Your Boring Filing Keeps Me Smiling!
December 30, 2020
Recently, I bumped into a retired colleague from my teaching days. She asked me if I was still teaching. I told her that I’m now a freelancer who helps people with admin tasks they can’t get round to. “Ugh!”, she replied. “That sounds boring.” I was quite taken aback because I think what I do is extremely interesting! Needless to say, the conversation changed direction fairly quickly.
Her reaction got me thinking about why I have chosen the path I’m on now. The main reason is that I like to be helpful. I get an enormous sense of achievement from taking on a task that is getting somebody else down and completing it for them. Another teaching colleague and I used to wish that we could each have a clone of ourselves just to do the paperwork associated with the job…. or to teach the class while we did the paperwork. Either would have been fine. The point was that there was so much to do we felt we couldn’t ever devote enough time to any one aspect of the job.
It’s the same when you run a small business. It’s often only one person who’s in charge of everything. That’s usually fine when you are just starting out but eventually the business gets to a size where there is too much for one person to do. Then, that feeling of being unable to devote enough time to any one aspect can get you down. Somebody once described it to me as “a bit like spinning plates..” That really resonated with me because it echoed what my teaching friend and I meant when we said we wanted to clone ourselves!
It’s not (yet) possible to have a clone of yourself…
I suppose that helps explain why I decided to offer my help to busy business owners. It’s not (yet) possible to have a clone of yourself, but it is possible to get somebody else to take on some aspects of your business. So now, people get me to answer emails, correspond with customers and file receipts (among other things). Then they have time to design new products, create new ranges, do up customers’ houses or take time off to be with their families.
It’s been nearly three years since I started my business and, in that time, I’ve worked with different sorts of people. The first person to ask for my help was the web designer who created my website. (You can find her here). She was finding her inbox overwhelming and asked if I would sort it out for her. After it was done, she said she could find things so much more easily. I now check each day for invoices and file them when they come in. Once we got to know each other a bit she asked if I would take on raising and sending her invoices at the end of each month. It works out that, on average, she gains just under four hours a month by getting me to do these tasks.
…not enough hours in the day..
Everybody I’ve worked with so far has the same issue… not enough hours in the day. They all have procedures for their admin and have tried various ways to stay on top of it. Some have tried to do little and often but haven’t been able to sustain it. Others have tried to set aside time each month but that hasn’t worked either. They all want to get caught up so they can either start afresh or hand some tasks over to me.
Far from being boring, the tasks people need help with have been interesting and varied so far and I’m always happy to learn new skills if it means I can lighten somebody’s load.
Some of the tasks I can help you with are listed here and in my next blog I’ll describe them in a bit more detail.