How much information passes through your fingertips in a typical day running your business?
My guess is a lot. Probably more than you expected when you first started your blog or opened the doors of your online shop.
Information comes in so many forms — the content, the products, the outlines, the project plans, the tasks lists, your social media messages, your social media profiles, all the dang passwords you need to access all of your online homes.
Now some of this information doesn’t need to be accessed more than a few times.
But others – well, you might need it over and over again.
And regardless of how often you access that recurring information, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s easy to find, use, and that you’ve got it in multiple places.
But – I don't just mean a page to record all my passwords.
You might know that I love me some business systems. In fact, I've always had some form of business hub since starting my business…but it hasn't been totally useable until recently.
I used to be a total-digital business. My online wiki with passwords, account numbers, and links to products, pricing, important webpages, as well as templates for every single process I do (and links to those specific processes).
But then I started using different devices – and things got wonky. Accessing google docs on my phone became a chore because things weren’t totally synced up. Remember ideas became a nightmare as I discovered “cool” platforms to create in–like Evernote, OmmWriter, Scrivener.
Managing projects became problematic as I adopted new task management systems in search of the #plannerpeace I craved!
No one tool made me happy or allowed me to make sure I’d get everything accomplished.
[Tweet “If your business is generating a ton of information and you felt a little lost on how to lasso it all together, you're not alone.”]
This was me: after big launches, I’d come across a rogue Evernote file with a few “must do” ideas that never made it to the launch. The un-done to do list.
By the end of 2014, I was DONE SON with the way I’d been working.
I paired back my digital tools for content creation, task management, and business operations. Now I just use Google Docs and Asana.
I pulled in a paper planning system to mirror what was happening in google docs and asana, but allowed me the ease of being offline whenever I needed to be offline.
I use a Filofax A5 Original as my business hub.
*Side note: I think you MUST make offline time in your daily and weekly business life. Connect with the real world. Get out of your office. Staying glued to your computer will not make you the next *INSERT INTERNET SENSATION*.
Here are the key categories to my digital or analog business hub – you may choose to add more or remove some of these depending on your work style…in fact, I encourage you to ask the question – Does this work for my business?
And – one more note about this list…even I will revise and add to these pieces if I feel like they aren’t really ongoing needed systems.
Here are the categories I use and track in my Filofax system:
- Editorial Calendar
- Blog post template
- Podcast template
- Guest post template
- Other recurring content related templates
- Idea Capture for Blog
- Idea Capture for Social Media
- Idea Capture for YouTube
- Idea Capture for partnerships
- operating expenses
- launch budget tracking
- money generation ideas
- monthly stats dashboard
- advertising spend
Marketing, Launching & Outreach
- launch plan template
- outreach ongoing plan
- partnership plan template
- yearly/monthly/quarterly marketing calendar
- Passwords for all relevant services
- account numbers – bank account, biz license number
- contact info for important services like – merchant account, web host, developer, bookkeeper
- copyrights, licenses, trademark information
This is a first pass of the items I keep in my digital hub (Asana) as well as my analog hub (Filofax).
Check out the video below to see my A5 Original in progress set up:
Now – here’s a look at some of my final set up – which I’ll admit ended up being in 2 different planners (simply because the A5 contains sensitive information and must stay home). My personal size Filofax comes with me.
First comes my content section – you can see above sections foreditorial calendar, blog, podcast, Youtube and social.
The other important category for this specific binder is the financial section – This is where literally anything related to money lives – tracking expenses, the ongoing operating expenses breakdown, launch budgets, and a place to brainstorm money generating promotions.
Finally, the end of the binder houses an Important Information section with passwords to all primary tools as well as contact information, agreements, contracts, and tax records. (not shown because it's more sensitive info!)
You can see that the set up is very simple – nothing out of the ordinary goes into this business binder. The primary element of the A5 sized set up is that it holds sensitive information as well as the everyday, regularly accessed information.
Here are a few key pieces inside my Personal Filofax that I keep with me instead of housing in the bigger overall business hub:
1. A list of my long term and short term goals – at a glance – right there every day reminding me what I said wanted to do for my business. It allows me to shift gears, remove projects I've decided NOT to make into priorities and course correct my focus quickly.
2. My Green-lit Content – The list of content in this planner is the stuff I'm moving forward on and/or is in production for that given week or month. It's what's actually being created – along with my top of mind ideas and schedule for new ideas.
3. Editorial Calendar – Here's the calendar I'm in on a daily basis – you'll see it looks like a bit of a hot mess, but mostly because I’m in it all the time. This is different from the A5 editorial calendar which just shows the feature or category of the post and maybe some general notes on themes.
4. My stats – this page is very low key – but a place for me to stop, take a moment and look at growth of followers, subscribers, website visitors. They might sound like I'm spending time tracking vanity metrics that don't mean anything, but I don't stop at recording numbers. I ask questions about why the numbers are up or down, try to figure out where new traffic came from, why there's a dip in email opens… I encourage you to do the same if you like knowing your numbers. The reason I keep this in my personal planner is because I've got it with me no matter where I'm working.
To do list – laminated to do list to drop anything that has to get done THAT DAY. You can make your own like this here.
Now that you’ve seen the inside of my business hub and some of the things I’m keeping track of on a regular basis…let me know what questions you have about setting up your own business hub?
- How to Create Your Digital Business Hub
The other half of my system is Asana…but instead of showing you mine (since it’s in progress)…here’s a video from Carrie Green of the Female Entrepreneur’s Association showing you in detail how to create your own…she inspired me to improve my own Asana set up…so I highly recommend checking out this video!
- 20 Simple Actions To Organize Your Business
Want a downloadable pdf-checklist to help you set up the right systems for your launch, but also help you organize your business? There’s nothing worse than going into a launch with a messy, hard to navigate operation — set these systems up and your launch will run smoothly without weighing you or your ideas down.
Now It’s Your Turn
Okay, so I knew this is a lot of “what I do”, but I want to know how you keep track of all the stuff that makes your business a business?
Share your setup in the comments below.
And if you don’t have a hub yet – what’s your biggest question about setting one up?