On any given day, a million things could occur in my life. The same goes for you. From noise distractions, paying bills, battling in a Twitter debate, to seeing Llama’s on the loose. Stay productive and achieve your goals. As a freelancer task can seem like a daunting.
Set Office Hours
I was really good at this in warmer months. Waking up at 7am to go on a 5 mile jog, then I’d eat breakfast, read my bible & blogs, and finally start my work day. There is consistency in having a schedule. If you have ever worked a 9 to 5 then you had to keep a schedule. Do the same for your business. Yes, there will be times you won’t want to keep those hours, it may be, when you’re sick or when you work extra hours. There’s nothing wrong with putting in more hours. As of lately, I have been in Starbucks, more than usual, from the hours of 6pm to 10pm writing and creating content.
Set Up Bill Pay
All of my personal and business bills are automated. When I was younger, I was that person who forgot to pay their cell phone bill. Not because I didn’t have the money, simply because I completely forgot. This also includes the bills I’m receiving from my lawyer, graphic designer, or copyeditor. I have a payment plan set up with them. The money comes straight out of my checking account. Just 3 easy installments as the lady on QVC would say.
If you’re sitting at the computer, sending your clients invoices monthly or bi weekly, I fear you’re stuck in the stone age. With WaveApp, Go Daddy Bookkeeping and PayPal, you can easily send recurring invoices to clients. A majority of my clients are signed for either a 6 month contract or a 1 year contract. Their invoices are set up in the system and are then sent out days ahead with a reminder notification the day of.
Automate Digital Orders
Anyone who has a digital product knows that, spending time sending each consumer their respective file is insane. A huge company reached out to me in January, wanting me to sell my digital products. Of course, I wanted to do a partnership with them, unfortunately, they wanted me to personally send each consumer their corresponding file. **Emoji girl throwing up the crossed arms**. Use platforms such as Big Commerce, Squarespace, Etsy, WordPress – Woo commerce plugin, and Gumroad.
Hire Staff or Freelancers
Stop trying to literally keep everything in-house. Hire people to streamline your business. Last year ,I learned how to build a website and how to graphic design. However, I do neither for my business. I have 2 graphic designers and 1 web developer. If you’re trying to juggle everything, sooner or later, you’re going to drop something. It’s just a matter of time. Taskrabbit & Fiverr are great resources.
Keep A Calendar
I swear by Google Calendar for my business. It has my editorial calendar, client calendar, conferences, speaking gigs, etc.. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone misses a meeting. Put it on your calendar. Now a days most programs are integrated with digital calendars. When I confirm attendance to an event via Eventbrite, it immediately goes to my Google Calendar. Make sure you give yourself space in your calendar. I do 30 minute breaks between meetings and when working on projects. Just in case they go over.
Digital Files For Clients
All digital files are automated once someone purchases a consultation file, and are immediately sent to them with a step by step guide included. In the guide, it denotes for my new clients to sign their contract via Hello Sign. This keeps my files in one place. Imagine having to sign every contract, then tell the client to sign the contract, and finally have them sign it in an online document. Nope, let’s keep it simple and legally binding.
If you can respond in two minutes or less without having to go back and forth then send it. Set up canned emails. Designate specific hours for you to respond to emails. Just because you send me an email at 7pm doesn’t mean I need to respond to it then. Create a filing system. All clients have their own folders even partnerships. That way it is in one thread & folder versus having to search all over.
Save emails for Monday – Friday, unless its super important, and has to be done on the weekends. The weekends are your time to recoup, just like the rest of the world.
Learn To Say No
Over committing can take up valuable time. You are saying yes to everyone but you. If it doesn’t work in your schedule then say so. Last month, I was approached several times for partnership. One company was pretty darn persistent. It didn’t fit my brand or resonate with who I am. It’s okay to say no. If you’re constantly saying yes, you will over book your schedule and then the time you really need to say yes, unfortunately won’t work for your schedule.
Get Off Twitter
As of lately, I have been spending more time on there. If I wasn’t I would’ve been clueless to The Dress Debate and the Llama’s on the run. Those are important “fakes at the water cooler” talk I can’t afford. Social media is a great tool for your small business but it can kill your productivity levels. Designate three times that you actually hop on the various platforms you use. As for the other times, learn how to automate your social media.
By killing the distractions, automating, and using the other ten tips listed, you can be productive as a freelancer and a small business owner. How can you increase your productivity today, thus helping streamline your company’s revenue and success?