Being an entrepreneur is tough enough in itself. Generating an idea for a product or service that actually has some potential, putting all the work into starting a business based on that idea and dealing with all of the finances, marketing and customer relations that goes with it.
These are the things we think of when we hear the term entrepreneur, but what we’re also aware of is the fact that it’s not always a soo venture. It might start that way but the ones that are successful will quickly become full-on businesses with employees.
That’s the difference between an entrepreneur and a solopreneur. The latter will make the hard decision to do pretty much everything themselves. They don’t try to grow the team, they tend to pursue a smaller, more manageable focus and most notably, they don’t delegate responsibility.
As I’m sure you can imagine, this is cause for a lot more work than most of us would ever dream of putting ourselves through and all of the stress and mental strain that goes with it. But it has it’s benefits.
You get to keep pretty much all of the profits that your business generates and all of the big decisions about what happens with the business are made by you and you alone. It’s a lot of responsibility but also a lot of freedom in a way.
If you want to start your own business, solopreneurship would be a worthwhile path, despite how daunting it might seem on the surface. You need to go into it with a lot of preparation though, and you must know what you’re getting yourself into.
Because you’re doing everything by yourself, something that is absolutely essential for success is how you manage your time. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it, so it’s extremely important that you have a handle on your time management.
Here’s 3 tips that will help you out significantly in this regard:
1. Create Lists & Schedules
First thing’s first, you need to be organized. If you just start work at 9 in the morning or whenever without a plan as to how you are going to spend your work day, all of your tasks will get away from you.
Make a list of everything that you need to do, which is going to be a lot of stuff and then write up a schedule for yourself. Depending on what kind of business you’re running, the amount of tasks and the nature of your tasks will vary.
So how much time you spend on each thing will be specific to your job. If it’s possible that you can deal with every aspect of the business every single day then prepare your schedule for that, but if not a weekly schedule would be fine.
The important thing is to stick to it. Allot realistic timeframes for yourself. If something will take you a couple of hours to get right don’t try and cram it into a half hour so you can get more things done in the day.
Feel out how long things normally take you so that you can plan appropriately. If at the start you are messing up and not hitting your marks, it’s fine as long as you get a handle on it before the business really gets on its feet.
And when it comes to something to do with money, writing up invoices, paying clients, that sort of thing, make sure that it’s always a top priority or your credit score will suffer. And this is poison to a thriving business.
2. Minimize Distractions
One of the biggest problems when working for yourself is that you don’t have anyone whose job it is to keep you in line. Of course that’s also a positive thing, it is nice to not constantly have a boss breathing down your neck.
But it also inspires procrastination. Especially if you are working from home on your own computer. You are running things, you are handling all of the business and all of the money is yours.
There’s no one there to tell you what to do and no one who will see if you’re slacking. So you can kind of slack to your heart’s content and basically get away with it. You can find yourself falling down a social media rabbit hole or taking a 20-minute video game break which turns into 2 hours.
And I say that you’re getting away with it, but you’re not really because the business will suffer. If it ever gets anywhere, it will get there slowly. So you need to find a way to keep the distractions at bay.
Making lists and schedules should help with that but it might not be enough. Where you work is also going to be important. Do it in a designated space, not somewhere that you spend a leisure time like your living room or your kitchen.
Have somewhere that is only for work. If possible, try and rent some office space, maybe even a co-working office. That’s a great way to encourage some productivity while also still getting to work on your own stuff.
And maybe try leaving your phone in a different room while you work or just putting most of your notifications on silent. Of course you don’t want to miss an emergency call, but if you can reduce the amount of notifications you get it will help a lot.
3. Allocate Down Time
So with that in mind, it’s important that you don’t forget to have some time to yourself. When you’re putting all of your effort into the job it can get pretty overwhelming and that’s bad for your mental and physical health.
You could dive into the work and all of a sudden 2 or 3 weeks have passed and you’ve barely noticed them going by because all you’ve been doing is work. It’s essential that you afford yourself some free time.
Give yourself relatively regular breaks while you’re working. Something like 20 minutes for every hour and a half and then give yourself at least an hour for lunch. Spend this time not thinking too much about work, actually treat it as free time.
You can use the opportunity to check emails and notifications or to do something fun, just let your mind rest a little from work. And make sure that you have extended periods of rest too. If you can finish working at 5 every day that would be ideal.
Of course that might not be possible when you’re just starting out, you may have to do some overtime to get things up and moving but don’t let everyday be nothing but work. Have some hobbies, socialize as much as you can (or want to) and just relax.
This will actually make the work days even easier because even when it gets overwhelming you know that there is relaxation at some point in the not too distant future.
Like I’ve said a couple of times already, it’s not going to be easy to start your own business from scratch all by yourself, but it will be even harder if you don’t manage your time effectively. If you prioritize that from an early stage, things will flow much more smoothly.
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