The goal of automation is to simplify your work and save you time.
Whether it's lead generation, client communication, list building or selling — you can leverage powerful technology and smart systems to make a repeatable task faster and easier to do.
The problem is that even though most of us understand the value of automation, we tend to avoid adopting any in our business, blaming our inaction on a “lack of time”.
Which of course, is a tell-tale sign that you need automation now, more than ever.
So if you're constantly craving more freedom and flexibility, then now might be the time to start squirrelling away a few hours each week to focus on improving your systems.
Let's take a look at how you can get started.
Where are you spending all your time?
If you’ve been hesitant about adopting automation in your business (and convinced you don't have the time to do it) — I’d like you to consider a few of these questions:
- So you spend time doing the same things over and over again each week?
- Have you thought about investing a little money in making a system better?
- How often are you sending the same emails, or answer the same questions?
- How many routine tasks are you doing that a simple algorithm could do, yet you are spending your precious time doing?
When you limit your beliefs to thinking more hours or efficiency is the ultimate answer to your workload challenges then you have sentenced yourself to perpetual stress. There will always be more work to do.
But if you can work a little smarter by using tools and tech to your advantage — you can eliminate many of the repetitive and routine tasks from your to-do list.
- What tasks do you still lack a system for?
- What are you putting off until the mood strikes you?
- What simple system or ritual would put you in front of the work you want to do?
- What tasks are you going over and over again that you could invest time and/or money into automating?
While the task of outlining your processes can seem daunting, you need to remember that spending time today to save time tomorrow — is always the ultimate goal.
Focus on the things that are going to make tomorrow easier
You multiply your time by investing in things today that give you more time tomorrow.
Choosing how to spend your time is no longer about better tips and tricks to manage your calendar or to-do list. It’s about smarter self-management.
Automation can be made to work for you 24 hours per day, seven days a week — it's like a cheap employee who never has to sleep. And if you allocate some time each week to optimizing your systems, it's going to provide more freedom and flexibility for you later.
To propel your business into its next stage of growth, you're going to have to take a step back from your billable hours and allow yourself the time to streamline your operations. It's an investment you have to be willing to make.
Remember: You are in charge of what you focus on and produce each day. You're also the only one determining what's important and what should get done first. So if the goal is to improve the way you operate your business then you need to make time to do that.
3 simple ways to adopt automation in your business today
If you want to get out ahead of your to-do list and start managing your time more effectively — here are three ways you can begin with automation today.
1. Use a scheduling tool to book meetings and avoid annoying client back-and-forth
One of the simplest ways to introduce automation is to get a meeting scheduler.
It eliminates annoying email back-and-forth and makes booking client meetings — fast, easy and painless.
Acuity Scheduling is my scheduling tool of choice. It's easy to use, has excellent support and the user interface is clean and simple. Here's how it works:
- You set up your calendar to reflect the times you are available
- You provide your clients with a link to your schedule
- They select a time that works for them
- The system organises the meeting for you
Most schedulers also send out meeting reminders and have the option to add in pre-call questionnaires, payment options and create a more personalised customer experience with custom design.
2. Create an onboarding process to qualify your leads and eliminate the time wasters
You don’t need to get overly complicated to qualify your leads.
A simple survey or questionnaire can work wonders for getting people to take that extra step. And will help you identify whether they're serious about seeking your services.
With a simple two-step process, you can use your call to action button on your website to automate your onboarding process.
- Link your CTA or contact form to prompt the user to fill out a quick questionnaire or short survey (Google Forms or Survey Monkey are great options)
- Link that questionnaire submission to an automated email to send out a meeting invite (you can use Zapier and your email marketing software for this)
You can also use Acuity's pro version to set up your qualifying questionnaire — covering both steps with the one tool.
3. Use an automated email sequence to develop trust with your prospects
Not everyone who visits your site is going to be sold on your service on the spot. But there’s no need to lose the prospect just because they aren't interested in buying right now.
Creating a valuable free email course to attract potential customers to your list, and using smart email software to deliver the content and then stay in contact with them (by offering more helpful advice), is a fantastic way to grow a database of warm leads that you can tap into whenever you want.
And even if they don’t want to hire you for your services, by staying in touch and seeking feedback, you can use their problems and challenges to help you develop future products and offerings.
Do you prefer wasting time or creating it?
Any time you can set up a system which can reduce the amount of “think time” you have to spend to complete a regimented task, you can create savings in your business.
And as a freelancer, you should be devising ways to adopt automation for any of the following functions;
- Getting more leads
- Converting more leads
- Getting repeat sales
- Generating referrals automatically
- Improving client communication
A company can never outgrow its systems (they simply grow with you). And the longer you put off automating your repeatable tasks, the more time and energy you waste.
So, your challenge for this week is to set up one automated system in your business — and permit yourself to invest the time and resources necessary to get it done.
What will you automate first?