Shop Talk: The Quickest Way to Get Something Done

solopreneur

solopreneur

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

Have you ever had an idea that you were really jazzed about? The drop-everything-and-make-this-happen idea that wakes you up at 3am; makes you (gasp) forget you need coffee; finds you telling your pets about it because you’ve already chewed the ear off anyone else who will listen?

We love those ideas.

A lot of times, those ideas relight the fire and lead to breakthroughs in our businesses. They give us direction and purpose. They turn into the product, the service, or the platform that helps us grow.

But we’re not here to talk about those times. We’re here to talk about what happens when that idea you had just isn’t working out.

You know, the not-so-glamorous side of things. The times when:

  • You’ve put your all into it (time, money, energy), and it just didn’t work…
  • Your idea is made up of a lot of “shoulds” and not a lot of “wants”…
  • The fire’s burnt out and you’re no longer excited…

When you’re a solopreneur with endless ideas, this is bound to happen. And you’re bound to be plagued by the shame and the “shoulds” that keep you holding on.

Today, we’re granting you permission to let it go.

One of our favorite leading ladies, Arianna Huffington, wisely wrote in Thrive: “You can complete a project by dropping it.”

For her, it was about learning to play the violin and speak German. She wasn’t taking action, but, in her words, “Any project that you’ve started in your mind drains energy.”

You might be a lot further in. You might’ve spent hours on plans and outreach. Hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on bringing it to life. Endless amounts of energy truly trying to make it work.

Again: It’s okay to let it go. No amount of time, money, or energy invested is worth carrying on with something that isn’t going to get you closer to where you want to be or how you want to live, solopreneur. It’s oh-so-simple, but we know it’s not easy.

So we remind you of these two things:

1. Nearly everything we do as solopreneurs is a learning opportunity. In working on this idea, you’ve undoubtedly learned something new; met new people; did things you didn’t think you could.

2. Dropping a project now doesn’t mean dropping a project forever. (The “Hold” section of our to-do list is solid.)

And, finally…This is not a case study for taking the easy way out; for walking away from something just because it’s hard. This isn’t about sloughing off and making progress on your Netflix queues. (Okay, well, it’s not just about that.)

Simply put, this isn’t advice for the lazy — they don’t need it. (And we know that’s not you.) This is advice for the overachievers who want to do.it.all, all.the.time.

To you, we ask: What can you cross off your to-do list by dropping it?

(Even if it’s just for now…)

Your days, back in your hands.

Get instant access to 5 Days to Reclaiming Your Time, a free email course with the mindset shifts + action steps you need to get started in reframing your relationship with time. Sign up below!

Powered by ConvertKit

Why Your Solopreneur Business Needs an Operations Manual (And How to Get Started for Free!)

Create an operations manual. It’s probably business advice you’ve heard on more than one occasion. If you’re like most solopreneurs, it’s one of the things you skip — maybe because admin tasks just aren’t what you got into business for, or perhaps because you’re not sure what it is or why you need one.

We’re going to fix that today. Even if you’re just starting out, you can benefit from creating an operations manual! Let’s start at the beginning…

What is an operations manual?

Think back to the last time you started a job. You probably received a company handbook. That handbook laid out the company’s mission, rules, and procedures. They’re a required read to learn about the company’s expectations for you as an employee.

That document was the company’s operations manual. They built it over time as the company grew, likely adding to it as they found information they need to reference and relay to other people. It helps ensure the people they hire know what to expect and do while at work.

Even if you’re a one-woman show today, an operations manual can save you time, money, and headaches down the line.

Why create an operations manual for your solopreneur business?

There are a few reasons an operations manual might be a wise addition to your solo business.

1. Increase productivity. As your business grows, you’ll find your responsibilities do, too. Keeping track of every task you need to do will become impossible if your brain is your only storage system. You’ll inevitably start to miss steps in tasks you do on a regular basis. You’ll spend hours looking for a document because you don’t remember where you saved it. Soon you’ll find you’re spending more time fixing mistakes than moving on to the next task. Creating an operations manual will ensure you never miss a task or a step to complete things, saving you time and unnecessary stress.

2. Get organized. Organization should be a top priority as your business grows. It’s inefficient to have the tools you need to run your business scattered across a variety of platforms, apps, and devices. You end up wasting precious time trying to remember where the thing you need is, then searching for it across all the places you use for storage. By creating an operations manual, you build a central hub where things are all in one place and easily accessible.

Prepare to grow. Your business goals include growth right? While growth comes in many forms, many times it means bringing people on to help you. These people could be employees, freelancers, or collaboration partners. An operations manual will help you bring them up to speed quickly on what your business is about and how you run it, saving time (and money) in the onboarding process.

What to include in your operations manual

Your operations manual can be as simple or as robust as you’d like. There’s no right or wrong answer here. Keep this in mind, though: As your business continues to grow, it is much easier to implement new ideas if there is already a record of how things are currently done.

I know getting started can be hard so I’ve put together a few suggestions to help you out:

  • System or process documents
  • Your brand style guide
  • Logo files
  • Your mission statement + core values
  • Links to your systems
  • Templates for documents you use often (proposals, contracts, social media graphic templates, etc.)
  • Swipe files
  • Website and social media links for easy reference
  • Information for the courses you’ve purchased and any membership sites you’ve joined
  • Testimonials

The options for items to include in your operations manual are endless. Decide what’s important to keep your business running in top form and put it in your manual.

Where to create your operations manual

I recommend creating your operations manual in a system you already use. I like to access my operations manual from anywhere, so I built mine in Trello. You might find Google Drive, Evernote, Asana, or some other system works better for your business. If you prefer to use a non-electronic operations manual, a binder with dividers is easy to update and copy.

Start building yours today

If your business plan includes growth, it’s never too early to start creating an operations manual. Next time you write and upload a blog post, for example? Take note of all the steps you take. It may seem like a lot of work, but an extra hour or two now can save time in the long run — and who doesn’t love saving time?

Your days, back in your hands.

Get instant access to 5 Days to Reclaiming Your Time, a free email course with the mindset shifts + action steps you need to get started in reframing your relationship with time. Sign up below!

Powered by ConvertKit

Shop Talk: Build in Bonuses (A Short Guide to Goal Setting)

goal setting

goal setting

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

We often find that our members and coaching clients are driven, motivated business owners who fall into a trap of feeling guilty for not doing more.

On a recent call, one member mentioned that she’s been setting high goals for herself and her business each month. Although she feels like she’s accomplished plenty by the end of the month, she’s still disappointed that she hasn’t quite reached her lofty goals. The issue isn’t in her productivity — it’s in her goal setting.

Our suggestion? Implement the “bonus” trick.

Here’s how it works: On your to-do list, create your “must-do” section, as well as a “bonus section” of tasks that you would love to do but aren’t absolutely critical to the success of your business. If you get to the tasks on the bonus section? Extra brown points within your biz! If you don’t? No guilt.

A similar trick is using the phrase “at least” when goal setting.

  • Is your goal to pitch guest posts? Set a goal of “at least 2 pitches.”
  • Is your goal to go on daily walks? Make a goal of “at least 3 walks this week.”
  • Is your goal to be in touch with your email list more? Set a goal of “at least 12 times this year.”

It’s the same mental game as the “bonus” trick: You have a minimum goal to reach, but if you go above and beyond, you’ll positively impact your business and your mindset.

Let us know if you implement the “bonus” trick and how it shifts your mindset towards goal setting!

Your days, back in your hands.

Get instant access to 5 Days to Reclaiming Your Time, a free email course with the mindset shifts + action steps you need to get started in reframing your relationship with time. Sign up below!

Powered by ConvertKit

Shop Talk: Find the Wiggle Room

find wiggle room

find wiggle room

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

Often, our coaching clients and community members come to us feeling overwhelmed and like they have no space or time to breathe, let alone create. They’re stuck in firefighting mode and their wheels are turning…but the car ain’t moving. If you’re in this mode often or always, that’s part of a larger problem (a time scarcity mindset, a lack of prioritization, or an inability to say no, perhaps?).

But, inevitably, there will be times over the course of your solo biz when you will feel like you can barely keep the biz going because of a lack of time — self-care seems laughable and focusing on growth? Impossible.

Two common times for these feelings? During the holidays and during a product launch.

During these periods, we urge you to find the wiggle room. What do we mean by that? Find the moments here and there where you can make adjustments — i.e. wiggle free a bit more time.

Does your at-home workout need to be 1 hour or would 30 minutes of HIIT accomplish just as much today?

Do you need to make a gourmet meal or would a Crockpot meal — or even a microwavable meal — suffice just for tonight?

Do you need to walk to your coworking space or would it be okay to pay for an Uber (or tuk tuk, if you’re Cristina) this afternoon?

Do you need to post 25 pins on Pinterest per day or would 15 be enough this week?

Do you need to stick to your 4 times per week blog post schedule or will your readers understand if you cut it back to 3 times per week just this month?

You get the gist. Where can you find a bit of wiggle room today?

P.S. If you find yourself in this mode often, it might be time to reclaim your time. We can help…for free. Grab our free, 5-day email course below.

Your days, back in your hands.

Get instant access to 5 Days to Reclaiming Your Time, a free email course with the mindset shifts + action steps you need to get started in reframing your relationship with time. Sign up below!

Powered by ConvertKit

8 Best IFTTT Recipes for Solopreneurs

It’s every solopreneur’s dream to do less mundane work so you can focus on the passion projects you truly love. Workflow automation processes like IFTTT recipes make it possible to do just that.

Apps like IFTTT (short for “If This, Then That”) allow you to set up recipes that automatically connect one app to another. You can set recurring tasks to be taken care of automatically, or with the simple push of a button. Think of it as outsourcing your least favorite tasks to robots (and then feel like a genius).

Whether you’re a veteran IFTTT user or you just hopped on board, you might be overwhelmed by the vast number of recipes available. You need your automation workflow to save you time, not distract you while you search for the best recipes!

Try these 8 best IFTTT recipes for solopreneurs to get you started.

IFTTT recipes for social media

1. Add articles saved in Pocket to Buffer

Imagine being able to share quality content with your followers with just the click of a button. That’s exactly what this recipe does for you. Now when you come across an actionable article you know your tribe would love, all you have to do is add it to Pocket, and IFTTT will automatically add it to your Buffer schedule.

Don’t use Buffer? You can also connect Pocket to Asana, Evernote, or Google Drive to quickly gather all those shareworthy articles in one location. Then you or your VA can easily batch your social media sharing for the week in one sitting!

2. Track mentions of a specific hashtag in Google Sheets

Hashtags are a great way to categorize information, but they don’t do you any good if you don’t have an easy way to refer back to them. This IFTTT recipe fixes all that by automatically adding any usage of a specific hashtag on Twitter directly to a Google Spreadsheet.

These are just some of the Twitter hashtags you might want to hang onto for later use:

  • Your brand or product’s custom hashtag (like #OneWomanShopLife!)
  • A Twitter chat that always shares helpful insights or resources
  • A Twitter chat you run yourself
  • A hashtag your dream clients use repeatedly
  • Hashtags prospective clients use to post job listings in your industry

All you have to do is check your spreadsheet to keep up with your favorite hashtags — and they’ll be saved there forever, so there’s no fear that you’ll lose them in your fast-moving Twitter feed.

3. Share your latest post on LinkedIn

Let’s be honest: LinkedIn is very few people’s favorite social site. But regularly sharing your posts there can go a long way toward landing new clients! Having an active LinkedIn profile shows that you’re invested in your career, and your latest posts will immediately display your skills and expertise to anyone who stumbles upon your profile.

This recipe is the easy way to keep your LinkedIn profile current and your connections up to date on your recent work without your having to lift a finger.

IFTTT recipes for goal tracking

4. Track work hours in Google Drive

Ever wonder how many hours you really put into your solo biz? Most of us are bad at estimating how many hours we work in a week, which is a problem when you need to calculate an accurate hourly rate to base your project fees on.

Logging your time manually can be tedious, but this IFTTT recipe makes it a snap to track your work hours. This recipe doesn’t track the specific task you’re working on, but it can help you notice important patterns in your work day. Most importantly, it will tell you without a doubt how long you spent on the clock on any given day. (Goodbye, 16-hour days! Maybe…)

5. Keep a tally on anything

All solopreneurs have goals both within and outside of their business. This IFTTT recipe lets you keep a tally of anything you choose and store it in Google Drive with the single click of a button. This is a great way to aim for more self-care activities or fewer distractions in your day.

This recipe can help you track almost any goal or activity, but these are some of my favorites:

  • Finishing a glass of water
  • Getting up from your desk to stretch and move around
  • “Quickly checking” social media
  • Switching from one task to another, even if it’s just for a moment
  • Connecting with someone, whether online, in person, or over social media

IFTTT recipes for productivity

6. Add starred emails to Evernote

Evernote is a big player in many solopreneurs’ day-to-day organization. Now you can use it even more efficiently thanks to this IFTTT recipe. Starring emails and then archiving them is the easy way to get your to-do list out of your inbox and into your actual to-do list in Evernote. Inbox zero, here we come!

7. Receive an email for new Craigslist posts that match your criteria

Solopreneurs can use Craigslist to find everything from a great deal on office equipment to supplies to be used in their products. You can even find the occasional client on the Craigslist job board!

Scouring through Craigslist can be time consuming. This recipe takes care of the work for you by emailing you when a new Craigslist post matches your search criteria. So the next time you’re in the market for a used printer, you can wait for the perfect match to find you instead of the other way around!

8. Automatically schedule recurring Trello cards

If you’re regularly using Trello to organize your solo biz, you’ll love this recipe. Most of us have recurring tasks that happen on a daily or weekly basis. Save yourself the time it takes to manually create those Trello cards each week and let IFTTT automatically do the job for you! Any recurring cards will be ready and waiting in your Trello board with no extra work on your plate.

Which IFTTT recipes keep your solo biz up and running?

Did we miss any IFTTT recipes for solopreneurs that you can’t live without? Tell us about your favorites in the comments!

3 Ways Trello Can Organize Your Solopreneur Biz

3 Ways Trello Can Organize Your Solopreneur Biz

3 Ways Trello Can Organize Your Solopreneur Biz

It takes so many tools to organize your business. You have an editorial calendar, project roadmaps, to-do lists, contact lists…and those are just the things you’ve used today.

It seems to be everyone’s dream to have one tool to rule them all. And while I can’t promise you that, I can tell you how to get a lot closer.

The key is to use tools that are super flexible, enough that you can adapt them for any use. The best tool I’ve found for that? Trello.

What is Trello?

Trello is a project management platform with a very visual layout. It’s designed to follow the Kanban method, which in this context means a visualized layout of your workflow. I know it sounds boring, but Trello makes it simple.

At its simplest, Kanban lays out three workflow stages: to do, doing, and done. They’re usually laid out in that order from left to right, and you move cards to the right as they progress.

Realistically, your processes are probably more complex than just three steps.

But because Trello is also amazingly flexible, you don’t have to use it just for Kanban. There are a ton of integrations, including IFTTT and Zapier, meaning you can easily work it into your current processes wherever it makes sense.

Trello is made up of boards, lists, and cards. A board would be for an entire project. Within that, there are several lists, and you can think of cards as items or to-dos on those lists. You can drag and drop cards from one list to another, and archive them when they’re completed.

Types of Trello boards

I’ve found that most boards fall into one of three broad categories. Each of them work best for different products and working styles, so you can choose whatever grooves with you and customize it to your heart’s desire.

1. Traditional Kanban

Trello Kanban

A lot of boards will follow the traditional Kanban style of laying out your workflow visually — that to do, doing, and done process covered above. You can create one list for each step of your process. As a project moves along, you can drag and drop those cards to the right, from one board to another. (Moving to the right is a great feeling.)

What it works best for: When the most important thing to keep track of is something’s progress, like to-do lists, tracking freelance projects, planning content creation, and more.

2. Topical lists

Trello topical

Trello’s also great for organizing big projects, when the thought of creating and managing a spreadsheet for it gives you a migraine. With something like launching a product or a “master ideas list,” a single column for tasks to do may not be enough.

Organizing your board by topical lists, instead of one list for each stage of your process, lets you break things down a bit further than “things to do.”

It has a different, cleaner view and can be easier to deal with than a spreadsheet. You can drag and drop tasks to reorganize your plans, view your project in multiple ways, and search and filter the data much easier — a simple search bar instead of knowledge of Excel formulas and tricks.

Spreadsheets are meant for data, not to-do lists.

Use Trello to organize huge lists by creating a board and breaking it down by sublists and cards, laying it out, and filtering as you please (more on this later).

What it works best for: Big, “monster lists” like idea buckets, product launch plans, business roadmaps, contact lists, and other large projects.

3. Calendar-based

Trello board template: editorial calendar

By turning on the free calendar power-up, you can view a calendar of your Trello cards based on due date. It’s great as a kind of hybrid board, for when you’d like to have the visual Kanban view but still need a traditional calendar.

You can toggle between the two as much as you want, drag and drop on the calendar to rearrange due dates, and look at your projects from a second angle.

What it works best for: To-do lists with hard due dates, editorial calendars, tracking individual project due dates.

Tips for Trello pros

Once you’ve gotten the basics down and can lay out a project, you can think about getting fancy to make Trello even more fun.

  • Browse real-life examples. Trello’s Inspiration page has a ton of examples submitted by users. You’ll walk away with a ton of ideas for ways to organize your business.
  • Use all the features. You only need the basic structure of a Trello board to get the job done. But you can use descriptions, attachments, labels, due dates, checklists, and integrations to add more detail to your projects and filter your to-dos.
  • Collaborate. Plan projects with clients, customers, or partners by creating a group board where you all can assign each other cards, comment back and forth, and make collaboration easy.
  • Keep an “FYI” card on every board. Always create one card that stays on the board forever, with information on how the board works. Maintenance will be easier — especially when you’re collaborating — if you lay out the board’s purpose and processes.
  • Use templates. Creating templates for card descriptions and checklists that you can copy later will save time updating the board and ensure long-term consistency for you organization freaks like me.

“Move it to the right”

Trello can be anything you want it to be, so it’s worth giving it a shot. Whether you want a cleaner spreadsheet or more visual to-do list, there’s a board for that.

Get started!

Sign up to grab 3 free Trello board templates to copy + customize for your biz.

We <3 you, but please know that you can subscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Shop Talk: Just Start (Even If It’s Just for a Few Minutes)

Shop Talk snippets from One Woman Shop

Shop Talk snippets from One Woman Shop

Welcome to Shop Talk! While we love providing you with jam-packed, actionable posts, we also wanted to share quick, thought-provoking snippets here and there — from our brains to yours.

Often in life and in business, we’re so intimidated and overwhelmed by something that, instead of breaking it into actionable chunks, we give up altogether.

Learning a language? You’ll never be completely fluent, so why start?

Learning to code? There are too many programming languages out there and you’ll never be an “expert,” so why even bother?

Becoming a champion meditator? An hour, let alone a week, of silence sounds like hell, so why waste your time?

Feeling fit and comfortable in your body? You have too much weight to lose, so what difference will a few pounds make?

What if you were to start with a few minutes per day of French on Duolingo? Or one module from CodeAcademy each morning? Or the shortest Calm meditation each evening? (Hint: It’s two minutes.) Or an intense 15-minute HIIT workout from YouTube in the middle of your day to wake you up and burn some calories?

This isn’t all hypothetical — I (Cristina) have committed to doing about 10 minutes per day of French on Duolingo. I’ve gone from knowing about two phrases (like “J’aime Paris,” because of those shirts that everyone used to wear all of the time in middle school or “C’est la vie” because…B*Witched) to writing and speaking complete sentences and even having mini-epiphanies. (Pret a Manger, the restaurant chain? That means “ready to eat.” I know, my mind was blown too.) Meanwhile, Sara put off meditating for over a year because 20 minutes was way too scary. Committing to five minutes per day in the month of December has made it a regular part of her routine now.

The point? You can see very obvious improvements with a daily habit of just a few minutes.

Choose your “time of least resistance,” and get started. We cover this in The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook: It’s the amount of time that you feel able to commit to following through on without much resistance. It’s not a shortcut; it’s a firestarter. Think to yourself: Am I willing to work on this blog post for 15 minutes? If that feels like too much but 10 minutes seems doable, you’ve got your time of least resistance. If 45 minutes at the gym feels completely overwhelming, ask yourself if 35 minutes seems more manageable. Yes? Do that.

And if your time of least resistance is 30 seconds (say, enough for one new word per day)? Bam — start there.

How to Outsource Parts of Your Personal Life to Free Up Time for Business

Solopreneur Sanity

Life is full of responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, house maintenance, shopping, children and pets. The day-to-day stuff if overwhelming on its own, but all of this plus running your own business?!

It’s enough to make you want to throw in the towel and have a full-on Netflix day.

But don’t break out the roll of cookie dough just yet! I have a solution:

Outsource it.

You’ve probably already heard that outsourcing work to a Virtual Assistant will free up time in your business so you can focus on what makes you more money, but what about your personal life?

This month’s theme at One Woman Shop is Solopreneur Sanity (a topic so important, the ladies continued it from last month). One big way to gain some sanity? By not doing everything yourself.

What would you outsource?

If you could outsource anything in your personal life, what would it be? Are there any tasks you hate doing that you would rather outsource to someone else so you can focus more on your business?

Take some time to think about your day-to-day activities. I’m sure you probably have a few things in mind, but here are some suggestions to get your creative juices flowing:

Cooking
Hate cooking? Consider hiring a chef or finding a local restaurant that will deliver meals to your doorstep each week. Not only will this reduce the time you cook each week, but it will also reduce the time you take to look through cookbooks for new recipes and shopping for ingredients.

Hiring a chef was a dream of mine for years. I put it off because I figured it was too expensive and I wouldn’t find a local chef that would prepare healthy meals. I finally decided to look into how much it would cost and I was pleasantly surprised.

For $110 I have a chef who cooks and delivers three homemade meals a week that my husband and I share. We’re talking vegetable coconut curry over basmati rice, mahi tacos with Asian slaw, and kale salad with cranberries, pine nuts and lemon honey dressing. Yum!

Her cooking is so much better than mine — and she’s saved me tons of time! Plus, we don’t spend as much money going out to dinner or buying groceries that go to waste because I don’t have the motivation to cook. #keepingitreal

Not sure where to start? Here are a few resources:

  • Thumbtack is a great place to find professionals in your area to help with all sorts of projects. It’s where I found my chef and lawn service company (and both are amaz-ing!)
  • HelloFresh, BlueApron, Plated are great options to check out if you enjoy cooking but want to save a little time. These companies deliver fresh ingredients for a yummy, chef-inspired meal that you prepare. Genius!

Lawn maintenance
Not the outdoorsy, working-out-in-the-yard type of gal? Consider hiring someone to mow the lawn, rake leaves, trim bushes and pull weeds. They can even plant shrubs and flowers and do some landscaping to make your yard pretty.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few resources:

  • Thumbtack is the perfect place to find someone for your lawn.
  • A place like Sweeps (located in North Carolina) is a great place to find college students looking to help with your lawn and other projects, like errands, dog walking and moving. You can Google to see if there’s a similar company in your area that employs college students looking to make some extra cash.
  • Angie’s List is another place to find help, where reviews are plentiful.

Grocery shopping
Would you rather shop online or on your phone than schlepping your way through a store? Perfect! You can hire people to do your shopping for you.

I recently started using a service called Shipt that allows me to create a shopping list using an app on my phone. Once they receive my order, they send a shopper out to purchase my groceries and deliver them to my house! Easy.

They charge a small upcharge per item, but I end up saving money because I stick to my list instead of roaming around the store saying, “Hmmm, that looks good” and throwing it in the cart.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few resources:

Pet grooming
Do you have a pet that hates baths as much as they hate getting their nails trimmed? Yeah, me too. I used to just deal with it, but not anymore.

I found a mobile groomer who comes to the house! Not only does she save me time and sanity, but my dogs have never looked better.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few resources:

  • Google pet groomers or mobile pet groomers to find one in your area.

Organizing
Do you like a clean, organized house, but don’t have the time or the patience to do it yourself? There are organizers out there who will de-clutter your house and help you with systems to keep your house looking nice and pretty. An added bonus: a de-cluttered environment can make us more productive and happy.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few resources:

Cleaning
Does dusting, vacuuming, laundry, or mopping suck up too much of your time and energy? Consider hiring a housekeeper for weekly maintenance or quarterly deep cleans.

Some cleaners specialize in certain types of chores, but you can ask around and find someone for any of the tasks you’re looking to outsource. Just try not to fall into the trap of cleaning before the housekeeper arrives because you’re embarrassed about the mess!

Not sure where to start? Here are a few resources:

Can you afford it?

The cost of outsourcing can be a huge sticking point for a lot of women, but outsourcing jobs doesn’t have to be expensive.

First, think about your budget. What can you afford? What can you cut back on in order to have the money to outsource your house work? It’s easy to assume we can’t afford something until we look at how much we bring in and how much we spend. Sometimes just making small tweaks to our budget will save us quite a bit of money.

Also consider hiring someone as needed, like during crazy times (holidays, launches, etc.), instead of on-going. You can build a Rolodex of people who can help you out when you really need it. How exciting is that?!

Secondly, figure out what your time is worth. What would you do if you had a little extra time? Write a book? Take on another client? Having that extra time could be very profitable!

Thirdly, think creatively. You don’t necessarily have to hire a pro. What about the stay-at-home mom down the street who loves to cook? Or a teen or college student that wants so make some extra cash and could mow the lawn?

Ready…set…outsource!

What would you like to outsource and what can you do today to get the ball rolling to hire the help you need?

Want more tips + tactics for maintaining your solopreneur sanity? We’ve got you covered. Just released: The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook, inspiration and action for finding the intersection of productive and sane to maximize your time working so you can maximize your time living. Ready, set, sanity!

Solopreneur Sanity Handbook

Stay Organized: 6 More Planners for Freelancers + Solopreneurs (+ a Giveaway!)

Note: The giveaway has closed — congrats to all of our winners! Sign up below to be notified about our next giveaway. (It might just be more planners!) 

Love giveaways?

Enter your email address below to get notified about our next giveaway!

By entering your email address, you'll be added to our main email list, as well as specific sub-lists that relate to your interests. You can unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Last year, OWS member Ashley Brooks of Brooks Editorial showcased the five best planners for creative solopreneurs. Well… with a marketplace of planners that are seriously stunning, functional, and fun, it’s tough to only show off five anymore!

So while we’re still huge fans of The Day Designer, The Simplified Planner, The Passion Planner, and Plum Paper planners (Ashley describes their features here), we thought we’d throw a couple more into the mix of ones we love — and then do a fun (and epic, if we do say so ourselves) giveaway so you can start January off on the right foot, with planner in hand.

Without further ado, here are seven more fantastic planners for paper-and-pen adoring freelancers + solopreneurs:

1. Plans & Things (Christie Montague)

Christie Montague planner

Created for solopreneurs, by a solopreneur. Freelance designer Christie Montague knows a few things about juggling a million things on the to do list. She created Plans & Things as a way for her to keep track of everything in her work + life, and you might quickly realize that it’s great for you, too.

Pros: So. much. room! A full monthly spread gives you room to see your month at-a-glance, while the weekly layouts include room for writing out weekly goals, scheduling your days, building multiple to-do lists under different categories, and jotting down “notes + brilliant ideas.” It’s tough to find a planner with equivalent room for those who have a lot going on.

Cons: The 8.5” x 11” size means it likely isn’t fitting into your purse, and the flexible cover might be prone to wear.

Best for: Busy freelancers; Type-A personalities

Price: $31

2. 2016 Planner (Poppin)

Poppin 2016 planner

This incredibly colorful planner packs a lot of punch in a little space, and is made with a sturdy spiral and protective cover, keeping it travel friendly.

Pros: The horizontal orientation includes easy-to-find, color-coded months as well as weekly spreads with room for lined notes and white space every day. Oh — and it starts with a Bingo board of 2016 experiences that is entirely random, but totally fun.

Cons: Coming in at just 8.25” x 6”, the planner might be too small for those who like to write a lot… or write big.

Best for: Ladies on the go; stylish solopreneurs

Price: $12

3. The Freelancer Planner (Bombchelle Industries)

The Freelancer Planner

The aptly named Freelancer Planner is a design-friendly, intuitive planner that not only keeps track of all of your important freelance business information, but also helps you learn to plan better with a focus on priorities. Stress less and earn more? Yes, please. (We’re not the only ones crushing: this planner hit 157% of its Kickstarter goal!)

Pros: Daily, weekly, and monthly planning for every aspect of a solopreneur business — from money and admin tracking to project management and to-do lists broken down by priority. You know Michelle’s in the thick of it with you since her planner covers what she refers to as “the niggly tasks”: those that “don’t relate to a bigger project, don’t require a lot of creative firepower.”

Cons: Income and project tracking aren’t what everyone needs in a paper planner. For those who rely on digital tools for this, the Freelancer Planner might just be too much.

Best for: Freelancers; girl bosses

Price: $10 (digital); $25 (5.5”x8.5”); $35 (8.5”x10”)

4. LifePlanner™ (Erin Condren)

Erin Condren LifePlanner

What doesn’t Erin Condren do right? Created by a woman for women is what we like to see — and she does it right with her signature LifePlanner™, which seems to somehow keep getting better, year after year.

Pros: Tabbed months make finding your place easy, while a choice between horizontal or vertical layouts allows you to see your week at-a-glance, how you want. Sturdy binding and laminate (interchangeable) covers make this a durable companion throughout the year, and inspirational covers with quotes like “She designed a life she loved” and “nothing can dim the light that shines from within” will remind you how lucky you are to be a solopreneur.

Cons: Bright colors and a 7.25” x 9.25” size make this planner hard to conceal when you’re out and about.

Best for: Multipassionates; stylish solopreneurs

Price: $50

5. The Happiness Planner

The Happiness Planner

With a tagline of “focus on what makes you happy”, it’s hard not to be drawn to The Happiness Planner. Start by creating your “Happiness Roadmap”, then head into each day with the spotlight on positive thinking and affirmations, mindfulness, gratitude, and self-development.

Pros: The Happiness Planner breaks us from the autopilot of ever-more productivity and turns our minds toward reflection and self-care. With an initial monthly page that gives you room for personal and work goals and daily pages that still leave plenty of space for to-dos, list-loving solopreneurs will still have plenty of room to plan out their days, as well. Choose between dated and undated versions.

Cons: The planner focuses on a daily view, so for those who prefer to see their week at-a-glance, this might not be the planner for you.

Best for: Mindful solopreneurs; minimalists

Price: $29-$59

6. May Book (May Designs)

May Designs notebooks

Okay… so this one landed on last year’s list, but we couldn’t help but include it again (especially since they’re part of our epic giveaway!). With updated interior agenda page options and non-dated alternatives that offer up more space, May Designs continues to help you build planners that fit your style.

Pros: Totally customizable interior pages let you choose how you want to build your planner, so you can make it work how you want to. At just 5” x 8” with flexible covers, it’s also super easy to stow on the go.

Cons: Extra space isn’t at a luxury here. For people with lots to write and keep track of, this probably isn’t the best option.

Best for: Ladies on the go; stylish solopreneurs

Price: $23

There’s the skinny on some of the best planners out there for freelancers + solopreneurs!

This post contains affiliate links. As always, we only include affiliate links for products + services we think might benefit you.

Motivation is a Solopreneur’s Worst Enemy

After checking your email on your iPhone for any emergencies, you finally decide to crawl out of bed and start the coffee. While the coffee pot steams and sputters, you’re opening up your laptop for another day of solopreneurial bliss. You pour yourself that first cup and begrudgingly sit down to officially start your morning.

For one reason or another, you are just not feeling “it” this morning. Perhaps if you check your email again, something in there will motivate you to get to work. You delete two or three junk emails, reply to one message real quick, mark all the other client messages as new so you can respond to them later when you’re fully caffeinated. Then you promise yourself that you will also get back to the dozen or so newsletters that you’ve not read yet later because surely there is information inside that you absolutely need. Maybe it’s just too early.

Email feels overwhelming, so you move over the Facebook. Much more fun. You post a few comments here and there until you stumble upon a genius quote that inspires you. It’s so good that you just have to share it. But what to do with it? Should you share it on your personal Facebook timeline? Or maybe create a graphic for Pinterest? Ooh yes! And then you could put the graphic on Instagram and then link it to Facebook and Twitter. Yeah. That’s what you do. It’s so pretty!

Dammit. Coffee got cold. Time for a refill.

Okay. It’s been almost an hour since you got out of bed and you’re still not feeling motivated. After beating yourself up for what you haven’t done yet, you finally bust out your to-do list and ask yourself a seriously dangerous question: what do I feel like doing?

Why Motivation Sucks

If the scenario above resonates for you, then you are probably using motivation as your go-to productivity strategy – and it’s the worst strategy imaginable. This is where you hope that some external pressure (read: motivation) will come along and prod you into action. While it does feel good, motivation is completely unreliable. Motivation relies on your emotions and your emotions are constantly changing. And as a solopreneur, you simply do not have the luxury of waiting to feel working on your top priorities.

You need to get shit done! Immediately, if not sooner.

Want to radically upgrade your day-to-day productivity? Here’s the big secret:

Ditch motivation and choose tenacity (aka willpower) instead.

Here are three tenacity tips to help you get started:

1. Stop Learning

When we become solopreneurs, the first thing we do is become students of all things entrepreneurship. How many ebooks and bootcamps and programs and infoproducts on entrepreneurship have you purchased?

Now, how many of these programs have you actually implemented?

This stuff is inspiring and motivating and oh-so-easy to buy into. I get it. But most of these things end up in a dusty folder on your desktop.

Enough already! Stop buying new programs and downloading new opt-ins. Implement all you’ve already learned from the dusty ones. You know more than you think you do.

2. Launch a Consistent Activities Plan

Most solopreneurs I know work in constant project-mode, moving from one project or launch to the next with little happening on a consistent basis.

To stoke your tenacity, build and execute a solid Consistent Activities Plan. Develop a list of things you need to do daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, and quarterly to grow and upgrade your business. These are not things you want to do when inspiration strikes; these are hard and fast commitments that you will do whether you feel like it or not.

3. Build in Solid Accountability

When you work in a job-job, there is accountability around every corner. You’ve got bosses and coworkers and sometimes even your bosses’ bosses with defined expectations and clear deadlines. When you run a solo biz, all that built-in accountability is gone and it becomes far too easy to let yourself off the hook.

Add some serious accountability into your life by drawing on the strengths and support of others. This may mean hiring a business coach, joining a mastermind group, working with an accountabilibuddy, or a combination of the three. More than just personal cheerleaders, accountability partners are there to track your progress, keep you inspired, and ensure that you don’t quit. Perhaps you don’t need a whole team of people – like mine – and just one person will do. Everyone could use someone to push them along towards their short-term goals.

Let go of your need for motivation and choose to do something that propels you forward today – starting right this minute – whether you feel like it or not.

1 2