5 Productivity Tools Every Solopreneur Needs | Hacker Noon

This pandemic is the perfect time to focus on your side hustle

Saying that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented disruption to the economy is probably the understatement of the century.

While searching for a job now is your main concern (and rightfully so) why not take this chance to go on a better trajectory for your career?

Whether you have a dream of selling your own private label, starting your own digital marketing agency, or opening a burrito franchise, with technology so advanced you can build anything on your own.

This article will briefly outline how you can use productivity tools to your full advantage as a Solopreneur.

Move Signatures Online

If your work entails sending or signing a lot of contracts, whether it be financial agreements, NDAs or sales contracts, it is crucial to have an e-signature solution.

Signing contracts can cause a lot of unnecessary hassle: from printing contracts, putting pen to paper or scanning the document and filing it. This can cause a huge dent to your productivity.

DottedSign is an e-signature solution where you can assign contracts to the client using a mobile or PC. For clients who have not signed, you can set auto-reminders when creating the signing task to ensure that documents are signed on time.

Once the document is completed, all parties will receive the completed document and audit trail, automating the process of onboarding new clients.

Furthermore, DottedSign has advanced features for paid users, namely: 

  1. Creating a set of templates can save you time repeating the assigning process. 
  2. Sometimes,there are scenarios where supporting documents are required in the contracts or forms, for instance a copy of ID, driving license or certificate. DottedSign allows signers to request one or multiple attachments together with the tasks sent. 
  3. For larger teams, the DottedSign Admin Console offers an all-in-one-place centralized management center to manage team members and track each task’s progress in real-time.
  4. For solopreneurs like myself, branding is everything and DottedSign allows me to incorporate my company information into my emails. So when I request others’ signatures, clients can receive an email with my logo on it.

In addition, you can download the audit trail as a record for legal evidence in the event of any dispute in the future.

DottedSign is best used with mobile with friendly user interface design so that you can work with ease when traveling or commuting.

Organize Your To-do List

When first starting out, there are a million tasks to execute on, with each task looking more important than the next. This may be overwhelming, especially if you are used to working in a more structured environment.

Workflowy is a great tool to break down large chunks of your work into more manageable pieces. By using Workflowy you can break down a project into its finer details using bullet points.

You can cross out the tasks once it is completed, which should help you keep track of your progress on a project without feeling overwhelmed.

Once you have more than one project to work on, give each project an individual hashtag for easier tracking. 

To find the hashtag, simply search for the hashtag in the search bar and you will find all the lists with that hashtag. This is a useful feature when you have multiple projects to work on and have to look for a specific one

Lastly, you can export the entire Workflowy list into any document or group chat for easier work alignment with your team. Or you can use the “share” function and share a specific list with your team/freelancer to view and edit.

Automate Expense Tracking

As one person running a business, keeping track of the business expenses and doing the accounting can be highly time-consuming.

While you may find tracking of expenses unnecessary, keeping track of your costs is the difference between a profitable venture and one that is operating at a loss.

Expensify helps you automate this process, significantly reducing the time it takes for you to track expenses. When you take a photo of your receipt it will transcribe the data and store it for you.

To fully use this tool, integrate your credit card and apps such as Uber with Expensify to automatically record and reconcile your business expenses.

By automating expense tracking you can spend the bulk of your time working on projects or finding new leads for your business.

In addition to automating expense tracking, Expensify lets you integrate with other apps that serve your accounting, tax, HR and travel functions. This will make other aspects of your workflow smoother and more consolidated

Lastly, expense tracking is not limited to the individual. You can create approval workflows for your employees that will give you greater transparency on their spending. Reimbursement of their expenses can be done as fast as the next day with Expensify- 

Improve Your Note-Taking

Note-taking is an underrated aspect of managing clients. Understanding the exact needs of your client in meetings is essential for getting the work done with little to no revisions needed.

Evernote is a great note-taking tool you can use in client meetings. The app lets you save your notes web pages, images, PDF files and of course text.

One of the features you can use in client meetings is the “search for text in images function” After a brainstorming session, notes taken on paper and the whiteboard may get quite messy.

Simply take a photo of the whiteboard and Evernote will decipher the text for easier reference to notes that were taken.

Furthermore, notes that were taken using Evernote can be presented to your team from the app itself using presentation mode.

Your note can be divided into multiple screens when presenting. This is helpful for projects that have multiple segments where each segment can be allocated to an individual

When presenting, on-screen tools can be used, such as using your mouse as a laser pointer, switching between “day” and “night” mode and adjusting the font sizes.

While these are small features, it makes the presentation experience significantly better 

Better Manage Your Appointments

Client meetings, sales calls, calls with freelancers. As a Solopreneur, meetings are going to take up a lot of your time.

If you are not careful, these meetings may too much of your time, leaving you with little time for the actual work, much less have a life outside of work.

Calendly helps you automate your scheduling for these meetings, where the other party books your time based on the remaining timeslots on your schedule.

This way, you can minimize the time wasted engaging in back and forth to settle on the meeting date and time with the other party.

Furthermore, to give yourself more preparation time, you can add in buffer times before or after a meeting.

Lastly, if you run a small team or have freelancers working on specific projects with you, Calendly offers a single view on different meetings, allowing team members to join the relevant meetings

Calendly is also integrated with other calendar apps such as Google calendar as well as payment apps such as Stripe and Paypal for invitees to make payment to you easily 

Pay your dues first, then know your worth

There are two kinds of people across the freelance/Solopreneur spectrum when it comes to valuing their work, especially in the beginning.

First, there are people who charge a lot more than the market rate. Even worse are freelancers/Solopreneurs who do that even with little track record to show for.

On the other hand, there are freelancers/Solopreneur who undervalue their own work and charge less than what they are worth.

Knowing the right price to charge for your product/service is as important as receiving inbound leads. You do not want to waste all that hard work getting a new client just to sell yourself
short.

In contrast, if you are just getting started you may need to charge below the market rate first to build your credibility.

Whether you are selling a physical product or an online service, now is the best time to build your side hustle on your own.

Leverage these online tools and start your journey of becoming a Solopreneur today!

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