In the United Kingdom, there are an estimated 4.5 million people registered as “self-employed”, and here in the United States, there are a registered 10 million! That’s 6.6% of the entire work force in the U.S.! Considering these statistics, it’s surprising how little we hear about the self-employed and how to help them be successful.
So, let’s fix that and share 7 quick tips on time management and being successful as a self-employed Rockstar!
1.) Schedule your day around your most productive time.
Some of us are morning people, some are night owls, or some of us can’t even deal with being awake.. EVER. Whenever your most productive time may be, find it, and get your most important work done during those peak times. No one needs to know whether you are working a true 9-5 job, or if you are generating invoices and writing proposals at 3am! Yes, you may have to fit in client meetings and sales calls at specific times throughout the “normal” business hours of the day, but other than that, YOU DO YOU. Self-employment provides flexibility, so take advantage! Work when you are at your best! Your clients and yourself, will thank you.
2.) Find your most productive time.
How do you actually accomplish number 1? Let me tell you!
Take two weeks and track how you spend your time during your work day. Every half hour, make notes of what you are doing and whether you feel “in the zone” or if you are about to run out of gas. Doing this daily for two weeks, will give you a clear idea of when your brain and body are functioning at their best.
3.) Always under-promise and over-deliver.
It’s a good idea to build in some extra time when giving your client’s a deliverable date. If you are confident a project till take you two weeks to finish, give a deadline of three weeks. When you over-deliver in less time to your client, they will be thrilled! This also gives you a cushion in case life does get in the way (barfing kids, unexpected business trips etc.), and you find yourself actually needing that extra time. Over-delivering creates trust in your abilities from your clients and will grow your business.
4.) Accept that you will work weekends.
You are self-employed. Working weekends is basically a reality. Now, don’t work ALL weekend, that’s a sure-fire way to get burned out, but putting in extra hours each weekend on a regular basis, will help alleviate some of the pressure you feel throughout the week.
5.) Get rid of quilt.
Being self-employed can be hard. It’s easy to find yourself being eaten up with guilt about not spending time with your family, or neglecting your house work. But on the flip side, when you are spending time with your family, you may find yourself feeling guilty about not doing work. It’s a vicious cycle. Well, here’s some advice. QUIT LETTING GUILT RUIN YOUR LIFE. When you are working, WORK. When you aren’t working, DON’T. Lose the quilt.
6.) Behave like you are at work.
Behave like you are at work, because you are! Pretend you are at the office, even if you work from home. Get up, get dressed, work in your most productive hours, maintain a healthy and clean work space. Keep your life and your work separate. Along with this, use work speak! Instead of saying, “I’m picking up Johnny from school,” say “I will be unavailable from 3:30 to 4:30 today.” Instead of saying, “I can’t answer that right now, I’m at gymnastics with Susie,” say “Let me get back to you after I’m done with this meeting.” If you speak like a professional, you will be treated like one.
7.) Say no.
Self-employed people tend to never turn down work, and employers know that. That’s why the self-employed are often treated like puppets, having urgent work thrown at them at the last minute and needing it immediately. Guess what? Sometimes it’s ok to simply say no. Jumping at opportunities with enthusiasm if often essential, and necessary for the self-employed. However, being occasionally unavailable has the effect of instantly making you more desirable to potential clients and employers. Try it!
Need more advice on being self-employed successfully? Give us a call! We would love to talk about what we can do to help you! As always, To The Rescue Bookkeeping, is here for you!