Do any of these statements resonate with you? I have no time to post to Facebook!
I feel like my brain is spinning with everything I have to do!
So much work. So little time.
I wish I had something or someone to help me.
Those invoices were supposed to go out yesterday...
Design. Package. Post to Instagram. Write blog post. Meet with client. Pay invoices.
I have said every single statement in the last week, so I'm on a mission to automate certain tasks so I can focus on building my business.
The truth is as a solopreneur, you are in charge of everything. You are R&D, accounting, HR, operations, marketing and customer service. Without good processes, managing everything can be overwhelming.
In this post, I want to share five business processes you should automate and which tools can help you.
Okay, you can't automate this task 100%. Because you can't automate engagement. Let me rephrase. You can't automate AUTHENTIC engagement. Yeah, you can sign up for those follower, like, and comment programs. But those are not authentic.
However, you can automate some of your content. Think about your product sales, upcoming workshops, blog posts, email subscriptions, industry tips or even quotes. You can create the social media content and schedule it using a few handy dandy scheduling services.
I usually spend 30-45 minutes every week creating and scheduling social media content. That way, I free up a little more time every day to work on my business.
Set and forget it. But don't forget to engage!
Anyone else struggle with staying on top of your accounting? This is one of my biggest time sucks. Between creating invoices, sending to clients, following up on payments and repeating every month, it's exhausting and it takes up too much time - and it messes with my cash flow.
However, it is really easy to automate, especially if you have recurring receivables and payables. As a service-based business, I can create one invoice for a particular client and set up automatic invoicing and reminders to ensure my cash flow is consistent. If you are a product -based business, there are some other great tools to help manage your basic accounting.
(Or use a payments processing firm to do everything for you. I know of a great one, if you're looking.)
It's true that the money is in the follow-up. You could have a great conversation with someone at a networking event and you exchange business cards, but if you don't follow up, you might be missing out on a potential client or collaboration opportunity.
The same is true online.
If someone signs up for your newsletter and there's no follow-up, there's a good chance they will either no longer be interested and unsubscribe or forget about you. Either way, it's a lost opportunity. Within a software like MailChimp, you can set up follow-up emails that go out automatically. These can be segmented by industry (retail, e-commerce, non-profit, etc.), customer type (new, potential or recurring), reengagement campaigns and more.
I'm a MailChimp evangelist, so I will recommend that tool. It's free to sign up and the cost is scaled to the number of subscribers you have. Automation is a paid feature, but it is worth it.
What's your process to get things done? A while ago I developed a workflow worksheet to help me organize all my tasks, meetings, events and workout schedule. And while this is a great tactical thing to help me stay organized, I looked for a tool to help me manage my workflow through my client and company projects. I needed something to help my manage my projects from beginning to end, set milestones and granular tasks and send push notifications when a certain task is due.
I don't know about you, but I find meetings to be mostly unproductive time. And finding the time to meet? Annoying. I'm sure we have been a part of this conversation:
"Are you free Friday morning?"
"Sorry, I have a workshop that morning. Are you free Thursday afternoon?
"Ah, I have a meeting then."
One of the handiest things is automated meeting requests and reminders. When I first met with my business coach, I set up recurring meetings in her automated system. Every two week, I get an automated email a day before our meeting to remind me of the meeting. This is always in my phone's calendar - and it's in my planner most of the time.
I'm sure that for most of us organizing our calendars is the biggest time suck of them all. Luckily, there are some great tools to use to help automate this.
What do you tools do you use to automate your processes?
Feature Image credit: Me + You Studios