Do you ever have those days where you feel stretched too thin as you juggle the demands of running your business? If so, know you are not alone. Being a solopreneur is not for the faint of heart. You have a lot on your plate. Throughout the day you wear a variety of hats. You are required to focus on emails, your projects and schedule, social media and finances to mention just a few of your responsibilities. No wonder there are times when you feel mentally and physically overwhelmed and exhausted. That is why it is critical that you utilize business apps that can lend a helping hand.
There are hundreds of apps to assist with effectively organizing and managing your business. Below are 5 categories of apps that I believe are essential for any solopreneur. Read on and see if you think they could help you and your business thrive.
5 Essential Apps for the Savvy Solopreneur
I. Email Management App
As a solopreneur there is no doubt that you send and receive numerous emails each day. Recently I read that according to “McKinsey Global Institute analysis: On average, 28% of work time is spent on email”. That is a lot of time! Why not save some of this time by automating the task? The more you can delegate to automation, the more time you have to do things only you can do.
There are many different kinds of email manager apps available. Their purpose is to ease email overload. Lets face it besides sending and receiving legitimate emails, you can also receive unwanted ones. It takes time to sort them.
Here is a link that will provide you with the best emails manager apps in 2022. Each app listed will provide a detailed description as well as a summary of its pros and cons. Depending on your business perhaps there is one that is better suited than another. Take time to explore the variety. In my opinion any app that will ease your burden of sorting, responding and managing your emails is worth the investment.
II. Scheduler App
Time is precious, especially for the solopreneur. There are only 24 hours in a day and you want to make the most of them. Clearly, as a solopreneur you are responsible for your schedule. While a calendar is useful (I have one above my desk for decorative purposes), a scheduler app is constructive.
As your business grows and becomes busier you will likely make an error if you continue to schedule by hand. Using an automated scheduler will reduce the chance of you dropping the ball. Below is a description of what a scheduler app can do for you.
Schedules Appointments for you: Gone are the days of manually booking appointments or chasing clients for a confirmation. Clients can now book an appointment online and you can set up automatic reminders. You can also block off those times when you are not available. The time saved can now be spent on other tasks.
Creates Efficiency for Clients: The easier it is for clients to schedule appointments, and the smother the appointment process is fulfilled, the more likely for recurrence. By automating scheduling, sending automated reminders, and integrating payment processing, you will enhance the overall success of your business.
Assists with Creating To Do Lists: Clearly, client relationships are a priority. However, as a solopreneur you have an abundance of additional responsibilities. Utilizing a scheduling app will make it easier to break down your “TO DO’s” into manageable bite size pieces. Your tasks can be scheduled around appointments. Calendly and Square Appointments are two apps, among many, that are effective. The following link gives a more complete list and brief description of the best scheduling apps for small business.
Remember, when using your scheduling app to schedule breaks for yourself. They are critical. Without them you will burnout.
III. Project and Work Management App(s)
Solopreneurs need to keep organized. Two tools that help with this are a project management app and a work management app. You might be asking yourself, “Aren’t these the same thing?” and the answer is No. “Project management tools help you coordinate individual projects, while work management sets up a system and process for all of your work, from day-to-day tasks to company objectives.”
Another question you might ask yourself is ,”Do I Need Both?” That is a question only you can answer. I strongly recommend a project management app at the very least. First, this type of app will send you automated notifications. These notifications can include when a new project is starting, when a project is coming due and when a task has been completed. Second, it will help you to set and stick to a schedule. You will have a routine, and stay consistent. Third, it will ease the sense of being overwhelmed and give you a sense of accomplishment.
Numerous project management apps are available. There are even apps that include both the project management and work management. Some considerations when thinking about what you would like in your app are:
- Managing tasks with due dates
- Project flow visualization
- The ability to add notes, links, and project files within my tasks and lists
- Adding statuses to tasks (such as in progress, overdue, on hold, etc,)
The following are a few project management apps to consider: Trello (for the visual learner), Task Pigeon (specifically created with the solopreneur in mind), todoist (simple), Asana (more for teams). Explore what is available and pick one that is right for you.
IV. Accounting/Bookkeeping App
As a small business owner you know how important it is to have clean and accurate financials. The best way to do this is to automate your record keeping, accounting processes.
If you are just starting out you may have a software program such as Pro-Ledger Online that enables you to make bookkeeping entries and view financial reports at anytime/anywhere. If you are a business that requires billing and invoicing you may want to consider QuickBooks Online-Invoicing. Whatever system you select it needs to clearly show income and expenses.
As your business grows and the demands upon your time increase you will want hire a bookkeeper and accountant. Once you have them in place speak to them to determine the right app for your business.
V. Social Media App
The final app I am recommending as a “must have” is a social media app. “The term social media refers to a computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through virtual networks and communities. Social media is internet-based and gives users quick electronic communication of content, such as personal information, documents, videos, and photos”.
One of the most effective ways to grow your business and gain customers is through the use of social media. As of October 2021 there were 4.5 billion social media users around the world. Clearly, sharing information about your business through virtual networks and communities is, without a doubt, one of the most effective tools at your disposal.
There are 6 types types of social media, “though this can be broken down in many ways, include social networking, bookmarking, social news, media sharing, microblogging, and online forum sites”. Some examples of social media are:
- Facebook (2.74 billion users)
- YouTube (2.29 billion users)
- What’s App (2 billion users)
- Instagram (1.22 billion users)
- Pinterest (433 million users)
But having a presence on social media does not mean you have to be on every social media platform. Your job is to determine which apps will work best for your business, customers and audience. My suggestion is that you focus on 1 – 3 where your target audience engages. Otherwise, you can waste valuable time, energy and money.
Once you have determined your social media platforms save time by creating batch content. Batching means doing a lot of the same kind of work in one day; grouping like tasks together for increased productivity. Your app(s) will allow you to schedule your content ahead of time. This way your focused effort allows you to create as much as possible (save time by not switching tasks).
Furthermore, in order to save even more time you can purchase an app that will allow you to manage all of your social media in one place. Hootsuite, MeetEdgar are two examples of this type of social media software.
As a solopreneur you have a lot on your plate, and time is precious. Over time you could become frustrated, overwhelmed and begin to resent your choice of being a solopreneur. That is why it is important to take advantage of the tools that can lend a hand.
Take time to research and select the technology that can best meet the needs of you, your business and your customers. There are apps that are free. However, if you need to spend some money it is worth the investment. Once these mechanisms are in place your business will have a positive workflow, and you will have the energy to enjoy it and your life.