13 Simple Ways to Use Automation to Get More Done in Less Time

13 Simple Ways to Use Automation to Be More Productive

There are only so many hours in a day to get things done as a business owner, right?

From making sure your website is up-to-date to managing your inbox (and striving for inbox zero) to keeping up with your many DMs, it’s definitely not always easy–or possible–to find time for it all. (Especially the stuff that really matters, like creating new content, managing your team and coming up with brilliant ideas for fresh products and services. #justsaying)

Luckily, we don’t actually have to ‘do it all’ ourselves to get it all done.

The alternative? Automation.

Simply put, automation is using an app or software to complete a task that you’d otherwise have to do manually, so that you can spend more time doing what you love (like, you know, bringing a new digital product to life or finally making it back to your favorite spin studio).

Automation tools are getting more sophisticated and smarter by the day (in the very best way) and can have a major impact on your productivity (and ultimately, your bottom line).

That said, if you’re willing to put in a little time upfront, you can stop wasting your uber-precious time on boring, tedious or downright daunting tasks and get way more done, in way less time.

Not sure where to start? Below, you’ll find 13 super effective ways you can use automation to make running your online business a total breeze.


1) Social Media

Apps like Tailwind, Buffer and MeetEdgar allow you to schedule your social media posts in advance so you don’t have to worry about posting every day. You simply set up when (and where) you’d like your posts to go out, and boom. Done. You can schedule literal months’ worth of content! (Just remember to pop onto your platforms and respond to your comments when posts go out.)


2) Email Marketing

Emails funnels are literally the best thing since gluten-free bread. You can create entire automated funnels that can take someone from a cold lead who just-so-happens to like your latest Instagram post to an email subscriber to a paid customer in minutes. It’s probably the closest thing we have to actual magic.

Most entrepreneurs have a few funnels set up. Each individual funnel will start with a lead magnet that solves a specific pain point for their audience, then include a string of emails designed to ‘warm them up’ and close the sale. ConvertKit, InfusionSoft and other email marketing service providers allow you to set up email sequences that go out at pre-set times you choose, without you having to do a thing.

You can also use email autoresponders to automatically send emails to your subscribers or customers when they sign up for your list, make a purchase, or take another action. Talk about simple!


3) Customer Service

Even with the smoothest systems in place, small hiccups are bound to happen. That said, you can automate most pieces of customer service. For example, you can set up a chatbot on your Facebook business page, hire a customer support company like ZenDesk to monitor your website or at the very least set up a dedicated customer service email address that customers can reach out to 24/7 and receive an automated email response with answers to the most common questions and concerns.


4) Onboarding

Still working with private clients? Save yourself the headache (and tons of back & forth emails) by automating your entire onboarding process. Systems like HoneyBook, Dubsado and 17Hats can help you do everything from set inquiry forms to set up Zoom meetings to manage projects–and yes, most of these programs handle billing and payment processing, too.


5) Following-Up

You can use an online customer relationship management (CRM) tool to better manage your customer relationships, too. Tools like the ones mentioned above also allow you to send automated follow up emails at predetermined intervals. For example, you can set up an email to go out to your client 30 days after you wrap up their project asking for a (hopefully, glowing) testimonial. No extra work required.


6) Scheduling and Appointments

Use an online scheduling tool like Calendly or Acuity to automate your appointment booking process, whether that’s with clients, colleagues or team members. You can automatically send email reminders (like a 24-hour reminder) and follow-ups, too.


7) Payment Processing

Stripe, PayPal and Square are all popular options for collecting payments for both digital products and services. You can streamline payments by connecting them directly to your selling platforms, like Kajabi or ClickFunnels, for example. PayPal and Stripe both allow you to set up automatic billing and payment plans, too. You can also streamline your own bills by setting up a standing order with your bank to pay your team members (or ask them to automate their invoices to you!).

Invoice reminders are another way to keep this process simple and streamlined. If you use a service like 17Hats, for example, you can set up email reminders for invoices that are about to come due. Who has the time to be sending out manual invoices or chasing people for payments? (This is another thing Stripe and other payment processors will do for you–they’ll automatically try to re-charge the card of anyone whose payment fails the first time.)


8) Content Creation

Whether you love it or loathe it, creating content is a necessity for most entrepreneurs in the online space. If it’s not your favorite, why not try out an AI content creator like Jasper.ai? AI is truly becoming loads more intelligent, and you can come up with everything from blog post titles to full blog posts, landing pages and more with just a few clicks of a button. (And you can always edit and spruce things up from there–or have a content-savvy team member step in and edit the AI’s work. So easy!)


9) Content Repurposing

In that same vein, there are lots of programs out there to help you take that much-labored-over content and disperse it around the Internet. Programs like Zapier and IFFT offer a plethora of options. For example, IFFT (which stands for “If this, then that”) allows you to set up scenario like, “If I create an Instagram post, share it on my Facebook business page.” You can also use a tool like Buffer to re-share content you’ve created in the past at intervals you determine. You can use IFFT and Zapier to connect all kinds of online programs and eliminate loads of busywork.


10) Bookkeeping

KeeperTax, Quick Books Self-Employed and Wave (among many, many others) allow you to connect directly to your business bank account(s) and automatically import your income/sales and expenses. All you have to do is categorize them, and you can even set ‘rules’ so they automatically categorize themselves moving forward. (Pro tip: If you’re a phone junkie who never misses notification, you might love that a simple app like Keeper will text you as soon as it detects a potential business expense and/or write-off and ask you to categorize it that way.)


11) Selling

There are a million and one types of funnels you can set up in your business to make money on autopilot. From an email welcome sequence to an automated webinar funnel, the options are endless.


12) Task Management

Want to make sure you (and your team) never miss a deadline or skip a pertinent step ever again? Use a project management app like Asana or ClickUp to create and manage projects, which can include tasks, subtasks and be assigned to individual team members with deadlines. Not only will everyone on your team be able to ‘see’ where any project is at any time (including exactly who is doing what, and by when), you won’t need to recreate the wheel every time you need to create a new project. These programs let you create repeating tasks and deadlines, too.


13) Email Inbox

Automating your business email can save you lots of time and energy. You can also set up email filters to automatically sort and organize your incoming messages. This way, you can quickly see which messages are important and reply to them right away. Finally, you can even set up email templates to save time when writing common types of emails, such as follow-ups or thank-yous.

See how easy it can be to make things, well, easier in your business? I challenge you to try an automation technique (or five) in your business this week and just watch as your productivity (and brain space) soars.



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