Businesses lose time and money by putting hours in administrative tasks rather than work that actually pays. To maximize earnings, you need to take ahold of your time. Creating a system is one of the best ways to control and run your business more efficiently and consistently.
A system is essentially a workflow or procedure that allows to streamline all the processes involved in your business so that nothing is missed. It also prevents you from getting overwhelmed with the tasks at hand that may deter your progress. An organized process also gives you a bird's eye view of the current and future tasks. Without a system, you might be lost doing so many different tasks at once, or end up working more hours, as well as neglecting important activities.
The benefits of setting up systems for your freelance business are:
Managing time better
Completing work quickly and efficiently
Increasing work quality
Increasing customer satisfaction
To create a system for your business, follow the steps below:
Review your process – List down your day to day tasks from the moment you start to the time you stop. Don't forget to list down tasks done on a weekly or monthly basis. Map these out by doing a step by step process. While doing this, you will find unnecessary tasks that take up too much time or repetitive tasks that you can combine into related work. You may find a lot of flaws in your process but this is a good opportunity to review and perfect it.
Tip: Simplify your process. The shorter and simpler it is, the less time is spent on it. You can use the time you save to do more pressing work.
Track the time spent on tasks – Do this while you are reviewing your process. With a list of all your tasks, put in a start time and end time and don't forget to fill it all out before working. Dedicate a week or two to data for accuracy. This may seem like hard work but it will show a big overview of your work and expose which tasks take too much unnecessary time.
If you can't be bothered to track manually, RescueTime is a faster way to see where all your time disappears. By seeing where your time goes, you'll be able to shift your focus to the most productive tasks.
Tip: You can hire extra help on Freelancer.com to do the repetitive or administrative tasks for you, such as data entry, invoicing, receiving and sending emails, or managing your accounting journal.
Organize similar tasks – Create a chart where you can list down tasks that fall under the same group. Through this, you will be able to categorize work and streamline the process instead of doing everything at random on a certain day. Most businesses use different systems for client intake, accounting, customer relationship, collaboration, and marketing.
Consider automation – If you are just starting out, you don't have to hire experts to create automated systems for you. There are a number of tools online that you can try to automate small yet repetitive tasks. Some of these are:
SaneBox and Boomerang for Gmail – SaneBox is a service that sorts and filters your email so you will know what is important at a glance. Boomerang, on the other hand, is an automatic follow-up tool for clients that you haven't heard back from yet. You can also use Boomerang to schedule an email to be sent later.
HootSuite – This is a social media management tool that allows you to manage multiple social networks, schedule messages and tweets, and analyze social media traffic. The best thing about this tool is that it keeps you away from social media sites and distractions during working hours.
MailChimp – This is great to have if you have constant email marketing going on. You can use this tool to design email and send them to your clients automatically. This is great for promotions or newsletters, or a simple reminder to clients that you're ready for new projects.
Evernote and Google Docs – Use these tools to organize all office and administrative data. Using digital document storage helps a freelancer on the go access important documents, receipts, meeting notes, and webpages anytime, anywhere.
Wave Accounting – This tool is great for cloud-based invoicing, accounting, payroll, payments and personal finance management for freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Implement new processes – Depending on how many you employ in your business, your process may be bigger and implementation may take a while. Make it easy by slowly rolling it out instead of changing all work processes in a day. You may need to create process documents and manuals to distribute.
Tip: You don't have the time to write a manual? Hire a freelancer to do it for you.
Get more work done through systems in place that make tasks consistent, reliable, and complete. From the process of obtaining clients to finishing the project, a solid process allows faster and efficient completion. Automation systems, and the use of the tools above, can save you hours of manual and tedious tasks each week, which you can use to do more and earn more.