career

The 5 simple hacks successful entrepreneurs swear by to claim back family time.

The nbn™ network
Thanks to our brand partner, The nbn™ network

Let’s face it. Being an entrepreneur isn’t always easy. Throw in caring for one or more small humans who require 24/7 attention, and things get a whole lot more complicated. Strong, intelligent and highly capable women juggling building a business with their second job, one with gruelling hours, little positive reinforcement that’s impossible to quit.

But for many mums, the rewards of being your own boss far outweigh the challenges. Flexibility, practicality, independence and doing something you’re passionate about are just some of the reasons why research from personal care company Kimberly-Clark shows 70 percent of mums have considered making the switch from employed to employer.

With technology and innovation figuratively and literally at our fingertips, there’s never been a better time to turn an idea into a solution than now.

There are so many advantages to running your own business. Image: iStock.
ADVERTISEMENT

Being your own boss also comes with its downfalls - sleepless nights, financial insecurity and crippling self-doubt. All of which can take you both physically and emotionally away from the reason you started in the first place, to spend more time with your family.

That's why we've put together five simple hacks you can incorporate into your daily routine of building your business to claim back much needed time for yourself and your loved ones. And they're straight from the brains of some of Australia's most successful entrepreneurs who have been there, done that and stuffed up all of the things so you don't have to... quite as much.

1. Accept you can't (and shouldn't) be everything to everyone.

When Mia Freedman started Mamamia in a pair of trackpants from her living room, there was no doubt she knew she was onto something good. But as her venture grew, so too did her self-awareness and the realisation that trying to do it all would be detrimental to long-term success.

"It's so important to know what you're good at, and what you're not good at," she says of the biggest things she wished she'd known before starting her own business.

This means delegating, or in layman's terms, accepting that there are people out there who can do a much better job of certain things than you could. This is especially hard for working mothers, because part of raising children is being their everything. But in business, outsourcing tasks outside your area of expertise is the key to growing quickly. Mia recommends "hiring against your weaknesses" and bringing people on board who have a different skill set to your own.

#nyc chillly @springst

A post shared by Mia Freedman (@miafreedman) on

If you're in the very early stages of start-up, hiring staff might not be an option yet, however you will know people in your network or social circle who can offer advice on the areas of your business that are a little fuzzy. For Mia, it's her husband, Jason Lavigne. Finding the right support and keeping track of tasks is ridiculously easy thanks to innovative delegation software, which brings us to the next point.

ADVERTISEMENT

2. Get the right tools.

Talking to The Honest CEO, founder of start-up success Edible Blooms, Kelly Jamieson can pinpoint the exact moment she was able to stop working in her business, and start working on growing it. It was in 2009 when the company took everything online in a cloud operating system.

"It was like a huge weight had been lifted off our shoulders," she says of the decision to introduce new technology into the business. "It [using technology] meant less time travelling on planes and more communication so we could work from home."

Mia agrees, saying "I wish I'd known how important it is the get the right tools before you start." And in 2017, that means the internet and connectivity, regardless of how big, small or niche your business is. Next comes a CRM (customer relationship manager) and an email autoresponder, because the very definition of insanity is repeating the same task over and over again. It's also the best way to suck hours and hours of precious time into a black hole, never to be enjoyed. Same goes for social media scheduling and marketing.

Kelly Jamieson leveraged technology to build Edible Blooms from the ground up. Image: Facebook.

The technology available to us is so accessible, it's just no longer smart to store all your data and information on an Excel spreadsheet. Spend some time researching and comparing CRMs and email autoresponders, all of which offer free trials or demos so you can give them a spin before deciding on which tools will suit your business and budget.

3. The 'Inbox Rules'.

According to the businesswomen behind gift giving service Group Together, Julie Tylman (mum to three) and Ali Linz (mum to four!), setting yourself some strict guidelines when it comes to managing your inbox is the "thing that will free up your time more than anything else."

Because whether you realise it or not, you're checking your work email around 36 times per hour, and it takes roughly 16 minutes to refocus after dealing with incoming emails. It's no wonder entrepreneurs have trouble squeezing extra hours into their days.

The simplest email hack (and this relates to all of your social media and iMessaging too) is to disable your desktop or mobile notifications. You know, the little banner or pop up that takes you away from smashing out the task at hand. Scheduling in chunks of time (ideally no longer than 30 minutes) to check your notifications will stop the five seconds you thought it would take you to respond to an urgent inquiry into hours of wasted productivity.

4. Write to-do lists you can actually manage.

It's the thing successful entrepreneurs like Boost Juice's Janine Allis and Emma Lovell of Flybabee swear by. "I diarise everything - if it's not written down, it doesn't happen," Janine told Mamamia on I Don't Know How She Does It, but here's the clincher. I do write to-do lists, we hear you cry in exacerbation. The skill is knowing how to write one that is achievable and encourages business growth, rather than a manifesto of all the things you'll never get done.

"...if it's not written down, it doesn't happen." Image: iStock.

And it's pretty simple: while two thirds of your to-do list will inevitably involve operational tasks, always dedicate one third to tasks purely related to growing your business. Whether it be developing a new product, writing copy for email marketing or scheduling a month's worth of social posts in advance, these are the things that will drive you forward, and free up time to invest in yourself and your family.

5. Just do it.

This last one's easier said than done, but anyone who's experienced the crippling vice-like grip of perfectionism will know exactly where we're going with this. Roxy Jacenko, founder and CEO of PR agency Sweaty Betty knows better than anyone the importance of just getting on with it. "Since I started my business at 24, I'm like, go out there, hustle, try it and get it done," she told Mia Freedman on No Filter. "If you fail, you just pick yourself up and keep going."

So much of our time is wasted on obsessing over the what if's and trying to get everything just right - if you wait for things to be perfect in your business before taking a leap, you'll always stay on the ground because, shock horror, nothing is ever perfect. But by backing yourself and putting things out there, you're able to test your offering and learn what's working and what's not.

This doesn't mean you don't do your research and come to the table prepared. What it does is that massive imperfect action is better, and will always save you more time in the long run than waiting and worrying.

What hacks do you use to squeeze more time into your day?

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner nbn

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???