What if you could save an hour a day starting tomorrow? That’s 5 hours per week, or more than a half-day off. Imagine closing up shop at 11am every Friday without worrying about all the stuff that didn’t get done.
You can do that, when you put these 4 solutions in place, and you can do it right now.
Proper Project Management
If you’re still managing your team with email and Skype messages, stop it. Things get lost, messages are forgotten (or never received) and balls are dropped. Not to mention all the time you spend sifting through your endless list of emails for that one piece of information you need.
Sign up for Asana today, and start putting all your projects there instead. You’ll have one place to look for tasks that are still outstanding, and be able to tell at a glance what needs your immediate attention.
Do you find yourself reinventing the wheel every time you have to record a podcast or upload a video to your blog? Take 5 minutes and document the steps, then next time you have to do it (or better yet, when you hand it off to a VA) you’ll be able to quickly work out what needs to happen. There will be fewer mistakes, and the work will get done faster.
Create a Business Organization Chart
If you have multiple people on your team, this is critical. Rather than everyone coming to you for questions—or worse, asking the wrong person and getting the wrong answer—take the time to create an organization chart. Add it to your operations manual and make sure your team knows where it is and what it’s for. Now, rather than your Skype chat blowing up with questions all day long, you’ll have time for the more important tasks.
Use Time Blocking
Get out your calendar and start making appointments with yourself. Decide when you’ll check email and when you’ll work on client projects, then stick to the schedule. These self-imposed deadlines will not only force you to get the work done, but they’ll help keep you focused, so rather than wasting time on Facebook, you’ll be working on your business.
All of these systems can be set up in an afternoon—at least initially. But the time they save you when you use them consistently is phenomenal. An hour a day is just the beginning, but you have to take action. You have to put in the work first, before you can earn the rewards, but the benefits are sweet. In the end, you’ll wonder how you ever managed before you did these four things to improve your business.
Comment below with your favorite time saving strategy? Coach Deb
No one can know—and do—it all. Although some of us try. And if you’re in business, then you know there are a lot of moving parts that all have to be managed. Websites, shopping carts, email managers, video editing, copy writing, and file storage…the list goes on.
And here’s where many new (and even some established) business owners fall down. They try to bootstrap everything. Need a new website? They build it. Starting an affiliate program? They install it. Creating a video training series? They buy Camtasia; spend weeks learning it, and more weeks recording and editing video.
While there’s much to be said for self-sufficiency, there comes a point where you simply have to decide which tasks are giving you the best ROI, and let go of the rest.
As Nicole Dean says, “If you’re a fish, stop trying to fly. Do what you’re good at, and let others handle the rest.”
And here’s why. You’re wasting valuable time and energy trying to do it all yourself. Take a quick look at this calculator to find out what your time is really worth, and you’ll very quickly discover that paying someone to edit your videos or update your website is a worthwhile investment.
Now that’s not to say that you shouldn’t know anything about the techy stuff that runs your business. You absolutely should. It’s nearly impossible to outsource work if you don’t have some idea of the work that needs to be done.
What that means is, you need to have an overview. You need to know where you’re going and have a basic idea of the steps that will get you there. You need to know that these things are possible, but you don’t necessarily need to know how to do them. For example, if you’re using Infusionsoft, and you want to send an email with a link that, when clicked, will automatically add the reader to a new campaign, then all you need to know is that it can be done. You don’t have to understand the mechanics behind it or be able to set it up yourself.
That’s what your VA is for.
And if you’re really thinking ahead (and I know you are) then you’ll also have your VA document the steps she’s using to complete the task. As part of her job, she should be helping to build your operations manual. That will make it easier for everyone on the team to get more done in less time, which in turn will save you money.
So stop fighting with technology. Learn only what you must know to do your job, and hand the rest off to someone who can do it faster and better. Then you can spend your time bringing in the money.
Leave us a comment with your favorite techy guy or gal, Coach Deb
Here’s an all-too-common scenario: A seemingly successful service provider is hard at work growing her business. She’s working lots of hours, and her hourly rate is respectable. But her cash flow is dismal.
Because she’s working so hard that finding the time to actually take control of her money is impossible.
Invoices don’t get sent on time. Past due balances are ignored. Taxes aren’t done. And maybe worst of all, she’s got dozens of recurring payments that go out automatically each and every month, and she has no idea what they are or if she’s even using the programs she’s paying for.
Sound familiar? Sadly, that’s exactly what a lot of “successful” businesses look like. When you work at home, and you’re accountable to no one but yourself, it’s far too easy to let these little things slide until, like an avalanche, they have a devastating effect on your business.
The good news is, cleaning it up is easy, when you take the time to put some trusted systems in place.
Start with your billing. Sign up for (and use) a system such as Freshbooks or Harvest, which will automate your timekeeping and produce an invoice with a single click of a button. Then put your billing day on your calendar as an unbreakable appointment.
Log into your timekeeping app, generate your invoices, and click send. You’ll be done in a jiffy. Not only that, but most billing systems automatically send follow-up messages for unpaid invoices, so you don’t have to worry about tracking down those slow pays.
For your expenses, use a single system. That might be PayPal or a dedicated credit card or even your business checking account. Whatever it is, be sure it has a reporting feature that will allow you to send monthly statements to your accountant. At the end of every month, bundle that up with your sales report and your receipts, and send it off. When tax time rolls around, you’ll be sitting back with your feet up while everyone else scrambles to find documents and update their accounting system.
If you do your own taxes (kudos to you!) then look for tools that will talk to each other easily. For example, you can download a Quickbooks file right from PayPal for super-fast reconciliation at the end of every month. That alone will save you hours of “doing the books.”
Just putting these two simple systems in place can easily save you 10+ hours per month, but the even larger benefit is that the money work will get done. And what that will do for your cash flow is priceless.
How about you? Do you have a favorite software or program that keeps your books organized, Coach Deb
You know it’s critical to your success, but are you doing it with forethought and a solid strategy in place, or do you just “wing it?”
Admittedly, most of us are squarely in the winging it category, but there are some quick and easy changes you can make that will put even your most important networking tasks on autopilot.
Outsource the research: First step, hire a VA who can find and connect you with potential JV partners, affiliates, guest interviews, and all the other marketing options at your disposal.
With a list of requirements at hand, he or she can spend an hour or two on Google and bring back a list of hundreds of people you can then reach out to. What would a list of 100—or even 10—new JV partners do for your business growth?
Automate the initial connection: Create a script or email template to use when you first reach out to potential partners. Your VA can send this in an email or make a call on your behalf, but having the script in place will accomplish two things:
Automate your scheduling: Using a service such as TimeTrade or ScheduleOnce, you can easily set up your calendar with your preferred times for interviews, webinars and such. Give your JV partners links to book time with you, and the meetings will automatically appear on your calendar. No more endless back and forth to discuss potential meeting times, just a single click, and your partner can choose the time that works for both of you.
Here’s a hint though: be sure to use your calendar diligently, because if you don’t you run the risk of someone scheduling time with you when you already have another commitment.
Will it take a bit of work to get these systems in place? Sure. But once you do, you’ll find that attracting and working with JV partners, guest experts and others is much easier and more streamlined. Not only that, but with the time you save, you’ll be able to concentrate on creating new programs and services. Or maybe just hang out with the kids a bit. You deserve some time off.
Looking forward to reading your strategies to network like a Ninja, Coach Deb
If you would like to use any of our blogs on your blog sight, please do contact us. We would be happy to share with you.
What do top coaches, industry experts, and media superstars all have in common? They've all written a book. You can too. It's easy!