Running a business is so much more than offering the service or product that you offer. That is likely the part you’re really passionate about - the reason you started a business. But – and you’ve probably already figured this out if you’re along your business journey – it’s only one PART of your business.
Running a business is a lot of admin work, book keeping, marketing – all the behind the scenes stuff that actually makes a business a success. Now large businesses have departments and hired staff for all that. There is often a marketing department and a bookkeeping/finance department. There is often at least one office manager or administrative staff keeping things scheduled and on track.
But when you’re the CEO of your own business, you’re likely also the CMO, CFO, and so on. You’re all the things!!
You need tools and systems that help you wear all the hats without the headache.
A time tracking app
If you’re running a service based business, when you’re pricing your services and putting out quotes or estimates, you want to make sure that you’re pricing them right – meaning you want to make sure that the time you’re putting into a project is what you’re getting paid for. This is super hard for many of us, and it’s something that tends to cause a lot of unnecessary stress.
There is actually a psychological phenomenon called the Planning Fallacy where people underestimate how long a task will take them. If you’re working for yourself, this can really mess with your action plans and flow. But it can also mean that you’re not getting paid what you should be getting paid.
To help me solve that business problem and take the stress out of the “how long will this take” question, I use Paymo, a time tracking tool.
I use it to track everything I do and I break the projects down into task types. And then I use that data for future projects so that I know how long a project will take me. I then use that data the next time I am creating a quote or deciding when I am available to take on a project that comes up – or if I even have the availability.
If you’re running a product based business, knowing how long tasks take you is equally important. If your product takes you 20 hours to make and you’re only charging $100 um…you need to know that so you can increase your prices RIGHT NOW.
Quickbooks: the book keeper of your dreams
Let me share with you one of the most embarrassing things that I have done in my business because of how much I hate bookkeeping admin. I have not billed clients – more than once. I’ve finished the project, they’ve been ready to pay me, and I just ghost them. Like never sent them an invoice and then ignored all their emails and never spoke to them again because I was so embarrassed.
Bookkeeping is one of the most annoying business admin things that we need to do as an entrepreneur. Tracking expenses, remembering which clients have paid and which haven’t, following up with the right ones, billing billable expenses to clients, categorizing everything, reconciling bank accounts and blah blah bleh.
When I work with clients on their businesses, bookkeeping is something that comes up a lot.
I am so excited to tell you that there is a better way. I use Quickbooks. I love Quickbooks. It has taken like 90% of my bookkeeping stress away. It means that I actually DO my bookkeeping, which is an amazing win in and of itself.
Yes, it costs money. I pay about $40 a month. Something to know about me is that I am capital F Frugal. I don’t like spending money on things. I hate subscription products. And I’ll usually put in 8 hours of time finding workarounds on a free product rather than pay. But for me a good bookkeeping software is SO worth it. Plus it saves me money because:
- I record my expenses, which means I can report them for tax time
- I can track my invoices to ensure I'm getting paid
- I no longer pay late fees for being late on my GST
A social media scheduler
When I lead social media workshops or work with clients on their social media strategies, I’m often asked about scheduling. Hey, I get it, you can’t always be at the ready to post on social media. Even when you’ve planned it all out and batch created your content and are good to go - stuff comes up.
There are a whole whack of scheduling tools out there to try out. I use Hootsuite. The free version lets you have three social media profiles connected so you can schedule your posts, tweets, grams, ahead of time. So, you can schedule to your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and so on. If you’re looking to stay on top of your content strategy and put out consistent content, you’ll want to check out HootSuite.
This one I’m about to share is a game changer. It’s my absolute favourite tool. It’s actually a system.
It’s not only going to save you a ton of time and make you feel like the most organized on-top-of-all-the-balls CEO ever, but it’s also going to eliminate a lot of human error that can cost you money or lead to things not going as smoothly as they could go.
Workflows are like having a project manager on your team. It’s like having a full time executive administrator making your life easier and watching out for all the small details that you with the millions of things on your plate might miss.
Creating workflows for your business is all about taking those big tasks you do and turning it into a sequence of events. It:
- captures all the details and it captures when things need to happen and in what order so that you can stay on track and not forget anything.
- anticipates any questions or issues that might come up and acts as a preventative measure.
- breaks down big overwhelming tasks into step-by-step action plans.
- Plus, if it is a task you do more than once, it saves a ton of time because you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every single time.
One workflow that I teach in my Content Marketing workshops is all about streamlining how you create content. For an example of a super simplified workflow for this...
- Looking at the month, fill in any important dates (sales you’re having, holidays, events you’re hosting, “national days”, and so on.)
- Using placeholders, map out which content pillars you are sharing when
- Map out where your “sell” messages will go
- Brainstorm ideas for content for each of the placeholders
- Write the content
- Find visuals
- Schedule all your content for the month
You can use workflows for client onboarding, you can use them for when you’re training new staff, you can use them for your monthly book keeping or quarterly business evaluation. Any task that you do somewhat regularly and you want to streamline, you can use a workflow for.
I teach how to use and create workflows in detail and much more fully in the Business Foundations Bootcamp. Plus, in that program, I share a bunch of my workflows so you get full access to project systems you can copy and paste for your business.