We all have dreams of what running our businesses looks like. Most of us imagine it being a smooth, simple endeavor. Working with our dream clients (and there’s always more than enough), paperwork and marketing that are just somehow done…and there’s no accounting. Never any accounting.
We finish at a reasonable hour with enough time to get in a quick workout, head home to make a beautiful, organic, paleo dinner, walk our dog and enjoy a bedtime meditation (is that just my dream?).
The reality, as you may be finding, is a little bit different because there is A LOT that goes into growing and running a thriving business when you’re a solopreneur.
Lead generation, scheduling, answering emails, posting on social media, optimizing daily operations, providing exceptional service.
We want it all…but without doing the work.
Lucky for you (and me) there’s a way to do the work without DOING the work…kind of. You always have to show up, have a strategy and make the effort.
BUT you can have the “business stuff” running without you necessarily being tied to it every.waking.minute through the modern magic of automation.
There are 5 time-sucking tasks I’ve automated over the years that have saved me upwards of 20+ hours a week while showing up for my community, providing a better quality of service, staying in my zone of genius…AND making it home in time for dinner (usually).
1. BOOKING APPOINTMENTS + REMINDERS
If you have appointments of any kind and are still emailing, texting or phoning back and forth to set a time and then remind people, put down your phone right now and run, don’t walk, to your computer. Immediately open an account with a booking software service and get it set-up STAT. Online booking is a must these days. This alone has saved me and my clients up to 20 hours a week AND can reduce your no-shows and cancellations dramatically (which in turn can increase your revenue).
Not only that, online booking and reminders lets you provide better service to your clients. A study by Accenture shows that 2/3 of people prefer to book their appointments online at their convenience.
There are a ton of options for software depending on your industry. I personally use Acuity and love it (VERY wide variety of functions and incredibly affordable).
2. LEAD GENERATION
You may have realized by now that you cannot build a business that relies on a regular stream of incoming clients or customers without a way to consistently bring new people through the door. You may also have come to realize, that finding, meeting and connecting with new people every single day is very time consuming. Like the most time consuming…at least it was for me. Over half my week used to be going to “getting in front of” potential leads and following up.
Enter the automated lead generation system. In a few simple steps you can set-up a system to connect with people daily, bring them into your world, build a relationship and invite them to work with you…all on autopilot. For free…and without any fancy software besides an Email Service Provider (Mailchimp is a great option if you’re just getting started…and it’s free).
3. CLIENT ONBOARDING + FOLLOW-UPS
The amazing thing about automation (and particularly this one here) is that it often lets you provide better service to your clients and customers. So you can show up for them as this rockstar resource without any additional work on your end.
How do you do that? I streamlined my client interactions by creating an automated email series to onboard new clients, including any forms they need to complete, prepare, FAQ’s etc. Same goes for follow-ups throughout their service so you can check in, see how they’re doing or offer additional resources. Neither have to be anything crazy or over the top…even ONE email as a welcome is great.
4. EXPENSE TRACKING
If the word “taxes” makes you want to curl into the fetal position and hide in bed, you’re going to love this. The wonder of the online world has made it SO easy to track and categorize all your expenses so come tax-time you’re ready to go.
Quickbooks and Wave are two that I love. You can connect them to all your accounts and they’ll pull your income and expenses automatically, categorize them and give you all the analytics of just how much you’re spending (#thescarytruth). They also both have apps you can use to take pics of your printed receipts and they’ll add them to your online files.
The ONE thing I’ll say about this is that if you’re using personal credit cards and accounts for your business expenses, it’ll group everything together making it harder to track. My advice is you get a dedicated business credit card and run all your expenses out of there. That way it all stays straight and is easy to track!
5. SOCIAL MEDIA
Ahh social media…the biggest time suck of them all. I’ve had clients spend more time planning, writing and posting to social media than they did with their own clients. Social media, while important for getting yourself out there and growing your business is NOT your actual business (in most cases). It’s a tool to support you and really shouldn’t be taking all your time.
You can actually get it down to just a few hours a month with strategic planning, automated posting and re-purposing old content. Use tools like Hootsuite, Buffer or Later to pre-schedule all your posts for an entire month so you can set it and forget it ONCE rather than popping on everyday (then obviously getting sucked in for an hour).
THEN, after you’ve created a decent library of content, you can re-purpose and repeat it (automatically) with services like Meet Edgar or One Up App. Because the reality is, people won’t remember if you posted the same quote 3 months ago. They’ll double tap it all the same and you’ll save yourself 10 minutes!
What do you think of these? If you have any questions about streamlining or strategizing your business as a solopreneur, I’d love to hear from you (as you can tell by my detail, productivity seriously brings me some joy 😉 .) Your can always reach me at [email protected]