A few weeks ago, we talked about ​ creative entrepreneurs wearing three hats to run a successful business​ – the Maker, the Manager, and the Marketer. In July, we talked about ​how you can up your Maker ​game by cultivating curiosity and working on your craft. Let’s make August our Manager month!

Being your own manager can be tough because most of the tasks are “grown up” and not fun. But the manager side of things is essential to your success, whether you are a full-time creator or a corporate citizen. The most effective approach to management involves two steps: establishing systems and using tools to enhance efficiency.

Managing Your Time

Let’s start with managing your time, setting goals, and planning your year. As I mentioned at the beginning of this year, I personally don’t find goal setting helpful. Instead, ​I divide the year into quarters​, deciding which projects take priority in each quarter. I focus on completing those projects by ​chunking down​ each into 5 – 10 steps.

Another way of setting goals is using the SMART goal method.

  • You get clear about what you want (Specific)
  • Find a way to know you’re on track (Measurable)
  • Make sure it’s something you can really do (Achievable)
  • Ensure it matters to you (Relevant)
  • Set a finish line for when you want to achieve it (Time-Bound).

This method helps you zoom in on what’s important, stay on schedule, and celebrate your achievements along the way.

Set up a checklist of things you have to do each month for your business.

  • Are there recurring tasks that you can either create a system for or find a tool for?
  • Are there things that you can delegate to a virtual assistant or an unpaid intern?

Use scheduling software to book meetings and avoid lots of back and forth emails. I use ​Acuity​. (Affiliate link)

For social media use a scheduling tool and batch your content. Pick a day each month to spend creating social media posts for the month.

Instead of answering emails all day, schedule time in your day to read and respond. I answer emails once a day so I can focus on other things.

Managing Your Finances

Set up automatic payments for bills, savings, and investing. ​I Will Teach You To Be Rich​ by Ramit Sethi teaches you how to automate your finances. I recommend this book to everybody. This is a no stress system to pay bills on time, improve your credit score, and grow a nest egg. Create a tax deduction template spreadsheet. List all your deductions. Include all the expenses that are the same from year to year like your LinkedIn. This makes tax time way less stressful because you are not hunting for most information that you need.

File all of your receipts in an alphabetical accordion folder. Bonus points if you put them on the spreadsheet as you spend.

As creatives, we are not always good at some of the business stuff and that is okay. Set up systems and tools to help you. And if you can afford it, hire someone.

Want more content like this? Click here to subscribe to my newsletter.

Buy my book!