The Design Business Show 120: Streamline and Automate Your Processes with Melissa Morris

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | November 12, 2020

Melissa Morris is a Business Operations Consultant who specializes in client processes, which includes client onboarding, management and offboarding. She uses her 10 years client management experience to help service based business owners streamline and automate these processes as well as teach them how to set client expectations and create and hold boundaries.

Melissa’s been seen in INC Magazine and Keap Business Success Blog and heard on podcasts such as My Biz Bestie and Productivity Straight Talk. She frees business owners from overwhelm so they can actually work ON their business and not just IN their business.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

  • When Melissa had her 9-5 job at an ad agency she was an account executive, which is a project management and client management role and how being in that role served her and created some good systems for herself
  • Melissa explains that she liked her 9-5 job but was craving more flexibility and higher income, so she left her agency and started doing marketing consulting
  • After becoming a marketing consultant, Melissa quickly booked a lot of clients but looked around and realized she hated it and questioned what happened
  • Why Melissa didn’t like marketing consulting because she had to execute on a lot of ad plans, where she was writing social media posts, creating graphics and all that comes with consulting, which was unlike the project management role she was in at the agency, which she loved
  • How Melissa approached some of the business owners she’d been working with and started having conversations with them about managing their own projects because she was exploring this new line of work and they loved it
  • Melissa began to realize how this happens to so many solopreneurs, freelancers, etc. who go out on their own and then no longer have a project manager there to serve as a buffer person to keep things on track
  • How Melissa used her social media business to work with some of those business owners and do additional project management work for them
  • When Facebook made their big algorithm change it drastically dropped business page’s ability to show up in news feed, and their page views, so Melissa used that as an opportunity to fire a lot of the social media clients she was with and explains why that made sense for her
  • Melissa loves her work and primarily helps service providers create systems and processes, streamline and automate and identify the tools they need in their business to make all of that happen
  • Melissa’s experience in client management helped prepare her for tough client conversations and explains that when she presents to clients a shift in her business or unfortunately firing, she highlights the benefits for them and set them up for success as much as she can
  • What Melissa’s initial offerings included were conversations about where things were getting stuck in her clients’ business, why tasks were slipping through the cracks and helping them get out of overwhelm, which she explains stems from overbooking or not having a clear process
  • Melissa explains that if you can’t write down what your process looks like, then it is not nearly as clear as you think and you are going to have a difficult time automating that process or ask for help
  • Two things Melissa sees when it comes to tools is business owners who wait too long to have any tools and other business owners who know they need automation but aren’t sure what tool they need and end up duplicating a lot of tools
  • The categories of tools business owners need to pull from including a CRM, a project management tool, a scheduler and an invoicing tool and how Melissa sees the most duplication in the CRM and project management section
  • Melissa walks us through her DISCO Framework where you Define your current process, Identify gaps in your process and redundancies, Streamline by creating canned emails and templates, Create phases and milestones to build accountability, and Outsource and automate
  • Melissa recommends Dubsado, a CRM tool that covers your automation, has a scheduler built into it, and has the ability to automate invoicing
  • Popular project management tools are Asana, Trello and ClickUp, Melissa explains that if you are a checklist type of person you will probably prefer Asana’s approach and if you’re into visuals you will probably prefer Trello
  • How even if you don’t have a lot of clients, but your goal is to grow, and you have the time now to get things into a system, it can be very beneficial to just get started versus waiting to do it so you’re prepared for the future
  • Most business owners Melissa works with report saving 5 hours per week which gives them time to spend doing other things to help grow their business or helps give them some breathing room
  • Why Melissa thinks there is a moment when it’s too soon to focus on your systems and processes; this might be if you are still refining your services and offers, or you’re still playing with who your target audience is, deciding on price points, etc.
  • Melissa explains that you can begin small with automation and just start with automating your invoicing, getting some questionnaires out automatically, or a quick onboarding workflow that can deliver the proposal, contract and a welcome email
  • How it depends on timing and the phase of business the business owner is in when deciding to implement systems and how it might not even be the business owner who realizes something needs to be done
  • Melissa explains her Asana project, where she has different steps set up for her process that help keeps her on track
  • Melissa noticed when she first started working with business owners, they would spend most of their deep dive strategy session searching for their contract or updating the questionnaire so she decided to add a kick-off call to her process and give them some automated resources
  • Melissa’s experience moving from one city to another during a pandemic and explains she is just as intentional in her personal life as she is in her business and created checklists for moving and a timeline for moving
  • If you are listening and want to get started, Melissa suggests getting some canned emails, getting your contracts and proposals together, and remember that you can start small
  • Connect with Melissa on Facebook, on her website and check out her Automation Roadmap that will outline your first steps for getting automated

Links mentioned:

Connect with Melissa on Facebook 

Melissa’s Website

Melissa’s Automation Roadmap

 

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