Automation is a technique that can not only save you precious time but can also act as a dependable employee. You will be taking care of tasks without little to no delegation or thought. This autopilot system will effectively free up your time and energy to be spent on the tasks that require manual attention and effort. Automation is the secret sauce for the one-man show or the fledgling start-up. If you’re not quite budgeted for hiring just yet, your best partner until then is Automation.
In the beginning stages of a business, there are a lot of hats that must be worn by one head. When you are solely responsible for every basic and complex function and deadline, life can quickly become overwhelming and chaotic. This can leave you stumbling over infinite to-do lists, splitting attention to multitask, and losing time to redundant tasks. It is a rite of passage to an extent, but there are ways to simplify your startup woes.
The initial stages of a business are expected to be a hands-on and a largely manual process. This is not always bad because these are the times when you gain invaluable experience. But there are plenty of things that you can put on cruise control so that you can reserve energy and time for responsibilities that actually require your deliberate attention.
The savvy entrepreneur sets up systems that can seamlessly take items off their plate. As a result, they can free their concentration to focus on other pressing necessities. They do this by setting up recurring triggers that prompt recurring actions that achieve recurring results. These cycles can manage themselves so you don’t have to.
These systems streamline your responsibilities, ensure consistency, work when you can’t, better plan frequency, track results and statistics, and check off your to-do list without you even having to apply an ounce of attention to the task in question.
Automation can facilitate all of these possibilities while you are sleeping.
Automation will be your best employee, maximizing your effectiveness and efficiency in ways that multitasking never could.
Let’s talk about what and how to employ automation:
Cruise control content creation
You can set up schedulers to handle post deadlines for you. I usually plan out my editorial content one to three months in advance so that I don’t have to scramble to generate content at the last minute.
There is an assortment of apps and websites that can help take control of your social media promotion without you even having to open the website. I use Buffer, Later and Coschedule to help me stay on top of my social media.
My all-time favorite is Coschedule because it is not only a social media scheduler but also an editorial calendar. This allows me to manage my articles and my social media simultaneously.
I also love the convenience it offers, as I can access it from their website, the phone app, browser extension, and Wordpress plugin. This allows me to not only plan my social media but also easily control my posts and link corresponding social media from one platform. This has been such a key to building my social media profiles, as I am not naturally inclined to use social media. Planning posts of all kinds as well as recycling popular and evergreen posts integrates seamlessly.
Recycle evergreen content
Evergreen content is my favorite kind of content because it never stops working for you. Evergreen essentially means that the content is timeless. Even seasonal posts, with a bit of reworking, can be just as relevant this summer as they were last summer. Using the ‘requeue’ feature in Coschedule easily allows me to repost these types of pieces with little to no effort.
To further organize my evergreen content, I utilize tags on my editorial calendar. This helps me easily filter recyclable content to assess which posts may be worth rescheduling for a future date.
Being able to refill my content without having to constantly generate new, quality content can portray an element of consistency and remove the pressure from my schedule when I may be juggling other responsibilities.
Templates are life’s shortcut. They are the easiest way to create habits and routines, which are the easiest way to ensure consistency. My page builder plugin has a template function that I can save and employ on similar posts.
Whether it’s an article template for similar content, a morning template for a simplified way to start your day, or an outfit template that helps you expedite your morning routine, examine your recurrent processes for streamlining potential and implement templates on as many areas as possible.
Outsource what you can
Even if you don’t have a budget for hiring yet, there are outlets in which you can cheaply outsource work. You may be able to exchange your skills for someone else’s within your own immediate network.
I have several browser extensions that help maximize my workflow. The ones that I find most useful are Grammarly and Thesaurus. This helps me revise my work in real time, at least for grammar, so that when I’m actually revising my posts, I can focus solely on content.
I also fill in the gaps with IFTTT or Zapier, which can create productive sequences to alleviate multi-step tasks by creating links between apps that respond to recurring actions. For instance, I have a sequence on IFTTT that auto-posts my Instagram pictures to Pinterest. This saves me from the extra step of manually posting the same picture to Pinterest.
Crafting manual newsletters and follow-ups for your customers could be an entire job all on its own. But with automation, it doesn’t have to be. For example, my customer communication is primarily done through newsletters. If my newsletters were manual, I can almost guarantee no one would receive a single email from me.
Most newsletter hosts have diverse automation sequences that I had to take time getting familiar with. Whether you use newsletters, chatbots, or email templates, you can typically create triggers or auto responses that react to common interactions.
Depending upon the nature of your business, there is a multitude of options to choose from that can help your communications run on autopilot.
Now that you have all your tools, download any respective phone or tablet apps. You can always have your automation platforms by your side. I love being able to quickly monitor all my sequences from a quick glance when I’m on the go.
Set it and Forget it: Hiring Automation
After you decide which tasks could benefit from automation, set aside a few days to set up the different sequences. This will be the most time-consuming step of automation. But once these sequences begin, you can refocus all your efforts to the manual elements on your to-do list.
Also published on Medium.