More and more people are choosing to be their own boss rather than work the 9-5 grind. And why not? The flexible working hours, the opportunity to pursue your passions and the control you can have over your work day is too good to turn down. Our research found 85 per cent of people working for themselves were happy with their current work situation and 74 per cent planned to stick to self-employment for at least the next ten years.
While the notion of freedom is sweet, being your own boss also comes with the pressure to get everything right. You are now the gatekeeper: from handling customers to bookkeeping and collecting payment, to finding new business and of course, doing the job itself.
Time management of your tasks and ensuring that each facet of the job gets enough face time is a skill in itself – here’s some advice to get you off on the right foot.
1 Master the art of letting go
In some way, shape or form you’ll be working off a to-do list. The reality is that it’s not often you’ll get through everything. Consider what items on your list you can offload. Letting go of the tasks that can be delegated to someone else (a freelancer you hire on an ad hoc basis, for example) is one of the best things you can do for your business, as it frees you up to think about more important things – like finding new customers or innovative ways to grow. It’s also critical for the longevity of your business. Delegating small tasks will give you more time and space for your peace of mind, and ensure that you don’t burn out.
2 Prioritise setting your priorities
As a solopreneur, there will always be a number of things that you can be doing at any one time. At the start of each day, make the effort to dedicate thirty minutes to thinking through which activities will drive the best outcomes for your business and prioritise these. Identify which tasks are flexible, and, better yet, which don’t really need to be done at all (you’d be surprised).
3 Frame your time
Monday to Friday will fly, with a lot of time getting lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday business. Once you’ve worked out your priorities, it’s important to block out designated time frames to address the most important ones. Commit yourself to making a dent in your to-do list, and be strict with that time period. In a similar fashion make sure to schedule downtime for yourself, creating a balance that means you are recharged and ready to do your best work when the time comes.
4 Multi-tasking is not impressive
While it used to be all the rage, multitasking is actually less productive than doing one thing at a time, a study from Stanford University has found. Trying to take too much on at once can be overwhelming and unproductive. Constantly checking your emails and texts is also disruptive to your workflow, in particular when they call you onto a new task. It takes discipline to finish one task before moving to the next, but is a worthwhile skill to master, as the ability to give a customer your undivided attention is an all-too-rare skill.
5 Cut the chaos
Regardless of whether your workspace is at home, in the back of your car, or perhaps a shared working space – organisation is everything. This is where tech tools can come in handy – Apps like Dropbox and Evernote make it easy to store, search for, and share documents from any device, wherever you are. Invoice2go takes care of your billing, expenses, and payment collection to save you the time usually spent on admin. Bear in mind that if you are on the road you want to keep a portable charger for your devices handy, as well as a wifi jetpack if possible. Being stuck without power or connectivity can be the biggest disruptor of productivity and organization.
When running your business, it’s not uncommon to feel stretched. However, once you learn how to master time – your most valuable resource – you can plan your day accordingly and practice habits that will get you closer to reaching your goals.
Chris Strode, Founder, www.invoice.2go.com