When it comes to being self-employed, time is money. Clients pay for the hours you put in, so you must avoid distraction and become super productive to get the job done.
But that’s easier said than done. Tedious administration, social media, your marketing – they can all take your attention away from billable time. With only so many hours in the day, you’ll want to ensure you’re busy earning rather than checking emails or getting sucked into Facebook again.
You need to stay laser-focused if you’re going to enjoy a better income. The following tips will set you on the glittering path to wealth and prosperity.
Get up earlier than usual
There is nothing more beautiful than starting the day before everyone else. Yes, you’ll groan when the alarm goes off at 6am. But once you’ve had a hot shower and enjoyed some breakfast, you’ll feel ready to face your desk.
And when you do sit down to work, you’ll realise you have the oh-so-wonderful advantage of fewer distractions. The phone won’t ring. Emails will be pretty much non-existent. It’ll be peaceful and quiet. And that means you can focus on those billable tasks that require your full attention.
Besides, ticking some jobs off your list before 9am – particularly the more challenging ones – will make you feel awesome, in control and ultimately better paid.
Create better workflows for super-efficient days
As you work, keep a notebook by your side and write down anything that takes up too much time. It could be email, the phone, social media, administrative tasks, invoicing, whatever. Figure out what could be improved and create new workflows to get the job done in less time.
There is always a solution to achieve things more efficiently. Continually review where your time is being spent so that you can focus on the billable tasks.
Free up your time by getting outside support
Yes, you might be loathed to give your hard-earned cash to someone else but if you can get more in an hour than their hourly rate, what’s the problem? Hire a personal assistant that can help you with invoicing, accounts and any other admin, so you can pay more attention to earning money from clients.
And if you’re too exhausted at weekends to do the housework, my goodness – get a cleaner! It’ll change your life.
Discover the joys of time management tools
If you’re not accounting for every hour and every minute of every day, you could be losing out significantly. Every single thing should be charged back to the client – phone calls, emails, research – it all adds up.
Use time tracking tools to monitor where time is being spent, so you’re able to invoice each client at the end of each month.
Write down client-friendly explanations with everything you track, so if a client questions an invoice, you can provide a report detailing how your time was spent. If a client still complains, then remember to be upfront with new clients in future, describing what they will be charged for and why.
Time tracking is also helpful when creating estimates for new projects – you’ll be able to guess better how much time you’ll need, thus avoiding being underpaid for a job that you underestimated.
Ditch the dreaded circle of social OCD
We’ve all been there. Checked Facebook for business purposes, only to get distracted by a friend’s post on cute puppies – then before you know it, you’ve fallen down the social media wormhole and wasted precious time.
Yes, use social media for marketing yourself. Just become more disciplined and avoid it for personal use – you don’t need the dopamine hit when someone likes your latest Instagram post; you can live without that happiness boost until downtime.
Avoid continually checking your phone
While we’re on the subject of technology addiction, your smartphone is a beautiful thing, but it can be one of the biggest distractions out there. Stop wasting time and be more productive by switching on your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” setting. Clients won’t expect you to be constantly available – they can always leave a voicemail if their call is urgent and you can respond accordingly.
Choose to spend more time with more lucrative clients
We all have them – clients who take ages to pay on time and cash flow consequently suffer. Late payers are a pain, particularly as you have to waste so much time chasing them for the money.
In which case, prioritise those clients who pay quickly. And get as many hours with them as possible. By all means, keep others happy by doing a little work for them. Just try and find a balance so you can keep cash flow healthy each month.