It isn’t hard to understand why more and more people are opting to become self-employed. The allure of being your own boss, of not having to answer to anyone, and of having total control over your life, both personally and professionally, is something that few of us wouldn’t love to have.
However, being self employed isn’t all fun and games - it is usually very hard work. With all of that extra freedom comes a healthy dose of extra responsibility. As a self-employed person, nobody tells you what to do; you won’t have anyone to cover for you or to get your back if things go wrong either.
When it is approached in the wrong way, being self-employed can become incredibly stressful and needlessly difficult. In order to avoid this happening, perhaps the most important skill you will need to master is time management. If you aren’t able to manage your time properly, you will find that important tasks slip through the cracks. If you don’t plug these leaks as they arise, the whole ship can sink.
The following time management tips will help you to ensure that whatever time is available to you is being used as efficiently and productively as possible.
We live in an increasingly interconnected world. Many of us now receive work emails on laptops, smartphones, and tablets, all at the same time. While there are many clear benefits to being able to access both your personal and work files remotely from wherever you are, it is far too easy to fall into the trap of never letting yourself get away from work.
Ideally, you should keep your business communications in one place, and your personal communications in another. By doing this, you will be setting up clear boundaries in your own life. These boundaries will help you to avoid overworking yourself, but they will also make it much easier to plan and manage your time.
When you have a clear delineation between your work and your home, in terms of both space and time, you know what tasks fall into which category. The more you can respect the boundaries that you set for yourself, the more benefits you will gain from having a more segmented approach to managing your time.
Find the Right Tools
Self-employed people are responsible for staying on top of all of their own administrative tasks. This means ensuring that invoices are sent out and paid on time, that you maintain accurate records of your income and outgoings, and that you keep all the relevant documentation on hand, depending on the field you work in and whether you employ others.
There are a plethora of tools, apps, and pieces of software for accomplishing these tasks. It is well worth your time to investigate the various options for each task. For example, with invoicing, you could choose to use one of the many iOS or Android apps that allow you to generate and send invoices. Or, you could create a free invoice online using the linked tool.
It is worth conducting an audit of your setup every now and then. Look for any weak links in your current workflow setup, replace any software or tools which are causing slowdowns. Remember, time is money! Managing your time well means that you are using your resources wisely.
No matter how talented or determined you are, there will be limits on what you are able to accomplish on your own. If you find yourself faced with any tasks that you are not equipped for, or that you won’t be able to complete in the timeframe the client wants, consider whether outsourcing some of the work might help.
Of course, the suitability of outsourcing will depend a great deal on the industry that you work in. In some cases, the costs of outsourcing even some of the work to another business will make it uneconomical to do so. However, in some cases, outsourcing tasks can allow you to work much more efficiently, to the point where the increased revenue offsets the costs of outsourcing.
Time management is an invaluable skill for any businessperson. However, those who are self-employed will find themselves particularly dependent upon their ability to manage their time properly. If proper consideration isn’t given to how to manage your time properly, important tasks will slip through the cracks. The business and, therefore, your bottom line, will suffer as a result.