Lisa Tanner is one of those people who always has an infectious energy…
She’s a mother to SEVEN children, an educator, a homesteader AND a freelancer with a growing roster of clients.
Obviously, Lisa is very good at time management.
She’s even better at squeezing in work in the short spans of time that most of us would write off as wasted. Lisa’s guest post today teaches us – mere mortals – 50 ways to grow a freelance businesses in 15 minutes or less.
Are you struggling to move the needle on your ever-growing to-do list?
Do you feel like your business could finally take off if you could only devote more time to it?
I know the feeling!
As a busy mom of seven, I simply don’t have hours to spend sitting and trying to focus on my growing freelance writing and virtual assistant business.
So what do I do?
I’ve learned to take advantage of those little bits of time I find myself with throughout the day. You know, that time when I’m:
- Waiting for the hamburger to brown;
- Sitting with the toddler waiting for him to fall asleep;
- Waiting for the kids to find a missing library book so we can load the car;
- Waiting for meat to defrost in the microwave;
- Realizing that the kids are all playing nicely together…
I call those my spare minute moments. And I’m sure you have some unexpected free minutes in your day as well.
These moments never last long, but they can really add up over the course of a day. However, they only add up if you choose to use them wisely.
You may think, “Why bother? It’s only 10 or 15 minutes.”
I’ll tell you why. Those 10-minute moments can make the difference between a stagnant and a growing freelance business.
Let’s look at it this way – if you can find six, 10-minute chunks of time throughout the day, that’s an extra hour. If you have three, 15-minute opportunities and four, 10-minute ones, you’re up to 85 minutes.
That’s almost an hour and a half!
Your business needle can really start moving when you spend an extra hour to an hour and a half on it every single day.
How Can I Grow My Freelance Business in 10-15 Minutes?
The secret to using all of that found time wisely is to have a plan in place before the time arrives. You need to have a list of short tasks that you can accomplish.
1. Be Prepared
You also need to have the supplies you need ready. It doesn’t take much. I keep a pad of paper and a pen in the kitchen so I can grab them and start when I’m waiting on dinner.
I take my iPhone out to the barn with me so I can check job boards, type a note or take care of some emails while I wait for the hose to fill the stock tanks.
Think for a few minutes about where you usually have some extra minutes. Then ensure you have some supplies there so you can put your time to use.
2. Pick a Task and Start
If your space is prepared and you have some time, it’s simply a matter of picking an item and getting moving. It takes a little motivation, but you can do it!
It helps to break your list down by category. That way you can decide what sort of task you’d like to work on. On the off chance you have no idea, here are a few ideas of quick freelancing tasks you can accomplish, broken down by category:
1. Set Up Your Business
If you’re just getting started, there are plenty of small tasks you can do. For example, going online to the IRS website to register for a Tax ID number takes just a couple of minutes for freelancers in the United States.
Get Google Going
Or you could hop over to Google and set up a new business email address that corresponds with your domain name.
Once you have your email address, see if you can claim a Google Voice number as well. That way you don’t have to share your home or cell number with strangers over the internet.
Quick side note: Sometimes Google won’t have a number available for your area. Just keep checking back. I started trying in August of 2015 to get one for my area, and it finally happened—at the end of January, 2016. Yes, it took six months for me to secure a Google Voice number!
(Gina’s side note: You can pick the biggest city next to you and use that – for example, we live ~35 minutes north of Minneapolis, but I selected Minneapolis as “my city” to secure mine a couple years back!)
Start Working on Your Website
A small chunk of time is all you need to register a domain name. Gina has an amazing tutorial that walks you through the process. If you have a little more time to spare, go through her whole 7-day tutorial for Branded Website Success. It’s so helpful, and helped me completely redesign my freelance website!
2. Find Work
No matter where you are on this freelance journey, having work coming in is always a good idea. You can use little bits of time throughout the day to find more work.
Find Prospects & Cold Pitch
Read Gina’s post on how she’d land clients today. Then, take one action step.
Try researching startups in your niche. Doing a Google search takes just a couple of minutes. Write down a couple of possibilities to come back to the next time you have time.
You could also make a list of local small businesses who may benefit from your virtual assistant services.
Once you have your list of prospects, spend another small chunk of time researching contact information. That way you have everything you need to send your cold pitch once you have it ready.
Don’t know what virtual assistant services you can offer? Download the list we’ve put together to give you some ideas of what solopreneurs are looking for.
Job Board Search
If cold-pitching isn’t your style, you could also check out job boards or Craigslist to track down potential gigs.
Do that first, and then give the whole cold-pitching thing a try. It’s actually fun once you get the hang of it. And that’s coming from a super shy gal who’s a total introvert…
3. Market Yourself
Marketing is essential for business growth. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to market yourself in just a couple of minutes.
Make a connection on social media. You can Tweet, Update or Pin. Or do something else on those other social media platforms that I haven’t ventured into much yet. What can I say, I’m still learning!
More Marketing Suggestions
Comment on blog posts in your niche. Design a quick ad for your local newspaper. Find out about joining your Chamber of Commerce and how you can attend their networking events.
Whatever you do, get your name out there. That will help your business grow.
4. Do Some Paperwork
Ugh, paperwork. I still dread that stuff from my days spent teaching special education. There’s some killer paperwork in that field.
Anyways, can I let you in on a little paperwork secret?
If you take care of your paperwork before you’re buried in it, you’ll be much more efficient! That attitude makes paperwork the perfect candidate for a quick freelance task.
You can update your income tracker, or make a digital copy of a business expense and file it away appropriately.
Create and Send Invoices
If you actually like being paid, you should make sure creating and sending invoices are on your to-do list. Once you have a plan in place for invoicing, it doesn’t take long.
Gina likes Freshbooks.
I typically just create invoices in Word or Excel and email a PDF. Pick a method that works for you, and go for it. You can always change later.
5. Take Care of Images
A blog post without an image is just boring.
It probably won’t be read. Images are that important!
The great news is that it doesn’t take a ton of time to take care of images. In 15 minutes, you can do a quick search for a Creative Commons photo. Or you could get out your camera and snap some pictures to use in future posts.
If you need to edit a photo or add a headline, try using PicMonkey or Canva. These are both user-friendly platforms. Once you learn how to use them, you’ll be able to knock out your edits quickly.
6. Maintain Your Blog
Do you have a blog?
Just like your car, it requires a bit of maintenance to ensure it runs smoothly. Most of this maintenance takes just a bit of time.
Plugins and WordPress often need updating. Check out your dashboard and install needed updates.
If you have a personal blog you’re working on turning into a business, you may need to go back and update your posts. You can check them for SEO purposes (I recommend Yoast SEO) and ensure they have an attractive image.
Banish Some Spam
But being buried in spam sucks even more. Take a couple of minutes to deal with your junk comments.
7. Improve Your Skills: Writing
We can all stand to improve our skills. It can only make us more hireable.
If you’re a freelance writer, your typing speed is directly correlated to the amount of money you earn. If your typing needs a boost, take an online typing test.
And taking time to write daily will make you a better writer.
Set your phone’s timer for 10 minutes … and write. Just let it all go and don’t worry about spelling, grammar or anything like that.
8. Improve Your Skills: Virtual Assistant Services
Successful virtual assistants can offer a variety of services for their clients. If you’re hoping to add additional services, you can grow your knowledge in small bits of time.
Hootsuite also offers several free courses on Social Media Marketing. You can break up the lessons to fit into your spare time and eventually work your way through them all.
Are you tackling your to-do list in your free time? What other tasks can you knock out quickly?
Lisa Tanner is a writer for hire specializing in parenting, growing a small business, and education. She’s a homeschooling mom of seven, enjoying life with her family on a large farm in Washington. Lisa loves helping other moms find better balance in life. Check out her free e-course, Balancing Life’s Vocabulary here. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaTannerWrite.