One thing that I’ve learned since owning a business is that I either need more than 24 hours in a day or I need a few more of me to help run the business. Obviously neither of those things is an option, so I’ve learned to automate my way to more time. If any of you are familiar with my business, Weik Fitness, LLC, you would know that we have a few different services for our clients to choose from. Any one of those services in itself can take up a full day. Add all of those services on top of emails, social media, prospecting, marketing, etc. and it’s like you’re sitting in your office chair with your feet up spinning in circles until you get dizzy and fall over.
As it stands right now, I am running my business myself—other than the guidance from my CPA and attorney. I work long days as is, but once things really started expanding with my business I quickly found out I don’t have time to do everything anymore and the little things were quickly adding a lot of time to my day and bogging down my productivity. So, I began to automate.
Automating things doesn’t eliminate the work needed to do certain projects or run certain pieces of your business, it just allows you to spend a certain amount of time planning things out, scheduling them, and then allowing them to run, send out, and launch on their own. As simple as it sounds, it frees up so much time during the day, you’ll be amazed at what all you can get done without having to worry about some of the little things you do every day. That being said, I’ll fill you in on some of the automated programs that I’m using that you too could implement and save precious time.
Social media these days can be overwhelming when you are trying to figure out when to post, how many times per day, what days are best, what times are best, what hashtags to use, and exactly what information you want to put out with each post. Then you have all the different platforms to worry about—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. It doesn’t stop just there as many people have a personal and business page/profile for those social platforms as well. Think about how much time you waste by creating a post for each one of those, remembering each day when to post certain things, and then remembering what you wanted to include in your post. It’s enough to make your head hurt.
With Buffer, you have the ability to schedule everything and link all of your social media platforms onto one post. So in essence, you create one post, and that post gets posted on all of the social channels you wish to put it on. You choose the day and the time and it automatically schedules and launches the post for you. Pretty cool, right?
Buffer has a free version as well as a paid version. Which you prefer to use will depend on how many posts you plan on scheduling at a time. The free version allows you to schedule up to 10 posts. If you want to schedule more than that at a time, you’ll have to pony up for the paid version. For me at this point, I’m fine with 10 posts at a time and scheduling a few days in advance. I’m sure as I get even busier I’m going to need to upgrade to the paid version and potentially plan out several weeks in advance so I can focus on other areas of my business. Figure out what fits your needs and make the right decision for your situation.
As a side note, if you’re like me, I enjoy working on my social media posts at night when I’m relaxing. Yes, I know that doing work shouldn’t be considered “relaxing” but to me it is. So, when I’m on the couch relaxing, while my wife is watching her favorite television shows, I sit there with her and schedule out all my new posts I want on the Buffer app. You can download it for both iPhones and Androids. The app gives you the ability to do everything you normally would on your desktop or laptop, but only now you can do it right on your smartphone or tablet from anywhere. I highly recommend downloading this free app!
2. Scheduling emails
I work with several clients and I always had reminders in my calendar of when I needed to email content over to certain publications and businesses. Then I realized that through Outlook, I can schedule when my emails send. Talk about convenient — I might be the only person on the planet who didn’t know you had such a feature, but if you didn’t know you could schedule emails, now you know.
In order to do so in Outlook, all you need to do is open a new email, type in whatever you need sent, add the attachments, and then on the toolbar click on “Options” and then “Delay Delivery.” Towards the bottom of the window that opens you will see a “do not deliver before” box. Make sure that is checked and then enter the date and time you want it automatically sent out. After that, click close on the window and it will take you back to the email you drafted. If the email looks good and everything is there, click SEND and you’ll notice your email will go in your outbox and to the right of the text you’ll now see a number like . This tells you that there is something waiting to be sent out. When you exit Outlook, you will get a notice that says you have items in your outbox and that exiting will not allow them to send until the next time you open Outlook. Click that and it will allow you to exit and will save the email in your outbox. If you click the other option on the exit window, it will simply put you back into Outlook. So, what I just mentioned is the only way to exit your email.
Now, when I finish up content needed for a given week for a client, I can schedule for the email to send automatically so I don’t need to keep remembering or looking in my calendar of when things need to be sent each week. It’s super convenient, super easy to manage, and a great way to automate your emails that need to go out so you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself. So, if you have emails with attachments that you need to send out, but you work ahead and don’t need it to send immediately, schedule it in Outlook and it will take care of it for you. Set it and forget it!
Do you have information that you need to get out to a group of people such as a newsletter and you’re sick of either sending them all out individually or sending out a message via mail merge and blasting it out to everyone on your list? Mailchimp is a great resource to use.
Just like with Buffer, you have the ability to use it for free up to a certain amount of emails and a certain number of people on an email list. Figure out which version (free or paid) would work best for you and utilize it to get your newsletters or information out to your groups.
The MailChimp service allows you to create campaigns to run and even gives you free templates to plug and play your information. It’s extremely easy to follow and they guide you step-by-step through the whole process so you don’t forget anything or leave something out. It’s so easy, a monkey could do it (a little MailChimp humor). From their site, it even helps you add sign ups to your website or blog to gain email addresses for mailing lists. Everything you need to put together a professional email blast can be accomplished from their site. MailChimp also allows you to be compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act when it comes to emailing masses of people.
If you need help automating and managing your LLC, Incfile has a great staff that can help you manage company changes, compliance, IRS filings, and many other key pieces of your business so you can focus on growth. Take advantage of their experience and allow them to help take your business to the next level.