Solo Business Owners – Tips for Your Success
Without extra staff, solo business owners have less baggage and are able to to enjoy more freedom in business. If this sounds like the life you want to live, here are some tips that may help.
Manage your time well
All solo business owners learn good time management skills, because they all eventually realise that time is the most valuable thing they have. You’ll never be able to buy time, so it’s essential to manage it wisely.
One of the best ways to starting doing this is by mapping out your entire day using your calendar. Google Calendar comes in handy for this since it will sync with most of your devices, such as your Apple and Android smartphone, desktop computer, and tablet. If you’re using Timely to manage your bookings, your appointments will also show up in Google Calendar, and this will allow you to see everything in one place at any time.
Learn to say no
In the first few years of business, you have to say yes a lot because you usually can’t afford to say no. But once you’ve found your journey and your business is starting to grow, you can start saying no to the meetings and clients that don’t align with your vision.
It comes back to the fact that time is valuable, and when it’s being consumed by things that don’t contribute to what you’re doing, it’s being wasted.
Solo business owners are never too small to do marketing
Some solo business owners think their businesses are too small for marketing. While they may not need an entire marketing team, there is no business that is too small for marketing.
The kids on the side of the road with their lemonade stand are doing marketing, and they’re five years old. They’ve got signs up advertising that they have something you want (or need!) on a hot sunny day: lemonade. Your business is never too small to do the same thing, although your strategies might need to be slightly more advanced…
The internet is a good place to start for solo business owners. It’s cost-effective, easy to get started, and there are few limits to what you can do. There are hundreds of solo entrepreneurs out there who are using social media and websites to promote themselves.
If you’d like to know more about getting started online, read this article.
Don’t do everything yourself
Just because you don’t have employees doesn’t mean you can’t delegate. Use contractors to help you do the things you’re not so good at. While it’s always tempting to do something yourself and save the money spent, getting it done right the first time will be a better up front investment and it’ll free you up your time.
Some solo business owners hire personal assistants to help them get through their task lists, but Timely can do a lot of the work for you. Instead of you taking calls and negotiating appointment times, Timely will allow your customers to go online and pick a time that’s free for you that suits them, and then it’ll remind them when their booking is coming up. It’s all very seamless. More on this below.
Use software to help you
Software has disrupted the way solo businesses work, slashing many of their operational costs. There are now many tools that can help you be better at business, and since a lot of them are cloud-based and integrate with each other, they can transfer your data between them so you’re not double entering information.
We wrote about more digital tools that you can use in your business here, but two that are absolutely essential are Xero and Timely.
Xero will give you access to your accounts from anywhere at any time. You’ll be able to see your income and expenses, what people owe you and what you owe right from the dashboard. If you’d prefer to still use an accountant, you can give them access to your Xero account and they’ll be able to help you with whatever you need doing.
Timely provides you with an affordable cloud-based solution that’s packed full of features for taking bookings and managing your clients. The calendar keeps tracks of all of your bookings and syncs with Google Calendar so that you can see everything in one place. SMS and email reminders ensure clients turn up on time, and you can also send customers promotional emails with SMS marketing. If you’re building a newsletter with MailChimp, Timely will collect customer email addresses and send them to your email marketing provider so you can keep in touch with customers. When you need raise invoices in Timely, they sync over to Xero so you’re not entering the same information twice.
This is fairly self explanatory. As a one-person team, it’s safe to say you’ll be working hard, so learn to take regular breaks. You deserve them.
Block your daily breaks out in your calendar and stick to them. In Timely, you can use the breaks feature to schedule some free time for yourself, and it won’t let customers book an appointment with you on your break.
You should also allow time for a holiday away from your business. This can be hard to manage as solo business owners when no one can cover for you, but you can still work remotely and keep business ticking using online tools.
Follow your dreams
Last of all, and probably most importantly, don’t forget why you got into business in the first place. When you have really tough days and you want to give up, remember why you started doing what you’re doing, and use that to get you through. After all, what’s all the hard work worth if it’s not helping you achieve your dreams?!