The #1 Skill Every Solopreneur Should Have and Why
I took the plunge a few months ago and became a fully-fledged freelancing copywriter. #kindofabigdeal
It’s been fun, challenging, and invigorating all at once. But I suck at time management.
This was an interesting revelation for me – I’m a perfectionist, yes. I live by my use and reliance on lists. Checklists, to-do lists, packing lists – the lists go on ;)
Yep. I had all these lists set up. But – I wasn’t making it work.
The problem is I get consumed by one thing and forget to move onto the next. I spend too much time on something that doesn’t provide a high return on my time invested.
Oh, yeah. And I say ‘yes’ to everything.
I was getting nowhere.
And as someone who lives by lists purely for the exhilaration and sense of achievement I feel every time I can cross something off that list – I was becoming stressed and anxious for each day I realised my beautiful list wasn’t shrinking at all – it was growing!
I was saying yes to everything, and delivering for everyone else. But my business was suffering. The time I spent consumed by everything else was time taken away from my business. Three months in I find myself without my own content marketing strategy! Oh, the tragedy!
I don’t have opt ins. I don’t have my email sequence set up. Do the ideas count?
I don’t have anything valuable in place to market my business other than the referrals I get for delivering a #totesamazeballs service. What the?
If this is you – then, please stop everything.
Because you need to get better at your time management if you want to grow your business.
As a solopreneur, you need to set yourself apart from your competition. You need to invest in your quality service. You need to be your brand. You need to promote your brand.
You also need to deliver for your clients.
So, here are my top time management hacks to keep you on top of those crazy lists; freeing you up to kick your own goals as well as your clients’.
My Top 5 TIME MANAGEMENT Hacks
Idea #1: Daily time allocation lists for each project.
Use excel to draw up a table for your week and break each day into 30min timeslots (from 7am - 6pm or however you work). Allocate a task to each slot. So from 9-930 I'll write the week's blog post, then from 930-1030 I'll research for a client's project, and so on. Refer to this list as you work through your day.
As a hint: it’s best not to throw yourself into something for solid hours on end – mix it up to keep your brain focused and energised.
Idea #2: Trello boards.
These are great for the collation of your ideas and you can time stamp these with due dates too. If you pay, you can sync your tasks with your calendar and set up reminders! Win!
Idea #3: As simple as – utilize your phone calendar and set up reminder notifications.
I use this one a LOT. Need to spend an hour Monday morning 9-10am writing your weekly blog? Set the event in your phone and let it do the rest. But the rules are: ‘what the phone says, goes’.
Idea #4: The Pomadoro technique – work in 25 minute bursts.
This is great when you have a large body of work to get through, like writing a report. Set a timer – smash the work out for 25 minutes. Take a break. Rinse. Repeat.
Idea #5: Create a map for your mind.
Literally, map your projects (by project, or by each day) and get some clarity around what actually needs to be done! Sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed by my workload I kind of shut down, freak out, and take a much less structured – more haphazard approach.
But being able to visually represent your goals (destinations) for the day and then create the path or journey you must follow to get there (including stopovers or famous monuments on the way) is a brain-clearing, creativity-boosting winner. Get out your texters and paper, kids. This one’s fun.
Idea #6: Automate your processes.
There are heaps of valuable tools and apps out there you can use to automate your to-do list with minimal personal effort required.
I stumbled across 17Hats recently and surprisingly they offer a free membership version. I signed up instantly because you can do invoicing, profit and loss, expenses tracking, online e-contract signing, proposals – the whole shebang. They promise to get these business processes down to 10 minutes of your time each day; so I can ditch the excel spreadsheet and write more blogs!
Super cheap and easy to use and gives you more time to work on the stuff that's bringing home your bacon. #heart
Take back control
Take it from this Virgo perfectionist - perfectionism has no place in freelancing, nor does saying yes to every request because it is your very genuine nature to help and serve everyone.
You simply cannot afford to spend more time working on something than is actually required. It’s easy to get consumed on perfecting your service or product, but the thing is, you’re in this biz for a reason. You’re already good.
So, I ask you, what does a word change here, there, over there, again, back to what you started with, over and over and over - achieve? Does that provide you exponential value?
No. Trust me. Your client doesn’t notice. So, why should you?
Start getting more productive with your time so you can spend more of it where it matters – building your business.
Let me know how you get on – leave a comment below!