Time Management & The Entrepreneur: Automate it All

I’m just gonna put this out there: if you don’t automate in your business, you will lose. Whether it’s money, time, your sanity, something is going to go. Accept it and start to formulate a plan to fix it. Period.

Since time management is valuable to everyone involved in an entrepreneurial endeavor, automation is essential.  I am always looking for ways to automate work even to the smallest detail:

Remember the yearly planning spreadsheet I mentioned before? I didn’t always use it. I instead emailed each client a weekly plan on Monday of each week. That took time. Not a ton, but it still took time. After some research I decided the spreadsheet was more efficient and effective. We all have access, we can all make edits, and they can view it whenever they want. Boom, I shaved approximately 45 minutes from my work time each week. That adds up my friend.

Sound like a miniscule amount? Do the same with two more processes in your business and you’ve bought yourself over two hours of time for the week. Not so tiny now is it?

Ultimately, I recommend Infusionsoft for most of your business automation needs. I’ve been using it for quite some time with several clients, as well as my business, and I love it. It definitely gets a bad rap as being hard to use, but really, it’s not difficult, you just need the right information to know how to navigate it.

But I realize that something like this isn’t in the budget for all small businesses. There has to be some sort of bridge then, yes? If you’ve got a bit of ingenuity tucked away and a willingness to invest {time} in your business, you can achieve measurable automation results anyway. Let’s roll…

1. Figure out what you’d like to automate. Notice I didn’t say what you “can” automate. You may not know of a particular system or piece of software that will allow you to actually automate something, so it’s best to start with everything you can think of. Just start making a list of stuff you do: email clients weekly recaps, email clients weekly goals, the same set of tasks every Monday, the same launch steps, the same free webinar steps, you get the idea.

Now look at this list and start marking things that you think you can automate in some way. Everything I mentioned above can be automated. If you’re not sure whether it can be, leave it on the list until you’ve exhausted your automation possibilities. Everything that’s left gets taken off the list.

2. Figure out how you’re going to automate it. This is where your ingenuity and kick-butt research skills are going to come in handy. When we think of automation, we generally think of systems like Infusionsoft that can do just about everything under the sun for us. They’re sweet, I’m not gonna lie. But there is more than one way to peel this peach.

As mentioned above, one thing I automated was goal planning and implementation for my clients. Instead of meeting, deciding on the goals, meeting each time we needed to decide which ones to tackle, how to tackle them, and updating them twice a week on progress, we use Google Spreadsheets as a simple fix. We have our initial goals meeting and then everything goes into that spreadsheet. Take a look at the first post in this series to see the process we actually use to automate the whole thing.

Look to programs like Google Drive, Asana, Boomerang, etc., to help you automate and systematize. Another great help? Natasha Vorompiova’s Systematic Success program. By using these free or uber-inexpensive programs to systematize and automate your stuff, you’ll save tons of time and money.

3. Implement the automation. You’ve figured out what you’d like to automate and how you can automate it, now comes the key to really, actually, truly saving you time and money: implementing this solution.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. Some people benefit from sitting down on a Saturday afternoon and tackling all systems at one time. One and done. Others prefer to set aside a small amount of time each day to do this. Still others want to make a list of all that needs to be done and then come to it as they have time.

No matter which method you choose for your implementation, just do it. I’m going to get a little rough with you here: you need to step into your sparkly CEO shoes and own this. None of us have time. We’re all busy. But if you want your business to grow and be sustainable, you have to do this. Assign it to your VA, tackle it yourself, but get it done. Act like the boss you are.

Tell me – which one are you tackling first?

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