As a solopreneur, you will have to manage more or less every aspect of your business by yourself. Tackling projects alone can be taxing at times but there are plenty of project management methodologies out there to boost your productivity and manage your individual workload. By following these workflow automation top-tips, you should be able to save hours of wasted time every day.
1. Make use of project management tools
As a solopreneur, you do not have the luxury of having a project manager keeping tabs on your task management. This is where project management software can come into play. Tools such as Trello, Asana and Blossom are all excellent platforms to use when you need to meet a strict deadline or prioritise your projects. They should help you to work smarter and get more done by going beyond your daily to-do lists. In essence, these project management tools let you map out elements of different projects before you even get started, so you can see the next steps and how your work links together. This is absolutely crucial when working on projects for several clients, as each may require different strategies or approaches.
2. Set-up remote file access
As a solopreneur you have the luxury of flexibly working from different locations, but with this comes the need for file access wherever you happen to be. Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud are all great options and will allow you to store, share, and collaborate on files and folders from any mobile device, tablet, or computer. You also won’t need to worry about regular back-ups or saving the latest versions of your documents to your desktop, as files are automatically synced, making remote access both simple and efficient. Previous versions of a document can be easily recovered and accessed from anywhere – stress no more over lost or deleted files.
3. Schedule your time
Invest in a calendar to keep track of your appointments, set reminders and block out time for different tasks. Whether you opt for a physical diary or an app on-the-go such as Google Calendar, clearly setting out your schedule will help you spend less time actually managing it. As a solopreneur, it is all too easy for time to slip away from you if you don’t organise it properly – in order to have a productive day, you need to take decisive action. In the words of Jim Rohn, “either run the day or the day runs you”. Research by Harvard Business School also suggests that increasing your control over the work you do actually lowers stress and increases productivity. So, if you don’t have a calendar set-up, what are you waiting for?
4. Streamline your workflow
Save time and money by streamlining your workflow. Although solopreneurs are accustomed to exercising complete control over their projects, sometimes specific tasks might require a unique skill-set. This is where outsourcing to an experienced professional in that field (such as designers, coders and other talented freelancers) can come in handy, allowing you to focus on the high-priority tasks where you excel. By focusing your attention on your niche i.e. what you do best, the quality of your projects should increase. Remember that your time is precious and you only have so many hours of it in a day.
5. Use the 80/20 principle
The 80/20 principle states that 20% of total input is usually responsible for 80% of overall output. As a solopreneur, it is likely that 80% of your profits will be generated from 20% of your clients (take a look at our quick video summarising how to increase business with your existing customers rather than just marketing to new clients here). In the same way, you can leverage the 80/20 principle to hone in on your most essential tasks and complete them in smaller bursts throughout the day. By prioritising the work that is most important to you and your business, you will get a bigger and better result. You can learn more about Richard Koch’s 80/20 technique in our book review here.
6. Believe in yourself
Nothing quite tests self-belief like being a solopreneur. Successful project management of your business takes an awful amount of self-belief; not just in yourself, but in your skills and your decision-making. Self-doubt, however, takes up time, derails your schedule and sabotages goals; so cultivate self-belief instead. Remind yourself of WHY you are doing what you are doing and more importantly, how good you are. If you are struggling to do this, then we recommend checking out Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start With Why’. This will fuel your self-confidence and allow your project management to truly thrive. As a solopreneur you will be challenged in every way possible, so knowing that you can count on yourself in dark times is a fundamental part of your business journey.
7. Take time for yourself
Last but by no means least, take time to recuperate. As a solopreneur, it can seem like work never stops, making it easy to sideline self-care. Taking time to recharge as a solopreneur is vital and we recommend scheduling periods for relaxation into your working day. Even 10 minutes of meditation using an app on your phone like Headspace can dramatically change your mood and outlook. This is a huge part of successfully managing projects, as research has shown that high levels of stress impact productivity and performance. By taking time out of your day to recuperate, you are investing in yourself as a solopreneur.
Although managing your time as a solopreneur can be challenging, with the right approach, it is possible to be your own project manager and maximise productivity. Following these tips regarding the right project management tools and strategies should help you eliminate time wasted on routine tasks and enable you to get high-priority tasks done. So take action, prove to yourself your own capability, trust in your own judgement and see your project management skills flourish.