Entrepreneurship and freelancing are on a sharp upward swing. In fact, data from 10x Management indicates that 60 million U.S. workers will go freelance by 2020.
A few specifics from the company’s findings include:
- 15 to 20 million people will leave the full-time workforce in the next five years to become freelancers
- 2 million new tech jobs will be created in that same time
- W-2 full-time tech workers waste literally billions of hours each year in meetings, etc.
- A significant number of companies will be forced to hire freelance workers
If you’re among the entrepreneur/freelance revolution, you know the freedom and opportunity that such a life brings. You also know the blood, sweat and tears that accompany the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
Going it alone is hard. Very hard. Fortunately, with so many millions of people becoming entrepreneurs, an increasing number of resources are available to help you succeed in this new business environment.
Media strategist and super connector Scott Lazerson says it best:
“A really hard obstacle of successful entrepreneurship is all the time and energy spent on things that have nothing to do with your product or service. If you want to spend your time innovating and taking life by storm, then look for resources that minimize time-draining busywork.”
If you’re looking for ways to save time and reduce pitfalls in your entrepreneurship, the following small business resources are great starting points.
Business form templates
Whether you’re just starting to venture into the world of entrepreneurship or you’re the founder of a 10-year-old company, templates are important for creating efficiency and simplifying business. While there are countless templates your business can look into, here are a few important ones:
- Business-plan templates are highly useful tools that can spare you some very costly mistakes. Writing a business plan can be difficult and time consuming. To make it even more intimidating, doing it carelessly can lead to big trouble for any venture.
- Proposal templates are also excellent tools for almost any kind of business. Writing effective proposals isn’t easy. It takes time, creativity and research. If you need to create a proposal but you’ve never written one before, you’ll have to become a very fast learner of what works and what doesn’t. Unless you have a budget to hire a highly-experienced proposal writer (or an agency), don’t be afraid to make use of good proposal templates!
- Invoice templates are also very important. While collecting money is the exciting part of business, creating and tracking invoices can be a major chore. Many invoice templates and invoice creators are available, so look for one that suits your needs.
Again, there are countless business templates that can help you save time and mistakes.
Managed web hosting
Are you currently managing your business’ website? If so, you know how time consuming it can be. Some businesses opt to save time by hiring a full time webmaster to maintain all things website-related, but that can be very expensive.
A better solution for many businesses (especially small to mid-sized businesses) is managed web hosting. With managed hosting, your company’s site is monitored and maintained by skilled webmasters. Letting trusted pros handle everything reduces the IT work needed at your company. Rather than worrying about server security, performance and downtime in your business, let a hosting company handle it all.
Besides gaining peace of mind, managed hosting provides some bottom-line advantages, as well. As is the case with other types of outsourcing, the time and efficiency you gain can help your company outperform competitors.
Creating content, including blogging, is a vital part of establishing your brand and getting the word out about your products and services. If you’ve never blogged a day in your life, don’t panic. Many people with breakthrough business ideas are not so breakthrough when it comes to blogging.
There are many blog platforms to choose from. Check out this guide to blog sites for practical tips on selecting one that’s right for you. Fortunately, many platforms are designed to save you time and resources. Most of them make creating your blog easier than you’d expect, with a quick setup. Platforms like WordPress offer a multitude of free themes if you don’t want to purchase one.
Of course, consistently coming up with good blog content that engages your readers is not so easy. Content is the challenging part. But setting up a blog? With the right resources, that’s nothing to be intimidated about.
As a business owner, you’re not the only one who can benefit from outside resources. Your staff are your most valuable asset, and they could use some assistance, too! That’s where helpdesk software comes in.
Helpdesk software enables your employees to quickly and easily provide the best possible customer service. With the right software, your customer-service staff can receive and respond to requests and online conversations with ease.
Good helpdesk software will organize customers’ Facebook, Twitter, email and chat requests into one single, actionable list for your employees. The software then provides your employees with simple, user friendly ways to quickly respond to those customer requests.
Helpdesk software offers many other features to help your employees provide exceptional customer service. Not all platforms are created equal, so be sure to research before making a purchase.
Not all customers want to use their phone for customer-service issues. But those who do make customer-service phone calls are more satisfied with businesses that provide fast responses to their calls.
As many small businesses know all too well, responding quickly to customer calls is much easier said than done. Many businesses don’t have enough employees to take on the number of incoming calls they receive.
Enter the call center.
Using a call center with dedicated customer-service reps can significantly save time for your company’s other employees. When dedicated call-center agents handle all your customer phone calls, your sales employees and other staff are freed up to effectively focus on their jobs.
Besides freeing up your employees’ time, dedicated call center agents also benefit your customers by giving them the focused attention they deserve. The better your company is at focusing on customer service, the more of a competitive advantage your company gains.
Take advantage of the resources available
Entrepreneurs and freelancers are do-it-yourselfers by nature, and that’s a very good thing! Handling everything on your own, however, can lead to burnout and unneeded stress. Be careful not to be so much a lone wolf that your business and your wellbeing suffer because of it.
With so many small business resources and tools available, there’s no need to think you have to concern yourself with every last detail. Rather, the healthiest thing you can do is remain on the constant lookout for ways of making life easier for yourself and your business. Your success and your health depend on it.