For a freelancer or a consultant, one of the biggest challenges is; managing their time.
For a consultant, the phrase "time is money" is hundred percent true.
A consultant is paid for their knowledge and expertise on an hourly basis. But if they end up spending their revenue-generating hours in taking care of administrative tasks like scheduling, tracking prospects, payment, etc. Then can you imagine how much revenue and time they end up wasting?
If you think about it, every consultant is a seller. And a seller has many responsibilities which are not really revenue-generating but equally important still, like;
- sending out emailers,
- following up with customers,
- Cold reach out
- Scheduling meeting
- CRM updating, etc.
Along with this, they are obviously responsible for revenue generation. But do you know that they end up spending more than 60% of their time in work that can be easily automated with new-age tech?
All the above repetitive activities can be automated with calendar automation tools like MeetFox and a powerful marketing automation software. Consultants cannot track their leads on excel sheets or google sheets. It would become too cumbersome and time-consuming. Consultants need to add their leads in some CRM fast and automatically, and that's how EngageBay comes into the picture.
Are you a freelancer, a consultant, or someone who is trying to better manage his time and remove or reduce all redundancy from his daily schedule?
If yes, then stick around; in this blog, we will list down the best ways to make scheduling efficient without much effort and time.
Tips to efficiently manage your time and schedule like a pro
Segment your day and follow a routine
It does not matter what you are working on or how many clients you have, set a routine for yourself.
In today's competitive world, it does not matter what your designation is; you end up wearing different caps for your job. And the best way to handle it is by segmenting your day for different work.
Wondering how you can do that?
Let us show you:
Prioritizing Revenue time or client meetings
You might get many meeting requests, prioritize the ones with opportunities or clients exactly matching your selling personas, chances are they will convert faster and contribute to your business end goal; revenue.
And at the same time, it is good to give options to your prospects to choose the time that is suitable for them from anywhere and anytime. And doing it over mail will involve too much to and fro messaging, which might irritate your customers and waste your time as well.
Instead, you can use a calendar automation tool like MeetFox for automating your whole calendar. They can self-schedule their meeting with you from anywhere, 24/7.
Remember about segmenting your calendar based on priority?
You can even segment your calendar meetings based on priority. For example, you have 2 follow-up meetings and one meeting with a big client. You can schedule the big client meeting in the morning giving them a high priority tag and saving the rest of the day for follow-up meetings and low priority meetings. So that if any high-priority meetings come in the latter day, you can schedule them and attend.
Preserving work time
Block time on your calendar for actual work like creating content, product work, designing, etc., alongside any administration work that you have to do like reporting, etc. If you are just involved in meeting and scheduling, other or main revenue-generating work gets deprioritized and is basically left unhandled.
Block the time in your calendar with a statement like "Focus time," "busy," "unavailable" to let everyone know you are not available. Or set calendar status as busy to override the calendar schedule when you need to focus on something.
Another way you can increase work time is by limiting the number of meetings or events on your calendar So that you can save an ample amount of time for doing actual work without any disturbance.
So that you can save an ample amount of time for doing actual work without any disturbance.
Preserving learning time
In this fast-paced competitive world, it is essential to keep one’s skills updated. That is why preserving some time in your calendar for learning activities like reading, watching webinars, listening to podcasts and catching up latest trends and updates.
You can save block time at the start of the day before you start your daily hustle or at the end of the day after you are done with all your work for learning activities and update your calendar accordingly.
Additionally, you should also block your calendar time for personal time and breaks, so it makes your daily routine streamlined. And you get to rest in between every task. The mind can not function properly with just work and no play.
Save time for unpredictable tasks
Always imagining an ideal condition is foolish if we dare say so.
There will always be some additional high-priority task or work that may land on your table. It does not mean you disturb your entire schedule to get that task done. It will create chaos first your daily routine and create a delay for other tasks.
Instead, it makes sense to block some additional time in your calendar for unexpected tasks. If no new tasks or unpredictable work falls on your table, it is well and good; you can use this time to learn or catch up on some task you were falling behind.
To keep track of your customers and pipeline, you can use the traditional old CRM’s like HubSpot and Close. But there are many HubSpot alternatives that have added features. They can help you in creating tasks, contacts, adding contact details, deal notes, etc., and later verifying the information.
So what can be done?
You can integrate MeetFox with your CRM using workflow automation solutions and directly add your meeting information to your CRM database without any manual effort. Once you connect your tools, every time any meeting is set up, a trigger is sent to CRM for creating a name, id, and event type.
With CRM automation, you won’t just save administration time but it will also help you forecast your future revenue and crisis. And thus save a lot of manual effort time in creating deals forecast?
CRM automation will make your pipeline transparent with complete deal details, future meetings, and opportunities, which will automatically help you forecast the revenue and crisis.
Automating drip campaigns
Now that you have a set of contacts in your CRM, there are also new people every day signing up on your website.
You can't send so many emails manually. Imagine how many welcome, warm-up mail, sign-up mail, scheduler mail, etc., you will have to create and send on a daily basis. And how much time will you waste?
Create workflows and set up email campaigns for every action a user performs on your website. And even create workflow mails for contacts on your CRM based on the deal stage, customer lifecycle, etc., so you don’t have to create and send these mailers every day manually.
Enabling invoices and payments
Similar to how you created drip campaigns, create automated mailers for payment collection and invoices. If you don't, you will end up spending a crucial amount of time sending invoices, reminders of payment to your customers.
Calendar automation tools like MeetFox allow you to integrate your calendar with payment services and gateways so that your customers can directly pay on the invoice mail post your last meeting.
To sum up
To sum up the whole article or how to efficiently schedule your time as a consultant:
Remove inefficient and repetitive manual processes
Identify the redundancies in your daily activities or work that can be easily automated. Activities that are time-consuming, repetitive in nature, and create bottlenecks in revenue-generating tasks.
Chances are, these tasks are just overburdening your schedule and can be easily handled by automation and cloud-based tools. Consultants who spend manually taking care of these tasks end up losing revenue and time and even miss out on crucial opportunities.
It is crucial to understand what tasks you should handle and what tasks should be just left to the SaaS tools.
Employ Automation for scheduling and management
There is no doubt that these robust cloud-based SaaS tools are revenue savers in terms of labor, time, and repetitive tasks. So it is not tough to imagine its benefits in the time management and scheduling process.
As a consultant, it is essential for you to handle multiple works simultaneously like CRM updating, sending sign-up emails, running drip campaigns, sending invoices, etc. Appointment automation tools allow you to do all this and give your prospects the freedom to schedule the meeting according to their availability.
It even gives you the freedom to block your calendar for actual work and personal time so that no one can schedule a meeting with you or disturb you in your focused time.
About The Author
Radhika Mohan Singh Roy is the Head of Marketing at EngageBay. He was previously a Senior Marketer with Agile CRM, Manager for Communities & Social Media at Simplilearn, an AdWords Strategist with Google, and has also worked with Apple and Bank of America. He has a Masters' degree in English and is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt.