I don’t know if you know this or not, but the whole reason I decided to go out on my own is because I got too sick to work. I had to find ways of doing things that would: make money, and take less time. I know many of my clients want that to. So I thought I’d pass on some of my favorite time savers.
1. Outsource as much as possible. I know that when you’re small it can be challenging to get together the cash to buy stuff or hire people. So start small. Find one or a few small, discrete tasks that you can outsource. Preferably on the cheap. One of those thing I outsourced is: receipt scanning. If you have 50 receipts a month it takes about 2-3 hours to scan all of those receipts. It takes more time to copy them and file them. (You do copy them, right? Most receipts are unreadable within a year because of the paper they’re printed on.) If you hire someone to do this (and I have) it takes about 4-8 hours a month to deal with it all. Even at Bay Area minimum wages that’s still $40-80 not to mention training them to do the work and dealing with the hassle of dealing with the realities of a real person.
We use Shoeboxed – for about $30 a month my receipts get scanned and integrated with our QuickBooks Online chart of accounts. And they are IRS approved so you can throw out your receipts once they are scanned into the system.
I think they’re fabulous! All I do is throw the receipts in the (postage paid) envelope they give me and off they go. Such a good deal!
2. Figure out what you love to do and do that. The more you focus on what you love, the more you’ll get done – of that and everything else. The more you engage with fun and interesting stuff, the more energy you have and the better your world is. Period.
3. Have your groceries delivered. At first I thought this was a terrible idea – things on the internet shopping sites cost more than in store and then there’s a fee on top of that! What the heck!
But when I realized that I spend at least 1-2 hours per shopping trip and I was always buying more than what was on my list, I realized that I could save time and money, by making a list and making sure that’s what arrived and not doing impulse shopping.
I mean I still get my chocolate because chocolate. But I don’t also end up with that new interesting looking gluten free cracker and that cheese they were sampling and that snack because I went to the store hungry and… I have to be really clear about what I’m getting and why. That means I make meal plans (at least a couple of them) and make lists and those things get bought and delivered.
It’s actually been both a time and a money saver for us.
3. Weekly meetings, same bat time, same bat channel. I meet with all my staff every week at the same time with the same agenda. I make sure everyone know what’s expected of them, what needs to get done, how to communicate with me and when and what to do if there’s an emergency or urgent question.
Having this structure in place saves me a lot of time and energy. People know what to expect and when and how to get what they need. And I get what I need.
4. Get support – it could be in the form of a bookkeeper (hint, hint, reach out if you need that) or it could be you need more accountability. Whatever it is, don’t hesitate, don’t wait to get the support that you need to move your business forward.