Ok, I’m nowhere near an expert at time management, but I’ve figured out some things that have helped me improve my productivity as a creative and online business owner. I’m a Mother of two under three, managing two online stores, working from home, managing this blog, taking online courses, always have a book in my hand, and big plans to launch a course in the coming months, phew! You may be even busier, but having all those things going on has helped me find ways to work smarter and prioritize and save time for the things that really matter to me. So, anything related to automation is a gem for me!
A couple of months ago I asked my followers about their business pain points, and about 80% pointed out that a main struggle they face is lack of time to tackle their business needs. I could spend all morning replying to the same questions in my inbox, but I prefer to set a goal for my day and do it well. Being busy and not having enough time is a plague in the entrepreneurship business.
But there’s hope! Here are some of the strategies that have worked for me, allowing me to better serve my clients, feel more relaxed in my daily routine, and even have extra time to do the things I really enjoy doing.
1. Say no:
I’m putting this at the top of the list because it will save you tons of valuable time. Say no to the things you don’t enjoy doing and make space for the things you really love. We could waste weeks, months or years saying yes to things that won’t move us forward and won’t be meaningful for us or our business in the long run.
I learned to say no to custom designs from the very beginning of my business. I could literally sit at my desk all day customizing a single greeting card, sending emails back and forth with a client making small revisions. Instead of that, I’ve decided to redirect my clients with a pro who can help them in case they want custom designing so that I can dedicate myself to producing new and valuable content for my community. Saying no may be a challenge for you at first, but learning how will move you toward the things that are relevant to you and your growth.
2. Batch your work:
Multitasking is a common practice for business owners, sure. We have to manage our accountability, admin our websites, manage clients, write our blogs and tackle social media, just to name a few things. Batching out my work has been one of the best ways I’ve found to save time when planning the month ahead. When taking pictures for our blog or social communities, we take the whole month’s worth in just one or two sessions - we even use different outfits and different locations to ensure variety between shots.
Every month, I take a couple of days to write all of my blog posts and email campaigns. On Mondays, I schedule our social media posts for the entire week. It may seem like a lot of work to do it all at once, but because you’re already in the mindset of writing, designing, or creating content, it becomes easier to get inspired and settle into a more natural workflow over trying to do all these different activities within a single day.
Anything you can automate, go for it. Full speed ahead! It requires planning on your part but is totally worth it in the long run. You can automate your social media posts, blog posts, email campaigns, Pinterest activity, booking sessions, invoices, and payments, just to name a few. Here are some great tools that help businesses automate their workflow: Tailwind (for Pinterest), ConvertKit (email campaigns), Asana (to manage virtual team projects) AND CO, and 17 hats (for contracts, invoices, payments, and more).
4. Clarify and time out your goals:
You can't move forward if you haven't set your goals in advance. As I batch my work, it’s very useful for me to define one goal a day, three goals for the week, and one big goal per month. I prefer to be realistic about the things I can accomplish daily, so I prefer to spread out my things to do throughout the whole week, and focus on objectives that allow me to reach a bigger goal at the end of the month. This saves me time as I'm not just jumping from one task to another uncertain of where I'm going through my day, week, or month.
5. Inform your customers:
You’re probably getting the same questions over and over again from your customers. That’s because you, your business, and your clients change over time, so updating your FAQ page periodically is a good idea to keep your clients informed and avoid unnecessary emails. Welcome your new customers with a guide that includes useful information about their experience ahead, and solve potential questions they may have about your service. You can even automate this by creating a welcome email sequence and signing up your new clients. Create guides and tutorials on how to use your product or service, what to expect and useful tips. This way you’ll save time and improve your clients’ experience.
6. Create templates:
Have you been writing the same email over and over again? Well cut it out! Try creating templates to be able to reply to the most common messages you get in no time. From welcoming new customers to sharing your Media Kit with potential clients. Create email templates to have on hand, then just copy, paste, and send. Voila!
7. Plan ahead:
If you’re hoping to save time, you may be thinking: “but I don’t have time for planning.” I know you’re super busy, superstar! But, you won’t accomplish your goals if you don’t stop to plan your month ahead. Creating a calendar to block spaces for meetings, productivity, content creation, and leisure time could be the best investment of time you can make at the beginning of each month. Since I started applying this practice in my own business, I’ve seen an improvement in my performance and in my business revenue.
Outsourcing is about delegating time-consuming tasks that don’t allow you to focus on the core of your business. In fact, dedicating a budget to outsourcing could mean a profit rather than an expense in the long run. If someone else is taking care of certain areas, you may have more time to concentrate on the most important areas of your biz and by default, generate more income.
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