Streamline Your Systems + Set Up Processes with Stress Less & Impress (Review)

Stress Less Impress ecourse review

When I first started Jess Creatives, I was naive about freelancing. I didn't think that people my age were actually quitting their jobs and making a living as full-time freelancers, and I was learning the ropes as my business slowly grew. This resulted in major chaos within my business – forgetting to send contracts and invoices, a disorganized inbox, and a complete lack of project workflow.

Luckily, in my second year of business, Stress Less & Impress came into my life. It was the first big (and it wasn't even that big) investment I made as a solopreneur.

What Stress Less & Impress is all about

In Stress Less & Impress, creator Leah Kalamakis covers the entire client workflow for service-based entrepreneurs. She goes in-depth on what she uses and how she handles clients while working with them. Even if you don't want to use all the same tools that Leah does, you will learn the strategy and the "why" behind her practices, and be able to apply those principles to your own business.

After implementing what I learned from Stress Less & Impress, my whole business was changed around. (Seriously.) Streamlining the systems in my business helped me be less overwhelmed, but also greatly improved the experience for my clients. I've recommended Stress Less and Impress to dozens of people because it's had a huge impact on my business.

How Stress Less & Impress specifically helped my business:

Fewer emails:  Like all people, I had a contact form on my website. But, the problem with most contact forms is that they don't collect much information. I typically got emails with a name, email address, and a vague message that said something along the lines of, "I need a brochure. Maybe a business card."

In SL&I, one of the very first things Leah teaches you to implement is a "Hire Me" form, where you can collect more details about the potential client and project. In one email, I know the client's name and business, what services they need, budget and timeline, and some other miscellaneous details about the project. No more back and forth as I remember questions I need answered.

Client process: Before SL&I, I fumbled through projects with clients. After a dozen back-and-forth emails, we would finally agree to start the project. I didn't have much in place in terms of a contract, there were no set expectations that were communicated, and the project workflow itself was chaotic.

In SL&I, Leah walks you through choosing a project management system, setting up client boundaries, and creating a welcome and goodbye package to send your clients. Everyone has a different process, but this helped me set up a solid foundation for my client workflow. Once I put my system in place, the questions from clients on “what’s next?” were few and far between. Having a system in place for my workflow helped me to really wow clients and improve the overall client experience.

These aren’t the only two things that are covered in Stress Less & Impress. Leah also goes over:

  • Scheduling consult calls
  • Contracts and invoicing
  • Client questionnaires
  • Getting feedback from clients
  • Streamlining your website
  • Processes for blogging and social media

Each module has a video that walks through what Leah is talking about, as well as downloadable PDFs for reference. This was the first ever business course that I signed up for, and the course’s format made it incredibly easy to implement the strategies that Leah taught us.

And because I did, I’ve gained a better grasp on how to communicate with clients before and during projects, and how to handle a project from inquiry to launch.

Is this a good fit for me?

This course is great for those who are new to solopreneurship, and are looking for a streamlined process to incorporate into their business. One caveat: you will have to actually take time to implement the forms and workflows into your business – setting up new accounts, possibly buying software, and more. Plan on setting aside 1-2 hours each week to watch the videos, and take action on the tasks Leah outlines in each module. Of course, you can always sit and do the entire course at once, but I’ve found that implementing new systems is easier to adjust to when done one piece at a time.

This course could also be helpful to those who have been in business for a few years, but haven’t officially implemented any sound systems yet. As solopreneurs, our businesses evolve, and while maybe we didn’t need systems at the beginning – now we do. When I took Stress Less & Impress, my business was still young, but things were starting to build up. Having the systems in place that Leah taught us really helped me stay on track and scale sustainably.

Who isn’t this course for? This course probably isn’t great for those who have been in business for many years and have a few systems in place. Because of its foundational nature, SL&I most likely isn’t going to help you refine existing systems, unless you want to start from scratch. Also, as I mentioned: if you’re not willing to (or don’t have the time to) set aside a few hours to implement new practices into your business, this is not the course for you.

It’s all in the name

Stress Less & Impress is an investment in your business at the start leads to smoother sailing down the line -- streamlining your systems for better client relationships and workflow. The more you are able to showcase your professionalism through your workflow, the faster you’ll turn clients into raving fans (which, appropriately, is the tagline of Stress Less & Impress)!

