Running a business solo isn’t an easy adventure, but it can be exciting. The opportunity to build something from nothing and find success is quite a rush. Just as you use a GPS or map when going on a road trip, the journey to building a profitable company becomes easier with a few helpful tools.
The typical entrepreneur wears multiple hats. Juggling all the daily tasks of running a business requires extreme organizational skills. Knowing what tools to use to get there is half the battle.
How Do You Succeed As A Solopreneur?
According to the latest State of Independence Report, the number of solopreneurs in the United States is 51.1 million, up about 34% from the previous study. The market seems to make room for as many freelancers and solo operations as exist. If you’re willing to put in the effort, your business should grow steadily and see a profit quickly.
Anything you do that’s repetitive can likely be accomplished by an app or a computer. You can save your time and energy for more creative tasks. Here are the four must-haves.
Why Every Solopreneur Needs To Invest In These Four Items for Business Success
1. Time Tracker
One of the most significant challenges for all small business owners is avoiding things that suck time and don’t equal profit. If you find you’re spending hours upon hours with a specific client, release that person for a better paying one that requires less hand holding.
You also might find you spend too much time on marketing or not enough time building a new client list. Time trackers ensure you get paid for the hours worked. They can also help your clients see you are doing the amount of work you say you do. They build another layer of trust with the customer, especially if you’re a freelancer.
2. Paper Shredder
You’ll find you collect a lot more paperwork than you ever imagined. Yes, even in the digital era! You might be concerned with cyberattacks, but personal data security breaches are a significant concern and can come from many different places. For example, a disgruntled former employee might steal and sell sensitive customer information. You don’t want sensitive data getting into the wrong hands.
A paper shredder helps ensure you don’t release confidential information unwittingly. Use one to get rid of credit card information and other details you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands.
3. Bookkeeping and Invoicing
You may not yet be to the point where you can afford to hire an accountant. Bookkeeping and invoicing can be time-consuming tasks that take up hours of your weekly schedule. However, there are tools available to help reduce your effort.
For example, some of the better time-tracking management tools integrate with invoicing so you can automatically generate invoices to regular clients at the end of the week or month. Other programs link up to your credit cards or bank account to keep track of expenses.
You can even attach a scanned receipt to an expense, making it much easier to file at tax time or answer questions should you face an audit.
4. Marketing Schedulers
Studies show 70% of small business owners plan to utilize social media more than they have in the past as part of their marketing strategies. Fortunately, there are tools to automate your posting. After all, you have to be your own marketing and PR team when you’re a solopreneur.
Tap into third-party scheduling tools so you can create posts in advance. Some brands even offer to cultivate related posts and populate your promotional calendar with them. Since you should share interesting topics with your followers, this can save you a ton of time and effort.
You should also talk to your customers about creating user generated content (UGC). For example, your favorite customers share a photo of how they use your products and post on their own social media. Ask them to use a hashtag to generate even more excitement around the UGC campaign. Reward top performers with freebies.
Seek New Technology
The four items listed above are fairly established and easy for people with any level of tech savvy to use. However, new technology marches on and the tools of today may be different tomorrow. Stay aware of devices and tools as they emerge. Add the ones that make sense for your business model. With a little help from various automations, you’ll find you have more time to grow your business.
What is a must have tool you can’t live without? Share in the comments!
This is a guest post from Eleanor Hecks, Editor-in-Chief at Designerly Magazine. She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience and user interface. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy. Connect with her about marketing, design and/or tea on LinkedIn or Twitter!