Solopreneurs everywhere have frustratedly exclaimed, “There aren't enough hours in the day!” Is that you? Or perhaps you have secretly wished you had a clone?
While you're not going to get a 25th hour to your day or an 8th day to your week (or a clone for that matter, sorry!), you CAN get more time. Don't despair because it IS possible to reclaim several hours of time every week.
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How? Through automating your business tasks.
There are certain tasks that are just screaming out to be automated. Not only will automating those tasks save you time but some can actually be done even better through business automation. Imagine that?!
So, if you’re wanting to work less – or work more on revenue-generating tasks and things you actually like doing – you'll want to keep reading.
But before we dive into WHAT tasks to automate, it's important to understand what business automation actually is?
What is Business Automation?
If you do a Google search for business automation, you're going to find lots of super technical explanations on the subject. Sometimes referred to as business process automation, business automation, at its most basic level, is simply making certain manual tasks automatic through the use of technology.
I know. That's not too fancy of a description. However, if you're a team of one — or have a small, but mighty team — it's best not to overcomplicate things.
What's most important to understand is that the ability to use technology to take work OFF your plate will save you time and headaches.
5 Tasks to Automate in Your Business
As a solopreneur, you're likely doing “all the things” yourself. If you've not outsourced or started building a team, that means you have A LOT to do. The good news is that there is work you're doing manually right now that can be automated. In other words, there's work that a tool can do instead of you.As a solopreneur, you're likely doing 'all the things' yourself. If you've not outsourced or started building a team, that means you have A LOT to do. The good news is that there is work you're doing manually right now that can be automated. Click To Tweet
While there are lots of sophisticated automation software for all sorts of tasks out there, if you're new to the idea of automating, it's smart to start simply.
So keep reading to discover five tasks you can start automating right away.
1. Social Media Posting
Creating and publishing content on social media can take a lot of time. While you can save a ton of time by batching your social media activities, like graphic creation, for example, that is more about creating processes than automation in my mind. Batching like tasks together saves time, but it still requires YOU to do the work.
But, to really save time and boost your productivity, you can automate your posting. One way to do that is to use tools like Later, Hootsuite or Tailwind to schedule posts to auto-post on one or more of your social networks.
Block out time once a week (or once a month) and schedule all of your posts in advance. Then, you don't have to worry about going into each individual social media platform to post.
Once your posts are scheduled, you’ll find it’s a huge weight off your shoulders, as you don’t need to think about what or when to post because it's done. And that means you can spend more time engaging with your audience.
If you're ready for some serious automation, tools like Agorapulse, Sprout Social or MeetEdgar function on an entirely different level. These big players give offer options like
- Bulk upload content
- Curate content
- Create recurring queues
- Publish a single post to multiple platforms
- Create content
There are so many incredible social media tools you can use to automate your social.
2. Filling Out Online Forms
Filling out online forms can be a real pain in the butt! Can I say that? LOL
Every time you encounter a form you likely enter the same info over and over. This is simply a waste of valuable time. This may seem inconsequential, but honestly, those minutes add up. I know I'm not the only one whose brain functions this way either. You know who you are. Wink!
Luckily, there’s a simple solution to the problem. It's a tool called Dashlane.
Dashlane saves all your important info and then plugs it in whenever you fill out an online form. This includes basic info like your address and email, but also payment info and passwords as well.
According to their own research, the average Dashlane user saves 50 hours each year by using autofill. That's almost two days of your life! I bet you could spend that time doing something far more interesting and useful!
3. Client and Meeting Scheduling
If you work one-to-one with clients or schedule meetings of any kind, let me know if this sounds familiar:
- You send an email to a client asking, “When would you like to meet next?”
- Then, you wait for a reply.
- They reply with, “I'm available next Tuesday or Thursday.”
- After several more back and forths, you finally settle on a time.
Sigh. How aggravating! Let's just hope the meeting doesn't need to be rescheduled. GRRR.
The good news is all the back and forth to set up one meeting is unnecessary. It's easy and inexpensive (often times free) to set up business automation for appointments.
You can save yourself up to four hours every week by simply enabling a scheduling tool, like Calendly or Acuity.You can save yourself up to four hours every week by simply enabling a scheduling tool, like Calendly or Acuity.Click To Tweet
Calendly happens to be my tool of choice for automating meeting scheduling. It really does save me lots of time, hassles, and headaches.
Anyone can simply go to my website, click the Schedule a Call button or I can send a specific link to particular calendar events. The rest of the process is automated — including appointment reminders (both for me and for them), adding that appointment to whatever calendar you use, rescheduling ability, and more.
All I have to do is show up.
4. Lead Generation
Leads are the lifeblood of a business. Don't just take my word for it. According to these lead generation statistics compiled by Ruler Analytics, 91% of marketers say that lead generation is their most important goal.
If you're selling products or services, that makes YOU a marketer, my friend.
Yet according to Hubspot, 61% of business owners say that generating traffic and leads is their #1 marketing challenge.
This is where email marketing can be an enormous help.
This business automation is just setting up a simple email funnel with a tool like Active Campaign that can completely automate your lead generation efforts.
A basic example might look like this:
- Prospect signs up for a free eBook or guide in exchange for their email
- You email them the freebie
- Send them a series of 5-7 helpful follow-up emails
- You send them a link to your online booking form
You can see how this strategy works beautifully with our 3rd business automation above — client and meeting scheduling. By using a combo of these two strategies, your lead generation and client booking will be 100% on autopilot, saving you from doing these tasks manually and freeing you up for those discovery calls with potential clients.
5. Customer Service
Being around to address client questions and concerns is important. I mean, we all want to give the best to our people, right? But for solo business owners, being available 24/7 isn’t realistic.
This is where customer service automation software comes in.
There are so many great options out there, including Zendesk, Aircall, and Freshdesk.
These tools will allow you to automate common answers/responses, give clients the ability to submit support tickets, and will keep all your customer service tasks and communications in one central location.
This will save you a ton of time, while also ensuring your clients’ needs are met quickly and efficiently.
Final Thoughts About Business Automation
I hope you’re excited to start looking for tasks to automate in your business.
The five tasks above are just a starting point. You can automate everything from invoicing, bill payments, HR, and more. The possibilities are virtually endless!
For more guidance on automating tasks in your business, check out my posts, Business Systems to Automate Growth and Create Freedom and How to Systematize Your Small Business to Have More Freedom and Flexibility.
Which tasks are you going to automate in your business? Let me know in the comments below!