Why You Need a “Goodbye” Package For Your Clients

Why You Need a Goodbye Package for Your Clients from Leah Kalamakis

If you’re a service-based one woman shop, you likely run into the problem of a project never feeling complete. You’ve been working long and hard, communicating back and forth with your client over days or weeks and then all of a sudden, it’s done.

Just sending your client the final invoice with note that says “Thanks!” feels really abrupt.

You’ve created a relationship (hopefully) with your client, and ending it with an invoice feels icky.
You want them to feel supported, appreciated, and like more than just a paycheck for you. You want them to know that just because the project is complete, you aren’t just taking their money and moving on to the next client on your roster.

To create a smooth project transition between working together and well, no longer working together, (or better, working together again on a NEW project) I recommend providing clients with what I like to call a “Goodbye” Package.

This is so important to a full client process it has it’s own full lesson in my course, Stress Less & Impress.

Now, you don’t need to call it a “Goodbye” Package to your client. Depending on what you include and what service you provide, you can change up the wording as you wish. For my web design clients I like to call it a “Launch Package.” If you’re a copywriter, you could call it “Final Documents” (or something more creative because you’re clearly better than me with words).

This can be a PDF, a Google folder with multiple files, or a video. The options depend only on your imagination.

Here are a few reasons providing a Goodbye Package will help you and your clients:

1. Make it clear the project is over

No matter how much work and revisions you’ve put into a project, and how clear your contract is, there always seems to be one last thing a client needs from you.

A “Goodbye” Package helps make it clear to your client that this project is complete, and that anything further will be considered a separate project.

Not only does the concept of a “Goodbye” Package, in general, make it clear, but you can also mention what that means exactly in the package itself. For example, in my “Goodbye” Package, I tell the client what is included in my 30 days of post-website-launch support and I also clearly state that any additional training, tweaks or work will be billed at my hourly rate, or on a per-project basis depending on the type of work needed.

No more feeling guilty not making one more tweak, or feeling resentful because you accept the additional work and don’t charge for it in order to please your client.

2. Entice them to work with you again

Why put so much effort into bringing in new clients when you can get more business from the ones you’ve already got?

Your current clients have already fallen in love with you. You’ve done great work and they trust that you can give them the results they need. This means you’ve already got them past the hardest part of getting someone to hire you: trusting you can deliver on their needs.

When you’ve wrapped up one project, you can use your “Goodbye” Package to introduce them to other things you can help them with.

For example, when I complete a new website for a client, they are excited about their new brand and online presence. This gives them the inspiration and motivation to go pro in every aspect of their business.

If they create videos for their blog, I’ll tell them about how we can bring their new brand into their videos with a custom video intro. If they have an outdated opt-in lead magnet, I’ll tell share with them my PDF design service so we can make their lead magnets match their new brand. This all goes in my “Goodbye” package PDF, which is a non-salesy way to show them that our work together doesn’t have to end with this one website project.

3. Give them resources that will help them go forward without you

Referral business is the best business. Having great testimonials on your website makes potential new clients much more willing to hire you.

The best way to get referral business and great testimonials is to delight your clients beyond the actual project deliverables.

The “Goodbye” Package is a great place to give your clients extra help and support, even after your work is complete.

A few ideas for resources you can add:

  • Links to past blog posts you’ve published to help your client implement what you’ve created for them
  • Links to other people’s content that will help them improve on your work in a related way
  • A tutorial video on how to use what you’ve created (ex: as a web designer, I provide a custom video tutorial on how to use their website)
  • A list of people you recommend for related services they might need that you don’t provide
  • A bonus worksheet or guide (ex: a sales page copywriter could give a PDF on creating personality-filled social media posts)

Take action

Do you have a “Goodbye” Package? If not, it’s time to get to work! Remember, this can be an ever-changing and evolving document. I have a template I use for my main PDF, that I customize because all my clients are different. If you can use the same one, without customizing for every client, even better. But it can be something you create as a base, and update and change as your business and services evolve.

If you do have a “Goodbye” Package, does it address all the areas I mentioned above? If not, maybe it’s time to revisit and add to it!

