If you’re in the music industry, then odds are good that – at one point or another – you’ve expressed the need for more time.
Although there’s no way to increase the number of hours in a day, it is possible to automate more of what you do and free up more of your time to work on the tasks that are most important to you.
In this guide, you will discover five time-saving tips that should help you stay on top of – and even stay ahead of – your music industry professional duties.
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Time Saving Tip 1: Create Procedure Documents
In an industry that demands a lot of creative energy, the last thing you want to do is exert all of your precious willpower and resources coming up with new approaches to the same problems you're tackling every single day.
More than likely, there are repetitive tasks in your routine that need to be carried out on a regular basis. It might be scheduling a WordPress post or on-boarding a new client.
By creating procedure documents for yourself, you can improve your workflow and free up mind space for the most important decisions you have to make.
A procedure document is simply a checklist that you can refer to when you’re working on a certain task. It should outline the basic steps you need to take to get the task done, and include specifics instructions at each stage.
I use a software tool called SweetProcess to create my checklists. You don’t necessarily need to use anything that sophisticated to document your processes, but if you’re ever in a position to delegate these tasks to others, checklists are absolutely essential to have.
2. Automate Your Social Sharing And Save Time
From promoting a new blog post to sharing updates with your audience, there’s a pretty good chance you’re trying to maintain your social media presence to communicate with leads and customers on an ongoing basis.
Social media strategies are often at risk of being derailed for a lack of planning and organization. Even poor results can often be traced back to a lack of an overarching mission or vision for what you’re trying to accomplish.
Using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer allows you to plan out your social posts in advance, and get them out when people are most likely to see them.
This doesn’t necessarily make social sharing a hands-off process, because you’ll still want to think about who you’re trying to connect with and what you want to share with them, but if you set aside a little bit of time every week to put together a queue of social posts and plan out when they will be published, you can spend less time worrying about posting to Facebook and Twitter, and think more about how you’re going to get more clients.
3. Capture Your Music Related Ideas
Bottom line – you never know when inspiration might hit.
You might get a new idea for a marketing strategy or a blog post while you’re driving, while you’re in the shower, or when you’re talking to a friend. It’s not unusual for it to happen at inopportune moments.
But if you don’t capture that idea early, it could be gone forever. You might not be able to make note of it immediately if you’re in the middle of doing something else, but you’re probably not going to remember it for long, so you’ll want to take it down as soon as you can.
That’s where tools like Evernote and Google Drive come in handy. Though Evernote has a built-in organization system, and I do take advantage of it, I also apply my own sorting system to keep track of the many projects in my life.
For example, I use a three-letter abbreviation to categorize the various ideas or tasks related to particular projects. So every note begins with “TQC” or “TME” (or something similar), followed by a dash and a descriptive title. This way, I know instantly what each note is about, and I can also easily pull up all related notes by entering the three-letter code I came up with into the search bar. I apply this same idea to my weekly to-do lists too.
4. Simplify Your Invoicing
Invoicing one client is fine. Three isn’t so bad. But if your business involves regular invoicing, and you’re dealing with a large number of clients, then collecting payments and tracking your finances can quickly become a major headache.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am using two or three separate invoicing systems, but that isn’t really ideal.
One of the best invoicing tools I’ve found is FreshBooks. It will keep extensive records of your data, it lets you accept payments through several different channels (including PayPal), alerts you of when your clients have opened your invoices, and makes it easy to create professional looking documents too.
5. Track & Observe Your Stats
Whether you’re using your website, various social media platforms, or both to promote your business, it’s important to keep an eye on your stats to track marketing performance.
If you need to track your website visitors, Google Analytics is both free and extremely powerful.
If you need to get a better idea of what’s going on with your social media channels, Sprout Social is a great tool to use.
And if you need a way to pull together all of your data – such as sales, leads, traffic, ad spend and so on – into a single dashboard, then Geckoboard is worth looking into.
Things are constantly shifting in the marketplace, so observing and analyzing key metrics is essential to staying on top of the game.
The tools and tips mentioned here may or may not be right for you. Some may be applicable to your business while others aren't. Just think of it as a buffet, taking what you like, and ignoring what you don’t want.
One final bonus tip: you can connect various apps that otherwise would not connect by using platforms like IFTTT or Zapier.
As an example, you could connect a service like Gumroad to Google Drive, and have all sales information saved to a Google Sheets document so you can easily review product sales information later.
There’s no reason not to take advantage of the free or low-cost technologies that are out there to automate tasks and help you save time in your work life. Do a little exploring, and find what’s right for you.