When you’re the only person in your business, it understandably can get overwhelming. You’re dashing off a blog post to go live tomorrow while answering calls from customers and emailing vendors about your late order. Who wouldn’t want a little relief? Since this is January, the start of a fresh, new year, make it a goal to run your business more efficiently this year. Just because you’re one person doesn’t mean you can’t do it all…without stress.
Make these resolutions to create changes for the better throughout the year.
1. I will firm up my processes and procedures.
I get it: You do it all, so you have no reason to sit down and write out how, for example, to fulfill an order. But your business will grow, and very soon (maybe even this year) you will hire employees or freelancers, and they’ll need documented procedures to do their jobs. Dedicate time each week in the next month to write down exactly how you do each of your regular activities. Those might include:
- Writing content for your blog
- Fulfilling an order
- Scheduling social media updates
- Managing inventory
- Coordinating projects
Writing down how to do something really gets you thinking about how you do it. And it’s the first step toward the next resolution.
2. I will find people to make my work easier.
Just because you identify as a solopreneur doesn’t mean you always have to do everything. There are plenty of tasks you’re probably not stellar at, like design, marketing or accounting. These are the easiest to outsource to a freelancer or agency, and it’s probably cheaper to do so than you think.
Make a list of all the activities you dread, or that take you longer than they should. Then find the appropriate service provider to help. You can start small (maybe hire a writer to take on four posts a month) and increase your delegated activity as money grows. You’ll find that the time you free up for yourself is worth the investment!
3. I will take my business more seriously.
What does that look like for you? It might mean it’s time to incorporate or form an LLC. Or that you’ll shift from acting as a freelancer to running a business. Sometimes we feel like this “entrepreneur thing” is temporary, and that eventually we’ll have to get a job. But if you invest in yourself and take yourself seriously, you’ll find your business starts thriving.
4. I will invest in the tools I need.
I’m all for free software, apps and tools, but there comes a time when you need to spring for the paid version of that CRM, web hosting or productivity app. If the tools you’re using are limiting you from doing more, see what paid options are available. There are many tools geared toward small business needs and budgets — including Microsoft Office 365 and Online Bookkeeping from GoDaddy.
5. I will realize: I am not my business.
Solopreneurs tend to identify strongly with their businesses. They consider them one and the same. On the surface, that’s fine, but you need to consider: what if one day you want to sell your business? You can’t tie yourself so tightly to the business that you can never leave it.
Also, you have to be able to step away from your company for a little space. A long weekend or even afternoon off at the very least can be enough to give you the distance you need to put your business in perspective. You’ll often come back more productive than if you worked through the weekend.
Make this the year that you grow as a solopreneur!
Also published on Medium.