It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a speaking engagement. The thrill of an audience and the satisfaction of a job well-done fills your mind.
However, there are other concerns you need to address, too.
Many speakers focus too intently on the actual speaking part. The presentations must be perfect to gain credibility and “wow” your audience. Not to mention the possible referrals that could result from a great engagement.
But what some speakers don’t realise is that they’re running their own businesses, too. That means that they will see the same challenges that any small business owner faces.
You may not have to worry about restocking retail products, but you do need to make sure that your business is well-organised. If it is, it can run like clockwork. And that spells less time that you need to devote to the administrative side of speaking.
Many speaker business owners already have a system in place. But there’s always room for improvement.
Who knows? You may solve a problem you didn’t even know you had.
Your time is precious. The last thing you want to do is spend needless time on administrative back-office tasks for your business. Take back your time and make your business run like a well-oiled machine with these tips:
Tip #1 – Declutter and Trash
Is your home office a whirlwind of dust and chaos?
Even if you don’t mind it, too much clutter can add to your daily stress. You don’t need to keep every little thing related to your business – you may run dangerously close to packrat territory!
So, how do you determine what is clutter and what is not?
First, not everything is important for all time. Each piece of clutter has a shelf life. And usually, that life reaches expiration with the beginning of the new year.
You can start with broken electronics.
Yes, you may eventually get it fixed. Or you may not.
If it’s still sitting in your closet after a year, the odds are that it probably falls under “may not get it fixed.” You don’t need them so toss them out or recycle them.
Keep a keen eye out for anything you don’t need or use. As a general rule, if you haven’t used it in the past year you can get rid of it. You don’t need it.
But what about all your paper receipts? Surely you need to keep them for tax purposes, right?
At least, you don’t need to hold onto a shoebox full of paper receipts. Most tax collection agencies accept electronic copies of receipts nowadays. So, start scanning and throw those faded restaurant receipts in the garbage bin.
You don’t even need to invest in a separate scanner if you don’t have the budget for it. There are many receipt management scanners and apps available for your smartphone.
Tip #2 – Plan Marketing Campaigns in Advance
If you use social media for your marketing campaigns, you may already know that it’s time-consuming. That’s time you can spend on other areas of your business.
To save time for your next campaign, schedule your posts ahead of time. Either write social media posts for the next few days or use a tool to publish it for you. Both methods can save you time and help improve your productivity.
Also, it’s a good idea to declutter your social media profiles. There’s no reason to have multiple profiles if you’re not actively monitoring and posting to each account. So, drop any of those accounts that you no longer use.
Tip #3 – Define Key Needs and Plan Accordingly
Have you ever tried to simultaneously define and execute your business goals?
It doesn’t work very well.
But you can keep your business moving by writing down your business goals and key needs. This way you have a definitive list of what you want to accomplish. You’re also in a better position to plan accordingly to make sure that your goals move in the right direction.
You can do this in a couple of ways.
The first way is by using a good old-fashioned pen and paper. Buy a planner that you enjoy looking at because you’ll see it often. Write down your list and plans and make sure to refer to it often.
Alternatively, you can also “go digital” and buy software to achieve the same goal. Find an app for your phone that you’ll actually look at or pick out software for your home office computer.
You may ask yourself why you need to study your goals and plans daily. The reason is twofold: adherence and evaluation. When you see it all the time, you keep your focus on the plan. Or you can see where you veered off the plan and make the necessary adjustments.
Tip #4 – Keep All Important Files/Documents in a Central Location
Managing documents is time-consuming for any business. More so if you have to look all over the place for that one piece of paperwork.
Keeping all your important files and documents in a central location can save you a lot of time in the long run. It also helps to keep them safe because you know where they are at all times. And you don’t run the risk of occasional trash bin hunting.
A “central location” can mean different things depending on your office setup and budget. If you like to keep paper files of everything, a filing cabinet is a must. Don’t forget to buy hanging file folders to keep everything separated and organised.
Alternatively, you can also store your important documents off-site. This is usually an option for larger businesses. But if there are some physical documents you simply can’t part with, you can always use a storage unit.
Going digital is always an option. If you’re already scanning your important stuff, you are halfway there. Keep important documents in one place, though. The last thing you want is a mad dash from cloud accounts to external hard drive to desktop.
One method isn’t necessarily better than another one. It all depends on your personal preferences.
Tip #5 – Go Paperless
As mentioned, you can always go paperless to declutter your speaker business. This eliminates the need to keep track of all those files and folders. Instead, scan the most important documents and keep them in a safe, central location.
This is a great method to both declutter and manage your office. However, you do need to develop a way to scan things on the go. Otherwise, you may struggle to keep up with the workload of scanning everything.
You can use a scanner app on your smartphone or use a dedicated scanner at home. It takes some getting used to. But you will see a reduction of paper on your desk.
And it’s great for the environment, too!
Tip #6 – Track Your Time
The terms “freelancer” and “billable hours” go hand in hand. But you can’t bill for hours you don’t keep track of.
Even if you don’t need to keep track of time to get paid, it’s still useful for any small business owner. Keep track of separate projects and the time you invest in each.
Tip #7 – Improve Your Workspace
Ready to get a little Zen for a moment?
In order to maximise your productivity, you need to create an environment that fosters it. That may include adding a few plants to your home office or cleaning up the cables. Standing desks are also a very popular way to keep you focused and improve your concentration.
Organising your workspace doesn’t always mean tossing things in the garbage. Sometimes, you need to add a few extra touches to create the work environment you need.
Tip #8 – Clean Up Your Inbox
When was the last time you cleaned up your email inbox?
If you have a few years of emails stored in your inbox, it may be time for a deep clean. Start by archiving emails that don’t need your attention anymore. Also, create specific folders for all those non-essential emails so they don’t clutter your inbox.
You may also want to think about unsubscribing to those newsletters that you don’t read anymore. All it does is interrupt your daily flow and create needless digital trash.
Decluttering your business also applies to your digital correspondence. So, start archiving or marking for “trash.” That way, you’ll only see the newest emails that need your attention.
Get Your Speaking Business in Order
Being on stage is one of the more glamorous aspects of having your own speaking business. But no one likes to talk about the gritty side of maintaining a business. Namely, the paperwork that can mount up when you’re travelling for speaking engagements.
But unless you have a personal assistant, you’ll need to take care of the administrative side of the business, too. And that means mounds of paperwork.
There are ways to keep the time you devote to these back-office tasks productive, though.
Decluttering your office, planning ahead, and managing your time are all great ways to keep on track. Don’t waste another second wading through a stack of useless documents. Streamlining your office organisation system can help keep you focused and productive.
Are you ready to learn more about starting or building up your speaking business? Contact Speakers Institute for more information: