7 am: Wake up & make coffee
7:15 am: Sit down at desk and begin answering somewhere around 40-50 emails
8:30 am: Get son in shower
9:00 am: Take son to babysitter
9:15: Answer more emails
10: 15 am: Hopefully get on the treadmill, unless there are more emails to answer
11:00 am: Hey, I’ve got time for a shower now!
As you can see, my mornings are hectic. If you’re a business owner or you have a full-time job, then I’m certain your mornings are just as busy (but you probably start earlier and take a shower before 11am!) Regardless, there’s not a whole lot of time in the day for social media, writing blogs and content and researching additional marketing options in addition to answering client inquiries and dreaded bookkeeping tasks. If I can automate something, I’m all over it. Here are some of my favorite web based software tools that allow me to automate my business so that I can spend more writing and responding to clients.
For File Management
No matter where I am and where I go, I need to know that I can access any of my files at any time. Dropbox allows me to do just that whether it’s from my phone, my tablet or my laptop. This isn’t exactly “automated,” but the simple fact that I can access everything I need from an app on my phone or tablet is huge for me.
I use both Outright.com and Freshbooks.com. Outright allows me to connect all of my credit card accounts, PayPal and checking account. Expenses and income are automatically logged for me. I just have to go through on occasion and remove anything that’s not business related or manually insert unique expenses such as mileage.
I use Freshbooks for invoicing, but it also has the option to connect your accounts for bookkeeping as well. I can set up automatic invoicing for clients that have repeating weekly or monthly orders. Freshbooks is also connected to PayPal and my credit card merchant account for easy payment options as well.
For Blogging & Social Media
All of my websites are on WordPress, which has many great features and automatic options in and of itself. However, I’ve recently discovered one particular plug-in that takes WordPress to the next level . CoSchedule is a unique plug in that provides you with an easy to use drag and drop calendar feature. With CoSchedule, you can write blogs, add them to your calendar and move them around to post on whichever day you want. Change your mind the next day? No problem, just drag and drop it to another day. While you’re at, schedule custom social media posts for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more.
SproutSocial is another social media tool that I’ve been using. SproutSocial provides you with a number of unique features such as unique, easy-to-read reports for free. Other social media tools that provide reporting actually charge you a pretty penny. SproutSocial offers messages where you can watch for mentions of your name and other keywords that you want to keep an eye on. You can also watch your feed and schedule posts, as well as the option to discover new followers and create new connections.
Make Your Life Easier!
Adding a little automation to life is the way to go. When you have more free time to focus on growing your business and thinking up new ideas, you’ll only be able to take yourself to the next level that much faster.