Managing Work as a Solopreneur
Simple tips for solopreneurs to manage their work efficiently while maintaining a work-life balance.
Last Modified: 11th Nov, 2022
Building a business from the ground up, and managing it well enough to achieve set goals and profits, while fulfilling all associated responsibilities is challenging but reaps its own reward for those who are passionate enough to work on their ideas.
Everybody knows who solopreneurs or solo entrepreneurs are, and the term does sound enticing too. But, they have a bag full of challenges for themselves.
Quitting the regular job to be your own boss will surely lure anyone. However, this switch can only be made by those who have a determined goal, a sound business idea and a clear understanding of the blockers.
As a solopreneur, you are in the driver's seat of your business. You will definitely have control of your workload, choice of clients, the income from your business venture and the flexibility of choosing the working hours & environment.
But, with these perks come additional challenges, like submitting invoices, listing payments, shortlisting and purchasing all sorts of technologies or software or machinery needed, on your own. Besides the challenge of having a consistent income & steady profit, constant sourcing of new clients, money and time management while working in a comfortable environment at home is enormous.
Hard work alone would not suffice this requirement.
What one needs to be a successful solopreneur is "smart work".
Working smartly will not only boost productivity but also help in effective time & work management and create more time windows to take on more projects & innovate.
Let's discuss some tips and tricks to help you with smart and efficient solopreneurship.
Prepare a Schedule
Working in a comfortable environment or at home does give flexibility but a strict work hour schedule will help you stay on track and avoid unnecessary hassles.
For this, you need to first decide upon your working hours and fulfil them with utmost sincerity. It may be hard to practice in the beginning, but slowly the brain and body will be habituated to it.
Also, allocating time to particular tasks within the working hours will further assist in their easy and smart handling.
Now to stick to a schedule one needs deadlines. These deadlines can either be given by the client or can be decided on our own.
Having deadlines and creating progress reports gives a clear picture of the tasks planned, tasks completed and tasks pending. Sticking to the schedule and meeting deadlines strengthens the trust bond between the client and the solopreneur.
If you don't have a deadline provided by the client, then set one for yourself, to help you adhere to the schedule and become more productive.
Plan & PrioritizeHaving a set schedule and drafted deadlines, but no plan to carry out the tasks will lead to an unwanted hassle.
This is where the Planning & Prioritizing creep in—planning the tasks based on their priority level, making the tasks manageable and getting them off the to-do list quickly within the set time.
Hence prioritizing, prioritizing and only prioritizing the tasks is the key mantra, even if it is the smallest task. You can use tools like Google Calendar to schedule events, Asana & JIRA for project management and easy collaboration with the team members working on the project. Other tools like Simpify will not only allow you to plan the tasks, but also break them down into sub-tasks, followed by time allocation and dynamic execution sessions for each of them.
Know your fudge ratioWell, now you have a well-planned schedule with tasks prioritized along with specified time allocated to each of them. But are you sure, that all tasks will be met within the allocated time? What if there are some broken issues that need to be fixed first?
No one is exactly sure about how much time they need for a task. As a result, some of us prepare an overwhelming schedule while others underrate their capabilities.
Therefore plan and prioritize your tasks in such a way that you have approx. 25% - 50% buffer time for each of them.
Cut out distractionsWorking in a comfortable environment of choice or at home, managing a business alone is challenging because there are lots of distractions. It is easy to get distracted but a job like that of solopreneur demands focus.
Prepare a schedule and stick to it strictly. Find a corner in your home and give it an office look (it may not be expensive, but a simple table & chair would suffice).
If you are particular about your schedule, everyone else will value your time.
Block & turn off all desktop notifications. Put your cell phone on priority mode to save your time from spam calls.
Use mobile and desktop apps that will save you time by blocking distracting websites and help in maintaining a work-life balance. A few of them are listed below -
SelfControl - a free Mac app that helps you avoid distracting websites for a pre-set length of time
RescueTime - for time tracking with built-in website blocking
AntiSocial - blocks and controls cellphones by minimizing distractions and is also a Time Tracking tool to improve productivity
Cisdem Appcrypt - a reliable tool for Mac users to lock applications and block websites, it blocks online and offline distractions
Freedom - for blocking distractions on all your devices at once
FocusMe - one of the most powerful distractions blocker tools and website blocker apps for Windows PC, Mac & Android with the Scheduler
Know how to rejuvenate
Feeling tired and exhausted after a stretch of focused hard work is normal. All you need to do is find out your rejuvenation tonic. For some, it could be listening to music or taking a power nap or a hot shower. While for some reading a book with a cup of tea or coffee or a high-intensity workout session works as a great refreshing tonic that keeps them going.
Find out what works best for you, because such breaks not only allow you to stay focused but also give a better visualization of your goal and help accomplish them.
Socializing & NetworkingWell, now let's throw some light on an important task of a solopreneur, which is Socializing.
Since there aren't any coworkers like a regular job has, it is imperative for a solo entrepreneur to connect with people of their tribe, either online or at some coworking space. Trade or business events and conferences are also good resources for linking up with other solopreneurs and collaborators.
Socializing and networking keep solopreneurs updated on new methods and technologies. Besides, connecting with like-minded people opens up doors for new clients and projects too.
Communicate with the clients & Record detailsWorking with more than one client at a time requires proper tracking of all minute details. For this, you can prepare one single chart that lists all your current work and separate detailed documents for each client.
The single chart should have details of all your current clients, start & end dates of their projects, weekly schedule and payouts.
While the separate client document should contain the following -
A written note of the client's requirements
Estimated timeline for the project
Tasks breakdown and their eta
A substitute plan
A schedule for update calls to discuss amendments & accomplishments
Besides easy management of tasks, a written record will not only keep you sorted but also help in planning the daily schedule and help you stay on the same page as your client.
Being a solo entrepreneur is not as easy as it sounds. It demands a lot of focus, patience and sincere effort to maintain a strict schedule so that all tasks stay on track. As a solopreneur, you will need to set clear expectations and boundaries for yourself and develop a habit of making written notes of minute details and tracking progress.
Implementing and adapting to such organizational processes will definitely take time. But, an investment like this will surely enhance your efficiency and help in growing your business.
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