We all started our businesses for the freedom to work for ourselves, and yet many of us end up slaves to our clients and inboxes. We start by answering emails, then we send some invoices, then we follow up with a potential new client or two or three — and then?
8 hours have gone by and a work day is gone, and we didn’t get one minute of our actual work in — the stuff we want to be doing, the reason we quit our job. Our schedules completely filled with busywork!
But here’s the thing: you don’t have to be a seasoned six-figure earner to start automating your business. There are plenty of ways you can automate right now, at any price point.
Start taking back control and creating more time for yourself by setting up systems to support your key business tasks. Not sure where to start? We’ve got ten essential steps for you, right here.
1. Look for Repetition
The first step is to decide what processes can and should be automated. Track how you’re spending your time for a full week and then review your findings. Look for places where you continually perform the same task or are completing small actions that are way below your pay rate. Maybe you’re always answering the same questions via email, or coordinating meeting times with potential clients. Make a list of tasks that you don’t need to be spending so much time on each week — now you know exactly what you can automate. Then, it’s time to get creative.
2. Email Autoresponders
How much time do you spend in your inbox each day? A recent study found that American workers spend up to six hours per day checking and responding to emails! Make a list of common emails you receive for your business and set up autoresponders to save yourself both time and precious mental energy. This is an easy and free way to start automating today — and you will be shocked at the hours that add up.
3. Calendar Scheduler
If you ever set up meetings with clients or colleagues for your work, you’re well aware how time-consuming it can be to go back and forth trying to find a mutual time. Invest in a tool like Calendly or ScheduleOnce to make life easier for both you and your contacts. You’ll be able to customize your schedule, and specify when you’re available to meet. Everyone wins.
4. Website Opt-In
Your business website is like an employee who is always working, so make sure she’s doing a fantastic job. Create a freebie for your potential clients to download in exchange for their email address. This allows you to always be marketing, and growing your list while you sleep.
5. Email Sequences
Once your readers and clients opt-in to your email list, start building the relationship with an email sequence. This is simply a string of emails that are triggered with a new subscriber. The emails should be full of value, and can feature tips, blog posts, or anything you think would serve your customer. This will build trust and help your new subscriber feel ready to buy when it’s time for your next offer.
6. Online Payments
Having your own business has never been easier, and online payments are largely responsible for that. Set up an account with a service like PayPal or Stripe to be able to quickly invoice your clients. You can even set up recurring payments for regular clients, saving both of you time and stress.
If you have been in business for any length of time, you are probably receiving many of the same questions on a regular basis. Rather than responding to each email and private message, direct common questions to an FAQ section on your website.
8. Repurpose Content
Creating quality content is crucial for growing your audience, but it is also time-consuming. Make the most of your creativity by always repurposing your content. A blog post can be shared on all of your social media channels, be pinned to Pinterest boards, be converted to a newsletter, be turned into an opt-in, and be included in a round-up of your best posts. Make that content work for you, so you can work less.
9. Batch Your Tasks
Stop wasting time deciding what to work on and go into each week with a plan for how you’re going to spend every hour of work time. Try to batch similar tasks like writing, client engagement, and filming videos. Doing your hair and makeup once per week for a full morning of shooting videos is a lot easier than trying to do a little bit each day!
10. Use a Project Management Tool
Ditch your tried and true post-it note system and start tracking all pieces of your business with tools like Slack or Trello. These tools allow you to get a clear picture of what is happening in your business — plus, you can easily communicate with your team.
Even though setting up automation processes takes time at first, trust me: it will be well worth it. It will pay off in more ways than one — your time is money, after all, so the more automated you are? The more high-level (high-paying) work you’ll be able to do. Automating your business will give you back the freedom you crave, and make you feel like the #bossbabe you already are.