5 small business and sole trader time management tips

Everyone experiences time management issues from time to time. However, if there’s one type of worker who is destined to experience challenges managing their workload and personal life, it’s the sole trader. This is why so many self-employed individuals are constantly on the lookout for a time management guide for sole traders.

Self-employed individuals are inseparable from their business, which is why they can benefit from keeping abreast of self-employed management tips, such as those outlined below. Sole traders must oversee all divisions of their organisation: they manage projects, customers, and business development, in addition to also having to take on the roles of marketing and accounting directors.

In other words, they are involved in so many activities that managing their time well is not merely a preference; it’s a necessity. Let’s look at five sole trader management tips for how you can ensure that you manage your time effectively.

1. Choose your clients wisely

Finding new clients is typically your top priority when you first start out as a sole trader. As such, it is very common for sole traders to accept whatever work they can get – anything and everything. This might be acceptable for a while, allowing you to ease into the market and become accustomed to life as a sole trader. But eventually, you’ll need to be a little pickier as to which customers you work with.

You’ll get to a point where you need to start rejecting some projects due to this and numerous other factors, such as the price that these consumers are willing to pay. Sometimes you even have to turn down more lucrative jobs because you know they will take up too much of your time and are not worthwhile despite the financial gain.

Additionally, if you only work with existing clients, you won’t ever have time to accept new ones. What if a project presents itself tomorrow that you can’t possibly pass up? What do you do with it? Will you extend your workday? You can’t work 24 hours a day, so only accept customers and jobs that you have the bandwidth to service.

2. Assume four hours if you think it will take two

 You’ve undoubtedly heard of Murphy’s Law. When estimating the amount of time it will take to complete a job, always use this law. Consider that if something can go wrong, odds are it will ultimately go wrong.

Always allow more time than you think you’ll need for a job, unless the tasks are exceedingly precise and measurable. In other words, if you estimate that something will take you two hours, give yourself an extra half-hour, hour, or even two hours, to prevent running out of time with an unhappy client on your hands.

3. Ditch the multitasking

If your work day resembles a cupboard in chaos, it’s time to rethink your work approach. If possible, avoid juggling multiple jobs at the same time. Instead, organise your day into tasks, then complete them one by one.

In order to succeed as a self-employed individual, you must avoid multitasking like the plague. You may enhance your productivity by scheduling your time and concentrating on certain tasks and projects at specifically allocated times.

Remember to give yourself enough time to complete each activity so that you don’t work longer than necessary or overlap tasks. Additionally, completing a task earlier than expected will always make you feel better and give you a little breathing room.

4. Keep distractions at bay

Any sole trader startup guide worth reading will recommend that you focus on your to-do list and leave all other temptations aside. This means avoiding opening Facebook, Twitter, Photoshop, and email all at once while your phone is ringing nonstop. Block social media, switch your phone to flight mode, and schedule email checks. Email can be productivity’s worst enemy.

5. Hand off anything that isn’t essential

According to the Pareto Principle, 80 per cent of your revenue will come from 20 per cent of the work you accomplish. Do you know what that 20 per cent is? Do you assign the majority of it, or just the remaining 80 per cent? If not, your time is being wasted.

For instance, it’s typical for sole traders and self-employed individuals to subcontract all financial tasks. If you were to file your taxes and manage your own business finances, would your business grow? No, there’s simply not enough time in the day. And as a result, you could benefit from delegating such tasks to suppliers with more time and more experience.

The money you pay such suppliers becomes an investment rather than an expense. This is because while they’re working on your more menial duties, you can work on the 20 per cent of tasks that earn you money and grow your business. These are the tasks that will deliver far more value for your sole trader business.

As self-employed individuals who are their own boss, sole traders depend on themselves alone for their income and livelihood, which means that they often have more at stake if they cannot work.

BizCover provides business insurance* and specialist insurance for consultants to help keep sole traders trading and doing what they do best. Get a quote online today for your business insurance or give us a call on 1300 920 864 to see how we can help protect your business.

*This information is general only and does not consider your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. © 2022 BizCover Pty Limited, all rights reserved. ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769

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