Time- and Budget- Stretching Tips for the Self-Employed

(StatePoint) The ability to stretch a budget can help businesses or those who are self-employed weather lean times and flourish in good periods, and being efficient with time can mean surviving a busy season with your sanity intact. But these principles can be hard to uphold.

To help, here are a few tips to assist freelancers, entrepreneurs and small business owners to make more happen with existing resources.

Seek Out Resources

Taking care of certain logistics is easier these days, as retailers like Staples offer resources for small businesses, such as their Small Business Hub, where you can design and order business cards, print marketing flyers and posters, get invitations, announcements, calendars and brochures, many on the same day that you place the order.

“When you are on a tight schedule, having one place where you can go that meets a bulk of your small business needs is extremely useful,” says Melanie Salinas a photographer and the blogger behind “Story of Five.”

Salinas, who recently partnered with Staples as part of their #MakeMoreHappen campaign to help small business owners learn about resources to help them get things done, is a frequent user of both Staples’ online hub, as well as their in-store Copy & Print center.

Keep Expenses Organized

“Don’t mix business with pleasure. Easier said than done when you’re working from home, but it’s a must. Keep business expenses separate from family expenses,” says Salinas.

It may seem like an extra step now, but you can avoid accounting headaches and help make tax time a breeze by staying organized. Good organization will also help ensure you don’t overlook expenses that could lower your taxes.

Create a Workspace

If you are looking to take your business to the next level, it’s important that you have a dedicated workspace where you can get stuff done. Look to programs like Staples Rewards to get cash back on purchases, special coupons and deals.

“Even if it’s just a corner of your bedroom, creating a functional workspace will help you boost productivity,” says Kayla Buell, who runs “Gen Y Girl,” a Millennial career and lifestyle blog, who recommends sprucing up the area with supplies and décor that inspire and motivate you.

Use Time Wisely

Marketing yourself or promoting your business can be tough, especially if your days are full working for existing customers and keeping your business going.

“Promoting sounds like a lot of work when you’re bursting at the seams, but you have to communicate with people you want to hire you,” says Susan and William Brinson, who own a thriving photography business and blog at “House of Brinson.” “We use the weeks where we’re slow -- around the holidays for instance -- to work on promotions.”

More business ideas to save time and money can be found by visiting Staples.com and by following #MakeMoreHappen on social media.

Give yourself a cushion -- both on your calendar and in your wallet. Smart approaches to running your business will boost your productivity and stretch your budget.

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Photo Credit: (c) Gen Y Girl

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