Today I’m so excited to be launching my new product, The Appothecary. The Appothecary is a curated, dynamic database of systems and tools to help you work more effectively. It’s the place to find a custom concoction of tools to heal the pain points of your business.
In my consulting work, most of the problems that I see come down to not having good systems in place to support the business. So many of the businesses I work with are already successful: they are thriving, they have happy & loyal customers, and they are doing a great job with the work itself, which is of course the most important part. But while they’re successful, the founders may not feel like the business is sustainable.
Having a sustainable business means that you don’t feel constantly bogged down by administrative tasks, or like you’re drowning in email, or like customer service is taking over your life. Sustainable means that you have workflows for things like onboarding clients or email marketing campaigns, shortcuts that make repetitive tasks easier and faster, and systems that support you by making huge chunks of your business automatic and seamless. It means you’re not constantly reinventing the wheel. You feel able to scale and grow. And you actually have time during your day to actually think: to dream, to plan, to envision, to discover. Isn’t that why you got into this whole small business game to begin with? To add value & joy to the world?
There’s a quote I love: “When it feels impossible, it’s time to find another way,” and normally when clients come to me, they’ve reached that impossible point. They’re ready to get sustainable, and they believe that they need to hire somebody to handle all the admin/email/customer service/data organization/etc/etc/etc stuff for them. Yes, most small business owners definitely need some additional support. I’m just not convinced that the support they need always takes the form of a human being.
Because it’s expensive to hire a human being! There are all kinds of legal implications and hoops to jump through and payroll to figure out! And yet the same entrepreneurs that I see balking at spending $27 a month on an ecommerce platform that might solve 6 of their problems in one fell swoop don’t seem to bat an eye at the idea of hiring an assistant to do all their shipping, customer service and emails at a rate of 15+ dollars an hour. What gives?
If you ask me, I think it’s because the process of doing the research, finding the right systems to use, figuring out how to use them, and then learning how to implement them and tailor them to your own unique business feels like an uphill slog. It feels exhausting, and confusing, and most of all: boring. Hiring someone, even for way more money than a good system would cost, feels easier and less tedious than figuring out how to implement a system all by yourself. But here’s the thing: if you simply train someone else in your current clunky systems & workflows, things don’t necessarily improve. As you grow, you’ll run into the same issues until you have to hire someone else, and the cycle continues. And don’t forget that as a small business owner, your main job is to outlast the competition and not go under, by keeping your costs as low as possible.
I believe that most small businesses probably don’t need as much hands-on support as they think they do. At least not in the first few years! What they usually do need are better systems and tools to do their work more efficiently. And while implementing new systems may not initially feel like it gives you huge gains (spoiler alert: it always feels harder before it gets easier, as with most things in life), when you start to realize that issuing refunds now takes you one step instead of four, or that you’re not creating endless email chains just to set up one client session, life starts to feel more open. You may not even remember how monotonous and painful things were before.
How The Appothecary Helps
So what does all of this have to do with The Appothecary? Well, I wanted to make at least one part of your systems journey a little bit easier. I wanted to help by finding all the best tools and helping you narrow down your options. The result is this database, which will continue to grow, change and evolve over time! I’m constantly adding to it as I discover new applications and test things out.
I built The Appothecary on Airtable, because I wanted to make sure that the information could be viewed in any way that might be useful to someone, dynamic enough that I can add to it quickly, and beautifully clean and modern. I want business owners to be able to get in, click through to a few links, and get out with a solution that could improve their work life every single day. It should be easy for everyone to find what they need and discover things they didn’t even know existed but are somehow exactly what they’ve been looking for. Sure, you’ll still have to implement the tools you find. But hopefully the barrier to entry is a little lower and friendlier.
Ready to explore?
Thanks for reading & for being here! If you’re curious about this project, click here to learn more about The Appothecary, and click here to go straight to the FAQ section about the tool. You can also click here to listen to a podcast episode about the making of The Appothecary and what I learned about my own business’s systems in the process.
I would love for you to find a tool that helps you move your work forward inside The Appothecary. If you do, please be sure to let me know! There’s nothing I love more than watching businesses build their dreams. Happy app-finding!