Want to see your new side venture succeed?
If you’re reading this article, you obviously do. Well, there’s a lot more to your project’s success than offering up quality products or services.
At the end of the day, the inner workings of your business are just as important as the work you put out.
Even if you’re a one-man or one-woman team just starting out, you need to focus on creating systems and processes to increase your efficiency.
Otherwise, you could end up draining your time, money, and effort, which kind of defeats the purpose of becoming a weekend warrior.
Check out the tried and true strategies below to get your side gig running like a well-oiled machine.
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How to Create Systems and Processes to Boost Efficiency
Do you have a job, family, friends, hobbies, and a budding side venture to balance?
Because your time is constrained to weekends, evenings, and spare minutes here and there, it’s important to drill down on processes which allow you to scale your side venture and use your time more efficiently, too.
Efficiency is all about eliminating waste by making better use of your resources like time, money, and effort.
Here’s how you can optimize your business to make it more efficient.
Weed Out Inefficiency
Step one to making your business venture more efficient is identifying the parts of your routine and workflow which are bogging you down and wasting your resources.
To pinpoint what does and doesn’t work, try outlining your tasks and breaking down your processes for completing them.
Want to take it a step further? Since you’re writing out your tasks anyway, go ahead and turn your notes into formal Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs for short.
An SOP document is simply a detailed guide to your process for completing a task. In addition to streamlining things and making it easier to outsource work, these documents can help you see which parts of the process are inefficient.
Don’t just focus on how you complete tasks, but also how long it takes you to knock them out.
Look at your schedule, make note of how you’re using your time, and see if there’s room to utilize the time more productively.
Optimize Your Schedule
How you manage time can make or break your business, and that’s even more true when you’re a weekend warrior.
To make the most of your time and maintain boundaries between your professional and personal life, crack down on time management in the following areas:
- Schedule tasks and breaks: Speaking from experience, when you give yourself a to-do list and no other guidelines for hitting your tasks, you’re left running in different directions, burned out, and less efficient. Set aside time for specific tasks, and schedule breaks along the way.
- Time your tasks: Time yourself as you carry out different tasks, from invoicing to writing articles to updating clients on projects. Knowing exactly where your minutes are going can help point out places where you could outsource or automate to save time.
- Prioritize your tasks: Task batching is a popular method for scheduling out tasks, lumping similar or repeating tasks together to complete in the same window of time. You could also try time-blocking, working down from high to low priority tasks.
- Repurpose downtime: Your time might not be as limited as you think. When you observe your schedule, look for dead time you aren’t really using for anything. Whether you find yourself scrolling through TikToks for a half-hour after lunch or have some downtime on your morning commute, consider using some of your empty chunks of time to further your business by hitting quick easy tasks.
- Play on your chronotype: Are you a night owl or an early bird? Find the time when you’re naturally the most productive and energized, and schedule tasks with it in mind.
Stop Doing Everything Yourself
I know it’s tempting to micromanage every aspect of your side venture, especially when you’re deeply passionate about it.
And when you’re just starting out, paying someone to complete tasks can feel like jumping the gun.
But getting down in the weeds to complete mundane tasks which any person or app could carry out might not be the best use of your time and energy as a new entrepreneur.
By offloading some basic tasks, especially administrative ones, you can focus on higher-level goals which will have a bigger impact.
The same goes for complex tasks which drain your time and stress you out.
If there’s a steep learning curve for a task and someone more experienced could complete it more quickly and efficiently than you, outsourcing could be a wise move.
For example, if you’re a novice when it comes to web design and you’re spending hours trying to solve issues on your business’s site, hiring a freelance web developer could be a more efficient use of your resources, especially if they can produce a higher quality product.
Consider how valuable your time is and weigh the cost of outsourcing and delegating to determine if it’s the right call.
Along with outsourcing and delegating to freelancers or agencies, you should also automate as many processes as possible to increase efficiency.
Automating recurring tasks, payments, and subscription renewals can free you from unnecessary distractions.
Avoid Distractions at All Costs
Distractions kill efficiency, wasting your time and effort and pulling you away from the task at hand.
And they come in all shapes and sizes: Your spouse, kids, friends, and pets can distract you.
So can Netflix, social media, and music. Then there are notifications, phone calls, and emails, not to mention the distraction of a messy workspace… You get the picture.
To make your business venture as successful as it can be and to prioritize efficiency, you have to shut down distractions.
Here are a few of the best ways:
- Unplug: Put your phone away, stay off Facebook, Instagram, or any other sites which lead you down the rabbit hole, and focus on the task at hand until break time. Consider apps which block your access temporarily, like Freedom.to if you’re having trouble curbing the urge to jump on yet another platform.
- Schedule email time: Ever open your email tab halfway through a task and get sidetracked? Checking your email at random times can be distracting and counter-productive. Schedule emails like any other task and only open your inbox when you know you’ve got time to respond. Tools like Inbox Pause can help, too.
- Set boundaries: Create a schedule and stick to it, protecting the time set aside for your business. Let your loved ones know your schedule to avoid distractions up front.
- Improve your workspace: A messy, unorganized workspace or one that doubles as your entertainment center can be wildly distracting. Try to designate an office space at home and keep it organized, or consider getting out of the house to work somewhere productive.
Use Apps and Tools to Increase Efficiency
Along with organizing your actual workspace, you should get your digital workspace in order.
The same software and apps you use to scale your side venture and boost productivity can help you make your business more efficient.
Here are a few top picks for streamlining your side gig, whether you’re flying solo or part of a team:
- Accounting: FreshBooks, Intuit Quickbooks, Oracle NetSuite
- Billing: Stripe, Paypal, Quickbooks, Square
- Customer relationship management: HubSpot CRM, Bigin by Zoho CRM, Salesforce
- Note-taking: Evernote, Notion, OneNote
- Password management: LastPass, 1Password, Keeper
- Project management: Notion (again), Trello, Todoist
- Saving online content: Pocket, Instapaper, Raindrop
- Signing documents: Adobe Acrobat Reader, HelloSign, DocuSign
- Social media management: Buffer, Zoho Social, HootSuite
Get the Right People on Board
An important part of running a successful business is working with like-minded people who prioritize efficiency.
Whether you’re outsourcing to a contractor, looking for a teammate to collaborate with, or reaching out to a mentor, seek out people who have a track record of success.
You should also focus on communicating with your professional connections clearly and regularly to stay on the same page and keep tasks up to date.
Likewise, you should reach out to other entrepreneurs to share your goals.
When you connect with someone who’s in the same boat and you are honest about your goals, you can get advice and also provide yourself with accountability to help see your efforts through. It’s a win-win.
What Prioritizing Efficiency Can Do for Your Side Venture
If you’re working around the clock on your side venture but still aren’t as far along as you’d like to be, you need to take a hard look at your routines, habits, and task management.
Taking the time to track your processes and improve them can seem pretty daunting, but I can promise you prioritizing efficiency will be a complete gamechanger for your business.
Use some of the tips and tools above to streamline your business, and you’ll be amazed at how much less stress and more wins you experience.