My Favorite Tools for Automation to Save Time in My Business
As a solopreneur, time is one of your most precious assets. To literally make money to pay your bills, you must make sure you’re using your time as efficiently as possible. So to do this, any manual or repetitive tasks that can be automated most certainly should be. You can literally get hours back in your day when you operate in an organized, automated manner.
And speaking or organized and automated, two of these tools are from the course, Organize & Automate by Nesha Woolery. It’s been a Godsend for helping me to streamline my web design business for a smoother and more professional process.
Having organization in place can help you respond to client inquires faster, help you ramp up your marking efforts without increasing the amount of time you spend on marketing, and it can help you better organize your client process helping your projects to run smoother.
This CRM was shared in the Organize & Automate course. I love having it and the best part about it is the fact that it’s FREE! It’s a Chrome browser extension that integrates with your Gmail inbox so it’s super easy to install. Just do a quick installation here and you designate which Gmail account you want to connect it to, and presto! You are ready to go!
There are several things you can do with Streak once you have it installed. One is creating canned email templates. These canned email templates are perfect for repetitive emails, so you don’t have to keep typing out the same messages over and over again. I have them created to respond to client inquires, to send out booking emails once projects are booked, to follow up with inquiries that go MIA, etc. You’re also able to have read notifications on your emails that tell if someone has viewed your email or not. And you can schedule emails to be sent out at a later time. For example, if you’re typing up email responses at 1 AM, and you don’t want clients thinking you’re available all day and all night, you can set a timer on the email to wait to send it out the next morning at like 8:30 AM.
I love using Hootsuite for scheduling my social media posts for Facebook and Twitter each week. I usually schedule posts on Sunday or Monday for the entire week, so I have an active social media presence on those platforms without having to manually schedule it each day and without having to spend time each day brainstorming about what to post or researching new content to post. I share blog content from other entrepreneurs that my audience may find helpful and I share my own content from my blog. I typically post at least 2-3 times a day on each platform. Hootsuite is also FREE!
Tailwind isn’t free. However, it’s AMAZING for helping you to get more traffic to your website and more eyes on your content via Pinterest. Pinterest will allow your account to get more exposure when you’re pinning consistently each day. My goal is about 25 pins a day. No more than 50 pins a day is the limit for your account to not look spammy.
But the problem is, who really has time to manually pin 25-50 pins a day? Not me! So this is where Tailwind saves the day! With Tailwind you can schedule all of your daily pins for the full week or even longer in advance. This will take a couple of hours whenever you choose to do it. But then it’ll become something that you don’t have to think about for the rest of the week. I usually set up my pins for the week on Sunday evening and then I’m good to go!
ConvertKit is great for sending out automated emails. Typically, you have to follow up with a new lead multiple times before they’re ready to buy from you. This follow up could include at least 3 more emails to continue to establish value after a free opt-in incentive is sent out, for example. Of course, no one has time to send out 3+ more emails to every lead that subscribes to their email list. So this is where email automation or sales funnels come into play.
You can set up an automated email series in advance to handle all the follow up for you to warm up your leads, helping them to get to know you. So this way, you don’t just deliver the opt-in incentive and then go silent, your subscribers will get used to hearing from you and they will soon be hot leads ready to buy what you have to offer—without you having to manually follow up with them one-by-one!
ConvertKit isn’t free, but it is super affordable, starting at only $29 per month while you’re under 1,000 subscribers.
This is another tool from the Organize & Automate course. Asana isn’t really an automation tool, but it does save a TON of time because it helps me to be more organized. Organization is crucial as a solopreneur because everything is on you! You have to know the status of each project you’re working on and if you don’t have all the steps laid out, it’ll be hard to figure out where you are on a project and what you have left to do before the project is completed. You can also duplicate project task lists from one project to another, so you don’t have to type task lists out again from scratch. And finally, Asana makes it easier for clients to work with you because your clients will clearly be able to see what step you’re on for their projects and you can share all files and feedback inside Asana to cut out the time you’d spend searching for threads with feedback inside your email inbox.
And the best part is…Asana is FREE! Yes, all that functionality is free!
And last but not least, is the Preview app! This app is free, as well! It’s an app for planning out the photos that you’re going to post to your Instagram feed. It allows you to upload photos from your camera roll on your cell phone into the app and you can drag and drop the photos into places where they’ll be aesthetically-pleasing for your grid. This will help you to plan all photos out in advance so you won’t have to think about what photos are coming up next.
To make Instagram even easier, I usually post only 4-5 times a week on weekdays. Sometimes, I’ll even plan out captions in advance so I can simply copy and paste the captions for each photo once I’m ready to post! This helps me to have more energy to engage with people on Instagram by leaving comments and liking posts from my followers.
That’s it! I hope these tools help you to save a ton of time and I hope they’ll give you some relief from overwhelm in your business. When you’re in the beginning stages, it’s usually not in the budget quite yet to hire an assistant, so using tools like these are crucial to help you stay on top of things without getting bogged down in too many repetitive admin tasks.