Stowe Boyd, a good pal of ours, after indulging in a bit of rambling is offering some tips for solo workers on the FreshBooks blog. He breaks down a solo, or a virtual worker’s work flow into three parts
1. Doing The Work.
2. Marketing and Networking, which he thinks can be done well through blogging. He offers himself as an example. I can think of a few others.
3. Prospecting, Contracts and Cash Flow
By breaking down your available time into three equal chunks to focus on all three parts of the workflow can enhance a virtual worker/consultant/soloist’s life a lot more organized, Boyd says. But can you get by on making a third of your time billable?
Yes, and you will have to jigger your billing rate to make that work. I plan to only work 10 days per month, so that has to make all the ends meet. I know that 10 days will go to marketing and networking, and 10 days to prospecting, negotiating, contracts, and getting the money. I no longer fool myself that these things will happen by themselves.
I think it is the third part, that is the most important. Following up on leads, closing contracts and billing are tedious and time consuming part of our day. We normally don’t like to do these things because they are not part of our core competency, but still it is something that keeps the home fires burning. Stowe is spot on when he writes…
I know a lot of folks that find it hard — even with people they know well — to ask for a project, an engagement, whatever, and to demand payment later on. It may seem obvious but many consultants only get involved with this as a necessary evil, but it’s not. It’s just as central as delivering the goods and networking.
What is your workflow?
I attended a Biznetwork seminar a month or so ago which focused on financial planning which also gave me a few ideas about improving my own work flows and finances (let’s face it – the finances are pretty important and it is a really good idea to get them sorted out as quickly as possible).
Whether it is financial or otherwise, it is a really good idea to develop effective work flows that work for you and your business. Consider some of these ideas as a starting point and get cracking on those work flows.