Jennifer Hofmann Wants to Know . . .

Jenniferhofmann In today’s stop on the I’d Rather Be in the Studio! blog tour, Jennifer Hofmann asks me about my systems for staying in touch with contacts and keeping up with the details of running a business.

Jennifer is the owner of Inspired Home Office and is hosting me on her blog, My Organized Business. All you disorganized types should head on over and read the details. The rest of you should visit because you need some new ideas for being organized or just want to win a free copy of my book!

Jennifer’s post is no longer available so see below for what I had to say.

Jennifer, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog! I just love what you do.

As we’ve been preparing to feature you on my blog, I’ve been consistently impressed with your follow-up – with even the smallest details. And I bring this up because, in the book, you talk about the importance of following up with contacts. You and your assistants are practicing what you preach!

Would you share your own internal systems for following up that provide such outstanding communication? How do you stay on top of it all? Inquiring minds want to know!

First, let me say how happy I am that you feel we have it all together. One of my secrets is given the nod in your question: I have good people working with me! My virtual assistant that was in touch with your for the blog tour is extremely organized. I trust her more than I trust myself! And after a few projects with her, I quickly realized that I could turn stuff over to her. This is key and was hard to do at first.

I am a do-it-yourselfer by nature, but as my business grows–as my home office and online business grow–it became more and more clear that it’s silly to try to do everything myself. I realize (thanks to the insight of my husband and many personal growth gurus) that I can make much more money doing what my genius is and turning over the rest of the business to those who can support it in a way that helps it grow even more.

Brilliant. I agree that turning things over can be hard for small business owners. How did you do it?

I started with one VA, then got help with my weekly Art Marketing Action newsletter, then added another VA, and am about to hire a bookkeeper. I have so much I want to do and the details are better left to those more adept at handling them.

Having said that, I am still the boss. I am still responsible for making sure things get done.

Will you tell us how you do that?

The single most important routine I have are my daily check-ins. Before leaving the office at night, I go over my task list. I go through my emails and make sure any new tasks are on the list. Then I prioritize against my calendar. What do I absolutely have to do the following day? I write these tasks (usually 3-5 of them) on a small piece of paper with the date at the top. I can’t leave the office until these items are taken care of. Having this list gives me peace of mind and helps me sleep better because I know I’ve got a handle on things. 

Then, before checking email the next morning–before doing anything else except for dressing for the day and warming my tea–I go over the task list I wrote out the night before. I double check everything and make sure I’m clear on what needs to be done. Then I tackle the hardest one first. What a great way to start the day!

It sounds like it! I think the important thing is to create a balance – once you know what you need to do, it’s easier to schedule it all in.

Things will always slip through the cracks or not be executed as well as I had intended, but I do the best I can. And I am at the point right now where my office needs a big cleaning. I’m one of those people who don’t function with a messy office, so I’m really excited to be working with you on the Office Spa Day. I think it’s a great idea!

I do, too! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experiences and thoughts on staying organized and following through.

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