It may be your dream job scenario, but being a sole trader isn’t easy. While working from home and setting your own hours is an attractive prospective, sorting out your tax, managing cash flow and staying motivated every single day can be a real challenge. As a sole trader, you are a one man (or woman) show and that can mean piles of work that only has your name on it. Here are four time management tips that every sole trader needs to master.
1 Learn how to prioritise
It may be a cliche, but the only way you are going to succeed as a sole trader is by learning how to prioritise. Essentially, a sole trader has to be a master multi-tasker. You have to do your work, while also attending to your finances, doing all your marketing and drumming up business, managing your social media and just generally keeping your business afloat. While you may eventually be able to hire employees or outsource tasks, for the moment, you are the answer. This means you need to learn how to prioritise stat. There are only so many hours in a day and you can’t do it all.
2 Set rigid work hours
In order to improve your productivity, it’s worthwhile setting rigid work hours right from the start. When you’re working from home, it can be too easy to sleep in and casually start your day mid morning. Before you know it, it’s lunch time and you’ve done nothing. Get yourself in a good routine in order to maximise your productivity and motivation. Move away from your working area during your lunch break so it actually gives you time and space to stop thinking about work. Whatever you do, don’t work in bed, this will only led to unproductive afternoon naps.
3 Don’t work on the weekend
One of the biggest challenges of being a sole trader is learning when to stop working. With access to work emails on your phone, it’s too easy to be working around the clock. Even if you have to work in the evenings during the week, make a conscious effort to go offline on the weekends. Everyone needs a break and setting up a good work life balance will help you be more productive during the week. Train your clients to know they can’t call or contact you on the weekends and that you work only Monday to Friday. While it may seem counterintuitive, setting boundaries can help improve your mid week motivation.
4 Adopt technology
Make the most of technology. If you’re a busy sole trader running your own business, you know that it’s a constant battle to find the time to do everything. Find out how technology can help you. If you’re getting swamped with managing your social media, perhaps you can adopt a social media scheduling tool with automation capabilities. Use a project management tool like Trello to organise your tasks and get hold of cloud accounting software like QuickBooks to organise your finances and pay your invoices from your mobile phone. Technology is there to make your life easier as a sole trader.