We sometimes talk about and link to tools, sites, books, and fun stuff that we LOVE. And sometimes those companies will give us a little gift for sharing. We promise to be straightforward with you and to only share the very best things.
It wasn’t long ago that it was just me giving it my all to make She Can Coterie a success. And now here I am, the CEO, with a team of 23 and counting. It wasn’t something that happened overnight, and it certainly wasn’t easy. But along the way, I’ve found systems and processes that made it easier for both my team and our clients.
As a small business, time is everything and minutes wasted means money wasted.
As a small business, time is everything and minutes wasted means money wasted. I knew that in order to save us headaches and time, and for us to work infinitely smarter - not harder - I needed to start implementing automation systems here at SCC. And today, I’m going to share with you just what those automation systems are.
Bonus - these systems are all so simple, easy, and (mostly!) free to set up, and you can get them up and running this weekend if your entrepreneur heart desires!
Asana: The Beyoncé of Project Automation
If I were a poet or a symphony composer, I would work all day to create a work of art that expresses my love for Asana. I like to describe Asana as a robust to-do list. You can input every task and project, give them a due date, assign each task out (to yourself or someone else), upload the related files, collaborate with your team, and so much more. The options are truly endless!
One of our favorite ways to use Asana by creating templates for recurring tasks. When you have tasks that you complete over and over again, it’s SO important to have a template for it. When you get that task written down into steps, you’ve got yourself a system. And when you have a system, you are on your way to automating and delegating!
If you aren’t ready to automate or delegate, you have all the steps written down so that each time you complete the task, you have consistency. And consistency breeds legitimacy. Wanna be a legit biz? Get yourself some systems in place.
We’ve created several templates that we simply copy and paste for tasks that come up over and over again.
- Onboarding new clients
- Offboarding clients (an often overlooked step!)
- Onboarding new team members
- Editorial workflows
- Content calendar + social media scheduling
- PR promotion workflows
- Podcast workflows
By doing this, we’re saving hours of time from having to recreate those large and multi-step tasks over and over again. A simple click of the “copy” button and bam!, the task is not only duplicated, but you can also copy over each step’s assignee. Brilliant!
Slack: All. Hail. Slack.
I noticed we were spending way too much time in our email inboxes, and with an ever-growing team and client list, it just wasn’t realistic to keep our day-to-day conversations in our emails. So, we moved to Slack, which is so much quicker and a whole lot more fun. Not to mention, it makes it so much easier to work from your phone when you’re on the go!
Team Channels - One for each client! Ask a question and get help in designated communication areas. So. Dang. Efficient.
Random Channels - We have a “random” channel that allows the entire team to chat about anything other than work. We can have fun, discuss favorite shows on Netflix, and since many of us our mamas, we’re often sharing lots of tips on motherhood with one another. It’s allowed us to not just grow as a team, but develop strong bonds and friendships as well.
Direct Messages - Need to talk to another team member privately? No problem!
Custom Notifications - What I love most about Slack is how much you can customize your notifications. I have it set so I’m notified when I’m mentioned or receive a direct message so I don’t get a notification for every single message. I also enjoy taking advantage of the reminder feature, where you can set a reminder on a certain message and it will notify you to read/respond to it later. This is especially helpful when you’re on the go or in the middle of a client call. Genius!
Zapier: Automation, baby!
Zapier is a third-party program that links applications together that may not necessarily integrate automatically. Long story short, you can create your own customized workflows that run in the background to make your life waaay easier.
Virtually every business-related software, website, or app can be integrated with Zapier for free (although there are a handful that require a premium subscription).
Here are two examples of our favorite Zaps:
Integrate PayPal with your email marketing platform (Convertkit, MailChimp, etc.) if you are selling an email course. A Zap can automatically add users to an email sequence for you once they have paid through PayPal.
Zapier can create a Zoom meeting when you have a potential client schedule a discovery call, which includes adding a link for the call to the Google Calendar event so you don’t have to send it yourself.
We’re all about working smarter, not harder, and Zapier is the perfect tool to make that happen.
Buffer: Automate Your Social Scheduling
We use Buffer to schedule posts for multiple accounts. It’s easy as pie and, most importantly, super quick. Here’s some of the social media platforms that we are able to use Buffer for scheduling:
Remember those days when you had to manually post to each of your social media platforms? A part of owning your own biz is publishing content consistently, so without a scheduling tool that can take up some real time. This is why Buffer is essential for our business and our clients’!
Buffer integrates with the basic social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn plus many others! It’s so simple to use. You just create your content, including graphics and copy, and copy and paste them into Buffer. You can schedule a custom publishing time for each platform or use the suggested times given by Buffer.
Bottom line: if your business is offering social media management, your business should also be using Buffer.
Gmail: The Best Email in All the Land
Gmail is so user friendly and setting up automations is an absolute breeze. Here’s some of the ways I’ve set up my Gmail account to make things easier for myself and our clients.
Canned Responses - I have several scripted emails for the email inquiries that I get all the time. And bonus! Anyone on my team can pop into my inbox and reply to inquiries exactly as I would.
Auto-Responder - I set up an auto-reply that’s on all the time. It basically let’s my clients know that I might not be quickest to respond, but to email SCC’s Operations Manager if it’s super important. This makes me feel more at ease and like I don’t constantly have to be in my inbox.
Labeling and Filtering Emails - This is life-changing! Every email has a home and some emails are automatically sent to a folder if I need it organized but I don’t need to actually see it.
Freshbooks: Financial Workflows and Bookkeeping
It may not be free, but trust me, there’s a whole lot it has to offer that make it worth it. I mean, who really wants to use a silly spreadsheet to keep track of all this anyway?
Invoicing - Because how else are you going to get paid? Freshbooks has professional-looking invoices that are sent FROM Freshbooks, AND they will send reminders for you. Need to get paid? Freshbooks can help with that!
Bookkeeping and Expense Reporting - Set up your accounts to import to Freshbooks and they will help you keep track of what’s coming in and what’s going out.
Time Tracking - Do you need to know exactly how much time you’re spending on your client work/projects? Freshbooks can help with that!
Reports - Want to know how much time you’re spending on certain tasks? Want to know what offerings are actually profitable? Want to see how quickly your clients are paying you? Freshbooks has great reporting features built right in!
I get it... growing your business can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. The sooner you start utilizing systems and processes like these, the quicker and easier it will be to stay on top of things. Not only that, but you’ll have more time to be the entrepreneur you’re meant to be and you can focus on your business’ growth!
Are you feeling overwhelmed trying to make #allthethings in your biz happen?
We can help. Here are all the ways we can make your life a little easier.