Dear Dr. Deborah,
I need some advice. I own and run a photography company, and business has been great. Most of my clients refer me to friends and colleagues, so new customers are flying in, especially with the wedding season coming up. However, I’m finding it difficult to get everything done during the day. I don’t think I’m ready to hire an employee, but I don’t feel I have enough time during the day to finish everything that needs to get done. Do you have any suggestions?
– Caroline, VT
It’s wonderful to hear how successful your business is doing! If you talk to other freelance and self-employed individuals in your area, I’m sure you will find that they are in a similar predicament. Running a business takes a lot of time and energy; sometimes more then we think we can afford. If you feel your work is becoming too overwhelming, it may be time to hire an employee. If you’re not ready to become an employer though, there are other ways to try and improve your time management.
First, create a detailed time plan. Schedules can be an amazing tool for self-management. In your schedule, create set times for specific activities. If you don’t finish within that time frame, either re-schedule something that’s not as important or move on to the next task. These mini-deadlines help you get your work done faster and more productively. Also, create a priority list of tasks. This way you know the most important things are getting done first! I find that the more detailed you are with your time management planning the more productive you will be.
Another thing to consider if you’re not ready to hire someone is to outsource certain tasks to either a larger company or another self-employed worker. There are so many outsourced solutions today from accounting, to human resources, to advertising. By taking some of these daily tasks off your plate you can focus on serving more clients (of which it sound like you have plenty!).
Your time is one of your most valuable resources as a self-employed business owner. If you’re not using it efficiently, then you’re not running your business efficiently. If even after using these suggestions, you still find your time crunched, re-consider hiring an employee. It may simply be your nerves holding you back.
Best of luck with your business!