many hours and I am only blessed with a certain amount of energy. Once either is used up—bing! Muffins are done!

This week, via elaborate calendaring, some of which actually held, I managed to get my newsletter out, attend an actors' networking event (I could write up five posts on the learning I got from that one), post to my own blog four times, record the podcast, and follow up—via email, mostly—with three prospects. I've been tweaking my marketing language for stuff here and there, too, per the excellent advice in Naomi and Sonia's course (which you should totally take the next time they offer it) and I think it must be working, because I'm getting some stupendously qualified inquiries into my services, as well as more new clients.

But possibly the coolest thing I did was to start reading a certain book I'll most likely review for communicatrix on Tuesday—I think may help me to look at all my systems differently, and maybe get a handle on them, too. A new friend referred me to another book that deals with what's getting in the way of setting up (and following through with) your systems, so I'm going to check that out as well.

While I'm into this systems-tweaking mode, I'd love to hear of any hacks or tweaks or helpful guides you've found, especially ones you've already implemented and that have proven especially helpful in the way of wrangling multiple goals and projects. You can leave them in the comments section or email me with them, if you're feeling shy.