Manifest 13: Thinking Like a Solutions Architect
And Why My Big Goal Is to Launch 5 Atomic Courses in 2022
👋🏼 Welcome new readers and Manifest users!
Happy Wednesday and thanks to the 1,761 of you who are receiving this newsletter! In this edition, we're exploring why it’s valuable to think like our own solutions architects.
🤖 We all need to be solutions architects for ourselves (below)
👨🏼🏫 Big Goal for 2022: Launch 5 Atomic Courses (below)
💻 There’s still time to RSVP to Make Actionable Goals Session Friday January 14th!
📺 My Notion 2022 Setup Video just went live on YouTube!
🖥 Making Actionable Goals in Notion is now a Course, and is launching January 24th!
🕴🏼 We’re All Solutions Architects
Helping startups and small teams with Notion has given me the opportunity to learn more about so many roles. I’m fascinated by one in particular: solutions architect.
What does a solutions architect do?
According to intellectsoft:
A solutions architect is responsible for creating a comprehensive architecture for a software solution and providing strategic direction throughout the development process.
Solutions architects are tasked with five critical actions that apply directly to solopreneurs and creators, specifically:
thinking through the architecture of software solutions (tech stack)
account for human and computer nuances (different workflows and methods)
a growing necessity for technical expertise
having a business analysis mindset
ability to manage projects
When we separate the IT focus from an SA’s role, this could very well be guidelines for engaging in the creator economy. With so many people launching side hustles, coaching services, or online courses, we’re becoming the de facto solutions architects for our own projects.
Why this Resonates as a Creator
Coming from studying and working in architecture designing physical spaces, then launching an creative agency called Superform (digital spaces), I find myself focused on designing mental spaces, in the form of workflows, knowledge management systems, and team dashboards.
The success of this work is LARGELY contingent on understanding the problems at the core of the project, and designing solutions collaboratively and intentionally. I’m always amazed at how differently we all work; how we prioritize tasks, manage projects, and make decisions. When you add team dynamics to the mix, it’s pretty magical when products and services succeed in the marketplace.
Thinking like a Solutions Architect
I’ll preface this with a disclaimer that my expertise on the role is very limited, but here’s some questions to consider, especially if you’re a creator or have a side hustle:
What’s your thought process for identifying problems?
What are the constants and constraints of the problems you’re trying to solve?
How do you leverage research to make informed decisions?
How can you ensure solutions are data-driven?
What’s your process for testing and refining ideas?
What strategies are in place to get buy-in from stakeholders?
I’ll be diving more into this space over the next few weeks, and will report back with any useful takeaways!
👨🏼🏫 My Big Goal for 2022: Launch 5 Atomic Courses
Last year was quite a whirlwind. It’s crazy to think that up until Quarter 2 of 2021, The Notion Coach didn’t exist, this newsletter didn’t exist, I had only three videos on YouTube, and had generated $0 in revenue from templates and workshops.
Reflecting on the year, one thing was clear: I’m energized by helping creators learn how to design and build their own productivity solutions. Make Actionable Goals is the first of five atomic courses that I think will have the highest impact for creators.
What’s an Atomic Course?
I’m largely taking inspiration from James Clear (Author of Atomic Habits) and Dickie Bush (Creator of the fantastic Ship 30 for 30 writing course) for the naming; I believe atomic courses will fill a huge gap in the learning marketplace. Currently, we have Twitter threads, blog posts, and ebooks on one end of the spectrum (free content), and cohort-based courses, coaching, and consulting on the other end (big commitment and often expensive). For creators who are trying to level-up in a specific skill or expertise, but aren’t prepared to commit to a big/expensive course, atomic courses will fill the gap.
What makes an Atomic Course?
I’m still working out the framework, but atomic courses should have the following characteristics:
Self-Paced for Maximum Flexibility
Lean Accountability System (sharing or posting your work to a community or forum)
Short Duration (1-3 weeks)
Hyper-Specific Learning Goal (ie. goal-setting in Notion)
Lead into more comprehensive, cohort-based course
Let me know if you’ve got any thoughts on the idea, I’d love to hear from you, and maybe jump on a Zoom call to discuss!
📰 Other News
📺 First Live Session of 2022 is in 2 Days!
Friday, January 14th | 2:30 PM EST
Goal setting is a foundational aspect of any productivity framework. As we kick off 2022, join me as we take a look at how to set goals that are actionable. We'll walk ways to go about intentional reflection, setting goals, tying them to quarterly objectives, and tracking our progress.
📺 My 2022 Notion Setup is Live on YouTube
It feels great to create on YouTube again! In this video, we review some of the key ways Manifest has evolved over the past several months, largely due to the flurry of new features coming from Notion. I walk through the Manifest homepage, and explore the TAPAS (Track, Action, Projects, Areas, Systems) framework for organizing everything in one space.
🎉 Our First Course: Make Actionable Goals, Launches January 24th!
Almost every Notion Coach workshop or project from the latter half of 2021 circled back to one big idea for creators: how do I hold myself and my team accountable for the goals we set? It dawned on me that goals and OKRs can take a lot of effort to get up and running, and require deep planning to actually make a difference in the growth of a solopreneur or team. It can be even harder to track if you’re new to Notion. Make Actionable Goals is our first course for 2022 for a reason: every important action starts with a foundational goal. I’ll share more details about the course in our live session on the 14th, but you can also check out the Gumroad page below. 😊
☝🏼 One last thing…
A big part of creating content around Notion and productivity is having the opportunity to connect with awesome people along the way. Here are a few places we can connect: