There comes a time in every entrepreneurial venture where you realise you simply cannot do it all yourself.
Sure, when you’re just getting started you really are the “chief, cook and bottle washer.”
But as your business grows, it becomes painfully obvious that trying to do everything is only going to lead to:
- Frustration (when critical tasks don’t get done and deadlines are missed)
- Burn out (when you’re working yet another 12-hour day)
- Overwhelm (when your to-do list is longer at the end of the day than it was at the beginning)
There are many ways to combat this business-growth hurdle, but one of the best is automation. Imagine a completely hands-off system that works for you even when you’re hiking on a remote mountain or lounging at a luxury spa.
But here’s an even better reason to automate: it lets you scale your business.
Think about it, the less manual work you have to do, them more time you have to do the money-making tasks such as networking, marketing, and client support.
And as Mrs. Hughes in Downton Abbey says, “You’re making work for yourself, and I’ve no sympathy for that.”
So what can you automate?
Almost everything, but start with:
I know, I know…this may seem counter-intuitive. You don’t have any money because you’re new to business, so why pay for traffic?
But believe me when I tell you it’s worth it.
Chasing organic traffic is an exercise in frustration. You’ll spend all your time creating content for your blog, other people’s blogs, YouTube, social media, and other web properties. All that content creation leaves you little time to actually work with the clients you’re trying to attract.
Instead, invest in some quality paid traffic, and get off the endless content creation train.
You’ll be glad you did.
You should also consider paying (with legitimate ads on each network!) to improve the following for your social media profiles. It’s important nowadays to be seen as credible, and while in many ways a large following is a vanity metric, it’s very helpful in ensuring people take you seriously.
After my Facebook page hit 10k fans, I started seeing more engagement on my posts, and people started taking me more seriously than before. Kind of silly, I know, but think about the last time you saw an ad on Facebook where the ad was promising you all sorts of stuff, and then you click over to their page and they have 200 fans.
You probably were like, “Uhm…yeah…this person isn’t legit.”
Don’t go paying other bullshit companies who offer to sell you fans, but set up strategic posts that give value to your ideal client, and then pay to promote them to that audience.
What happens when a new subscriber joins your mailing list or someone buys a product? Do they just sit in waiting on your list until you have time to send an email?
I personally love using (what I affectionately call) an indoctrination sequence. I start all my subscribers in an indoctrination sequence and then once they know me they move seamlessly into a sales funnel.
An indoctrination sequence should:
- Welcome new subscribers and help them find their way around your site (and your offers)
- Nurture buyers so they know they’re in the right place
Once someone is a customer you can then use it to make additional offers based on what someone has already purchased or shown an interest in.
And the best thing? Once your autoresponder is set up, it will continue to work even when you’re not.
You can easily set up your indoctrination sequence plus full automation rules in ConvertKit, my preferred email marketing tool.
Social Media Tools
Yes, it’s important to be personable and engaging on social media. But that doesn’t mean you have to log in to Facebook just to post a link to your latest blog or YouTube video.
Automate that kind of update and save yourself hours of time each and every month. Not only that, but you won’t have to worry about missing an update, either!
The system I recommend is not auto posting your content from one platform to another because what works on one platform doesn’t always work on another. In fact, it normally doesn’t. Each platform has its own rules for success.
But when you are scheduling a new YouTube video or blog post to go live, take that link and add it to your social media scheduler so you don’t forget.
I absolutely love Buffer for my social media management, and I love Smarter Queue as well, though in full honesty, I don’t use Smarter Queue currently. A recent update made the tool very slow on Chrome, and I’m waiting for them to fix this.
A recent change to Instagram means that Buffer will soon support Instagram post scheduling. I’m currently using Grum for my Instagram scheduling, but I look forward to when Buffer has this capability because I would rather like all of my platforms to be in the same place.
Pro tip: You can integrate your WordPress website’s RSS feed into Buffer and SmarterQueue so as soon as you post a blog, it shows up in your Content Inbox.
If you have clients, partners, a team, or are often asked for interviews, then an automated calendar is a must. It amazes me when I see people who don’t have them! “Just email me or text me to schedule.”
This is a horrible idea because of a few key reasons:
- It involves you with every single booking making it hard to scale.
- It takes time away from what you should be doing instead.
- It creates a delay between booking intent and booking confirmation, increasing the chance the lead will change their mind.
Not to mention, it can be a tedious pain in the ass to find time that works for everybody.
Rather than endless back-and-forth emails trying to find a mutually available time slot, simply send your calendar link and let your client, project manager, JV partner or anyone else choose a time that works for them.
Your appointment will automatically appear on your calendar, and you’ll even get reminders (if your calendar supports that). I recommend Acuity Scheduling for ease and feature availability.
There are dozens of options for automating every aspect of your small business. As you grow, you’ll find new and better tools to make everything run more smoothly. For now, though, implementing these four ideas alone will save you hours of time every month.
If you want to learn more about growing your business with systems, I would like to invite you to attend a training I have coming up. This training will be released as a pre-recorded training because, well, systems! But I promise you I’m going to hold absolutely nothing back and you’re going to walk away with actionable information. Register below so you’ll be notified as soon as the training is released.