Being your own boss is rewarding and freeing, but it comes with its fair share of challenges. You have to wear many hats – you’re the designer, founder, manager, developer, and customer service rep all rolled into one – and you have to do it near-flawlessly. The pressure only mounts as the business grows. Eventually, you’re stretched too thin and your plate becomes too full to handle.
Fortunately, you’re not alone and help is always at hand.
Productivity tools can speed up your workflow and automate non-critical tasks, while freelancers can shore up your weaknesses and just pick up some of the slack. By leveraging technology, you can have an easier go at it as a solopreneur and give your one-man show a shot in the arm.
At Mouseflow, we know how important it is as a solopreneur to have the right tools at your disposal. It’s why we offer scalable website behavior analytics plans to match your current state, enable insight-driven business growth, and scale with you as you check off success milestones.
But growing your business requires you keep your own life, sanity, and productivity under control, first and foremost! Here are some practical, proven suggestions on how tech assistance can lessen some of your countless challenges.
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Productivity and efficiency
Use task management tools to stay on track
It’s normal for solopreneurs to have many irons in the fire. Task and project management tools can help you organize your various projects and outflows and maintain your overall momentum without faltering. These tools allow you to track your projects’ progress simultaneously, work collaboratively with external partners, add deadlines, search for data, update tasks, and make archives for reference.
Track time for accountability and process improvement
There are only so many hours in the day. Time-tracking is critical to both bill your clients accurately and also for accountability reasons – by seeing how you’re spending time, you’ll know how to make better use of it. Tech tools automate time tracking. The good ones even teach you time-management techniques.
Automate email management to save time
The typical office worker spends a staggering five hours and 52 minutes each day just on emails, says CNBC. Solopreneurs can make email less of a time sink with the use of email management plugins like Sanebox. This solution eradicates unimportant messages and highlights critical ones. Further, it offers helpful features like snooze, no-reply tracker, reminders, and attachment management.
Budgeting and financial management
Minimize overheads with budgeting tools
Maintaining a healthy cash flow is paramount to your success as a business owner. You need solid budgeting habits to maintain a steady inflow and keep your outflow under control. If you’re not much of a budgeter, you can utilize apps like YNAB (you need a budget) for assistance. You should be able to save hundreds of dollars every month with next to no effort on your part.
Stay on top of your financial obligations with bookkeeping apps
Accounting software is critical if you’re a solopreneur. You’ll be responsible for maintaining your own records, and you could have the IRS breathing down your neck if you don’t. With bookkeeping apps like QuickBooks, you can generate real-time reports for various financial areas on-demand. This is useful for auditing as well as general business decision-making.
Change up your business structure online to reduce personal risk
Most individual entrepreneurs file taxes as sole proprietors, according to the Business News Daily. But this puts your personal assets at risk if your business is ever sued. By forming an LLC instead, you could protect your personal assets. Other benefits include less paperwork, more flexibility, and reduced complexity.
Every state has its own LLC-related rules you need to check first but it’s easy to structure (or restructure) your business online. When you’re starting a business in Texas, for example, an agency can do it in your stead. You don’t need to worry about minor details and it all works remotely.
Remote work and collaboration
Go paperless to save money
Printers, fax machines, and other miscellaneous office equipment are all massive resource hogs. While you can’t do without it altogether, you can go paperless as much as possible to save yourself some money. Use document signing, management, and collaboration apps (like PandaDoc) for your day-to-day paperwork, and use online fax services to send and receive faxes.
Set up a mobile office with your smartphone’s assistance
Working remotely, regardless of location, goes hand in hand with being a solopreneur. You may often need to meet clients in person or travel for business purposes. Your smartphone or laptop can be your best friend in this regard. Most of the apps we’ve mentioned here have smartphone versions, allowing you to manage all your work from a unified platform remotely when you’re out and about.
Stay connected with collaboration apps
When you need to collaborate, whether with clients for specific projects or with a freelancer for a task, you can make it easier for everyone by using collaboration tools like Slack. Such tools allow you to share files and data on the cloud, teleconference, send messages, and track important project-related information on the fly.
When tech tools fall short, add human assistance
Automation will only get you so far. You’ll occasionally need assistance from a skilled, versatile human. Solopreneurs rarely have the budget to hire full-fledged in-house teams, but they can and should hire freelancers. It’s an affordable, efficient way to meet your business goals.
Thanks to platforms like Upwork, you can find skilled people with skills to complement yours online. You can work with them remotely without added overheads like office space and equipment.
Instead of hiring freelancers by role, consider outsourcing tasks instead. This will allow you to prioritize key tasks and save money. Some common tasks solopreneurs need to outsource are below:
- Site and app creation: While you should have your own ideas about the style and general tone of your website, you can outsource the actual design and copywriting work to a freelancer.
- Marketing: You’re the best proponent and salesman for your business, but marketing tasks like outreach, lead generation, social media marketing, and PPC can be handed off to someone else.
- Copy and content marketing: Creating quality content like white papers, tutorials, articles, and blogs is time-consuming. A professional can help you do it better.
- Customer care: Responding to customer requests for information and troubleshooting can be handled by a freelancer – with technology like chatbots as support.
- Virtual assistants: Every busy professional needs an assistant. A virtual assistant can help you maintain your correspondence, organize your schedule, and stay on top of your mountain of to-dos.
Plus, you can always turn to online tutorials on Google and YouTube to pick up basic business-related skills as you become a Jack of even more trades.
Technology can support more than your business
Technology can work wonders for you on a personal level too. There are wellbeing, anti-anxiety, and meditation apps that keep you feeling upbeat and optimistic. You can follow exercise routines via apps and stay in shape while you work. Finally, you can use healthy eating and sleeping apps to build a better lifestyle. Looking after yourself is an important part of looking after your business.
Technology is the great leveler. With the right tools, solopreneurs like you can keep up with bigger companies with massive coffers without breaking a sweat. It’s more than worth your time to learn about the newest improvements and technology trends – both to squeeze the most out of your day and keep up with the competition.