Many people who start home-based businesses typically don’t have any employees when they first become entrepreneurs. If you’re in this situation, you know starting a business without any outside help is difficult.
Growing a small business even when you have employees is challenging. When you’re responsible for completing every single task on your to-do list, with no one to whom you can delegate tasks, it’s even more demanding.
This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to succeed as a solopreneur. Far from it. You simply need to understand how to manage your time. These tips will help:
Track Your Behavior
There are numerous apps and programs available for those who want to boost productivity and efficiency throughout the day. These apps, such as Everhour or Timely, track how you use your time.
They let you know how much time you devote to checking email, how much you devote to various other business-related tasks, and how much time you devote to distractions such as social media.
Consider using one of these apps to monitor how you make use of your time when focusing on your business. If you learn you spend too much time on distracting or low-value tasks, you’ll know you should be mindful of these behaviors in the future.
Apply the Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, states that in any particular endeavor, 20 percent of your efforts typically yield 80 percent of your results. For a small business owner, that means that 20 percent of the work you do accounts for 80 percent of your growth/revenue.
Although the numbers might not be similar for every individual or activity, you’d be surprised how relatively consistent this principle is. Thus, you can apply it to make the best use of your time.
Review your work to see how you can apply this rule to your business. For example, after reviewing invoices, you may find that approximately 20 percent of your clients deliver approximately 80 percent of your revenue on a monthly basis. Focusing on doing more work for those clients and less for low-paying clients helps you make the most of your time.
Building a business is probably not the only responsibility you have in life. Maybe you have another job. Maybe you have children. Maybe you care for an aging loved one. Regardless, odds are good you’re busy.
This may lead you to sacrifice your sleep to focus on growing your business. When there aren’t enough hours in the day, it can be tempting to make the day seem longer by waking up earlier or going to sleep later than you typically would.
Don’t give in to this impulse. In the short run, you may feel you’re accomplishing more by sleeping less. However, in the long run, your productivity will suffer. That’s because lack of sleep deprives you of energy, reduces your cognitive abilities, and makes it more difficult to cope with stress.
You need to be in the best possible mental, emotional, and physical health to work efficiently and productively. Taking breaks and getting enough sleep is far more important than waking up an hour early to start working on your business.
Keep Track of Your Schedule
Again, there’s a good chance you have a lot to do with your day. The tasks on your professional to-do list don’t even begin to represent the full extent of your responsibilities. Many of those activities can be distracting when you’re trying to start a small business.
For example, if you have a side job and kids, you may have days where you have time between getting off work and picking the kids up from school or extracurricular activities. Trying to get extremely complex projects completed might not be the best use of that time. However, there may be smaller or simpler projects that could be easily completed during that time.
Keep track of your schedule to identify chunks of time where you can be productive. Try to use this time to work on your business as often as possible. The more focused you can be, the better.
Again, the main point to take away from all this is that you don’t need to give up on your dreams of being an entrepreneur simply because you’re trying to grow a business on your own. Yes, you’ll need to focus on time management, but that can be easier than you think. Apply these tips to learn first-hand why limits on your time are not automatically limits on your potential.