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This is part 1 in a 4 part series outlining a framework for keeping your 1-Person business simple and manageable.
This framework is a modified version of concepts found in Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Work Week. I’ve modified it to fit my needs. I encourage you to do the same.
The framework is simple:
In the digital age when storage is cheap and much of it lives in the cloud, we tend to collect things that pile up over time. It’s not only the files we save but the software we use, our processes, accounts, communication channels, and more.
From time-to-time it is important to trim things back and simplify how we operate. Even things that aren’t front-of-mind take up headspace, which is far more valuable than disk space.
Elimination is the first step in streamlining the way you operate. Skipping this step will only make a bigger mess down the road when it’s time to automate and delegate.
The key takeaway is that as a 1-Person (or very small) business eliminating things will help you keep your sanity. The goal is to have the freedom to choose how we spend our time. The fewer things that vie for your attention the more freedom you have to make that choice.
Dispense with the “I might need this someday” mentality so you can determine what is useful and what is not.
Once you start, the act of purging becomes cathartic, even addictive.
It’s time to clean house!
BTW, I do this exercise about once a quarter to keep things tidy without getting overwhelmed.
My only disclaimer is that this is not comprehensive. You’ll need to decide for yourself what needs to go and there will be things relevant to you I haven’t thought of. Please feel free to leave me a comment with your ideas, I would love to hear them and in turn help more people.
Communication channels can add up fast and become a huge time suck.
Communities on Discord, Slack, and social media groups are often more than we can keep up with or make use of.
If you’re not active in something, drop it. I know you don’t want to miss out on anything but if you’re not engaged you’re doing yourself more harm than good. If you engage in a lot of channels, odds are there are other things not getting done.
For example, I knocked down the number of Discord channels I have from 11 to 5. I already feel more sane.
I could write an entire post on eliminating social media. Some people will tell you that you need to be everywhere. But as a 1-Person business you’ll find that difficult if not impossible.
My advice when it comes to social media and the 1-Person business is to pick 1 – 2 channels (3 tops) that make sense for your niche, and do them well. Keep the channels you’re good at, ignore the rest.
For Rogue Mogul that means Twitter. In the future I’ll make more use of YouTube but that will be the extent of my social media exposure.
Business Docs: Where possible I try to consolidate my use of software. For example I only use Word and Excel when it’s unavoidable. My official document repository is Google Docs.
Photos and graphics: For photo editing I use Photoshop. If you don’t do a lot of image work try Canva.
There are countless examples for software but the point is to pick one tool for a particular job and learn to use it well. There will always be something new with more bells and whistles. Don’t get distracted by that.
This is a big one. How many emails do you archive without reading every day? When I catch myself doing that it’s time to start unsubscribing from things… with extreme prejudice.
Our inboxes get so full we don’t even want to look at them. That means important things get missed or put off.
I have 3-5 newsletters I keep up with. Everything else gets an unsubscribe.
Be ruthless when it comes to limiting email subscriptions.
Eliminating processes can get a little tricky. Sometimes we start doing things for a reason and keep doing them when they are no longer necessary.
It’s important to take stock of what we are doing and why.
Sometimes you’ll find that a process is still needed, but some steps may not be. It’s ok if you can’t eliminate something but try to simplify it if you can.
For example, I have a set time every week when I update the plugins on the various WordPress sites I own. Last year I moved to a new host where I can choose to auto update the WordPress core and all plugins. I still check the sites to make sure everything works as expected but it’s one less step and takes me 1/2 the time.
Do you ever feel like you have files all over the place? It can be maddening when you have to find something and can’t seem to dig it up anywhere.
Depending on your needs, try to get down to 1 – 2 places where things live and you’ll always be able to find them.
For me that means everything lives on DropBox except docs and spreadsheets which are in Google Drive.
I love Dropbox because it’s easy to use across devices so whether I’m on my laptop, desktop, iPad, or iPhone I have access to everything I need.
Though it sounds like device elimination might be on my list. 🙂
I hope this sparks some ideas for you about places to look for eliminating where you can. You’ll feel lighter when you do.
I know it can be scary to throw stuff out, FOMO is real. But once you start you’ll find it feels good to “clean house” and have less stuff pulling at your attention.
What will you eliminate?