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I’ve just had a phone call with a business owner who runs a similar business to mine, supported and guided cycling tours. I’ve made the decision this year to put the feelers out for more freelance work to fill the gaps of my main work with my business.

He sounded like I did ten years ago, flustered with all of the different tasks a business owner has when first starting out, the systems, marketing, product design, customer services…the list goes on (it’s any wonder why anyone would want to start!). 

But ultimately he began his business out of a love of cycling and travel, much like me. He wanted the freedom and other benefits of running a business plus the chance to turn his passion into his profession.

When we discussed the roles he had available he made it very clear that if he was running a trip, he would be doing all of the cycling, not driving the support van. The reason for this was that the cycling part was the part he enjoyed. There’s nothing wrong with that, this is the same reason I wanted to run a cycling business, I wanted to get paid to ride my bike.

But what got me was the justification he gave…

“I’m the one that has sent all of the invoices, booked the hotels and done the donkey work for the trip so I deserve to choose what role I do”.

Business Owner

Firstly, yes as the business owner you do get to choose the role you undertake when delivering your product and this is certainly a benefit. You would think however that he’d be make more money and would have costed in his time for doing this extra ‘donkey work’ and extra company profit though.

But secondly (and this is my main takeaway), why on earth in 2023 is he invoicing individual clients when there are so many great systems to eliminate (or at least reduce) getting paid?

Yes there are great online accounting software solutions like Quickbooks, but for some reason booking systems are not integrated into small business’ websites. Instead, a client has to register their interest, the business owner then manually invoices the client for a deposit then again for the balance due.

Utter madness.

In 2015 I made the single best investment in business. An integrated, automated booking website. At the time it felt like a large sum of money but it has genuinely made back multiple times the investment and saved me countless hours of my precious time.

I have a ‘Book Now’ button which directs clients to a payment processing page (I use Stripe). They create their own personal account on my website where they can view their payments and any trip documentation. What’s even better, they receive automated emails to remind them to pay their balance in line with my T&C’s.

No invoicing. No timewasting.

If you’d like to find out about how you can create something similar and save yourself hours or even days of invoicing, get in touch.

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