Three ways soloists can outpace the rest

Naturally with the Olympics in front of us 24/7, being a front-runner in our own business game is a timely metaphor.


To keep up with the others in your field, here are three areas to focus on for freelance fitness.


Take the three S challenge to achieve a personal best!


1. S is for systems


Working on systems can appear unproductive, and certainly hard to charge for. But time spent on developing clear, simple protocols for appointments, a time-effective method to handle emails, and a reminder for deadlines saves an enormous amount of time when you need it most – in stressful moments.


A recent ad hoc survey of executives exploring how much time they spent looking for things on their computers revealed the astonishing average of four hours a week!


That’s a lot of unpaid time over a year. No need to use Evernote if apps aren’t your thing – be it a paper diary, a whiteboard or a Smartphone, get it working for you even if you have to devote a week to setting it up (or better yet, pay a teenager to do it).


2. S is for strategy


Despite all the emphasis on business plans, many small business owners, sole traders and freelancers report anxiety about knowing where they are headed.


Even if you have a terrific business plan, it needs to be constantly reviewed to take into account new information and changes in the economic climate.


Sometimes the whole idea of a long written document can turn you away from the task, so why not make it fun?


Collect pictures that capture feelings and metaphors for where you are headed.


Make a pinboard, draw lots of arrows, create a flowchart, or use other ways that appeal to you to make your goals more vivid.


3. S is for stuff


I know you know your stuff – your content, your skill – but new approaches, discoveries and tech gadgets are coming along all the time.


How do you keep up?


Think networks, professional organisations, subscriptions and setting up a Google Reader to make sure all the relevant info is fed to you automatically.


Conferences, expos, gatherings, presentations; don’t neglect being part of your professional community just cause you’ve got your head down.


On that note, a reminder that the Business Victoria Festival starts today – an ideal opportunity to hone your skills, meet people and work on all three areas at once.


My colleague Tina and I will be running a Speed Networking event at Hub Melbourne on August 16 – we’d love to see you there.


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