by Lisa McGrimmon
What's the most precious resource a solopreneur can use to grow a business?
For many of us, that precious resource is our time.
When we think about how we'll allocate our business resources, we often think about money first. Of course, managing your business finances is absolutely essential, but too frequently, we overlook the real cost of our time.
We often trade our time to save money.
Sometimes that's a wise decision. If you need to operate your business on a shoestring budget, that's an important reality to acknowledge. You really don't need to invest in every gadget out there to start selling your crafts.
However, when we opt to do certain tasks ourselves or forego buying a tool that would make our work more efficient, we might not be making the best business decision.
As a craft artist, it's likely in your nature to want to DIY all kinds of tasks. That tendency can spill over into projects beyond your craft, and that's not always best for your business.
What's wrong with DIYing everything in your business?
Product photography jumps out as an obvious example of something craft business owners tend to DIY when they might be better off hiring a pro. If you're taking photos regularly for your blog, or online shop, or social media accounts, then learning to take your own photos well could be a very good use of your time.
However, if you're submitting photos to apply to high-end, competitive juried art shows, you need every advantage you can get. Your lovely, but non-professional product photos could cause you to lose out on big opportunities.
If you find yourself spending hours on lower-level tasks that are not using your best and most valuable skills, you need to re-think how you spend your precious time.
A while back, I realized I was spending endless hours building my business' presence on Pinterest. It's a useful task for me. Pinterest brings loads of readers to my site and makes me less dependent on the whims of Google. However, endless pinning is not the best use of my time.
I decided to spend some money on tools that make promoting my business on Pinterest faster and easier. It took some time and money to reshape my Pinterest workflow, but it has saved me countless hours that I can spend more effectively on other projects.
When you're a solo-entrepreneur, you need to make smart decisions about which projects you'll pursue. Will you:
All of those opportunities might help you grow your business, or they might take up a lot of time and not get you any closer to your goals.
Every decision you make about spending your time in one area of your business, means you don't have that time to spend in another area of your business or your personal life for that matter.
When the business is just you, your resource of time is limited.
You need to be smart about where you decide to invest your resources.
What if I told you that it's possible to do less and accomplish more? I have read a mountain of time management advice, and this concept is my absolute favorite. It's real and achievable. It takes into account big picture goals and values and acknowledges the realities of people's real lives and commitments.
The prospect of starting a new project can be thrilling. Creatives may have no shortage of ideas, but not all ideas deserve to de developed. Some will take you closer to your business goals, others will not. It's important to develop the discipline to assess your ideas intelligently to determine if a new project is worth the commitment of your resources.
As you grow your business, people may begin to approach you with partnership opportunities. The right partnership can be a win-win for everyone involved. The wrong partnership can be a huge waste of your time. Here's how to assess partnership proposals to determine if they are a good use of your time.
I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions. Instead of making a resolution, every year I choose a motto, or big-picture concept to focus on for the coming year. The year I realized that bouncing from one project to the next was getting in the way of accomplishing big-picture goals, my motto for the year became, "do effective things well." Since then, I've really taken that approach to heart, and it's made a huge difference in my ability to get important things done.
I've been using my printable planner to manage my time for two years now. Committing projects to paper, and tracking my progress in my planner has been and immensely effective way to help me stick to my commitments and accomplish more while still leaving time for fun.
My planner is available on my Etsy shop if you'd like to try using a printable planner to manage your goals, projects, and day to day life.
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