As a solopreneur, your most valuable resource is your time. After all, you don’t always need the extra people when you can use your very own sweat equity. Being a solopreneur is the cheapest and fastest way to start a small business. But that ease it comes with a price. There are several unique challenges that come with being a solopreneur. One is that every facet of the business rests on your shoulders, and there are only so many hours in a day to complete every task.
Some days might seem like all you do is go through one administrative task after the other. And even then you still might not be finished. Working like this hardly leaves time for improving your business and can really drain your energy and motivation. You have possibly even thought about hiring an assistant, but you might not be ready for that commitment yet.
The good news is that technology can often act as our own personal assistant. One way is automation. Finding ways to automate your business is a great way to find more time in your days.
What is Automation?
Automating processes might sound like you have to have some kind of robot doing your work, but that is not always the case. Sometimes it does involve technology doing tasks for you, such as creating rules in certain systems to kick off processes when certain conditions are met.
Automating your processes simply means creating templates and systems to use as your go-to when similar situations pop up. In other words, don’t keep reinventing the wheel, automate your processes.
Create Email Response Templates
Email automation is an easy way to free up some time throughout your day while also improving your mood. After all, not many people actually like going through all the emails, prioritizing them, and responding.
The truth is that emails are a distraction that keeps us from doing more meaningful work, and automating your email processes will keep you out of the inbox.
One of the easiest ways you can cut your email time is by creating templates. Do you often receive emails for the same kind of situation? This is the perfect time to create an email response template. To do so, take some time to write a well-thought-out template response for that situation that you can customize for different clients or business partners. There is no need to sit down and write out the same basic response to each of those emails every time they pop up. Write it down once, and then just change the details to fit the situation.
To keep this organized and easy to access, create a Word document with headings for particular situations and then place the template after the heading. From there, you can create an automatic table of contents where all you have to do is click the heading in the table of contents to find that template.
Use a Canned Response Extension
No more scrolling through pages of pages in your document.
If you are using Gmail as your email application, you can even take advantage of the Canned Responses Extension. This plug-in allows you to save your templates conveniently in the Gmail application so that all you have to do is choose the particular template you need right in your new email draft. How much easier can that get?
Start saving time responding to emails by creating templates. This doesn’t have to be a big project. As the emails start to come in, write out your responses and save them. Pretty soon you will have a nice collection of templates to reference in the future.
Implement Inbox Rules
You can actually create rules to make emails automatically go to a particular folder or take a specific action based on certain criteria. This can be based on the sender, subject line, and the like. Do you have a particular client or business partner that you don’t want to miss an email from?
You can have your inbox automatically flag the email as important or sort it to a specific folder based on the sender. Or maybe marketing emails and newsletters are clogging up your main inbox and important emails are getting lost in between them. You can set up a folder for those too, so that those marketing emails stay out of the way.
Stop wasting time scrolling through your inbox for certain emails and keep them nicely organized in folders or with labels.
Schedule Social Media
In today’s market, social media is extremely important for getting your business out there and for finding new customers. However, marketing as a solopreneur can take a lot of time from your day. After all, to be successful you must post several times a day and on different platforms. Fortunately, there are social media scheduling platforms that allow you to create one post that can be posted to different social media sites. You can also schedule them ahead of time so that you do not have to constantly interrupt your day to post.
Just write a post and select what social media platforms to post to and what time. This means no more time spent switching from one social media platform to the other just to type out the same message. Since they can be scheduled, you can also batch the work and type out days worth of posts at one time. A huge time saver for solopreneurs who don’t want to fall behind on their marketing.
Automatically Schedule Meetings and Book Appointments
Have you ever had a long email chain that mostly consisted of proposing meeting times back and forth until you finally found common ground? Well, the good news is that you can avoid that with certain scheduling tools.
Websites such as Calendly and YouCanBookMe allow you to automate this process. First, you set it up to sync with your calendar and show your availability, and then your clients simply go to the custom link and pick a time. An easy way to avoid the time and hassle of those long email chains just for one meeting. This will make your clients less frustrated as well, and therefore happier.
This article was originally published in September 2017 but has been expanded and updated