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  • looking for tips for the self employed

    I've been reading David's book, looks great.
    My wife and I are self employed and have several small businesses. These include developing web sites, writing, bookseller of new and rare books, and selling on ebay. We are looking to reorganize as an LLC to possibly be able to set up a health savings plan for ourselves, and looking at the way we do things. We have no employees or kids, but would like to sell the businesses someday. We work at home and are successful at what we do, although it's alot of work we're self reliant. We got tired of fighting the traffic in cubicle jobs years ago. We are also looking to get into real esate investing after we get further along in paying off some more on our house.
    In keeping track of tasks, I currently use MyInfo, a tab based outliner, an online messaging service Ureach, and a desktop calendar called Rainlender, while my wife uses Quicken and Outlook. For the outliner, keep technology, house, business, and personal organized in. Have been looking for an Outliner that can easily incorporate calendaring, notification, and show html pages in, modify, and export as xml or html, and also can use sortable tables in notes. Also have used an open source ToDoList package. Am also learning new CMS technologies which takes time..
    My problem is the multitude of tasks that need to be done and sorting a priority to.
    In addition to our work, we just moved into a 50 year old house which we are fixing up. It is livable, just needs work done on redoing rooms and such.
    I have found the series of books - Multiple Streams of Income to be useful, by Robert Allen, as well. Has anyone else read?
    Would be interested in hearing from the self employed in the methods (the tools) they use to stay organized, especially geared toward tips and open source type of software.

  • #2
    I'm also self-employed.

    One of the most important things I've learned organizationally is that your system has to be flexible enough to grow with you. If it isn't, it will fail when you need it the most. Over the last two years, my business has more than doubled, which means that I'm juggling many more projects at any given time. While doing the GTD brain dump I figured out that I'd inadvertently planned as if I had 27 hour days, simply because I wasn't fully aware of how long each commitment would take.

    My own system uses ResultManager, a MindManager add-in, as the central repository for projects and actions. It's fairly expensive, but open source mind mapping tools exist, too. ResultManager syncs with Outlook, which maintains my contact database and my calendar, and also serves as a conduit to my Palm.

    I'm not entirely happy with my filing methods for project-related materials. Some materials are paper, some are emailed to me, and some are things I find online. I haven't yet found a way to combine the three as seamlessly as I would like. Currently, I'm using Furl and CiteULike to manage online references, and PaperPort to manage both paper (scanned) and electronic materials that I have locally. For general notetaking and brainstorming I prefer paper, but keep undeveloped ideas, quotations, and similar materials in a local wiki (WikidPad, for now) for linkability and searchability.

    Katherine

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