Running a business, especially on your own, is no joke. What should we be doing every day, every month, every quarter, and every year? This was actually a great question from a fellow reader, so I wanted to share to you what I personally think of.
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- Emails - Just answering them. I don't typically categorize them right away, but if you have a few minutes (no more than like 5 minutes), go ahead and categorize them too.
- Order packing/shipping - For me, this is client work. Creating certificates, prepping for testing, shipping for testing, doing my managerial tasks for import clients, answering client questions in my private membership, etc.
- Breathe, Eat, Drink Water, Bathroom Breaks - Yes. I have timers and reminders for all of these things. I tend to hyperfocus and forget!
- Create new Children's Product Certificates - For most, this can be done on the first of each month since you know the things you are likely to make throughout the month. For me, I do this update for clients so they can have more time and focus on the actual creating.
- Log inventory & finished products that haven't been logged yet. If you are the type of person to push off entering in your receipts right away, that's okay! You can do these weekly or monthly depending on how much you purchase and make in a month. I wouldn't push it off much longer than a month though.
- Reconcile accounts - check that all income and expenses are accounted for and your bank/paypal/sezzle/etc. accounts are accurate.
- Log KPIs - These are your 'Key Performance Indicators' like how many email subscribers you have, how many shop sessions and shop sales (conversions) you've had, number of followers on social media platforms. They help you determine the health of your reach and visibility as well as the health of your conversions to sales. I personally use the Goal-Getting Guidebook by Janet LeBlanc at Paper + Spark.
- Clean up your computer - As someone who has personally unalived a number of computers & laptops and has duplicates of literally everything I've ever done, I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Categorize your files, photos, emails, etc. and place them on an external harddrive and/or cloud-based service. Once you've done this, run a storage clean up in your computer settings. This will help your computer last longer.
- Batch content - My friend Amanda Warfield is my personal favorite expert on this. She spends one week doing everything there is to do for content so that the rest of the month is open for dreaming for your biz and spending time with your family. Plus, if she just has an off month or is on vacation, she's got a set up so that she can easily pull from a bank of content and not worry about creating anything that month! You can find all of her tricks in Club Content Batching (this is not an affiliate link, but if you join, I'm in there, so say hi!).
- Duty Day - I've been following Ashlyn Carter for quite awhile and I'm impressed (and a bit overwhelmed) by her 'Duty Day' that she talks about in this article. She's a copywriter and has a ton of great information that she shares from her immense experience.
- Inventory - Yes! I'm saying it again! Even if you keep up with your monthly inventory/finished product tracking, it's a good time to check that your numbers are still accurate. This makes end of year inventory significantly easier. Janet at Paper + Spark is a CPA and has a fantastic set of spreadsheets for inventory & income/expenses!
- Design - Have fun! What are your themes and designs for the next 3-4 months (or 6 months if you can manage it!)?
- Schedule - Your New Years drops should be out now. Your spring stuff/Valentine's stuff should be getting ready to go out soon. In retail, Christmas is usually out by Halloween, Halloween out around August right after back to school finishes, and back to school starts around June. Stay ahead!
- Reflect - It's good to ask yourself each month, quarter, and year what worked well and what didn't in the past time frame. From there, you can take that information and build upon and think of new plans.
- Automations - This one is a BEAR. Automations and I have a love/hate relationship: I love them, but they hate me. Because of the potential for hiccups, even when nothing has been touched!, I recommend giving them a look to ensure everything is still going smoothly (especially any opt-ins you may have going).
- Shop Updates - Make sure everything is flowing the way you want it to and that information is up to date.
- Renew CPSC Registration - This is a quick 2 minute renewal in your Safer Products account. The CPSC will try to send an email letting everyone know that the renewal is open around mid-December. It will for sure be available every January. This video shows you want to do.
- Renewals for City/State - Some states require license renewals at certain intervals and it may be annually or every couple/few years. Make sure you know these dates. Additionally, if you pay sales tax on an annual basis, now is the time to get your records cleaned up so you can make that report in January/February when they are due. (Some states have a monthly or quarterly basis for sales tax.)
- Supplier Statements & Testing - Make sure to get updates to any statements and testing that was done in the last year. If you tested something in April 2022, any new purchases of that thing purchased after April 2023 will need new testing.
- KPI - Again, pull out your KPI information, Janet's Goal-Getting Guidebook, and start planning out your next year! Where were you this year and where do you want to be next year? Use those KPIs to help find an attainable goal.
- Tax Prep - I know you don't want to hear this, but yes. It's time. Federal & state income taxes are right around the bend and the holiday season has us stressed enough. I'm thankful to Janet of Paper + Spark that she holds a Bite-Sized Bookkeeping Bootcamp every year (since 2016!!) to help everyone get caught up before their tax preparers start eyeballing them because extensions are needed since they didn't have all of the information the tax preparer needed. Side note here: Janet usually has an early bird price around Black Friday/Cyber Monday until mid-December, then the price goes up and closes in February.
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