Who loves a good road trip? I do! 🙋 No, really, I do.  My family and I just got back from a road trip out east for some much needed quality time with my sister and brother-in-law. It was so fun!  One of our favorite activities was touring Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  Before we left on our road trip, it was predicted to rain much of the week, so my sister recommended we pack ponchos.  On the day of our tour we checked the weather to see if we’d need said ponchos. The timing was such that we were sure we wouldn’t need those ponchos, so we left them at my sister’s. I’m sure you can tell where this is headed….

We finished the indoor tour of Ellis Island and were stepping off the boat onto Liberty Island when we heard the first roll of thunder. Within a few short minutes, there was a deluge and anyone who could squeeze into the gift shop did. Oy. After waiting 20 minutes and feeling too excited to see Lady Liberty, we decided to take action. Without paying much attention to price tags we purchased 4 umbrellas and headed outside. And guess what?  The rain had slowed to a drizzle. No joke.  Of course, the umbrellas were non-refundable and when we finally checked the receipt,  cost us $25. EACH. 😳

If you’ve ever hung out with a New Yorker, you know that there are a few things they rarely leave home without. Let’s call it their “Surviving NYC Tool Box”. It includes their train and Metro Card, phone and earbuds, and rain gear (think poncho or umbrella).  We didn’t have our basic tools when we headed out to the Statue of Liberty and we paid dearly for it.  On the bright side, we have some very practical souvenirs from our trip.

Back to Basics Tip #4: Always have at the ready the items in your “Surviving Self Employment Tool Box”. Going without any one of those basics can be costly.  Here are the things I can’t live without in my business:

  • Efficient task tracking system – If it ain’t easy to identify and manage my to-do’s, I ain’t gonna do ’em.  Simple as that.  And if they aren’t all in one place, I’ll forget about them sooner than my 9-year-old forgets to feed our cat (trust me; it’s FAST).  Whether it’s pen and paper or an app on your smart phone, find a system that works for YOU.  What works for your team member may not work for you.
  • Quickly accessible resources – If I run into a snag in my business and am unable to figure it out, I need to be able to course correct quickly.  If I waste a lot of time researching topics that are not my expertise; time available for income producing activity diminishes quickly!  I keep a list of websites and industry experts on my phone so it’s at the ready when I need it.
  • Simple bookkeeping system – I know, I know.  This seems like a VERY self-serving tool in my must-have list, but I’m serious!  I’m an accountant and if I didn’t have an easy system to track my business, even I wouldn’t make it my top priority (is it bad for me to admit that?!).  After all, it’s not my own bookkeeping that brings home the bacon.  Plus, if I don’t enter my income and expenses in a timely manner, my aging memory loses all record of the details.

What’s in your “Surviving Self-Employment Tool Box”?  We’d love to hear how similar or different your list is from ours!  Comment here or on our Facebook page to let us know.