If your days are busy, but you never seem to have time to focus on the really important things, it’s time to think about adding more automation into your business. I know how frustrating, demotivating and time consuming it can be when there’s a never-ending and constantly regenerating to-do list of admin weighing on you. It doesn’t need to be that way! That’s why, in this post, I’m sharing 9 tasks you can easily automate in your business today — and the exact tools and resources I use to do just that — so you can experience more time freedom. I bet at least a few of my tips will surprise you!
While it may not be ultra sexy to think about, I’ll be the first to say it: automation is one of the coolest tools you can use as an entrepreneur.
It took me a long time to start exploring – and really taking advantage of – automation in my business. When I think about it now, I’m not sure why. I’d assumed that automation would wreck my relationship with my community, clients and potential clients. I’d assumed that automation was something for bigger businesses. I’d assumed that automating things in my business would be expensive. And how much time/effort would it really save me? I wasn’t convinced.
Let the record clearly show: I was wrong on all counts. In fact, boy, do I wish I’d caught the automation bug earlier! Automating these 9 tasks in my business continues to save me between 5 – 8 hours a week (yep, an entire day!).
For some reason, many of us women coaches, creatives and solopreneurs don’t focus on automation in the early stages of our business building journey. It’s as if we believe we have to do everything ourselves, by hand, or nothing! So we spend hours grappling many time-sucking tasks that could easily be automated. Think: sending out invoices manually, trying to upload our own blog posts, chasing after clients for contracts, posting to social media, and trying to manage and back up our information.
Eff that, lady! As leaders with a calling to be a force for good in the world, we don’t have time to waste. We’ll never achieve the impact we’re meant for by drowning in a sea of admin.
If you can relate, the sooner you can start automating stuff in your business the better. After all, you’re a business owner, right? You’ve got things to do!
Automating certain tasks frees you up to stop worrying about the small stuff, so you can instead focus on the stuff you love (like building new products and programs, coaching clients, growing your community and reach etc.) and bringing your calling to life. Instead of sweating the small stuff, please PLEASE free yourself by setting up some simple automated systems to do the work for you.
That said, I know that when you’re first exploring the idea of automation in your business, the idea of automation can be a little intimidating and it’s easier said than done.
You may not even be sure what you can or should automate. Luckily: I’ve got a few ideas and resources for you!
My experience is that setting up a number of automated systems and sequences took way less time/effort than I’d anticipated, and the payoff is absolutely worth it. Time spent setting up an automated system can result in a huge return on investment pretty quickly.
So without further ado — let’s jump into a bunch of different tasks you can automate in your coaching business right now so you can save precious time and focus on your mission instead of admin:
Task 1: Social media posts and batch scheduling
Writing a bunch of social posts all in one go, and popping them into a social media scheduler that will automatically post them to your account at times set by you is a ginormous time-saver. Batching post creation and using scheduling tools in this way literally save me HOURS each week (while also protecting my sanity!).
Task 2: Your inbox
I can’t recommend setting up Gmail filters enough. Filters allow you to build automation around your workflow — so for example, you can set up filters to direct emails from certain addresses go into certain folders, or emails with a certain subject matter or keyword go into different folders so that you can refer to things when it suits you.
I like to use Gmail filters in a couple of different ways. For example, you might want to use filters so all of your newsletter subscriptions pop into a certain folder. Or if you work with clients 1-on-1, you can set up a filter for each client, so you can easily stay on top of any correspondence and keep things organised.
And while we’re on the subject of Gmail…
Task 3: Canned responses
Canned responses are pre-written messages you can store in your Gmail, and they can be crazy handy — especially if you send the same kind of information over and over, and send out emails all the time. Take it from me, they are particularly valuable if you often need to answer similar questions from potential clients, or refer to a certain policy or process (for example, when you need to share your process for booking or rescheduling coaching sessions) or sending out follow-up emails to clients after a Discovery Session.
All you need to do is create an email template for yourself, where only the recipient’s name and other specific details need to be customised, and turn that into a canned response in Gmail. Then you just click a button to access and complete the template before hitting send.
