Starting up and running a business on your own is an exciting adventure, but it’s also an enormous amount of work. Solopreneurs are forced to learn many different aspects of business, from general administration to marketing and sales. While going at it alone can give you more freedom and control, running a business without a team means long hours and limited time to focus on big-picture issues. Take advantage of some of the following tools and tips so you can take your business to the next level.
1. Outsource Time-Consuming Tasks
According to Inc, business leaders waste 21.8 hours every week on distractions and mundane tasks like sitting in non-productive meetings. Don’t let tedious tasks steal time that you could use for valuable business projects. Consider outsourcing your time-consuming tasks to freelancers. For example, an Upwork data entry specialist can help you by performing research, filling out spreadsheets, and transferring data from physical records into digital databases. Look for a top-notch data entry specialist with great typing skills and experience doing research. Some other freelancers you may want to hire include a virtual assistant, writer, social media manager, and customer service representative.
2. Automate Everything You Can
You don’t have to delegate all of your time-hogging tasks to other humans. Software and apps can help you automate many other business tasks that may be running down your clock. For example, Hootsuite can automate your social media strategies and MailChimp can automate your email marketing projects. If you have an appointment-based business, automation tools can help you avoid losing money to no-shows, gaps in your service schedule, or a cumbersome booking process. The right appointment management system will allow your customers to instantly book your services online. It will also let you send automated reminders to your clients, adjust your service schedule, and require prepayments.
3. Streamline Your Communication Systems
According to Agility, 33 percent of business owners identify email as their greatest time sink. Entrepreneurs also spend a lot of time in meetings and on the phone with clients or employees. Streamline your communication systems with the help of popular tech tools. Slack, for example, can be useful for communicating with your freelancers efficiently. Try implementing a live chat service on your website so customers can contact you with quick questions instead of taking up your time with emails or phone calls. Also, use meeting management tools like Calendly so that clients or other business people can book your time without back-and-forth emails.
Part of communicating effectively with your freelancers and customers is working with a smartphone that can handle the daily tasks of running your business, whether you’re running business apps, emailing proposals, or making updates to your website or social media. If you’ve had the same smartphone for several years, it may be a good idea to pick up a newer model. For instance, Apple’s latest phone, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, has a super-fast chip, 12 MP camera, and up to 18 hours of battery life. If your preference is for an Android, the Google Pixel 3 performs well and has quality OLED display.
4. Practice Smart Time Management
Time management is critical for any business owner, whether or not they have a great team behind them. Set clear goals for each day, keep a detailed to-do list, and try to tackle your most important tasks first thing in the morning. Prioritize activities that will help your business out the most. You’ll find plenty of helpful tools online that can keep you on track, like time management apps and schedule planners. Remember, good time management also means knowing when to delegate tasks! Don’t try to multitask—trying to do too many things at once can be detrimental to your productivity. Instead, block out windows of time when you can really focus on work, keeping your schedule clear and putting your phone on silent to avoid distractions.
Today's business owners can enjoy the financial benefits and freedom of going at it alone without being held back by limited expertise or an overwhelming workload. From talented freelancers to automation software, there are plenty of ways for solo entrepreneurs to get help with their business tasks. Take advantage of all the resources available so you can carve out time to pursue your next big business idea.
"Courtney Rosenfield started her career in the gig economy after several years of enviously watching others do the same thing. She started Gig Spark to be a resource and the first step for people who are looking to join the gig economy, either to supplement their income or as a way to fulfill their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur."