I have been working for myself on and off for the past 22 years.
During this time, I have helped a lot of people launch their business and get organised with their own internal filing system’s and protocols.
If you have a system, life gets easier!
It’s ultimately less stressful, and you can always find want you want, when you need it, so sve energy wasting time.
Working on Your Business
Doing the day-today tasks that bring in your income are tasks that need to take priority of your business for 80% of the time.
But as you start to grow, these tasks will be delegated to your work force allowing you to go from working on your business 20% of the time to switching it to being 80% of your normal duties and only 20% being hands on.
I like to think of each top-level hierarchy folder as being a department in my business.
Core Mandatory Folders
No matter if you intend to be a one-person solopreneur or the next Richard Branson. You will need to know how to work on your business growth, marketing, accounts and other business operations as well as full=filling the duties needed that bring in the money.
So the first set of top-level folders you need, will be….
#1) Business Operations.
Documents like your business plan, bank account registration forms, service agrements and the like will live here.
From book-keeping, petty cash, tax returns and profit & loss reports, as well as more, will live here. Create a separate folder for each different aspect of your business financil affairs.
#3) Human Resources
There will be times when you want to put yourself or your assistants through some sort of training, or upskillings. You may need to manage out-sourced suppliers, time sheets etc. Contracts, non-discolure agreements and that sort of thing will most likely live here. Basically anything regarding people management of the team who help you deliver your products or services.
#4) Brand Design
You will need somewhere safe to store your brand images, logos, colour scheme, raw editable artwork files and so forth. Create a folder for each.
This is all about how you intend to spread the word on your business. For managing your social media, expo business stands, networking events, flyer campaigns and more. reate a folder for each area. EG Expo’s You might have a general folder, and then inside that one for each specific event you attend.
I personally like to separate my sales information out again. Sales is not the same as marketing. Sales is the act of reciving money in return for a product or service. You might have adffiliate marketing companies you work with, or sales targets for your brand ambassadors.
Some people will combine 5 & 6 together. Depends on your business.
But I also provide services to clients on a 1:1 done for you basis as well as 1
Therefore, my business requires a Services folder as well.
No matter who you deal with, or what you do, there is a high possibility that you will need to keep information relevant to your clients on your system as well. One folder per client. If a client has multiple projects going on with you and repeat business, create subfolders and date them for easy reference.
There is always that one document that you don’t know where to put, or a file, photo or such like that you need to store, but it doesn’t have a relevant home yet. I put these things here, then when I need them I have somewhere to directly search and can always move them later.
#11) House & Home
If like me, you are a freelancer, sole trader or small business owner, the chances are you also use your PC for your personal life, so give this content a place to live as well, so it’s not muddled into your business operations and cluttering the place up!
The above folders are top-level hieracry folders, So adopt the same principle for any sub-folders and tasks you do under each department/category above.
You might have a tax-return sub-folder under accounts as well as one for petty-cash. Or you might have one for Facebook Paid Adverts vs Google Paid Adverts in your Marketing folder.
Any tasks I do, whilst working on my business, will land in either one of my folders, whilst the actual hands-on income work, will always be with products, services and clients.