And if you're looking for even more guidance, I cover this -- and other ways to streamline your business to make more money in less time -- in my course, Stress Less & Impress.

We are affiliates of and may receive commission from sales of Stress Less & Impress. As always, we only promote products and services that we love and/or think you might benefit from!

Create Extra Hours in Your Day With This Simple 3-Step Process

Setting Up Shop

It’s been said (quite often, in fact) that there are two things we could all use more of: time and money. So we all go around blocking social media, hustling our services and products to our email lists, and crowdsourcing our decision making so we can come to a conclusion thatmuch more quickly.

But I have a secret for you: finding more time (and money) isn’t in the big picture. It’s in the details. Creating processes (sometimes called workflows or systems) can streamline your business operations and save you hours each week. The magic in it all is that when you create processes to save time, you can use those magical minutes to go out and make money!

Look, I know that you’re here at One Woman Shop and you’re thinking “That’s fine, Val. But I don’t have a company or a team. It’s just me. I’m one woman. I can keep it all in my head and I’m pretty clear on how it all works anyways.”

That’s true -- and I’ve had that exact same thought. But what happens when you want to take a week off (like I did with my honeymoon)? Or you have a major life event that forces you to step away for an extended period of time (like when I had my baby)?

There’s no better time to set up process docs than today

Setting up your process documentation now, as you go, saves you from having to hustle and set it all up when you want or need to step away. Better yet, there may come a day when you want to hire some support in your business. Imagine handing over those process docs in your onboarding process and never wasting a minute (or dollar) with your new team member. Now that’s efficient!

Here’s what you need to know: your processes already exist -- they’re the things you do every day/week/month in your business (typically behind-the-scenes) that make it run. It’s those CEO tasks that really make your business a business; not just a hobby. And since they are things you already do, it takes (almost) zero extra effort to craft your ideal process documentation and start to streamline the way you run things.

Want a simple hack to nailing down your processes in no time at all?

Here are the three simple steps to get it done:

  1. Record a video of you doing the task and talking out the steps while you do it (here’s a list of some of my favorite video recording tools to make it easy)
  2. Hand that video over to your VA or a contractor and ask them to make the checklist from the video. If contracting this out isn’t possible, have a friend or colleague do it for you and offer to trade them the same favor -- you’ll both get your processes nailed down together!
  3. Review the final checklist for gaps or missing pieces and complete the documentation in your favorite project management tool (like Asana)

Boom! Not only do you have a set of process documentation done, you are on your way to building out a Company Operating System. (Well, aren’t you fancy!)

The best part? In just a few extra minutes each week, you can complete 1-2 process doc recordings and have your documentation for your entire business up and running in a few short weeks. Be careful, though. Making process videos gets addictive so you might find yourself with documentation sooner than you thought!

Start streamlining to get those lost hours back

Questions? Let me know in the comments below -- and tell me which process you are headed off to document this week. (A great place to start is with your blog posting or social media scheduling!)

Your days, back in your hands.

Get instant access to 5 Days to Reclaiming Your Time, a free email course with the mindset shifts + action steps you need to get started in reframing your relationship with time. Sign up below!

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One Woman Shop Chats with…Live: Leah Kalamakis + All Things Streamlining

one woman shop chats with live

We've been admirers of Leah Kalamakis and her online community, The Freelance to Freedom Project, for some time now, and also happen to be huge fans (along with many others) of her e-course, Stress Less & Impress. So, when we were choosing a guest to invite to chat with us about business streamlining, we knew we had to reach out to Leah (it doesn't hurt that she also loves popcorn and wine -- two of our favorite things).

In this 43-minute video, we chat about:

  • The importance of accountability partners + groups
  • What to do when you receive negative feedback about a product or service
  • The benefits of streamlining (they are many!) + how systematizing can benefit any type of business
  • The biggest things preventing solo business owners from systematizing
  • Why it's important to remember that "it won't get better"
  • Where Leah likes to drink her wine (hint: everywhere)

Pop in those headphones and listen and/or watch at your own leisure!

After you’ve listened, tell us one thing that you would like to streamline immediately in your business -- and then hop on over to check out Leah's course or join her community!

This post contains affiliate links. As always, we only promote products and services that we think you might benefit from and that we love!