Is Poor Time Tracking Losing You Money?

Project timer

Recently I had a very revealing chat with Georgina, one of my top SpinLessPlates users.

She told me one of the things she loves about SpinLessPlates is how it’s increased her business awareness. Instead of operating in the dark, she’s using Spin’s live dashboard and quick and easy reporting functionality, to get a firm grasp on her business numbers.

“That’s fantastic”, I said.

And then I asked how she was getting on with the Project Time Tracking Software to track her time - and that’s when the conversation become really interesting.

Here’s what she said:

“I don’t think I need that. I’ve got an idea of how long things take and anyway, because my business is home-based I don’t have too many expenses so I can get a feel of what I’m earning based on the sales figures I can see on the Dashboard.

And in truth I’m pretty scared about what it might reveal...”

I was pretty horrified at her response because I could see how this approach was damaging her earnings potential.

You see, if you run a service-based business, time is your most valuable resource. That’s because as well as being finite in supply, it dictates the amount of billable work you can do.

In short, increase your volume of billable work and you’ll increase your potential income.

But to do that, you need to get a firm grip on how you spend your time in the first place. And that’s where a Project Timer really adds value.

It’s a really important metric...

A good project timer will keep track of the time you’ve spent on a task and allow you to keep a record of what you did during that allotted time

It may even have the capability to allocate that time to a specific project or customer. And the upshot is you become very, very aware of how long things are actually taking you to do.

And I guarantee initially you will ALWAYS underestimate how long you’ve spent on something. Can you see the danger in this? It means you could be kidding yourself about your profitability and if you’re not earning as much as you think, you’ll need to work longer and harder. And eventually it will affect your self-esteem when you see your hourly rate dwindling away.

N.B: To explore this idea further, and to calculate you Base Earnings Target check out this post.

Face your fear and take ownership of your time

I explained all this to Georgina and so she decided to experiment with SpinLessPlate’s project timer.

Here’s what happened...

“Once I decided to start using the Project Timer I’ve stuck to it pretty rigidly. And it’s had a massive impact on how I run my business. No longer am I kidding myself over how long a job is taking me - the data is there in black and white!

And yes it was scary - especially when I saw time ticking away and edging over my estimate. There have been occasions when I wanted to stop the timer or not use it this time because I’m only doing a small tweak, but on the whole I’ve been pretty disciplined and I’m loving the new level of visibility it’s given me.

Also it’s made me get a firmer grip on my costs. Paul prompted me to calculate my expenses and figure out how much it costs to run my business. As a result I’m now able to quickly calculate my profit per hour and profit per job. What’s more, I can also get a better understanding of which type of work is most profitable.

In short it’s stopped all the guesswork and finger in the air rubbish. And instead helped me focus. I’m even more committed to implementing the smart working practices I’ve learnt and it’s helped me to boost my overall efficiency."

There are other benefits too...

Georgina has also started to use the project timer to keep track of how long she spends on her own marketing projects.

"Because I can write my own copy, it’s easy to dismiss that time. However, I’ve realised this thinking is wrong. That’s because the time spent on my blog and other marketing material could be billable hours. Therefore it makes more sense to track and monitor that time so I can accurately cost my marketing."

And that’s not all Georgina has changed...

"As a micro business owner I was doing pretty much everything in my business - even those jobs that lay outside of my core skill set. BUT once I became aware of what each hour of my time NEEDS to be worth for me to achieve my financial goals, I started to see the HUGE advantages of outsourcing some of my non-core work. I’ve used a VA for the first time and I’m in the process of figuring out what else I can pass over to someone else so I can focus on what I do best - copywriting.

It’s been a huge eye-opener and I do feel that it’s given my business a more professional edge and more accountability. And all because I started to make my time fully accountable by using the SpinLessPlates project timer."

It’s all about smart working practices

As you can see from Georgina’s story, effective time management is the route to an increased earnings potential for all service based businesses.

So if you feel ready to take control of your time, sign up for SpinLessPlates today. Your first month is just £1 and you can make full use of its integrated Project Timer to give you that all important visibility.

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