We've been asking artists: "What is your favorite clever strategy as an independent artist that you would like to share with other independent artists?"
Learn to use your computer! Even if you are a 100% acoustic folk musician like me who plays songs that are at least 100 years old, you cannot survive in the 21st Century unless you are skilled with your computer, and I mean more skilled than your average consumer level user who sends emails, uses Facebook and watches videos on YouTube.
Learning to use graphics, audio and communications software has saved me a lot of time and money, and has allowed me to act quickly on opportunities that arise, like changing something on my website, editing a video for a quick but professional posting on YouTube, recording and mixing a jingle or a demo on the run, sending an e-blast, etc. I have never taken a computer course. The best thing is to shadow someone who can do it and ask him/her questions.
For the big projects I still hire a graphic designer, a studio engineer, or a PR firm, but for the day-in and day-out stuff like making your graphics on Facebook look great, fixing the exposure on a photo, uploading an audio file to radio station's FTP site, writing and printing professional looking horn parts for an impromptu horn section that will join you on stage, creating a quick custom poster, editing and signing a PDF form with your real signature, resizing photos for different purposes, etc. it gives you a great advantage to be computer savvy.
If you are visually oriented and usually have a good idea of colors and layouts, you may invest some time into buying and learning how to use the Adobe Creative Suite including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat Pro and Dreamweaver. These tools have paid for themselves many times over, and have saved me a lot of time and money. I use them every day. Some other companies like Rogue Amoeba, MaxProg, All2MP3, Mac The Ripper, Wondershare have made some of the other applications in my computer that have helped me out when I needed them, and I feel they give me an edge when I need it most.
Thanks to Juan for sharing his tips! Keep an eye out for weekly strategies from other independent artists.