You've probably heard a ton about automating tasks in your business. This is a hot topic right now because busy entrepreneurs are burning out! Entrepreneurs like you and I are accepting that they can't do everything themselves. They're realizing that outsourcing and automating are the best things they can do to grow their businesses.
Here’s the caveat: you're drowning in the details as it is. You're so busy juggling the everyday tasks that you don't feel like you have a spare moment to even think about automating, let alone figure out which tasks to automate or how to actually get it done.
There are a myriad of ways to start automating your business that don't take a ton of time or effort on their own. Doing this right away will free up time you can spend on actually building your business or hiring a team to free up even more time and space.
Here are some of the easiest ways to start automating your business.
Social media updates
There are a multitude of social media scheduling tools out there like Buffer, Hootsuite, Tailwind, Boardbooster, and Facebook's built-in scheduler. The one(s) you choose depend on your budget and which platforms you use. Personally, I like MeetEdgar because not only can I schedule social media updates, I can set certain updates to repeat. That means I'm covered if something happens and I'm not able to schedule new content on time. This saves a lot of time, allowing me to keep posting on these platforms without getting sucked into Facebook when I should be doing other stuff (like working with OBM clients!).
Ah, emailing your list. The woe of so many entrepreneurs. Luckily, this is an area where you can automate a lot of things. Sick of sending emails to your list every week? You can batch them at the beginning of the month and schedule them to send whenever you want! Want to nurture new subscribers? Set up an automated email sequence. Want to lead customers to your new product? Set up an automated email funnel. I love Convertkit for this because it does all of this and more. The emails look great and it's quite simple to use once you get the hang of it.
Come on, you have way better things to do than spend three hours a day answering emails. We both know it. One of the easiest ways to cut a lot of the work out of email is to set up labels, filters, and folders to sort out the emails you don’t actually need right away, or at all. Even saving that few seconds you'd spend deleting or moving these emails can save a lot of time in the long run!
You can also set up standard responses. Try listing email topics that you tend to receive regularly and then create simple responses for them. You can then set that up as a standard response in your email and add a custom note if needed. This will save you so much time when you're responding to emails, and it makes it super easy for an assistant to handle your inbox if you decide to outsource in the future.
Blogging is another area where a lot of entrepreneurs get stuck. I'm a big fan of batching content in this area. I know this isn't exactly automation, but it makes blogging a lot easier. You can also create blog post templates and an editorial calendar with somewhat reoccurring themes. That way, you'll be less likely to get an inconvenient case of writer's block. Batch write a bunch of posts at once, then format and schedule them to publish whenever you want.
TIP: Get more bang for your buck by re-purposing your content so you don't have to start from scratch every time you want to post on your blog or social media. How to Repurpose Your Content + Checklist
If you spend a lot of time invoicing clients (or sending payment reminders), you can automate that too! For long-term clients with retainer rates, you can set up recurring invoices in Paypal, Freshbooks, and lots of other programs. Freshbooks even has an option to send payment reminders automatically.
Collecting customer information
Do you spend a lot of time emailing clients back and forth for information before starting a project? Just send a form instead! Typeform allows you to create forms/surveys with up to ten questions for free.
TIP: This is also great for collecting customer feedback, which you can then turn into testimonials!
Programs like Freshbooks and Quickbooks track your expenses and income. They also make getting your tax stuff together so much easier. If you aren't using bookkeeping software in your business, check out your options and get automated already!
Don't waste time emailing and counting on your fingers to figure out time zones. Scheduling programs like Acuity and Calendly allow you to set your availability so clients can set up an appointment with you. They even handle all the time zone conversion and send reminders (to both you and the client) so you don't have to.
TIP: We love Acuity at The Entrepreneur’s Toolbox because it integrates with Zoom and sets up the Zoom meeting automatically. #OneLessTask #Score!
If you go through certain business supplies at a fairly steady rate, plenty of companies (including Amazon) let you set up recurring deliveries. That way, you don’t have to make time to order stuff or worry about running out!
Use templates for graphics, blog posts, emails, or anything that has a similar structure. That way, you won't have to reinvent the wheel every time you perform these tasks. You can make your own or outsource it. There are templates and formulas out there for just about any type of graphic or writing you can think of!
Create SOPs for your team
If you're working with a team, do yourself a favor and create SOPs if you haven't yet. This will save you so much time, money, and energy in the long run because you'll only have to figure out your processes once. This is even something a VA or OBM can do for you!
Here's The Easy Way To Create SOPs For Your Business
Overcome the overwhelm!
Do yourself and your business a favor and pick just one of these to work on this week. Next, use the time you'll save to work on another one and so on until you've tried them all! Freeing up time gives you and your business room to grow.
Ready to outsource some of these tasks? Let’s talk!