Running a business all by yourself can be hard work and requires high levels of multitasking. But when you constantly switch gears and multitask, you are not actually getting more done. Studies have shown that people who constantly move between various tasks of their productivity. As a solopreneur, it may seem like there is no other choice though – when you have to handle the business operations and marketing along with all the other admin and legal work, multitasking may seem like the only way to do it. So how does one actually get more productive?
Imagine this – you are drafting a press release for the launch of your new product when you get an email from your customer seeking help with a particular feature. You may choose to either stay on track and finish your press release before you move on to your next task, or clear up your support emails then and there. While the latter may help you serve your customers better, you are not really helping with your productivity. A good alternative is to not check emails or take phone calls at work. Set short one hour deadlines and complete tasks within this deadline. By reducing distractions, you achieve higher productivity levels that will help your customers better than anything else.
Automate repeat processes
Any process that requires repeated manual labor must be automated. This includes tasks like preparing monthly reports for your customers, filing income or expenses in your accounting software and any other operational task you may do as part of your job. As a bootstrapped business owner, it may always seem like a good idea to spend more time doing the job yourself instead of spending money in purchasing automation tools.
The truth however is that by automation, you free up your schedule and gives you more time to focus on marketing your business. For instance, if you are in the process of listing your business in every local business listing site, invest in a tool in these various directories instead of doing it one by one. Not only do you save time, you can also reduce manual errors and thus improve your online business visibility.
In his book, The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris emphasis on every component of your work that can be trained. While this may seem unrealistic and expensive for a bootstrapped solopreneur, outsourcing is something you must consider in order to increase productivity. For instance, if you spend a lot of time checking and answering emails, you may hire a Virtual Assistant to look them up for you and only forward you emails that are important. Similarly, you may hire freelance professionals who can handle specific elements of your business like creating a list of phone numbers to reach out to, or invoicing your customers. Virtual Assistants for low-skilled tasks like these often cost as less as $6 an hour and is an investment that can help you recover your investments quite easily.
The suggestions here may come with a need to spend money. It is important to remember that these are not expenses but investments and by doing this, you are helping yourself get more productive and thus increase your income. That should be the ultimate benchmark that you must use to measure the success of your business.