Have your cake and eat it - save time and money
If you want to save time and money in your side hustle, small business or as a freelancer, you need to be intentional.
We want everything done quickly, at a low cost and expect it to be top quality. Even in my industry I find that big corporates hire 9 women to make a baby in one month.
As a small business, you do have other advantages that other people don’t have. You’re able to change faster than your larger competition.
For us – the hustlers, small business owners and random people with interest in making our lives better – we get to do magic.
Let’s get going on the list of top things you can do to manage your time and money better!
With so many things to do, we don’t want the things to be falling by the wayside – and it happens! We need to follow up on quotes, send NDAs, buy and sell, deliver products, write code, drink coffee and do that important meeting – all in one day!
To make this easier on ourselves, we can make lists. I like writing my daily goals down. I have three categories: eagles, vultures and general. The eagles are the important things, whereas the vultures are the things that I sort of need to get done. I prioritise the eagles at the top of the list. Once these are done, I can go onto the vultures.
We often spend so much time maintaining the status quo – yet, we could easily automate many of the tedious tasks. For example, onboarding a client can be such a mission. You have to screen them, get needed paperwork out of the client and then have formal chats.
Could you automate this by sending a template for them to fill in? Is there a software solution that could assist and filter the clients automatically?
Another way to save time is to setup WhatsaApp for Business. It allows you to schedule out of office messages or automated replies.
There are also cool tools such as Zapier for integration or Sage if you’re looking to stop sending Excel invoices and tracking everything manually.
Be frugal with your money - but not too frugal
In some cases, we have a trade-off between money and time. Sometimes it can be more profitable to spend some money now and save yourself a headache later. The free time can open up opportunities for making more money as well!
Here are some examples of money well spent:
- Outsource extra work that you don’t want to do. Make sure the client will pay for the work done, as you will need to pay the freelancer/contractor!
- Be mobile and digital, if your industry allows for it.
- Remove all the things (cost centres) that don’t justify the cost, e.g. the fax machine and landline.
Bundle your meetings and schedule focus time
Everyone loves meetings. Yet, if your meetings are split 2 hours apart every day – you will not get anything done. It is best to bundle all your meetings together – maybe in the afternoons or all on the same day.
Schedule times where you will be unavailable and getting work done. I enjoy doing this before 09:00 in the mornings.
Do important things early
The 80/20 principle states that 80% of your money is made in 20% of your time. And 20% of your clients will make up 80% of your workload.
As a business owner, you should know who your cash cows are – those projects that bring in the cash. Prioritise these to be completed by 09:00 am. By the time your other clients are requesting attention, the most important tasks should already be completed.
Get with the time
When you’re self-employed, it can be troublesome to find the motivation to get things done. Here are my top tips on managing your time better:
- Have a personal development plan (PDP) with a section for your business.
- Check-in every morning to see if your work aligns with your PDP
- Add eagles to your day: these are the most important tasks that need to happen that day.
- Consider using a Pomodoro timer. Basically, 20minutes of focus time is 1 Pomodoro. See how many you can do in a day!
- Use online timers to measure your timesheets and delivery.
Many clients have requirements that overlap. Start creating templates for yourself to help you speed up your workflow.
For example, if you need to do a diagnostic of a system, you will have similar headings or similar benchmark tests. Edit the templates slightly to fit the new client — don’t reinvent the wheel!
For a small business, there will always be a trade-off, as there will always be a shortage of resources (time and money). This opens up an opportunity for us to be more innovative and create solutions around our offering and delivery.
If you save time and money now, it will compound in the future!
Hacking our time and effort to get the most out of your time and money is essential in growing a successful business.
Try and automate as much as you can. For those tasks that you cannot automate, prioritise and get the most important things done early in the mornings.
Frugal Local runs his own company (Effectify). He does software development and helps small businesses and startups with digital solutions. He enjoys writing articles and simplifying complex things – such as the article you’re reading!