When I was starting my own business back in 2012, I was doing everything. From calling clients and prospects to recordkeeping, I was doing it all. Automation was an afterthought.
Lots of 18+ hour days trying to keep everything afloat and moving forward. I was a mess. I couldn’t afford to hire anyone just yet and so I had to find ways to do more with what I had.
Automation was the answer.
Over the years, I have discovered so many different tools and resources that made my life as a solopreneur so much easier.
And, who doesn’t love automation?
Membership sites and shopping carts make it so that your audience can buy from you anytime day or night without you needing to constantly monitor things.
Email autoresponders make it so much easier to populate your sales funnels and help to build relationships with your email recipients.
If you provide coaching or other services, calendar apps allow your clients to conveniently set appointments without the frustrating emails back and forth. I personally use Kartra and it has saved me HOURS of time in keeping track of my business.
Automation not only saves time, but also works in your favor to maintain quality and consistency in your content, products, and services.
What if rather than having a shopping cart, you sent an invoice to every single customer who purchased something from you? You’d never get anything else done!
Unfortunately, everything can’t be automated. But you can create systems and workflows that can help you to create the same level of efficiency.
Write it All Down
Or rather type it all up (all in the name of efficiency, right?). If you’re looking for even more efficiency, Microsoft Word has a dictate feature that I LOVE.
What will happen when you get to the point in our business that you’re growing so quickly that it’s impossible for you to get everything done. Now you need to hire someone. Would you be able to train someone quickly (and easily) to do the tasks you needed them to do? For most small business owners, the answer, unfortunately, is usually, a big, fat, NO.
Even if you’re a solopreneur, you still need to get everything written down. When all the knowledge rests only in your head, you could bet setting yourself up for disaster.
What would happen if you need to hire someone quickly due to an emergency or even just because you want to work less. Would you be ready?
Documenting tasks includes everything that you do from managing incoming emails and customer support to the process for your product launches.
When you decide you need help, you can be off to the races.
The documentation process doesn’t have to be formal. A Google or Word document works just as well as software like Trello. Choose what platform works for you. The important part is to get it all written down.
Bill Gross offers a great Ted Talk on building a business to last the next 100 years.
Develop More Efficient Systems
Now that you have it all written down, it’s time to evaluate your processes, and determine if there are ways to improve what you have (SPOILER ALERT: The answer is probably YES!)
I’m a pen and paper kind of girl. I love to write out drafts of things before typing them up.
I realized that this was a HUGE time suck. It would usually take me 2-3 times as long to write out a draft than it was to sketch out an outline and then type or “talk” it into my Word document. I still love to write things out, but there’s only so much time in the day.
How can you make your business more efficient without losing the personality and branding you want to be known for?
Tips to Consider:
- Create templates for things like blog posts, sales pages, resource guides, and worksheets you develop. Having them formatted so that they already match your brand will save you a TON of time.
- If there are recurring tasks in your business, set up repeatable reminders and checklists in your calendar so that you don’t have to recreate the wheel each time.
- If you find yourself answering the same questions for clients over and over, consider setting up a help desk solution. Be sure to include “canned responses” and FAQs to the most common questions your customers and clients have.
New technologies and resources seem to come available every single day. If the tools you’re using are no longer as efficient as they could be, consider an upgrade.
If customers can’t be moved from one sales funnel to another with your autoresponder (or if you don’t have one yet), it is time to make a change. Consider tools like ConvertKit, Drip, or Kartra to make life easier.
Taking a hard look at where you can be more efficient in your business can not only add back more hours in your day, but also drastically reduce your stress levels when you’re managing your business.
Automation was a lifesaver for me. How have you used it to help your business?