Managing an Upswing in Business Without Dropping the Ball
Ask any freelancing solopreneur, times of “feast” and times of “famine” go with the territory. The famines bring on frustration and fear. And while the feasts bring on hope and a sense of renewed worth, they also present challenges. Indeed, a sudden surge in prospects and projects is glorious, but it can also be unnerving if you’re not well-prepared to handle it.
If you’re a new solopreneur, you probably don’t have the number of clients you’re ultimately aspiring to work with. Now’s the time to research and test the vast array of productivity tools that could be life savers down the road. Check out collaboration and file sharing tools like Dropbox and Google Drive, note taking and organizing software like Evernote and Ubernote, and social media management tools like Hootsuite and Buffer. Better to get acquainted with them now than when your business takes off and you won’t have time to learn how to use them – that’s when you’ll need them most!
Put a system in place.
When your work load goes from lack luster to “luck of the Irish,” your best management tool is setting up and sticking to a system of working that promotes productivity. The luxury of going with the flow when you’re short on clients and assignments will exit the building when the project pace quickens. Planning your days and weeks in advance will help you stay on target and get a firm grasp on your capacity to take on new work.
Tip: Dedicate time slots for specific projects and tasks on your calendar. For example, every morning, I reserve 6:30 – 8 a.m. for social media and the rest of my days are scheduled in time chunks for working on clients’ projects or meetings and conference calls. Use your proposals to determine the time you’ll need to reserve on your calendar – and be cognizant of the deadlines you need to meet.
Go “old school.”
A good old-fashioned white board could be your best friend! Even with your schedule plotted on your calendar, a white board can serve as an effective in your face tool for reinforcing precisely what you want to accomplish on a given day and anything else you need to keep top of mind. I have 2. One small one by my desk that lists my tasks for the day and a large one on which I keep track of projects in progress, upcoming assignments, outstanding client invoices and prospects. I really don’t know how I’d keep my head on straight without them!
Really, the very best way to prepare for success as a solopreneur is to anticipate success in advance. Not only will planning for increased demand put you in a good position to handle an upswing without dropping the ball, but it’s also indicative of an optimistic and confident mindset that can propel your business to reach its potential.
Ever experience an upswing in business that you weren’t prepared for? How do you manage your multiple projects and responsibilities without dropping the ball?