10 Questions with GG: Systems Expert Rachael Mueller
July 19, 2021
On this edition of Ten Questions with GG we are helping entrepreneurs level up their businesses with systems. We enlisted the help of Rachael Mueller, an integrator and systems expert, as well as a self-proclaimed organization addict and systems nerd. When she’s not helping visionary entrepreneurs banish overwhelm, fuel their productivity and streamline their businesses, she can be found in the kitchen whipping up a new recipe or traveling the globe. But today she’s letting us in on her expertise and giving us actionable tips to upgrade our businesses in these 10 questions:
- What exactly are systems and how did you become a system expert?
A system is essentially something that takes a mess and transforms it into an organized, documented, and structured setup. So it takes all the things everywhere, and puts them in one single location. You can then share, teach and delegate tasks for your team to manage and take them off your plate to allow you to sit in your CEO throne.
Lack of organization was something I really struggled with in my first business. For almost 6 years I felt like I was always SO BUSY, but I wasn’t really moving the needle in my business. I was just constantly working on day to day admin things. So after about my 100th breakdown, I really started to analyze what needed to change. I implemented systems and online platforms to support our growth, and then it all turned around.
And after 5 years of this turnaround I realized I could help other incredible entrepreneurs feel this same way I did when I learned to pivot and leaned into this support. And here we are.
2. What are the top three benefits of incorporating systems into a business?
Wow, so many!! But my top three would be:
- FEELING ORGANIZED
There is no worse feeling than waking up a 2am in a cold sweat panic because you realize you forgot to do something really important. Knowing that all your ideas and to-dos and have a home outside your brain is the biggest stress reliever.
- LEVELING UP YOUR CLIENT EXPERIENCE
It makes such a difference when a new client books a project with you and immediately receives emails, onboarding steps, and feels like the relationship is continuing, rather than feeling lost and hearing nothing but crickets from you after paying their invoice—eek!
- TEAM HIRING AND SUPPORT
Eventually you will get to a place in your business where you have a team or support behind the scenes. If things are streamlined and organized, it makes it so much easier to onboard and train your team, and also to delegate and outsource as needed.
3. Give us a quick explanation into the types of systems a business should have.
|CRM // Client Relationship Management—to streamline your client experience.|
|PM // Project Management—to keep track of all your tasks, projects, and team communication.|
|File Management—to organize and easily access your standard operating procedures, ideas, goals, etc.|
4. What platform or tool do you recommend new entrepreneurs incorporate first in their business?
It’s a tie between a CRM and a PM. The first step should be to audit your time—what’s taking up most of it? Is it emailing clients contracts manually, tracking payments, and sending onboarding documents? If so, then implementing a CRM will save you a ton of time. If your time is going to your daily to-do list and projects that feel out of control and disorganized, then getting set up on a PM platform could help you take back control and add a sense of structure to your days.
5. When working with clients, what’s the typical timeframe to get their systems set up?
It’s really dependent on that person and their business needs, and I find it’s not always a ‘one size fits all’ timeframe. It’s also an evolving process that’s never truly ‘done’. There is always room for improvement and adjustment when it comes to how things run in the background, your client experience, etc. My biggest tip here is to spend the time assessing what you need and what will help move the needle in your business, rather than just implementing all the things because they’re cool to have. Making sure what you set up, whether you set up yourself or have it professionally implemented, is really tailored to you and your needs will greatly benefit you in the long run.
6. What are some mistakes you see entrepreneurs make when it comes to systems?
Waiting too long to think about it, until suddenly your business is growing faster than you can handle because your systems have not been set up to support your growth. That being said, you do NOT have to have these systems set up on day one. But it’s valuable to pay attention to things like when the admin tasks and overwhelm starts to creep in more and more, it might be time to assess how things are set up behind the scenes, and bring someone in to help you sort things out.
7. Share your top 3 favorite tools or platforms.
For CRM’s I love Honeybook and Dubsado, and for project management Trello and Clickup are fantastic options. And if you’re interested in getting yourself set up with Dubsado or Honeybook, use my code HeyRachael to save 20 – 50% off your first year.
8. Share your best tips for implementing systems.
I have found that entrepreneurs can have this all or nothing mentality—I need to have all this done and set up tomorrow, or I’ll just keep doing things the same way. Phew, talk about a recipe for failure and major overwhelm.
Instead I recommend starting small and working your way up. Start with just one platform, for example: move your notebook full of to-do’s and goals into a platform like Trello, organize them there, and then actually use it. Then assess what can be improved next.
And my last tip is to ask for help from experts if it’s not in your zone of genius. It’s totally okay if this is not in your wheelhouse, and even if just reading this article makes you break out in a cold sweat. There’s power in asking for help and receiving support in your business. You don’t have to do all the things by yourself.
9. If you had to give a single piece of advice to new entrepreneurs about systems, what would it be?
It’s totally natural as a new entrepreneur to be doing all the things yourself. It’s how we get things done and really create our business foundations. But there comes a time when wearing all the hats in your business starts to feel really overwhelming, and the systems you started with, whether that’s tracking things in a spreadsheet, or manually onboarding clients with emails and forms, start to break down. This is when it becomes a great time to look at leveling up your systems and implementing tools for your next phase of growth.
10. What services do you offer and how can business owners connect with you to level up their business with systems?
I offer done-for-you systems and platform services for CRMs, PMs and more, as well as on-going support for full business organization, inbox and calendar management, and strategy. Connect with me at heyrachael.com or on Instagram.