Welcome back Rebooters! This week, we have a fab interview with the brilliant Andrea Jordan, a master of using systems to unleash your creativity and making your business run more smoothly. Which we have to say sounds wonderful!
She’s a New Zealander, once a lawyer, now a systems queen, who loves to work with ideas, and with people who are really good at starting things, and a bit rubbish at finishing them. Her happy place is where creativity, logic and getting things done meet!
Her methods usually involve doing the work on the call with you, so you don’t have a lot of homework and you can see instantaneous results – definitely a winner.
She’s also a house sitter, works with rescue animals, is a keen photographer, and even helped Sarah to not be scared of spreadsheets anymore!
Making things that sound boring work for you
Systems, processes, standard operating procedures – they all sound kind of dull, right? But when you think of them as the support & foundation of your business, so you can go off & do your creative thing, they become much more interesting.
Making life easier for yourself, or giving yourself more creative time through setting up and using a system, is a little bit addictive once you get started.
Systems and tech don’t have to be scary, and while it can take a little while to mentally untangle them from your old life if you have a corporate background, they really can give you freedom if they’re set up properly – which is where Andrea comes into her own!
Be excited to open your laptop
Asana with unicorns – yep, we’re sold! (or Carla is, anyway!) She’s a great advocate of setting up exactly what works for you, with colour coding or whatever makes you tick. The same systems work very differently for small businesses than in their big corporate setups.
But how do you choose a tool when there are so many options out there? Even if you have money to spend, it can be overwhelming.
Andrea’s advice is to make a shopping list. What do you want it to do? Be as specific as you can, and then ask people – ask your business friends what they use and see what best fits your criteria.
Also, get to know yourself and your personal preferences (hey, we always say starting and running a business is the best personal development you’ll ever do!). So are you visual or word driven, what’s your learning style, do you want to spend time on this stuff or do you just want it to be done in the least amount of time possible?
She emphasises that the differences between tools are not massive – so warns not to go down the rabbit hole of analysing seven different options. Pick two, sign up for the free versions or trials, choose the one that works best for you.
We asked Andrea if she has favourite systems or software tools – and her answer was surprising! She does have favourites of her own, although what she recommends to her clients varies depending on what they need.
But she points out that having a software subscription doesn’t necessarily mean your underlying workflow is sturdy – so you need to make sure you know what you want it to do before you set up a system to do it for you.
And what are these base systems? From finding potential clients to your onboarding and content creation, bookkeeping to digital filing and inbox management, listen in to find out a bit more about these.
Simplicity and creativity
Systems do not have to be complicated. They can often seem alien and not a natural fit for creatives, but creating simplicity so you’re not adding to the creative chaos is very soothing.
And Andrea is also a creative – just, in her words, a weirdly organised one 🙂 We had a lovely chat about different kinds of creativity, and how there is creativity in all of us, in different combinations and disguises.
While talking to us about her most glorious moments (and we LOVE her answer to this question!), we were reminded to remember to look back at the things we were terrified about, which we now do as a matter of course – especially in our businesses.
It’s really good to review, and reflect, and plan – in Carla’s words, reviewing backwards and planning forwards. Andrea does this each month, looking at what she’s achieved, challenges, learnings, how she felt. You can do this in a spreadsheet, in a journal, in your online to-do list tool, or just in a chat with a business bestie – whatever way works for you.
Longer-term planning is optional – and probably depends on whether you’re building a lifestyle business for yourself or an empire which requires a lot more planning & knowing what’s happening when in the future because you have employees and stuff.
Similarly, if you’ve just set up your business, a five-year plan probably isn’t worth spending too much time on, because within your first six months things will shift and change so much.
Bringing joy to being organised
Smiling her way through systems and resolutely still having stickers in her planner – this is why we love Andrea’s approach, it’s very effective but it’s very far removed from traditional business planning and corporate systems. Which is wonderful!
Andrea’s final piece of advice is to design your systems in the way that suits you and your business, and have a view to the future, so they can expand alongside you.
Get more Andrea in your life
Find Andrea on Facebook for business strategy: Andrea Jordan
And Instagram for photography: @andreajordanphotography
And both her websites are here too: