Time is money, but sometimes you can buy time. You already buy back time in your personal life, so why not in business?
Paying a mechanic to fix our car instead of doing it ourselves.
Eating out instead of cooking at home.
Hiring a housekeeper to clean our house, so we don’t have to.
Buying back our time, we do it all the time in our personal lives, but why do some of us remain reluctant to do it in business? It’s likely due to a combination of factors: We value being busy, enjoy being in control, and may even have deeply ingrained beliefs about money instilled in us from a young age. Beliefs that tell us that we should protect money at all cost.
But here’s the thing, not buying back time in our business limits our growth—there is only so much we can achieve ourselves each day given the limited time. The good news? You don’t have to limit your growth as long as you find and implement ways to buy back time in your business. Here are three.
1. Buy Time with the Right Time-Tracking Solution
The Pareto principle or 80/20 rule implies that 20% of our efforts generate 80% of the results. This suggests that in your business you need to focus on those small number of tasks that create this 80%.
To help you determine what to focus on, consider tracking your time to identify time-wasters and tasks you’re most efficient at. While you can track time using your phone, the better approach is to invest money in a time tracking solution that will:
- Store all your time logs in the cloud
- Allow you to track time against specific projects and clients
- Automatically pull time logs into invoices
- Ensure every billable hour is accounted for
FreshBooks is one such solution. With cloud accounting at its core, FreshBooks also offers powerful time-tracking features that help you better manage your time to grow your business.
2. Automate Manual Process by Investing in the Right Software
Automation is about using online tools and software to do work that would otherwise require human input. By automating manual processes, you’ll realize many benefits such as:
- Becoming more productive with your time
- Having more time to focus on high-value tasks
- The ability to scale your business faster thanks to this improved productivity and focus
But How Do You Determine What to Automate?
Start by reviewing all the tasks in your business and identify those that require a lot of human input and take time. Then, ask yourself: “Can only I do this or is there software that can do it for me?” The chances are good there will be many processes you can start automating immediately, including:
- Employee scheduling: Many small business owners still schedule employee shifts via Excel and can benefit from software like Hubworks
- Payroll: Tools such as Gusto (U.S.) and PaymentEvolution (Canada) help you optimize your payroll processes
- Social Media: Scheduling remains tedious for many service professionals who do this manually. Scheduling software such as Buffer and Hootsuite puts scheduling on autopilot
- Invoicing: Using Excel and Word causes invoicing headaches — Creating invoices takes time, invoicing errors are common, and manually sending payment reminders can be a nightmare. But, cloud accounting solutions, such as Freshbooks, simplify this process by allowing you to:
- Quickly create invoices you can send on a recurring schedule
- Store all invoices in one location in the cloud, for easy access
- Send automatic late payment reminders
- Email Management: Managing emails are among the biggest time sucks, but software like MixMax lets you set automatic reminders, schedule meetings in emails, and create email sequences in advance
The bottom line: Don’t hold onto doing things manually because that’s what you’ve always done. Instead, embrace automation which will remove you from manual processes and save you time so you can spend more time doing work you love.
3. Buy Time by Outsourcing Your Work
With outsourcing, you’re paying someone else to get work done. You’ll typically want to outsource low-value tasks, such as email management, and tasks that you’re not particularly good at. Outsourcing allows you to focus on essential business areas and helps you maximize the results of tasks you’re especially good at.
Some examples of outsourcing include:
- Hiring an accountant or bookkeeper to manage your finances
- Hiring a tax professional to handle your taxes
- Finding a virtual assistant to do the work. Virtual assistants offer many services including:
- Email management
- Calendar management
- Social media scheduling
- Data entry
Take Note: Finding the right person for the job takes time and while you may be tempted to revert back to doing specific tasks yourself—don’t! Instead, put in a little effort to find that person as you’ll reap the rewards in the long run: More time to spend on meaningful work and tasks that will actually grow your business.
You already buy back time in your personal life. It only seems logical to apply the same principles to your business by investing in time tracking solutions, automating tasks, and outsourcing. In doing so, you’ll buy back time to grow your business or, if you chose, to spend more time with loved ones.
Regardless of your choice, know that FreshBooks is with you every step of the way. Join 10 million other small business owners who not only use FreshBooks to buy back their time through automated invoicing and time tracking features but also to track income and expenses, manage projects, and collaborate with their teams.