Creating More Time In Your Day – Part 1 of 3
Over the years I’ve run several of my own businesses, and one thing I’ve learned is that a one-person business must work smarter, not harder. There are only so many hours in a day, and I only have so much energy. I can’t do all the things that need to be done in my business, unless I simplify and automate.
One of the ways I’ve learned to keep a business running lean is to do an annual business evaluation. You may think you don’t have the time to do this, but you need to make the time. Especially if you find yourself saying:
- I don’t have enough time
- I don’t have enough energy
- I have tasks I do regularly that are so boring, but need to be done
- I have trouble keeping track of all the projects that come up
If you continue to run into the same problems you need to find a solution. Otherwise, these recurring problems will beat you down over time. You will find yourself exhausted, your creativity will stop flowing and your business will close.
Many small businesses fail, not from a lack of clients, but from burnout. It’s happened to me several times. And the surest way to burn out is to push yourself to the limit on a daily basis. Take my photography business as an example. I have to:
- Come up with locations to photograph
- Do all the logistics of preparing and executing a shoot
- Take and process photographs
- Market my business
- Design and create marketing material
- Find clients and develop a relationship with them
- Do social networking
- Write ebooks, articles and blog posts
- Maintain three websites and a blog
- Fulfill orders for prints and ebooks
- Put on one-man shows
- Find new galleries for my photographs
- Maintain my gallery stock
And these are just the big projects. Doing all of these chores manually would be impossible, so it’s essential to find a way to do everything as easily as possible.
The only way to stay ahead of all this work is to regularly evaluate my business. It’s best to do this two to three times a year at first, then once I have a handle on the work, to evaluate it once a year. I ask myself these questions:
- Where am I, and where do I want to go?
- Is the work I’m putting into each revenue stream returning enough profit?
- Do I need to remove a revenue stream that’s underperforming?
- Is there a new revenue stream that I need to add?
- Is there new software that will make one or more of my tasks easier?
- Can some tasks be completely automated?
- Is there a new vendor who supplies quality work, but charges less than the vendor I use now?
As much as it hurts, there are times I have to remove a revenue stream that’s underperforming. I may love doing it, but the success of my business comes first. I can always make these revenue streams into self-assignments, and do them in my spare time.
After my last evaluation I realized that two parts of my business were taking the bulk of my time and energy. The first was processing my photographs in Photoshop, and the other was updating my online photography galleries.
Learn the solutions to these problems in part 2.