As the owner of a work from home business, it’s important to use your time wisely. Not only will you be providing product or services to others, you’ll be running your own business as well. That means setting aside time for marketing, invoicing, client/customer support, and maybe even packaging and shipping. Learning to use your time wisely is super important. Part of that is finding ways to save yourself time. Below are my five favorite time-saving tips for home businesses.
Set a time to make/take phone calls
Instead of answering the phone whenever it rings consider setting aside an hour or so each day specifically for taking and making phone calls. I’ve written before about how much time can be consumed in your day by a phone call. If you multiply that by several times a day, you’re devouring a good chunk of your workday to the phone. In comparison, when you have a certain time set aside for dealing with phone communication you can build it into your daily schedule and cut back on unexpected interruptions.
Create and use an info packet
An info or intro packet can be a huge timesaver. Instead of spending a ton of time explaining your business and what you offer, you can give people your intro packet. This can be done both in person, with a physical intro packet or via email or messenger with a digital file. You could even create your intro packet on video and share the link!
Ditch the 9 to 5 mindset
Have you ever sat in front of the computer screen getting absolutely nothing done? We often feel like we must spend that 8-hour workday glued to the screen, in Zoom meetings or on the phone. Studies show that people get less done when they force themselves to do that. It’s been proven that you can get more accomplished in 4 or 5 hours in which you have focused work to do than in 8 hours of sitting in front of your computer monitor because you’re supposed to be ‘at work’. If you’re getting nothing done at your desk, do something else. Run errands like heading to the post office to ship items, spend time at a local coffee shop to work on a blog post or article for a change of scenery, or head to the gym for a workout. Productivity is more important than the time you spend at your keyboard. The 9-5 mindset is a time-waster.
Invest in the help you need
Do you hate invoicing? Does it take you forever to make changes to your website? Are you struggling to get clients or does your pricing structure need to be revamped to reflect your value? Trying to do everything yourself can be a huge time suck. If you really hate invoicing, not only will you procrastinate, but chances are it will take you longer than someone who enjoys doing it. If every time you try to change one thing on your website, it ends up snowballing into a daylong job you’re throwing time away. And we all know how easy it is to get sucked into the black hole that is Google when trying to find information on finding clients or pricing. In fact, you could get sidetracked for days trying to find answers only to realize that not one of the articles you’ve read really answer your questions or solve your problem. This is when paying someone to help saves you time, which ends up saving you money. Because every hour you spend doing something you don’t really know how to do, or don’t really enjoy takes billable time out of the equation. Paying for help is an investment in your business. And if you’re not willing to invest in your own business, how can you expect clients/customers to invest in it by hiring you? I can tell you from my experience and the experience of others that investing in your business is like watering a plant. It is critical to growing your business.
Be cautious of free stuff
One of the reasons so many home business owners are unwilling to invest money in their businesses is the appearance that you can find anything for free on the internet. Regardless of if it’s true or not, there is a price to pay for using free in your business. Often, that price is comes with additional time. A free option for something like Adobe Acrobat usually requires several steps to achieve what you can accomplish with one click in the actual Acrobat program. Free could also cost you your reputation. Often the free alternatives to popular programs don’t always play nice with other computer systems or the programs a client might be using. 9 times out of 10, opting for free ends up costing your business more than you realize.
It’s not unusual for owners of home based businesses to underestimate the cost of wasted time. It’s not until you’ve been in business for awhile that you start to truly understand how mismanagement of your time can hurt your bottom line. Take it from someone who’s been there, implementing the time saving tips mentioned above can not only save you money, it saves you a lot of frustration too.