You hit the road because you dreamed of freedom and adventure. If you’re like most entrepreneurs though, you hit a patch in your business where you haven’t been seeing much of those dreams. Instead, you’re running your business, stuck inside your rig or at the nearest coffee shop and having to really carve out time to take those hikes or watch a sunset that’s not over the top of your open laptop.
Your business is a wonderful tool that allows you the freedom to live on the road, but what if you could spend a little more time stepping away to enjoy life?
You, my friend, need some systems.
Something to Manage Your Schedule
For many of us hustlers on the road, a large part of our business depends on connecting with other people. We’re scheduling meetings with clients, calls about potential collaborations or interviewing people for our own content. Truth be told, without a tool, we probably spend as much time going back and forth to find the right meeting time, and trade meeting details, as we do having the actual meeting. And let’s not forget the pain of sorting out time zones.
A scheduling tool can make a world of difference. You send them a link, they enter their time zone, see what times you have available, choose one, and enter their contact details. You both get a confirmation email and even reminders. Congrats, you just saved yourself a ton of time.
My tool of choice for this is Acuity Scheduling. Calendly is also an option, and many full-fledged systems like Dubsado are adding scheduling tools.
Something to Manage Your Money
Money is a pretty central part of your business, right? If your business involves proposals, invoices, or payment plans, you need a system for this. I’ve known some amazing business owners who have grown huge businesses painstakingly building out proposals and invoices in Word documents and sending them out. Tracking payments in Excel, and making tons of money.
But why put yourself through that so you do have to? There are plenty of tools that will allow you to customize and send out proposals in a few clicks and automatically follow up with an invoice and contract without you needing to lift a finger. That’s right, you could onboard that client and get paid while you’re out hiking.
My tool of choice for proposals, invoices, contracts, and even tracking my business revenue is Dubsado. Freshbooks, Wave, and Xero area also great options on the money side. For full-fledged systems, there’s also Honeybook and 17Hats.
Something to Manage Your Website
A lot of us tend to be DIYers, and I get that, but one place you don’t want to skimp is your website. I cannot say enough about how much time having a good host and maintenance plan can save you. If something breaks, goes down or is just acting wonky, it’s well worth having someone you can trust to hand it off to and get it fixed.
And I speak from experience here. Even if you’re good at the web stuff, your website will go down at the least opportune time. Probably in the middle of the night when you’re boondocking somewhere with terrible connectivity.
With a great host and maintenance system in place, the chances of your site going down or being hacked can be greatly reduced, but if something does go wrong, you can rest assured that it’ll be in good hands.
I always recommend Betty Lou Hosting for this.
Something to Manage Your Inbox
Raise your hand if you have more than 50 emails in your inbox. Raise your other hand if you tend to use your inbox as your to-do list. If you’re sitting there with both hands in the air, you, my friend, are experiencing an Inbox Stickup.
I’d say this is the hardest one for most entrepreneurs, nomadic or otherwise. So let me be clear:
Your inbox should not be your to-do list.
If you’re allowing it to be, then you’re allowing anyone with your email address to add tasks to your to-do list. No wonder you feel chained to your laptop.
If your email provider allows it set up some labels and filters to help you clear the clutter quickly. Sure, you need the email confirmations when your auto pays go through, but you really don’t need them clogging up your inbox. Set them to auto-archive to their folders and be done with it.
Connect your email with your actual to-do list or project management tool and send real to-do list items where they belong.
Really, just get to know the tools your inbox has and start using them!
My tool of choice for this is Spark (it’s Mac/iOS only, sorry). It allows me to combine multiple inboxes into one, automatically sort out the important stuff from newsletters and notifications, and provides a suite of usable features like connecting with Evernote, snoozing or sending later, even reminding me to follow up if someone doesn’t reply. Honestly, the Gmail browser interface does pretty well, too.
Sure, it takes a little bit of time to evaluate what tools are right for you and spend the time to set them up, but before you know it, you’ll be outside enjoying everything you’ve only been able to see from your rig’s windows. Maybe you’ll even get to take that three-week unplugged adventure into your favorite National Park.
Dani is a Business Systems Strategist. She helps entrepreneurs who want to ditch overwhelm to create a sustainable, dreamy business through establishing boundaries and systems that work for them. After 7 years in entrepreneurship, she knows that it doesn’t have to be all about the hustle and grind. It’s the systems and processes that we build that allow us to build empires and live dreamy lives all at the same time.
When she’s not nerding out over workflows, spreadsheets, and statistics, you can find Dani traveling with her husband and five kids, taking in a baseball game, or getting a little bit of peace and quiet on her yoga mat. Get all of Dani’s best tips, tricks, and tutorials at https://simplifiedbusinesssystems.com.