I’m not a fan of running errands. As a child, I thought that adults were talking about me when they said the word “errand” (my name is Erin). As a busy business owner with young children, I like to visit as many stores as possible in one trip. Then, when I get home, I like to stay there for the rest of the day.
If you’re anything like me, you want to automate your life. In the same amount of time that it takes to buy groceries, pick up dinner, roam the mall looking for gifts or stop by the bank and post office, you can update your marketing content, respond to clients and finish other important business tasks. Want to simplify your life? Consider these home delivery services and instant options to help you take advantage of time that used to be spent on errands.
First, let’s talk about food. We need sustenance to run our empires and side hustles. There are delivery services that cover everything from groceries, to prepared ingredients to home cooked meals.
If you’re hungry, prepared meals are the easiest to access — and don’t think that your only option is pizza delivery. According to Chief Analyst of Cowen Investments, Andrew Charles, the food delivery industry is projected to grow from $43 billion in 2017 to $76 billion in 2022, 12 percent annually over the next five years. So download GrubHub, UberEats or any other local delivery service app the next time you’re wondering what’s for dinner.
Prepared ingredient meals are smart choices for busy bosses who want to eat healthy meals at home, but don’t have the time to look for recipes and buy the required ingredients. BlueApron and HelloFresh are two companies that send ingredients and instructions directly to your door, so you can whip up dinner without going to the grocery store, or flipping through the pages of your cookbook looking for options.
You can’t order in all the time (although you might want to). You still need to stock your fridge with snacks, drinks and other items. Skip the long grocery store lines and have a service deliver groceries to your home. Peapod, PinkDot, Vons and Safeway all deliver food and drinks. Place an order online, kick back and wait for the delivery. It’s really that easy.
What do you do when you need to buy back-to-school clothes, wedding shower presents, last-minute birthday party gifts or regular household items? Most people get into their cars, hop on buses or walk to their local stores. Me? Well, I head over to Amazon, shop the online storefronts of my favorite stores and order curbside pickup at my local pharmacy. I get all of my shopping done from the comfort of my home. I skip the lines and time spent browsing for the right items. I know what I want going in, and I place my order. Done.
I remember the day when online banking became a “thing.” When I realized that I could use an app to take pictures of checks to deposit them, I almost cried from happiness. I do most of my banking digitally these days, and I suggest that you do too. If you haven’t already opened a business account, do so with a bank or credit union that offers digital options. Then, take the extra step and link your banking with your accounting software, so that all of your payments and debits can be accounted for without you having to input them manually.
I never seem to make it to the post office. I either get there before it opens, or I forget to go altogether. I’m lucky that most of my business is digital, but I’ve occasionally needed to use traditional mail services to communicate with clients. What’s a girl to do when she can’t seem to sync her schedule with post office hours? It’s simple: use Stamps.com, or contact USPS, UPS and FedEx and ask about their automated options, like free mailing supplies and package pick-up directly from home.
In my opinion, shopping and running errands are the biggest time thieves for a solopreneur; however, there are many more ways to automate your life and save money as a small business owner. Want to have a date night with your partner? Instead of going out to the movies (which we all know can cost a small fortune), cuddle up on the couch and watch something on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
If you’re looking for music to set the mood, consider Spotify or Pandora. Play your music loud when you want to dance the night away, or soft if you prefer a rhythm in the background while you work.
Everything is automated these days, so why not apply the same principles to our errands and everyday tasks? Sign up for a few on-demand services and watch your free time come flowing back to you.