Task 4: Bookkeeping
Did you know: Using your bookkeeping software, you may be able to set it up so that records of transactions from your bank/PayPal or from whatever service you use to make and receive payments are automatically sent straight to your bookkeeping software? I can’t tell you how much time this saves, and how less intimidating bookkeeping becomes. I like to use Xero for this, and I’ve got automation set up so that I get live feeds from my business bank accounts directly into Xero. Super duper helpful. Xero even suggestions certain categories when tracking regular income and expense transactions. That makes it really easy to reconcile accounts. Why not try out Xero today with their 30 day free trial.
Task 5: Email list automation
Email marketing can be crazy powerful. If you’re not yet using automated email sequences in your business, I really urge you to get started with this asap. (Yes, even if you’ve got only 17 people on your subscriber list right now!) There are a bunch of different email management/customer relationship management tools out there to pick from — like Infusionsoft, ConvertKit, MailChimp, Ontraport or Aweber. If you’re just starting out, I recommend checking out MailChimp because you can get started using them for free.
Creating powerful sales funnels using automated email sequences doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, one of my highest converting funnels also happens to be one of my simplest.
To get started, why not set up an automated sequence of emails to begin when someone new subscribes to your newsletter. Create a short series of maybe 3 emails that start automatically to deliver your opt-in gift and welcome them to your community, share a bit about yourself, and begin to build a friendship with your new subscriber.
Task 6: Client attraction (yep, really!)
Once you automate your email list management, you can take the next step by setting up an automated sales funnel designed specifically to attract your ideal clients.
How should you set up a sales funnel? Offer a lead magnet — a.k.a. a freebie or opt-in gift — that helps solve a problem your ideal clients are likely dealing with. Then, over a series of emails, encourage your new prospective client to apply for a discovery session and find out more about how you could work together. For more on this, check out this post about how to automatically generate Discovery Sessions ← it’s one of my most popular ever!
Task 7: Contract signing
Hands up if you’ve ever had to chase around a client to print, sign, scan, and email back a contract or other important doc? Yep, my hand’s up too, lady.
But services like Adobe Sign (formerly EchoSign) make it super simple to automatically generate contracts and have them sent out to new clients for their signature. They also keep track of when your client views, and signs the agreement. And once the agreement’s signed, you and your client can come back and check it out for reference anytime. So good!
Task 8: Invoicing
I love FreshBook’s monthly recurring invoice tool! It allows me to schedule out invoices to go out automatically every 30 days – or at whatever frequency I need.
Why is this handy? Let’s say you’ve got a new coaching client. Perhaps you’re going to be working with them for six months, and you have agreed to a monthly payment plan. It takes about 3 minutes to set all of those monthly invoices up ready to go in FreshBooks at the very beginning of your work together, and then FreshBook’s will automatically send those invoices out every month. It’s so easy to set up, and I love that it saves time and brain space every month!
Task 9: Website backup
I know this is boring, but seriously, I can’t stress how important it is to backup your website!
And yet… with all the other business building tasks on our plate, we can forget to even think about it. It happens to me too! That’s why I use a backup service from SiteGround (BTW I also use and love them for hosting!) SiteGround will automatically backup your website for you for around $30. Basically the best peace of mind investment ever!
Task 10 (11, 12, 13 and beyond): Bonus automation tip!
Here at Betty HQ, we use Zapier to automate a heap of different little tasks behind the scenes. Zapier is a handy little tool that automates connections between a number of different web apps using what they call zaps. OMG the time and energy this tool saves us each month is ridiculous!
For example, if you’d like to automatically backup all of your blog posts to your Google Drive, you can do that with Zapier. If you want to automatically save your Instagram posts to a specific Dropbox folder? Zapier! If you want to automatically send out tweets anytime you publish a new blog post? You guessed it, babe: Zapier.
It offers a whole bunch of these little zaps, and they introduce new ones every month! It’s something we find crazy useful here at Betty Means Business, and you might just love it too.
I can’t tell you the real relief and freedom that automating all these tasks in my business has bought. I hope this post inspires you to check out some of the tools I’ve mentioned and explore how you could introduce more automation in your business. You’ll be so happy you did!
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