When you’re running a business and raising a family, twenty-four has a way of evaporating in the blink of an eye. Time is priceless, and we’ve only got so much of it. And once it’s gone, we can never get it back again. If you’re feeling strapped for time, overwhelmed, or otherwise buried, it may be time to reassess what’s getting done, and how.
Here are fifteen ‘freedom tools’ to help you make the most out of your precious time.
1. Set up Canned email responses
If you’re a gmail user, (especially one with a regularly jam-packed inbox) say hello to your new best friend- canned responses. Canned responses allow you to compose a reply to some of your most common messages and tuck them away to use as needed.
It’s extremely easy to get these set up. Google walks you through it, step by step, right here.
2. Use Gmail filters
Google helps keep you organized by helping to manage your incoming mail using Gmail’s filters. You can choose to have the messages automatically labeled, redirected to a particular folder, archived, starred, deleted, or even automatically forwarded. It’s a huge time saver. You can find instructions on how to set up filters in the help forum on Google, here.
Give yourself to free up space in your overcrowded inbox by unsubscribing to newsletters and subscriptions that no longer serve you. There are several services that can help you with this. We use unroll.me. It’s fast, easy, and it’s free.
4. Get Your Finances In Order
Meticulously kept books are a top priority not only for your business, but for yourself, personally. Taking measures throughout the year to organize everything helps immensely when tax time rolls around. Setting up a trusty accounting system will save you headaches, stress, and time.
Programs like Shoeboxed, Freshbooks, and Quickbooks for Small Business will do all the bean counting for you.
*Follow this link to get our special ‘friends discount’ on Quickbooks for Small Business, and save 50% off. You’ll have to hurry though. It’s only for a limited time.
If you’d rather hire someone to handle your business finances, you can always outsource your bookkeeping to a trusted professional.
5. Hire a Virtual Assistant
So much to do, so little time. Sound familiar? Repetitive, routine (yet necessary) tasks can eat up a lot of clock. The solution? Hire some help.
Virtual assistants are abundant in supply online and are great for helping you lighten your load. If you know that your time would be better spent making money creating products or working with clients, find yourself a good VA, outsource some of your tasks, and afford yourself some much needed breathing room. This article will help you understand how to hire one. They truly can help out with just about everything. Except going to the gym for you. Sorry, but you’re on your own with that one.
6. Set up Autopay
Bills always have a way of finding us. It takes time and effort to make sure you remain on top of things and get them paid on time. Because of the sensitive nature of finances, this is a task you probably won’t be outsourcing. Instead, set up to auto renew whenever possible. For your business, this might include things like hosting and domain renewals, as well as any other bills you pay regularly.
7. Organize Your Projects
For business owners who regularly deal with clients, the ability to organize and manage the specifics of each individual project is essential. We use Basecamp. It’s a central hub that allows us to keep everything straight. We can loop the client(s) into a project, which eliminates the frustration and confusion of multiple back and forth emails and keeping files organized. Everything is in one place, under one individual project ‘roof’. Not only does it make life so much simpler, it looks and feels professional to the client.
Another option is Asana. We love it because it’s FREE for up to 15 clients. If you’re tech-challenged, or short on time or patience, and need a crash course getting your Asana set up quickly, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.
8. Schedule your social media
For most of us, a strong, consistent social media presence is an essential part of owning a business. Things move quickly online, so you’ve got to post great content regularly and often to keep people interested and involved.
You could hire a VA to assist with your social media management, or you can use a social media management tool to help. Hootsuite is one of the more popular applications out there. It allows you to schedule all of your social posts ahead of time and in one sitting. While Facebook also lets you schedule your posts, Hootsuite allows more flexible options and also gives you the option of scheduling in tandem with other platforms like Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Instagram. They also mail you weekly analytics reports regarding post performance. You can use it for free if you have only one account, but you will have to pay up if you want to handle multiple accounts. Test drive it for 30 days, here.
At a loss for words? Check out this post for some inspiration, and grab this free guide with 52 uncommon blog post prompts you can use- one for each week of the year.
9. Set Up A FAQ Page
Having a well-written FAQ (frequently asked questions) page will prove to be worth it’s weight in gold. By having the answers to your most common inquiries available in one handy section for your visitors, you’ll save yourself the time of having to answer the same things, over and over again. Here’s our FAQ page for inspiration.
10. Create A Policies Page
11. Use An Editorial Calendar
We use our editorial calendar every single day. It helps us schedule our blog posts and quickly shift them around, as needed. The snapshot of the calendar makes it easy to group weeks into themes, etc. We opted for this WordPress plugin. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles as some of the others out there but it’s free, and it’s all we need.
12. Set up Systems
If you’re tired of running your business in ‘reactive’ mode, you’ll want to meet systems expert, Natasha Vorompiova. If you want better structures, but don’t know where to start, steal her checklists and tweak them to your needs.
13. Optimize your listings
Fabulous images and copy are must-haves for your online product and service listings. Without them, you’re just crossing your fingers that someone will make a purchase. Using professional looking pictures taken at a variety of interesting angles paired with well-worded copy will lessen those ‘additional information’ inquiries. Another tip is to make your prices and shipping (if applicable) as clear as possible. People don’t want to go hunting all over to find out how much something costs. Let them know upfront what they can expect to invest and let them decide if it’s worth it to them.
14. Exit stage left
Along the way you’ve probably joined a variety of online forums and groups to get some much needed networking and support. As your business, your expertise, and your client base grows, you may find you’ve begun to outgrow some of these.
Take some time to go through your current list of Facebook group memberships and stick only those you still find value in, and release the rest. No need to feel guilty about leaving, either. Most groups will not notify the facilitator that you’ve left, and of someone asks, you can simply let them know you’re scaling back. Most business owners understand that concept very well. Whatever the case, this is your permission slip to move on from that which no longer serves you. (Here’s a list of high quality mompreneur Facebook groups worth joining.)
15. Start an RSS Feed
RSS (Rich Site Summary) feeds allow you to instantly share live web updates directly with your followers. For example, you can set up an RSS campaign that automatically sends your latest blog posts right to your subscribers the moment they’re published. This article from Kissmetrics tells you everything you need to know.
* * * * *
Scheduling, outsourcing, systemizing, and eliminating some of your daily responsibilities will earn you the luxury of a few more hours each and every day, from this day forward.
Time once spent on mundane tasks can now be spent:
√ creating new offerings
√ marketing your business
√ working with clients
√ or even just relaxing with friends and family
Want more great resources?
How about more than 125 of them to help with your online business? Get our FREE 22 page guide, right here.
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